There’s so much in this

A Christian street preacher has accused a judge of trying to “censor” the Bible after he was convicted of a public order offence for quoting an Old Testament passage condemning homosexuality.

Mike Overd was fined £200 for quoting part of a passage from Leviticus 20 which condemns same-sex relationships as sinful and calls for gay men to be put to death.

But District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi told Overd he could instead have chosen a separate passage in Leviticus 18 which merely describes homosexuality as an “abomination” but does not specify death as a punishment.

He acquitted the former paratrooper, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a “paedophile”.


At least
one person manages to get it right:

“Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake,” he said. “As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.

Quite, that’s what free speech means.

It should indeed be legal for me to stand outside Next and declaim that those wearing clothes of mixed fibres should be put to death.

153 thoughts on “There’s so much in this”

  1. @Julia,

    our current society presents people of your worldview with so many easy targets. Why do you have to invent additional targets?

  2. Another report on this did mention the pertinent fact that the learned judge did sit on sharia courts

  3. Exactly what Bloke in Germany said. The judge’s words are clear and unambiguous, as therefore are his views.
    If we can’t take issue with him without making up stuff he hasn’t said then we are pretty pathetic.

  4. There is no free speech. We should stop being surprised at this. We have a convention (though more of a myth) that you can say what you like at Speaker’s Corner. But there has never been a time when you could stand in the public square and say whatever you like. There is always something considered beyond the pale. What it is changes with time, but there is always something.

    The only place where there is a legal principle of free speech is in the Parliament. The reason it is specified to exist there is that it exists nowhere else within these sceptred isles.

    Progressivism has now taken the place of Christianity as that which is protected by blasphemy laws, that is all.

  5. @Ironman, it’s simple prejudice because of his name and ethnix It means he must, just must, be a gay-stoning jihadist who hates British freedoms.

    Oh, wait…

  6. Nonetheless, there is a profound irony (or something similar) in having a muslim instruct a christian regarding which parts of the Bible are legitimate in an English court of law.

  7. If you’re advocating death for those doing stuff you disapprove of then that could easily be an incitement to violence. Maybe not in so many words, but tone of voice, gestures, context can all add up. Perhaps public speakers should take responsibility for not dancing on the margins.

  8. @Ian B,

    I’d have thought it’s exemplary that a muslim judge knows his way around the bible.

    And in an English court of law, it is indeed the judges who instruct on which bits of any book are fit for display to people in public who don’t necessarily want to be confronted by such. This is an important distinction – you can still “speak freely”, but you may have to be more discriminating with your audience.

    By analogy, hardcore pornography is legal. You can put it up all over your kitchen wall if you like, but put it up in public and you will be locked up. Has your freedom of speech been thereby infringed because it’s illegal to cause “harrassment, alarm, or distress” to innocent passers-by?

  9. Has your freedom of speech been thereby infringed because it’s illegal to cause “harrassment, alarm, or distress” to innocent passers-by?

    Yes. And that’s my point really. Hardly anyone actually believes in free speech. To avoid the arguments about obscene displays in your example (there is a specific Obscene Displays Act), just ask yourself how long I’d last standing in public with a microphone headset and amplifier reading out a filthy dirty story full of words like “felching” and “hairy pie”.

    Not very long, I’d wager.

  10. A quick google reveals that Mr Overd seems to spend as much time preaching in court as on the streets.

    What do we call them, “attention whores”, isn’t it?

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    gunker
    March 31, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Another report on this did mention the pertinent fact that the learned judge did sit on sharia courts

    So what? It could easily have said he acts as an adjudicator in golf club membership disputes.

    As long as the participants in the Sharia court agree to the judgement and it falls within the law of the land eg no stoning or amputations, I really don’t see why people get excited.

    Granted, its easy to have the suspicion that the female side of a Sharia court isn’t willing and gets a bad deal, but that’s a different issue.

  12. @Ian B,

    I think most people support “free speech but”. There’s no freedom to shout Allahu Akbar in a crowded tube train, for example. Should there be? If you support IanB total free speech, of course there should be. And the people strangling the Allahu Akbarer should be prosecuted for murder, not released because they were acting in self defence.

    Life really is more complicated. It’s great to have axioms (free speech is good!) but it turns out a lot of them have their limits. Treating them as guidelines rather than infallible dogma makes for a more functional society.

  13. IanB

    “In that case presumably it is an incitement to violence to publish a Bible, yes?”

    You are a master of the non sequitur.

  14. BiG-

    Well, it depends why someone shouted Alluho Akboo or whatever, that is whether it crosses the line into being part of a crime. Juries are actually quite good at figuring that out, which is what juries are for.

    Somebody might just shout Aloha Akbar because he’s religiously excited. It’s just “God is great!”. I don’t see the problem with that at all.

    If he’s got a bomb, you’re probably more worried with dealing with your limbs being blown off than what he said.

  15. Theophrastus-

    Not sure what you mean. If to say a thing is inciting violence, how can it not be inciting violence to print and publish it? Do they not similarly effect those who listen, or read, the words?

  16. IanB

    “In that case presumably it is an incitement to violence to publish a Bible, yes?” – perhaps you could elaborate on how my point about context, tone of voice & gestures would be applied to your question?

    Alternatively you could stop being quite so obtuse. Your call.

  17. I’m surprised that a accurate quote from the Bible is not a defence or rather has not already been established to be legal.

  18. It seems faith on juries is like a winter coat: we take it off and then put it back on again depending on our view of the weather.

  19. I am a but surprised anyone still feels the need on this blog to point out that freedom of speech cannot be entirely unfettered. Any liberal will tell you that freedom of conscience stops at the point your conscience tells yoy to swing your fist into somebody’s face.
    So freedom of speech doesn’t extend to incitement; anybody not know that?
    BinG; top marks for patience though.

  20. Ironman,

    If you’re referring to discussions about historic sex crimes which have occurred here, the issue isn’t the quality of juries (I’ve certainly never criticised that, anyway) but the distortion of the legal process which has occurred in recent years. Juries are actually doing their job to a reasonable standard. The problem is the alteration of the job they’re asked to do (low standard of evidence, abandonment of corpus delicti, corroboration by volume, etc).

    If you write a bad law, and have a bad legal process, it’s not the fault of the jury.

  21. Wretched “public order” acts. You can print this stuff in books, circulate it to millions of people, even get state funding for your church based around it, but stand on the street and say it and you’re in trouble.

  22. Ironman-

    Any liberal will tell you that freedom of conscience stops at the point your conscience tells yoy to swing your fist into somebody’s face. So freedom of speech doesn’t extend to incitement; anybody not know that?

    Yes, we all know that. But the whole fucking point is that incitement is an act beyond speech. So it isn’t a freedom of speech issue, is it? The error is in declaring certain speech to automatically be a crime, not whether speech is part of a crime.

    A bunch of people plotting a bank robbery are speaking with each other. But the speech has to be shown to be an act of actual conspiracy. Do you see the difference?

  23. Care of the public order act the UK law goes much further than merely criminalising inciting to murder/violence by criminal law – thus section 5 of the 1986 Public order act –

    5 Harassment, alarm or distress.

    (1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

    (a)uses threatening, abusive ( insulting was REMOVED recently from the law following a campaign, though there seems little difference between insulting and abusive, which remains) words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

    (b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive ( or insulting – REMOVED),

    within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

    (2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

    (3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

    (a)that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or

    (b)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

    (c)that his conduct was reasonable.

