Six held over suspected Qur’an burning


The Guardian reported yesterday …

Police in Gateshead have arrested six people on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after a video appearing to show Qur’ans being burned appeared on the internet.

Officers from Northumbria police detained two men on 15 September and four more yesterday, a force spokesman said. All six have been bailed pending further inquiries.

“The arrests followed the burning of what are believed to have been two Qur’ans in Gateshead on 11 September,” the spokesman said. “The incident was recorded and a video placed on the internet.”

In a video posted on YouTube, six young men in hooded tops and scarves can be seen pouring petrol on a book and setting it alight, before burning another.

On the video, which appeared to have been filmed behind a pub, they cheer as the first book bursts into flames.

Northumbria police said the men were not arrested for watching or distributing the video, but on suspicion of burning the Qur’an.

OK, there are a couple of important points that come out of this …

  1. Since when has Islam been a race? These guys were arrested for inciting racial hatred!!! … WTF … Islam is a belief system, anybody of any race on the planet can join, so race has nothing to do with it.
  2. Since when is destroying your own personal property on private land anything to do with the police? … Its paper and ink … period.

So when should the police get involved? The answer is  …

  • If they break into a local Mosque or even private property and had stolen somebody else’s copy to burn … theft …
  • If they stood outside a Mosque or private home of a believer chanting obscene insults … breach of the peace …
  • If they simply held a demonstration in which they issued death threats to all Muslims, or called for acts of violence against Muslims
  • etc…

But none of that happened, they simply put flame to their own personal copy of a book. So, in this case the nutters are the police who appear to be getting into stuff that is outside their domain. If the book that had been burnt was the Bible, or even some random bit of fiction, would they have bothered? Of course not, so what makes Islam special?  The answer is that Islamic fanatics take offense to such stuff and use it to justify violence, so apparently we need to treat them as a special case.

The problem with this is that it breaches some very basic human rights … freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Many might indeed view what happened as nothing more than a bunch of yobs doing their stuff, and so feel that it was an appropriate response, but if those same people then found themselves under arrest when they choose of criticize something they did not believe in, they might begin to see things differently.

As a society we have a choice …

either we cater to the whims of fundamentalists,  or we embrace fundamental rights … we can’t do both.

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