Oppositional Religious Speech: Understanding Hate Preaching

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.


Hate preaching is capable of constituting both hate crime and hate speech, lies at the centre of many religions’ understanding of the manifestation of their religion, and frequently raises the contentious issue of regulation of the use of sacred scriptures. This brief article explores the regulation of hate preaching by criminal law, discussing the particular problems posed by oppositional religious speech, before concluding with suggestions for a number of ways to reduce these problems.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... In some respects, the current legal arrangements render the collision of conflicting terminology and belief systems more a problem for sociologists and anthropologists than lawyers, at least on a day-to-day basis, given that the regime is one of general application. When the treatment of a child meets the threshold for state intervention (significant harm or likely risk thereof) (Children Act, 1989), the motivation driving that treatment is immaterial and the only question is whether or not the significant-harm test has been met on the facts. 1 Clearly, the necessity, or purported necessity, for fulfilling a religious or cultural requirement would not be a defence to any criminal charges flowing from the injury or neglect of a child (Edge, 2018). 2 Nevertheless, there are those arguing that these general provisions are not working to adequately protect vulnerable young people and there are calls by some voluntary-sector groups to introduce new and targeted offences. ...
This paper examines the current legal framework in relation to minors who are the recipients of exorcism. Such individuals are ordinarily doubly marginalised, by virtue of their membership of a minority religious or cultural community and their disempowered position as children. This piece aims to assess whether the current arrangements strike an appropriate balance between respecting personal and collective autonomy, as well as protecting vulnerable young people, paying particular attention to the impact of their intersectional position and multiple marginalising factors at play. It seeks to define exorcism and emphasise the very diverse settings in which it arises within twenty-first-century England and Wales. It examines proposals being made for a blanket prohibition in relation to children, considering both the desirability and viability of a ban. It also highlights that exorcism is not the only context in which religious minors will find themselves in a position of multiple marginalisation, and explores what debates in this area might reveal about the wider operation of Article 9 and the ECHR.
Full-text available
People believe that ideologies work for their betterment by showing them a path of prosperity. However, they fail to understand the consequences of blindly following a specific ideology. In their debut novels, the contemporary writers of Pakistan depict the working of one of these ideologies: religion. The present study aims to analyze the projection and exploitation of power in the name of religion: how people suffer for the sake of faith, and the manipulation that follows it in these selected novels: The Prisoner, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, How it Happened, and Agency Rules. The study also highlights the link between religious ideology and the conditioning of the minds of people. The analysis takes place in the light of Marxist theory. The study discovers the role of religious ideology in overpowering helpless people with the belief that following a certain path will reward them in life after death.
The Isle of Man is a largely autonomous dependent territory of the UK. In 2016, Lord Lisvane was commissioned to report on the functioning of the principal organ of governance, the Tynwald. This Lisvane Review has led to substantial constitutional reform within this small democracy, particularly in relation to the unelected second chamber of Tynwald, the Legislative Council. This reflects an ancient tension within the Manx constitution between the House of Keys, since the mid-nineteenth century a directly elected chamber, and the unelected Legislative Council. The Lisvane period saw important changes to the composition and powers of the Legislative Council, as well as gender diversity within Tynwald as a whole. Placing the Manx experience within a broader small democracy theoretical and comparative framework demonstrates not only the possibility of constitutional reform, but also provides insights into resources for constitutional development, the special challenges of managing intimacy, and the dangers of over-concentration of power in a small democracy.
Full-text available
Freedom of expression; Prosecutions; Religiously aggravated offences Have some of the prosecutions for religiously aggravated offences going before the courts amounted to attempts to apply unjust prohibitions against freedom of speech? Is there any evidence that the provisions for religiously aggravated offences have been applied to suppress criticism of religion? This paper applies an analysis of Crown Prosecution Service records on religiously aggravated offences to address these questions.
Full-text available
Hate crime is now an established term in the fields of racist and religious attacks and is acknowledged in the cultural proscription against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women. Disabled people, as so often is the case, are late in being afforded statutory recognition in hate crime. This can be explained in terms of wider constructions of disability and more pernicious and muddled constructions of disabled people as categorically ‘Vulnerable’. This construction has arguably weakened the impetus to introducing hate crime provisions and legal justice for disabled people. There is now ample evidence of hate crime being evident and pervasive in the lives of many disabled people. By drawing on two English studies of disablist hate crime, this paper draws out key aspects of hate crime policy and practice, and challenges the constructions of disability, hate and vulnerability currently operating.
