01 February 2006

Britain’s “religious hatred bill,” which has been criticized for over a year by an unlikely coalition of Christian and Muslim groups, civil libertarians, atheists and comics, suffered a major defeat yesterday as absenteeism and abstentions on the part of Labour Party supporters allowed the government bill to fail and a substantially revised version — which gives greater protection to free speech, criminalizing only such “hate speech” as is intentionally threatening, and not just insulting or reckless — to proceed for royal approval in its place.