All entries by this author

A-Level Maths Dumbed Down? *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Many teachers think so; others think A-Levels help all students to succeed. At what?… Read the rest

Munira Mirza Says Muslims Want Freedom Too *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

Censorship in the West bolsters the moral authority of leaders in the Middle East to censor their own citizens.… Read the rest

Jordanian Editors Arrested for Insulting Religion *

Feb 5th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Muslims of the world be reasonable,’ wrote Mr Momani, so no wonder he got busted.… Read the rest


Feb 4th, 2006 8:33 pm | By

More. It keeps getting worse and worse and worse, as more people drop to the ground and display their pale soft bellies beseechingly, all the while crooning melodic horseshit about their profound respect for free speech as long as no one ever actually uses it for anything.

The Guardian.

The Guardian believes uncompromisingly in freedom of expression, but not in any duty to gratuitously offend…To directly associate the founder of one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions with terrorist violence – the unmistakable meaning of the most explicit of these cartoons – is wrong, even if the intention was satirical rather than blasphemous.

Freedom of expression, huh huh huh, but don’t go gratuitously offending now. Don’t offend unless … Read the rest

Petition to Defend Free Speech and Secularism *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Condemn threats and violence as a way to silence criticism and satire.… Read the rest

Having a Thin Skin Can Be Used as a Weapon *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

It allows people to create their own definition of respect and require us to observe it.… Read the rest

Ibn Warraq Urges Solidarity With the Cartoonists *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Unashamed, noisy, public solidarity, lest the forces trying to impose a totalitarian ideology win.… Read the rest

The Guardian Takes a Stand *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Against teasing ‘the founder of one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions.’… Read the rest

World Press Reaction *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

One thing to assert the right to publish, another thing to put that right to the test. Oh.… Read the rest

No One Knows What the Prophet Looked Like *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

No one could seriously claim to recognise the Prophet in images drawn by Danish cartoonists.… Read the rest

Embassies Burn in Damascus as Tantrums Continue *

Feb 4th, 2006 | Filed by

Vatican says right to freedom of expression does not imply right to offend religious beliefs.… Read the rest

Of Course You Can, Except When You Can’t

Feb 4th, 2006 2:31 am | By

Back to the real world, where cartoons ‘are’ representations of Mohammed – some depressing oxymoronism from Jack Straw. Of course we respect free speech, but you can’t say that; of course everyone has a right to free speech, but no one can insult religion. Well which is it, bub? It ain’t both! I’m not a free speech absolutist, as I’ve said many times, but this idea that free speech is okay as long as it doesn’t offend anyone is sheer jam tomorrow. If we can’t say anything that might offend someone, our speech is pretty damn restricted, isn’t it!

Speaking after talks with the Sudanese foreign minister, Mr Straw said: “There is freedom of speech, we all respect that.

Read the rest


Feb 4th, 2006 1:50 am | By

Wait, hold on – something has just crossed my tiny mind. These cartoons – that are so ‘offensive’ because they are cartoons of Mohammed – how do the people who are so offended know they are cartoons of Mohammed? There aren’t, like, photographs of him, right? Not to mention the fact that it’s a no-no to make pictures of him anyway, so that if there were photos of him, they’d all have been thrown away by now. But surely it’s much more likely that they weren’t taken in the first place, and that drawings, paintings, watercolours, engravings, etchings, and silhouettes were not made either. And even if they had been they’d probably be pretty dilapidated by now. Pretty crumbly and … Read the rest

And Repeat

Feb 3rd, 2006 6:10 pm | By

Right, I’m going to go on being predictable for awhile. Can’t be helped.

Sarah Joseph in the Guardian for instance.

The battle is set, of religious extremism versus freedom of speech. These are the lines drawn, or so we are told, in the escalating tensions worldwide surrounding the printing of images of Muhammad in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe.

That’s not how I would draw them, actually. That is a little too predictable, and it’s also not quite the point. It seems to me the battle is between the idea that religion should be immune from criticism and the idea that it should not be. Or, perhaps, it’s between the idea that ‘sensitivities’ and feelings of being ‘offended’ and desires … Read the rest

43 Page Dossier Stoked the Outrage *

Feb 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

It included three obscene caricatures that had nothing to do with Jyllands-Posten.… Read the rest

Richard Wolin on Levinas and Heidegger *

Feb 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

By rejecting reason, Heidegger severed the pivotal link between insight and emancipation.… Read the rest

Jyllands-Posten Editor Says it was Worth It *

Feb 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

‘We wanted to show how deeply entrenched self-censorship has already become.’… Read the rest

Sign and Sight Gives Useful Overview *

Feb 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

A survey of the European press on the cartoons.… Read the rest

Agnès Callamard of Article 19 on Prophetic Fallacy *

Feb 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

One striking feature of these events is the remarkable absence of sensible dialogue.… Read the rest

Hindutva, California Textbooks and a Smear Campaign

Feb 3rd, 2006 | By Steve Farmer

Last week this article in the Indian magazine Frontline reported that the Hindu Right’s attempts to rewrite California school textbooks on India and Hinduism were meeting with strong resistance from renowned historians and scholars in the U.S. and abroad. Steve Farmer is one of those scholars; he reported on that resistance and the smear campaign against another of them, Michael Witzel, on a listserve last December, and gave B&W permission to publish a slightly updated version. There is recent news here.

Part I: The California Textbook Issue

The smear campaign aimed against Michael Witzel is meant in retaliation for
the critical role he has played since early November – in
collaboration now with hundreds of Indian and Western researchers … Read the rest