Arrested for burning koran!

Discuss Irish and International politics
Stublore
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:27 am

Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Stublore » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:43 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011 ... an-burning
A senior member of the BNP who burned a copy of the Qur'an in his garden has been arrested following an investigation by the Observer.

Footage of the burning shows Sion Owens, 40, from south Wales and a candidate for the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections, soaking the Qur'an in kerosene and setting fire to it.

A video clip of the act, leaked to the Observer and passed immediately to South Wales police, provoked fierce criticism from the government.

A statement from the Home Office said: "The government absolutely condemns the burning of the Qur'an. It is fundamentally offensive to the values of our pluralist and tolerant society.

"We equally condemn any attempts to create divisions between communities and are committed to ensuring that everyone has the freedom to live their lives free from fear of targeted hostility or harassment on the grounds of a particular characteristic, such as religion."
continued on site.
Isn't it hypocritical to say that in a pluralist and tolerant society one cannot perform a non violent act of protest with one's own belongings without the fear/threat of arrest?
What are the Irish atheists view on this issue?
The fact that it was a BNP councillor seems to me to be an irrelevancy.
When did burning your own book, on your own property become a crime in the UK.
Could the same happen here?
Is it right to arrest someone for burning their own book?
dugges
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:34 pm
Location: Baile átha Cliath

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by dugges » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:11 pm

I must say I do support freedom of speech and it would be hypocritical to say he can't burn a book
It's Westboro Baptist's right to protest funerals with homophobic slogans and Pastor Terry Jones' right to burn korans

They are still arseholes but they do have the same rights to freedom of speech/being an arsehole as I do
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
Douglas Adams
Feardorcha
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Feardorcha » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:22 pm

I agree Dugges. It is always hard to defend freedom of speech, and other liberties, when they are tested by - as you so eloquently put it - arseholes.

Now we need a Burn-the-Koran Day, in addition to Draw Mohammad Day, to show the religious thugs and the craven administrators that we are not prepared to give in to intimidation.
Dev
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 914
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:10 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Dev » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:04 pm

Dugges++

The right to freedom of speech and expression often means the right to be a dick.

Assuming seriousness:
Now we need a Burn-the-Koran Day, in addition to Draw Mohammad Day, to show the religious thugs and the craven administrators that we are not prepared to give in to intimidation.

Umm no. Burning books would be giving in to intimidation because it demonstrates a fear of words. Besides all it does is symbolize hatred - not something we stand for.

We don't burn books. We judge them on their literary merit.
Feardorcha
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Feardorcha » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:51 pm

Much as I cherish books and what they represent in human culture, I would burn one to defend freedom from religious thuggery.

It is not symbolic of hatred, it is no reflection on the content of the book but, as a growing and violent religion is killing its opponents and threatening our freedom of speech, it may be necessary.

Similarly, I don't like the idea of drawing a cartoon of Mohammad but I will in memory of those killed for so doing and in a small way to show religious zealots that their views carry no more heft than the views of all other people.
Dev
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 914
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:10 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Dev » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:57 pm

Feardorcha wrote:Much as I cherish books and what they represent in human culture, I would burn one to defend freedom from religious thuggery.
It is not symbolic of hatred, it is no reflection on the content of the book but, as a growing and violent religion is killing its opponents and threatening our freedom of speech, it may be necessary.
I wouldn't draw any parallels with DMD. The fundamental difference is DMD wasn't destructive - burning a Qu'ran is. I was never in favour of DMD but I recall biped having some interesting points to make about it. However this is where I draw the line.

Burning a book isn't necessary to get your point across. If you think the book is intolerant and nonsensical then say so. Tell me exactly how burning the Qu'ran will achieve your goal?

Do you not think this is all very Fahrenheit 451ish?
Mirthomaniac
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Mirthomaniac » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:30 pm

Dev wrote: Burning a book isn't necessary to get your point across. If you think the book is intolerant and nonsensical then say so. Tell me exactly how burning the Qu'ran will achieve your goal?
I have a copy of The Lord of the Rings sitting on my shelf. It's old. The story is cherished by millions, and they might take offense to it if I were to burn it, but ultimately nobody would care. Even if they had a 'rule' saying that burning the book was punishable by death, it's my copy of the book and if I burn it, it's my business. Nobody would say 'but burning that is an offense to J.R.R. Tolkien and his millions of fans.' If they did, they'd be laughed at. Religions should be treated the same.

Fast forward a bit, and consider a situation where some overzealous fans have attacked me, possibly even killed me, for not following their law. Others burning the book no longer becomes an unnecessary demonstration of freedom. It is done to retaliate against intimidation and violence, and to show that religious laws of that sort no longer apply to people of reason in a free state. Again, nobody would care if I burned my own property. Religion should not be exempt from this indifference, irrespective of who is offended. One does not have a right to not be offended.

This is of course subject to discretion, but discretion is abandoned once violence becomes the status quo.
Dev
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 914
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:10 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Dev » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Mirthomaniac wrote:
Dev wrote: Burning a book isn't necessary to get your point across. If you think the book is intolerant and nonsensical then say so. Tell me exactly how burning the Qu'ran will achieve your goal?
I have a copy of The Lord of the Rings sitting on my shelf. It's old. The story is cherished by millions, and they might take offense to it if I were to burn it, but ultimately nobody would care. Even if they had a 'rule' saying that burning the book was punishable by death, it's my copy of the book and if I burn it, it's my business. Nobody would say 'but burning that is an offense to J.R.R. Tolkien and his millions of fans.' If they did, they'd be laughed at. Religions should be treated the same.

Fast forward a bit, and consider a situation where some overzealous fans have attacked me, possibly even killed me, for not following their law. Others burning the book no longer becomes an unnecessary demonstration of freedom. It is done to retaliate against intimidation and violence, and to show that religious laws of that sort no longer apply to people of reason in a free state. Again, nobody would care if I burned my own property. Religion should not be exempt from this indifference, irrespective of who is offended. One does not have a right to not be offended.

This is of course subject to discretion, but discretion is abandoned once violence becomes the status quo.
`
I see what you're getting at and I agree that you have the right to burn a book.

What I'm arguing though is that you shouldn't burn a book.

I think there is some disagreement about what book burning symbolizes. In 99/100 cases - it simply stems from hatred or fear. If you feel that there is a positive outcome to burn books then you should do it. However I remain unconvinced that burning books is the most effective way to criticize a religion and manifest positive change. The recent surge in the appetite for atheism and secularism has stemmed from a tipping point of frustrations with religious fundamentalism and appeal to reason and not book burning. i.e. we simply act mature and let themselves shoot their feet.

This is the path that is promoting the change we want and should pursue it.

I think burning the Qu'ran will result in pissing off otherwise reasonable Muslims and other religious peoples; they will find the act insulting are unlikely to lend an ear to the message you really want to send. If I saw some guy burning copies of my favorite books I'd ignore him.
Last edited by Dev on Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mirthomaniac
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Mirthomaniac » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:19 pm

Dev wrote: I see what you're getting at and I agree that you have the right to burn a book.

What I'm arguing though is that you shouldn't burn a book.

I think there is some disagreement about what book burning symbolizes. In 99/100 cases - it simply stems from hatred or fear. If you feel that there is a positive outcome to burn books then you should do it. However I remain unconvinced that burning books is the most effective way to criticize a religion and manifest positive change. The recent surge in the appetite for atheism and secularism has stemmed from a tipping point of frustrations with religious fundamentalism and appeal to reason and not book burning.
I wouldn't personally go around burning books, for the record. It's crude. However, should someone choose to do it, it should not be looked upon as any worse than anything else.

The U.S. incident was pathetic, however, and I agree with you that such behaviour is a display of intolerance. Retaliation by physical force is still inexcusable. Look up Thunderf00t's video on the subject: he plans to download 500,000 copies of the Qur'an onto an old HDD and then burn that. It is an act of defiance here - maybe one of those 1/100 cases where it's not done from fear or hatred, but in opposition to the spreading of those things?
Feardorcha
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Arrested for burning koran!

Post by Feardorcha » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:23 pm

Tell me exactly how burning the Qu'ran will achieve your goal?
My goal is to retain the freedom to speak freely and not be silenced by ignorance and superstition.

If enough people burn the Koran - or any other book claimed to hold special powers - those who take to themselves the right to kill people for a perceived insult will be unable to kill us all and we will have salvaged our right to regard books as books and not vessels of the supernatural and we will have slavaged our hard-won, fundamental right to regard ideas as ideas and not be cowed by the threats of those who would silence us.
Post Reply