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"Christian Hotel Owners Hauled Before Court After Defending Their Beliefs in Discussion With Muslim Guest,"

reports the Daily Mail (UK). Note that this sort of thing is hard to evaluate without knowing exactly what was said, and that in turn is hard to do when there are just recollections of what was said in extemporaneous conversation. Nonetheless, the breadth of the law, which covers "abusive or insulting words" generally -- which would potentially include speech that condemns a religion -- and not just threats and personalized insults, is enough to give cause for worry:

A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel.

Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments.

They have been charged under public order laws with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words' that were 'religiously aggravated'....

Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs.

It is understood that they suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.

They deny, however, that their comments were threatening and argue that they had every right to defend and explain their beliefs....

If anyone can point me to any more specific details on the case, I'd love to see them. Thanks to Victor Steinbok for the pointer.

Kazinski:
Why do people in the UK put up with this crap? You'd think in a democracy there would be a pretty swift housecleaning.
9.21.2009 2:14am
Grover_Cleveland:
That Mohammed was a "warlord" is, or ought to be, uncontroversial. From Wikipedia:


In Medina, Muhammad united the conflicting tribes, and after eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to ten thousand, conquered Mecca.
9.21.2009 2:47am
Grover_Cleveland:
There is a little more detail, although not much, here.

The dispute apparently started after the Muslim woman told the hotel owners that Jesus is considered "a minor prophet" in Islam (which is true). I wonder whether she could be charged with "threatening, abusive or insulting words" that are "religiously aggravated" as well.
9.21.2009 2:49am
Anon Y. Mous:
Although the article makes it clear that they were actually charged with a criminal offense, I made the initial assumption, based on the headline, that they were facing some ridiculous lawsuit. It is just unfathomable to me that the Brits continue to tolerate this nonsense.
9.21.2009 2:52am
PlugInMonster:
No doubt Angus thinks this is a wonderful policy the UK has - of criminalizing free speech if it offends Muslims. After all, we wouldn't want to offend ROP because they're oppressed and we deserve to have OUR rights taken away as compensation. Yeah that's convoluted lefty logic. But go to any "Middle eastern studies" class and that's exactly what you'll hear. Scary stuff, amazing that our Founding Father's made free speech the very first Amendment. They understood.
9.21.2009 2:59am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I think the Brits have had enough of this crap. Look for Labour to take a drubbing in the next election. Look for the BNP to gain a big share of the votes. The Italians have had enough too and a big backlash is forming against the Romas and the North Africans.
9.21.2009 3:08am
James968 (mail):
On the Flip side is the case of a woman, with 2 disabled Children. B/c of this the Neighborhood kids are harassing her, smashing the windows of her house, hitting her son with rocks, etc. Over several years called the police 33 times, 13 in 2007. They refuse to do anything. (They did suggest she keep her curtains closed). The woman is terrified and retreats into her house and its a virtual prisoner. Instead of using the "Public DIsorder Act", the police simply begin ignoring her calls.

She kills herself (and her mentally ill daughter).
Coroner attacks police for failing to protect mother Fiona Pilkington
9.21.2009 4:12am
Tenrou (mail):
Religion can always be a touchy subject. As the old saying goes, don't discuss religion or politics if you want to keep your friends from becoming enemies. The cultural landscape in America has changed so much since 9/11. There was an really interesting post about this topic on this blog: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/
9.21.2009 4:16am
James968 (mail):
9.21.2009 4:54am
James968 (mail):
I wonder. If the Muslim woman said "Jesus was only a Minor Prophet". Could the couple claim they were religiously insulted? (The Husband allegedly disparaged Mohomad, couldn't the couple say that (from their perspective) the complainant also Disparaged Jesus).
9.21.2009 4:56am
Angus:
No doubt Angus thinks this is a wonderful policy the UK has - of criminalizing free speech if it offends Muslims.
WTH? I've been a consistent advocate of freedom of speech throughout my life (card carrying member of the ACLU no less), including in the comments section of this blog. You must have me confused with some alternate reality.
9.21.2009 7:17am
ed (mail) (www):
Well.

[Deleted section that reacted to spam comments that I deleted as well. -EV]

3. *shrug* Has the UK and Europe crossed the line of no return? From my perspective it does seem that way. I don't think I've ever heard of a muslim being charged with a crime in disparaging Christianity.
9.21.2009 7:36am
Guy:
Angus, you forgot that to some people, member of the ACLU = proponent of anything they oppose, regardless of what facts and logic might say. So, sorry, but if you're an ACLU member that means that you're automatically in favor of jailing all Christians for being Christians. You say you aren't, but obviously you've just been brainwashed by your own lefty propaganda into thinking you aren't. The ACLU is a communist, nazi, muslim, pro-pedophile, anti-Christian organization. No one needs to prove this with fancy "evidence", the proposition is self-evident. I mean, they're the ones who argued Loving v. Virginia, all part of their long term plan to get to Lawrence v. Texas, which is just another stepping stone to mandating gay marriages in churches so that they can kidnap and molest innocent young Christian boys. Can't you see this? What, do I have to draw you a diagram?
9.21.2009 7:56am
Angus:
This case really should not come as a shock to those with a knowledge of British vs. American history. Speech restrictions have always been more oppressive in the U.K., which is why the Antifederalists in the U.S. insisted on an amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech.

I don't approve at all of the U.K.'s speech policies, but I'm not sure why they should give "cause for worry" to someone in the United States. The U.S. has an explicit Constitutional guarantee of free speech. Citizens of the U.K., lacking any written Constitution, have no such guarantee. If they want to change their awful status-quo, their recourse is the ballot box.

In short, bad for British citizens? Definitely. Worrisome for American citizens? Not really.
9.21.2009 8:09am
Guy:
For the record, you can count me as another "lefty" who supports free speech, even free hateful, bigoted speech. Even worse, this doesn't seem to be an example of hateful or bigoted speech... then again, the Daily Mail does have a pretty nasty anti-Muslim slant so they might be trying to soft-pedal it. I do wonder how many hotel owners have religious discussions with their guests, sounds like (pure speculation) the owners may have been engaged in some form of obnoxious proselytizing. But even if they were, the remedy is to check into a new hotel or tell the owners off. The existence of this "crime" in England is pretty sickening, you can bet I wouldn't tolerate it in the U.S. Easiest First Amendment case ever.
9.21.2009 8:11am
Guy:
Angus,

Exactly, the U.S. has a relatively plaintiff-friendly system for most torts, but look at libel and slander. It's incredibly easy to make libel and slander stick in the UK, but virtually impossible in the U.S. It's always been that way, and not something likely to be imported anytime soon. Virtually all political groups in the U.S. oppose it.
9.21.2009 8:15am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

I do wonder how many hotel owners have religious discussions with their guests, sounds like (pure speculation) the owners may have been engaged in some form of obnoxious proselytizing.