    As a public order act, the use of it should be limited to what goes on in public. Could having a Bible (or Koran come to that) on display in some way not contravene the POA. I think it possibly could, but would be happy to be contradicted by someone showing that by the letter of the law having such books out “in public” is not potentially illegal.

    It seems we actually have few freedoms which aren’t potentially limited/removed by the authorities having a raft of often subjective evidence based legislation such as this law and the Communications act (used to prosecute “grossly offensive” users of social media)…. and over “obscenity”/porn things the OPA and Criminal justice and immigration act 2008.

  24. The guy was probably scarred by his time in 3 Para Mortars. There’s only so many times you can be made to lick processed cheese off your corporal’s balls before you decide you want to kill people.

    Re sharia courts/golf clubs, there is a difference – sharia is a system which purports to be and is accepted to be by millions of people the true law of God, superseding all earthly law across all of the world, whereas golf clubs are only really concerned with people wrongly trying to play through, or wearing the wrong shoes, and only then on their golf course.

    Re Ian B and publishing the bible, he’s obviously right and I’m surprised by Geoffers and Theophrastus. It is an offence to say: Go out and kill Tim Worstall. It is an offence to publish a book exhorting readers to do the same.

    (In my view, neither should be an offence – any person who on hearing these words goes out and kills Tim Worstall is solely responsible for their actions. But that’s just my opinion.)

  25. @The Stigler. Indeed – because disseminating certain things on the high street is not conducive to public order. We value public order and we value free speech. However, sometimes those values are in conflict. That sends the black-and-white-thinking libertarian’s brain into meltdown – they start pretending everyone on the street is at all times calm and rational, like they are. Tic tic.

    The main reason for public order offences is that we dislike lynch mobs attacking preachers (or anyone else) in public. Thus there are laws against the lynch mobs, and laws against doing things that might reasonably cause a lynch mob to assemble.

    it’s not rocket science.

  26. @Interested, it is not an offence to say “Kill Tim Worstall”. As you and I are doing here, as a work of art. It would almost certainly be an offence to shout over a megaphone “Kill Tim Worstall” to a drunken pitchfork-wielding mob congregating outside Tim Worstall’s house. It probably wouldn’t be an offence to walk down Bath high street muttering “Kill Tim Worstall” to yourself, or to say to Tim Worstall’s friend in a pub “I’m going to kill Tim Worstall next time I see him” (unless you meant it).

    Context is everything. The law can’t cope with that, can only define a framework and leave the decisions to judges and juries.

  27. Thanks Zipgunn- bit of an eye opener that Act.
    So are we saying it is not reasonable to quote from the Bible?

  28. ‘…of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a “paedophile.’

    What’s frightening is that people can apparently be taken to court and charged for ‘suggesting’ this.

  29. I am a but surprised anyone still feels the need on this blog to point out that freedom of speech cannot be entirely unfettered.

    Well, perhaps some confusion arises from the misnomer “free speech”. It’s not free if it’s fettered, is it?

  30. The main reason for public order offences is that we dislike lynch mobs attacking preachers (or anyone else) in public. Thus there are laws against the lynch mobs, and laws against doing things that might reasonably cause a lynch mob to assemble.

    it’s not rocket science.

    And yet it is more complicated than what you suggest. For example, the wrongdoers in your scenario are the members of the lynch mob, but it is the preacher who would be arrested.

  31. If I said this verbatum outside Marks and Sparks would I get arrested?

    Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.”
    or what about?
    “Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

  32. Incidentally, England and Wales (i don’t recall Scotland’s position) didn’t have an enforceable right to ‘free’ speech until 1966, 175 years after the USA had its rather less caveated freedom of speech constitutionally protected.

    Bloke in Germany,

    @Interested, it is not an offence to say “Kill Tim Worstall”. As you and I are doing here, as a work of art. It would almost certainly be an offence to shout over a megaphone “Kill Tim Worstall” to a drunken pitchfork-wielding mob congregating outside Tim Worstall’s house [1]. It probably wouldn’t be an offence to walk down Bath high street muttering “Kill Tim Worstall” to yourself, or to say to Tim Worstall’s friend in a pub “I’m going to kill Tim Worstall next time I see him” (unless you meant it). [3]

    Context is everything. The law can’t cope with that, can only define a framework and leave the decisions to judges and juries.

    While context is important, what you’ve outlined are different acts, not mere contexts, which istm the law copes with adequately.

  33. Where does it say that that those wearing clothes of mixed fibres should be put to death?

    Deuteronomy forbids it (and cross-dressing), but doesn’t specifiy a penalty.

  34. Hallowed Be,

    If I said this verbatum outside Marks and Sparks would I get arrested?
    “Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.””

    Arrest seems unlikely because you’re not calling for a particular person or named group as such to be put to death.

    or what about?
    “Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

    Arrest seems unlikely unless you’re saying it as part of some threat to a particular person or group.

    Will you be on Marks and Sparks’s property and if they ask you to leave will you refuse? Will you be outside a Marks and Sparks in a shopping mall or precinct and if the agents of its owners ask you to leave will you refuse? Those are grounds for arrest.

  35. @BiG

    ‘@Interested, it is not an offence to say “Kill Tim Worstall”. As you and I are doing here, as a work of art. It would almost certainly be an offence to shout over a megaphone “Kill Tim Worstall” to a drunken pitchfork-wielding mob congregating outside Tim Worstall’s house. It probably wouldn’t be an offence to walk down Bath high street muttering “Kill Tim Worstall” to yourself, or to say to Tim Worstall’s friend in a pub “I’m going to kill Tim Worstall next time I see him” (unless you meant it).

    Context is everything. The law can’t cope with that, can only define a framework and leave the decisions to judges and juries.

    But you’ve missed a key part of the specific phrase used – ‘Go out and kill Tim Worstall’.

    The ‘Go out and’ part was (I thought obviously) intended to convey an active instruction, not something being said as a work of art.

    Likewise, the suggestion that publishing it in a book might equally be an offence was (pretty obviously) intended to parallel the bible, which is exhortative of a class people who have in the past shown themselves willing to kill and die for their beliefs, and thus I was agreeing with Ian B, that stuff written in the bible – to many people the undiluted word of God – is surely potentially punishable (I understand the jury point very well) if saying it is.

    Muttering it to yourself isn’t an offence, but who thinks it is?

  36. I have to say, if I sat on any jury I would agitate insofar as the rules allowed for a not guilty verdict in either case.

    I can imagine juries which would return unanimous guilty or not guilty verdicts – the jury system is becoming less and less suitable as our country diverges (though I don’t know what I’d replace it with).

  37. The Pulp Fiction ‘bible’ quote is made up, isn’t it? But in any event, it is merely purporting to be God saying what He will do – not God (or anyone else) exhorting another actor to do something. So not prosecutable.

  38. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “There’s no freedom to shout Allahu Akbar in a crowded tube train, for example.”

    Yes there is. Both in law and in fact. In law because it is unlikely to cause anyone distress. In fact because these laws are only applied to White people.

    “And the people strangling the Allahu Akbarer should be prosecuted for murder, not released because they were acting in self defence.”

    Whether the people who attack someone they think is a terrorist has nothing to do with free speech laws. Whether or not the speech is legal is irrelevant. What matters is what the hearer *thought*. If I have a genuine belief that someone has a virus that will kill half humanity and will release it when he says “blue daffodils”, and then you say it and I kill you brutally, I am not guilty of murder as long as the jury accepts I genuinely believed it.

