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Anti-Blasphemy laws around the world.

The world is fast advancing to a modernized, more globalized lifestyle. However, even today, religious freedom is a matter of great concern as not all countries grant religious freedom to its citizens. These countries, mostly Muslim nations, still hold on to varying views when it comes to religion.

Apostasy is the act of abandoning one's religion and blasphemy is to say or do something that goes against a religion's tenets. Even in the 21st century, there are a number of countries who restrict its citizens’ freedom when it comes to religious matters. Because of this, hearing about executions, lashings, imprisonments and so on due to violation of religious laws is commonplace.

Research by Pew Research Center has found that about 26 percent countries around the world legally criminalized blasphemy while 13 percent have laws that punish apostasy. Here are the countries that still have draconian laws in place to deal with apostasy and blasphemy:

Middle-Eastern and North-African Countries:

The Middle East has the highest concentration of intolerant countries. 18 out of 20 Middle-Eastern countries have criminalized blasphemy. This makes 90 percent of the total. As for apostasy, 14 or 70 percent countries have declared it to be criminal.

Asia-Pacific:

12 out 50 countries in this region, or 24 percent of Asia Pacific has laws against apostasy and blasphemy. Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are most notorious for their religious intolerance. Christians have been the target of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan quite commonly. India, however, is a different story. The Democracy has no state religion and as such conversion and propagation of religion is freely practiced. Rarely are blasphemous actions ever penalized. Tolerance between communities however is an issue in India. Legally, though India has no law against blasphemy and apostasy, slander and insulting religious sentiments in public can be punished or fined.

Sub-Saharan Countries:

Only four of out of 48 African countries have blasphemy laws: Somalia, Sudan, Senegal and Nigeria.

Europe:

Only 7 out 45 European countries (16 percent) have blasphemy laws. Italy, Greece, Malta, Denmark, Poland, Ireland and Turkey make up this list.

The Americas:

29 percent of the Americas, or 10 out of 35 countries have anti-blasphemy laws. In the U.S.A., there are no anti-blasphemy laws as such. However, Massachusetts and Michigan have had anti-blasphemy laws on book. The freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, however can overruled the enforcement of such laws.

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