Archive for July, 2007

I Wanna Be Like Osama, in Edinburgh

Possibly-concocted controversy at the Edinburgh Festival this year comes in the form of Jihad The Musical, an “all-singing, all-dancing madcap gallop” through “the whacky world of international terrorism”.

It has become the subject of one of those Downing Street e-petitions calling for the Prime Minister to “condemn the tasteless portrayal of terrorism and its victims,” without which it would never have got a mention in The Observer or BBC.

Anyway from the YouTube clip above, it looks like it might be quite a laugh.

(Thanks to Andy A, and Gagwatch)

Love’s Farewell

We haven’t featured Mediawatch-UK here for some time, although that is the organisation that gave this site its name. The reason for this is that the MW-UK seems to be becoming increasingly irrelevant and ineffectual in its campaigning, and its director John Beyer seldom says anything noteworthy.

His latest pronouncement on the upcoming ITV documentary, Malcom and Barbara: Love’s Farewell, is a case in point.

This documentary is the second in a two-parter by Paul Watson exploring the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a family. The “contoversy” stems from the fact that it shows the moment of Malcolm Pointon’s death.

Barbara Pointon, his wife, agreed to the showing, as it

produces a response from the public that spurs politicians to make better decisions about the future of dementia care, then Malcolm’s death will not have been in vain. The death scene serves a purpose and makes the important point that in Alzheimer’s we confront a killer disease, a disease that has overtaken cancer to become the second biggest killer in Britain after heart disease.

The Alzheimer’s Society has also praised the documentary:

Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell gives valuable insight into the battles thousands of people with dementia and their carers face everyday. Sadly, Malcolm and Barbara’s journey is not unique, 1 in 3 older people will end their life with dementia.

Dementia is more than just memory loss; it robs people of their lives and has a devastating impact on families and loved ones. Malcolm and Barbara’s decision to film their journey in its entirety was one they made together to raise awareness of this harsh reality. We hope their brave decision will shine a light on the fact that dementia is a terminal condition that is currently desperately under funded and misunderstood.

Compare this to John Beyer’s reaction:

There is a certain dignity in death that is not appropriate for people to gawp at on television. The way that broadcasters seem to want to intrude on every human activity undermines that dignity. We are entitled to privacy and dignity, and television destroys all that.

You see? Beyer’s witless, philistine prudery is not even funny anymore. Surely it’s time for Mediawatch-UK to die with dignity.

Anti-Rushdie demo washout

Heartening news from Blackburn, where a demo to protest Salman Rushdie’s recent knighthood proved a complete washout. Nobody turned up, not even the organiser, Tasaddiq Rehman, of the local Muslim Council of Europe.

According to a commenter on The Citizen story page, the demo had actually been cancelled the week before due to lack of interest, but the organiser failed to inform the press.

(Hat tip Pub Philosopher)

Clareification complainer explains Glasgow bomb plot

The Pub Philosopher notices that Hicham Kwieder has quite a bit to say about Bilal Abdullah, the Glasgow Airport bomber who managed to avoid torching himself.

Kwieder, you may recall, was the author of that whiny-threatening press release about the Clare College Cambridge student newspaper’s publishing of a Motoon.

He spoke to the Evening Times and the New York Times (subscription link) about his friend’s motives for the attack:

It seemed he wasn’t happy about the situation in Iraq, and the killing and disputes between the Iraqi factions.

Behind his smiling, he had some anger.

He told me he felt the Shia domination of Iraq was wrong and was upset that his family had to leave Iraq for Jordan. He was not happy with the policies taken by the British and U.S. governments of giving more to the Shia than the Sunnis.

Ah. That explains why he felt it necessary to try to incinerate hundreds of Scottish holiday makers.

We thought it was because he believed in bullshit.

Christian SOR ad judged “untruthful”

Last year a group of Christians published an ad in The Times trying to influence the parliamentary vote on the Sexual Orientation Legislation. It attracted 51 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority for being unsubstantiated, untruthful, misleading, offensive, socially irresponsible, and likely to stir up violence against homosexuals.

The group called themselves “Coherent and Cohesive Voice” – an amalgam of homosexuality-obsessed Christian groups largely made up of black churches but including Christian Concern for our Nation and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.

Really, with a bunch of lawyers on board you would think they wouldn’t have made such a hash of their advert, which was found by the ASA to be both inaccurate and misleading.