    “Treating them as guidelines rather than infallible dogma makes for a more functional society.”

    That is, the powerless are powerless to stop the powerful interpreting the law any way they like. We are no longer a society under the rule of law but a society at the mercy of the whims of the great and good.

  39. So Much for Subtlety

    Geoffers – “If you’re advocating death for those doing stuff you disapprove of then that could easily be an incitement to violence.”

    Only if there was a remote chance of anyone actually acting on someone quoting Leviticus. There isn’t. Therefore it is not incitement. In the Us the incitement has to be imminent – without giving people a chance to calm down. Notice that no one here incited against any one person anyway.

  40. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “We value public order and we value free speech. However, sometimes those values are in conflict.”

    Rarely are they in conflict. They are not in this case as there was no chance of violence breaking out.

    “The main reason for public order offences is that we dislike lynch mobs attacking preachers (or anyone else) in public. Thus there are laws against the lynch mobs, and laws against doing things that might reasonably cause a lynch mob to assemble.”

    When was the last time a lynch mob killed anyone on the mainland of Britain? The 17th century? We do not have laws against doing things that might reasonably cause a lynch mob to assemble and even if we did, quoting the Bible is not going to cause it. Arresting someone might.

    This is not about incitement. It is about a politically powerful lobby using the force of law to stamp on the face of those they do not like. Nothing more. Even if there was a risk of incitement, we do not give lynch mobs the right to veto what British people say. Well, we do, but we shouldn’t. Any Gay lynch mobs have a 100% responsibility to behave responsibly. The onus of not doing so rests with them.

    “it’s not rocket science.”

    It is not what you are claiming either.

    As for incitement that is inclined to cause distress, the Independent published this recently:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/30hzi2/white_men_should_never_hold_elected_positions_in/

    University is supposed to be amazing, a transformative experience which is informed by student unions across the country. Yet people don’t give a toss about their student unions, no one cares about the NUS, and activism is dying at all but a few hardcore universities. This generation of students has been pissed on by the government and fees, and privatisation, and all anyone seems to want to do is roll over and let it happen.

    Do you know why this is? It’s because our universities and student unions are too similar to our government; they are too stunted by white men. White men might want to appropriate injustice as theirs, desperate for something to struggle against, but it’s a hobby they’ll pick up and drop as soon as the first comfortable finance job beckons them over.

    We need to ban white men and their activism dilettantism from student unions. We need powerful women and minority ethnic people to bring their passion back to the heart of student politics. Being a student union president should no longer be a place for privileged whiteboys to swing their dicks around before graduating into a world that is in no way affected by what they claim to fight for.

    More importantly, we obviously live in a world that looks favourably on white men. In order to bring about change in our racist and sexist society, it must start in our universities. If women and minority ethnic people were in positions of leadership across all universities in the country, we would have a diverse graduating class of future leaders in every industry.

    “Oh but, it’s racist to ban someone on the basis of their skin colour, and sexist to ban them on their gender,” cry the assembly chorus of confused souls trying to turn the language of progress into a weapon to further entrench the establishment. It’s not. You’re at university, go and ask a humanities professor. Learn something.

    White men have had the last several millennia in charge, and it’s been a s***show from start to finish. A new generation of powerful women and minority ethnic people is ready to lead and change. It is time for you to bow down.

    They will not be charged. Even though this sort of incitement is one of the causes of the on-going high levels of violence aimed at White people.

  41. So Much for Subtlety

    What offence was Overd inciting? He did not call for Gays to be murdered. He cited the Bible calling for them to be executed. I think it is a reasonable inference that he would like them to be executed, but he does not appear to have said so.

  42. @SMFS,

    I think you need to look up the protagonist here. There’s quite the string of court appearances, some of which did involve obvious breaches of the peace. Sure, not quite lynch mobs, but some violence none the less.

    Your “blue daffodils” guy might well not be convicted of murder, more likely manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He would also probably spend rather longer inside than if he were a murderer.

    Your comment on the law only being applied to white people is not deserving of a response.

  43. Thank you UKlib.- That’s a relief. I guess if Philip Larkin or big brained Brett were popping by for some undies they may ‘be alarmed”
    SMFS- oooh that was some diatribe. I get the double standards point you make. But.. that person whoever they are, they would still be dismantled in any debate, and actually you do have to allow the debate for that to happen.
    On the off chance they are not put right (in free discussion) at university they soon will in the wider world.

  44. I don’t know why SMFS is so worried. With enemies like that, who needs friends?

    Conversely, as a white male, the last people you would want in your corner are the saddos that bang on about diskrimanashun against white men.

  45. Only actions should fall under law not words at all.

    You are responsible for your actions. Unless you are under the gun and ordered to do harm on pain of death–which circ is much more likely to come from political scum and their agents than ordinary people. If someone tells you to kill and you do –you are the killer not the speaker. You have the choice to say no. If you drink, take drugs or get involved with emotionally hyped crowds and do bad deeds–still your problem. You could have said no to the action and the stimulus. “Incitement” is a non-crime.

    There seems to be a group on the blog who have a vague commitment to freedom in economic matters but otherwise seem to have absorbed leftist cant like sponges.

  46. If the preacher prefixed (as he must have) his quotations with the Holy Bible says, he was making a statement of a fact that is commonly known within our Christian society. Stating a fact is neither incitement nor an expression of opinion.
    OK, English judges never were the brightest bulbs on the tree, but how the fuck did we get (as is reported), this particular judge also acting as a Sharia Law court judge? You know, the courts that oppress women with Islam’s medieval laws. How did that happen in our country?

  47. JeremyT: “How did that happen in our country?”

    Because there’s too many who think like BiG and Ironman.

    UKLiberty: “Perhaps he is the kind of judge we’d like more of in Sharia ‘courts’…”

    Perhaps we’d like to see the abolition of the abomination of these sharia courts here?

  48. JeremyT

    If the preacher prefixed (as he must have) his quotations with the Holy Bible says, he was making a statement of a fact that is commonly known within our Christian society. Stating a fact is neither incitement nor an expression of opinion.

    He was found guilty of using “threatening” language, not incitement or expression of opinion.

    We don’t have ‘free’ speech!

    As Ian B rightly said earlier.

  49. “Perhaps we’d like to see the abolition of the abomination of these sharia courts here?”

    And that would have what, precisely, to do with the liberty you purport to defend? Maybe we should abolish ombudsmen, even go so far as to insist everyone sorts out all their differences out in court (rather than round the dinner table, for example).

    The political philosophy falsely described as “liberal” has had its fascist face for a long time. Now libertarianism is showing its.

  50. JuliaM,

    UKLiberty: “Perhaps he is the kind of judge we’d like more of in Sharia ‘courts’…”

    Perhaps we’d like to see the abolition of the abomination of these sharia courts here?

    I’m sure you would, although that would restrict the liberty of those who want to use them, I doubt you could ‘abolish’ them anyway, and the coalition government has been making it more likely people will resort to sharia, not less:
    https://alrich.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/legal-aid-and-divorce-theresa-may-sharia-courts/

  51. BiG: Bollocks

    Courts that are routinely and institutionally biased against women (although the divorce courts are the same against men)–they can hardly be otherwise given Islamic doctrine. They should be closed tomorrow and all decisions taken reviewed under UK law. Anyone responsible for allowing them to be set up should also lose their job. If Islamic women choose to submit to a court system that is loaded against them then let them travel to some benighted region to so suffer. They are free to do so. Not here.

