The leader of a political group in Australia has been convicted of, and is appealing a charge of “hate speech.”
“We made a dummy out of pillows and cut off its head with a plastic knife, and some fake blood spewed out of its neck,” said Blair Cottrell, the leader of Australia’s United Patriots Front. “It was a mimic of Islamic-style beheading.
The group was protesting the building of Australia’s largest mosque in a town called Bendigo, which according to Cottrell was being subsidized by taxpayers.
“We did this to draw attention to the fact that the mosque was being built, and that it was being covered up by the government and by the media,” Cottrell said. “[We also did it] because it was a government project, and it was a religious project, and because there was a lot of tax dollars involved.”
“It wasn’t just a mosque, it was an estate around the mosque. It was an Islamic school, a book shop, a little market store… it was basically a segregated community within a community, and there was going to be a lot of people making a lot of money, all connected to counselors, police officers, and even media agencies,” he said.
The actual charge, “religious vilification,” has never been invoked before against an Australian citizen.
“I’m the first person to be convicted of this offense in history of Australia – for offending Muslims on social media,” he said.
“When we highlighted this, and we staged this fake beheading and drew everyone’s attention to this, that this Islamic enclave was being built, we were absolutely vilified as racists and Nazis by the media,” he continued. “We were harassed in the same way by local government officials and Victoria Police came down on us hard.
Cottrell received an extension for his appeal, and is putting together a new legal team before his appeal hearing this summer. He hopes to beat the charge in order to avoid establishing a precedent that would allow further convictions for “hate speech.”
“This is a big move by the state government to shut down free speech, and to establish a greater level of authoritarian control over our lives,” Cottrell said. “We can’t give the government what it wants.”
“Hate speech” has been a hot topic in the the West. Many European countries have already established hate speech laws, barring citizens from offending “marginalized” groups. Canada has implemented similar laws.
In America, the radical social justice left has advocated for the same, particularly on college campuses.
Over American 400 universities have adopted speech codes that violate the First Amendment by banning speech that is Constitutional.