Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Islam4UK-Libertarian Alliance Position

During the Falklands conflict there was a demonstration in Manchester, and no doubt elsewhere, against the decision to send troops to liberate the Falklands. There was widespread support for the government action (unlike today in Afghanistan) and, as I recall, troops were already engaged. There was huge opposition to the left-wing demo against the action but no calls for it to be banned. Instead many of us took to the streets and engaged in a very effective counter-demonstration in support of the liberation of the Falklands.

That is how free speech works and is why I fully endorse the following statement from the Libertarian Alliance. How things have changed in little over 25 years.

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today condemns the banning of the radical group Islam4UK as a violation of the right to freedom of speech. [Under the Terrorism Act 2000, a group can be banned if it "commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for, promotes or encourages terrorism or is otherwise concerned in terrorism". Islam4UK disagrees with the Western occupation of Afghanistan, and has made its opposition plain. The banning order will come into effect on Thursday and will make it a criminal offence to be a member, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.]

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:

"The rights to freedom of speech and association are fundamental to a free society. So far as these rights are diminished, that society becomes less free. I was born in a country where these rights had been enjoyed for centuries. I have reached middle age in a politically correct police state where the Government is now trying to criminalise dissent.

"We do not agree that British soldiers in Afghanistan are rapists and murderers. We were offended by the decision of Islam4UK to say this in a march. We certainly would not welcome the transformation of this country into an Islamic state, which is desired by Islam4UK. However, the group has not attacked life or property within the United Kingdom, nor has it recommended attacks on the life or property of any identifiable British individual. This makes the group a victim of oppression by the British State.

"Just because we may disagree with or be offended by certain views does not give us the right to suppress those views. We support the right of Islam4UK to oppose the war in Afghanistan and to argue for an Islamic takeover of the United Kingdom. In the same way, we support the right of others to argue that Moslems should have no right to live in the United Kingdom. The Libertarian Alliance believes in equal liberty for all to speak their minds. Free speech that does not include the right to give offence is not free speech. It is the political equivalent of decaffeinated coffee.

"If people are upset by what they read or hear, let them ignore it or argue against it. There is no place in such debates for the Thought Police."

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That the Race Relations Act 1976 should be repealed;
* That the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 should be repealed;
* That, pending repeal, the Race Regulations subsequent to these Acts should be withdrawn;
* That those sections of the Public Order Act 1986 dealing with speech and publication should be repealed;
* That those sections of the Criminal Justice Act 1998 dealing with "racial aggravation" of offences should be repealed;
* That the Commission for Racial Equality and all similar organisations should be abolished, and their records burned;
* That the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 should be repealed;
* That all the Terrorist Acts should be repealed;
* That all those convicted of thought crimes under the above laws should be pardoned and, where appropriate, compensated;
* That the Human Rights Act 1998 should be amended to protect the right of people to say anything they like about public issues, and to associate or not associate as they please.

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