Archive for July, 2008

Harry’s Place sued by “Hamas UK”

We reported on July 4 that Harry’s Place was being threatened by the British Muslim Initiative for accurately translating what turned out to be a mistranscription of an al Jazeera interview with the BMI’s president. (For some strange reason that article does not appear on MWW’s front page).

Al Jazeera had apparently “sexed up” the words of Mohammed Sawalha, reporting that he had used the phrase “evil Jew” in his speech, when in fact he had said “Jewish lobby”. The Al Jazeera report was subsequently altered to reflect this, as DavidT of Harry’s Place duly noted.

Now we hear that a solicitor’s letter has been delivered on BMI’s behalf, demanding the original articles be taken down and an apology issued.

Sawalha, who is an activist with the anti-semitic and hateful organisation Hamas, is apparently objecting to the implication that he is “anti-semitic and hateful”.

Fortunately, Harry’s Place is having none of it, and has responded robustly.

A member of Hamas has no reputation to defend.

Green petition update

We reported last week that Stephen “Birdshit” Green, national director of the failed lobby group Stephen Green’s Voice (aka Christian Voice), faces bankruptcy over legal fees accrued by his attempted blasphemy prosecution.

He set up a petition begging the BBC and Avalon to waive their fees of £90,000. This prompted a counter-petition urging that the costs should not be waived, sponsored by “Anyone who can’t quite believe Stephen Green’s cheek”.

The signatories of Green’s petition currently number 1,282, and the “pay up” petition stands at 1,050. However, the number of spoof signatories on Green’s petition looks close to 50%, judging by the anti-CV comments on the front page alone.

So the public seems to be overwhelmingly antipathetic to Green’s cause. Not that this will lead him to consider for a moment that he is wrong – Green is, after all, a man of great faith in himself. In fact, he will probably consider it a vindication of his opinion that the UK is a nation in the grip of Satan.

Sign the pay up petition here.


Here’s another one for the “they’re not offended yet, but they will be” pile. American comedian Bill Maher has made a documentary focusing on the stupidity of religion. It is called Religulous and, judging from the trailer, it looks pretty funny:

OMG – it’s a gay Jesus porn film!

The Freethinker carries the shocking scoop that the British Board of Film Classification has approved for release an uncut version of a pornographic movie featuring the gay sex adventures of the Lord Jesus Christ Almighty. It was given an R18 rating.

Pasio, directed by Matthias Von Fistenberg and starring Danny Fox, is bound to raise passions among the faithful. When they find out about it.

We predict the reactions will be negative.

Aussie thought police to crack down on Catholic-baiters

Australian authorities have introduced special regulations to police this month’s Catholic World Youth Day. The new rules will give police and service workers the power to arrest anyone behaving in a way which “causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event.”

The new offence carries a potential $5,300 fine.

World Youth Day is actually a week long Catholic festival (July 15-20), due to be attended by Pope Benedict the Whatever. Naturally, several groups are keen to protest about the church’s stance on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. But this new law could mean that someone wearing a t-shirt bearing a pro-contraception slogan could be arrested and fined if deemed to be “causing annoyance” to any passing biscuit-muncher.

Ekklesia reports that civil liberties groups, the NSW Bar Association, and green and secularist groups are outraged at the ad hoc legislation, which has bypassed normal parliamentary scrutiny.

The stage is set. We will keep you informed.

OIC angry at Wilders court decision

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference has reacted with anger to the Dutch prosecutor’s decision not to charge Geert Wilders for making and publishing Fitna.

According to a statement from the OIC Observatory on Islamophobia:

The Spokesman said that despite admitting that the so-called “film” was “hurtful and insulting” (to Muslims), the Dutch Public Prosecutor failed to see in this stark and outrageous agitational work and incitement to “hostility” or hatred against the Muslim community in the Netherlands or against Muslims by their hundreds of millions. In so doing, the Dutch Public Prosecutor seems to ignore the fine line of “responsibility” separating the freedom of expression from incitement to hatred, hostility and discrimination.

No, the line wasn’t ignored – it was just drawn in a different place.

The Spokesman further added that this attitude of the authorities in the Netherlands is not conducive to facilitating dialogue or reaching understanding on sensitive issues which entails disagreements and risks.

Risks? What risks can he be talking about?

Heineken caves to religious pressure

Dutch beer maker Heineken has withdrawn all advertising from a Spanish TV broadcaster after complaints were made about a satirical religious show.
pope gets guitar
Sexta TV’s Salvados por la Iglesia (Saved by the Church) contained a scene in which the Pope was presented with the plastic guitar allegedly used by this year’s Spanish Eurovision contestant Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. The guitar, known as Luciana, is regarded as a holy object by many Spaniards.

Humourless Christian media activists Hazte Oir saw a marvelous opportunity to take offence, and organised an online petition urging all advertisers to stop doing business with Sexta TV. 17,000 signatories agreed that the show was “an ode to bad taste and very painful for millions of Spaniards”.

Heineken caved quickly. A spokesperson said:

Respect for the man when it comes to religion is our highest priority. Nobody has forced us or even foisted links with La Sexta to disconnect.

Which no doubt makes more sense in the original Dutch than it does in Googlish, but you get the drift.

Here is Rodolfo, accompanied by Luciana, performing his masterpiece. Pope Benedict the Whatever should show a bit of bloody gratitude, frankly: