MWW is not known for agreeing with Stephen “Dogshit” Green of Christian Stephen Green’s Voice infamy, but for once we do.
The Christian Voice website was shut down by hosts Pipex recently after a complaint by Brighton-based gay newspaper One80News. (no link available) The complaint came after a reader of the paper contacted them saying:
I do think that Christian Voice has broken the rules of the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) they use. The site should be pulled or become a subject for investigation by the police.
After the paper contacted Pipex, the site was taken down straight away, but was reinstated four days later. Green himself commented:
A commercial company cannot act as judge and jury unilaterally cutting off valuable web traffic on a whim or because of behind-the-scenes politicking. If they get away with it, every politically incorrect website is at risk.
And as much as it sickens me to say it, I agree with him. As odious and repugnant as I find Green’s views on almost everything, he should retain the right to express those views. After all, if he is silenced, we can’t take the piss out of him!
Dean Goodman, or the think tank Policy Exchange, has an interesting opinion piece in today’s Times. He analyses the police motives for the unprecedented and bizarre reporting of Channel 4 to Ofcom.
West Midlands Police, like another force or security agency, will obviously do everything it can to stop bombs going off. Sometimes that means supping with some people who don’t necessarily come up to the antiracist, antihomophobic standards of postMacpherson policing.
But rubbing shoulders with such elements in back alleys is not the same as according them public recognition. By referring this matter to Ofcom, West Midlands Police showed that its preferred associates in the Muslim community are Wahhabites and assorted radical Islamists rather than the nonsectarian Muslim mainstream. It is a choice that is profoundly demoralising for genuine moderates and will ultimately undermine, rather than strengthen the very community cohesion that the force seeks.
The Mail on Sunday is very proud of itself for “forcing” the removal of message from the BBC boards.
The message, pictured above, refers to Jesus Christ as a B-A-S-T-A-R-D. Pretty innocuous you would think, especially if you take the story seriously in the first place, in which case you have to admit it is actually true.
The Mail complains that the remarks had been “allowed to remain for weeks” in spite of protest from un-named Christian groups, until the MoS contacted senior BBC officials and the post was deleted.
The spin is, of course, that anti-Islam posts are deleted within minutes – but the solution to that isn’t to censor everything that might offend the religious. The Mail can’t resist an opportunity to show off how influential it is while simultaneously highlighting anti-Christian pro-Muslim bias in the liberal media.
They also wheeled out a spokesman for the Church of England who said:
Discussion – including robustly critical discussion – of any faith’s doctrines and practices is an important feature of civilised discourse.
But deliberately or recklessly offensive denigration of those doctrines and practices is unacceptable.
Turkish creationist nutcase Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya) has succeeded in getting all WordPress.com blogs blocked in Turkey.
Most recently famous for flooding schools and universities with a glossy, 800-page anti-evolution book, Oktar was annoyed by several bloggers at WordPress.com who weren’t taking him as seriously as he takes himself. His lawyers applied to the Turkish courts about the “slanders” and:
By the decision of Fatih 2nd Civil Court of First Instance, number 2007/195, access to WordPress.com has been blocked in Turkey.
More info here (If you’re not in Turkey, that is).
Here is a list of blogs that prompted Oktar to censor the whole of WordPress:
The Observer reports that the BBC has shied away from showing an episode of Casualty which featured Islamic suicide bombers.
Producers are reportedly frustrated at the decision by the corporation’s editorial guidelines department to change the storyline so that it featured animal rites activists, rather than Islamist terrorists.
By contrast, Channel 4 is preparing a publicity campaigns around Britz, a four-part drama by Peter Kosminsky:
A gritty and unflinching contemporary thriller about two young British Muslims, a brother and a sister, forced to confront who they are, as a hunt rages to uncover an active terrorist cell in mainland Britain.
An exhibition of photographs in the Swedish town of Jönköping has sparked a violent reaction among young Christian fundamentalists.
The Ecce Homo exhibition, by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson has been causing upset since it was first shown a decade ago.
On Sunday a group of young Christians tried to set fire to a poster outside the gallery. When staff tried to intervene a fight broke out, involving around 30 people.
Tony el Zouki, chairman of the Kulturhuset, said:
If this is some Christian group, then I really do not understand them. The message of Christianity is that people should understand and love each other. I really can’t see how this can have a Biblical explanation.
Jönköping is known as the heartland of Sweden’s evangelical Christian movement. The boys obviously don’t want no heathen photographer dissing the Messiah on their home turf.
The current Private Eye looks into the West Midlands Police decision to complain to Ofcom about Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque (seebelow).
They make the somewhat devastating point that Ofcom’s rules state that “Fairness and Privacy” complaints can come only from “the person affected” or someone authorised to act for them. The WMP is neither, so the complaint will not even be considered. It was clearly a gesture aimed at the Muslim community by Anil Patani, assistant chief constable (security and cohesion).
Private Eye asked the WMP why they hadn’t read the rules before lodging the complaint. A spokesman claimed that they “liaised” with Ofcom beforehand – a claim which Ofcom denies completely. Apparently they saw the press release only 10 minutes before it was issued.
The Eye also asked the CPS to cite some examples of the “complete distortion” they had accused Channel 4 of perpetrating on the views of the speakers in the documentary. CPS replied:
No. We don’t go into that level of detail.
Or indeed, the Eye notes, any detail at all.
The report concludes with by noting that Channel 4 and the HardCash production company are still considering suing the police for defamation. Good luck to them.
Just as a reminder, here are the “decontextualised” words of Abu Usamah, one of Green Lane Mosque’s main English-language preachers. The clip appears to be spliced together from two speeches, but both parts are pretty damning:
Any exonerating contextualisation gratefully considered.
UPDATE: (Aug 17) The Guardian reports that Kevin Sutcliffe has accused the BBC of lazy journalism. They reported the WMP complaint to Ofcom as just another “TV fakery” story, when it was no such thing:
Particularly BBC News 24 which really just ran it as a TV fakery story. They framed the debate early on and that was lazy.
Leading media barrister Joanne Cash also criticised the police, and repeated that Channel 4 had strong grounds for legal action:
What’s happened here is outrageous and I don’t say that lightly.
Kevin referred to himself as the ‘poster boy’ of TV fakery. I say to you Kevin, you have also been the subject of some highly defamatory allegations
UPDATE: Paul Goodman, the shadow community cohesion minister, has written to Jack Straw, expressing his concern:
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a politically motivated referral, driven by the mistaken belief that the best means of dealing with separatist extremists is to appease them.