Archive for February, 2007

Charlie Hebdo in court next week

hebdo front page
Reuters reports that a second attempt to prosecute a French satirical newspaper will go ahead on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Charlie Hebdo published all twelve of the Danish Motoons, plus some of its own, in February 2006.

The Grand Mosque de Paris and the Union of French Islamic Organisations, will try to get the newspaper prosecuted for race hate. Francis Szpiner is their lawyer, and he’ll have to do some serious szpinning if he’s going to make this case stick:

Free speech is not the issue here. The issue is that, in France, racism is not an opinion, it is a crime. […] Two of those caricatures make a link between Muslims and Muslim terrorists. That has a name and it’s called racism.

Doesn’t bode well for him, does it? Firstly, he makes the link himself between Muslims and Muslim terrorists, then he makes life even more difficult for himself by assuming Islam is a race. Tough one to prove, that.

Interestingly, by focussing on the “racism” charge, Szpiner is forced to concede an important point:

We admit that one can caricaturise the Prophet.

This case is likely to be ruled “irrecevable”, just like the first case, which attempted to prosecute on exactly the same grounds. Makes you wonder why they are throwing their money away.

The publisher ofCharlie Hebdo Philippe Val told L’Express:

It is racist to imagine that they can’t understand a joke.

Which, it must be said, doesn’t really help the defence much.

UPDATE: (6/02/07) Over 50 French intellectuals, including several Muslims, yesterday published a letter in Libération supporting Charlie Hebdo.

Democrats the world over and especially Muslims hope to see in Europe, and above all in France, a secular haven where their words are not blocked by dictators or fundamentalists. If Charlie Hebdo were to be convicted… we would all lose this shared space of resistance and liberty.

CV blasphemy case – detailed review

The fundamentalist group Stephen Green’s Voice (aka Christian Voice) has released details of the district judge’s refusal to proceed with the blasphemy case against the BBC. Basically, she said JS: TO was protected by the Theatres Act of 1968, and that previous decisions by the High Court and the BBC Governors’ Programming Complaints Commission meant that the case against it was not “credible”.

Green has instructed his solicitor to refer the decision to the High Court (where the application will be rejected once again), and will issue a statement shortly, probably saying something about “God’s” “judgement” on our nation.

Jesus fancy dress angers Vatican

jesus fancy dress
A Jesus fancy dress kit, made in China and sold all over Italy, has been branded “blasphemous” by senior Catholics. The basic version includes a wig, a beard, and a crown of thorns. In the deluxe version you get a long white dress and a plastic staff.

People have been dressing up as Jesus for years, but the Vatican has only just noticed. Senior Catholics, who seem to be in a permanent state of rage these days, have declared the novelty kit as “shameful”:

The vilifying of religion is a crime and this should be investigated by the police,’ said Bishop Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican’s Supreme Court.

The Christian doctrine is exploited but everyone is very careful to be respectful of Islam.

That confused anger again. Some Muslims react with violence to disrespect of Islam, therefore you must respect Christianity. Unpack that logic please, senior Catholic?

Can you imagine the outcry if a costume of the prophet Muhammad was on sale?

An false comparison, which ignores the fact that millions of Muslim men dress up just like Mohammed every day. It’s what they do.

3rd Motoon protestor goes down

31-year-old Abdul Saleem is the third Motoon protestor to be convicted for his part in the demo outside the Danish embassy last year. He was found guilty of using “threatening, abusive, and insulting behaviour”.

He had been cheerleading chants including “UK you will pay, sharia is on its way”, “7/7 on its way”, and “Europe you will pay with your blood”. Saleem’s defence was that “everyone else was saying it”.

He has been remanded in custody to sentencing in April.