Peer doubts race hate law resolve

Lord AhmedThe will of ministers to tighten laws on racial hatred has been questioned by Muslim Labour peer Lord Ahmed.

Several ministers called for a review of the legislation after the BNP’s leader was cleared of stirring up racial hatred in remarks about Islam. But Lord Ahmed said the government had not delivered on previous promises to the Muslim community on race hate laws. It was time for the government to start treating Muslims equally and not like “subjects of a colony”, he said.

Lord Ahmed told the BBC that the government had made unfulfilled promises to the Muslim community earlier this year when a new law on religious and racial hatred was watered down as a result of a Commons defeat. The peer said ministers should have shown more determination to push their measures through.

He said: “What I have seen is that the government has been treating the Muslim community like subjects of a colony rather than equal citizens in the UK.”

BBC News, 12 November 2006