Notes and Comment Blog

Tzortzis is on the schedule

Mar 14th, 2013 1:16 pm | By

Chris Moos updated us a couple of days ago, and I missed it until now.

I would like to inform you that UCL has banned the iERA, Hamza Tzortzis
organisation, from holding further events on campus:

We are now informing all universities that Hamza Tzortzis is set to
speak at, according to his website (
) on the issue.

Next are:
11 Mar: Kings College London – “The Existence of God”
12 Mar: Salford University – “Muhammad: Liar, Truthful or Deluded?”
Chapman Building, 5PM.
13 Mar: Medway University – “Has Evolution Been Misunderstood?”
18 Mar: Aston University – “Atheism or Theism?”
21 Mar: Brunel University – TBA
King’s College London has not responded yet.
Salford University told us that “this event is no longer taking place at
the University tomorrow.”

Well done Salford University. Now for Aston and Brunel…

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


Mar 14th, 2013 1:02 pm | By

Wait there’s more. Abishek Phadnis found a conference a year ago called The Seeds of Change.


Lauren Booth – sister of Cherie Booth.

Then there’s the Deen Institute, with its “who we are” page.


 You’ll have to click the link to get the full effect. I’ll just say it’s not an accident that you see men first and then women. Last of all is the brazen slut with no hijab.

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

Meet our speakers

Mar 14th, 2013 11:29 am | By

Allen Esterson alerted me to a real gem – iERA’s page “Meet our speakers”


Classic, isn’t it?

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

Told that security would remove him from the premises

Mar 14th, 2013 11:21 am | By

The UCL student paper reports on Saturday’s exciting events.

The event, held as part of Hamza Tzortzis ‘Islamic Awareness Tour’, featured the public speaker Tzortzis debating against cosmologist and professor of Physics, Lawrence Krauss on the topic of ‘Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?’ However, attendees soon began to question the organisation of the event when an email sent by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) and the organisers of the event, informed attendees that seating allocation would be decided by “when the ticket was booked and gender”. However, when concerned students contacted UCL, they were assured by Fiona McClement, the university’s Equalities and Diversities Adviser, that all attendees were “free to sit wherever they feel comfortable”, and that this had been made clear to IERA.

And yet when the time came, this turned out not to be the case. Separate entrances, and seating separated into men’s, women’s, and a “mixed” area for couples…

…which is not what Fiona McClement told Chris Moos.

We have been in contact with the event organisers and made it clear that UCL will not permit enforced gender segregated seating.  All attendees are free to sit wherever they feel comfortable. If some female and male attendees choose to sit in separate areas, that is of course fine, however it is expected that there will be a large mixed area where anyone can sit.

A large mixed area where anyone can sit. Not couples; anyone. (But, as I pointed out at the time, the first two items aren’t entirely compatible. If “wherever they feel comfortable” for some people means “where there are no women/men” then all attendees are not free to sit wherever they feel comfortable. The two hopes can’t be combined in one space. A choice has to be made. Fiona McClement unfortunately punted the choice.)

Back to the student paper.

Christopher Roche, who had taken a seat in the same aisle as female attendees, said that he was “immediately instructed by security to exit the theatre”. He was then told that the seating policy had been given to IERA by UCL, an issue which was raised after Dr Aisha Rahman, who identified herself as a member of UCL’s Chemistry Department, suggested that the university had agreed to the segregation. After asking to return to his seat, Mr Roche was told that security would remove him from the premises for “refusing to comply with the gender segregation”. The organisers’ security staff then attempted to physically remove both Mr Roche and his friend, Adam Barnett, from the theatre, before Professor Krauss threatened to leave if the two men were removed. The organisers allowed Mr Roche and Mr Barnett to sit near the women’s section at the back of the room following the Professor’s intervention, who himself stated that he had been told in advance that there would be no segregation.

But apparently “Dr Aisha Rahman” isn’t Dr Aisha Rahman but grad student Aisha Rahman.