This article examines the case of the Rochdale Gang (a group of Asian Muslim men recently convicted of a number of sexual offences against young white girls) by analysing whether the Gang s offences could and should have been prosecuted as "hate crimes ". The article argues that sufficient scope exists under s.28 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and s. 145 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003for the Gang's actions to be pursued by the authorities, not only as sexual offences, but as offences aggravated by racial and religious "hostility". The article posits that the authorities' denial that the Gang's actions were partly motivated by prejudice was likely to be the result of a narrowly construed conception of hate crime. In particular, it is argued that the authorities failed to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship that existed between the perceived vulnerability of the victims and the intersecting hostilities that such vulnerabilities gave rise to. The article concludes that the police and CPS should have gathered evidence of "hostility" and adduced this for consideration by the court at sentencing.
Our article focuses not on incitement to hatred of believers, but instead on vilification of the religious beliefs themselves. Should citizens be 'free' to abuse, ridicule, threaten, defame, mock and insult the religious beliefs, icons, prophets, practices and esteemed figures of believers, even where such attacks allegedly contribute to ongoing debate of topics of 'public interest' and political controversy? Should the expression of religious views contradicting liberal ideology's universalistic interpretation of principles of tolerance, pluralism and broadmindedness be legally protected? Or, are such concerns outweighed by contrary imperatives concerning the 'protection of religious sensibilities'? We question how the distinction between vilifying a religious practice and directly inciting hatred of its believers is drawn within recent legislative initiatives and resulting case law; whilst also comparing theoretical, mainly normative arguments given for 'freedom of expression' within liberal ideology, with empirical examples that expose their contradictions in practice. We therefore critique the dogmatism of liberal positions for taking an extreme stance towards 'freedom of expression' as an axiomatic starting point, and for adopting a perverse stance of infinite tolerance even towards illiberal forms of intolerance that undermine their own core values in practice. This article critically assesses the claimed policy benefits of optimising liberal conceptions of 'freedom of religious expression' and state neutrality, and possible justifications for hate crime laws restricting religious hate speech whilst recognising the possible dangers of 'cultural imperialism'.
How should one balance the freedom of expression and the prevention of violence? This article delves into the grey zone between hate speech and incitement to violence by assessing the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in cases of allegedly dangerous speech. Rather than labelling this case law as simplistic, as some critics even within the Court have done, it is shown that the jurisprudence reveals cleavages within the Court on whether to adopt a more or less consequentialist approach on the links between speech and violence. Freedom of expression cases should preferably be assessed on the merits under Article 10 ECHR since this allows for a balancing of the various interests involved. The application of the abuse of rights clause of Article 17 ECHR is for that very reason undesirable, in addition to its inconsistent use by the Court.
: This paper argues that Jewish Goddess feminism illustrates the complexity of alternative religious identities and their fluid, ambiguous, and sometimes intimate historical, cultural, and religious connections to mainstream religious identities. 1 While Jewish Goddess feminists find contemporary Judaism theologically and politically problematic, thealogy (feminist discourse on the Goddess and the divinity of femaleness) can offer them precisely the sacralization of female generativity that mainstream Judaism cannot. And yet the distinctions between present/former, alternative/mainstream religious identities are surely ambiguous where the celebration of the Goddess can at once reconstruct Jewish identity and deconstruct the notion of religious identity as a single or successive affiliation. It would seem that Jewish Goddess feminism epitomizes how late or postmodern religious identity may be plural and inclusive, shifting according to the subject9s context and mood and according to the ideological perspective of the observer.
Incitement to hatred: the history of a controversial criminal offence
  • Leopold
Crosses, crescents and sacred cows: criminalising incitement to religious hatred
  • Hare
Mill's dead dogma: the value of truth to free speech jurisprudence
  • Wragg
Extending hate crime to religion
  • Edge
Prejudice and Unlawful Behaviour: exploring levers for change
  • D Abrams
  • H Swift
  • L Mahmood