Another cartoon row?


by Sunny
29th August, 2007 at 3:29 pm    

Iran has summoned a senior Swedish diplomat to protest against the publication in a local newspaper of a drawing of Muhammad showing his head on a dog’s body, calling it “an insult against the prophet”. The Swedish chargé d’affaires, Gunilla von Bahr, was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry yesterday.

“A protest was given to her because of the publication in a newspaper of a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad,” a Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman, Sofia Karlberg, said today. “She was told it was an insult against the prophet. We consider the matter closed.”

Mr Vilks’ drawing depicted Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body in a street with traffic around it. Nerikes Allehanda decided to publish the drawing following a row in the Nordic country this summer over Mr Vilks’ attempt to exhibit his series of drawings about Muhammad. At least two galleries declined to show the pictures, citing security fears.

“Alongside the picture, we published a comment piece saying that it was serious that there is self-censorship among exhibition [galleries],” said the Nerikes Allehanda editor-in-chief, Ulf Johansson.

From the Media Guardian today. Funny that, none of the European press wanted to make a big deal when the Spanish royal family censored a magazine for publishing a cartoon of themselves.


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  1. Puffy — on 29th August, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    Possibly because Califf Juan didn’t call for the offending cartoonist to be decapitated?

  2. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

    Are you defending the actions of the Iranians, Sunny?

  3. Kulvinder — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

    Are you defending the actions of the Iranians, Sunny?

    What a bizarre thing to say, the iranians have every right to call in the senior diplomat and make a protest. Sweden can withdraw diplomatic relations if its so offended.

  4. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Its not bizzare at all.

    I follow the dictum of Stephen Fry: “You’re offended? So fucking what?”

    Anything less and its ammunition for the Mullahs.

  5. Sid — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    Possibly because Califf Juan didn’t call for the offending cartoonist to be decapitated?

    Outrage at Censorship without the mad mullah element isn’t fashionable and doesn’t make for good copy.

  6. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    Are you defending the actions of the Iranians, Sunny?

    Defending what action?

    Of course not though, the only choice I have here is between the Iranian president and the American president. Tyranny and holocaust on one side, freedom, liberty and lots of MTV on the other. What am I, stupid?

    Now where did I put my American flag chuddies…?

  7. Leon — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    Now where did I put my American flag chuddies…?

    Heh I wonder if Bleh will even know what that means? :D

  8. Sid — on 29th August, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

    The entirety of what Bleh knows can amply fit on the back of a second class postage stamp.

  9. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    I did a bit of googling, and it turns out Sunny has a less than sterling history of defending free speech. I believe he made a fool of himself over at Harry’s Place a while back.

  10. Sid — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

    I believe he made a fool of himself over at Harry’s Place a while back.

    Surely this is praise indeed and one of the best endorsements a sane person can have nowadays.

  11. Kulvinder — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

    Its not bizzare at all.

    I follow the dictum of Stephen Fry: “You’re offended? So fucking what?”

    Anything less and its ammunition for the Mullahs.

    When you typed this out did you think it made any sense?

    The Iranians would most likely requote Fry right back at you. They’re entitled to make a protest whenever they wish. I’m never quite sure what to say to lunatics whose ‘argument’ for free speech is little more than telling others to shut up.

  12. Leon — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    Surely this is praise indeed and one of the best endorsements a sane person can have nowadays.

    Yep!

    “Leon, you are hated over at HP!”

    “Really? Woohooo!”

    :D

  13. Robert — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:44 pm  

    I think this new row could be an example of democracy in action (and by that I mean the “having a rational debate and deciding what is appropriate” part of democracy, rather than the simple voting part).

    You see, I think we have, collectively, learnt a few lessons from the Danish cartoon row. Despite wild panic about the nature of free speech at the time, I think a clear line emerged on how to deal with such situations, should they arise again. I do not think that we shall see the same kind of angry protests on the streets of Stockholm, as we did in Copenhagen (and the UK). Nor do I think that newspaper editors will be in any desperate rush to republish the cartoons as a matter of principle.

    Sure – there will continue to be issues like this over the years to come, but this latest incident seems quite parochial.

  14. Don — on 29th August, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    As far as I can see, the Iranians protested through diplomatic channels, the Swedes noted the protest. Case closed. Nothing got banned or burned and nobody called for blood. I can live with that, if that is as far as it goes.

    If the Danish cartoon hysteria has an upside, it may be that western democracies will have to do some mote/beam thinking over free speech issues.

  15. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    I believe he made a fool of himself over at Harry’s Place a while back.

    Was this an attempt at comeback Bleh? Why don’t you tell me when I made a fool of myself? I do it all the time. Though others are liable to make bigger fools of themselves when they misrepresent my arguments.

  16. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

    Didn’t you mock the Cambridge Student at the sent of the Clarification row?

  17. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 8:55 pm  

    Yes, for what he said. How does that mean I don’t support free speech exactly?

  18. Sofia — on 29th August, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

    This issue is one which expects with baited breath for Muslims to jump up and down burning flags/effigies/books/ chanting anti american slogans and death to blah blah blah. I’m Muslim, do I like cartoons mocking a prophet I believe in? no i don’t. Does this make me anti freedom of speech? well if you think being insulting in order to get a reaction is freedom of speech then no I’m not really in favour. If you want to insult someone, do it for a reason, not for some pathetic excuse to point the finger..
    As for the debate on democracy, when this country arrests, charges and jails people for what they say, please don’t talk to me about freedom. If you want real freedoms then accept them on all facets not just what suits a political agenda.

  19. ZinZin — on 29th August, 2007 at 9:27 pm  

    Provoking Muslims…isn’t that rather passe now?

    Sunny, I take your point about censorship. Damn those who will silence you.

  20. Rumbold — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:07 pm  

    Leon:

    “Heh I wonder if Bleh will even know what that means?”

    That is a bit below the belt, both literally and figuratively. Not knowing the Hindi for underpants is hardly cause for insult, innit.

    Sunny and Sid:

    I doubt that the Spanish example was a case of double standards. I had not even heard of it until you posted it. I think that it is disgraceful, as is the current Monaco row about insulting the royal family there. This sort of censorship is wrong whatever the occasion.

    However, as Puffy pointed out, the reason that the Danish cartoon row made headlines is because of the reaction to the cartoons; the debate over censorship then followed.

    Also, there is no need to be so rude to Bleh- he raised legitimate points.

  21. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

    However, as Puffy pointed out, the reason that the Danish cartoon row made headlines is because of the reaction to the cartoons;

    No, it was about people trying to shut down the right of a paper to be controversial. I guess the lesson for Muslims is that rather than getting people riled up and rioting (although that isn’t difficult at all, whatever the occasion, in the east) – just use state power to enforce censorship. Much more effective and the newspapers are too afraid to do anything about it.

    he raised legitimate points.

    If you could point them out, that would be great.

  22. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    Does this make me anti freedom of speech? well if you think being insulting in order to get a reaction is freedom of speech then no I’m not really in favour. If you want to insult someone, do it for a reason, not for some pathetic excuse to point the finger.

    Wrong, insults and offensiveness are part and parcel of free speech, full stop. If you are in favour of any restrictions, then you’re not in favour of free speech, full stop. The Stephen Fry quote I mentioned earlier is the money quote.

  23. Rumbold — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

    Sunny:

    “No, it was about people trying to shut down the right of a paper to be controversial.”

    It made the news because of flag-burning, and attacks on persons and property.

    “Just use state power to enforce censorship. Much more effective and the newspapers are too afraid to do anything about it.”

    Agreed- it is an utter disgrace. The British monarchy is much better than the Spanish or Monaco ruling families, mainly because we have been able to criticise and lampoon them, so we are more comfortable as a society.

    “If you could point them out, that would be great.”

    Bleh was asking about your attitude towards censorship, because the post did not make it clear, and your previous attack on a Clare student for publishing the cartoons. I think that you are anti-censorship, but surely Bleh’s questions were worthy of answer, or debate.

  24. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 11:06 pm  

    Bleh was asking about your attitude towards censorship, because the post did not make it clear, and your previous attack on a Clare student for publishing the cartoons.

    Oh, I’m always anti-censorship. But people like Bleh see the world in two dimensions only – good guys (himself) & baddies (those he doesn’t like).

    I made this same point during the Danish cartoons row. Just because I’m anti-censorship doesn’t mean I start worshipping the person who is being censored. They may be fuck-wits for all we know, trying to get famous by provoking a reaction. I judge each case on its merit. I thought in the Cambridge case the mag should not have been censored but I thought the editor was a dick for some of the comments he made.

    In Bleh’s world that means I’m sleeping with Osama Bin Laden.

  25. Rumbold — on 29th August, 2007 at 11:10 pm  

    I think that you are being unfair on Bleh Sunny. His views are more nunaced then that. I don’t think that he sees you as some sort of Al Qaeda plant, as you are working for the Iranians anyway (heh).

  26. Leon — on 29th August, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    Not knowing the Hindi for underpants is hardly cause for insult, innit.

    I wouldn’t say it was below the belt, just a gentle jibe. ;)

  27. Ravi Naik — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:33 am  

    Spain has laws against difamation. One can argue that freedom of speech means being able to say whatever you want without any responsability and restriction. But the point is that there are laws, and they apply to that country.

    Iran could also have laws against insulting their prophet, and censor in their own country. But to expect other nations – which are fully commited to freedom of speech – to do the same is somewhat silly. Is not like the Iranian government needed another scapegoat to divert people’s attention from their own failures.

    I don’t see any double-standards. It is not about censoring in their own countries (muslim countries do have censor laws, and no one talks about it), but wanting to do it in other countries for cheap political reasons, and having a precedent in Denmark.

  28. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:28 am  

    The point is, Sunny, that the right to free speech is absolute (with the usual caveat over incitement to violence). We cannot afford to short-circuit free speech in any manner. Else we will find ourselves in a new Dark Age, at the mercy of any Iman, Priest, Rabbi or whoever.

    And the way that you mocked the editor of Clarification came across as short-circuiting free speech. You were more concerned with scoring cheap points. Mocking him as a simian (which you did) is frankly, unacceptable in that context.

    Let’s be clear. If someone doesn’t like what someone else has said about their precious prophet, messiah, saviour or flying spaghetti overlord, the only appropriate and proper reaction is “tough fucking shit“. Any other reaction is risking retreating back to the aforementioned Dark Ages.

  29. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:28 am  

    I would hope you would agree, Sunny, that we need to abolish immediately the existing blasphemy laws in this country.

  30. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:33 am  

    Yes, the blasphemy laws need to be junked.

    Let’s be clear. If someone doesn’t like what someone else has said about their precious prophet, messiah, saviour or flying spaghetti overlord, the only appropriate and proper reaction is “tough fucking shit“. Any other reaction is risking retreating back to the aforementioned Dark Ages.

    Again, this is rather too simplistic. If I saw you in the street and said your mum was a whore, and you got angry (rightly) and I replied by saying ‘tough fucking shit’, then somehow I don’t think you would equate punching me with going back to the dark ages.

    We have self-censorship in this country already, anyone who denies that is a buffoon. The fact is this that editors make those self-censorship decisions based on what they can get away with and how powerful the person they’re pissing off is.

    The threat to our democracy and free speech isn’t some imam or flying sphagetti monster, it’s the known unknowns.

    You were more concerned with scoring cheap points. Mocking him as a simian (which you did) is frankly, unacceptable in that context.

    Rubbish. It’s not only acceptable but my right when exercising my free speech. He is and was an a-grade twat. And anyone who disagrees: tough fucking shit.

  31. Puffy — on 30th August, 2007 at 7:42 am  

    Sunny has the right to say the chap from Cambridge was a twat, and defend his right to be a twat?

  32. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 8:46 am  

    There is no such thing as freedom of speech. Debate on the holocaust is now virtually non-existant and if you dare to criticise the Alan Dershovitz, Daniel Pipes etc. will be straight into print on your case. Debate on Israel is stifled.

    Debate and investigative journalism on Iraq is stifled.

    So what is free speech. Simply put free speech only applies to the latest bogeyman at the time. The rest have it easy.

    The reality is if you disagree with the norm you are always told about free speech.

    Case in point going on in the USA, Norman Finklestein. Highly respected academic who has been refused tenure due to his views on the Holocaust. So what about his right to free speech in the land of the free?

    In reality there is no such thing as free speech, there are limits on everything. The Europeans have this claim about free speech but each country has it’s limits as does the media about what they will and won’t say. So no such thing as free speech.

    If free speech existed then the Danish Newspaper which published the cartoons would have published the holocaust cartoons it commissioned. But the same Arts Editor was then sent on leave. Interestingly the same paper has been unable to explain why the cartoon issue was discused with neo-con groups in the USA prior to publication and why one set of cartoons was published as free-speech and the second set on the holocaust were not due to the possibility they may offend.

    BTW Just to point out this is an example and I don’t think either cartoon set should have been published. The point is made to highlight the limits whether legal or self-imposed of free speech.

    Also with free-speech comes a responsibility to defend free-speech, so thereby not continually offending people as then that leads to limits on freespeech.

    Also another point a racist is not allowed to be racist as that would lead to prosecution. So there is a legal limit to free speech and rightly so.

  33. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 9:41 am  

    being a racist does not lead to prosecution..unless the person has acted upon it and broken the law…employment law I think though is slightly different….

  34. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 9:46 am  

    Zin Zin, i’d like to think provoking muslims would be “rather passe” but it seems that when a precedent has been set with the last cartoon row, this one is like a red rag to a bull..

  35. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 9:58 am  

    Natty, let me get this straight – you’re equating Mohammed cartoons with Holocaust Denial cartoons?

  36. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 9:59 am  

    Also with free-speech comes a responsibility to defend free-speech, so thereby not continually offending people as then that leads to limits on freespeech.

    You don’t get this free speech lark at all do you? Offence has NOTHING to do with permissibility of speech or not.

  37. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:19 am  

    The hypocricy and contradiction on display in 35 and 36 is simply eye openoing. These comments show the underlying values of people who would like to use offence (but always to others) to demonstrate the boundaries of FoE. In this case, offence has “NOTHING to do with it”. But are more than willing to use the law to deny the FoE if it offends them, in which case the boundaries are not negotiable.

  38. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:27 am  

    But are more than willing to use the law to deny the FoE if it offends them, in which case the boundaries are not negotiable.

    How am I using the law to deny FoE if it offends me, Sid?

  39. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:02 am  

    >Natty, let me get this straight – you’re equating >Mohammed cartoons with Holocaust Denial cartoons?

    With respect I think you keep missing the point. It is not about equation, both will be offensive to some people.

    The point was that by the same paper in one case they were published and in one they weren’t as it may cause offence. So there wasn’t freedom of speech there was self-censorship in one case.

    Thus we see from this example that there are boundaries to freedom of speech.

    >You don’t get this free speech lark at all do you? >Offence has NOTHING to do with permissibility of >speech or not.
    Again with respect I don’t think you get this free speech lark. If freedom of speech truely existed as you claim then why on earth were placard carrying people who demonstarted against the cartoons jailed?? Cause there are laws against incitement that thus deny freedom of speech.

    You claim that it doesn’t matter if it is offence doesn’t hold true in numerous cases. Papers self-censor, Government censors etc.

    You are talking ideally but the real world isn’t idealistic. Freedom of speech is a principle it isn’t a reality anywhere in the world. There are limits.

  40. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    Also the hypocracy of the press especially the right wing press is worth noting. Take the case of the Daily Mail, when Ken Livingstone made his comments to the reporter, which he found offensive then the Daily Mail made a big issue about offence being caused etc. They pushed the issue all the way until he was censured. Even though he said it was said as a joke.

    Fast Forward a number of years and the same paper is complaining when Muslims complained about a parade and portrayal of Muslims in SW England. The Mail said Muslims lacked humour.

    But what about Ken’s right to free speech and humour?

    So the media constantly sets it own boundaries.

    Why is one acceptable and the other not.

    Hence there are limits to freedom of speech.

  41. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:09 am  

    well said dread.

  42. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:26 am  

    But surely a fundamental point in free societies is that I have the right to lampoon religious figures without fear of violence.

    Looking at the ‘Motoons’ row, in all honesty it does look like there are alot of rather too sensitive and delicate muslims. I mean, really, get over it, you’ll be happier if you can just laugh off crass and ignorant insults (as the cartoons were) and realise that in complex, puralistic societies there are going to be many people who will lampoon religions and religious figures. Over sensitivity just reinforces negative stereotypes of muslims and this is good for no one.

    I agree with Stephen Fry on this one.

    But then I am a godless liberal who puts real people before sky cults so what do I know……

    TCH

  43. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:40 am  

    I do agree to an extent with post 42, but then where does one draw the line on offence…i.e is it ok for fashion designers to use photos of religious figures and print them on underwear or shoes? Or religious texts over naked bodies? is this offensive and if so, what should be done when people are offended?

  44. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    Sid, I’ll repeat my question: How am I using the law to deny FoE if it offends me, Sid?

    i.e is it ok for fashion designers to use photos of religious figures and print them on underwear or shoes?

    Yes.

    Or religious texts over naked bodies?

    Most certainly.

    is this offensive and if so, what should be done when people are offended?

    People who are offended should grow up and, as TCM said, put real people before their precious sky cults

  45. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    so then nobody should be offended about anything…?? and if someone wants to call me a racist name it should be ok because that’s freedom of speech? and I should just grow up?

  46. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:52 am  

    People can be offended by anything they want to be offended by, but the law should not support their prejuduces.

  47. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:53 am  

    No, race is different, Sofia. Race is inherent to a person, and racist taunts, just like racism, are unacceptable. Religion on the other hand, is just a set of ideas, nothing more.

    You can be offended all you want, but you cannot legistate for offense. And that is what the Cartoon controversy is all about.

  48. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:55 am  

    Sofia
    To be honest yes they can if they want.

    Perhaps abit of self censorship though is no bad thing but that has to be left (so long as there is no incitement of violence) to a persons own conscience.

    People of religious stripe need to be able to protest peacefully.

    Strident threatening protests – which looked pretty menancing during the Motoons affair – makes those muslims involved look weak and, in some peoples eyes, by extension islam look weak rather then strong – especially to a largely secular European audience.

  49. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:58 am  

    Sofia,

    That was to 43 not 45.

    No one should tolerate racism at all.

    Religion however should be fair game.

    TCH

  50. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    so its not ok to insult me because i’m brown, but ok to insult my beliefs because those have been chosen by me. So one form of prejudice is wrong but the other is ok?

  51. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    So why is it acceptable to publish cartoons that offend Muslims and not publish cartoons that offend Jews for example?

    Who decides?

    You keep telling Muslims to get over it but what about others?

