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Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:16AM
A view of the Dutch parliament in The Hague

A view of the Dutch parliament in The Hague

The Dutch parliament will approve a motion to abolish a law that criminalizes blasphemy, mainly due to strong support by the Liberal Party (VVD). On Wednesday, a majority of parties in the Netherlands stated that the blasphemy law was no longer relevant in the 21st century. The VVD party had refused to support efforts to annul the law during the tenure of the previous government in order not to upset the fundamentalist Christian party SGP, whose support was necessary in the upper house of parliament. According to the SGP, the decision to lift the ban on blasphemy is a “painful loss of a moral anchor and a symptom of a spiritual crisis.” The law, introduced in the 1930s, has not been invoked over the past half century. However, it is still off-limits under the Dutch law to insult police officers or the country’s monarch, Queen Beatrix. The move to decriminalize blasphemy gained strength in 2011 during the trial of the far-right anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, when a Dutch court ruled that he had the right to criticize Islam even if his opinions were insulting to many Muslims. YH/HSN
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