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On freedom of speech and controversy

Posted By Sunny On 3rd October, 2007 @ 3:52 pm In Religion, Civil liberties | 147 Comments

I wrote an article published on CIF today titled: “[1] Muslims should embrace free speech“. It is aimed more at brown people generally since I don’t believe British Sikhs and Hindus have learnt to deal with free speech or criticism/ridicule of their religions either. But the angle is a controversy involving Muslims hence the title. Anyway. In the article I say that it’s not just brown people who miss the point on free speech, pointing to calls by [2] Brownie and [3] Norm Geras as examples of demanding censorship.

In reply, [4] Norm says:

Both in the [5] post he links to and in [6] this follow-up I made it clear that I support the freedom of universities (and their constituent faculties and schools) to invite any speakers they want to. This doesn’t mean, however, that a university is obliged, out of respect for the principle of free speech, to invite absolutely everybody. They may choose, and in choosing, they may observe certain standards: standards, for example, to do with respect for the truth. I think the invitation to Ahmadinejad was ill-judged. That is not the same thing as opposing free speech.

I’m afraid it’s not as simple as that. Censorship and free speech are absolute concepts but they don’t take into account distribution of power and access to media. For example, a newspaper may publish something offensive about Muslims in the name of free speech but not bother publishing something offensive about Christians (or Diana) as a matter of taste. There is censorship and there is self-censorship.

Similarly, I would delete anyone who comes here and starts spouting f*** Muslims for the sake of being offensive. But a bigger platform like Facebook (or the internet) should maintain adherence to free speech regardless of who is being insulted (Islam, Judaism, America, India, Israel etc) so we can all have the same standards. Similarly, for Columbia university to decline an invitation to President Ahmadinijad amounts to academic self-censorship. Let him come and make a fool of himself like he did; what’s there to be afraid of? As long as they don’t break the law, nutters like Louis Farrakhan and Sheikh Qaradawi should be allowed in if they allow fascists like Le Pen and Nick Griffin to spout off endlessly.

Update: [7] Another example of academic self-censorship.

Another update: To clarify [8] to Norm, I was talking about declining an invite to MA after it had been issued, as in the case of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in my earlier update, not issuing one to just anyone.


147 Comments To "On freedom of speech and controversy"

#1 Comment By ZinZin On 3rd October, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

Freedom of speech is good for you. Those who call for others to be censored open themselves up to censorship.

It also a sign of a lack of confidence demanding that those who have a different point of view should be silenced. Instead of countering it with your arguments.

#2 Comment By koppakabana On 3rd October, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

so hate is okay, as long as everyone is allowed to hate each other equally? i don’t know, sunny…

freedom of speech (to me) means freedom of the expression of IDEAS, not directed insults.

#3 Comment By douglas clark On 3rd October, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

Sunny,

Probably the best thing you’ve ever written. Great stuff.

#4 Comment By douglas clark On 3rd October, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

Err, I hope I’m not about to be banned for calling Ismaeel an idiot? It’s just that telling the truth to power tends to be very expensive in terms of your democratic rights. They tend to be forgotten in a braindead rush to the head. Georginas’ defence of the beloved Madeleine comes to mind.

#5 Comment By Natty On 3rd October, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

Yours is an idealistic piece but we don’t live in an ideal world.

Freedom of Speech is being widely used to attack Muslims. Yet the MCB when they refuse to attend Holocaust Memorial Day are being denied their freedom of speech and expression and you don’t defend that? Why?

Why is it that the Jewish Community decide what is and isn’t a holocaust? Doesn’t that deny the freedom of speech and expression of other faiths and groups of people? Why don’t you address that censorship?

The African Holocaust and the Palestinian Holocaust are largely ignored.

This isn’t to say that the Jewish one should be ignored, it should be remembered but so shoudl the others.

For the Holocaust Memorial Day to be truely a free expression then yes others shouldbe able to say that they suffered a holocaust.

Your piece is good but fails to tackle key issues. Yes the brown-skinned people are politically immature but equally at the end of the day many are using the Jewish experience as a base for freedom of expression and looking at how anti-semitism is being used and then tailoring that for their community. This has good and bad results.

Also Sunny you forget that not so long ago teh Jewish experience was pretty similar to that of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. As those three mature now it is Eastern Europeans.

Also with freedom of expression comes a responsibility and that also needs to be acknowledged.

Also why do Europeans feel a need to insult and denegrate other people? Why do they need to impose their ideas and beliefs. This has been ongoing for centuries.

Would you support freedom of speech for David Irving cause he was jailed for hsi views? Strange that Europe has a strange set of values when it comes to Freedom of Speech. Deborah Lipstadt felt he should be allowed to speak but the Holocaust Trust were pleased he was jailed.

So where is the line for freedom of speech. Does it end once brown-skinned people have been insulted?

#6 Comment By Natty On 3rd October, 2007 @ 5:58 pm

Aloso freedom of expression is being used say that Jews control finance and the media, so do we say that freedom of expression is acceptable?

To me is isn’t acceptable because when we drill down then we see that although there are many Jewish people in the media they have a diverse set of views so do they control the media?

So why should we allow this freedom of expression when it is clearly insulting?

Freedom of expression is limited as the results can be ugly. Witness Germany in the 1930’s when freedom to denigrate Jewish people led to an acceptance that they can be killed without regard.

Go back further and freedom of expression to denigrate blacks in the USA and Southtern africa led to lynchings.

Try telling Muslims, Sikhs and Hindu’s who are beaten for the way people are free to portray them that they shoudl support freedom of expression. Extremes of freedom of expression need to be condemned and people shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind freedom of expression.

#7 Comment By ZinZin On 3rd October, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

Well done Natty that has to be the most nauseating display of self-pity that I have ever been witness to.

So where is the line for freedom of speech. Does it end once thin-skinned people have been insulted?

#8 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 3rd October, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

the Palestinian Holocaust

LOL!

Very funny. Do you even know what holocaust means?

#9 Comment By Derius On 3rd October, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

Natty,

Do you believe that all religions and ideologies should be open to criticism, or do you believe that British Law should ensure that certain beliefs are legally protected from criticism?

Can you also outline what responsibilities you believe should come with free speech, as you have mentioned them, but not defined them.

#10 Comment By Sunny On 3rd October, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

Natty:

Yours is an idealistic piece but we don’t live in an ideal world.

We don’t, but the law should treat everyone equally. That is the main point here. If you don’t believe it should or it should be changed, please explain how.

Yet the MCB when they refuse to attend Holocaust Memorial Day are being denied their freedom of speech and expression and you don’t defend that? Why?

Because it’s quite obvious the MCB’s stance is opportunistic rather than borne out of any real empathy. After all, they say nothing about the Bangladeshi holocaust by Pakistani soldiers or the Armenian holocaust.
I’ve written about it here:
[9] http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/260

Besides, tons of prominent Muslims have criticised the MCB stance, even from those within the MCB.

as a base for freedom of expression and looking at how anti-semitism is being used and then tailoring that for their community. This has good and bad results.

Again, you misunderstand the basic point. It is illegal to be anti-semitic as it is now illegal to discriminate against Muslims on the basis of their religion… or wholesale demonise Muslims. But one can ridicule Judaism and Islam as much as they want to.

Also with freedom of expression comes a responsibility and that also needs to be acknowledged.

This line is irrelevant without context. If it comes with responsibility not to be nasty… does it mean you’ll be nice about the US government or George Bush from now on?

Would you support freedom of speech for David Irving cause he was jailed for hsi views?

I’m against jailing someone from Holocaust denial. But just because someone is a holocaust denier doesn’t mean I should take them seriously.

#11 Comment By borat On 3rd October, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

hallo, my name is borat

#12 Comment By Natty On 3rd October, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

Homi - Very funny. Do you even know what holocaust means?

My point exactly who defines what is a holocaust and how many people have to die for it to be part of the memorial day?

Sunny - Freedom of speech yes I agree but everythign has its limits. I am not saying I know what that limit is but there is no country in the world with complete freedom of speech.

-Again, you misunderstand the basic point. It is
-illegal to be anti-semitic as it is now illegal to
-discriminate against Muslims on the basis of their
-religion… or wholesale demonise Muslims. But one can
-ridicule Judaism and Islam as much as they want to.
You misunderstood what I said. What I am saying is that the immigrant communities have learnt from the Jewish experience and how the Jewish community tackled anti-semitism. They have put what they think they have learnt into practise with good and bad results.

In the USA some of the Jewish Community is working with other immigrant communities to assist in various aspects.

Communities learn from each other and the communities from the subcontinent will mature over time.

Don’t forget that the bulk of the Asian community has only been here for 50 odd years.

-This line is irrelevant without context. If it comes
-with responsibility not to be nasty… does it mean
-you’ll be nice about the US government or George Bush
-from now on?
If you rule I have to be nice then yes I have to put my expression in such a way. It is for soceity as a whole to define what is acceptable within freespeech. In this country racism isn’t acceptable as part of free speech so we live within that boundary.

-I’m against jailing someone from Holocaust denial.
-But just because someone is a holocaust denier
-doesn’t mean I should take them seriously.
Ok so they are allowed to speak freely on holocaust denial as Irving did and the ideas take hold. They stir community tension, say Jewish people lie about the holocaust. People start to believe this. The Jewish community is isolated. Poeple attack Jewish children.

Do we let them carry on or do we stick to free spech?

Germany faced a similar dilema in the 1930’s.

My view in this example freedom of speech isn’t worth the social unrest.

Substitute Jewish for the rtecent immigrant community and the result is the same.

Sunny would you accept freedom of speech above the safety of people being attacked by aggitators? I don’t think so. That is a line.

Hello Borat :-)

#13 Comment By ZinZin On 3rd October, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

So Natty if I am reading things correctly you want free speech curbed to protect people? Not sure you thought this through especially as you are trying desperately hard to avoid a godwin.

There are already laws against incitement to hatred and making threats to kill, but you wish to protect sensitivities not lives.

“Sunny would you accept freedom of speech above the safety of people being attacked by aggitators? I don’t think so. That is a line.”

This is sophistry of the highest order, Free speech does not include the right to make threats. A small number of Islamists discovered this for themselves after the motoon protests.

#14 Comment By Natty On 3rd October, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

ZinZin - stop putting words into my mouth. What I said was that society needs to decide when free speech gets too much and it becomes an issue for communities affecting their role in society.

Try reading for a change what is being said instead of just going off on one.

If you didn’t twist things to suit your own terms you’d see that free speech hurting sensitivities can develop into much more.

Free speech can lead to intimidation and laws aren’t always enough which is why there is Parliament to decide when laws need to be changed.

- Free speech does not include the right to make
-threats.
Then you don’t have free speech do you? You have limited speech.

The phrase free speech does not include - but if it is free and open then you wouldn’t have does not include would you.

Even in the USA where freedom of speech in inshrined in the constitution there are limits. State secrets being one - you cannot speak about them openly.

Over time society places limits on what is acceptable in speech. Plus certain subjects are tabboo so people don’t talk about them.

No such thing as unlimited free speech anywhere.

#15 Comment By Nyrone On 3rd October, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

Excellent article Sunny.

#16 Comment By Sunny On 3rd October, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

It is for soceity as a whole to define what is acceptable within freespeech. In this country racism isn’t acceptable as part of free speech so we live within that boundary.

It’s important to separate out two points here:

1) The law, and what is legally permissible.

2) What we define as ‘acceptable’ within the boundaries of society’s values.

I don’t want to see the law changed… I believe the law should allow people to attack and ridicule beliefs.

On the second point, we can choose whether to engage with people who are racist, anti-semitic or Islamophobic.

It’s important to remember that if I personally said racist, anti-semitic or Islamophobic things, then I cannot be arrested for them. If I was an institution and discriminated against people on the basis of race or religion, that is illegal.

