Archive for January, 2007

Jesus as a prawn causes complaints

jesus prawn
The ASA today ruled that an ad placed in The Grocer magazine depicting a nativity scene with a prawn in the manger did not breach the CAP code. The Big Prawn Company were advertising their “new King prawn”. Text underneath the picture stated “‘A KING IS BORN’ ORDER NOW TO ENSURE A CHRISTMAS DELIVERY”.

The ASA received 37 complaints, the Big Prawn Co 16, and The Grocer 28. The advertiser and the magazine responded to each complaint, and an apology was published in the following issue.

The ASA ruled:

While we noted some readers had been offended by the depiction of a prawn in place of the baby Jesus, we considered that the approach would be seen as light-hearted by most readers of The Grocer; it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Some people react badly to seafood.

Madonna off the hook in Holland

Madonna will not be prosecuted for “blasphemy” in Holland, much to the disappointment of the Protestant SGP party. Complaints were prompted by her crucifixion scene part of her “Confessions ON A Dancefloor” world tour.

Unfortunately, she seems to have been let off for the wrong reasons. A spokesman for the prosecutors office announced:

The pop singer Madonna will not be prosecuted for blasphemy and insulting faith.

The prosecutor’s office believes that through her show, the singer on all the evidence tried to express her frustrations about certain situations in the world, it is not a question of contempt for God.

Furthermore, Madonna did not discredit Christians as a group.

Showing “contempt for God” and “discrediting Christians” is apparently still an offence in the Netherlands.

A Muslim Mediawatch?

The preposterously named Islamic Human Rights Commission (do Islamic humans have different rights from other humans?) has been complaining about the way Muslims are portrayed in the media – particularly Hollywood.

They actually make some valid points about lazy stereotyping in films such as Aladdin and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Unfortunately – and rather predictably – this gets buried under an avalanche of conspiracy-theory paranoia and victimhood, with some claiming that the film industry is a “tool of foreign policy”. Arzru Merali, the head of research at the commission, told the Guardian that such portrayals were

analogous to saying similar things to the Jewish community in the early 1930s.

Worst of all, the IHRC’s solution to their problem:

The authors call for more power for cinema censors to be able to curtail or even decline certification of “objectionable material”, as well as more effective media watchdogs and increased responsibility in coverage of issues involving Muslims on the part of newspapers and television.

Just what we need.

UPDATE: (28 Jan) Rachel Cooke makes much the same point in more detail, and with more eloquence, in today’s Observer.

Opus Dei complains to BBC

Waking the Dead, BBC’s award-winning drama, has sparked the fury of the sinister uber-Catholic organisation Opus Dei. Tuesday’s episode, titled “The Fall” featured a murder investigation of an Opus Dei devotee, sparking the accusation that the BBC portrayed the group as “pious hypocrites and murderers bent on acquiring wealth and power”.

Spokesman Jack Valero said:

Members of Opus Dei are Catholics, they are not going around killing people, having sex with married people and making money.

Apparently he didn’t even crack a smile!

The Mail has the full story.

Shooting the messenger – reactions to “Undercover Mosque”

The MCB website thoughtfully carries the written responses of some of the organisations implicated in Channel 4’s Dispatches exposé of Saudi-trained radical imams preaching hateful nonsense at some of the country’s leading mosques. They are case studies in denial and aggressive victimhood.

Shouaib Ahmed (PDF download) of Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith actually threatens C4 with legal action:

if I or any member of my staff or anyone who worships at the Green Lane Mosque or the Mosque itself are subjected to any form of physical attack as a result of your programme then you, HardCash Productions Ltd and Channel 4 will all be liable to prosecution for incitement to commit a criminal act.

Right. Channel 4 report the hateful words of a loony, and any backlash resulting from it is Channel 4’s fault?

