Archive for December, 2008

Scottish Catholics angered by etymological myth

Rangers fans are being threatened with arrest under religious hate laws for singing the Hokey Cokey song at Rangers v Celtic matches.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church, is under the impression that the song has sinister origins:

This song does have quite disturbing origins. Although apparently innocuous, it was devised as an attack on and a parody of the Catholic mass.

If there are moves to restore its more malevolent meaning then consideration should perhaps be given to its wider use.

The idea is that the words “hokey cokey” are derived from “hocus pocus” which in turn are a deliberate mis-hearing of the Latin invocation “hoc est (enim) corpus (meum)” (“this is my body”).

However, according to the Michael Quinion of etymological myth-busting site World Wide Words, there is little evidence for such a derivation:

Many people today believe that the phrase originated in a corrupted form of the words of the consecration of the host in the old Latin mass: hoc est (enim) corpus (meum), “this is my body”, an idea that was first aired by John Tillotson, who was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1691 and 1694. But as this was part of an anti-Catholic sermon, it may be taken with a fair-sized pinch of salt. Another possibility, suggested in current Oxford dictionaries, is the nonsense Latin phrase “hax pax max Deus adimax”.

Still, let’s not get lack of evidence get in the way of a good opportunity to play the persecution card. Michael Matheson, the SNP MSP, says:

It’s important the police and football clubs are aware of the sinister background to this song, and take the appropriate action against individuals who use it to taunt Catholics.

Linking Islam with terrorism?

Chief rabble-rouser of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has called for an end to attempts to equate Islam with terrorist violence. Unfortunately, his pleas were addressed to the United Nations in Geneva and not to violent Islamic terrorists, so they are unlikely to have much effect.

Ihsanoglu’s speech came after the annual vote in support of a “defamation of religion” resolution. As always, the resolution was passed, but this year – thanks to the efforts of groups such as International Humanist and Ethical Union, the Center for Inquiry, and other freedom of expression watchdogs – with a much reduced majority.

There is a growing movement against the OIC’s anti-blasphemy agenda, which will come to a head at next year’s Durban conference. In the meantime, all we can do is continue to cock a snook at the egregious Ihsanoglu.

Take this, you scoundrel!


Fitna banned at Euro parliament (but may be shown in House of Lords)

A press conference showing of Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam/anti-immigration film Fitna has been cancelled by order of European party leaders. UKIP MEP Gerard Batten had invited Wilders to the parliament to show the film and give a talk. Now he will just give a talk.

UPDATE: (19 Dec) According to a Dutch news site, Wilders has claimed that his film will be shown in the House of Lords in January.

Boob in a burkha branded “blasphemous”

<b>Looks like a right tit</b>: The latest piece of burk-art to outrage Muslim groups

Looks like a right tit: The latest piece of burk-art to outrage Muslim groups

The London Paper reports that the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland (UMO) has overreacted to another art exhibition. In what is fast becoming a genre in itself (see the Sarah Maple story from October), this latest piece of burkart is from photographer Yeon Lee. It is being exhibited in a the Sesame Gallery in Islington as part of a wider collection called Five Years.

A spokesman for UMO made the usual veiled threats, suggesting it could spark a Motoon-riot type of reaction.

At a time when tensions are already heightened, gallery owners shouldn’t be exhibiting artwork like this – it’s offensive, inflammatory. and degrading to Muslim women.
People will protest. It’s blasphemous – the artist just wants to make some money – and it’s not helpful in this current climate.

250 protest at Senedd poetry reading (3 at Borders)

The BBC reports that around 250 “Christian activists” turned up to protest at the Welsh assembly today, where Patrick Jones was giving a reading of his “blasphemous” poems.

Stephen Green, whose initial protests against a reading at Waterstones prompted the Senedd invitation, believed that “the turnout shows the strength of feeling of people”.

It is quite remarkable that he managed to persuade so many to come along and try to clean up a mess of his own making.

So far, there have been no reports of the planned “infiltration” of protesters into the readings.

