Archive for June, 2007

Persepolis pulled from Thai film fest

The Iranian government has persuaded the director of the Bangkok International Film Festival to withdraw Persepolis from its programme.

The film, based on a autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, tells the story of her childhood in post-revolutionary Iran. When it was shown at Cannes, it drew complaints from the Iranian government who claimed it was “Islamophobic”.

The director of the Bangkok Festival, Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya, said:

I was invited by the Iranian embassy to discuss the matter and we both came to mutual agreement that it would be beneficial to both countries if the film was not shown.

It’s a good film, but there are other considerations

(Hat tip,Harry’s Place)

Giving an inch to Islamic Rage Boy

rage boy
Rage Boy (pictured left) is a serial protester and something of a poster-child for Islamic grievances. Indeed, this is not his first appearance on MWW. He is featured in an article today in Slate, by Christopher Hitchens.

The MWW article below which mentioned “not giving an inch” to people such as Rage Boy inspired a comment from Ophelia Benson of Butterflies and Wheels, the eloquence and passion of which demand that it be reprinted here:

And along with not giving them an inch it’s crucial that we keep explaining to them and to the fans of inch-giving why we are not giving them an inch and why they have no right to an inch and why they have no legitimate grievance about their non-receipt of an inch. We have to keep explaining loudly and softly, briefly and at length, rudely and politely, and always lucidly. We have to keep on and on and on doing it until they get the point. ‘No inch is forthcoming because you have no, repeat no, legitimate claim to an inch. Now go away.’

UPDATE (June 29) Bazmeister in the comments pointed out the similarity between Rage Boy and Animal from the Muppets. In fact, a closer look at some recent protest photos shows that Animal is actually taking part. Here, for example:
animal and rage boy

And you can just about make him out here:
 animal and rage boy

Who knew Animal was a ragin’ Muslim?

It’s all about us – Guardian letter

Today’s Guardian carries this letter from the usual suspects:

We strongly deplore the recent conferring of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie (Letters, June 21). We see this as a deliberate provocation and insult to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. The “honouring” of Rushdie at a time when the British government claims to be trying to build bridges with the Muslim community can only be seen as duplicitous. We regard this as a conscious effort not only to offend Muslim sensibilities but also to sow seeds of division. In honouring Rushdie, the prime minister has demonstrated how little regard he has for Islam.
Ali al-Hadithi Federation Of Student Islamic Societies, Bashir Mann Muslim Council of Scotland, Dr Abdul Wahid Hizb ut-Tahrir, Dr Ahmad ar-Rawi Muslim Association of Britain, Dr Mamoun Mobayad Northern Ireland Muslim Family Association, Dr Muhammad Abdul-Bari Muslim Council of Britain, Massoud Shadjareh Islamic Human Rights Commission, Maulana Faiz Siddiqui Muslim Action Committee, Muhammad Sawalha British Muslim Initiative, Saleem Qidwai Muslim Council of Wales, Sheikh Abdulhossein Moezi Islamic Centre of England, Sheikh Shafiq-ur-Rahman United Kingdom Islamic Mission

There is also a particularly witless contribution from serial letter-writer Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob who thinks Rushdie shouldn’t have got a knighthood because he “did not contribute any constructive work to interfaith dialogue” – as if that’s a requirement for receiving an honour.

Scientologist barred from filming in Germany

The Telegraph reports that the German government has refused permission to film at military sites because the star is Tom Cruise – a leading Scientologist.

The film is based on a true story about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Harald Kammerbauer, a defence ministry spokesman, said the film makers

will not be allowed to film at German military sites if Count Stauffenberg is played by Tom Cruise, who has publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult

The German government is correct refusing to give Scientology special status as a religion. But it is hard to see how blocking this film will do anything except allow the CoS an opportunity to play the victim card.

UPDATE: (July 4) They’ve banned him again. This time from filming outside a police station. This is getting embarrassing.

Da Vinci Code to be sued in Italy

According to Reuters 10 people connected with The Da Vinci code, including author Dan Brown and Director Ron Howard, are being investigated by state prosecutors in Italy.

Apparently the film contravenes article 528 of Italy’s penal code. A group of unnamed clerics from the town of Civitavecchia filed the a complaint.

UPDATE: (June 27) The case has been dropped.

Weekend Rushdie roundup

The Sir Salman storm continued apace over the weekend, with too many stories for MWW to comment on. Most notably, an Iranian newspaper epitomised the paranoid it’s-all-about-us mindset when it accused the Queen of paying Rushdie £500,000 to write The Satanic Verses

The insult of the English Queen for honouring a knighthood on Salman Rushdie has sent the clear message that from the point of view of England and its Queen, Rushdie’s act is a great and praiseworthy service to the slowly vanishing English Empire which needs to be acknowledged.

This act can be seen as a cover-up to distract the public’s attention from the sexual scandals of royal princes and princesses who are infamous and detested even among the English population, a population who cannot wait for the end of this hated monarch regime which stinks of the Middle Ages.

Funny to hear Islamists mentioning the Middle Ages pejoratively, especially since that is the era to which they want the world to return.

A group of Islamabad traders upped the bounty on Rushdie by offering around £82,000 to anyone who beheads him, and the Pakistan government renewed calls to withdraw the honour. This time they are claiming that the award breaks UN resolution 1624 which call on members to “enhance dialogue and broaden understanding” as a means to preventing “the indiscriminate targeting of religions and cultures”.

