BNP election candidate arrested for alleged Qur’an burning


by Rumbold
10th April, 2011 at 5:21 pm    

Sion Owens, a BNP candidate in Wales, has been arrested and charged under the Public Order Act and remains in custody. Another BNP candidate has been arrested but was bailed:

On Friday, police were given a video which appeared to show Mr Owens dousing a copy of the Koran with a highly flammable fluid, before setting it alight and watching it burn. Later that day he and another of the party’s candidates for the assembly election, Swansea East candidate Joanne Shannon, were arrested.

Mr Owens was charged on Saturday night. He is in custody in Swansea, and due to appear in court on Monday. Ms Shannon has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Sion Owens, who has links to alleged Nazis, was arrested after an Observer investigation tracked down the perpetrators of a Qur’an-burning video and handed the evidence to the police:

The footage of the burning in Britain clearly identifies Owens, who is wearing a “Whitelaw No Surrender” T-shirt. The film starts with the Qur’an lying in a Quality Street tin before Owens begins dousing the holy book in flammable liquid and then setting fire to it. The camera zooms in as the Qur’an burns.

It is clear that Sion Owens is a racist yob, who belongs to a party with links to terrorists such as the Klu Klux Klan. Book burning is also abhorrent, and this was clearly an attempt to provoke an extreme reaction. Yet it is worrying that book burning can get someone arrested. In some scenarios it is understandable; for instance, if Mr. Owens did it in a crowded mosque, as this could potentially provoke a riot or stampede (the old ‘don’t shout fire in a crowded building’). But this wasn’t the case. The fact that this could cause violent demonstrations once it was exposed doesn’t justify arresting someone, any more than burning a copy of My Side by David Beckham would if there was an outrage.


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38 Comments below   |  

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  1. Sunny Hundal

    Blogged: : BNP election candidate arrested for alleged Qur'an burning http://bit.ly/eBKeia


  2. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : BNP election candidate arrested for alleged Qur'an burning http://bit.ly/eBKeia


  3. Celyn

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : BNP election candidate arrested for alleged Qur'an burning http://bit.ly/eBKeia


  4. Tom Drinkwater

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : BNP election candidate arrested for alleged Qur'an burning http://bit.ly/eBKeia


  5. The Election Blog

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  1. earwicga — on 10th April, 2011 at 5:22 pm  

    Book burning isn’t abhorrent.

  2. Lamia — on 10th April, 2011 at 7:49 pm  

    The poppy burners on Remembrance Day weren’t arrested or charged, and they did that in public. A clear example of bias of the law, under which offence in the name of Islam is given the green light and offence against Islam punished. Sharia in all but name.

  3. Don — on 10th April, 2011 at 8:38 pm  

    If it’s his book he can do what he wants with it. It is an object. You can own it, you can burn it, it’s a thing. It’s going to keep happening, this is the internet.

  4. KB Player — on 10th April, 2011 at 8:42 pm  

    I read this in The Observer:-

    “A senior member of the BNP who burned a copy of the Qu’ran in his garden was yesterday arrested following an investigation by the Observer…

    “A video clip of the act, leaked to the Observer and passed immediately to South Wales Police, last night provoked fierce criticism from government.”

    It sounds like the Observer passed this to the South Wales Police. The Observer, the home of Henry Porter, free speech etc. What do they think they’re doing? The BNP guy burned it in his garden, not outside a mosque (as Rumbold says).

    Also, these acts can then be followed by the kind of reaction that happened after the Rev American What’shisface burned a Qu’ran – lots of religious head bangers murdering UN officials in Afhganistan- but that’s because the burning got publicity and unscrupulous god-bothering shits take the opportunity to whip up the head bangers. WTF was The Observer up to?

    I don’t go in for people who burn Qu’rans, bibles or anything else other people hold sacred, including poppies. But unless they’re doing it somewhere where they’re very likely to cause some breach of the peace, leave them alone with their kerosene and matches.

  5. earwicga — on 10th April, 2011 at 9:17 pm  

    but that’s because the burning got publicity and unscrupulous god-bothering shits take the opportunity to whip up the head bangers.

    It didn’t get much publicity until that twat Karzai decided to bang on about it.

  6. Richard — on 10th April, 2011 at 10:07 pm  

    This is an example of where PC clearly HAS gone mad.

  7. earwicga — on 10th April, 2011 at 10:34 pm  

    There’s no such thing as ‘PC’. Toddle off back to your marsh.

  8. Sarah AB — on 11th April, 2011 at 7:10 am  

    I agree with the post but not (quite) with the crowded theatre point. Shouting fire in a crowded theatre would mislead people and cause panic, perhaps deaths, through people rushing for exits. The dynamic of burning a Qur’an outside a mosque would be different because it would be a deliberate provocation which *might* lead to (deliberately inflicted) violence.

    Lamia – I think the poppy burners did get charged – one paid a fine.

  9. Shamit — on 11th April, 2011 at 8:01 am  

    Excellent post Rumbold.

    And your concerns are spot on. So why isn’t the same rules applied when some use the airwaves to call other kuffirs.

    Oh because there is no perceived threat of violence – means this rule is being applied only when there are nutters who might become violent? What kind of message is this sending?

    And book burning is abhorrent but the right to burn a book, irrespective of what it may be, should remain.

  10. damon — on 11th April, 2011 at 9:04 am  

    The Qur’an is more than just ”a book” though, in the same way that certain words are considered so hateful that if you use them you can be prosecuted or lose your job. – Like Ron Atkinson.

    I was talking to a muslim guy I know last week and I mentioned what happened in Afghanistan. He had been saying how his street in the student area of Belfast had gone crazy on St Patrick’s day with street parties and wide scale drunkeness, and I had mentioned there were crazy people everywhere – like in Afghanistan.
    That was different he insisted. The provocation of the Koran burning was too much he said. It didn’t matter that it was just a loon guy in Florida, it was wrong .. and he was quite serious about that.
    So maybe burning a koran should be the same as hate speech. Why not? The intention is the same.

  11. Rumbold — on 11th April, 2011 at 9:44 am  

    Thanks everyone.

    Lamia:

    They were fined:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/8366498/Armistice-Day-poppy-burner-not-sorry.html

    I wouldn’t have fined them either.

    KB Player:

    I found that disturbing too. The Observer did well to expose these individuals, but should have left it at that, and not passed the file to police. It doesn’t surprise me though. There is a tendency amongst too many, on both the left and right, to ignore civil liberty violations if they do not like the group in question (kettling of left wing protestors, banning EDL marches, arbitrary withdrawal of rights for extremists, etc). That’s why Sunny’s strong stance on free speech and the right to protest is so admirable.

    AbuF:

    Out of interest, do you support Karzai? I am not a fan of his.

    Sarah AB:

    I was talking about a Qur’an burning within a mosque, which, if filled with worshippers, would present serious crowd control problems and could cause a stampede.

    Shamit:

    Oh because there is no perceived threat of violence – means this rule is being applied only when there are nutters who might become violent? What kind of message is this sending?

    That is what worries me. It sends a clear signal to extremists of all stripes. React violently when you don’t like something and the system will focus on suppressing anything you don’t like.

  12. Trofim — on 11th April, 2011 at 9:47 am  

    “So maybe burning a koran should be the same as hate speech. Why not? The intention is the same”.

    Only the person carrying out the action can know what the intention is – intentions are internal phenomena. If I use a copy of the koran to light a bonfire in a place invisible to others, say the secluded top of my garden, it can’t possibly be a provocation. Once you start attributing intentions to people’s actions, it’s open day for mischief. If I decide to take my pet pig for a walk, or eat a bacon sandwich in a provocative way, or wear a mini-skirt? Can you read my intentions?

    Your muslim friend in Belfast needs to get pissed – everything should be tried once – then he’ll know the difference between being crazy and drunk.

