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Banning critics of Islam

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Tim Dieppe expresses concern that criticism of Allah or being anti-Islamisation are cited as reasons why a person’s values are a threat to our society. 


Canadian journalist refused entry

Last month, Canadian journalist Lauren Southern was detained for six hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 when she attempted to visit the UK. She says she was questioned by police about her Christianity and asked how she feels about running Muslims over with cars. In the end she was refused entry to the UK. Southern has not committed any acts of terrorism and has made no threats of violence.

A social experiment

Southern’s notice of refusal of entry cited prior “distribution of racist materials” in Luton in February. The materials being referred to are posters saying “LGBT for Islam UK” or “Allah is Gay, Allah is Trans, Allah is Lesbian, Allah is Intersex, Allah is Feminist, Allah is Queer, Allah is All of Us.”  Whilst provocative, this can hardly be described as ‘racist’. Islam is not a race, and Allah is not a race.

Southern described this material as a social experiment in response to a Vice article that asked whether Jesus was gay.  She conducted the experiment with Tommy Robinson in order to see what the Islamic reaction would be to such claims being made about Allah. The response was not positive, and police told them to take down the posters for their own safety.

Enforcing Islamic blasphemy law

Responding to Southern’s detention, Maajad Nawaz, founder of the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam tweeted this comment:

He went on to say that barring Lauren Southern for “distributing a leaflet in Luton that stated ‘Allah is gay (this is not a racist statement) may also be the first time UK border control have enforced medieval Islamic blasphemy law & medieval Islamic homophobia in one clean sweep.”

UK border control said not only that that this material was “racist” but also that it “represents a threat to the fundamental interests of society and to the public policy of the United Kingdom.” It appears then, that UK authorities now consider criticism of Allah as a threat to the interests of our society. You could almost think we are an Islamic state.

Others denied entry

Around the same time, Brittany Pettobone and her boyfriend Martin Sellner were also refused entry into the UK after being detained for two days. Sellner is a prominent figure in the anti-immigration group Generation Identity. He was planning to make a speech in Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park about free speech. They were told that their activities “bear a serious threat to the fundamental interests of society.”

Being anti-Islamisation is against UK values

Last week, another member of Generation Identity, Abel Bodi was denied entry into the UK. His refusal notice cites his “anti-Islamisation beliefs” and says, “I am satisfied that you share values which do not commensurate with the values of United Kingdom society.” So now being anti-Islamisation is against the values of the UK.

Authorities inhibiting criticism of Islam

I am quite sure that I would disagree with much that these people have said and done, but I want to support freedom of speech, even for those I disagree with. There is no question of threats of violence being made, let alone terrorism, in any of these cases. 

It is very concerning that criticism of Allah or being anti-Islamisation are cited as reasons why a person’s values are a threat to the interests of our society. It looks like the government has become protective of Islam to an extraordinary extent. At the same time, I don’t remember anyone being barred from entry for criticising Jesus or being anti-Christian. This is a sign of the increased influence of Islam in our society. Authorities are now inhibiting criticism of Islam.