September 30th

International Blasphemy Rights Day -

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International Blasphemy Rights Day is observed annually on September 30th to highlight the importance of freedom of expression, particularly the right to criticize religious beliefs without fear of retribution or censorship. This day serves as a reminder of the fundamental human right to speak one’s mind, share opinions, and debate matters of faith, which are crucial aspects of a free and open society.

The day seeks to support those who challenge repressive laws and social customs that punish the crime of blasphemy—acts deemed as disrespectful or irreverent towards religious dogma or deities. By advocating against such laws and practices, which can often lead to human rights violations, proponents of International Blasphemy Rights Day aim to protect and promote freedom of speech and freedom of belief for individuals around the world.

History of International Blasphemy Rights Day

Blasphemy, by traditional definition, is seen as a form of disrespect towards the divine or the holy, and its conceptualization stretches back through the ages within religious texts. Historically, allegations of such acts have been met with severe consequences, including, but not limited to, monetary penalties, incarceration, physical punishment, and capital sentences.

The proposal for an observance dedicated to the rights surrounding blasphemy came from the Center for Inquiry, an organization that champions the causes of scientific thought, secularism, and humanistic ideals. They selected the 30th of September for its significant link to the day when Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, an event which sparked intense debate and violence across the globe, illustrating the volatile nature of religious commentary.

The year 2009 marked the birth of International Blasphemy Rights Day after the Center for Inquiry initiated a campaign to underscore the freedom of thought and the unwavering right to discuss and critique religious ideologies without fear of reprisal.

With its annual observance, the day has become a platform for advocacy, predominantly among secular and humanist groups, to shine a light on the plight of individuals who face charges under blasphemy statutes and to call for the elimination of such laws worldwide.

Despite the progressive abolition of blasphemy regulations in several Western countries, a significant number of nations, particularly those where religious doctrine heavily influences governance, continue to implement these laws with alarming rigor.

International Blasphemy Rights Day Timeline

Execution of Thomas Aikenhead

Thomas Aikenhead, a Scottish student, was executed for blasphemy. His execution was the last execution for blasphemy in Britain.

Freedom of Speech Over Blasphemy in Film

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson that a state could not ban a film on the basis of a blasphemous content.

Inception of International Blasphemy Rights Day

International Blasphemy Rights Day was established by the Center for Inquiry.

Ireland's Blasphemy Referendum

Ireland held a referendum to remove the offense of blasphemy from its constitution.

Continued Advocacy and Education

The focus remains on education about the importance of freedom of expression and the ongoing struggle to abolish blasphemy laws around the world.

Ideas to Celebrate International Blasphemy Rights Day

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Host a Free Speech Forum

Organize an event bringing together speakers from different backgrounds to discuss the importance of freedom of expression and the right to criticize religious beliefs. This could include academics, activists, and writers. Encourage open but respectful dialogue among attendees.

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Film Screening and Discussion

Showcase a movie or documentary that deals with the theme of blasphemy or challenges to religious orthodoxy. Follow up with a facilitated discussion about the film’s themes and the role of blasphemy laws in various societies.

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Art Exhibit: The Power of Satire

Organize an exhibition featuring satirical art that touches on religious subjects. Encourage local artists to contribute their work and stimulate conversations about the role of art as a form of social commentary.

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Blasphemy Literature Reading

Hold a public reading at a library or community center featuring works of literature that have been accused of blasphemy. Include discussion intervals where audience members can discuss their thoughts and feelings about the texts.

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Educational Workshop on Blasphemy Laws

Create an informative session that educates attendees on the history, implications, and current status of blasphemy laws around the world. Invite legal experts or human rights activists to lead the workshop.

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Interfaith Panel on Blasphemy and Tolerance

Facilitate a panel discussion with religious leaders and secular voices to explore how different faiths and belief systems perceive blasphemy. Aim to promote understanding and tolerance among diverse groups.

7 Interesting Facts About International Blasphemy Rights Day


Date and Significance

International Blasphemy Rights Day is observed annually on September 30th. The date was chosen to commemorate the publishing of the 'Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons' in 2005, which sparked debates and protests over the right to criticize and satirize religion.


Objectives of the Day

The day focuses on the belief that individuals should have the freedom to criticize and dissent from religious dogma or practices they disagree with. This includes the right to critique not only one's own religion but also the religious beliefs of others without fear of violence or legal repercussions.


Global Impact

While the day brings awareness to the issue of blasphemy laws which are present in many countries across the world, it also highlights cases where individuals have faced punishment - including imprisonment and even death - for allegedly committing blasphemy. Advocacy on this day often surrounds these individuals and the broader issues of freedom of speech and human rights.


Challenging Blasphemy Laws

Blasphemy Rights Day is used as a platform by various human rights and secular organizations to challenge and oppose blasphemy laws around the globe, arguing that such laws often suppress open dialogue, protect antiquated sentiments at the expense of modern freedoms, and disproportionately affect minorities and dissidents.


Controversy and Debate

The day also serves to trigger meaningful conversations and debates on the balance between freedom of expression and respect for religious sentiments, sensitizing people to the complexities between maintaining a respect for cultural diversity and upholding fundamental human rights.


Freedom of Expression in Art and Media

International Blasphemy Rights Day encourages artists, writers, and media producers to explore religious subjects critically and creatively, supporting the notion that freedom of expression should be upheld in all forms of art and questioning whether anything should be off-limits to satire or criticism.


Solidarity Across Borders

The day is marked internationally, with participants from many different countries coming together in solidarity to hold events, create petitions, and lend their voices in support of those who have been silenced by repressive laws or societal norms related to religious expression.

International Blasphemy Rights Day FAQs

Next International Blasphemy Rights Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 30th Saturday
2024 September 30th Monday
2025 September 30th Tuesday
2026 September 30th Wednesday
2027 September 30th Thursday
What is the pattern? Every September 30th

International Blasphemy Rights Day Word Search

  • Blasphemy
  • Rights
  • Freedom
  • Speech
  • Expression
  • Secularism