British government curtailing freedoms: Why Islam4UK should not be banned
The group Islam4UK had planned to hold a demonstration in a British town in homage to the Muslim lives lost in Afghanistan at the hands of the British army. After a huge ruckus broke out the event was canceled and the group was banned under the British Terrorism Act 2000.
As innocuous as the event might first seem, by choosing to hold the demonstration in the town of Wootton Bassett, Islam4UK clearly hope to parody the homecoming parades in memory of fallen soldiers that regularly take place in the town. This is the reason that so many in the UK were opposed to it. Nobody’s death should be the subject of a parody or the basis of a publicity stunt. If you are looking to win over hearts and minds then it is best not to insult them first. You cannot blame a soldier for the war he is sent to fight in. Particularly when the military offers economical incentives that are deliberately positioned to seduce those who need it most. This does not mean that a soldier is not accountable for his actions, but it is pointless to vilify the memories of people who actually had no control over whether Britain invaded Afghanistan or not. Islam4UK’s actions show little understanding of human nature, for if they did, indeed, want ‘Islam’ for the UK, they would not have alienated at least 95 percent of the population.
Although the intentions of Islam4UK are not excusable, they were predictable. Not because the proposed protest was necessary, but because any human with a morsel of social astuteness would foresee that, when a government ignores its people when they protest, petition and campaign for their representatives to actually represent them, there will be repercussions. Most of us will try to challenge, change or even boycott the system; it is inevitable, however, that some individuals will do so in a most obnoxious and counterproductive manner. Each individual is responsible for his own actions, but one cannot help thinking that the ills of society were induced by society itself. Each individual is also responsible for his own inaction. It is hard to treat with respect a government that has betrayed its duty of representation, but the biggest folly is to harass a populous for this mistake.
In spite of the folly of Islam4UK, it was still wrong to fine them and ban membership. While Islam4UK aren’t a pocketful of sunshine, they claim to be peaceful and non-violent. Personally, I would like to see the back of the group, but there is no doubt that the liberty which we preach to ‘less developed’ countries like Iran has been compromised here in the United Kingdom. At the very least our state owes us a little bit of consistency. If we are going to ban the existence of Islam4UK, we too should outlaw every other group that has shown similar hostility to particular parts of society. Are we going to ban the English Defence League who openly do the sieg heilHitler salute and who regularly chant phrases at their protests such as “You dirty Muslim bastards”? As much as I might like to see the back of that group too, for the good of our community, they must not be banned. No man should ever be a slave to his government as it is our duty to ensure that the government stands for the people.
By banning Islam4UK, we would not only give them more impetus (what better way to get a teenager to do something, than by telling him not to?) and partially justify their fury, but we would also begin to fall further down that slippery slope towards 1984. If a state has the ability to ban groups that disagree with it, how can we ensure that we achieve the best community and government (as far-fetched as that might sound) possible? Slavery was once legal and it would have been seen as outlandish for citizens to challenge it. With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that it is slavery that was outlandish. This is why groups should be challenged by other citizens, not cut off and silenced until they invariably return with a new name and package. This is also why, difficult as it might seem-and in true Voltaire style-, groups should not be outlawed for as long as they stay away from violence. And if violence is committed, then there are other charges we can skin them for. If, as Brits, we have learned anything, it is that we cannot trust our government to decide to what we should and should not be subjected. They need us too much for that.