Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:13

Convictions under racial and religious vilification laws show no place for religious hatred in Victoria

The conviction of three men found guilty of inciting serious religious vilification of Muslims under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 sends a clear message that there is no place for religious hatred in Victoria, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton today said.

The ruling by Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in the case of three men who staged a beheading to protest the building of a mosque in Bendigo in 2015 is the first time anyone has been convicted under this Act.

"The conviction of these men sends a strong message that racial and religious vilification is not only unacceptable in our society, it is also against the law," Commissioner Hilton said.

"There is no place for these kinds of acts of hatred in our diverse and welcoming state."

The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act was created to prohibit the most noxious form of conduct, which incites hatred or contempt for a person or group on the basis of their race or religion.

"Racial and religious intolerance is harmful to individuals and the community. Racism impacts on the mental and physical health of its victims. It silences multicultural communities and stops them from being able to participate fully in society. It divides us.

"Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, but it should never be used to justify inciting hatred that risks causing serious harm to people."

"Everyone has the right to live free from discrimination and vilification."

If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your religion or race you can call the Commission on 1300 292 153 or make a complaint online.

Media contact

Kat O'Shea
Mobile: 0459 114 657
Email: Kat.O'

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