Friday, January 18, 2008

An arresting email

Lionheart a British blogger by the name of Paul Ray has received an email from Hate Crime officer Ian Holden of Bedfordshire Police, it read: 'The offence that I need to arrest you for is 'Stir up Racial Hatred by displaying written material' contrary to sections 18(1) and 27(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.

'You will be arrested on SUSPICION of the offence. You would only be charged following a full investigation based on all the relevant facts and CPS consent.

'Paul I will see you on the 19/02/08 when I will tell you everything that you need to know.

'Due to being out of the office for six weeks I will not have access to my email as of tomorrow 04/01/08.'

...OK, so read his blog . Is it very different from Jihad Watch or Mosque Watch ? Oh, it is written by a British blogger not an American. The Americans have the rights to freedom of expression and speech. Here in the UK the Police are touchy about what bloggers write on their blogs and will use various legislation to make things difficult.

The problem I have is this, the Police are talking about racial hatred. I have strong views on racism yet Paul is blogging about Islam which is a religion not a race. Muslims belong to many different races and Paul's criticism is of their religion not their ethnic background. It is healthy to have discussion about religion in the UK and to explore the reality of living in our multicultural society. People can feel as though they feel like an alien in their home town . This is not racism but how people identify with their neighbours.

People can build feelings up to more than they are worth. They can make judgements on people they do not know. They can judge other people by their dress, religion or skin colour. That is ignorance and by allowing freedom of expression with free speech this ignorance can be driven away. To arrest someone for being critical of Islam is not helping the situation and by calling his writing racist is wrong.

I think it is best for Paul to stay away but it is bad that he has been driven away by his neighbours and his local Police force, whose wages are paid by local council tax payers.

Hate crimes are evil but not being allowed to write freely is oppression in what could very quickly become a Police state. What is worse, a Police state or an Islamist state? Both, there is very little difference between a powerful constabulary and a Taliban ruling under Sharia law.
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