Tuesday, December 07, 2004
British Home Secretary David Blunkett has proposed "thought crimes" legislation aiming to protect Muslims but no other religious group: Religious jokes 'won't be crime'.
Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are "quite a few sketches" he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law.
He added: "To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom.
"The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.
"A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed."
He said he had sympathy with the law's backers, particular British Muslims, but added: "I appreciate this measure is an attempt to provide comfort and protection to them.
"But unfortunately it is wholly inappropriate response far more likely to promote tension between communities than tolerance."