BRUSSELS, December 3, 2001 ( – Plans drafted by the European Commission last week hope to make racism and xenophobia crimes carrying prison sentences of two years or more, according to a report in the London Telegraph. The draft defines racism and xenophobia as discrimination based on “race, colour, descent, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin”.

The list of offences covers such things as Holocaust denial or “trivialisation” of Nazi atrocities, “public insults,” of minority groups, “public condoning of war crimes”, and “public dissemination of tracts, pictures, or other material containing expressions of racism of xenophobia” – including material posted on internet websites. There are concerns that, if this legislation is passed, the definition of racism could be liberally interpreted to include a broad range of politically incorrect offenses.

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