IMMEDIATE 18.00 pm 12th October 2005
The Government's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill could be used against the very religion it was conceived to protect, an evangelical group has warned. A national newspaper (OK, it's the Guardian) today ran a story that Christian Voice would seek to ban the Qu'ran.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today:
"Under the Racial & Religious Hatred Bill it would be for the Attorney General to decide whether to prosecute bookshops selling the Qu'ran and the Hadith. That is politicising the prosecution decision in an unacceptable way, even though we all have our suspicions that an informal political process operates under the CPS system already.
"The Religious Hatred provisions were a shameless election political stunt from a Labour Party desperate to recapture the Muslim support it lost over its doomed adventure in Iraq. Charles Clarke wrote to every mosque in the country promising to bring this measure in if re-elected and blaming the LibDems and Tories for its demise before the election. Muslims want to stifle criticism of Islam, for understandable reasons. Now Muslim leaders have woken up to the fact that the Qu'ran contains enough incitement to kill Jews, Christians and unbelievers to land them in court and they have asked to Government to exempt it. The Government have so far refused to accommodate them.
"So our intention to report Islamic bookshops selling the Qu'ran and the Hadith, and the Hadith are even worse than the Qu'ran, is not accepting or going along with a law which we believe is fundamentally unsound and un-necessary; rather is it showing up how ridiculous and self-serving the legislation is by hoisting the Government and the Muslims with their own petard.
"Of course, we know the Attorney General would never agree to prosecute an Islamic bookshop, so our reporting bookshops will serve another purpose. When the first Christian is prosecuted, with the Attorney General's full consent and approval, for preaching against Islam - and that could easily be me - the whole world will see his partial use of a politically-inspired law.
"One would hope that such partiality would not harm the general good relations between faiths that currently exist in the UK, so damaging the societal cohesion about which the Government say they are concerned. It must be said that the use against Christians of a similar law in Victoria, Australia has set Christians and Muslims at each others' throats. The way this Government goes about things, that would mean another repressive public order law, and another ratchet step of the police state to which George Monbiot drew attention in the Guardian last week. What a time to be alive."
Guardian story about Christian Voice today, 12th October 2005: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1589960,00.html
George Monbiot's article of Tuesday 4th October 2005: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1584114,00.html