Petition to reinstate MF Husain exhibition


by Sunny
30th May, 2006 at 10:03 pm    

A letter was published in today’s Guardian, by Awaaz Saw, calling for Asia House to reinstate the cancelled exhibition of MF Husain’s paintings following two of them being destroyed by vandals last week. [hat tip: BlueDesi].

I’ve reproduced the petition on AIM magazine and urge everyone to sign it.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Hindu,Organisations






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  1. Neil — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:17 am  

    As a hindu I find it offensive that they have showed hindu gods pointing genetails at a woman, the deity that is a symbol of chastity sitting naked on ravanas lap and another having sex with animals.

  2. Neil — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:34 am  

    i wouldn’t personally destroy the art work, because, now this may seem a bit of a silly way to describe it, but it is someone elses intellectual (using the word very loosely) property. and as a hindu i don’t resort to voilence as the means of solving a problem in the name of my religion.

  3. DAtley — on 31st May, 2006 at 6:36 am  

    Well on the 1 hand i say give it a showing since its covered on freedom of speech but since the PC islamopleasist and now Davinci crap
    i say F it Fuck Mofohussain in the arse.

  4. Don — on 31st May, 2006 at 9:40 am  

    Neil, As you feel offended, but reject violent or threatening behaviour, what kind of forum would you find acceptable in these circumstances?

    Bearing in mind that we don’t always get the outcome we want, can you sketch out a system which would give a fair hearing to voices such as yours which oppose without screaming?

  5. Arif — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    Reading the petition, it is written from a Hindu and academic perspective. I think this is definitely more constructive than being written from a secular point of view which would risk being read as stigmatising religious belief.

    Having said that, they argue that the exhibition honours Hindu traditions. They also seem to argue that artists have no social responsibility at all in any case. So I doubt if it is going to influential in really making people more tolerant.

    I think it will be seen as a letter from one part of the establishment to another part of the establishment, saying “please don’t hate us, we aren’t all like the baddies over there, we hate them even more than you.” I know this is an unfair characterisation. Personally, I think they are very principled for making the efoort to confront groups which use intimidatory tactics.

    But as Don asks above, how should legitimate grievances against the paintings be expressed? The petition gives no clues, it denies that anyone can be legitimately offended from a Hindu standpoint. Is it not possible to be opposed to both the art and the intimidation? The next step might be to find a way to express this.

    I suggest we explore a concept of symbolic violence (or something like that) which might help find common ground between the feelings of those opposed to the artworks and those opposed to its censorship. Then both sides can discuss together how to deal effectively with symbolic violence in our society.

  6. Sid — on 31st May, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

    If we are discussing the artist’s FoE then to pit this against initimidation alone is framing this confrontation all wrong. Intimidation is an irrelevance, because the question is: does the artist’s right to publish with full freedom of expression outweigh the right of consumers to protest the work if they feel the work has offended them in any way.

    The artist’s job is to show that received “absolutes” are actually as relative as any other received idea and artists are a fortiori more qualified than anyone to express this cornerstone of secularism. We should bear in mind the artist’s FoE is a moral NOT an absolute right and the two should never be confused. Both sides of the issue have a fundamental right to express themselves. What should be avoided at all costs is to make the artist’s right to express or the consumer’s rights of belief into absolutes of their own. We end up contending one absolute with another.

    I’m not willing to elevate the artist into some kind of paradoxical high-priest of secularism. The debunking of Art and especially the execrable Art Industry, is probably the last Modernist taboo left to us for debunking. I’m not going to defend the right of some shabby, shit-stirring talent-free loser to take the piss out of religious beliefs because we’ve given him the license to do so. If FoE is an absolute (which it isn’t) then we are in danger of lumbering ourselvs with some neo-Mosaic commandment all of our own making.

    I have signed the petitition (or have asked to be included) because I think that the artist, in this particular case, has the greater moral right to exhibit these paintings than those who argue to stop the exhibition altogether.

  7. Fundu Chadi — on 31st May, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    Sid: why is freedom of expression a moral issue (or what type of moral issue?) And what does it mean to say that we have to license artists or writers (and who is the ‘we’)? If you mean artists must have accountability to ‘the representatives of the community’, then this is an arbitrary moral policing of freedom of expression. Also, why the greater moral right *in this case*?

    Also, why should it be a zero-sum game? The artist and what you refer to as the ‘consumers’ both, in democratic societies, have freedom of expression within the bounds of legality to express and protest non-violently and without threats and intimidation. There is no right *not to be offended* in a democracy and I’m glad we are constantly offended.

  8. Sid — on 31st May, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    Fundu: FoE is an moral issue in the sense that a society with a mrked absence of FoE is most likely to be repressive (Saudi), totalitarian (N Korea) or perfect (Utopia). In other words, immoral or unworkable.

    There is no right *not to be offended* in a democracy and I’m glad we are constantly offended.

    I think its a sign of a healthy society as well.

  9. Sunny — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    Arif you are being highly unfair. Firstly, it is the ordinary voiceless Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who are affected by the actions of religious fanatics. We have not only every right to voice our opinions against them, but a duty to let this difference of opinion known.

    Saying they are trying to ‘please’ others is playing a victim card, as if we are not allowed to distance ourselves from madmen in our community because there are others watching.

    Secondly – people have a right to be annoyed and a right to demonstrate. HHR has a democratic right to protest and say whatever they want. The line is drawn at intimidatory tactics and violence – as happened with Behzti, cartoons and other such incidents.

    We are under no obligation similarly to ‘respect their feelings’ either. Why should I have to respect the right of some idiot who wants a Burger King cone swirly changed, or a stamp with a picture of a Hindu family changed etc etc.

    Are you going to draw a line for us so we can seperate what should be respected and what should not be? Where legitimate and illegtimate grievances are seperated?

    Jay Singh was right in the other thread – the only real line we can have is of no censorship at all. No officially state sanctioned censorship. That does not exclude people’s right to express their anger (legally) or protest.

    But if you think religious fanatics are such nice, cuddly people, would you openly demonstrate agains them?

  10. Jai — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Sunny,

    =>”Firstly, it is the ordinary voiceless Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who are affected by the actions of religious fanatics. We have not only every right to voice our opinions against them, but a duty to let this difference of opinion known.”

    With all due respect, how do you know that “ordinary” Hindus do not find paintings (by non-Hindus) of their deities having sex with animals to be disgusting and grossly offensive ?

    If you do not believe that the “fanatics” speak for “ordinary” members of the religious groups concerned, how do you know that you or groups such as Awaaz necessarily speak for them instead ?

    It’s not necessarily an “either/or” situation. The “ordinary” people you have mentioned may not support acts of violence or intimidation conducted in their name, but that does not necessarily mean they don’t have a problem with the supposedly-offensive subject matter or, indeed, that they want you (or any other external group) to represent them either.

    =>”Secondly – people have a right to be annoyed and a right to demonstrate. HHR has a democratic right to protest and say whatever they want. The line is drawn at intimidatory tactics and violence.”

    Absolutely correct.

    However, with regards to the issue of MF Husain’s paintings, the question of whether Hindu deities involved in bestiality is acceptable or offensive is primarily an internal theological debate and therefore something Hindus ideally should sort out amongst themselves, without any external interference from people who are not from the same religion, and not under some kind of all-encompassing “Asian” banner. This is about religion, not ethnicity or being “Asian”.

    We can certainly voice our own opinions (forcefully, if necessary), but the actual debate and possible solution needs to be hammered out by them internally. This applies to all religious groups, especially those which hold different theological beliefs to our own.

  11. Arif — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Sunny, I think you have misunderstood what I wrote.

    I said it would be unfair to characterise the petitioners as trying to please others. I said I thought the petitioners are principled. The issue I raised was whether this would be effective. Do they understand the reasons for protests well enough to do something about them?

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think that all the protesters or their supporters are feigning upset because they have a hidden agenda to shut down all free speech. Maybe some do, but those that don’t will probably be unmoved by the petition. On the other hand, they raise Hindu traditions of free expression which probably is more effective.

    I can’t remember where I said you should not protest and I think I drew the line the same way you suggest – to focus on intimidation and violence in any protest.

    I do argue for respecting people’s feelings, in the same vein as I try to respect anyone’s feelings. I feel morally obliged to do this, I understand you do not, and I can only try to persuade you of the benefits of this perspective. I am not imposing it on you or calling for legislation.

    I do not want to impose a line of legitimate and illegitimate grievance, I want to create conditions where I can discuss grievances in a way which promotes mutual understanding. I am worried by the way each side assumes the point of view of the other is illegitimate. I only pointed out how the other side of this debate from you will use the same tactic to delegitimise your speech as you do to delegitimise theirs.

    Maybe for now we need to go through a period of shouting and recriminations, but I hope that eventually we will start to think how we can reach out with a will to bring out the best in one another.

  12. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Regarding comment #6:

    Could you please translate that into English? Why not just say it like this: I defend the right of any artist to freedom of expression unless I personally find his works execrable and it upsets my own absolutes.

    I just love how you bolded “in this case.” Trying to hide your waffling and taqiyah under the words absolutes vs. morals and under all that high-falutin’ sounding mumbo-jumbo. So basically the artist has a duty to show that absolutes are actually relative, but the artist’s freedom of expression is not an absolute right in itself (except when it suits you and you can bold “in this case.”) So it would be interesting to see in what cases you wouldn’t sign the petition and in what cases you think those protesting had a greater moral right than the artist. As I said, nice try. Of mice and men.

    And a whole post on the artist’s moral right to freedom of expression and no mention of what you think of artist’s for whom that moral right to freedom of expression is conveniently expendable when faced with threats from certain people. Oh wait, that must be one of those “other cases” where you think the moral right of the protesters outweighed the moral right of the artist to keep a silly song in his movie.

    As for Awaaz, they are about as representative of the word “secular” as much as the HHF or the MAC or any of those Sikh groups represent Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs. It’s too bad Sunny that you didn’t just publish your own petition, backed by Pickled Politics and your own magazine (maybe you’ve already done that or will). If you guys are not actually going to hold a physical counter-demonstration, your comment is free article recast as a petition would be a much better start than latching on to Awaaz.

