Milan, May 8 - Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola on Wednesday spoke out against blasphemy laws in the world in order to protect religious freedom. "In those countries still dominated by state religion...protecting religious freedom means above all encouraging religious pluralism and opening to all forms of religious expression, for example eliminating laws that criminally punish blasphemy," said Scola. The cardinal, once considered a favorite to become pope, was speaking at a conference devoted to the Roman emperor Constantine, whose Edict of Milan in 313 decriminalized Christianity. His words come just two days after Islamists in the capital of Bangladesh clashed with police, leaving at least 29 dead, over demands that included making "insulting Islam" punishable by death. Scola promoted "the values of healthy secularism" that allows for all religious expression. In turn, he warned the west away from its "inherent distrust" of religion. "The practice of religious freedom is a true litmus test of the degree of civilization of a society," he said.