Archive for July, 2007

Council of Europe calls for repeal of blasphemy laws

The National Secular Society reports that the Council of Europe has passed a recommendation calling for all member states to review their blasphemy laws.

The Council, which was the architect of the European Convention on Human Rights, also said that religious groups must accept that their beliefs cannot be protected from criticism:

Freedom of expression is not only applicable to expressions that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that may shock, offend or disturb the state or any sector of population within the limits of Article 10 of the Convention. Any democratic society must permit open debate on matters relating to religion and beliefs.

The recommendation also makes specific reference to “threats issued by Muslim leaders against journalists and writers.” From Paragraph 13:

While religions are free to penalise in a religious sense any religious offences, such penalties must not threaten the life, physical integrity, liberty or property of an individual or women’s civil and human rights. […] Member states have the obligation to protect individuals against religious penalties which threaten the right to life and the right to liberty and security of a person under Articles 2 and 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. No state has the right to impose itself such penalties for religious offences, either.

Good work, Council of Europe.

(Hat tip Gagwatch)

Zawahiri threatens “retaliation” over Rushdie knighthood

Cave-dwelling Koraniac Ayman al-Zawahiri has delivered a message from al-Qaida accusing the UK of defying the Muslim world by honouring Salman Rushdie, and threatening a “very precise” retaliation.

In a recorded message distributed to jihadi websites the al-Qaida number 2 address Gordon Brown directly:

The policy of your predecessor has brought tragedy and defeat upon you, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in the centre of London.

And if you did not understand, listen, we are ready to repeat it for you, with the permission of Allah. We are sure that you have quite understood it.

Amusingly, Zawahiri claims that the knighthood was motivated by anger at the defeat of British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Queen and Tony Blair are taking revenge by cursing the Muslim prophet.

Sony says sorry (again)

The BBC reports that Sony has apologised to the CofE once again for offending “some of the congregation” with their video game REsitance: Fall of Man. The game shows a gun battle inside Manchester Cathedral.

It is clear to us that the connection between the congregation and the cathedral is a deeply personal and spiritual one.

As a result, it is also clear that we have offended some of the congregation by using the cathedral in our science fiction game.

It was never our intention to offend anyone in the making of this game, and we would like to apologise unreservedly to them for causing that offence, and to all parts of the community who we might also have offended.

Dr Reeves also said the firm would ensure that Manchester Cathedral was not used in any of its games again.

The game is still on sale, and no mention has been made of a monetary donation.

The Cathedral dean, the Very Reverend Govender, is still worried:

We still fear that the next buildings to be cloned for virtual desecration could be a mosque, synagogue, temple or other church.

No offence taken in Brighton and Chicago

The relaunched and revamped Freethinker website carries the story of a Brighton art gallery which put on a sacrilegious art exhibition, including a work entitled “Fuck Religion” featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary, and received no complaints at all!

In fact, such was the demand for Dan Baldwin’s work that the limited edition of Fuck Religion sold out on the day – 75 copies at £400 each. Clearly there is money in fucking religion these days.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Jerry Springer: The Opera has had its run extended at Chicago’s Bailiwick Theater due to popular demand. The theater’s artistic director informed MWW that there has not been so much as a squeak of protest from the massive Christian population.

Perhaps the Americans – even those of the fundamentalist Christian variety – have a greater respect for the principle of freedom of speech, as enshrined in their First Amendment, than do our censorious home grown Bible fetishists?

The private prosecution for blasphemy against JS:TO is still pending.

Pagans offended by big man makeover

wilmington man makeover
Pagans in East Sussex have declared themselves offended by a sex-change makeover of the Long Man of Wilmington by TV fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah.

The stunt was part of the show Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation. 100 women were invited to decorate the figure by giving him pigtails, breasts, and hips.

Arthur Pendragon, a Pagan Priest and Druid Swordbearer who has stood for parliament in Winchester, protested:

We are very angry because this is so disrespectful. We, the pagans, would not in our wildest dreams consider putting female breasts and clothing on effigies of any Holy Prophets, be it Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other revered figure of another faith. Why then, does ITV commission Trinny and Susannah to do so at the Long Man of Wilmington?

Another pagan, name of Greg Draven, said there were two reasons he objected to the project:

One is the offence to my spiritual belief, because this is a sacred site. The other is because it is an archaeological site which already suffers from soil erosion.

Imagine if people put breasts and a wig on an image of Mohammed – the uproar it would cause!

The stunt was undertaken with the permission and supervision of the Sussex Archaeological Society, and no damage was done to the monument.

Motoons protestor convicted of incitement to murder

london ;motoons protests
Mizanur Rahman, the London Motoons protestor convicted in November on the charge of incitement to racial hatred, has now been convicted of incitement to murder.

The CPS decided to retry the 24 year old web designer from Palmers Green after a jury failed to reach a decision on the incitement to murder charge.

He told a crowd outside the Danish Embassy that British and American troops should be brought home in body bags.

We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad.

We want to see the Mujahideen shoot down their planes the way we shoot down birds, we want to see their tanks burn in the way we burn their flags.

He also had placards calling for the annihilation and beheading of those who insult Islam. The case for his defence was based on the fact that he is a “hot head”.