  13. Sid — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    xyz

    Me muslim and didn’t support the publication of the Motoons and me again muslim but now supporting the reinstatement of MF Husain’s (a Muslim) Asia House exhibition.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the insinuations. Its a pity that you think I’m being selective in a self-serving Muslim-Hindu free for all and hence your unfortunate use of the word “Taqiyah” to describe my intentions. My post #6 was me having a conversation with myself in response to this common as muck accusation. Having thought this through I’ve come to realise that FoE is not an absolute anywhere in the world (as in Death or Taxes). If it were David Irving would be free to do his thing and if it were Jyllands-Posten wouldn’t be tainted with the perception of journalistic racism. It is up to us to use a sense of discernment to debate what is true FoE from what is not by the circumstances that surround each issue. And that is how every public case of FoE will be fought out in public by the public whether you like it or not.

    Do your case a favour and argue against MF Husain and why he shouldn’t be allowed to exhibit at Asia House rather than insinuate why other people and other orgs defend his artistic rights.

  14. Sunny — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    A few quick points in reply.

    If you do not believe that the “fanatics” speak for “ordinary” members of the religious groups concerned,

    Jai, my point being religious fanatics in general. They include people who kills others or threaten the same in response to offence (Rushdie, Van Gogh, tons of people in India). Another example. Anyone remember that four Dalits in India who were killed because a rumour went around they skinned a live cow?
    Or the riots in Kashmir because a rumour went around someone descreated the Quran? I’m against these religious fanatics, whether they have the popular support or not. Because they make excuses to play up their victim mentality and kill others.

    These are the same religious fanatics who blow up people in tubes.

    We don’t just have a right, but a duty to oppose fanaticism in the name of religion.

    Air, you say:
    I may be wrong, but I don’t think that all the protesters or their supporters are feigning upset because they have a hidden agenda to shut down all free speech.

    You clearly don’t know much about HHR then. Spend some time on their website. Their biggest sources of annoyance aren’t white people, but Asians themselves who dare to raise their voice against the Gujarat riots, against anti-casteism films from India, against Meera Syal, Ram Gidoomal, Royal Mail stamps and a whole bunch of other grievances. In fact they’re not dissimilar to other religious nuts who need any excuse to conjure up a controversy.

    But I’ve already noted that people will understandably be upset over the paintings, in a way many were over the cartoons. I don’t share their upset because I have thicker skin, but the language used by such Hindus (they have been hating us for centuries, we will not tolerate this anymore) is similar to other religious nuts like the VHP.

    So they have a right to be upset. They have a right to protest, to write letters, to write to the Guardian and explain why they’re upset. I may not sure their sentiments but the avenues are there. Arif, please don’t paint them as some marginalised group who cannot get themselves heard.

    They have the avenues and can discuss all they want. What they should not do is have the right to shut an exhibition down whether through violence or intimidation etc. I can’t make it any clearer than that.

  15. Neil — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    Well my view is that these paintings should not be in the public view, but in acheiving that voilence/threatening behaivous is not allowed. one Possible solution would be for a Hindu to purchase these paintings and keep them hidden away, but I don’t think it should come to that. Common sense should prevail and the gallery was right to withdraw them, can you see people being secular and non voilent if a Jew drew the Prohpet Muhammed (PBUH) engaging in a sexual act with a Pig?

  16. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:47 pm  

    Sid, do yourself a favor and escape from this mental and moral midgetry.

    You know, the thing with all the extremists that this site claims to stand against is that extremists, whether Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Sikh, no matter how repugnant we may find them, at least they are open and honest (most of the time). You know exactly what they stand for most of the time. They’re usually upfront about their aims, objectives and biases. You know exactly what you’re fighting against. It’s the ones who label themselves “secular” and self-styled champions of “freedom of expression” who equivocate far more, speak far more with forked tongue, and are more dishonest and disingenous about their biases and slipshod about their allegedly secular standards. They waffle a lot and fudge a lot and the intensity of their sturm und drang is conveniently upped or silenced, depending on the circumstances and the topic. Sometimes, some of the so-called “secular” extremists are far worse because they tend to be so disingenous, like you.

    “My post #6 was me having a conversation with myself”

    You could have just had a conversation with yourself in your head. You’ve basically talked yourself into a quagmire. You’re covering your behind so that when the next PP petition comes along and you support the right of the protesters over the artist/journalist/whoever, you can refer back to your conversation with yourself and give your hypocrisy a free pass, and point this out to others as you sit on your moveable fence posts.

    And speaking of censorship in Britain, a topic of concern to British Asians. Here’s a great topic for the next PP post on censorship:

    Lecturers back boycott of Israeli academics
    · Critics of state policies exempt from sanction
    · Narrow vote welcomed by Palestinian groups
    Benjamin Joffe-Walt
    Tuesday May 30, 2006
    The Guardian

    Britain’s largest lecturers’ union yesterday voted in favour of a boycott of Israeli lecturers and academic institutions who do not publicly dissociate themselves from Israel’s “apartheid policies”.

    Will this warrant a petition in favor of those who are against boycotting Israeli lecturers and who will sign it? Shouldn’t Palesitinian lecturers be subject to the same litmus test? What sort of precedent does this set? Will Indian and Pakistani lecturers who don’t openly state their disagreement with their respective government’s policies also be boycotted in Britain? Will British lecturers who don’t openly disagree wiht Blair on either Iraq or Northern Ireland be boycotted?

  17. Sid — on 31st May, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

    Dear xyz

    Can I call you x?

    Conflating this specific FoE case with a completely different issue and a completely different debate and looking to slop them together into a meringue of moral relativism is a sure sign that you’ve come to edges of any logical debate. But 400+ words without once reaching for the “Taqiyah” word can almost be called an improvement.

  18. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 6:16 pm  

    Sid,

    Please don’t use the word conflate. It’s one of the most overused words, strangely popular with subcontinentals and subcontinental-origin people, along with referenced and impacted and whatever other word happens to be in vogue. If you agree to retire it, I will retire taqiyah. Now “meringue of moral relativism,” now there’s a perfect description of your thinking. I guess you know yourself better than anyone else. All those conversations with yourself have done you some good.

    The Hussain topic is separate and the outcome of one has no bearing on the others. If my mind can handle it, I’m sure yours can. However, they both do deal with censorship in Britain. I mentioned it because it seems like rather big news, and given this site’s commitment to freedom of expression and against censorship in Britain, I was just surprised that it hasn’t made it into a post yet. But maybe it was going to be. I think it deserves a thread of its own. Perhaps that scares you since you might then have to hop on the fence sooner than you expected. I mean we’ve seen that your definition of censorhip basically rests on quicksand, ready to slink and sink out of sight at the convenient moment.

  19. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    P.S: You may call me x, if I can call you sid-ler.

  20. Arif — on 31st May, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    I still feel I need to make myself clearer to you too Sunny.

    I support protest against violence and intimidation. My motive would be that I wish to promote nonviolent means of dealing with conflicts.

    From your point of view, these nonviolent means already exist and are sufficient. I assume if people stuck to these methods you would not protest.

    However you go further by also attacking what you perceive to be the hidden agenda of the pro-censorship side and by promoting a view about the longer term consequences of censorship.

    I go in a different direction, looking for ways to understand both sides and make them sensitive to the fears of the other side.

    It may be possible for us to go in both directions together, but I distance myself from your campaign if your tone (towards those who are not attached to free speech in the same way as you) is so condemnatory and condescending. In this case I see that attitude as part of the problem which would undermine the kind of nonviolent action that might make a difference in this conflict.

    People who use violence should be treated differently (eg imprisonment), but there must be a lot of people (like Neil) who are nonviolently opposed to the paintings and they should be a valued part of any campaign against violence and intimidation.

  21. Neil — on 31st May, 2006 at 7:00 pm  

    Arif, you are a gentleman, Sir

  22. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

    Arif

    Is it not possible to be opposed to both the art and the intimidation?

    Yes it is.

    The next step might be to find a way to express this.

    Easy. Repeat after me: ‘I oppose the art… but I don’t agree with the intimidation’. Simple.

    I suggest we explore a concept of symbolic violence (or something like that) which might help find common ground between the feelings of those opposed to the artworks and those opposed to its censorship.

    Well, that just sounds creepy. Do you intend to brandish a sword and mimic an execution, or wield a toy gun and point it to MF Hussein’s head, or tell an art-critic that you’re going to cut open their skull and shit in it (Duke Nukem style)? I personally think that that strategy is counter-productive, reflects badly on your own personal morality, and will not win you any friends. Of course, I respect your democratic right to do so, as, for instance, Pulp Fiction fans have every right to mimic that famous scene with Samuel L. Jackson and the tasty beefburger (“say ‘what’ again, I dare ya, I dare ya, say ‘what’ one more time!!” …“What?” Boom boom boom!). But still, I think it’s sick.

    Amir

  23. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    Now, the thing is, offence is an indelible part of our daily lives – in art, literature, on film, TV, and in the public domain (i.e. five minutes with Ken Livingstone or three minutes with Michael Winner). But guess what… most law-abiding citizens have the decency to state their objection (occasionally to the point of protest), but then they ‘move on’. It’s as simple as that.

    I, for one, am always offended. Why? Because we have a national newspaper called the ‘Guardian’. Not a day goes by without some sinister article by Seamus Milne, Gary Younge, and Maddy Bunting. I hate these journalists with a strong, visceral passion. I try… oh Lord I try. But I’ve never read anything half-decent or even remotely interesting by either of them.

    But still, if anyone tried to censor Maddy, Youngy, and Milny… I’d feel very, very frightened.

    Because, well… well… a lot of people get offended by me.

  24. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    “You clearly don’t know much about HHR then. Spend some time on their website. Their biggest sources of annoyance aren’t white people, but Asians themselves who dare to raise their voice against the Gujarat riots, against anti-casteism films from India, against Meera Syal, Ram Gidoomal, Royal Mail stamps and a whole bunch of other grievances. In fact they’re not dissimilar to other religious nuts who need any excuse to conjure up a controversy.”

