Can God be offended? Blasphemy, religion and freedom of speech | DW Documentary

Artists, filmmakers and caricaturists use their work to challenge the way we think. But should they draw the line at mocking religion?

All around the world, religion has increasingly become a political issue that can spawn terrorism and violence. Extremist religious groups divide the world into believers and infidels, and blasphemy is an explosive issue.

The fatwa against the writer Salman Rushdie and the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris are just two incidents that have turned the debate about blasphemy into a standoff between the proponents of freedom of expression and those who insist on respect for religion. Artists and cartoonists in particular have long faced accusations of blasphemy when they have consciously attacked religious institutions. Our film examines the debate about blasphemy in art and asks representatives of all faiths how they see it. It also looks back at the origins of religion and the history of blasphemy. We present works by artists, filmmakers and caricaturists that have been described as blasphemous, sometimes with extremely serious consequences. They include Kurt Westergaard, who has been under police protection since the publication of the Mohammed cartoons, or Gerhard Haderer, whose Jesus cartoons attracted the wrath of the Catholic Church.

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