What do you guys think about this article?


February 24, 2003, 03:43 PM

A jury at London's Old Bailey criminal court found Abdullah el-Faisal guilty of three charges of soliciting murder and three charges of incitement of racial hatred.

The 39-year-old Jamaican-born convert to Islam preached across Britain and sold Arabic-language tapes of his speeches in specialty shops. El-Faisal, who studied religion in Guyana and Saudi Arabia, denied that his recordings were abusive or threatening and insisted he was interpreting and updating the words of the Quran.

But prosecutor David Perry said the preacher was hiding behind a "cloak of religion" to mask his hatred of "nonbelievers."

Sentencing was set for March 7, when the father of three could receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The case is the first prosecution in more than a century under the 1861 Offenses against the Person Act of soliciting murder against persons unknown.

El-Faisal was arrested in February last year and held in custody for six months before being released on bail. His lawyers argued that he was a respected cleric whose quotations from scripture were taken out of context.

During the trial, the jury was shown a video of el-Faisal addressing a study group not long after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In it he says it is the duty of Muslim women to bring up their sons "with a jihad (holy war) mentality — not to be wimps."

"Boys should train as soldiers for Islam from the age of 15. Is it sensible for you to be soldiers without Kalashnikov training?" he said in the recording. "Even if you are hit by a cruise missile, the pain will feel like that of a mosquito bite."

Prosecutors said el-Faisal addressed young, impressionable Muslims "from a position of authority" and was a "fanatic and extremist." Perry said he encouraged British Muslims to attend terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

"You have to learn to fly planes, drive tanks and you have to learn how to load your guns and to use missiles," el-Faisal said in one recording. He also promised that those who died during a holy war would not feel pain and would go to heaven.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist squad, welcomed the verdict.

"This case was nothing to do with freedom of speech, but everything to do with racial hatred and religious bigotry, and encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism," he said outside court.

As much as I am against this kind of rhetoric, what happens when we decide, say, that "Preaching against the gay lifestyle is 'inciting hatred'", etc?
Most of you can debate these things far more eloquently than I can - so have at it!


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February 24, 2003, 06:32 PM
the thing you need to keep in mind is that despite all of their protestations to the contrary, the UK really has no equivalent to the First Ammendment. They already have something called an official secrets act which allows them to arrest and hold a person indefinitely for something they've said or done *or might say or do* which would compromise classified information. No kidding. For those folks who think that the FISA court is off base, the US has nothing on the UK.

The parts of the "patriot act" that are going to be thrown out in federal court with enough force to achieve orbital velocity would seem perfectly reasonable under UK law. One of those little differences between being an American Citizen and being a British Subject.

Standing Wolf
February 24, 2003, 08:58 PM
Sentencing was set for March 7, when the father of three could receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Yeah, and he might get a dirty look from the court, too.

February 24, 2003, 09:49 PM
T-Money, but the correlation between this particular verdict and "Preaching against the gay lifestyle..." is pretty loose.

I am a Southern Baptist preacher. I have preached on homosexuality as well as a number of other sins. The worse thing a Christian speaker can say about homosexuality is 1. It is a sin to be avoided, and 2. People who sin need to get right with God.

Anyone who preaches that homosexuals should be attacked, scorned, beat up, shot or lynched is preaching hatred. That is not within the teaching of the Bible.

Oddly, there is a similar thread going on in another forum. Take a look

February 24, 2003, 10:08 PM
Oh, it will be something like, "5 pound fine and time served".

February 25, 2003, 08:59 AM
sorry about the 'gay' thing. It was just what first came to mind. I myself am a pretty hardcore Baptist, and I've never seen that kind of rhetoric anywhere. I just got wondering where you draw the line?

February 25, 2003, 03:28 PM
It is difficult to say where to draw the line if this were to occur in the US. I think an appropriate parallel would be with militia groups. When does their training, speeches, etc cross the line from distasteful to conspiracy to commit violence against the US and our citizens. I do think that when this line is crossed that religion can not be used as a justification. If we accept his version that islam requires its followers to take up arms against the US, then there is no place for islam in the US. While I do not think that islam requires such a position, statements such as his can lead more and more Americans to believe there is no place for islam in the US.

Double Maduro
February 25, 2003, 03:54 PM
Great Britain has no freedom of speech and therefore no freedom of religion gaurantied to it's citizens. Isn't that the reason people came here in the first place.

As for being able to hold someone indefinately with out any charges being filed---have you read the homeland security act and noticed the increased police powers since 9/11?

We have laws against inciting to riot and conspiracy to commit murder and terrorism, etc.. I believe this could happen here.

February 25, 2003, 04:05 PM
interpreting and updating the words of the Quran

There's the problem. Same problem with our Constituation, people have been allowed to 'interpret and update' the meaning to meat their own needs.

Chris Rhines
February 25, 2003, 04:08 PM
Interesting point: I have no personal knowledge of what specific statements El-Faisal was being prosecuted for (prosecuting anyone for a simple statement of opinion is a travesty irregardless, but that's beside the point.) But the article posted did not provide any examples of El-Faisal expressing racial hatred, bigotry, or anything else the Brit.gov claims he's being prosecuted for. Instead, they quote him saying that young people of his religon should be taught to fight, and to use firearms. Sounds pretty familar, eh?

- Chris

February 25, 2003, 04:31 PM
If this happened in the U.S. it would be a wrongful conviction because of the First Amendment. The sad thing is I think it could and will (and probably even has) happened here.

No matter how much we dislike what someone is saying, they still have the right to say it in this country. Of course, the great thing is we have the right to counter it with our own (and hopefully stronger) words.

Double Maduro
February 25, 2003, 04:42 PM
Ah, but we don't have absolute freedom of speech in America.

For instance, it is against the law to yell FIRE in a crowded theater, unless of course there is a fire.

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