Prison magazine withdrawn because satirical swine-flu article offends Muslim inmates

The Jailhouselawyer’s Blog carries news that Inside Time, a monthly magazine distributed free to prisoners in the UK, has recalled 50,000 copies of its latest issue because of fears that a humorous article on swine flu and an accompanying cartoon could be offensive to Muslim inmates.

<b>Atchoo!</b> The bearded pig in a turban that could have offended 17% of the prison population. (click for the full-page scan)

Atchoo! The bearded pig in a turban that could have offended 17% of the prison population. (click for the full-page scan)

The column by Andy Thackwray, a prisoner at HMP Hull, was entitled “Porky’s Revenge“. It hypothesised that swine flu was the result of a failed plot by Osama Bin Laden “eradicate every pig in Christendom”:

Yes, not too long ago in a cave somewhere in deepest Afghanistan, our bearded foe created his halal flu virus to totally wipe out the pigs of the Western world, and hopefully see the end of pork as we know it. Only trouble was, the young terrorist Bin Laden hand-picked to fly across the Atlantic to carry out the wicked deed was not only a goat short of a full flock, he’d also never ventured out of his village before. So, with geography not being one of his strong points, coupled with his poor command of the English language, it’s not surprising that he got off the plane one stop early thinking he was in Kansas, America when really he was in Cancun, Mexico. There, he set the Bin Laden flu virus free on a Mexican pig farm instead of on an American one as planned – what a knob!

The article was accompanied by a cartoon of a bearded, turbanned pig standing on its hind legs and sneezing.

John Roberts, Operations Director and Company Secretary at Inside Time, was contacted by Diversity at Wormwood Scrubs and informed that the article and cartoon “might be offensive to Muslims”. Consequently, all 50,000 copies of the magazine have been withdrawn and will be reprinted without the offending pieces. Apparently this will cost the charity which runs Inside Time £15-20,000.

The Jailhouselawer also reports that the Mr Thackwray has been charged with a Disciplinary Offence, put in the Segregation Unit, and will be transferred out of HMP Hull.

30 Responses to “Prison magazine withdrawn because satirical swine-flu article offends Muslim inmates”

  1. barriejohn says:

    I know this is all too stupid for words really (just like Islam), and charging Thakwray with a “Disciplinary Offence” is absolutely barmy, but how on earth did this article come to be published in the first place? It`s got “Trouble” with a capital T written all over it!!

  2. nullifidian says:

    might be offensive to Muslims

    (my emphasis)

    Well, of course, nobody wants to even consider thinking about contemplating the very idea of offending the sensibilities demented “poor me” wingnuttery sensibilities of muslims.

    That would be bad. Very bad.

    • barriejohn says:

      You`re right, of course, but anyone with a grain of common sense could see that there would have been riots if this had been distributed in prisons! If this wasn`t, as Stuart H suggests, a deliberate ploy to finish off Inside Time, then the person responsible for passing this particular article as suitable for publication should repay the costs out of his own pocket. It wasn`t even that funny!

  3. Stuart H. says:

    Inside Time carries some good stuff, from what I’ve seen. I often wish some of the excellent prisoner articles could reach the mainstream press, instead of the Daily Mail school of prison commentary. It’s carried stuff recently, for example, on an elderly prisoner whose hunger strike over alleged medical maltreatment killed him (not reported anywhere in the ‘proper’ press that I saw).
    So on t’other hand – knowing how critical of the prison system some of the articles are, it wouldn’t suprise me if this case was a sneaky way to get a worthy publication shut down and silence awkward prisoners.

  4. Stonyground says:

    The caption to the cartoon mentions offending 17% of the prison population. Am I to deduce from this that Muslims do in fact make up 17% of the prison population? I am pretty sure that Muslims make up a considerably smaller proportion of the general population than 17% or am I wrong about this?

    • It seems even worse: In 2006, 40% of the UK prisoners was muslim versus 3% of the population total. There’s much more (relatively speaking) religion behind bars than free, anyway.

      • Monitor says:

        Harrie, the article you linked does not support the 40% figure (that was the percentage of Muslim prisoners who were foreign nationals).

        The most recent online source is Hansard, which puts the Muslim prison population, including remand prisoners, at 11%. That was April 2008

        The caption’s 17% figure is the latest, unconfirmed. It comes from Phil Wheatley (the Director General of the Prison Service), via JailhouseLawer John Hirst.

  5. […] the rest here: Prison magazine withdrawn because satirical swine-flu article … SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Prison magazine withdrawn because satirical swine-flu article […]

  6. What is conveniently ignored by the authorities is that the figure of fun is a terrorist!

  7. mark says:

    muslims in the uk 3-4% approx, muslims make up 13% of prision population. Same sort of figures in every western country muslims are in. They also rapidly become responsible for the majority of sexual crimes, for example, (not sure if it was sweden or finland), but muslim males make up 4% of the population but responsible for 80% of sexual crimes. You might not have noticed this pattern being repeated in the UK… Islam what the west needs to know

  8. Nisse says:

    This world is crazy: Some stupid muslim murderes can still from within the prison rule our way of life and demand “special treatments” based on religious beliefs. The same beliefs made the prisoners kill innocent children and women. Geeee, I am angry of this stupid religion.

