Scottish Police Arrest Man for Anti-Refugee Facebook Comments
Wed, February 17, 2016
Isle of Bute (Photo: © http://www.isle-of-bute.co.uk/)
A man in Scotland has been arrested for comments made on Facebook about the settlement of Syrian refugees on Scotland's Isle of Bute.
The 40-year-old man was arrested under the Communications Act for a series of allegedly-offensive comments on Facebook about 12 refugee families who arrived in Bute in December. Up to 1,000 Syrian refugees are scheduled to arrive in Bute, which has a population of around 6,500.
“I hope that the arrest of this individual sends a clear message that Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of activity which could incite hatred and provoke offensive comments on social media,” Inspector Ewan Wilson told media following the arrest.
Many Scottish people have welcomed the refugees with open arms, includuing inhabitants of the Isle of Bute. Most refugees are not terrorists and are seeking to build a better life.
Many people throughout Europe have legitimate fears over the influx of mainly Muslim refugees and the impact of that migration on their communities. In particular there are fears of Islamist ideas spreading, resulting in attacks on women such as those seen in Cologne. Some of those criticisms blend in with pre-existing racism and fear and a lack of knowledge can lead to ugly bigotry.
Muzzling criticisms of the refugee program through police action, however hatefully expressed, is unlikely to lessen community tensions. On the contrary, such measures will be seen as an attack on free speech and lead to anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiments going underground.