    By the same token, one cannot assume that all those who support the Hussain exhibit are doing so ostensibly for freedom of speech reasons. Just as some of those who oppose Hussain have agendas and axes to grind, some of those who support him are also nutty and also have their own agendas and axes to grind and see this controversy as a good way of doing it.

  25. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

    xyz,
    I am rather disturbed by something you said:

    (I) You know, the thing with all the extremists…They’re usually upfront about their aims, objectives and biases. You know exactly what you’re fighting against. It’s the ones who label themselves “secular” and self-styled champions of “freedom of expression” who equivocate far more, speak far more with forked tongue, and are more dishonest and disingenous about their biases and slipshod about their allegedly secular standards.

    My response to this is quite simple: What’s so admirable about a consistent pedagogue if he/she is spouting consistent evil? I mean, do you revere an honest rapist or an honest murderer (i.e. like Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)? I hope not. Because it’s an attitude that has a very long and destructive history. Let me quote a passage for you from Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Will To Power:

    Morality is: the mediocre are worth more than the exceptions

    Here, in a nutshell, is the school-of-thought known as Fascism. In ancient proverbs and religion and philosophy (bar Heraclitus), the usual aim was salvation – a complex concept involving both goodness and happiness, and achieved, as a rule, by some difficult renunciation. The religious gangsters of our time aim, not at salvation, but at power. Pleasure and knowledge, conceived as ends, appear to them unduly passive. For ‘pleasure’ they substitute glory, and, for knowledge, the pragmatic assertion that what they desire is ‘genuine’. Hence your contempt for intellectuals:

    (II) They waffle a lot and fudge a lot and the intensity of their sturm und drang is conveniently upped or silenced, depending on the circumstances and the topic. Sometimes, some of the so-called “secular” extremists are far worse because they tend to be so disingenous, like you.

    In other words: you prefer ‘will’ to thought and feeling; glorification of power to democratic discourse; belief in intuitional ‘positing’ of propositions as opposed to observational and inductive testing. This, in fact, is the meat-and-potatoes of fascist thought. Honesty + despair in knowledge = the will to power.

    Amir

  26. Ismaeel — on 31st May, 2006 at 9:14 pm  

    Here’s a distinction for you, might be useful

    unintentional offence: unavoidable when people hold different opinions- atheist may find religious people’s beliefs offensive

    intentional insult: deliberatly going out of your way to do something that will hurt someone’s sensibilities- an religious person swearing and calling a homosexual names.

  27. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 10:11 pm  

    Amir, I hope you’re not calling me a fascist? :)

    “What’s so admirable about a consistent pedagogue if he/she is spouting consistent evil? I mean, do you revere an honest rapist or an honest murderer (i.e. like Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)? I hope not. Because it’s an attitude that has a very long and destructive history. Let me quote a passage for you from Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Will To Power:”

    To quote Sid, please don’t “conflate” my opinion that people who are viewed as extremist, orthodox, fundamentalist, hate-filled are usually consistent and upfront with their aims, objectives, prejudices and biases with any sort of automatic admiration for them on my part. My point was that’s its easier to counter their arguments or react to them or see what they’re all about and act accordingly in response because you know exactly what they stand for (most of the time). They are fairly easy to deal with. In other words, better the enemy you know instead of the one (especially the so-called ‘friend) you don’t know or can’t really fathom or however the quote goes.

    I merely said that some (not all) people who like to see themselves as secular or champions of freedom of expression sometimes mask feelings or views or act in ways that are anything but in keeping with their allegedly secular, liberal, progressive values. I think I’ve pointed out examples of what I consider double standards in reporting, reactions to similar actions, events etc. by different groups of people.

    “In other words: you prefer ‘will’ to thought and feeling; glorification of power to democratic discourse; belief in intuitional ‘positing’ of propositions as opposed to observational and inductive testing. This, in fact, is the meat-and-potatoes of fascist thought. Honesty + despair in knowledge = the will to power.”

    It all sounds very impressive and too clever for simple ole me, but I’m afraid it’s as simple as this: I don’t like hypocrites and double standards. I am honest enough to admit that we are all hypocrites in our lives and show different levels of outrage at exactly the same behavior/acts/reasoning by different groups of people.

    I like to see people who scream about secularism and freedom of expression acting fairly consistently, even if they are not always going to do so because they are humans in the end and humans are flawed. I could care less what Hussain chooses to paint, he has a right to his exhibition. But I don’t like it that Hussain withdrew his song in the face of threats and no one criticized him for that inability to stand up for his freedom of expression but the same people praise him when he stands up to another group of intimidators. I don’t like it that Sid somehow excuses that and attempts to rationalize that as a good example of protection of freedom of expression. If he would just admit that he finds it hard to condemn Hussain for being two-faced when it comes to Muslims and easy to stand up for his right to exhibit his paintings of Hindu icons, it would be much more admirable and honest on Sid’s part.

    I know that if Hussain had chosen to self-censor himself over the paintings, the reaction from the “secular” champions would not have been so understanding as when he self censored himself over Muslim threats. Even before the vandals destroyed his paintings and went over the limits, mere criticism or mention of plans to demonstrate against Hussain, which you would think fall in line with democracy, elicited harsh reactions from Hussain supporters, who are allegedly also supporters of freedom of expression, and led them to call the critics of Hussain’s works ‘fascists”. I don’t remember them calling the Muslims who got the song cut ‘fascists.”

    I don’t like it when some who petulantly call for bans on movies or books and threaten violence are called fascists/fundamentalists and others who do exactly the same thing are mollycoddled and accommodated by none less than the government of a country (by the way, another Indian state bites the dust. Tamil Nadu has just banned screening of the Da Vinci Code because it might hurt Christian and Muslim sentiments. This from a supposedly atheistic Chief Minister with a son named Stalin who insults religion (read Hinduism) at every opportunity). It bugs me when PP or anyone else covers a story in India by coming very late to the party and misses out on all the pertinent facts that contributed to the situation existing at the point where PP felt it necessary to mention the story just because it involved certain people or a certain demographic (and I don’t think it’s intentional but it is unfortunate).

    So instead of hiding behind fancy language like moral vs. absolutes and changing the meaning of secular according to the situation, just come right out and say your (not you specifically Amir but the you in general) standards vary according to who is the villain of the piece and who is the victim of the piece. It would be so much more honest and human. After all, the world practically runs on double standards and expediency. So, if that makes me a fascist, so be it.

    Yikes, I know Heckle and Jeckle will be jumping on me for the length of this post!! Sorry!

  28. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

    Should read: “I don’t like it when some who petulantly call for bans on movies or books and threaten violence are called fascists/fundamentalists and others who do exactly the same thing are mollycoddled and accommodated by none less than the government of a country and this elicits nary a murmur from some usually extremely vocal, extremely visible, self-styled anti-communalists and champions of secular, progressive values.”

  29. Sid — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:01 pm  

    If he would just admit that he finds it hard to condemn Hussain for being two-faced when it comes to Muslims and easy to stand up for his right to exhibit his paintings of Hindu icons, it would be much more admirable and honest on Sid’s part.

    If your side of our exchange is because of this then you should know that the first part of your reasoning is spurious.

    You’ve speculated on what I would do if the MF Husain art-intolerants had been Muslim. But I don’t need to speculate on that. I know what my reaction was when the anti-MFH censors were Muslim.

    I thought our argument was about FoE. For you it seems to be all about Sid.

  30. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:18 pm  

    Xyz – no, no, no! I’m not calling you a fascist. :-)

    I understand what you’re saying.
    And yes, I agree: some people’s double-standards are pretty bad.
    [I.e. certain people linking to the anti-Semitic Web site ‘Jews sans frontiers’ or Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s ‘IslamOnline.net’, for instance]

  31. Don — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:19 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    I think you’ll find that is is rare for an atheist to find religious beliefs offensive, but rather some of the practices arising from them.

    Some religious beliefs are, regardless of practice, inherently ugly. Particularly those beliefs which smugly assign this or that class of people to hell in the next life and loathing in this. When I was a child it was commonly held that unbaptised babies were barred from heaven. I’m not sure if it was current dogma even then, but it was certainly believed as a religious conviction. For a believing family to lose a child before baptism must have been unthinkably horrible.

    I chose this example because it is defunct and I don’t want to get into sniping at particular targets. But also to make the point that you don’t have to be offended to find something morally repugnant. And a belief does not have to be meticulously in line with current scholarly interpretation to be a religious belief.

    I appreciate that your second example shows abhorence towards homophobic harrassment, but it is not necessary to scream and swear at somebody to let them know that you have a profound religious belief that they are vile and unfit to live. Openly holding that conviction will be enough.

    I have several devoutly religious acquaintances whom I know believe that I am destined for a major post mortem come-uppance, the gruesome details vary. I suppose I could find that offensive, but I choose to find it amusing. Especially when you ask them direct and watch ‘em squirm. Not everyone has the luxury of ironic detachment from their neighbour’s deepest convictions. For some it engenders fear and self-hatred.

    So I think your distinction may not be so clean cut.

    Of course, atheists also find some beliefs ludicrous and, while it would probably be more polite to keep quiet about that, sometimes we get so annoyed at the repugnant stuff that we indulge in some mockery. Personally, I believe that you should pick your target; someone who can stand up for themselves and has opened their mouth once too often. Having a pop at some harmless granny who believes gentle Jesus is waiting with a nice cup of tea is the act of a cad. But the mockery isn’t going away.

  32. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:33 pm  

    Don – superb contribution. Almost… poetic

  33. Don — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:39 pm  

    xyz,

    Isn’t it the sad truth that buckling under to religious pressure is so common it is scarcely noticed? Also, how many people here had even heard of Hussein before this incident? A handful. And how many knew about the song? Without googling, hand on heart?

    But destroying paintings in the heart of London made it an issue.

