Notes and Comment Blog


They strongly defend Maajid’s right to express his views

Jan 26th, 2014 3:26 pm | By

All right. Nick Clegg has given a statement to the Independent, and he did it without the giving with one hand while taking back with the other approach.

Nick Clegg has intervened in a growing row over freedom of expression, describing as “unacceptable” death threats made against a prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who tweeted a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus greeting each other.

The Deputy Prime Minister defended Mr Nawaz’s right to send the personal tweet of the “Jesus and Mo” cartoon after BBC producers decided it was too offensive to be worn on T-shirts by two atheist audience members at a televised debate attended by the Lib Dem candidate.

In a letter to some of those supporting the petition against Mr Nawaz, Mr Clegg said the Lib Dems were a “party of respect, tolerance and individual liberty”.

He added: “We fundamentally believe in freedom of expression in an open, liberal and free society and therefore strongly defend Maajid’s right to express his views.

“I’m sure it goes without saying that the death threats and threats of violence Maajid has received are totally unacceptable, and I’m sure you will join me in whole-heartedly condemning them.”

And that’s it! Unlike that crappy statement given to the Evening Standard last week, there is no “but at the same time we must respect the rabidly ‘sensitive’ feelings who think their religious taboos apply to everyone.” That whole part is totally missing. They just strongly defend Maajid’s right to express his views FULL FUCKING STOP.

H/t Stells Dessoy

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



While the three sisters punched and kicked

Jan 26th, 2014 12:03 pm | By

An unpleasant moment in Blackburn, Lancs.

Six siblings – all members of a Muslim family – have been jailed for what the judge described as the “sustained and brutal” attempted kidnap of a white woman who was having a relationship with their sister.

The victim, Sarah Harrison, 35, was in a relationship with Nazma Ditta, 28, and was targeted by members of her partner’s family as she left work in Blackburn Lancashire.

CCTV captured Harrison’s attackers approaching her and the violent struggled that followed as Ditta’s siblings sought to find out where Miss Harrison and their sister were living.

Footage of the broad daylight attack, which happened on June 20 last year, showed members of Miss Ditta’s family trying to bundle Miss Harrison into their car, along with shouts of “get her in, get her, you’ve messed with the wrong Muslims”. According to Preston Crown Court, Miss Harrison said she was worried that she would have acid thrown in her face.

Miss Harrison was attacked by sisters Ghazala Ditta, 31, Nighat Morris, 38, and Atfah Ditta, 32, and their brother Tahmoor Ditta, 26. When a work colleague of the victim tried to intervene, Tahmoor Ditta threatened them by brandishing a metal tool, while the three sisters punched and kicked Miss Harrison before attempting to drag her into a silver Toyota Corolla.

Harrison was able to resist being shoved into the car and her attackers gave up and drove off. But what a horrendous situation – a whole large family attacking one sister’s partner because of the usual horseshit.

In the days leading up to the attack, members of the Ditta family had confronted the victim at her workplace and asked her about the whereabouts of their sister.

They also asked her work colleagues about where she parked her car and waited at various locations for her to leave work. Miss Ditta had previously declined to have an arranged marriage and left home days before the attack to move in with Miss Harrison, although she pretended to her family that she had gone to Manchester for a new job.

Six of them were convicted – five sisters and one brother. All of them ganged up on her and tried to force her to live the life they wanted her to live instead of the life she wanted to live. She’s 28 years old.

Addendum: the Daily Mail has CCTV. One of the three sisters who attack Harrison is wearing a burqa, and she’s the one who punches her hard in the face, four times. Very devout.

 

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



Seeking a formal alliance

Jan 26th, 2014 10:43 am | By

We’ve met the BNP, we’ve met Golden Dawn, so now let’s meet Jobbik, the Hungarian branch of the Let’s Foment Hatred of Some Despised Group or Other club.

Jobbik, who have a several MEPs in the European parliament, are known for a series of anti-semitic and anti-Roma statements. In November 2012, Marton Gyongyosi, the party’s deputy parliamentary leader, called for a security register of Hungarian Jewish legislators and ministers. Gyongyosi said: “I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a security risk in Hungary.”

Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, said last month that the three parties had a “common core set of values” and he was seeking a formal alliance with Golden Dawn and Jobbik.

