08 Apr 2005
The Muslim Council of Britain is deeply disappointed by yesterday’s announcement that the Government was dropping the Incitement to Religious Hatred section from the Serious and Organised Crime Bill due to opposition from the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party.
`Sadly, British Muslims will now continue to remain second-class citizens and denied the legal protection that is given to some racial and religious groups such as Jews and Sikhs under existing racial incitement laws. We deplore the position of the Liberal Democrats who had proposed an amendment backed by the Tory Party – that would have regarded Muslims as a racial group, notwithstanding the fact that Muslims transcend racial boundaries. We regarded this as a vital piece of equality legislation that would have accorded Muslims and other faith groups protection from those who are deliberately inciting hatred against them,’ said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Muslim Council of Britain is currently seeking an urgent assurance from the Labour Party that it will include a clear commitment to prohibit Incitement To Religious Hatred at the earliest opportunity in its Election Manifesto. The MCB also calls upon the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party to make a similar pledge and support equality for all sections of British society including all faith groups.[ends] [ENDS]