Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes?


by guest
14th April, 2010 at 12:37 pm    

contribution by Ben White

On Sunday, an article appeared in The Sunday Times, under the headline, “Met allows Islamic protesters to throw shoes”.

Granted a spot on the front page, the piece opened with the apparent news that “Scotland Yard has bowed to Islamic sensitivities and accepted that Muslims are entitled to throw shoes in ritual protest”.

This seemed quite an extraordinary claim – so extraordinary, in fact, that on closer examination, some cracks started to appear.

The report focuses on one particular case involving an individual prosecuted for violent disorder following the protest outside the Israeli embassy in January 2009:

Chris Holt, Salim’s solicitor, said he was likely to get a suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to a single charge of throwing a stick at police lines.

“The court accepted that the earlier shoe-throwing incident was simply a ritual form of protest and therefore not a criminal act of violence,” Holt said.

Judge Denniss agreed that the act of shoe-throwing should not be considered in a charge of violent disorder against the student because it was “a symbolic” political gesture.
….
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service admitted this weekend that the police advice to the Downing Street protesters was a factor in the case at Isleworth crown court, west London.

But having contacted the Crown Prosecution Service, I was sent the full press statement in question.

Spot the difference between this statement what the the Sunday Times article says:

Jeetinder Sarmotta, a CPS London Borough Crown Prosecutor, said: “There is no CPS policy that people who throw shoes, rather than other objects, during demonstrations will not be prosecuted.

“The CPS makes charging decisions based on the totality of the available evidence.

“Mr Salim pleaded guilty to violent disorder by throwing a stick but not by throwing a shoe. We were aware that there was a question over whether or not the police had given demonstrators permission to throw shoes by way of a political statement, but the CPS accepted Mr Salim’s guilty plea on the basis that we could not be certain on viewing the CCTV footage whether the item thrown was a shoe or not.

“By accepting the guilty plea we considered that the court would be able to impose a sentence that would reflect the criminality of Mr Salim during the demonstration.”

Now I can’t see anything there being a policy regarding all Muslims generally. Can you?

And why didn’t The Sunday Times article at least include more bits from the full CPS statement?

I imagine there is more to come here.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Islamists,Media






65 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9f6Gbl


  2. MCB

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9f6Gbl


  3. Mehdi Hasan

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9f6Gbl


  4. Les Crompton

    RT @pickledpolitics Pickled Politics » Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9WvFAJ


  5. James Macintyre

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9f6Gbl


  6. Police State UK

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post: Did the #Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? http://bit.ly/9f6Gbl #policing #protest


  7. shoes

    Pickled Politics » Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes?: Granted a spot on the front page, the piece o… http://bit.ly/cy26iy


  8. Home Coffee Bean Roasting : Monitoring and Manipulating the … | Green Coffee Beans

    [...] Pickled Politics » Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? [...]


  9. Rachel Woodlock

    RT @Julaybib: Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? – Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8312


  10. Yakoub Islam

    Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes? – Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8312




  1. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 12:41 pm  

    So what is the answer to your question?

    We were aware that there was a question over whether or not the police had given demonstrators permission to throw shoes by way of a political statement

    Why should such a question even arise??

  2. Steve — on 14th April, 2010 at 12:47 pm  

    Knew that article was bullshit when I saw it

  3. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:06 pm  

    Why should such a question even arise??

    You really are thickj. It arose because people wanted to copy the Bush shoe-thrower. It’s hardly chucking bombs is it?

  4. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:17 pm  

    Rather depends on what/who they’re thrown at.

  5. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:32 pm  

    Or the weight of the foot-wear. I could take a light sandal on the chin, so to speak, but a Doc Martin would bloody hurt.

    Now I can’t see anything there being a policy regarding all Muslims generally. Can you?

    Would it have been been better if *anyone* had been allowed to throw shoes? What someone did to George Bush in Baghdad is irrelevant to public order concerns in Britain.

  6. bat020 — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:39 pm  

    There’s also the minor point that there’s nothing even remotely “Muslim” about shoe-chucking. You could perhaps argue that it links to various Arab traditions. But the notion of shoe-chucking as an Islamic “ritual protest” is just fevered Orientalist fantasy on the Sunday Times’s part.

  7. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    Not just the ST, Bat20.

