Notes and Comment Blog


In arguments with a wise atheist barmaid

Jan 22nd, 2014 10:08 am | By

Tom Chivers at the Telegraph (sad how sometimes the Telegraph is better than the Guardian and the New Statesman) is a fan of Jesus and Mo.

I’ve been a fan of the webcomic Jesus and Mo for years. The idea is a simple one: the two religious figureheads J Christ and Mohammed share a house and discuss matters of religious philosophy, often in arguments with a wise atheist barmaid at their local. It’s funnier than I’ve made that sound.

Except it sounds quite funny…but yes, it’s even funnier than that.

It is, of course, irreligious and arguably blasphemous. (In its very first edition or episode or whatever you call it, Mo points out that it’s forbidden to depict him pictorially. Jesus asks what he’s doing in a cartoon, reasonably enough, and Mo claims he’s a body double.) It’s also very clever, informed by philosophical and religious argument, and – as mentioned – funny.

But. Despite all that, there are people who get in a rage about it.

I’d love to be able to report that the fears of well-meaning liberal milquetoasts are overblown and that actually British Muslims are far too grown-up to get upset about a line drawing on a website. And, of course, the huge and overwhelming majority are. But a few – and it is mainly Muslims – are not.

I’m not sure. Unless by “get upset about” he means “get upset enough to do anything about”…In that case he would be right, and maybe that is what he means.

So to the upshot.

Nawaz received numerous death threats ["I would be glad to cut your neck off, so your kufr [unbeliever] friends won’t be amused by your humour. In sha Allah [if Allah is willing] may my dua [act of worship] get accepted”], and Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, Muslim commentator Mo Ansar and George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford, all called for him to be dropped as a PPC.

(UPDATE: Mo Ansar has got in touch since this piece was published, saying that he hasn’t called for Nawaz to be dropped, only for “1. Full investigation by LibDems 2. Apology from Nawaz 3. Whatever sanction LibDems see fit“. I’d hardly call that a great advertisement for liberalism anyway, but he’s also called for people to sign this petition to have Nawaz sacked. He says this is different from actually calling for Nawaz to be sacked. I am happy to make this clear, while also admitting that exactly how it is different is a bit beyond me.)

It’s not different at all and Mo Ansar is being a chickenshit.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Despised among mainstream Muslims

Jan 22nd, 2014 9:36 am | By

The Islamist blog 5Pillarz has another reactionary bullying post about Maajid Nawaz.

After posting a caricature of Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Isa (peace be upon them) on Twitter last week, I can confidently say that the heat is now on Maajid Nawaz, writes Dilly Hussain.

Aw, that’s why understanding syntax comes in so handy. Whoever wrote that subhead managed to say that Dilly Hussain posted a caricature of Mo and Jesus on Twitter last week, which is clearly not what was intended.

It was only a matter of time before the founder of the despised (among mainstream Muslims) Quilliam Foundation was going to pull a stunt like this to gain brownie points among his secular liberal fan base.

Ain’t that typical? Bullying via “mainstream” claims.

They really ought to think twice about that, the zealots. We keep being told that most Muslims are not literalist fundamentalist theocratic shits, but when the literalist fundamentalist theocratic shits keep insisting that they’re mainstream and the reasonable liberal types are fringe – well they’re not doing their fellow-Muslims any favors.

But this time he has taken his bitter and revolting views too far and angered Muslims on an unprecedented scale, at the same time risking his position as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the Liberal Democrats.

His “bitter and revolting views” – that the god of his Islam is big enough not to be bothered by a satirical cartoon? That’s bitter and revolting?

At the time of writing this article, the petition calling for the removal of Nawaz as PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn had exceeded well over 13,000 in 48 hours, whilst a counter petition led by Chris Moos of London School of Economics (LSE) just about reached 3000.

So we should conclude from that that the zealots outnumber the liberals?

No, more likely we should conclude from that that zealots by their nature are more likely to get worked up than liberals are. That can be a great flaw in liberalism, of course, in that it often allows zealotry to defeat liberalism.