Bad business plan. I doubt seriously that the owners were in the habit of being obnoxious to their guests. They couldn't have stayed in business.

It would be interesting to know who started the conversation, but regardless, the idea of criminal charges is appalling.
9.21.2009 9:00am
martinned (mail) (www):
Does anyone know what exactly they will be charged with? Presumably, it is some public order related offence, but which one?
9.21.2009 9:03am
martinned (mail) (www):

Does anyone know what exactly they will be charged with? Presumably, it is some public order related offence, but which one?

The reason why this matters is that, assuming the facts fit the offence, etc, this case could reasonably be described as regulating the manner of speech in a content-neutral way (to use US legal lingo), rather than as a content-based restriction.
9.21.2009 9:13am
Strict:

I think the Brits have had enough of this crap. Look for Labour to take a drubbing in the next election. Look for the BNP to gain a big share of the votes. The Italians have had enough too and a big backlash is forming against the Romas and the North Africans.


Ahh, good old Zarkov, excited about the rise of a white supremacist political party in England and backlashes in Italy against the Roma people, the most discriminated against people in Europe and fellow Holocaust victims.

Poor Italians, taking so much crap from the mean Roma!
9.21.2009 9:17am
FantasiaWHT:
Can someone explain to me what this sort of spam is supposed to accomplish for the person who posts it? I don't really get it.
9.21.2009 9:28am
Guy:
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human rights protects freedom of expression, with many restrictions. Does anyone know enough about European/UK law to say if they might be successful in arguing their speech is covered?

Martinned,

I probably shouldn't defend what I admit is pure speculation, since I don't know the facts, it really was just a baseless "accusation" that wouldn't affect the discussion. But then again, since I love to argue:

She added that the episode had damaged their business and they had been forced to lay off staff and run the nine-bedroom hotel by themselves, leaving them exhausted.

Maybe they're not staying in business.

At any rate, it's bad business practice to offend a guest- even an easily offended one. Sounds like both sides agree that they called Mohammed a warlord and criticized traditional dress for Muslim women, which probably isn't the best way to endear yourself to a Muslim customer. If I ran a hotel I don't imagine I'd ever discuss religion or politics with any of my guests, especially if I got the sense they disagreed with me. Maybe that's overly cautious of me.

On the other hand, it's possible that the guests started the conversation and were excessively rude, in which case you don't care so much about their business anymore, especially if they might speak to your other guests that way.

Of course, this is all irrelevant, since socially appropriate speech is not the same thing as criminal(!) speech.
9.21.2009 9:49am
Guy:
Oops, that second part was to Laura, not Martinned, sorry about that.
9.21.2009 9:50am
martinned (mail) (www):
@Guy: Here it is:


Article 10 – Freedom of expression1

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Depending on the circumstances, this may well fall under "prevention of disorder". As long as they're not to quick to prosecute, and as long as they're genuinely content-neutral, I don't have a problem with people being fined for public disorder = hollerin' and shoutin' in a public place. The question is whether this particular case meets those requirements.
9.21.2009 9:55am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Guy, they may be losing their business now, because of the criminal charges - the charges are preventing them from getting referrals from the hospital that used to refer to them. So they still aren't losing their business due to being obnoxious.
9.21.2009 9:59am
Guy:
Martinned, (really this time)

Thanks, I don't suppose there's much case law to go on for interpretation of that? Do you know if "necessary in a democratic society" is it's own exception, or simply a catch-all description modified by the other exceptions?

Can't point to the law they're charged under, but the article says the law prohibits ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that are ‘religiously aggravated’.
9.21.2009 10:10am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Poor Italians, taking so much crap from the mean Roma!

There's a reason they have a bad stereotype for stealing things. Because they steal things.

Steve Sailer writes here in the comments of the blog Marginal Revolution:

[...]
Growing up in Southern California, far from the centers of Gypsy life, I knew only endearing, exciting images of Gypsies derived from Romantic masterpieces like Bizet's Carmen and Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame. My disillusionment began when backpacking around Europe in 1980. Wherever American and Australian college students came together, the conversation soon turned to how to avoid being victimized by Gypsy thieves, especially their small children.

As an American, I knew that the teenage males of some ethnic groups had a higher proclivity to steal, but I had never before heard of a group where many parents trained their toddlers to steal. Even more horribly, some parents break their children's teeth or bones as part of an insurance scam or to make them into better beggars.

We're not supposed to think about the victims of Gypsy criminals because, after all, crime victims are not real victims (i.e., they are just random human beings, not an organized political pressure group).

In their defense, gypsy criminals are less violent than most criminals, preferring swindles to brute force. Still, the National Geographic reporter Peter Godwin, sent to write a major story about the persecution of the Roma (April 2001), was, in a scene reminiscent of anti-American correspondent Robert Fisk's famous encounter with a Muslim mob, beaten up and mugged by a gang of gypsies he was trying to help.

In reality, the Gypsy culture trains its children from a very early age to be economic parasites. The Gypsies possess a classic "in-group morality." While extremely loyal to their clan, their culture inculcates in them an almost sociopathic disregard for the rights of outsiders.

The Rev. Larry Merino, who evangelizes among American Gypsies in Indiana, notes:

"Gypsies believe a myth that says a lot about the conception most people have of this group. It seems that a Gypsy stole a fourth nail at the crucifixion site that was destined to be used to nail the Savior's head to the cross. Since this act of larceny turned out to be an inadvertent act of mercy, God gave Gypsies the right to take things that didn't belong to them. Many Gypsies believe this is actually true! This being the case, it takes a missionary to this group a long time to undo what has been part of their culture for centuries."

That's why there's never been a Zionist or separatist movement among Gypsies. Jews could successfully start their own national homeland, away from their persecutors, but the Gypsies can't imagine living in their own country with no productive non-Gypsies to leech off.