I think the system works.

They stir community tension, say Jewish people lie about the holocaust. People start to believe this. The Jewish community is isolated. Poeple attack Jewish children.

Well, then fair-minded people have to rise up and tackle those issues.

Let me put forward another example. HuT and many other groups say that our invasion of Iraq is illegal and Britain is waging a war against Islam. Many even say that its perfectly legitimate to fight the British for liberation.

Now, a British Muslim sitting here could intepret that as his personally duty to fight Britons here because there is (apparently) a global war against Muslims. One could say HuT and such people are inciting hatred.

Would you be ok to lock them up in order to protect innocent people from potential harm?

#17 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:54 am

-Well, then fair-minded people have to rise up and
-tackle those issues.
Agreed - but if need be then people could push for extra legislation. In the case of Germany in the 1930’s people didn’t rise up did they and look what free-speech against some communities led to. I know that is an extreme example but it happened and not so long ago. So do you in that case as society lurches that way hold onto free-speech or do you legislate?

-Let me put forward another example. HuT and many
-other groups say that our invasion of Iraq is illegal
-and Britain is waging a war against Islam. Many even
-say that its perfectly legitimate to fight the
-British for liberation.
I wouldn’t say many but a small minority say it is legitimate. But in this case the community is saying the law of the land must be obeyed so you are being selective in how you put forward many.

As a % the numbers are low so that can’t be put forward as many, and the number that actually would is close to if not actually zero.

If you did your homework well you’d know the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said this week that the youth shouldn’t be whipped up and go and fight. You’d know that one of Bin Laden’s ardent supporters has now spoken out publicly on NBC against this ideology. But again you wouldn’t want to mention that would you.

-Would you be ok to lock them up in order to protect
-innocent people from potential harm?
As you said fair-minded people should rise up and if they don’t then yes look at legislation.

There is a balance between harm and free-speech. When that balance tilts too much then yes society needs protection from extremism from which-ever religion. You keep picking on Muslims but in all religion there is extremism even your own.

Again if you did your homework you’d know that more and more people are walking away from HuT. But lets not mention that here.

There are similar groups to HuT in other faiths so don’t keep picking one example. Many faiths call for their own homeland.

Equally there should be people speaking out against Evangelical Christians who advocate end-day theories and war against in their view Good (Judaeo-Christian) and Evil (Islam). It is a theory to which the Western World is slowly turning such as Blair, Bush and even the Pope. But that is rarely highlighted.

You keep highlighting HuT but what about the other side(s)?

Also you keep saying People say our Invasion of Iraq is illegal… - perhaps you’d like to read what Alan Greenspan said. An invasion for oil is illegal. He knows more than you as he was on the inside so to keep pushing the same theory just makes your argument look poor.

Would it be ok for America to invade India to protect its economy under the pretext that India had weapons of mass-destruction, bring all major companies under the control of Halliburton and ask the Indians to pay to use their own facilities. You’d be the first one harping on about illegal invasion.

Read the UN Charter and what it says. Those on the inside of the Blair Govt have repeatedly said that he didn’t want to leave the US on its own. There is still great debate as to the legality of the invasion.

Blair more than Bush has led an agenda against the Muslim world and most people in this country can see that. It is a shame you can’t. Isn’t it strange that Brown has changed the approach and language used and the effects that is having.

You said fair-minded people should speak up - well now is your chance to speak up and you didn’t. You used the same old tired line to bash a young immigrant community (Muslim, Hindu, Sikh) finding its feet.

In 50 years the immigrant commuity has come a long way, more needs to be done but always seeing a negative is just poor comment. Generally these communities are very conservative and change happens slowly. The values you push you hard took hundreds of years to mature in Western Europe so to ask immigrant communities to pick up these in less than 50 years is at best naive as in the initial first few decades those communties would be finding their feet and establishing themselves. So really it is only in the last 20 or so years those communities have really entered public debate and politics. Are you seriously suggesting the older immigrant communities established themselves in less than 20 years?

The Eastern Europeans whom many Western Europeans felt would be qucker in this process are going through the same thing.

When something is wrong people should speak out against it. But also you need to recognise these are young communities only just finding their feet and to embrace the ideals you talk of will take time.

In the USA the Mexican/Latin American community faces the same issues as does the black community, he African community, the Arab/Muslim community.

Even Christianity took a few hundred years to establish itself in Europe. It would be nice if you occassionally also look at the positives to what the Hindu and Sikh community have contributed. I doubt you’d ever do that for Muslims so we may as well leave them out of it.

Out of curiosity how often do you actually mix with the real elements of the Asian community - not your media friends but the real communty in say Wembley, Southall, Green Street, Brick Lane? How often do you personally encounter the issues they face or do you write about this from afar sipping coffee with the media-luvvies in Central London?

#18 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:29 am

Mr. Hundal you may wish to read this:

[10] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/us/02hindu.html?em&ex=1191556800&en=f63c786b4d9fff7c&ei=5087%0A

It echoes what I am saying that these communities are new to this and are learning the process. They are far from mature.

#19 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:34 am

Also in light of your tiny update to the article will you be writing in CiF now that Jewish Groups should allow freedom of speech and criticism of Israel or does your media criticism extend just to Muslims Hindus and Sikhs?

After all this is a far more mature community and well established so this raises serious issues as it directly affects Government Policy at a time when the Govt is making it easier to sell arms to Israel. Criticism cannot be heard of the policy in which those arms will be used.

#20 Comment By sunray On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:57 am

Freedom of speech is only good as long as it doesnt hurt Sunny sentiments, isnt that right!?
The number of times you been wailing ban this view and ban that view and deleting posts shows you have a double standard mate.
Youre asking others to deal with freedom of speech when you your self cannot handle free speech!

#21 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:11 am

One interesting point which is rarely if ever discussed is how mature is democracy and is it really free from religion and bias?

Now the advocates of democracy claim that it is the best system and better than religion and yet in the Land of the Free and also Europe we are told that the Democratic state is built upon - yes you guessed it religion in this case Christianity.

Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz says that the 10 commandments form the basis of US Law. The basis of US Law is from a religous text we are told.

So is democracy really free from religion.

Well Senator John McCain says that in the US the President should be - A Democract? Nooo he says it should be a Christian.

McCain: “the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

McCain: “I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles … personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith,”

Seperation of religion and state?!

This raises the question is democracy really mature.

Can the US handle a Jewish President? Hindu President? Muslim President?

In India the worlds largest democracy the leader of the Congress party an Italian born Catholic Immigrant didn’t become the leader of the country. It went to a native though he was from the minority Sikhs.

Could a Hindu, Muslim or Sikh become Prime Minister in the UK? Could Prince Harry marry a Catholic? Is France ready for a Muslim President?

In Germany would a Jewish person get elected as leader?

So the question is - Is Democracy really mature or does religion still play a strong part.

Increasingly we are told that Europe and America are Christian countries with a Christian culture. The Pope practicaly unnoticed said that only Christianity had contributed to the development of Europe. Thus negating the contribution of other faiths.

So are state and religion really seperate in Europe and the USA?

#22 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:19 am

Oh and before you throw Senator Liberman and his run for vice-president at me, consider this:

Barry Morris Goldwater, whose family name was an adaptation of the original Goldwasser. “Although Jewish on his father’s side, Mr. Goldwater was raised in the Episcopalian tradition of his mother,” the Washington Post wrote in a 1998 obituary.

“Neither my father nor any of our family ever took any part in the Jewish community,” Goldwater wrote in an autobiography. We never felt or talked about being half-Jewish since my mother took us to the Episcopal church. It was only on entering the power circles of Washington that I was reminded I was a Jew. I never got used to being singled out in that way. My answer was always the same.

“I’m proud of my ancestors and heritage. I’ve simply never practiced the Jewish faith or seen myself or our family primarily of the Jewish culture. In the jargon of today’s sociologist, we’ve been assimilated. We’re American.”

In a reference to Goldwater’s run for the presidency, the American Jewish social commentator Harry Golden once observed, “I have always thought that if a Jew ever became President, he would turn out to be an Episcopalian.”
[11] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909151.html

This article ends with:
“So deeply ingrained is the concept of a Christian basis for the American nation, that even when McCain actively embarked on damage control during a campaign swing in New Hampshire, his statement, that the most qualified person could be president, no matter his or her religion, landed poorly:

“It’s almost Talmudic,” McCain said. “We are a nation that was based on Judeo-Christian values. That means respect for all of human rights and dignity. That’s my principle values and ideas, and that’s what I think motivated our founding fathers.”

#23 Comment By Peter Risdon On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:28 am

I think you’re a [12] hypocrite.

#24 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:40 am

Get used to it, they love Muslim Bashing here. Next the side-kicks wil be out to defend their leader.

They hurl personnal attacks readily but say anything about their friends and you’ve had it!

Why do you think the people at Harry’s Place love it here and recommend it.

Free Speech only applies to them to say and do what they wish. Criticise them and their beloved countries and you’ve had it.

I wonder if the people at CiF, BBC, Asian Network know about how people are treated here whilst the site claims to be a refreshing view into politics.

First they start by calling people trolls, then they start the personnal attacks!

Get ready the firing squads are being prepared - launch Katy and Clairwill to defend their leader.

#25 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 10:48 am

mostly agreed with the article, especially about Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs being a bit (politically) immature. When you get idiots like HT et al saying its haraam to vote then you’ll never see enough articulate young muslims going into politics at local level…
I also see Natty’s points, esp about holocaust day. Sunny, I find that this day should be one that is inclusive of the communities that have suffered holocaust and genocide. Yet it is never promoted as such. I have no hidden agenda, and neither am I anti semitic..(as this is ridiculous when I believe in Abraham, Moses and Jesus). If I recognise holocaust day it is done privately to commemorate all those that continue to suffer because of their beliefs/religion etc.
As for freedom of speech, I find that it is often used as an excuse to be offensive for the sake of it..there is a huge difference between ridicule and being offensive, and once agin this is subjective. I would find it offensive that a fashion designer can use a picture of a hindu god and stick it on a pair of pants or shoes for the sake of fashion…it is because the designer has belittled the depth of feeling of people who may believe in this god. Yet is it ok for people to ask that the offending material be banned? how far does freedom of expression go? People have spoken about duty and responsibility. Freedom of expression is a human right but as with all rights, these are only meaningful when those exercising the right are able to also exercise logic, common sense and integrity. Idealistic perhaps…

#26 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 11:12 am

Crikey Sunny - you have changed your tune (for the better) since the Motoons! Excellent!!

Is Natty your “sock puppet”? (Is that the right expression?)

He/she is doing your work for you!

#27 Comment By Peter Risdon On 4th October, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

“Yet is it ok for people to ask that the offending material be banned?”

No, it isn’t. A free society brings with it the responsibility to be tolerant. There will always be people who say or do thing you find offensive. The responsibility is to tolerate this. That’s not to say you can’t argue against it, say what you think about the other person, say what you believe. On the contrary, you’re equally entitled to be the beneficiary of tolerance from other people. But it does mean you shouldn’t try to shut them up.

The alternative is that some viewpoint wins and gets to oppress, silence and, in practice, imprison people they disagree with. That could be you if you’re not on the winning side.

#28 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

good one zinzin:

“So where is the line for freedom of speech. Does it end once thin-skinned people have been insulted?”

quite. anyway for me - it depends “who” you are “insulting”. its different if you are dealing with an individual in an interpersonal way - when of course - most people have an understanding that you behave in a civil way and not insult them personally and so on and so forth. if it is an abstract construct you are insulting, why that’s quite different isn’t it. IT IS NOT the same thing as insulting a person who may subscribe that construct. ( though people usually choose to take things personally)

so it depends, i havent been on FB for ages, but if its a group promoting hatred of individual muslims, jews christians or science-fiction fans, jedi knights etc. then it is very different to making fun of the religions/ideas/ and science fiction stories, isn’t it.

