Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-199)



Earl of Mar and Kellie

  180. I am very interested in what has been said and I am particularly interested by the relationship between blasphemy, heresy and treason. Clearly treason is very definitely still on the statute book. Blasphemy we are questioning. What is the position, do you think, about heresy? Let me say, whilst possibly giving you a chance to think about it, that certainly in Scotland the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and some of the other presbyterian churches still have what amount to heresy trials—not often; they are usually referred to as doctrinal matters—but they have recently led to one or two people being dismissed from the ministry. May I therefore ask you: How is this blasphemy, heresy and treason really working out now as opposed to clearly a definite feature of the past?
  (Mr Pearce) My Lord Chairman, perhaps I should emphasise, as Jonathan Gorsky did, that a number of the observations I might make will be on a personal basis rather than on behalf of the Network's nearly 100 member organisations and their members, but I think my response would be to say that, in my view, the question of heresy is a matter for the faith community concerned and not a matter for the state.

  181. Have we removed from the statute book any laws which ever existed about heresy?
  (Mr Pearce) One of my inadequacies is not being a lawyer and I would hesitate to give a sweeping pronouncement on that point.

Lord Avebury

  182. On this question of heresy, there was a famous case in the middle of the 19th century of a vicar called Gorham who was unsound on the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the Bishop of Exeter, whose name was Philpotts, removed him from the living, after grilling him for five days on what he believed regarding the necessity of the application of the water and the formula to the regeneration of the infant. He appealed to the Court of Arches, who upheld the decision of the Bishop. Finally, he went to the Privy Council, which reversed the decision and reinstated Mr Goran. Would that still be possible today?
  (Mr Pearce) I would hesitate to offer an authoritative response to that, particularly in the presence of my Lord Bishop, because of course one of the areas I had in mind in being cautious was the interaction between canon law and the role of Parliament in relation to canon law and therefore the role of the Parliamentary institutions in that area. I would stand by my general observation as a statement of personal view.

Baroness Perry of Southwark

  183. I was very taken by what Reverend Gorsky said about the change in the perception of blasphemy over time and how it is now perceived very much more as a protection of the peace of the realm, so to speak. Then, Mr Pearce, I think you also said that it is perhaps the protection of God rather than the protection of God's people, so to speak, or God's followers. I really wonder how one deals with the fact that certain things written and said and done do cause very deep offence to members of the religion concerned and therefore, even if they are not instantly given to fatwa or to rioting, do disturb what we think of, in a civilised and peaceful country, as the way in which we want to be seen and want to behave. Is there not a defence of a law against blasphemy on the grounds that it does protect people from feelings of deep offence and deep threat towards their own religion, whatever it is?
  (Revd Gorsky) I seem to remember that a very similar point was in fact made by Lord Scarman in his discussion of these matters and I would certainly agree with the point that people can be deeply hurt by observations respecting their faith. I think this is especially true of those who inhabit what you might call traditional societies and for whom the ways of the modern world are rather distant from their own perceptions. I can well imagine this within some Jewish communities and certainly within a good many Moslem communities, so, indeed, people can be very deeply hurt. The question, of course, is to what one might do about it and whether the law can be of assistance in these matters, and here I am not at all sure. Perhaps, further on in our proceedings, we might speak of the work of different organisations such as the Inter Faith Network and the CCJ, in trying to promote understanding of this in society as a whole. We are trying to create a climate where people are aware of the sensitivities, where they know how hurtful these matters can be and react and respond accordingly in educational frameworks and in the discourse of their different religious communities. I am not at all clear as to how the law might protect people in this context but I think that the matter you have raised is obviously of great importance.

  Chairman: I do not want to cut this short, but there are two other slices of this material which I want to get through. Lady Richardson and then the Bishop of Portsmouth.

