Tuesday, July 05, 2016
UK: Multicultural teenager who kidnapped a boy and threatened to stab him unless his family paid ransom was caught after he ate a chocolate bar at the scene
A teenager who kidnapped a boy and threatened to kill him unless his family paid a ransom was caught after he left a half-eaten chocolate bar at the scene.
Mohammed Islam, 19, lured a boy to his flat in Druids Heath, Birmingham by using a girl he knew as a ruse to entice him over.
When he arrived, he held a knife to his throat, pulled his jumper over his head and dragged him into his bedroom where he forced him to sit on the floor.
He warned his 18-year-old victim he would stab him unless friends and family members transferred money into his bank account.
Islam casually scoffed a Cadbury's Wispa bar during the three-hour ordeal on March 25, and left traces of his DNA on the packet.
The 18-year-old was slapped around the head and threatened during the terrifying ordeal, and walked out of the flat with a plastic bag over his head.
As Islam led him out of the flat towards a lift, the victim was able to grab the half-eaten Wispa and, after a few minutes, he removed the bag before running to the nearest house for help.
Police arrested Islam on 3 April, after he was bitten by a police dog as he tried to make his escape. He then made an audacious attempt to run away from hospital, but was later recaptured.
Traces of DNA from the half-eaten Wispa, which was cunningly seized by the victim, were directly matched to Islam. He was later picked out in an identification parade.
Islam was sentenced to eight years in prison, with an extended three-year licence, after pleading guilty to robbery, false imprisonment and blackmail.
Jailing him at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, Judge Simon Drew QC said: 'This was an horrific series of offences committed against a victim seriously traumatised by what took place.
'It is difficult to imagine what it must be like for someone to find themselves in a vulnerable and intimidating situation. 'Threats and violence of this sort are particularly serious. 'This was a horrific, terrifying series of events.
'Text messages recovered from your phone revealed the true nature of the planning that had taken place, you deliberately identified a vulnerable victim. 'It is the sort of case where there needs to be an extended sentence to reflect the threat you face to society as a whole.'
Gareth Walters, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court the victim was contacted on Facebook by a woman he went to school with on March 25.
Text messages found later revealed Islam and the woman, who has not been traced, deliberately targeted the 19-year-old who they thought would be easy pickings. They lured him to a nearby block of flats where he was quickly confronted by Islam.
Mr Walters said: 'The defendant pulled a jumper over the victim's face and led him down some stairs into a flat.
'The defendant began waving a knife in the face of the victim, humiliating him, telling him he was worthless, a waste of space and pathetic.'
After searching the terrified teen's bag and only finding £10 and some tobacco, Islam demanded the teen call friends and family to get more cash. Islam forced the victim to phone his dad to tell him he was being held hostage and ask for cash.
But when he only agreed to send £150, Islam saw red and snatched the phone from him. He threatened the unsuspecting father, telling him that unless he transferred a further £150, he would stab his son.
Islam then headed out with the boy's bank card and PIN to withdraw the money he had just extorted.
The victim - frozen with fear - obeyed the demands to stay sat on the floor of Islam's walk-in wardrobe, as his hands were bound behind his back with a leather belt.
But when Islam got back, he demanded even more money. He made a second call to the father and falsely told him he had actually carried out the threat and stabbed his son.
Reduced to tears, the dad transferred yet another £150, which Islam then went out to withdraw.
Mr Walters added: '(Islam) told his victim he would stab him and put him in a body bag.
'After getting £150, he told his victim to phone his employer or friends to get another £150 but they didn't really believe what was going on.'
In a victim personal statement, the father said the fear he felt while speaking with his kidnapped son would live with him forever. He added: 'I hope that no father ever has to go through what I went through.'
Andrew Jackson, defending, said Islam had been all but abandoned by his family as a youngster and spent his childhood in several children's homes.
He said there had been 'glimmers of hope' the teenager, who had a string of previous offences, was turning away from offending.
