Religious Groups: Discrimination

House of Lords written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Janner of Braunstone Lord Janner of Braunstone Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that minority faiths in the United Kingdom are protected against discrimination, especially by radical groups.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma Lords Spokesperson (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), Lords Spokesperson (Home Office) (Equalities and Women's Issues), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Under the Equality Act 2010, which this Government brought into force, there is protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation for a range of characteristics, including religion or belief. These provisions apply equally to all religions and beliefs; there is no difference in the way that they protect those of minority faiths or those with no religion or belief.

Specific criminal offences exist under Part three and Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 with regard to stirring up hatred on the grounds of race or religion.

There are separate racially and religiously aggravated offences under Sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Section 39 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

There are also powers to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility towards race and religion under Sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The courts have not hesitated to use their general powers to reflect aggravating and mitigating factors to increase or decrease the minimum term in individual cases.

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