Baroness Richardson of Calow

  184. You expressed the law being a framework for creating a respectful and cohesive society. The fact that the blasphemy laws have not been used, does that suggest that they are not framed properly or that they have actually acted as a force for peace and have done what they were required to do, and that therefore this does have a restraining influence simply by being there, even if it is never used, even if legally, by law, it would be difficult to use?
  (Mr Pearce) I think that would be a very difficult judgment to make. In a sense it is like trying to decide how many undiscovered murders have been committed. But I would have thought it is difficult to argue there is no restraining influence whatsoever as a result of having that law. The point I made about the law of treason, is that one expects to see that as part of the legal framework even though we do not currently have many cases of treason being brought, and that therefore that in itself is not an argument against having such a law, I would just like to clarify this, if there was any misunderstanding. My point was that, while the blasphemy law in terms of how it is framed is designed to protect doctrine, divinity, etc, it seems to me that any replacement law in current society would have to focus on the protection against vilification and contempt of believers and that it would be difficult for that simply to protect one part of one faith tradition. But that it is a legitimate part of the framework of law, if it is judged that it is desirable, seems to me to be apparent, because there are many restrictions in law on the freedom of speech. One point on which the seminars to which I have referred were quite clear is that no one present argued in favour of absolute freedom of speech. Indeed, Professor Simon Lee gave a list of 12 or 14 grounds on which freedom of speech is curtailed. But it is a judgment, as so often, for society and for its legislators to make on where the balances lie between leaving these matters unregulated by law and providing some protection, some bulwarks, which we put in position to reinforce the kind of society in which we want to live and which we want to have.

Bishop of Portsmouth

  185. Orthodoxy, right, belief, orthopraxy, putting into practice. The tension here, is it not, is about where putting into practice inevitably occupies other people's space in relation to their beliefs. It seems to me that it is very clear from what both of you are saying and from our own deliberations, which you can probably guess as well, that there are grave misperceptions about the blasphemy law. The blasphemy law actually, in a kind of non-legal way, is already owned by people well outside the Church of England, as is clear from what people have said, and that is one of the conundrums we are in. What sort of advice can you give to us to wrestle with that and apply it?
  (Mr Pearce) Perhaps I might just observe that sometimes when I am talking about inter faith relations in this country I ask, "Is this a Christian country? Is it a multi faith society? Is it a secular society?" and suggest that the answer is perhaps that it is all three simultaneously and that what we are dealing with now is how those three dimensions relate to one another. Just to pick up on a point on which I did not comment, the question about whether there was any justification for keeping the blasphemy law, even if it only gave limited protection to one particular faith and, indeed, one particular part of that faith, I think a case could be made out for that in the context of the role of the established Church. As I understand it, neither the established Church nor other Churches are seeking to say that that is the optimum solution if one was legislating afresh. And the two points are not quite the same.

Baroness Massey of Darwen

  186. Two things. One is the Reverend Gorsky's issue about: Is the law an answer, and, if people are being deeply hurt, what can the law do? You suggested other means of perhaps addressing that. Do you have any evidence of what might work, apart from the framework of law, to show that things can be done without law? Secondly, as an inter faith Network, do you get people phoning you up about the issue of religious hatred? What do they say and what are their concerns about religious hatred or racial hatred?
  (Revd Gorsky) Briefly, in respect to the question to myself, if you want to know how matters between different faith communities can be alleviated without recourse to law I could commend to you the modern history of Christian Jewish religions. Obviously there are most profound theological differences between Christians and Jews. Over the ages many hurtful statements have been made by all of us on all sides and I think that we can report a transformation in that over the past half century, but the key work has not been in law, it has been in dialogue, it has been in greater understanding, it has been in scholarship, it has been the preaching and teaching of each faith community, it has been endeavours to influence education—a whole range of matters, but it has not had recourse to law. On the basis of that experience, I would certainly say that it is possible to achieve great changes. And people internalise these changes. You know, if one has only the matter of law, then I do not offend because I do not wish to offend the law, whatever my personal feelings might be; whatever my personal views might be, I will not utter them for fear of giving legal offence. That is not the ideal situation; the ideal situation is when I am no longer harbouring such thoughts in the first instance. I think that is what all of us involved in inter faith relations are ultimately trying to achieve. The law undoubtedly has a very significant role in the protection of people, but I would argue that by itself it is insufficient.
  (Mr Pearce) If I may take first the question of inquiries from the outside world about issues such as incitement of religious hatred, it would be true to say that we do not receive many of them other than when the issue is in the public domain and is before Parliament, when there is clearly interest in what is going to happen or not to happen to proposals of that kind. So they are issues which are real issues, in which people are interested and are concerned about. I would naturally agree with what Jonathan Gorsky has said about the very important dimension of work to promote inter faith dialogue, inter faith relations. I think we could say that in particular inter faith relationships and in relationships collectively within this country there has been a good deal of progress over the last 15 to 20 years. There is a great deal more to do and there are many difficulties at the present time in terms of the impact of overseas events in the Middle East and in the South Asian sub-continent on relationships here, which is, I think, a factor that needs to be weighed in the balance when you are considering the issues that are before you here. The point that I would simply make is that it does not seem to me that it is an either/or situation. It is not: Shall we use the route of law or shall we use the route of dialogue and of education of young people, children and of adults, in a search for greater mutual understanding and greater mutual respect? Because, while it is obviously absolutely vital that proper, robust exchanges in terms of criticism, questioning and expressions of dissent, should not be in any way inhibited by the law, that is different from an attitude of vilification and I think it is possible to draw that distinction. The law is constantly having to draw difficult distinctions. I would simply make the point that it is very difficult to encourage open and free dialogue, involving people of faith communities who may feel insecure and may actually have a sense of fear in relation to their own religious identity. Dialogue, and mutual understanding can be developed much more successfully in a society where it is absolutely clear that people of different faiths have a legitimate place, that their place is respected, and that they will not be subject to ill treatment and abuse.

