Six Tyneside men arrested after Koran-burning jape was posted on YouTube

THE six, all from Gateshead, were arrested after filming themselves apparently burning copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

According to the BBC, police said the men were detained after this video appeared on the internet:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPvvMBTOQuo[/youtube]

They were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and released on bail pending further inquiries.

In a joint statement, Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council said:

The kind of behaviour displayed in this video is not representative of our community as a whole.

Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations.

Two men were arrested on 15 September and a further four yesterday.

Commenting on the arrests in International Business Times, William Dove said:

Islam is a faith and is no more a race than the Catholic Church is. If these men by their ogreish and uncivilised acts can be arrested on such grounds one might think that the likes of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell might get their collars felt for their protests and comments against the Pope and the Catholic Church last week. After all one could argue that Catholics might view the Pope as being almost as holy as the Koran is to Muslims, so why the double standards?These arrests are a deeply disturbing sign and are yet more evidence of the erosion of civil liberties that has occurred in Britain in the last few years.

When Terry Jones in America said he was going to burn the Koran the Muslim world protested and pleaded with the US government to prevent him from doing so. While he did not burn the Koran the government made it quite clear that even if he did he would be within his First Amendment rights to do so.

In Britain however there is no such safeguard and the police have been able to arrest six men for a stupid YouTube video which at the time of writing had only 500 views.

Meanwhile, it has just been announced that a man who set fire to a Koran and left it near the door of a mosque in East Lansing, Michigan, will not be charged with a criminal offence. Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings the Third said there is:

No criminal offense that I can charge under Michigan law.

The Koran burning is said to have resulted in an attack on a Christian church by Muslims in India.

A Muslim group inDetroit had pushed for the incident to be prosecuted as a hate crime.  The unnamed suspect in the case turned himself in to East Lansing police last week.

Hat tip: Steve H