Couple Criminally Charged After Burning Koran On Videotape

We have been discussing the rapid erosion of free speech in Great Britain with expanding criminalization of speech deemed insulting or offensive to any group or person.  The most recent case involved a couple shown in a videotape burning a copy of the Koran.  As offensive and hateful as this act is, it is still an exercise of free speech in my view.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and hereand here and here and here and here and here and here and here).  Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.

In this incident, a 45-year-old Worcestershire man says that “I’ve been trying to get my poxy fire started for half-hour wondering what s**t I can get it going with.”  He then grabs a Koran and says “And then I found this. And it worked, all I’ve got left is the poxy, sh***y cover and look, that’s on the fire as well.”

He is now charged with posting videos or images likely to cause racial hatred, along with a 45-year-old woman.

Once again, as disturbing and obnoxious as such videotapes are, they are an expression of free speech, including speech related to religious faith.  The solution to such hateful speech is not criminalization but better and more speech.  Otherwise, countries like the UK are placed on a slippery slope of censorship and criminalization with an ever-widening scope of proscribed speech.

What do you think?




37 thoughts on “Couple Criminally Charged After Burning Koran On Videotape”

  1. “As for the “exercise of free speech,” that too is part of the classic Leftist hypocrisy. While Turley secretly applauds the punishment of those who oppose the Leftist agenda, he also well knows that by appearing to adhere to certain principles that normal, non-Leftist people hold, he can carry out his more subtle Leftist propaganda campaign. Turley well understands that the Leftist agenda is best accomplished incrementally, rather than through revolution. Thus, while he stands with his fellow Leftists to silence any non-Leftist opposition, by hypocritically appearing to uphold genuine values, he fools the naive and uninformed non-Leftists into emulating his more subtle approach to the Leftist agenda.” Well written! Gracie, Ralph Adamo. The irony is that I will make a $10 bet Mr. Turley had never read some of the hateful things said in the Koran, or read of some of horrendous punishments provided.

  2. Why is this offensive to you? I understand it would be against a Muslim, but a writer with your views, I wouldn’t have thought so. This book is a piece of stinking filth. It is a bunch of lies that deceive people into harming others. It has caused MASSIVE pain around the world. I would gladly publicly make this same statement and burn one if given the opportunity.

    1. You should try reading the Quran first. I didn’t notice any of that.

      1. David Benson – have you read the WHOLE Quran, not just the nice bits?

  3. Was this “copy of Koran” the possession of this couple? Is there a Law against burning a book not wanted, as long as it is done safely?

  4. I knew a former Army Paratrooper who went through POW training. It was rather traumatic. They made them wear pajamas, marched them through the jungles for days, and if they were Christian, they mocked their religion and tore up a Bible right in front of them. They made them drink a big bowl of water and then nailed them in a box for hours until they urinated all over themselves. That was just in the beginning. As you can imagine, a lot of them failed the course. My friend passed.

    What was the object? I wondered if it was perhaps a case study in PTSD. But in fact it was about resilience. It was about learning how, and if you could, withstand what the enemy would throw at you. And as bad as all of the above sounds, they did not cause physical harm. A real POW situation obviously would. So if someone couldn’t pass the course, there was no way they could survive being a POW.

    We teach our children not to allow themselves to be baited into a physical fight with mere words. We Christians are taught tolerance for mockery from birth. Christianity is the cup that runneth over of inspiration for comics and the condemnation of artists and musicians. There are plays, paintings, art exhibitions, singers, comedians, etc mocking the icons, and every aspect of the religion. And you do not see very many Christians going bananas and becoming violent. I’m sure they are out there, because there are millions of people who live here. But it’s vanishingly rare. In the Muslim faith, it’s considered predictable that if you insult the faith, someone, somewhere is going to kill someone totally unrelated to the act itself. Perhaps one of the problems is sensitization. Maybe too many people tiptoe around trying not to upset the extremists. Maybe if more of us laugh about the foibles, they would become more used to it. ISIS is already fighting for a global caliphate. We are getting terrorist attacks daily now. Pacifying them is not working. Maybe mocking them will hurt their recruiting efforts.

