Alan Sugar to sue Sun over ‘Jewish hit list’


by Sunny
24th February, 2009 at 3:24 pm    

Damn, I knew this story a few days ago and should have blogged it. Anyway.
The Media Guardian reports:

Sugar, who returns to screens next month in the hit BBC1 show, yesterday issued a writ at the high court in London against the Sun’s publisher and News International subsidiary, News Group Newspapers, and its editor, Rebekah Wade. The businessman and TV star is understood to have been angry at the story, which he felt risked his personal security.

Woohoo! Keep in mind there are two issues here regarding The Scum. First, the original posting on the ummah.com forum said something along the lines that Muslims should contact or write to prominent British Jews. In typical racist fashion, The Scum made it into a front-page story that insinuated that Muslims had put together a ‘hit list’ of prominent Jews to target and kill. So it was a blatant case of scaremongering and lies. On this, the complainants should ensure The Scum apologises prominently and complain again if they feel the apology wasn’t prominent enough (the PCC will pursue this).

Secondly, there is the allegation that the website postings were themselves posted by so-called “anti-terrorism expert” Glen Jenvey who then sold the story. He denies this. But both Tim from Bloggerheads and the ummah.com administrators say otherwise. The problem is, the PCC isn’t the sort of body that does investigations into computer records to determine who is telling the truth. So that part of the complaint remains in limbo. But with Alan Sugar now suing (yay!), the investigation is on hold anyway.


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  1. dave bones — on 24th February, 2009 at 3:55 pm  

    Now we can find out what is happening eh.

  2. fugstar — on 24th February, 2009 at 4:23 pm  

    Good news.

    Not sure what it would take for the Sun not to do this again and again. Its an extremely powerful organisation able to pay legal costs and compensation, and perpetuate its influence in society on the back of its readers.

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 24th February, 2009 at 5:07 pm  

    Here’s hoping Binyam Mohamed gets a few tips on how to sue efficiently from Mr Sugar

  4. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 5:54 pm  

    Rejoice!

    I am sure I recently saw Murdoch speaking nicely about Alan Sugar – something to do with a link up between Sky and Amstrad who jointly launched the service.

  5. Don — on 24th February, 2009 at 6:12 pm  

    I agree with fugstar, the Sun factors in some payouts as a necessary expense for it’s chosen editorial style (viz. lying through it’s teeth.) A hundred grand or so won’t make that much dent in it’s profits. So why not keep lying?

    Being shown to have lied is not an issue, as it assumes it’s readers don’t take that on board.

    I wonder if Max Clifford is talking to Binyam Mohamed.

  6. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 6:36 pm  

    So it was a blatant case of scaremongering and lies

    Not by The Sun per se, don’t forget it was Glen Jenvey who fed them false information. The Sun should apologise properly, but referring to them as The Scum makes you sound like a ultra-far-leftist Loon, which I know you are not. It’s the most popular newspaper in Britain, and is read by hundreds of thousands of brown people too.

    It’s guilty of incompetence, but actual racism? Where? If this was a made up fake Muslim ‘hitlist’ by apparent right wingers in The Mirror, would you be so hysterical?!! … Surely it could insight those already unhinged in the Muslim community to commit a violent act? The Mirror printed hoax prisoner abuse pictures, did you scream from the top of the your lungs or the terrible consequences for British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan??? Was The Mirror known as The Scum for endangering lives in right wing circles? No.

  7. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 6:40 pm  

    Interestingly, from the Media Guardian, “The businessman and TV star is understood to have been angry at the story, which he felt risked his personal security

    How would a dodgy story in a tabloid risk his personal security?

    Also a Google search for “The Scum” brings up a BNP website, with a picture of the Sun with a swastika, lambasting them for selling neo-nazi material! “The Scum” is quite indicative of loonacy. Bad choice of phrase I would say :P

    http://tinyurl.com/cxnwbe

    Surely he’s saying that basically, The Sun ‘outed’ him as a Jew, and therefore an ACTUAL target for violence by Islamist nutters?! So what is Sugar insinuating here? That by being pointed out as being a prominent Jew is dangerous in the United Kingdom?? Another strand of racist Islamophobic thinking perhaps?

  8. Sunny — on 24th February, 2009 at 6:50 pm  

    Not sure what brown people reading the Sun had anything to do with it marvin – I generally have little patience for people who take their political news from tabloids.

    However, as I said above, there are two different cases here. Genvey may have fed them the wrong info, but the PCC is taking that as a separate case to the one that – given what the Sun was handed – it twisted it around to make it more sensational and inflammatory than it was.

    The original posting, even if by Jenvey, said nothing about taking out Jews. It said maybe they should be contacted. There was no ‘hit list’.

  9. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 7:04 pm  

    Marvin, on that basis should we expect more anti-muslim stories when it comes to court, along the lines of

    ‘Sir Alan tells court false story in the Sun exposed him to muslim terrorists!’

    You just couldn’t lose could you?

    Are you sure you are such a help to jews? I do wonder, you seem far too keen to stir.

    I don’t understand why you think the Sun isn’t at fault. Have you heard of caveat emptor?

    When the Sun buys its news from various sources, it falls on them to verify. And to present it honestly.

    Why shouldn’t it have run a story which said ‘a disreputable journalist attempts to cause distress to jews and muslims alike by trying to sell the Sun a fictitious story about muslims terrorists, when legitimately attempting to raise awareness of the unfolding crisis in Gaza.’?

    As for the story in the Mirror, Piers Morgan was stung and he lost his job. The problem, if you recall, wasn’t that the abuse wasn’t happening, it was that the photographs used were staged.

  10. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 7:08 pm  

    A correction:

    Why shouldn’t it have run a story which said ‘a disreputable journalist attempts to cause distress to jews and muslims alike by trying to sell the Sun a fictitious story about terrorists, when some muslims were legitimately attempting to raise awareness of the unfolding crisis in Gaza.’?

    And to follow on from what Sunny has just said, if the original story was ‘sexed-up’, then why don’t you call for Rebekah Wade to resign?

    And to link up with the points raised by fug and Don, there is a lot more revenue to come for the Sun from this – in the run up to the hearing, during and for a long time after.

  11. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 7:23 pm  

    And Marvin, I think your attempt to pigeon-hole Pickled Politics and Sunny into the ‘brown camp’ will not work.

  12. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 7:33 pm  

    Marvin, so I don’t deprive you of my innermost thoughts, here is my comment on Liberal Conspiracy:

    ‘The real tragedy in all of this is that no muslim is able to take any legal action against the Sun for what was yet another malicious slur against them as a whole.

    I am sure there are many anti-muslim stories to be spun out of the fact that Sir Alan is taking this action.

    I am willing to bet, that Sir Alan is going to take this to the limit and expose the whole episode which will include editorial policy vis-a-vis muslims in operation in the Sun and beyond.

    I have high hopes for Sir Alan.

    Best news in many years.’

    It falls to the honourable to smite the deceitful.

    I am going to write to Sir Alan and offer him moral support.

  13. Ummah.com — on 24th February, 2009 at 7:59 pm  

    Hello Resident people

    I am the administrator of Ummah Forum where this whole saga started.

    I don’t know how this story got leaked out or who told the Guardian but that don’t matter

    We dont make any profits on the forum we run we rely solely on advertising and donations from people we are not a business or dont have heaps of money in the bank therefore us taking legal action against the sun would have been impossible.

