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Quick to sneer

Jan 20th, 2015 1:04 pm | By

A brilliant piece by Leigh Phillips from last week on clueless accusations that Charlie Hebdo is racist and homophobic, accusations obviously emanating from the left (the right seldom bothers accusing people of racism, much less homophobia).

In the 48 hours after the Paris massacre, much of the anglophone activist and academic left were quick to sneer at public displays of solidarity with the murdered cartoonists and journalists of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and criticized the vigils, demonstrations and editorial cartoons from other artists as siding with racists.

Of course the killing of journalists is a bad thing, so the argument goes, but come on, Charlie Hebdo is “a racist publication.” So what do you expect? is the

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She told the midwife, “It’s fine, it’s opened”

Jan 20th, 2015 12:36 pm | By

More detail on the FGM case.

Mounting the first prosecution against someone for carrying out FGM in England and Wales, the Crown alleged that Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Whittington hospital, had mutilated a 24-year-old mother by the manner in which he had sewn her up after childbirth.

The woman had undergone type 3 FGM – in which part of the labia are sewn together – as a child in Africa, and during labour the doctor had made two cuts to her vaginal opening to ensure the safe delivery of her baby. When Dharmasena sewed her up, a midwife warned him that what he had done was illegal. He asked a consultant

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Get thee to a church

Jan 20th, 2015 12:16 pm | By

Judicial theocracy in the UK – a judge orders a father to take his children to Catholic mass.

A judge has ordered a father to take his children to Roman Catholic mass as part of a divorce settlement, even though he is not Catholic.

The man, who can only be identified as “Steve” because of reporting restrictions on the case, faces possible contempt of court and a jail sentence if he fails to go to church when he has custody of the children.

The church attendance requirement was imposed by Judge James Orrell during a hearing at an undisclosed county court in the Midlands.

County court, be it noted – not ecclesiastical court.

Court transcripts seen by The Telegraph

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The line that separates free speech from toxic talk

Jan 20th, 2015 11:16 am | By

DeWayne Wickham at USA Today says Charlie Hebdo has gone too far with the “all is forgiven” cover. Right; forgiveness is going way too far. So extreme much fanatical.

Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.

In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.

Toxic talk? Portraying a Mohammed who cares is toxic talk? Portraying a Mohammed who is saddened by what three of his more hateful followers did is toxic talk? How does that work, exactly? How is it toxic to offer a Mo who doesn’t rejoice at piles of … Read the rest

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She was 11 years old

Jan 20th, 2015 10:08 am | By

This is desperately sad. From the Toronto Star:

Makayla Sault, the Ojibwa girl who refused chemotherapy last year in favour of indigenous medicine, died on Monday, with her parents reportedly blaming modern treatment for their daughter’s death.

She was 11 years old.

The Two Row Times reported that the New Credit girl suffered a stroke Sunday morning. In a statement to the paper, her family said: “Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke.”

I doubt that her family knows that.

Makayla was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last January. She refused chemotherapy at McMaster Children’s Hospital after 12 weeks, opting for indigenous medicine and other alternative therapies, despite the

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8 Senators protest the torture of Raif Badawi

Jan 19th, 2015 6:06 pm | By

Yes eight. You’d think it could be 100, wouldn’t you – unless the other 92 are afraid King Abdullah will write back to ask difficult questions about electrocutions and Eric Garner and the like?

Anyway eight did write.

Eight senior US senators have sent a letter to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, decrying the harsh sentence imposed on progressive Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes, which are to be carried out in installments of 50 lashes across 20 weeks.

Badawi received the first 50 lashes a week and a half ago, and was set to receive another 50 last Friday, however the punishment was postponed following a medical examination.

The senators,

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The doctor sewed her back up

Jan 19th, 2015 4:02 pm | By

The first prosecution of FGM in the UK is happening at Southwark Crown Court.

A British doctor performed female genital mutilation on a young mother after she gave birth in hospital, a court has heard.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, is accused of carrying out the illegal procedure at the Whittington Hospital in north London.

The junior registrar, of Ilford, Essex, denies the charge in what is the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.

A second man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, denies encouraging and abetting the offence.

