Brit jailed for burning the KoranMelancton Smith • Tuesday April 12, 2011 6:05 AM PDT •
The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports that a British National Party candidate was jailed for burning a copy of the Koran. He was charged with violation of section 29 of the Public Order Act. Under this statute, “A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.”
No doubt that burning a copy of the Koran should not be a “recommended” form of speech, but it nonetheless is political speech that makes a point. While we might not agree with the point made be the speaker, it is part of the public debate. It is unfortunate to see such a law in the UK, the land from which many of our cherished liberties sprang.
But, as speech codes are becoming more accepted, we must wonder how long until such statutes will be common in the U.S.