  52. It’s curious how selective some self-styled Christians are when it comes to quoting Leviticus.

    “It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood”

    “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose”

    “The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning”

    “…nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material”

    “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard”

    “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves”

    “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself”

    It’s almost as if they’re more interested in gay-bashing that in upholding the laws of the old testament.

  53. @Snag
    “Where does it say that that those wearing clothes of mixed fibres should be put to death?”
    Deuteronomy, but since the man is a Christian and not a Jew, Article 7 of the 39 articles would cover that as it states that the moral and civil codes as expressed by Moses do not bear upon the Christian man. Seriously though, this is just more of the same old bullshit that is only applied to one side; would a muzzie be prosecuted for quoting the sura and hadith which call for death without the option for homosexuals?

  54. “It’s almost as if they’re more interested in gay-bashing that in upholding the laws of the old testament.”

    No Christian should use Leviticus to provide a basis for their living code today, as its part of the Old Covenant that was done away with by Jesus (for example the eye for an eye thing is Old Covenant – Jesus taught instead to turn the other cheek, which is about as far removed as possible). Only verses from the New Testament should be quoted by Christians as making homosexuality against their religion. Which do exist, I think, but not to the same blood thirsty degree as Leviticus.

    Please note I am not a Christian, but grew up in a strict Christian household, so all this stuff has been part and parcel of my life from an early age.

  55. A police officer told journalists: “I’d advise people that if they’re offended to record any incident on their mobile phone and send it to us.”

    The UK doesn’t have free speech.

  56. Re PaulB’s interesting list of exhortations from the bible (and for once his accurate assessment of them), what on earth was the thinking behind some of that.

    I can understand adultery beng forbidden for reasons of social cohesion. I can understand certain foods being prohibited because they tended to make you ill in hot climes.

    But what the fuck is it with beards?

  57. @UKL

    I wonder if there is any law against bombarding the police with videos of things which offend you.

    For instance, I find red cars offensive.

    That should keep the fuckers occupied for a while.

  58. Interested, – re beards and not eating kites.
    You see, this is a moral test of one’s self whether or not you can maintain loyalty because being loyal is very important. So, you’re gonna go out there and you’re gonna say, ‘Goodnight, I’ve had a very lovely evening,’ walk out the door, get in the car, go home, jerk off and that’s all you gonna do.

  59. @Mr Ecks,

    They are no more “courts” for having the word “court” in the title than if I set up the “BiG Biscuit Barrel Supreme Tennis Court of Wacky Racers” and offered my dispute resolution services for a fee. My rulings would have very little (not none, assuming all parties consented to the arbitration) standing in a court of law.

  60. Actually it’s unclear what Old Testament laws should still be in place. As Jesus is said to have said:

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    There is always plenty of wiggle-room with the Bible though; it’s so badly put together even Tim’s Telegraph subs would have improved it.

    But yes, you do have raise an eyebrow at those that only focus on the gay stuff.

  61. I came back to these cents this afternoon and, after ploughing through them all, re-read the post and the Telegraph article. Again, it seems to me an excellent judgement and an excellent response from Terry Sanders on of the National Secular Society.

    As for the dipstick himself, a man who reads VERY selectively from the Bible accuses the judge of reacting it. I wonder when was the last time he stood up and selected passages on tolerance? And no, quoting the whole bible beginning to end would not lead to any charge buy would provide a cast iron defence against any pssible charge.

  62. For that matter, I wonder when was the last time one of these discussions was had on this blog without some racist references to “muzzies” or the Law being biased against white people, or some non – liberal wanting to ban something they didn’t like.

  63. BiG–They are supposedly voluntary. How does that go with rulings on divorce involving women who don’t speak English and have no one to help and advise them outside the “community”. A community that has members who find forced marriage, acid splashing and honour killings an acceptable means of motivating women who don’t get with the programme.

    Yeah– course its all voluntary mediation.

  64. Ironman ( for it is he)”For that matter, I wonder when was the last time one of these discussions was had on this blog without some racist references to “muzzies” or the Law being biased against white people, or some non – liberal wanting to ban something they didn’t like.”

    When the law ceases to operated on leftist principles and when muslims are a race and when you can specify your vague “non-liberal” remark–then there will be no need to refer to them anymore.

    If banning Sharia is your complaint:

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3682/uk-sharia-courts

  65. JuliaM

    You mentioned me on the same breath.as Bloke in Germany. You pay me a great complement, thank you.

    Mr Ecks; I refer you to BinG’s earlier response to SMFS.

  66. Islam is not a race, any more than Christians are, or Buddhists, and any suggestion that ‘Islamophobia’ is racist in nature betrays an inability to think on the part of the utterer. Surprise surprise at his identity.

    There are black African muslims, brown African muslims, Chinese muslims, Chechen muslims, Arab muslims, Iranian muslims, white Australian muslims, white English muslims etc etc.

    How many times this needs saying does seem to depend on the ability of one’s interlocutor to assimilate information and discard his own prejudices, so we could be here for some time.

    If it were true that an expressed dislike of Islam were merely (in this country) a cover for a racist dislike of south Asian immigrants then presumably one might expect a similar level of dislike to be expressed in respect of Indian Sikhs or Hindus, or Pakistani Christians.

    Do we hear this? Not much in the general population, and I would say less than in the civpop on this blog.

    What does that tell you? Those of you with ears to hear and brains to think, I mean?

  67. Ironman “Mr Ecks; I refer you to BinG’s earlier response to SMFS.”

    Thus– after taking the trouble to search thro’ Bin G’s dubious output– I discover my comment is not deserving of a response. A master debater two be sure.

  68. Just generally, the theology of this doesn’t matter; that is what bits of the Bible we think are part of Christ’s covenant and which were abrogated. That’s a matter for theologians; it is interesting that our Social Justice contingent now seem to think it’s up to the State to decide that on behalf of the rest of us, which takes us back to before the Civil War in terms of religious freedom. Shall we be told that which prayer book we can use?

    The more general point is this; religions, and moral codes in general, are full of rules which others find silly. Indeed their main job is to provide a moral code.

    The Bible and Christianity tell us that many sexual things are forbidden by God, with varying degrees of recommended or implied punishment- fornication, masturbation, adultery, incest, sex with a menstruating woman, thinking lustful thoughts, felching, the Dirty Sanchez, and so on and so on, and anyone who engages in these activities is part of a group of doers-of-the-thing who may be offended to be told not to engage in them by orders of God. Repeating the Biblical injunctions might thus, for any such group of sinners, be declared “incitement” against them.

    But the SJWs on this thread know that it’s not really about anyone getting offended, insulted, or the risks of religiously based condemnations to those condemned; the right to be offended only applies to specified groups (in this case, gays) and not to adulterers or fornicators.

    I am not a Christian and do not personally agree with these rules, most of which I consider silly. Having engaged in several of them (no Ironman, not the incest) I might be offended. But God help us to have ended up in a country where someone who does believe them can’t even say so in public.

    As to Sharia courts, so long as their judgements have no legal force- that is, they are toy courts like Judge Judy- a free society must allow them. The law should also prevent coercion in their operation, of course. Just as a hypothetical “christian court” should be allowed to exist and tell two gay men that their behaviour is an abomination, so long as the men are free to walk out and carry on with the bumsex, because the “court’s” rulings are nothing more than advice.