Lord Avebury

  187. You have mentioned the case of Salman Rushdie. Mr Rushdie said some things which were highly offensive but would they have been caught by any general law on blasphemy? Let me take an example. He—admittedly not in the direct narrative but in what he said about somebody's imaginings—postulated the idea that the Koran was not dictated by the Angel Gabriel because when the amanuensis came to write it down he falsified some of the facts and the prophet did not notice. That satisfied him that these words were not of divine origin. He was calling into question, or at least the narrator was, the divine origin of the words of the Koran. Do the witnesses think that it would be conceivable to extend the law of blasphemy in such a manner that all the sacred works of every religion were protected, not from vilification but, as in that case, from denial, and denial not in terms of what the author was actually saying to the readers but what the author postulated one of his characters might be thinking or dreaming?
  (Revd Gorsky) I think the very short answer to that is: In an age of modern scholarship and scholarly analysis of text the answer is probably no, unless you wish to bar people from scholarly analysis of all religious texts—and there are of course scholarly critics of the Koran as well as people such as Rushdie. It is in the nature of such inquiry as to question the provenance of origins of text and I very much doubt that extending the law of blasphemy would be at all useful or helpful in that context.


  188. I am going to go on, if I may, to what is a fairly short point. There are a number of statutory provisions, most of which I think are obsolete, about what happens in religious buildings or in the surrounds of them and in the course of religious services. We have had our minds drawn to Section 2 of the 1860 Act, which applies also under the 1855 Act to a lot of other places of worship, where it could cover still the type of behaviour which is not brought within either criminal damage or public order and I wondered whether you could help us with any examples of the sort of thing that I am talking about. For instance, some sort of profanity when there is not anybody there and no damage to the fabric or to anything occurs but nevertheless which is abhorrent to the people whose building it is.
  (Mr Pearce) I am not sure I can be of much assistance to the Committee on this in terms of being aware of individual cases or having any reflections to offer on the precise detail which a law might or might not take in this area. It does seem to me that the issue has some similar elements, not surprisingly, to those in the other two main topics at which you are looking, in the sense that clearly there would be a case, if one was retaining offences of this kind, to extend them in some way, as I think was indeed canvassed in the 1985 Law Commission report, to cover places of worship of other faith communities. Again, I think it is a question of balancing freedom of speech and of behaviour against what seem to be reasonable restraints. On the face of it, there is a case for there to be some legal restraint to prevent people from abusive behaviour and desecration of places of worship which are held dear by people in different faith communities.
  (Revd Gorsky) I have very little to say about this; only one thought occurs to me, in that I think sometimes we are inclined to over-estimate the fragility of the sensitivities of religious persons and religious communities: some of us can be rather more robust than this discussion has occasionally intimated and we are usually able to cope with those who make the type of disturbance indicated under this line of questioning. Beyond that, I have no great knowledge of this, and therefore I do no think I can say too much that will be helpful.
  (Mr Pearce) May I briefly add, I have in mind, for example, the quite recent case of the desecration of a synagogue in North London. I am not sufficiently versed in the law to know precisely what legal offence might or might not have been committed in that situation but it seems to me to be quite reasonable to argue that there should be legal protection to prevent that kind of event taking place. Whether it should simply be on the basis of it being the same as damaging any other building, I think there is a real point there for consideration.

