Commenting on the passing into Irish law of an offence of "blasphemous libel", Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion, society and politics thinktank Ekklesia, said:
"This is a very sad day. Criminalising religious offence - whether it is in Ireland, Pakistan or anywhere else - is an offence against religion, as well as an abuse of human dignity and freedom. Christians, in particular, should remember that their own founder was executed on a charge of blasphemy. Yet he told his own followers to love their enemies, not to persecute them. It is to be hoped that this law will be challenged both morally and, in all likelihood, in the courts."
Ekklesia argued on Christian and theological grounds for the abolition of blasphemy laws in Britain. The common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished in the UK in 2008.