You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Nation

Arab League calls for criminalization of blasphemy

UNITED NATIONS — The head of the Arab League called Wednesday for the international community to criminalize blasphemy, warning that insults to religion pose a serious threat to global peace and security.

The comments put Nabil Elaraby squarely at odds with the United States and many of its Western allies, which are resolutely opposed to restrictions on freedom of expression.

Continue reading below

Elaraby told the UN Security Council that if the West has criminalized acts that result in bodily harm, it must also criminalize acts that insult or cause offense to religions. He condemned the violence that erupted throughout the Muslim world in response to an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. But, he said that unless blasphemy laws are enacted and enforced, similar incidents could happen again.

‘‘While we fully reject such actions that are not justifiable in any way, we would like to ring the warning bell,’’ Elaraby said.

‘‘We are warning that offending religions, faiths, and symbols is indeed a matter that threatens in international peace and security now.

‘‘If the international community has criminalized bodily harm, it must just as well criminalize psychological and spiritual harm,’’ he said.

Individual members of the Arab League have issued similar calls.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week