Geddis on free speech

October 29th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

writes at Pundit:

Does the right to extend to shouting at a woman to take off her burqa in a supermarket? If not, why not?

A good question.

For example, the Supreme Court, in a couple of cases calledBrooker v Police and Morse v Police (I’ve posted on them in passinghere and here), has indicated that the offences of “disorderly” and “offensive” behaviour now need to be applied in ways that are properly respectful of the rights of individuals to express their (often unpopular or inconvenient) views on social and political matters. Such expression should only be criminalised where it poses some threat to public order that exceeds the bounds of what a properly tolerant citizen who is mindful of the rights of others should have to bear.

The threshold for speech to be criminal should be very high indeed.

Now, here’s the question for us (where “us” are nice liberal folks who share in the positive values of tolerance and respect for others). Why should Ms Rappard’s particular expression of views that we find quite distasteful attract a criminal conviction and fine?

Well, it can’t be the views themselves, can it? Because if it is, can we distinguish Ms Rappard’s actions from (say) a Maori kaumatua who tells a visiting tourist to take off a t-shirt that he believes has an image that misappropriates or demeans part of tikanga Maori?

Well, maybe we could do so, on the basis that the burqa has a particular religious importance and meaning for the student above and beyond that which a tourist would feel for a mere t-shirt. However, isn’t it precisely that religious importance and significance that so upsets Ms Rappard? So the symbolic value of the burqa works both ways here – it both increases the impact of the expression on the student, but also increases the “value” of the expression to Ms Rappard. How can we privilege the right of the student to wear what she wants for religious reasons over Ms Rappard’s right to express her views on that student’s public attestation of her faith?

I agree saying take off your burqa should not in itself be something you can not say.

So if it isn’t the views in and of themselves that warrant criminal sanction, maybe it’s the way that they were expressed. No matter how strongly you feel on an issue, approaching a stranger while they are going about their daily business and personally insulting them (“dirty Muslim”) by shouting into their face just ought not to be allowed.

Let’s say that’s the problem here – by targetting the student and personally “attacking” her, Ms Rappard crossed over the line into deliberately victimising her in a bullying manner. (Looked at in this way, the current case has a lot of similarities to this other tricky line-drawing exercise from earlier in the year.)

OK – but this standard then has implications for (say) protestors at the next National Party conference. Surely anyone so incensed at National’s performance in government who walks up to a delegate and shouts at her or him “Tory scum! You should be ashamed of what you are doing to New Zealand!” has acted in an “offensive” a way as Ms Rappard did. Or, again, can we privilege certain kinds of shouted insults (into the faces of ordinary political party members seeking to attend their organisation’s meeting) over and above others (into the faces of students while they are doing their weekly shopping)?

I think you can distinguish the two. Having protesters shout abuse at you as you attend a party conference is par for the course – you are there to take part in a political conference that of course attracts diverse opinions.

However if I was wearing (for example) a National Party t-shirt at my local supermarket and someone came up to me and started abusing me and yelling in my face, I’d be very unimpressed. However I’d tell them to go copulate themselves rather than call the Police!

That’s bad, and I am sorry the student felt that way. But here’s the crux of the matter – whose fault is it that Ms Rappard’s expression had this impact? Is it Ms Rappard’s, because she has so contravened generally accepted values of civility that the hurt caused was both entirely predictable and beyond that which should be permitted? Or is it the student’s, because she is failing to display the sort of resiliance and tough-mindedness needed to live in a society with multiple, conflicting views on how the world should be? 

In other words, who should be expected to be “tolerant” here? Ms Rappard, by refraining from expressing vehemently her views on the student’s religious choices? Or the student, by just sucking up Ms Rappard’s boorish behaviour and carrying on with her life?

A good point.

So here’s the question we (where “we” are nice liberal folks who share in the positive values of tolerance and respect for others) face. Can we find some way to draw a line that allows us to get all the good things we want out of a commitment to free speech, while still saying that Ms Rappard’s particular behaviour ought to attract the sanction of the criminal law? Or, are we forced by our commitment to tolerance and respect for others to agree with Ms Rappard’s assessment of the Court’s verdict?

