Monday, 26 September 2011

Blackpool's got more to worry about than Bible verses

read about the English Defence League campaign for Charlene Downes
It was disturbing, to say the least, to find out on the Christian Institute website that Mr Jamie Murray, owner of the Salt and Light café in Lancashire, has been banned from playing on his premises a muted DVD that cycles through Bible verses under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

What disturbed me was the specific place in Lancashire this took place: Blackpool. For those interested in current affairs, the name of the popular resort will be familiar for all the wrong reasons. In 2008, reports the Daily Mail’s James Tozer, a retrial of Jordanian Iyad Albattikhi and Iranian Mohammed Reveshi collapsed amid accusations of police political correctness.

The two had been accused of the murder of Charlene Downes, having been secretly recorded discussing the 14-year-old’s killing and subsequent disembowelment.

It gets worse: as the case widened, the two came under suspicion of being part of a network of Blackpool takeaways used as "honeypots" where 60 young girls – one as young as 11 – had been groomed for sex with men. Tozer cites police reports that last year girls had been plied with cocaine and alcohol in return for sex.

To say merely that these Humberts were Asians would be an outright insult to the many Asians who manage to pass their lives neither abusing children nor enabling others’ abuse. They were Muslims, and if Jack Straw’s brave statement about white women being seen as easy meat is correct, they would tend to be from the Pakistani community.

In this context, for the police to investivate Jamie Murray for displaying Bible verses in his Christian café is itself deeply offensive and indicative of a management mired in the tickbox culture. If he is prosecuted, Blackpool will once more come under the microscope for all the wrong reasons.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

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