Enlightenment Values Except For Muslims

Five Muslim men who protested at a home-coming parade in Luton where soldiers were called murderers have been found guilty of making threats. The charges related to a march by The Royal Anglian Regiment through the town in March 2009. The five men, all from Luton, were convicted of using threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour likely to cause harassment and distress.

District Judge Carolyn Mellanby said: “I have no doubt it is abusive and insulting to tell soldiers to ‘Go to hell’ – to call soldiers murderers, rapists and baby killers. “It is not just insulting to the soldiers but to the citizens of Luton who were out on the streets that day to honour and welcome soldiers home. Citizens of Luton are entitled to demonstrate their support for the troops without experiencing insults and abuse.” She went on: “The fact that they say they did not intend their remarks to be insulting does not amount to defence in law. They were fully aware that shocking phrases in such circumstances would inevitably cause distress.”

Defence lawyers had argued the right to freedom of speech was at stake. Earlier in the day Jubair Ahmed’s lawyer used philosopher Voltaire’s views on freedom of speech to defend him. In her closing speech for his defence Sonal Dashani said: “Voltaire said ‘I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’

“That was in the 18th Century. Things have moved on since then, though perhaps not as quickly as one might have liked. If you believe in freedom of speech you have to accept that some things will be said that you will like and some things will be said that you will not like.”

Angry scenes broke out during the parade for the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as The Poachers. Lawyers defending the men said their clients discussed their plans to protest with police beforehand, had agreed to a time and a place to do so with them, had complied with police throughout and officers had not objected at the time to their slogans.

They were dumb things to shout out (although arguable factually correct, they could not know if the specific soldiers had engaged in such acts but the coaltion forces have committed rape, murder and killed babies, welcome to the realities of war oh genteel Britons). ‘Troops home now, Stop the war’- would have been a better angle, however one thing the war loving commentariat love to do is wank on endlessly about the values of Teh Enlightenment and how the Islamo-caliphate/fascists or whatever (Daleks!?!?) are out to destroy such values. But here these values have been tested and it turns out the establishment has no respect for them, (unless one accepts these values are racially privileged, which is really not a great value at all) try and act surprised. Fig leaf bullshit to add to the weak justifications for murdering people in foreign lands, bingo?!?!! Where were the defenders of free speech when the case was not so popular, the issues a bit sticky and the defendants Muslims who rudely opposed the wars…many of the Teh Enlightenment fanboys support…ok answered it myself there. If these values are so easily discarded then they clearly did not really understand their implications or hold them sincerely. This is not a Fred Phelps level of idiocy, this was a jingoistic homecoming parade designed to increase support for the government’s wars through forcing peer pressure (again welcome to the reality of the function of military parades on genteel imperialists), that some publicly and offensively -to some- dissented should be something we accept. That we instead criminalised it tells the profound truth of wars of choice, they close down the societies that launch them, they push them rightwards into authoritarianism and if we don’t defend the difficult unpopular cases it will be the less controversial ones next.

Posted in Imperialism. Tags: . 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Enlightenment Values Except For Muslims”

  1. jim Says:

    I wonder how sincere these 5 `gentlemen` really are. I would suggest not much because surely given their numbers they could have come up with slogans rather more productive. When the Phelps talk about homosexuality they claim to be factual as well. Galloway on his radio show often argues that free speech has its limits in regard of offending others.

    I love the way in which you expand this incident to imperialism, jingoism and racism all over a few individuals ranting and raving like lunatics. Your piece would go over their heads.

    • earwicga Says:

      I love the link between this case and Imperialism because it is one that we are constantly conditioned not to see.

      Soldiers can be rapists and murderers. It’s not insulting to anybody to say that, unless you happen to be insulted by the truth.

      I can’t agree with RickB that these were ‘dumb’ things to shout out. I can only admire the bravery of these men that they actually did so.

  2. RickB Says:

    Phelps claim to be factual based on the bible, hence not comparable.

    Maybe it would go over their heads although you would be surprised how aware of imperialism people who have friends and relatives targeted by it are. If someone you knew had been killed by an army and that army then triumphantly marched through your town what would you say?

  3. jim Says:

    There seems to be an awful lot of supposition in this. Do you know if any of these individuals actually have any friends or relatives in Afghanistan? Are Chaplains, medics and administrators also condemned as baby killers by association? Seems a ridiculous notion to me.

  4. RickB Says:

    No, but I am trying to show how simple nationalism and ‘support the troops’ ignores the reality and complexity of a globalised human race, a complexity our elites both use, ignore and hide behind, they will move capital numerous times daily across the world to enrich themselves but suddenly come over all nation state when it serves their interests. I do not know although legally I suppose one could say if you fail to report a crime you might be in jeopardy of conspiracy charges in a criminal context, yet in war…such niceties are ignored under blanket patriotism and esprit de corp. But as I said they were dumb to go with such rhetoric, as it does not discriminate between honourable professionals and criminals in uniform (of which both find a home in military service, it is a profession like any other, good people and bad people do it) and personalises the protest rather than make political points. But this should not have ended up in court, that is not a sign of a free democracy.

  5. jim Says:

    Yes, you make the point about civilised global human conduct well. We agree on that and the point that it should never have ended up in court.

  6. Jotman Says:

    District Judge Carolyn Mellanby said: “I have no doubt it is abusive and insulting to tell soldiers to ‘Go to hell’ — to call soldiers murderers, rapists and baby killers.

    Even if the language had been “abusive and insulting” why is that any of the court’s business?

    “It is not just insulting to the soldiers but to the citizens of Luton who were out on the streets that day to honour and welcome soldiers home.

    Since when was it a crime to say things that soldiers find insulting? Or that citizens of a town find insulting? Or for that matter, that people of a particular faith find insulting?

  7. RickB Says:

    Since today!

  8. jim Says:

    A few points about all this. Attacking soldiers parading up and down the street is like swatting a locust in a swarm. You need to stop it at source. Shouting abuse at soldiers is totally counter productive. Those peoples votes whose backs you are getting up, perhaps can change it. Of course, if you simply enjoy getting peoples backs up then that’s a different psychology.
    Attacking the commons is the only way. Attacking soldiers, masturbation really.

  9. Jotman Says:

    I tend to think that such behavior is usually highly counterproductive in terms of trying to persuade anyone of their point of view.

    Nevertheless, the Muslim protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the presence of British troops in Afghanistan makes many Muslim people angry. That’s precisely why war is likely counter-productive if the reason to send soldiers over there is to prevent future manifestations of anger directed against Westerners.

    It seems two counter-protesters had already been arrested for their counter-demonstration against the Muslim protesters.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/10/two-arrested-army-protest-luton

    It’s not clear what they did to get arrested, but if they had merely been shouting insults back, I see nothing wrong with that. I think name-calling ought not be a matter for the state to get involved.

    These days police seem to think they are not doing their job unless they are arresting someone, prosecutors if they don’t charge someone with something, politicians if they don’t write new and stricter laws.

  10. earwicga Says:

    Anyways, this isn’t an issue anymore. Cue those ‘terrorism’ laws: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/jan/12/islam4uk-banned-alan-johnson-islamist This abuse of power makes my skin crawl.

  11. RickB Says:

    That is bad, I4UK is terrible but ten years for membership is not a democracy, even as other anti terror authoritarianism is shown to be illegal,

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8453878.stm


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