    Why did the Danish Newspaper publish one and not the other? They said they wanted to push self-censorship and then they took part in self-censorship.

    Why did the Danish Newspaper’s Arts or Cultural Editor feel a need to discuss with Neo-cons the publication of the first set of cartoons?

    Was it really freedom of expression or incitement?

    If religion should be fair game then the sameshould be applied to all religions and not sensitivity to others. Why then are cartoons depicting Jews anti-semitic. I don’t agree with them but then who draws the line?

    Same with Salman Rushdie he was allowed to publish a book which offended Muslims but not one which offended Hindu’s as that was never published.

    Also where does draw the line and who decides. For example when does a joke about a Jewish person become anti-semitic? And who decides you, the Jewish population or the wider public? When does a joke about Muslims become islamophobic?

    Where is the cut-off?

    It is easy to hide behind free speech reality is much more difficult.

  52. Jai — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:26 pm  

    People who are offended should grow up and, as TCM said, put real people before their precious sky cults

    People who deliberately, gratuitously undertake actions (without good reason to do so) which they know will offend the religious beliefs of others should grow up and put some consideration and sensitivity towards the “target” groups before their own precious desire for attention, profit, and/or their egotistical self-centredness. There are ways to get one’s point across in a civilised and humane (and, in the long-run, more constructive) manner, without trampling all over the most cherished and sensitive beliefs of the groups concerned.

    On a fundamental human level, freedom of expression and freedom of speech both also come with a responsibility to refrain from being an a**hole.

  53. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:33 pm  

    Why did the Danish Newspaper’s Arts or Cultural Editor feel a need to discuss with Neo-cons the publication of the first set of cartoons?

    Do you have a cite for this claim?

  54. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

    So why is it acceptable to publish cartoons that offend Muslims and not publish cartoons that offend Jews for example?

    Jews are recognised as an ethnic group. Islam is just a religion. Can’t you see there is a difference between them?

  55. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 12:45 pm  

    And another thing, will you for the sake of all that is shiny and bright, learn just what a “neocon” is, what neoconservative ideology entails, their origins, and who are prominent neoconservatives today, instead of using it as a paranoid slur.

    If you don’t,I’ll be forced to lump you in with the looney tunes over at CiF, to whom “neocon” is a codeword for “jew”, and treat you accordingly.

    (no, I’m neither jewish or a neoconservative)

  56. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    “so its not ok to insult me because i’m brown, but ok to insult my beliefs because those have been chosen by me. So one form of prejudice is wrong but the other is ok?”

    You and your person are off limits but beliefs are collecitons of ideas and can be challenged.

    All of this has to occur in a civil environment. At lot of the problems stated by yourself and Natty stem from the crass and insensitive manner in which criticism is put across.

    In my view religious criticism should be put across in a civil manner. It is shame that more people don’t take that view.

    But fundamentally a religion is a structured series of ideas codified in some manner. How can that not be open to criticism and debate?

    “Same with Salman Rushdie he was allowed to publish a book which offended Muslims but not one which offended Hindu’s as that was never published”

    Yes, its all a vast conspiracy…….

    No idea actually. Probably, Rushdie being Rushdie one was as dull as hell and the other not?

  57. Derius — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    I may have misunderstood some of the posts above, so I would like to clarify things by asking a question.

    Does anybody here think that some beliefs should be above criticism?

  58. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:43 pm  

    Bleh to say that jews are an ethnic group is a cop out…so if i insult them it’s not ok because it’s racism…? and if i’m insulting someone’s religious jewishness it’s ok, but not if i insult their ethnic jewishness??? plz!!??

  59. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

    Does anybody here think that some beliefs should be above criticism?

    NO.

    But as a caveat there are civil ways of going about it.

  60. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:47 pm  

    “In my view religious criticism should be put across in a civil manner. It is shame that more people don’t take that view” I totally agree with this..i’m not against criticism, or people thinking that religion is a sky cult, that is their opinion..what I don’t like is when people deliberately go out of their way to be rude, whatever background they come from. I don’t agree with the whole race vs religion argument though, although I do understand your point.

  61. Soso — on 30th August, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    Zin Zin, i’d like to think provoking muslims would be “rather passe” but it seems that when a precedent has been set with the last cartoon row, this one is like a red rag to a bull.

    Exactly, Sofia.

    Radical Islamists do resemble enraged, uncontrolled bulls, don’t they?

    In fact, I’m surprised some of ‘em aren’t sporting a ring through the nose.

    Ridiculing someone becasue of their skin colour is racism.

    Ridiculing and/or criticising a set of beliefs is one of the cornerstones of free speech.

    Islamist are particularly sensitive to criticsm partly because they’ve been exposed to so little of it over the centuries, and partly because Islam’s theology is so untenable, brittle and incoherent that even mild criticism would serve to undo it.

    The anxious Qaradawis and nervous Ramadans of this world know deep down that modernity is going to swallow Islam whole.

    The divine, the eternal and the immutable *word-of-god* snuffed out and overtaken by a four-chord guitar riff.

  62. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    Jews are recognised as an ethnic group. Islam is just a religion. Can’t you see there is a difference between them?

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on where you sit) in South Asia and South East Asia, religion is as fundamental as race. People may be of Indian, Malay or Chinese stock and yet be racially and culuturally uniform. So the only form of social distinction is often religion.

    Examaple, Jai and I are racially identical but both of us will have soft-spots, hang-ups etc based on our individual religious allegiances. These allegiances could be observed rigidly or as casual cultural backdrops, but our religious are very much how we describe and view ourselves.

    The difference are often demonstrated in the degrees on how people react to religious offence. And its true that Muslims are prone to violent knee-jerk but thats because they are the only ones who have been tested to the degree that the Danish motoons were. Try the same but replace the cartoons with material offensive to Sikh or Hindu sesnibilities, and you might have a similar reaction on your hands.

    A word to those who like to play up the right to religious offence are, without understanding their actions, are bein as offensive as if they were committing a racial offence. Just because racial offence trumps religious offence in Modern post-Enlightenment Europe does not mean religious offence is justifiable or at least, less of an offence than racial offence.

    FoE is not a universal and inalienable human right. The fact that people take offence at different issues shows this to be the case. The fact that FoE is not allowable in cases of child porn, Holocaust denial or what have you highlights gaping inconsistentencies with the high-minded liberal value it is held up to be.

  63. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    Jews are recognised as an ethnic group. Islam is just a religion. Can’t you see there is a difference between them?

    What nonsense. How can Jews be an ethnic group? The whole basis of Judaism is religious. Try telling a practising Jewish person they are an ethnic group.

    If this is so then why when checkign ethnicity don’t they list Jews along with African, asian, White Caucasian.

    Judaism comes under religion.

    Judaism is a religion and it’s followers are Jews.

    Also who decides these gradings? You are banding them as fact when they are far from true.

    Jewish people like Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc come from all ethnicities.

    To lump it together as a single ethnic group is insulting to the wide spread of Jewish people and the diversity that the religion has. Each ethnic group within Judaism has it’s own makeup and practise.

    So the claim doesn’t even hold up.

  64. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

    Yes, its all a vast conspiracy…….

    It isn’t a consipracy, newspapers to sell have to appeal to people and controversy sells. Which is why papers whip up public opinion.

    It is a myth for the paper to hide behind free speech and expression when it itself censored thenext set of cartoons. Free speech would have been to also publish those but they self-censored so they themselves set a boundary.

    Self smug editors who hide behind freedom of expression are selective about what they print.

    Would the Sun ever run a derogatory story about Rupert Murdoch? Nope – so isn’t that denying freedom of expression or speech?

    As another example The Sun on Page 3 is limited by what it can and cannot show. So what about freedom of expression there?

    If there was total freedom of expression then there would be no limit.

    Libel laws limit expression. So where is freedom of expression there.

    The lines being drawn are artifical lines. 100 years ago subsitute Jews for Muslims today. Centuries before that substitute Catholics for Jews. Go back further and substitute Jews for Catholics. European history is about having bogeymen and saying they want to change our values, then using freedom of expression to denegrate them.

    That is all it is. Hiding behind freedom of expression when insulting people is lame.

    Also you harp on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about freedom of expression then why if Europe is so permissivie and open are certain things banned from publication. In the UK those in the military now need to apply for permission to sell their stories, spys can’t anyway. Why what about freedom of expression??

  65. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

    Well Natty, technically the Jewish race is distinct..which is why they are covered under race relations act…I think maybe the Sikhs are covered under this too..plz feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
    And Soso, I have no idea what you mean by radical islamists as that term means nothing to me…it’s lazy terminology that I can’t be bothered with

  66. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

    I think maybe the Sikhs are covered under this too

    they are?

  67. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    They are I think.

  68. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    Jews are recognised as an ethnic group. Islam is just a religion.

    Oh god, not this stupid line again. Judaism is a religion like Islam. It was people like Hitler who saw them as a “race” and wanted them wiped out. Of course, he wasn’t alone in seeing them as a race, as did many anti-semites in the UK and Europe.

    The government designation of Jews as a race is predicated on that anti-semitism and is a technical measure more than anything. Otherwise the 1976 Race Relations Act made it illegal to disciminate against Blacks and Asians but not Jewish people. That doesn’t mean you can’t make fun of Judaism or Jews by the way – you still can.

    Similarly Sikhs are designated as an ethnic group. This is not because they are, but to get around the legislative difficulties of allowing them concessions (like wearing a Turban at work). But you can still make fun of Sikhs and of Sikhs.

