The Parliament of Iceland legalized blasphemy in Stockholm on Friday.
A member of the opposition Pirate Party described it as a great victory for supporters of freedom of speech.
Helgi Gunnarsson, one of three Pirate Party legislators, said the party introduced the proposal in January, shortly after the deadly Islamist attack in Paris on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
He said prior to parliament’s decision, blasphemy violations could be punished with a three-month prison sentence or a fine.
“Even if the anti-blasphemy legislation was not actively enforced, it was perceived as a means to silence people.’’
Gunnarsson said the legislation was not targeting any faith, and noted that the old anti-blasphemy law had been “a Christian law.
“Under the old anti-blasphemy law, people do not have the right not to be offended.
“There is legal protection against hate speech or incitement as well as the right to privacy’’, he said.
Gunnarsson said at the 63-seat parliament, 43 members voted in favour of the measure, one voted against and three members abstained, while 16 were absent.