- Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed called for change in hate speech laws
- Ibrahim Abu Mohammed wants Racial Discrimination Act to protect Muslims
- He said claims the Act threatens freedom of speech is ‘meritless’ to minorities
- Liberal senator James Paterson said Dr Mohammed’s proposal was ‘dangerous’
Australia’s Grand Mufti has called for hate speech laws to be changed for the protection of Muslims.
In a submission to a Parliamentary inquiry, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti since 2011, called for section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to stop minority groups being ‘exposed’ to religious discrimination or vilification.
Liberal senator James Paterson slammed Dr Mohammed’s proposal as ‘dangerous,’ saying it could become ‘a national blasphemy law,’ the Daily Telegraph reported.
‘It would mean legitimate criticism of religion or religious beliefs could become unlawful in Australia,’ Mr Paterson said.
‘Religion shouldn’t be off limits for public criticism and debate, and widening this law would mean atheists, who often ridicule religious beliefs … would effectively be stopped from criticising religion’.
Dr Mohammed said claims the Racial Discrimination Act threatened freedom of speech was ‘meritless’ as the freedom would not be ‘afforded to all equally and fairly’.
He said the ‘freedoms’ would instead be exercised by those with power and influence.
‘This will create a disharmonious environment for minority groups in Australia and have a negative impact on multiculturalism,’ he said.
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to act in a way that would ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ someone because of their race or ethnicity.
Under Dr Mohammed’s proposal, the Act would also make it unlawful to behave in a way that would offend another on a religious basis.
H/t reader kevin a.