The guilty finding was an example of political correctness ”gone mad”, she said.

”Telling a woman to take a burqa off is in my mind not offensive,” she said.

I think Ms Rappard is a pretty despicable human being to start shouting abuse at someone just because she disapproves of her head scarf. She should be ashamed of herself. However I don’t think it should be a matter for the Police unless the behaviour crosses the line into threatening.

What would have been better would be if other people at the scene rounded on Ms Rappard and told her how awful her behaviour was.

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76 Responses to “Geddis on free speech”

  1. Kea (13,559 comments) says:

    Does the right to free speech extend to shouting at a woman to take off her burqa in a supermarket? If not, why not?

    Yes.

    As soon as you say certain things can not be said you face the problem of; who decides ?

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  2. Kea (13,559 comments) says:

    I think Ms Rappard is a pretty despicable human being to start shouting abuse at someone just because she disapproves of her head scarf. She should be ashamed of herself. However I don’t think it should be a matter for the Police unless the behaviour crosses the line into threatening.

    I agree as would most people. Which is further evidence that we do not need central government making laws about it. Social pressure and common decency is enough. [The same would apply if someone demanded a Nun to take off her ridiculous headgear.]

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  3. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    What would have been better would be if other people at the scene rounded on Ms Rappard and told her how awful her behaviour was.

    I agree and in effect that’s what happened in a round about way, other people called the police. The person wearing the scarf said they felt intimidated, and perhaps witnesses felt intimidated too, it can be daunting to jolt yourself from minding your own business shopping into defending someone against an outburst and you have no idea what the possible consequences might be.

    What if the abusive person then turned on you, or had associates who joined in the harassment? Escalation would always be a possibility.

    I’ve said before that I think prosecution seems to be taking it too far but I didn’t see how bad it was. Witnesses felt strongly enough to call the police, the police felt it justified a charge and the JP thought it justifed a severe rebuke and a fine.

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  4. transmogrifier (523 comments) says:

    A shitty, boorish, pitiful thing to do, but never criminal. Only if it extended into threats of physical harm could it be considered so.

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  5. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    Free speech should trump virtually everything. It is fairly self policing by freedom of opinion.
    You should ne allowed to run around abusing people (but not threatening them). Equally, everyone else is allowed to think you’re a cunt if you do.

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  6. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    No one has the ‘right” to get right into anyones’ face ,which is what Rappard did and gob off. That is not free speech ,it is borderline assault..(without the battery).

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  7. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    What would have been better is if we had had a civil society where laws to regulate this kind of behaviour were unnecessary.

    Not much chance of that while Progressives are socially ascendant. They have done their utmost to destroy this facet of our society so as to make government the arbitrator of everything.

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  8. dubya (245 comments) says:

    Let’s not become another France. Brigitte Bardot has been convicted five times of ‘inciting racial hatred’ now for voicing her concerns about the evil cult that is Islam.

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  9. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    Social pressure and common decency is enough.

    That doesn’t always work. Crowds have a tendency to be unpredictable, and if “the wrong crowd” takes the side of an abuser things can potentially get very ugly.

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  10. Nigel Kearney (1,096 comments) says:

    I agree with Andrew Geddis but it does kind of miss the main point. Insulting a culture or religion generally associated with brown people is the worst kind of ignorance and bigotry that has no place in our society, but if the culture or religion is associated with white people then the same insults are entirely legitimate protest. Andrew may not get this, but I’m sure his academic colleagues are explaining it to him as we speak.

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  11. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    Freedom of speech is the keystone, the one freedom upon which all our other rights depend. Once it is gone, we will be serfs.

    Voltaire said “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

    I do figure that Kea would never allow a nun to rule over her, and then the pope wears a funny hat too.

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  12. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    Well said NK. That Geddis wants to protect the rights of Muslims is a stark contrast to the left’s willingness to allow any insult to Christians stand as fair comment.

