Submission from the Muslim Cemetery Trust
Gardens of Peace is an affiliated organisation
to the Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCB).
We have been consulted by the MCB (as part of
its process for taking views from its affiliated organisations)
so that it can formulate a submission to you, on behalf of the
Muslim community in Britain, in relation to the House of Lords
review of the law relating to religious offences.
We would like to affirm directly to you our
support for the submission that the MCB is making on behalf of
the Muslim community of Britain in relation to the above-mentioned
review of the law.
Our recent experience in establishing a Muslim
cemetery in North East London to more fully meet our religious
requirements has not been an easy one, especially after the tragic
events of 11 September. Members of our organisation have been
subject to abuse and harassment that most, if not all, level headed
people would find reprehensible.
Was the abuse an incitement to racial hatred
(a criminal offence) or an incitement to religious hatred (not
a criminal offence)? We do not think it mattersthe end
effect is the same. All such hatred needs to be dealt with by
the law. This can only help communities further develop a mutual
understanding of each other, fostering greater respect; without
one community feeling threatened as it does not have the support
of the law in dealing with certain hatred, only because it is
labelled religious and not racial.
The position as it stands now is also inconsistent,
as we understand that the courts regard as racial groups the Jewish
and Sikh communities. Muslims, and for that matter other faiths,
are therefore left in what many would regard as a very unfair
We do hope that the Select Committee shall consider
our submission and that of the MCB and come to the same conclusion
that we do, that there should be no distinction under the law
for dealing with racial or religious discrimination.
9 June 2002