Archive for January, 2006

Magazinet withdraws Mohammed cartoons

According to the Brussels Journal, the Norwegian newspaper which published the Mohammed cartoons in support of Jylands-Posten has withdrawn them from its website in the face of death threats.

Vebjørn Selbekk, the editor of Magazinet, received threatening anonymous emails, including one containing a picture of a burnt body.

The e-mail with the pictures of the burnt body is the most frightening. But I am not afraid. This is of course unpleasant, especially for a family man. But I cannot go around being afraid

said Selbekk.

Another Norwegian newspaper, Dagbladet, has also published the cartoons as a gesture of support.

Meanwhile, Danish Muslim leaders who have been touring the world explaining how offensive the cartoons are have actually added three cartoons to the original twelve: one depicting Mohammed as a paedophile demon, one of him with the snout of a pig, and another of a praying Muslim being sodomised by a dog.

The origin of the extra three cartoons is unknown, but they are sure to stir up a bit of hatred. Which, of course, is the whole point.

Muslims for free expression

In reaction to the absurd police investigation sparked by Sir Idiot Sacranie’s anti-homosexuality remarks on Radio 4, a cross-section of Muslim representatives wrote a letter to The Times:

Sir, In light of the bizarre news that the Metropolitan Police is to “investigate” comments about homosexuality made by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, (report, Jan 12) we, the undersigned, Imams and representatives of various British Muslim organisations, affirm that Sir Iqbal’s views faithfully reflected mainstream Islamic teachings.

The Koran and, we believe, the Bible, together with all the Prophets of God, up to and including Muhammad (peace be upon them all), taught that marriage should be between man and woman, not between people of the same sex. The practice of homosexuality is regarded as being sinful in Islam.

We are deeply concerned about the breakdown of basic family values and the undermining of the key institution of marriage in Britain today. All Britons, whether they are in favour of homosexuality or not, should be allowed to freely express their views in an atmosphere free of intimidation or bullying. We cannot claim to be a truly free and open society while we are trying to silence dissenting views.

President, Islamic Forum
Lancashire Council of Mosques
Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, Birmingham
Jamiat-e-Ulama, Bradford
Bolton Council of Mosques
Federation of Muslim Organisations, Leicestershire
Confederation of Sunni Mosques, Birmingham
North Finchley Mosque, London
Islamic Shariah Council
Grand Mosque, Leeds
Council of Mosques, London and Southern Counties
Islamic Society of Britain
Muslim Association of Britain
Association of Muslim Schools
Al Muntada al Islami, London
Regent’s Park Mosque, London
Mayfair Islamic Centre, London
Friends of al-Aqsa
Islamic Foundation, Leicester
World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Muslim Community
Council of European Jamaats
Former Secretary-General, The Muslim Council of Britain

MWW agrees with the undersigned that the police investigation is “bizarre”. And we particularly welcome the apparent change of heart evidenced in the final paragraph, which clearly means that those organisations which supported the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill have now seen the error of their ways and come to the realisation that free expression is no offence.

We are also looking forward to public expressions of support, on the same principle, for Salman Rushdie and Carsten Juste, the editor of Jylands-Posten who is about to be sued for “blasphemy” in the European Court of Human Rights.

Because they can’t all be hypocrites. Can they?

Bunch of stunts “of concern” to Beyer

E4‘s upcoming series Death Wish Live! involves various performance and escapologists, including a man avoiding being hanged, escaping from a buried coffin, being turned into a human firework, and being driven over by a lorry while lying on a bed of nails. But simultaneously.

Lazy Daily Record reporter, Anita Singh, concocted a “Rap for TV hang stunt” story out of it by phoning up rent-a-quote smut campaigner John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK.

There have been instances in America where people copying stunts shown on the Jackass programme came to harm.

These sort of stunts lend themselves to people trying them out for themselves.

It is very irresponsible of E4 and of concern to us that the station would show this.

Norwegian mag publishes Mohammed cartoons

mo toons

Magazinet, an obscure Norwegian Christian magazine, has incurred the wrath of the Supreme Islamic Council (can’t find web link – there are too many of them) for re-publishing the Mohammed cartoons originally printed by Jyllands-Posten in Denmark.

According to Islam Online, the head of SIC, Mohammed Hamdan, has condemned the magazine “in the strongest possible terms”. When informed that Magazinet printed the cartoons in the name of free expression, Hamdan revealingly replied,

What on earth does freedom of expression mean?

He hopes that the government of Norway will condemn the publication, unlike the Danish government who steadfastly refused to take action.

Editors should not take free speech as an excuse to insult a certain religion; otherwise they risk an extremist response from the offended, which carries grave consequences.

In other words, shut up or we’ll kill you.

Sacranie gets his collar felt

Sir Idiot Sacranie is being investigated by the police for his comments on Radio 4 about homosexuality being “harmful” and “not acceptable”.

