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Denmark narrows legislation on barring holy book burning

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – Denmark’s government yesterday presented a modified version of its bill to ban Al-Quran burnings, following criticism that its first draft limited freedom of expression and would be difficult to enforce.

The Scandinavian nation announced plans for a ban after a string of desecrations in Denmark sparked anger in Muslim countries, which the government said posed a threat to national security.

“The bill has been narrowed to specifically target improper treatment of scriptures of significant religious importance,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

The bill was originally planned to cover objects of significant religious importance. The text is to be debated by the Danish Parliament on November 14.

The first draft of the bill was criticised by some – including politicians, artists and freedom of speech experts – who saw it as a return to a blasphemy law that Denmark abolished in 2017. Police and judicial officials also feared it would be difficult to enforce.

“With the changes we are now proposing, the law will be easier to navigate – including for the police and the courts,” Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said in the statement.