I have no love for the BNP. Its strength is an indication of the wholesale abdication of responsibility on the part of the mainstream British parties, none of which seem able to discuss the jihad threat to Britain in any useful manner. (Yes, my British friends, the same thing is true of the mainstream parties in the United States.)
This case shows just how out-of-focus the British approach to the jihad threat really is. Nick Griffin calls Islam a “a wicked, vicious faith,” and is charged with race hate. What race is Islam? It is a religious faith and a political ideology, of course, not a race at all, but at the same time the British authorities’ classification of Griffin’s offense is understandable. After all, most Muslims in Britain are from central Asia, and thus it has become illegal to discuss the elements of an ideology that is held by a large number of non-white people.
But this is absurd in a number of ways. For one thing, if Nick Griffin had said what he said about Islam to Abu Abdullah, a white British convert to Islam, would his offense still be “race hate”? And if Britain is now going to criminalize criticism of an ideology, does that mean that it will soon be illegal in Britain to call Nazism a wicked, vicious” political ideology? Does the religious content of an ideology exempt it from criticism, such that if Adolf Hitler had declared himself a prophet and Mein Kampf a divine revelation, it would be illegal to criticize him? Or if Nazism had not been held by Germans but by Pakistanis, it would be illegal to criticize it?
“Race-hate laws to be changed after BNP case fails,” by Andrew Norfolk and Greg Hurst in the TimesOnline, with thanks to Fjordman:
NEW laws to clamp down on racism are being prepared by the Government after the leader of the far-right British National Party was cleared of stirring up racial hatred by attacking Islam.
Gordon Brown swiftly pledged to bring in tougher powers to raise the chance of convictions in similar cases, calling the BNP”s statements offensive.
His intervention came after an all-white jury decided that Nick Griffin, the BNP chairman, broke no law when he condemned Islam as “a wicked, vicious faith” at a secretly filmed meeting.
Plans for an offence of incitement to religious hatred were thrown out in a rare Commons defeat for the Government in February after a campaign led by the comedian Rowan Atkinson.
A watered down version was passed requiring that prosecutors prove intent and protecting freedom of expression but has yet to become law. It is expected to take force from February next year.
Although his speech focused on the alleged evils of Islam and was supportive of Sikhs, Mr Griffin, 47, could only be charged “” alongside Mark Collett, 26, the BNP”s publicity director “” with inciting racial hatred. It was their second trial, after a jury failed to reach a verdict at the first.
Mr Brown told BBC News 24: “I think any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country and I think we have got to do whatever we can to root it out from whatever quarter it comes. And if that means we have got to look at the laws again, we will have to do so.”
Treasury sources indicated that John Reid, the Home Secretary, was thinking on similar lines.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton, QC, the Lord Chancellor, last night supported Mr Brown’s calls forreform of religious hatred laws. “We should look at them in the light of what has happened because what is being said to young Muslim people of this country is that we as a country are anti-Islam and we have got to demonstrate without compromising freedom that we are not.”
Why is it not incumbent upon Muslims in Britain to demonstrate unequivocally that they accept British laws and British society as it is currently constituted, and have no desire to implement Sharia in Britain at any time in the future?