Thursday, February 23, 2006

Both scary and pathetic

Tony Blair's justification for his massive expansion of anti-terrorism powers is that they are needed to protect the public. Protect them from what? From dangers such as peaceful protestors, hecklers, and Muslims. But now, the UK faces a new, more insidious threat: the threat of actors:

Four actors who play al-Qaida suspects in a British movie that won a prestigious prize were detained by the police at Luton airport as they returned from the Berlin Film Festival and questioned under anti-terror laws, alongside two of the former terrorism suspects they play on screen.


The film's producers say four actors from the film, who all play terrorism suspects, were detained at Luton airport after flying back from Germany on an easyJet flight. They included Rizwan Ahmed and Farhad Harun, who were stopped along with Shafiq Rasul and Rhuhel Ahmed, the former Guantánamo inmates they play on screen.

In a statement, Rizwan Ahmed said police swore at him and asked if he had become an actor to further the Islamic cause. He said he was at first denied access to a lawyer and was questioned about his views on the Iraq war by a policewoman. "She asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guantánamo. She asked 'Did you become an actor mainly to do films like this, to publicise the struggles of Muslims?'"

This is where Blair's Britain has sunk to: people who make films critical of government policy and the "war on terror" being harassed as "suspected terrorists" in the name of "public safety". It's both scary and pathetic at the same time.

More details here and here.