Here is a sample of their claims about the effect of the SORs. Under the heading “So what do the Government’s newly proposed SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS do?”, was this list of questions:

– Force all schools to actively promote homosexual Civil Partnerships to children (from primary school age) to the same degree that they teach the importance of marriage?
– Force a printing shop run by a Christian to print flyers promoting gay sex?
– Force a family-run B&B to let out a double room to a transsexual couple, even if the family think it is in the best interests of their children to refuse to allow such a situation in their own home?
– Make it illegal for a heterosexual policeman, fireman or member of the Armed Forces, to refuse to join a Gay Pride event promoting the homosexual way of life?

Each question was followed by a box with a tick in it. None of the claims were true.

We don’t hold much store by the Bible here at MWW, but isn’t there something about not bearing false witness in there? Commandment number 9, if memory serves?

The SORs were passed in March and came into effect in April this year.

(Hat tip The Freethinker)

4 Motoon protestors jailed

Four Danish embassy Motoon protestors have been jailed for soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred in 2006.

Mizanur Rahman, 24, Umran Javed, 27, and Abdul Muhid, 24, were each jailed for six years for soliciting murder, and Abdul Saleem, 32, got four for inciting racial hatred.

The hearing was picketed by around 40 demonstrators waving placards with slogans including “Muslims Under Siege”.

Chief Superintendent Ian Thomas of the Met said:

We have a long history of facilitating lawful demonstration, taking into account freedom of speech.

However, these people stepped over that line and broke the law.

Pagans upset, threaten “rain magic”

homer at cerne abbas
This time it is the Cerne Abbas giant which is being treated with disrespect. Promotors of the new Simpsons Movie have painted a donut-weilding Homer next to the giant above the Dorset village.

It is painted using biodegradable paint which will wash away as soon as it rains.

Pagans are up in arms. Ann Bryn-Evans, joint District Manager of the Pagan Federation in Wessex:

It’s very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing. We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We’ll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.

I’m amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It’s an area of special scientific interest.

While it is amusing that pagans have such things as “joint District Managers”, credit must be given for their restrained reaction. If only other offended religious groups would restrict their protests to the performance of harmless magic rituals instead of demands for censorship and death threats.

UPDATE: The b3ta boards are host to an animated version:
homer animated

Transvestite Pontiff pulled in Milan

pope transvestite
A gay art exhibition in Milan has been forced to remove a sculpture of Pope Benedict XVI in drag.

The exhibit, entitled “Miss Kitty”, prompted the Catholic Anti-Defamation League to threaten to press charges, claiming that it constituted “defamation of a head of state”.

It is a vulgar offence against Christ’s Vicar and the feelings of the Roman Catholics.

They did not explain exactly what was offensive about depicting the Pope in nothing but a blond bob wig, a stole, panties and thigh-high stockings.

Another piece showed the Italian Premier Roman Prodi’s spokesman talking to a transvestite. The curator of the gallery told AP, “It was made clear to us that it would be better to remove the pieces.”

“Miss Kitty”, by Paolo Schmidlin, was bought by Milan’s top culture official, Vittorio Sgarbi, who helped set up the exhibition. He said:

I’ll keep it with me so that I can give the Pope back the decorum he deserves

Danish Muslims to call for Motoon fatwa

kasem ahmed
Flemming Rose, art editor if the Jyllands-Posten, has revealed in his blog that the Islamic Society of Copenhagen will push for a fatwa against the paper which published the 12 Motoons nearly two years ago.

If, as is likely, the Jyllands-Posten is acquitted in a pending civic case brought by a number of Mulim organisations, and the European Human Rights Court also makes a stand for freedom of expression, the ISC will seek support in the Middle East for a fatwa.

Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Islamic Society, said:

Until now nobody has had to answer for insulting our prophet. We have no choice but to ask for a fatwa.

No Muslim will ever forget that the prophet was insulted.

UPDATE: An attempt by the same loose coalition of Danish Koraniacs to sue a politician for libel has just failed. The leader of the Danish anti-immigration party had branded them “traitors” for touting the 12 Motoons, plus three others, around the Middle East to stir up resentment. Kasem Ahmad is unhappy:

We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal

German journalist wants to read Satanic Verses in mosque

A German author has announced that he wants to read aloud from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses inside a Cologne mosque.

The author and investigative journalist Günter Wallraff, 64, famous for his undercover investigations uncovering social injustice, has denied that he wants to provoke the city’s Muslims. He considers his friend Rushdie’s book to be a masterpiece. The Muslim public should be talking about it, but instead it “currently is condemning something it does not know about.”

The secretary of the local Ditib religious foundation, Bekir Alboga, said the board was considering the proposal.