The law of minority privilege

As some followers of the religions based on the Abrahamic traditions will tell you, God hates gays, though most Christians will tell you that it’s more a case of hating the sin not the sinner. Most of us in the secular world don’t really give a damn and just want to get on with our lives as peacefully as possible. Modern society however has rules about this and although at times they go way too far in protecting certain groups, it also does not allow you to call for the death of anyone on religious grounds or not. With the religion of peace however it tends to be a case of all or nothing so I wasn’t entirely surprised when its followers became the first to fall foul of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, where most of the followers of religions of this type will merely disapprove of a gay lifestyle, only Islam calls for the death penalty these days and has carried it out in that bastion of shariah, democracy and civil liberties, Iran.

Three men have been found guilty of a gay hate crime after handing out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be given the death sentence.
Ihjaz Ali, 42, Kabir Ahmed, 28 and Razwan Javed, 27, were found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
They distributed a leaflet titled Death Penalty? at a mosque and through letterboxes, Derby Crown Court heard
It is the first prosecution of its kind since new laws came into force in 2010.
Sentencing was adjourned until 10 February. Two other men were cleared of the same charge.

All very good and quite right, however…

Why do we need a law about stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation? Surely we already had laws about inciting behaviour, behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace etc? Why should a minority have additional laws to protect them over and above the already existing law of the land. Surely before 2010 had these Islamists posted their leaflets around they’d have been prosecuted just as rigorously?

The law on stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation came into force 3 years after the similar Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, where people could be prosecuted on the basis of insults, an attack on free speech and which was behind the Stephen Lawrence trial in which additional penalties were called for because of the skin colour of the victim, yet strangely enough not in the case of Rhea Page where the police and prosecution went out of their way to deny a racial attack took place despite the cries of the attackers to “kill the white bitch”

It strikes me that in a free and fair society that there should be no special privileges or laws protecting any group, the law should simply be the law and should come down like a ton of bricks on anyone calling for anyone to be hung or on any attack made by any group on another.

17 comments for “The law of minority privilege

  1. January 21, 2012 at 7:52 am

    “Surely we already had laws about inciting behaviour, behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace etc? “

    Spot on! If the CPS couldn’t nail them for this under the previously-existing laws, they were idiots who couldn’t prosecute their way out of a paper bag…

  2. January 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Criticising this law as pointless misses the point. Enacting it served the politicians’ purpose of demonstrating to noisy campaigning groups of single-issue fanatics that they ‘cared’. That’s what most new law is about and we should think ourselves lucky when new legislation is merely redundant.

  3. Mudplugger
    January 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’m no defender of the ‘religion of peace’ or any other religion for that matter – better get that out of the way first.

    But, as I understand it, the leaflet in question simply said that, in Islamic states, homosexuality is punishable by death. That is merely a statement of fact, one which many dedicated muslims will accept but which would probably cause most other people to question the approach to equality adopted by such Islamic states.

    However, as a statement, should it be considered as stirring up hatred here ? It is merely stating what is the view elsewhere. If I read that in a text-book, I would accept it as a fact, I wouldn’t be stirred to hatred by it.

    This is the problem we have inherited since starting to meddle with our ‘traditional’ freedom of speech – it’s no longer about freedom of speech, but rather about anticipating the propensity of others to become upset by it. A lawyers’ charter in practice.

    • January 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      I haven’t seen the pamphlet, but here I have to agree, even if the pamphlet was suggesting that gays should be executed in this country. Freedom of speech, see?

      The schadenfreude that we are seeing here is the religion of peace being hoist with its own petard. Deserved, though it is, that pleasure is short-lived. These laws, unnecessary as they are, affect all of us.

      Freedom of speech means that unpleasant people get to say unpleasant things.

  4. Andrew
    January 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    “All very good and quite right”

    Hmm… I must’ve missed who they were initiating force against.

    The BBC report states they were simply handing out leaflets.

    • January 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

      I was being ironic about the implementation of an unnecessary law and the probable consequences had the reverse been true and gays called for the death of all muslims.
      The two tier justice system in this country is a disgrace, the law should simply be the law without fear or favour.

  5. Able
    January 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Agree Longrider! Unfortunately the result of all this legislation is that “unpleasant people get to say unpleasant things” already, it’s the ‘normal people saying normal things, which unpleasant people find unpleasant’ which is being banned and prosecuted in the main (although here I have to admit to chortling at the schadenfreude of this particular instance).