The mother-of-two, who cannot be identified, first underwent FGM aged six in Somalia, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.

She was 24 and living in Britain when she give birth to her first child

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Colleagues don’t fancy being called “kuffar”

Jan 19th, 2015 3:20 pm | By

A site called Legal Cheek reported a few days ago on a tricky situation at a high-powered London law firm:

A trainee at magic circle law firm Clifford Chance has pulled a YouTube video in which he called on British Muslims to adopt a more robust stance against western concepts of freedom of speech. An Instagram clip from the video can be viewed below.

In a move directly linked to the fall-out from last week’s terror attacks in Paris, the trainee — whom Legal Cheek has agreed not to name — tells Muslims that Islam is “superior” to Western ideologies, while at the same time berating moderates for allowing their minds to become “colonised”.

The video — posted on YouTube

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It didn’t seem right that they were all men

Jan 19th, 2015 12:47 pm | By

The Guardian talks to Shaista Gohir, the chair of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, which launched a national helpline on January 15.

The charity – whose three part-time staff run a network of more than 700 organisations and members – offers specialised help and support to women on issues from mental health to abortion, taking into account their cultural and religious backgrounds. It also campaigns and provides training and workshops. The helpline, staffed by 10 trained volunteers, will allow it to reach more women than ever before, says Gohir, whose relentless energy fuels the small charity’s big ambitions. What motivates her? Dressed in smart businesswear, she replies calmly but bluntly: “Anger drives me.”

Brought up by a single mother

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Guest post: He was unapologetic, right?

Jan 19th, 2015 12:27 pm | By

Originally a comment by Dave Ricks on Religion should not be a political argument.

A few minutes before NBC aired Meet the Press yesterday, Chuck Todd talked with local NBC Washington DC co-anchors Angie Goff and Adam Tuss to introduce the broadcast of Meet the Press as a whole. I transcribed what they said about the interview with Gérard Biard:

ADAM TUSS: He was unapologetic, right?

CHUCK TODD: Unapologetic, but tried to offer the explanation of what he says is the editorial line that he draws when it comes to satirizing religion.

He says they only choose to satirize religion when people are trying to use the prophet Mohammed, Jesus, as ways to advance a political agenda. And he

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Hooray for Hollywood

Jan 19th, 2015 12:02 pm | By

Oh, ugh.

I’ve been only vaguely aware that there’s a movie out called American Sniper…

and now this:

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Affirmative action for the posh

Jan 19th, 2015 11:18 am | By

Rich pop star flames shadow culture minister for saying there should be more diversity in the arts. Sounds promising…

James Blunt, the singer, has issued a robust response to an MP who criticised his privileged background, saying his “populist, envy-based, vote-hunting” ideas were making the country worse.

Blunt told Chris Bryant, the shadow culture minister, he was teaching the “politics of jealousy”, after the MP spoke out to condemn a lack of diversity in the arts.

Mr Bryant told the Guardian one of his priorities if he became a minister would be to encourage fairer funding, encouraging organisations to hire from a wider variety of backgrounds rather than just “arts graduates from Cambridge”.

“I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won

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You will see this wonderful gift on stage tonight

Jan 19th, 2015 10:51 am | By

NBC News has found just the right defensive label for Bill Cosby – he’s “embattled.”

DENVER — Embattled comedian Bill Cosby told NBC News that the show must go on as he ignored protests over sexual-assault allegations and took the stage in Colorado Saturday night.

In a 15 minute phone call with NBC News hours before appearing at Denver’s Buell Theater, the entertainer would not comment specifically on the growing list of accusations from more than 20 women.

He can’t; some of them are likely to go to court. Two women (so far) are pressing criminal charges.

Instead of talking about the accusations he told NBC how fabulous he is.

“What you’ll see tonight is history, you’ll get to see

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What makes a fanatic?

Jan 18th, 2015 6:17 pm | By

Beware, says Howard Jacobson, the fanatic who has read only one book.

Maybe, before pondering the education of a jihadist, we should ask a prior question: what makes a fanatic?

