Statutory definitions do not include religious groups. However, ways have been
found to provide limited protection under the Race Relations Act 1976 to some religious
groups, which have the characteristics of an ethnic group. In this way protection
have been offered to Sikhs and Jewish people. The leading cases are: Mandla v Dowell
Lee (1983) and Seide v Gillette Industries Ltd (1980) IRLR 427
Hepple, B. & Choudhury, T. (2001) Tackling Religious Discrimination: Practical
Implications for Policy Makers & Legislators. Home Office Research Study 221.
The use of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry definition of a racist incident implies
that religious hostility (e.g. Islamophobic attacks) should be treated as racist if
this is the victimís perception.
Home Office Guidance regarding racially aggravated offences under the Crime & Disorder
Act 1998 states that it is important to investigate whether an offence, which may
appear to be motivated by religious hostility, also contains a racist element. Provided
that part of the religious hostility is racist then a racist offence will have occurred.