Source: Church Times
On September 24, 2004 the Church Times reported, "The Church of England has warned the Government that community relations are threatened not only by terrorists who claim to be defending Islam, but by some of the measures being taken against them. But the Church continues to give 'qualified support' to a proposed law banning incitement to religious hatred. In a submission to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, the Bishop of Southwark, Dr Tom Butler, who is vice-chairman of the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, says: 'We continue to support the proposal, along with representatives of other faith communities, believing that this would also provide a check on hateful and inflammatory rhetoric emanating from the margins of the Muslim community.' Two years ago, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, introduced a Bill that would have created the new offence. The clause was rejected after warnings that it would damage free speech. The submission says: 'We emphasise the importance of ensuring the legislation penalises the religiously motivated incitement to harm against people, rather than robust argument (whether in promotion of criticism of religious beliefs and practices) which some may find divisive or offensive.'"