But you don't care about knowing anything about anything. You just go about insinuating.
9.21.2009 10:11am
Angus:
martinned,
My guess is that it would fall under this exception:

for the protection of the reputation or rights of others

Such conventions are usually so vague that 90% of restrictions are still allowed. They usually are no-cost or low-cost ways for nations to look good without actually committing themselves to anything.
9.21.2009 10:19am
martinned (mail) (www):

Thanks, I don't suppose there's much case law to go on for interpretation of that? Do you know if "necessary in a democratic society" is it's own exception, or simply a catch-all description modified by the other exceptions?

It's a requirement in itself. But in some cases it's more of a hangup than in others. In a recent thread, einhverfr and I discussed the Leroy case. (Unfortunately, it is not available in english or in any other linkable form.) In that case, the French sought to prosecute the creator of a political cartoon about 9/11 under incitement law. In its ruling, the ECHR took as a given that the other requirements were met (it was prescribed by law and necessary for public safety, etc.), so the only remaining question was whether this prosecution was "necessary in a democratic society". If you know French, the link above refers to that earlier thread, where I quoted the court's analysis.


Can't point to the law they're charged under, but the article says the law prohibits ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that are ‘religiously aggravated’.

Yes, but I was curious as to the definition of the offence in the statute, so that I can judge for myself whether I think that "threatening, abusive or insulting words" that are "religiously aggravated" reasonably fit under the offence, as required by the nulla poena sine lege principle. (Criminal statutes have to be specific enough that individuals are on notice as to what it is they are forbidden to do. Cf. art. 7 ECHR.)
9.21.2009 10:22am
c.gray (mail):

Poor Italians, taking so much crap from the mean Roma!


There's a reason they have a bad stereotype for stealing things. Because they steal things.


There's a reason Italians have a bad stereotype for being oily gangsters. Because they are oily gangsters.
9.21.2009 10:27am
Guy:
Cato,

Um, wow. Steve Sailer isn't doing much to improve my opinion of him there.
9.21.2009 10:27am
martinned (mail) (www):
@Angus: That exception means exactly one thing: Defamation.

As for whether the ECHR has teeth, I think the most drastic example is the case of Procola v. Luxembourg (1995). That case required not only Luxembourg, but also the Netherlands and Belgium to change their constitutions so that the judicial and advisory functions of the Council of State were properly separated. That was a big mess.

The biggest British Iraq case so far, Al-Skeini, is still before the Court, but the English ruling in that case already generously applied ECHR case law. (House of Lords, Court of Appeals.)
9.21.2009 10:32am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

There's a reason Italians have a bad stereotype for being oily gangsters. Because they are oily gangsters.

Not the forum to delve into such issues. If you are saying that the proclivity to kin-based nepotism varies by geography and ecology, as evolution would predict, I agree with you.
9.21.2009 10:38am
Redman:

Kazinski:
Why do people in the UK put up with this crap? You'd think in a democracy there would be a pretty swift housecleaning.


I think the Brits 'put up with this crap' because they don't want to get their heads sawed off. Its amazing what you can accomplish with a little violence and a policy of zero tolerance.
9.21.2009 10:39am
sbron:
So how did Basil Fawlty get away with his anti-Catholic, anti-Irish rants among others? Guess the laws were different back in the 70s. To his inept handyman O'Reilly -- "If you mention the good Lord one more time I'll move you closer to him."

On a lighter note, the white nationalist folks have noted that Mohammed is now the most popular boy's name in London. A. Zarkov is right -- things could get ugly but interesting.
9.21.2009 10:40am
CJColucci:
There's a reason Italians have a bad stereotype for being oily gangsters. Because they are oily gangsters.
Not the forum to delve into such issues. If you are saying that the proclivity to kin-based nepotism varies by geography and ecology, as evolution would predict, I agree with you.

A few of my burlier associates will be looking for Cato the Elder.
9.21.2009 10:47am
Scape:
Wait, what?

"As evolution would predict"? I don't think Darwin said what you think he said.

How about we call an end to the needless (and off topic!) ethnic stereotyping before someone decides to sue this thread for threatening, abusive, or insultive words. I'm sure there's a British Roma or British Italian Volokh reader out there.
9.21.2009 10:50am
ArthurKirkland:
This episode illustrates a sad state of affairs with respect to British law.

It also illustrates a sad state of affairs with respect to adults who will argue and take offense to the point of police involvement concerning imaginary tales.

A call-the-cops argument over Brett Favre's remaining value as a quarterback (or his character, or his performance in jeans commercials) would make more sense.
9.21.2009 11:27am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Cato:

"There's a reason they have a bad stereotype for stealing things. Because they steal things."

The Roma bad habits go beyond theft to include murder and the stealing of Italian children.
He launched a coldblooded, sustained attack on the immaculately dressed housewife.

He smashed a rock into her face again and again, then carried her over his shoulder to some wasteland where she was brutally sexually assaulted and had 20 Euros (£13) taken from her purse.
This is not an isolated event, put part of a Roma crime wave that has hit Italy since they arrived.

Roma gypsy camp set on fire in Italy after kidnapping claims

The violence broke out following the alleged kidnapping of a local child by a 16-year-old Roma girl. According to the child's mother, the Roma girl entered the house while the door was unlocked, picked up the child and tried to escape, but was subsequently caught.
According to the Daily Mail, the Romas are responsible for 75% of the crime in Milan.
9.21.2009 11:57am
martinned (mail) (www):

According to the Daily Mail, the Romas are responsible for 75% of the crime in Milan.

There are at least two things wrong with that statement. On the one hand, it would be a whole lot more impressive if it weren't based on something you read in the Daily Mail. On the other hand, it would also be a whole lot more illuminating if it was of the form: "X% of the Romas are responsible for 75% of the crime in Milan."
9.21.2009 12:01pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Strict:

"Ahh, good old Zarkov, excited about the rise of a white supremacist political party in England and backlashes in Italy against the Roma people, the most discriminated against people in Europe and fellow Holocaust victims."

I brought up the rising popularity of the BNP as an example of the growing backlash against political correctness in Britain. It looks like you have little or nothing to contribute to the discussion so you resort to personal insults.

