Saturday, November 11, 2006

UK Ministers want to rewrite thought speech laws.

UK: BNP leader Nick Griffin was found not guilty of inciting racial hatred in a trial this week and some of the thought police supporters are up in arms about it.

Ministers are considering whether race hate laws should be revised after BNP leader Nick Griffin was cleared of charges relating to speeches he made. A jury decided speeches by Mr Griffin and party activist Mark Collett in 2004 had not incited racial hatred. Home Secretary John Reid said he would consult ministers after Gordon Brown said current laws may need reviewing. Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said Muslims were offended and must be sure that the law would protect them. But Lib Dem MP Evan Harris said tighter laws could create "extremist martyrs". Mr Griffin, 46 and from Powys, had denied at a retrial two charges of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred .
Thought speech laws are the worst and the Lib Dem is correct, every time they have tried to get Griffin, the BNP's profile gets larger and more members. If you can't win the debate against the BNP of all groups without having to resort to measures like this, you have a huge problem. The acquittal of Griffin at the same time comes with the conviction of Mizanur Rahman where Laura Smith of the Comment Guardian says it shows a double standard.
A man was yesterday convicted of inciting racial hatred after calling for the killing of British troops during a protest against cartoons held to be offensive to Islam. At a February rally outside the Danish embassy in London, Mizanur Rahman, 23, had said soldiers should be brought back from Iraq in body bags, and also called for September 11-style terrorist attacks against Europe. A jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour with intent to stir racial hatred. Jurors were deadlocked on a second charge of inciting murder. The crown indicated it would seek a retrial.
Smith comes to this conclusion.
In the speeches, they launched into tirades against Muslims and made slurs against the murdered black student Stephen Lawrence. Griffin told the throng that Islam was a "wicked, vicious faith" and said that Muslims were turning Britain into a "multi-racial hell hole", while Collett called asylum seekers "cockroaches" and told the gathering, "Let's show these ethnics the door in 2004." Both were cleared of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred. The case of 23-year-old Mizanur Rahman had a quite different outcome. At a rally outside the Danish embassy in London in February, Rahman had said soldiers should be brought back from Iraq in body bags and called for September 11-style terrorist attacks against Europe. He carried placards with the slogans "annihilate those who insult Islam" and "behead those who insult Islam". He was found guilty at the Old Bailey of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to stir racial hatred. During the trial, Rahman apologised, saying: "I didn't think about what I was saying." His lawyer compared his remarks to those made from soapboxes at Speaker's Corner. By contrast, neither Griffin or Collett showed remorse for their words after their trial concluded. Griffin said he was simply "speaking the truth". Lawyers for the two men successfully argued in court that since their comments were predominantly against Muslims, who were not a racial group, they could not be considered as inciting racial hatred. By contrast, Rahman was apparently found guilty on precisely the opposite conclusion: that the people "who insult Islam", presumably non-Muslims, could be considered a racial group.
Given the laws in the UK, there is a big difference between calling for the murder of British Soldiers and demanding the beheading of those who insult Islam and Griffin just talking a bunch of crap. Guardian commentators also didn't kindly to this simplistic reason of the piece.
steerpike77 Comment No. 291265 This is bizarre. Do Guardian commissioning editors and subs actually encourage intellectually challenged members of minority groups to post here so that others can jeer at their manifest stupidity?

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