  9. Bob Smith says:

    This is Islam.

    More Muslims equals more Islam.

  10. Charlie says:

    “Consequently, all 50,000 copies of the magazine have been withdrawn and will be reprinted without the offending pieces.”
    And thus the self-censorship continues, as the muhamed cartoons so exquisitely exemplified. When will the midless left wake up from their multi-culti fantasies?

  11. me says:

    “it can take seconds, sometimes even minutes, to get over it” -Pat Condell

  12. herdzcatz says:

    As Letterman would say, “Hey, it’s just a joke!” Wait a minute! It’s fair game to slander a female governor and her daughter, but Allah forbid someone mock a Muslim!

  13. Aharon says:

    Charlie, a very good question, I think. Though personally, I’d take the mindless, a leave it as wtf the left has disappeared to..? (see recent eu elections as case in point..) 😉

  14. The Yank says:

    What the hell is going on in the UK? You guys gotta stand up to your politicians and remember what made Britain great. Fly that Union Jack with pride and don’t ever let anyone tell you anything other than that Britain has been a blessing to the world and civilization! Thank you for the Common Law and our great language! Rule Britannia!

    • Ken Clark says:

      Thank you Yank, and I only wish people would listen to you..unfortunately that attitude of politicians now in bowing down to the demands and sensitivities of every criminal, political or otherwise has turned this once great country into a wimpering coward…

      Thank whatever, you americans are still ‘policing’ the world or things abroad would be even worse…

  15. […] also found a story on that reveals a magazine with a satirical swine-flu story was pulled from UK prisons because it offends Muslims. Yes, we must not offend Muslims. They hate […]

  16. oscar j. says:

    selfcensorship is worse than islamism.

  17. I thought the article was funny. However, as members of our website so rightly say: The prison newspaper Inside Time who published the column would have known without a shadow of a doubt that the topic would have caused some ill feeling.

  18. teacher says:

    My question re the article and image in Inside Time is “where did the cartoon image come from?” As Mr Thackwray does not have access to the Internet, as do none of the prisoners in HMP Hull, it would appear that the cartoon can only have come from from the publication itself.

    • It seems to be the cartoon that people are up in arms about. Like Teacher says, Thackwray does not have internet access inside so needless to say that lies with the editor and Inside Time.
      What I find unfair is that Thackwray is down the seg because of it? I love Inside Time and the articles that feature in it but I’m sorry, I think the publication is to blame for this. The charity has been going long enough to know that somewhere along the line the nature of the cartoon would have got certain peoples backs up.

  19. Stuart H. says:

    Actually, I’d say the biggest argument for not censoring the article is that the presumption of ‘offence’ and retaliatory violence is itself racist. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of UK prisons knows, for example, that Muslim prisoners are more often the victims of prison violence than the perpetrators. Equally, anyone with some knowledge of courts or ‘crime prevention’ sees the high percentage of Muslim prisoners compared to Muslim population has more to do with the type of crimes which are easier to solve and the types of people easier to make a case against than the reality of crimes (which mostly go unsolved) and criminals (who mostly go uncaught).
    There’s also nothing in the piece I wouldn’t expect to hear (rather better expressed, I’d admit) in the routines of at least two women Muslim comedians currently on the UK stand-up circuit.
    The unusual ‘punishment’ of Thackwray is far more revealing, and quite indicative of the way prisons actually run, rather than the stories screws sell to right wing newspapers. Try, for example, googling the names John Bowden or William Johnston and HMP Glenochil and you may see what I mean.

  20. Alfster says:

    “The Jailhouselawer also reports that the Mr Thackwray has been charged with a Disciplinary Offence, put in the Segregation Unit, and will be transferred out of HMP Hull.”

    I read into this that the prison authorities want to get him out of HMP Hull in case any of the nutbar Moslems try to attack him. The ‘Disciplinary Offence’ is to calm the nutbars down…wonder if it will be quietly ignored once he has been moved to another prison.

  21. Robyn Levers says:

    I agree with barriejohn on this one. Inside Time may as well have thrown the article in to the lions den because it was inevitable it’d be ripped to shreads! I also think it’s pathetic punishing Thackwray for it and I think Inside Time owe him an apology for printing the stupid cartoon alongside his work. Fair enough, Inside Time are having to fork out for their stupidity but Thackwray is down the block and Thackwray is banged up 23 hours a day unlike the editoral team at Inside Time!

  22. Morrigan says:

    From what I’ve heard, the con who wrote it is up his own backside and thinks he’s HMP Hulls answer to Piers Morgan.