Commissioner Dick thought that Boris may have committed a hate crime. Just how low is the bar set?

London is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, yet despite this, Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, found the time in her busy schedule to ponder Boris Johnson's Telegraph article about Muslim women wearing the burqa.

She must have thought long and hard about it, too. She weighed up the pros and cons. She may have had a couple of sleepless nights and suffered nightmares about it, but she then decided, without a complaint being made to the police, that she would ask the Met's hate crime team to investigate. Has Boris committed a criminal offence? No-one else was thinking that apart from her, but what the hell, if they discover a crime and then charge someone for it, it makes the crime figures look better. 

The Met's specialist hate crime unit does, of course, spend most of its time policing our speech, hence Dick's referral. But it has to make anyone wonder just how low the bar is set. If Dick thought Boris's article could be a hate crime, the answer is very low.

The whole hullabaloo this week about Boris's article has highlighted that you cannot in any way satirise Islam. You cannot exercise your right to free speech and make mild criticisms about the religion. If you do, you may just get the police knocking on your door and carting you off for questioning.  

During a radio interview late last year, the interviewer said to me that we all know Muslims don't have a sense of humour when it comes to their religion, so we should behave in a way that doesn't offend them. But Christians on the other hand are told to turn the other cheek.

In other words, you can mock, ridicule; basically say what you like about Christianity and nothing will be done. Rightly so. You should be free to do all of those things without the police knocking on your door. But do the same to Islam, and it is a hate crime. 

That in itself should worry all of us.  

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  • Peter Palmer
    commented 2018-08-09 16:48:55 +0100
    Not just muslim women, all people covering their faces like that look like letter boxes or bank robbers. The niqab and burka have nothing to do with Islam (that’s why they’re banned in some muslim countries). Thought the Met would know that.