Saudi Arabia, as you may well know, is governed by Shariah law; Which defined at it’s simplest is a brutal, medieval form of totalitarianism.
To ensure that it’s citizens remain in a permanent state of fear and submission, an army of religious police – the ‘metawa’ – are sent out to beat the public with sticks whenever they see them doing anything that may offend their imaginary sky Daddy. Beating people with sticks in Arab states is our equivalent of an on-the-spot fine.
One of the things the ‘metawa’ can beat you for is saying or writing anything that may offend Allah. Right there in that last paragraph, for instance, I could expect a beating even greater than what David Cameron will be getting on 23rd June.
In the UK we currently have our own unofficial version of the ‘metawa’. They are dressed like ordinary police officers, hold no significant rank or office but just like the Saudis, it is their job – unofficially – to go looking for anyone who may insult Islam. But rather than beat them with sticks, our religious police take to beating them in the magistrate’s court. This is then followed by a round of public humiliation by parading them in the national press as a warning to others of what to expect if you dare offend the states most protected religion.
The most recent subject of this was Gary Farrimond, who was charged with ‘sending offensive messages’ on his Facebook account and sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 100 hours’ of unpaid work as well as receiving a mandatory flogging in the national press.
Gary wrote things on Facebook that made muslims sad. Really horrific, disturbing stuff that would have ‘The Wasp Factory’ reading like a Hallmark greeting card. He said things like: “Has anyone got a Koran so I can burn it.” And used nasty hurt words like “No more economic migrants in the Britannia hotel.”
He also offered bungee jumping services to Pakistani people, with the promise of ‘no strings attached’, and gave his own personal opinion on solving the middle East crisis by suggesting that ‘the muslims should be nuked.’
In response, Greater Manchester Police dropped whatever it was they weren’t doing and rushed to the immediate assistance of whatever poor soul had landed on Gary Farrimond’s Facebook page and been unable to locate the back button on their internet browser. Of course, all those other victims in Manchester who were still waiting for the police to turn up at their burgled homes, broken-in cars or vandalised property, were more than happy to put their real crimes on hold so the police could tackle some virtual ones instead.
My question in all of this, which certainly isn’t a question the magistrates bothered to ask, is exactly how could a muslim have stumbled across Gary’s marginal Facebook page in the first place? Unless this person was intentionally searching for insult – in which case they deserved all they got – or Gary had ‘forgotten’ that he had some muslim friends linked to his account, I’d say that in all probability, the nudge to the police originated from a far more likely crowd of complaint artists who spend way too much of their time scouring Facebook for trouble:
And that is the police themselves.
Although, let’s not discount the fact that Gary could have been turned in by one of his own kind. The underclasses are forever dobbing each other in to the law whenever they fall out with each other, never missing an opportunity to use the blunt weapon of authority to bash each other senseless with. So if it was one of Gary’s ex-friends trying to stir the pot, then they hit the motherload.
But there are two words that make me fairly certain it was Greater Manchester police who took offense to the complaint on behalf of the muslim community and those are: ‘Sentiment Analysis.’
Sentiment Analysis is a piece of software that all police forces have access to. It’s basically a sophisticated text search app, that burrows it’s way through Facebook searching for opinions expressed and comments made, tossing up anything that signifies negativity toward a specific subject. In this case muslims. Well in fact ALWAYS muslims, because I don’t know of any other purpose the Sentiment Analysis tool is used for except religious policing of social media. Which means in effect that the police are looking for victimless non-crimes, and then supplying the victims en masse.
How is that so? Because where in all probability no irate muslim would ever have seen the comments on Gary Farrimond’s Facebook page, by the time the police had their way and the press duly noticed, MILLIONS of muslims can now take offense to the comments as they are splashed all over the papers. Which in turn nicely stokes the already inferno like resentment many of them have burning for us Infidels, potentially placing more malign intent into the hair-trigger minds of those few who wouldn’t think twice about sawing somebody’s head off in protest.
Incidentally, if Gary Farrimond had the balls to plead not guilty, he could have defended his right to free speech in all of this. Although I don’t want to get into the complex subject of how to balance freedom of speech with all the various hate speech, freedom of religion and religious intolerance laws that surround us, I will make this fundamental point:
The police choose their targets carefully.
They will not hesitate to prosecute anybody they think will automatically bow, scrape and surrender to them. This is why they are always picking off low-level commentators from the underclass. They know they won’t fight back. The last thing they want is to prosecute anyone who will stand up for themselves and take on the establishment. If they get the impression for one minute you know what you are talking about when ‘insulting’ muslims, the authorities will give you a very wide berth. The reasoning behind this is simple. They want all these prosecutions to be fast-tracked in front of magistrates – who are themselves clueless, liberal hand-wringers who wouldn’t dare stray from the state narrative. The police do not want to find themselves confronted with someone pleading not guilty or having an appeal heard in a higher court where a very awkward precedent could be set.
If a judge were to decide in favour of free speech on any aspect of anti-Islam commentary, it will be game over for the state and they would have to put up with a surge of Facebook commentators telling the truth about Islam – because they know they can. That would not be good news for the police’s adopted pets in the muslim community.
What would the unofficial departments of the religious police do then?
Go out and catch proper criminals?