Incitement to Religious Hatred – examples please!

Neil Addison, barrister and creator of Religion Law UK, has had an interesting letter published in The Muslim News on the subject of the proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. We have taken the liberty of publishing it here in full:

Sir, In your editorial comment on the proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred Law you said “Sir, John Stevens, said in October 2001, that he sent hate mails received by Muslims after September 11, to the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) to see if prosecutions can be brought against them. When challenged by The Muslim News that as the CPS will not be able to prosecute the cases as incitement to religious hatred was legal, he acknowledged that there was a need for the outlawing of incitement to religious hatred.”
Can I just point out that the sending of “Hate mail” is already a crime contrary to s1 Malicious Communications Act 1988. If more than one piece of “hate mail” is sent then it is a crime contrary to s2 Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and if religiously aggravated ie inspired by religious hatred there is a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment.
You also accuse Liberal and Conservative MPs and the media of whipping up “ an atmosphere of revulsion by effectively putting Satanists, witches and even child molesters on a par with the protection of Muslims”.
Can I just point out that even the Government itself has accepted that Witchcraft and Satanism will be regarded as a “religion or belief” for the purpose of this legislation
Part of the problem with this entire debate on the Religious Hatred law is that nobody who supports the Bill has come up yet with an example of behaviour which should be prosecuted but which is not already a criminal offence. If anyone can give me such an example I would be glad to hear it.
Neil Addison (Barrister)

Well? We’re waiting.

5 Responses to “Incitement to Religious Hatred – examples please!”

  1. Marc says:

    I read in one debate at “” that Satanists (and I assume by implication, witches) in particular are excluded from the RHIL. Quite why that is isn’t entirely clear but perhaps the RHIL only applies to “nice” or “acceptable” religions – and this would be a Blairite definition… Seems to me that Mr Addison’s letter accidentally points out a fatal flaw – in that all religions aren’t covered by the RHIL because no one in government seems to have the foggiest idea what, precisely, constitues a religious belief! I think it was Poly Toynbee who nailed it when she suggested that this bill is more about politically kissing Islamic arse than it is about a proper law.

    I wonder how the statement that Iqbal Sacranie made about Salman Rushdie (essentially supporting the fatwa placed against the guy for barely voicing an opinion) would have faired under this law? Ironic that. It’s another example of Blair’s arse-kissing ideolgy – surely that’s why he knighted the two-faced plonker after all.

    A 1989 article quotes Sacranie thus: ‘Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him .. his mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah.’

    You can find the original quote plus some other chilling notions here:

  2. […] ches the watchmen?

    A pointless law that does more harm than good MediaWatchWatch has found this letter in The Muslim News from Neil Addison on the proposed Incitement to […]

  3. G. Tingey says:

    What happens then, if this law gets passed and I then repeat ….

    All religions kill, enslave and torture.
    All religions are based on fear and superstition.
    No god is detectable.

    …. And add as a reminder that all forms of christainity and islam are religions…
    Will I then be prosecuted?

  4. Andrew Nixon says:

    According to the BBC, religous hate crimes have risen by 600% since the London bombings. As dubious as these stats are (Muslim groups have been encouraging Muslims to report such crimes more), it would appear that religous hate crimes are, well, already crimes. So why the need for this law?

  5. Monitor says: