I briefly covered the passing of the terrorism law and what it meant for British Muslims last week. I have not read up enough on it yet, however there are many issues of concern others have highlighted. One directive is that “offending material” on websites may lead to them being shut down. Because the new law is quite vague, no one is quite sure how it will be implemented or even policed.
So, to move our hypothetical situation forward let us assume that one of PPâ€™s contributors posts a commentary on the Islamic conception of martyrdom and how this relates to suicide bombing â€“ yes, I have picked this example deliberately as one highlighted by Charles Clarke as constituting the â€˜glorificationâ€™ of terrorism.
Now, knowing PPâ€™s style well I can guarantee than any such hypothetical commentary by one of contributors will not only not condone the idea that suicide-bombing is acceptable but try to challenge the validity of that idea. However, open debate being what it is, a commentary of this nature would almost certainly draw contrary opinions, which would in likelihood result in comments supporting the idea that suicide-bombing is a legitimate tactic is certain circumstances and is permissible under Islamic religious law as a form of martyrdom.
Now, let me ask you this. In the situation above where does that leave a blog like Pickled Politics â€“ does this law no mean that all debate on subject of suicide bombing is â€˜out of boundsâ€™ because someone could post comments supporting such actions? Does the law only permit them to have a one-sided debate in which any comments in support of suicide-bombing must be immediately removed from their site?
And if they did go ahead and permit comments setting out both sides of the argument, are they putting their site at risk by doing so? Could one or two comments in support of the principle of suicide-bombing or arguing in favour of its validity in Islamic law, in the context of legitimate debate actually result in Pickled Politics being hit with a take down notice?
It’s a very valid question, and one I don’t know the answer to. In a previous post discussing websites specifically, he points out that this relates to websites hosted in the UK only. That makes it a bit of a farce since anyone can move their site abroad. Fortunately for our lovely readers we are hosted in the US so you can glorify terrorism all you want (though you will get cussed hard).
Nevertheless, more than a few bloggers are pissed off at New Labour’s attempts to curtail our civil liberties (to Bin Laden’s delight no doubt), and Unity is organising a counter-revolution of sorts. Sign me up mate.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Party politics