‘Muslims are an ethnic group’

So Alasdair Palmer claims in the Spectator, 5 November 2005

He refers to the 1983 Mandla vs Dowell Lee case, which provides the basis for Sikhs being recognised as an ethnic group entitled to protection against racial hatred under the 1986 Public Order Act. Palmer declares that on the basis of the same legal ruling “the existing legislation covers Muslims in exactly the same way that it covers Christians, Jews and Sikhs”, so the government’s argument that the racial hatred laws protect members of mono-ethnic faith groups but not those of multi-ethnic faiths is “entirely spurious”.

For the reasons why Muslims are not covered by the law against incitement to racial hatred, see here. Or for Lord Fraser’s ruling in Mandla vs Dowell Lee see here. It will be noted that, among Fraser’s criteria for qualification as a distinct ethnic group, Muslims lack a common geographical origin, descent from a small number of common ancestors or a common language.

Update:  See the reply by Sher Khan of the MCB in the Spectator, 12 November 2005