Archive for January, 2009

Zombie-worshipper offends rug-butter, gets sacked

When followers of two mutually blaspheming religions have frank discussions about their beliefs, it is inevitable that, sooner or later, one or both of them is going to claim offence.

<b>Help Mahboob!</b> The radio presenter sacked for saying Christian stuff to a Muslim

Help Mahboob! The radio presenter sacked for saying Christian stuff to a Muslim

This case involves a Reverend radio show presenter and his Christian sidekick, a Muslim speaker, and the Muslim management of Awaz FM.

The Rev Mahboob Masih had been hosting his Saturday morning radio show for 6 years before he invited Zakir Naik on for a chat about Jesus. Naik had previously denied on TV that Jesus was the Nipper of God, and further claimed on Masih’s show that he was not the only prophet to embody “the way, the truth, and the life”.

This, of course, is foul blasphemy to devout zombie-worshippers – just as the claim that God had a nipper is blasphemy to a rug-butter. So Masih’s co-presenter on the show told Naik that his opinion on this matter showed a “superficial knowledge of the Bible and the Koran”.

Well, that did it! The next thing you know, Masih is forced to read out an apology on air – which he did, adding his own words,

We live in a free country and everybody has the right to express his/her opinion…

He did not, however, make an apology in Glasgow’s Central Mosque, as he was asked. So he and his co-presenter were first of all suspended, and then dismissed. Which makes a bit of a mockery of Awaz FM’s claim to be “the voice of Glasgow’s ethnic communities and their respective faiths”. Ofcom has been informed.

Javaid Ullah, the director of the radio station explains that Masih and his co-presenter had

failed to remain neutral and as such allowed the guest to make comments which led in [to] offending various members of the community.

The Christian Legal Centre is on the case, which will be heard at the Glasgow Employment Tribunal. For once, MWW wishes them luck.

Green fails again

In what is proving to be a frustrating few days for everyone’s favourite comedy Christian, Stephen “Birdshit” Green of biblical fundamentalist group Stephen Green’s voice (aka Christian Voice), Ofcom ruled Rowan Atkinson’s “wedding feast at Cana” sketch in We Are Not Amused to be “not in breach” of the broadcasting code.

(Sketch starts about 1:50 in)

As we reported back in November, Green sent out a circular saying:

It was just insulting, mocking, crass and disrespectful. Civilised, decent people do not behave like that. Plainly Atkinson thinks there is not enough disrespect in our society already today.

In its report, Ofcom said that:

There was evidence that the complaints were part of an orchestrated campaign.

And concluded, in a tone pleasingly reminiscent of someone explaining the obvious to a halfwit,

this was a comedy sketch, by a performer well-known for his depictions of clergymen in comedic situations. The sketch was an absurd interpretation of a well-known biblical miracle story, and was not intended as a serious interpretation of Christian belief, nor would it be realistic to make such an inference. It superimposed onto the original story, the concept of how some people might react today, if Jesus were to appear in modern society. In making an analogy between miracles and magic, the comedian used the well-known comic device of placing theological figures in a contemporary and everyday human situation. The overall tone of the sketch was affectionate and not abusive of the Christian religion.

Ofcom considered that the approach would have been well understood by the vast majority of the audience and would not have gone beyond what would normally be expected in a programme of this type.

Comedy Christian complains about atheist bus ad

Never one to pass up the opportunity of a seat on a bandwagon, Stephen “Birdshit” Green (national director of the fundamentalist organisation Stephen Green’s Voice, aka Christian Voice) has put in a complaint to the ASA about the Atheist Bus Campaign (see below).

Why the BBC thought a single complaint to the ASA from a lone whack-job was newsworthy is anyone’s guess. MWW guesses that they thought it would make a light-hearted comical piece – and it is indeed very funny.

Fresh from his own dressing down by the ASA for making an unsubstantiated claim in a New Statesman “advertorial” (that the HPV vaccine causes infertility), Green is perhaps under the impression that he now actually knows what an unsubstantiated claim is, and has complained that the statement “There’s probably no God” is one.

From the site:

According to one national newspaper, ‘some atheist supporters of the campaign were disappointed that the wording of the adverts did not declare categorically that God does not exist, although there were fears that this could break advertising guidelines.

Well, I believe the ad breaks the Advertising Code anyway, unless the advertisers hold evidence that God probably does not exist.

The ASA does not just cover goods and services, it covers all advertising. The advertisers cannot hide behind the ASA’s ‘matters of opinion’ exclusion, because no person or body is named as the author of the statement. It is given as a statement of fact and that means it must be capable of substantiation if it is not to break the rules.

Clearly the concept of burden of proof is not one Green is familiar with. It is also interesting to note that he brands the ASA’s censure of his Spectator ad

an infringement of freedom of speech.

The BBC reports that news of Green’s action provoked “peals of laughter” at the British Humanist Association offices. It is becoming increasingly hard to dismiss the idea that Green is actually a campaigning atheist, using clever subterfuge to make Christianity and Christians look ridiculous.

All we can say is, keep up the good work Stevie-boy!

Spanish atheist bus riles Catholics

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s successful Atheist Bus Campaign launch comes news that the Spanish equivalent, Bus Ateo, has been ruffling religious feathers in Barcelona.

Probablemente Dios no existe. Deja de preocuparte y disfruta la vida

Probablemente Dios no existe. Deja de preocuparte y disfruta la vida

Next week Barcelona will be the first city to follow in the footsteps of the British campaign. Madrid will follow suit on the 26 Jan.

Javier Maria Perez-Roldan of the church’s Tomas Moro centre is not happy.

It is an attack on all religions

he said. However, he did not explain why attacking religions was a bad thing to do.

Perez-Roldan has previous form when it comes to religious censorship.