Archive for March, 2006

Manfesto 12 get death threats

You may have heard of the “Manifesto of 12“, which we inexplicably neglected to mention here on MWW. Signed by twelve writers, journalists and public intellectuals (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafiq , Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Irshad Manji , Mehdi Mozaffari, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val, Ibn Warraq), it is a brave and articulate call for resistance to religious totalitarianism.

[…] we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide.

The necessity of these universal values has been revealed by events since the publication of the Muhammad drawings in European newspapers. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the arena of ideas. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilizations, nor an antagonism of West versus East, but a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.

Well, now they are getting death threats. The UK Muslim forum had this message on one of their threads:

now we have drawn out a hit list of a ‘Who’s Who’ guide to slam into. Take you time but make sure their gone soon- oh and don’t hold out for a fatwah it isn’t really required here.
Has anyone got that Christian kaffir ‘Ibn Warraq’s’ real name yet?

The thread has now been pulled by moderators. “Can’t have threats being made on a public board” apparently. But you can see it here. The author of the original threat, who goes by the name of Abu Hurairah, is still active on the forums.

Clever way to show you are not a violent totalitarian.

Irshad Manji is fighting back:

Unlike daily threats, this one comes from a place of ‘authority,’ since has a large, radical following. That’s why the Manifesto signatories need you to fight back with us. If you support freedom, pluralism and secularism, click here and put your name on our petition. We’ll publish the petition in the coming days.

It’s an email petition. This is what it says:

I wish to express my unequivocal support for the twelve signatories and my outrage at the Islamist movement’s attack on them. I stand firm with the 12 against this reactionary movement. I join in their call to resist religious totalitarianism and to promote freedom, equal opportunity, human rights and secular values for all.

Can’t argue with that.

(Thanks to Bartholomew’s Notes)

Norwich vicar defends Springer

The Rev Peter Nokes of St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich has been standing up for Jerry Springer: The Opera. He told the Norwich Evening News:

The so-called blasphemy scenes are all portrayed as a kind of dream in Springer’s mind. I don’t think they are blasphemous because they are in a dream. The writers are saying that Jerry Springer is manipulative. It is not about God. It’s about the lack of dignity in which he treats people’s problems.

He expressed his view that most mainstream church leaders and Christians in Norwich distanced themselves from the extremist anti-Springer activists.

Unlike most of the protestors, this Rev has actually seen the show – twice on DVD – and he intends to see it live in Norwich when it arrives in May. This places him at an advantage over the BNP/Christian Voice complainers, as he is in a position to understand what the show is about:

Jerry Springer, the TV personality exploits people by making entertainment of their problems, seemingly without any concern for the dignity of his guests. Humanity is degraded.

The Opera ridicules and satirises not only the trashiness of the TV show that Springer presents, but also the sort of culture which glories in such trash.

In ways resonant of the mediaeval morality, it suggests that Jerry Springer’s soul is in peril.

Right on, Rev.

Jyllands-Posten won’t face charges

From The Times: Danish chief prosecutor Henning Fode has said that he will not press charges against Jyllands-Posten. The Mo-toons did not violate Danish laws banning racist and blasphemous speech.

This will be a disappointment for the group of Muslims who failed first of all to get a conviction from a regional prosecutor then took the case to the country’s top prosecutor.

The Foreign Ministry has warned Danes travelling in Muslim countries that “negative reactions” may ensue as a result of this decision.

UPDATE: Danish Muslim organisations are now taking the case to the UN High Commission for Human Rights.

5 arrested over Mo-toon protest

al grrabaa
Reuters reports that police have arrested five men over the first wave of Mo-toon demonstrations which took place on Febrauary 3.

London Met said four men had been arrested in the capital and another in central England. The protest, organised by al Ghurabaa’ included many people waving threatening placards.

It is not known whether police will be taking into account the more specific incitements to murder which are still on their website.

UPDATE: 3 have been charged with offences including soliciting murder, stirring up racial hatred, and racially aggravated disorderly behaviour. The other two have been bailed pending further investigations.

Manchester action update

Anyone interested in taking part in the secret Manchester event next Monday should join this mailing list and wait for further instructions. Expect an announcement this evening from the organiser, stand-up comic Mike Landers.

Isaac Hayes quits “inappropriate” South Park

From the BBC: Isaac Hayes, the 63-year-old soul singer who plays Chef in South Park, is leaving the show because he objects to the cartoon’s religious satire.

Citing the show’s “growing insensitivity towards personal spiritual beliefs”, Hayes said,

There is a place in this world for satire but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs begin.

That time, apparently, was when South Park turned its attention to Isaac Hayes’ own religion: Scientology.

Co-creator Matt Stone:

In 10 years and over 150 episodes of South Park, Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim, Mormons or Jews.

He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show.

Seems this chef can dish it out, but can’t take it.

(Thanks to Andrew)

Turkey calls for extended blasphemy laws

According to The Telegraph, Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, was at a meeting with his EU and Balkan counterparts in Salzberg last weekend. He wants the absurd and outdated blasphemy laws which exist in several European states to be reviewed and broadened to outlaw the “defamation” of all religions, not just Christianity.

If he wants a level playing field, the real answer is to scrap all blasphemy laws.

Christian fundies target Liddle

Rod Liddle’s documentary last Monday, The New Fundamentalists, was about how Christian creationists were taking over “foundation schools” to promote their primitive world view to children in the UK.

The UK Life League, an anti-abortion campaign group, took such exception to this “grotesque attack on some of Christian morality” that they sent an email circular out to supporters attacking Liddle. They included his home address.

Nice folk, these fundamentalist Christians.

(from The Observer)

UPDATE: Bartholomew has lots on the UKLL’s far-right links.

BBC’s new remit: promote “citizenship and civil society”

The BBC’s new Royal Charter, to be published on Tuesday, contains an extraordinary new clause which will force the channel to “promote British citizenship and a sense of community”, according to the Sunday Times.

Writers and satirists have reacted with dismay, but John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK is delighted to be presented with this new stick with which to beat the public service broadcaster:

This means much more than the BBC thinks.

It’s not just things like impartial news. It is about reflecting good behaviour on the BBC and using good language. The BBC has a moral role. As a lobby group we will now use this phrase as a way to make the BBC act responsibly.

al Ghurabaa’ get the Viz treatment

Stephen Green of Christian Voice is not the only religious maniac to feature in Viz, the UK’s top satirical comic.

In this month’s issue Suicidal Syd (“He’s always trying to pop his cork”) is trying to top himself because he didn’t receive any Valentines cards. One of his attempts sees him drawing “an inflammatory picture of Muhammad” and taking it to show the local Mo-toon protestors. These chaps just happen to bear a close resemblance to the al Ghurabaa mob who demonstrated outside the Danish embassy in February:
al grrr-abaa


So it’s “al Grrr-abaa” from now on, then.

(Thanks to Tom P for the heads up)