We were given some insight into this on Newsnight earlier this week when Evan Davis, growing nicely into his job, interviewed the lawyer, journalist and associate of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald – a man strikingly deficient in the musculature necessary to essay a smile. The subject was surveillance and David Cameron’s call for more of it. There are, I accept, differing views on this. I, for example, am for having every member of the human family watched day and night by every possible means because the human family is

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Call it what it is

Jan 18th, 2015 6:00 pm | By


Prithvi Acharya says can we please stop calling it “eve-teasing.”

Really. As an outsider it was easy for me to find that ridiculous trivialization shocking, but all the same, it’s possible to pull back and take a look at local trivializations too. Acharya says it’s time to do that now.

I take an exception to how practically everyone in India is framing an important national issue that pervades class, age and geography, and has been doing so for decades. I take a strong exception to the phrase ‘eve-teasing’. Yes, it’s a phrase that is used by the police, the news, and the activists alike. We’re constantly exposed to the euphemism – I don’t blame you for subconsciously having included

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Non, pas du tout

Jan 18th, 2015 5:18 pm | By

Ah now this is pure fun – a guy on French tv, on what looks like a talk show, takes on Fox News’s pontifications about “zones interdites” in Paris. C’est drolatique.

Especially the part where a correspondent goes into the field, in pleasant areas of inner Paris, and asks locals if their neighborhood reminds them of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Watch French TV make fun of Fox News claims of… by ewillies

H/t Maureen… Read the rest

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Oh, well, if he disliked his daughter…

Jan 18th, 2015 3:49 pm | By

News from India, via the Independent:

An Indian man has been arrested after he allegedly attempted to bury his 9-year-old daughter alive.

Adul Hussein allegedly dug a pit in the back garden of his home in Putia, a small village near the India-Bangladesh border, while his wife was away from the house on Friday afternoon.

Police sources told Indian news channel NDTV that the man’s “dislike” of his daughter Rukshena prompted his actions.

Hussein reportedly tied Rukshena’s hands and feet together before placing tape over her mouth and placing her in the hole, which came up to her chest as pictures show.

But his wife came home then, so he ran out of time to finish burying his daughter.… Read the rest

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For bringing the human race into disrepute

Jan 18th, 2015 3:14 pm | By

Iram Ramzan on Twitter

50ShadesOfBeige ‏@Iram_Ramzan
I think the world should sue Saudi Arabia for bringing the human race into disrepute

That puts it neatly. I think something along those lines every time I post about one of their atrocities.

Iram has a piece in the Sunday Times today.

THROUGHOUT the week, we have heard commentators condemning the Paris attacks while simultaneously chastising Charlie Hebdo journalists for “provoking” the wrath of Muslims.

It was almost like telling a rape victim she should not have “provoked” her attacker by wearing a miniskirt.

Even Hamas — that well-known advocate of human rights and free speech — denounced the onslaught on the satirical magazine. Yet notable by its absence was any

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A particularly venomous line in abuse against the “sisterhood”

Jan 18th, 2015 1:33 pm | By

Yesssss – finally the progressive liberal Muslims are starting to get a voice in the UK media. The Independent quotes four who were on Panorama last week.

Last week four British Muslims told the BBC’s Panorama why they believe the government is right to identify “non-violent extremism” as the ideology that helps lays the ground for violent extremism. They explained that this non-violent ideology is the politicised version of puritanical Sunni Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and which has been exported to Britain and around the world over decades.

The programme showed how Salafi Wahhabism is wreathed in anti-westernism, contempt for parliamentary democracy, reactionary attitudes to gender equality and gay rights, and disdain for other faiths. Through its UK-based adherents,

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Religion should not be a political argument

Jan 18th, 2015 1:10 pm | By

Here is a segment of Gerard Biard on Meet the Press.

The chief editor of Charlie Hebdo is defending the magazine’s controversial depictions of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, saying it skewers religious figures only when faith gets “entangled” in the political world.

“We do not attack religion, but we do when it gets involved in politics,” Gerard Biard said in an interview with Chuck Todd broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“If God becomes entangled in politics, then democracy is in danger,” Biard said through a translator in his first interview with an American television network since his magazine was attacked by Islamist terrorists. The attack on Jan. 7 killed 12 people, including staff members.

And not … Read the rest

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