Bishop of Portsmouth

  189. That occurred to me while you were speaking. It is an event that caused a great deal of upset way outside the Jewish community. The question is, what kind of legal protection. Is it covered under secular law? Should it have religious protection?
  (Revd Gorsky) If I may say so very briefly, I think this is adequately covered under secular law. The people who perpetrated this, to the best of my knowledge, were not intending to commit an offence against God; they were seeking to strike at a particular community as persons. They were not making a theological statement; it was a secular act of violence, and it was horrifying and regrettable, but I personally think—again speaking only for myself—that this is adequately covered by the general law of the country.


  190. I am going to go on because time is passing. We asked three questions about examples of incitement of religious hatred, any change over time and who ought to monitor it. I wonder whether we could leave those for the moment. If you have examples, I am sure they could be put on paper for us. I want very much to go on to the group of questions, starting with 11, and 12 and 13. Assuming that it is agreed in principle that incitement of religious hatred should be made an offence, could it be drafted in some other way than in Lord Avebury's Bill, which is simply an attachment to the Public Order Act in the same way that incitement of racial hatred was attached to it? Is there any other method of doing it? What should be the role of the law in addressing matters of hatred? The definition of religious hatred is in itself difficult because you have to define it in a way that at the same time preserves freedom of speech. These are at the heart of some of the things that we have to deal with and I would invite your comments on questions 11, 12 and 13 which I have summarised.
  (Revd Gorsky) First, in terms of the phrase "religious hatred" I have found it somewhat confusing as to what was implied, and had in fact to look at the text to learn what was meant. I took it, at first, that religious hatred meant some sort of theological animosity or an expression of hatred for a set of beliefs or practices, or a hatred that is derived from a religious motivation. I gather, judging by Lord Avebury's definition, that that would not have been correct and that the point is that the hatred in question is directed against a group of persons who happen to be defined by religious belief. In my opinion—and, again, speaking personally - I think that definition is helpful for the simple reason that a great deal of the hatred and incitement that occurs would fall within that definition. The people who incite hatred against Jews, against Moslems and against others are usually inciting hatred against a group of persons; they are not making statements against the Koran or statements about Jewish practice and they are not inspired by theological motive. They wish to be damaging with respect to a group of persons albeit that the group of persons might be signified or defined by their religion. That is, I think, very, very frequent, whereas the sort of religious hatred that I thought was being referred to is, I think, quite unusual.. So I personally find the definition in Lord Avebury's Bill helpful.
  (Mr Pearce) My Lord Chairman, it might be helpful to say that at the time when the Anti-Terrorism Bill was being debated and was moving backwards and forwards between the two Houses of Parliament, the general view which faith communities were then taking was to support the enactment of legislation of that kind. There was concern, on the part of some, about the inclusion of that provision in the Anti-Terrorism Bill, and that is of course now not a situation in which we find ourselves. There had of course been pressure to introduce provisions parallel to those in race relations legislation, in part in order to provide some equality of treatment between different groups, given that some groups, such as Jews and Sikhs, are deemed to be covered by the race relations legislation, whereas other groups, such as Muslims and others, are not. So, even on the part of those faith communities which were not necessarily actively seeking that protection for themselves or who were fearful of incitement of religious hatred in relation to their own community, they wished to provide support to others in the enactment of provisions of that kind. There are obviously issues which arise, if one is taking this, as it were, as a free-standing measure, about whether there are additions which could be made to a legislative provision to reassure those who are concerned about the way in which such protection might operate in order to block proper comment and proper debate. But in broad terms there is, I think, support for an enactment of something along those lines, although no doubt the individual faith community submissions will be making a series of detailed points, for example about the role which the Attorney General might play.

  Chairman: Do any of my colleagues want to ask questions on this general area?

