Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Islam4UK Ban

I don’t know all of the in’s and out’s about the group Islam4UK but from what I have seen and read in the news their agenda is not one I agree with, and should they ever have any real influence they would have me very worried.

You may not think me right about this post, nor will this win me any new friends but I am more worried by the ban than what they have to say. So far as I know, the members of this group have not been convicted of any terrorist crimes. And so banning them in the UK leaves me with an uneasy feeling. Perhaps I have missed a crucial detail here, but I am not seeing it.

If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must recognise that the bedrock of our society is rooted in our freedoms and freedom of speech is one of those, perhaps even the most important. Those people who hate our way of life, including Islam4UK are showing us up as hypocritical for purporting to defend freedom of speech then banning the messages that we don’t want to hear.

If Islam4UK is telling lies that prosecute them for libel or slander and get a court injunction silencing them; if they are engaged in acts conspiring and plotting murder then arrest them on terrorism charges, and then ban them then. I no more want to see or hear from them than I assume my readers do, but hearing what we don’t want to hear is the price we must pay for free speech, the alternatives to having free speech can be witnessed around the world today and many times over in history books and journals and they carry a much, much, higher price to ordinary, everyday people than having to listen to unpleasant things. For the genuinely crazed and loony’s there are already laws to shut them up and if necessary remove them from society.

The government seems to have put all parties concerned into a corner here whereby it [seemingly] has no recourse on criminal grounds to press charges, nor has to bring a suit in civil court which would silence them and so has decided that it should therefore censor what it finds distasteful. This is yet more dangerous ground for the state to be seizing over its citizens and lends an unneeded precedent in future to other acts of censorship.

Remember also, that free speech works both ways – those who use it to provoke and avail themselves of such a freedom, like Islam4UK should also be aware and prepared to hear what others think of them.

3 comments:

Corrugated Soundbite said...

You're bang on the money.

It always snowballs. I'd be prepared to assume much of the Daily Mail commentariat are all over this, as intended. But the definition of "extremist" is already loosening. I've heard recent rumblings of libertarians being referred to as extremist. The word is going to be rendered completely useless one day, giving genuine, aggressive extremists (as opposed to tent wearing fruitcakes) a safer place to hide.

The Boiling Frog said...

Agreed.

Choudary seems less a hate preacher than just a publicity-seeking idiot. His proposed march through Wootton Bassett is a case in point. He knew full well it would never happen because; a) the police would never allow it under the public order act and b) he would greeted by a rather lively welcoming committee. But it did its job and gained Choudary more coverage. He knows what ‘Daily Mail’ buttons to press and he’s certainly pressing them with gusto.

Besides the freedom of speech question, banning is likely to be counter-productive; it makes him a martyr and gives him a status and further publicity that he does not merit. He only appeals to a very low number of other publicity-seeking idiots.

But the bar has been set, and inevitably there will be pressure to lower it in order to ban other groups, the obvious question now is who’ll be next…?

dazmando said...

Great Post

Free speech does work both ways and I agree with you that they should not of ben banned just because we dont like what they say see my blog on this here

http://bracknellblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/is-banning-islam4uk-right.html