Griffin is not under investigation for an actual crime, such as conspiracy to commit terrorism, but for criticizing Islam.
This is as a result of a BBC undercover investigation that taped a private meeting of the BNP with a hidden camera. According to the BBC (which is hardly a disinterested party),
“In the documentary, footage recorded at a meeting in Keighley shows BNP leader Mr Griffin saying it was important to stand up and act for the party or 'they (Muslims) will do for someone in your family.'
“'For saying that, I tell you, I will get seven years if I said that outside.'
“He calls Islam a 'wicked, vicious faith' that 'has expanded through a handful of cranky lunatics' and 'is now sweeping country after country.'”When Griffin said that he could “get seven years,” he was referring to Britain's anti-free speech Race Relations Act, one of the many anti-“hate” provisions of British law.
On Tuesday evening, Griffin was released without charge. So were the other two BNP leaders who were arrested in connection with the same investigation. The reason may be that at this time it is not an offence in Britain to incite to religious (as opposed to racial) hatred, and Islam is a universalist religion that anyone can join.
As of this writing, twenty hours after Griffin's arrest, I haven't seen any coverage of it in the American press, at least as monitored by Google News. This parallels its muted reaction to the recent judicial suppression of Belgium's anti-immigration Vlaams Blok party.
The BBC did tape one BNP member who said he'd actually beaten someone up in the race riots that rocked Britain in 2001, and another man who said he'd put dog feces through the mailbox of an Asian restaurant.
But neither of those crimes is the focus of the investigation.
The focus, mentioned in all these stories, is the fact that Griffin said that Islam is a “vicious, wicked faith”.
Which, as it happens, is fair comment. (Which part of polygamy, misogyny, flogging, slavery, and forced marriage would you say is not vicious and wicked?)
I've written before that the Islamic complaints about defamation are not about falsehoods, but either about legitimate religious opinion, or about the unpleasant truth about Islam's past and present.
Muslims were reportedly “jubilant“ at Griffin's arrest. According to Reuters:
“Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, which has long urged the government to outlaw the BNP [said] “There is no place in British society [!] for the bigots of the BNP.” [BNP leader held over anti-Islam comments, By Gideon Long, Dec 14, 2004]
As it happens, the Stephen Roth Institute of Jerusalem, no ally of the BNP, doesn't think much of the Islamic Human Rights Commission either.
“The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is a radical Islamist organization that uses the language and techniques of a human rights lobbying group to promote an extremist agenda. Formed in 1997 by its current chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, the IHRC supports jihad groups around the world, campaigns for the release of convicted terrorists and promotes the notion of a western conspiracy against Islam. “The “Islamic Human Rights Commission” engages in SPLC-like anti-“hate” propaganda, but what it wants is much more power than Morris Dees can ever have in the United States.
In a recent op-ed published in the Daily Telegraph, Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, calls for a revival of the blasphemy laws, for the protection of the Islamic religion. [We need protection from the pedlars of religious hatred, December 12, 2004]
While Sacranie fudges the facts about the Prophet's marriage, or marriages, his point is that no one should be allowed to complain that the Prophet married a nine-year old.
It happens that England did have blasphemy laws in the 19th century. Charles Bradlaugh, England's most famous atheist, fought for the rights of freethinkers to say what they liked about England's majority religion, Christianity.
This is what we call “religious freedom,” and it's a necessity of modern civilization.
But there are many people who don't like modern civilization, and that's the constituency for which Sacranie is speaking.
Britain's racial and religious problems are the result of its immigration policy. Like Holland, it has welcomed a group of people into its society who consider themselves enemies of that society.
In order to cater to immigrant sensibilities, the majority is surrendering all along the line.
Here at VDARE.COM, we do not endorse the BNP.
But when Peter Brimelow called me and told me about the Griffin arrest, he asked me if it wasn't an extraordinary thing, a surprising thing, for the police to do to the head of a political party.
I said “It would surprise me in a free country, but not in Britain.”
If it happens in ten years to, oh, say, Peter Brimelow, or Pat Buchanan, I might be saying “It would have surprised me when America was a free country, but not now.”
And here's a suggestion to the BBC: instead of infiltrating a harmless fringe party, why don't you send your hidden cameras into the famous Finsbury Park Mosque?
There's a group that might have something interesting to say.
But when you've found out what they have to say, and if you get out alive, watch out for the West Yorkshire Police.