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UK Commons passes religious hatred bill

[JURIST] The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill [text] passed final reading in the UK House of Commons [official website] Monday in a 301-229 vote. The bill will now go to the House of Lords [official website], where it faced strong opposition when first introduced in 2002. If passed, the law will criminalize written or public verbal comments "that are threatening, abusive or insulting [and] likely to stir up racial or religious hatred," carrying a maximum sentence of 7 years. Islamic rights advocates support the law as a means to protect British Muslims from post-9/11 (and now post-London bombings) hatred directed against that community, while critics fear the legislation's impact on free speech and religious expression [JURIST report]. CNSNews has more.

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