Again the backlash against the Roma in Italy provides us with some evidence that the Europeans are getting tired of political correctness which sometimes includes tolerating the intolerable. It also looks like you think Hitler's gassing the Romas in the 1940s somehow gives their decedents license to steal, murder and kidnap. Or at the very least immunizes them from criticism.
9.21.2009 12:07pm
Teller:
What is the final solution to this Roma question you identify, Zarkov? Cato?
9.21.2009 12:08pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
martinned:

"On the one hand, it would be a whole lot more impressive if it weren't based on something you read in the Daily Mail."

I agree. Newspapers are often poor sources of information. Would you feel better if the Guardian published that statement?

" ... it would also be a whole lot more illuminating if it was of the form: "X% of the Romas are responsible for 75% of the crime in Milan."

Again you are correct, but somewhat pedantic here. We could say that 75% of the crimes in Milan were committed by a member of the Roma community. It could very well be that an extremely small fraction of the community commits the crimes, but let's remember that the Roma culture seems to promote crime. Let's also not that other places in Italy with Roma communities suffer elevated crime levels. The pattern seems clear enough.
9.21.2009 12:17pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Teller:

"What is the final solution to this Roma question you identify, Zarkov? Cato?"

Deportation.
9.21.2009 12:18pm
George Smith:
In The-Britain-Formerly-Known-As-Great, the descent into absurdity continues unabated.
9.21.2009 12:19pm
Strict:

It looks like you have little or nothing to contribute to the discussion so you resort to personal insults.


Wow. Where was my personal insult?

Who is making baseless insults here?

You have called the Roma "intolerable." I don't think they are intolerable. I have lived among thousands of Roma, and never once was victimized.

You have compared the Roma to leeches and parasites.


Jews could successfully start their own national homeland, away from their persecutors, but the Gypsies can't imagine living in their own country with no productive non-Gypsies to leech off.


Israel is "away from their persecutors"? Wow.

You are also insinuating that Roma are not productive. In fact, many do work hard. Almost all are also discriminated against in schooling, housing, and job opportunities.


Roma gypsy camp set on fire in Italy after kidnapping claims


So Italians razed a gypsy camp to the ground in an act of communal violence, and you support this?
9.21.2009 12:35pm
Seamus (mail):
Bad business plan. I doubt seriously that the owners were in the habit of being obnoxious to their guests. They couldn't have stayed in business.

Basil Fawlty stayed in business, didn't he?
9.21.2009 12:39pm
Seamus (mail):

Israel is "away from their persecutors"? Wow.



Obviously not, but 100 years ago, that was the theory behind Zionism.
9.21.2009 12:40pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland:

This episode illustrates a sad state of affairs with respect to British law.

It also illustrates a sad state of affairs with respect to adults who will argue and take offense to the point of police involvement concerning imaginary tales.

A call-the-cops argument over Brett Favre's remaining value as a quarterback (or his character, or his performance in jeans commercials) would make more sense.


I think these are closely connected. If you use the law to coddle folks, they expect to be coddled. If you legally expect folks to be capable of adult conversations, an amazing thing happens.....
9.21.2009 12:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov:

Teller:

"What is the final solution to this Roma question you identify, Zarkov? Cato?"

Deportation.


To where? Madagascar?
9.21.2009 12:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
dangerous lack of something something:

I can tell you from my experience that we often see a lot of spam sleeper accounts on a site I run. I don;t think that problem would be a solution if widely adopted.
9.21.2009 12:51pm
MixedRace2:
I have a friend who had an "Italian" girlfriend, she was a very hard worker and seemed very honest to me. She was a legal immigrant and quickly opened a catering business after moving here to the US. She was actually quite successful and had a number of employees. I liked her a lot and was quite suprised that one day my friend told me he had a secret about his girlfriend; "that she was not Italian but was actually a Gypsy".
My friend being a blabbermouth, pretty soon everyone knew so I therefore became comfortable in talking with her about her being a Gypsy, as I did not really know what one was and the only preconceived notion I had of them was that they were musicians(I owned Gypsy King cd's)
She basically hated Gypsy's, she told me many,many,many stories of mostly theft and underage sex and incest. She told me she had family members who had never worked an honest day in their lives.
I told her that she should not be worried about Americans holding a grudge against her for being a Gypsy as most Americans don't really know anything about them and that they would probably think she was lying anyway like so many white women do about be Native-American.
Also: Guy+Angus= a choir of two
9.21.2009 1:12pm
martinned (mail) (www):
Particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, but increasingly also in Italy (Berlusconi!) discrimination against Roma is pervasive and deep rooted. I have many Slavic friends who are otherwise extremely well-educated, etc., who say the most outrageous things about Roma without blinking. Both the Council of Europe and the European Commission have made discrimination against Roma a priority.
9.21.2009 1:21pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
To where? Madagascar?

For the Italian Roma: Romania.
9.21.2009 1:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov:

For the Italian Roma: Romania.


Wouldn't that require Romanian citizenship?

I am also surprised you aren't pushing for deportation to Pakistan or India...
9.21.2009 1:25pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Strict:

"Wow. Where was my personal insult?"


You wrote: "Ahh, good old Zarkov, excited about the rise of a white supremacist political party in England and backlashes in Italy against the Roma people,.."

The use of the word "excited" in this context implies approval of a white supremacist party. That's clearly insulting as I only referred to the BNP as the symptom of a backlash against excessive political correctness in the UK.
9.21.2009 1:27pm
Guy:
Zarkov, don't nitpick, if you don't approve of the BNP it was at least clear you take a perverse pleasure in the prospect of their political success as vindication of your dislike for the Labour party. If not even that is true, then your communication skills need work.
9.21.2009 1:38pm
Teller:
A. Zarkov:


Teller:

"What is the final solution to this Roma question you identify, Zarkov? Cato?"

Deportation.


All of them?
9.21.2009 2:08pm
Ohio Scrivener:

"I don't approve at all of the U.K.'s speech policies, but I'm not sure why they should give "cause for worry" to someone in the United States."


You should read about the problems Americans have already encountered with UK libel laws. You may also want to google the phrase "libel tourism." The notion that your speech here can't be prosecuted there is very quaint and outdated.
9.21.2009 2:08pm
guy in a veal calf office (mail) (www):
Neither the Roma nor the Romanians think they're kin. Roma are a minority group in Romania. Some Slovak apartment owners adopted a humane policy toward the roma, paying the price of their tickets to Great Britain or Belgium if they moved out of their flats.