People generally dont like having their beliefs made fun of, but making fun of a belief, and making fun of a person - are different things. it is possible to combine the two if one so wishes, and it is entirely possible to keep them separate.

and interestingly, if you believe that you know the TRuth, are you really bothered that someone out thinks you’re a yoyo? most likely not. but if you have a creeping sense that your group is being made fun of, and you’re going along with all this cos your group told you to, well then you’re probably not going to enjoy it.

and yes, the problem arises when it is fought on a group basis - and becomes - instead of focusing on critique, just a battleground for people to express tribal solidarity. and then becomes my group vs. your group and that is problematic- instead of critique by various individuals on aspects of any belief/idea.

#29 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

good points peter.

if we all lived in the climate where you cant say anything because someone will be upset, well then. Muslims wouldn’t be able to go out and convert anyone for a start, and everytime some preacher said something about Evil, all of us sinners could stand up and say what!how dare you insult us. we are evil! you can’t say anything about it. you’ve hurt my feelings. :-)

#30 Comment By Sunny On 4th October, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

Crikey Sunny - you have changed your tune (for the better) since the Motoons! Excellent!!

No I haven’t, and Peter seems to think the same. The MoToons were racist and despicable but I never once asked for them to be banned. Similarly, just because something rubbish gets printed and people start campaigning in favour of it doesn’t mean I have to support it. I’m merely saying the law should not be changed to ban it.

Natty: As a % the numbers are low so that can’t be put forward as many, and the number that actually would is close to if not actually zero.

But you haven’t answered my question. And HuT isn’t a small organisation, it is quite big. So… would you ban them or not on the basis of what I said and your own arguments?

#31 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

dunno what was racist about the Motoons..they were funny and obviously were taking the piss..but what was racist about them? because they were done by someone of a ‘different race’? and it is only offensive to represent visually the Prophet if you subscribe to the religion itself, if you do not, why should you not make fun of a historical character after all? i hate to say this, but the Prophet is NOT the property of some people - Muslim or otherwise. No person can be, and similarly, no construct is ‘owned’ by a group either.

This is very much tied up with the idea that some group has a monopoly of a person/idea and are ‘gatekeepers’.

#32 Comment By Peter Risdon On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

@Sonia - it’s a testament to the paranoia that infects us right now, especially in the area of identity politics, that it’s so hard to make people, especially but by no means exclusively Muslims, accept that their freedom of speech is included. I’ve been in a few radio phone ins where this has been almost impossible.

@Sunny, the MoToons were neither racist nor despicable. What’s more, the rally in question was sparked by that controversy but not exclusively about it, as you yourself commented. Some Sikhs and Christians were also specifically criticised. Indeed, in the end you did come out in support of it, but only after I’d asked people not to display the cartoons. I shouldn’t have had to make that concession to paranoia.

At first, you took Ismaeel’s word about our attitude to the cartoons. He’s not a reliable source. What he represented as my asking people to bring them was in fact a post in which I asked people, if they did bring them, not to do so in an anti-Muslim manner, but in an “I am Spartacus” gesture. In the end, it became clear that even this would not be within the comprehension of some of the people I wanted to feel able to support the demonstration.

#33 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

Sunny - But you haven’t answered my question. And HuT isn’t a small organisation, it is quite big. So… would you ban them or not on the basis of what I said and your own arguments?

I did answer. With respect you are being selective in presentation. HuT is small in the UK and acording to the Panorama programme losing members in the Uk and indeed two of its leading members have recently quit. HuT worldwide is big but not massive and represent a small % of Muslims. Most Muslims and most leading scholars don’t accept HuT so you are simply whipping up a threat.

If you ban HuT would you ban right wing Jewish Oragnisations which call for a Jewish Homeland on all of the West Bank and some who say it should be up to Damascus? Would you ban Evangelical Christians who say there should be no negotiated settlement and Israel needs to be given more weapons so it can start a war to bring the return of Christ at which point all the Jews will become Christian?

Why are you stopping at HuT? Selective or what! Be fair across the board either ban all religous groups calling for religous homelands or none. Why so selective?

I said yes if they exceed the bounds. You are trying to lump all of HuT worldwide with the people in the UK. I don’t agree with them. But they haven’t broken the law as yet. If they become a threat to society then yes. But as the legal people keep pointing out on TV they haven’t broken the law.

Would you also ban the Jewish National Fund, a registered charity of which Brown, Blair and Cameron are members but which is given and has purchased land solely for Jews in the Holy Land? So Arabs cannot have or buy land from the JNF which is surely not correct. Interestingly the Israeli Courts have now asked the JNF to adjust its approach or hand back land. But should senior UK politicians be part of such a fund?

Sunny you will have a go at Muslims with ease but what about the issues above?

Is it appropriate for a PM, Former PM and an Opposition Leader to be part of a legal fund which advocates land for one set of people only? Equally would you object if they then became part of a fund advocating land for Palestinians only? Should they also be part of that fund for the sake of equality?

It is only when you are pushed you disagree with other groups but generally the focus of your ire is Muslims.

#34 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

Sunny - the Motoons were not especially funny, but how exactly were they “racist”?

#35 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:31 pm

the irony of the Motoons is that if you thought they were despicable, you wouldn’t much like the Character of Mohammed himself - after all, the depictions were visual, but imagine if you will - an illustrated version of the hadith ( hai hai tauba tauba) but just - theorise for a moment. given there are very shocking details in the hadith ( some cases it would end up being a porn movie if you made a film of some of the accounts - like some in Bukhari and Muslim saying the Prophet bedded all 9 wives in one night! can you imagine) so where is the shock value - in the Hadiths themselves, or the representation of them?

people who thought the cartoons were despicable really need to read up on Muhammad’s biography and the Hadiths. the cartoons did not ‘make things’ up - after all. they humourously depicted the dark side of Islam’s prophet, which comes very simply -from Islam’s own account of its Prophet. possibly we muslims dont like people rubbing it in - otherwise why would we be offended? perhaps the reason why so many people were offended is because they would prefer to have a less controversial leader? anyway, if you support your leader, you got to get real about who he was.

#36 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

i cant see how - Muslims - can object to having their religious texts, then being pissed off when someone points out there is a lot of dodgy crap in your religious texts. ok you might not think it was dodgy, but clearly others might!

#37 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:39 pm

Sunny - also you continually have a go at the MCB, Hindu Forum etc. yet yesterday Gordon Brown met with the LFI. Today in Hareetz were the following excellent articles:

[13] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909538.html

[14] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909327.html

[15] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909325.html

[16] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909323.html

And yet no mention of the fact that LFI will not advocate discussion of such issues. Plus GB will not discuss such issues with them, they have pretty much a rah rah session.

When the MCB do it or the Hindu Forum it is bad, when LFI do it no mention.

Surely a leading political commentator such as your good self should highlight such issues and discuss. I accept you cannot discuss everything. But this is news - should our politicians be taking sides when also trying to negotiate peace a part of the Quartet.

BTW I am not saying that LFI shouldn’t lobby but should politicians be openly critical to one organisation and not another in an issue on which the UK electorate are so clear.

#38 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

Natty is just a tiny bit obsessed with Jews, isn’t she?

#39 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

“BTW I am not saying that LFI shouldn’t lobby but should politicians be openly critical to one organisation and not another in an issue on which the UK electorate are so clear”

who says the UK electorate are clear…has there been some mass public consultation that I was not aware of?

Natty although I understand your concerns, you seem to be turning this into some sort of rant. There have been debates on Israel on this forum as well as others and it’s although there are many politicians who you may think are pandering to a particular group, there will be equivalent politicians pandering to some other “opposing” group. The whole Israel jewish thing is frankly boring me as an excuse for ineptitude to form longterm, consistent, non victim mentality political Muslim groups. From what I’ve seen on MPAC, they come across as angry young people with lots to say but few real solutions. Before blaming others and the “jewish lobby” look at where non organisation within muslim communities is just as much to blame for the lack of proper and open representation. As for HT not breaking the law..so it’s ok to slag off jewish people and say gas chambers didn’t exist is it?? I had the misfortune of coming across OBM who said as much before his sodding lackeys dragged him away. Have people also forgotten the obnoxious farid kassim?? yes they may not have broken the law, but as with all things to do with freedom of speech it does not make certain opinions more palatable..

#40 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

Sonia -people who thought the cartoons were despicable really need to read up on Muhammad’s biography and the Hadiths. the cartoons did not ‘make things’ up - after all. they humourously depicted the dark side of Islam’s prophet

I see so the cartoon of Muhammad with a turban and a grenade in it came from historical sources? I didn’t realise the Muslims were so advanced they had grenades at the time. The idea of the cartoon was to portray Muhammad as a terrorist, it wasn’t humour.

Also why stop there why no cartoons on other religous figures? Not that I advocate those. Also why if as they claim they were testing the boundaries of freedom didn’t the holocaust cartoons get published - oh yes I forgot because they would offend was the reason given. The paper was out to offend it is that simple.

Also let me get this right - Muhammad having relations with all hsi wives in one night is dark, Hindu scripture about sex is enlightened as was quoted elsewhere. Did you know that Jacob had wives and concubines but that isn’t considered dark, but Muhammad is considered dark for err the same reason.

Why is it that some religous texts are above ridicule and others mainly from the East are?

Muhammad also spoke of the need for female gratification in intimate relations so the man shouldn’t just pop on and off but hey that isn’t enlightened. But similar Hindu text is asthey don’t have a hang up about sex.

#41 Comment By Natty On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

- Natty is just a tiny bit obsessed with Jews, isn’t she?

I am not. I am just hoghlighting the double standard with regards to what brown-skinned organisations get asked to do and criticised for.

Good luck to them, they have worked out how to get things done and established organisations that lobby for their interests. As I highlighted many other immigrant groups are copying this success and others are turning to them for advice.

However when brown-skinned organisations do this they are criticised.

If you want lobby groups and I don’t like them then you get issues where self-interest takes ground above all else.

#42 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

The idea of the cartoon was to portray Muhammad as a terrorist, it wasn’t humour.

I’m going to say this in capitals as you don’t get this basic point:

SO FUCKING WHAT?

You cannot libel the dead. Comprende?

Why is it that some religous texts are above ridicule and others mainly from the East are?

You obviously don’t get out too much, do you?

What we have here in this thread from Natty is a first-class display of victimology that would make Sinn Fein drool. Its MOPE* syndrome on speed.

Just one question for you, Natty: how did Islam spread from a couple of tribes in Arabia to the Gates of Vienna?

If you keep going like this Natty, I’m going to start having sympathy with a certain Mr Hundal, and fuck knows if either of us will actually like that.

*(M)-ost (O)ppressed (P)eople (E)ver

#43 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

I’ve never come across the sleeping with 9 wives in Bukhari…so cannot comment on it, but will look it up..
as for the cartoons..what ppl are missing is the fact that the cartoons were not really to do with Muhammed but to do with Muslims today and how Islam is perceived by non Muslims…i.e a religion based on warfare..using “Muhammed” in pictorial format was done to highlight the point as it is generally perceived that this is what he did. If people did not like what was done by the danish paper all they had to do was say so, not go around burning effigies and saying death to denmark…if cartoons hold so much power (god I can’t believe I’m saying that), then surely words have equal power…maybe moreso than emotional actions

#44 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

or to put it another way - if there is offensive material circulating about the Prophet-which there is - in my opinion these are the various highly offensive hadiths - and i’m surprised more muslims aren’t offended by those particularly dodgy hadiths. if anything is tarnishing the character of a Prophet, it is those stories.