The UK Roma Support Group have supported the calls for a ban. “Jobbik in Hungary has led the targeting and attacks on Roma communities. Their 2010 manifesto says: ‘The co-existence and cohesion of Magyar and Gypsy is one of the severest problems facing Hungarian society’.

That’s ethnic-cleansing talk.

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



Are pious women to be equated with submissive wives?

Jan 26th, 2014 9:44 am | By

There’s a conference in London today, wrapping up in an hour. It’s put on by the Deen Institute, and it’s titled Can Muslims Escape Misogyny? Tariq Ramadan is at the top of the bill.

poster-banner-new

This conference will address the injustices against women which persist across communities and cultures the world over, and ask where Islam stands on countering these issues. Islam is often criticised as misogynistic, and its name is invoked by those who seek to perpetuate injustices and inequalities against women and girls. So what’s truly to blame and what solutions does our spiritual tradition offer?

Moreover, stories of forced marriages, domestic violence justified under the guise of sharia law and female genital mutilation perpetuated by purported religious figures, continue to make the headlines. Does Islam place one gender above another? Does the Quran really condone domestic violence? Are pious women to be equated with submissive wives? And beyond issues strictly associated with Islamic texts, what do Islamic teachings have to offer women in terms of freedom from male domination and holistic emancipation?

Join us to explore these issues and many more.

I wonder what “holistic emancipation” might be…

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



Repeat often enough

Jan 26th, 2014 9:32 am | By

Via Monte Albert at BMSD on Facebook.

In other contexts I would consider it too crude and obvious and simplistic to bother with, but in that context – where there is a huge amount of repetition of myths and fictions treated as facts – it makes a useful point. The mere fact that something is written down in a book doesn’t make it true. No matter how many times how many people repeat that it is true, and holy, and a sin to deny – none of that makes it true. Repetition is just repetition. Advertising and political manipulation work the same way.

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



Not your standard Liberal Democrat

Jan 25th, 2014 4:16 pm | By

I have to dash away but I just want to point out Nick Cohen’s piece on the Maajid Nawaz-LibDems-Jesus and Mo turmoil for your enlightenment.

Just a bit, on LibDem activist Muhammad Shafiq:

Shafiq denies that he is spreading fear and if you had not done the research you might believe him. Certainly, you could think him a man who can snuffle out offence where no one else can find it. You could think that the 20,000 or so who have signed his petition are so desperate for reasons to censor that they will manufacture them. But this is a free country and they are entitled to their hysterias.

But to put it as politely as I can, Shafiq is not your standard Liberal Democrat. He is in charge of the Ramadhan Foundation, which has hosted speakers whose attitudes towards gay people and Jews are anything but liberal. To make sure that Nawaz felt the full force of his critique, Shafiq slipped an aside into his open letter to Nick Clegg. He talked of Nawaz’s “expected, suspected, wanted reaction from the minority of unhinged in those communities”. Nawaz was deliberately soliciting attacks from the “unhinged”, apparently. He expected them. He wanted them. And if the unhinged should assault or kill him – he had no one to blame but himself. Shafiq told me that he did not mean that Nawaz was inciting his own murder, but I struggle [to] see how else his followers can interpret his words.

On Twitter, Shafiq went further and gave a masterclass in double speak. “Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam,” he tweeted. Most of his audience had no idea what he meant. A few knew all too well. “Ghustaki Rasool” is “defamer of the prophet” in Urdu: a charge that incites Islamists to murder. Fanatics took to Twitter to prove the point. “Have spoken to someone in Pakistan,” one of Shafiq’s followers replied. “They will have a surprise for him on his next visit!” Another Twitter user contacted Nawaz to say: “Gustak e rasool is punishable by death anywhere in the world. Btw I’m in the UK not Pakistan.” A third cried that “dogs like Maajid Nawaaz will be punished!”

Until tomorrow.

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



Yes another one

Jan 25th, 2014 11:51 am | By

A petition to Cameron to intervene in the case of that schizophrenic Scot sentenced to death for “blasphemy” in Pakistan.

Muhammad Asghar is a 68 year old from Edinburgh, currently resident in Pakistan. He has been convicted of blasphemy following a trial where his legal team were dismissed, and the state nominated replacement presented no evidence in his defence. He is a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of mental illness, a fact very relevant to his alleged crime; declaring himself a prophet. Muhammad Asghar should be helped, not killed. We ask that David Cameron and Alex Salmond intervene in the strongest possible terms, to help save the life of a vulnerable British man.