DC Darran Ford, from Bournville CID, said, 'This was a callous, planned attack that had great impact on the victim and his family, who I hope have now been offered some closure.
'I would like to pay tribute to the victim and his incredible presence of mind to grab the Wispa bar immediately before escaping. This played a crucial role in bringing Mohammed Islam to justice.
'I hope the eight-year prison term gives him some time out to think about the effects of his actions on the family, as well as serving a stark warning to anyone wishing to carry a knife on the streets.'
Britain has not become racist overnight
The post-Brexit ‘hate-crime spike’ is not all that it seems.
Following the Brexit vote there has been a panic about an apparent ‘spike’ in hate crime. An increase of 57 per cent was widely reported, and, on Twitter, a new hashtag, #PostRefRacism, started trending, with tweeters listing incidents from around Britain. It seems many people, both online and offline, have had personal experience of post-Brexit, racist Britain.
Any incident of racism or xenophobia is abhorrent and should be challenged. But the speed with which Remainers have exploited this apparent surge – in what is, at this point, largely anecdotal reports – has been shameful. Acting like the propaganda wing of the EU establishment, they have rushed to confirm the prejudices of the elites by arguing that these vague statistics and endless tweet allegations show just how racist the working-class, Leave-voting public is.
The media have been all over it. One BBC reporter asked if the vote had opened a ‘tidal wave of hatred’. Numerous articles in the Guardian have claimed that Brexit has ‘unleashed’ racist sentiment across the country. One commentator seriously claimed that ‘every Leave voter’ had encouraged racism – which was ironic, given that the same commentator voted to remain in an institution responsible for the deaths of thousands of non-European migrants in the Mediterranean every year. The onset of panic has revealed how the very publications and commentators who once claimed to stand up for the working class in fact view working-class people as a violent, racist horde.
This is unjustifiable. While many of the accounts of hate crime that have emerged online and in the media have been disturbing, others are not what they seem. Take the widely circulated image of a group of protesters from Newcastle carrying a sign that reads ‘Stop immigration, start repatriation’. Many Remainers jumped on the photo as an example of the racism unleashed by Brexit.
However, the photographer took to Twitter to distance herself from the backlash, pointing out that the far-right had a longstanding minority presence in Newcastle (an area that narrowly voted to Remain) and that the demo was not a direct response to the referendum. Northumbria Police, who cover the Newcastle area, have indicated that there has been ‘no spike’ in racist incidents reported to them over the weekend.
Another much-retweeted picture, from an EDL rally in Sheldon, Birmingham, showed around 30 EDL protesters chanting at passers-by. Again, the protest was held up as an example of ‘post-Brexit Britain’. But reports made clear that the event – involving 30 saddos – had been planned for months, and passed, according to the police, ‘without incident’. Not only was the demonstration a damp squib (which is hardly surprising considering the EDL has haemorrhaged support in recent years); it would also have taken place even if Remain had won the referendum. In other words, two of the most prominent examples of post-referendum racism have nothing to do with the referendum at all.
The broad definition of what constitutes a hate crime also makes it difficult to judge whether there has indeed been an increase in racism. Hate crimes can include anything from an off-colour remark to a racist assault. The 57 per cent increase amounted to 85 reports between Thursday and Sunday last week, which were submitted to a police-funded website that had been established to report hate crime. This was up from 54 reports during the same four-day period four weeks ago. The policeman who reported the statistic made clear that it did not ‘represent an increase in tensions’ and that similar spikes had occurred in response to other events. In any case, we don’t even know the content of what has been alleged.
We should investigate each incident and prosecute where necessary. We should offer genuine solidarity with victims of any racist incident that occurs – and feel bold enough to intervene when they happen, rather than just tweet about them afterwards. But we must also approach these hate-crime claims critically, given that there are plenty of Remainers who are willing to exploit any perceived spike. Talking up a rise in hate crime is dangerous – it can give deluded, isolated individuals the impression that the country agrees with them. Worse, this fearmongering about post-Brexit Britain, fuelled by snobby prejudices, could do real damage to solidarity between communities by sowing distrust, resentment and fear.
