Leading Article: Reggae Music, Violence and Homophobia

Article excerpt

THE MURDER of David Morley, a survivor of the 1999 Soho pub bombing, in a suspected homophobic attack has brought to wider attention what the gay community has known for some time: that the number of such attacks in Britain is rising. Figures released by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year demonstrate a 10 per cent rise in the number of homophobic assaults in London since 2002.

This is partly due to the fact that the police have been more assiduous in recording such incidents since homophobic crimes were classified with race attacks in last year's Criminal Justice Act. But that is not enough to explain the rise. Some in the gay community argue that the increase in so-called "gay bashing" is due to the growing popularity in this country of homophobic reggae acts.

The police are taking this link seriously. Yesterday it was announced that Scotland Yard will investigate some artists to determine whether their lyrics constitute an incitement to violence. The casual bigotry of some of these singers is unacceptable, and the police are right to respond to the concerns raised by launching this investigation. …