According to the BBC, a controversial law that punishes those who incite religious hatred has moved on to the committee stage despite the objections of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as by backbenchers within the Labor party itself. Indeed, a Muslim MP from Labor argued, "When I was beaten to a pulp by a gang of skinheads on my first day at high school, it wasn't because of my religion."
A civil rights activist of South Asian descent responded, "In a democracy there is no right not to be offended." Home Secretary Charles Clarke added, "the bill protects 'people not faiths.'"
Interestingly, one of the most vocal opponents of this bill is none other than comic Rowan Atkinson (better known as the actor who plays Mr Bean). He argues that "measure will limit freedom of expression and stop them from telling religious jokes." To this, Clarke noted, "What this bill isn't about is stopping anybody telling jokes about religion, stopping anybody ridiculing religions or engaging in robust debate about religion."
The bill was successfully moved by a vote of 303 to 247 .
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