    As for the Da Vinci Code, I know nothing about the local political reasons for it’s banning here and there, but I’ll stick my neck out and say anyone who felt ‘offended’ by that ephemeral piffle is a damn fool.

    But you are right to call for consistency.

  34. Don — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

    Amir,

    Thanks.

  35. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    Ismaeel – what’s your opinion of Yusuf al-Qaradawi?

  36. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 12:03 am  

    Yes Sid-ler it’s all about you. You da man!!

    “You’ve speculated on what I would do if the MF Husain art-intolerants had been Muslim. But I don’t need to speculate on that. I know what my reaction was when the anti-MFH censors were Muslim.

    First of all you’ve neatly avoided the question. It’s not what you thought of the anti-Hussain Muslims censors that I’m interested in, it’s what you thought of Hussain himself for cravenly caving into such demands and then brazenly standing up for his rights when faced with anti-Hussain Hindu censors. Get the difference? I’m sure you do, but once again, you are an unskilled magician and fail again to conceal.

    Here’s your sphinx-like response to Hussain’s flip-flopping from the other thread:

    [Now his freedom of expression are subservient to his rank hypocricy and mirax, ever the unstinting anti-religion crusader has second thoughts and instead, “double standards of the artist himself appear valid”. So he’s nothing more than a communal agitator and this proven for his retraction of Muslim paintings that caused offence and not his Hindu paintings."The fact that the man has artistic licence to create whatever he wants and has offended all sides of the Censorship industry doesn’t seem to offer any validation."]

    So I’ll just assume and speculate that the contortions and acrobatics represented above mean this: Sid-ler thinks Hussain is a Janus but doesn’t want to come out and say so directly. He thinks Hussain being a Janus and a weak defender of freedom of expression is less important to the discussion of freedom of expression than condeming some Hindus for encroaching on Hussain’s aforesaid now-its-important-to-me-now-it-isnt freedom of expression because as we all know, freedom of expression is paramount — but wait, except when the artist deems it’s not so important after all. The artist can abdicate this responsibility whenever he feels like it and remain a hero to the Sid-ler who is a firm believer in freedom of expression unless he deems it execrable to his own set of morals and absolutes. See Sid-ler, it’s not so hard after all to just mean what you say and say what you mean.

    Oh, Sid-ler, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

  37. Sid — on 1st June, 2006 at 12:17 am  

    First of all you’ve neatly avoided the question. It’s not what you thought of the anti-Hussain Muslims censors that I’m interested in, it’s what you thought of Hussain himself for cravenly caving into such demands and then brazenly standing up for his rights when faced with anti-Hussain Hindu censors. Get the difference? I’m sure you do, but once again, you are an unskilled magician and fail again to conceal.

    Good, I’ll stick to the substance. The rest is just wanking over a facsimile of Sid.

    I couldn’t care less about what the artist’s reasons were for “cravenly caving into such demands and then brazenly standing up for his rights when faced with anti-Hussain Hindu censors”.

    I’ll leave you to speculate on what the man’s personal/artistic/political reasons were for making his own decision. On that score you’ve already demonstrated you can pump out halucinatory myth-making at 400 words a post.

    I think MF Husain is a wonderful painter. I’d buy his art if given half the chance. And I’ll defend his right to exhibit in London in spite of threats and intimidation. No question.

  38. Bikhair — on 1st June, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    Sunny,

    Please allow me to take this off topic because I would like to put the smack down on xyz.

  39. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 12:45 am  

    Sid-ler, I know it hurts to be hoisted by one’s own petard. Ouch!

    Bic-hair, is that a compliment? Hell, even if it isn’t, the fact that I sparked your ire pleases me to no end. It puts me in good company with Rohin and a couple of others I think. Ooooooooo, me is shiverin in me shoes. Bring it on, hirsute mama. I know there’s an apt song out there somewhere, but can’t find it right now.

  40. Kismet Hardy — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:06 am  

    xyz, you want smack?

    Why didn’t you ask in the first place?

    My middle name is brown…

  41. Sid — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:13 am  

    I know there’s an apt song out there somewhere, but can’t find it right now.

    One of my all time faves

  42. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    Kismet, I think Bic-hair is the one who wants (a) smack. I am not familiar with her ghetto/redneck speak. I don’t watch the WWF or tractor pulls or whatever they call it.

    But Bic-hair, I am armed and ready. But since you threw down the gauntlet, I’ll let you pick your choice of weapon: barber shop razor, electric shaver, depilatory, wax or whatever torture you use.

  43. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:32 am  

    I’m beginning to worry that I have needlessly needled Bikhair. Do you think when she said she wanted to put the smack down on me, she actually meant just that? That she wanted to plant a luscious kiss on me?

    Good one Sid.

  44. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:46 am  

    To be honest xyz, I think you’re the one slipping and sliding all over the place, as Jay Singh previously also pointed out. Why the continued reference to Husain’s previous hypocrisy on FoS? I didn’t say I supported that. You seem to worry more about pointing other people’s stances out than really trying to explain or figure out where you stand on this, and sticking to that line. Moral relativism my friend. It will eventually kill you. Next response, Arif.

  45. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 1:57 am  

    Arif, you make a few assumptions in your piece.

    1) I go in a different direction, looking for ways to understand both sides and make them sensitive to the fears of the other side.

    Sure, but what if the positions are intractable? How do you resolve the desire for someone, like MF Husain or Gurpreet Bhatti, to want to produce a painting or theatre, and resolve that with someone who wants it completely shut down?

    The assumption here is that a compromise can be reached. Who is supposed to broker it? Let’s say I volunteer. What would you think is an acceptable compromise? What if neither side wants to compromise?

    Let’s say a writer writes an article heavily critical.. of the government or religious groups. They want him/her censored. Would you still prefer a ‘compromise’, where someone has to reach a middle ground than being able to make a point without interference?

    2) I distance myself from your campaign if your tone (towards those who are not attached to free speech in the same way as you) is so condemnatory and condescending.

    Sure, that is your prerogative. I suspect the answer is that people are ambivalent towards controversies until it affects them. I’ve gotten emails today from people saying:
    “If he were to portray such images of any other faith, especially the Muslim/Islamic, then all hell would break loose, maybe, and like S Rushdie, he too would have been given a Fatwa! …
    In the same way that other faiths are fighting thier corner, Hindus too have that right.”

    This is my point too. People are watching each other become more and more intolerant, and then saying – hey why can’t I be that intolerant? Why should anyone opposing that have to adopt a concilitory tone? Why do you make the assumption that the religious fanatics who want censorship are so concilatory?

    The fundamental problem here is that you see freedom of speech as problematic, where I see it as liberating for minority groups. Because the people who want to censor and have that power, whether through intimidation or subversive tactics, are the ones in power. Without freedom of speech we cannot create a level playing field for ideas.

  46. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 2:15 am  

    Lastly….

    but there must be a lot of people (like Neil) who are nonviolently opposed to the paintings and they should be a valued part of any campaign against violence and intimidation.

    Sure, but I suspect that people who oppose violence and are yet opposed to the paintings, like Neil, still want them not shown.

    I would love to appeal to the middle ground here and include people like xyz and Neil. In the same way that Hamas and Al-Qaeda can (in the long term) only be defeated by Muslims, it is only Hindus who can properly oppose and defeat the RSS/VHP crew from their communities.

    But there are two caveats: in India there is effective opposition to the Sangh Parivar. India has a strong tradition of opposing religious nutters, though I’d agree with the sentiment that there is too much leeway given to Sikh, Muslim and Christian nutters there.
    Here, we don’t have that effective opposition because each religious community feels victimised.

    Secondly. Neil and xyz and everyone else also have to, in their minds, figure out where they stand on this. So far I’d say only myself, Jay Singh, Rohin, Contrary Mary and maybe Sonia know this.

    We know the danger when you try and fudge the issue. Whether you want conciliation or not, there still have to be legal and accepted boundaries.

    Regardless of whether a compromise can be reached, the only boundary possible, in a free society, can be that of allowing people to say what they want without feer of censorship or intimidation.

    After that it has to come down to personal values and self-censorship. But that should not be set in the law. The law should allow free speech in the way the United States does.

    You talk about compromise. How would you get there when you have people putting bounty money on MF Husain’s head?
    http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14147303

  47. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 2:31 am  

    Sunny, why so touchy? Sigh. None of this was really targetted at you.

    Here’s my position in a nutshell, which I’ve stuck to in all my posts. In fact I’ve explained my position so well that I’ve been told not to explain it anymore.:) So much for freedom of expression. But here goes:

    Did I say you supported his prior hypocrisy? No.

    Are you right to protest the closing of the exhibition due to vandalism? Yes.

    Are others right to protest the nature of his paintings, minus vandalism, if they feel offended? Yes.

    Can Hussain paint whatever he wants and offend people? Yes.

    Should Hussain pull his work when faced with threats or complaints if he’s an artist that cites or cares about freedom of expression? No.

    Is Hussain an artist of impeccable integrity when it comes to standing up for freedom of expression? No.

    Given the above, does that legitimize Hindu vandals’ actions? No.

    Can other Hindus, not given to vandalism but still opposed to the nature of his paintings point out this hyprocrisy? Yes.

    Is it possible to point out this hypocrisy and still support his right to exhibit his paintings free from intimidation? Yes.

    Is it possible to discuss more than one aspect of an issue at a time without losing sight of the primary issue? Yes. Otherwise there would really be no need for blogs and the word debate would have no meaning because everyone would just state their position once and that’s it and there would be nothing new to bring to the table.

    Are most issues or controversies multifaceted? Yes. It certainly was with respect to the cartoon controversy. Plenty of “moral relativism” on display by some. Otherwise all comments on that controversy should have read like this: the newspapers have every right to publish the cartoons without fear of intimidation and no one should point out that they were hypocrites who had refused to print anti-Christian cartoons or speculate on the reason for them publishing the cartoons in the first place. Those are extraneous and irrelevant to this discussion. The issue is they are allowed to print the cartoons and we should support their right to do so. End of story. But it wasn’t the end of story, was it? In fact, AIM printed some diverse views on the situation, some of which contained moral relativism. I mean, who cares if the Danish are Islamophobic or racist? We’re not talking about what impulse drove them, but about the right to publish something that offends others.