Britain has not become a racist country overnight. Remainers who suggest otherwise reveal their own prejudices.
UK: How the elite weaponised immigration
Using migrants to push multiculturalism has been a disaster.
Freedom of movement ought to be one of the cornerstones of an open, liberal society. The freedom, that is, not just to seek refuge, but to search for a better life elsewhere, to pursue one’s dreams and ambitions in territories far from one’s birthplace.
Yet if the commitment to free movement is to be more than a shallow, feelgood posture, we need to recognise, in the here and now of a 21st-century Britain, that immigration troubles and discomfits people. Indeed, it appears as a socially disorienting force, overturning the everyday rituals, customs and other unspoken components that make up a community’s way of life. ‘I feel we are losing our country’, ran the pre-referendum refrain.
So why does immigration appear as a profound threat to the way of life of so many? The answer is to be found not in immigration itself, but in the context in which immigration has assumed, almost inadvertently, a quasi-missionary role – the context, that is, of a Britain that no longer knows what it is, or what it is for.
This is not the cry of the everyman, who feels he is losing his cultural moorings; it is principally the angst of Britain’s ruling elite, which feels it has already lost its cultural moorings. The historical sources of British national identity – Empire, Unionism and, latterly, the Second World War and the Cold War – and the moral confidence that flowed from them, have long since dried up. National traditions, canons, values are now experienced by Britain’s elite not as the substance of Britishness, but as dead weights around modern Britain’s neck – to be cast off, dumped. And the political elite’s wilful estrangement from its own traditions has transformed the role of immigration, and, crucially, diminished the significance and meaning of national borders.
Consider the idea of the border at its most abstract. As Frank Furedi has explained, the creation of a border is born in the act of judgement, the desire and need not just to demarcate, but also to discriminate, be it between good and evil, or between humans and animals. In territorial terms, therefore, the border is the means by which a community discriminates between us and them, the means by which it judges what it is, and what it is not. The border is not just a line on a map; it is an expression of a community’s sense of itself, of what – and where – it is.
But what if a community’s sense of itself is fragmenting? What if its rulers no longer have a clear sense of what their nation means, or what it stands for? What then? A nation’s borders really do start to appear, not as the outlines of a community’s self-expression, the domain of its sovereignty, but as little more than lines on a map, arbitrary boundaries demarcating long obsolete cultural differences. For a nation whose rulers lack a sense of what that nation stands for, borders really do appear meaningless.
And here’s why immigration has become a problem. Our post-traditional, postmodern rulers, have simultaneously devalued borders and valorised immigration. And, in doing so, they have weaponised it. They have turned immigration into the means by which they transform society, bring it into line with their borderless, vacuously cosmopolitan vision. The immigrant here is not an autonomous individual, an end in himself. He is a means to an end, a political tool to create a multicultural, margin-less society.
This was the semi-conscious purpose of New Labour’s immigration policy between 1997 and 2010, a period during which annual net migration quadrupled from 48,000 people in 1997 to 198,000 by 2009. As Labour speechwriter Andrew Neather infamously put it in 2009, ‘mass immigration was the way that the government was going to make the UK truly multicultural’. In 2012, UN migration chief Peter Sutherland went so far as to pay tribute to the UK’s immigration policy, on the grounds it furthered ‘the development of multicultural states’, and undermined the ‘homogeneity… of the people who inhabit them’.
There is a twofold problem here. First, diversity itself is a fact, not a value. People are different. Big deal. To try to turn it into a societal value is really an after-the-fact rationalisation of a society that can no longer generate a coherent sense of what it values, a society that lacks the ability to integrate incomers because there is nothing to be integrated into.
And second, the attempt to turn diversity into a value, and, in the process, turn migrants into the agents of the brave, new multicultural world, is experienced by Britain’s indigenous population, especially the white working class, as a cultural assault, an attack on their very identities. That’s why those who claim Britain’s working class voted to leave the EU because they blame immigrants for taking their jobs miss the point.
