It was announced yesterday that the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims intended to consult the organisations MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) and ‘Hope not Hate’ with the goal of creating a ‘working definition’ of ‘Islamophobia.’ Presumably this is the first step towards a law prohibiting it.
This represents another landmark in Britain and Europe’s internalisation of Islamic special pleading and rejection of traditional European values of freedom of speech and thought and the freedom to ridicule and satirise religion – freedoms long fought and hard won.
The legal situation concerning freedom of speech as it stands is a complicated one. The law introduced in 2006 regarding ‘incitement to racial and religious hatred’ describes below what constitutes religious hatred:
Meaning of “religious hatred”
‘In this Part “religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.’
The law also contains a clarification which seems to protect the freedom to criticise religion:
“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”
These excerpts seem to limit the scope of the law to the hatred of people, not ideology, and protects citizens’ rights to attack ideologies, clearly separating it from attacks on people. This echoes the assertion made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders that he is opposed not to Muslims, but to Islam. It is worth remembering that Wilders was banned from entering the UK in 2009, due to allegedly posing ‘a threat to national security, public order or the safety of UK citizens,’ although after an appeal the decision was overturned.
However, it is in the vagueness of the following excerpt, that, I believe is the cause of our present problems:
Use of words or behaviour or display of written material
(1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.
The first problem is the use of the word ‘threatening.’ In our current climate of ‘micro-aggressions’, expressions of conservative opinions are often described as a form of violence.
The second problem is the use of the words ‘if he intends to thereby stir up religious hatred.’
Two recent developments have lowered the standard of evidence relating to intent to an extremely worrying degree.
The first is the standard of evidence for pursuing a hate speech conviction described by police forces such as the Cheshire police who describe it thus: ‘Hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.’ So, it is the perception by a second or third party which forms the basis of intent, not the content of the words expressed or the context in which they were said.
The second is the ‘Count Dankula’ ‘Nazi pug’ case which concerned a video in which the phrase “Gas the Jews” was used, although it was clear that no endorsement from the accused of anti-Semitism took place in the Youtube video in question. In any case, the context was ignored and a hate speech conviction was secured. Consider these developments with a clumsy ‘anti-Islamophobia’ law piled on top and the prospect of the British living under the yoke of an Islamic blasphemy law begins to take form.
In any case, why, when we already have a law regarding incitement to religious hatred, albeit one that is inspired by emotional incontinence, a lack of national maturity and a chilling self-righteous intolerance, does Islam need a special law to protect its sensitivities? Some would argue it is because Muslims are a beleaguered, vulnerable minority facing terrible discrimination and thus need a special law to protect them. To back up this argument, the much-discussed but dubious ‘hate crime’ spike which supposedly occurred in the wake of the Brexit vote is often cited.
This requires two rebuttals. The first is to challenge the assertion that Muslims are an especially vulnerable minority. It would be unrealistic to suggest that no Muslims face any kind of abuse and discrimination in Britain in 2018. However, it is certainly highly questionable whether they suffer any more than any other group, especially in Britain, where the BBC, the British state school system, and the majority of the mainstream media bend over backwards to accommodate Islam.
With regards to the oft-cited ‘hate crime epidemic’ it is not widely known how this is calculated. As Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator pointed out back in 2016, the standards of evidence in the reporting of ‘hate crime’ are brought into serious doubt by the fact that a number of these incidents are reported through the website ‘True Vision’ which requires no evidence and can be used anonymously:
‘Many of these incidents (the police can’t at the moment say how many) were reported through True Vision, a police-funded website that allows anyone anywhere to report something they either experienced or witnessed, anonymously if they like. No evidence is needed. Everything is instantly logged as a hate incident. This inevitably presents a warped view of reality.’ http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/the-real-hate-crime-scandal/
When these two rebuttals are considered alongside the assertions made by MPs, such as the alleged conservative Anne Soubry, that this soar in ‘hate crime’ necessitates the creation of a definition of Islamophobia, it can either mean that the British political establishment is myopically unwilling to consider the breadth of the evidence on this issue, or, as I suspect, is so terrified of a growing Muslim community in Britain, one which will form an influential voting bloc in years to come, that special pleading on behalf of one minority at the expense of the freedoms of the majority are a price worth paying for a quiet life.
This must be opposed. Such a law would further deprive British citizens of their birth right: the freedom to express their opinions, without which true liberty is impossible. It would also undermine the ability of the British public to challenge and encourage the reform of Islam, which, in its current state is clearly incompatible with a free, liberal democracy. Silencing Islam’s critics and putting the power to punish its critics in the hands of the Muslim population, will lead to a tyranny of a minority over the British people. A silenced and intimidated non-Muslim majority will likely lead to the elevation of Islam over all other ideologies and religions, and barbarities such as FGM, Sharia Courts, honour killings and anti-Semitism will become more commonplace and unchallenged as a result.
As futile as writing to your MP and the PM directly may seem, if it is done in sufficient numbers it may serve to remind the treacherous Conservative party that there is an even bigger voting bloc, called ‘the majority of the British people,’ which will be increasingly unwilling to vote for an Islamophilic, cowardly and freedom-hating political party which is willing to undermine the sacred liberties which have made this country one of the most civilised and free the world has ever known in the pursuit of political expedience.
Write to the Prime Minister: https://email.number10.gov.uk/