Archive for April, 2006

Google, Yahoo indicted in Pakistan

Asia Media reports that a Pakistani lawyer, Iqbal Haider, has formally registered a complaint about the Danish cartoons at a Karachi police station. The blasphemy law in Pakistan calls for the death penalty for anyone defiling the prophet or the Koran.

I filed the petition in January 2006 and the Supreme Court ordered the police to register the complaint. The case has been registered under the blasphemy law and under the anti-terrorist act.

The court will now issue notices to the original cartoonists, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, newspapers in Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands, and the internet search engines Google and Yahoo for providing links to the notorious sketches.

The question is, will anyone turn up?

Toon rage, Catholic style

From The Tablet, outrage in Germany at MTV’s plans to show the Popetown cartoon series, which features Ruby Wax as the voice of the pontiff.

Alerted by full-page ads in several German TV magazines, the bishop’s conference and several leading Catholics have attacked MTV on various fronts. The Archbishop of Munich said:

It is obvious, in view of the recent uproar over the Danish Muhammad caricatures, that the time has come to treat people’s religious beliefs and symbols with greater sensitivity in public.

Quite the contrary, we’d have thought.

The archdioces of Munich has threatened legal proceedings, Jewish and Muslim groups have added their voices, and the Bavarian leader, Edmund Stoider, intends to try to change Germany’s blasphemy laws

in order to protect people’s religious feelings.

That should really be: “pwotect” people’s “weligious” feelings.

Meanwhile in the USA, a student newspaper is under fire from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The Insurgent, an independent publication based in Oregon University, published a series of Jesus cartoons which league president William Donohue described as “flagrantly anti-catholic” and “one of the most egregious examples of hate speech targeted at Christians”.

Look at this one – doesn’t it make you really hate those bastard Christians?

Other cartoons feature Jesus on the cross in various humorous poses, god with a hard-on touching Adam’s willy, and a full-colour picture of Jesus and another guy snogging.


The entire issue is available here (PDF download).

More in-depth reporting at Hot Air.

Da Vinci Code round-up

Newsflash reports that pressure group on Manila is trying to get the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie banned, and all copies of the book in the Philippines destroyed.

The Philippine Alliance Against Pornography (PAAP) also wants author Dan Brown, whom they compare to Adolf Hitler, to be declared persona non grata in the country.

The clerics should remember their responsibility to protect the flock. As shepherds they are mandated by God that no sheep will bite this poisonous film, go astray and die

a spokesman was doubtlessly mistranslated as saying. He also provided the customary deeply-ironic quote about the book’s credibility:

all the factual claims of Brown are diabolical, illogical, baseless, out of this world.

Meanwhile, in Rome, the Catholic church has been having a fit about the fact that a giant poster for the soon-to-be-released film has appeared on the facade of San Pantaleo church.

Monsignor Marco Frisina of the Rome diocese:

The Da Vinci Code is a clever piece of commercial exploitation. Fine. But sticking a huge advert on the facade of a church is a blatant provocation,” he said. “In front of a church in the historical centre! They’ll soon be putting them on the front of the vicariato [the diocese headquarters]

It is not known whether or not The Da Vinci Code film will carry a disclaimer similar to the one shown at the end of Mel Gibson’s pious-porn fest The Passion of the Christ. But if it does, then surely they have nothing to worry about?


(Thanks to Andrew, Stuart, and Tim)

World Cup brothel arouses Muslim passion

The city of Cologne is home of Europe’s largest brothel, Pascha (slogan: “Being a Pascha is very fine”). It is a seven-story apartment building, boasting 126 apartments, its own restaurant, beauty centre, boutique, laundrette, and tanning salon.

In the run up to the world cup, they decided to advertise themselves with a huge poster on the side of the building. The poster featured a friendly-looking lady with the words “A time to make girlfriends” written across her breasts, and the flags of all the World Cup qualifying nations. They also had real flags flying on the other side of the building.

Unfortunately, those flags included those of the strictly Islamic Saudi Arabia and Iran, provoking local Muslims to claim it was an “insult to the prophet Mohammed” for them to appear in such a context. Last Friday, 11 masked men arrived demanding that the Saudi flag be removed. Then on Saturday 20 more arrived armed with knives and sticks threatening violence unless the Iranian and Saudi flags on the poster were also blacked out. The brothel owner complied.

For some unexplained reason the Tunisian flag, which bears the crescent symbol of Islam, remains on the advert.

Springer protest news

As the national tour of Jerry Springer: The Opera continues, so do the protests by offended Christians. The protests at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle have already started, even though the show doesn’t open there unit May 1. One of the protestors was fined £50 for littering when she was handed a promotional flyer for the show and threw it away in disgust.

One of her born-again accomplices said:

She probably took one look at the contents and threw it away in disgust. I don’t blame her. Jerry Springer – The Opera, is blasphemous and evil. But she shouldn’t have been littering. A bin would be the right place for it

Quite right too.

Meanwhile, protests have been going on in Edinburgh, where the show is currently being staged. One protestor, Paul James-Griffiths, dressed up as a blood-spattered Christ bearing a crucifix.