Bishop of Portsmouth

  191. Jonathan Gorsky, on this distance between the theologically educated person and the less educated, strongly motivated half-believer—and I am speaking here, if I may, for people of many different faiths—Is it not the case that religious hatred, however one defines it, is something that the well-educated, religious believer will find it much easier to distance themselves from? Is it not the case that the less cerebral, the less educated, the less church, temple, synagogue attender, will be stirred up about it? I am trying to put a whole host of ideas into a very tightly packed sentence because I am in the presence of lawyers, but it is a serious question.
  (Revd Gorsky) Yes, indeed, whether one can distinguish between the well-educated and the less cerebral. One would hope so, but I think one might frequently, alas, be disappointed. Unfortunately, one can be very learned in religious traditions and, alas, filled with animosity in consequence for believers of different faiths, whereas for the less cerebral, again, I do not know. I am just thinking of the sort of animosity that one encounters, and the sort of animosity that one encounters is usually not generated directly by religious concern, it is generated by communal dynamics, by social dynamics, by ethnic dynamics, by an inability to come to terms with those who are different from oneself, and if the signifier of that difference is religious, then indeed that will be marked out for attention. This is my experience of the matter. It is quite rare to come across a sort of fully-fledged and genuinely religious animus in people, and very common, alas, to come across the types of prejudice that I outlined. I do not know whether that deals with your question.

  192. It does. We are trying to define what religious hatred is and if we can define it, and there are open minds around this table, we have to try and prescribe about it, and that is a hugely difficult thing to do in the three-tier society you described—is it Christian, is it multi-faith, is it secular, and it is all three at the same time.
  (Revd Gorsky) Can I briefly come back on that? There are two things. There is, firstly, the concept of what the religious hatred might be and how one would define it. Secondly, there is what actually happens, which might only be a very small part of the concept in question, and that is what I was trying to say. I would not deny that the type of religious hatred you mention is possible and does exist, but I am saying in the generality of incidents that we have encountered the hatred tends to be as I described it rather than directly motivated by theology.

  193. What I was talking about is what many Anglicans call "folk religion" which all faiths have.
  (Revd Gorsky) Yes.
  (Mr Pearce) My Lord Chairman, may I briefly add two points? The first is just to bring out more clearly the point, which I think has already been made, that obviously one needs to look at the use that is being made by the activities of right wing extremist groups of attacks on and denigration of religious groups. I think this is where the distinction to which Jonathan Gorsky referred initially is very important, that the legislation as drafted is about stirring up hatred of groups. That is of critical importance. The second point is that I can well appreciate the point that there may be sophisticated believers who find that they are able to rise above expressions of hatred of their own religion, but it does not mean to say that they will not be caught up in very damaging ways in the social consequences of action taken as a result of the incitement to religious hatred.

  194. I was being descriptive, not pejorative.
  (Mr Pearce) Indeed, but I just want to make that point. It is of interest to everybody, it is not simply protection.

Baroness Perry of Southwark

  195. I wonder if I could pursue this point, that it is not so much what people feel and think but what they do, it is the action that follows on the hatred. I always worry about trying to legislate for people's feelings and people's thoughts. In a sense people's feelings are often beyond their own control. For example, I think of a friend of mine who worked amongst young children in Nigeria who was told by one frank young person that white faces made her feel genuinely ill because they looked like the belly of a dead fish, and she found white people really quite frightening and distasteful. She is entitled to that feeling and as long as she did not behave in an unpleasant way to white people, that is presumably tolerable. I wonder whether, rather than religious hatred, we should not be concentrating on religious discrimination. We have laws against racial discrimination, we do not have, as I understand it, laws against religious discrimination. Is there not something more we are looking for, which is a law which defines people's actions and what they do rather than their feelings and emotions?
  (Revd Gorsky) There are two issues I think. There is the issue of discrimination which is extremely important, but there is also the matter of religious hatred. As it is being framed here, there is an awareness that it does involve action, that one is concerned that specific groups are being targeted in a most unpleasant fashion, and it is that I think that we are trying to address. Obviously, it is very difficult to legislate for feelings, but those feelings are very frequently translated into action, and that would not be covered purely under the rubric of discrimination. The type of violence which occurred at the Finsbury Park Synagogue, which the Bishop rightly pointed to, is not a matter of discrimination, it is something rather worse, and it is certainly in the field of action. So I think both points are important.

  196. But is that not more a religious aggravation to an offence—a religiously aggravated offence—rather than religious hatred in itself? Because it resulted in action, and the action is made worse by the fact it was inspired by religious hatred.
  (Revd Gorsky) I am not sure. We assume that the people who perpetrated this particular act were motivated by right wing fascism, Combat 18 type people, rather than actually being motivated by religion. This is where one gets into difficulty with the phrase "religious hatred". In Lord Avebury's sense, it clearly was an act of religious hatred but it was not derived from religious feeling or whatever. It does become quite abstruse, I think, at this point.

