Blasphemy Prosecution in England

From the Guardian (UK):

A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English-language version of the Qur’an — and then posting video footage of the act on Facebook….

The incident comes just two and a half months after six people were arrested after filming themselves dousing a Qur’an with fuel and setting it ablaze behind a pub in Tyneside….

I call this a blasphemy prosecution because it’s based on the supposed sacrilege involved in the action, and the offense it causes — the religious hatred that is supposedly incited stems precisely from the feeling that one’s religion is being blasphemed. (Note that the burning apparently happened at the school, and might well have violated content-neutral rules barring the burning of objects at a school; but the prosecution stems precisely from the religious offensiveness of the act, and not the risk of fire that it poses.)

Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.

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