    Moral relativism: “the belief that right and wrong (ethics) are arbitrary and transitory, determined by the individual or the culture.”

    Seems to me the above definition would better fit some other people here rather than what I said to Amir, which amounted more to: be consistent about your secular and liberal, progressive standards and commitment to freedom of expression. Try to apply the same standards to everyone, especially situations that mirror one another to a large degree. How is that moral relativism?

    “Moral relativism, it will eventually kill you.”

    Oops, it certainly will. Hussain’s own moral relativism and that of some of his supporters has killed his integrity has a champion of free speech and theirs. But then again, somehow I’m a moral relativist for pointing out a shifting of the goalposts. Now, what was the definition of moral relativism again?

    But here is my final stance (and the very first stance I took on the issue): Re-instate the exhibition and put the thugs in jail. See, ultimately I didn’t compromise my sense of ethics just because I pointed out certain things did I?

    Good night. :)

  48. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 2:58 am  

    “So far I’d say only myself, Jay Singh, Rohin, Contrary Mary and maybe Sonia know this.”

    I’m curious. Where exactly can I find Rohin’s views on this topic? I don’t see them on any of the posts or on his blog. Or did I miss it? Or were you referring to private conversations? If so, never mind. By the way, I do think MediaWatchWatch gets it right with their equal opportunity outing. A great link that makes everyone happy and unhappy.

  49. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 3:04 am  

    Well, good. I’m glad I agree with you because I generally find you quite reasonable.

    As for the Danish cartoons. If you go through the archives, you will see I supported the right of JP and the other newspapers to print the cartoons. I didn’t agree with them, and I would never even think of using violence to achieve that. But they have a legal right to do so. I didn’t buy their arguments though, that they were merely exercising that freedom, because I thought some of the cartoons were quite clearly racist and offensive, in a way I suspect you find some of MF Husain’s paintings.

    However, I would much rather always be on the side of people who support freedom of speech than those who want to shut it down. Specially when they’re religious nutters. Or the government.

  50. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 3:06 am  

    On Rohin – I agree with the guy like almost all the time, expect on his musings on Gurinder Chadha et al. So I just assumed :)
    And yes, MWW is ace.

  51. Sid — on 1st June, 2006 at 10:26 am  

    You assert correctly that the Danish newspapers should not be judged on their actions for not choosing to publish anti-Christian cartoons:

    the newspapers have every right to publish the cartoons without fear of intimidation and no one should point out that they were hypocrites who had refused to print anti-Christian cartoons or speculate on the reason for them publishing the cartoons in the first place.

    So why have you based your entire discussion on whether “some here” should share your need to speculate on Husain’s reasons for pulling his work in response to Hindu censors?

    It’s not what you thought of the anti-Hussain Muslims censors that I’m interested in, it’s what you thought of Hussain himself for cravenly caving into such demands and then brazenly standing up for his rights when faced with anti-Hussain Hindu censors. Get the difference? I’m sure you do, but once again, you are an unskilled magician and fail again to conceal.

    You’ve inadvertently made my point for me that each issue has to be taken on its own set of circumstances in isolation. Other than this morally relativist gaffe, looks like you and I are in agreement as per your post #47.

    Sunny said:
    However, I would much rather always be on the side of people who support freedom of speech than those who want to shut it down. Specially when they’re religious nutters. Or the government.

    And to that list I’d add media organs who manipulate religious taboos of in order to stoke public sentiment against minorities for whatever reason such as the Daily Mail and Jyllands-Posten.

  52. Arif — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:24 am  

    Amir, I guess it is easy to say I oppose the art and the intimidation after all. Maybe what I was trying to do was to find out if this stand would be compatible with the aims of Sunny and/or SAW. I think Sunny is saying it isn’t. I’m sorry to creep you out by talking about symbolic violence, maybe it was a pretentious way about talking about being a cad (thank you Don for this elegant concept).

    Sunny…. many points.

    Yes, I am assuming that our conflicts are tractable, and you are assuming they are intractable. this probably has a lot to do with our taking different appropaches. Even if others are entrenched in their prejudices, doesn’t mean I have to be.

    Brokering a dialogue seems unnecessary, SAW’s own petition suggests that Hindu groups have asked to be consulted. I assume Asia House can choose to have dialogue only with those groups who also oppose violence and intimidation, and thus there would already be some common ground, and violence would be marginalised rather than rewarded.

    I don’t argue for compromise, but since you bring it up, I guess it might be a compromise if through dialogue both sides realise how the art is misinterpreted and how it could be appreciated even by devout Hindus if the art is better explained to visitors by text alongside the paintings.

    As you say, it may be that neither side wants to understand the others’ point of view sympathetically, and so I am left whistling in the wind. This is very likely, but rather than decide I have to join one camp or the other just to feel that I am in the flow of events, I’d continue going back to the promoting the importance of mutual respect.

    As you say, different groups are watching each other in competition for mutual rights and respect, and see how intolerant campaigns grab headlines. While you see this as the opposite of an intolerant campaign, I see it as another example of one – because it has no place for people who oppose violence for other reasons than a commitment to free speech in all situations except a,b and c.

    You are right that I see freedom of speech as problematic – I see it as one among many important principles which problematise each other. I see my commitment to nonviolence as problematic in the same way. I see the commitment to avoid offending othersas problematic too. I see the least oppressive way of applying important principles as one which is developed and continues to develop consensually. Otherwise, as you and I have now both pointed out, censorship would routinely be applied according to the interests of the powerful. And perhaps free speech too can operate in that way – which is why all societies set limits and I am glad that intimidatory speech, for example, is limited.

    I understand that demonstrations and counter-demonstrations may be one way in which free societies work out a consensus. But dialogue is another way, which creates a space for new speech. I don’t see it as something which fetters your freedom to speak and mock your opponents, if you think that is a better way (and I do not doubt your motives). But I think that something more constructive and valuable would come out of speech within a dialogue where people are trying to be sensitive to one another.

  53. Fundu Chadi — on 1st June, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    Arif: why start from a framework that already concedes ground to the religious rightwing (e.g. ‘sensitivity’, ‘understanding’, ‘dialogue’ are key obfuscations endlessly used by the religious rightwing); this starts from already problematising liberal freedoms rather than the religious groups. Why, for example, should one be sensitive to or attempt to dialogue with untruths, lies, intolerance and hatreds? Why not consider a different approach in which progressive asians (i.e. not melanin philips and her ilk) put the onus on the religious rightwing groups to democratize and to value the freedoms they use to promote their sectarian agendas.

  54. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

    Don,

    u have not really addressed my distinction at all. Holding a view that is offensive to others is one thing- such as a Muslim’s view that homosexuality is inherently sinful, a Muslim going out of his way to deliberatly insult homosexuals is another.

    I’ve been asked about Shaykh Qaradawi here before: he is a modernist ikhwani scholar who does not represent the classical teachings of Islam.

    I also want to make another point clear about Islam’s view of homosexuality: it is for no Muslim to say who and who will not go to hell. Allah (SWT) is most merciful and anyone who seeks forgiveness for their wrongs can hope to be forgiven. Islam teaches that the homosexual act is wrong and sinful and that the homosexual desire is a spiritual illness which must be treated. There is no scientific evidence to suggest homosexuality is genetic and medical textbooks in the west refer to it as a lifestyle choice. However that doesn’t mean that Muslims can verbally or physically abuse homosexuals.

  55. mirax — on 1st June, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    >There is no scientific evidence to suggest homosexuality is genetic and medical textbooks in the west refer to it as a lifestyle choice.

    There’s opinion and there’s outright lies. Guess which one the above is?
    This is the reason I find Ismael one of the crookest posters on PP.

  56. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    bring your evidence if you’re truthful.

  57. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

    Given that you’re the one making the claim Ismaeel, I think you should bring your definitive proof. I want to see who you read.

  58. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

    There have been pleanty of theories and studies but absolutly no hard evidence of a genetic cause.

  59. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    Sunny, i didn’t say there was absolute proof that there was no gentic link, i said a genetic link has not been proved, i can’t prove an absence of evidence. However sources like wipkedia which are meant to be neutral show that there is no solid evidence.
    Oh and Sunny, check your email.

  60. Kismet Hardy — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    ‘bring your evidence if you’re truthful.’

    Ha ha. You crack me up Ismaeel! I love you!

    A religious person asking for evidence

    Proof? Turn to page 46, paragraph 7 of the holy book and hear the shephard as he swam across the ocean of cheese and yay you shall see how it means kill all jews

  61. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    As i know no evidence will be forthcoming, because there isn’t any, i’ll just sit through the expected ridicule and accusations of homophobia (despite the fact i do not have an irrational fear or hatred for homosexuals) quietly and occasionally remind people that they still haven’t proved their argument.

    Or we could all stay on topic.

  62. Kismet Hardy — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

    Um… or you could just ask a gay person: ‘hey, are you bumming another bloke to get attention or does it really turn you on?’

  63. mirax — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

    >There is no scientific evidence to suggest homosexuality is genetic

    You wrote this with no qualification at all at first but when challenged, now YOU are backtracking with the there is no *absolutely hard* evidence line. Dishonest, not to say pathetic.

    >and medical textbooks in the west refer to it as a lifestyle choice.

    Name one medical textbook in the WEST(not bloody fucking saudi arabia, mind you) – in current use!- that says this.

  64. Don — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    Thanks for responding. I’m sorry you feel I have not addressed your distinction, but for those on the receiving end of religious judgementalism it is a distinction without a difference.

    I really don’t want to let this become about a single religion or a single issue, because that is never productive. All the major religions have varying schools of thought and I don’t doubt that yours is humane and considered. However, one of the points I tried to make in #31 is that religion is at least – and probably more – about what the community of believers at any given time hold to be true, rather than what the learned have nuanced.