[T]he overwhelming majority of Muslims have supported the petition out of genuine disgust and offence over the dishonouring of Allah’s (swt) prophets, and remained relatively calm in their responses on social media among Nawaz’s cyber entourages. The likes of the National Secular Society, Council of Ex-Muslims and British Muslims for Secular Democracy, are just waiting to pounce on emotional reactions by Muslims to rally their cause of nifaq.

So even British Muslims for Secular Democracy are the enemy? Really? So 5Pillarz is frank about preferring authoritarian theocracy?

Well at least we know where we are.

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Hiding in plain sight

Jan 21st, 2014 4:16 pm | By

Al Jazeera America takes a look at forced marriages in the US.

Vidya Sri was a typical American teenager in the Queens borough of New York. She went to school, hung out with her friends and took dance classes. But all that changed when she was 18 and started dating her first real boyfriend, a sweet Irish Catholic boy.

That was in 1987. Alarmed that Sri was dating someone who wasn’t Indian, her father shipped her off to India to live with relatives. Nearly every day for four years, she was pressured to get married. It became a condition of her return to the United States. Finally, she gave in and married a man she did not know.

And that went as well as you would expect – she didn’t like him, she didn’t want to have sex with him, she was miserable.

Sri was a victim of forced marriage, a practice in which women — and sometimes men — are forced to marry against their will. The Tahirih Justice Center, a national nonprofit organization that helps immigrant women and girls who have been abused, determined that there were as many as 3,000 confirmed or suspected cases of forced marriage in the U.S. from 2009 to 2011.

But it could be more; it’s hidden; it’s humiliating and shaming.

For those who might think that forced marriage isn’t much of an issue in the U.S., a host of organizations, scholars and victims beg to differ. A constellation of factors — from cultural misunderstandings to lack of legislation — keeps the issue in the shadows here, although activists are hoping that a growing awareness in Europe will bring changes in the U.S. as well.

The AHA Foundation, an advocacy organization founded by vocal women’s rights defender Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who escaped her own forced marriage in 1992, funded a recent survey of immigrant populations in New York conducted by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. The results show that the issue of forced marriage is very much alive and probably underdocumented.

The FLDS contribute a large number all by themselves – and they don’t get counted because they hide. They really hide.

Sayoni Maitra is a legal fellow at Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit agency in New York state that provides crisis intervention for victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and forced marriage. Like Curtis and Boughey, Maitra agreed that the lack of legislation targeting forced marriage causes victims to fall through the cracks.

The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to recognizing forced marriage as an issue of violence against women, Maitra said. And many agencies and individuals could help but don’t get involved because they think of it as a cultural practice and not domestic violence.

Or to put it another way, domestic violence that is ok because it is a “cultural practice.” Some guy getting drunk and punching his wife or girlfriend, that’s domestic violence, but a stone-cold sober guy chastising his wife for disobeying him, that’s a cultural practice.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



They sinisterly misinterpret

Jan 21st, 2014 3:51 pm | By

Mo Dawah is doing something to restore my faith in the capacity of at least one or two people to refrain from going apheshit over pretend-insults like drawing a cartoon of what was that guy’s name again?

MoDawah @kingofdawah

We Must Not Allow Our Cohesion To Be Threatened By Those Who Threaten It By Saying It Is Threatened http://kingofdawah.tumblr.com/post/73709803602/we-must-not-allow-our-cohesion-to-be-threatened-by …

“I am the community leader of peace. So I urge the whole community to stay calm. Until my signal.”

You must not take things I say out of context or I’ll be offended. If you tell me to stop taking things you say out of context, also offended.

Going to start a petition to protest against people stereotyping me as intolerant just because I started a petition promoting intolerance.

We need more co-operation between community leaders and the rest of society for peace and cohesion. So co-operate with us, or else.

We must protest against people saying community leaders are sinister, simply because we do & [say] things they sinisterly misinterpret as sinister

I absolutely support my right to tell you what you can say, think, tweet or do, in order to save the honour of the community.

Anyone who describes my strategy to punish those who offend me as the community leader version of The Schlieffen Plan is an absolute rotter.

