COPENHAGEN – In the first such prosecution for 46 years, a Danish man who posed a video of himself setting fire to the holy Qur’an on Facebook has been charged with blasphemy.
“It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Qur’an can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion,” Jan Reckendorff, from the public prosecutor’s office in Viborg, told The Independent on Thursday, February 23.
“It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.”
The 42-year-old suspect put the clip, entitled “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns” to a group called “YES TO FREEDOM – NO TO ISLAM” in December 2015.
Under clause 140 of Denmark’s penal code, anyone can be imprisoned or fined for publicly insulting or degrading religious doctrines or worship.
Only four blasphemy prosecutions have ever been attempted in the country.
The last was in 1971, when two Denmark Radio producers were acquitted after airing a song mocking Christianity.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is four months in prison but Reckendorff said prosecutors were more likely to seek a fine.
The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the archangel Gabriel who used to make the Prophet memorize the Qur’an and made him revise it every year in the month of Ramadan, the fasting month.
Memorizing the Holy Qur’an is one of the most important ways to preserve Allah’s message.
The others are to publish and distribute the book, or the text on the Internet and to recite the parts that one knows to other people.