New alliance proposes amendments to UK religious hate law

[JURIST] An alliance of British writers, comedians, and bishops Thursday proposed amendments they want added to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill [text], which was debated [JURIST report] last week in the UK House of Lords [official website]. Comedic actor Rowan Atkinson [profile] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey are part of the coalition proposing safeguards that will protect people and not ban comments or jokes made against religious beliefs. The amendments propose that only individuals with intentions to "stir up hatred" should be found guilty of religious hate crimes; only threatening words should be banned rather than abusive or insulting comments; and discussion, criticism of expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult, or abuse of particular religions or beliefs should not be banned. The government has said that the attorney general will need to approve every prosecution under the new bill, which will lessen "frivolous" cases being brought. The proposed bill is scheduled to enter the committee stage in the House of Lords next week. BBC News has more.

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