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Religious Hatred: Islam

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 282391, tabled on 25 July 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government plans to take through the Online Harms Bill to tackle Islamophobia.

Answered on

3 September 2019

Islamophobia is completely unacceptable and has no place in our society. The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, by making companies more responsible for their users’ safety online. We will establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, and hate crime is one of the harms in scope of these proposals. We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which has the cross-government lead on countering Islamophobia, as this policy is developed.

It is also important that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. The Law Commission has recently started the second phase of its review of abusive and offensive online communications, which will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for legal reform in a final report in 2021. In parallel, the Law Commission is looking into the adequacy of protection offered by hate crime legislation, and this strand of work is expected to report in 2020.