Mr Barnett described the situation as “a scandal”, stating that “for a London university to allow forced segregation by sex in 2013 is disgraceful”. His belief that the segregation was a violation of UCL policy was also held by Chris Moos, president of LSE’s Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society who had made enquiries to UCL about the nature of the seating before the event. Mr Moos stated that many students were “shocked” to see that although concerns as to the seating arrangements had been raised with UCL beforehand, the organisers still created “a  threatening and divisive atmosphere that was not inclusive to all attendees”.

A little bit of Talibanism in our own dear Bloomsbury.

UCL’s Provost, Malcolm Grant, released a statement addressing the event, stating that IERA’s intention to segregate the audience was “directly contrary to UCL policy”, and that it had been made clear that the event would be cancelled if the organisers attempted to enforce any such segregation. Professor Grant then went on to say IERA’s intentions were “contrary to UCL’s ethos”, and that any further events involving them on UCL’s premises would not be allowed.

Closing his statement by reiterating UCL’s policy of equality, Professor Grant maintains that segregation should not have been enforced, and that this kind of behaviour was not acceptable at UCL which prides itself on its equality.

Good. All other UK universities please note.

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

The prospects for Francis

Mar 14th, 2013 10:36 am | By

CFI issued a press release on the prospects for a better future with a new pope.

Ron Lindsay’s hopes are not stratospherically high.

As with anyone taking on a position of substantial responsibility, in which decisions can affect the lives of millions, we sincerely hope for the best for Pope Francis. However, even leaving aside the fact that the institution he oversees is based on a fundamentally false understanding of reality, at this stage one cannot be too optimistic about the prospects of Francis bringing the Church into the 21st century. Indeed, even the Church’s dipping a toe into the 20th century seems unrealistic.

Like much of the Church’s hierarchy, his views stem from beliefs and myths formed in previous millennia. For example, his prior hateful statements about same-sex marriage, calling it a ‘move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God,’ indicate a mindset that gives priority to dogma over basic human compassion. His labeling of the adoption of children by gay parents as ‘discrimination against children’ shows a backward and almost flippant view of the plight of those who suffer from genuine discrimination.

We can only hope that Pope Francis proves our pessimism wrong, but all evidence suggests a continuation of a most unfortunate status quo for a deeply troubled, and troubling, institution.

A mindset that gives priority to dogma over basic human compassion – that’s it in a nutshell. It’s a bad, wrong, backward way to do things, and everybody everywhere needs to learn that.

The foundation of the dogma and the preference for dogma is “God’s law over human law.” The irony is that what they call “God’s law” is of course human law, but human law made rigid and resistant to reform and improvement by being labeled “God’s law.” They say it’s “God’s law over human law” but really it’s “dogmatic coercive unaccountable law over reformable reasons-based accountable law.”

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

Con du jour

Mar 13th, 2013 5:57 pm | By

Earlier this afternoon Twitter – always helpful, always tugging on the elbow – told me to follow Cunt of the Day. Huh. No, Twitter, I’m not going to do that.

The current winners.


Cunt of the Day@cuntoftheday

A new pope as Cunt of the Day goes to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as it pays out $10m to victims of sexual abuse.

Cunt of the Day@cuntoftheday

North Korea’s tiny twat tinpot dictator Kim Jong Un is Cunt of the Day for making tiny dick threats of imminent war.

Cunt of the Day@cuntoftheday

Cunt of the Day goes to officials in Fiji, condemned by the UN, who were filmed brutally torturing 2 prison escapees.

Cunt of the Week@cuntoftheweek

Claiming to have murdered seven hostages, Cunt of the Week goes to Nigerian Islamist asshole terrorist outfit Ansaru.

No, Twitter, I’m not going to follow Cunt of the Day.

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

Pick a country with a military junta in its recent past

Mar 13th, 2013 5:12 pm | By

Chris Clarke at Pharyngula quotes a comment:

As an Argentinian I can confirm your “rumours” and add that this guy was a collaborator with the military during the last coup d’etat during the 70′s : Among many things, he informed to the military that two monks that were working in a low income neighbourhood were no longer protected by the catholic church, facilitating their detention and posterior disappearance.

