Target: Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Goal: Hold referendum on law being cited in justification of death sentence.
An Irish law has been cited in the case of a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for drinking the same water as her Muslim neighbors. The Organization of Islamic Co-operation, with 57 member states, has even proposed adopting the exact wording of the Irish law in future legislation, citing the European nation’s policy as an exemplary standard. Ireland’s blasphemy law prohibits the “publishing or uttering [of] matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion.” Ireland is the only major nation in Europe or the American continents to have passed such a law in the 21st century.
Activists, scientists, writers and academics in Ireland and around the world have spoken out against this form of censorship. The acting Taoiseach (Ireland’s head of government or Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, promised to hold a referendum on the law, but has since reneged, sparking outrage among Irish citizens and global onlookers. The recent case of Asia Bibi, that Pakistani woman awaiting a punishment of death for her impudent thirst, has reintroduced a pressing need to reevaluate Ireland’s balance of religious freedom and freedom of speech.
A referendum would not entail an automatic change to standing Irish policies, but rather a necessary opportunity for the people of the Gaelic nation to submit their own opinions regarding a clearly controversial issue. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, composed of a body of independent experts, has told Kenny’s administration that its failure to hold a referendum constitutes a violation of human rights.
By signing the petition below, you are adding your voice to the many already speaking out against what has become a tyrannically rigid stance held by Kenny and his supporters in the Irish government.
Dear Taoiseach Enda Kenny,
Policy makers looking to justify a death sentence handed to a woman in Pakistan accused of drinking water have cited Ireland’s blasphemy law. This highly questioned piece of legislation has become a source of dangerous international influence, while your administration has remained silent and inflexible. Loosely enforced within your own nation’s boundaries, the law provides its only service as ammunition for vitriolic rulings abroad.
The promise made to your own citizens to hold a referendum for the blasphemy law must be weighed more heavily now than ever before. A model for the international community, Ireland has an obligation to uphold democratic values, and preserve the power of public opinion by maintaining functional democratic channels.
The Irish blasphemy law is the only one of its kind passed by a Western democracy in the 21st century. Immediate consideration must be given to its continuity, as international policy makers are looking to emulate the Irish example. I am asking you to honor your initial promise and grant the Irish people their wish to have a referendum, confirming Ireland as a safe home for democracy and guaranteeing reevaluation of what has become an urgent national and international matter.
[Your name here]
Photo credit: Dying Regime