We had gypsy neighbors for a couple of years where I was growing up. Very odd folks, but I hesitate to draw sweeping conclusions from that experience.
9.21.2009 2:10pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

All of them?

No, deport the ones who commit crime, and their immediate families. Limit the welfare and government benefits that provide too many with incentives to stay interminably with no job prospects. Institute a no-tolerance policy for the vagrant slums that usually accompany bad immigration. These are all non-"racist" ideas that the Italians could implement to improve their citizens' quality of life.
9.21.2009 2:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Cato:

No, deport the ones who commit crime, and their immediate families.


Any crime? How about criticizing Islam? ;-)
9.21.2009 2:22pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Um, wow. Steve Sailer isn't doing much to improve my opinion of him there.

Utterly predictable. Incredulity and implied reference are simply foremost tools of the trade.
9.21.2009 2:27pm
martinned (mail) (www):

No, deport the ones who commit crime, and their immediate families.

Assuming, for now, that these people are not Italian citizens, there is another problem. If they are European Citizens, their deportation may well be forbidden by the Treaties. Assuming they qualify as "workers", the key case is Bouchereau, Case 30/77:


35 IN SO FAR AS IT MAY JUSTIFY CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS ON THE FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS SUBJECT TO COMMUNITY LAW, RECOURSE BY A NATIONAL AUTHORITY TO THE CONCEPT OF PUBLIC POLICY PRESUPPOSES, IN ANY EVENT, THE EXISTENCE, IN ADDITION TO THE PERTURBATION OF THE SOCIAL ORDER WHICH ANY INFRINGEMENT OF THE LAW INVOLVES, OF A GENUINE AND SUFFICIENTLY SERIOUS THREAT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF PUBLIC POLICY AFFECTING ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL INTERESTS OF SOCIETY.

(Capitals in original.)

A policy of deporting all criminals is not allowed. Their crime must be sufficiently serious, and they must form an "ongoing threat".
9.21.2009 2:31pm
Strict:


All of them?


No, deport the ones who commit crime, and their immediate families. Limit the welfare and government benefits that provide too many with incentives to stay interminably with no job prospects. Institute a no-tolerance policy for the vagrant slums that usually accompany bad immigration. These are all non-"racist" ideas that the Italians could implement to improve their citizens' quality of life.


Your proposal is quite racist.

First, it asserts that Roma people are not Italian citizens. This is not true. Many Roma people are Italian citizens.

Second, establishing a deportation system based on a person's ethnicity rather than the person's nationality is nothing but racist.

Third, punishing family members of criminals? Really? If a government did this to white people, I'm sure you would not support that.

Fourth, how would scrapping the welfare system "improve [Italian] citizens' quality of life"? Scrapping rent-control laws, unemployment benefits, maternity leave laws, and services for the elderly would improve Italian citizens' quality of life?

Is there any proof that these Roma, who are supposedly living off the grid and not working and making any legit taxable income, are burdening the welfare system that much?

Discontinuing the welfare system (which primarily benefits Italian citizens) for the sole purpose of spiting and punishing Roma [or "disincentivizing" them] is racist.

5. What does "zero tolerance" mean? Destroy housing occupied by Roma people. That sounds an awful lot like the "let's burn down the Roma neighborhood" racist mob violence that Zarkov linked to. Or do you mean bulldozers and police raids?


To where? Madagascar?

For the Italian Roma: Romania.


Zarkov,

Your plan is quite racist too. Deporting to Romania a Roma person who is an Italian citizen, or who came from Slovakia, just because he's a Roma and well, "that's where Roma come from eh," isn't racist? It is an example of applying huge sweeping racial generalizations to a particular person.
9.21.2009 2:45pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
Boy, between the spam and Zarkov, definitely one of the more surreal threads.

So anyone have any more info about who said what to who?
9.21.2009 2:46pm
martinned (mail) (www):

So anyone have any more info about who said what to who?

Googling the names should work...

First hit:


Sources said that a number of guests staying at the hotel, which charges £92 a night for a double room, were having breakfast in its restaurant on March 20 when comments were made about religion.

One of those involved was the Muslim woman, who was staying at the hotel while she received treatment at a hospital nearby.

The couple, who are members of the Bootle Christian Fellowship, and their solicitor, David Whiting, said they could not discuss the content of the conversation for legal reasons. But the independent lobby group, the Christian Institute, which has seen both the prosecution and defence legal papers, is supporting their defence.

Mr Whiting, who last year successfully defended street preacher Anthony Rollins in Birmingham, said: ‘There is a dispute as to the facts of the allegations, but Ben and Sharon do not accept they were threatening, abusive or insulting.

‘They are committed Christians and it is the defence’s contention that they have every right to defend their religious beliefs and explain those beliefs to others who do not hold similar views.’

After the incident, the couple voluntarily attended St Anne’s Street police station in Liverpool, where they were interviewed under caution.

In July they were arrested and charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and Section 31 (1) (c) and (5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

They appeared briefly at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Friday to hear the date of their trial before magistrates, and were granted bail on the condition that they did not approach any of the witnesses expected to appear.

The use by the police of the Public Order Act to arrest people over offensive comments has dismayed a number of lawyers, who say the legislation was passed to deal with law and order problems in the streets.

Neil Addison, a prominent criminal barrister and expert in religious law, said: ‘The purpose of the Public Order Act is to prevent disorder, but I’m very concerned that the police are using it merely because someone is offended.

‘It should be used where there is violence, yobbish behaviour or gratuitous personal abuse. It should never be used where there has been a personal conversation or debate with views firmly expressed.

‘If someone is in a discussion and they don’t like what they are hearing, they can walk away.’

He added that the police had a legal duty under the Human Rights Act to defend free speech ‘and I think they are forgetting that’.

A number of Church leaders in Liverpool have written to Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, voicing their concerns and pressing for the case to be dropped.

Christian Institute spokesman Mike Judge said ‘important’ issues of religious liberty were at stake.

‘In recent years, we have backed several cases where Christians have suffered unfair treatment because of their faith,’ he said. ‘We have detected a worrying tendency for public bodies to misapply the law in a way that seems to sideline Christianity more than other faiths.’

