Citizens in England Call For Speech Crackdown After A Man Walks By Parliament With ISIS Flag

2000There is an interesting story out of England that shows the rising expectations among people that speech is regulated to prevent unpopular expressions. A man was photographed walking past Parliament with a small child on his shoulders and waiving an Islamic State flag. What I saw was a demonstration of free speech that is a testament to Western values. What many in England saw was an outrageous failure of the police to arrest the man.

All civilized people reject and despise what ISIS represents. There is also a huge irony in this man enjoying the freedom of speech and freedom of religion that is not just rejected by ISIS but subject to the death penalty in areas under its control. However, this is not about who he is or what ISIS is. There is little question on both counts. It is a question of who we are in the West.

The Metropolitan police insisted that the carrying of a flag is not clearly illegal: “While support of and membership of ISIS is unlawful it is not a criminal offence to advocate the creation of an independent state.”

That has led to a torrent of criticism on social media from people who are demanding less freedom of speech from their government.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws.

Of course, many in the U.S. reacted angrily when CNN reported breathlessly that an ISIS flag was seen at a gay rights march — without realizing that it was a parody using sexual images.

The response to this photograph shows that people have become almost conditioned to expect government regulation of speech. Few consider their own views as potentially subject to such prosecution. It is the speech of others that they want curtailed or denied. The trend in England and Canada told greater and greater speech regulation is a great disappointment, but to see citizens call for less freedom is truly alarming.

By the way, targeting such individuals and groups for prosecution is a self-defeating effort. It makes them martyrs and allows them to point to our own hypocrisy in espousing Western values and freedoms. I have long been a critic of the German laws banning certain symbols for the same reason. It has done little to stop the rise of fascist groups. They simply changed the symbols slightly or went underground. It is better to let people like this man work in the open and for intelligent people to answer bad speech with good speech. Forcing them into the dark recesses of society does not deter their message. It only makes them (and the danger) less visible for society.

Source: Guardian

37 thoughts on “Citizens in England Call For Speech Crackdown After A Man Walks By Parliament With ISIS Flag”

  1. Bam bam … no need to get emotional and defensive. I read your remark about 25% of Palestinians just fine…and you clearly alluded to it being representative of Muslims per se with the “nice try” remark. Same with the 15% toss off…a rather small minority I’d say. I don’t doubt you have spent more time in academia than I have, and I would say it shows. BTW…where did I cite education levels as relative to this discussion? That seems to be you own point, now repeated, which I did not challenge. My experience after the lowly bachelors degree has been face to face first person in various places around the world, including as enlisted in war, and where I’ve lived in peace, and locally with Muslims for the past 30 years. I am familiar with the various sub-sets of the Muslim religion and if you’d have been paying attention yourself to some of my other remarks, you’d know that I live among Shia’ Muslims mostly from Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen….and ISSI & their Sunni sponsors (15% you say) are not very popular. It would be rare to find a Salafist or Wahhabist anywhere near here, but there might be some in the Detroit border areas….based upon the tattered Sunni Mosques I’ve observed there, versus the well tended solidly Shia’ Mosques where I live…a place that still has a Christian Church to Mosque ratio of about 6:1….no mater what nonsense you might read in tomes. Before you perchance cite Sharon Angle of Nevada on Muslim faiths here, (she doesn’t get it that there are several versions) let me advise you she is 101% wrong, but then she’s never really been here…there is no Sharia. But, by her ignorance in general she did manage to get Harry Reid re-elected. If you consider that a good thing, what can I say?

    We should end this, and I am done with it at this point. I don’t want to stoop to insulting you directly as you have done me left-handedly …it serves no purpose. You have a nice day now.

  2. Aridog

    Reading is fundamental. It’s your problem if you don’t comprehend what was written about a fourth of all Palestinian Muslims. No need to lecture me about the percentage of Palestinian Muslims in the world. Learn to read and comprehend what is written. It will do you some good. As for living among a group consisting of 90% Muslims, no thank you. If you enjoy that, knock yourself out. As far as our respective levels of education, I would dare to guess that my education and degrees far surpass anything you have ever considered even attempting. By the way, according to polls, ISIS enjoys a favorable opinion throughout the Arab world of around 15%. Specific enough for you?