  13. platinum786 — on 11th April, 2011 at 9:54 am  

    It’s an act of contempt against Muslims and Islam. The same way holocuast denial can be seen as an act of contempt against Jews, the same way burning poppies or picketing the funerals of dead soldiers is an at of contempt against them.

    All freedom, freedom if expression included has to be limited at some point, the challenge society faces is where you draw that line. The above mentions acts are acts of hatred and if expressed publicly or expressed in a manner which was intended to be public, then they should be dealt with by law.

    Ask yourself this question, if those burning a Quran, had the SAME opportunity to burn a Muslim, would they turn it down?

    If those burning poppies had the SAME opportunity to burn a British serviceman, would they turn it down?

    When I say same, I mean in terms of consequence too, you don’t get sent to prison for burning poppies or books etc. It’s the underlying symbolism of the action which is the problem, not so much the physical activity itself.

  14. KB Player — on 11th April, 2011 at 10:00 am  

    Ask yourself this question, if those burning a Quran, had the SAME opportunity to burn a Muslim, would they turn it down?

    Rev Terry Jones wouldn’t – he’s a shit, but law-abiding shit. It’s against the law to burn people in the USA, but not to burn books. Law aside, many people, including myself, are puzzled and outraged when other people react to the burning of a book by the random murder of people.

    I mean loads of people are hanging Nick Clegg in effigy. D’you think they would hang Nick Clegg for real if they could?

  15. Rumbold — on 11th April, 2011 at 10:12 am  

    Platinum786:

    It’s the underlying symbolism of the action which is the problem, not so much the physical activity itself.

    But the law shouldn’t be concerning itself with that. A book is an inanimate object- a piece of property. No ones argues that books should have other legal rights- like a right to a fair trial, voting, etc. Take Salman Rushdie’s work. Should the Muslims who burnt that have been prosecuted? No. Of course not.

  16. jamal — on 11th April, 2011 at 10:49 am  

    shamit

    what is a kuffir?

  17. douglas clark — on 11th April, 2011 at 10:50 am  

    The idea of burning a Koran in private would be a novel notion for these whack jobs. It is the intention of these people to gain publicity for their ’cause’, however abhorrent it might be.

    In any event it appears to be a bit of a one way street, as Rumbold correctly says, burning the Satanic Verses hardly caused ructions amongst the non – islamic UK population.

    I doubt anyone else actually cared very much.

    Though it certainly helped radicalise the UK muslim population, if Kenan Malik is to believed. See ‘From Fatwa to Jihad’.

  18. BenSix — on 11th April, 2011 at 11:13 am  

    Never mind tha po’lice: what a sad indictment of the media that investigative journalism is now seen as rooting out obscure zealots holding bonfires in their gardens.

  19. Jai — on 11th April, 2011 at 11:32 am  

    Regarding Platinum786′s rhetorical question in #13:

    Ask yourself this question, if those burning a Quran, had the SAME opportunity to burn a Muslim, would they turn it down?

    The question may well be answered by the following famous writings of Heinrich Heine, an influential German poet in the 19th century:

    ”Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people.”

    Book-burning, of course, was indeed later carried out in Germany, specifically during the Nazi era. And we all know that the regime ultimately burned huge numbers of people belonging to a religious minority group they had been deliberately persecuting and demonising.

    Speaking of which…..from the Guardian article which Rumbold has provided a URL link to in the main PP article above:

    Photographs show Owens at a Welsh Defence League demonstration with a group of alleged Nazis including Wayne Baldwin, who has been pictured posing in front of a swastika flag.

  20. BenSix — on 11th April, 2011 at 11:42 am  

    I recall some uproar over Bibles being burnt in Israel and, as far as I’m aware, it wasn’t followed by the execution of Christians.

  21. douglas clark — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:03 pm  

    Jai @ 19,

    ”Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people.”

    I agree with that.

    Well, what do you make of the burning of the Satanic Verses? Is that too a harbringer of some sort of revolution?

    Frankly, the middle, you, me, Sunny and Rumbold have to hold the ring against anyone that thinks like that.
    For they are corrupted, despicable people.

    It is done for nothing other than cheap publicity, one that the 24/7 media news cycle, also known as the gathering of the vampires who feed on it don’t question it.

    I take it you disagree?

  22. damon — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:13 pm  

    I completely disagree with Jai’s post as far as I understand it. It seems too far fetched. ”Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people” is not really worth bringing into the conversation IMO.

    But we do have laws about hate speech – and even a German fan throwing a banana on to the football field at a Scotland v Brazil game recently was deemed highly offensive.

    Not least of all by the Scottish fans who were accused by a young Brazilain player of racism. They were infact booing him because he kept diving and cheating, but it’s all in the perception.

    http://www.totalfootballmadness.com/2011/03/28/fans-throw-banana-at-neymar-video/

  23. KB Player — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:17 pm  

    @BenSix

    what a sad indictment of the media that investigative journalism is now seen as rooting out obscure zealots holding bonfires in their gardens.

    Yeah, BNP member is Islamophobic! Shock! Horror! They gave it a fair amount of space and were obviously pleased with themselves for this coup de nothing.

  24. ukliberty — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:26 pm  

    The above mentions acts are acts of hatred and if expressed publicly or expressed in a manner which was intended to be public, then they should be dealt with by law.

    Why? Why should burning a book amount to a criminal offence?

  25. Kulvinder — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:40 pm  

    Has anyone found out what he was arrested for? Genuinely curious.

    edit: I mean which part of the public order act; worrying if they’re prosecuting him for doing something on private property, and not sure how they’re going about it.

  26. douglas clark — on 11th April, 2011 at 12:48 pm  

    damon,

    Not least of all by the Scottish fans who were accused by a young Brazilain player of racism. They were infact booing him because he kept diving and cheating, but it’s all in the perception.

    The joke here is that a Scotland fan wouldn’t have had a banana.

  27. Rumbold — on 11th April, 2011 at 1:36 pm  
  28. douglas clark — on 11th April, 2011 at 3:57 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Well, it covered things….

  29. Awakening Tempest — on 11th April, 2011 at 5:16 pm  

    If they had a chance they’d burn a Muslim alive and post the video on youtube – they are insane and need to be stopped before this becomes a reality.

  30. derren — on 11th April, 2011 at 5:20 pm  

    “If they had a chance they’d burn a Muslim alive and post the video on youtube – they are insane and need to be stopped before this becomes a reality”

    Errmmm, proof?

    And ‘stopped’ how exactly?

  31. Richard — on 11th April, 2011 at 7:19 pm  

    7 – Well clearly there is such a thing as PC. This article proves it.

  32. Cluebot — on 11th April, 2011 at 7:46 pm  

    Why? Why should burning a book amount to a criminal offence?

    No no no. Not “a book”. The Koran.

    Burning a Koran needs to be a criminal offence. Because Islam is speshul. Didn’t you know that? Jeesh, you dhimmis are getting uppity these days.

  33. Laban Tall — on 24th April, 2011 at 9:52 pm  

    Jai – “Book-burning, of course, was indeed later carried out in Germany, specifically during the Nazi era. And we all know that the regime ultimately burned huge numbers of people belonging to a religious minority group”

    Jai logic – “The Nazis did X. Then they did Y. So we must stop people doing X or else they’ll do Y too!”

    The good news is that we can test Jai logic.

    Five years BEFORE the Nazis started burning books that they considered would corrupt their population, the British Courts ordered all the existing copies of Radcliffe Hall’s turgid lesbian melodrama The Well Of Loneliness (rudest line ‘And that night they were not divided.’) to be burned ‘in the King’s furnace’, following the judgement that the book was obscene.

    Was this followed ten years on by the mass incineration of Sapphists (lesbianism was not illegal)? The good news is that no such outbreak occurred.

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