In the UK, you can be arrest for saying something racist about a soccer play on Twitter, but threatening to slit your girlfriend’s throat unless she converts to Islam wins you a suspended sentence.
Compare these two cases.
Liam Stacey, a 21-year-old biology undergraduate at Swansea University, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Crime and Disorder Act of making racially aggravated comments.
Lisa Jones, prosecuting, told the court: “Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was believed to have died. Shortly after, Stacey posted on Twitter: ‘LOL, Fuck Muamba. He’s dead’.” Stacey is due to be sentenced this week and has been told he could be jailed.
Kuldeep Chail, 47, made the announcement about his girlfriend to a complete stranger he had approached at a bus stop, who was so disturbed by the threat he alerted the police.
Chail told Mohammed Malik that he wanted his ‘white Christian’ partner to convert to Islam, but that she ‘wouldn’t listen’, before showing the alarmed bus passenger a Stanley knife and making cutting motions across his throat.
Luckily the UK will go on throwing the book at people who say mean things about minority soccer players on Twitter, but it’s okay if you want to threaten to cut your pregnant girlfriend’s throat if she won’t covert to Islam. Objecting to that might actually be considered racist.