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The Religious Offences Bill 2002
A Response

Since the events of 11th September 2001anti-Muslim rhetoric and activities throughout Europe have reached new heights, and worryingly, far-right political parties and organisations are increasingly finding a resonance both at a legitimised level of mainstream politics as well as the more grass-roots. A recent report commissioned by the European Union Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), that set out to monitor any significant changes in attitude towards Muslims and/or a proliferation of Islamophobia, stated that, "a greater receptivity towards anti-Muslim and other xenophobic ideas and sentiments has, and may well continue to, become tolerated"

Muslims in the UK have long called for the government to tackle the issue of religious offences.  As part of the legislative process, FAIR gave oral and written submissions to Parliament, with regards to the Religious Offences Bill 2002. 

This response is essentially in three parts. The first part briefly outlines the Muslim position on the issue of legislative protection against blasphemy. The second part makes a case for, and provides evidence to support, the introduction of new legislation to outlaw incitement to religious hatred. The final part of the response focuses on some other issues that have loosely been placed under the heading of ‘other religious offences’.

Download submission Religious Offences Bill 2002