We are all Azhar Ahmed now – State control online will hurt us all
AZHAR Ahmed, 19, was in the dock at Dewsbury magistrates’ court today. Azhar Ahmed was there because he posted an odious badly written Facebook comment that allegedly breached the rules of the Communications Act 2003. He had been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. That was ridiculous.
Mr Ahmed, from Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, denied the new charge.
He will stand trial at Huddersfield magistrates’ court on July 3.
Outside court, an estimated 50 far-right protesters staged noisy demonstrations when he arrived and left.
On the same day, Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire were being repatriated.
The two events are linked. The soldiers died doing battle in Afghanistan, fighting those illiberal fascists the Taliban. Azhar Amhed was in court because he exercised hard won freedoms. He exercised his right to cause offence. What he said on Facebook was:
“People gassin about the deaths of soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed.. The women who have been raped.. The children who have been sliced up..! Your enemy’s were the Taliban not innocent harmless familys. All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE FOKKIN SCUM! gotta problem go cry at your soliders grave & wish him hell because that where he is going..”
Racist? No. Ahmed is brown skinned. The six dead soldiers were white. Is it racist for a black man to tell white man what he thinks of him; and vice versa? If it is, we’re all in the dock.
Ar Ahmed’s words ugly and insulting? Yes. Are they grossly offensive? Let the judge decide. It’s now a legal term.
The judge may soon be very busy if everyone who makes comments deemed to be offensive appears before him. When did saying what you think become a crime?
On Sky News, Jason Farrell misses the point:
It’s a reminder, if it was needed, that social networks are not the place to sound-off one’s distasteful opinions; although it seems to happen all too often.
But it’s also a warning to all users of what damage someone could do if they hacked into your account and started posting in your name.
No. It’s a reminder that the State is seeking to control what you do online. They want to run the online world and manage it. An the best bit is that you are helping the State’s plan by reporting distasteful comments to the police.