The petition is by the Scottish Secular Society.

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



Let’s play ProphetQuest

Jan 25th, 2014 11:27 am | By

A new one from Mike Booth. I know that voice…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQBE3odp6Q0

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



As the guardians of all that is right in society

Jan 25th, 2014 10:52 am | By

The councillors of Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland must have been suffering from Censorship Envy.

The decision by Newtownabbey’s Democratic Unionist council to stop two performances of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) was met with outrage from freedom of expression campaigners.

The show, first seen in 1995, was to have been performed over two nights at the Theatre at the Mill in the town next week, with about 150 of the 800 seats available sold.

Fraser Agnew, the mayor of Newtownabbey council, said: “As the guardians of all that is right in society we have got to take a stand somewhere.”

The productions were part of a three-month UK tour by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, which has put on a series of successful productions in London’s West End and around the country.

Town councillors are the guardians of all that is right in society? Since when? I thought they were the elected officials charged with managing their city. Fraser Agnew seems to have confused that job with Plato’s Guardians, who are a rather different kettle of poisson.

The show’s publicity calls it an “affectionate, irreverent roller-coaster ride from fig leaves to Final Judgment as the boys tackle the great theological questions: Did Adam and Eve have navels? Did Moses really look like Charlton Heston?”

Sinn Fein councillor Gerry O’Reilly said: “This is clearly an example of certain councillors forcing their religious views on to everyone else.”

Why yes, yes it is. Sinn Fein might possibly be considered an example of the same thing, but whatever.

H/t Shatterface

 

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



Prairie voles are Christians

Jan 24th, 2014 4:03 pm | By

Hey, Patricia Churchland does the Colbert Report. Oxytocin, prairie voles and montane voles, bonding, the self is in the brain, what about the soul?

Any time people try to tell you how great Sam Harris’s take on morality is, just tell them to read Patricia Churchland instead.

 

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



Sentenced to village-rape

Jan 24th, 2014 1:48 pm | By

And then there’s the quaint old custom of gang-raping women to punish them.

A young woman in West Bengal was gang-raped this week on the order of a village council, to punish her for planning to marry a man from outside the village, according to the Indian police.

The episode began on Monday when Khaliq Sheikh, the man from outside the village, asked the young woman to marry him, and she accepted his proposal, the police said. When Balai Mardi, the chief of the village, heard about it, he quickly sought to block the marriage.

According to local news media accounts, villagers went to the young woman’s house and detained Mr. Sheikh, and the next day, he and the young woman were taken to the village square, tied to separate trees and accused of breaking community rules.

It’s a question of Village Values, you see. Like Family Values in the US, but slightly more brutal.

Mr. Mardi ordered the couple to pay fines totaling 27,000 rupees, or about $442, Mr. Yadav said in a telephone interview. Mr. Sheikh paid his portion and was allowed to leave, but when the young woman’s family refused to pay, Mr. Mardi ordered villagers “to enjoy her,” said a police officer who spoke on condition that he not be named.

She was then raped repeatedly in Mr. Mardi’s mud-and-thatch hut, according to local news reports.

Then Mr Mardi threatened her and her family, saying he’d burn down their house if they told the police, but they told the police anyway. They must not have the right Village Values.

 

 

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



In Modi’s Gujarat

Jan 24th, 2014 1:39 pm | By

State textbooks in Gujarat glorify Nazism, according to the Times of India.

Welcome to high school education in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, where authors of social studies textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks have found faults with the freedom movement and glorified Fascism and Nazism.

While a Class VIII student is taught ’negative aspects’ of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, the Class X social studies textbook has chapters on ‘Hitler, the Supremo’ and ‘Internal Achievements of Nazism’. 

The Class X book presents a frighteningly uncritical picture of Fascism and Nazism. The strong national pride that both these phenomena generated, the efficiency in the bureaucracy and the administration and other ‘achievements’ are detailed, but pogroms against Jews and atrocities against trade unionists, migrant labourers, and any section of people who did not fit into Mussolini or Hitler’s definition of rightful citizen don’t find any mention.

