Archive for March, 2008

Bakri likes Fitna

Undoubtedly the most telling reaction to Geert Wilders’ much-anticipated anti-Koran flick comes from the radical-Muslim cleric banned from Britain, Abu Bakri.

According to the Financial Times, he thought it was quite good.

… if we leave out the first images and the sound of the page being torn, it could be a film by the Mujahideen.

(Tip, Pickled Pol)




Satanic Verses play passes without incident

Good news from Potsdam, Germany, where the Hans-Otto theatre’s production of The Satanic Verses passed without incident.

The first ever stage adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel did draw some complaints from the German Islamic Council (“We regret that the religious sentiments of Muslims are being treated in a provocative manner”) and the Central Council of Muslims (“Freedom of expression and of art is important but offences against what is sacred in a religion is not something we value”).

That’s progress.




Universal Human Rights declared dead

The International Humanist and Ethical Union writes:

For the past eleven years the organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing the 57 Islamic States, has been tightening its grip on the throat of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yesterday, 28 March 2008, they finally killed it.

The fundamental human right to freedom of expression was fatally curbed when the HRC voted hat the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will be required to report on its “abuse” by anyone who speaks out against Islam in what is deemed to be “an act of racial or religious discrimination”.

Roy Brown of the Humanist and Ethical Union described the amendment, voted for by the OIC and supported by those bastions of human rights China, Cuba, and Russia±

Yesterday’s attack by the Islamists, led by Pakistan, had the subtlety of a thin-bladed knife slipped silently under the ribs of the Human Rights Council.

He is now calling for states who are genuinely concerned with human rights to withdraw from the Council, and possibly create an alternative organisation which is not in thrall to “a narrow, medieval worldview defined exclusively in terms of man’s duties towards Allah”.




Fitna up and down in a day

On Friday the 28th March Geert Wilders released his anti-Koran movie Fitna on Liveleak:

As you can see, within hours Liveleak was forced to take it down when some idiots, presumably Muslims, decided to prove the point of the movie by threatening violence. UPDATE (2 April): It is up again. The threats can’t have been that scary.

Fitna is an unsubtle piece of anti-immigration propaganda, and makes extremely unpleasant viewing. Having said that, most of the unpleasant realities it portrays are simply the words and actions of Muslims speaking and acting in the name of Islam.

The UN head Ban Ki-Moon condemned the film, saying

There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence…The right of free expression is not at stake here.

Presuming he is accusing Wilders of hate speech, he misses the point completely. The film does show hate speech by radical Muslims calling for the “kuffar” to be killed. But reporting the hate speech of others cannot in itself constitute hate speech.

Indeed this weird double- think is endemic within the UN. When High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says that governments should “they should prohibit any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” we do not know if she is talking about the hate-spewing imams shown in Fitna, or Wilders the messenger.

They should offer strong protective measures to all forms of freedom of expression, while at the same time enacting appropriate restrictions, as necessary, to protect the rights of others.

What does she mean by “rights of others”? It is not a no that your silly supremacist beliefs be respected, the UN Human Rights Council’s recently-expressed“deep concern” about the defamation of religion (read “Islam”) notwithstanding.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the blindest, most morally bankrupt and least self-aware condemnation of the movie came from the OIC’s Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who claimed that it “defamed Islam” and – as always – caused “insult to the sentiments of more than 1.3 billion Muslims in the world”.

Anyway, if you want to see the movie its still up on YouTube at the time of writing:




Kurt Westergaard has no regrets

Reuters carries an interview with the Turbomb cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. The 72-year-old atheist has no regrets. Indeed, he believes that the publication of the Motoons was, all things considered, a positive thing.

I would do it the same way (again) because I think that this cartoon crisis in a way is a catalyst which is intensifying the adaptation of Islam.

Without a cartoon that provoked the Muslims, it would have been something else; a novel a play, a movie, this situation would have occurred sooner or later anyway.

He also makes clear his thoughts about his Turbomb cartoon, which has been subject to various misinterpretations, from “racist provocation” to “all Muslims are terrorists”.

I have no problems with Muslims. I made a cartoon which was aimed at the terrorists who use an interpretation of Islam as their spiritual dynamite.

(Hat tip The Comics Reporter)




P**sy Parlure self-censored for sake of St Peter

The Freethinker today carries a tale of self-censorship in Brighton.

The Pussy Parlure, a mirrored travelling theatre taking part in the city’s Fringe Festival, was to be set up in council-owned grounds adjacent to St Peter’s church. But the parish council expressed its concern that the venue was “too risque” and will offend members of the public who mistakenly believe the lawn is sacred ground.”

pussy.jpg

Now it appears that the show’s owner has agreed to drop the word “pussy” – even though it referred to cats. All advertisements for the acts state that they will take place in the “Parlure”.

As Barry Duke, The Freethinker editor, says:

This is outrageous! Yielding to pressure from a church is bad enough, but capitulating to one typified by its profusions of phallic projections and named after a Peter – a popular slang term for penis – is intolerable.




Fitna website taken offline

The website set up by Geert Wilders’ to host his anti-Koran movie, Fitna, has been suspended by its American hosts Network Solutions.

All that remains on the site is this message:

This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site’s content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation. For more information about Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy visit the following URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/legal/aup.jsp

It is surprising that the investigation should be so complex and time consuming that it was necessary to close the site. It consisted of a single page containing a picture of a Koran, and the words “Geert Wilders presents Fitna. Coming soon”.

Perhaps the complaints were very strongly worded?

(Thanks to Marc)




Bin Laden on Motoons 2.0

Bearded cave-dweller Osama Bin Laden has released an audio tape in which he mentions the latest round of Motoon publications, claiming that they are part of a plot by the Pope.

He states that Europeans’ killing of women and children

paled [in comparison] when you went overboard in your unbelief and… went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings.

This is the greatest misfortune and the most dangerous [...]

If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.




Danish boycott off to a shaky start in ME

The proposed boycott of Danish goods by Islamic countries has met with a lukewarm response, at least in Bahrain and Dubai.

Many Bahraini retailers have said they intend to continue to stock Danish products. In Dubai, Gulf News spoke to shoppers, who were by no means united in their support for th boycott:

Adelfried Saidely from Iraq, for example, said:

I am against the ban simply for the reason that I think it is an exaggerated reaction to an issue that has already been given more prominence than it deserves. The Danish newspapers are simply adding fuel to the fire and trying to gain maximum publicity for their respective organisations.




Russian protestants try to shut down cartoon channel

The Moscow Times reports that the Consultative Council of the Heads of Protestant Churches have sent a letter to the Prosecutor General calling for the closure of 2X2, and independent cartoon channel.

The channel promotes “cruelty, violence, homosexual propaganda, religious hatred and intolerance” by broadcasting South Park.