    Finally, it is worth noting (back with the theology) that while Progressives have declared homosexuality to be a state of being, Christian theology sees it as an act or behaviour. Humans are frail and prone to sin, and have the free will to not engage in sinful acts. So effectively what the law is doing by forcing Christians to take the Progressive view is to make illegal the faith itself at a philosophical level, and presents us with a State approved, and obligatory, ontology. This perhaps is the most disturbing part of the Progressive tyranny.

  69. Me Interested/Ecks

    Who described Muslims as a race? Not me “two be sure”.

    You need to just calm down, try to quench that rage, take the time to read what is being written and do your very very best to understand it.

  70. IanB

    I agree (I really must stop drinking) with your comment on Sharia courts and find the Judge Judy analogy quite apt, at least regarding the weight they carry if the parties refuse to accept the verdict.

  71. Although this case went on the violent threat supposedly implicit in the Biblical quotation, it needs to be stressed that a prosecution could still have been mounted without it being present – speech does not have to be threatening or inflammatory to be potentially illegal under the POA – thus its section 5, where someone just needs to feel words they consider “abusive” have caused them “distress”. It’s actually the (pathetic) NUS wimmin’s ” I’m a delicate flower, so you aren’t allowed to hurt my feelings” writ large into criminal law for the whole of society.

    The current legislation dates from the Thatcher government rather than New Labour. And it would actually seem to exist in contradiction to the 2006 Religious hatred legislation, where the Lords (bless ’em), in the teeth of Labour opposition, got in an amendment to the new law which would seem to “guarantee” freedoms the POA can prosecute over –

    Religious hatred act –
    Section 29J

    ‘Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.’

    Just removing the wretched section 5 entirely from the POA would instantly make this country much freer (and clarify just what is and what is not potentially legal and illegal). Hurting feelings should not figure in legislation supposedly addressing serious public disorder and criminal violence.

    Of course there need to be some limits on speech, but this kind of censorship is totalitarian and incompatible with a free society.

  72. Ian B, I’m with your very well stated case except the Sharia court bit, since that assumes there is some commonality between that law and English law. There is not: Sharia treats women as possessions and, regardless of whether they consent to that a court that enforces that law, that court is itself unlawful.
    What’s particularly obnoxious about this case is that the English law authorities have given an individual the power to pass judgement on citizens under both English and Sharia law.
    It’s hard to see how this can be sorted out amicably.

  73. I am happy for consenting parties to use any courts, using any legal code they agree to, to settle civil disputes, be it Islam, Christian or Klingon.

  74. IanB

    “Not sure what you mean. If to say a thing is inciting violence, how can it not be inciting violence to print and publish it? Do they not similarly effect those who listen, or read, the words?”

    Can you not see the difference between my writing ‘IanB is a thick cunt’ and screaming the same in front of a volatile mob as I wave a noose and a dagger while pointing at your home?

  75. bloke (not) in spain

    Worth remembering when you’re brandishing quotes from the bible; You’re quoting something written in C16th English (note for pendants: we mostly write in C20th English) translated from a mixture of Greek, Latin & Hebrew. It’s doubtful we share many assumptions with someone writing in English in1605 & they, in turn, shared many with those wrote the originals. So how you get anything out of any of it is going to depend more on what you’re looking for than whatever was intended.
    For instance, it doesn’t take much imagination to work out an injunction: “…nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material” could start off “Don’t go trying pass off a coat as pure lambs wool if you bulked the weave out with cheap cotton – Corporation of Ur Trading Standards Office Reg #142.” They probably weren’t being prophetic about the undesirability of nylon shirts (not to say being seen in one isn’t thunderbolt territory Ecc 3:14)

  76. Theo-

    Can you not see the difference between my writing ‘IanB is a thick cunt’ and screaming the same in front of a volatile mob as I wave a noose and a dagger while pointing at your home?

    The difference between speech and acts has already been explored in the thread and I refer you to Interested’s endorsement of my original position. This prosecution was over the words themselves, not a man leading a torch wielding mob. The words were not part of an act of criminality; just words.

    Consider this; suppose I wear a tee-shirt in the street with the slogan “Leviticus 20:13”. Should that be criminal? I would certainly say no, but I will bet you any money that if Plod realised the reference, I would be arrested. And the point shown by several others above is that, as the law stands, I certainly could be.

    B(n)IS

    Not really, the laws are the local tribal taboos of the Ancient Judeans, and it is quite clearly in the original Hebrew a prohibition on the wearing of mixed fibres.

    Supplementary Question: should it be illegal to offend adulterers with Lev 20:10?

    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

  77. @JeremyT

    I’m not sure I understand your point. If people want to voluntarily use a process why should that be a concern to anyone else?

  78. I think JeremyT is wondering out loud how “voluntary” one of the parties finds it, should she happen to be a woman.

  79. The same doubts can be raised about any human interactions, as we see with (my cliche) the feminist argument that no woman’s sexual consent is freely given under a patriarchy, hence the infamous “all sex is rape” slogan of the 1970s.

  80. It was the Lords, I think, who primarily got the “hatred” on the grounds of sexual orientation provisions in the 2008 Criminal justice and immigration act toned down from the more inclusive legislation New Labour intended –

    “The defendant must intend to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation; recklessness is not enough; and the behaviour must be threatening. So using abusive or insulting behaviour intended to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation does not constitute an offence, nor does using threatening words likely to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation”.

    Conduct or material which only stirs up ridicule or dislike, or which simply causes offence, would not meet the requisite threshold required by the Act, i.e. hatred. So, for example, the offences do not, and are not intended to extend per se to childish name calling, or the telling of jokes, or the preaching of religious doctrine, unless those activities are threatening or intended to stir up hatred.

    This is reinforced by the freedom of expression defence contained in section 29JA, which confirms that “for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening.

    “The offence is committed if a person uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material, which is threatening, if he intends thereby to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. Threatening is the operative word, not abusive or insulting”.

    – HMG guidance to the law

    I’m no lawyer, but now after studying the later legislation seems that it AMENDS the existing POA rather than contradicts it – that the (Lords/opposition supported) amendments should mean only that which effectively is “threatening” (thus sexual orientation and religion are treated differently in “public order” to racial “hatred”, where “abusive” remains a valid criteria in evidence) – meaning POA section 5 should not apply in these areas.

    Thus his honour is right (legally) when directing the preacher to use the more “tempered” Old Testament section rather than the one he did. I think we can thank the Lords and to an extent the Tories in the commons, that we have retained some freedoms over these matters, and the law currently would seem to only be properly applicable to threats etc, with guarantees in the new laws over free speech. Still, it does make reading out some texts from revered religious sources potentially a criminal offense – as this gent has discovered. Whether Labour will use the chance they may get to amend the laws into something worse, more in line with the original intentions, is one cause for concern if we end up with young Miliband in May.

  81. C of E culture is all very well, (unthreatening, undemanding, lovely buildings), but it has left us entirely unable to understand the religious, be they Christians, Muslims or whatever.

  82. I regard all religions with big, pervasive, forcefully applied secular agendas, ones which seem far more important to them than any true spirituality, as ersatz religions – actually political programmes with a God presiding as the supreme creator of societal dogmas, those being implemented by his clerical representatives on Earth.

  83. Mr Interested-Ecks

    Your sort never change. Around the world anti-semites claim not to be racist because “Jews are not a race”, virulent anti-Americans base part of their justification for their bigotry because Americans aren’t a race.

    What would you prefer to be called? Bigots? Ignorant? Inadequate? Long essays on the nature of race, to justify your views? Ridiculous.

  84. @BiG, apologies for the late response, but I find it odd you don’t find it pertinent that a judge who serves courts of a parallel legal system that is based wholly on the text of a holy book and some sacred texts, decreeing what is right and proper to hear in public from another sacred book.

  85. @Gunker

    Again, that ‘parallel legal system’ is nothing but an arbitration service for civil matters between consenting parties.

    Obviously, if in particular cases there is coercion then in those cases the parties are not consenting and the findings cannot be binding, but where there is no coercion what harm is done to anyone?

  86. @Gunker,

    If you hold a parsimonious world-view then presumably the estate agents’ ombudsman is a “parallel legal system” and it would be inappropriate for a judge to do any pro bono for it.

  87. “Presumably the estate agents’ ombudsman is a “parallel legal system” and it would be inappropriate for a judge to do any pro bono for it.”

    If the estate agents ombudsman’s guidelines said that women’s evidence had less value than that of men, and had built in biases to men over women in their rulings, guess how many High Court judges would be allowed to sit on such a panel? Regardless of whether the parties had agreed in advance that they were happy with such gender bias.

  88. @Jim,

    I can tell you from a encounter long ago with the EAO (over conflict of interest) that evidence given by estate agents is worth more than that given by their customers. Is such built-in bias (in an organisation set up by estate agents with sole aim to keep disputes out of court) a bar to judges working for it pro bono?

  89. Should religious organisations be subject to the Equalities Act? Discuss.

    This is one of those fun arguments where people end up on the opposite side to where they started. Here’s my position: in a free country, everyone has the right to join a religion (such as Islam) and to obey its strictures, morals and conventions. They also have a right to leave it, any time they like. If somebody is part of a movement that others think is bad for them, that is their lookout. A black man can join the BNP if he likes, even if most people would think he was harming himself by doing so.

    The best way to counter things you don’t like is to speak out against them; deploy rhetoric, ridicule, slogans, etc. This is where we have a problem since Progressivism restricts such crticism- despite the supposed safeguards helpfully posted by ZippGun, we all know that slagging off Mohammed and his followers is legally dangerous, and also there is considerable biased peer pressure not to, the “You’re a racist” argument.

    But if people do not have the liberty to be a muslim and have a muslim cleric adjudicate their disputes, then they do not have liberty. The job of the legal system- whatever form it takes- is to ensure that if Ayesha doesn’t want to take part in that Islamic cultural system, she can just walk away from it.

    Just for the record, I despise Islam. But I also despise Scientology; and I wouldn’t prohibit that either.

  90. @BiG: answer my question first – do you think that High Court judges would be allowed to sit on an independent adjudication panel that had institutional gender bias (given the fact that they represent the law of the land which outlaws such discrimination) if that panel was run by white christian men?

  91. @smfs – “Yes there is. Both in law and in fact. In law because it is unlikely to cause anyone distress. In fact because these laws are only applied to White people.” – they’ve been stamping down pretty hard on some Muslim lads – remember Danish embassy !

  92. Should religious organisations be subject to the Equalities Act?

    No, the law is about right. Except that the CoE should be subject to the Act if it wants to be an established religion.

  93. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “I think you need to look up the protagonist here. There’s quite the string of court appearances, some of which did involve obvious breaches of the peace. Sure, not quite lynch mobs, but some violence none the less.”

    So your response, such as it is, is to go for the childish ad hominem? I don’t care if he is a nutter or not. Protecting his rights will protect mine. When he commits violence, he should be charged with violence. Not quoting the Bible.

    So go on, explain what you think protagonist means in this context and why you think wearing a short skirt invites rape.

    “Your “blue daffodils” guy might well not be convicted of murder, more likely manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He would also probably spend rather longer inside than if he were a murderer.”

    Actually he would probably cop an insanity plea. But the bottom line remains that murder is in the mind of the murderer. The victim is largely irrelevant. If someone kills another with good intention, he does not commit murder and probably not manslaughter either.

    “Your comment on the law only being applied to white people is not deserving of a response.”

    Because you have none. These laws are only applied to White people, and more specifically, in so far as it is possible, only to White heterosexual males.

  94. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “Around the world anti-semites claim not to be racist because “Jews are not a race”, virulent anti-Americans base part of their justification for their bigotry because Americans aren’t a race.”

    Name three anti-semites who argue Jews are not a race. In Britain. And three British anti-Americans who based even a small part of their bigotry on the grounds Americans aren’t a race. You are just making it up. As usual.

  95. So Much for Subtlety

    ukliberty – “He wasn’t prosecuted for incitement…”

    It is hard to see what he was prosecuted for as the judge seems to come from the Ritchie school of “if I don’t like the result, it must be illegal” jurisprudence. Notice the judge is quite open in saying that he was not committing a public disorder offense. He was convicted to close a loop hole and prevent other people from being mean to Gays.

    “If Leviticus 20:23 is not considered threatening and abusive words that will be a licence to all and sundry from the drunkard to the violent extremist of any faith to use it as a code word without being convicted of homophobic crime,” Judge Qureshi said.

    If. Not a good word to use.

  96. It has to said that use of the term “muzzies” is a bit of a giveaway.

    “Should religious organisations be subject to the Equalities Act?”

    No. Meanwhile here in the US. the Catholics are desperate to find potential seminarians, and are advertising like mad. The Pope may need a revelation of some sort before too long.

  97. These laws are only applied to White people

    Abdul Saleem, 32, was convicted on a single charge of inciting racial hatred and was sentenced to four years.

    Exactly one of those statements describes the real world.

  98. If Leviticus 20:23 is not considered threatening and abusive words…
    Incidentally, it’s actually Leviticus 20:13. Judging by other reports, this is the Telegraph’s mistake.

  99. So Much for Subtlety

    PaulB – “Exactly one of those statements describes the real world.”

    How so precisely? Look what you have to do to be convicted under this act if you are a White heterosexual – state what Leviticus says. Accurately. He threatened no one. No one was at imminent risk of being lynched. There was no mob.

    Look what you have to do to be convicted if you are not – call for another 7-7 attack, call for Denmark to be bombed, raise money for terrorists in Iraq, accuse the Black Watch of raping Muslim women, hold an illegal rally and threaten the Danish Embassy call for the streets to run with British soldiers’ blood. You know, the usual.

    And insult John Reid to his face.

    Somehow I think this is not proof of what you think it is.

  100. Ironman – you are a terrible liar and a thoroughly strange person. If anyone here demonstrates uncontrollable anger it’s you. I merely find you amusing.

  101. To everyone else

    Yet again, FFS yet again, I did bot say Americans were a race. I said bigots and ignorant cunts try to justify their evil specious grounds that “Americans.are not a race”.
    SMFS is of course a Thick.Racist.Prick who does not merit a direct answer from decent people. From now on he becomes Mr INTERESTED-ECKS-SMFS.

  102. @BiG, I think you have your discrimination meter sensitivity dialled too high. My point was not about the “muzzies” (although I do note that yourself and Ironman seem to be the only ones throwing the term around). My point was merely that it is ironic that a person who deals in a parallel legal system based wholly on the tenets of a sacred book(s) is ruling on the acceptability or otherwise of passages in another sacred book.

  103. SMFS,

    ukliberty – “He wasn’t prosecuted for incitement…”

    It is hard to see what he was prosecuted for …

    It is hard to see if you don’t look.

    as the judge seems to come from the Ritchie school of “if I don’t like the result, it must be illegal” jurisprudence. Notice the judge is quite open in saying that he was not committing a public disorder offense. He was convicted to close a loop hole and prevent other people from being mean to Gays.

    He was convicted because the law prohibits his behaviour. That’s the point of this thread…

  104. The job of the legal system- whatever form it takes- is to ensure that if Ayesha doesn’t want to take part in that Islamic cultural system, she can just walk away from it.

    I think IanB nails it.

  105. If you look at Pat Condell’s videos on YouTube he slams Islam pretty severely numerous times, but his criticism, which is very severe, and includes a lot of ridicule, must be keeping within the UK law. He is criticising a religion he despises, not attempting to stir up violence. He has that legal right (as well as the human right on the grounds of free expression). I’m generally uncomfortable with limits on free speech being at the whim of a political class, and wish we had something like the US constitutional guarantees – however, I think if the current UK “hate” laws on sexuality and religion, applied properly, are not too unreasonable – without the amendments which were made, I think they might not be so reasonable. I don’t care much for laws based in subjective words like “hate” – the meaning should be clear, well defined – I think the UK laws on sexuality and religion are, but that’s probably more thanks to the legislation amenders, than to the New Labour government. I recall it was former Tory home secretary Lord Waddington who was one of the main movers of the protection of free speech amendment to the “hate” bill on sexual orientation.

    It should be noted that the law when it comes to race “hate” is much more inclusive than that on sexual orientation and religion. However, UK race hate law stretches the definition of race to mean nationality/country, not just ethnicity. Thus a white guy from Newcastle can be “racist” about Scots white people – well no, in truth, he can’t be, unless he also “hates” himself and fellow white Newcastle people too, whatever this law pretends. This is why Anne Robinson was investigated a while back for making a “racist” comment about the Welsh. It is this which makes the UK race hate law absurd and unreasonable – shutting down/ criminalising that which is not “racist” at all (much like the SNP’s law on “sectarian” expression is an unreasonably totalitarian one).

  106. @Zippgun

    Re Pat Condell (whom I don’t personally care for)

    ‘He is criticising a religion he despises, not attempting to stir up violence.’

    This is the entire point, which the bozo Ironman is just unable to grasp.

    Ironman (March 31, 2015 at 7:34 am) says: ‘If we can’t take issue with him without making up stuff he hasn’t said then we are pretty pathetic.’

    Then proceeds to make stuff up about the rest of us:

    Ironman (March 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm):

    ‘For that matter, I wonder when was the last time one of these discussions was had on this blog without some racist references to “muzzies”’

    The ONLY people using the term muzzies in this post are Ironman and Blokie in Germany – there are a couple of other people who quote them.

    Even if people are criticising muslims per se – and I have not done this, here, or ever – it cannot be ‘racist’ to do so, despite Ironman’s frothery, for reason explained above.

    Ironman (March 31, 2015 at 7:27 pm)

    ‘Mr Interested-Ecks

    Your sort never change. Around the world anti-semites claim not to be racist because “Jews are not a race”,’

    Yet more fabulism and invention.

    The man is a liar, plain and simple. Very simple.

  107. Look what you have to do to be convicted if you are not – call for another 7-7 attack, call for Denmark to be bombed, raise money for terrorists in Iraq, accuse the Black Watch of raping Muslim women, hold an illegal rally and threaten the Danish Embassy call for the streets to run with British soldiers’ blood.

    More fantasy. In the real world, Saleem’s crime was to shout “UK, USA, 7/7 on its way. UK you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way.” I’d like to see the free speech absolutists here argue that a man should be free to make public predictions about the course of world events, even if wrong, and even if some witnesses find them upsetting.

  108. PaulB, I’d be happy to do that. Shouting silly abuse shouldn’t be a crime, period. Harrassment and obstruction etc, yes. But not empty words.

  109. …but I think the point SMFS was making was that you have to be a lot more extreme to get arrested if you’re non-white. The impression here is that he was considered an actively linked to terrorist person, rather than just saying nasty things.

  110. …he was considered an actively linked to terrorist person…
    What does that mean? We don’t imprison people for what some unnamed person considers them to be, but for being convicted of an actual crime. In this case, the crime he was found guilty of was shouting the words I quoted.

  111. Paul, I wasn’t approving, I was simply suggesting why Plod might have taken an interest in this particular person. Explanation is not the same as justification.

  112. PaulB,

    In the real world, Saleem’s crime was to shout “UK, USA, 7/7 on its way. UK you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way.” I’d like to see the free speech absolutists here argue that a man should be free to make public predictions about the course of world events, even if wrong, and even if some witnesses find them upsetting.

    The links you helpfully provided say that Rahman was found guilty of “stirring up racial hatred” in the first trial, the jury at that trial failed to reach a verdict for him on “solicitation to murder”, he was convicted of that crime at the retrial, and the phrase “UK, USA, 7/7 on its way. UK you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way” was among a number he shouted, including “another 9/11 in Denmark, another 9/11, in Spain, in France and all over Europe,” “We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad,” and “We want to see the Mujahideen shoot down their planes the way we shoot down birds. We want to see their tanks burn in the way we burn their flags.”

    Maybe there is more to it in the judgment but it doesn’t appear to be online so we can only speculate. I’m not persuaded any or all what he shouted should be an imprisonable offence, let alone six years and three years concurrent, regardless of the number claiming to be “upset”. I also suggest “upset” or even taking offence aren’t the sole tests here, are they? It’s (a) the content of what you say, (b) the number of people making a fuss and (c) who you are (Minister of Justice Chris Grayling is unlikely to be imprisoned for offending and upsetting supporters of the rule of law and afaic he has done far more damage than Rahman and his nasty friends).

  113. What a silly mistake for me to make.

    But the judgement isn’t online. And I’m not persuaded “UK, USA, 7/7 on its way. UK you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way” and “Europe, you will pay with your blood” merits imprisonment. What actual harm did he cause or would imminently cause?

  114. “I’m not persuaded “UK, USA, 7/7 on its way. UK you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way” and “Europe, you will pay with your blood” merits imprisonment. What actual harm did he cause or would imminently cause?”

    Hmm. How many people of a similar ilk to the chap in question actually have or have attempted to cause harm to members of the UK public? I’d say a fair few actually.

    Whereas how many militant evangelical Christians have murdered or attacked gay people?

    The risk of imminent harm is not related entirely to what an individual says, it relates to the number of people in society who might listen and take him (or her) up on it. Sadly in the UK today there are plenty of people who might listen to an Abdul Saleem, and act out his opinions, while there is virtually zero people who are going to give Mike Overd a second look on the street, let alone act upon them.

  115. In other news, in Kenya some Muslims appear to have accidentally slaughtered some Christians again, probably because of Islamophobia no doubt.

  116. What actual harm did he cause or would imminently cause?
    The theory is that a country in which enthusiastic public approval of terrorist attacks is illegal is one in which terrorist attacks are less likely to happen. And a country in which supportive allusions to violence against homosexuals are illegal is one in which there’s less likelihood of violence against homosexuals.

    The theory seems plausible to me. That’s plenty of research into normative social influence that seems to support it.

  117. Must people be prosecuted per this ‘theory’ or is it enough to have the legislation? Because, given the hoo ha, surprisingly few people have been prosecuted for ‘incitement’ or direct or indirect ‘encouragement’ or ‘glorification’ of terrorism.

    There’s also the theory that prohibitions of particular kinds of expression may increase radicalism.

  118. “I have no problem with the imprisonment of people who “act out” Saleem’s opinions.”

    Does Saleem get locked up too, after the event? Or is he free to continue to incite others to violence as long as his hands are free of blood?

    How many actual people have to be slaughtered on the street a la Fusilier Rigby before you accept there might be a problem with allowing people like Saleem to say what they like?

  119. PaulB-

    Assuming we accept the correlation, you have the question of cause and effect. You also have the third variable problem.

    Cause and effect: countries where there are low levels of antagonism towards (e.g. homosexuals in this case) are more likely to have protective speech legislation; in a country where there are high levels of antagonism, they probably will not pass legislation.

    Third variable: such legislation is characteristic of western countries with generally low levels of this sort of violence in general.

  120. Jim,

    Does Saleem get locked up too, after the event? Or is he free to continue to incite others to violence as long as his hands are free of blood?

    How many actual people have to be slaughtered on the street a la Fusilier Rigby before you accept there might be a problem with allowing people like Saleem to say what they like?

    Well there’s a few things there. First, none of us, not even the security services, have any idea about the extent of the influence of extremist speech on terrorists – what proportion of ‘blame’ can be attributed to it, what proportion of people will act after they hear it. Second, none of us have any idea about the extent of the trade-offs of prohibiting such speech – as I said, there is a ‘theory’ that it could increase radicalism, which would be counterproductive. And it’s interesting that the media is permitted to breathlessly report such speech, if we don’t want people to hear it. Third, none of us have any idea whether any benefits of these criminal offences are worth the costs – and there may well be another act of terrorism in the UK despite the actions of the authorities. So we are essentially arguing from faith-based positions.

    But I think it’s wonderful that the good people of this parish are coming around to my notion that as well as locking up the criminal we ought to consider doing something about the circumstances that may have been an influence. Previously I have been criticised on the grounds that this approach ‘denies agency’ and waters down the blame. Now I’m reading that the circumstances do have an effect after all.

    So yes, by all means let us look at all the circumstances.

    There are the speakers and placard-bearers with their nasty words, of whom we have only locked up around 20 or so, which seems a low number given their total numbers, the widely drawn laws, the fuss and the “research into normative social influence” (incidentally, members of ‘proscribed organisations’ haven’t been prosecuted for being members, so I wonder about the point of that particular offence too). And of course they are given lots of publicity by the media – which is what they want.

    There is ‘vulnerability’ to that messaging because of alienation and under-achievement (education and work), which policy seems to have made worse, not better.

    There was the Government’s appointment of radical Islamists, whose political narrative, expressed grievances and end game were similar to those of terrorists, to Preventing Extremism Together working groups. We paid them to further their agendas…

    There was the Prevent strategy v1, about which the Communities and Local Government Committee concluded, “The single focus on Muslims in Prevent has been unhelpful. We conclude that any programme which focuses solely on one section of a community is stigmatising, potentially alienating, and fails to address the fact that that no section of a population exists in isolation from others.” Or as Douglas Murray summed it up, “to be remembered as a textbook example of how to alienate absolutely everybody.”

    There are the security services, who may have influenced Adebolajo (one of Rigby’s murderers) the wrong way in their attempts to recruit or ‘turn’ him and some others (he was a nasty piece of work anyway but we didn’t need to make it worse), but the public isn’t permitted to know whether or not the security services tried to recruit Adebolajo and what were the results.

    Probably some more but those immediately spring to mind.

    So yes, let us consider all the circumstances and lock up everyone involved.

  121. “The single focus on Muslims in Prevent has been unhelpful. We conclude that any programme which focuses solely on one section of a community is stigmatising, potentially alienating, and fails to address the fact that that no section of a population exists in isolation from others.”

    Yes, because there’s so many terrorists from all the other religions we have in the UK these days. You can’t move for Shintoists threatening to blow up the Tube, or Zoroastrians beheading people. It really is totally unfair to concentrate on Muslims.

  122. Jim, there is a strategy, X by which you intend to achieve some objective. The ‘fairness’ of X aside, is X a good strategy if it does not achieve its objective, indeed seems to do the opposite?

  123. @ukliberty: so why is it ‘stigmatising’ to suggest some percentage of Muslims are terrorists (when they are), but not stigmatising to suggest to all the other religions that their adherents could be terrorists too, when none of them actually are? If I was a UK Hindu I’d be a bit p*ssed off if I had some government body telling me to watch out for signs my friends and family were planning terrorist atrocities.

  124. The committee didn’t claim it is “stigmatising” to suggest “some percentage” of Muslims are terrorists. The strategy was perceived as stigmatising because of the perception (held not just by Muslims) that it was treating all Muslims as at-risk of becoming extremists or terrorists, iow branding them all as potential terrorists.

    But you didn’t answer my question, because you know full well you would refine or drop a strategy if it did the opposite of what you intended. Well, Prevent v1 did the opposite of what it was supposed to do.

  125. “But you didn’t answer my question, because you know full well you would refine or drop a strategy if it did the opposite of what you intended. Well, Prevent v1 did the opposite of what it was supposed to do.”

    Mainly because Muslims don’t want to accept that they are part of the problem. Terrorism is arising in the UK in the Muslim section of society. Not the Jewish section, or the Hindu one, or the Christian one, or the Sikh one. Thus whatever strategy you draw up to counter extremist views, it by definition is going to have to focus on where the problem is – the Muslim community. And if they scream and shout that such action is ‘stigmatising’ then hard luck. Clean out your own stable, sort the problem, then you can complain about stigmatisation.

    But any anti-terrorism strategy that basically tars all religions alike is most definitely unfair stigmatisation IMO.

  126. Muslims don’t want to accept that they are part of the problem.

    There’s yer stigmatisation. If you don’t accept/understand that is counterproductive (quite aside from its truth or falsity) then you too are part of the problem. Thankfully TPTB have rowed back from that position.

    Interesting you mentioned Sikhs by the way as “Britain’s largest representative body of Sikhs” wrote to that committee to say, among other things, that “The government’s engagement with religious communities is badly skewed by over-focussing on Islamic extremism.”

    Basically the consensus gets it and TPTB changed the strategy and you don’t get it and if you were in charge you would be making things worse.

  127. “Basically the consensus gets it and TPTB changed the strategy and you don’t get it and if you were in charge you would be making things worse.”

    Yes because there’s been so much less Islamic extremism lately hasn’t there? There’s not a stream of UK born and bred Muslims heading off to Syria and Iraq to join IS at all, not even one little bit.

    Its people like you who are the problem for failing to call a spade a spade. The problem is Islam, and pretending otherwise, and being all touchy-feely and ‘inclusive’ is not addressing the issue one iota.

  128. Yes because there’s been so much less Islamic extremism lately hasn’t there? There’s not a stream of UK born and bred Muslims heading off to Syria and Iraq to join IS at all, not even one little bit.

    Possibly in part because of Prevent strategy v1…

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