The headline on the article is

In Modi’s Gujarat, Hitler is a textbook hero

Modi could be the next Prime Minister of India. It’s alarming.

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



Into the pit

Jan 24th, 2014 1:23 pm | By

A 70-year-old man has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in Rawalpindi.

Muhammad Asghar was arrested in 2010 after writing letters to various people claiming to be a prophet, reports say.

His lawyers argued for leniency, saying he has a history of mental illness, but this was rejected by a medical panel.

Disgusting in every way. So what if someone wrote a bunch of letters claiming to be a prophet? What a harmless inconsequential who could possibly care action. Giving him a ticket comparable to a parking ticket would be a ludicrous abuse of state power; sentencing him to death is just off the charts. Ignoring his mental illness for the sake of sentencing him to death is another step down into the pit of sadistic shitness.

Mr Asghar, who is from Edinburgh, Scotland, was accused of writing letters to police officers claiming to be a prophet. He is thought to have lived in Pakistan for several years.

“Asghar claimed to be a prophet even inside the court. He confessed it in front of the judge,” Javed Gul, a government prosecutor, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

So what, you fucking fool. It doesn’t matter. He could claim to be Tinker Bell or Sasquatch or Elmer Fudd’s third wife; it wouldn’t matter. Pakistan has enough real crimes to pursue without squandering its time on the persecution of a religious fantasist.

But his lawyer told the BBC’s Saba Eitizaz that she was forcibly removed from the case by the judge and that proceedings were carried out behind closed doors.

His lawyer says she will launch an appeal against the verdict, which was delivered late on Thursday. Higher courts in Pakistan have been known to overturn blasphemy verdicts handed down in lower courts because of insufficient evidence.

Mr Asgharn has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and had treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Edinburgh, but the court did not accept his medical reports from the UK, reports say.

He has been in jail since his arrest in 2010 and his lawyer says he has also tried to take his own life in jail on one occasion.

Oh it’s just too foul to contemplate.

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



The bus proceeds smoothly on its way

Jan 24th, 2014 12:23 pm | By

There was an open meeting of the Cambridge Student Union last night at which the Liberal Democratic MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert gave a talk. Tehmina Kazi reports one thing he said (and is fine with my quoting her):

Best quote from Cambridge MP and highly-regarded Lib Dem Julian Huppert at last night’s Graduate Union talk: “The chances of Maajid Nawaz being deselected as a parliamentary candidate as a result of the petition are approximately… ZERO.”

GOOD.

It’s still bad that they issued that very un-liberal statement about not hurting people’s feelings by tolerating satire of their religions, but it’s good that they’re not scouting for a nice cliff to drop him off.

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



They have to be blokes, do they?

Jan 24th, 2014 11:40 am | By

You know how people keep telling us – over and over, with an air of patient “everybody knows this” superior wisdom – that “cunt” is not a sexist epithet in the UK? It’s used solely for men, so much so that it would sound weird to call a woman it? That it’s lost its original meaning i.e. female genitalia?

As in this comment by “Minow” on January 8 for instance:

What offensive word? “Cunt” obviously. The others wouldn’t be “offensive” enough to be worth mentioning.

No it was ‘bitch’ according to press reports. Nimmo is British and it is quite rare in Britain to use ‘cunt’ for a woman, it sounds a bit peculiar, like calling a woman a ‘cock’. This might be changing as we Americanize in that way but I think it is still generally true. ‘Cunts’ have to be blokes, usually hard-arses in a bad way.

I call Rachel Bailey to the stand.

Scott and Bailey, Season 3 episode 5. Spoiler alert – a suspect trips up when Rachel is interviewing him, and he says something that convicts him. She is telling the roomful of detectives what happened, and concludes with “…and that’s when he called me a – ” pause “…rhymes with stunt, brunt, front” and everyone laughs.

It’s at 42:25 in case anyone wants to check my arithmetic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDOpfbkj1Uw

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



We want to live in a democracy, not a madhouse

Jan 23rd, 2014 6:32 pm | By

Well here’s a good thing I didn’t know about – a talk that Charlie Klendjian of the Lawyers’ Secular Society (he was on that Big Questions episode, sitting I think next to Maajid) did in December, in which he does a fine job of needling Universities UK.

Well, well, well. Who would have known?

In the year 2013, in a western liberal secular(ish) democracy, segregation is not segregation
as long as it’s…driven by “genuinely-held” religious beliefs.

