Wait, they burned their own copies of the Koran and they got arrested for it?
In a joint statement, Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council said: “The kind of behaviour displayed in this video is not representative of our community as a whole.
“Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations.”
In the video a group of men are seen pouring fuel over what appear to be copies of the Koran and setting light to them.
They may be jerks. I’d rather they burn holy books and unholy books from all over the place instead of picking on Islam specifically. Intention is important in the court of public opinion, but there’s no reason they should get in legal trouble for an act some people find offensive. That sounds like a slippery slope.
As the video clearly demonstrates, these men are idiots. They are probably EDL supporters, and racists to boot. But what they did is not –- cannot be -– illegal.
They were arrested on suspicion of “inciting racial hatred”. Not only is Islam –- represented here by its holy book -– not a race, but the only hatred that such an act is likely to incite would be directed at themselves, and would come from a particular kind of Muslim.
The racial and religious hatred law, for all its faults, was not designed to prevent you from committing acts which make other people hate you. Otherwise every homosexual, fornicator, and abortionist would be under arrest for inciting the hatred of some religious loon.
Burning books that some people respect is not a crime. Burning books that you own is not a crime. (Burning people? That’s a crime. Don’t do that.)
But destroying your own property? No one should have the right to stop you.