Very offending.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



They are free to read it or ignore it, as we are free to read it and laugh

Jan 21st, 2014 12:44 pm | By

I gather that yesterday on BBC Asian Network Mohammed Shafiq said that Jesus and Mo shows the two “having gay sex.” Author sent an email correcting this falsehood, and the network read it in full. Author tweeted the text of the email. (It’s been retweeted 104 times so far.)

Embedded image permalink

There.

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Snug

Jan 21st, 2014 12:25 pm | By

Some of the people outragedinSevenOaks about Jesus and Mo pretend to think that it’s insinuating that Jesus and Mo are poofters. [gasp gasp gasp]

Insinuating how? My dear, they are shown in bed together. [**gasp**]

Well, Author points out Stan and Ollie.

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



To clarify the circumstances

Jan 21st, 2014 11:59 am | By

Russia has made its first Olympics-related arrest of an LGBT activist. Way to go Russia.

A Russian LGBT activist has been arrested in Voronezh, 900km north of Sochi, for unfolding a rainbow pride flag during the Olympic torch relay.

Pavel Lebedev was grappled to the snow by Olympic security personnel and  taken into the police station “to clarify the circumstances of the incident”, according to a post by the group Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality on VKontakte (the Russian equivalent of Facebook).

Lebedev told AP: “Hosting the games here contradicts the basic principles of the Olympics, which is to cultivate tolerance.”

I love being wrestled to the ground by security personnel when they want me to clarify something. Don’t you? Doesn’t everyone?

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that gays would not be persecuted at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games as long as they “leave children alone”. Putin told Olympic volunteers that Russian laws were more liberal then those in certain US states.

Russia’s gay community has reported a rise in homophobic violence following the approval of the legislation banning “homosexual propaganda”.

Well that’s just more “homosexual propaganda” isn’t it. Arrest Russia’s gay community! Wrestle it to the ground!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Educating the constituents

Jan 21st, 2014 11:21 am | By

The International Business Times reports on the bullying of Maajid Nawaz.

A would-be Liberal Democrat MP who published an image of the Prophet Mohammed on Twitter has been targeted by online abuse.

Maajid Nawaz received threats of violence – including beheading – and an online petition was started against his bid to become MP in 2015.

It happened after the former Muslim radical and co-founder of Quilliam, an anti-extremism thinktank, drew the ire of critics by publishing a cartoon of the prophet of Islam on his Twitter timeline.

The image depicted Mohammed and Jesus which led mainstream Muslim commentators to accuse 35-year-old Nawaz of causing offence.

Mainstream? How mainstream? I’ve seen some “mainstream” Muslim commentators defending Nawaz.

But I suppose councillors can be considered in some sense mainstream.

Councillor Yaqub Hanif of Luton signed the petition calling for Hawaz to be deselected as a candidate.

He said that depictions of Mohammed were “totally unacceptable” to Muslims.

Hanif told IBTimes UK: ”It’s appalling that this guy is a parliamentary candidate because this behaviour is not conducive to being an MP. If you want to be an MP then you must respect all faiths. He’s not doing that.

“Nawaz is saying things to get a reaction of people and just to make a point to his mates. They are smearing everyone who stands up to them as an extremist.”

That’s bullshit. I’ve been seeing it over and over on Nawaz’s Twitter feed and on BMSD on Facebook, and it’s bullshit. Candidates for public office don’t have to “respect” all faiths to the point that they obey their every petty rule and taboo – and in fact in many cases they shouldn’t.

This is one where they shouldn’t. A satirical cartoon strip about religion is entirely permissible in an open society, and candidates for MP should not be obeying taboos on publishing such a cartoon. They should instead be educating their potential constituents about the core commitments of an open society. That’s what I take Maajid Nawaz to be doing.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Pakistan: more polio workers murdered

Jan 21st, 2014 10:04 am | By

While religious zealots babble about how superior “divine” law is to mere human law, other religious zealots, inspired by that very “divine” law, kill people who are trying to prevent the spread of a horrible disease. God is great.

Polio teams on Monday came under attack in Karachi, Mansehra and Panjgur for carrying out the vaccination campaign, Express News reported. The attacks left four people dead.

In Karachi, three people – including two female polio workers – were killed and two others sustained injuries in a gun attack.

