The Pirate Party has just managed to legalise blasphemy in Iceland following condemnation of Charlie Hebdo attack

Introduce the measure in January following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 04 July 2015 15:10 BST
Iceland have decriminalised blasphemy
Iceland have decriminalised blasphemy (Getty)

Iceland voted to legalise blasphemy yesterday after a bill was brought to parliament by the country’s Pirate Party.

Previously under Icelandic law anyone found to be “ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community,” could be punished with three months in prison or a fine.

However, following the murder of 11 people in Paris after the controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohamad, the Pirate Party introduced a measure to repeal the 1940 law in January.

Speaking in the Althing, Iceland’s parliament, yesterday each member of the small party took the floor – as voting took place – to declare: “I am Charlie Hebdo.”

“The Icelandic Parliament has issued the important message that freedom will not bow to bloody attacks,” the party said in a statement released to The Iceland Monitor after the successful vote.

The measure was broadly supported by most political, religious and public figures – despite the ambivalent relationship much of Iceland’s establishment has with the Pirate Party.

The party, led by Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, is the smallest in the 63-member Althing but has consistently polled above other, larger political organisations.

Their unconventional attitude is best typified by Mr Gunnarsson’s performance in a recent parliamentary session.

He first compared the government’s working to “the final scene of a ‘Game of Thrones’ episode — the only thing you know for sure that there’s probably something perfectly horrible about to happen,” before rapping an Icelandic rock song. The song in question concludes: “I’ve had enough of this mess; let’s take it to the next level.”

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