Some Express Reservations as Religious Hatred Bill Returns

May 20, 2005

Source: The Church of England Newspaper

On May 20, 2005 The Church of England Newspaper reported, "Religious groups have spoken out fiercely against the reintroduction of the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill, the plans of which were outlined in the Queen’s Speech this week.

Although the government claims the revised bill will not affect 'criticism, commentary or ridicule of faiths,' Christian organisations have claimed that the bill, in whatever guise, represents restrictions on freedom of speech... The Government confirmed it would press ahead with its contentious move, but insists that the new bill, which expands the current offence of incitement to racial hatred in the Public Order Act 1986, will only cover 'instances where people stir up hatred of others on the basis of their religious belief' rather than curbing the right to criticise.

Ministers say that under the current laws, members of some religions such as Jews and Sikhs are protected against religious hatred under racial hatred offences, but Christians, Hindus and Muslims are not."