PRESS RELEASE: Two Swedish MPs call for the end of apostasy and blasphemy laws

STOCKHOLM 20 October, Two Swedish members of parliament submitted motions addressing religious freedom particularly raising that over 10 countries still have the death penalty for apostasy, leaving the state religion.

Magnus Jacobsson with the Christian Democrats urged Sweden to ensure individuals’ rights to religious freedom are respected, mentioning that in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa blasphemy laws* are applied where there is the death penalty for anyone who converts or adopts no religion at all. He urged for the end to blasphemy laws and the death penalty for converts and other religious persecution.

The MP also called on Sweden to within European Union and the United Nations, document abuse towards religious minorities and also take measures to condemn such actions, review trade agreements and utilise strategic boycotts, amongst others, to show that it is not okay for individual countries to refuse to uphold the international human rights law they committed to when they became members of the UN.

Patrik Lundqvist with the Social Democrats noted the over 10 countries have the death penalty for muslims who leave Islam. The MP raised how pressure and threats also comes from families and societies forcing individuals to remain in a religion they no longer believe in, with the governments condoning it.

The MP also raised in his motion, the persecution converts and ex-Muslims face in Europe where they meet pressure from family members and sometimes even state agents for wanting to leave or change their religion. The MP urged Sweden to ensure individuals enjoy the rights that exist in Sweden while also working actively to ensure other countries live up to their religious freedom and human rights obligations.

“Sometimes the state’s influence stretches even to people who fled the country because of persecution. This can be the case for people in Europe and Sweden who came here and wish to leave their religion, but who face persecution via family and even state agents.”

You can read the motions in full here:

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