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  13. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    As Augustine advised Januarias in 392 AD “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” The student should have heeded the advice given and removed the offending garment.

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  14. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    >I think Ms Rappard is a pretty despicable human being to start shouting abuse at someone just because she disapproves of her head scarf.

    What if it were someone wearing a neo-nazi uniform? Would it still be despicable to shout at them, or would we applaud the shouter? Would it make a difference if neo-nazis had declared Hitler to be their god, thereby turning their political beliefs into religious beliefs?

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    Red – I prefer to criticise all religions equally. None have a basis in fact.

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  16. Kleva Kiwi (290 comments) says:

    “where “we” are nice liberal folks who share in the positive values of tolerance and respect for others”

    I think the article needs to be re-written from the perspective of a non liberal.
    There is more than one side to any story

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  17. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    Humans have rights. Ideas do not have rights.

    Is that a new conundrum

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  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I think you can distinguish the two. Having protesters shout abuse at you as you attend a party conference is par for the course – you are there to take part in a political conference that of course attracts diverse opinions.

    No difference what so ever David. You are going about your lawful, yes lawful business, why should some numpty fucktard be able to scream whatever they want without sanction?

    The right to protest is, lawful peaceful protest, not threatening violent protest. If you break the law protesting you should receive the same sentence as the drunk on Friday night, not a wet bus ticket because you are a student and you want to travel and you were just calling the attendees “despicable cunts” because you have a conscience whereas Mr Drunk is a forklift driver .

    What would have been better would be if other people at the scene rounded on Ms Rappard and told her how awful her behaviour was.

    Aside from the fact that Rappard is probably offensive just by breathing you need to get out a tad more David. People are that scared these days that if they stick their nose in they’ll get a hiding or worse (this does happen).

    lastly there are lots more offensive things happen everyday and no action is taken. Just seems funny that this involves a burka wearer and the police leap into action, wheras you can wait four days for them to turn up and deal with much more serious matters

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  19. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    I see liberalism as a sort of social contract. It’s also something with its own set of values – it’s not a value-neutral set of beliefs. To a point, it is laissez-faire, but it is also, or should be, intolerant of intolerance, and proactive in seeking freedom for others.

    There is no two ways about it: Islam is the enemy of those values. And the burqa is both symbolic and a practical outworking of that repression. It’s anti-human clothing.

    If Muslims want to practice their faith in majority Muslim countries, they are welcome to do so. But I no longer think they should be free to reduce freedom in New Zealand. We cannot go the same way as Britain, where it is now a criminal offense to speak against Islam, and sharia law is seen as part of British jurisprudence. The purpose of Islam is jihad – it is conquest, and submission to Allah. We’ve seen this over and over again for the last 1400 years. It cannot be given the same freedoms as other faiths.

    Of course, if Saudi Arabia were to allow the construction of churches on its soil, all this could be reconsidered!

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  20. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    BlairM – Freedom of religion (the same as freedom of opinion) is as important as freedom of speech. You can’t have one without the other.

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  21. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    The freedom of speech means nothing if it can be curtailed because you “should have expected that someone might react violently against your words.

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  22. Kea (13,559 comments) says:

    BlairM , so you are all for free speech and religous freedoms, but only for your prefered violent ignorant Middle Eastern desert cult.

    Dipshit.

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  23. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    Also, just because someone has something to say doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Take Gareth Morgan for example.

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  24. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    it is also, or should be, intolerant of intolerance, and proactive in seeking freedom for others.

    Who should get to chose what intolerance shouldn’t be tolerated?

    I frequently see scarf wearing (presumably) Muslims on Dunedin streets. I’ve never had any cause for concern, they are always peacefully minding their own business.

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  25. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    gazza
    but there has to be controls and limits.

    “Jesus your missus is ugly and she’s had more members than Jethro Tull”.

    feel free to say it but don’t moan when you get a kick in the slats.

