Some American bloggers are down on the UK because of the story about the idjit police arrest of two men in Gateshead. Dazed and Confused sent us the story (as did Andy Bostom):
In a disturbing development, Northumbria Police in Gateshead last week arrested two men after they watched and shared a video on Facebook of a man burning the Koran in the US during the recent 9/11 commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.
The men were drinking in the Bugle pub, Leam Lane, Gateshead, when they were arrested after watching and sharing the videos.
Around 30 people staged a protest outside Gateshead police station on Wednesday evening, the 15th of September, following the arrests.
The group stood outside the doors to the police station with an England flag for about three hours watched by a contingent of uniformed officers. The protesters had gathered at around 8pm after the two men were arrested earlier in the day on ‘suspicion of inciting racial hatred’.
The protest continued until around 11pm when the two arrested men were bailed pending further enquiries.
Notice that members of the community were in front of their local police station to protest that idiotic arrest.
But where was Derek Fenton’s “community” in New Jersey when he was fired for being the cause of that video — i.e., for ripping out pages of the Koran and putting a lighter to them? You can still see the video here, though I was told Youtube had removed it.
I would be fine if this was a private company firing the guy. But NJ Transit is a government agency — and should a government agency by firing someone for their expression of free speech on the employees’ private time?
NJ Transit claims he violated their “code of ethics”. Sounds like one of those Zero Tolerance codes that keeps the Left so busy being annoyed when we violate them, or keep children out of class for long periods of time because they unwittiingly violated the totalitarian school rules.
The New York Times had an op-ed today on Derek Fenton’s situation, written by a former federal prosecutor:
Stupid. Un-American. Playing right into the terrorists’ hands. That describes the act of desecrating the Koran, and of firing a government employee for doing so.
Well, he got the last one right. But Americans have been burning flags, desecrating religious icons, throwing blood on government documents for decades now. And they’ve been hailed for doing so. Given our history, I’d change “stupid” to “that’s your opinion” and “un-American” to “the usual ornery American character”.
This prosecutor comes closer to the mark as he continues:
The question of whether New Jersey Transit’s dismissal of Derek Fenton is unconstitutional is easy. A long line of cases involving the First Amendment rights of government employees offer broad protection for actions taken outside the job. State employees can engage in political activity as long as it’s not work-related.
There are a few exceptions but none relate to Mr. Fenton, whose job was to line up the trains. Accordingly, if the American Civil Liberties Union has a junior lawyer who needs some courtroom experience, send him to Trenton. His first case should be a slam-dunk.
In theory. A more difficult question is whether a judge, during the current silly season about Islam, will have the courage to enforce the Constitution…
And so it is…the silly season, that is.
Here’s another outbreak of silliness, sent by Vlad Tepes.
Now this is a very American story. Or at least it’s becoming “very American” in Michigan, which has dense pockets of Muslims, both immigrants and American-born Muslims who converted in prison. Again, this East Lansing incendiary Koran also appears to require police involvement:
Police have positively identified the individual responsible for the desecration of the Qur’an on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The individual voluntarily surrendered to police officials on Wednesday, Sept. 15 following the establishment of a $10,000 reward fund. None of the reward funds were paid out to obtain the information leading to the individual’s identity. The individual continues to cooperate with police and FBI officials. The investigators have determined that this was an isolated incident.
It is expected that the police investigation will be completed early next week. The case will be forwarded to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for review. No further information will be released until a decision is made about filing charges.
So this man burned a Koran and left it on the property of a mosque on 9/11. He was having his own little commemoration. Big deal. Most of us wouldn’t feel impelled to do this, but we don’t know the man’s story. Muslims have been burning other religions’ scriptures for years — and torching the people holding those books while they were at it. So pardon us, infidels that we are, if we find it difficult to get real incensed about such goings on.
The police in East Lansing know darn well that this is simply trespassing. At least that’s all it is unless the City Council has enacted some new law attaching a criminal penalty to what is essentially a civil misdemeanor. If the County Prosecutor’s Office gins up the charges, one would hope to see the ACLU show up there also.
Vlad sent along a commenter’s take on the Michigan story:
Please have your readers call. I have called and they are so overwhelmed it is amazing. I asked them when I finally got through if I could claim $10,000 because my neighbour burnt the bible.
I called from Europe and it is worth it just to let them know that this is not acceptable. If we overwhelm them we all know that the people of Lansing are going to get mad that they cannot get through to their police department as Koran Burning is more important than real crime, also real policemen and detectives are going to be [angry] that a First Amendment Right is more important that rape and murder.
Well, it all depends, doesn’t it? Who put up the ten thousand dollar reward? A Muslim community group, no doubt.
And how come the fellow doesn’t get the reward for turning himself in? Surely that doesn’t violate the rules of the reward?
It’s just a shame these incidents feed the insatiable maw of the media, which gobbles up infotainment like this. That energy could be put to better use in other, more effective ways. Where’s P.J. O’Rourke and his prankster mind when we need him?
Do you remember those harmless drapings of public statues in Europe? The incidents were coordinated, cleverly humorous, and they raised awareness of the problem. Who is to say that actions like these didn’t help lead to the ban in France on those horrible garments?
Here’s the press release from the organizers, an entity calling themselves the Anonymous Group of Democratic and Free Thinking:
Throughout the night on 6th of March  we have successfully continued our statue veiling campaign. With this reappearing action we want to inspire the public to a discussion concerning Islamisation and associated taboo subjects.
By veiling statues in Berlin, Braunschweig, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Moscow, Tampere, and Turku, we have expanded our activities to Germany, Finland and Russia within six months.
They had to stay anonymous, obviously. And any such public action in this country would need to do the same thing.
It’s time to coordinate our opposition, wouldn’t you say? But in order to succeed any symbolic action would have to possess several qualities:
|1.||No destruction (sorry, guys. No fires)|
|2.||It would have to address a specific Islamic depredation, like, say burqas (they’re not a problem here. Yet.)|
|3.||It would have to be humorous.|
|4.||It would have to be inexpensive.|
|5.||It would be an action requiring very few people.|
|6.||It would have to be legal.|
|7.||It would have to be anonymous.|
Not being original, nothing springs to mind immediately. Because it’s been done before, lots of copies of various Mo cartoons everywhere might be a good start.
Nothing insulting. Just good ol’ Mo, with maybe Aisha and a few other wives. Mo on a camel. Mo by his tent. Mo at the oasis. Mo with his mighty sword.
They’d get ripped down everywhere, which is why they’d need to be massively plastered by a few accomplices…repetition is key.
Or, to be really wicked, lots of cartoons of Jesus hung all over the place: healing the sick, hanging out with sinners, curing the blind, enjoying a Seder meal,
holding up a shamrock…oops, wrong icon.
You get the idea.
Meanwhile, the police need to take a chill pill.