Friday, February 09, 2007

No freedom of speech for Muslims in the UK

Yesterday a British man held for seven days without charge during a terror investigation denounced Britain as "a police state for Muslims", saying

"It's not a police state for everybody else because these terror laws are designed specifically for Muslims and that's quite an open fact."

Today we have a perfect example of what he was talking about, with the arrest of Abu Izzadeen on suspicion of "encouraging terrorism". The offence was created by the Terrorism Act 2006, and outlaws the intention or reckless publication of statements which

(a) glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and

(b) is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances.

In Abu Izzadeen's case, he gave a speech last year in which he praised the 7/7 bombers and mocked their victims. But while people may disapprove, that's not sufficient reason to ban such speech and punish those making it. Merely praising terrorists or glorifying past acts does not in itself meet the high bar required to justify the suppression of speech in a free and democratic society. It is neither "shouting fire in a crowded theatre", or yelling "kill him" while at the head of a screaming mob. It does not meet the legal bar for incitement, or for conspiracy. Instead, it is the government acting nakedly to suppress speech simply because they do not like it.

Such heavy-handed action is unjust, illiberal, and stupid. But it is also grossly hypocritical. In October 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a reception at Parliament to celebrate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In his speech, he called the uprising "inspiring", praised its participants for their extraordinary bravery, and said that they were fighting for a free and democratic Europe. This clearly falls within the offence of "encouraging terrorism" (the uprising would clearly be classified by the law as one or more terrorist acts, because the law is blind to whether terrorists are on "our side" or not) - but there's no question of Blair being prosecuted for it. "Encouraging terrorism" is only a crime if you encourage the wrong sort of terrorism - which, in practice, means "only if you are Muslim".

Needless to say, I do not believe such obvious hypocrisy will help Britain convince its Muslim population that they are not a target for state persecution, or win the battle of hearts and minds which is the only way terrorism will be defeated.


How nice it is to see that the odd Muslim sees through the rubbish you fall for. But of course, what you've bothered to post here on the horrors endured by Muslim women wouldn't fill a dei-tasse cup. As mentioned, if a human rights abuse can't be used to target the West, for you it dosn't exist idiot. Thank heavens for voices of reason like this:

Posted by Anonymous : 2/10/2007 07:34:00 PM

Blair's passed all sorts of things that prevent people criticising the Iraq war, not allowed to protest to parliament any more, not allowed to say the resistance is legitimate.
The funniest thing is all the laws are designed to get around the courts, where he knows they'd be thrown out.

Isn't the house of lords supposed to do something about that sort of trick in Britain?

132: The greatest horrors endured by Muslim women in recent times are the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan by the white man's new colonial army, along with the continuing western attempts to undermine the formation of a stable society in Somalia (and other places).

-7g: 600000/2500 = ? You'd be surprised that the left tends to value all human life equally, even that of Muslims.
Thus I/S's complaint about British laws that punish Muslims for things that even the Prime Minister does.

Posted by tussock : 2/11/2007 03:30:00 PM