    That what I meant above about protesters, they think because they are in a pack thy can do and say anything they like because its ‘political’ when in reality they are just a pub mob

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  26. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    The state’s duty is to punish the violent for their attempt to silence the speakers, not to silence the speakers because their thuggish opposition might react violently !

    Was there violence involved in this case ? ?

    So just what is the state doing ?? It is enforcing another religion by curtailing free speech.

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  27. alloytoo (582 comments) says:

    Does no one respect Ms Rappard’s right to be offended by the the Burqa?

    No.

    Then why is everyone respecting the Burqa wearer’s (sorry don’t know her name) right to be offended by Ms Rappard’s opinion?

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  28. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    alloytoo

    I’m offended by burqas’ but I have no right to get in the face of any woman wearing one and practically assaulting em.

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  29. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I would suggest that if this chick is really offended by burqa’s she’ll travel to Auckland and stand at the Roskill South shops and vocalise her views at the top of her voice rather than to one woman in that hot bed of political and religious intrigue, the local supermarket.

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  30. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    kowtow

    good comment

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  31. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    Same as PEB mentioning “a kick in the slats” for saying unsavory things about ones “true love” , even though one should not be surprised if there is still a violent reaction. Sure not a nice thing to say about some one’s missus.

    It should only be the violence to be prosecuted.

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  32. edhunter (554 comments) says:

    Double standards, no other word for it.
    Ever tried to cross a picket line? Remember the abuse dished out to the Israeli tennis player? Occupy Auckland? Waitangi every fucking year?
    This was nothing but a protest albeit a protest of 1. I wont hold my breathe to see the same standard used to prosecute Ms Rappard to be applied to the examples mentioned above, but it would be nice.

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  33. AgentBallSack (40 comments) says:

    I am just offended by fat naked Maori idiots performing the Haka but I don’t run to the press to cry about it.

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  34. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    1) I love how people just assume ALL muslim women without exception are weak wilting flowers just waiting to be freed or rescued from the burqa by liberal kiwi society.

    2) Free speech is vital, it allows people like Rappard to show everyone what c***s they are…

    3) I love how people see fit to condemn wearers of the burqa, while chicks sporting that awful AWFUL Miley Cyrus asymmetrical undercut walk among us… it shouldn’t be allowed.

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  35. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Is this Kea clown a Muslim, as well as a Labour-supporting bludger?

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  36. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    “whose fault is it that Ms Rappard’s expression had this impact? Is it Ms Rappard’s, because she has so contravened generally accepted values of civility that the hurt caused was both entirely predictable and beyond that which should be permitted? Or is it the student’s, because she is failing to display the sort of resiliance and tough-mindedness needed to live in a society with multiple, conflicting views on how the world should be? ”
    ……
    It’s the fault of progressives who unilaterally decided NZ/Aotearoa should become multicultural.

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  37. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,703 comments) says:

    David, a burqa is NOT a scarf. It is a full length shroud with slits at eye level.

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  38. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Of course, if Saudi Arabia were to allow the construction of churches on its soil, all this could be reconsidered!

    Really? New Zealanders should decide how we behave and what our ideas of right & wrong are, based on what happens in Saudi Arabia? :???:

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  39. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Herald editorial: Editorial: Sea change in attitude towards Asian migrants

    We now feel much more affinity with Asia and immigrants from that region, a fact underlined by an Asia New Zealand Foundation study released this week.

    It found that in 2011, 55% of New Zealanders thought Asian immigration was positive, a substantial rise from 32% in 1997, when Winston Peters was achieving maximum mileage from xenophobic outbursts. The period had, the study said, seen a significant re-evaluation of New Zealanders’ attitude, which it attributed to greater contact with Asian people. In Auckland, where the Asian population was just 5.5% in 1991 and is projected to reach 30 per cent by 2021, this process has been most marked. Given the pace of absorption, there has been remarkably little stress or strain.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11146561

    So only 30% wanted Asian immigration but they went ahead and did it. Now they smugly feel we were right

