The latest coverage of the Racial and Religious Hatred bill

The London bombings followed by the government’s proposals for increased security have put ‘religious hatred’ in the foreground. During the campaign we stressed how the religious hatred legislation, though called for by the Muslim Council and many of those worried by ‘Islamophobia’, might well find its first targets in some of the more fascist outpourings of jihadist groupings, rather than fostering respect for Muslims.


Without looking at the details, it is too soon to say whether the government’s current proposals may be a better way to deal with incitement leading to violence than the disproportionate and misdirected proposals in the Religious Hatred Bill.


That campaign against this misguided legislation will continue: a look at the links below will make the need evident, as well as highlight the issues at play in these difficult times. It is worth noting that while government ministers were turning a blind eye to everyday life for Muslims in Britain, happy to leave everything to ‘faith’, writers were pointing out the mounting dangers of radical Islam. Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Hanif Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane should be basic reading for any MP interested in how bombers grew up amongst us.


Meanwhile, on other free expression fronts, many of you will be aware of the pressure being put on the film of the Da Vinci Code by various Catholic institutions.


Lisa Appignanesi

Deputy President, English PEN


There have been several articles in the press in recent weeks relating to the Incitement of Religious Hatred bill and its relationship to current events.

Hanif Kureishi wrote in The Guardian about his experiences of Multiculturalism in Britain. Click here to read the article.

Salman Rushdie wrote for Times Online about the need for an Islamic Reformation to bring the Muslim faith into the modern era. Click here to read the article.

Boyd Tonkin discussed the spreading of a distrust of free expression to bookshops in The Independent. Click here to read the article.

Lisa Appignanesi wrote a letter to The Independent in response to an article by Steve Richards who is in favour of the bill.

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