It’s a brave new world.

Talking of bravery, or rather the lack of it, I had never actually heard of “Universities UK” or
their Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge until a few weeks ago.

They really are exploring the outer reaches of the old saying that “any publicity is good
publicity”, aren’t they? Yep, I’ll give them that. Well you’ve certainly got your publicity, Nicola,
so congratulations to you and your team on that. Sterling effort. Quick round of applause,
please, everyone, for Nicola and her team.

A comrade, definitely.

So, now I have this conspiracy theory. I’ll tell you about it if you promise not to tell anyone,
ok? Seriously, this is massive, it’s right up there with fake moon landings.

I think Universities UK don’t actually care about free speech, or not in any meaningful sense. I
think they only care about keeping Islamists happy. At any cost. Any cost whatsoever. If that
includes turning the clock back on hard-fought gender equality then so be it.

Well if they’re so keen to turn the clock back with this “separate but equal” policy of theirs,
then I think we should turn the clock back too. I think we should borrow another phrase from
history, this time from the anti-drugs campaigns of the 1980s: “JUST SAY NO”

If Islamists want to separate men and women, or implement any of their other madcap
seventh century ideas, everyone should JUST SAY NO. Say it with me, come on, it’s panto
season, “just say no” after three…1, 2, 3…JUST SAY NO.

You are allowed to say no to Islamists, Nicola. There’s no law against it. Yet.

Seriously. Such a comrade.

Today he wrote a statement on the matter of Maajid Nawaz and Jesus and Mo and the LibDems.

The LibDems, you remember, said yesterday:

The Liberal Democrats are a party of respect, tolerance and individual liberty. We fundamentally believe in freedom of expression and as such defend Maajid’s right to express his views. But as a party we urge all candidates to be sensitive to cultural and religious feelings and to conduct debate without causing gratuitous or unnecessary offence.

Maajid made his own statement:

My view, that as a Muslim I was not offended by this cartoon, originally featured on a BBC programme without advanced knowledge that I would be shown the image. I then posted this to my social media in order to clarify my view, which was by now televised, that as a Muslim I was not offended.

But moderate language and a respect for others’ opinions is at the heart of both Liberalism and my understanding of what Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم) teaches us. I wish to take this opportunity to re-assert that although I do not agree with those who have interpreted my comments in a way that I did not intend – and although I continue to hold to my belief in both Islam and freedom of speech – I respect the right of all those who have taken offence to express themselves peacefully.

I do regret if, in expressing my own views, I have caused inadvertent offence to any side in this debate.

In conclusion, I bid you all salam (peace) and request that we all allow ourselves to put this unfortunate incident behind us.

So here is Comrade Charlie Klendjian’s at the LSS:

The LSS fully supports Maajid’s right to tweet a Jesus and Mo cartoon and we feel no need to qualify that support with the word ‘but’.

We stand with Maajid and we are dismayed at the reaction to such a harmless act, and in particular we are appalled at the explicit death threats against him.

For the LSS the issue of offence is irrelevant to a discussion of free speech. The question here is whether someone has the right to post the cartoon. It’s an embarrassingly simple question deserving of an embarrassingly simple answer. The answer is ‘yes, because it does not infringe anyone else’s rights’. This is GCSE-level morality and human rights, if that.

We haven’t had blasphemy laws in the UK since 2008 and we don’t miss them. We don’t want them back – not today, not tomorrow, not ever. And nor do we want an unwritten, de facto blasphemy law in its place. The LSS opposes all blasphemy laws anywhere in the world. Anyone who thinks freedom of expression should be limited on the grounds of offence or disagreement fails with flying colours to understand the function and importance of free speech, and consequently they also fail to understand the very essence of freedom itself.

It’s not for Maajid to justify what he did; it’s for others to justify why he shouldn’t have done it. The burden of proof is squarely on their shoulders. So far the only ‘reason’ delivered up is that some people didn’t like the cartoon. The solution to that is mercifully simple: don’t look at it.

Holding religious ideas to account and challenging them – no matter how sacred some people might consider those ideas – goes to the very heart of secularism. Once we accept that certain discussions are beyond limits on the basis some people might be ‘offended’, we open the door to limitless harm. We enter a chaotic marketplace where the only currencies are intimidation and fear. We enter a competition where the winning prize is how offended someone claims to be. We want to live in a democracy, not a madhouse.