The team – working without any security – was attacked in Karachi’s Qayummabad area. The injured were shifted to Jinnah hospital for medical assistance.

Unidentified armed men opened fire at a polio team in Mansehra and killed one worker. In Panjgur, Balochistan, miscreants snatched away a car from the polio team.

In a separate attack, a worker has also been killed in Oghi, a town in the Mansehra district. The polio campaign in Karachi has been halted as the female health workers have boycotted the campaign in the whole country.

Yes, “divine” law is simply fabulous. It inspires people to murder schoolteachers, students, girls on their way to school, women in possession of cell phones, doctors, aid workers – neighbors, friends, daughters, mothers – there’s just no limit to the divinity.

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



This dystopian vision of the future

Jan 20th, 2014 5:41 pm | By

Robin Ince wrote a response to Odone’s sinister bullshit. I saw his response first, and probably wouldn’t have known about her sinister bullshit if I hadn’t seen his response, so THANKS A LOT ROBIN. But seriously – he is much more concise and much more reasonable. Makes ya think, don’t it.

So, what is this dystopian vision of the future? A world where if you run a bed and breakfast, you cannot discriminate against gay couples, and you have to abide by the rules of the job you are contracted to do. That’s it, really.

Quite. Oh the horror – if you decide to open a bed and breakfast, you can’t play “I don’t like you so you can’t come in.” GOD IS SOBBING IN HEAVEN AT THIS MOMENT.

We can all play the victim game if we fancy it. Just as some men bleat that they are the oppressed because of feminism, Odone confuses a loss of advantage with an act of oppression. This is the shock of those who are losing their divine right to dominate.

Except pets. I refuse to give up my right to dominate the dog. If I did he would eat all the food and then explode. It wouldn’t do at all.

Later in her piece, Odone writes: “I believe that religious liberty is meaningless if religious subcultures do not have the right to practise and preach according to their beliefs.” But she has not lost the right to preach her beliefs or practise them. She regularly gets to preach her beliefs in the Daily Telegraph and – like many rabbis, imams and pastors – on television and radio, too. Religious leaders frequently appear on the BBC, that broadcasting network of the state oppressor.

As for practising her beliefs, Odone can do that, too. Same-sex marriage is not compulsory; it is very much an opt-in scenario. Cristina Odone will not be forced into a lesbian coupling, nor will she be forced to have an abortion – nor, should it become law, will she be made to embrace assisted dying, even if her death is agonising and the pain impossible to relieve.

But she will be forced to put up with a world in which other people can choose same-sex marriage and abortion and (eventually, I hope) assisted dying, and by god she does not want to.

As an atheist, I do not have any extra rights. I cannot run a bed and breakfast that refuses Catholic couples, nor can Richard Dawkins run a carvery that bans Mormons.

Oh, now I wish he could.

Cristina Odone still has the right to live her personal life openly by her own rules, and more people than ever have the legal right to live their personal lives openly, too. That is progress, not oppression.

To reasonable people, yes, but to the kind who want to force everyone to bend the knee to their god, no.

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Prince bends under harp

Jan 20th, 2014 5:11 pm | By

From Gnu Atheism, earlier PBUHs.

[Craig Ferguson voice] I look forward to your fatwas.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Odone wants to teach us all a lesson

Jan 20th, 2014 4:39 pm | By

Cristina Odone wrote a horrible reactionary piece for the New Statesman the other day about the way the totalitarian liberals are crushing the rights of religious believers. It reads as if she’s been watching too much Fox News.

My findings were shocking: not only Christians, but also Muslims and Jews, increasingly feel they are no longer free to express any belief, no matter how deeply felt, that runs counter to the prevailing fashions for superficial “tolerance” and “equality” (terms which no longer bear their dictionary meaning but are part of a political jargon in which only certain views, and certain groups, count as legitimate).

See what I mean? Hateful. Scorn for what she calls ‘superficial “tolerance” and “equality”’ which turns out to mean basic equal rights. Scorn for that and lashings of sympathy for “deeply felt beliefs” that conflict with basic equal rights. She goes on to spell out what she means.

