And so the experiences resulting from the continued erosion of liberties is starting to become mainstream. The human rights destroying UK anti-Terror legislation was brought into deal with the perceived increase in the terrorism threat, and with the fear whipped up in the media and the brown-faced sycophantic opportunists providing the architected narrative of the great “Islamist” threat, postulating their own unsubstantiated fantasies as fact, the scene was set for the public to hand over their rights on a platter to the government, the very entity against which the human rights protect.
The unchecked power of the government and the scapegoating of the Muslim minority in the media means profiling based on religion, which is illegal in international law even in the case of national security issues, has been occurring wholesale without as much as an eye-lid being batted.
And though MI5/Special Branch harassment of influential members of the Muslim community for the purposes of recruitment for spying is reasonably well-known, the repeated, almost normative harassment of the Muslim minority at UK airports is lesser so.
Under Schedule 7, police officers can detain travellers for hours without suspicion. Channel 4 journalist Jamal Osman is the latest to air his experience publicly and his description is standard affair: either get pulled to the side at the passport control desk, or once you have passed through the desk you are called to the side by an “Officer Morgan”, and then your passport and often your phone is taken whilst you are asked questions. If the detained is savvy then sometimes “Officer Morgan” ends up admitting the ridiculousness of the procedure and the deliberate targeting and then cops out with typical line, “I just take orders”. So did the Gestapo.
Osman writes that,
“I told him that I didn’t particularly want to talk about Somalia and that I just wanted to go home. “Don’t try and be difficult,” he snapped at me. “I’ll detain you if you don’t answer my questions.” And so it continued for another 15 minutes, during which he continued with his threats and with calling me an “idiot” and a “bad person”, claiming “you will die angry and the world would be a better place without people like you”. Finally he compared me to “the racist thugs we are fighting”.”
Indeed, amongst some of the officers there is a tendency to overcook their patriotism. In one incident a friend of mine (born and bred in the UK) experienced the same whilst returning from a holiday. He was asked “so what are your people’s political views” on a particular international issue, to which he replied, “what do you mean ‘your people?’ ‘Us people’ are British like you, if only you would recognise it”. And Muslims are lectured about a “Clash of Civilisations”.
For more examples of such disruptive and invasive experiences, I highly recommend the website, schedule7stories.com, which is cataloguing some of the experiences of the mainly Muslim victims of this Nazi-esque profiling.
Chatting to an atheist friend of mine, I asked him about what his thoughts were about the maltreatment of the Muslim minority purely from a human rights perspective and why there was a deafening silence from upright men such as him about these issues, despite the fact these issues affected him, just as they did me. His reply was that the issues facing the Muslim community needed to be brought out to the public, however currently, the Muslims are regarded as the “hot potato” – too hot a topic to touch – and with the people being cowards or simply indifferent, it meant that the broader population would only really speak out when it affected them.
The sad reality is that it is affecting the non-Muslims of this country and the laws are being abused to prevent Government scrutiny, something which, we are told, is a hallmark of modern democracies. David Miranda, if we recall, was stopped at Heathrow airport earlier this year. His detention was not for terrorism, but because he possessed encrypted files, including a hard drive which containing 58,000 intelligence documents. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act was therefore used to prevent government scrutiny.
Schedule 7, detention without trial, the discriminatory PREVENT policy and the Channel programme which has normalised surveillance of the public by the public, are all measures which despotic regimes use. The majority of the targeting for now maybe the Muslim minority, but the impact will soon broaden and to some extent already has. It is for the British public to take stock and start bringing these human rights violations to the top of their agendas. These policies and laws are an affront to the intellectuality and morality of the philosopher legists of yore and indeed to every upright, reasonable human being today. Those who are challenging it and are working to expose government-shaking issues, like Miranda, Moazzam Begg and others are detained and/or imprisoned. But as the 19th century American philosopher, Henry Thoreau, said,
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”