    I’m glad that Alan Sugar is taking his own legal action against the sun and fully support him

    Also Tim Ireland from Bloggerheads.com was the mastermind behind all this exposing, if it was not for him then I dont think none of this would have come out in the open – we would have been left on our own tarnished.

    I hope Alan Sugar Wins the case any we will personally be helping them for anything they require

    Glen Jenvey is another issue as well but they are both linked up. I hope Alan Sugar wins, force the Sun to apologies and hope jenvey then gets his self sued by the news agency for getting them into all this.

  14. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:07 pm  

    Why did Sir Alan Sugar believe his personal security was at risk by the Sun story, when none of his personal details were published? Is it because it revealed he was Jewish? Why would this be an issue in modern day Britain?

    ..The Sun should apologise for sure, but it does make me laugh to think of the total non-outrage here if this was a left wing rag sexing up a contact list from an internet forum as an muslim extremist hit list by white supremacists. Who would care? But surely the effect would be the same in the relevant community? Or do all Muslims clearly see all white people as completely different and individual, yet white people will see a story about Muslim extremists as a narrative on all Muslims?!

  15. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

    Ummah.com

    Why did you have a post up, by a very prolific poster, for days, about entitled excellent makes killing the kuffar all that bit easier

    What about the simply racist post which has been up for weeks How to Avoid Paying Taxes to the kaffirs Forever!!!

    Ummah.com has had numerous problems with hate speech and posts about killing kuffar, has it not?

  16. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:21 pm  

    Marvin,

    Even now you refuse to acknowledge that there was no ‘hit-list’ despite admitting ‘The Sun should apologise for sure…’.

    ‘Is it because it revealed he was Jewish?’

    Revealed? Who the heck doesn’t know he is jewish?

    I am not convinced you are even sympathetic to jews.

  17. Sunny — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:25 pm  

    Or do all Muslims clearly see all white people as completely different and individual, yet white people will see a story about Muslim extremists as a narrative on all Muslims?!

    Well, funny you should say that marvin, because only the other day the political editor at the Sun, Trevor Kavanagh, was saying that the increading number of Muslims in the UK was a cause for concern and would lead to the destruction of Britain.

    So rather than blaming Muslims, perhaps you could spend a bit more time being annoyed at the media which lumps all muslims=trouble makers?

  18. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:25 pm  

    Refresh, what the f*** are you talking about? There was not a Jewish hitlist. I am not saying otherwise. The fact that the Sun actually published this non-story needs to be seriously addressed.

    There was, however, another hitlist up, see my previous comment, about killing the kaffir.

    “Who the heck doesn’t know he’s Jewish?”

    Probably most non-Muslims, those who aren’t far-leftists, far-rightist, assorted loons, or ‘Zionism’ obssesives. No I didn’t know. Or really care!

  19. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:27 pm  

    Marvin

    What do you mean it was up for days how do you know? For you info it wasnt that long once we got notified about it we removed it straight away, it certainly was not for “Days”

    Its forum at the end of the day people can post their opinions on Issues if anything posted is illegal or threatening then we will remove it. We not gonna censor people for what they think of feel.

    Numerous posts about killing kuffar? Find me one?
    Its a huge forum the biggest muslim forum on the internet 3000 posts coming in and out of it, easy to miss one or 2 amongst the pile. If people report it we will remove it!

  20. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:28 pm  

    Who’s blaming Muslims? Where did I blame Muslims? Perhaps you are conflating my reference to violent antisemitism in the UK with all Musims! Boy can this assumption lark get confusing.

    And Trevor Kavanagh is a rather ignorant twat.

  21. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

    You admittedly do delete posts about killing the kuffar. It would be illegal do to otherwise anyway.

    Ummah, the last link I provided which is blatant hatred against the ‘kuffar’. This is not illegal, but a moral issue. Yet you keep it up. What does that say about the sites stance? This is acceptable discourse?

    How would you feel about forums on political threads about avoiding paying any taxes to any of the ‘Muzzies’? Would you hope the admins take it down on moral and decency grounds?

  22. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:38 pm  

    Do you even understand the concepts of how a forum work? We cant control people that posts stuff on that board its the same as any other discussion forum, anyone can come on the board and post anything and yes we do delete post about people “killing the kuffar” since its goes against our rules.
    Whats your point? What are you trying to say?
    Now you are blaming us for deleting the post and if we had kept it you would still have blamed us?

    FYI did you even read that entire thread or you just making judgements from 1 post

  23. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:39 pm  

    “How would you feel about forums on political threads about avoiding paying any taxes to any of the ‘Muzzies’? Would you hope the admins take it down on moral and decency grounds?”

    Whats a “Muzzies”?

  24. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:40 pm  

    Marvin, so there is a hitlist? Its another one which the Sun didn’t run? Its a ‘kaffir hitlist’?

    Good grief, that puts most of my family at risk then.

    So what are YOU talking about? The implication of your post is ‘ok lets deal with the Sun’, if we must, but why all the fuss.

    And that is only because Alan Sugar is taking them on.

    Your instincts are most suspicious.

    And I say again, I don’t believe you have any real regard for jews. I am pretty sure they are just a means to an end for you.

    As far as outrageous posts are concerned, what is there to stop you from posting ‘anti-kaffir’ comments and then pointing them out?

    Ask me if I trust you enough not to do that?

  25. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:43 pm  

    “Muzzie” a term usually used by racists for Muslims. Generally deemed offensive. As is the word “kaffir”, and usually spoken by Islamists who hate non-Muslims. I’m sure there’s some people who say Muzzie which isn’t intended to be offensive but well you know.. Some people think it’s fine to use compare black people to Golliwogs. I think we all agree that’s still wrong.

  26. Ravi Naik — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:43 pm  

    Why did Sir Alan Sugar believe his personal security was at risk by the Sun story, when none of his personal details were published? Is it because it revealed he was Jewish?

    I don’t think that’s the case. Everyone who watches his show – as my wife does – knows he is Jewish, and Alan Sugar didn’t hide that fact.

    I believe he has a point. Nothing prevents a nutter from thinking, when he finds out that Alan Sugar is part of an Islamist hit list, that he might be an enemy of Islam. The fact that he is Jewish, I believe, is irrelevant.

  27. Ravi Naik — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:44 pm  

    As is the word “kaffir”, and usually spoken by Islamists who hate non-Muslims.

    The word “Kaffir” does appear in the Koran to denote non-Muslims, no?

  28. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:45 pm  

    “Kaffir” is fine though, even though 90% of non-muslims would find this an offensive term? Kaffir is the same word used with hateful relish on those matryrdom videos from the 7/7 bombers don’t forget.

  29. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:49 pm  

    SO Ironically, a non-story about Islamist nutters killing Alan Sugar could result in a Islamist nutters killing Alan Sugar. What strange times we live in…

  30. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:49 pm  

    “Kafir”, “Kaffir” etc is not a “Racist Term”

    Its an arabic word for someone who is “Not a Muslim” thats what it means in Arabic someone who is “Not a muslim”

    Yes it can be used in the wrong context but its “Real” meaning is not a “Racist Term”

  31. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:51 pm  

    If you have misconceptions about us or Islam – Register on our forum we will treat you well..just like if you were a Guest at my house i would invite you in for tea and buiscuits!