Intolerance is no longer the prerogative of overt racists and other bigots – it is state-sanctioned. It is no longer the case that the authorities are impartial on matters of belief, and will intervene to protect the interests and heritage of the weak. When it comes to crushing the rights of those who dissent from the new orthodoxy, politicians and bureaucrats alike are in the forefront of the attacks, not the defence.

I believe that religious liberty is mean­ingless if religious subcultures do not have the right to practise and preach according to their beliefs. These views – for example, on abortion, adoption, divorce, marriage, promiscuity and euthanasia – may be unfashionable. They certainly will strike many liberal-minded outsiders as harsh, impractical, outmoded, and irrelevant.

But that is not the point. Adherents of these beliefs should not face life-ruining disadvantages. They should not have to close their businesses, as happened to the Christian couple who said only married heterosexual couples could stay at their bed and breakfast. They should not lose their jobs, which was the case of the registrar who refused to marry gays.

It’s the familiar game – turn everything upside down, so that the real human right is not the right to be treated equally but the right to refuse to treat other people equally.

Yes, as a matter of fact, people should have to close their businesses if they refuse to treat all customers equally. Would Odone like it if someone at a hotel desk turned her away because only non-Catholics could stay at that hotel? I doubt it. If your business involves serving the public, you don’t get to exclude sections of the public you dislike.

Yes, as a matter of fact, people should lose their jobs if they refuse to do them. It’s not a registrar’s job to decide who can be married. Religious liberty does not include obstructing other people’s liberties and rights.

She goes on to say that religious believers should fight back.

Can the decline in the social and intellectual standing of faith be checked, or even reversed? Yes. Ironically, believers can learn from those who have come to see themselves as their biggest enemy: gays.

Practising Christians, Jews and Muslims should also step forward into the limelight, dismantling prejudices that they must be suspect, lonely, losers. Believers should present themselves as ordinary people, men and women who worry about the price of the weekly shop and the size of the monthly mortgage. They should not appear to be religious zealots or gay-bashers or rabid pro-lifers. They should reassure critics that religious people are not a race apart – but just happen to cherish a set of ideals that sometimes places them at odds with the rest.

Let outsiders see the faithful as a vulnerable group persecuted by right-on and politically correct fanatics who don’t believe in free speech. Let them see believers pushed to the margins of society, in need of protection to survive. Banned, misrepresented, excluded – and all because of their religion? Even the most hardbitten secularist and the most intolerant liberal should be offended by the kind of censorship people of faith are facing today.

Except that it’s not censorship. Here’s Odone herself, going on at great length in of all places The New Statesman, which seems to share her bizarre conviction that religion is A Victim.

She sounds almost fascist in places.

Equality is already becoming the one civic virtue universally endorsed; equality legislation, the overriding principle of law. In this new scenario, yesterday’s victims are today’s victors. Gays and women, among other scapegoats from the past, now triumph over their former persecutors. But they have learned no lesson from their plight.

Does anyone else find that intensely creepy? We “now triumph over [our] former persecutors”? Wtf?

It’s the voice of angry privilege at its most threatening. I do not like it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The most handsome

Jan 20th, 2014 3:54 pm | By

I might have to get someone to do an intervention to drag me away from the Muslims for Secular Democracy Facebook page…It’s so full of obstinately unreasonable (and not at all secular) people that I keep…watching…the trainwreck.

So I have to share this one thing. It’s one of many threads about Maajid Nawaz. There’s a guy called Abu Sufian who has a lot to say about all the things. Somebody else posted this frame of a Jesus and Mo:

Nassreddine Jugurtha's photo.

…and there ensued a discussion of was she really nine yadda yadda. Abu Sufian spoke up:

Now I’m not denying the narrative of his numerical age at time of his marriage was 53 to a woman whos numerical age was 9, but I’m able to rationalise it because I can accept other narratives.

(1) the numerical age of the prophet (pbuh) had no bearing to any other factor.

(a) the prophet (pbuh) was the most handsome man to walk upon this earth -this was said after his marriage, so his age was over 53- plus this is in the same source that you people already agree he married a young girl who was 9 years old….would you now accept this in conjunction with what they already agree on ?

