Racial and Religious Hatred Bill published

The government today published the Racial and Religious Hatred
Bill in a bid to protect individuals from hatred stirred up against
them as a result of their religious beliefs, writes
Clare Jerrom

The Bill would give members of all faiths equal protection from
incited hatred which can effect communities and result in violence
and crime,

Home Office minister Paul Goggins said: “People of all
backgrounds and faiths have a right to live free from hatred,
racism and extremism. Only by tackling such issues head on will we
preserve tolerance, fairness, inclusiveness which are such vital
parts of our society.”

The bill would create a new offence on Incitement to Religious
Hatred, closing a gap in existing law, whereby Jews and Sikhs are
protected explicitly against incited hatred by the racial hatred
offences in the Public Order Act, but members of other faiths are

The offences apply where someone uses threatening, abusive or
insulting words or behaviour intended to stir up hatred against a
group of people defined by reference to religious belief or lack of
religious belief.

People, including artists and performers, will not be prohibited
from criticising or ridiculing faiths but people would be protected
from incitement to hatred against them because of their

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