Over 70% of Londoners back law against religious hatred

Nearly three-quarters of the people of London support the British government’s proposals to introduce a new law to outlaw the incitement to religious incitement, according to a new poll.

The poll, carried out on behalf of the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, found that 72 per cent of Londoners support new bill, introduced for the third time by the British government on Thursday.

Only 15 per cent said that they opposed making a new law, which is aimed to protect Muslims from the abuse they have suffered since the so-called war on terrorism by extending the existing incitement to racial hatred against people to grounds of their religion.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on Thursday, Livingstone welcomed the findings, insisting that “people of all faiths are entitled to equal protection.

“Some religious groups, such as Jews and Sikhs are already protected from incitement to hatred under race relations laws, but members of other religions, such as Muslims and Christians, are not. This makes no sense at all,” he said.

“The new law will provide important protection and reassurance for Muslim and other communities that have experienced growing abuse and targeting by extremists,” said the mayor of the most diverse capital in the world.

He rejected the massive campaign being whipped up by both right wing politicians and libertarians in opposition to the proposal, insisted that the bill, “will not restrict the right of people to criticise religions in literature, art or other fields.”

The mayor said it was just the same as the outlawing of incitement to racial hatred in 1986, which “did nothing to restrict artistic freedom.”

Muslim News, 10 June 2005