  3. Bam Bam … You sited Muslim Palestinians, a very tiny minority of Muslims world wide, let alone the middle east. What was your point, exactly? My “clue” to your lack of knowledge of Muslim ethnicities and cultures is drawn directly from your remarks. BTW…my dogs are well liked in my community and local kids frequently play with them, never mind the others, all Muslim who have their own dogs near by. Perhaps you need to read less inflammatory commentary about Muslims (such as the bit about dogs?) and actually live among some for a while. Your prejudice is showing, but in an omnibus manner, and where applicable, and only there, it is justified, such as among the radical Palestinians…and even my neighbors wouldn’t disagree on that issue. If you think ISIS represents the majority of Muslims in the world, or even 25% (using you limited statistics vis a vis Palestinians) you are sadly mistaken, but I cannot help that. ISIS has killed and maimed more Muslims than any other group…yet you’d assert they are supported anyway?

  4. Aridog

    No mention of radicals, just the mention of a poll which indicates that 25% of Muslim Palestinians support ISIS. Your inability to correctly read and understand that statement is a direct reflection upon your lack of education regarding a very directed comment. You have no clue as to my knowledge of Arab Muslim cultures or faiths, as you put it. Live surrounded by 90% Muslims. That your choice. Good for you. You appear to be the one in desperate need of some education, and, might I add, quickly. Better yet, bring your beloved dog, pictured, to their homes. I’m sure they’ll just love it.

  5. Bam Bam … I am not “trying” I live it…in a community of Muslims (90%) that have little use for the “Palestinian radicals” or any other ISIS advocates. You might serve yourself better if you understood the differences within the Arab Muslim cultures and faiths. BTW…”Palestinians” represent a very small percentage of the Muslims in the Middle East or here….and their goal is political, not cultural or religious. However, as you said: “Nice Try.”

  6. BTW…I do understand the “hearts & minds” concept, and believe in it if you really try to do it…but we’ve never ever really tried it, other than the efforts espoused by USMC LTG Victor Krulak in Vietnam…it worked, so of course, it was abandoned. Our bureaucratic betters know best!! The two legged turd in the WH has no clue…he just likes the “words” without the substance of real effort. It starts with soldiers & diplomats sitting down with local nationals and local soldiers and LISTENING…shutting up otherwise. We are not very good at the listening part, generally…and that opinion is by my own first hand experience, where I witnessed “listening” work when tried by small units in small places.

  7. … by winning the battle for hearts and minds …

    Gee. I wonder why that sounds so familiar to me….circa the 1960’s and the meat head Robert Komer? Could it be once tried and failed, so of course try it again…the definition of insanity if I recall correctly.

  8. That damnable flag was first the symbol of Al Qaeda, then adopted by ISIS/ISIL…it is a worthless piece of crap and I have multitudes of Muslim neighbors who will tell you the very same thing. They have lost the most at the hands of the purveyors of that symbol. Most came here to escape it.

    1. Aridog

      Nice try. A recent poll indicates that one in four Muslim Palestinians supports ISIS. If my math serves me, that’s 25%.

  9. won’t he be stoned in the not to distant future for mocking the isis flag? What was he doing? 1) mocking isis 2) mocking the west’s free speech 3) being stupid so we protect him from one or 4) ? Obama’s last speech we defeat isis by winning the battle for hearts and minds….creating a different avenue of outlet…..and overlooking how or why he has a kid on his shoulder….just like the rainbow flag….don’t ask how they get a ‘family’ just assume no third person’s rights were violated or exploited. Funny how kids can be wrapped in flags…..and that is ‘speech’per se and intent supplied sue sponte…..but by golly you go to speak to your kids principal and they want to record that speech….

  10. I would have worn a white T-shirt and written the phrase “this guy is a moron” on the front with “he supports ISIS which tortures and kills kids” on the back and followed him everywhere exercising my own right of free speech.

    The best remedy for bad speech is good speech. I’m glad we live in the US with the most robust Free Speech rights in the world.

    Aridog is right – ISIS kills a great many Muslims in the holier-than-thou wars, and this flag would not be welcomed in many Muslim circles.

  11. The silencing of those who speak removes from the rest of us, the ability to ROFLMAO when we see or hear absuditities uttered.

    Like Nick’s over the top repulsion of the rainbow and it’s flag supporters…

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