    A recent Colmar Brunton said the opposite.
    Spoonley, Butcher etc ran the polling; that’s like National/labour/ or Greens running the election (up to a point).
    Spoonley Butcher log the coverage of immigration by media. Their first complaint is the media “problemises” it (i.e there is no valid issue unless the media wrongly interprets an issue (takes wrong view). Spoonley says that coverage became better as journalists realised they had a role in reporting “positively” the complex issue of migration. He sees journalists as educators with a loaded position.
    At AUT they have lecturers in Diversity studies. How much of that; who set it up? I read where an AUT lecturer says that our population mix is changing as Kiwis leave and people from elsewhere take our place as though this is a reason for celebration.
    New Zealand wasn’t empty before Labour decided we should become a multi cultural country we were an agriculturally based economy and cities mainly served the hinterland. We had more beach/ fishing/ hiking tracks/ baches per person

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  40. Fentex (1,136 comments) says:

    Does the right to free speech extend to shouting at a woman to take off her burqa in a supermarket? If not, why not?

    Shouting at people is not speaking – it’s shouting. Shouting to be heard in a din, across a distance is well and fine but getting up in someone’s face is abusive.

    Like most things it’s context sensitive – at a political rally where people are present precisely for debate heated expression often occurs with people yelling in each other’s faces, and in such circumstance the threshold for offence and abuse is higher.

    But, if reported accurately, to get up in someone’s face as they’re going about their business in a public place constitutes threatening and abusive behaviour completely beside the content of whatever is being yelled.

    Personally I’d be tempted to deck someone who treated me such and I imagine quite a few people who prefer the right to dress as they please and go about their business in peace would agree with me, and that is why it’s behaviour properly discouraged by laws against abusing others – so that we don’t live our lives having to resort to our fists to protect our freedoms.

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  41. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    Radicals who are advocates of minority rights are quite prepared to stop the majority from having any rights.

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  42. Fentex (1,136 comments) says:

    However I don’t think it should be a matter for the Police unless the behaviour crosses the line into threatening.

    I didn’t witness the event in question so I don’t know if I’d call it threatening but the implication from what’s been reported is that it was – making everything preceding that point in this posts discussion redundant, and the content of whatever was yelled irrelevant.

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  43. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Does no one respect Ms Rappard’s right to be offended by the the Burqa?

    I respect Ms Rappard’s right to be offended by the wearing of a Burqa. However, this is a really bad case to be arguing free speech over. The evidence was that Ms Rappard moved to within 10-15cm of the victim’s face and started shouting at her. Ms Rappard denies this, but based on the decision, I think we can infer that the Justices of the Peace found the evidence of the other witnesses more compelling. You are probably reading this on a computer. My screen is maybe 40-50cm away from my face. If someone was shouting at me from this distance I’d probably call that disorderly. Now I’m imagining it being one-third of the distance, right in my face. Free speech has very little to do with such a scenario.

    Both of them can be offended in such a scenario. No problem with this, but the evidence was that this went further than being offended.

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  44. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    I may have missed something above…

    But this is ALL old news as I recall PG posted on KB on this last week.

    According to the report the shouting was done at a space of 100 – 150mm. That is 4 to 6 ins from the silly Islamist’s face.

    That, I consider, is abuse/verbal assault, and not free speech issue.

    Telling some dilly Moslem adherent that they should remove something that is generally considered culturally unacceptable in NZ (think about NZ women being required to wear scarves in 1400 Cent Islamic nations) is not. The offence is the screaming in her face. Nothing more or less.

    I think it is time that Geddis gave up his inflated tax-payer funded salary, took his academic law (Lord, such folk are useless) and shoved it up his burqua.

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  45. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    A Middle East source says that 10% of Moslems are sympathetic to and support terrorism. New Zealand has a big problem. Wonder how long it will take for the penny to drop for the naive?

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  46. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    I have seen Moslems being very offensive and nothing is said about it, one NZer is and it is the subject of endless debate.

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  47. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    There will be possibly a rather defining moment for the debate on free speech at the swearing in of the Mayor and the Auckland City Councillors this evening.

