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← Ex-Soldier Jailed For Burning Koran in Carlisle

Ex-Soldier Jailed For Burning Koran in Carlisle - Comments

DarwinLovesYou's Avatar Comment 1 by DarwinLovesYou

Well, to be fair, he did steal it. But 70 days in jail? Is this more of that British multiculturalism? And you think we Americans bend over backwards to accommodate religion!

I would've torrented a copy and deleted it. Simple, painless, just send the damn thing down the memory hole.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 22:46:26 UTC | #616885

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 2 by Neodarwinian

How much of that 70 days was for the theft? How much was for setting a fire?

And, finally, why was the poppy burner not in the same dock as Ryan?

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 22:49:48 UTC | #616887

green and dying's Avatar Comment 3 by green and dying

Comment 1 by DarwinLovesYou :

I would've torrented a copy and deleted it. Simple, painless, just send the damn thing down the memory hole.

He was trying to cause a scene and make a point. I don't think that should be considered harassment or a hate crime on its own, but we don't know the way in which he did it. Maybe if I'd seen it I would think it was obviously hate speech, like if he'd made clear that the reason he was doing it was because he hates Muslims. Whether "inciting religious hatred" should be a crime I'm not sure but it's not as simple as burning a book being illegal.

Comment 2 by Neodarwinian :

And, finally, why was the poppy burner not in the same dock as Ryan?

Poppy-burner broke a different law.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 22:56:57 UTC | #616890

Crimbly's Avatar Comment 4 by Crimbly

Comment 2 by Neodarwinian :

How much of that 70 days was for the theft? How much was for setting a fire?

And, finally, why was the poppy burner not in the same dock as Ryan?

I was wondering that too. This page doesn't record any particular notes. Theft is punishable by up to 7 years jail, and Religiously Aggravated Harassment up to 6 months and/or a fine.

He's most likely in prison because of the theft of the book rather than the burning.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 22:59:37 UTC | #616891

skiles1's Avatar Comment 5 by skiles1

I'm lucky enough to have traveled Great Britain extensively and it's a beautiful place with many wonderful people. But I do wonder where the line is drawn between acceptable and unacceptable dissent there. Couldn't anyone just as easily be arrested for being outspoken in protest of anything else? Hopefully, I've overlooked something and someone here will enlighten me.

The BBC reports that this man stole the Koran. That's surely a crime. But there was another man arrested there for Koran burning a week or so ago..someone from the BNP, I believe. In that case the Koran in question wasn't reported stolen.

I do think that bigotry is wrong. But freedom of speech seems as important as equality. My view is one should be able to express their beliefs. In contrast, when someone is literally discriminated against, then I say there's been a crime.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:01:23 UTC | #616892

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 6 by xmaseveeve

Some more details, from the Independent;

'The court heard the defendant had six public order convictions between 2002 and 2010 including racial chanting at a football match and assault with intent to resist arrest. Judge Chalk said: "You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct."

He is also a member of the EDL.

Comment 2, Neodarwin,

'How much of that 70 days was for the theft?'

30 days.

Check out his photo - just like Robert Carlisle's skinhead in 'Cracker'. Doesn't sound like a nice guy, but as an ex-soldier honouring his dead comrades, and seeing fanatics chanting and burning poppies, calling British soldiers 'murderers', maybe he was pushed over the edge in the circumstances. (Not sure about the time between the two incidents.) Stealing the book seems decidedly nutty. For the sake of UN employees, I hope that wee shite 'Carsey' doesn't get to hear about this.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:14:36 UTC | #616897

ajs261's Avatar Comment 7 by ajs261

To be honest, it's just a book. A sheath of a few hundred papers, no more. I regard the BNP with disdain, as much as I do the Pastor in Florida. But in this case I feel the fact that some consider this to be a hate crime to be more of a crime in itself.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:16:30 UTC | #616898

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 8 by Steven Mading

The only part of this that should be a crime is that the book he destroyed was stolen property, and parhaps he might have violated a fire code by starting a fire in the middle of the street.

That's it.

That would NOT warrant a 70-day jail sentence. It would normally just warrant a couple of fines.

Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:29:15 UTC | #616900

danconquer's Avatar Comment 9 by danconquer

The apparently harsh sentence needs to be taken in the context of a long criminal record. In English law, as in many legal systems, persistent offending tends to result in progressively stiffer sentencing, even when offences may seem comparatively trivial. Lest anyone think this was a purely theologically-motivated "protest" it is worth noting that this cretin has previously been convicted for racial abuse.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:31:54 UTC | #616902

green and dying's Avatar Comment 10 by green and dying

I kind of want to burn a Quran in my back garden, go down the police station, confess, and then record how much they don't care so that I can prove this isn't about burning a book. Then we can stop debating that and have an actual discussion about hate speech rather than about how the Quran is just a book and this is just about blasphemy.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:38:09 UTC | #616903

Daz365's Avatar Comment 11 by Daz365

We have laws that are anti freedom and we continue to endorse them by not protesting against them.

No country needs a law entitled "religiously aggravated harassment". Which seems to Imply that it's worse than normal harassment.

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:48:01 UTC | #616906

zirconPhil's Avatar Comment 12 by zirconPhil

Comment 11 by Daz365 :

We have laws that are anti freedom and we continue to endorse them by not protesting against them. No country needs a law entitled "religiously aggravated harassment". Which seems to Imply that it's worse than normal harassment.

I would speculate that it probably means "Something ridiculously trivial offending beliefs unfounded in reality" harrassment, because there is no way they could convict someone under 'normal harassment' for burning a silly book! So it's not necessarily 'worse than normal' harassment.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:03:36 UTC | #616910

mmurray's Avatar Comment 13 by mmurray

Isn't this the kind of crime that suspended sentences and good behaviour bonds are for ? You give him the sentence, suspended for 2 years as long as he behaves. No wonder I was reading an article the other day about the UK's overfull prisons.

Michael

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:11:36 UTC | #616912

skiles1's Avatar Comment 14 by skiles1

I feel a bit irresponsible for not clarifying that I'm not belittling your country. Sorry. Instead, I'm worrying for the safety of those in this movement who could be viewed as bigots for being outspoken against religion. "Hate Speech" seems too vague.

For instance, one could hate a restaurant. No crime there; I hate several restaurants. One could go so far as to say "I hope that restaurant burns to the ground". Still no crime in my view. If however one begins to plot arson to burn the restaurant down or does burn the restaurant down, then we have a crime. But to burn one's copy of the restaurant's carryout menu in protest is no crime at all, really.

So based on this man's noted past disdain for said restaurant, he's now liable for hate crimes for having burned his copy of their carryout menu. But were it not that he had been previously noted for hating the restaurant, his burning of their carryout menu in protest would not be a worthwhile indication of hatred.

It's beginning to make sense. But I'm not sure that I like it.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:16:50 UTC | #616915

mmurray's Avatar Comment 15 by mmurray

Comment 14 by skiles1 :

I feel a bit irresponsible for not clarifying that I'm not belittling your country. Sorry. Instead, I'm worrying for the safety of those in this movement who could be viewed as bigots for being outspoken against religion. "Hate Speech" seems too vague.

There is some more detail here. There are a collection of laws which are relevant. For example

In England, Wales, and Scotland, the Public Order Act 1986 prohibits, by its Part 3, expressions of racial hatred, which is defined as hatred against a group of persons by reason of the group's colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins. Section 18 of the Act says:
A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if—
(a) he intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or
(b) having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.

I don't mind (A) but I'm not too keen on (B).

There are some other things on that wiki page.

Michael

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:25:24 UTC | #616919

skiles1's Avatar Comment 16 by skiles1

Thanks, Michael.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:40:34 UTC | #616923

green and dying's Avatar Comment 17 by green and dying

Comment 14 by skiles1 :

I feel a bit irresponsible for not clarifying that I'm not belittling your country. Sorry. Instead, I'm worrying for the safety of those in this movement who could be viewed as bigots for being outspoken against religion. "Hate Speech" seems too vague.

Gosh, belittle away if you like, I don't think any of us will be upset.

For instance, one could hate a restaurant. No crime there; I hate several restaurants. One could go so far as to say "I hope that restaurant burns to the ground". Still no crime in my view. If however one begins to plot arson to burn the restaurant down or does burn the restaurant down, then we have a crime. But to burn one's copy of the restaurant's carryout menu in protest is no crime at all, really.

So based on this man's noted past disdain for said restaurant, he's now liable for hate crimes for having burned his copy of their carryout menu. But were it not that he had been previously noted for hating the restaurant, his burning of their carryout menu in protest would not be a worthwhile indication of hatred.

It's beginning to make sense. But I'm not sure that I like it.