    Thus, for the gay Iranian teenager it matters little that the religious mob butchering him at the behest of religious judges and teachers are at variance with your more sophisticated interpretations. They are over-flowing with religious fervour and, in that context, have the support of the wise and the pious. Clearly, you have no more responsibility for that than the local vicar has for witch burnings. But nevertheless,
    it is an act inspired by the doctrine that people in category X are offensive to the deity. And the kid is still dead.

    You seem to be making a distinction between the belief that X is loathsome to the deity and acting upon that belief. But the second is a consequence of the first. In some historical/social contexts the shift from one to the other may be constrained, in others not. This applies to all revealed and proscriptive religions. One looks to the realities on the ground, and they are ugly.

    Those who assume a position of guiding a particular faith, whether they be priests, rabbis or immams, and regardless of the finer points of their role, cannot escape responsibility for real-world consequences by equivocation and textual fine points. A religion is what believers believe it is.

    We are obviously never going to agree on this; you have your faith and I have my lack of it. But I appreciate our discussions.

  65. Sid — on 1st June, 2006 at 5:47 pm  

    Theological question:

    If God regards homosexuality as a sin, did he simply create gays so that he can damn them to hell?

    If the answer to this is yes, it means that homosexuals have no choice. But choice is fundamental to the human condition as attested by all exoteric Judaeo-Christic-Islamic scholars. If gays have no choice about being gay, God is redundant. In other words if homosexuality is genetic, God cannot exist.

    It’s to avoid this corollary Ismaeel and the Satellites of Hate insist that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.

  66. Jai — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Some evidence of a combined genetic and neurological basis for homosexuality, after a quick Google:

    http://www.geocities.com/southbeach/boardwalk/7151/biobasis.html

    Various other medical whitepapers on the subject are also freely available on the ‘net.

  67. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    Don and Sid,

    Allah does not hate anyone, it is a case of one’s sins seperating one from him.

    Mirax, i haven’t changed my line and you haven’t brought any evidence, what i said is that there is absolute evidence to say there is NO genetic link.

  68. Don — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    Not relevant to my point.

  69. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:36 pm  

    Jai,

    interesting but highly biased article,

    for example Dean Hamer’s study is quoted as evidence yet wikipedia tells us the following about his so called findings:

    However three teams (Bailey et al 1999, McKnight and Malcolm 2000, and Rice et al, 1999 cited in Vilain, 2000)[9] failed to replicate the finding. More recently, Mustanski (2005)[10] failed to find the Xq28 marker in a complete genome scan of gay men’s DNA. Mustanski did however find autosomal markers at 7q36, 8p12 and 10q26. The evidence for the Xq28 marker has therefore become muddied by failures of replication.

  70. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:45 pm  

    Sorry Sid-ler, you still don’t get it. You’re putting the cart before the horse. My point is that there was plenty of moral relativism and ifs ands or buts that qualified the dicussion on freedom of expression on this board during the cartoon controversy and no one thought that was bad or criticized it. So why then should people complain when I raise the issue of Hussain’s prior hypocrisy and claim that it’s now purely a freedom of expression issue and that everything else is irrelevant? I mean there was a whole PP thread itself on JP not publishing anti-Jesus cartoons. Why even have that thread if the issue was only JP’s freedom of expression and freedom to insult regardless of their intentions? So clearly people here felt that was relevant to a discussion on freedom of expression, just as some feel that Hussain’s earlier self censorship is also relevant to a discussion on freedom of expression (but not relevant to whether he should be allowed to exhibit or not).

    I’ve been going through some of the threads and I don’t see you condemning or telling anyone to stop mentioning the anti-jesus cartoons or to stop speculating on the JP’s reason for printing them. In fact you indulge in some heavy speculation and comparisons and ifs ands or buts yourself. I found some interesting comments, many of which would qualify as moral relativism, given Sunny’s above comments.

    Above, Sunny says: As for the Danish cartoons. If you go through the archives, you will see I supported the right of JP and the other newspapers to print the cartoons. I didn’t agree with them, and I would never even think of using violence to achieve that. But they have a legal right to do so.

    Here are some of the comments I found on the cartoon threads, which in my opinion muddy the above statement:

    Sunny: And even if none of these things had happened I’d still support the right of a newspaper to do so, although I’d personally boycott it thereafter. [so why can't Hindu groups call for a boycott of Hussain without being called fascists and fundies? Even before the vandalism, mere complaints by Hindus in India or in the UK about Hussain’s works made them the target of criticism and they were accused of trying to suppress freedom of speech. So should Sunny be criticized as being against free speech for saying he would boycott the newspapers thereafter?]

    Sunny: The violent actions by nutters aside (since almost all Muslims have still been peaceful on the issue, specially in Europe), I would do exactly the same as you. Boycott the paper – which is why I have no respect at all for JP on this issue. [Sunny again limits the extent of freedom of speech, which is perfectly fine. He has his own set of standards. But then again, so do others. So if people had kept quiet while the Hindus merely protested against the paintings, and only criticized them after threats had been carried out that would be consistent]

    Sunny is asked this: was the Danish magazine within its rights in publishing the cartoons? Would you defend that right?
    Sunny’s response: Yes it was within its rights. I would defend the right itself, but not the Danish newspaper’s actions. I believe it did it purely to antagonise people, and given its right-wing history and the anti-Muslim atmosphere in Denmark, it had an ulterior motive. [Why not defend the newspaper's rights as well, regardless of whatever motive? After all, aren’t you defending Hussain’s rights no matter what his motive? Isnt' this about freedom of expression? Or are we now saying that freedom of expression depends on motive? And who can say with 100% certainty what someone's motive is? So do those who question Hussain's motive have the same right to assume what his motive was?]

    Sunny is asked: Would you defend a newspaper publishing a bunch of anti-semitic jokes?
    The problem comes when Muslims assert that that the newspaper has no right to publish the cartoons. Then we’re in a different world.
    Sunny replies: That part I don’t disagree with. Newspapers have the right, but they should exercise that judgement using brains. Why did the New Statesmen have to apologise for putting the star of David on Europe? I didn’t see the press rush out to support that. Neither did Muslims say much when the Spectator put ‘Eurabia’ on its front cover with the Crescent with it.[So again, freedom of expression is not a pure and absolute thing but should be subject to certain questions and strictures. And why bring up whether the newspaper would publish anti-semitic cartoons and what the press did or didn’t do in the past? Why bring up the New Statesman’s apology? If Hussain’s actions vis a vis apologizing to Muslims and pulling a song are not relevant to the current controversy, why is the New Statesman’s previous apology for the star of david relevant to the cartoon issue? Yes, like Hussain, the press are hypocrites. But we’ve determined that that’s not relevant to freedom of expression haven’t we?]

    Sunny: My point the press have and does have freedom. We are both non-negotiable on that. But the press pretending it exercises the same rules with everyone is ludicrous. Having a dig at Muslims is acceptable these days, while having a dig at Jews/Israel isn’t. And there are many more examples to show this. Everytime a big controversy happens over freedom of speech (JS:TO) for example, I don’t see newspapers in Europe rushing forward in solidarity. Making fun of Jesus on the mainland is still very much a taboo.
    [So again we have other examples and comparisons being used to defend Sunny's view that JP and the European press is being disingenous. So why is it moral relativism/irrelevant when I or others bring up other examples or comparisons?]

    Some of Sid’s comments show similar moral relativism, comparisons, bringing up other issues and caveats. He also seems to contradict himself:

    1. It wasn’t Freedom Of Speech though.
    And if you want to support and justify an act of racist journalism, go right ahead. Remember though that that opinion lands you squarely in BNP territory, which you seem to be increasingly comfortable with.

    2. Seeking to lay blame on those who advocate Freedom of Speech is backward and obscurantist. All religions are free to be pilloried and no one can say otherwise. Fuck off back to the slums of Herefordshire you backward toe rag.

    3. Sunny!
    Nice one bro.
    If the publishing of the cartoon 4 times in a row prior to the internationalisation of the episode hasb’t done so already, this story goes all the way to bury all attempts by Jyllands-Posten to justify its racist provocation in the name of “Freedom of Speech”.
    [what does it matter what the provocation was? You said above that all religions are free to be pilloried, so shouldn't this just be about their right to publish it as many times as they want? Why drag extraneous issues into it? (a criticism levelled against those who criticize Hussain)]

    4. If Freedom of Speech is to be tested on Islam, why does she sontrast the reaction to the supposedly non-reaction that Christianity generates when it is satired in the West? Islam is not the only religion active in the West nor is it diametrically opposite to Christianity. So its a syllogism to say that if such and such a feature is true of Chrstianity then why not Islam? Or vice versa. Is she suggesting all religions should be equal to up to the right to be ridiculed? And is a “good religion” one that generates NO REACTION when ridiculed?
    [isn't this moral relativism. asking for one religion to be judged by different standards than another in the context of freedom of expression and being ridiculed? And didn’t he say in another comment above that all religions are free to be pilloried? Or is it that Sid can determine for himself when he feels islam is being pilloried, even if others think he’s mistaken, but Hindus cannot, even if Sid and others think they are mistaken? ]

    5. We’ve covered the Iranian iconography in a different thread. The point being, even if the icons are of Ali, the cartoons are not directed at Ali – they’re piss taking Mohammed. No mistaken identity there.
    There’s a difference between an icon of Guru Gobind Singh and a piss-taking cartoon of Guru Gobing Singh with a fizzing bomb in his turban. Surely there can be no defence of that by suggesting indignantly in a HardTALK interview, that icons of the Guru exist, so whats wrong with a cartoon.
    [But you find it hard to believe that religious Hindus may perceive historic potrayals of their deities different from how Hussain has portrayed them? After all, you’ve said that icons of Hindu deities exist in the semi-nude and nude (although you’ve made some factual errors on some of that) so what’s the big deal if Hussain shows them fornicating. That’s his interpretation. Well, the cartoons were those people’s interpretations, whether you liked them or not. Maybe Hindus have a right to be just as offended by Hussain’s interpretations as you have to be about the cartoon depictions? Again, the extraneous issue would be what constitutes art and what doesn't. It doesn't matter. Both cartoons and paintings come under freedom of expression and speech. It's about freedom to insult and the freedom to be insulted. In that sense cartoons=hussain's paintings. No need to bring up JP’s alleged racism or motives or any newspapers motives for reprinting or JP’s hypocrisy]

    6. “El Cid
    Do you think Has El Pais will ever published Piss Christ or ‘Jesus Just Wants To Fuck His Dad’ on its front page to show its solidarity for FoS any time soon do you think?” [why bring that into it Sid? I refer you to your comment to me above: "You assert correctly that the Danish newspapers should not be judged on their actions for not choosing to publish anti-Christian cartoons." So why are you trying to judge papers by speculating whether they would even publish Piss Christ? Isn't that a separate issue and what does it have to do with JP having the right ot publish the cartoons? Just as you and others say what does Hussain not painting anti-Muslim paintings or pulling an anti-Muslim song from his movie have to do with anything? When asked to speculate on why Hussain did it, you say that has nothing to do with anything. So why ask El Cid to speculate?]