#45 Comment By Sunny On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

Sunny, the MoToons were neither racist nor despicable. What’s more, the rally in question was sparked by that controversy but not exclusively about it, as you yourself commented. Some Sikhs and Christians were also specifically criticised. Indeed, in the end you did come out in support of it, but only after I’d asked people not to display the cartoons. I shouldn’t have had to make that concession to paranoia.

Peter, you don’t tell me what I find racist or offensive and I don’t tell you what you should find offensive or racist. IF you don’t like my interpretations, that’s too bad, but that’s the way it goes.

If you can’t see what was offensive about them, that’s not my problem. But don’t expect me to support something if I find it distasteful. The only right you have is to expect me not to call for it to be banned. Yes?

Morgoth: You cannot libel the dead. Comprende?

I’m afraid, you’re making the same mistake as Natty - conflating the right for people to say soemthing legally, and what is considered polite speech.

Anti-semitic words are not libellous either. I can legally display Nazi regalia all over my blog if I choose to. That doesn’t make it right. Comprende?

Natty: I said yes if they exceed the bounds. You are trying to lump all of HuT worldwide with the people in the UK. I don’t agree with them. But they haven’t broken the law as yet. If they become a threat to society then yes. But as the legal people keep pointing out on TV they haven’t broken the law.

So we’re agreed then. As long as someone hasn’t broken the law, they should be allowed to say what they want to, right?
What’s the disagreement?

#46 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

well of course natty the grenade is a ‘metaphor’ for a Prophet who led his men into battle. {and whats wrong with a turban? any idiot whose been to the desert -knows its perfectly normal to have headgear, you’d be mad not to ..look at old laurence of arabia.) you should be Proud of your Prophet being portrayed with a grenade - unless you had issues with his ‘holy fighting’..and if you dont have any issues with his fighting - you think he was justified fighting the people he did - well then what’s the problem. don’t you like to commemorate the Prophe’ts victory?

#47 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

i mean i have big problems with the whole Prophet and wars thing - I think it blights his prophetly character - and all those wives as well - so perhaps i should petition to have the Sahih Muslim collection banned? it offended my tender young heart.

#48 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

Sonia it’s unfair to goad ppl into being anymore defensive than they are by using imagery that is purposefully inflammatory. This is what I feel the Danish Cartoons did..it was meant to offend because it pushed all the right buttons. Although as I said it wasn’t about the Prophet, rather how Muslims are perceived.

#49 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

well sofia there is plenty in the Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari you might want to look up. this particular [17] hadith
is from Sahih Bukhari, volume 62, and it is number 6. i have copied it and pasted below:

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet I used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives.

I have written at great length about the one hadith that [18] shocked me to the core when i read it as a child - the well known coitus interruptus one - it certainly sparked a lot of discussion.

#50 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

I’m afraid, you’re making the same mistake as Natty - conflating the right for people to say soemthing legally, and what is considered polite speech. Anti-semitic words are not libellous either. I can legally display Nazi regalia all over my blog if I choose to. That doesn’t make it right. Comprende?

you’ve just contradicted yourself, Sunny. You say (rightly) to Natty that So we’re agreed then. As long as someone hasn’t broken the law, they should be allowed to say what they want to, right? and then conflated “right” and “wrong” and “politeness” with legality and illegality in your next paragraph. So which is it? Is the law or is it “politeness” that provides the basic criterion for absolute limits of behaviour?

Personally, I think that judgements of “politeness” shouldn’t come into it at all. If you are NOT breaking the law then you can be as offensive as you want. To reparaphrase Stephen Fry again: the correct response, in a free society, to someone claiming they’re offended is: so fucking what?

If you really want to put Nazi regalia on your blog, feel free. I wouldn’t visit it again if you did however. But you would be more intellectually honest if plastered Marxist regalia everywhere instead. Its more in tune with your brand of collectivism.

What Natty’s long tirade of postings boil down to is one thing: she wants to live in some sort of theocracy where no criticism in the slightest of per personal beliefs is tolerated. Effectively, her belief system is constructed around the very opposite of the “God is not mocked” archetype that occasionally is displayed by some of the more consistent right-hand-path thinkers.

#51 Comment By Peter Risdon On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

Sunny, how about this as an alternative: you don’t pretend my statements are injunctions, especially when they are mirror images of statements you made earlier, and I’ll extend the same courtesy to you? That way, we won’t waste time throwing up straw men.

There has never been any question of supporting the cartoons themselves. The issue was supporting the right of people to make statements in whatever medium they choose without having their lives threatened. Consequently, your reaction to the cartoons themselves has never been the issue. The issue has been one of freedom of speech. This freedom needs to be supported in the specific, not just in the abstract.

#52 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

yes sonia i did read this…i’ve never spoken to scholars in depth about hadith but would rather hear all opinions than base it on what i read…again, the historian in me

#53 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

and i’m not saying ppl can’t ridicule, but if you want to say something to highlight (say a hadith), then do it in a way that won’t antagonise…discuss it openly..from a genuine desire to learn more…there are things that can be ridiculed and things where common sense would say, let’s try doing this another way…if you see what i mean

#54 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

Sunny - Peter’s point seems right.
Saying “I support free speech” while at the same time at least seeming to say “but I won’t support your freedom to say that particular thing” (which is how I - perhaps wrongly - interpreted what you were writing at the time) don’t sit well together!

#55 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

and i’m not saying ppl can’t ridicule, but if you want to say something to highlight (say a hadith), then do it in a way that won’t antagonise…discuss it openly..from a genuine desire to learn more…there are things that can be ridiculed and things where common sense would say, let’s try doing this another way…if you see what i mean

Sofia, you still miss the point. In a free society, if you are not breaking the law, then there should be NO limits on what you can and cannot say. Yes, you can say things that result in consequences, but legality or illegality should not come into it.

Any less a position than this and you ARE putting limits on free speech for reasons of offense, which is a step down the road to theocracy.

And yes, our current blasphemy laws are a disgrace and should be repealed immediately.

#56 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

yes it would be sensible to not rely on the hadiths as solid history. but my point is that the hadiths themselves are the source of stories about Muhammad’s sex life - whether they’re true or not of course is anyone’s guess. myths or history - if one is going to get offended, the material is in Islam’s own books.

#57 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

some people are antagonised by mere questioning of deeply held beliefs though, so polite though the other may be, by simply questioning, that can be seen as antagonistic by many people. unreasonably so in many cases.

#58 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

Morgoth, there is always going to be limits on FoS…so if i want to use derogatory words about blacks or pakistanis, arabs or whatever these may be racist and offensive so I would not be allowed to say them..as this is also against the law..so fos is not just about religion. If there was unlimited FoS then we wouldn’t have laws on discrimination and racism.

#59 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

“so polite though the other may be, by simply questioning, that can be seen as antagonistic by many people. unreasonably so in many cases”

Surely, under those conditions, it would be unreasonably so in ALL cases?

#60 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

*sigh* yes sonia i agree, but the more I am questioned about my faith the more it makes me delve deeper into finding out more and questioning who I am and why I believe in what I do, so instead of being antagonised I actually welcome it…

#61 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

i find this deeply offensive:

[19] Chapter 29: IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A CAPTIVE WOMAN AFTER SHE IS PURIFIED (OF MENSES OR DELIVERY) IN CASE SHE HAS A HUSBAND, HER MARRIAGE IS ABROGATED AFTER SHE BECOMES CAPTIVE

i mean - please. this is offensive to women full stop - but i don’t see any women’s groups complaining about the Hadith and that they should be burnt and not published anymore! what would muslims say to that? we’re very sorry but we’d like to have our hadiths thank you.

#62 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

that wonderful excerpt comes from Sahih Bukhari, if anyone wants to protest outside a mosque etc. etc.

#63 Comment By sonia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

i know sofia, its a hard life, there is nothing straightforward and simple unfortunately, especially about religion!

#64 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

Sofia, I expressly excluded matters of legality from my argument. I’m talking specifically about your apparent support for restrictions on free speech for reasons other than legality.

Racially-offensive language is (rightly) covered by legality, as you said, and there is good reason for it, given the historical treatment and abuse of “race”, and its inbuilt biological nature. But religion is just a set of ideas, nothing more. And the supposition that ideas be sacrosanct (which is what you’re verging upon) is abhorrant in the extreme.

#65 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

Morgoth, take a chill pill….if I believe something then that is my right whether you find it abhorrent or not. I’m not breaking the law.
as for ideas vs inbuilt biological blah blah..so its ok to say fucking muslim, but not fucking paki…the intention when using this type of offence is the same..whether the language is different.

#66 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

ok to say fucking muslim, but not fucking paki

Yes, basically.

In the same way it is LEGAL to say “fucking scientologists” or “fucking Everton Supporters” or “fucking Mac Users”.

#67 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

u totally missed the point i was making…i’m pakistani..i wear a scarf and am visibly muslim..i walk down the street and someone calls out fucking muslim…is that racism?

#68 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

It might be…but as we can’t read the mind of the person concerned it would be foolish to ban the use of the phrase just in case.

If that person were to shout “fucking idiot” would that be racist?

#69 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

Further to Chris’s point, Sofia, what is the difference between shouts of “fucking Church of Englanders?” or “you Universal Unitarians are a bunch of cunts” and your “fucking muslims” shouts? And if your shout was directed at a obviously “white” person, then what?

#70 Comment By Sukhi On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

Morgoth, would ‘You fucking Jew’ have a different resonance to you if shouted on the street to a Jewish person? Surely that person could be taking issue with the rituals of Jewish Orthodoxy, for example.

I’m asking because I want to suggest that things are not as black and white as you might suggest. If I was walking down the street and someone shouted ‘You fucking Sikh’, instead of ‘You fucking Paki’, I’d still be quite startled and upset.

And before you say anything or make suppositions, I’m broadly in agreement with you, but can still see the gray shades of ambiguity in terms of how language is used that Sofia makes reference to.

#71 Comment By Sukhi On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

Further to Chris’s point, Sofia, what is the difference between shouts of “fucking Church of Englanders?” or “you Universal Unitarians are a bunch of cunts” and your “fucking muslims” shouts?

In certain contexts, like Norther Ireland or Glasgow, shouting ‘You fucking Catholic’ and ‘You fucking Protestant’ is going to have deeply different resonances than just expressing an annoyance or disagreement with, say, the concept of Papal infallibility.

In certain contexts and parts of Britain, shouting ‘You fucking Muslim’, is going to have greatly different resonances than just a generalised distaste with the ideas of Islam itself.

It might not harm your arguments to acknowledge that, and still make the case for how it is wrong to outlaw that rhetoric, for reasons (a), (b) or (c). It might mean you have to construct a more intricate argument, but why not do it and explain it? I hope it’s not because you think it’s too much trouble to do so.

#72 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

Crikey, Sukhi, are you going to “outlaw” expressions of sectarian hatred too? Yeah, that’ll solve it!

#73 Comment By Sukhi On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

I’m not advocating outlawing anything ChrisC. It’s quite amazing how even discussing these issues brings out reflexive accusations in response to points made by some.

#74 Comment By Sofia On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

Thank you Sukhi, finally someone who understood what I was trying to say…

#75 Comment By ChrisC On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

I’m not advocating outlawing anything ChrisC.

Excellent.
In which case why are you asking Morgoth to “still make the case for how it is wrong to outlaw that rhetoric”?

(NB Of course I agree that “fucking Muslim” may frequently have racist intent.)

#76 Comment By Sukhi On 4th October, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

Well ChrisC, I had assumed that the context of the discussion would have made it plain. I assume people who read my words are able to understand this, without needing secondary spoofeeding, especially when they assume things in the first place that are erroneous.

#77 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

Sukhi, your Northern Ireland examples, for example, would fall under the legal purview of “likelihood of inducing public disorder” or a similar such offense.

