Charlie Hebdo ‘breaches Irish law’

Charlie Hebdo ‘breaches Irish law’

Ahmed Hasain, Executive Secretary of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin, has warned that his organisation is considering pressing the authorities to bring blasphemy prosecutions against vendors of Charlie Hebdo in Ireland.

In our view, the sale of this magazine is a breach in Irish law. It is blasphemous and it is illegal under the legislation. It’s against the law here in Ireland, that is quite clear.

According to the Guardian, Hasain said that while the centre has not decided whether or not to lodge a complaint to the Irish authorities, individuals or groups have the right under Irish law to use the legislation to prosecute those distributing the magazine, which has been on sale for more than a week.

He described the law introduced by the former Fianna Fáil justice minister, Dermot Ahern, as very helpful.

It’s good that the law is in place as it protects every faith.

A lot less enthusiastic about the law is Atheist Ireland, which is to meet the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, in Dublin tomorrow, to urge the taoiseach to hold a referendum on abolishing the law before the general election in 2016.

The Irish Republic is the only nation in Europe to have introduced a blasphemy law in the 21st century. Secular and atheist groups in Ireland have been campaigning for its abolition since it came into being in 2010 – the last year of the Fianna Fáil-Green government.

Michael Nugent, writer and co-founder of Atheist Ireland, agreed with Hasain that technically speaking the sale of around 1,500 copies of the Charlie Hebdo edition in the state had breached the blasphemy law.

He said:

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons seem to meet the first test of the Irish law, that is that it is ‘grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion’. The next test in the law is ‘thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion’.

So if anyone wants to try to have a prosecution brought, [cases must be brought by the state ] what they would have to do is demonstrate that outrage has been caused. But it would be irresponsible to encourage or show outrage at a time like this. People who are offended should respond more proportionately than by showing outrage. That is a major flaw in the Irish law – it encourages outrage.

Ahead of its meeting with the taoiseach, Atheist Ireland announced a new international campaign against blasphemy laws. The organisation has joined forces with secular groups from Britain, Canada, Iceland, the US and New Zealand. They are organising an online global petition against laws which they say:

Legitimise mob violence, vigilantism, and persecution of minorities.

Prof Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion, has advised Atheist Ireland to keep up the pressure in the republic to repeal the law. He told the organisation:

Of course you are right that the major damage done by this legislation is the international one. I wouldn’t expect any harsh verdicts being handed down in Ireland, but those countries that continue to have an intimidating anti-blasphemy practice like to quote European countries to unmask Western hypocrisy.

Blasphemy in Ireland is a crime punishable with a fine of up to €25,000 (£19,000).

Meanwhile, in the UK, Guardian reader Anne Keat of Wiltshire, reported sinister police activity in reaction to the sale of the satirical magazine in the county:

Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedom highlighting ‘Je suis Charlie’, prompts me to suggest a degree of caution following my experience.

The Guardian's limited edition lapel badges

The Guardian’s limited edition lapel badges

Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire.

To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it. However, two days later a member of Her Majesty’s police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.

Hat tip: Antony Niall (Wiltshire police report).

23 responses to “Charlie Hebdo ‘breaches Irish law’”

  1. Trevor Blake says:

    Mr. Hasain hopes to use the law (with its threats of violence) to impose his religion on others instead of direct violence himself to impose his religion on others. He must be one of those moderate Muslims I have heard about.

  2. Caute says:

    I invite Mr Hasain to fuck off…islam insults and offends me and millions of other normal, balanced, hard working, inclusive, charitable,people everyday. I dont give a fig that he and his wolfish dumbass muslim pals are offended that we assert correctly that his religion is primitive, hectoring, bullying, threatening, divisive, retarding and plainly stupid. Just look at the trouble spots in the world..those lawless places subject to the tender mercies of gangs of heavily armed but mentally challenged murderous thugs and criminals. Can he not see the common thread? Are you a failure, a man without prospects, self loathing, under qualified, bitter and twisted, riddled with jealousy and unattractive to women because of your mysogenistic attitude, sex starved, onanistic halfwit, parasitically living off the labours of those you hate,…then fuck off, go live in some failed sandpit country where
    you can fit right in. And kindly leave your passport as you board the plane.

    Be pious quietly, leave the rest of us alone to follow our interests and ambition, and you are quite welcome, especially if you turn your energies to doing good for all. But dont try to crush me under the shit dogma of islamic lunacy.

  3. Broga says:

    All that Ahmed Hasain has to defend his superstitious fantasies are threats and censorship. He certainly cannot rely on civilised debate and exchanges of views based on facts.

    Hasain and his despicable ilk are a danger to democracy and, as they run amok, civilisation itself. He is one of those, I assume, who supports the abuse of young girls by FGM. Any god or prophet who needs the likes of Hasain to defend him immediately demonstrates that the god is beyond defending.

  4. carlynot says:

    Wow Caute, well put.

  5. Rob Andrews says:


    Right on. And with the internet these days it’s in reality hard to stop anything from crossing borders anyway.