    Offence, as an arbitrary and subjective concept, should have no place in any law. Freedom of speech should be entirely unrestricted. The few situations in which it can be thought to be unwarranted can already be prosecuted under other more reasonable laws.

  6. nemesis
    January 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I must admit to being mildly amused as all these minority lobbyists turn on each other. The gay rights, the religious minorities and the anti-racists all clamouring for special priveleges – but I doubt they will recognise the irony.

    • January 22, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Indeed! *gets GIANT bag of popcorn* May the best man/woman/indeterminate other win!

  7. Junican
    January 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    What surprises me is that the ‘culprits’ were found guilty. Handing out leaflets can hardly be described as ‘stirring up hatred’. But that sort of interpretation is happening a lot these days, isn’t it? It is becoming common for laws to be passed which are unclear in their definitions. The same happened with the smoking ban – ‘not allow’ became ‘force to stop’. The coming alcohol unit price law is similar – punish all for the sins of a few, dampen competition, and I am sure that all sorts of unintended consequences will emerge.

    It is becoming more and more obvious that our political system stinks.

  8. Radical Rodent
    January 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    While it is pleasing to see someone hoist by their own petard, the underlying facts are truly worrying; Able’s comment, “…normal people saying normal things, which unpleasant people find unpleasant…” is alarmingly real.

    Freedom of speech is at stake here; the politicians might disguise it as “incitement”, but how soon before people are jailed for disagreeing with a politician – do not forget that elderly, life-long Labour supporter who was held briefly on terrorist charges for publicly disagreeing with Jack Straw at a Party conference a few years ago. How soon before that becomes normal?

  9. johnnyrvf
    January 22, 2012 at 1:18 am

    You live in a fantasy land; since when has the U.K. been a free and fair society? Perhaps 50 years ago the ideals of a free and fair society were actively propergated by the political parties but those ideals died in the ‘individual’ age of Thatcherism, whether so intended by M. Thatcher or not. It is all very well abandoning one structure of morality if it is to be replaced by a better one, however this hardly seems to have come to pass as is evidenced by more and more obvious and deliberate fails at all levels of the the legal system.

  10. January 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    The whole concept of incitement being a crime is anti-liberty.

    Murray Rothbard put it well:

    “Should it be illegal, we may next inquire, to “incite to riot”? Suppose that Green exhorts a crowd: “Go! Burn! Loot! Kill!” and the mob proceeds to do just that, with Green having nothing further to do with these criminal activities.

    Since every man is free to adopt or not adopt any course of action he wishes, we cannot say that in some way Green determined the members of the mob to their criminal activities; we cannot make him, because of his exhortation, at all responsible for their crimes.

    “Inciting to riot,” therefore, is a pure exercise of a man’s right to speak without being thereby implicated in crime.

    On the other hand, it is obvious that if Green happened to be involved in a plan or conspiracy with others to commit various crimes, and that then Green told them to proceed, he would then be just as implicated in the crimes as are the others – more so, if he were the mastermind who headed the criminal gang.

    This is a seemingly subtle distinction which in practice is clearcut – there is a world of difference between the head of a criminal gang and a soap-box orator during a riot; the former is not, properly to be charged simply with “incitement.”

  11. Tattyfalarr
    January 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I sometimes wonder what would happen if no one …other than themselves…ever mentioned anything at all about any minority. Never spoke to or about them and maintained silence in their presence. If some took the stance that if speech is not free then why speak at all.

    Would there then be a new law to force everyone to interact ? 😐

  12. January 23, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Grrrrrr – don’t get us started on this …

  13. Anteaus
    February 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I myself have been the victim of a falsified accusation by a mental-health sufferer who thought she’d have a go at extorting damages. Which thankfully failed. Perhaps the most damning aspect though, was that the perpetrator suffered no penalty even when she was caught-out lying. Any non minority-group person would have received a substantial jail term for the same act, I reckon.

    So, ‘vulnerable’ minority groups now have special protection not only from the public, but also from prosecution when they themselves commit a crime. As do lawyers who wilfully support a crime of falsification by a ‘vulnerable’ person. It’s a win-win situation for scammers, fraudsters and bent lawyers.

    A key principle of Human Rights is that justice must apply equally to all citizens. When minority-group members are being ‘believed’ -without having to offer the proof of a crime which an ordinary person would have to provide- then it is clear that our rights are being violated.

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