That’s not what Sofia is asking for, however. She is asking for carte-blanche immunity for her beliefs from any sort of criticism or discussion other than a nebulous excemption of which she herself isn’t even sure. In short, she is arguing for the whole legal system to be contorted around her belief system.

She is a theocrat. Its as simple as that. The only difference between her and Ayatollah Khomenei is a matter of degree.

#78 Comment By Sukhi On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

Sukhi, your Northern Ireland examples, for example, would fall under the legal purview of “likelihood of inducing public disorder” or a similar such offense.

So you agree that calling some ‘You fucking Muslims’, or ‘You fucking Jew’ can be more sinister than just a reasoned critique of an individual’s supposed belief system? I think that’s pretty much what Sofia was trying to say here.

She is a theocrat. Its as simple as that. The only difference between her and Ayatollah Khomenei is a matter of degree.

Having been a lurker and occasional poster here for some time, I have never read anything to suggest that she is a theocrat.

#79 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

(NB Of course I agree that “**** Muslim” may frequently have racist intent.)

And most frequently it does.

#80 Comment By Morgoth On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

Having been a lurker and occasional poster here for some time, I have never read anything to suggest that she is a theocrat.

She has said it herself - she wants to legally limit criticism of her beliefs. That’s the mark of a theocrat-in-training.

#81 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

Morgoth and Mr. Hundal,

As you are so ardent about free speech then publish your addresses and let people come to you to excerise their right to free speech and criticism and to insult your beliefs and convictions etc.

Don’t hide behind faceless names and websites.

Stand up for the principle you really believe in. Actually live the experience then come and say if it is acceptable.

I’m sure enough people here will form a rota to pop over.

Advocating a right for the sake of a right is pretty poor. There are men who want to go round leering at women but it doesn’t mean that for the sake of freedom of expression they should be allowed to.

Obviously some things are plain wrong and just because you want the right it doesn’t mean society gives that right to you.

Mr. Hundal frequently harps on about free speech but then dictates what can and can’t be said and tells people to f*&^ off when it suit him. His side kicks call people tits. So what about their right to free speech and expression. It is restricted and dicated by people expressing the right to free speech.

Kind of asking for a right you yourself deny people.

Ok fine the newspaper in Denmark exercised it’s right to free speech and expression. The Muslim world exercised their right to boycott Danish goods the effects are lasting to this day. So what good did free speech do for the people who are out of work? Does it pay their bills, clothe their children, give them dignity of work. You want the right and you want those people to pay the price.

And why did some of the people whine when the Muslim world exercised its rights to boycott Danish goods? Freedom of expression that is what you wanted and they did express their disgust by amongst other things boycotting goods.

The point is those that harp on about free speech:

1. Usually don’t practiseit themselves.
2. Don’t want to live with the consequences of their actions
3. Often don’t pay the price of exploiting free speech.

With all civil society comes social responsibility. We have rights and we earn the right to keep them. If we continually harass people those people will ask for protection which erodes our original right. We earn the right to free speech and to maintain it, it doesn’t last long if idiots use it to harrass people continually.

It is not a hard concept to understand.

Insulting people and saying who Fucking cares is likely to cause long term social damage.

As for Stephen Fry well he is Jewish so does he adopt the same attitude to Nazi Germany that they had the right to free speech so who fucking cares that Jews died as that right was horribly exploited? He wouldn’t dare. Why doesn’t Fry go to a Holocaust event and stand up and say who fucking cares the Nazi’s were merely expressing themselves. It shows the stupidity and arrogance of his argument.

Fry is looking without seeing the effects and he is awfully sad if he believes the right to free speech is above the right to human dignity. As a result of free speech people died awful deaths - but then who fucking cares. Well I do because I don’t want that to happen again so I fucking care is the answer and if you get me Stephen Fry’s email addess I will say so.

I think what most people are saying is they accept free speech and freedom to criticise but they don’t want it to be used to the point that it ends up killing people.

It is that simple and the fact you cannot understand that simply shows how preoccupied you are with having free speech.

Free speech carries massive consequences and arguing for the right without understanding the consequences is silly.

I wonder if the Danish Editor and Newspaper or Mr. Hundal himself in a CiF column will publsih the effects of the cartoons on ordinary Danes who worked in the export industry who are now unemployed and whether due to their convictions will now pay to support the people who lost their jobs due to some bloke wanting to publish a set of cartoons. Come on Mr. Hundal from your salary how much are you willing to contribute to sustain free speech and those affected by it. If the answer is nowt then you want the right but not to pay for the consequences.

Either put up and let people excercise their right to free speech.

So the MCB are exploiting a situation and being selective well under free speech they can do that but you want to deny them the right and allow Govt to withhold funding. Strange so please tell us who is and isn’t allowed the right of expression.

#82 Comment By Jagdeep On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

So the MCB are exploiting a situation and being selective well under free speech they can do that but you want to deny them the right and allow Govt to withhold funding. Strange so please tell us who is and isn’t allowed the right of expression

There is no ‘right’ to government funding. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. The MCB is free to say what it likes.

This is what happens when you act like leeches. You think it’s your right to be given money from the taxes of hard working people (not the government, it’s OUR money), with no responsibility.

#83 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Good piece Avi.

Although I disagree on one point. Sunny does not hide. And Morgoth is welcome to hide, as are all of us.

I would rather have the debate, as we are all doing than let these vicious sentiments fester in someone’s bedsit or even in their policy reviews (whether in political parties, or the media).

The irony is that on the CiF thread, someone is advocating making a whole religion unlawful, and they clearly ally themselves with the ‘free-speech’ brigade.

My objections come when these ‘debates’ cheerlead; and when ignorant and defamatory comments are accepted or made acceptable. It informs no one and seeks to divide us.

#84 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:23 pm

No you don’t get it do you, the govt. has to either apply rules to all or none.

Funding isn’t a right but all lobby groups act like leeches so saying some can have and some can’t isn’t fair Govt. Who decides?

In a generation or two’s time when Muslims are a big voting block then should we say that because they have a voice Jewish Groups get no money cause thatwould be equal stupidity.

Penalising people for freedom of expression isn’t acceptable unless it is applied across the board.

Saying if you go to Holocaust Memorial Day and we’ll fund you is like saying one leech is better than another.

The criteria should be are they doing good with the money then we give the money and don’t dictate tothem about policy because then we are breaking the very freedom of expression that the owner keeps on harping on about.

I ain’t no fan of the MCB but equating funding to Holocaust Day attendance then isn’t democracy it is dictatorship.

Funding and attendance at HMD are two different issues.

No.1 They are stupid for keeping the issue going.
No.2 It shouldn’t be linked to funding. It isn’t the job of Govt to decide about expression if you then advocate freedom of expression.

#85 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

Also agree with Jagdeep on government funding.

Having said that, the last I heard was they had only received £150K for work commissioned by the government.

#86 Comment By Don On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

‘Don’t hide behind faceless names…’

So your name really is Avi Cohen?

#87 Comment By Jagdeep On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

It isn’t the job of Govt to decide about expression if you then advocate freedom of expression.

Minimum requirement is not to play squalid dirty grubby communalist and sectarian games with a memorial ceremony. That marks you out as grubby sectarian petty bigots when you do that. Then your funding gets taken away, because the British people’s tax money that we work hard for should never be given to those who play grubby communalist games, especially on an issue as non-controversial and benign as the commemoration of those murdered in the Holocaust. Those leeches who think they have a right to taxpayers money are so arrogant they deserve to be out in the cold for as long as it takes for them to sober up and see what is what. Those who try and link it to the issue of free speech just show how much the leech mentality has taken over even those who claim to have no particular advocacy of the MCB.

#88 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

Refresh - I meant hide in the sense that they then need to realise the consequences of free speech. Either do everything to uphold it to the best of your ability or accept that there are consequences.

By advocating free speechbut not helping those who suffer horrendously under it.

Look in Gujraat freespeech led to the whipping p of mobs and people died. So upholding free speech was stupidity as it cost people lives.

Who pays for that - the people who would have wanted protection. Those advocating free speech hide away in the sense that they don’t really see the effects of extremism that free speech brings.

I have nothing at all against Mr. Hundal and in many cases he does a good job but equally he needs to learn to look at the bigger picture and not ideals and soundbites.

As I said innocent people pay a price when free speech and expression is exploited but as Fry said who fucking cares - well clearly a lot of people do because they are saying so.

#89 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

Jagdeep - Yes but then apply it all equally you are being selective. Some Black African Groups want a memorial day for them but they don’t get it so the Govt is playing squalid games and this is the result.

Lobby groups are grubby communalist and sectarian, that is what thye do they advocate their position only at the detriment of others. MCB is the same as the rest.

But singling out one and not other simply shows that pack mentality of wanting to bash one. How precisely are other advocacy groups different?

#90 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

Jagdeep, before we accept that MCB was funded by the government, can we nail one thing. It was HP that made a big deal about this and then it transpired that they received limited amount for a job of work - consultancy - which the government paid for.

And knowing how government (local and national) is obliged to put out to tender any contracts going, this particular consultancy would have gone through the same procedure.

In general my view on funding is that no organisation worth its salt should seek its core funding from the state. And I am saying that the MCB did not and does not.

I stand to be corrected.

#91 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

As much as your name is Don or is it?

#92 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

Avi, your #87 highlights the naivete of the current version of the ‘free speech’ debate.

Rights and Responsibilities.

#93 Comment By Jagdeep On 4th October, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

Some Black African Groups want a memorial day for them but they don’t get it so the Govt is playing squalid games and this is the result.

Avi Cohen you are incoherent and unable to even understand basic principles. That a body of people could fashion such nasty and petty identity politics out of a Holocaust Memorial ceremony is shameful. That the leeches think it’s all about freedom of speech that their funding gets withdrawn is risible. That you are shilling for them shows a deep disturbance. The obsession with this issue actually becomes disturbing when you use a Jewish name as your pseudonym.

#94 Comment By Jagdeep On 4th October, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

The top sentence in my last post should have been in blockquote they are the words of ‘Avi Cohen’

#95 Comment By Avi Cohen On 4th October, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

Look what you fail to grasp is that Holocaust Memorial Day in supposedly inclusive. Your hatred of Muslims and Muslim organisations comes through clearly in your posts.

From the HMD website:
“HMD aims to commemorate, to educate and to prompt action in the UK. HMD commemorates the lives of those lost in the Holocaust; as a result of Nazi persecution and in more recent genocides. It educates about the Holocaust and it lessons for the present day. It prompts action in the UK highlighting the continuing dangers of racism, anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination.”

More recent genocides so why are the HMD playing politics by deciding what is and isn’t genocide.

If it is about education then educate about all persecution and prompt action.

That is their own mandate and they don’t live up to it.

If the MCB and some Muslims want this day to acknowledge the Palestinian suffering then surely there shoud be some accomodation or is the HMD there simply to play politics as well in order to protect Israel from action against its policies.

By referring to people as leeches shows the identity and hate politics you also possess.

It is either inclusive for which it gets money or it isn’t and makes this clear.

Tax Payers money is being used but not all views are being represented despite the bold claims.

If you are as adament about the MCB then you should also be about this issue. But you won’t be and will find some poor way to excuse it.

I am not shilling for them I am merely highlighting the inconsistent stand of the Govt that they provide money for a project which isn’t living up to all its stated aims when it took the money.

Your nasty and petty attacks on people mean that it is you who is incoherent and unable to understand basic politics.

If MCB fail to meet your criteria then so does HMD and only one gets you money - not that you give a shit as this is just another way to attack Muslim Groups which as usual is your stated aim.

Also using an Asian name as pseudonym is equally as disturbing.

#96 Comment By Don On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

‘As much as your name is Don or is it?’

Yes. It would be a pretty unimaginative alias, wouldn’t it?

