Following the international furore in recent weeks over the amateurish, inflammatory and offensive film, Innocence of Muslims, there have been calls around the world to introduce or strengthen rules that would become akin to global blasphemy laws. Dozens of people, including US Ambassador Stevens in Libya who was killed by a terrorist attack under cover of anti-film protests, have died during violent protests in Muslim-majority countries, and a Pakistani minister has placed a $100,000 bounty on the head of the film-director.

Quilliam’s latest concept paper, ‘No Compulsion in Religion: an Islamic Case against Blasphemy Laws’, seeks to denounce the recent violence through highlighting non-violent principles and passages from the Qur’an, examples of virtuous teachings from the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet Muhammad), and sharing expert knowledge about a peaceful Islam from within Quilliam.

Usama Hasan, Quilliam Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies, says:

‘Quilliam opposes the idea of strengthening blasphemy laws because it runs against established principles of human rights, as well as being contrary to religious teachings. We condemn attempts to provoke religious or anti-religious hatred and bigotry, violence in response to provocation and mindless violence and rioting upon the pretext of taking offence, and we hope that this report will help people to take a more balanced approach to this issue’.

To download the full report, please follow this link.