Nick Griffin is the head of the British National Party in England. The British National Party is small, but a real political party, with which elects local politicians, especially in places where immigrant rioting has occurred, like Bradford.
As a result of a BBC spy operation which was made into a program called The Secret Agent, Griffin was charged with “using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred” or, in the alternative, “using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred.”
I wrote about this in December, 2004.
The law's delay—it has taken this long for them to reach a verdict, on February 2 2006, a combination of “not guilty” on some counts, and a hung jury on a couple of others.
But apparently the hung jury means that the British Government's political correctness enforcers are able to have another go at them. [BNP duo to face race hate retrial, BBC, February 2, 2006]
The point here is that Griffin was arrested on pure speech grounds (oddly enough, for criticizing Islam). And that he is the leader of a dissident political party in Great Britain.
This got no American media coverage when he was arrested, and is receiving none now, even though it's being reported everywhere else where English is spoken, including the Hindustan Times, which claimed that
“The leader of the far-right British National Party Nick Griffin fabricated a lie to claim in a speech, to his followers, that Asian men were seducing and raping white girl [sic] as part of a Muslim plot to conquer Britain and expand their faith.”
You might think it was interesting that Tony Blair's government was trying to lock up the leader of a competing political party for what amounts to criticism of Labour's immigration policies. (Technically the Crown Prosecution service is supposed these decisions on a non-partisan basis. So it may be a coincidence that Griffin was arrested just before the last election.)
The BBC's website has a piece by Mark Simpson called What now for the BNP? asking what the political effects of this trial will be. The BBC is also a (theoretically non-partisan) government agency.
It's possible that the U.S. media is ignoring this story because they think the BNP is evil. In the past it did show slight traces of evil (let's put it this way, Sam Francis called it a fringe party). But it is now reforming to meet the actual facts of the 21st century.
“The most interesting is, they have dropped antisemitism. On a word-association test with 'Far Right,' a lot of people — including, I think, most of my NR colleagues — would come up with 'antisemitis' as a first response. This is now seriously out of date. In Britain, the old street-fighting, Jew-baiting National Front has morphed into a collar-and-tie party named the BNP — that is, British National Party. Nick Griffin, the BNP head, has been conducting a purge of Stalinesque ruthlessness against the old antisemitic National Front types. FrontPageMag's Robert Locke tells the story here. All the BNP's xenophobic propaganda is now concentrated against Muslims. Jews are OK, on the principle that my enemy's enemy is my friend.” [John Derbyshire, November 30th, 2005]
Since the crime the two BNP officials were accused of involved criticizing Islam, the prosecutors tried to turn this into racism by pointing out that most Muslims are “Asian”, which in Britain usually means from Pakistan. But Griffin said in court that he was criticizing their religion, which he described in court as a “vicious, wicked faith”. Islam is proselytizing faith which will take all races, including e.g. Marin County's John Walker Lindh.
Of course, that's not just Griffin's opinion, many people seem to feel that way: like me, Ann Coulter, and of course the entire staff Commentary and the Weekly Standard, plus a million zillion bloggers.
The problem with equating criticism of Islam with hate, is that when it comes to Islam, the truth hurts.
And in the meantime, the idea that Islam is a “vicious, wicked faith” seems to have been used by the defence in the U.K. trial of a radical imam named Abu Hamza, known as “Captain Hook” because of his carelessness with explosives.
“Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for the defence, said that Abu Hamza's interpretation of the Koran was that it imposed an obligation on Muslims to do jihad and fight in the defence of their religion. He said that the Crown case against the former imam of Finsbury Park Mosque was “simplistic in the extreme”.
“He added: 'It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself.'”'Offensive' remarks taken straight from Koran, defence says, The Times [UK] By Sean O'Neill, January 20, 2006
A little over a hundred years ago, Great Britain had blasphemy laws—laws that wouldn't let an atheist named Charles Bradlaugh be seated in parliament because he wanted to affirm rather than swear an oath.
At the time, the British decided in favor of tolerance, even though it was their own religion that was being attacked.
It's strange that their descendants might be sent to jail for disrespect to the Koran.
The United States still has freedom of speech, and of religion, which includes, as any Ulster Protestant or Irish Catholic could tell you, the right to disapprove of other religions.
But how much longer?