  32. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:55 pm  

    I wish I could be so generous Ummah, I am more inclined to send him for a close shave at everyone’s favourite barber.

  33. Sunny — on 24th February, 2009 at 8:55 pm  

    And Trevor Kavanagh is a rather ignorant twat.

    And my point is, you can’t dismiss him just like that since he also writes for the country’s biggest paper. So your ire should directed at other people than trying to find bogeymen here. No?

  34. Ravi Naik — on 24th February, 2009 at 9:20 pm  

    “Kaffir” is fine though, even though 90% of non-muslims would find this an offensive term?

    Did you actually make a freaking poll, Marvin? Please do. I can assure you that 90% of non-Muslims have no clue what the word means, and the other 10% do not care. The term Kuffir appears in the Koran to denote a non-believer. Yes, it might be derogatory in places where Muslims are the majority, and it is definitely a racist slang against blacks in the South Africa – but please, here in the UK?

  35. Ravi Naik — on 24th February, 2009 at 9:23 pm  

    SO Ironically, a non-story about Islamist nutters killing Alan Sugar could result in a Islamist nutters killing Alan Sugar. What strange times we live in…

    That’s like your name and photograph appearing in a skinhead/BNP “watch” list. Got it Marvin?

  36. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 9:53 pm  

    Marvin

    Ummah says on Liberal Conspiracy:

    ‘It was Glen Jenvey who posted as “Abuislam” (the character that started all this)that singled out Alan Sugar and named him’

    Does that give you ideas of what you could achieve? Out of nothing? Are you a susceptible ‘kaffir’?

  37. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:04 pm  

    The original thread which sparked all this
    http://ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=195566

  38. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:16 pm  

    Come on Marvin, you can’t already be in bed nursing your zeroes.

    Or am I just impatient?

  39. Ummah — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:18 pm  

    No Problem! Glad there are some level headed individuals on this post that I can talk to without being insulted upon! :-)

  40. marvin — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:55 pm  

    Abuislam “Have we got list of top jews and supporters yet we can target? can someone start posting names and addresses

    Alarm bells should be ringing immediately.

    Let’s rephrase

    NordicChristian “Have we got list of top Muslims and supporters yet we can target? can someone start posting names and addresses

    Context: Political and public forum; used by a real majority of normal people, but known in the past to be used by malicious posters as a forum to incite the killing of Muslims. These posts are deleted by admins on realisation.

    Alarm bells yet?

  41. Don — on 24th February, 2009 at 11:11 pm  

    #30

    Kaffir?

    Are we actually discussing this?

    It is those on the receiving end who decide whether or not a term is offensive, is it not? Don’t call me kaffir. However you spell it.

  42. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 11:41 pm  

    Marvin,

    Did you notice that nobody offers names? This Glen Jenvey aka abuislam pushes again for names. And in the style of University Challenge, gives everybody a starter for 10; and offers the first 3 names of his own. And they are:

    Sir Alan Sugar
    Alan Howard
    David Milliband

    And the best the thread can muster are actually muslim, with the exception of fatah:

    king of syria
    president of egypt
    king of saudi arabia
    monarch of morocco
    fatah

    So we have a thread where one person proposes lobbying prominent jews. No one comes up with any names, and after some pushing by Glen Jenvey has to come up names on his own. Which incidentally no one takes up.

    Marvin, did it not occur to you that these guys may have heard the alarm bells? Unfortunately for Glen Jenvey, The Sun and obviously you.

    Now as to why using Sir Alan Sugar’s name in vain is problematic. This turns out to be the other flaw in Glen Jenvey’s sting: David Milliband and Alan Howard are prominent politicians whose personal security is in the hands of Special Branch. Alan Sugar’s is not.

    I think Rebekah Wade is a goner.

  43. Refresh — on 24th February, 2009 at 11:48 pm  

    Does anyone know how Amy Winehouse got dragged into this?

  44. dave bones — on 25th February, 2009 at 1:15 am  

    Hey maybe he can sue the Sun for nicking my video.

  45. Refresh — on 25th February, 2009 at 2:37 am  

    And Marvin, what will be most enjoyable will be to see the Sun hoist by its own petard.

    They play a prominent role in castigating muslims, as a whole, as unpredictably violent and brutal – ready to butcher as quickly as take offence. Thusly putting poor Sir Alan in fear of his life. And presumably the Sun’s defence will be it was ‘fair comment’, no doubt a group somewhere must be planning such an outrage – and the only thing we can be accused of is being hasty.

    Alan Sugar should now seek compensation which will pay for a round the clock security detail for him, his family and his businesses – for ever more. Courtesy of the Sun’s readers.

    Do you get the picture?

  46. cjcjc — on 25th February, 2009 at 9:34 am  

    I share Marvin’s puzzlement to this extent.

    How can Sugar argue both (1) there was no hit list and (2) he was put at risk.

    For (2) to be true surely there must have been one – or the likelihood of one?

  47. platinum786 — on 25th February, 2009 at 11:04 am  

    Firstly this is good news. Any blow to the sun, no wonder how little is a good blow.

    Secondly, anyone, irregardless or age, gender, race, religion, who reads the sun, for any reason other than to look at the tits, is an idiot.

  48. Refresh — on 25th February, 2009 at 11:15 am  

    cjcjc, he will argue that given the Sun’s (and assorted media) anti-muslim coverage over the last few years, and their reliance on nutters (so called experts) for ‘terror’ stories he has been led to be fearful for his life. And that he was advised by the Sun’s or its source to take precautions. When none were necessary.

    It will be exciting. I am hopeful it will expose this terror industry that has sprung up with their front men housed in assorted thinktanks.

    Do not be puzzled by Marvin’s puzzlement. In due course Marvin will expose his own role.

  49. douglas clark — on 25th February, 2009 at 11:26 am  

    Ummah @ 30,

    I’d agree with Don @ 40. It is not down to the people using the words to define them. That is like allowing whites to describe Africans as niggers. It is completely unacceptable in that context, and is just as unacceptable to be described, by you, as a Kaffir. We have the right to be offended, you do not have the right to gainsay that.

    [I don't know whether using the word 'nigger' will fail some sort of politically correct test, but if you look at the circumstances, it is a historical slur, one that I reject completely..

    I don't think words are evil, context is, however.]

  50. Kismet Hardy — on 25th February, 2009 at 1:29 pm  

    Thank you my Sun for keeping the beauty and spirit of Jade Goody alive. She is our new Queen of hearts. I forgive you for anything you do, I’ll even put in a word to liverpudlian football fans, because you and only you know really matters to us. Jade Goody.

  51. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

    I’d agree with Don @ 40. It is not down to the people using the words to define them. That is like allowing whites to describe Africans as niggers. It is completely unacceptable in that context, and is just as unacceptable to be described, by you, as a Kaffir. We have the right to be offended, you do not have the right to gainsay that.

    Actually, I don’t quite buy that. The anatomy of a racial/ethnic slur begins when people in dominant power use words to demean and humiliate people in a vulnerable position in society. Nigger and paki fall in that category. I don’t believe there is a symmetry in slurs – in a country where Muslims are a small minority – and since 9/11 sometimes maligned, the term Kuffir means you are just part of the larger majority. Why is it offensive? What historical motive of abuse can this be considered offensive in our society?

