All entries by this author

Women’s Rights Activists Stress Secularism *

Dec 6th, 2007 | Filed by

Maghreb Women’s March Towards Equality seminar addressed the marginalisation of the Maghreb woman.… Read the rest



Flabbergasting Mysteries Abound *

Dec 6th, 2007 | Filed by

Waleed Aly asks: what is so offensive about a teddy bear named Muhammad?… Read the rest



Iranian Hanged Despite Withdrawal of Accusations *

Dec 6th, 2007 | Filed by

Capital offences in Iran include serious drug trafficking, apostasy, adultery, homosexual acts between men. … Read the rest



Religion as boa constrictor

Dec 6th, 2007 11:56 am | By

Things are humming in the Maghreb. Excellent.

Human rights activists from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania attending a Tunisian seminar last week stressed the need to separate religion from state as “an essential approach to realizing gender equality.” The “Maghreb Women’s March towards Realizing Equality” seminar on November 24th and 25th addressed the marginalisation of the Maghreb woman and the gender gap in each country…Activist Malika Remaoun from Algeria complained about the concessions given to Islamists at the expense of women…Tunisian Balkis Mechri agreed, saying “the battle to realize equality is not only legal, but social as well.” Ourida Chouaki of Algeria, however, warned that secularism in Maghreb societies is mistakenly being perceived as a call to apostasy.

And … Read the rest



Let’s not rush into anything now

Dec 6th, 2007 11:34 am | By

Ho hum – a woman says women are equal, male clerics pitch fits.

Zeinab Radwan…announced during a conference on “Citizenship” that “the testimony of a woman is legally equal in weight with a man’s testimony.”…Clerics were swift to condemn Radwan’s statement, as expected. Gamal Qutb, former head of the Fatwa council in Al-Azhar, impugned Radwan’s credibility on Islamic Jurisprudence and warned against tampering with the Shari’a. In his view, it would be insane to continuously alter interpretations of the Quran every time conditions in society human behavior changed.

Oh well quite. Exactly so. It would be stark staring insane to keep on and on and on forever changing interpretations of the Koran simply because conditions changed – what could … Read the rest



Looking for scare quotes

Dec 6th, 2007 10:26 am | By

A comment or attempted explanation on BBC jokes got my curiosity awake.

This still seems to need spelling out for some. In Sudan it is a crime to insult Islam. Gibbons was convicted of this crime. Should it be a crime? No. Given that it is a crime, was Gibbons guilty? Again, no: she didn’t insult Islam. Nevertheless, she was convicted of insulting Islam. In saying so I quote no-one, but simply state a fact. Tim Evans was wrongly convicted of murder, not “murder”.

Which is to say that the BBC wasn’t doing anything risible or marked or noteworthy by reporting that

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, had spent eight days in custody for insulting Islam before eventually being pardoned

Read the rest


Listening to Women in Afghanistan *

Dec 5th, 2007 | Filed by

‘Unfortunately, the author listens only to those Afghan women who agree with her.’… Read the rest



David Zarnett on Edward Said and Kosovo *

Dec 5th, 2007 | Filed by

Rejecting the imperialism-fascism dichotomy, Said replaced it with an imperialism-fascism equation.… Read the rest



Beware of ‘Christianophobia’ *

Dec 5th, 2007 | Filed by

The Christianophobia of the politically correct brigade is – is – oh who knows.… Read the rest



New Humanist ‘Bad Faith’ Awards *

Dec 5th, 2007 | Filed by

Bishop of Carlisle? Westboro Baptist Church? Archbishop Francisco Chimoio? Your vote counts.… Read the rest



Even Girls Can Enjoy Science! *

Dec 5th, 2007 | Filed by

If you dumb it down and frill it up enough, that is.… Read the rest



Bullying of Taslima Nasreen Continues *

Dec 4th, 2007 | Filed by

‘It is for the people to decide but she has written not just one book. There are many books.’… Read the rest



34 Unconvincing Arguments for God *

Dec 4th, 2007 | Filed by

The convincing ones will be along later.… Read the rest



Austin American-Statesman on Comer Firing *

Dec 4th, 2007 | Filed by

It looks as if the Texas Education Agency has fallen victim to a smelly little orthodoxy.… Read the rest



Texas Talibanization *

Dec 4th, 2007 | Filed by

Let’s hope adherents of a sound science education can save Texas from a retreat into the darker ages. … Read the rest



BBC jokes

Dec 4th, 2007 10:18 am | By

The Beeb really is hilarious sometimes. In its report on Gillian Gibbons’s story it puts ‘ordeal’ in quotation marks but leaves ‘insulting Islam’ free of them. So we get

A British teacher jailed in Sudan for letting her class name a teddy bear Muhammad has spoken of her “ordeal”, after returning to the UK. Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, had spent eight days in custody for insulting Islam before eventually being pardoned by President Omar al-Bashir.

You have to admit – that really is funny.… Read the rest



Feminists are militant Protestant missionaries

Dec 4th, 2007 9:48 am | By

I trust you read that piece by John Tierney on the need to be more respectful of female genital mutilation – or rather, of what he carefully decides to call ‘female circumcision’ because it’s critics who call it female genital mutilation. Well we call it that because chopping off the clitoris and most of the labia and sewing up the whole hatchet-job does seem like mutilation – we critics are funny that way.

Tierney’s piece on Leon Kass’s speech last week was terrific, but this one is…not so good. I do not like it. It makes me cross.

But the one by Richard Shweder puts Tierney’s in the shade. It’s jaw-dropping.

He’s very angry with feminists who don’t like FGM.… Read the rest



Review of Ibn Warraq’s Leaving Islam *

Dec 3rd, 2007 | Filed by

Critics of Islam and ‘apostates’ are subject to fatwas and death threats, prison and murder, in many parts of the world.… Read the rest



Texas Official Fired for ‘Siding’ With Evolution *

Dec 3rd, 2007 | Filed by

She forwarded an e-mail from NCSE about a talk by Barbara Forrest – ‘an offense that calls for termination.’… Read the rest



FGM Actually Glorious and Empowering *

Dec 3rd, 2007 | Filed by

Pesky Western feminists just don’t understand.… Read the rest