    What I love is that way that even supporters of that bloke who threw a shoe at Bush said “it’s a symbol of displeasure in Islamic culture”.

    It’s not a sign of affection in mine.

  8. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:48 pm  

    Anyone want to chuck a decent pair of ski boots my way?
    Size 27 please.
    Ideally Nordica.

  9. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:53 pm  

    In point of fact, throwing shoes, “putting X under my foot” and assorted variations on the same have considerable antiquity as marks of disapproval, contempt and displeasure in Muslim societies. It is disingenuous and untrue to claim otherwise.

  10. Jamal — on 14th April, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    Really, Abu Faris? “Muslim societies”? So cultural attitudes and manners in which “marks of disapproval, contempt and displeasure” are displayed are the same in Jakarta, south-eastern Europe, Mali, and Bradford? They’re not even the same in different areas of the same city, as anyone who has been to Cairo or Baghdad or Beirut or Damascus could tell you.

    It it hard to imagine anything more utterly bollocks than this media fixation with Muslims and their supposed obsession with feet and shoes. As has been pointed out before, throwing shoes at someone is a pretty universal sign of displeasure. I’m sure Bush didn’t need to study Islamic History at Yale to understand that the Iraqi journalist who lobbed his shoes at him was, er, pissed off.

    The point is that most Muslims worldwide are poor, and thus don’t have the capacity to lob thousands of tonnes of incendiary bombs at people they dislike from unmanned drones. So often they – like any other poor people – show their disgust in other, symbolic, ways.

  11. platinum786 — on 14th April, 2010 at 3:20 pm  

    Well said Jamal.

  12. David Parker — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:07 pm  

    “As has been pointed out before, throwing shoes at someone is a pretty universal sign of displeasure.”

    It’s also hitherto been illegal, along with other missile throwing as a manner of protesting in Britain.

    “The point is that most Muslims worldwide are poor, and thus don’t have the capacity to lob thousands of tonnes of incendiary bombs at people they dislike from unmanned drones.”

    What does that have to do with throwing shoes – or ski boots or clogs – in Britain?

  13. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

    The point is that most Muslims worldwide are poor, and thus don’t have the capacity to lob thousands of tonnes of incendiary bombs at people they dislike from unmanned drones.

    Nor do I, yet I’m not filled with an urge to throw a ski-boot at anyone.

    The Pakistani air force is lobbing thousand of tonnes at people they don’t like.

  14. Jamal — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:56 pm  

    “What does that have to do with throwing shoes – or ski boots or clogs – in Britain?”

    Nothing. You’ll notice I never claimed it did.

    This entire shoe-throwing debate is pretty sickening when you consider the utter destruction we’re wreaking abroad and at home (locking up people for years for minor acts on this demo, for example).

    No one has been hurt by a political shoe thrown in the UK. It is extremely unlikely there will ever be an epidemic of lethal shoe-throwing, despite the racist fantasies of middle-aged English men. (And despite this curious obsession with ski-boots.) Let’s focus on the real issues.

    Unless, of course, the point is to ignore them.

  15. David Parker — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:03 pm  

    “despite the racist fantasies of middle-aged English men.”

    Own goal, you racist twit.

  16. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:07 pm  

    Really, Abu Faris? “Muslim societies”? So cultural attitudes and manners in which “marks of disapproval, contempt and displeasure” are displayed are the same in Jakarta, south-eastern Europe, Mali, and Bradford? They’re not even the same in different areas of the same city, as anyone who has been to Cairo or Baghdad or Beirut or Damascus could tell you.

    I happen to have been to all of those Arab cities and I happen to live and work in another, Jamal.

    So please save me from your recourse to a spot of cultural relativism.

    As they say, “if the shoe fits…”

  17. Fred — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:59 pm  

    Well, guess who first claimed that the police allowed show throwing? Why, it was the Socialist Workers Party!

    From the Telegraph:

    Lindsey German, of the Stop the War coalition which has led a series of protests against the Iraq and Afghan wars, said the group sought advice from police on shoe-throwing for a protest outside Downing Street after the Baghdad protest.

    “They said that was OK and there was a facility allowed for people to bring old pairs of shoes. Afterwards, they joked that they didn’t realise we were going to throw the shoes so hard,” she told The Sunday Times.