    As the case should be.

    I have no problem with using humour to lampoon religious authorities, or questioning their beliefs and even ridiculing them.

    My problem Bleh, is with your stupid assertion that unless we allow some degree of public respect for a group of people, we are all back in the dark ages.

    I see you haven’t answered my point at #30.

  69. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    Then so should Bengalis. Eating fish and daal is a race thing!

  70. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    “”The lines being drawn are artifical lines. 100 years ago subsitute Jews for Muslims today. Centuries before that substitute Catholics for Jews. Go back further and substitute Jews for Catholics. European history is about having bogeymen and saying they want to change our values, then using freedom of expression to denegrate them”"

    Its an evolutionary process, eventually as a species we might even make it to maturity and move beyond ‘others’.

    “European history is about having bogeymen” I think you will find that is a very human trait and not limited to europeans.

  71. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

    Sunny, if you came up to me and insulted me in the street, and I punched you, *I* would be guilty of assault, and rightly so.

    Unfortunately, what Natty wants is special protection of her religion from any criticism or scrutiny. And no religion, whither it is Islam or FlyingSpaghettism or whatever should ever be allowed to gain anything like that.

    P.S. Natty, did you come up with a cite yet to back your claim of a great Neocon conspiracy?

  72. Don — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

    ‘And its true that Muslims are prone to violent knee-jerk but thats because they are the only ones who have been tested to the degree that the Danish motoons were.’

    Can’t agree with you, Sid. The issue started way before the orchestrated outrage over the Motoons, back with Rushdie. And you would be hard put to argue that Christianity is less mocked than Islam. Perhaps relatively few people who call themselves christians actually see that as their primary identity, but should numbers matter?

    Of course freedom of expression is constrained in some areas, particularly in incitement to violence or slander that does identifiable harm to someone, but it should not be when it comes to discussing ideas. Highlighting perceived absurdities in the other’s position is part of that. If the best that someone can come up with is a boorish and crude insult, you can draw your own conclusions about what that reveals about them. But it is not for the law to intervene.

    How would you draw the line? Life of Brian ok, Piss Christ not ok? Piss Christ ok, Motoons not ok? South Park on Scientology ok, South Park on Mormons not ok?
    Who gets to decide, the ones with the loudest voice?

    The protesters calling for decapitation were simply expressing what every religion used to understand and act on assiduously; the only way to stop someone laughing at your beliefs is to kill them.

  73. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

    Incidentally Bleh, I think you have selective standards too. You’ve claimed about anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiment here, but like religion those are abstract labels that people can get rid of. Right? So in theory, while race is off limits, its totally ok to lampoon any religious group or people of any country. Right?

    Sunny, if you came up to me and insulted me in the street, and I punched you, *I* would be guilty of assault, and rightly so.

    But you miss the point. You would be offended and annoyed right? And you’d want to punch me in the face wouldn’t you? And doesn’t etiquette dictate we don’t call each other’s mums whores?

  74. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Sunny I’m not sure if this is just a 20th century argument about the Jewish race thing..although i’m no expert in this..

  75. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

    People cannot convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Judaism, which marks them out from the rest.

  76. sofia — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    i disagree Rumbold..as far as I know, you are allowed to convert to Judaism, but the process is more stringent than in say the muslim conversion…
    not sure about sikhism or hinduism, although judging from how many white hari krishnas there are i’m sure it’s allowed

  77. Don — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    I don’t know about Sikhism, but it is possible to convert to Hinduism and Judaism. It isn’t encouraged, but it can be done.

  78. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    So in theory, while race is off limits, its totally ok to lampoon any religious group or people of any country. Right?

    I don’t think I am being selective. I draw the line at a very simple boundary – things you are born with, for example, sexuality, ethnicty or skin colour – criticism of those are verboten. That is racism/homophobia, and totally unacceptable.

    Anything else is fair game. Religion, Culture, Nationality, you name it. They fall into areas protected by free speech. For example, if someone was to say that he thinks Scientologists or the Welsh are all a bunch of cvnts, then that, whilst it may be grossly offensive and insulting (and totally untrue, at least in the case of the Welsh), falls under the label of free speech. It might be laudable to suggest, as Jai did, that all criticism be constructure, but you cannot formalise that difference else you start down a slippy slope towards the perniciousness of speech codes (look up the furore over the use of the term “niggardly” in the US, for example). However, were the person to describe all Arabs, or Blacks in similar derogatory terms, then that is racism, and the person should feel the full force of the law.

  79. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    People can convert to these religions in practice, but I do not think that there is any scriptual authority for it; that is the difference.

  80. Don — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    Just checked. You can convert to Sikhism.

  81. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    People cannot convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Judaism, which marks them out from the rest.

    There are exceptions to these. I know converts to all 3 religions. However, not the same person, I might add.

  82. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

    Natty, by the way, I’ve been very careful in my use of “Jews” as opposed to “Judiasm”. Judiasm, like any other religion is far-game for mockery and so on.

  83. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    Can anybody provide links showing scriptual authority for these conversions?

  84. Katy — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    Sunny is right. The “Jewish Race” is an antisemitic construct which has been used against us to devastating effect for hundreds of years and still is. Jews are a very loosely related people, or a nation – sort of like a very very loosely connected extended family. But they are not a race. I am not the same race as bananabrain, for example, although we’re both Jewish, and neither of us is the same race as Jews of African descent.

    I have limited sympathy for Iran on the subject of offensive cartoonery given the orgy of Holocaust denial cartoons that spilled out of it apparently in retaliation to the Motoons, despite the fact that they were neither commissioned nor drawn by Jewish papers or artists, and with complete indifference to the sensibilities of the Iranian Jewish community, who have been there for thousands of years and certainly had nothing to do with the Motoons at all. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it, I’d say, and that goes for everyone when it comes to freedom of expression. But at the end of the day, if Iran really thinks that berating the ambassador of a country with a free press will have any effect upon what the press in that country choose to print then they’re perfectly entitled to raise it with the ambassador and it’s his job to listen to them.

  85. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    Can anybody provide links showing scriptual authority for these conversions?

    *groans*

    Would the Book of Armaments do?

  86. Ismaeel — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    786
    Muslim Action Committee Calls for the Immediate withdrawal of Insulting Cartoons attacking the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Swedish Newspaper: Nerikes Allehanda

    The Muslim Action Committee (MAC)- a faith based umbrella organisation of over 700 Mosques, Imams and Religious scholars in the UK, which lead 50,000 Muslims through london in protest to the Danish Cartoons last February- have condemned the latest attack on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s person and global civility by Swedish Newspaper Nerikes Allehanda who have published a blatantly provocative and insulting picture of a dog with a human head identified with our Prophet (PBUH).

    The National Convenor of MAC Shaykh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi has called for the immediate withdrawal of these cartoons. We at MAC reiterate our stance that such short sighted sensationalist and insulting attacks on our Prophet (PBUH) do not improve dialogue or debate between communities.

    We welcome constructive and civil debate about all aspects of our faith and way of life but we do not accept the right to freedom to insult and abuse under the rethoric of freedom of speech. Having the right to criticise and having freedom of expression and faith in our society is not the same thing as deliberatly provoking and insulting each other. The former leads to community growth and cohesion. The latter leads to hatred and bitterness. We should be aiming at the former and not the latter.

  87. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    Of course freedom of expression is constrained in some areas, particularly in incitement to violence or slander that does identifiable harm to someone, but it should not be when it comes to discussing ideas.

    Yeah that’s all well and good if yuo’re speaking of ideas within the confines of post-Enlightenment Christendom. But for the large majority of the world’s population, the idea of a Reformation in which the positivist ideas of religious sanctity have been replaced by the overarching values of the Individual means sweet fuck all.

    So if people get angry because you suggest their prophet’s wives were a bunch of whores, don’t be surprised if they reacted as if you’ve just insulted their mother’s form of livlihood.

  88. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    Ismaeel, what have cartoons in a Swedish newspaper got to do with a bunch of busibodies in the UK?

  89. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

    Oh look, the self-appointed representatives, eager to use the latest controversy for their own publicity, have turned up. Hello Ismaeel!

  90. Ismaeel — on 30th August, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    That’s rich coming from you Sunny, self-publicist extrordinaire.

  91. Soso — on 30th August, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    And Soso, I have no idea what you mean by radical islamists as that term means nothing to me…it’s lazy terminology that I can’t be bothered with

    That’s because you’ve got a ring through your nose.

    And just because certain terminology means nothing to you, in no way detracts from from the evil that terminology denotes.

    The National Convenor of MAC Shaykh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi has called for the immediate withdrawal of these cartoons

    He sounds like an old queen.

    We welcome constructive and civil debate about all aspects of our faith and way of life but we do not accept the right to freedom to insult and abuse under the rethoric of freedom of speech.

    To some, your faith AND your way of life ARE an abusive insult to both true religion and morality. You see, radical Islam celebrates and even encourages those dark corners of the soul that ALL other great religions attempt to contain, controle and domesticate.

    Will you be rioting again and holding up signs, Ismaeel, calling for the deaths of blasphemers and infidels, and if so, can we take pictures and laugh?

  92. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    Sunny is right. The “Jewish Race” is an antisemitic construct which has been used against us to devastating effect for hundreds of years and still is

    Thank you. Yes exactly.

