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Policy Area 2: Islamophobia and racial/religious equality

Introduction

The Race and Religious Hatred Act 2006 is ineffective and unfit for purpose. Indeed, current legislation that enables the prosecution of Islamophobic hate crime is an extension of established race relations legislation where ‘religiously aggravated’ crimes have been added to the existing racial motives for prosecuting offenders.

Since Muslims do not form a racial group, race relations legislation which protects communities such as Jews and Sikhs does not extend to Muslims. This means that the more workable burden of proof applicable under the ‘incitement to racial hatred’ does not apply to incidents of Islamophobic hate speech.

As a result, since the creation of the Race and Religious Hatred Act 2006, there have been less than a handful of prosecutions for ‘incitement of religious hatred’ due to the unworkable burden of proof required.

Policy Pledges:

  1. Commit to a review of the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act and consider primary legislation to deal with social media offences and online hate speech.
  2. Commit to more third party reporting centres for hate crimes against Muslims.
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