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« Government attitudes to the rest of us | Main | Physics be damned »

No-go areas for non-Muslims, and West Midlands police.

I had an interesting debate with Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy the other day over whether the Bishop of Rochester is a bigot or not.

Sunny took the position that, because Bishop Nazir-Ali had condemned the creation of no-go areas for non-Muslims, but had failed to identify one, he (the Bishop) was a bigot. I found this a bit of a stretch, and pointed Sunny to a report by a former race relations adviser in Bradford which seemed to be saying that such areas did in fact exist.

By strange coincidence today's Telegraph carries a report about two Christian preachers being threatened by police under hate crimes legislation for proselytising in a Muslim area.

The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned.

Now obviously, this is police doing the enforcing, but, if true, it represents further support for the Bishop's claims.

The outraged among us will notice that this is a further faux pas by West Midlands police, the same force who reported Channel Four to the regulators for making a programme about Islamic extremism. This force looks like it is out of control.

It may well have been the same officer, Anil Patani, deputy chief constable (security and cohesion), who was responsible for both of these crimes against civil liberties.

Anil Patani seems to have a colourful past, having sued the police twice - once for overlooking him for promotion and once for promoting him too quickly! Methinks it will be overfast promotion again, the next time round. (See the comments at this link

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Reader Comments (7)

<i>Now obviously, this is police doing the enforcing, but, if true, it represents further support for the Bishop's claims.</i>

No it doesn't. What this means is that if, in an area, the police were obviously harassing people of ethnic minorities, you would accept that area is a white no-go area?

What kind of idiotic logic is that. No one is to blame for police incompetence other than the police themselves.

And incidentally, that Anil guy - he's Hindu, not Muslim.
Jun 1, 2008 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
I'm not sure why you criticise my logic. If police and locals were conspiring to exclude ethnic minorities from an area then it would be perfectly logical for the police to harass ethnic minorities. There's nothing wrong with the logic there, I think.

What I think you are trying to say is that it wouldn't be definitive evidence, and if so, then I agree. It does seem to add to the picture though, I would say.
Jun 1, 2008 at 10:08 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
"If police and locals were conspiring to exclude ethnic minorities from an area then it would be perfectly logical for the police to harass ethnic minorities."

They don't have to harass ethnic minorities in an area to exclude them - simply because they might be racist. For example, they might spend more time harassing black youths in Brixton because they want to, rather than more white dominated council estates. That isn't harassment to exclude, simply harassment for racist purposes.

So my point is, just harassing two christian evangelicals, not because they're white but because they're evangelising (and even then, I'm not inclined to take that story at face value) doesn't mean whites are being excluded from an area deliberately.

You actually have no evidence to prove anything. Just saying it seems to add to the picture is pissing in the wind in the hope of making a point... to reinforce another point that is equally invalid.
Jun 1, 2008 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
Your first point is not addressing my argument though. Yes, they could harass black youths for any number of reasons, but it's not illogical to say that they might do it in support of a policy of creating a white no-go area.

Your second point, that the evidence as presented doesn't mean that a no-go area is being created, is right, and I say as much in my previous comment - it is not definitive but adds to the picture that Bishop N-A is trying to create.

I think it is fair to say that we don't have definitive evidence overall, but there does appear to be some evidence.
Jun 1, 2008 at 10:34 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Um, no. I'm sorry, but the harassment of two evangelicals does not point to the creation of Muslim no-go areas more than the harassment of two black youths means the police is full of neo-nazis. You have no evidence! Just one silly news story that you think supports his thesis, when it doesn't.

People get harassed all the time by the police. There was a guy in Oxford sreet who used to constantly go on about Jesus before the police told him to stop using the megaphone. Does that mean central London is a Muslim no-go area? Gimme a break, please.
Jun 2, 2008 at 12:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
Harassment of two black youths by police is evidence of the existence of racism in the police - not definitive evidence, because they might also be harassing white youths - but it doesn't counter the thesis.

If someone is told to switch off a microphone, then that is surely an allowable police action under noise pollution laws - we might wonder if the law was applied equally to ethnic minorities, but an offence has clearly been committed, so in the absence of evidence to the contrary there is no reason to assume that it isn't. In the case of the evangelicals, if the facts are as presented in the newspaper report, then no offence was committed, so there is clearly a problem - they were told to leave the area by police. If so, this is prime facie evidence that a no-go area exists.

Are you arguing that this didn't happen? I recognise that this is a possibility, but again, in the absence of other evidence, don't we have to take their word for it?
Jun 2, 2008 at 8:52 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Item 1: "I'm not inclined to take that story (of evangelising) at face value"

Item 2: "You actually have no evidence to prove anything."

Sunny has no evidence at all to dispute the reported evangelising, yet decides to trust his instinct, then immediately accuses our Bishop of having no hard evidence.

Mr Kettle meet Mr Pot.
Jun 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

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