Monday, February 17, 2014

No freedom of religion in Britain

Back in the Sixteenth Century, the English government banned those who espoused religious views different from those officially approved from preaching in public or otherwise disseminating their views. Back then the target was Catholics - or Protestants, depending on how the monarch felt that morning. Today, its Muslims:

A Muslim convert who targeted members of the public as part of a campaign for a sharia state in Britain has been given a groundbreaking asbo, police have said.

Jordan Horner, 20, from northeast London has been ordered to stop preaching in public, in a legal first.


He was also told he must not be in possession of a loudhailer in public or enter any educational establishment, unless he is a student there.

As well as being forbidden to preach and hand out leaflets in support of sharia law, Horner was banned from defacing public adverts.

But now the UK is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, which affirms both freedom of religion (including the right to manifest a religion in public) and freedom of expression. I don't think there's much of a question that Horner's religious-political views are hostile to the established order and policies of the UK - he appears to be part of a group which has supported (or in some cases, merely laughed about - which shows you the degree of British intolerance) the deaths of British soldiers - but the UK is supposed to be a democracy which respects the freedoms of religion and expression. And in such a society, people who oppose your wars as unjust, say that the soldiers who fight in them deserve to die (or at least, deserve no pity), and who call for radical changes to the social order are something which must be accepted. You might not like them, you might find their views repellent, but if you support human rights and a democratic society, then you cannot support this persecution.

(I should also note that its incredibly stupid. Banning people from preaching on transparently religious-political grounds is exactly the sort of grievance which radicalises others).