If this law turns out, as I suspect, to be a complete disaster will I be branded an Islamophobic racist for wanting to defend free speech in this country?
Islamophobia is a heavily misused term, phobia after all means an irrational fear.
If you fear that there will be a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 in the UK within the next year… that is NOT islamophobia. The odds are not that high, but there is none the less a very real possibility of such a thing happening. If you say ‘I think a UK muslim will carry out a terrorist attack within the next few months’ then that is neither irrational fear nor racist – the security services have been stopping attacks on a fairly regular basis for years now.
If you live in Bradford, Tower Hamlets or a growing number of other parts of the country – and you say ‘Muslim immigrants have permanently changed the culture in this area’ then is that phobic or racist? No, it has led to a change in the culture in such areas, and people should be free to state that they think such change is positive OR negative. It is not Islamophobic to say that you do not like a change in society, you are allowed to have opinions….
If you think every Muslim may be a suicide bomber, and worry every day that you personally will be involved in a terrorist attrocity… then THAT is actual Islamophobia.
Obviously Ed does not mean ‘Islamophobia’ really, he is actually using the term to get around the fact that Islam is not a race, so is not covered by racism laws… But anyone who commits a crime motivated by religion is ALREADY A CRIMINAL, crimes already exist that cover all such things. If someone throws a brick through a Mosques window simply because it is a mosque then that is already a crime of criminal damage, and the judge will already give the offender a far harsher sentence because of the motivation.
This proposal will change nothing in the punishment of actual racists – Attacks on people because of their religion is already sternly punished. So what will such a law change? How will it be used? And will really be a good thing?
The leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has vowed, if he becomes the next prime minister in general elections on May 7, to outlaw “Islamophobia.”
The move — which one observer has called “utterly frightening” because of its implications for free speech in Britain — is part of an effort by Miliband to pander to Muslim voters in a race that he has described as “the tightest general election for a generation.”
With the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Labour running neck and neck in the polls just days before voters cast their ballots, British Muslims — who voted overwhelmingly for Labour in the 2010 general election — could indeed determine who will be the next prime minister.
In an interview with The Muslim News, Miliband said:
“We are going to make it [Islamophobia] an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime.
“We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country.”