(b) he was the strongest man, to the extent that he was stronger then 10 of the strongest men in Arabia. This too is in the same source that you people agree he married a young girl who was 9 years old….would you now accept this in conjunction with what you already agree on ?

(c) there wasn’t a single sign of old age in the prophet (pbuh) be it physical, mental, biological…he was faultless in each and every way…this too in the same source that you people agree he married a young girl who was 9 years old….would they now accept this in conjunction with what you already agree on ?

(d) the young girl was fully mature and able to be a wife……this too in the same source that you people agree he married a young girl who was 9 years old….would you now accept this in conjunction with what they already agree on ?

(e) there are multiple sources for all the above points, if you agree on the narrative on his age logically you should agree on the above too because they are based on the very same source.

There you go, that’s that subject rationalised.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Name-calling

Jan 20th, 2014 12:43 pm | By

From one of the comments on the anti-Maajid Nawaz petition, by Hamid Pasha in Stoke on Trent.

Many of us have had enough of the Quilliam Foundation and the kufr that they propagate in the name of Islam. They have not only attacked Muslim scholars and organisations that we respect but they have also been implicated in the wrongful arrest of many innocent Muslims who have been locked up under the false belief that they are Muslim extremists.

One of the founders of the Quilliam Foundation is Maajid Nawaz, who has frequently showed his disdain for the Islamic principles that are important to us and went one step further a few days ago when he publicised a cartoon of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that depicted him in a very derogatory way.

This is the same munafiq that was chosen by the Liberal Democrats to represent them as an MP in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Ugly, ugly language – “the kufr”; “the same munafiq”. What’s “munafiq”? Let’s ask Wikipedia.

In Islam, a munāfiq (n., in Arabic: منافق, plural munāfiqūn) is a hypocrite who outwardly practices Islam while inwardly concealing his disbelief (kufr), perhaps even unknowingly. The Quran has hundreds of ayat (verses) discussing munāfiqūn,[1] referring to them as more dangerous to Muslims than the worst non-Muslim enemies of Islam.

Uh huh, and why might someone do that? I bet I know. Because “kufr” can get you killed. Because “apostasy” i.e. leaving the religion can get you killed. And these pious shits are out sniffing around now, trying to intimidate everyone in sight.

It’s horrible.

 

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Bringing the Party into disrepute

Jan 20th, 2014 11:56 am | By

Sadly the petition asking Nick Clegg to have Maajid Nawaz removed from the post of the Liberal Democrats’ Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hamstead and Kilburn has a lot more signatures than the counter-petition – but then again it started sooner.

At any rate, the petition itself is interesting. Check it out:

I wish to raise a complaint against the Liberal Democrat PPC, Maajid Nawaz; candidate for the constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn.

The basis of the complaint is that Maajid Nawaz’s recent activity on social media outlets FaceBook and Twitter have been both disrespectful and offensive to the Muslim community in the UK and abroad and the Islamic faith at large. It is my assertion that through his posting and association with derogatory and disrespectful cartoons of the Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon them) Maajid Nawaz is in breach of Article 3.1(b) of the Federal Constitution that states:

“As a Member of the Liberal Democrats, you must treat others with respect and must not bully, harass or intimidate any Party member, member of Party staff, member of Parliamentary staff, Party volunteer or member of the public. Such behaviour will be considered to be bringing the Party into disrepute.”

See what they did there? They draw up a bullying petition designed to bully, harass and intimidate Maajid Nawaz, and in so doing they accuse Maajid Nawaz of violating a rule against bullying, harassment and intimidation.

Ironic, isn’t it. Or something.

Maajid didn’t bully, harass or intimidate anyone. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Posting a cartoon image of two lightly-sketched guys saying hi to each other does not bully, harass or intimidate anyone. Those sketches would not be precise enough to use for a criminal identification, so how can they even be seriously considered “images” of the two long-dead men whose names or nicknames they share?

They can’t, and even if they could, Maajid’s posting them on Twitter still could not be considered bullying, harassment and intimidation. It’s blatantly, showily childish to treat them as such. It’s childish to take everything personally in that absurd way. It’s a recipe for making onlookers dislike Islam, while Maajid’s reasonableness – if only it could be allowed to flourish – is just the thing to persuade onlookers that Islam needn’t be petty and bad-tempered and involuted.

