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Feb. 4th, 2010

A secularist group has lodged an official complaint against Cherie Booth QC after she spared a man from prison because he was religious.

Shamso Miah, 25, of Redbridge, east London, broke a man's jaw following a row in a bank queue.

Sitting as a judge, Ms Booth, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, said she would suspend his sentence on the basis of his religious belief. The National Secular Society claims her attitude was discriminatory and unjust.

Inner London Crown Court heard that Miah, 25, of Redbridge, east London, went into a bank in East Ham and became embroiled in a dispute with Mohammed Furcan about who was next in the queue. Miah, who had just been to a mosque, punched Mr Furcan inside the bank, and again outside the building.

Ms Booth told Miah that violence had to be taken seriously, but said she would suspend his prison sentence because he was a religious person and had not been in trouble before. She added: "You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour."

The National Secular Society has complained to the Office for Judicial Complaints, suggesting that Mrs Blair acted in an unjust and discriminatory way, and suggesting that she might have treated a non-religious person less leniently. [BBC]



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
man, i've seen those bank queues in East Ham though, they're like nowhere else. i have no idea why either but all six banks on the high street constantly have queues out the door...
Feb. 4th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
1.If I were a member of some Islamic org, I'd complain as well - it's ok - Muslims behave this way as part of their religion.

2. She notes that he knows (as a religious person) that this behaviour is unacceptable. So knowing the difference between right and wrong makes you less blameworthy than someone who doesn't, does it? I think the opposite is true, counsel.

3. Her comment also suggests that someone who is religious also has behavioural standards. I think we all know how wrong that is.

4. Religion, the last time I looked, is not a defence or mitigating factor. The defendant broke a man's jaw in a bank queue, FFS. I'll remember to wear a crucifix or hijab next time I feel feisty in a bank. No excuse for that.

5. The only good thing to come of this is that knowing of the aforementioned religious leniency, the banks might be more encouraged to provide more counter staff to stop tempers/staff getting lamped. Yaay. Cherie does more to the high street banks in one case than the Ombudsman does in a year. Well done, Love.
Feb. 4th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
1. I meant - her comment could be taken to mean that she thinks Muslims behave this way as part of their religion, so it's ok to show leniency. How ignorant and offensive to Muslims and non Muslims alike.
Feb. 4th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
I agree with your other points, but I don't think this one is the straight reading of what she said.
Feb. 4th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
Maybe I went too far on number 1. Sorry. It was a possible unsaid explanation for the gap between her reasoning of knowing wrong due to his religion yet showing leniency on account of his religion.
Feb. 4th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Another implication is that those of us who are non-religious have no moral foundation.
Feb. 4th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
I considered that at the time - but saying that religion = morality is not the same as saying no religion = no morality, but I get your point. She has an erroneous presumption - surely a moral man would not break a man's jaw in a bank queue...
Feb. 4th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
The Daily Mash has grabbed this one...

Edited at 2010-02-04 01:25 pm (UTC)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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