  52. Jai — on 25th February, 2009 at 2:50 pm  

    Ravi,

    Kaffir doesn’t simply mean ‘non-believer’, it means ‘infidel’.

    Basically the two terms obviously mean the same thing, but hopefully you’d agree that there is an added negative resonance and connotation in relation to the latter term.

    It’s not just about issues concerning numerical majorities and minorities, but concepts of superiority and inferiority. The latter is particularly relevant in relation to theological and ideological frameworks & worldviews where being an ‘infidel’ is regarded as A Bad Thing.

    This isn’t just about Islam. For example, to give another random analogy: If a group of devout Christians in one of the countries in the subcontinent or the Middle-East referred to the non-Christian majority in that country as ‘heathens’ or ‘pagans’, one wouldn’t necessarily say that these are innocent, morally-neutral words with no inherent offensiveness towards the targets, even if the culprits claimed that they simply mean ‘people who aren’t Christian’ and even if, in the context of their own religious perspectives, the terms are quite an accurate description of those they’re referring to.

    The same principle applies to ‘kaffir’, ‘kuffar’, and its variations.

  53. Sofia — on 25th February, 2009 at 3:38 pm  

    i would interpret it more as ‘rejector of faith in one god’ and if you don’t believe in the particular faith that states this, then you shouldn’t really care what they say..i don’t particularly care what a christian would name me, as long as they don’t treat me like shit…that also goes for muslims in their behaviour to non muslims.

  54. Random Guy — on 25th February, 2009 at 3:53 pm  

    Jai @ 51, “Kafir” is to Islam what “Unbeliever” is to Christianity.

  55. Refresh — on 25th February, 2009 at 4:31 pm  

    I think infidel is probably a better word. It should annoy everybody equally.

  56. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 4:49 pm  

    Kaffir doesn’t simply mean ‘non-believer’, it means ‘infidel’.
    Basically the two terms obviously mean the same thing, but hopefully you’d agree that there is an added negative resonance and connotation in relation to the latter term.

    Actually I don’t, Jai. Both words imply that you do not believe in the basic tenants of Islam. It can only be offensive when applied to Muslims, not to non-Muslims in a country where they are the vast majority.

    If a group of devout Christians in one of the countries in the subcontinent or the Middle-East referred to the non-Christian majority in that country as ‘heathens’ or ‘pagans’, one wouldn’t necessarily say that these are innocent, morally-neutral words with no inherent offensiveness towards the targets

    Most religious interpretations make a clear distinction between those that follow, and those that don’t. There can’t be morally neutral words in this context, even though such distinctions are not necessarily made to offend.

    Let me also say, that Hinduism is considered in Europe to be a Pagan religion having many links with Greek, Roman and Nordic mythology, and I do not think that Hindus in India care about such classification, or the fact that Christians do not consider them… Christians, or faithful to the tenants of Christianity (infidel = not faithful to the Prophet/religion).

  57. marvin — on 25th February, 2009 at 4:57 pm  

    Put it this way, anybody calls me a kuffar to my face, I’ll punch ‘em. The it’s in my holy book crap doesn’t wash with me. Smiting at the necks of the unbelievers is in there too. Does that make it ‘ok’?

  58. fug — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

    will you people ever decrease your dumbness? you sustain eachother. its really sad.

  59. Refresh — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:16 pm  

    I’ve also got a definition of infidel as Someone with a different faith or no faith.

    According to http://www.godonthe.net/dictionary/i.html

    I suppose I would feel bad about being called infidel because of all those desert set B-movies. Its all in the conditioning and definitely context.

  60. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:19 pm  

    I can’t say how things were before I was born … but I’m guessing it’s the same as it has always been.
    I have a love – hate relationship with MSM.
    Most I think should be added to the list of terrorist groups, and my dream would be one day freedom of speech = truth and honest debate followed by some collective agreement.
    I hope sir sugar will really push this to it’s limits!
    If you turn on the TV or read any paper 95% of it is scaremongering and lies … the world is ending and we are all gonna die! Even the weather report is dramatic!

    It’s not the first time Alan Sugars name has been inserted into some kind of anti – jewish propaganda …
    this site has him labeled “known Zionist, and supporter of the Israeli football team” … ? LOL! whats football got to do with politics? … though I do know his personal connection to football …

    http://tinyurl.com/dgdll
    in an israeli paper he is quoted as saying he refuses to do business there, so even if he is jewish .. what does that have to do with anything? he is not only British born but knighted for his philanthropy.

    but hey, while we are on the topic of what we call each other and the definitions …what does calling someone a “Zionist” mean? really?
    Personally I don’t like being called “Kafir” – people can say it means unbeliever …but broken down what it ends up meaning (to some I guess) is – doesn’t believe the Koran – and I say that based on personal debates I have had.
    If it’s known now Glen Jenveys role as an anon on ummah.com, who’s to say others like him are not the ones making posts about “kafir” as it has been included here in the debate ….?
    I did search for his name and found he has much support from what would look like “christians” …. so this does turn into or have some elements of religious racism.
    All religion needs to be challenged! for the sake of all our futures … I never think banning thoughts are an answer to anything, nor do I think people should be left to their own to think what ever they like if it is simply stupid.

  61. Sid — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:30 pm  

    Kafirs do it wearing T-shirts.

  62. Jai — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:31 pm  

    Ravi,

    Most religious interpretations make a clear distinction between those that follow, and those that don’t.

    Hmm. Most, maybe. Not all of them. There’s no word for ‘non-Sikh’ in Sikhism, for example.

    There can’t be morally neutral words in this context,

    Hmm (again). Not necessarily. There is the Indian word ‘nastik’, for example, which just means ‘atheist’.

    Incidentally it’s also the name of a masala blockbuster starring Amitabh Bachchan during his heyday, but that’s a different story ;)

    I guess a more offensive term would be the extremely archaic word ‘Mleccha’, which is pretty unheard of these days, unless some demented Hindutva nutter digs it up and decides to start promoting its use against non-Hindus.

    It can only be offensive when applied to Muslims,

    But it doesn’t apply to Muslims, does it ? One can’t be a Muslim and a ‘kaffir’ simultaneously.

    Let me also say, that Hinduism is considered in Europe to be a Pagan religion having many links with Greek, Roman and Nordic mythology,

    Yes I know. Also (and paradoxically), plenty of historical civilisations which regarded their own religious beliefs as being “true” (or “more true” than those of other societies), including some of those you’ve named, regarded other groups as pagans, barbarians or what have you. The Romans were frequently no exception, especially if there was a significant cultural/technological disparity between them and the other party and most of all of the latter were regarded as a bunch of barbarians on the receiving end of Roman conquest.

    and I do not think that Hindus in India care about such classification,

    They sure as hell would if some of the local Christian population were noticeably vocal about referring to the majority in such terms, and especially if they were regarded as ‘problematic’ and ‘hostile’ in the same way as some of the British Muslim population currently are (and started using terminology for the majority that would be construed as abusive), most of all if some of the troublemakers started behaving like Christian versions of the Pizza HuT brigade.