The allegedly blasphemous poem, “Hymn”, was read by local actress Stacey Daley. In the interest of completeness, and in accordance with the “naughty step” principle, here is that poem in full:


cover my face
with hijab so unnatural
i’m so ugly in your eyes
or is it my vision is so clitoral

use my holes
to cleanse your souls
paint my image as your icon of immaculation
force the feminine into your crucifixion
an olive branch drowned in thalidomide
they said it would make the sickness go away.

away, away

For the pope and for the immam
all i preach is deicide
just like mary magdelene
i fucked jesus
just like mary magdelene
i have been deemed useless
i shall drift to dust
all around
slit my wrist with rosary beads
blind my eyes with testosterone veil
turn the other cheek
as you leave your seed.

Go to bed with jihad so young
fasten my vulva with catholic tongue
decapitate me while i kneel
as all my sisters bow like culled seals

just like mary magdelene
i fucked jesus
just like mary magdelene
i am in each of us

UPDATE: (Dec 12) According to the Western Mail, the protest at the Borders reading later that evening was not quite so successful:

Only three protesters gathered outside including Christian Voice leader Stephen Green, who was thrown out of the store by security guards after refusing to leave.

Tsk tsk.

(Hat tip, The New Humanist)

“Totally without merit” Christian lawyers fail again

The zombie-worshipping pettifoggers at the Christian Legal Centre just can’t seem to get their day in court. Fresh from the humiliation of having their “Jesus’ Penis” case stopped by the CPS, they have just been informed by the High Court that their test case against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is

totally without merit

and unworthy of a hearing.

Licences have been granted to Newcastle University and Kings College London to undertake inter-species research which could lead to breakthroughs in treatment for diseases such as cancer, HIV/Aids, Parkinson’s, and strokes.

To the Bible-befuddled brains at the CLC and Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), this was clearly a step too far. To the judge at the High Court, thankfully, their challenge was “unarguable”.

Newly nicknamed Andrea “Totally Without Merit” Minichiello Williams was particularly upset because they were ordered to pay £20,000 costs, too:

This is a sad day for justice in this country. We see a public interest body, with little funds and no other way of challenging matters of huge ethical and legal importance, being penalised with a £20,000 costs bill.

Maybe the message will get through eventually: the reason you keep getting knocked back is because you are irrelevant, outnumbered, and – more often than not – profoundly wrong.

Christian Voice to infiltrate “blasphemous” poetry events

The readings are invitation-only, but Stephen Green (the national director of failed fundamentalist lobby group Stephen Green’s Voice, aka Christian Voice) is encouraging supporters to get themselves invited – so that they can show how offended they are.

Thanks to Green’s successfully intimidating Waterstones into cancelling a reading in its Cardiff shop, Welsh poet Patrick Jones has been invited by Borders and by members of the Welsh Assembly to read his work.

Clearly not one to learn from his mistakes, Green is now set to provide still more publicity. In a mailshot to supporters, he writes:

We are holding a Christian witness outside Ty Hywel from 11.30am and we shall hold another outside Borders (The David Morgan Building, 14 The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH) at 7.30pm. Both events are ticket only, but there is scope to apply for tickets by email. I am known, but you are probably not!

For the Assembly event, email: Helen**** Say how much you would like an invitaton to the event, but don’t say you wish to protest! For the Borders event, email Patrick Jones on janey****

Say whatever is needed to get alongside and get a ticket without bearing false witness. You cannot give a false name for either event as ID will be required.

So Onward, Christian soldiers, Stand up, stand up for Jesus! If you are successful in getting a ticket, let me know urgently, as this is a spiritual battle and tactics among those with tickets will need to be co-ordinated.

Yay. Christians making a spectacle of themselves. What better way to brighten up a poetry reading?

(Thanks to Sinister Dexter for the intelligence)

UPDATE: (10 Dec) Tory Assembly leader Nick Bourne tried to invoke the Religious Hatred Act of 2006 in order to prevent the reading. The act makes “threatening behaviour” on religious grounds unlawful.

His appeal was turned down for obvious reasons. (It’s a poetry reading).

Ofcom gets Enfield’s joke

An update on this story. The hundreds of complaints received – including one from government of the Philippines – about the Harry and Paul sketch which featured an upper-class toff trying to get his pet Northerner to mate with his neighbour’s Filippino maid fell on deaf ears at Ofcom, according to their monthly report (PDF).

