Sunday, March 11, 2018

UK: Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

Why you shouldn’t be cheering the jailing of Britain First’s leaders.

Is it a crime now to be hostile to the Muslim faith? Reading some of the media reporting of the jailing yesterday of Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding for religiously aggravated harassment, it would seem so. Fransen and Golding were sentenced to 36 weeks and 18 weeks respectively at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court for a leafleting and online-video campaign in which, among other things, they yelled at Muslims going about their daily business in Kent, wrongly accused some people of being suspects in a Kent gang-rape case involving Muslim migrants, and caused distress to young people, young Muslims, who witnessed their behaviour. Horrible. Media reports inform us that they have now been imprisoned because, in the words of the judge, ‘they “demonstrated hostility” to Muslims and the Muslim faith’.

Demonstrated hostility to the Muslim faith? Our response to that should be: so what? In a free country, you should be perfectly at liberty to ‘demonstrate hostility’ to the Muslim faith. And any other religion, or creed, or god, or ideology. Indeed, the right not to believe, the right to blaspheme, the right to ‘demonstrate hostility’ to religion, are hard-won liberties. People died for this. The fact that the media this morning – including the Telegraph, the Guardian and the BBC – are all using the exact same formulation of ‘demonstrated hostility to Muslims and the Muslim faith’ to describe why Fransen and Golding are going to jail, and the fact that this isn’t ringing any alarm bells in public discussion, is a terrifying indicator of how thoroughly we now accept that people’s views on religion ought to be a matter for state control and possibly state repression.

The judge’s actual words were that Fransen and Golding had ‘demonstrated hostility’ to ‘people of the Muslim faith’ in their harassing, obsessive campaign around that Kent rape case. That is, to Muslims. But it is not surprising in the least that the media have reported this as ‘hostility to the Muslim faith’, nor that much of the media think it is acceptable to punish people for demonstrating such hostility, because the trial absolutely was concerned with Fransen’s and Golding’s views on Islam. That is clear from the fact that they were convicted of ‘religiously aggravated harassment’. That is, they weren’t merely punished for harassing people. They were also punished for what they were thinking as they harassed these people, in essence for what they believe: that Islam is bad and Muslims are dangerous. They weren’t only punished for what they did but also for what they thought. There’s a word for that: thoughtcrime.



Anonymous said...

Great Britain is sinking to a further low.

Bird of Paradise said...

The sound they hear in London is the sound Of Winston Chruchill,Admiral Nelson and King Richard the Lionheart spinning in their graves