  63. Jai — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:42 pm  

    Anyway, all this is possibly a debate over semantics. I agree that most (albeit not all) religions have terms to differentiate between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’, and that in some cases I think that such terms are abusive (especially in religions that claim to be “the only true path”)…..But, again, this isn’t exclusive to Islam and I definitely don’t want to play any part in singling out that religion, especially if it involves inflaming any bad feelings about its followers (unless it’s the Anjem Choudary/Pizza HuT/AQ brigade, who fully deserve such animosity).

    God knows, Muslims in general these days unfortunately have enough prejudice and unwarranted demonisation to deal with already, as I said on a couple of other threads recently.

  64. Jai — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:46 pm  

    Correction to #61:

    most of all of the latter were regarded as a bunch of barbarians on the receiving end of Roman conquest.

    Should say:

    “most of all IF the latter were regarded…..”

    Makes more sense now, doesn’t it. ;)

  65. Refresh — on 25th February, 2009 at 5:56 pm  

    ‘you sustain eachother.’

    So true.

  66. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

    Hmm. Most, maybe. Not all of them. There’s no word for ‘non-Sikh’ in Sikhism, for example.

    Sikhs use turbans and other accessories to stand them apart from everyone else, right?

    There is the Indian word ‘nastik’, for example, which just means ‘atheist’.

    Why do you assume it has a neutral meaning? The term “atheist” has been used as an offensive slang in the past. Again depends on the place, time and context.

    But it doesn’t apply to Muslims, does it ? One can’t be a Muslim and a ‘kaffir’ simultaneously.

    If you consider yourself to be a Muslim, yet someone calls you a kuffir, you would be rightly offended. T

    They sure as hell would if some of the local Christian population were noticeably vocal about referring to the majority in such terms

    Well, the terms pagan and heathen makes only sense within the Christian community, or Christian derived societies. It makes no sense to be vocal about using these terms outside it. The term “kuffir” means absolutely nothing to me, and I would say to the majority of the population, because we are not Muslims, and it does not offend to say that we are not faithful to the prophet and to the tenants of Islam.

    The reason why racial/ethnic epithets offend is because there is the social exclusion factor involved.

  67. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:05 pm  

    I have this horrible obsession with words, what they mean, where they came from and how definitions change till they have new or little meaning at all …
    been called a deconstructionist more than once ..but it is always nice to see others wondering about words too … :)
    interesting thoughts on kafir from wiki …… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir_(ethnic_slur)

    I think the equivalent english word historically for kafir would be infidel ..

  68. chairwoman — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:10 pm  

    Muzzie” a term usually used by racists for Muslims.

    Sorry everybody, but Muzzy was the name of my late lamented cat, born in the late ’80s. It was short for Muzzik which is an affectionate Yiddish term usually applied to a naughty child.

  69. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:22 pm  

    ravi,
    The reason why racial/ethnic epithets offend is because there is the social exclusion factor involved.

    well thats a “nice” way to put it …. social exclusion? on whose side?
    I do think we should be concerned what others refer to us as in groups. Including the word “Jew”

  70. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:27 pm  

    interesting thoughts on kafir from wiki …… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir_(ethnic_slur)

    Let’s not conflate words. We are discussing about Kuffir (infidel) from the point of view of the Koran. The ethnic slur you mention refers specifically to the term used by white colonisers in Africa (Portuguese, British and Dutch) to denote black people. It is still used in South Africa, and I believe it is offensive since it was used during the Apartheid.

  71. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

    well thats a “nice” way to put it …. social exclusion? on whose side?

    That would be the dominant/mainstream side against a minority.

  72. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 6:35 pm  

    oooppsy ..link mix up on my part
    meant to add this one
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir
    I was looking for the view from the koran …

  73. Don — on 25th February, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

    In its current usage, is the word ‘kaffir’ neutral and purely descriptive? Or is it generally used perjoratively? The etymology may be interesting, but context is crucial.

    So if I came across a video of me and some people I thought of as mates and heard a whispered commentary, ‘And this is Don, our little kaffir friend.’ should that not give me pause?

    Sure, the power dynamic is important in considering the impact of words, but it it is not the only factor. Now, if any PP regular with the appropriate linguistic background can tell me that they generally hear the word used neutrally or postively then I’ll withdraw my huff.

    Until then, when referring to me the word you are looking for is ‘Don’. Anything else and I reserve the right to take umbrage. I extend that courtesy to others and I expect it in return.

    Back on topic, I think Sugar has a strong case that until The Sun ran its dishonest little piece nobody saw him as a ‘target’. They only need to have put the idea into one warped mind to have put him and his family in danger.

  74. Ravi Naik — on 25th February, 2009 at 7:33 pm  

    Until then, when referring to me the word you are looking for is ‘Don’. Anything else and I reserve the right to take umbrage. I extend that courtesy to others and I expect it in return.

    Nobody can argue against that, Don. :)

  75. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

    I would really like to get back on topic with this post.
    Though I agree we shouldn’t take “offense” at being labeled, maybe we should be some … other word? … as I have trouble figuring out who the dominant/mainstream side against a minority are exactly …cause I don’t think they are the ones actually causing trouble anywhere.
    The Sun – and many other if not all news outlets are focused on sales, not “news” … they should more than apologies ! They should take responsibility for how they affect society! And society needs to take responsibility for how they blindly feed off these headlines!
    Who is Glen Jenvey anyway?
    When I search him … I get really weird stuff …

    http://tinyurl.com/clmlqm
    http://tinyurl.com/burdsf

    can’t decide how much information should be made “public” ….. I would consider myself a privet investigator of sorts too, if that is what he is attmpting … and there are a million things I witness daily that I would trust telling to no one, especially not in a main stream way.. cause when you do they take it and run off to extremes. It’s like people look for reasons to hate!

    I already added this is not the first time sugar has had his name on some list in reference to being jewish and therefore responsible for …what?
    If it was Jenvey on the ummah.com page … and he is a christian why would he stir up jewish names in the first place.
    I won’t assume bad intentions, sending letters would be a respectable muslim approach but why sell to the sun then, and what did they do to the story?
    in the lionheart link … Im torn. I do realize a threat of religious extremists (in all forms) and I’m sorry I have to say I understand European non muslim populations being afaird they will be lost somehow …
    but there has to be a better answer … there are always endless possibilities.

    funny I get some hope FROM the koran …it says the sun will rise from the west … contrary to what is said on Islamic sites over this entry … I know it does not mean the earth will stop for a day and go backwards ….. as I have studied astronomy and know what “retrograde”means …. so add to the definition of fundamentalist …those who take things literal!

  76. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 25th February, 2009 at 8:00 pm  

    …just wanna add ..very very good conversations here today :)

  77. Jai — on 25th February, 2009 at 10:39 pm  

    Ravi,

    Sikhs use turbans and other accessories to stand them apart from everyone else, right?

    That’s irrelevant. There are still no terms — derogatory or otherwise — in Sikhism for “non-Sikhs”. I don’t want to go into extensive detail here as it’s very off-topic, and I certainly don’t think I’m the best representative to explain it, but suffice to say it’s to do with the religion’s concepts of spirituality and group-based religious identity, which are somewhat different from the believer/non-believer, faithful/infidel, God’s elect/damned to hell, us/them dichotomy. Amongst other things, it’s also why the Sikh holy book contains hymns by authors from multiple religious backgrounds and why a gurdwara is intended to be a sanctuary and place of worship for everyone irrespective of their religious beliefs (even though it’s obviously run according to Sikh principles).