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: ‘It would be inappropriate to comment as this is an ongoing case.’
9.21.2009 3:04pm
martinned (mail) (www):
At least now we know what they were charged with.

Section 5 of the Public Order Act (1986):


(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he -
(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) (...)
within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
(2) (...)
(3) It is a defence for the accused to prove -
(a) that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or
(b) (...) or
(c) that his conduct was reasonable.
9.21.2009 3:10pm
martinned (mail) (www):
Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998):


31 Racially-aggravated public order offences

(1) A person is guilty of an offence under this section if he commits—
(a) an offence under section 4 of the [1986 c. 64.] Public Order Act 1986 (fear or provocation of violence);
(b) an offence under section 4A of that Act (intentional harassment, alarm or distress); or
(c) an offence under section 5 of that Act (harassment, alarm or distress),
which is racially aggravated for the purposes of this section.

(2) A constable may arrest without warrant anyone whom he reasonably suspects to be committing an offence falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b) above.

(3) A constable may arrest a person without warrant if—
(a) he engages in conduct which a constable reasonably suspects to constitute an offence falling within subsection (1)(c) above;
(b) he is warned by that constable to stop; and
(c) he engages in further such conduct immediately or shortly after the warning.
The conduct mentioned in paragraph (a) above and the further conduct need not be of the same nature.

(4) A person guilty of an offence falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b) above shall be liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or to both.

(5) A person guilty of an offence falling within subsection (1)(c) above shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

(6) If, on the trial on indictment of a person charged with an offence falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b) above, the jury find him not guilty of the offence charged, they may find him guilty of the basic offence mentioned in that provision.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c) above, section 28(1)(a) above shall have effect as if the person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress were the victim of the offence.
9.21.2009 3:12pm
martinned (mail) (www):
This case certainly does seem to be a cause célèbre for the xenophobes among us. Just the first few pages of Google hits contain a who's who: undhimmi.com, View from the Right, infidelsunite, Islamizationwatch, this guy, barenakedislam, etc.
9.21.2009 3:20pm
martinned (mail) (www):
BTW, now that I've seen the actual statute, I'd say that art. 5 of the Public Order Act (1986), as quoted above, goes beyond what is allowed by art. 10 ECHR, since it outlaws more speech than what is necessary for public order, and to a greater extent than is "necessary in a democratic society". The only way that this statute could come even close to being OK is if the defence of reasonableness is interpreted as covering all "free and frank exchange of ideas"...
9.21.2009 3:29pm
Strict:
It's hard to e-defend or e-prosecute the defendants here based on the scant information we have.

Maybe the chit chat was harmless.

Maybe it was obnoxious, insistent proselytizing in violation of the "insulting words" provision of the statute.

In either case, the problem is not with annoying Christians or overly sensitive Muslims, it's with an oppressive statute (1986 was Margaret Thatcher-era Conservative government, right?)
9.21.2009 3:30pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
The London Times and the Telegraph have less inflammatory reports.

It seems the guest came down to breakfast in her hijab. The owners had not seen her in the hijab previously and started to talk to her about it and Islam while she was getting/trying to get breakfast.

She seems to think they used insulting words, at least; they deny 'threatening' her.
9.21.2009 3:32pm
jerome:
Ireland has recently passed a broad blasphemy law, which looks pretty awful.
9.21.2009 3:33pm
Teller:
Cato:

All of them?

No, deport the ones who commit crime, and their immediate families.

Thier families? Corruption of blood?
9.21.2009 3:52pm
Jmaie (mail):
So how did Basil Fawlty get away with his anti-Catholic, anti-Irish rants among others? Guess the laws were different back in the 70s.



And later. When last in England (in 1992) I saw a BBC4 quiz show during which a contestant correctly answered a difficult question, prompting the moderator to say, "Really great answer, especially for an Irishman."
9.21.2009 3:57pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Eli believes there was a discussion here about why Jews were liberal. Goes nicely with this thread.
9.21.2009 4:06pm
NorthernDave (mail):
Actually, as a Canadian and somewhere in between England and the US in legal landscape I think there is a cultural issue beginning to be defined re the article in question.

I've noticed that seriously Islamic folks take any suggestion that Islam is anything but absolutely true on every point as abusive behaviour and are delighted to pursue court action. This is in part, I believe, because in the cultures they come from this is considered reasonable behaviour with disagreement with Islam being punishable often by death.
Further, those Islamists with agendas have simply lifted the Left's use of Courts part and parcel in pursuing cultural and governmental changes.
How the West deals with this will be important in the landscape of the future.
The US is in better shape to some degree because of its Constitutional Free Speech Amendment, but as long as the continuing assault on said amendment continues through the courts (with Hate Speech rulings silencing debates) and the strange desire to make the US servant to some nebulous "International Law" superceding your Constitution pervades the elite of the Democratic Party.......

PS - on an interesting aside I actually knew a woman (now deceased) who was kidnapped by gypsies in England around a hundred years ago at about age 5 or 6. In a twist of Providence (or Fate if you'd rather) her Uncle was a police constable of some sort who saw her in a crowd of children about a year later and rescued her (she'd always been a bright child and knew exactly who she was and was very happy to be re-united with her family) even though her skin had been tinctured and hair colour changed......Gladys was a lovely lady who lived a long and happy life thanks to that sharp eyed law enforcement officer.
9.21.2009 4:34pm
Guy:
Martinned,

Thanks for digging up the statutes for those of us too lazy/stupid to inform ourselves. So it's a crime just to insult someone? Pretty harsh. I assume this law is usually only applied for particularly nasty and aggressive outbursts?

Cato,

Obviously my comment wasn't intended to be a convincing argument toward any proposition, merely a communication of my initial reaction. And my incredulity was a natural response to the idea that you expected people to be convinced that the Roma should not be viewed as victims because of some anecdotal evidence and sweeping generalizations. Also, the idea that you can pass moral judgment on an entire ethnic group simply because of the actions of some of its members is pretty much racist by definition. The fact that you simply ignore the oppression faced by the Roma and don't pass judgment on the Italian government for not doing more to alleviate it is pretty asymmetrical. In fact, your post seems to suggest that they somehow deserve to be oppressed.
9.21.2009 4:41pm
NorthernDave (mail):
Sorry to borrow from Wikipedia so grossly, but I thought the following from their "Speakers' Corner" page might be pertainant:

"Lord Justice Sedley, in his decision regarding Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999), described Speakers' Corner as demonstrating "the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear." The ruling famously established in English case law that freedom of speech could not be limited to the inoffensive but extended also to "the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence", and that the right to free speech accorded by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights also accorded the right to be offensive."