This specific law is about inciting racial or religious hatred, it cannot apply to hatred against groups or people other than for their race or religion. If you read the law it specifically states that things like criticising and mocking are NOT included as hate speech. I think the law is fine if we're going to have laws against inciting hated, but I'm not really decided on whether we should have those laws.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 00:41:20 UTC | #616925

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 18 by SomersetJohn

Comment 15 by mmurray :

Section 18 of the Act says:

A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if— (a) he intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or (b) having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.

I would say both the bibble and the kran are threatening and abusive, anyone for a court case?

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 01:24:10 UTC | #616930

skiles1's Avatar Comment 19 by skiles1

@green and dying:

Absolutely not. I regret that I didn't spend more time in The UK; it's a great place.

It's just that American laws regarding hate crimes are a bit different. Naturally, we have anti-discrimination laws which regulate hiring, housing, services received. But our "Hate Crimes" are defined differently. A hate crime here is when someone breaks an extent law not related to our anti-discrimination laws - such as Assault and Battery, or Murder. For example, if it can be proven that one has beaten someone for bigoted reasons - prejudices against ethnicity, religion, nationality, sex and sexual orientation, in contrast to a garden variety beating which could happen because someone stole one's girlfriend - then the penalty for the crime becomes much stiffer, and naturally, such penalties are well defined.

Thanks.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 01:25:04 UTC | #616931

green and dying's Avatar Comment 20 by green and dying

Comment 18 by SomersetJohn :

I would say both the bibble and the kran are threatening and abusive, anyone for a court case?

I know, right? That wiki page says people were arrested, fined or given ASBOs for fairly mild things, yet the religious books call for MURDER of protected groups and no one cares? How does that work?

Comment 19 by skiles1 :

It's just that American laws regarding hate crimes are a bit different. Naturally, we have anti-discrimination laws which regulate hiring, housing, services received. But our "Hate Crimes" are defined differently. A hate crime here is when someone breaks an extent law not related to our anti-discrimination laws - such as Assault and Battery, or Murder. For example, if it can be proven that one has beaten someone for bigoted reasons - prejudices against ethnicity, religion, nationality, sex and sexual orientation, in contrast to a garden variety beating which could happen because someone stole one's girlfriend - then the penalty for the crime becomes much stiffer, and naturally, such penalties are well defined.

Yeah, I think it's the same here except that inciting hatred against one of those groups is also illegal. But the examples of cases in that wiki seem really mild. I didn't realise that just something like a sign saying "stop homosexuality" could be included under hate speech. I thought it would be more things that fall just short of inciting violence or discrimination. I'm not really okay with things that mild being illegal.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 01:33:44 UTC | #616932

mmurray's Avatar Comment 21 by mmurray

Comment 17 by green and dying :

This specific law is about inciting racial or religious hatred, it cannot apply to hatred against groups or people other than for their race or religion. If you read the law it specifically states that things like criticising and mocking are NOT included as hate speech. I think the law is fine if we're going to have laws against inciting hated, but I'm not really decided on whether we should have those laws.

Thanks. That's interesting. I note that it talks about "intent" all the time. So it is not enough that others feel that you are stirring up religious hatred you have to be intending to. That's better than the racial hatred law I cited earlier.

And as you also point out there is the let out clause

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

Michael

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 02:28:46 UTC | #616941

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 22 by Scruddy Bleensaver

District Judge Gerald Chalk described it as a case of "theatrical bigotry".

And where's that offence in the lawbooks, then? And why the selective enforcement? Does it apply to offending any religion, or only specific ones? Didn't I read that Jedi-ism is now an official religion in the UK? Would I receive a similar charge if I publically set fire to a Jedi light sabre I had purchased myself?

And what exact legal language defines the difference between hate speech and legitimate criticism of a religion? Or is there no legitimate criticism of certain viewpoints possible anymore if those viewpoints are held because of their religion? Would that mean that a group of angry muslims were free to shout "All fags must die and will burn in Hell!", possibly while burning a Ken doll dressed in arseless leather leg chaps, and they could get away with it because religion was their motivation? What's a modern liberal to do if they saw them? It'd be like an environmentalist watching one endangered species eating another.

So many questions, and such a legal muddle. I'd say we err on the side of free speech, or better yet, create a new law protecting free speech by adding additional punishment to anyone who inflicts violence upon, or because of, someone else exercising their right of free expression, or who would prevent them from doing so.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 02:48:32 UTC | #616945

Vogon42's Avatar Comment 23 by Vogon42

Surely burning a Qur'an is an "expression of antipathy" to a "particular religion" and therefore cannot be covered by this legislation?

