The other day I wrote about the Metropolitan Police’s abuse and torture of Babar Ahmad, a ‘terror suspect’ who has never had any evidence presented against him, nor has he been charged with any offence. Well the officers involved in that arrest have been revealed to have been systematically attacking non-white suspects for some time:
But the Guardian can reveal that the Met was aware for years that the six officers involved were the subject of repeated complaints. According to documents submitted to the court, four of the officers who carried out the raid on Ahmad’s home had 60 allegations of assault against them – of which at least 37 were made by black or Asian men. One of the officers had 26 separate allegations of assault against him – 17 against black or Asian men.
The Met has confirmed that since 1992 all six officers involved in the Ahmad assault had been subject to at least 77 complaints. When lawyers for Ahmad asked for details of these allegations it emerged that the police had “lost” several large mail sacks detailing at least 30 of the complaints.
The Met responded, saying:
Scotland Yard said that all but one of the 77 allegations against the six TSG officers had been found to be unsubstantiated, because the complainant failed to assist them any further, the complaint was withdrawn or informally resolved, or investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.
How convenient for them. They themselves discounted the complaints against them because the complainants were too scared of them to proceed any further? I thought that Sir Paul Stephenson said that the force was no longer institutionally racist? Surely a story like this proves it couldn’t be more of a problem for a force which still appears eager to act like a law unto itself.
Posted in Human rights, politics
Tagged Babar Ahmad, Independent Police Complaints Commission, institutional racism, IPCC, Islam, Islamophobia, Metropolitan Police, police, racism, religion, territorial support group, terrorism, torture
During his arrest, (Babar) Ahmad was punched, kicked and strangled, the court heard.
Officers stamped on the 34-year-old’s feet and repeatedly punched him in the head before he was forced into the Muslim prayer position and they shouted: “Where is your God now? Pray to him.”
After a sustained attack, he was forced in to the back of a police van, where he was again beaten and punched before being put in a “life-threatening” neck hold and told: “You will remember this day for the rest of your life.”
At one stage, one of the officers grabbed his testicles and he was also deliberately wrenched by his handcuffs – a technique known to cause intense pain.
It doesn’t matter what the man was accused of – it’s not proven until a verdict is reached in a fair trial in a court of law. The police never have any justification for behaving in this fashion, but this has long been the norm with the Metropolitan Police. It isn’t however the end of the abuse and corruption in this case:
During the hearing, it emerged that the Met had lost “a number of large mail sacks” containing details of other similar allegations against the officers who assaulted Ahmad.
An IPCC investigation in 2007 ended with no action being taken against any officer.
Evidence has not been produced against him, and he has never been charged with any offence. Quite rightly the Met were forced today to pay £60,000 in damages against him.
Posted in Human rights, politics, religion
Tagged Babar Ahmad, Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC, Islam, Islamophobia, Metropolitan Police, police, racism, religion, terrorism, torture
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has banned Islamophobic Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering the UK:
Geert Wilders was due to show his 17-minute film Fitna, which criticises the Koran as a “fascist book”, at the House of Lords tomorrow.
But he said he received a letter from the Home Office refusing him entry to Britain because his opinions “threaten community security and therefore public security” in the UK.
Mr Wilders, a member of Holland’s Freedom Party, told the BBC he still planned to fly into Heathrow Airport early tomorrow afternoon, adding: “Let’s see what will happen.”
The government’s justified its banning order, saying:
“It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country and that was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced in October last year.”
Hang on. Wilders threatens public security therefore he can’t enter the UK? Peter Tatchell points out the Home Secretary’s disgusting hypocrisy:
“She gives visas to demagogues who incite violence and murder, while banning from the UK a Dutch MP who has never incited violence against anyone.
“I do not agree with Mr Wilders, but he has never threatened violence against Muslims.
“The Home Secretary regularly grants visas and work permits to Jamaican reggae singers who openly incite the murder of lesbian and gay people. Incitement to murder is a very serious criminal offence.
“The Home Office and Metropolitan Police also allow radio stations and record stores to promote their murder-inciting CDs.
“Last November, Jacqui Smith gave Jamaican reggae singer Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) permission to perform at a concert in east London. He had been banned from Guyana earlier in 2008 over his murderous lyrics, but the British government said he was welcome to sing in the UK.