There’s more; read it all; it is just what we need.

 

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



Hostility from certain political quarters

Jan 23rd, 2014 12:45 pm | By

Luke Brinker at Media Matters wonders if NBC will cover the role of US conservatives in Russia’s anti-gay crackdown.

As the Kremlin launched its anti-gay crackdown last summer, NBC News largely ignored the issue, even as it hyped the upcoming Winter Olympics. NBC’s silence on Russia’s law banning so-called “gay propaganda” - which the Kremlin followed by banning the adoption of children by parents from pro-equality countries – raised the question of whether the network’s financial interests as the games’ broadcaster would outweigh the imperative of informing viewers about egregious human rights violations against LGBT Russians. Still, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus promised that NBC would “acknowledge” the crackdown. Meanwhile, assurances from anchor Bob Costas and NBC’s hiring of New Yorker editor and respected Russia expert David Remnick seemed to indicate a commitment to covering the controversy.

What NBC hasn’t made clear is whether it will highlight the intellectual and political involvement of several high-profile American conservatives in Russia’s crackdown on LGBT citizens. Doing so may well engender hostility from certain political quarters, but telling the story is crucial to fully understanding how Russia arrived at its current point of horrific, state-sanctioned homophobic persecution.

But how can anybody anywhere possibly be expected to do anything that might well engender hostility from certain political quarters? There would be press releases, and angry tweets, and petitions, and call-in shows, and shouting. It’s unthinkable.

According to information compiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and provided to Equality Matters, no fewer than 14 American conservative leaders have visited Russia to lobby lawmakers in support of the country’s anti-gay legislation, lend their support to Russian social conservatives, and help plan for the 2014 World Congress of Families (WCF), an annual “pro-family” confab sponsored by the eponymous Rockford, IL-based group and slated to be held in Moscow from September 10 to 14.

Seriously now, how is it the business of American conservative boffins to lobby Russian lawmakers? How is it their job to zoom around the planet urging legislators to be more savage and inhumane to marginalized people? I missed the memo that explains that.

Russia’s anti-gay laws – and the frightening climate of violence and vigilantism they have stoked – are significant in themselves. But the story of Russia’s crackdown extends far beyond Russia’s borders. As the exclusive broadcaster of the Sochi Olympics, NBC has vowed that it won’t shy away from holding Putin and other anti-gay Russian figures accountable. Will the network do the same for the American ambassadors of hate?

My bet is no, it won’t. But we’ll see.

 

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



Finalists have been adjusted

Jan 23rd, 2014 11:30 am | By

There’s a thing called the British Muslim Awards, which I don’t think I’d heard of until now. But now I have. Why? Because they dropped the Quilliam Foundation as a finalist yesterday.

FINALISTS FOR THE ‘SPIRIT OF BRITAIN’ CATEGORY have been adjusted to the below:

Christian Muslim Forum

Muslim Jewish Forum

In light of recent activity, The British Muslim Awards, after careful consideration, have come to the decision that it can no longer promote the Quilliam Foundation as a finalist, and thus it’s nomination has been removed with immediate effect.
#britishmuslimawards

Bad, stupid, regressive move.

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



With friends like these…

Jan 23rd, 2014 11:03 am | By

The MAB has a formulaic blurb at the end of its horrible press release.

Notes to Editors:

MAB is a British organisation dedicated to serving society through promoting Islam in its spiritual teachings, ideological and civilising concepts, and moral and human values. MAB has local branches across the UK that provide a wide range of events and activities.

MAB actively seeks to dispel the misconceptions about Muslims and helps to act as a bridge to promote better understanding between the UK and the Muslim World.

You know what? No it doesn’t. It doesn’t do that at all. It does the opposite. It entrenches the misconceptions that Muslims must by nature be dogmatic and authoritarian and fundamentalist and touchily aggressive.

If it really wanted to dispel the misconceptions about Muslims it would stop acting like the stereotype Angry Muslim and do the other thing. But it doesn’t. It’s a pathetic joke that it says it actively seeks to dispel the misconceptions about Muslims.

Muslims couldn’t have a more dedicated enemy than organizations like the MAB.

