Tuesday 16 October 2007

Today's thought criminal

A priest has been interviewed by police on suspicion of inciting racial hatred for expressing his Christian views in his parish newsletter.

Father John Hayes, 71, was quizzed for more than an hour after commenting on the case of a Muslim girl who went to court over her wish to wear a full veil in class.

A sergeant and community support officer turned up without warning at his presbytery after an allegation was made to a Scotland Yard 'hate crimes' unit.


Last night the priest said his 'offending' remarks had concerned Shabina Begum, who, represented by Cherie Blair QC, claimed unsuccessfully that it was her human right to be allowed to wear her jilbab, a loose gown, in class.

After hearing an interview with the girl, Mr Hayes suggested in his internet bulletin to his parishioners that it was never possible to convince anyone by argument in matters of religion.

"My point was that you have to demonstrate what it means to be Christian through your actions," he said.

"Apparently someone in my congregation was unhappy with my comments and, after waiting a year, went to the police to say he had been 'disturbed' by it."

A fortnight ago officers knocked on the door of his home next to St Mary's Church, Hornchurch. They said they had been sent by a superintendent.
At least the matter ended there, and Fr Hayes was not arrested. Nonetheless, one has to wonder about the mentality of the person who complained about this. Possibly the complainant was motivated by personal animosity towards Fr Hayes, but I find it more likely that they were just another member of the self-appointed liberal thought police, who delight in setting the cops on those who express views they disagree with, all in the name of 'diversity' and 'respect'. In any event, prosecution for wasting police time would seem to be well merited.

As for the police: well, what else did you expect? A proportionate response? Objectivity? A focus on preventing or solving real crime rather than harassing septuagenarian clergymen for making vaguely non-PC remarks? If so, then I'm afraid that you're living in the past.

Hat-tip: Laban Tall, who also makes some interesting observations regarding the comparative importance attached to Ramadan and Lent by the media-political elite.


Anonymous said...

I found this comment on the Daily Mail's site very interesting:

"I think it is very unfair to blame the police for this. They have no option but to follow the laws that have been bought in."

I gather that 'we were only following orders' wasn't a valid excuse at Nuremburg, so why should it be a valid excuse anywhere else?

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Smith, I think the police have grown to believe in it by now.

After all, in the past wern't Police officers often former Army Officers and so on? Now they're all recruited when they're very young, even at age 14 in the 'Police Cadets'.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that, but I do know that the Peelian principle that 'the police are the public and the public are the police' seems to have vanished.

Fulham Reactionary said...

Mr Smith:

Yes, I saw that comment. One might have hoped that the police would have exercised a degree of judgement in this case. After all, they don't have to investigate every single complaint that is brought before them, and certainly not those complaints, such as this one appears to be, in which the alleged offence is in truth completely innocuous.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wish the country were just one person, so I could shake her by the shoulders and scream at her to 'GROW UP!'