National Laws on Blasphemy: Brazil

In Brazil, defamation of religion is illegal under Article 208 of the Penal Code; specifically, the code prohibits public vilification of any religious act or object of religious worship, punishable by a fine or incarceration up to a year. Another law further proscribes the exhibiting of racism or religious intolerance, with punishments ranging up to five years in prison. Most allegations of religious bigotry come from minority faith groups, particularly Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé, making Brazil’s blasphemy (or, more accurately in this case, defamation of religion) laws a safeguard for minority communities, though the laws are equally available to the Roman Catholic majority should they have need to utilize them. Acts for which Brazilians have been charged under these laws include vandalizing a religious building, publishing online videos intended to incite violence against followers of Afro-Brazilian faiths, and ridiculing the religious garb of a Muslim woman.