A backdoor blasphemy law

Sep 21, 2023 by

by Campbell Campbell-Jack, A Grain of Sand:

Something rare happened this week: I turned to Richard Dawkins for a dose of reality.

When Dawkins writes on science he is clear, precise, almost lyrical; unfortunately when he turns to philosophy he sounds like a know-it-all fourth-former, and when he touches on theology you could get greater insight and depth from your congregation’s Sunday School.

However, Dawkins sometimes speaks common sense. I turned to him after reading that an analysis by the Civitas think tank revealed that 52 local authorities in England have passed a motion to adopt a definition of Islamophobia rejected by the government because of free speech concerns. Thirty-four of these authorities are Labour-led, with nine having no overall control, five run by the Liberal Democrats and four Conservative-led.

Origins In 2018 a cross-party group of MPs led by Anna Soubry, a former Tory minister, and Wes Streeting, a Labour backbencher, influenced by radical Muslim groups, issued a report stating that organisations should formally adopt a definition describing Islamophobia as ‘a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’. In 2019, the all-party parliamentary group accepted this definition.

The Government rejected it amid claims that it would limit free speech. Even liberal Muslims have rejected it as it would prevent criticism of radical Islam. Nevertheless, it has been adopted by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Mayor of London and all major political parties in Scotland.

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