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



Abusive press release promoted by MAB

Jan 23rd, 2014 10:22 am | By

The Muslim Association of Britain, which is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (so it’s even more reactionary and theocratic than the Muslim Council of Britain, which is saying something) issued a press release on Jesus and Mo a couple of days ago. It’s as mindless and bullying and illiberal as you’d expect.

Even the title is like that.

Abusive website promoted by prospective Liberal Democrat candidate

Jesus and Mo is not abusive. It’s a satirical comic strip; it satirizes religion. That’s not abusive.

That’s blindingly obvious but we have to keep saying it, 400 times a day if that’s what it takes. We have to, because the more the theocrats say things like that the more they drag the whole conversation in that direction. Overton window. Splitting the difference. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Ok, the LibDems say, a satirical comic strip about religion may not be literally abusive, but it’s not “respectful” and so blah blah blah blah blah – and the conversation is dragged a few inches in that direction.

No. Fuck that noise. We are allowed to have satirical comic strips about religion. Period. No blather about respect or hurt feelings; no qualifications; no nervous shuffling. We are allowed to.

Back to the MAB’s sack of shit.

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) strongly condemns the cartoon pictures of the Prophets Jesus and Muhammad (may peace be upon them) published on the website called ‘Jesus and Mo.’

Despite the attempts of the website to publish comments from various public figures in praise of the ‘religious satire’ posted on the site, the published material is -in the main- extremely offensive to believers of Islam and Christianity.

The attempts? The comments are there, and have been for years. The publication of them has been successful. No doubt the MAB meant something like “despite the attempts of the website to deflect criticism by publishing comments from various public figures…” so let’s look at that idea. Endorsement by a few names doesn’t mean the material isn’t offensive; that’s probably the claim. Of course it doesn’t; next question?

The depiction of the holy Prophets Muhammad and Jesus (the peace be upon them) is, we believe, as insulting as those published in Denmark and this organization urges all those responsible to recognize the offensive and potentially inflammatory nature of these cartoons and remove them from the Internet with immediate effect.

So not insulting at all then. Notice the not very veiled threat of “and potentially inflammatory nature” – as in, watch out or we’ll burst into flames, and then won’t you be sorry. And then the bullying demand at the end. No. Fuck off.

Whilst the Muslim Association of Britain recognizes the rights to free speech and artistic expression

No, it doesn’t. That’s a brazen lie. It just ordered Author to remove his cartoon from the Internet. It doesn’t recognize the rights to free speech and artistic expression at all.

Whilst the Muslim Association of Britain recognizes the rights to free speech and artistic expression, we strongly question the wisdom of any individual or organization that places at risk the dignity and values of anyone else, even if they might not hold those values. Not only is this against the ethics of the Muslim Association of Britain, we believe that it is also against the values of British society.

The cartoon doesn’t place at risk the dignity and values of anyone else. You know what does? You know what places the dignity of British Muslims at risk? Bullshit like this press release, which feeds right into the horrible stereotype that all Muslims are petulant touchy prickly indignant babies; that they don’t have the faintest glimmer of understanding of secular values and why they matter; that they want to make everyone on earth grovel to Islam.

In addition, we note with sincere regret that the chairman and co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation has given his support to the website and given their tacit approval to the material published. It is clear that he, who is the Liberal Democrat MP candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, in no way represents or reflects the views and opinions of the vast majority of the
Muslim community in Britain. We, therefore question why such an individual would be put forward to represent a constituency of people of different cultural backgrounds.

If the MAB is right about that, it’s a tragedy. We’re always being told that “the vast majority of the Muslim community in Britain” is not unreasonable and illiberal in the manner of the MAB or the MCB, but groups like the MAB and the MCB do their damndest to demonstrate the very opposite. I hope the MAB is wrong about the majority, but I’m not confident.

We are astonished that the Liberal Democrat Party would wish to be represented by someone who is insensitive and quite clearly not concerned about causing offence to religious communities. We therefore call on the Liberal Democrat leadership to reverse its decision to appoint this Muslim candidate who is clearly out of touch with the views and opinions of both Christian and Muslim groups.

Again – we are allowed to be unconcerned about “causing offence to religious communities.” We are allowed to. It’s not the 10th century; it’s not even the 19th century; we are allowed to satirize, mock, criticize, laugh at religions. Get used to it.

 

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