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Religious Hatred
Act to protect UK Hindus, Muslims

London, September 30
Incitement to religious hatred will become a criminal offence in England and Wales with the commencement of a new Act from tomorrow that will extend the protection to Hindus, Muslims and Christians, hitherto enjoyed by only Sikhs and Jews.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act creates a new offence of intentionally stirring up religious hatred against people on religious grounds, closing a gap in the current legislation. Existing offences in the Public Order 1986 Act legislate against inciting racial hatred. Sikhs and Jews have been deemed by the courts to be racial groups and are protected under this legislation, but other groups such as Hindus, Muslims and Christians are considered to be religious rather than racial groups, and have therefore not previously received any protection under the law. PTI

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