    Also can we clear up this nonsense that some religions don’t convert people. Well answer me this riddle if they don’t convert people how did they survive? For any religion to grow and survive it has to convert beyond it’s foundation.

    Sorry that is just a silly argument that has no historical basis. Any religion that doesn’t convert people ends with it’s founder.

    Bleh – I am still looking round for where I read about the neocons, but I can’t recall. However on Daniel Pipes site he issued a denial.

    Also I refer to neocons as the right wing elements of the Republican Party so please don’t try and misconstrue what is being said.

    You claim great care in what you say but not so much in your wild assumptions of whta other people are saying.

  93. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    Also the examples were a highlight and to wildly claim I want protection of one religion and not another is way off the mark. They should be treated the same but they are not.

    Jewish people have worked for over a century to rid people of anti-semitism and now other religions are going through the same. When are the lessons going to be learnt.

  94. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 4:52 pm  

    Bleh can’t help it. His mother belongs to the oldest profession in the world.

  95. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    Also I refer to neocons as the right wing elements of the Republican Party so please don’t try and misconstrue what is being said.

    Do you refer to the colour blue as green as well?

    By definition, ring-wing elements of the Republican Party are overwhelmingly paleoconservatives – a very different kettle of fish indeed. Neoconservatives originally were former liberals who moved rightwards during the 70s and 80s – they are socially very liberal, for example, they heavily supported the Civil Rights Movement, and more tolerant of social welfare programs than paleoconservatives. Indeed, some even are still registered supporters of the Democratic Party (e.g. Wolfowitz and I believe Perle also).

    In short, if you cant use terms correctly, don’t use them at all. Otherwise you make yourself look like a paranoid buffoon who would be more at home on CiF.

  96. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Bleh can’t help it. His mother belongs to the oldest profession in the world.

    At least you didn’t say she was a Tax Collector…

  97. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    No, freelance typist.

  98. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    No, freelance typist.

    Now that’s fighting talk. I’ll see you in the Playground at Lunchtime, sonny boy.

  99. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    Whose definition???? You keep throwing around statements as facts and demand proof from others with little if any citations yourself.

    Neocons – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

    Some moved righwards and others were there already. To paint blamket pictures just makes you look like a buffoon.

    Neocons have been influential in Republican Administrations. Most people regard neocons as more right wing than conservatives. So obviously all those people are wrong.

    Only Professor Bleh knows his neocons from his republicans.

    The buffoons at CiF as you label them are not as bad as the former darlings at the Telegraph who are currently standing trail for fraud. Which is a feature of the neocons, they are always near or around fraud whilst lecturing the world on fraud. Guess it is best to know about it from the inside huh!

  100. Jai — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    People cannot convert to…..Sikhism

    Yes they can, but the point is that Sikhs are not supposed to actively try to convert other people to the religion. If people adopt the faith themselves then that’s fine, but Sikhism is not an evangelical religion.

  101. Rohin — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    Technically Don, it ISN’T possible to convert to Hinduism, you have to be born as such. Although people have converted – with the blessing of other Hindus – it’s not possible by the Hindu notion of a..Hindu.

  102. Sid — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

    That’s right, in purist terms, in Hinduism you have to be born into a caste and therefore a pre-built karma. That means most converts will probably be jostling for the Brahmin caste, without the previous rebirths.

  103. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    Natty, your assertion (before you attempted to use Wikipedia to cover your arse – and even then, it backs up what I’ve been saying) was wrong back then, and is still wrong. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. Your reality is not the actualitie.

    And are you suggesting the commenters on the Telegraph (a newspaper who I have actually bought fewer times than the Guardian, believe it or not) have all been indicted for fraud?

  104. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    Oh stop twisting stuff to suit yourself. The wikipedia doesn’t back you up at all. It states quite clearly that Neocons first big victory was within the Republican party. Not all neocons come from liberal thinking, yes some do and some don’t.

    Just because some neocons are part of the democratic party doesn ‘t mean they are liberal, it means they are influencing debate in that party to suit thweir agenda.

    >And are you suggesting the commenters on the >Telegraph (a newspaper who I have actually bought >fewer times than the Guardian, believe it or not) >have all been indicted for fraud?
    Er why don’t you try reading what I said. The people standing trial for fraud are Lord Black the former darling of the neocons. Who was convicted of taking money that wasn’t his. His neocons friends on the board of Hollinger as non-execs whose purpose is to guide the board and avoid this stuff. It is amazing how the neocons lecture the 3rd world about fraud and yet seem to be around some fairly unsavoury frauds themselves.

    Blimey you know how to jump to your own conclusions.

  105. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 6:17 pm  

    It states quite clearly that Neocons first big victory was within the Republican party.

    That would explain why Cheney is a paleocon, Bush is a paleocon, Rice is a paleocon, and so on and so on and so on. And of the current presidental contenders, none of them are neoconservative in origin or practise.

    And how exactly is Conrad Black a “darling of the neocons”? And what exactly has Conrad Black got to do with the price of cheese?

    So who in this conspiratorial world of yours ISN’T a “Neocon” then?

    Frankly, Natty, you’re hysterical. You’re just like the rancid muppets over at CiF, except they have the honesty to reveal their anti-semitism in the open.

  106. Don — on 30th August, 2007 at 6:41 pm  

    Sid #87,

    Reminds me of the Reverend Sydney Smith who, when walking through an Edinburgh alleyway, saw two women shouting abuse at one another across the alley from their tenement windows. He concluded that they were never likely to agree, as they were arguing from different premises.

    The premises I’m arguing from are those of an old-fashioned post-enlightenment rationalist. I don’t claim that it’s the perfect position – that would probably be an oxymoron – but I’ve seen no convincing reason to change it for one of the others on offer.

    It’s really not my style to insult people’s mums, nor would I dream of gratuitously abusing someone’s personal faith. But if a religious group claims special privileges in the public sphere, then they had better come up with better reasons than ‘An angel said.’ Whether that angel be Gabriel or Moroni makes no difference to me. You put angels, apparitions, flying horses, walking dead or parted seas on the debating table as evidence for your case then there is a strong probability of a certain amount of mockery.

    When I come across things like Mohammed-as-a-dog cartoons, or blog comments like ‘Mohammed was a kiddie fiddler nyah nyah nah nah nah’ my first reaction is to think ‘What a dick-head’. But that does not prevent me from pointing the absurdities (from my viewpoint) of certain religious claims. Play the ball, not the man.

    Besides, how many people in Iran or Pakistan or Nigeria actually subscribe to obscure Scandanavian local newspapers? Shouldn’t any offence they feel be laid at the door of those who made it their business to shove it in their faces? How many of the Rushdie protesters had actually read the book, or were aware that the famous fatwa was almost certainly motivated by the thinly-veiled depiction of Khommeni? There is a political agenda driving this.

    It may be as you say, that a large number of people have been raised in a cultural and intellectual tradition which finds dissent in the form of satire incomprehensible and offensive. As Katy pointed out, they seem to have grasped how to be abusive towards ‘the other’, just not how to take it. And that is being manipulated.

  107. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    You don’t half talk a load of rubbish.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoconservatism

    According to this paleocon’s don’t support the Gulf war or war against Iran. So your claims that the architects of Gulf war and bombing Iran are paleocons is ludicrous.

    >Frankly, Natty, you’re hysterical. You’re just like >the rancid muppets over at CiF, except they have the >honesty to reveal their anti-semitism in the open.
    Yes you can’t prove what you say and provide no citations. So hurling anti-semitism labels is a traditional way to get out of having to debate. That is a nasty slur to place on anyone and it is disgusting for you to do it. The moderators should demand you apologise or you are banned. It is nothing short of disgusting.

  108. Don — on 30th August, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

    Rohin/Sid

    Really? So those middle-class white dudes of the TB-infected bull issue weren’t ‘really’ Hindu? Fair enough, I must admit that Hinduism baffles me. I’ve given it my best shot, but all I can conclude is that it is very, very complex and its iconography is seriously kitsch. (Not in a Marxist sense, I hasten to add.)

  109. Derius — on 30th August, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

    “We welcome constructive and civil debate about all aspects of our faith and way of life but we do not accept the right to freedom to insult and abuse under the rethoric of freedom of speech.”

    Posted by Ismaeel, above.

    Do you welcome constructive criticism of your faith as well, or would this constitute you being insulted, which you state matter of factly is not acceptible under any circumstances?

  110. Bleh — on 30th August, 2007 at 7:21 pm  

    No, Natty, 9/11 changed everytning, even Paleocons, who are now reverting to type.

  111. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2007 at 7:24 pm  

    Ismeel,

    Do you find the following offensive:

    Mohammed, Prophet of Islam, married a girl who was 9 and should therefore perhaps not be an ideal choice to hold up as THE example of humanity?

    Where do you see the boundaries that you would like in the UK? (Examples would be very useful)

    thanks

    TCH

  112. Rumbold — on 30th August, 2007 at 9:57 pm  

    Natty:

    Paleoconservatives can be broadly summed up as bigoted individuals who hate the rest of the (non-US) world. They believe in racial superiority, that homosexuality should be illegal, and were the sort of people who did not want to fight Hitler; sort of the BNP times 2 really. The Neoconservatives are closer to the old Orwellian left; they are for intervention in foreign affairs, and are often quite fond of big government and relativly liberal social policies, which makes them much closer to the left than the Paleos.

  113. Ravi Naik — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:18 pm  

    “That’s right, in purist terms, in Hinduism you have to be born into a caste and therefore a pre-built karma. That means most converts will probably be jostling for the Brahmin caste, without the previous rebirths.”