Mind you, to “dissapear” at that time meant to be detained by the military, held without rights or trial, possibly (and often) tortured under suspicions of being a Marxist/ “terrorist”, being completely incomunicated with your family and finally be killed and buried on an unmarked grave, or thrown form a plane into the river.


From a fucking plane.

Into the river. (Known as “deathflights”: )

Argentina maybe not such a great choice after all, eh?


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

Oh gee the cardinals made a booboo

Mar 13th, 2013 4:51 pm | By

Ok here we go. Stewart posted the link to a piece from January 2011 in the Guardian, on what the high-ups in the Catholic church in Argentina did to help the miliatary dictatorship get away with crimes against humanity. Is the new pope there? Does a bear shit in the woods?

The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.  The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was  allowed  to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.



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

“We’ll follow whatever the church says”

Mar 13th, 2013 4:16 pm | By

So maybe the new pope will be a little less ruthlessly murderous about condoms. Or maybe he won’t; at any rate we know he won’t be any less convinced that he gets to tell everyone what to do.

While the new pope is reportedly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, “he takes a slightly more pragmatic view on contraception, believing that it can be permissible to prevent the spread of disease,” according to a report in The Guardian.

What that might mean for groups like Catholic Relief Services, a humanitarian organization based in Baltimore that works to stem the spread of communicable diseases, isn’t clear. But the pope has an enormous power to shape the doctrine followed by millions of Catholics around the world.

“We’ll follow whatever the church says,” said John Rivera, director of communications for the organization, which works in 10 countries around the globe and has reached 300,000 people.

What an appalling thing to say. What an appalling institution the church is, to have that kind of power. How terrible it is that an institution like that is allowed to meddle in humanitarian work.

When it comes to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, the group follows an improvised version of what is known as the ABC approach. They endorse abstinence (“A”) and being faithful (“B”), but they don’t support the “C” part of prevention — condoms.

“We’ve found that this AB approach has been effective,” said Rivera.

They might as well support staying home (“A”) and washing hands often (“B”) but not support vaccination to prevent measles.

Murderous bastards.

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

Plus ça change

Mar 13th, 2013 2:50 pm | By

So, it’s a guy from Argentina, and he’s calling himself Francis 1.

It’s still the Catholic church though. Still the Vatican. Still a ridiculous archaic intrusive institution.

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

Jesus and Mo on trying to explain

Mar 13th, 2013 11:46 am | By

Atheists lack a sensus divinitatus, you see.


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

Yemisi Ilesanmi on “other grounds”

Mar 13th, 2013 11:12 am | By

Yemisi Ilesanmi commented on Peter Tatchell’s Huffington Post article yesterday about the inadequacy of the queen’s putative “support” for LGBT rights in the Commonwealth. Her comment is a valuable short article in itself.

There is a reason many government officials especially politicians prefer the ‘other grounds’ clause to a more specific mention of sexual orientation, it gives them a leeway to squeeze out of any obligation not to discriminate, jail or kill on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Speaking as a Lawyer, Advocate and solicitor, I know from experience that  ‘Other grounds’ clause could be held to mean so many things and also held to exclude so many things by government not willing to respect the rights of others. New International human right treaties now explicitly mentioning sexual orientation, this new Commonwealth charter should not be an exception.

As someone who was part of the team that made an input into the draft Commonwealth charter, our suggestion of including sexual orientation as an explicitly mentioned ground was ignored because it made commonwealth members that want to keep discriminating and persecuting LGBTs in their countries, uncomfortable. This also means if we ever decided to use the charter as a defense of LGBT rights, we have to waste precious time proving that ‘Other grounds’ includes sexual orientation; this could have been avoided if it was explicitly mentioned.

Needless to say, in many African countries that already signed on to international treaties with the ‘Other grounds’ clause, affirming that sexual orientation is included in the ‘other grounds’ clause has been tedious for LGBT advocates. This new charter has not in any way simplified the burden borne by many LGBTs in many African Commonwealth nations.

