Australia’s first female Muslim MP wants to make it illegal across the board to insult her Islamic religion. She plans to create tougher laws restricting free speech that will make it illegal to not just insult, but offend Muslims in any way.
This is actually not Australia’s first restriction on free speech, but legislators over the years have passed a series of reforms that makes speech against any race considered racist.
Anne Aly, the MP that wants those laws to include islamic religions says that the laws they have in place are faulty and don’t cover everyone. Speaking to The Australian, she said: “I find it a little bit strange that someone can call you a ‘dirty Arab’ and that be covered under the bill, but if they called you a ‘dirty Muslim’ you’re not covered.”
HeatStreet has more:
An Australian MP has called for tougher speech laws so that it is illegal to offend Muslims because of their religion.
Restrictive speech laws Down Under have banned people from saying anything which could “offend or insult” people because of their race.
As Heat Street has previously reported, the Australian government is mounting a push to rewrite the legislation so that words must “harass or intimidate” before they become a matter for the courts.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the legislation in question – Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act – has “lost its credibility” and needs to change.
However, Aly proposes doing the opposite – keeping the lower standard for the law, and adding “religion” to the current list of “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
Speaking to The Australian, she said: “I find it a little bit strange that someone can call you a ‘dirty Arab’ and that be covered under the bill, but if they called you a dirty Muslim you’re not covered.”
Existing legislation does not criminalise those who break the law – but it can result instead in hefty fines of more than $40,000 (US).
The government changes – to remove the “offend or insult” wording – is working its way through Australia’s parliament, where it faces tough opposition.