    I do not personally condone the destruction of any religious text – whether that’s the Qu’ran, Bible, Torah, the Book of Mormon, or the writings of Buddha. It doesn’t just hurt the person you may be mad at; it hurts or bothers everyone who holds that faith. And I don’t like hurting innocent people. That said, it’s free speech, and it’s all of our duty to defend the right to engage in speech with which we do not agree. It’s sad that Europe has not come to that conclusion.

  5. The problem is that the thugs that use this for an excuse to kill and maim, don’t kill and maim the idiot burning the Koran. If you want to die for your free speech that’s one thing. But, when being an a**hole and exercising free speech causes the deaths of other unrelated innocents, then the issue has to be rethought. Perhaps the perimeter of yelling fire in a crowded theatre should be an obligatory ingredient in the defense of this holy/unholy right. Mindless adherence to sacred laws is where we are coming from, where the problem lies. The problem with religion, these days Islam, is following rules without considering all the issues. That’s what gets the heads hacked off, the 12 yr old girls raped, etc. Inciting hatred by exhibiting hateful acts is in the same category as yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Deal with that.

    1. I’m afraid your argument is a false equivalence. We are talking about one specific case, the one above which did not “cause the deaths of other unrelated innocents..”. Nothing like that happened nor was it likely to happen. Nor did “head’s get hacked off nor 12 year old girls raped” . This is pure hyperbole.

      This wasn’t a case of yelling fire in a crowded theater. The theater is empty. And under those circumstances you can say any “hit you want.

      1. So when that idiot in Florida started advertising that he was going to burn a koran and six red cross workers were killed open retaliation, the bogus pastor in Florida gets to cause innocent deaths just to exercise his rights of free speech. There must be a connection between the freedom of speech and the sort of speech, or ‘fire in a crowded theatre’. Throughout history and in particular in the US, at certain times the government has interpreted the weight of freedoms versus their consequences. There is a point where freedom of this or that overlaps with the necessary judgement of a people who main concern is to protect its society. How it is handled is dependent on the moment. To mindlessly ignore that reality and ignorantly quote scripture is unfortunate. Then look at the present President, mindless, leading and supported by the mindless.

        1. The Florida idiot you are talking about is “Pastor” Terry Jones. He said he was going to burn a Koran in protest of Islam in 2010. The 6 Red Cross Aid workers were killed in an ambush in 2017. Where’s the connection?

          While it is unclear whether or not IS or the Taliban killed them, no one from either group has claimed that is was in response to any offense to Islam. They were in a war zone and warned of the danger beforehand. It was very tragic and sad but there is no connection.

          It’s very dangerous to site one’s own perceived fears as a reason to curtail lawful free speech. Even more so when you don’t have the facts straight.

        2. You have demonstrated your own idocrity by connecting unrelated events to prove your viewpoint. Regardless, even if they were connected, a terrorists actions can’t be applied to another, in any case, period. Let me prove that to you right here, right now. If I decide to kill someone that demonstrates the same type of stupidity you have demonstrated in retaliation for your offensive smut, can you be held responsible? I hope you have some thread of common sense and will reply no to that question.

    2. issac:

      That’s right: if I exercise my inalienable rights and you violently object, I’m surely to blame. How radical — and stupid. In honor of your silly comment, I’m going out to get a Q’uran, Hadith, Injil and a Tabur to burn at my leisure in the interests of promoting the First Amendment. Might throw in a Bible and Torah too, to avoid cries of discrimination. Let freedom ring!

    3. Isaac – extremists push Christians out of boats to their deaths for no other reason than that they are Christian. Boko Haram kidnapped and used as sexual slaves school girls for no other reason than that they were being educated. If they were Christian, they were forced to convert. Their name literally means that Westernization is Haram (forbidden.) ISIS killed a little Muslim kid in front of his hysterical parents because they claimed he insulted the Prophet while he was playing.