  18. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:03 pm  

    Hang on, Jamal – Bradford is now a Muslim city to be mentioned in the same breath as Damascus or Jakarta?

    Gosh.

  19. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:10 pm  

    Really ‘abu faris’ – or is that ‘effendi’ or perhaps ‘habibi’ or all the other monikers that come up. You’re from one of these places with homogenous ‘Muslim communities’ are you? Where?

    It’s also hitherto been illegal, along with other missile throwing as a manner of protesting in Britain.

    I see the girl who chucked a pie at Mandelson’s face didnt get arrested.

  20. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

    No, it’s Abu Faris, Sunny. Not Effendi, nor Habibi. However, thanks for placing me amongst such illustrious company.

    I’m not sure what your point is – but when I come to list major Muslim-majority cities, Bradford is not one of the cities that immediately springs to mind. However, Khartoum might be.

  21. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:20 pm  

    I see the girl who chucked a pie at Mandelson’s face didnt get arrested.

    I think you will find that this was because it was a case of assault and the victim chose not to press charges.

  22. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:25 pm  

    whoa, they brought old shoes to throw?

    No, if you are going to throw a shoe at least have the bottle to spend the rest of the day with one foot unshod.

    Or it’s just childish.

  23. Mam Tor — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:41 pm  

    “Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes?”

    Yes! Next…

  24. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:43 pm  

    @Mam Tor

    Precisely.

  25. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:46 pm  

    But would they have arrested non-Muslims who were throwing shoes? That would have been racist, like.

  26. Ben — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    @Mam Tor

    Really? Because so far, we’re pretty short on evidence that “Muslims” were granted any kind of specific ‘concession’…

    A point made, for example, here:

    http://gazademosupport.org.uk/articles/campaign-letter-to-the-sunday-times/

    “The article claims that “Muslims are entitled to throw shoes in ritual protest.” This is untrue. The court accepted that throwing shoes – for anyone – is a symbolic protest (it is difficult to see what the purpose of it would otherwise be). There is no special dispensation for Muslims.

    It is further claimed that this “concession” has “been taken up enthusiastically by Muslim demonstrators, who pelted Downing Street with shoes in protest at the Israeli bombing of Gaza last year.” This is wilfully misleading. The demonstration which passed Downing Street was extraordinarily diverse, not simply a group of “Muslim demonstrators”.”

  27. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    The court accepted that throwing shoes – for anyone – is a symbolic protest (it is difficult to see what the purpose of it would otherwise be).

    Emphases added

    Are you correct in the head? Throwing shoes also has the non-symbolic purpose of trying to hurt people with projectiles.

  28. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

    This is wilfully misleading. The demonstration which passed Downing Street was extraordinarily diverse, not simply a group of “Muslim demonstrators”.”

    No, what is wilfully misleading is the idea that because a demonstration was “extraordinarily diverse” this means that it was incorrect to identify a single group in that demonstration as shoe-chuckers.

  29. Refresh — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:02 pm  

    Crumbs.

    ‘Throwing shoes also has the non-symbolic purpose of trying to hurt people with projectiles.’

    For this to be the case you would need people lined up at the gates of Downing Street (in this example).

    Nothing wrong with Ben’s comment. You though appear to be touched. Just a little.

  30. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:07 pm  

    Throwing shoes at a building is symbolic, throwing shoes at a person is assault.

  31. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

    However, thanks for placing me amongst such illustrious company.

    No worries. You all troll alike.

    but when I come to list major Muslim-majority cities, Bradford is not one of the cities that immediately springs to mind. However, Khartoum might be.

    Funny that, re: your reading comprehension that you were playing up earlier… because Jamal doesn’t use the phrase ‘muslim majority’ when mentioning Bradford.

  32. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:25 pm  

    What on Earth are you going on about, Sunny?

    I’m not sure if the editors of the OED will accept a new definition of “troll” as “anybody caught disagreeing with Sunny Hundal”.

    However, you could give it a go – but do be prepared to be disappointed.

  33. Kismet Hardy — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:26 pm  

    This is a complete distortion of the truth. I’ve been to hundreds of mosques and not once did I see a Muslim wearing shoes

  34. Jamal — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:33 pm  

    “Own goal, you racist twit.”