    What does caste have to do with karma? If you have a bad karma you are born into a lower caste? And in Hinduism, reincarnation only applies to hindus?

  114. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:30 pm  

    If you have a bad karma you are born into a lower caste?

    I believe that is roughly the case, yes. You have to do good karma to progress up the caste ladder (so to speak).

  115. Leon — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:46 pm  

    Similarly Sikhs are designated as an ethnic group. This is not because they are, but to get around the legislative difficulties of allowing them concessions (like wearing a Turban at work).

    Are you sure about this? I was told by a mate (who used to work at the Home Office) once that it was because both Jews and Sikhs by a tend to be of one ethnicity thus prejudice against them was likely to be thinly veiled racism.

    It was to offer them protection under the law in that area (didn’t some Muslim group try to use the same argument to get the act amended to include Muslims along side Sikhs and Jewish people?).

  116. Sunny — on 30th August, 2007 at 10:55 pm  

    Are you sure about this?

    Yes, I’m sure about this.

    Jews are very ethnically diverse, more so than Sikhs. If you wanted to protect Sikhs on that basis you’d have to include Muslims and Hindus as part of that argument because most Punjabis are Hindu or Muslim and not actually Sikh. Anyway, it’s not the case.

  117. Natty — on 30th August, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    >No, Natty, 9/11 changed everytning, even Paleocons, >who are now reverting to type.

    Look until you learn to stop throwing around false anti-semitism accusations then I don’t want to discuss anything with someone like you.

    Your slur is disgusting and the fact that it is going unchecked is disgraceful. The moderators shouldn’t allow such slurs to be made. They make a big deal of not allowing personal attacks yet here is one and because you have been here a while it is allowed to pass.

  118. Bleh — on 31st August, 2007 at 12:43 am  

    Natty, the way you sling about “neocon” at the slightest little provocation, and the way you use it as a catch-all perjorative term, is IDENTICAL to way others not too far politically from you throw about the term “Jew”, with equal venom.

    Especially since often, the targets are the same people.

  119. Sunny — on 31st August, 2007 at 12:45 am  

    They make a big deal of not allowing personal attacks yet here is one and because you have been here a while it is allowed to pass.

    Well, I think it’s more the case that Bleh just loses credibility when making such idiotic accusations. I’ve been on the receiving end too and now I just treat his arguments with derision. Rumbold asks why I don’t take Bleh seriously, this is a good example.

    the way you use it as a catch-all perjorative term, is IDENTICAL to way others not too far politically from you throw about the term “Jew”, with equal venom.

    Wow, great excuse Bleh. Because calling someone a racist is the same as using a political term.

  120. Bleh — on 31st August, 2007 at 10:37 am  

    Sunny, Natty is incapable of argument without resorting to wacky conspiracy theories involving her personal bogeymen “neocons”.

    Her problem, not mine.

  121. Natty — on 31st August, 2007 at 10:48 am  

    And that explains your anti-semitism slur. You know full well you are in the wrong and you should just admit you made a mistake.

    Even if I bring up neocons that is nothing to do with antisemitism which is the brush you chose to use and now you hide behind wack and conspiricy theories.

    If what I say is wacky then you don’t have to discuss with me but restorting to slurs is not the way to go.

    As Sunny pointed out I use a political label and you replied using a racist label. You are in the wrong.

  122. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 11:01 am  

    Soso – a ring through my nose??? yeh sure I do…like you have a rod up your arse

  123. Sid — on 31st August, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    he would only enjoy that

  124. Rumbold — on 31st August, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

    Bleh, I think that you have misread Natty. She is wrong about the neocons though.

    As for conversion to other religions, it is fair to say that Judaism has always gone out of its way not to attract converts; just look at Leviticus with all those rules designed to mark the Jews out from the neighbouring peoples. Hinduism has not seen any religious expansion since the Arians invaded India. The Sikhs made converts in early years, but that was before Guru Gobind Singh and the tightening up of what it meant to be a Sikh.

  125. Natty — on 31st August, 2007 at 12:43 pm  

    >Where do you see the boundaries that you would
    >like in the UK? (Examples would be very useful)

    As I see it debate is fine as long as there is a will to listen to the other side. In the example you cite context is important so listening to what people have to say about the marriage would be important. Up until a century ago such marriages were common in the East.

    Meaningful debate should be just that. One sided debates are in fact lecturing and not debate. Too often Europeans have a bad habit of lecturing to Eastern religions and the not engaging in listening to a reply.

    As one example – The Pope lectures in Berlin and then is selective about who he will listen to about a reply.

    In both terms there is many myths and too little real dialogue. The sabre rattling by all sides is what uis causing friction.

  126. Natty — on 31st August, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    >As for conversion to other religions
    Every religion has converted people that is how is spreads, the need for conversion may have changed later but every religion has to have converts otherwise it starts and ends with the person who delivers the message of that religion.

    Judaism may not have sought converts due to the pressures it faced from the Romans. But even at a basic level in Judaism the Prophets who brought the message had to have had their message accepted by people who became Jews. Otherwise Moses would have been the only person to follow the religion.

    Euqlly amongst the Sikhs people had to have accepted the message of the founder so they converted.

    Every religion converts people to have a following.

  127. Derius — on 31st August, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

    Has anybody else noticed here that one poster has asked another poster’s comments to be moderated on a link about freedom of speech?

    You’ve just got to love the irony of it! I think we have a comic genius here amongst us.

  128. bananabrain — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    @sunny:

    Judaism is a religion like Islam. It was people like Hitler who saw them as a “race” and wanted them wiped out. Of course, he wasn’t alone in seeing them as a race, as did many anti-semites in the UK and Europe.

    this is, of course, because previously european anti-jewish feeling was something that could be mitigated by converting to christianity. of course, when jews started doing that after the enlightenment, people had to find another reason not to like us, hence the “scientific” antisemitism of renan and others. we could change our religion, but we couldn’t change our “race”. nowadays this fine distinction is rarely understood. the thing also is that there are large numbers of jews who maintain that they are “secular” jews or “ethnic” jews without any vestige of the religious beliefs or practice (the aforementioned stephen fry for one) so is he still a jew, then? religiously, of course, we’d say he was, because his mother was and we’re matrilineal in that respect. the trouble is that judaism can’t be categorised that easily. it is both an ethnic group *and* a religion and sometimes both, because effectively it is an ethnic group that you can join by conversion, which is in the strict form a process designed to socialise you as one of the ethnic group, by giving you a “jewish family upbringing” – that’s why it takes so long, in order that you not be identifiable as a convert subsequently. where judaism is unusual is in that one can be, according to religious law or halakhah religiously considered as jewish regardless of one’s observance. in that sense once you are “in”, it is considered an innate status. you couldn’t stop being jewish any more than you could stop being brown or black. that’s one of the meanings of circumcision – once that bit of skin has gone, you’re never getting it back, i suppose.

    @the common humanist:

    100 years ago subsitute Jews for Muslims today. Centuries before that substitute Catholics for Jews. Go back further and substitute Jews for Catholics. European history is about having bogeymen and saying they want to change our values, then using freedom of expression to denigrate them””

    except that not 100 years ago or ever have even the most religiously extreme jews been seen threatening and inciting murder, through decapitation, bombing or any other means in response to real or imagined slights: demonstrating at all is something we are not at all keen on doing.

    How would you draw the line? Life of Brian ok, Piss Christ not ok? Piss Christ ok, Motoons not ok? South Park on Scientology ok, South Park on Mormons not ok? Who gets to decide, the ones with the loudest voice?

    all OK by me – but humour and content should be the guide, not just cheap, tawdry sensationalist insults. the motoons were in point of fact demonstrated the same poverty of imagination, creativity and humour that the aforementioned “artwork” did.

    Yeah that’s all well and good if yuo’re speaking of ideas within the confines of post-Enlightenment Christendom. But for the large majority of the world’s population, the idea of a Reformation in which the positivist ideas of religious sanctity have been replaced by the overarching values of the Individual means sweet fuck all.

    So if people get angry because you suggest their prophet’s wives were a bunch of whores, don’t be surprised if they reacted as if you’ve just insulted their mother’s form of livelihood.

    for once i agree with sid!

    @natty:

    But even at a basic level in Judaism the Prophets who brought the message had to have had their message accepted by people who became Jews. Otherwise Moses would have been the only person to follow the religion.
    the message of the patriarchs (abraham through joseph) was for their immediate and extended families (and not all of those, in the case of ishmael and esau, for example) whereas the message of moses was to all the descendents of jacob, although a “mixed multitude” also chose to convert and go along of the exodus. however, from moses to the last prophet, micah, the prophets have only been speaking to jewish people (with the sole exception of jonah) – judaism has not actively sought converts since late roman times and the christian ascendency.

    note to all: i’m a bit mystified at everyone accusing everyone else of anti-semitism and of accusing people of accusing people of anti-semitism. can everyone stop doing that, please?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  129. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    THIS Is what I mean by creeping Muslim demands:

    “An umbrella body representing 57 Muslim nations, the Organisation of Islamic Conference, condemned the latest cartoon and urged the Swedish government to punish those responsible.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6972093.stm

    SO a huge representative body *57* Muslim organisations wants the law to be changed so that you cannot print blasphemous cartoons!!!

    What do they want? People who print blasphemous cartoons to go to jail?

  130. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    And for the LOVE OF GOD, please do not conflate RACE and RELIGION.