“It is double standards to ban Geert Wilders and not Bounty Killer.
“Bounty Killer encourages and glorifies gang violence. At a time when so many young people have been murdered in gang-related gun and knife crime, it is reckless and obscene for the Home Secretary to give Bounty Killer a visa and work permit.”
Jacqui Smith is making it abundantly clear that she considers lesbian and gay lives to be of less value than (in this instance) Muslim lives. There’s quite simply no other reasonable interpretation of the double standard. I think Wilders’ racism is deplorable, but don’t agree for a second that he shouldn’t be allowed into the UK (particularly because he’s an elected representative in fellow EU member state). Unlike Bounty Killer he indeed doesn’t incite violence against Muslims, yet the Home Office considers him more of a threat to ‘community security’? It’s a cynical move, which is only likely to justify extremism rather than hinder it. Daniel Hannan is quite right when he says:
No good will come of this revolting cowardice. We have damaged relations with a friendly country; we have given the idiotic Wilders a dignity he doesn’t deserve; and we have once again cast British Muslims, quite unfairly, in the role of potential murderers.
Posted in politics
Tagged Bounty Killer, Fitna, Geert Wilders, Home Office, Home Secretary, homophobia, homosexuality, hypocrisy, Islam, Islamophobia, Jacqui Smith, Koran, Peter Tatchell, Qu'ran
You’ve got to hand it to Rowan Williams, the thoughtful Archbishop of Canterbury. Fresh from having mismanaged his sect’s attitude and response to homosexuality (damn those Africans for having all the money and none of the liberalism, eh), you’d have thought he might want a period away from extreme confrontations between sides with irreconcilable differences, but no. He’s now said that the adoption some aspects of sharia law in Britain was ‘unavoidable’. The reaction has been predictably fierce – just the other morning some members of the General Synod called for his resignation. Commentators too have gone for the jugular, and it would be easy to join in the knee jerk response. After all isn’t sharia responsible for stonings, beheadings and hangings in countries like Iran which are seriously unsafe for women and gay people in particular?
The answer of course is ‘yes’, but it isn’t what I see as the main point here. In the rush to ‘defend’ Christianity from Islam (as if it needs it, in a country where the head of state is the head of the religion), noone has actually thought past him. We’re in an age where in order to keep any degree of momentum in progressive politics, disestablishment really is necessary – the once and for all break of Church from state. Obviously Rowan Williams would likely get canned if he talked about that, but don’t be fooled about what he’s done with his comments about sharia. It’s entirely an exercise in getting new allies to try to short up a terminal decline in religion in this country, just at a time in which the country would best be served by encouraging the decline.
The evidence doesn’t really support him either. Whilst he’s clearly spoken about using sharia in a secular way, has he not noticed that political Islam is working for the most part in the opposite direction? Canada toyed with attempting the same thing, but it got ruled out on the grounds of the unacceptability of interference of religion in the justice system. And Turkey is having its own internal feuding (no doubt not helped by the US & UK in Iraq) about how to include Islam within a state which has prided itself in the past on its secularism. As Yasmin Alibhai-Brown also points out in the link earlier, is it not sending quite the wrong message to asylum seekers from countries like Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan to set up, even in an attempted secularised form, a system which many or most of them may be running from?
The notion of course of ‘God’s Law’ – one based on superstition rather than Enlightenment foundations or the acceptance of universal human rights – is utterly unacceptable in a modern, civil society. To allow the hint of pre-Enlightenment philosophy to gain legal legitimacy would be to discourage individual responsibility and thought, and would court disaster. Wanting to find a compromise by suggesting secularising a values sustem which has never been shown to be accommodating to it, might be intellectually noble, but it’s still horribly flawed. Superstition should be allowed in people’s individual lives and clearly within civil society, but the state should never support its inclusion as part of it, or an adjunct to it. Blair was wrong – freedom from religious persecution was logical in the sense that especially since 2001 people have conflated race and religion. But it’s also over-legitimised all religions to the detriment of all of us who believe in rationality above all.
Posted in politics, religion
Tagged Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Dr Rowan Williams, General Synod, Islam, Islamophobia, Muslim, Muslims, religion, Sharia Law, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown