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Twelve things more arrestable than calling for jihad

Just so we know

The Metropolitan Police announced this weekend that chanting “jihad”, as a speaker did at Saturday’s Hizb ut-Tahrir protest against Israel, is not illegal. Okay. Good to know.

Here, then, just so we’re all on the same page, is a list of things that British lawmakers and police officials believe are more arrestable offences than demanding holy war.

Silently praying near an abortion clinic.

“Misgendering” someone in public.

Misgendering someone online.

Calling someone a “lesbian”.

Burning a Quran.

Making nasty jokes in a private group chat.

Calling Islam an “aberration”.

Publicly denying that gay marriage is biblical.

Reimagining the new LGBT flag as a swastika.

Protesting against the murder of women.

Carrying rape alarms in a public place.

Posting a racist tweet about football players.

Now, I do not want to give implicit approval to all the demands for police intervention that have rung out in the last couple of weeks. As Paul Embery says, for example, a tube driver saying “Free Palestine”, is unprofessional but it is hard to understand how it is against the law.

Yet if chanting for jihad — and at a protest organised, no less, by a group which has been banned everywhere from Bangladesh to Germany — is not inciting violence, what is? The most charitable explanation for why silent prayer and calling somebody a lesbian are arrestable offences and this is not is that the cops are too afraid of their actions sparking disorder that could harm them physically and professionally. That speaks to much broader, deeper problems in our social and political culture — problems our institutions should urgently address.

But the least the cops could do is stop arresting people for comparatively petty things. 

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