Judged “not in breach”:

in Ofcom’s view, there was no intention to ridicule women or the Filipino community in this sketch. The target of the humour was very clearly the upper class character played by Harry Enfield who holds such a deluded view of his social superiority that he treats individuals with lower social status with ridiculous disdain. The Filipina domestic help was featured as a character in the sketch to highlight this extreme and ridiculous behaviour. […]

Although this sketch may have caused offence to some individuals, it explored the issue of social class in an absurd way which was not intended to reflect real life. In our view this was the approach and effect of this sketch. On balance, it is Ofcom’s view that the material did not breach generally accepted standards because it was justified by the context.

It’s a shame when you have to explain a joke.


OIC complains about terrorists media giving Islam a bad name

The following is not a parody, so you must not laugh. It is quoted in full from the website of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference:

Islam, the religion of peace, tolerance and compassion

Date: 02/12/2008

With the multiplicity of terrorist attacks perpetrated recently by deviant and fanatic individuals, the General Secretariat of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has noticed a tendency of a section of the media, to interpose the word “Islam” in reporting these incidences.

Islam, the religion of peace, tolerance and compassion, that sanctifies the human soul, and whose universal message is one of mutual peaceful coexistence among all the peoples of the world, regardless of their ethnicities, race, religions or languages, and which calls for kind reasoning and dialogue with all their fellow human beings, abhors and despises all such criminal acts and had enacted the utmost severe punishment for their perpetrators.

It is frustrating to see some circles, still, maliciously trying to establish conceptual link between such evil and wicked practices and Islam, the religion that condemns, scorns and outlaws them.

It is on the premise of this irrefutable fact that we, in the OIC, call upon all well-intentioned peoples of the world, not to give to these criminals any right to present Islam, a right that Islam itself denies them. Those who refer to the perpetrators, as acting on behalf of Islam, help them by offering them justification, anchor and premise that they don’t have or deserve. On the other hand, the generalization of the guilt of a few aberrant misguided individuals, to engulf the adherents of a religion of 1.5 billion followers is an outrageous judgment and amounts to an illegal collective punishment on a global scale. Moreover, any attempt to implicate all Muslims in such a wicked and wanton acts goes contrary to the well established principles of international law.

It is therefore hoped that media will avoid resorting to any reference to Islam when narrating such events in order not to disseminate erroneous information that might jeopardize the basic human rights of Muslims, the world over. caves to Indonesian Muslim pressure

<b>No Motoons here</b>: Wordpress claim that satirical comics of Mo contravene their terms of service

No Motoons here has suspended the account of an Indonesian blogger for publishing cartoons of Muhammed which the Indonesian government deemed “very inappropriate”. displayed two strip series featuring stories about Muhammed’s sexual adventures, as described in the Koran and haditha. The first, “Mohammed and Zainab“, tells the tale of how Mo had sex with his stepdaughter-in-law. He had misgivings at first, but fortunately Allah revealed to him that it was perfectly ok, much to the chagrin of his child-bride Aisha. The second “Mohammed and Hafsa” rather more graphically depicts Mo’s dalliance with a maid-servant. He gets caught by one of his wives, and is repentant at first – but then he gets another “revelation” telling him not to worry so much.

<b>Revelation</b>: Mo gets a visit from Allah, who tells him it's okay to shag his stepdaughter-in-law

Revelation: Mo gets a visit from Allah, who tells him it's okay to shag his stepdaughter-in-law

It’s all very amusing, and quite well drawn. And, contrary to the claims of, it does not contravene any of its Terms of Service, being neither libelous nor defamatory. Indeed, the stories appear to be lifted wholesale from Islamic holy texts, so the objections are no doubt to do with the actual depiction of Mo and a reluctance to have his sexual shenanigans publicised.

The ex-Muslim website Faith Freedom is hosting the cartoons (linked in the titles above). They have had their Indonesian forums shut down as a result.

This episode is particularly disappointing because itself was a victim of censorship last year, when the entire operation was banned in Turkey due to the efforts of the comical Bond-villain creationist Adnan Oktar (aka Ha-Ha-Harun Yayha-ha-ha). Wordpress supremo Matt Mullenweg said at the time he was

confused and indignant about this wholesale censorship.

Yes, Matt. That’s probably exactly how “Lapo Tuak” feels right now.

There are video versions of the toons up on LiveLeak:

Mohammed and Hafsa

Mohammed and Zainab