Leader pledges to fight hate crimes

By Stephanie Brickman, September 27, 2011

Scottish Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has assured Jewish community members that hate crime will be taken seriously on his watch.

Addressing a Scottish Council of Jewish Communities' meeting at Giffnock Synagogue on Sunday, Mr Mulholland said the Offensive Behaviour Bill going through the Scottish Parliament was popularly associated with conflict between Catholics and Protestants. But it would apply to all religions, he stressed. The legislation was necessary because the charge of breach of the peace was often too narrow to cover religious hate crimes.

Although diversity was accepted in Scotland, "you'd be burying your head in the sand if you said there was no religious hatred. I'm a great believer that people have a right to celebrate their own culture, religion and heritage, but a line is crossed when doing that pours hatred on anyone else's."

Apprised of the problems faced by Jewish students on Scottish campuses, Mr Mulholland offered to both speak to students and pass the information on to Education Secretary Mike Russell.

SCoJeC director Ephraim Borowski was grateful to the Lord Advocate for reassuring the community of the "commitment to treat all hate crime with the seriousness it deserves".

Last updated: 9:50am, September 28 2011