Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “scores,” came with this note:
From this dreadful article in The Guardian.
The Guardian article, by Suriyah Bi, links to her work compiling an “Index of Islamophobia,” in which one can give numerical scores to the types and severity of anti-Muslim actions, which includes not just physical violence or harassment (rightly regarded as legally intolerable bigotry), but also verbal and pictorial mockery of Muslims and Islam that would be legal in America. The index is intended as a guide for how judges would punish transgressors. An excerpt:
How might it work? Let’s look at some flagrant examples of Islamophobia, including Boris Johnson’s infamous comments on burqa-wearing Muslim women as “letterboxes”, the distribution of violence-inducing “Punish a Muslim Day” letters, a headscarf being torn from a Muslim woman, and being called Shamima Begum in the workplace.
With reference to Johnson’s comments, his then position as foreign secretary contributed to a score of 10 in the recklessness category. A score of 10 was also applied in the impact category, as the comments reportedly orchestrated a 375% rise in Islamophobic attacks against Muslim women in the UK. Intensity and intention were scored at a seven and eight respectively, resulting in a total index score of 35. As a legal case before a judge, the high index score would place squarely at the heart of the prosecution process the human impact of Johnson’s comments, compelling an appropriate sentence.
If we consider being called Shamima Begum in the workplace – an experience several Muslim women have shared with me – a score of seven was applied across the four sub-categories. An index score of 28 would enable a judge to situate the incident on the scale of severity, thus handing down a lesser but appropriate sentence to, for example, the Johnson case.
Note that even the “letterbox” statement, which is tasteless, is considered legally punishable. It goes on:
My proposed form therefore allows for victims and police professionals to identify the laws that have been breached for any and all cases of Islamophobia. A completed index and pathways to prosecution form would help judges to contextualise the incidents from the experience of the victim.
But there is more that must be done if the courts are to be equipped to bear down on Islamophobia. The Equality Act 2010 must be updated to criminalise its deliberate deployment in print and media. There should also be a specific offence of Islamophobia in the legal landscape. The Crown Prosecution Service must urgently define “hostility” in order to bring incidents of Islamophobia (and other religious hate crimes) to justice. Reviews are also needed to update the Public Order Act 1986 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
I’m not sure what the Equality Act of 2010 states specifically, but I don’t think it covers hate crimes so much as discrimination. At least Bi has the decency to lump “other religious hate crimes” along with Islamophobia, but, as Jesus points out, Muslims are guilty of Jew-hatred all the time.