    Incidentally — since you’ve raised the issue — the person who established “turbans and other accessories” also said that people should view the entire human race as one, without distinctions or prejudices regarding religious affiliation. Someone who wears the outer signifiers you’ve mentioned is supposed to have the same viewpoint and to embody this principle.

    Why do you assume it has a neutral meaning? The term “atheist” has been used as an offensive slang in the past.

    Already explained previously. In Indian society, ‘nastik’ just means ‘atheist’. If you’re looking for a derogatory term and the equivalent of “non-believer” in the sense of “The Other” or “outsider”, the word ‘mleccha’ is definitely the most appropriate — although it’s thousands of years old and I’ve never heard anyone actually use it (especially in everyday conversation) in my entire life. Go to Wikipedia for more details on its meaning and origin.

    The term “kuffir” means absolutely nothing to me, and I would say to the majority of the population, because we are not Muslims,

    Thanks to Mr Bin Laden, his buddies, and the activities of the Pizza HuT/Islam4UK crew along with those nice folk captured in the Undercover Mosque documentaries, I think that unfortunately huge numbers of non-Muslims here in Britain now know that it’s a term originating in Islam to refer to non-Muslims, and that some Muslims use it in a derogatory sense.

    Also, most Hindus and Sikhs from the older Indian generation are familiar with it.

    The reason why racial/ethnic epithets offend is because there is the social exclusion factor involved.

    Not just that. It’s also because of the connotations of alleged inferiority which such epithets involve.

  78. Amrit — on 25th February, 2009 at 10:55 pm  

    Awww chairwoman! That’s such a cute name *beams*. I am sure s/he passed on to The Great Cat-Basket In The Sky. :-D

    And Jai – Pizza HuT – love it *applauds*.

    Good to see Sir Alan giving back to the world after giving us Amstrad…

  79. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 12:33 am  

    it’s to do with the religion’s concepts of spirituality and group-based religious identity, which are somewhat different from the believer/non-believer

    I am not sure how you distinguish between both concepts, in regards to the terms like ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’ in the Anglican and Catholic faiths. They are not derogatory, and actually you will seldom hear those terms used against anyone. To me, it is all about identity – and with an identity there is always ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to use specific words to make that distinction. The Koran uses the term Kuffir, why shouldn’t Muslims use it?

    Already explained previously. In Indian society, ‘nastik’ just means ‘atheist’.

    It serves me right to use your terms, like “morally neutral”, which can mean anything. :) Anyway, after a good amount of research (ok, 5 min), I found out that nastik actually means “not believing in Vedas” – it makes no assumptions on your belief of god.

    Thanks to Mr Bin Laden, his buddies, and the activities of the Pizza HuT/Islam4UK crew along with those nice folk captured in the Undercover Mosque documentaries, I think that unfortunately huge numbers of non-Muslims here in Britain now know that it’s a term originating in Islam to refer to non-Muslims, and that some Muslims use it in a derogatory sense.

    That’s the mark of fundamentalists: the belief that if you are not like them, you are inferior. I would rather let our residents Muslims tell us if the word kuffir is supposed to create offence. So far, the majority here says it isn’t – and I believe them. I will not let terrorists like Bin Laden define words – they have so far been successful in turning the word “jihad” into a repulsive word in the non-Muslim world.

  80. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 11:38 am  

    Ravi,

    in regards to the terms like ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’ in the Anglican and Catholic faiths. They are not derogatory,

    *splutter* Since when ?!

    and actually you will seldom hear those terms used against anyone.

    Not these days, obviously. But that wasn’t the case during colonial times, especially during the Victorian era.

    To me, it is all about identity – and with an identity there is always ‘us’ and ‘them’.

    Okay, I see my example of Sikhism hasn’t sunk in, but it would depend on how much you knew about the faith and its principles. To summarise — and, again, I really, really don’t think I’m the best person to explain this, as there are far more devout and pious people around than me — in Sikhism, the basic concept of ‘us’ doesn’t just mean Sikhs but the entire human race. There is no ‘them’ in the traditional sense.

    The only real distinction involves the terms ‘gurmukh’ and ‘manmukh’, which basically mean someone who has a genuine awareness of God and acts accordingly, and someone who does not. But even then, it doesn’t refer to Sikhs vs non-Sikhs — you can have both gurmukh & manmukh Sikhs just like you can have gurmukh & manmukh non-Sikhs. (Wikipedia actually has excellent and very comprehensive definitions of both terms, for anyone that’s interested).

    The Koran uses the term Kuffir, why shouldn’t Muslims use it?

    In that case, do you think it should be okay for Hindus to refer to non-Hindus as ‘mleccha’ ?

    It serves me right to use your terms, like “morally neutral”, which can mean anything.

    ‘Morally neutral’ just means that something is neither a compliment nor an insult. For example, “Dev Patel has black hair”, as opposed to “Ravi Naik is a stereotypical Argumentative Indian” ;)

    Anyway, after a good amount of research (ok, 5 min), I found out that nastik actually means “not believing in Vedas” – it makes no assumptions on your belief of god.

    Regardless of whatever the original meaning was once upon a time, these days it’s used to imply that the person concerned is an atheist. That’s all. And I don’t think that the title of the old Amitabh Bachchan movie I mentioned earlier was implying that the lead character “didn’t belief in the Vedas” either, buddy.

  81. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    So far, the majority here says it isn’t

    ‘Majority’ is a bit of an exaggeration, mate — 2 regulars have said it isn’t, along with our guest from Ummah.com. That doesn’t constitute a large poll or anywhere near PP’s entire regular Muslim commenting population, not to mention the much larger audience who read this blog’s discussions but usually don’t participate.

    I will not let terrorists like Bin Laden define words – they have so far been successful in turning the word “jihad” into a repulsive word in the non-Muslim world.

    You’re right, although for the record the word “jihad” has already had negative connotations amongst the non-Muslim population of the subcontinent for a very, very long time indeed, thanks to various historical events involving some precursors of Bin Laden & co. Ditto for the term “Ghazi”, incidentally.

    This is what happens when the loudest, most belligerent members of any particular religious group hijack certain terms and concepts from the religion, and claim that their interpretation of the religion is the “right” one and that they’re acting in the religion’s name. Assuming you’ve been following some of the other relevant threads on PP, hopefully you’re aware of my remarks along these lines regarding Anjem Choudary too.

    This certainly isn’t something unique to Islam, by any means — there are terms and concepts in most religions that would be interpreted as offensive by people from other backgrounds who believe they’re on the receiving end (and you also know how the term “crusade” has very different connotations amongst many Muslims, for example). I just wanted to clarify that, to my knowledge, ‘kaffir’ doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does, and if I still haven’t won this case in classic Denny Crane style then we can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    As I said, I think there’s enough bigotry, demonisation and victimisation that innocent everyday Muslims currently have to deal with in this part of the world, and I have absolutely no desire to add to that.

  82. marvin — on 26th February, 2009 at 1:26 pm  

    The Sun has just paid out 30k damages to a Muslim bus driver

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/feb/26/sun-pays-damages-to-muslim-bus-driver

  83. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 2:03 pm  

    in regards to the terms like ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’ in the Anglican and Catholic faiths. They are not derogatory

    *splutter* Since when ?!

