The Defamation Act of 2009 came into force on 1st January. Blasphemous libel is a section in this Act. It makes such utterances punishable by a €25,000 fine. It can be used to silence dissent. It interferes unreasonably with freedom of expression and gives succour and encouragement to the supporters of Sharia law in Europe and elsewhere. Outrage provoked by religious belief is not uncommon and should not be legally sanctioned in a liberal society. The Act allows a defence if a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.
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