    7. You were right all along when you said that the sentiments behind the cartoons are simply ineffable racist bigotry, “the kind that lots of middle-class people express to one another at dinner parties when they think nobody from an ethnic minority is there to hear”. So true.
    Publishing the cartoons was a breach of religious taboo, and was racist in intent – that we know. Or at least on PP we know. However, organised religion has lost its value in the West because it doesn’t chime with Liberal Democracy. And all things remaining equal, thats the system we live in and should respect. [Why even bring the intent into this statement? Why even comment on the alleged intent of why the cartoons were published? Why not just say we have to respect the freedom of expression enshrined in liberal democracy. Why did you feel the need to qualify it by dragging in what you on PP know (really, how do you know? The same way others claim to know the intent of Hussain?)]

    8. This publishing of the cartoons was anathema to Muslims. However, in order to safeguard themselves from such attacks, there exist laws which govern the protection of those who will use “Freedom of Speech” to incite hatred. Therefore Muslims would be wise to use the apparatus of the legal and judicial systems to fight such attacks on grounds of incitement of hatred or on by any such law that protects rights rather than by destroying property, rioting and ultimately losing the meaning of the offence caused in the first place.
    [Again, you've veered from the strict freedom of expression issue into accusing them of inciting hatred and you urge muslims to use the legal and judicial system to fight it. It's admirable you didn't condone violence, but then why when some Hindu groups merely want to use their legal and judicial rights to stage a protest or call for a boycott (this doesn't include the vandalism), you and others feel the need to castigate them for their inability to tolerate Hussain's right to exhibit? If Muslims can use the law to fight what they perceive as hatred and shouldn't be called names for doing so, if they can boycott Danish companies, why shouldn't others? Yet when Hindus use the law in India to file suits against Hussain for what they perceive as execrable art people like you and others jump on them and call them fundamentalists and anti-free speech. You tell them to deal with it and Hussain has the right to insult. So why not just tell Muslims to deal with it and stop boycotting products, why not tell them to chill instead of urging them to seek redress via the law?]

    9. Well, yeah. But why just the Koran? What do you think would happen to the artist if he tried urinating on the Sikh’s Guru Granth in front of a camera? I’m pretty sure he would have a bit of a job on his hands extracting his prick from the inside of his throat after Sikhs had finished with him. [Why are you comparing and asking for speculation? Yet when those who oppose Hussain speculate what would happen to him if he painted something perceived as anti-Muslim, they are told not to speculate]

    10. The European re-printing was a crock. Even more so since it was evident that the whole issue is nothing to do with FoS and everything to do with provocational point scoring.
    [Really? It had nothing to do with freedom of expression? If it was evident to you that it wasn't anything to do with freedom of expression, why don't you accept that others may not see the Hussain thing as having anything to do with freedom of expression either.]

    11. Analytical: If someone says that there was no mass extermination of the Jews he unintentionally performs two services: 1) he identifies himself as a self-evident scumbag 2) he gives the rest of us the opportunity to remind people (particularly younger people) of what really happened within living memory in the heart of Europe.
    Sid: Thats funny becasue, by exactly the same logic that you’ve edified us with, anyone who publishes racist cartoons and those who defend the publication of racist cartoons is also
    1) A racist self-evident scumbag
    If you perceive a difference between the two positions, you’ll be sure to let us know, won’t you.
    [so you are not averse to making comparisons and acting as devil's advocate when it suits you. yet when people point out similarities between two positions you say why bring this or that up]

    12. Analytical: your post is illogical since there were was no sense of entitlement, no outrages, no threats and no intimidation prior to the Jyllands Posten publications. Four times they were published.

    Sid: Four times:
    Once may be Freedom of Speech.
    Twice might be considered cheeky irreverence.
    Three times could well be cynical and irresponsible provocation.
    Four times is racist journalism, plain and simple.
    [Again, who are you to decide that a cartoon printed four times is not freedom of expression but racism? And what does it matter? Shouldn't they have the right to publish it without all these qualifications, moral relativisms and whatnot by you? Maybe some Hindus feel the same about Hussain. One painting of a revered Hindu icon having sex with an animal is freedom of speech, two might be considered cheeky irreverence. Three times could well be irresponsible provocation. Four times, well...see, everyone is entitled to play that game, not just you]

    Sunny, I do apologise for the length of this post.

  71. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    [Why not defend the newspaper’s rights as well, regardless of whatever motive? After all, aren’t you defending Hussain’s rights no matter what his motive?

    Sorry, that should why not defend the newspaper's ations as well, regardless of whatever motive? After all, aren't you defending Hussain's actions not matter what his motive?

  72. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 7:10 pm  

    xyz – despite copying and pasting all my comments above, you didn’t find one by me that said I did not support JP’s right to publish the cartoons. There is no muddying of the waters. The right is there. Why bother insinuating something else?

    A debate about ulterior motives is seperate, and legitimate, but should be in the context of boycotts or non-violent protests. Those are also legitimate democratic actions that people have a right to exercise.

    Its not being against free speech to boycott a paper or an exhibition, that is how the market works! In fact that is what David said above – if Hindus don’t like the exhibition, they can avoid seeing it. That is a democratic right.

    And lastly, I asked you to be more forthcoming because I wanted to know where you stood on the issue. You clarified that. That is fine with me. Have a debate about protests or MF Husain’s motives, but that is seperate to his right to hold an exhibition.

  73. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 8:16 pm  

    [xyz - despite copying and pasting all my comments above, you didn’t find one by me that said I did not support JP’s right to publish the cartoons. There is no muddying of the waters. The right is there. Why bother insinuating something else?]

    Sunny, perhaps I didn’t explain myself properly. Here’s what you said to me earlier:

    [To be honest xyz, I think you’re the one slipping and sliding all over the place, as Jay Singh previously also pointed out. Why the continued reference to Husain’s previous hypocrisy on FoS?]

    I’m merely pointing out, primarily to Sid and anyone else who thinks that I am slipping and sliding all over the place, especially by bringing up Hussain’s prior hypocrisy (i know you don’t agree with his prior hypocrisy but you seemed to have a problem with me even bringing it up) that in the cartoon controversy there was plenty of slipping and sliding all over the place, including you and others repeatedly bringing up the earlier hypocrisy of JP and New Statesman and other issues not really part of the primary issue. I think it’s perfectly natural that you guys brought up all those issues of motive, earlier hypocrisies etc. I just wondered why that was considered slipping and sliding in my case and the same courtesy was not extended to me bringing up Hussain’s motive and his earlier hypocrisy (primarily by Jay and Sid, but you also asked why I was bringing it up).

    My point is that it was impossible for you guys NOT to bring up a whole host of other issues when discussing the main issue – the newspaper’s right to print something that others found offensive. You felt the need to qualify it by mentioning your feeling that they are likely racists and that you would boycott them thereafter. Does that make you anti free speech in spirit, even if not in practice (which is what some imply if a Hindu says he finds Hussain’s paintings objectionable and wishes in spirit that they couldn’t be displayed)? I didn’t say that you denied newspapers of this right to publish. You didn’t. But you did qualify it, even to the point of saying you would boycott the newspaper thereafter. So that shows that discussions on freedom of expression are not so straightforward, either in the cartoon case or in Hussain’s case. I wouldn’t call you a fundamentalist or anti-free speech for wanting to boycott the newspaper thereafter, but some (not you) do refer to Hindus who agree to his right to exhibit but who say they would boycott Hussain and wish his art wouldn’t be exhibited (much as you wish the newspapers wouldn’t publish those cartoons) as being anti-free speech and a sign of intolerance.

    The muddying part came with regard to mentioning the actions and motives of the newspaper, which you seem not to support, although you clearly supported their rights. I meant: why muddy discussions of free speech and expression by bringing up issues of motive and actions? Isn’t that why you/Jay/Sid asked me why I was muddying the current issue by bringing up Hussain’s prior hypocrisies, what the reaction would be if someone painted anti-Muslim paintings of Mohammed fornicating etc? My point was that you and the others couldn’t just give your stance on the issue of free speech (the cartoons should be published and that’s that) without going off on tangents and making it a bit unclear as to what your stances really were and without qualifying your stances. It’s natural.

    [A debate about ulterior motives is seperate, and legitimate, but should be in the context of boycotts or non-violent protests. Those are also legitimate democratic actions that people have a right to exercise.]

    - Exactly my point. But I disagree about the context. Just because three people decided to vandalise a painting, does that mean that suddenly a discussion of motives and prior hypocrisies is irrelevant all of a sudden? I don’t think so. It is still possible to condemn violence and discuss motives. Some Muslims committed violent acts or threatened some really violent behavior in response to the cartoon controversy. Should that have silenced all discussion of JP’s motives or intent and whether they should have published just because they have the right? I don’t think so. Nor did it silence any of that discussion as we can see.