    Er, only if you define ‘English’ as a racial term (I don’t.) The ‘middle-aged English man’ I was referring to is the Sunday Times journalist, who certainly has a fixation with Muslims and their pedal extremities.

    I seem to be the only one who finds it disconcerting that we are here debating what awful damage poor people might cause us with their shoes. It’s beyond parody.

  35. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:37 pm  

    What on Earth are you going on about, Sunny?

    You putting words in people’s mouths, and then trying to change the subject when caught out?

    Anyway – there will be more on this story soon Jamal. I’m told a complaint is being lodged with the PCC.

  36. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:40 pm  

    Actually, have we established that Mr Salim threw his shoe at a person or was it a brick wall?

    If the latter, he threw his shoe at Number Ten, or any other symbolic bick wall then I don’t see we have a problem

    As long as there is no issue of assault or criminal damage (not the widows) then as far as I am concerned anybody can throw their shoe at at any damn thing.

    He threw a stick at police, admitted it and is looking at a suspended. Fair enough. Throwing things at people is wrong. Except in self defence.

    And if it is true, as reported, that ski-boots and clogs were thrown, then how is that symbolic and not going for maximum damage? Is that authenticated? It sounds expensive, but I guess you could car-boot sale it if you were planning ahead.

    I see no reason why the government shouldn’t go half way to meeting shoe-throwing tendecies. Designate a wall of the MOD or whatever where shoes can be thrown with no risk of damage and minimum impact on traffic flow. Traffic control costs to be borne by the shoe-throwers. Knock yourselves out. But please bring sturdy shoes in pairs that can be distributed among the shoeless.

    If people get hit, it’s not symbolic.

  37. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:48 pm  

    Jamal,

    Just on a matter of detail. You referenced your comment as being ‘a middled-aged Englishman’ i.e. a specific person.

    Your actual words were the racist fantasies of middle-aged English men.

    Which is not so clearly a reference to a specific person. It’s casual racism, again.

  38. chairwoman — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:02 pm  

    “Did the Met really allow Muslims to throw shoes?”

    Only if they’re Jimmy Choos :)

  39. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:03 pm  

    Actually, have we established that Mr Salim threw his shoe at a person or was it a brick wall?

    They couldn’t establish he definitely threw a shoe. So he didn’t get charged for that as far as I can see

  40. Ben — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:08 pm  

    @Sunny and others

    And of course, beyond this individual case, a national newspaper has reported that specifically “Islamic” protesters have been granted some special dispensation by police – without any evidence to support this quite remarkable claim.

  41. Kismet Hardy — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:22 pm  

    Back in the day when I gave a shit, I was at a march – I forget if it was an anti-BNP or stephen laurence one – and a wall fell down and we were merrily throwing bricks at the coppers until we saw fellow protestors bleeding from the head because of our crap aim. Throwing bricks is wrong. Throwing shoes is okay because if dubya can dodge em anyone can

  42. Fred — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

    And of course, beyond this individual case, a national newspaper has reported that specifically “Islamic” protesters have been granted some special dispensation by police – without any evidence to support this quite remarkable claim.

    There is evidence. As I have already posted to little avail, the Sunday Times is reporting the claim made by a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party. But forget about the substance of the post, carry on bickering and feuding with the trolls.

  43. Mam Tor — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:53 pm  

    @ Ben 7.51pm

    Really? Because so far, we’re pretty short on evidence that “Muslims” were granted any kind of specific ‘concession’…

    Then you’ve asked the wrong question (which I think is the case).

  44. Ben — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

    @Fred

    Actually, what you highlighted simply supports my point. Organisers of a political demonstration – including Stop the War, PSC and CND – coordinated with the police that there would be shoe-throwing outside Downing St.

    Nothing about “Muslims”/”Islamic protesters”…

  45. Quantum_Singularity — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:30 pm  

    [/quote] So please save me from your recourse to a spot of cultural relativism.[/quote]
    k

  46. Jamil — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:04 pm  

    Abu Faris

    I happen to have been to all of those Arab cities and I happen to live and work in another, Jamal.

    So please save me from your recourse to a spot of cultural relativism.