    Ehem. (patronising voice) Let me put you up to date. :) Since the Church lost its totalitarian power, and secularism and humanism kicked in. Words do not have absolute meaning – these days Pagan means someone who follows pre-Christian religions, and in Catholic parlance Heathen means someone who is not baptised. Moreover, the Catholic Church has moved so far as to say that those who are not Christians – Heathens, Pagans and so forth, have the same chance as Christians to go to Paradise, if they practice good deeds.

    I never heard anyone use the term “heathen” or “pagan” in a derogatory manner. Though, I would not be surprised if the more fundamentalist form of Christianity would use those terms – and I understand that in the US, these groups (evangelists) tend to be hostile against Hindus, as they are to anyone who does not accept their narrow minded version of events.

    in Sikhism, the basic concept of ‘us’ doesn’t just mean Sikhs but the entire human race. There is no ‘them’ in the traditional sense.

    I understand, Jai.

    In that case, do you think it should be okay for Hindus to refer to non-Hindus as ‘mleccha’ ?

    Depends: does ‘mleccha’ mean uncivilised barbarian?

    ‘Morally neutral’ just means that something is neither a compliment nor an insult. For example, “Dev Patel has black hair”, as opposed to “Ravi Naik is a stereotypical Argumentative Indian”

    How about Dev Patel has very dark skin? :) I think it’s more complex than that. My point that there are no “morally neutral” words is precisely that words are relative – what you feel is not offensive, may cause offence to others. Depends on the time, depends on the place, depends on social views and mindsets, depends if it affects you personally. And what is now not offensive, it might be offensive in the future.

    Remember when I used the term “accessories” to denote the 5 Ks? I used it on purpose to prove this point. What is a morally neutral word for me and non-Sikh people, it might not be for you and Sunny.

    ‘Majority’ is a bit of an exaggeration, mate — 2 regulars have said it isn’t, along with our guest from Ummah.com.

    That’s 100% of the people who commented about the word here, Jai. :)

    And I don’t think that the title of the old Amitabh Bachchan movie I mentioned earlier was implying that the lead character “didn’t belief in the Vedas” either, buddy.

    Heh. And we all know how realistic these Bollywood movies are… :)

  84. Shamit — on 26th February, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    Jai – Ravi

    Carry on guys. Its a treat to read you two debate and I am so glad that there are finally threads which are not being hijacked by Blah and co.

    Thank god for that.

    My two cents worth though:

    Words are very powerfool and words have inspired masses of people to do good and bad things and therefore while some words literally may not mean to offend — their association with negative and divisive connotations do.

    And, as we all know perception is reality — the sad thing is convoluted distortion of words because of the wider publicity ends up the words being perceived by a wide group of people to be offensive.

    But the implication on freedom of speech makes one wonder how to define the line what is offensive and what is not. Any thoughts?

  85. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:21 pm  

    Ehem. (patronising voice) Let me put you up to date. Since the Church lost its totalitarian power, and secularism and humanism kicked in. Words do not have absolute meaning – these days Pagan means someone who follows pre-Christian religions, and in Catholic parlance Heathen means someone who is not baptised. Moreover, the Catholic Church has moved so far as to say that those who are not Christians – Heathens, Pagans and so forth, have the same chance as Christians to go to Paradise, if they practice good deeds.

    I never heard anyone use the term “heathen” or “pagan” in a derogatory manner. Though, I would not be surprised if the more fundamentalist form of Christianity would use those terms – and I understand that in the US, these groups (evangelists) tend to be hostile against Hindus, as they are to anyone who does not accept their narrow minded version of events.

    Thanks for taking the time out to clarify that, Ravi.

    Incidentally, you might have noticed that I’ve recently used those terms sarcastically in response to one or two drive-by commenters who’ve made unjustified offensive remarks about Indians and Hindus, so hopefully you won’t mind if I do so again if the situation warrants it.

    Depends: does ‘mleccha’ mean uncivilised barbarian?

    It’s got a couple of meanings — as usual, Wikipedia summarises them, so check it out — but basically, yes, it’s an extremely archaic term for people who did not follow what eventually came to be regarded as ‘mainstream Hinduism’ and (as time progressed) in particular for people who originated outside the subcontinent, with the implication that such people were indeed ‘uncivilised, unenlightened barbarians’.

    That’s 100% of the people who commented about the word here, Jai.

    Nope. Sid and Refresh were ambiguous. And other Muslim regulars haven’t said anything either way.

    Anyway, I appreciate your points about the complexity of terms involving intent, context etc, and how some things are neither black & white nor static.

  86. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:27 pm  

    Shamit,

    Thanks for your kind words in #84. I agree completely with your thoughts regarding the power of words, along with perceptions, distortions of reality etc.

    But the implication on freedom of speech makes one wonder how to define the line what is offensive and what is not. Any thoughts?

    A term is offensive when it is deliberately, gratuitously and maliciously designed to denigrate an individual or group, with implications of inferiority or “flaws” and without any real justification.

    In my opinion, anyway. That’s just a quick definition off the top of my head.

  87. Refresh — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:29 pm  

    ‘Sid and Refresh were ambiguous.’

    What was the question?

  88. Amrit — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:29 pm  

    Ravi:

    in regards to the terms like ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’ in the Anglican and Catholic faiths. They are not derogatory,’

    Erm, so not true. I have a friend who is uber-Christian and once she told me that I would pretty much be going to hell on Judgement Day because I was a heathen. If that isn’t derogatory, please tell me what it is. Neutral? A statement of fact?

    I think your desire not to let some people monopolise words is all very admirable, but a bit deluded. Everyone does not ‘do as you do’, unfortunately, and you have to take intent into account. Even if the word ‘just’ means something, people will always use it in a particular way.

    Remember when I used the term “accessories” to denote the 5 Ks? I used it on purpose to prove this point. What is a morally neutral word for me and non-Sikh people…

    Technically, you can’t really say ‘accessories’ because one of the 5 Ks is having long hair (kes), and hair is hardly an accessory. Though that’s not to offend anyone bald. :-P

  89. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

    Amrit, I have heard that kind of language spoken almost casually by an American Christian colleague of mine.

  90. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Refresh,

    What was the question?

    Whether ‘kaffir’ means ‘infidel’ in a neutral or a derogatory way.

    No politically-correct whitewashing, please, especially if it means the latter. Be honest and tell the truth ;)

  91. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:52 pm  

    Personally I agree with Ravi’s argument but that’s only because he has a bigger schlong than you Jai. (only joking!)

  92. Amrit — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:05 pm  

    Sid:

    It doesn’t surprise me to hear that, strangely enough…!

  93. Shamit — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:05 pm  

    Jai

    I agree with your definition to a large extent but as you and Ravi have rightly pointed out that context matters.

    In some circumstances where words or statements come out of theological convictions (such as the one Amrit mentioned) — well intented statements could be construed as very insulting to an individual and his/her faith.

    Faith is based upon one’s beliefs and there is no inherent logic to it. Sadly, saints and fanatics/bigots may use the same statement with very different connotations and implications. On the receiving end people might find both very insulting especially if they are unaware whether the person is a saint or a fanatic.

    On a racism context, if you remember the film Rush Hour — Jackie Chan’s character thought using the N word was friendly because he just saw black people using it on each other. But obviously, when he tried to use it –there were repurcussions —

    In a recent trip to West Midlands, I found some kids using the word Paki like some black people use the N word. Bizzare and stupid as I told them and asked what would they do if a white person or non-asian person called them that — the answer was punch in the face. But why call each other that name then?