    Of persecuting xtians they’re a fan
    Like the muslims do in pakistan
    Not for religion or treason
    But vengence or trivial reason
    islam as primitive as when it began

    Fundamentalists don’t give a hoot
    They don’t answer questions–they shoot!
    No matter what kind a species
    Fundamentalist are feces
    Deserving a boot in the snoot.

  6. barriejohn says:

    There are fears that the blasphemy law might be replaced with something even more restrictive, as happened in this country:


    …Dr Neville Cox of Trinity College Dublin said the relevant part of the 2009 Defamation Act, which sets a maximum fine of €25,000 for those found guilty of publishing or uttering blasphemous material, was too tightly drawn to be applied in practice.

    He said the law’s requirement that a publisher must be proven to have intended to cause outrage among a substantial number of a religion’s adherents meant it “will be very difficult successfully to prosecute the offence”.

    Dr Cox also pointed to a decision by the Supreme Court in Corway v Independent Newspapers, a 1999 case in which the court said it couldn’t define blasphemy and therefore couldn’t apply the constitutional prohibition. “What this did was render the crime of blasphemy a dead letter,” he said.

  7. barriejohn says:

    The bit about anything that is “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion” is hilarious beyond words. This would apply, as far as Muslims are concerned, to practically every doctrine held dear by Christians, and as far as Christians are concerned to everything that Muslims believe. This point has been made umpteen times already, yet none of these twerps seem to grasp it!

  8. Lonbo says:

    Ireland’s blasphemy law is an insult to our Messenger and Bearer of Good Tidings, Charlie Hebdo, peace be upon Him. We, the faithful followers of Charlie Hebdo, peace be upon Him, are not amused. Je suis, Charilie!

  9. barriejohn says:

    “Je suis Charolais”? What a lot of bull.

    I am tempted to paraphrase the Buddhist teaching: if you meet Charlie on the road, kill him. I know he would approve!

  10. Shane Tyson says:

    Just bought both pin-badges even though I have no political affiliation to the Guardian. Few comments here yet as to why the police are at all interested in who buys a satirical magazine. I am quite happy for the Guardian to give my name and address to the police, for them to look at my browsing history etc. Would our Muslim ‘friends’ like to do the same?

  11. L.Long says:

    Any country with blasphemy laws is basically tell everyone else….Hey!!! Look here to see some of the dickishly stupid aholes running this country.
    We have laws against imaginary offenses committed against imaginary creatures for imaginary reasons, aren’t we just really bright!!!

  12. Peter Sykes says:

    Caute: I’m beginning to think that perhaps you really like islam.

  13. barriejohn says:

    L.Long: My grandfather was Irish – VERY Irish. They appointed a satirist as censor, and he banned The Life of Brian. Beat that!

  14. barriejohn says:

    Shane Tyson: It was mentioned on an earlier thread, and seems a complete mystery. I am not commenting myself until more information becomes available.There is quite a bit on the internet about police activity in Scunthorpe involving the newsagent who was selling Charlie Hebdo, but this all appears to have been prompted by fears of violent protest:

  15. barriejohn says:

    A local Muslim spokesman just HAD to put his foot firmly in his big gob, as per usual:

    “It’s a free world. But I personally do not see the need to take the mickey out of one’s religion. It could easily offend a lot of people.”

    And how about:

    “Nowhere in the Koran does it advocate killing people in the name of religion.”

    Has he ever read his Koran?

  16. John says:

    OT, I know, but has anyone else spotted Sarah Palin whinging about “angry atheists with attorneys” and making stuff up to make atheists look bad? Well, here you go:

  17. Cali Ron says:

    The gourd, the gourd! No it’s the shoe! The shoe! My favorite Python movie!
    “take the mickey out of one’s religion.” Didn’t know Disney was a religion and Mickey Mouse was a god or prophet for it. Profit! Yes, but not a prophet. As for Mo, how can peace be upon someone who’s dead, unless you consider dead peaceful. I prefer “Piece be upon him, as in a big pile of shit on his long dead body!”

  18. barriejohn says:

    “He’s making it up as he goes along!”

  19. Bowtiesarecool says:

    calie Ron: I prefer “piss be upon him”, but to each his own.

  20. barriejohn says:

    According to AP, Wiltshire Police have apologized for their actions, and destroyed the information collected. I still don’t understand why it was collected in the first place, and there are reports that Welsh police did the same thing!

  21. Great Satan says:

    Police from several UK forces seek details of Charlie Hebdo readers
    Guardian, 11 February 2015 ;
    Presteigne vicar and cops round on Charlie Hebdo
    Hereford Heckler, 11 February 2015 ;
    Bishop of St Asaph describes French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as “gratuitously offensive”
    Rhyl Journal, 11 February 2015 ; ;

  22. Vanity Unfair says:

    ‘[G]rossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion…thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion’.
    May I refer to Psalm 53?
    1 (To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.)
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
    2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
    3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
    5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
    6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

    But I suppose that doesn’t count since atheism, by definition, cannot be a religion (leaving aside non-theistic religions such as Buddhism).
    Actually, I quite like the Psalms. There is some good poetry and strong emotions are widespread. I can get very involved with them.