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  48. Kea (13,559 comments) says:

    “New Zealand has a big problem. ”

    LOL :) Keep em coming !

    “Is this Kea clown a Muslim, as well as a Labour-supporting bludger?”

    Gimp, I am an atheist who hates Labour. Another thing I hate are two faced keyboard warriors. Do you think it is ok to abuse people based on religious clothing (like Nuns) or not ?

    No idea why you think I might be a Muslim. Religion is a cancer on humanity.

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  49. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    A Middle East source says that 10% of Moslems are sympathetic to and support terrorism.

    A Middle East source? Hmm. Sounds like it could be some kind of dirty Muslim trick.

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  50. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    This is a case of property rights.

    The supermarket may dictate shoppers’ acceptable behaviour.

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  51. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    If Ms Rappard had been wearing a piece of Jewish clothing and a burqa wearing individual had taken offence and shouted in Ms Rappard’s face it is doubtful anything would have been been reported in the media.

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  52. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    Gulag – Sonny Bill Williams is a Muslim, but he keeps his terrorism on the field.

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  53. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    If Ms Rappard had been wearing a piece of Jewish clothing and a burqa wearing individual had taken offence and shouted in Ms Rappard’s face it is doubtful anything would have been been reported in the media.

    Try it and let’s see.

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  54. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    gazz- that is one consolation.

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  55. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    “A Middle East source?”

    It was a UK survey and the percentage of Muslims believing in violence as a means to an end (suicide bombing for example) was far higher.

    Look it up. I can’t be bothered for you should already know about this.

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  56. alloytoo (582 comments) says:

    @kowtow

    “I’m offended by burqas’ but I have no right to get in the face of any woman wearing one and practically assaulting em.”

    “Practically Assaulting Em”?

    I see you need to use the word “Practically”.

    She didn’t assault her.

    She didn’t assault her.

    At worse she is guilty of bad manners

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  57. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    These figures are quite disturbing
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/opinion-polls.htm

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  58. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    alloytoo

    Look up the definition of assault. If the description of the events is accurate it will have gone really close to an assault charge.

    I presume next time someone screams ” You’re a sad fuck” six inches from your face” your reply will be ” brush your teeth cuz “and carry on with your day.

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  59. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    It was a UK survey and the percentage of Muslims believing in violence as a means to an end (suicide bombing for example) was far higher.

    Look it up. I can’t be bothered for you should already know about this.

    I’m surprised it’s that low. Most people approve of violence as a means to an end. Us pacifists are few and far between.

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  60. nasska (12,095 comments) says:

    I would suggest that the level of abuse & the fact that Ms Rappard got so close to the Muslim was due to the depersonalising effect of the burqa. Most hostile exchanges are limited by our conditioning about intruding into another’s personal space….as human animals we instinctively react to the expressions contained within a face, especially the eyes.

    The burqa presents the wearer as having less humanity than a gladsack full of rubbish. If Islamists continue to engage in pig headed separatism they can hardly be surprised at the action it provokes.

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  61. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    I would suggest

    Would you now.

    that the level of abuse & the fact that Ms Rappard got so close to the Muslim was due to the depersonalising effect of the burqa. Most hostile exchanges are limited by our conditioning about intruding into another’s personal space….as human animals we instinctively react to the expressions contained within a face, especially the eyes.

    The burqa presents the wearer as having less humanity than a gladsack full of rubbish. If Islamists continue to engage in pig headed separatism they can hardly be surprised at the action it provokes.

    Jeez, whether they’re wearing too much or wearing too little, seems like it’s always the ladies’ fault how other people treat them.

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  62. nasska (12,095 comments) says:

    The extreme ends of what society considers normal usually prove to be cold & lonely places Ryan.

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  63. UglyTruth (4,554 comments) says:

    People have the right to be left alone.

    You don’t like how some cultural groups dress? go tell someone who cares what you think.