    As they say, “if the shoe fits…”

    Yes but we are talking about Muslims not Arabs. Arab Muslims represent about 20 % of the world Muslim population , not to mention the many Arabs who are non-Muslim. In the UK Arab Muslims are a tiny minority of the Muslim population who are overwhelmingly originally from the subcontinent.

    So your point is completely irrelevant in the UK context we are discussing

  47. raff — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:23 am  

    the problem is clearly the Times, at no point in either CPS statement does religion come up.

  48. Jai — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:35 am  

    Notwithstanding differences of opinion regarding the main article’s subject, along with the accurate point raised about the need to refrain from automatically conflating “Muslims” with “Arabs” in cultural issues — especially as the dominant historical Muslim influence on South Asian Muslims has been a combination of Persian and Indian influences, not Arab (apart from the far more recent Wahhabi slant in a minority of cases in the UK) – can I just clarify that Abu Faris is not a troll and neither is he Habibi, Effendi etc in disguise.

    I’m familiar with him via his regular commenting on The Spittoon and can confirm that he is a very good guy; he is firmly opposed to any kind of extremism, has a compassionate and pluralistic stance towards people irrespective of their religious backgrounds, and even in relation to areas where there may be inaccuracies or differences of opinion, he is definitely not motivated by maliciousness, bigotry or duplicity. And he can be very funny too, as some PP readers may have noticed.

    Just a bit of context and clarification in relation to someone who is a relatively new (and, as far as I’m concerned, very welcome) addition to the Pickled Politics commenting audience but whom I’m already very familiar with from elsewhere.

  49. Jai — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:36 am  

    Notwithstanding differences of opinion regarding the main article’s subject, along with the accurate point raised about the need to refrain from automatically conflating “Muslims” with “Arabs” in cultural issues — especially as the dominant historical Muslim influence on South Asian Muslims has been a combination of Persian and Indian influences, not Arab (apart from the far more recent Wahhabi slant in a minority of cases in the UK) – can I just clarify that Abu Faris is not a troll and neither is he Habibi, Effendi etc in disguise.

    I’m familiar with him via his regular commenting on The Spittoon, and can confirm that he is a very good guy; Abu Faris is firmly opposed to any kind of extremism, has a compassionate and pluralistic stance towards people irrespective of their religious backgrounds, and even in relation to areas where there may be inaccuracies or differences of opinion, he is definitely not motivated by maliciousness, bigotry or duplicity. And he can be very funny too, as some PP readers may have noticed.

    Just a bit of context and clarification in relation to someone who is a relatively new (and, as far as I’m concerned, very welcome) addition to the Pickled Politics commenting audience but whom I’m already very familiar with from elsewhere.

  50. Fred — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:44 pm  

    @Ben

    Wrong. The Met *did* allow protesters to throw shoes, and the evidence for this is given in the Sunday Times report, ie. a statement made by Lindsey German.

    I know you deeply wish this story could be fitted into your on-going narrative that the media is out to demonize Muslims under falsified pretexts, but this story seems to be accurate and well-sourced. Sorry about that, better luck next time.

  51. Ben — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:51 pm  

    @Fred

    And were they specifically “Islamic” protesters, as the article states?

    I refer you back to several comments on this thread, like this one:
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8312#comment-200419

  52. Fred — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:39 pm  

    And were they specifically “Islamic” protesters, as the article states?

    Read the article carefully:

    “The court accepted that the earlier shoe-throwing incident was simply a ritual form of protest and therefore not a criminal act of violence,” [Salim's solicitor] said.

    For whom is throwing shoes a RITUAL form of protest? The white and middle class Trots in the SWP? Are you going to pretend that?

  53. Fred — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:45 pm  

    So, just to summarize, we have the Metropolitan Police, according to Lindsey German, permitting the throwing of shoes, and a court declaring that throwing shoes is not a criminal act of violence but a “ritual” form of protest.

    And people are going to claim that the article is misleading? Come on, the article is accurate and states exactly what has happened: the authorities have quietly declared that something which previously would be prosecuted as threatening behavior is permitted for those who can claim it is part of their “ritual”.

  54. Ben — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:20 am  
  55. Dissenter — on 17th April, 2010 at 9:33 pm  

    Have a look at the journalist’s body of work

    a lot of dodgy stories which do not get followed by the other papers

    http://journalisted.com/david-leppard

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.