Archive for October, 2008

Painting of lady with pig provokes “disgust”

<b>Disgusting</b>: Maple's painting of a lady holding a piglet has outraged the Muslim Association of Britain

Disgusting: Maple's painting of a lady holding a piglet has outraged the Muslim Association of Britain

The Telegraph’s Mandrake reports on a golden opportunity for pious posturing seized upon by the Muslim Association of Britain. Upcoming artist Sarah Maple has an exhibition at the Salon Gallery which contains a painting of a woman in a veil carrying a piglet!

Naturally, vice-president of the MAB Mokhtar Badri is outraged, and plans to lead a group of protestors to the gallery to demand that the filthy painting be taken down.

Although we condemn violence, Muslims have a right to express their disgust at this work […] An artist has the right to free speech and to express him or herself, but people also have the right to protest. She clearly wants to provoke a strong reaction from Muslims and that is what she will get.

Well, yes, you do have a right to protest Mokhtar – but you are not really in a position to make any demands. And you ought to think of the impression you are creating.

Muslims believe that all of God’s creatures should be treated with respect, but we are taught to keep our distance from pigs because they are unclean. That is why this picture is so offensive to us.

Eh? It’s not a real pig, it’s painting of a pig. It’s not a real woman, it’s a painting of a woman.

As a service to Mr Badri, here is a quick lesson on getting things in perspective:

UPDATE: (Nov 25) To be fair to Mokhtar Badri, he has denied saying “She clearly wants to provoke a strong reaction from Muslims and that is what she will get.” He claims that the Telegraph’s Mandrake misquoted him.

The Star claims “thousands” offended by gay kiss

If your suspicions are raised by the fact that The Star is the only newspaper to report that

Thousands were outraged at the snog between Christian Clarke (John Partridge, 36) and Lee Thompson (Carl Ferguson, 27) before the 9pm watershed on Tuesday.

then give yourself a pat on the back, because closer investigation reveals it to be almost certainly untrue.

The only evidence they cite is a couple of posts from the BBC message boards which turn out to be hit-and-run trollings, quite possibly from the same person. Message board regulars were quick to express their scorn at the homophobic “WUM” (Wind Up Merchant in BBC message board parlance), who quickly disappeared back under the skirting board.

Of course, Star reporter Nigel Pauley gave Mediawatch-UK a ring for a soundbite to back up his dubious claim, and a “spokesman” obliged predictably:

Viewers who find such storylines offensive should not hesitate to make their voices heard to the BBC.

The BBC has received complaints about several storylines running at the moment, including one about child abuse

he said.

Quite right too.

he added, comically.

Enfield in trouble again

Harry Enfield has been in the news twice in the past week. First, came the revelation that TV producers forced him to drop two of his new comedy characters: a sex-crazed Muslim hoodie, and Father Paddy the paedophile Catholic priest.

Enfield said,

I was told, ‘Don’t even go there’.

What a shame!

Now he’s in trouble with the government of the Philippines because of an allegedly racist sketch featuring a Filipina maid. It is fairly obvious that the sketch was actually a spoof of racist attitudes, but racism sniffers are not very good at detecting absurdity or irony.

One of the characters tells his postman that his “chums down the road wanted it see if we could mate their Filippino maid with our Northerner, but he’s not having any of it.”

It’s quite funny:
So far there have been no complaints from Northerners.
If Enfield apologises for this let’s firebomb his house.*

UPDATE: (8 Oct) The Guardian has an amusing quote from a spokeswoman at the Philippines embassy:

If Tiger Aspect intended the episode to be a joke, we were definitely not amused. Neither did the Filipino community in the UK find it amusing. The UK is a country that is big on human rights issues as well as issues concerning women and racial equality. To stereotype Filipino women … is not only malicious but is also a blatant display of racial prejudice.

In other words: we didn’t get the joke, so you’d better apologise.

But the best is yet to come:

And just for the record, Filipino domestic workers in the UK command one of the highest if not the highest salary among their counterparts. They are highly regarded by their employers because of their work ethics and their trustworthiness.

So Filipino domestic workers have characteristics which make them superior to non-Filipino domestic workers?

[sniff sniff] Can anybody smell racism?


Jewel of Medina published in US

New York based Beaufort Books has published The Jewel of Medina ahead of schedule.

President Eric Kampmann:

We felt that… it was better for everybody… to let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers to a conversation about the merits of the book itself.

UPDATE: (12:15) And that conversation has begun. Ayan Hirsi Ali is less than complimentary:

Ms Jones does not question the morality of the prophet. She does not judge him in a negative way. There is no hidden meaning between-the-lines that will inspire young Muslim female readers to question their faith or the inconveniences of marrying against one’s will, nor of sharing your husband with a dozen other women, nor even why it is wrong to be married off as a child to a man four times your age. In fact, Ms Jones makes the same lame excuses that Muslims make to condone the prophet’s behavior.

(Tip: The New Humanist)

Condell is back

For the second time in a week, YouTube redresses its mistakes.

Enormous thanks to everyone who uploaded the video and to everyone who contacted YouTube. And my thanks to YouTube for reinstating the video. I’m very much obliged.


UPDATE: (Oct 6) YouTube’s explanation:

YouTube is a platform for expression of all kinds. Our Community Guidelines prohibit speech that promotes or encourages hatred or violence towards certain groups or individuals, and the video was flagged by our community on that basis. Upon further review of the context of Pat Condell’s comments, we’ve reinstated it.

And the worst form of human rights violation in the world is…

… “uttering profanities against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”. Or so says Dr Adel Al-Damkhi of the Kuwait Human Rights Society.

That is why he is calling on YouTube to “delete all derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims”. Apparently it’s “an outright violation of the human rights of millions of Muslims all over the world”.

No, Dr Al-Damkhi. It is not.

Jewel of Medina on hold

According to The Mail the recent firebombing of The Jewel of Medina publishers Gibson Square has had the desired effect.

Plans for publication have been suspended.

Alan Jessop, the publisher’s sales representative says,

He (Rynja) is in good spirits, but has put publication in suspended animation while he reflects and takes advice on what the best foot forward is

The author Sherry Jones has also spoken out,

You have to ask whether a thug with a gun or petrol bomb should be allowed to censor the people of Great Britain,’ Miss Jones, 47, said at her home in Spokane, Washington state.

This is about the future of free speech. Is it the case that there are now some books which cannot be published in Britain?

My publisher cannot fight this all by himself. I hope the people of Britain will support him. He is a courageous man

Martin Rynja is reportedly in hiding under police guard.

UPDATE: (Oct 3) As a result of the firebombing, American publisher Beaufort Books has brought forward the publication date from October 15th to this Monday.

Now Condell video is banned from YouTube

Just as you think YouTube have seen the free-speech light (having reinstated the wafer-desecration vids), along comes another terrible tale of censorship by Google’s video-sharing giant.

YouTube’s most subscribed comedian, Pat Condell, has had his latest video, “Welcome to Saudi Britain”, removed. He was also threatened with having his account suspended.

The video called for viewers to sign an online petition against sharia law in the UK. As you can see (for now – there’s no guarantee that it will stay up for very long), Condell does not incite hatred or discrimination. But he does have a go at Saudi Arabia and its brand of Islam.


Nothing wrong with that.

If you have a YouTube account, you can upload the video to your channel (download it here).

Oh, and here’s that petition again.

YouTube caves to resists Catholic pressure

The Desecration videos, which we wrote about 2 days ago are no more.

Biscuits are worthy of special protection, it seems.

(From Pharyngula)

UPDATE: (19:38) They are up again! (Thanks Alfster in the comments)