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  64. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    alloytoo

    I don’t agree it was bad manners.It was borderline assault and no one should be subject to that in our democracy,for what they wear.
    I don’t like Islam,I don’t like large numbers of Muslim immigrants to the west,I don’t like seeing headscarfs,burqas,etc

    But that does not mean you get in someones face and scream it at them.That is not freedom of speech,not how Rappard did it.

    Personally I reckon Rappard could have been dealt for Breach of the Peace rather than offensive behaviour,but I’m not a lawyer.

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  65. Gulag1917 (1,083 comments) says:

    Headgear is not permitted in some banks, wonder if they have got special exemptions for burqa. Wonder if bank staff are allowed to yell at offenders? . Curious that it is always the special people that cause the problems.

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  66. Lucia Maria (2,653 comments) says:

    Kowtow,

    I agree.

    Free speech is about the right to say what you think about a subject. It is not about screaming that in someone’s face.

    I personally find the burqa to be an extremely offensive and disturbing garment (akin to someone wearing concentration camp garb with pride for what concentration camps stand for), but I would always treat the wearer with respect.

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  67. cha (4,139 comments) says:

    concentration camp garb

    Really, the Frum women of Beit Shemesh too?.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4021877,00.html

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  68. Lucia Maria (2,653 comments) says:

    Cha,

    And here was I thinking that there were really people out there wearing concentration camp garb with pride… until I actually clicked on your link.

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  69. SGA (1,255 comments) says:

    @dpf

    However if I was wearing (for example) a National Party t-shirt at my local supermarket and someone came up to me and started abusing me and yelling in my face, I’d be very unimpressed. However I’d tell them to go copulate themselves rather than call the Police!

    DPF – as I posted here a few days ago (sigh). As I understand it, SHE didn’t call the police, the supermarket did. For some bizarre reason, the supermarket thinks that having a crazy yelling at point blank range into the faces of one of their other customers is, well…, offensive (and not good for business). Correct me if I’m wrong (apologies in advance), if not – stop making it look as though the muslim woman called the cops.

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  70. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    The hothead shouting at someone wearing a burqa is by far the less outrageous story here. Check out the other one that Andrew Geddis links to. In that one, some deranged ranter copped a conviction for offensive language. The judge said “The words you used were offensive and homophobic and, as such, undermined the simple values New Zealand cherishes.” Any blather about freedom of speech in our Bill of Rights Act might as well be toilet paper if that got to stand.

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  71. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Australia’s first suicide bomber named
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/9189722/Australias-first-suicide-bomber-named

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  72. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    DPF occasionally makes sense. This is one of those times.

    I have Jewish blood, but would still support a Nazi group peacefully demonstrating and shouting slogans. I would also have the right to shout back at them.

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  73. TM (100 comments) says:

    Freedom of speech relate to the expression of opinion, no matter how objectionable. However, vitrilolic outbursts and verbal harassment are a version of assault. I would much rather someone just punch me in the head than stalk me around constantly hurling abuse.

    It’s also why I can’t understand why a calm controlled smack is illegal, yet it’s legal for a parent to scream, swear and belittle their kids.

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  74. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    I knew a kiwi girl who taught at a primary school for Muslims in Perth for a while.

    Dress code for female staff was she had to wear a Hijab, and she had to arrive at school already wearing it, which meant an interesting drive up the freeway each morning, with daily reminders about the character of many Australians…!

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  75. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    RRM (8,159) Says:

    I knew a kiwi girl who taught at a primary school for Muslims in Perth for a while.
    ………………………………….

    Devoted teacher reveals why she quit a Muslim school after being told THIS business suit was indecent

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2440816/The-devoted-teacher-quit-Muslim-school-told-THIS-outfit-indecent.html#ixzz2j8bdcQE9

    Presumably your handy anecdote included more than head scarf?

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  76. Left Right and Centre (3,009 comments) says:

    iKea – you should increase your ‘gimp’ usage. Very good.

    RRM – Miley Cyrus undercut trend – crack up!! If you think they’re styley you should hang out with me at my local dole office. Ugliest dumbest lookin fuckwits you could want to see man…. hahahahahahahaha…. and that’s just the staff… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    :) :)

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