Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hate crime musings

From the BBC today:

Attacks on Muslims have soared in London since the 7 July bombings, according to police figures.

There were 269 "religious hate" crimes, compared with 40 in the same period last year, the figures show.

Most were verbal abuse or minor assaults, but also include damage to property, including mosques and have a great "emotional impact", police said.

I wonder if the 52 deaths and 700 injuries resulting from the 7/7 bombings have been attributed to “religious hate” crimes. And if, as I suspect, not, then why not?

And if mere verbal abuse constitutes a “hate crime”, then shouldn’t the police be arresting this man for characterizing America as “an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge”?

7 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

I suppose the UK is particularly sensitive to religious hate speech, since it was part and parcel of of the Catholic/Protestant rivalry in Ireland. Here in the U.S. we're not so sensitive to it. Secularists, in the media no less, bash Christians as dumb Southern hicks all the time, and they're protected by the 1st Amendment. And I suspect those who don't respect Muslims do the same to them. What gets reported here are racial attacks, or vandalism or destruction of mosques, synogogues, that sort of thing. We categorize those actions as "hate crimes", but depending on the state, "hate crime" can be more of a rhetorical distinction than a legal one. Otherwise it's just a case of destruction of property.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Richard John said...

I think we have to be really careful of this kind of stuff. I am fairly certain that this "statistic" is completely unreliable. Like most of these numbers, the more media attention it has the bigger it becomes. It is also somewhat devalued by the inclusion of verbal abuse. Come to a Wales vs. England rugby international and you won't be able to keep count of racial insults.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Richard John said...

Oh and another thing. It may be more reliable if they reports PROSECUTIONS or ARRESTS or even WARNINGS based on this apparent mini-crime wave. If these are real crimes then I am sure the police will act accordingly.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...

RJ,

I agree entirely. I think the whole concept of a "hate crime" is ridiculous, and is nothing other than a step towards the Orwellian thought crimes. Hate is an emotion, not an act. And clearly the stats are being inflated, as you suggest. My only question is why the disparity in the characterization of the types of petty crime they are talking about, the truly horrific terrorist acts which undoubtedly are inspired by far more hatred than the "verbal abuse" that makes up most of the stats.

Again, this is the typical word games played by the left, using words to inspire a desired reaction rather than to accurately portray the world.

SC

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Seamus said...

It seems that if I kick my Islamist neighbour's dustbin thats a hate crime. If he blows me up on the tube that's a justifiable critique of British foreign policy.

5:46 PM  
Blogger The g-Gnome said...

Scott sort of came close to saying this, but I'll say it.

Has nobody figured out that the murder of 57 people by Islamist suicide bombers on the seventh of July might help to account in some way for the six-fold year-on -year increase in anti-Muslim 'hate crimes' recorded in the last three weeks of that month? It's not excusable, but would certainly help to make it explicable.

For my sins, I was a lawyer for seven years. Until the advent of Blair/Booth/Clinton jurisprudence, 'hating' somebody might have been odious but it did not in itself constitute 'mens rea'. Most, if not all, of these crimes would be capable of being prosecuted under old common-law crimes, such as affray or GBH in England, assault and breach of the peace in Scotland. The racial element comprises 'aggravation' of the initial crime.

Up here, we hold giant fiestas of racial hatred at least four times a year. They're called Old Firm games.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the g-gnome - actually 52 were murdered.
The figure of 56 killed is often quoted, but that is because the likes of the BBC include the murderers in the count (following the practice followed with such attrocities in Israel).

10:53 AM  

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