Recently re-elected First Minister Alex Salmond has called for cross-party support for the Scottish Government’s plans for new anti-sectarian legislation.
The First Minister said he wanted to pass a new anti-sectarian Bill before the football season began in July.
According to the current legislation people who cause disruption at matches can be charged with breach of the peace, with a maximum one-year sentence. However the new proposed laws would include behaviour that is threatening, abusive, disorderly or offensive, with a maximum jail term of five years and that would also include online hate crime.
Online bigots spreading their messages of hatred on football forums and social networks such as Facebook or Twitter would also be subjected to the same punishment.
A spokesperson for the First Minister said: "We hope that as many MSPs as possible, from across the political spectrum, will agree to pass these new laws when the legislation comes before Holyrood, so that we send as strong a signal as possible that our national Parliament is determined to stamp out this sort of behaviour once and for all.
"We are determined that the authorities have the powers they need to clamp down effectively on bigotry peddled online.
Notably, during his inaugural speech Alex Salmond launched a scathing attack on sectarianism referring to it as a “parasite” which must not be tolerated in modern day Scotland. In celebrating Scotland’s diversity the First Minister said: “(Scotland)…… belongs to all who choose to call it home”.
“That includes new Scots who have escaped conflict in Africa or the Middle East. It means Scots whose forebears fled famine in Ireland and elsewhere. Modern Scotland is also built on equality. We will not tolerate sectarianism as a parasite in our national game of football or anywhere else in this society.”
Show Bigotry the Red Card applauds Mr. Salmond’s stance against sectarianism and greatly welcomes his words promoting respect and equality in today’s Scotland.