And Justice for all………?
While the tabloid media is shrieking it’s disgust from the front pages with regards to the ‘Muslim Poppy Burners’ £50 fine, and the right wing reactionaries are jerking their knees with rage. EDL ‘leader’ Guramit Singh walked free, without charge after being cleared of intentionally causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress. He was arrested on December 11th, 2010 at the EDL’s Peterborough demo after a complaint about a speech he gave there. If you haven’t had the pleasure here’s a snippet:
I’m going to tell you precisely right now what threat of Islam is. Muhammad and Islam is not a religion… Muhammad was a paedophilic pirate… Islam, in not just this country but around the world, has been using their disgusting threat, their threat has been going on for 1400 years, “if you do not bow before Muhammad and his so-called Allah, you are to be beheaded”… Hitler had fuck all on Muhammad.
The Koran and the Hadiths is written in Arabic. Muslims are not allowed to be taught Arabic in the mosque. Muslims are told, “do not question what your Imam says”, although they don’t even know what the Imam’s saying, because the Imam’s just a “Allah, fuck it”. Stick your Allah up your arse, you cunt. Fuck em, fuck em, fuck em. I’m not being funny, fuck em. I may get arrested for this shit, but fuck em, fuck em, I’m not having it, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em.
…The UAF, the counter-protestors, the members of the Islamic community: English Defence League 2011, we’re coming to a street near you. We ain’t even fucking started yet.
Standard EDL fare really. Mention of paedophilia? Check. Beheading for infidels? Check. Comparison to Hitler? Check. But let’s get this straight. His message to the assembled crowd and any passers by regarding Muslims is “fuck ‘em”. Ten times no less. An additional ‘fuck’, a ‘fucking’, one ‘arse’, one ‘shit’ and he dropped the C-bomb for good measure. On a PA system. Also, is it just me or does the closing salvo sound like a threat?
Let’s look at the poppy burning incident without rage tinted glasses. There were between 30 – 50 MAC members depending on the source. There were a handful of signs with anti-war/anti-military slogans such as ‘British Soldiers: Terrorists’, ‘Hands off Muslim lands’ and pro-Islam ones like ‘Islam will dominate’ and ‘There is no God but Allah’. There were also some tasteless and provocative chants of ‘British Soldiers Burn in Hell’ and ‘Mass Murderers’. As their piece de resistance they proceeded to burn two plastic poppies. As one of them stated: “We wanted to upset people and we wanted them to hurt.”
They wanted to offend people, they wanted attention and they got exactly what they wanted. Job done. The offenders were arrested and processed through the justice system. The fine was for a “calculated and deliberate insult to the war dead and everyone who mourns them” according to reports from the court. I haven’t seen what the actual charge is, presumably some form of Public Order Offence. We can argue about inconsistent sentencing, but isn’t this about right? It was disrespectful, hateful, and inflammatory but what exactly should have happened? The people angriest at this would probably support deportation, a prison sentence or if you look at EDL facebook pages gruesome torture and a slow, painful death. But on what grounds? Treason? This crime still exists and is punishable with life imprisonment. I’m sure this would be just about acceptable for the EDL/BNP lot. They would still prefer the 19th century punishment of hanging, disemboweling, beheading and quartering. No one has been prosecuted for treason since the infamous William ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ Joyce who was executed in 1946. This includes crimes during the ‘troubles’ which were prosecuted as murder or other crimes. In 2005 however the government considered bringing the charge back into practice for Islamic clerics that had been condoning terrorism and the actions of insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the time Lord Carlile QC, the governments reviewer of anti-terror laws said:
“I don’t think there is a lawyer still alive and working who has ever appeared in any part of a treason case,” the Liberal Democrat peer told BBC News. Treason usually applied to wars between nations, he said. Lord Carlile argued existing laws could be used, such as charges of solicitation or incitement to murder, commonly seen in contract killing cases.
This is exactly what happened in 2006 when Abu Hamza was charged with inciting murder under the Terrorism Act 2000, and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. No matter how offensive the fuckwittery of the MAC, it’s not inciting murder (unless you count the homicidal sentiments directed towards them). I’m going to cut to the chase. The ill-feeling towards the poppy burners has as much to do with their faith and ethnicity as their actions. It’s racism wrapped up in nationalism. The disrespecting of people who have died in wars is one thing, but the fact that it may be immigrants or sons of immigrants doing it is what’s sending the frothing into overdrive. The burning of a symbol such as the poppy is too much for people who’s national pride is derived in a large part from imperialism and military conquests. Not being one who shares in this pride, whilst I appreciate the symbolism, to me they just incinerated some flimsy plastic flowers. It was a cheap publicity stunt that should have been denied any sort of acknowledgement. For me, Singh’s abusive tirade was the more serious incident. It was much closer to the hate speech of Abu Hamza than the actions of MAC. What if something had gone horribly wrong in Peterborough that day? Would he and the EDL be held responsible? Would Singh be facing a lengthy period behind bars?
Tommy Robinson said: “We are pleased the charges were dropped – there was nothing in them.”