Sunday 25 May 2008

Communalism gone mad

Update on the Scientology protest outrage: apparently common sense has prevailed and all charges against the 15 year old protester have been dropped. Marina Hyde wrote an excellent piece on the affair in yesterday's Guardian. It's very funny (mind you, it's impossible to write about the tenets of Scientology without raising a loud guffaw), but also rather worrying, throwing light as it does on overtures towards the barmy cult by the Metropolitan police, in the interests of building links with the 'diverse' community they serve. Apparently the Met feel the need to meet regularly with 'community leaders' - which includes leaders of the miniscule but immensely wealthy Scientology 'community'.  As Hyde retorts:

Please not the old 'community leaders' flannel..It often keeps me awake that I have got to this stage in my life without knowing who my community leader is...If you've ever felt 'community leaders' is a fatuous expression used to describe suspiciously self-selecting people, then you must find it stretched to breaking point when applied to the community of people who believe they're surrounded by alien spirits.

Like the recent failed campaign by the West Midlands police against the Channel 4 'Undercover Mosque' documentary - when they should have been prosecuting the firebrand preachers uncovered by the programme - this sorry affair demonstrates the dangers of a communalist approach to matters of religion and culture. The job of the police is to uphold the freedoms of the whole population, not to protect the easily-wounded sensibilities of special interest groups.

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