Once again: it’s all about us.

Here in the UK there were demonstrations outside the Regents Park mosque, led by Anjem Choudary. Protesters attacked photographers and burned flags, photographs etc. Placards read “god curse the queen”, and one leader explained that Rushdie deserved to be attacked.

The idiot Lord Ahmed continued to dig himself into a hole from which it is unlikely he will ever emerge.

Muhammed “Boo-Hoo” Bari confirmed that the government made the right decision when it spurned the MCB. He wrote to 500 mosques around the country:

Muslims can only see this action as an attempt to create deep offence to Muslims and divert their attention from contributing to community cohesion in these challenging times.

So it was a breath of fresh air to see the Sunday papers speaking up for reason and sanity. Nick Cohen, and Andrew Anthony gave robust defences in The Observer, and in The Telegraph Jenny McCartney reminded the ragers that anger is a choice.

David Thompson makes clear that the “compromise” position adopted by, among others, Shirley Williams (see Ophelia Benson’s comment on her Question Time appearance), is both logically and morally dubious:

As the audience applause for Williams demonstrated, this is a remarkably common assumption – that the most “fair” and “even-handed” position is halfway between homicidal thuggery and calm argument, or halfway between intellectual freedom and a visceral fear of speaking. Any other position is, supposedly, unreasonable or “extreme”.

Absolutely. We cannot give an inch to these murderously puerile thugs – because there isn’t an inch to give.

Making a song and dance about Scientology

The sinister and cultish Church of Scientology has reacted angrily to news of a spoof musical which will debut at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

Xenu is loose! (subtitle: “Cower puny Humans as the Dark Prince of the Galactic Federation rains Atomic Death once more upon your Pitiful Planet — The Musical!”) is a spoof of L Ron Hubbard’s piss-poor Battlefield Earth. It was created by an Oxford-based drama group who spent a year collecting material about the crackpot pay-as-you-go religion.

Stuart Pringle is the director:

The more we looked into it, the more we saw potential for an exposé show. Instead of putting together a straight satire we decided to create a kitsch rock’n’roll musical based on the science-fiction mythology on which Scientology is based.

We hope to open people’s eyes about Scientology and the sophisticated and complex psychological techniques it uses to recruit people and keep them within the organisation. In our opinion it is a cult.

Scientology spokeswoman Janet Kenyon advised people to stay away from the show, and said that the church was considering “action”.

L Ron Hubbard was also a science fiction writer.

It is a cheap parlour trick to try to liken the philosophy of Scientology to that work. There is nothing in the theology or philosophy of Scientology about belief in aliens.

According to Scientological mythology, Xenu was an alien overlord who brought billions of aliens to Earth in jet planes, stacked them around volcanoes, and blew them up with H-bombs. Their souls then clustered together and attached themselves to the bodies of living humans, thus causing them to have skeptical attitudes towards loopy, money-grabbing science-fiction-based cults.

(Hat tip Disinterested Party)

I know you are, but what am I?

In a hilarious display of infantilism, a leading group of Pakistani Islamic “scholars” has awarded its highest honour to Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Ulema Council awarded the Sword of Allah to bin Laden as a reaction to Salman Rushdie’s knighthood. Council chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi told AFT:

We are pleased to award the title of Saifullah to Osama bin Laden after the British government’s decision to bestow the title of ‘Sir’ on blasphemer Rushdie. This is the highest title for a Muslim warrior

Will there be rioting and burning of bin Laden effigies in London as a result? Or will everyone be too busy laughing at this delightful display of childishness? Way to command respect, Pakistani imams!

Meanwhile, home secretary John Reid defends the honours committee decision:

…we have a right to express opinions and a tolerance of other people’s point of view, and we don’t apologise for that.”

Margaret Beckett, however, said sorry.

Obviously, we are sorry if there are people who have taken very much to heart this honour, which is after all for a lifelong body of literary work.

Bunglawala steps towards the light

Inayat Bunglawala, and Assistant Secretary-General of the MCB, writes “in a personal capacity” in this comment piece in The Guardian. So, unfortunately, his words cannot be taken as the official MCB line.

Bunglawala admits he “used to be a book burner”, and took part in the anti-Rushdie demonstrations in 1989. However, he now admits he was misguided:

Looking back now on those events I will readily acknowledge that we were wrong to have called for the book to be banned. Today I can certainly better appreciate the concerns and fear generated by the images of book-burning in Bradford and the calls for the author to be killed.
Our detractors had been right. The freedom to offend is a necessary freedom.

Credit where it’s due. This comment piece marks a significant step in the right direction from a leading member of the MCB.

Now if only “Boo Hoo” Bari would stop referring to Rushdie’s knighthood as a “provocation”…

UPDATE: (21 June) Several people whose opinions I respect think I may be giving Bunglawala too much credit. Here’s one.

Banner competition

caption competition

Suggestions in the comments box. The winner will be showered in glory. A squirt of glory will be directed at the runner up. Judge’s decision is final.

RESULTS: Before this story disappears off the bottom of the page, here are the results of the banner competition. It was a close-run thing, as the standard of entries was extremely consistent.

The winner is Chris for:

Pakistani hands free pissing team

And the runner up is Andy Gilmour for:

How’s My Protesting? Call 1-800-Outrage

A shower and a squirt of glory goes to those two, respectively.