      There is not enough tiptoeing in the world to prevent crazy maniacs from being…well…crazy maniacs. I understand your point – do not provoke the maniacs. I do not believe that the answer is to limit our own freedoms. That philosophy was why Hillary Clinton and others promoted blasphemy laws right here in the US. Infringe upon our own First Amendment freedoms so as not to incite the maniacs to violence. That logic is harmful to our own freedom, and will not prevent violence.

      1. I love how liberals twist themselves into a pretzel at every new Islamic terrorist attack.

        And Issac thinks I should should go to jail for saying that.

        Got some news for his ilk. Being a “good, tolerant liberal” won’t help when jihadi come calling.

        Guess I should go to jail for saying that too.

  6. Who needs an Islamic caliphate when Western governments act like one? The altar of mandated diversity is a bloody spot.

  7. When seeing this article, I could not hope but wonder if in my lifetime I will ever witness government leaving citizens alone.

    I don’t see a state interest in protecting others, or especially abstractions, from being insulted.

  8. He can use what ever he wants to use to start his fire, if he owns it he can burn it, but why post a film of it? That was done out of spite to cause upset to people who believe. Oh and before you ask, I’m atheist, but my motto is live and let live.

  9. Jon Turley says: “As offensive and hateful as this act is [videorecording the burning of a Quran or القرآن الكريم], it is still an exercise of free speech in my view.” What is offensive about burning the Quran or القرآن الكريم? Would Turley call the burning of the Christian Bible “offensive” and “hateful?” Of courst not! He’d applaud such an act. Would Turley call the burning of the Hebrew Bible “offensive” and “hateful?” Of course not! He’d applaud that act too. In fact, Turley would applaud attacks of ANY kind on ANYTHING that the Leftists oppose. What Turley is really trying to say is that he finds ANY attacks on Leftists or on things that Leftists hold sacred to be offensive.

    As for the “exercise of free speech,” that too is part of the classic Leftist hypocrisy. While Turley secretly applauds the punishment of those who oppose the Leftist agenda, he also well knows that by appearing to adhere to certain principles that normal, non-Leftist people hold, he can carry out his more subtle Leftist propganda campaign. Turley well understands that the Leftist agenda is best accomplished incrementally, rather than through revolution. Thus, while he stands with his fellow Leftists to silence any non-Leftist opposition, by hypocritcally appearing to uphold genuine values, he fools the naive and uninformed non-Leftists into emulating his more subtle approach to the Leftist agenda.

    1. Never burned a cross, find it disgusting, wouldn’t attend one, but as a matter of free speech, yes.

      So you ok with prosecuting someone for burning a Koran? Yes or no?

      My guess is no, but you would be ok with burning the American flag or a Bible.

      Political Correctness (i.e. as expressed by ‘hate speech’ laws) tends to go in only one direction.

    2. People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

      Freedom does not adapt to people.

  10. “Ideology Creep”

    In the last election, California ran two democrats for U.S. Senate and no republicans.

    The collectivist dictatorship of minorities and foreign invaders rules there

    through one man, one vote democrazy.

    Nullification of freedom of speech and every other freedom and right

    is the inevitable outcome of burgeoning dictatorship.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

    The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic

    not a one man, one vote democracy because they knew that the “poor” would SELL their votes.

    Ben Franklin, we gave you “a republic, if you can keep it.”

    The singular American failure has been the Supreme Court

    which failed to support the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789.

  11. I’m with Antonio and Jacquie but I’d add flag burning as well. That’s ok obviously, at least here in America.

    1. As it should be. Symbols like the flag are important, and protests should absolutely be allowed to destroy a symbol of what you’re against.

  12. Since he was charged with “posting images or videos likely to cause racial hatred,” he should be acquitted. Islam is a religion, not a race.

    1. TIN – how can you post videos likely to cause racial hatred for the religion of peace?

  13. Bet this guy wouldn’t be arrested for burning a Bible. In fact, I would bet a large sum of money.

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