Posts Tagged ‘Public Order Act’

Some Are More Equal

May 26, 2013

In the wake of the brutal murder of a British soldier by Islamic fanatics in London, it is good to learn that British law enforcement agencies are cracking down, on “racist”, “anti-religious remark”s made on Facebook and Twitter. As the Daily Mail reports,

A 22-year-old man has been charged on suspicion of making malicious comments on Facebook following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

Benjamin Flatters, from Lincoln, was arrested last night after complaints were made to Lincolnshire Police about comments made on Facebook, which were allegedly of a racist or anti-religious nature.

He was charged with an offence of malicious communications this afternoon in relation to the comments, a Lincolnshire Police spokesman said.

A second man was visited by officers and warned about his activity on social media, the spokesman added.

It comes after 25-year-old Drummer Rigby was brutally murdered on a street in Woolwich, south east London, on Wednesday.

The father-of-one, from Manchester, had fought in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Flatters has been remanded in police custody and will appear before magistrates in Lincoln tomorrow.

The charge comes after two men were earlier released on bail following their arrest for making alleged offensive comments on Twitter about the murder.

Complaints were made to Avon and Somerset Police about remarks that appeared on the social networking website, which were allegedly of a racist or anti-religious nature.

A 23-year-old and a 22-year-old, both from Bristol, were held under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred.

Detective Inspector Ed Yaxley, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: ‘On Wednesday evening, we were contacted by people concerned about comments made on social media accounts.

‘We began inquiries into the comments and at around 3.20am two men, aged 23 and 22, were detained at two addresses in Bristol.

‘The men were arrested under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred. Our inquiries into these comments continue.

‘These comments were directed against a section of our community. Comments such as these are completely unacceptable and only cause more harm to our community in Bristol.

‘People should stop and think about what they say on social media before making statements as the consequences could be serious.’

Police confirmed the two men were later released on bail pending further inquiries.

 

If the British authorities are really interested in stopping the inciting of racial or religious hatred, perhaps they should begin monitoring what is being preached in British mosques. I am certain that the men who committed the atrocity against Lee Rigby did not just decide to commit murder for no particular reason, nor did they research Islamic scripture on their own and decide that killing infidels was the right thing to do. Someone with some religious authority taught them. In fact, according to the Telegraph, one of the men, Michael Adebowale was a convert to Islam. His mother feared that he was becoming too radical so she sent him to a mosque for religious instruction in his new faith.

Michael Adebowale, the 22-year-old son of a Christian probation officer and a member of staff at the Nigerian High Commission, was filmed holding a bloodied cleaver in his hand after Drummer Lee Rigby was butchered in a London street.

Friends said he had been a “lovely boy” but became involved in some “serious trouble” as a teenager and then turned to Islam. He started mixing with some “bad people” and became increasingly extreme in his views.

His mother Juliet Obasuyi, a 43-year-old probation officer, went to her friend and neighbour, a 62-year-old security officer, for help about nine months ago after her son dropped out of university.

She told him: “Michael is not listening any more. His older sister is a good Christian with a degree but Michael is rebelling as he has no father figure, dropping out of university and handing out leaflets in Woolwich town centre.

“He is from a strong Christian family but he is turning to Islam and turning against the family. He is preaching in the streets. He needs spiritual guidance before he radicalises himself.”

His mother was advised by a neighbour to take him to the head of the Woolwich mosque for spiritual guidance. He was converted to Islam by the head Imam, and taken for weeks of “further training” at a centre near Cambridge.

When he returned, however, he was even more “radicalised” and his mother could no longer “get through to him”. A spokesman for the mosque said they did not know if he attended or been converted there.

What exactly was Michael Adelbowale taught during those weeks of further training? Will there be any sort of investigation into whether or not imams at British mosques are preaching hatred against the infidel? Will the imams be arrested and the mosques closed if this proves to be the case? Or, do the laws against inciting hatred only apply to dhimmis and not to Muslims? Are all the people in the United Kingdom equal, but Muslims more equal than others?

 

 

 

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Rowan Atkinson and Free Speech

October 19, 2012

I really enjoy watching  British actor Rowan Atkinson‘s two signature characters, Mr. Bean and Blackadder, but now Mr Atkinson has given me another reason to like him. He, along with some others, is campaigning against a British law which outlaws insulting words and behavior. I found the story in the Mail Online.

Rowan Atkinson is demanding a change in the law to halt the ‘creeping culture of censoriousness’ which has seen the arrest of a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology and even a student making a joke.

The Blackadder and Mr Bean star criticised the ‘new intolerance’ behind controversial legislation which outlaws ‘insulting words and behaviour’.

Launching a fight for part of the Public Order Act to be repealed, he said it was having a ‘chilling effect on free expression and free protest’.

He went on: ‘The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.’

Campaigners say the Public Order Act is being abused by over-zealous police and prosecutors. Section 5 of the 1986 Act outlaws threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour, but what constitutes ‘insulting’ is unclear and has resulted in a string of controversial arrests.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested under the legislation for peacefully holding a placard reading ‘Scientology is a dangerous cult’, on the grounds that it might insult followers of the movement.

Gay rights campaigners from the group Outrage! were arrested under the Act when they protested against the Islamist fundamentalist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was calling for the killing of gays, Jews and unchaste women.’

He added: ‘The law should not be aiding and abetting the new intolerance.’

Mr Atkinson was joined by Lord Dear, former chief constable of West Midlands Police, who plans to lay down a Parliamentary amendment to delete the word ‘insulting’ from the Act.

Lord Dear said: ‘Section 5 wrongly brings the criminal law – and the police who must enforce it – into the realm of debate and dissent.’

Former shadow home secretary David Davis, a leading campaigner for civil liberties, said: ‘The simple truth is that in a free society, there is no right not to be offended.

‘For centuries, freedom of speech has been a vital part of British life, and repealing this law will reinstate that right.’

The campaign is backed by unlikely bedfellows The Christian Alliance and The National Secular Society, as well as Big Brother Watch, The Freedom Association and The Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Quite right, The right of free speech and the supposed right to not be offended are completely incompatible. If we are only free to say things which offend no one, than we don’t have freedom of speech at all.

The real problem with such laws is that insulting words and behavior are really in the mind of the one insulted and are therefore subjective, which makes it almost impossible to enforce such laws objectively and even-handedly. Anyone can claim offense at anything anyone else has said or done and there is no way to know to what extent they really are offended. Enforcement of such speech codes, therefore has to be somewhat arbitrary with unpopular or politically incorrect persons and causes subject to harassment. I note that the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir was not disturbed.

 


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