It is good to have knowledgeable people on the case.

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

Leo in London

Mar 13th, 2013 10:02 am | By

You people in and near London are in luck – you have a chance to go to a talk by Leo Igwe. Grab it!

Breaking the Taboo of Atheism in Black Communities

Monday, March 25, 2013 6:30 PM to

The Hackney Picture House  

270 Mare Street, E8 1HE London, London

Leo Igwe, Nigeria’s most prominent humanist, and a human rights activist, will be giving a ground-breaking talk on ‘Breaking the Taboo of Atheism in Black Communities’ during a short visit to London to attend the NSS Secularist of the Year Award event before returning to Africa to continue his research into witchcraft.

People ‘of all hues’ who are sceptical of religion are encouraged to show their interest and support for this event as black non-believers, in London and elsewhere, start to become more confident and active in openly challenging the over-bearing presence of religion within their families and communities and its negative social, financial and educational consequences.

This talk is part of increasing efforts to encourage black non-believers to ‘come out’, to find a supportive environment when dealing with family and social reactions, to voice their opinions and be more proactive in the humanist, secularist and atheist movements. To paraphrase the African saying “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes all of us to change this religious BS”.
It is organised by London Black Atheists ( and and supported by Central London Humanists (

You are so lucky!

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

Backward and in high heels

Mar 12th, 2013 5:46 pm | By

My friend Mary Ellen Foley – who blogs at M E Foley’s Anglo-American Experience Blog - shared a story with me.

So I went to a Tai Chi class today, taught by an Englishwoman who has studied Tai Chi for years, including various stints in China (one as long as 6 months), and she told some stories, including the one about how she went over there to study with a particular master and found that he didn’t like her, didn’t like women, probably didn’t like foreigners — he clearly could teach her a lot of stuff, but she wasn’t welcome and he made sure she knew it.  But she was determined to win him over, so one day she came early, picked up a bamboo broom (bundle of bamboo sticks tied together with the leaves left on at one end of the stalks), and started to sweep the leaves from the courtyard where they were going to be practicing.  The master came up, clearly unhappy with this, said something in Chinese that she didn’t understand, and took away the broom.  Hmmm.  Then here he came with a different broom, with a very short handle, and indicated that she should sweep the courtyard with that, which was a lot harder, because you had to bend over so far to do the work, but she did it.

When the translator showed up, he told her that the problem was that the long-handled broom was only for men; the short-handled one was a woman’s broom.


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

I agree with this sentiment

Mar 12th, 2013 3:20 pm | By

Oh hai, I found that photoshop of me – the one that Michael Nugent reported on last week in his post Slymepit members struggle with the ethics of removing photoshopped naked image. I wasn’t looking for it, I was looking for something else, but the location of the something else was the location of the photoshop. I had vaguely thought it was gone, but no, it’s just that it’s not embedded there any more. That was clear from Michael’s post, but I had read it somewhat hastily.

Members of the Slymepit website have spent the last few hours struggling with the ethics of whether to remove a photograph, newly posted, of an identifiable person’s face photoshopped onto the body of a naked woman.

The Site Administrator’s decision: “I have deleted the tags which embed the image, but left the link. Note: this is a picture of a naked old lady’s body onto which the head of [named person] was photoshopped. Feel free to visit the link and see for yourself, but there is nothing useful to be gained by doing so.”

Oh, sure there is. There’s the pleasure of feeling contempt and loathing for a woman you hate. Totally useful!

What I was looking for was the origin of a cryptically quoted phrase in a tweet.

blackford2Now that’s what I call feminism. Also guts. Find somebody calling me despicable, then quote it without attribution on Twitter. Free speech at its finest. Philosophy on the front lines.

So I was curious, so I googled the phrase, and it went to a page at the slime pit where they were discussing the photoshop, so I found the photoshop.

Trigger warning, if the body of an old women is the most disgusting thing you can think of. The photoshop.