    I am an atheist. Skin colour does not matter in the slightest. Blue or green would be interesting, though.

  131. Bleh — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

    The sabre rattling by all sides is what uis causing friction.

    No, the sabre rattling by representatives of a backwards and mysoginistic religion who are holding placards demanding that their *beliefs* are treated as fact are what is causing friction.

  132. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

    Meanwhile artists have morphed Jesus in to Bin Laden. No beheadings or street rallies calling for the slaughter of the artists have yet been reported in response.

  133. Katherine — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

    I do wish Sunny and Bleh would put their differences aside. Reading both in this debate and it is clear that they had a bad sword-crossing experience in the past, but that both now has an unnecessarily harsh impression of the other. Just my opinion – hope it might help.

  134. Sid — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    long time no see bananabrain, nice to have you back.

  135. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

    criticising jews is seen as anti semitism…that’s twaddle for a start..as ridiculous as saying someone criticising Islam is anti Muslim

  136. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

    So if people get angry because you suggest their prophet’s wives were a bunch of whores, don’t be surprised if they reacted as if you’ve just insulted their mother’s form of livelihood.

    Depends what you find an acceptable response to someobody insulting your mothers form of livelihood.

    I don’t think calling for the slaughter of the person responsible would be appropriate. Especially, since objectively, we are talking about some character that may or may not have existed 1400 years ago, who was a not particularly nice person himself by todays standards.

  137. Sid — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

    Depends what you find an acceptable response to someobody insulting your mothers form of livelihood.

    Yeah, well I understand this is subjective and dependent on your mother’s form of livlihood, real or perceived. :-)

  138. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

    ” Especially, since objectively, we are talking about some character that may or may not have existed 1400 years ago, who was a not particularly nice person himself by todays standards.”

    A military leader was not a nice guy? Since when? Someone like Nelson, Wellington, Churchill, Henry VIII, William the bloody conqueror were all charming blokes who are talked of fondly everywhere in England. Hell people still glorify Alexander, Caesar, the Romans, but for someone reason have a problem glorifying Genghis Khan, Ashoka, Cyrus, Hannibal Bacra? Why is that??

  139. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    “Judaism is a religion like Islam. It was people like Hitler who saw them as a “race” and wanted them wiped out. Of course, he wasn’t alone in seeing them as a race, as did many anti-semites in the UK and Europe.”

    Shurley that isn’t correct? Don’t the Jews see themselves as a race? Weren’t many athiest Jews weho saw themselves AS Jews killed by Hitler, who agreed?

    Also, isn’t Judaism actually exclusive to Jews, the Chosen People? Ok, so some people can “convert” in contemporary times, but Judaism is an old-style religion which pertians to “tribe” while Islam, like Christianity is the new type that any old unwashed type can join up to. Which is incidentally why the Romans hated them (Xstians I mean) because they regarded them as “stealing” Romans from their Roman Gods. Not a lotta people know that?

  140. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    i would like to object to someone like Muhammed being placed alongside the likes of Genghis Khan..nowhere is history has it shown that he pillaged…whatever else you may want to think of him…i know i’ll probably get lots of you saying otherwise, but just wanted to highlight my point

  141. Jai — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    The Sikhs made converts in early years, but that was before Guru Gobind Singh and the tightening up of what it meant to be a Sikh.

    Euqlly amongst the Sikhs people had to have accepted the message of the founder so they converted.

    Ahem. Not quite.

    During Guru Nanak’s time, Hindu followers regarded him as one of “their” holy men and his Muslim followers regarded him as one of “their” saints. There was a rudimentary ceremony a person undertook in order to demonstrate that they had formally become his disciple, but that was it. Guru Nanak obviously had some beliefs which were not in line with the established religions in their more conservative forms, but he did not want or require anyone to convert from or to anything. He just wanted people to do their best to be inherently benevolent human beings, regardless of whatever organised religion they may have professed affiliation with. Hindus and Muslims actually ended up arguing over how to dispose of the Guru’s body when he died, as each group wanted to honour it according to their respective religious practices.

    Technically, one does not “convert” to Sikhism — people can just adopt its tenets and practices to whatever degree they can, ideally without any hypocrisy involved, because (beyond a certain point) Sikhism regards segregating humanity into rigid us-and-them religious groups as being a misguided course of action. Simply becoming a Sikh would not automatically make the person concerned a more spiritually-aware individual, or “save their soul”, or make them superior to people from other groups in any way. The closest equivalent to any formal conversion process is the Khalsa baptism ceremony, which is more akin to induction into an order of knights and is for people who really do have the desire and commitment to practise the strictest principles of Sikhism to the letter.

    By the way Rumbold, I’m assuming you’re aware of what happened to the tens of thousands of people present at the first Vaisakhi in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh asked for volunteers to formally adopt the practices and outer symbols associated with the Khalsa, along with the large numbers who continued to join the fold during the 10th Guru’s lifetime.

  142. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    and what really irritates me is that a lot of opinions on him are based on pathetic one dimensional opinions..not on fact…

  143. bananabrain — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    yeah, i’ve been on holiday, also hard at work and doing the interfaith thang at http://www.comparative-religion.com and also have felt the discussions here have lately been a bit too vitriolic and ideological for my liking. i guess in my initial burst of enthusiasm i failed to notice that you have to be a bit of a lefty in order to be accepted as a True Pickler and i strongly believe that “left” and “right” are dinosaurs when it comes to modern political expression, however comforting they may be as shibboleths.

    i originally became a pickler because i like politics and didn’t fancy harry’s place much. moreover, the majority of people here seem to be more or less brown or asian or whatever you call it and i thought it might be nice to let my subcontinental ethnic heritage breathe in ways it doesn’t normally get to do. plus you didn’t have any brown jews here, katy and the chairwoman, being both white as you like and having very different jewish points of view to myself, plus i have now got to know them both, which is rather nice.

    anyway, carry on….

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  144. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    “what really irritates me is that a lot of opinions on him are based on pathetic one dimensional opinions”

    That was my point Sofia. People seem to have no problem showing all the 3 dimensions to people like Henry VIII or Churchill, or Alexander, but suddenly seem to try and only caricature Mohammed as some psycho nutter who only created mayhem where he went.

  145. Jai — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    Sahil,

    A military leader was not a nice guy?

    This is a very sensitive argument so I’m not getting involved, but basically problems arise when the military leader also claims to be divinely inspired in all his actions, both military and (especially) non-military.

    Since when? Someone like Nelson, Wellington, Churchill, Henry VIII, William the bloody conqueror were all charming blokes who are talked of fondly everywhere in England. Hell people still glorify Alexander, Caesar, the Romans, but for someone reason have a problem glorifying Genghis Khan, Ashoka, Cyrus, Hannibal Bacra? Why is that??

    Ashoka actually is glorified but it’s because of what happened after he adopted Buddhism, not before.

    The rest of your point is very good though, I do agree with it. Alexander certainly wasn’t a nice guy, for example, but we all know how much he’s exalted.

    Maybe the problem is more to do with whether the all-conquering “hero” is from “your own” part of the world…. ;)

  146. CyrusTheGreat — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

    i would like to object to someone like Muhammed being placed alongside the likes of Genghis Khan..nowhere is history has it shown that he pillaged…whatever else you may want to think of him…i know i’ll probably get lots of you saying otherwise, but just wanted to highlight my point

    All I will say is llok up the history of ‘Banu Mustaliq’.

    And read this thread: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbreligion/F2213236?thread=4524326

  147. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:19 pm  

    can you please name all the battles he (Muhammed) was supposedly involved in and why, as that would be interesting too.

  148. Sid — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

    discussions here have lately been a bit too vitriolic and ideological for my liking

    funny that, I’ve managed to excorcise myself of much of my vitriol and ideology since becoming a Pickler in general and specifically using Bleh and Soso as my scratching posts. Suffice to say that they both deserve all the vitriol and ideology they get.

  149. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

    and cyrus, i’m really going to get my information from a bbc message board aren’t I? I’d rather read something with a bit of historical evidence..you know that stuff you need to prove a point..

  150. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

    “Ashoka actually is glorified but it’s because of what happened after he adopted Buddhism, not before.”

    Agreed, bit sloppy on my part :)

    But even if military leaders do not claim divinity as their reason for conquering, they always get some other reason: national security, helping our allies, creating global stability, yada, yada. By definition leaders are not like us, and to try and to claim that some sets of leaders were really nice guys (i.e. EU leaders) whilst other were just mindless criminals (i.e. Eastern leaders) is just lazy history.

  151. CyrusTheGreat — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:25 pm  

    sofia

    I said read the thread and read the history – they will complement each other.

  152. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:26 pm  

    Sofia here is a link:

    http://www.islamonline.net/English/introducingislam/Prophet/Life/article01.shtml

    I’m not going to claim this is a definite guide to the prophet, BUT, a lot of battles were documented and recorded.

  153. Bleh — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:27 pm  

    i would like to object to someone like Muhammed being placed alongside the likes of Genghis Khan..nowhere is history has it shown that he pillaged…whatever else you may want to think of him…i know i’ll probably get lots of you saying otherwise, but just wanted to highlight my point

    You can’t libel the dead, Sofia.

    Sid, good to know you care.

  154. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    Cyrus, I don’t think so…
    and Sahil my point being everyone talks about these supposed battles but can’t name one…or think of why they were fought..if people are so damned sure about this man..who never claimed divinity for a bloody start…then I’d be willing to engage in a meaningful debate about him..

