Archive for February, 2006

Oh Deeyah

The Independent on Sunday reports that a US-based Muslim pop singer has had to hire bodyguards to protect her during her visit to the UK next month. 28-year-old Deeyah has outraged hardline imams with her latest song “What Will it Be?“, which talks about the death threats she has received and her experiences of being spat at in the street by middle-aged men. She obviously doesn’t take kindly to such insolence:

We dont take it lightly when you threatinin women,
how you have so much hate and faith in religion?
Fake in the system,
need to take a break wit the dissin,
before you end up in the lake where they fishin.
Hearin bout the muslim madona, asian j lo,
lookin for drama (ok) if you say so.
If you that religious and not wit trendy clothes,
then what you doin even watchin videos?

Her raunchy act has them hot under the collar too. In one of her videos she drops her burqa to reveal that she is wearing a bikini underneath.

I receive letters and emails from women saying I am doing a good job. Putting my life at risk no longer bothers me. That so many women – Muslim women included – are abused by people in their own religion and communities does.

UPDATE: The MCB have questioned Deeyah’s claim to be a Muslim. Apparently her real name is Deepika Thathaal – a Hindu name. They reckon Muslim-rebel persona is just a publicity stunt.

Pakistani cleric offers reward for death of cartoonist

The Guardian reports that Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, a prayer leader at a mosque in Peshawar, announced 1.5m rupees (£9,600) and a car as reward to anyone who killed the cartoonist who drew the prophet Mohammed.

This is a unanimous decision by all imams that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed, and whoever will take this insulting man to his end will get this prize

He didn’t say which cartoonist, probably because he doesn’t realise that there were 12.

Other clerics also condemned the cartoons, one demanding the extradition of the artist so that he could be tried in Pakistan, and another saying:

Oh God, please punish those who dared to publish these sacrilegious cartoons … give enough power to the Muslim countries and enable them to take revenge.

This latest bounty trumps the previous one offered in December by a youth leader of a Pakistani religious party, which amounted to a mere £4,800 and no car.

Two brave men

baf demo
We’re a bit late with this, but it’s worth a look. On Saturday duo calling themselves the Brigade de l’Argent des Français (French money brigade?), staged a two-man counter demonstration in Paris against about 4,000 cartoon protesters.

The video is worth a watch.

Opus Dei demands Da Vinci Code changes

Riding on the crest of worldwide religious outrage and keen to stake their own claim to special treatment, Opus Dei have asked for changes to be made to the upcoming film of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. They do not want it to include “references that hurt Catholics”.

Not content with merely calling for the film to be given an adult rating (because, you may recall, “when history is manipulated, you cannot expect a child to make proper judgments”), the Catholic group now wants the story changed:

particularly in these days in which everyone has noted the painful consequences of intolerance.

Do you think they’re referring to the recent documentary series on the Inquisition?

(Hat tip to Andrew)

More cartoon controversy from Iran

The Guardian reports that Iran has demanded an apology from the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel because of a cartoon it published showing four members of the Iranian football team dressed as suicide bombers.

The Iranian embassy in Berlin has called the cartoon an “immoral act”, and the cartoonist, Klaus Stuttmann, is in hiding after receiving three death threats. The newspaper is standing firm:

The problem is where do you draw the line? Cartoons have to be satirical and mean. We are very sorry if we have hurt the feelings of any Iranians. But we have not apologised.

Meanwhile, in a move reminiscent of “freedom fries” foolishness, the official Iranian news agency has announced that Danish pastries have been renamed Roses of the Prophet Mohammed. Flaky!

Israeli anti-semitic toon contest

In response to Iranian newpaper Hamshahiri’s anti-semitic cartoon contest – itself devised as a cartoonish reprisal for the Danish Mohammed cartoons – an Israeli group has announced their own anti-semitic cartoon contest.

Graphic artist Amitai Sandy from Tel Aviv is currently arranging sponsors, and promises lucrative prizes for the winners.

We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published! No Iranian will beat us on our home turf.

What a way to put the whole cartoon controversy in perspective – and to make the editor of Hamshahiri look a schmuck!

(via Drawn)

Pullman and Hytner lead calls for blasphemy law repeal

English PEN has brought together a number of big names for a campaign to repeal the UK’s outdated blasphemy law. Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National Theatre, are spearheading the campaign.

Pullman states that blasphemy laws have no place in modern Britain:

Exactly the wrong response would be to extend them to cover other religions. Where would you stop? The right response would be to repeal them altogether and let religion, like every other form of human thought, take its chance in free, open debate.


Parliament has reaffirmed its attachment to freedom of expression and has slapped down a Government that has been too ready to sacrifice it. The Government should demonstrate its stated opposition to religious discrimination by repealing the blasphemy laws.

Even the Church of England has voiced support, saying the blasphemy law is a “dead letter”.

(From The Times, with thanks to Andrew)

Stephen Green “apoplectic” at JS:TO grant

According to the Independent the Arts Council has granted £30,000 to finance the national tour of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Stephen Green of Christian Voice, the organisation which is currently picketing venues around the country, is furious:

It would not be possible for this show to be any more blasphemous and insulting to Christians if it tried. I cannot believe it has qualified for public money.

It needs the money to keep it going. As far as I am concerned, Jerry Springer: The Opera appeals to people who like treading in dog shit. Taxpayers have no business supporting it.

So full of love and the grace of his lord Jesus Christ, isn’t he?

Crucifixion Easter special

You may recall the mild furore that erupted about Channel 4’s Xmas special magic show The Magic of Jesus, which featured magicians Barry Jones and Stuart McLeod reproducing New Testament “miracles” such as walking on water and making a virgin pregnant.

Bishop Michael Reid of CCTV said:

Maybe these two fraudsters could try being crucified to see if they can rise three days later.

We commented at the time that it sounded like a fantastic idea. Now Jones and McLeod have been in touch, and MWW can exclusively reveal that there will indeed be an Easter Special in which they plan to be crucified! It will be called “Tricks from the Bible”.

They didn’t say whether or not the big Bishop received any payment for his idea. But it will be funny to see if he complains.

Another toon another tantrum

bok toon
Chip Bok, a cartoonist for Ohio’s Arkon Beacon Journal has landed in hot water because of his own take on the Mohammed cartoon controversy.

His cartoon depicted a pixelated picture of Mohammed on CNN, with a couple in the cartoon saying “Well, no wonder Muslims are upset. Muhammad looks like he’s on acid.”

This proved too much for a section of the local Muslim community. A.R. Abdoulkarim, Amir of the Akron Masjid, said of the Beacon Journal

They take the prize for being the most ill-intended, irresponsible property group. Allah curses and condemns them and every Muslim in this community should curse and condemn them.

Chip Bok met with several local Muslims, and stands by his right to publish:

My cartoon wasn’t about them. To them it was; to me it wasn’t. They’re cartoons. They’re irreverent. I feel like that’s something I have to defend.