Applying the law equally

I’m in two minds about the Muslim fanatics jailed today.

On the one hand, it’s nice to see minorities finally being held to account for their bigotry – usually being black or muslim is enough to get off with a warning or less, since, y’know, only white people are racist. Anyone from an ethnic or religious minority usually gets treated with kid gloves in New Labour’s politically-correct Britain.

But ultimately these sad little people weren’t ‘beheading those who insult Islam’ – they were just waving placards saying it. And what you say should be treated very differently to what you do. If these guys had been going around actually beheading people, then fair enough, cut-and-dried case there. But six years for just ‘saying it’?

(As an aside: I wonder if there was some sort of one-upmanship involved in the placard phrases? One says, ‘Behead them’, another says ‘Massacre them’… did the massacre guy say to the behead guy, ‘What, you’d only BEHEAD them? You weakass punk!’)

Forget for a moment that if I’d said equivalently insulting things about Islam in an Islamic country my feet wouldn’t have touched the ground before being cut off as punishment. Britain is a liberal democracy, and we don’t lock people up just for saying things. Or rather, we didn’t.

Even so – my authoritarian streak is smiling beneath my liberal surface. These four silly little people, living and working in Britain (and perhaps born here), yet feeling no loyalty or gratitude for the shelter, education, and employment Britain gave them. At the very least, these guys were being REALLY, REALLY RUDE. And that’s perhaps what earned them their sentences: what they were doing just wasn’t cricket.

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