Tuesday, 5 May 2009

I Agree with Inayat Bunglawala!

The Home Office has published a list of 16 people who have been banned from Britain.  They optimistically say that they are “naming and shaming” them.

The only shaming that is going on here is the government’s increasing authoritarian approach to “free speech”.  There are already draconian anti-free speech laws in the UK, and banning people before they come here (especially for those people who do not advocate violence) just smacks of thought crime.

The worst outcome is that if you’re not banned, does that mean that you have a “Home Office Approved” stamp on what you say?

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain says in The Times:

If they step over the line and break the law, it’s at that moment the law should be enacted, not beforehand. If people are keeping their odious views to themselves, that’s their business. We should not be in the business of policing people’s minds.

Quite right, although I think there is a line to be drawn for those who have incited violence (and have not publically renounced those views). 

Many of the people on the list are just odious.  The best antiseptic for odious views is to have them exposed – most people will be able to see how foul Fred Phelps is as soon as he opens his mouth, for example.

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