#97 Comment By Jagdeep On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

Look what you fail to grasp is that Holocaust Memorial Day in supposedly inclusive. Your hatred of Muslims and Muslim organisations comes through clearly in your posts.

Look, Holocaust Memorial Day does commemorate other atrocities. Debating it further with you reminds me of the saying ‘no point wrestling with a pig, you’ll just get dirt on yourself’

If you monomaniacal obsessive freakish leeches had any idea what you look like to the rest of the world with your squalid little communalist games over a memorial service you would die for shame (if you had any)

Also using an Asian name as pseudonym is equally as disturbing

It’s my name you moron.

#98 Comment By Monty On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

I think in the case of Ahmadinejad, Columbia should have taken account of the all pervasive censorship in Iran, and applied appropriate conditions. Iranian state TV should have been placed under an obligation to take a live feed showing the entire proceedings and the protesters outside. Free speech implies freedom to watch and listen, for all interested parties.
Instead they gave the guy a platform to speechify, without any risk of being embarassed in front of his own citizens.

#99 Comment By Chairwoman On 4th October, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

Hello Fellow Picklers. The Chairy brain has not yet got into gear, but I’m back.

#100 Comment By Leon On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

Welcome back!!!

#101 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

Avi,

As for the Holocaust Memorial Day, it was a political battle that took place.

There were too many interests involved, many wanted their own little genocides kept out of the limelight, which made the whole thing a tawdry affair. It could have also included eg Native Americans, Australian Aborgines, Armenians, Palestinians, Bangldeshis, Cambodians, Romany, Sikhs.

No one comes out of it with merit.

And I suspect that is the reason why it doesn’t seem to have as much resonance with the general public as it should. Which in itself is a tragedy.

Reminds me of Hiroshima day. There is no official Hiroshima day here, but you’d think there should be.

However as far as the MCB is concerned, they were pathetic in their approach and looked churlish and unprincipled. Had they made a fuss about all the other genocides as well then they would have had plenty of support from the wider public. They’d have lost politically but won the moral argument.

As far as funding is concerned MCB should not, and as I said above did not get it from the government. The Memorial itself is a government backed initiative and therefore it would and should.

With regards Jagdeep, can’t be certain that is his real name, but from all he has posted he seems to be a Jagdeep (male, asian and sikh) - not that, that should matter.

#102 Comment By Refresh On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

Welcome back Chairwoman.

#103 Comment By Sunny On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:07 am

As you are so ardent about free speech then publish your addresses and let people come to you to excerise their right to free speech and criticism and to insult your beliefs and convictions etc.

I’m not even sure what point you’re trying to make with this ‘Avi Cohen’. but as you’re berating me for ‘hiding’, why not tell us your real name? I use mine.

As for my address. Why… will you be coming around for a cup of tea? Or is Grevious Bodily Harm the only way you can try and get a point across? There is a difference between ridiculing a religion and beating someone up.

Clearly, you’re not that stupid going by your writings. So if you want me to take your arguments seriously, then please do so a bit more intelligently.

So which is it? Is the law or is it “politeness” that provides the basic criterion for absolute limits of behaviour?

If you really want to put Nazi regalia on your blog, feel free. I wouldn’t visit it again if you did however.

Morgoth, I think its perhaps best you go back to trolling on HP if you’re going to make such silly arguments. Otherwise I’ll have to ban you from here. I never asked for a change in the law, as my original article states. But to have some sort of a constructive debate you need some politeness.

You know this because you yourself say you wouldn’t come here if I had Nazi regalia everywhere. Engage that brain sometimes. Instead all you’re interested in saying is that the only way you can have a debate is by swearing and shouting like an imbecile, and if anyone asks for a bit of politness then you accuse them of being theocrats.

Is this really how you are in real life? A bit sad really. You’re as loopy as this ‘Avi Cohen’ character and neither of you are interested in discussing your insecurities… you just want to scream and shout.

Anyway, after one or two more posts I’m going to close this thread too. PP is not Facebook. I want civilised discussions here.

#104 Comment By Sunny On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:08 am

Oh, and hello Chairwoman! As you can see we’re in full swing…

#105 Comment By Avi Cohen On 5th October, 2007 @ 8:30 am

As for my address. Why… will you be coming around for a cup of tea? Or is Grevious Bodily Harm the only way you can try and get a point across? There is a difference between ridiculing a religion and beating someone up.

Neither just to excerise right to free speech. I didn’t say I was going to beat you up. I said if you believe in absolute free speech - which you do and have said so - then let people excerise that right on you so you can also see the negative effects of absolute free speech. However I do not wish you any harm and it was just an example to show that free speech carries potentially serious consequences. As you have correctly pointed out free speech may lead in turn to violence, me exerting my right to free speech over you may potentially lead to someone else trying to harm you which is clearly unacceptable.

Ridiculing religion is fine and I have never said that it isn’t. All I have said is that there is a line between ridicule and the human mentality to adopt pack culture and kill or hurt people. Ridicule can over an extended period leave people in a state where they commit murder without care. Look at Germany, Serbia, the USA as recent examples of this. Groups of people being killed for being of a particular race or group or religion. Look at the communal violence in India, those people live next to each other but over freedom to ridicule or because of free speech to whip up opinion they kill each other. That is the extreme outcome of free speech. Gujrat is a prime example, public opinion whipped up using free speech leading to communal violence and people die. Those who used free speech remain largely free and mainly innocent people died and for what?

Lets understand one thing, do you really believe the myths perpetuated by the cartoons haven’t been answered before by Muslims through the centuries. Christian Europe has been ridculing the Muslim world for centuries. So Muslim scholars have responded with intelligent answers to those same questions. Muslims could have responded in the same way as before. But lack of knowledge and thus an ability to debate, the feeling of being under attack etc. led to a domino effect and led by packs they protested wildly. It didn’t do much good. But neither did the cartoons as people in Denmark, ordinary people paid a price with their own livelyhood.

Freedom to speak is a right that can have serious consequences as exteremists use it to spread myths and vilify people. The way that Muslims are being vilified and it happens here on your site also is causing problems for ordinary people. People are spat at, assulted and in some cases killed. In London although not widely reported an Imam on a visit from Egypt for Ramadan was seriously assulted and over a month later is seriously ill in hospital and may lose his eye sight. He was assulted merely for being Muslim - free speech and the whipping up of opinion is leading to this. Again not widely reported is the British Ambassador in Egypt paid a visit to the Egyptian Govt to discuss this matter. Yet the media is largely indifferent to this and it was only reported in the Evening Standard. Thus to a degree such things are now acceptable, probably not to you, but to some of the populace.

Here you don’t see the effects that vilification cause.

The Nazi’s used free speech over an extended period to vilify the Jewish people, then when they committed mass murder, people in the Nazi party and Germany were quite care free about this, why? Because extended free speech and vilification made people consider the Jews as not worthy of life. Hence I say to you that yes I accept what you say about free speech but I am asking you to understand that there may be in extreme cases a need for legislation to protect communities. That is one such example, the Klan and the need to protect black people is another example. The Balkans are another. In each case free speech was used to whip up people to a point where murder, in some cases mass murder is acceptable. Free speech was used to justify slavery and push forwrad theories that black people should be enslaved as they were not as intelligent as white people.

As we have seen here entire groups of people are called leeches for what is a dispute over a memorial ceremony, lies are peddled about funding and people are immune to the way other people are portrayed.

Again lies are perpetuated about one law for all and Muslims should abide by that as no other religion has called for changes to UK Law, but is that true - no. But it is portrayed as so and the pack joins in to say one law - one law no element of Shariah as we will fight it. Religous law is already part and parcel of the country.

I don’t agree with the MCB, and playing Devil’s Advocate I put another point of view and look at the effects. Over an extended period the MCB have been vilified so few people stepped in and no one from the regular people who post here were even outraged by people being described as leeches and more. It was just accepted without batting an eyelid.

Thus I submit to you that portrayal of people behind the guise of free speech can lead to people being indifferent when extereme portrayal of people or groups occurs and thus when some people go from ridicule to actual violence it is seen as acceptable.

Mr. Hundal - my words are not good enough so I submit to you the eloquent words of Rabbi Yoffie who spoke at the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Conference recently, he said:
“There is no lack of so-called experts who are eager to seize on any troubling statement by any Muslim thinker and pin it on Islam as a whole. Thus, it has been far too easy to spread the image of Islam as enemy, as terrorist, as the frightening unknown.

How did this happen?

How did it happen that Christian fundamentalists, such as Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham, make vicious and public attacks against your religious tradition?

How did it happen that when a Muslim congressman takes his oath of office while holding the Koran, Dennis Prager suggests that the congressman is more dangerous to America than the terrorists of 9/11?

How did it happen that a member of Congress, Tom Tancredo, now running for President, calls for the bombing of Mecca and Medina?

Even more important, how did it happen that law-abiding Muslims in this country can find themselves condemned for dual-loyalty and blamed for the crimes of terrorists they abhor?

And how did it happen that in the name of security, Muslim detainees and inmates are exposed to abusive and discriminatory treatment that violates the most fundamental principles of our constitution?

One reason that all of this happens is the profound ignorance to which I referred. We know nothing of Islam — nothing. That is why we must educate our members, and we need your help. And we hope in doing so we will set an example for all Americans.

Because the time has come put aside what the media says is wrong with Islam and to hear from Muslims themselves what is right with Islam.

The time has come to listen to our Muslim neighbors speak, from their heart and in their own words, about the spiritual power of Islam and their love for their religion.

The time has come for Americans to learn how far removed Islam is from the perverse distortions of the terrorists who too often dominate the media, subverting Islam’s image by professing to speak in its name.

The time has come to stand up to the opportunists in our midst — the media figures, religious leaders, and politicians who demonize Muslims and bash Islam, exploiting the fears of their fellow citizens for their own purposes.

And finally this: The time has come to end racial profiling and legal discrimination of any kind against Muslim Americans. Yes, we must assure the security of our country; this is absolutely our government’s first obligation. But let’s not breach the constitution in ways we will later regret. After all, civil liberties are America’s strength, not our weakness.”

Mr. Hundal this is a leading public figure, a leading Rabbi who is saying that free speech and ridicule has led to unsavoury consequences in this case against Muslims. We have seen it here as well.

So all I say to you again is yes to free speech but then also understand as the Rabbi said that there are very serious consequences to human life when extremists hide behind free speech to vilify people and we must stand up and ensure this doesn’t happen.

Anyway all the best for a while as I will go back to just reading.

#106 Comment By Shuggy On 5th October, 2007 @ 9:41 am

I’m afraid it’s not as simple as that.

Ah, but it is. You don’t seem to be able to separate rights and obligations. This has resulted in you taking the frankly ridiculous position where you equate a refusal to provide a platform with a failure to defend free-speech. Why would you do that to yourself?

#107 Comment By Morgoth On 5th October, 2007 @ 10:06 am

I recall that Avi Cohen is a notorious RESPECT sockpuppet - he’s the HP equivalent of CiF’s “SocialistMike”.

Sunny, you miss my point *again* - free speech is just that: free speech. There can be no restrictions in a free society on free speech due to “offense”. This is an absolutist position, sure, but just as absolutist as saying that in a civilised society, slavery is not tolerated, or that rape is wrong.

It is as simple as that.

#108 Comment By Sofia On 5th October, 2007 @ 10:22 am

“That’s not what Sofia is asking for, however. She is asking for carte-blanche immunity for her beliefs from any sort of criticism or discussion other than a nebulous excemption of which she herself isn’t even sure. In short, she is arguing for the whole legal system to be contorted around her belief system.

She is a theocrat. Its as simple as that. The only difference between her and Ayatollah Khomenei is a matter of degree.”

Oh la de dah..another “this is what Sofia thinks” expert…

#109 Comment By Sofia On 5th October, 2007 @ 10:23 am

oh and as for differences between me and khomeini there are many …he had a beard..i don’t, he’s shia, i’m not, he was a dictator, i’m not..he has a penis..i definitely don’t..do you want me to go on…

#110 Comment By Avi Cohen On 5th October, 2007 @ 10:38 am

-I recall that Avi Cohen is a notorious RESPECT
-sockpuppet - he’s the HP equivalent of CiF’s -“SocialistMike”.
Sorry never been part of Respect or any other party.

-A bit sad really. You’re as loopy as this ‘Avi Cohen’
-character and neither of you are interested in
-discussing your insecurities… you just want to scream
-and shout.
Loppy - Me? Insecure - Me?

I am not insecure. I try to give a counterview. I try to stick up for religion because people have a belief and that should be respected. I try to learn about different beliefs to improve myself.

I try my best to discuss, sometimes I may not do it well, but then again I am not a writer like you. You are well practised due to your work in the media through speaking and writing engagements.

I don’t work in the media so my writing and debating style will never be as good as yours. So give me a bit of slack :-)

If I make a mistake or say something stupid then I don’t mind if you say so politely. Sometimes points may not come across as well as I would like but then it is the same for most people. I’ll try my best to improve that is all I can do.

#111 Comment By Avi Cohen On 5th October, 2007 @ 10:54 am

As a final thought on this subject and to illustrate slightly graphically what I am saying please look at these sites and the extreme consequences of free speech and ridicule when society doesn’t correct itself:

[20] http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/

Black people villified to the point that when lynchings happened people turned up to have photos taken sometimes in their Sunday Best clothes and with children sometimes present.

Also at Aushwitz guards relaxing care-free having probably taken part in mass-murder earlier:

[21] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7011371.stm

[22] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7014750.stm

a decade earlier free speech and ridicule of Jews and their faith led over an extended period of time to people being relaxed about killing Jewish people on mass. Exterminating them. Killing children, mothers, fathers and the elderly. Killing other races as well.

How do humans get into such a state when whipped up by people free to spread hatred and vilify. Absolute free speech over a period of time can lead to this. It has happened before and can happen again. So yes to free speech and ridicule but also correction if needed to avoid similar scenes.

#112 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 11:36 am

Avi, your points are very well made.

On the CiF version of this debate, a Slovenian poster stated that current state of affairs reminded him of the media coverage in Croatia and Serbia in the run up to Srebenica.

It ill-behoves Sunny to advise muslims how they should behave when its taken him best part of a year to recognise that attacks on muslims, for being muslim, is ‘commonplace’; and that they are a result of ‘xenophobia’. But then I recognise that shift for what it is, progress.

#113 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 5th October, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

attacks on muslims, for being muslim, is ‘commonplace’

I think that we need to distinguish between attacks on people and attacks on a religion/ideology/political stance.

Attacking a people for the sake of them being what they are is of course wrong, but attacking their faith is perfectly legitimate.

Avi does indeed makes some excellent points though. Freedom of speech is not as simplistic as Sunny makes out. But don’t expect a mature reply from him though. Expect lots of swearing and an assortment of groupies denouncing you for daring to question their Fuhrer.

And I would also like to exercise my right to FOS, seeing as Sunny closed down the topic ‘Inside a Shariah Court’.

The final poster, one ‘majid khan’, made a remark regarding Sikhs. I would like to exercise my right of reply.

Majid said: [Sikhs] Have an unusually high number of state funded Sikh schools compared to size of population.

Sikhs have one state funded school.

Idiot.

#114 Comment By Jai On 5th October, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

It’s also worth mentioning that Majid made some other erroneous statements about Sikhs — according to Sikhism, adherents of the faith have the right to wear symbols such as the turban, kirpan etc, but this is NOT a matter of Sikh “Law”.

Sikhism does have a “temporal” aspect as well as the obvious spiritual side, but it is not a form of government. Therefore any associated legal structure/system is very limited indeed, and certainly not anything remotely comparable with Islamic Shariah.

#115 Comment By Jai On 5th October, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

With regards to Jagdeep, having read his commenting on PP for a while now I very much doubt he has some kind of “hatred for Muslims” as he has been accused of by a certain party here. It is also obvious that his remarks about “leeches” were specifically in relation to specific individuals and organisations, and not about Muslims en masse.

I disagree with Avi’s comments about Holocaust Memorial Day — there are better ways for other groups to encourage the facilitation of their own inclusion in such commemorations, rather than cries of “But what about meeeeee ?!” — however, his concerns about the dangers of a gradual cultural slide towards the increasing demonisation of certain groups are well-founded, speaking generally. I’ve remarked on the latter myself a few times on PP, as regulars will know. There are far too many precedents for what can happen in such situations in apparently “civilised” countries, particularly if the antipathy towards the targets is widespread enough for members of the majority population to not necessarily participate in violence or disenfranchisement but certainly to stand by and do nothing while the injustices take place.

#116 Comment By Majid Khan On 5th October, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

>>The final poster, one ‘majid khan’, made a remark
>>regarding Sikhs. I would like to exercise my right of
>>reply.

>>Majid said: [Sikhs] Have an unusually high number of
>>state funded Sikh schools compared to size of
>>population.

>>Sikhs have one state funded school.

>>Idiot.

Look Jagdeep was making some fairly shameful comments towards Muslims, as noone from the Sikh community stepped in to correct him I excerised my right to reply to make him see what it is like when people hurl false accusations.

Sorry if I upset you but I didn’t like his tone towards Muslims and Muslim oragnisations. Read his comments first and see the xenophobic comments coming through.

As an example he was asked a specific question about Rabbinical Law and instead of answering that he made a rant about Muslim Male Clerics. Did that answer the question?

Also Sikhs have two state funded schools - one in West London and one in Slough. I don’t have an issue with that. The response was to show him that we shouldn’t behave like that as others can sling back and off we go.

Once again I say sorry to you but as I explained it was directed at him to make him see sense.

The Indian Subcontinent Communities need to get along and help each other. The tone of language used and references to shame if you had any etc. led to the response.

There is little point in calling the responder an Idiot if you won’t put your own in order as well. Fine I am an idiot for responding to goading from a member of your community but then at least tell him some of his comments are somewhat over the top.

Jai - the remarks about leeches may possibly have been about the MCB, but what about comments regarding Shariah Law that was clear and disgraceful swipes at all Muslims. He claimed incorrectly that Sikh clerics would never call for accomodation in UK Law and Muslims shouldn’t either. That isn’t factually correct.

Why bring up Muslim Clercis when asked about Rabbinical Law, without even answering the question. Isn’t that xenophobia towards Muslims?

#117 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

Baba, I think an error or ignorance of a fact should be corrected as you have done, but it doesn’t make them an idiot.

Jai, agreed.

With regards Holocaust Memorial Day, it has become sullied by the forces that lobbied to include some and exclude others. And they were wide ranging. It has become a political football. To all our detriment.

The mistake is to think that it was only the MCB.

#118 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

Majid, Jagdeep is a fine little fellow, but there are some topics where he really loses it. I think it is more to do with his character (and perhaps paranoia) than anything else and he can lose the plot.

Consider him to be the rotweiller of PP, a la John Reid.

I think he was behaving quite well until, well shall we say you know the red mist has descended when he starts using the word ‘monomaniacal’.

There are times, when I just like to poke him in the eye. And I think I did that, hence his retort of paranoia.

What I am saying is - you can have fun with him too.

#119 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

majid khan

Look Jagdeep was making some fairly shameful comments towards Muslims, as noone from the Sikh community stepped in to correct him I excerised my right to reply to make him see what it is like when people hurl false accusations.

So Jagdeep, a man who I have zero respect for by the way (he is a chump), made some comments you found ’shameful’ and you decide to respond by slandering the entire global Sikh community by spouting lies and hatred? Who is worse majid, you or him? As far as I can see, you are both muppets.

The Indian Subcontinent Communities need to get along and help each other.

Why? After certain sections of the Muslim community (HT, Al-Mujahroun, Al-Guraba etc) have openly declared their hatred of the infidel Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, regularly attacked Sikh and Hindu places of worship and have written derogatory literature about us.

While the wider Muslim community refused to condemn or even deal with them.

Too late to build bridges now, maj.

#120 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

Oh dear!

#121 Comment By Random Guy On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

My 2 Cents: -

The whole Freedom of Speech debate is pointless. Clearly there are topics which are societally defined as off-limits. Anyone who denies that at least 90% of discourse in the media about Islam is thinly veiled racism against muslim people, is severely deluded. As far as I am concerned - and I am yet to be convinced otherwise - it is just an outlet that people can use to pour their xenophobia and racism into, with the semantically convenient cover of free speech. Pathetic.

W.r.t Holocaust Memorial Day, I do believe that it is monopolised by the WW2 Nazi-led massacre of the Jews with little regard for other cultures. At the very least it should be renamed if it will take into account all such mass-murders, or a seperate event should be made for these events. I do not believe that any culture/race/religion should have a monopoly on human suffering. Especially when it is continuing to a very large degree all over the world. Commemoration should occur when all holocausts are over, not only one.

W.r.t. what Majid said about Jagdeep, I agree and I am yet to see anything that convinces me he is not a xenophobe/islamaphobe, unfortunately.

#122 Comment By Avi Cohen On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

Please can I make clear again as I have many times already. I think it was badly handled by the MCB. I think they can attend and still make their point.

The MCB is a lobby group, as is the HMD and each has their position. That is what lobby groups do. Both are trying to work to resolve the issue, the problem is they are talking via the press.

The MCB say they want to attend but want it more inclusive and some ackowledgement of the Palestinian suffering. The HMD say they want the MCB to attend and to make the event inclusive.

So the common ground is there. Politics is keeping them away from a solution. Why is it that a Communities Secretary (Ruth Kelly) instead of bringing both together as is her job and trying to find common ground was playing to the media circus instead. It was Govt by media pronouncement not Govt by leadership.

But goading the MCB publicly like the Blair Govt, Jagdeep etc. do and using this as a political football isn’t going to bring a solution. If it was it would have done so by now.

It needs common sense and some negotiations. That is all I am saying.

Surely it is better to resolve the issue than let this go on and affect community relations.

With opinion now so entrenched neither side will back down easily. So what is that achieving?

Fine berate the MCB and force them to attend, then at the next event regarding the Palestinians do you berate and force the Jewish Groups to attend? That simply makes the Jewish Community feel like it is being victimised.

What good is that going to do. It is simply self-defeating for both sides. If the Govt and aggitators didn’t get involved they could talk quietly and agree a way forward even if the MCB attends without any changes to HMD.

Rather than berate why not encourage them to talk.

As an example a few months ago the Israeli Ambassador made some comment in the UK Jewish Media, I forget which, about the Palestinian Representative’s position. The Palestinian Representative was unhappy with the opinion so got in touch with the Jewish Media outlet and asked if he could reply. They agreed and his reply was published and also he made a request that in future both representatives could call each other.

No goading, no Govt interfernce and fair play to the Jewish Media outlet for giving a right of reply and fair play to the Israeli Ambassador for not coming back. Matter settled quietly and a clear statement lets talk in the future first rather than going to the media. Right successful result.

Also I would like to highlight:
“A poll in the Jewish Chronicle showed that 31% of people think there should be a genocide day. This is not an extremist view.”
[23] http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/2028_mcb_responds_to_kell.htm

Do goad people into positions it won’t ever achieve anything. Let both sides work it out quietly.

#123 Comment By justforfun On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

Hi Chairwoman - or is to be StandingWoman soon. There is to be an election soon I hear.

Justforfun

#124 Comment By Majid Khan On 5th October, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

So Jagdeep, a man who I have zero respect for by the way (he is a chump), made some comments you found ’shameful’ and you decide to respond by slandering the entire global Sikh community by spouting lies and hatred? Who is worse majid, you or him? As far as I can see, you are both muppets.

With respect it is not as if you stepped in and said this wasn’t the view of the Sikh community and in fact you have yet to do so. It is ok then for a Sikh to slander a community with no ticking off from the Sikhs here but if others do it then that is not allowed.

I apologised to you straight away, and ackowledged my error. You have yet to bring order to your own or to distance your community from the likes of Jagdeep.

As we have also seen certain sections of the Sikh community do the same and there has been no refutation of them.

I think you will find the general Muslim community has refuted the likes of HuT, Bakhri etc. It is just they get a lot of press attention, over 99% though they represent a tiny part of the community.

You won’t hear about this in the press but most people regard them as idiots. Senior scholars have refutted them for what they are and denounced their ideology.

They simply love the press attention and to get that you have to be controversial. They are not representative of the community and for you to say the community has done nothing is incorrect. To label an entire community with a falsehood is as bad as my earlier statement, lets see if you now apologise.

Organisations such as The Islamic Cultural Centre in London have done much work to reach out to all communities including the Sikh Community. They pay regular visits to Sikh places of worship and SIkhs play regular visits to them. They have placed business contracts with Sikh organisations for large sums of money. So they are building community relations and helping Sikh business. So please at least acknowledge the efforts and do paint an entire community.

#125 Comment By justforfun On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

Homi - enough now - stop using another man’s name - we know who you are even if Sunny hasn’t spotted you yet.

Suprise and educate us with another pseudonym. keep us on our toes.

Justforfun

#126 Comment By Sunny On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

Avi Cohen: Ridiculing religion is fine and I have never said that it isn’t. All I have said is that there is a line between ridicule and the human mentality to adopt pack culture and kill or hurt people. Ridicule can over an extended period leave people in a state where they commit murder without care.

Yes I know. And the law distinguishes between the two. I really don’t know what your extended diatribes are about. Summaries it in a paragraph please because you seem to agree free speech is important, are critical of the MCB, accept that demonisation of Muslims is wrong but ridicule of religion shold be allowed… what’s your bloody point?

Morgoth: There can be no restrictions in a free society on free speech due to “offense”.

There are legal restrictions firstly… libel, defamation, hate speech etc. Secondly, we weren’t talking about legal restrictions and you keep avoiding my question.

#127 Comment By Jai On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

With respect it is not as if you stepped in and said this wasn’t the view of the Sikh community and in fact you have yet to do so.

The “Sikh community” isn’t a homogeneous, monolithic block. And it certainly isn’t some kind of “state within a state”. Sikhs, like most of the rest of the human race, have disparate, individual views on matters.

One could, hypothetically, make extremely broad generalisations (for example, that we don’t believe in the concept of “group guilt” or “collective responsibility”), but one cannot necessarily speak for the “Sikh community” as a whole or make sweeping statements about what the “Sikh community” thinks about any particular issue.

It is ok then for a Sikh to slander a community with no ticking off from the Sikhs

Again, Jagdeep wasn’t “slandering” the “Muslim community” as a whole, only certain sections of it.

#128 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

majid

With respect it is not as if you stepped in and said this wasn’t the view of the Sikh community and in fact you have yet to do so. It is ok then for a Sikh to slander a community with no ticking off from the Sikhs here but if others do it then that is not allowed.

In the same way I do not expect you to ‘tick off’ your co-religionists when they blow shit up (because they have nothing to do with you), I do not feel the need to tick Jagdeep off.

And in any case, Jagdeep has confirmed on numerous occasions that his loyalty is 100% to Britain (not the Sikh Nation), ergo, by your logic, the British public should be ‘ticking’ him off.

You have yet to bring order to your own or to distance your community from the likes of Jagdeep.

Jagdeep is indicative of how far the Sikh community has descended down the metaphorical toilet. Any Sikh with half a brain cell would disassociate themselves with an imbecile like Jagdeep.

Enough with your putrid whining.

Justforfun

My memory fails me. Are you the Parsi who is a staunch Indian nationalist and who believes that Sikhs deserved everything they got in 1984?

If so, please take the next canoe to Iran. I will supply the ores. And a noose with which the Mullahs will hang you. After sodomising you with a broomstick.

#129 Comment By Rumbold On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

Muzumdar:

“Jagdeep is indicative of how far the Sikh community has descended down the metaphorical toilet. Any Sikh with half a brain cell would disassociate themselves with an imbecile like Jagdeep.”

So you are saying that you have half a brain cell then?

#130 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

Hello Chairwoman,

Hope you are feeling better, been wondering what had happened to you. Good luck!

TFI

#131 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

Rumbold

1/2 a brain cell is all that is needed to see Jagdeep for what he is.

If you are, jovially, trying to call me thick, then well done, I’m cracking up here. Not.

#132 Comment By justforfun On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

Homi - you’re memory does fail you. Comes to us all but medication can help.

“Homi” was a good idea, but a pity you can’t argue in ‘character’ - you might have had something interesting to say.

Justforfun

#133 Comment By Rumbold On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

Muzumdar:

It was meant in a jovial way- there is no need to be so abusive to everyone; you can make your points just as well in a calm and rational way.

#134 Comment By Homi K Bhaba On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

Rumbold

Sorry pal, that majid guy just got me vexed with has comments about Sikhs. You know how touchy I am about my Sikhs.

Hope all is well.

#135 Comment By Morgoth On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

Secondly, we weren’t talking about legal restrictions and you keep avoiding my question.

No, I have answered it. You are contradicting yourself.

Libel and whatnot applies to consequenves of speech, not restriction of speech in the first place. Sofia is not arguing for something equivalent to Libel, but rather for an absolute restriction on free speech.

#136 Comment By Sunny On 5th October, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

I am about my Sikhs.

Your Sikhs? Most would probably hate to be associated with you. Anyway, you know what to do since you’ve been exposed again.

Morgoth, no you didn’t address my point. My point was:

I never asked for a change in the law, as my original article states. But to have some sort of a constructive debate you need some politeness.

You know this because you yourself say you wouldn’t come here if I had Nazi regalia everywhere. Engage that brain sometimes. Instead all you’re interested in saying is that the only way you can have a debate is by swearing and shouting like an imbecile, and if anyone asks for a bit of politness then you accuse them of being theocrats.

If you can’t address that then I suggest you stick with HP because this isn’t the place for trolls. Muzumdar/Homi knows this which is why his comments aren’t allowed here and the saddo keeps coming back under different names.

#137 Comment By Sofia On 5th October, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

Morgoth you are so funny…once again misquoting and misrepresenting my views…but then again you’re pretty good at that.
When did I say absolute restriction on free speech…you’re pretty indicative of the kind of people who don’t know how to read properly

#138 Comment By Ravi Naik On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

“To be fair, religious minorities aren’t the only ones who misunderstand free speech and expression. It isn’t uncommon for readers on Cif and elsewhere to demand that the niqab be banned because it offends them.”

Sunny, I thought your article was brilliant, except for this little paragraph. I think people are against the niqab not because they want to curb the freedom of expression of anyone, but because it effectively isolates women, and does not facilitate integration in the West, which ultimately does not offer any freedom at all. I hope you agree with the school’s decision to sack a teacher for wearing a niqab.

#139 Comment By Rumbold On 5th October, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

Homi/Muzumdar:

I am fine thanks- as you have been banned again I won’t ask how you are, as you probably will not be able to respond.

Ravi:

” I think people are against the niqab not because they want to curb the freedom of expression of anyone, but because it effectively isolates women, and does not facilitate integration in the West, which ultimately does not offer any freedom at all.”

I disagree about the niqab, but agree that many opposed to it are so minded not because it offends them, but because they see it as a form of oppression.

#140 Comment By Jai On 5th October, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

but agree that many opposed to it are so minded not because it offends them, but because they see it as a form of oppression.

That’s true, but let’s be honest, some also object to it because it gives them another excuse to “stick it to the P*kis”. Saris & turbans were considerable controversial issues in some quarters during the time of the “parents’ generation”, so I’m sure that niqabs, hijabs etc are the modern-day equivalents of such “offensive”, “foreign” items of attire from the perspective of those who are prejudiced towards Asians regardless.

#141 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

Spot on Jai.

#142 Comment By Ravi Naik On 5th October, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

“That’s true, but let’s be honest, some also object to it because it gives them another excuse to “stick it to the P*kis”.”

I would think that racists and islamophobes would support the niqab to show how backward these p*akis are. The same way they need radical islam to demonise muslims and browns all together.

The whole argument is about freedom, and I would really like to find evidence that women who wear the niqab (who come from cultures where women are oppressed, but that must be a coincidence - according to the pro-niqab crowd, they have a choice and are expressing it) are indeed integrated within the wider community, and are able to be independent economically. Because if they are not, then there is no point in talking about freedom of expression.

#143 Comment By nodn On 5th October, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

I posted a response to this on CIF Sunny- have you seen it? it seems to have disappeared!

#144 Comment By Rumbold On 5th October, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

Indeed Jai.

#145 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

“I would think that racists and islamophobes would support the niqab to show how backward these p*akis are. The same way they need radical islam to demonise muslims and browns all together.”

Perhaps, and then the ‘outrage’ has to materialise somewhere, sometime.

#146 Comment By Bleh/Morgoth On 5th October, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

When did I say absolute restriction on free speech…you’re pretty indicative of the kind of people who don’t know how to read properly

Sofia, you’re Post#53.

And besides which….

A new documentary shows that several of the instigators behind the violent Mohammed cartoon demonstrations never even saw the drawings

The film suggests the crisis began full-force when the man many consider to be Islam’s most powerful figure, Sheik Yussuf Al-Qaradawi, declared 3 February 2006 as ‘Anger Day’ on his TV programme. A wave of violent protests across the globe unleashing followed in the wake of that transmission.

In the documentary, Kjær shows the Mohammed drawings to Al-Qaradawi, who views them for the first time.

Kjær also shows the cartoons to Ali Bakhsi, the Iranian who spearheaded demonstrations in Tehran that led to the burning of the Danish embassy there. Bakhsi laughingly says the drawings look nothing like Mohammed but rather like an Indian Sikh.

The same Al-Qaradawi, mind you, who Red Ken has got his tongue stuck up the arse of….

#147 Comment By Bleh/Morgoth On 6th October, 2007 @ 12:00 am

Sofia, you’re Post#53.

Your Post in Post#53 even.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1424

URLs in this post:
[1] Muslims should embrace free speech: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2007/10/muslims_should_embrace_fre.html
[2] Brownie: http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2007/08/10/the_worst_article_ever_run_on_cif.php
[3] Norm Geras: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/09/ahmadinejad-at-.html
[4] Norm says: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/10/sunny-spell.html
[5] post he links to: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/09/ahmadinejad-at-.html
[6] this follow-up: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/09/more-ahmadineja.html
[7] Another example: http://articles.citypages.com/2007-10-03/news/banning-desmond-tutu/
[8] to Norm: http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/10/free-speech-and.html
[9] http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/260: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/260
[10] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/us/02hindu.html?em&ex=1191556800&en=f63c786b4d9fff7c&ei=5087%0A: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/us/02hindu.html?em&ex=1191556800&en=f63c786b4d9fff7c&e
i=5087%0A

[11] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909151.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909151.html
[12] hypocrite: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/369
[13] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909538.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909538.html
[14] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909327.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909327.html
[15] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909325.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909325.html
[16] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909323.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909323.html
[17] hadith: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html
[18] shocked me to the core: http://shorno.net/2007/05/27/does-anyone-read-this-stuff/
[19] Chapter 29: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3426
[20] http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/: http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/
[21] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7011371.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7011371.stm
[22] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7014750.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7014750.stm
[23] http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/2028_mcb_responds_to_kell.htm: http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/2028_mcb_responds_to_kell.htm