I apologize to whoever the woman is in that picture. I don’t actually find her body disgusting, believe it or not. What I find disgusting is this kind of shaming.

[Note: don't run to the tip jar. You've been doing that lately as it is, so treat this one as off the record, or something.]


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

LGBT rights are not un-African

Mar 12th, 2013 12:14 pm | By

Peter Tatchell says no, the new Commonwealth Charter is not a big victory for LGBT rights.

Not surprisingly, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion.

This makes the Queen’s charter signing even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.

Yemisi Ilesanmi says the same thing on her Facebook page Freedom to Love for ALL: Homosexuality is not un-African.

Members of Commonwealth nations include UK, Australia, Canada, Uganda, Nigeria (my home country), Ghana, India etc, I can assure you that the ‘Other grounds’ clause is not new to many of commonwealth member nations and they are not novice to the term ‘Sexual orientation’.

Nope, it is not about confusing them or the issue, it is also not about “They are not there yet and so we must be patient in them getting to the place where they can comfortably say Gays and lesbians and Trans etc”. It is about their refusal to accept LGBTs as persons deserving of human rights.

As a Nigerian openly Bisexual woman, I do not think in this age and day, I must cower in a corner waiting patiently for my government to accept I am a human being entitled to all inalienable fundamental human right. As it is, Nigeria lawmakers are almost sailing through to pass a law that would put me in jail for 14 years for my sexual orientation. I do not wish to be a refugee or asylum seeker; therefore I must put pressure on all ‘democratic’ organizations that my country belongs to and encourage such organizations to speak out against such blatant violations of human rights. Commonwealth is one of these organizations and its failure to condemn the blatant violations of human rights by many of its member nations is something that deserves an outcry, not praise, not patience, not media contortions, but an outright outrage.

Yes!! That’s speaking out.

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

Imagine it was Mitt Romney

Mar 12th, 2013 11:02 am | By

Via Dana who found it via Kylie, a Facebook note by Harriet Page. I know, not everyone is on Facebook. But that’s where it is!

She introduced it with

This week I wrote a response to the several occasions on which I had been challenged on my feminism by men and women who felt that I was misguided, wrong, aggressive or unhelpful in my responses to what I viewed as sexist behaviour.

Been there. Many times. I can remember heavy sighs back in the early 70s when I pointed out some (to me obvious, indeed blatant) bit of everyday sexism. And of course have been there again just lately, with people who consider themselves feminists nevertheless going into Full Outrage mode because I had the gall to criticize something sexist that Michael Shermer said.

(Really. Imagine it wasn’t Michael Shermer who said it. Imagine it was Mitt Romney. Imagine Mitt Romney was on a talk show and the conversation turned to the scarcity of women in politics. Imagine Mitt Romney said: “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.” Imagine I did a blog post saying that was a sexist stereotype, and a particularly damaging one at that. Would there have been the same kind of outrage from the same people?

I don’t know the answer, of course, but I think it’s extremely unlikely.

Notice by the way how plausible it sounds as a thing Mitt Romney would say. Notice how well the clueless smug “that’s just how things are”ism fits Mitt Romney. Notice how many other clueless smug prosperous dudes one could slot in there and notice how unsurprising that remark would still be.

So why is it so hard to see it that way when it’s Michael Shermer who said it?)

Back to Harriet Page.

…what I want to talk about is not the obvious misogyny that we can all agree to despise, but rather the unconscious behaviours and attitudes that go unchallenged because in this country there is a taboo about breaking the silence on the wearying, everyday grind of normal, legitimized sexism. And so I want to talk about the men who claim to stand on the side of equality but, through their words, actions and inaction, perpetuate the culture of sexism. I want to talk about feminism’s false allies; the men I call the sleepwalking sexists.

Sleepwalking because sleepwalkers can get aggressive if you wake them up suddenly.

And, in a way, this is exactly what happens when nice, reasonable men who call themselves feminists are called out on their unconsciously sexist behaviour and attitudes. These men have sleepwalked contentedly through the minefield of gender relations without ever having cause to question what they’re doing and then BAM. Some crazy feminist with no regard for how scary and disorienting it’s going to be comes along and wakes them up with the rude news that, actually, they have unintentionally been engaging in some pretty sexist behaviour.