Lord Avebury

  197. This is the important thing, that we do not have to identify what the person's motivation is, what we have to look at is his intent. If his intent is to stir up hatred against a group of people defined by their religion, or that what he does is likely to stir up hatred against that group, then the reasons why he perpetrated that act are not important to the law and do not have to be dealt with in the court. So we are not talking about somebody's feelings, are we? It is a much clearer concept, would you agree? The question of intent is something which the courts have had to construe in terms of the legislation on racial hatred. Perhaps some people think they have not dealt with these offences as frequently as they should, and we all know what the difficulties are in getting the CPS to act, but since there is a body of experience there do you not think the courts would have no difficulty in reading across from the concept of racial hatred which has been familiar to them for many years and applying it to religious hatred?
  (Revd Gorsky) I, again, am not at all sure about this. Matters of intent are extremely difficult. If I recall correctly, there has been considerable debate about the matter of intent with regard to the 1986 Public Order Act, when the clauses on matters of racial hatred in fact virtually abandoned the notion of intent in favour of what was likely to happen in the circumstances; regardless of my intent, if my actions are likely to cause X, that is sufficient. But, again, I am not a lawyer and would not comment on this. I can surmise that notions of intent could cause considerable difficulty—how do you ascertain intent and so on.


  198. May I suggest that we go on, because it arises out of what we have just been discussing, to the last two questions on this paper? We know the situation that the Jewish faith has been recognised as being protected under the racial hatred and other racial aggravation laws, nevertheless, Mr Gorsky, particularly perhaps as we have you here, are there sources of anti-Semitism in Britain today? What are they? How seriously does it affect the Jewish community? Despite your protection by aggravation on racial grounds, do you think aggravation on religious ground would assist the Jewish community?
  (Revd Gorsky) In terms of the sources of anti-Semitism today, I think there is at least agreement on that point and I will outline it in a moment. In terms of the impact of anti-Semitism, there is considerable debate and I will try and give a couple of sentences on that. The sources of anti-Semitism are several. Firstly, as I mentioned in connection with the Finsbury Park incident, the political right, the people inspired by fascism of one sort or another, the ideas which have been, alas, a part of European discourse for a very long time, the Combat 18 type of people, who simply have great hatred for the Jewish community and other communities they deem to be unacceptable or different from their stereotypes of England and Britain. That is one source of anti-Semitism. That is perpetually with us. It is not religious. Having read some of the material, it is horrific but I do not think one would describe it in any way as religious; these people are not interested in religion, they are interested in ethnic hatred. The second source is, as Mr Pearce alluded to earlier, the impact of the Middle East conflict on the situation in this country with respect to the Jewish community. Some supporters of the Palestinian cause have indeed made very extreme utterances about Jews in general. Not all, I would hasten to add; very many people who support the Palestinians would be horrified by any sort of anti-Semitic overtones. But there are some. Islamic extremists, again by no means the whole of the Moslem community; relatively small groups of people but very vocal, who are moved to great passion by the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and their perception of Israeli behaviour. That is the second source. I suppose, thirdly, the general residual xenophobia in the community. But, as I pointed out in my submission, one would not describe any of these sources as being religious. There might well be people who retain a religious animosity to Judaism, but in terms of their consequence they are not especially significant. The significance is as I have outlined it. In terms of the impact on the Jewish community, that is, as I said, debated. There is a question of perception. Especially in our older generations, people look at what is happening in the light of their experience at the heart of the 20th century, they see things in the light of the historical events which have dominated their lives, and they are of course deeply perturbed by what is happening. Other people might interpret it in a different way. I tend to compare what is happening to what is happening to Moslems, to what is happening to asylum seekers and others, what is happening in different parts of the world. It depends on your frame of reference. The number of anti-Semitic incidents have risen over the past few years, I think largely in response to the situation in the Middle East, and it does have an impact on the community. One has to distinguish the objective impact which might be quite small, in all honesty, from the perceptions of people, feelings and fears, which might be perhaps more drastic. I think, very briefly, those are the sources of anti-Semitism today and their impact. I am one of those, and again I can only speak personally here, who believe sometimes we do tend to exaggerate the impact of anti-Semitism on our community. Other members of the Jewish community would radically disagree with that.

  199. But to add religious aggravation would do nothing to help you, is that right?
  (Revd Gorsky) To the best of my knowledge, it would do very little.

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