Monday, 27 May 2013

EDL, Snoopers charter and reactions to the murder of Lee Rigby

Fire damage to Grimsby mosque (taken by Gerard Tubb)
The death of Drummer Lee Rigby on Wednesday was a great tragedy and my heart, and those of the nation goes out to his grieving family and the tragic loss of a partner, father and son. I cannot imagine the pain and grief that has rocked them and the void that cannot be filled.

The nation has greeted the news with shock and anger and in some cases violence.

Twenty five minutes after the news broke the Gillingham Mosque was broken into, property damaged and a copy of the Qur’an defiled by a local man who has now been held in the custody of Kent Police. There was also an 83 year old woman held after yelling racist abuse at Muslims leaving after prayer.

I’ve now read briefly through twitter, that the EDL are in Woolwich marking the spot where the murder occurred and there has been a spate of anti Muslim violence by members of the public.

Although understandable to a degree they cannot be condoned. It is unfair to punish innocent people for an act that they themselves are abhorred by. One picture that was doing the rounds was of a Klu Klux Klan meeting saying;

You cannot say that the views of terrorists are representative of Islam any more than you could say that the Ku Klux Klan’s were representative of Christianity.

The same can be said for the racists and petty criminals who come out of the woodwork at times like this capitalising on a horrific event like this with their politics and own vendettas. The EDL, as has been discussed elsewhere on this blog, are not the chivalric nationalistic order they’d like to think they are. There is a thin line between Nationalistic patriotism and racist xenophobia.

I’m sure that the NSDAP considered themselves patriotic and full of love of the Fatherland and Fuhrer but they were also racists xenophobes making Germany for the Germans – eerily echoed in making England English. It makes me nervous to think that people have not learnt from history, especially the most abhorrent period of modern history.

I hope that others do not judge the EDL, BNP or individuals are representative of the British people. After all, the majority of people were, like me, horrified by what happened and blame the individuals responsible rather than a demographic and religious community.

There are indeed questions that need to be asked, mainly as part of the Police and Intelligence forces investigations into radicalisation and the source and other groups need to wait for their findings. Indeed I would urge the EDL to crawl back under the rock they came from and stop encouraging violence and hatred against Muslims. Whatever they feel their input is in reality it isn’t helping the situation.

Within Government too, there is a sudden tack right from Conservatives who still back the "Snoopers charter" and Labour. Mr Miliband was quoted today on the BBC News website, as saying;

If he [the PM] wants a communications bill, we'll help him get it through.

There is a thin line between national security and police state too...

It has been acknowledged that such a charter would not necessarily have stopped the attack in Woolwich it might stop future attacks. However is this worth the rest of us having our personal freedoms curtailed?

Why should the state be able to look at my internet history, or know who I have been facebooking? It is of no one's business but my own if I am sending emails to either fellow Libdems, my family, my ex girlfriend or the King of Denmark until I've committed a crime.

Emma Carr of bigbrother watch hits the nail on the head for me with;

It is remarkable for politicians to be jumping to legislation to monitor the entire country when all the evidence to date shows this horrific attack would not have been prevented by the communications data bill.

The draft bill also prohibited the authorities from looking at the content of messages and surely we should expect people under the kind of surveillance possible in this case to be having their messages read?

Indeed the monitoring of emails only works if you know for a fact that one of the individuals is an extremist other wise how would you prove that an email sent from one person to another Might contain plans for an attack? Would it not be simple for coded emails to be sent so that only the sender and recipient would know what was the true nature of the message?

We wouldn't want our telephones to be tapped without a warrant and we would want our letters examined so why is an online message ok?

I do agree with cutting back on the Radicalisation of people in universities etc... Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of a Liberal society and human rights but with any freedom it must be curtailed if it is having a negative impact on other people's freedom - as in the case of racism or sexism.

This is something that can be restricted as preaching to kill or harm those who do not believe the same as you or are different is in fact incitement to violence or even to incite a hate crime and it has no place in any modern society.

In fact I agree with Nick Clegg's comments on Friday when he stated:

A religion of peace was being distorted, turned upside down and inside out, perverted in the cause of an abhorrent and violent set of intentions.

Terrorism has no religion because there is no religious conviction that can justify the kind of arbitrary, savage random violence that we saw on the streets of Woolwich.

We have a choice to either allow that powerful corrosive feeling of fear to seep into every second and minute and hour of our lives or we can make a choice that we're not going to change our behaviour.

To give in, to tack right and towards snoopers charters and ultra nationalism is to get rid of the very ideal that the terrorists abhor the most - freedom, our liberty to live and act freely. So, yes to curtailing hatred and those who preach it no matter which side of the void they sit, and no to curtailing the freedoms of innocent people on the off chance.

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