Bullying harassing intimidators want Nick Clegg to boot Maajid Nawaz. It would be laughable if it weren’t so revolting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



In order to whip up hatred against a liberal and secular Muslim

Jan 20th, 2014 11:26 am | By

Chris Moos set up a petition, a counter-petition to the one asking Nick Clegg to ditch Maajid Nawaz. Chris’s petition asks Nick Clegg to do no such thing and to support Maajid Nawaz instead.

On January 12th, Maajid Nawaz, Liberal Democrat PPC for Hampstead and Killburn, posted an innocuous ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon on his Twitter timeline and stated that he, as a Muslim, was not offended by the content. This followed a BBC Big Questions programme in which the cartoons were discussed and Maajid Nawaz was included as a studio guest. The cartoon depicts Jesus and Mo saying ‘Hey’ and ‘How ya doin” to each other.

Islamists and political opponents have now mounted a campaign against Maajid Nawaz, resulting in numerous threats to his life. We note that this campaign, rather than being based on legitimate concerns of Muslims, is a political campaign which is being spear-headed by a group of Muslim reactionaries with a track record of promoting extremism. They are seeeking to use Muslim communities in order to whip up hatred against a liberal and secular Muslim. We are concerned that this campaign will also be used by anti-Muslim extremists as evidence of Muslim intolerance and incompatibility with liberal values which could, in turn, fuel anti-Muslim bigotry.

We note with concern that this attempt to silence Maajid Nawaz is fuelled by Liberal Democrats party member Mohammed Shafiq. Freedom of expression are essential to the functioning of a liberal democracy, and core values of the Liberal Democratic party. The agitation of a party member against a designated PPC is antithetical to these core values.

We, the undersigned, extend our full support to Maajid Nawaz, and condemn the campaign against him. We call on Liberal Democratic party leader, Nick Clegg, to support Maajid Nawaz and commence disciplinary proceedings against party member Mohammed Shafiq for acting against the core values of the Liberal Democrats.

Sign that sucker.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Livin the stereotype

Jan 19th, 2014 4:47 pm | By

Mohammad Shabbir, Councillor for Heaton Ward Bradford, tweeted Nick Clegg 5 hours ago to suggest (in a slightly passive-aggressive way) that he should ditch Maajid Nawaz.

bradf

Mohammad Shabbir @

@nick_clegg guess you are between a rock and a hard place. Ditching Majid isn’t the liberal way but his behaviour is deliberate provocation

so you could demonstrate that liberalism isn’t about deliberate insults but ‘consideration is civilisation’ as muslims say

 Later a conversation ensued. Nawaz asked Shabbir if he could agree “to allow me my right to my own opinion on my own timeline?” Shabbir replied:

I don’t deny the right to any human being. But the question is why would anyone go out of their way to create potential upset

That is so entirely wrong. It’s a heckler’s veto, a rioter’s veto, a potential upset veto. Anything anyone says can “create potential upset.” That is a terrible standard for what we can say.

The whole thing is depressing to watch – people competing to live up to the worst stereotypes about them.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Why worship a god who gets enraged at a cartoon?

Jan 19th, 2014 1:07 pm | By

More on the fury at Maajid Nawaz.

There’s an exceedingly vivid and nasty threat, for one thing.

IMRAN @Abdul_al_Jame

@MaajidNawas

I would be glad to cut your neck off, so your kufr friends won’t be amused by your humour.In sha Allah may my dua get accepted

That account is now gone, so that’s something, but still – what a revolting sentiment.

Via Homo economicus’s blog, Nawaz’s response to all the shouting:

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Shiraz Socialist has a post In defense of Maajid Nawaz.

5Pillarz, a blog written largely by and for British Muslims, has decided that Nawaz should be their top candidate for ‘Islamophobe of the Year’. The EDL is mentioned at the bottom of their list of suggestions, as a kind of afterthought.

As Maajid Nawaz says:

“Why are many on the “Left” largely silent on Muslim reformers. Want to defend minorities? Well, we’re a minority within a minority, defend us”

As someone from the ‘Left’ I’m happy to defend and support Maajid Nawaz – though I’d draw the line at voting for him.

