Opinion: Bill Would Protect "Group[s] of People Who Don't Fall Into a Single Racial Identity"

June 14, 2005

Source: The Guardian


On June 14, 2005 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Sher Khan, chair of the public affairs committee of the Muslim Council of Britian, in support of the proposed religious hatred bill. Khan writes, "Central to the opposition argument is whether it will be possible to distinguish between legitimate criticisms of religion and incitement to hatred. The question fails to recognise that existing incitement laws already cover two faith groups - Jews and Sikhs. The distinction will be made in exactly the same way as between criticism of Judaism and incitement to hate Jews. Note that during the controversy over the play Behzti, which caused offence to the Sikh community, the police decided that there were no grounds for action against the play despite the Sikh community being covered by existing incitement laws...Those who support this proposed law clearly accept that legitimate debate and criticism about religion will continue. Instead, this is about protecting a group of people who share a particular identity...The point of the proposal is to protect a group of people who don't fall into a single racial identity. This is precisely why law-enforcement agencies believe current legislation is inadequate."