2002 October 09 Wednesday
UK Needs Constitutional Free Speech Guarantee

It is really very unfortunate for the Brits that they do not have the equivalent of the American 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. My non-lawyer's guess is that the UK law against religious hatred would be unconstitutional under the US constitution.

Alistair Scott, a British engineer, was so enraged by the comments of his Muslim neighbor that he reacted as follows:

He said Scott was first spotted making rude gestures. "He shouted an abusive remark and said, 'Don't you speak English, don't you understand English. You are Muslims, what are you doing here?'.

"There was a conversation which became heated and he said, 'I hate you and I want you out of my country. I hate you especially after September 11.' "

The next day Scott followed Mr Hudaid. He told him he hated Arabs and Muslims before speaking about how much the United States had spent on security. He also made remarks about the witness's daughter and mother."

As Natalie Solent has pointed out what Alistair Scott was reacting to was some rather more hate-filled language from his Muslim opposite in these exchanges:

However, Mr Hudaib, a postgraduate student at Exeter University, acknowledged under cross-examination that he "could have said Osama Bin Laden was a great man and that all Americans deserved to die and are stupid".

Sean Brunton, defending, said: "However wrong Scott was and whatever he said or did, it pales by comparison to what Mr Hudaib said in his cross-examination.

"This defendant is not a racist. His crime is to have strong convictions and to have taken people to task in an inappropriate way at a very sensitive time."

Now of course there is a glaring double standard being applied here. That on its own is quite wrong. But it also points up one good reason why free speech protection should be so incredibly strong. There is a huge temptation for an unprincipled multicultie government to try to sacrifice speech rights in the cause of trying to placate a domestic constituency (in this case UK Muslims). Government prosecutors (and Canadian customs officials) can not be trusted with the power granted to them by hate speech laws. There is really no need for such laws in the first place.

(found on Natalie Solent's blog and that was found on Iain Murray's blog)

UPDATE: Natalie Solent says the London Times is innocent of leaving out the information about what Mr Hudaib said. She says the Daily News Digest published a slanted version of the Times story.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 October 09 04:16 PM 


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