All this, because a cartoon.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



What is a scholar?

Jan 19th, 2014 12:13 pm | By

And another thing.

What is it with using the honorific “scholar” for people who parse the fine points of a religion? How is that scholarship? As in the Independent article for instance:

Some scholars point out that it is against the teachings of Islam to force anyone to stay within the faith. “The position of many a scholar I have discussed the issue with is if people want to leave, they can leave,” said Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Does thorough knowledge of dogma really qualify as scholarship?

I don’t think newspapers and other media tend to refer to astrologers as scholars, however vast their knowledge of astrology is. They refer to them as astrologers, which has a different connotation – a less respectable one.

I suspect a public relations move here.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



She didn’t want me to poison their heads

Jan 19th, 2014 11:44 am | By

The Independent has a story on being an ex-Muslim.

Amal Farah for instance, a banking executive.

Born in Somalia to Muslim parents, she grew up in Yemen and came to the UK in her late teens. After questioning her faith, she became an atheist and married a Jewish lawyer. But this has come at a cost. When she turned her back on her religion, she was disowned by her family and received death threats. She has not seen her mother or her siblings for eight years. None of them have met her husband or daughter.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – telling my observant family that I was having doubts. My mum was shocked; she began to cry. It was very painful for her. When she realised I actually meant it, she cut communication with me,” said Ms Farah. “She was suspicious of me being in contact with my brothers and sisters. She didn’t want me to poison their heads in any way. I felt like a leper and I lived in fear. As long as they knew where I was, I wasn’t safe.”

Which illustrates what is so problematic about passionate religiosity – it motivates people to cut ties with their own children for the sake of loyalty to a package of illusions. What could be more horrible?

It can be difficult to leave any religion, and those that do can face stigma and even threats of violence. But there is a growing movement, led by former Muslims, to recognise their existence. Last week, an Afghan man is believed to have become the first atheist to have received asylum in Britain on religious grounds. He was brought up as a Muslim but became an atheist, according to his lawyers, who said he would face persecution and possibly death if he returned to Afghanistan.

In more than a dozen countries people who espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam can be executed under the law, according to a recent report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

The Independent looks for dissenters, but it looks in the wrong place.

Some scholars point out that it is against the teachings of Islam to force anyone to stay within the faith. “The position of many a scholar I have discussed the issue with is if people want to leave, they can leave,” said Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. “I don’t believe they should be discriminated against or harmed in any way whatsoever. There is no compulsion in religion.”

Why ask the MCB? Why not ask liberal Muslims instead?

Baroness Warsi, the Minister of State for Faith and Communities, agreed. “One of the things I’ve done is put freedom of religion and belief as top priority at the Foreign Office,” she said. “I’ve been vocal that it’s about the freedom to manifest your faith, practise your faith and change your faith. We couldn’t be any clearer. Mutual respect and tolerance are what is required for people to live alongside each other.”

Bullshit. Her top priority has been to demonize secularists.

Yet, even in Britain, where the freedom to change faiths is recognised, there is a growing number of people who choose to define themselves by the religion they left behind. The Ex-Muslim Forum, a group of former Muslims, was set up seven years ago. Then, about 15 people were involved; now they have more than 3,000 members around the world. Membership has reportedly doubled in the past two years. Another branch, the Ex-Muslims of North America, was launched last year.

Their increasing visibility is controversial. There are those who question why anyone needs to define themselves as an “ex-Muslim”; others accuse the group of having an  anti-Muslim agenda (a claim that the group denies).

Well, the reason is pretty obvious from everything that has gone before, including the Independent’s mindless resort to the Islamist MCB as an authority.

Maryam Namazie, a spokeswoman for the forum – which is affiliated with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) – said: “The idea behind coming out in public is to show we exist and that we’re not going anywhere. A lot of people feel crazy [when they leave their faith]; they think they’re not normal. The forum is a place to meet like-minded people; to feel safe and secure.”

But then fair play to the Indy, it does let four exes along with Maryam have their say. Good.

 

 

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)