BAM. Some crazy feminist who isn’t a big Name in Skepticismolandia comes along and says “that was a sexist stereotype.” And the world comes to an end.

In the case of sleepwalking sexists, the responses are more varied. It might be immediate, unhinged abuse – ‘Crazy bitch, you must be on your period or something’. It might be icy politeness and contempt – ‘I’d thank you not to be so aggressive, it’s completely unnecessary’. It might be fake concern – ‘You maybe don’t realise it, but when you attack men like me who are only trying to help, it hurts the whole cause of feminism’. Whatever the method used, the result is the same; instead of reflecting on their own behaviour and attitudes, these men will retreat into an impenetrable defensive fortress.

Here’s the hard and unwelcome truth. You are a sleepwalking sexist if:

-You think jokes about rape and domestic abuse can be funny.

- You know that victim-blaming is wrong, but you also feel that in purely logical terms, it’s obvious that women who wear provocative clothing are taking stupid risks.

- You have ever told a woman to ‘get over it’ because she was upset by a sexist joke, a catcall or a whistle.

- You have ever felt that a woman’s frustration or anger invalidated the content of her argument.

- You believe that you have as much right as a woman to determine what does and doesn’t count as offensive material, even though you are not the subject of the material in question.

- You believe that the world is full of men who are potential-feminists, and that they’d be mobilised to help if only women would be a bit nicer to them.

- You believe that a woman making a generalisation about men is just as harmful and oppressive as a man making a generalisation about women.

- You did consider yourself a feminist. Then one upset you when she pointed out some problematic behaviour, and now as far as you’re concerned the feminists are on their own!

- You believe that it’s counterproductive for feminists to call you out on your accidental sexism when there are men whose behaviour is so much worse than yours.


This is the hard truth that must be learned; if you are one of those men who looks for these slip-ups, then you are NOT a feminist. If you are one of those men who believes in equality in some vague and idealistic way, but then turns on a woman the second she says something that remotely implicates you or the people you share a common chromosome with in something you don’t like, you are NOT a feminist. If you believe that a woman has to reward your attempts at feminism with niceness, like a dog getting a treat for a trick, you are NOT a feminist.

Being a feminist means believing ALL the time, regardless of whether women are nice to you, that the struggle for gender equality is on-going and real and essential. It means condemning all those ‘harmless’ little jokes about nagging women, female drivers and periods because you recognise that from the fertile soil of casual, unconscious sexism sprout the seeds of justification for serious assault. It means making the connection between a joke about a woman who bares her breasts on screen in the portrayal of a rape, and the man who thinks it’s funny to grope a woman in a club because she has cleavage showing and Hollywood tells us that boobs exist purely for sexual entertainment. Being a feminist is not about wanting equality for women because they’re nice to you. It’s about fighting for women every single day because you believe that they are human and that humanity is worth defending regardless of how nice, kind, clever, rude, attractive, funny, accommodating or mean the woman in question is.


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

Hard times for the bully business

Mar 11th, 2013 6:07 pm | By

Sometimes bullying people just doesn’t work out, even if you do it on the internet, and even if all you’re doing is posting pictures of naked girls without their permission.

The founder of a so-called “revenge porn” website has been ordered to pay $250,000 (£170,000) in damages for defamation.

Hunter Moore was found to have made false claims about the chief executive of an anti-bullying website.

Mr Moore used Twitter to falsely claim James McGibney was a paedophile who possessed child pornography.

Mr Moore’s website used to post naked images of people without their permission. He closed it in 2012.

But three days later he was at it again.

Mr Moore used his Twitter account, which has almost 150,000 followers, to make several derogatory comments about Mr McGibney.

Mr Moore encouraged others to post the claims in return for free clothing – Mr McGibney said he would be taking action against those that did so.

“‘Internet tough guys’ are also legally accountable for their actions,” Mr McGibney wrote.

