“So why is the government going to these extraordinary lengths? The answer is that it is trying to appease the Muslim community which has been pressing for such a law for years. Ministers are desperate to win back votes by Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims which were lost over the Iraq war, and also because they think that if they give the most extremist Muslims whatever they want this will quell Islamist rage against Britain and the west.
“That is why, in a grovelling article in Muslim News before the last election, the then energy minister Mike O’Brien boasted of all the measures the government had introduced at Muslim request, including the religious hatred law. That is why, in a pre-election letter to all mosques Home Secretary Charles Clarke apologised for the failure to get this law through Parliament and blamed it on the opposition parties. If it is now passed, it will shut down legitimate and vital debate about Islam.”
Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail, 13 June 2005
You can just imagine Phillips’ response if someone published an article which accused the government of “appeasing the Jewish community”, or of giving a “grovelling” interview to the Jewish Chronicle, or of giving “the most extremist Jews whatever they want” by taking a stand against anti-semitism, and which argued for the right of racists to promote anti-Jewish propaganda on the grounds that it was necessary to encourage “legitimate and vital debate about Judaism”.