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 Iceland Legalizes Blasphemy, YaY!

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PostSubject: Iceland Legalizes Blasphemy, YaY!   Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:17 am

Less than a week after Iceland’s prime minister contended that his nation’s fundamental values would be at risk should the insurgent Pirate Party ever come to power, the group celebrated its first legislative success on Thursday, the decriminalization of blasphemy.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, one of three Pirates in the Althing, Iceland’s Parliament, was among party activists celebrating the vote in favor of their bill to repeal the prohibition on impious irreverence, which had been in force since 1940.
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First Pirate Party law was passed in the parliament today :) Blasphemy Law Abolished in Iceland! | Siðmennt http://t.co/zfDv2d1xUC
— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) July 2, 2015
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Blasphemy is no longer a punishable offence in Iceland thanks to @PiratePartyIS @birgittaj @helgihg @jonthorolafsson #piratar
— Arnaldur Sigurðarson (@Arnaldtor) July 2, 2015
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Blashphemy is now finally legal in Iceland! Woohoo! Congratulations to @PiratePartyIS on this major victory!
— Smári McCarthy (@smarimc) July 2, 2015

The measure to repeal the law, which made “ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community” an offense punishable by a fine or up to three months in jail, was introduced in January, in the wake of the deadly attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly that enraged devout Muslims with its mocking portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad.
While the vote was underway in the Althing on Thursday, The Iceland Monitor reported, all three of the party’s members took the floor to say, “I am Charlie Hebdo.” After the bill was made law, the party said in a statement, “The Icelandic Parliament has issued the important message that freedom will not bow to bloody attacks.”
Ms. Jonsdottir is a free speech advocate who helped script and edit the WikiLeaks video “Collateral Murder,” made from American military footage leaked by Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea, that showed the killing of Iraqi civilians and journalists by fire from United States Army helicopter gunships.
She and her two colleagues are currently the smallest party in the 63-member Parliament in Reykjavik, but recent opinion polls have suggested that they could be the largest after the next election, with the support of about a third of Iceland’s voters.
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The @PiratePartyIS continues to be the only party polling with more than 30% in opinion polls. http://t.co/s2tYtWg20r
— Ásta Helgadóttir (@asta_fish) July 2, 2015

In an interview last Friday, Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who leads the current governing coalition, warned that the Pirate insurgency threatened everything Icelanders hold dear.
“If general discontent led to a revolutionary party — a party with some very unclear ideas about democracy, and a party which wants to upheave the foundations of society — becoming influential, that would be cause for concern for society as a whole,” he said. Pirate rule, Mr. Gunnlaugsson added, “would take society in a whole other direction, where it would be difficult to hang onto those values that we possess and have been building on for decades.”
The prime minister also expressed his distress over the unruly behavior of antigovernment protesters who booed his speech during a celebration of Iceland’s Independence Day last month, and held aloft red cards, suggesting it was time for him to go.



Video of protesters jeering Iceland's government during Independence Day celebrations last month. Helgi Johann Hauksson, via YouTube
Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, who leads the Pirates in Parliament, responded to the prime minister’s remarks by saying that “the values we have been putting the most emphasis on are democratic improvements.”
Mr. Gunnarsson expressed his frustration with Iceland’s government in a parliamentary session late Wednesday, first by comparing the workings 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,” and then by rapping the lyrics to an Icelandic rock song that concludes with the declaration, “I’ve had enough of this mess; let’s take it to the next level.”



http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/world/europe/led-by-pirates-iceland-legalizes-blasphemy.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
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