“Hunter and some of his followers now realise this, along with their parents since some of his followers appear to be under the age of 18.”

The settlement amount was said to be a “conservative estimate” of reputational damage caused by Mr Moore’s comments.

The money would donated to women’s shelters across the US, Mr McGibney added.

So you’re not allowed to slander people? Even on the internet? I thought you were.

In addition to the defamation claim, Mr McGibney has launched a class action lawsuit against the site, and has invited users to come forward to share their complaints.

“We’re doing this mostly for the completely powerless, under-age women who were verbally harassed after Hunter posted their completely naked, unedited photos on his site.

“We’ll soon be launching a brand new site for that not only shows the history and eventual dismantling of this disturbing website, but also brings valuable information to people who have been wronged by similar behaviour.”

Jeez, they were only having a little fun, and free speech.

One Twitter warrior had a strange reaction to the story.

Interesting libel case. I wonder if this sort of ruling would apply to accusations of “misogyny” & “active racism”?


The relevant comparison is to accusations of “misogyny” as opposed to, say, accusations of being a smelly ugly cunt?

Yeh I don’t think so.

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

Takes 2 seconds

Mar 11th, 2013 5:01 pm | By

Here’s a little job for you – a tiny one: all you have to do is hit a “Like” button.

Hit the button under American Atheists to vote for them to get a booth at Netroots Nation and collect more atheists!

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

Hamza Tzortzis three years ago

Mar 11th, 2013 4:51 pm | By

A Twitter friend pointed out this post about Hamza Tzortzis from October 2010.

The Q&A session started with the announcement that whilst the Brothers in the audience were allowed to address the speaker directly, the Sisters had to write their question on a slip of paper which was then passed down to the front and vetted before being answered. Unbelievable. Perhaps what is more unbelievable is that the practice is being defended, and not labelled the outright misogynistic behaviour that it is. This was posted on the Islamic Society group page on Facebook.

Just one side-note regarding the point which one of the atheists (I don’t know who) raised regarding our sisters etc. The reason why sisters write questions on paper is because many of them feel shy, its called “hayaa”. Its not because they’re less than us!!! And also, there were so many brothers sitting on the floor, can we say: Muslims disrespect men because they had to sit on the floor?? If he didnt know, thats ok, but he should have asked. Isnt asking the cure to the disease of ignorance?

For a start, ALL the sisters were told to write their questions on paper, not just the shy ones. I can’t imagine that none of the 40-odd women in the room were so shy they couldn’t put their hand up. And surely a room full of fellow, sympathetic Muslims is the best place to overcome your shyness? Yes, asking is the cure to the disease of ignorance. It’s just a shame that the Brothers seems to be keeping the cure for themselves. Around 10 bits of paper were passed to the front and not a single question from them was answered. In fact he actually chastised one woman for ’‘writing an essay’.

Oh good grief. They feel shy, it’s called “hayaa”. Speaking about it, being intellectually active about it, it’s more of a guy thing. Same old same old same old.

Via that post, there’s a long, informative one at Harry’s Place, which concludes by warning people not to debate Tzortzis.

In conclusion – do not give Tzortzis credibility by offering him a platform or sharing one with him

While the writer hopes that this post will prevent all UK university Islamic societies from giving Tzortzis a platform ever again, this is highly unlikely.  More realistically, student unions can now be warned about the man’s true political intentions in order for action to be taken the higher levels and overrule the Islamic societies.  Readers are asked to forward the link to this post to their local universities, humanist groups and another other potentially interested parties.

Moreover, the main purpose of this post is to warn all atheist, secularist and humanist speakers of the dangers of sharing a platform with Tzortzis.  While it is stressed that there is no evidence of a direct physical risk to person or property, speakers should err on the side of caution and bear this possibility in mind.  The greatest risk is that if humanist speakers are willing to share a platform with Tzortzis in a discussion or a debate, this will only give him further credibility and further opportunity to spread the ideology of HTB.

I guess the warning needs to be spread around a little more widely.


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