This is my artistic response to something where I feel people have pushed the boundaries too far

he explained.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between genuine Christian protestors and the free speech defenders taking the piss out of them.

Top 5 ads escape censure

The year 2005 saw a record number of complaints against adverts, according to the ASA. Out of the ten most complained-about ads, the top five all escaped censure from the authority.

MWW reported on the top two at the time: the Kentucky Fried Chicken mouthful, and the L-Word poster campaign. The next three were the Pot Noodle horn, the Mazda mannequin nipples, and the Churchill “London Fights Back” Ryanair newspaper ads.

And who better to get a quote on the subject than our friend John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK? As befitting a man whose life’s work is based upon a logical fallacy (namely the confusion of correlation and cause), he blithered to The Times thusly:

This shows there is a gap between the regulator and public opinion.

Since the top 5 ads collected a grand total of 3,717 complaints between them, the complainers can hardly be said to represent “public opinion”

Adverts have to be legal, decent, honest and true.

he added, tautologically.

Maybe the time has come to add that they must also show manners and respect.

So sit up straight and get your elbows off the table!

Easter miracle of stand-up Archbishop

We missed this when it happened, but the Archbishop of Canterbury’s hilarious Easter sermon deserves a late mention. In it he gives a plug to the upcoming Da Vinci Code film, comparing its implausible conspiracy theory plot with the far-more-credible “historical basis of faith”.

As someone remarked after a television programme about the Da Vinci Code, it’s almost that we’d prefer to believe something like this instead of the prosaic reality.

Now, here at MWW we have no truck with Dan Brown style myth-mongering, but take a look at what Rowan Williams is saying here. By “something like this” he means the idea that a 1st century rabbi got married and had kids. Compare this to what he regards as the “prosaic reality”: that this rabbi was executed, rose from the dead three days later, walked through walls, then rocketed up through the clouds to heaven by the power of magic.

The real miracle is that the Archbishop didn’t raise a single laugh.

Religion blog threatened with libel

Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, a site which has been on MWW’s blogroll for some time, has been threatened with libel action by Anglican’s for Israel. The group’s aims include

To recall the Church to G-d’s Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith.

They took exception to Richard Bartholomew’s 15th February report on them which included a reference from the Times to a now “spent” criminal conviction of the group’s campaign director, Huw Shooter, and to a comment by a pseudonymous poster which mentioned “criminals” in the organisation.

The letter from Simon McIlwaine puts their case:

…we are firmly of the opinion that you published details of an alleged conviction which would have been spent long ago in bad faith and out of clear malice contrary to Section 8 of the 1974 Act [on the Rehabilitation of Offenders]. It is evident that your reason for publishing those details was utterly malicious and that you did so out of spite because of Mr Shooter’s support for Israel.

You would be hard put to find a more conscientious, scrupulously-researched, and fair blog than Bartholomew’s Notes. That Richard now finds himself threatened with legal action because of the thoroughness of his research is very worrying, and we will be following developments closely.

More on the case here.

Channel Four to examine controversial comedy

Via chortle.

In August, Channel Four is set to air a seaosn of programmes looking at offensive comedy. Most contentious will likely be a 60 minute program entitled “The World’s Most Offensive Joke” which will include a series of gags about Princess Diana, and “Hitler: The Comedy Years” which will examine Nazi jokes from various people, apparantly including Prince Harry. British Satellite Broadcasting (The precursors to BSkyB) aired a sitcom featuring Hitler called “Heil Honey I’m Home” in 1990, which sparked a storm of complaints, was axed after just one episode, and has never been seen since.

Other programs include a documentary on Roy Chubby Brown, and a look at the furore caused by Monty Python’s Life Of Brian back in 1979. A rare TV outing for said film will also feature.

Of course, the UK’s resident killjoys, Mediawatch UK have to comment on this, and John Beyer (called Meyer in the Chortle article) said that Channel Four was deliberately “producing a compendium of offensiveness”.

How is C4 showing respect by dredging up a few comedians who can tell an offensive joke about Princess Di?

What makes him think that they intend to show respect? How about some offensive jokes about John M/Beyer? If I could afford it, I’d offer a prize to the best offensive joke aobut him in the comments……

Another Mo-toon

From The Guardian, via Bartholomew, who report that an Italian magazine close to Catholic group Opus Dei (mentioned in the previous post on MWW) have published an image depicting Muhammad in hell. The cartoon follows.

The Guardian article says:

The drawing in Studi cattolici takes its inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy, in which the 14th-century poet imagines being guided through hell by the Latin poet Virgil, and sees the prophet cut in two as his punishment for spreading division. In the cartoon, Virgil points out another figure to Dante, saying: “And that one there with his pants down, that’s Italian policy towards Islam.” The caption uses a play on words to suggest Italy has chickened out in its attitude to Muslims.

An Opus Dei spokesman seems to be denying all knowledge of the cartoon. From the Guardian again:

An Opus Dei spokesman said the magazine was not an official publication of the conservative Roman Catholic fellowship, and the edition had not been checked in advance. The spokesman said Opus Dei’s founder, St JosemarĂ­a Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-75) “would have given up his life for the sake of respecting other people’s religious freedom”.

As you can see from the cartoon, it doesn’t actually feature Muhammad at all……