Archive for February, 2009

Blasphemy Day International

This is such a good idea.

Blasphemy Day International is an international campaign seeking to establish September 30th as a national day to promote free speech and stand up in a show of solidarity for the freedom to mock and insult religion without fear of murder, violence, and reprisal. It is the obligation of the world’s nations to safeguard dissent and the dissenters, not to side with the brutal interests of thugs who demand “respect” for their beliefs (i.e., immunity to being criticized or mocked or they threaten violence).

So if you support free speech, and the rights of those who disagree with religious views to voice their opinions peacefully, support our group and join the cause!

The numbers are small because the Facebook group is only a couple of weeks old. But it would be great to see this take off.

Blasphemy is a joyous, funny, socially progressive, and profoundly moral act. It deserves its own day. Join the group. Spread the word.

Tweak that imaginary nose!

No atheist bus ads in Ottawa

Toronto could handle them, Calgary didn’t mind, but buses with the words “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” proved too controversial for the city of Ottawa, where the transit committee voted in favour of the bus company’s refusal to carry the Atheist Bus ads.

Ottawa joins Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Halifax, and London Ontario on the list of Canadian cities rejecting the inoffensive message.

The Ottawa Humanist group intends to complain.

“Westies” are the latest to be banned from UK

The utterly witless Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has once again stepped in to stop “extremists” from entering the UK. This time it is the father and daughter combo from the hateful-but-hilarious Westboro Baptist Church – the homo-sex obsessed clan of Fred Phelps who like to picket funerals of US soldiers killed in action.

How the hell are we supposed to make fun of them if they aren’t allowed into the country?

<b>Fun with Fred Phelps</b>: The best way to deal with the Westboro Baptist Church

Fun with Fred Phelps: The best way to deal with the Westboro Baptist Church

The Westies had threatened to picket Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke for staging The Laramie Project, a play about the murder of Matthew Shepard.

An idiot from the Home Office said

Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms.

We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.

The exclusions policy is targeted at all those who seek to stir up tension and provoke others to violence regardless of their origins and beliefs.

The government exposes extremism in all its forms – except for extreme stupidity, apparently. The WBC often threaten to travel abroad with their protests, but never deliver. All the government have succeeded in doing – yet again – is to give idiots a lot of free publicity and feed the persecution complexes which they believe vindicates them.

Fitna Remade

In the wake of the Home Office’s stupid and counter-productive banning of Geert Wilders from the UK, his 15 minute movie has gained a far wider audience than it would have otherwise. So has the speech that he would have made to the House of Lords had he been allowed in. Both have been posted all over the internet.

MWW has hosted his movie in the past, but this time we are posting “Fitna Remade” – an edit and rescripting of the film by Reza Moradi of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. He was angry at the way Wilders’ film appeared to attack all Muslims, including those who are actually victims of Islamism fleeing oppression.

It is not exactly a rebuttal of Fitna, more a refinement. Fitna was a rocket fired indiscriminately into a civilian population. Fitna Remade resets the coordinates to target the jihadist combatants and avoid collateral casualties.

It’s much better:

Hari’s question (answers on a postcard)

Johann Hari has a brilliant article in today’s Independent. It is a response to the rioters in India who objected to his column “Why Should I respect these oppressive religions?“. There is so much quotable in it, you really should read it all.

<b>Hands up if you believe in bullshit</b>: The whining babies who objected to Hari's article

Hands up if you believe in bullshit: The whining babies who objected to Hari's article

He quotes the offending passage from that article again. And it’s worth repeating.

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a “Prophet” who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him. I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. When you demand “respect”, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.

So, religious people – why should anyone respect your stupid beliefs? This is a serious question. What is your answer?

Wilders to be sent back to Holland

The BBC reports that Wilders was turned away by Immigration at Heathrow.

Editor, publisher arrested in India for Hari article

The editor and publisher of The Statesman, and English language daily in India, have been arrested and released on bail for “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims.

The crime of Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha was to reprint an article by Johann Hari in the Independent entitled “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”.

The passage in question:

I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.

Angry Muslims have been demonstrating outside The Statesman’s offices since this was published.

Although a spokesman claimed that the article “outraged their religious feelings”, he did not explain why anyone should respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.

Any ideas?

Quilliam foundation supports Wilders

The Quilliam Foundation, a self-described “counter-extremism think-tank”, has issued a statement condemning the government ban on Geert Wilders.
Maajid Nawaz, Director of the Quilliam Foundation, says:

“Banning Geert Wilders from the UK is not the solution. Just as the ideas of non-violent Islamist groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir should be tackled through debate and argument, so should those of Wilders and others. Freedom of speech should be protected – so long as people do not use this freedom to call for violence against others.

Wilders has evidently been convinced by the words and actions of Islamists and jihadists that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant. We therefore challenge him to an open debate in which we will argue that Islam is not an inherently violent religion and that, contrary to what he apparently believes, Muslims are not a threat to Europe and its values.

Ed Husain, the co-Director of the Quilliam Foundation, says:

Geert Wilders is undoubtedly an ill-informed, hate-driven bigot with many unpleasant views but he is not directly inciting violence. As a result, unlike in the case of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, I do not support the decision to ban him from the UK. By threatening parliament with a mob, Lord Ahmed is contributing to the negative portrayal of Muslims and their religion.

You got that right. Lord Ahmed is a clown.

(Hat tip HP)

More Wilders: he will fly to UK

Geert Wilders has confirmed that he will fly to the UK tomorrow, in spite of official warnings that he might be refused entry:

We’ll see if the British government is really so cowardly as to ban me from entering the country.

The man is clearly determined to make The Guardian report this story.

UPDATE: (12 Feb) BBC radio reports that the Dutch ambassador will meet Wilders at the airport “if that is necessary”.

Wilders “not welcome” in UK

Radio Netherlands reports the astonishing news that Geert Wilders, due to appear at the House of Lords on Thursday, has been told by the British ambassador to the Netherlands that he is “not welcome” in the UK, because his visit would constitute a threat to public order.

It is not yet clear whether or not the ambassador has the power to prevent the visit – but the fact that he wrote such a letter is unprecedented and quite outrageous.

Wilders, who as a Dutchman does not require a visa to enter the UK, is in defiant mood.

I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs.

The Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen is also understandably annoyed. He has contacted David Milliband to express his displeasure.

the fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable

(Hat tip, Cranmer in the comments)

UPDATE: (21:05) This is the text of the letter sent to Wilders (from The Brussels Journal):

Dear Mr Wilders

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Secretary of State is of the view that your presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society. The Secretary of State is satisfied that your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.

You are advised that should you travel to the UK and seek admission an Immigration Officer will take into account the Secretary of State’s view. If, in accordance with regulation 21 of the immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the Immigration Officer is statisfied that your exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy and/or public security, you will be refused admission to the UK under regulation 19. You would have a right of appeal against any refusal of admission, exercisable from outside the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Irving N. Jones

On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Secretary of State for the Home Department is the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP.

UPDATE: (11 Feb) The BBC report on this reveals that the meeting and showing of Fitna will go ahead as planned, with or without Wilders.

It also quotes the deplorable Lord Ahmed, who is naturally happy about the ban:

It would be unwise to have him in the UK because this man’s presence would cause hatred.

He has a case against him in the Amsterdam court for inciting hatred.

When Muslims are attacked obviously you will see people react to that.

The question is, Ahmed, how will people react? In a lawful manner, or with violence? And if the answer is that they will react with violence, then surely it is those people who should be censured and punished. They certainly should not be rewarded for their lack of self-control by the government preemptively submitting to their demands.