    I am not offering any solution I know I am just pondering –

  94. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:06 pm  

    What that Ravi has a bigger schlong than Jai or that I am preferring his arguments because of it?

  95. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:10 pm  

    Personally I agree with Ravi’s argument but that’s only because he has a bigger schlong

    I’m sure we’re all dying to hear exactly how you know that, Sid :)

  96. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:18 pm  

    Erm, so not true. I have a friend who is uber-Christian and once she told me that I would pretty much be going to hell on Judgement Day because I was a heathen. If that isn’t derogatory, please tell me what it is. Neutral? A statement of fact?

    Amrit – Christianity is not a homogeneous block. I did concede in #83 that the more fundamentalist Christians – mostly evangelists – believe that those who do not believe in Christ (and their particular beliefs) go to Hell. In fact, some of them believe that being Catholic is also a sin. In the Catholic and Anglican faiths – which accounts for the majority of Christians, the tendency is to go more ecumenical and more inclusive, including non-Christians.

    I think your desire not to let some people monopolise words is all very admirable, but a bit deluded. Everyone does not ‘do as you do’, unfortunately, and you have to take intent into account. Even if the word ‘just’ means something, people will always use it in a particular way.

    It’s not deluded to use words with their true meaning, and not let tabloid, hysteria and ignorance define it. The word ‘Jihad’ is not equal to terrorism, and if people use it around me, I will correct them.

    Technically, you can’t really say ‘accessories’ because one of the 5 Ks is having long hair (kes), and hair is hardly an accessory. Though that’s not to offend anyone bald

    I so hate you. ;)

  97. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:24 pm  

    I’m sure we’re all dying to hear exactly how you know that, Sid :)

    Because you keep telling everyone about that incident, Jai. :)

  98. Refresh — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:30 pm  

    I think it means whatever the person delivering it intends to mean.

    There are words which have come to be accepted as intended to insult, belittle, divide or isolate through common use; and there are those which are simply descriptors.

    So I think it probably falls in between what you say and what Ravi is saying.

    The other factor to consider is that as a foreign word (particularly arabic) there will already be preconceptions around it. The Afrikaaner slant adds to this.

    On the whole its a word that has its equivalent in all cultures. As you guys have pointed out.

  99. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:48 pm  

    But the implication on freedom of speech makes one wonder how to define the line what is offensive and what is not. Any thoughts?

    Finally. That’s really the question we should be asking, isn’t it?

    If we take the position that the message is offensive if people get offended – and they have the final word on the matter, then we are imposing censorship on us and on others, and that’s not a conduit for the free flow of information.

    I believe ‘intent’ takes major precedence, and like a product on sale in Ebay, I take a hard look at the feedback and “credibility” of the vendor, before making judgement about whether the message is meant to insult and humiliate.

    In this scenario, it is more difficult to assert what is offensive and what is unacceptable speech, but is well worth it, if the trade-off is living in a country that cherishes diverse opinions.

  100. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:30 pm  

    Because you keep telling everyone about that incident, Jai.

    Ravi, I’m surprised you don’t want to keep schtum about getting busted preying on vulnerable-but-devastatingly-handsome guys called Jai whilst masquerading as a member of Girls Aloud. Although Cheryl does actually have very Asian features, especially those eyes and that Punjabi nose. If she dyed her hair black and went around calling herself Manjinder, no-one would be able to blow her cover.

    You pulled off wearing those strappy stilettos very well, though. I’ll give you props for that. Not so much for the stubble. Or, er, the Adam’s Apple.

  101. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

    Ravi,

    of all the definitions and words that have been discussed here, I think I would chose to question using “offensive”.
    What does that mean?
    I can’t say I am “offended” being referred to as kafir by a Muslim … any more than if a Christian called my ideas atheist, or an atheist labeled my thoughts agnostic, etc. What I am is better described as curious, confused, concerned, even challenged, and the conversations I have had, have been more over “why” I am , than “what” word was used. Thats when things come out into the open.
    So if I am an “unbeliever” – an unbeliever of what?

    I believe ‘intent’ takes major precedence, and like a product on sale in Ebay, I take a hard look at the feedback and “credibility” of the vendor, before making judgement about whether the message is meant to insult and humiliate.

    I think the same way, but aren’t the words themselves automatically a judgement made by the user? defiantly meant to describe, define and separate …no?
    whether they are used to insult and humiliate? … how does that apply to any of these religious terms we have looked at? I usually feel they are meant to condemn me, is that the same as insult?

    PS thanks for adding that link marvin

  102. Ravi Naik — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:52 pm  

    Ravi, I’m surprised you don’t want to keep schtum about getting busted preying on vulnerable-but-devastatingly-handsome guys called Jai…

    You are the one who keeps bringing this story, each time with more tantalising details. I must have left a .. ehem… big impression on you. :)

  103. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

    Shamit,

    But why call each other that name then?

    They’re deliberately adopting (and adapting) some aspects of African-American popular culture, which (as we all know) isn’t unusual or a recent development amongst the 2nd-gen Brit desi crowd.

    Some people have suggested that Asians using “the P word” amonst themselves might take the sting out of it, just like some of the alleged by-products of African-Americans using “the N word”, but I don’t think that’s actually the case.

    Incidentally, as usual, the legend that is Maharajah Chris Rock has a few things to say about white people using terms like “the N word”. It’s brilliant stuff, absolutely hilarious, and absolutely, positively, definitely NSFW unless you have earphones, are self-employed, or have an unusually broadminded boss.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OesOn1yz4ew&feature=related

  104. Jai — on 26th February, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

    You are the one who keeps bringing this story, each time with more tantalising details.

    Ravi, I’ve always fancied Cheryl Cole and thought she deserved to be with a man who genuinely deserves her, namely me. At the time, I was also thinking “Ha ha, I got there before you did Simon Cowell, you dirty old man”. You’re the one who managed to pull off a startling good impression of Cheryl singing “Can’t speak French”. The dance moves were a nice touch too.

    I must have left a .. ehem… big impression on you.

    I’ll never look at any unmentionables from La Senza in quite the same way again, I’ll tell you that. Gotta admire your commitment to going the whole hog in your disguise, though.

  105. Amrit — on 26th February, 2009 at 6:14 pm  

    *dies laughing*

    Why can all disputes not be settled in the way that Ravi and Jai have done?

    Ravi – fair enough. Why do you hate me? :-D

  106. Ravi Naik — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:31 pm  

    Ravi – fair enough. Why do you hate me? :-D

    Heh. Just kidding you, Amrit. I find your blog quite interesting, by the way.

  107. Ummah — on 28th February, 2009 at 12:06 am  

    Looks like Ummah may go after Jenvey themselves now with legal action
    they have an article on their main website page

  108. Amrit — on 28th February, 2009 at 12:58 am  

    Ravi – oh, really?

    I’m always slightly apprehensive when people tell me that…

  109. Refresh — on 28th February, 2009 at 1:49 am  

    Great news Ummah!

    Can you give us a link to the story?

  110. Ummah — on 28th February, 2009 at 9:50 am  

    @109

    Login to their main page wwww.ummah.com

    Theres a link to the Sun article on their main page it says half way down

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