September 2019 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

A small city in northern Italy has passed a new law that makes it illegal to “blaspheme against any faith or religion” or curse in public.

Walter Stefan, mayor of the town of Saonara, told the British newspaper The Telegraph that he took the action to stamp out “uncivilized” behaviors.

“Blasphemy is offensive, it offends me,” Stefan said. “With this law, you will not be able to cause offense to any religion; we have to respect the faithful.”

Stefan said the law applies to all faith groups, remarking, “It is valid for Allah, Buddha or Mohammad.” Those found guilty could be fined 400 euros (about $445).

The Telegraph reported that the new law in the town of approximately 10,000 residents covers a variety of behaviors and places restrictions on when people may mow their lawns, walk their dogs or dispose of trash.

“We have taken a series of measures to contain all those uncivilized activities that make coexistence difficult,” Stefan said. “It will no longer be possible to cut the lawn at certain times, dogs must be kept on a leash and those who are blasphemous will pay the consequences. We want to send a message that incorrect behavior will no longer be tolerated.”