Thursday 30 January 2014

A bit of believing

“Now it takes a bit of believing that someone could be put in fear of their life by a cartoon but that’s the world we’re living in. When a Liberal Democrat candidate was shown a cartoon showing Jesus and Mohammad and then Tweeted that image, he so irritated some members of the Muslim community that they’ve demanded that he be stripped of his position in the party. Maajid Nawaz Tweeted that he didn’t feel threatened by the image despite the Islamic prohibition on likenesses of the prophet.” 
..............said Jeremy Paxman introducing the Jesus and Mo T shirt debacle on Newsnight.
(approx 5:53)

It certainly does take a bit of believing, and it sure does seem that “that’s the world we are living in”. The world - and sadly, due to a vociferous section of the British Muslim community, the country.

Zoe Conway reports:

“Maajid Nawaz says he was standing up for moderate Muslims whose voice is seldom heard when he tweeted an image of Jesus saying “Hey” and Mohammad saying “How ya doin’ ?”    she begins.
Then a brief clip from The Big Questions, the bit where two beburka’d women were offended by the T shirts and Maajid was not.

Did the students  have the right to wear Jesus and Mo T shirts? asks the BBC.

“It was the BBC’s decision not to show a close-up of the T shirts that prompted Nawaz to send the Tweet” continued Zoe Conway.

Thousands of Muslims (21,000) have signed a petition asking the Lib Dems to deselect Nawaz as  PPC (lib Dem) for Hampstead and Kilburn.

Beheaded publicly

“Some said he should be killed”. Newsnight did not shy away from reproducing these Tweets, which is a bit of a turn-up for the BBC.

Hang this man till death!!!

Mohammad Shafiq  and Irafan Ahmend are Liberals “with respect” and they say Maajid’s position is untenable.

“What does it actually mean to be a liberal?” asks Zoe Conway. I was wondering the same thing myself. “Anything I want it to mean” said Humpty Dumpty, but what does Paddy Ashdown want it to mean? 
Is Maajid Nawaz’d position safe? Paddy Ashdown doesn’t appear to be offering any guarantee” says Zoe’s voiceover. If she recorded that voice-over after her interview with Paddy she’s obviously as puzzled as I am.

This is a matter for the proper procedures of the party, but in order for somebody to stand down there has to be a clear case for that.” Says Paddy.

It wasn’t obvious which side Paddy was on from his demeanour. You couldn’t tell. I was confused. Was he defending Nawaz, Islam or the Lib Dems, or trying to be non-committal?
He continued:

“He has expressed a minority view, he has a right to do that. he has used, in my view, immoderate language in expressing it - he has apologised for that.”  Oh. So he’s criticising Maajid Nawaz?”

How do you know it’s a minority view? How do you know what all Muslims think? asked Zoe.

The statistics........You don’t have to know what they think. You have to know what their theology is! If you don’t understand that in Britain the vast majority of Muslims believe  that any image of the prophet is blasphemous. That’s part of their view.” replied Paddy

So Paddy is defending the Muslims religious “rights to be offended” (I think.)

But many are not offended.” reminds Zoe.

That’s true, and Muslims are entitled not to be offended, but the majority Muslim belief in Britain is against any image of the Prophet. That does not entitle the majority to tell those that hold a minority that they may not hold it.

So Paddy is defending Maajid after all? Or is he? Is he trying to straddle the divide by condemning everyone?  Does anyone know?

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, who looks like what is known as a convert, or possibly a revert, thinks there’s no religious requirement not to draw the prophet Mohammadpeacebeuponhim, which he said very fast, like the true practitioner of religious requirements he is. There are many depictions of Mohammadpeacebeuponhim in art galleries around the world.

The interview with the heavily disguised cartoonist of Jesus and Mo notoriety placed Jeremy Paxman into the position of devil’s advocate.

The cartoonist is horrified and bewildered. He thinks most Muslims are moderate and couldn’t give a damn. 

Paxman wonders if “he deliberately set out to cause outrage.”

A.  No, to have a laugh at religion and entertain atheists, he says.

Q.  But you do understand that depicting the prophet is a great offence to muslims? Says  the Devil’s advocate.

A. No. It’s not my concern.

Q. Isn’t it your concern if you give offence?

A. I don’t do that deliberately. if they take offence then that’s their prerogative. They can take offence.

Q. You don’t find something offensive about someone anonymously making others unhappy?

A. They might stumble upon it. it’s the internet. Occasionally I stumble on things I find very offensive, then I don’t go back. 

Q. But if these cartoons are done to give amusement to yourself and to your fellow atheists, if they should result in harm coming to someone, is that sufficient justification, the desire for a bit of humour, a bit of a laugh?

(Oh dear. Does this mean Jeremy Hardy and his fellow amusement-mongers could be at risk?) 

A. I can’t see that as my problem. I can’t be responsible for the actions of bad people. Some people find it liberating.

Heavily disguised cartoonist

I can’t believe it’s not butter, but I can believe someone can be put in fear of their life by a cartoon and several other trivial nonsensical things for the sake of a religion that hasn’t progressed for centuries, because the age of un enlightenment is here, and the BBC and the Lib Dems and governments past and present haven’t “progressed” since someone thought it would be a good idea to meddle with ‘the demographics’ and then turn a blind eye when things didn’t go as planned.
They ignored the warning signs for the sake of a lost cause - community cohesion. Of course what there was is long-gone. It departed when the world was turned upside down. Now that the BBC has decided to open one eye,  it’s too late. 

Here’s a spin-off from this unfortunate affair. Harry's Place.

Usama Hasan, the Senior Researcher in Islamic Affairs at the Quilliam Foundation, is due to speak at the University of Plymouth on the wider implications of the Arab Spring. But members of the islamic society have called for the event to be banned . 


They’re planning a demo and have called for all students to attend
through social media, the QuilliamFoundation members have recently posted derogatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad”.They go on to claim that “such deliberate insulting behaviour would be seen as provocative, lead to Islamophobia, restlessness and potential student disharmony”.The letter then calls for the university to “consider the withdrawal of the invitation of Usama Hasanof the Quilliam Foundation and cancel the event”.
This is Plymouth University. Plymouth! We all knew that Exeter is a hotspot for Islamic fanaticism, but Plymouth!  Plymbo, with the smelly railway station and the Hoe!  Good grief!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it really does take a bit of believing. It's all quite mad really.

    Did you find yourself shaking your head like me when that rude Lib Dem 'Muslim spokesman' kept saying 'Liberal with respect' when asked if his party was being illiberal? If he'd been less rude, less disrespectful, to the women asking him questions that might have carried more weight!

    It is quite amazing that the heirs of Britain's Whigs & Liberals should be equivocating over this issue. Paddy Ashdown should have supported Maajid Nawaz without hesitation.

    Your post the other day about the fall of the Lib Dems said all that needs saying about them. They aren't 'the nice people's party' any more, that's for sure.

    It's the fact that it was the BBC’s decision not to show a close-up of the T shirts on 'The Big Questions' that struck me as revealing.

    And it was even more obvious on 'Newsnight' where they openly censored the image of Mo from the image of the Jesus & Mo cartoon.

    As far as I'm concerned that's clearly a case of the BBC taking a stance - a stance of appeasement.

    And it isn't much of a gesture of support for free speech by Britain's leading media outlet, is it?

    And while I'm on, what's the betting we'll have we'll have the Blasphemy Law back within twenty years because of the political class's concern for Muslim sensibilities?


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