This begs the question of whether if I threaten violence to everyone who disagrees with me their speech becomes illegal....
9.21.2009 4:47pm
Guy:
NorthernDave,

Which hate speech rulings to you refer to?
9.21.2009 4:47pm
martinned (mail) (www):

Thanks for digging up the statutes for those of us too lazy/stupid to inform ourselves. So it's a crime just to insult someone? Pretty harsh. I assume this law is usually only applied for particularly nasty and aggressive outbursts?

It is in most European countries. As with the blasphemy (= insulting a religion) statutes, the question is how frequently they are enforced, and whether the courts obey the limits set by the ECHR in doing so.

Remember, in the UK there's no such thing as judicial review of statutes. The courts can give a declaration of incompatibility, but they would be reluctant to do so if there is a reasonable range of application for the statute that would be compatible with the Human Rights Act. In such circumstances, they would simply interpret the statute to comply with the Human Rights Act instead. While other European countries don't have parliamentary sovereignty (except Finland?), they tend to have equally limited scope for judicial review. The result is that there are plenty of statutes on the books that are applied much more narrowly than they are written.
9.21.2009 4:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Northern Dave:

The US is in better shape to some degree because of its Constitutional Free Speech Amendment, but as long as the continuing assault on said amendment continues through the courts (with Hate Speech rulings silencing debates) and the strange desire to make the US servant to some nebulous "International Law" superceding your Constitution pervades the elite of the Democratic Party.......


Sure. Hate speech rulings like:
R. A. V. v. City of St Paul
Brandenburg v. Ohio
And similar cases.....
9.21.2009 5:03pm
NorthernDave (mail):
Guy, I would argue that as far back as Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire in 1942 free speech is under attack. Broadly interpreted if you hear something I say as inciteful to violence ("damned fascist" for example) I am no longer free to say it.

Recent examples of allowing KKK whackjobs (whoops....) to burn crosses haven't addressed the issue adequately as to my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong on this) they still are focussed on reception.
9.21.2009 5:05pm
tickknob (mail):
The subject of this thread has nothing to do with race yet forks are hurling charges of racism about. Have you noticed how often that happens? The race card is getting worn out. At the current rate of overuse it won't be long before calling somebody a racist has about as much power as calling them a stinker or an old meanie.
9.21.2009 5:09pm
Guy:
Northern Dave,

Also I'm not sure I've heard anyone argue that international law should supersede the Constitution. I've heard people argue that the U.S. should show more respect to or even be bound by international law, but the one does not automatically imply the other. Under the current interpretation, federal statutes and treaties are at equal levels, but the U.S. could agree to binding treaties that aren't unilaterally breakable. It seems to me that such treaties would supersede all U.S. law except the Constitution.
9.21.2009 5:11pm
NorthernDave (mail):
This article in the Globe and Mail from last Thursday represents the divisions in Canada over the issue (we are not a monolith on this one!):

hatespeechincanada
9.21.2009 5:13pm
NorthernDave (mail):
Got to go and sacrifice a Banana Cream Pie in honour of my youngest's ninth birthday :-)

Wife has instructed me that I will not be allowed to comment any more this evening so have a great time without me :-)
9.21.2009 5:15pm
Angus:
The subject of this thread has nothing to do with race yet forks are hurling charges of racism about. Have you noticed how often that happens?
Maybe you have this thread confused with another, but the only people who injected race into these comments were the ones claiming that Muslims, Roma, and the like are inherently criminal races.
9.21.2009 5:21pm
tickknob (mail):
Maybe you have this thread confused with another, but the only people who injected race into these comments were the ones claiming that Muslims, Roma, and the like are inherently criminal races.


Muslims aren't a race. Roma aren't a race. I don't know what "the like" means.
9.21.2009 5:33pm
Strict:

the Gypsy culture trains its children from a very early age to be economic parasites.


the Gypsies can't imagine living in their own country with no productive non-Gypsies to leech off.


The race card is getting worn out. At the current rate of overuse it won't be long before calling somebody a racist has about as much power as calling them a stinker or an old meanie.


I'm sorry, but this isn't overuse of the racism charge. The above quotes are flagrantly racist.
9.21.2009 5:49pm
Sara:
Tickknob:
Your're the first one on this thread to interject the words "race" and "racism."

There are 9 uses of "racist" in reponse to Cato's use of the word "racist," in defending his Roma policies as not "racist."
9.21.2009 5:52pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

The race card is getting worn out. At the current rate of overuse it won't be long before calling somebody a racist has about as much power as calling them a stinker or an old meanie.


This statement is not racist. It is an assertion that the charge of racism is made on frivolous grounds, to the degree that the charge itself is becoming meaningless. See for example, Jimmy Carter reading into the two words "you lie" a racist intent.

The problem is that the word "racism" may lose its sting before the fact of racism is itself obsolete. Then where will we be.
9.21.2009 6:04pm
tickknob (mail):
I just think it might be a good idea to chill on the racism talk. I don't know how the Roma raise their children. But is it possible that someone who thinks they teach them to steal objects to this, it is because he objects to teaching children to steal rather than because he is an anti-Roma racist.
9.21.2009 6:06pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Northern Dave:

I can't think of any fighting words conviction upheld since Chaplinsky. It seems that Chaplinsky is one of those cases which, like Ex Parte Milligan, though it officially has precedential value that is sufficiently eroded as to be useless. I.e. it is now more or less a routine footnote rather than a substantive precedent.
9.21.2009 6:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Ticknob:

Muslims aren't a race. Roma aren't a race. I don't know what "the like" means.


I don't even know what "a race" is.
9.21.2009 6:11pm
Strict:

The problem is that the word "racism" may lose its sting before the fact of racism is itself obsolete. Then where will we be.


So when should the word "racism" be used, then? You think it's not appropriate here?