Before the investigation he had already expressed his surprise at the reaction his comments provoked:

What amazes us is this concerted attempt to silence views we believe we are articulating for quite a large section of society.

Here at MWW we are against any attempts to silence views, no matter how large the section of society they are shared by. However, Sacranie is one of the major lobbyists campaigning for the Incitement to Religious Hatred law.

If we took Sacranie’s homophobic diatribe and substituted the word “Islam” for “homosexuality”, then the proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred law, if it was in force, would mean Sir Idiot could be put away for seven years.

In the recent MCB press release on the subject, it says

Sir Iqbal said it was in the nature of a democratic society to permit dissent.

Maybe this police investigation (which will come to nothing), will give him a taste of what a society which does not permit dissent is like.

In the Radio 4 interview, he also said

We have an opportunity to express our views. This is what we have, this is the privilege we have living in an open democratic society.

Learn it, Iqbal.

Beyer “astonished” that he is being ignored

In a news release responding to the government’s recent “respect” initiative to combat anti-social behaviour, John Beyer has expressed his astonishment that the measures don’t include the state censorship of television which his organisation has been campaigning for all these years.

The crux of his argument remains the same as ever, and is laid out in all its glory in the central paragraph of his letter to Michael Grade, Chairman of the BBC:

Our detailed monitoring of a number of films shown on television over the last fifteen years shows that depiction of violence involving firearms is by far the most common followed by depictions of violent assaults and the use of offensive weapons including knives. The latest British Crime Survey statistics show that it is precisely these types of crime that are on the increase.

There is something almost tragic about someone basing their whole life’s work on a logical fallacy. If Beyer were ever to develop an understanding of the difference between correlation and cause, would he lay down his green pen and stop taking calls from lazy Daily Mail reporters looking for a rent-a-quote?

Unlikely. Despite decades of research and numerous case studies, there has never been any conclusive evidence that points to a causal link between media violence and real-world violence. So his conviction that there is such a link is faith-based. And, as a wise man once said, you cannot reason someone out of a belief which they did not arrive at by reason.

You can, however, make fun of them.

Springer protestors are idiots, says Richard Thomas

It may be stating the obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.

Richard Thomas, co-author of Jerry Springer: The Opera, to the Birmingham Post:

To have my work called blasphemous by people who didn’t even have the decency to watch the show drives me crazy.

I have zero respect for them and I think they are idiots.

Bloody Mary

bloody mary

In the US recently, The Catholic League have been crowing about their success in getting an episode of South Park pulled. But it looks like they’re going to have to recork those champagne bottles.

The offending episode was entitle “Bloody Mary”. It featured a statue of the Blessed Virgin miraculously “bleeding from her ass” inspiring pilgrimages from far and wide. Pope Benedict visits to inspect and determines that the statue is actually bleeding from its vagina. He states: “A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time”. (This part really stretches audience credulity to breaking point. How is the Pope supposed to know about these things?)

The ultra-sensitive Catholic League declared the show “one of the most vile TV shows ever to appear” and wrote to Comedy Central urging them not to repeat it and undertake never to release it on DVD. They received a reply which suggested their wish had been granted, and indeed “Bloody Mary” was not repeated on Dec 7.

However, in a response to complaints from South Park fans and free-speech campaigners, Comedy Central has revealed that the episode was indeed repeated as scheduled and that it will not be excluded from DVD releases.

As satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendment right to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations and religions and we will continue to defend that right. Our goal is to make people laugh, and perhaps if we’re lucky, even make them think in the process.

Despite misleading claims from those who would like to claim victory, we have not permantly shelved the “Bloody Mary” episode from future airings due to outside pressure nor will we exclude it from future DVD releases.

Yay to Comedy Central. Ha ha to the Catholic League.
(Belated thanks to Scary)

You can see Bloody Mary here.

Jyllands-Posten to be sued for “blasphemy”

According to the EU Observer, a Danish Islamist group has decided to take the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to the European Court of Human Rights over its publication of the Mohammed cartoons.

Islamsk Trossamfund made the announcement after a Danish local attorney general had rejected their case.

The newspaper’s editor, Carsten Juste, remains firm:

We will not apologise, because we live in Denmark under Danish law, and we have freedom of speech in this country. If we apologised, we would betray the generations who have fought for this right, and the moderate Muslims who are democratically minded.

You can see the cartoons in question here.

(Tipped from Gagwatch)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali has won the Readers Digest European of the Year award. This is a Good Thing.

Bob Low, European Bureau Chief of Reader’s Digest:

It has taken a young woman born outside Europe to show Europeans the sort of courage and determination that is needed to confront extremism and to uphold the values of tolerance and justice that we hold dear. We are proud to honour her.

(From Pub Philosopher)