Safiq ur-Rahman (PDF downlaod) of the UK Islamic mission also writes a long and angry whinge, highlight of which include:

But given our predilection for gratuitous Islamophobia and sacrilege of the highest Islamic – and Christian – sanctities, under the holy doctrine of absolute freedom of speech, it seems a little rich for anyone making so much fuss about some intemperate words blurted here and there by someone feeling hurt and angry.


The Saudis did not need to buy British Muslim support. It was worth little and yet had this been possible, considering the trillions they contribute to the British economy, the Saudis were very well placed to buy up the British establishment itself.

The MCB link to the letters here. They make remarkable reading.

“24” gives terrorism a bad name

The TV drama 24 has come under fire from groups who claim that its repeated association of acts of terrorism with Islam gives terrorists a bad name. “The impression given is that all terrorists are Islamic,” said a spokesman. “In reality, some are not.”

The BBC has the real story.

Flemming Rose on the Motoons

At a press conference yesterday the arts editor of Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose, spoke about last year’s Motoons furore.

The cartoons didn’t create a new reality, they just made an existing reality visible. This reality is about differences in culture that have been taboo to discuss in Europe.

He insisted that he was right to publish the cartoons in the first place, but declined to say whether or not he would publish them again.

The drawings have started a very important debate that will last for many, many years. In the coming years, this will become a bigger discussion.

It’s best to get things like this out in the open.

Failed blasphemy case

Stephen Green is possibly still smarting from Horseferry Magistrate Courts’s decision to reject his blasphemy case against the BBC, because he has yet to comment publicly on the matter. He had been collecting funds and preparing the case for two years, so to have it dismissed as unworthy of consideration must hurt. Even the dismissal wasn’t deemed newsworthy by the mainstream media. The 21st century is a cold hard place for a primitive such as Stephen.

However, a recent press release dealing with the Diana inquest can be read as a comment on the outcome. It is bizarre that he thinks Lady Butler-Sloss’s decision not to use a jury is a relevant subject for CV, until you realise it is simply a vehicle for Green to express his outrage at the judicial system.

To say that a jury cannot come to a careful and fully reasoned decision betrays the contempt for the lower orders which has sadly become a characteristic of the Establishment under the present Prime Minister.

A jury cannot come to a reasoned decision, she says, but of course a judge can, in particular a judge like Lady Butler-Sloss. Don’t trust the people, trust the judges, or the minister, or the man in Whitehall. In just a few words, she has put on display all that is pompous, self-serving, proud and vain in those who purport to rule us.

Pompous, self-serving, proud and vain? Who can Mr Green, the self-styled Voice of All Christians who has compared himself to John the Baptist, be talking about?

Green’s attitude to the law is strangely inconsistent. In his prematurely triumphalist press release on the blasphemy case, he says:

No-one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.

Yet in his comment about the Sexual Orientation Regulations:

They think we shall back down. But for Christians, it’s a case of “Can’t pay, won’t pay.” In other words it’s not that we are merely refusing to go along with the Governments’ wickedness. It is that we cannot do it in all conscience. For us to offer our services to those who are carrying on against nature as the children of disobedience would be to deny our faith. We can not and will not do that. […]

Christian Voice will support any believer or church caught by these anti-Christian regulations. Let us know if you face any problems because of them.

Still got a few ideological contradictions to iron out there, Stevie. Keep at it old boy. At least you haven’t got a drawn-out court battle to distract you from your cogitations.

Green’s Blasphemy case rejected

News is filtering through that Stephen “Dog Shit” Green’s application to prosecute the BBC for blasphemy has been rejected. Will keep you updated as we learn more.

Chortle confirms the story. Horseferry Road Magistrates rejected the action. Pity.

Germany seeks Europe-wide holocaust denial law

Germany, which has just taken up presidency of the European Union, is pushing strongly for new laws prohibiting statements and actions which trivialise Nazi crimes and the Holocaust.

Brigitte Zypres, the German justice minister, says:

We believe there are limits to freedom of expression

Attempts to ban Holocaust denial across the EU have failed twice before. Let’s hope they fail again.