If someone comes up to me and says "X people are parasites and leeches and they hate everyone who is not X and they steal and murder babies and they are all criminal and if an X person commits a crime then we should punish his entire family," I'm sorry, but that's plain racist.
9.21.2009 6:16pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Perhaps 'xenophobia' is more correct in describing ugly group-biased attitudes towards Roma and 'religiously bigoted' for the same sort of attitudes towards Muslims?

Once we have the nomenclature worked out, we might focus on the attitudes.
9.21.2009 6:18pm
Sara:
Laura:

"This statement is not racist."

Who said it was?
9.21.2009 6:21pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Sara:

Strict, at 9.21.2009 5:49pm.
9.21.2009 6:26pm
Sara:
Laura, I think you misread that comment, and he was refering to the two prior quotes.
9.21.2009 6:30pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

So when should the word "racism" be used, then? You think it's not appropriate here?

If someone comes up to me and says "X people are parasites and leeches and they hate everyone who is not X and they steal and murder babies and they are all criminal and if an X person commits a crime then we should punish his entire family," I'm sorry, but that's plain racist.


Strict, but that's not what your third quote said.

I suggest that we find a definition of racism that we can all live with, and then only accuse people of racism when they have said or done something that clearly fits the definition. And this may be harder than some of us think, because we may have to define "race" and some may assert that minorities cannot be racists.
9.21.2009 6:31pm
Arturito:
I think this would have made a wonderful Fawty Towers episode.

"Don't talk about the war prophet!"
9.21.2009 6:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ChrisTS:

Agreed. Xenophobia has a clear and specific meaning.
9.21.2009 7:08pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Sara, I see it now. Color me obtuse.
9.21.2009 7:09pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Strict:

"Your plan is quite racist too. Deporting to Romania a Roma person who is an Italian citizen, or who came from Slovakia, just because he's a Roma and well, "that's where Roma come from eh," isn't racist?"


Deporting criminals to their country of origin is a normal practice. The Roma perpetrating serious crimes in Italy seem to have mostly originated in Romania, so that's the natural place to deport them to. However many European elites now regard the Roma as a victimized group, so even the deportation of criminals has become problematical. This is political correctness run amok.

The fact is, true or not, many Italians regard the Roma as an ethnic group plagued by rampant criminality. The recent murders and kidnapping was the straw that broke the camel's back resulting in a backlash against the Roma as a group. I think this backlash reveals a growing European rebellion against political correctness. Only time will tell us for sure.

BTW the Roma are a subgroup of the Romani people who evidently originated in India. As such they are more an ethnic group than a racial group. I don't know the legal status of an Italian born Roma whose parents entered Italy illegally. It might not be legally possible to deport them too. In any case race has nothing to do with this issue, which concerns, crime and culture.
9.21.2009 8:30pm
JK:

Sara:
Tickknob:
Your're the first one on this thread to interject the words "race" and "racism."

There are 9 uses of "racist" in reponse to Cato's use of the word "racist," in defending his Roma policies as not "racist."


Wins thread!
9.21.2009 8:35pm
Strict:

Deporting criminals to their country of origin is a normal practice.


No it's not.

It's a normal practice to deport a criminal to the country of which that criminal is a citizen.

Jus sanguinus laws have rendered many Roma people as nationless people - with no citizenship anywhere.
9.21.2009 8:45pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov:

The Roma perpetrating serious crimes in Italy seem to have mostly originated in Romania, so that's the natural place to deport them to.


You can't just deport a person to a random country of which they have no citizenship unless that country cooperates. Has Romania agreed to this? If not, you think they should be made to accept those that another country doesn't want?

How does such a plan differ from the Madagascar Plan?
9.21.2009 9:36pm
martinned (mail) (www):

You can't just deport a person to a random country of which they have no citizenship unless that country cooperates. Has Romania agreed to this? If not, you think they should be made to accept those that another country doesn't want?

Like I noted above, to the extent that these Roma are European Citizens, they can't be deported anywhere unless their (criminal) behaviour is a serious and ongoing threat to society.
9.21.2009 10:01pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Gypsies believe a myth that says a lot about the conception most people have of this group. It seems that a Gypsy stole a fourth nail at the crucifixion site that was destined to be used to nail the Savior's head to the cross. Since this act of larceny turned out to be an inadvertent act of mercy, God gave Gypsies the right to take things that didn't belong to them. Many Gypsies believe this is actually true!

I love the exclamation point. As if this fourth-nail bit was demonstrably more ridiculous than the rest of the crucifixion story.
9.21.2009 10:33pm
yankee (mail):
BTW the Roma are a subgroup of the Romani people who evidently originated in India. As such they are more an ethnic group than a racial group. I don't know the legal status of an Italian born Roma whose parents entered Italy illegally. It might not be legally possible to deport them too. In any case race has nothing to do with this issue, which concerns, crime and culture.

Unfortunately "ethnicism" isn't a word, so we're stuck with "racism." And crime and culture are classic subjects of racism, what with our nation's history of claims that the "culture" of immigrants from X country makes them prone to criminality and violence, where X has variously been (among many others) China/Germany/Ireland/Italy/Mexico/Poland/Vietnam.
9.21.2009 11:07pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
The fact is, true or not, many Italians regard the Roma as an ethnic group plagued by rampant criminality.

Adding the "true or not" makes this an even more remarkable statement.
9.22.2009 9:19am
Undhimmi (mail) (www):
"This case certainly does seem to be a cause célèbre for the xenophobes among us. Just the first few pages of Google hits contain a who's who: undhimmi.com, View from the Right, infidelsunite, Islamizationwatch, this guy, barenakedislam, etc."

Undhimmi here, responding to the labelling of me by poster 'Martinned' as a xenophobe.

In what way am I a xenophobe? In what part of the article did it mention anyone's nationality?

I would remind the poster that the Muslim Ummah consists of people from every corner of the Earth - and since you do not know whether the lady in question is a foreigner or not, how can you possibly substantiate such an assertion?

Or are you simply employing the old liberal standby - the 'debate grenade' technique?
9.22.2009 5:20pm
Undhimmi (mail) (www):
I can see you fisking your way through my site looking for the smoking gun ;)
9.22.2009 5:42pm
ChrisTS (mail):
yankee:

Well, again, I suggest 'xenophobia.' And yet, I do not think the terms are as important as the substance.
9.22.2009 6:17pm

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