Immigration is experienced not just as an economic threat; it is also experienced as a threat to people’s very way of life.
The political elite is not blind. Its members know that we don’t actually live in a borderless world. They know, as one Labour MP noted, that the working class ‘feel their cultural identity is under threat’; and they recognise, therefore, that a sense of what the nation is, a sense of what binds us together, remains important. But whether it’s a Britain Day, or a call to teach British values, policymakers’ proposals to that end are weak and platitudinous. They dress up diversity as a value, multiculturalism as a virtue.
And, unsurprisingly, it is to no avail. A community’s often unspoken self-identity, its deep sense of moral consensus, can’t be invented in Downing Street or Whitehall. If it is to have any resonance, it has to come from the bottom up, not the top down.
And that’s why immigration is experienced by so many as a problem: it has become a top-down means to engineer a new post-traditional, post-national, postmodern society. But it’s still possible to defend free movement. To do so, we need to de-weaponise it. We need to present the migrant not as an elite project, a means to a multicultural utopia, but as someone pursuing his own ends, an autonomous individual with ambitions and aspirations just like ours.
How is abortion protected by the Constitution but gun rights not?
As liberals around the country celebrate Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a decisively pro-choice Supreme Court ruling on abortion, they may want to consider how the precedent set would apply to gun rights.
Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt was a 5-3 decision ruling on the concept of the "undue burden" originally established in Roe v. Wade. Roe stated, "a state has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient… a statute which has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends."
In the most recent decision, the Court ruled that Texas’ law placed too much of an obstacle to getting an abortion, reaffirming that no obstacle, such as requiring clinics to meet ambulance surgery center standards, may be used to limit this right.
But abortion is not an explicit right under the Constitution. Still, the Supreme Court refuses to allow any burden to prevent it from being exercised. The Justices continue to treat the right to abortion as a right equal in strength to the right to due process, trial by jury or free speech.
By this logic, then, federal courts should equally treat the right to keep and bear arms, a fundamental right actually included in the Constitution’s Second Amendment, with the same level of respect.
When Judge Myron Thompson wrote his decision in Planned Parenthood Southeast v. Luther Strange in the Middle District of Alabama, he explained this correlation. Writing "at its core, each protected right is held by the individual: the right to decide to have an abortion and the right to have and use firearms for self-defense. In the context of both rights, the Supreme Court recognizes that some regulation of the protected activity is appropriate, but that other regulation may tread too heavily on the right."
He explains that since both inherently involve other individuals or potential individuals, there is a level of supervision but, in his view, any effort to deliberately prevent an abortion is as unjust as preventing gun ownership.
Now to be consistent the Supreme Court must use the logic they used in Hellerstedt once again, this time in the 9th Circuit Appeals case Peruta v. San Diego, which denies individuals the ability to carry concealed weapons without adhering to strict criteria which changes from county to county.
Arbitrary guidelines like "good moral character," and demonstrating "good cause" outside of simply self-defense or self-interest are vague burdens governments against gun rights impose to prevent ownership. In abortion cases the Supreme Court ruled burdens just like these which are used to limit abortion rights are unconstitutional, the rulings dealing with the right of gun ownership must be viewed by the same standard.
The next Supreme Court docket will likely include the Peruta case, making it more important than ever that the Justice replacing the late Justice Scalia be one to vote in consistency with the fundamental right of being pro-choice on gun ownership.
In the last major gun rights case, D.C. v. Heller it was Justices Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito all voting in favor of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as an individual right. However, with Scalia’s passing it is more feasible than ever that if, for example, Hillary Clinton the presumed Democratic nominee, is elected president all of these established precedents protecting gun rights will be thrown away with a 5-4 decision against the second amendment.
Our next president will not just have power over the executive office but the fundamental rights of the Second Amendment to be practiced without undue burden.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.