  155. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    Bleh – I know that…and again my point is everyone who talks about Muhammed thinks they know about him by reading message forums and third rate websites that dissect and bastardise history

  156. CyrusTheGreat — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

    sofia

    Do as you please but then don’t sit there and claim to be an authority on how Muhammed is just a misunderstood hippy while the reality is so very different: the incident I mention being a point in case.

  157. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    cyrus i didnt claim to be an authority..lol you make me laugh …thanks…i’ll leave it up to you to put up those most helpful links:):)

  158. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

    You talkin’ ’bout my mother Sid! Heh.

    i would like to object to someone like Muhammed being placed alongside the likes of Genghis Khan..nowhere is history has it shown that he pillaged…whatever else you may want to think of him…i know i’ll probably get lots of you saying otherwise, but just wanted to highlight my point

    Nowhere in history.. Well apart from the Quran! read chapter called Spoils of War ;)

    Sofia, Sahil, good points, that throuhgout history not very nice people have been greatly admired.

    However, as the zeitgeist changes, things no longer become acceptable as modern day behaviour.

    Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, said, he’s not in anyway in favour of bringing about equality between black and white races.

    But, we don’t have Henry VIIIists trying to carry out the will of Henry VIII in the way that Henry VIII would have carried it out! Things change.

    The problem is when people and societies think it’s acceptable to act the same way they did back in the 7th century (for example).

    Pretty similar parallels can be drawn with the Bible belt in America, some evangelists are campaigning for laws based on the old testament!

  159. CyrusTheGreat — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    evangelists are campaigning for laws based on the old testament!

    The ignorance on this board never ceases to amaze me.

    Why would Evangelical Christians, who believe that Jesus and the New Testament rendered the Old testament obsolete, wan to implement Old Testament Laws?

    Really.

  160. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    Sofia the best way to learn about Mohammed is read the Quran. I have read the really bad bits. Like much of Spoils of War. Really, you don’t need to bastardise anything! People still do, of course.

    Like, for balance, the Old Testament, which a lot of Islam was based on. Not very nice parts there.

  161. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    “The problem is when people and societies think it’s acceptable to act the same way they did back in the 7th century (for example).”

    Agreed, but I’m not sure which muslims you refer to who want to live life like it was in the 7th century. Certainly not members of my family or my friends or many other average muslims I know.

  162. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    no of course we do..we sit on camels and don’t own mobile fones..i think this pc is a mirage too

  163. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

    re: spoils of war…can you please highlight which bit

  164. bananabrain — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    I’m not sure which muslims you refer to who want to live life like it was in the 7th century.

    sahil, please accompany me back to http://www.comparative-religion.com and hang out on the islam board there and you’ll meet quite a few of the miswak-waving, smug, arrogant i’m-not-a-wahhabi-but-islam-says-this-and-it-is-based-on-Qur’an-and-sunnah-so-judaism-was-actually-originally-islam-before-the-jews-distorted- it variety. suffice it to say i could do with some help when i’m arguing that islam doesn’t have to be obscurantist despite the behaviour of the aforementioned.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  165. Natty — on 31st August, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

    the message of the patriarchs (abraham through joseph) was for their immediate and extended families (and not all of those, in the case of ishmael and esau, for example) whereas the message of moses was to all the descendents of jacob, although a “mixed multitude” also chose to convert and go along of the exodus. however, from moses to the last prophet, micah, the prophets have only been speaking to jewish people (with the sole exception of jonah) – judaism has not actively sought converts since late roman times and the christian ascendency.

    Ok assuming you are correct and the message was for the Prophets and their families. Those people were of Middle Eastern descent. So how did the European Jews ie. white skinned and blue/green eyes become Jewish? Did they convert? They are not from the familiy of the prophets or are they?

    What about African Jews? How did they become Jewish?

    Sorry for the slight departure I am just interested in this point.

  166. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    So how did the European Jews ie. white skinned and blue/green eyes become Jewish?

    Cossaks. Hence judaism passed through the female line.

    What about African Jews? How did they become Jewish?

    Weren’t they the ones that never left egypt?

  167. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

    The ignorance on this board never ceases to amaze me.

    Why would Evangelical Christians, who believe that Jesus and the New Testament rendered the Old testament obsolete, wan to implement Old Testament Laws?

    Really.

    Touche.

    “Current media usage of the term (especially in the United States), is often synonymous with conservative Protestant Christians.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

    Surely by your ignant assed ideologically based understanding of “Christian” you would be completely unable to explain how Texas has the highest number of executions. Where’s the teachings of christ? It’s not. Yes it’s effed up. But many on the Christian right live more by the old testament morals of an eye for an eye than of love and compassion!

  168. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    Will check it out Bananabrain, but frankly the only knowledge I have of Islam is from my family. But if these idiots really believe half of the crap that you mentioned, its a good thing that I didn’t have any interest in going to these religious classes taught by “highly” knowledgeable scholars (SIC!!!).

  169. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

    obscurantist? islam or muslims?

  170. Sid — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    Why would Evangelical Christians, who believe that Jesus and the New Testament rendered the Old testament obsolete, wan to implement Old Testament Laws?

    Because Christ was not a Law maker and if anything His message was still rooted in Mosaic law. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is not specifically an Old Testament law, its very much universal. Although only “Thou Shalt Not Covet They Neighbour’s Ass” only applies to gay people. ;-)

  171. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

    isn’t it like ayaan hirst ali says that most muslims don’t read the koran so just think it full of good stuff. it is only if you actually read it that it is revealed to be a war-like tome?

    surely this is why it was such an effective handbook for world domination? i mean, most of today’s current muslims ancestors were not the converted but the conquored were they not?

  172. Bleh — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

    Ok assuming you are correct and the message was for the Prophets and their families. Those people were of Middle Eastern descent. So how did the European Jews ie. white skinned and blue/green eyes become Jewish? Did they convert? They are not from the familiy of the prophets or are they?

    Oh dear, not this again.

    Tell you what, Natty, line me up (Celtic heritage) against say, a Persian and an Ayrian from North India. Tenner says you won’t be able to tell the difference in our skin colours or eye colours.

    Sahil, the Taliban, for starters.

  173. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

    ugh@ boyo…yeh and coming from hirsi that’s obviously the case right?

  174. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

    well aint it da truth? pleased to find otherwise, honestly.

  175. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

    “Sahil, the Taliban, for starters.”

    When did the Taliban invade the UK?

    “i mean, most of today’s current muslims ancestors were not the converted but the conquored were they not?”

    Like any other faith. Christianity was not exactly pleasant for pagans, religions and beliefs come and go. Also to read the Quran in isolation of the societal and economic context of the region at that time, is just plain stupid, the same again as any other historical examination.

  176. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    Sofia, people seem to get really angry here when I quote the Quran. Such is the effect of the holy book :)
    try the first verse

    verse 41: 8:41 And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger and for the kinsman

    Pillaging! There’s one a one or two about possesing women captives etc…

    Look this is all very out of context etc. But it’s there. Along with the nice peaceful stuff. Honestly. Pity about abrogation though to deal with contradictions in the quran…

    Ducks for cover

  177. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    boyo…as I don’t want people to accuse me of having my own agenda (as I think Hirsi has herself) in putting my opinion down, I’ll leave you to pick up a translation and read for yourself…how about trying that..it might be a bit more informative than anything I can argue…there has to be mutual respect for something to be debated properly..

  178. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    Also to read the Quran in isolation of the societal and economic context of the region at that time, is just plain stupid…

    Fair, but also, in my book, demonstrates why Jesus was special, because he DIDN’T say

    Love thy neighbour, but if he steals your oxen smite the B****r.

    Instead he said turn the other cheek.

    Which is what made his teaching revolutionary and timeless.

  179. Sofia — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    lol @ ducks for cover…well maybe if you want a whole thread on this verse I could sit down with you and discuss it properly within context (of revelation, time and interpretation)

  180. j0nz — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

    The point is Sofia, 1. the stuff is in the quran, you really dont need to make it up 2. that really wouldnt matter if many weren’t seeking to take it literally and applying this stuff to todays world.

  181. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    and sorry, i don’t buy that “he woz our prophet too”, cos frankly from what i understand (and i grant you not a great deal) he didn’t add anything new. Indeed he turned the clock back (see above).

    Not that i’m an evangelist or anything. Actually, I’m a unitarian ;-)

  182. Boyo — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:29 pm  

    anyway, sorry but i’m off for a haircut. have fun!

  183. Sunny — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    Instead he said turn the other cheek.

    Which is what made his teaching revolutionary and timeless.

    Really, have you read the rest of the Bible or is copying and pasting your only skill?

    If you really wanted love and peace, you’d be a Sikh :)

    Not that i’m an evangelist or anything. Actually, I’m a unitarian

    you come across as annoying more than anything really. This thread has served its purpose now.

  184. sahil — on 31st August, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    “Fair, but also, in my book, demonstrates why Jesus was special, because he DIDN’T say

    Love thy neighbour, but if he steals your oxen smite the B****r.

    Instead he said turn the other cheek. ”

    And what did his followers do, murder all the pagans in the EU, not to mentions go off on what, oh yes the Crusades. Just because you quote nicer lines, means little to how religious texts are interpreted. The Bible, Torah and Quran are no different from each other in terms of how people should go about understanding them. PS the Quran also has a lot of fluffy stuff, why don’t you post those lines up as well?

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