Curiously, the get-out clause doesn't cover atheism, it only deals with belief systems (earlier the law distinguishes between belief and lack of belief). This apparently means that burning a Bible would be a protected act (expression of antipathy) while burning The God Delusion would be a religious hate crime (“religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief)

It would also seem that the Islamic propagation societies, the Church of England, the Gideon's Bible lot and all the rest of them are at significant risk from article 29 c1 "A person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred."

All we need to do is show that the Bible is threatening to homosexuals or the Qur'an is threatening to non-Muslims, apostates or atheists, that the believers are trying to get people to follow all their teachings, and we can stop anybody distributing these evil books or showing them to people, or talking about them outside a dwelling house.

What an interesting law.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 04:36:58 UTC | #616965

alexngdf's Avatar Comment 24 by alexngdf

Though it might seem that the sentence isn't well justified, I fail to see the purpose in burning the book. We want to convince people, not agitate them into a frenzy fit. The greatest figures in the movement against creationism and senseless faith in religion always explain with logic, rather than non-constructive actions like burning books. It is likely that this act has been done in the spur of the moment, without significant rationale. The time wasted could have seriously been put to better use.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 04:44:19 UTC | #616967

Vogon42's Avatar Comment 25 by Vogon42

Comment 24 by alexngdf :

Though it might seem that the sentence isn't well justified, I fail to see the purpose in burning the book. We want to convince people, not agitate them into a frenzy fit. The greatest figures in the movement against creationism and senseless faith in religion always explain with logic, rather than non-constructive actions like burning books. It is likely that this act has been done in the spur of the moment, without significant rationale. The time wasted could have seriously been put to better use.

I doubt if the Quran burner was "one of us".

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:10:39 UTC | #616979

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 26 by Stevehill

Hmmmm...

Yesterday, the court heard the defendant had six public order convictions between 2002 and 2010 including racial chanting at a football match and assault with intent to resist arrest. Judge Chalk said: "You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct."

It's also relevant that 30 days of the sentence was for the theft of the Koran in question.

Obviously judges ratchet up sentences when six previous convictions seem to have achieved nothing.

Mr Ryan appears to be an unemployed, possibly unemployable, loser given to attention seeking. If we need martyrs, which I doubt, we could pick a better one.

That said (and without knowing what the previous six sentences were), I'd say 70 days looks over the top and somewhat appealable.

Incidentally, the poppy-burner was tried and convicted. He got a £50 fine. For a first offence.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:07:37 UTC | #616989

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Comment 26 by Stevehill :

Hmmmm...

Yesterday, the court heard the defendant had six public order convictions between 2002 and 2010 including racial chanting at a football match and assault with intent to resist arrest. Judge Chalk said: "You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct."

It's also relevant that 30 days of the sentence was for the theft of the Koran in question.

Obviously judges ratchet up sentences when six previous convictions seem to have achieved nothing.

Mr Ryan appears to be an unemployed, possibly unemployable, loser given to attention seeking. If we need martyrs, which I doubt, we could pick a better one.

That said (and without knowing what the previous six sentences were), I'd say 70 days looks over the top and somewhat appealable.

I hadn't notice the six earlier public order convictions. I withdraw my comment about suspended sentences he has obviously got past that.

Michael

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:30:18 UTC | #616995

anonymous.shyster's Avatar Comment 28 by anonymous.shyster

Does anybody have a hi-resolution picture of Mein Kamph in paperback, and a large picture of the Koran?

I would like to make a t-shirt over the semester break which reads simply, "Spot the difference". "paperback." "Hardcover".

Tried google images but no suitable combination was found :(

Any help appreciated!

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:42:28 UTC | #617002

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 29 by Jos Gibbons

Can't we just let anyone burn anything they legally own so long as they obey bonfire laws, don't commit arson in the process etc? To a fictional Hell with these ideas of rights not to be offended. It boils down to an ability to take away other people's freedoms. So Muslims - or anyone - go on; burn poppies if you want to. As for everyone else - or, for that matter, everyone - burn Korans if you want as well. It seems dumb, to be sure; but what's that got to do with anything legally?

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:46:21 UTC | #617004

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 30 by Steve Hanson

Good thing I live in the U.S. For all the backsliding we've done lately, at least even the Supreme Court wouldn't dare allow something like that (and risk their own power).

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:34:06 UTC | #617013