    [Its not being against free speech to boycott a paper or an exhibition, that is how the market works! In fact that is what David said above - if Hindus don’t like the exhibition, they can avoid seeing it. That is a democratic right.]

    - I agree. Again, my point was that if that is so, why do some (not you but others) label those who choose to boycott an exhibition or voice displeasure in a democratic fashion as being anti-free speech etc. You know that some would condemn the HHR as being anti free speech and intolerant even if the vandalism hadn’t occurred, and that’s ok. But isn’t labelling them anti free speech anti free speech in itself? I’m thinking of some of the comments and editorials I’ve read about this opposition to Hussain, where Hindus are condemned as being rightwing or anti-free speech merely because they had the audacity to criticize the nature of Hussain’s paintings. It seems as if some (not you) don’t even want others to criticize Hussain’s paintings or write letters to the press about it or issue statements objecting to them. That in itself constitutes fascist, intolerant behavior, when it really is an exercise in free speech.

    The Awaaz petition said this: Hindu traditions have an extensive history of diverse representations of deities, include nude and erotic images of gods and goddesses. Hinduism has never possessed a concept of censorship of the kind that these authoritarian groups wish to promote.

    Are they referring to only physical acts of censorship or even verbal protests by Hindus? Are they saying that because of Hinduism’s legacy of tolerance, diversity and argumentativeness, that verbal complaints equal censorship and shouldn’t even surface in the first place? I wasn’t too clear on that sentence. Since you signed it, perhaps you can clarify that one. Thanks.

    Interestingly, the Awaaz petition says this: The Hindu Forum of Britain and Hindu Human Rights accuse Asia House of not “consulting” with them before putting on the exhibition. Consultation should not be a requirement for artistic expression.

    Some of the groups that support Awaaz are Indian Christian and Muslim groups based in the UK but are chapters of their parent groups in India and are deeply involved in what goes on in India. I wonder what Awaaz, which describes itself on its website as being concerned with things that happen primarily in South Asia, think about the government of India “consulting” with Christian and Muslim groups before either screening or banning the Da Vinci Code. Surely this violates what they said above? Have they issued a press release or letters to the editors in India about that? If yes, great. If not, perhaps you can mention this to them since you signed their petition. They wouldn’t want to be accused of being moral relativists:) I know this is tangential to the issue of Hussain being allowed to exhibit, but since they are a group that stands against South Asian religious groups being consulted, whether in India or the UK, perhaps you can find out whether they have been consistent on this matter or plan to be. And I’m not being facetious on that one. It’s no different that speculating whether JP or any other newspaper would print anti-semitic or anti-christian cartoons.

    [And lastly, I asked you to be more forthcoming because I wanted to know where you stood on the issue. You clarified that. That is fine with me. Have a debate about protests or MF Husain’s motives, but that is seperate to his right to hold an exhibition.]

    - I didn’t say any differently. I was primarily responding to Sid, who, in his comments on the cartoon controversy (and indeed this applies to many who post on this board) has made the same types of comments, qualifications, comparisons, caveats, exceptions, appeals to speculations etc. that me and others are criticized for with regard to the Hussain controversy. Thanks for indulging me. I know I’m a pest:) This is my last word on this topic. I promise :)

  74. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    and the definitive one i think xyz

  75. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 1st June, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    The worlds religions don’t need protection from ridicule, insult or question.

  76. Ismaeel — on 1st June, 2006 at 8:33 pm  

    Anyway is it relevant that the MAC ulema are going to certify a cartoon film about the Prophet (SAWS)
    http://muslim-action-committee.blogspot.com
    sorry couldn’t help myself

  77. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 10:43 pm  

    xyz – a few confusing issues.

    You know that some would condemn the HHR as being anti free speech and intolerant even if the vandalism hadn’t occurred, and that’s ok.

    Not really. HHR and their ilk are allowed to boycott anything they want. But they don’t want boycotts, they want to shut things down. There is a difference.

    Secondly. Awaaz has no requirement to issue press releases for everything under the sun. IT should focus on British Asian issues. And the fact they have Christian and Muslim members is also irrelevant. Its a broad organisation of people who oppose religious fundamentalists.

    Can you make your points shorter? Its too time consuming to read essays everytime and respond to them. If there’s anything major I haven’t answered lemme know. The only reason I wanted you to stop slipping and sliding before was to get a few straight answers out of you. You did that, I’m happy.

  78. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:11 pm  

    Ok I guess I’ll break my promise:

    Not really. HHR and their ilk are allowed to boycott anything they want. But they don’t want boycotts, they want to shut things down. There is a difference.

    - Ok. But there are still those who would criticize say someone like Neil for even objecting to the nature of Hussain’s paintings. They have appointed themselves the arbiters and interpreters of Hindu art for all Hindus and think any criticism of Hussain is unwarranted because he clearly is not insulting Hinduism. That’s an elitist view – implying that ordinary practicing Hindus are somehow not getting it. I may be wrong but part of the Awaaz petition reads that way.

    Secondly. Awaaz has no requirement to issue press releases for everything. IT should focus on British Asian issues. And the fact they have Christian and Muslim members is also irrelevant. Its a broad organisation of people who oppose religious fundamentalists.

    - Wrong, wrong, wrong. They have appointed themselves secular guardians of freedom of expression, against religious hatred etc. in South Asia AND the UK, not the UK alone. They don’t say they are concerned only about British Asian issues. In fact, the majority of their website and press releases deals with issues in India primarily, and the Hindu right. Does the word secular apply more to one group of people than another? On certain subjects they do seem to issue press releases on everything and with admirable regularity.

    So one can hold them to a certain standard. If they claim to represent all of South Asia and call themselves secular how can they ignore issues in South Asia that would qualify as violations of their very own standards? The Da Vinci Code issue broke out long before the Hussain one and is indeed ongoing (with Andhra Pradesh and Pakistan now banning it after consulting with Christian groups). Yet there doesn’t seem to be a peep about it from them, given their concern for freedom of expression that prompted them to launch a petition and has prompted them in the past to issue press releases on opposition to Hussain in India.

    One would think that an organization that was quick to condemn (and rightfully so) HHR with alacrity for demanding consultation would have noticed something that had become world news going on in the very country they cover in so much detail in other instances. I am sure that if HHR was based in India and had demanded consultation and the Indian govt. had banned his exhibit, Awaaz would have noticed it and issued a press release. The fact that they have Christian and Muslim members who join them in pointing out every slipup of the Hindu right in India when it comes to freedom of expression in India and then keep silent while their own types do the same thing in India is wrong, wrong, wrong and moral relativism in a nutshell or just plain appeasement and cowardice.

    I know this is too long as well.:) So if you haven’t read this far, no problem. Probably because I can’t believe any sane, logical person cannot see the rank hypocrisy and moral relativism on their part and of all those academics who signed the petition (and who would probably have signed the petition even if the Hussain exhibit had been banned in India and not the US) if they have indeed completely ignored the “consulting” going on and repression of free speech with regard to the Da Vinci Code in their pet region of South Asia. I guess we’ll just have to disagree on this point. :)

  79. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:23 pm  

    I’m assuming that if Deepa Mehta’s “Water” is banned after similar consultation with Hindu groups (as if the government would ever do that!) when it is released in India, there will be no post on it on PP or no press release or mention of it by Awaaz? After all, it has nothing to do with Britain.

    I’m assuming that even if there is criticism in India of “Water” and protests and threats and violence such as those issued’/commited by Christians and Muslims over Da Vinci Code, PP and/or Awaaz will not see it as worthy of comment or any action? I assume incorrectly I know. One might has well write up the petition/press release/letter to the editor — filled with the requisite outrage at this attempt to undermine India’s secular fabric and freedom of expression — now:)

  80. xyz — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:52 pm  

    One of the signers of the petition is one Amitava Kumar. Here is what he says on his blog about the Indian government’s “concern” over Bharat Mata:

    “The right-wing outrage over M.F. Husain’s painting of a nude Mother India, or Bharat Mata, has now taken a new turn. According to today’s Hindustan Times, the government in Delhi has issued a “red alert”:
    Artist MF Husain’s apology for the nude painting, Bharatmata, has not helped. The Union Home Ministry has alerted the police chiefs of Delhi and Mumbai to his “objectionable” paintings and asked them to take “appropriate action”. It is the first time the Centre has decided to go against the Padma Vibhushan winner.
    What it means is that this painting is considered capable of inciting community violence and the governments in the individual states are allowed to arrest or otherwise persecute Husain.
    Why has the Congress-led government in Delhi not shown more spine? And the leftist members of the coalition?”

    He makes a valid point. Why haven’t they shown more spine? So since he obviously pays attention to what goes on in India and cites Indian newspapers and as an artist or writer is concerned about repression of free speech and freedom of expression (concerned enough to sign a petition), I looked for his similar point about why the same Congress govt. he castigates for being spineless with regard to standing up to Hindu complaints over Hussain has lost its spine with regard to the Da Vinci Code and outright banned the movie in some places. But I haven’t found a blog post on that. But he did have one blog post on Da Vinci Code that amounts to quoting an excerpt from an unflattering movie review. I wonder, because a movie may be bad, does that mean one shouldn’t worry when a government bans it? Does that mean that if he writes a bad book, no one should be concerned if someone wants to ban it:) A stretch I know. But it’s interesting to see how the words secular, freedom of expression, spineless can be so obvious to some in some cases and worthy of comment and they completely miss it when it comes to other exactly the same cases in exactly the same country and by exactly the same government.

  81. Sunny — on 2nd June, 2006 at 12:37 am  

    Ok. But there are still those who would criticize say someone like Neil for even objecting to the nature of Hussain’s paintings.

    Rubbish. I certainly don’t subscribe to that view. You’re just running out of straws to pull now.

    They have appointed themselves secular guardians of freedom of expression, against religious hatred etc

    They can issue press releases however they want, in a way that I don’t remember anyone actually agreeing or planning to appoint HHR as a representative for Hindus and its own selective bias.

    The rest about the Da Vinci code is just you being desperate to throw some mud at Awaaz. Yawn.

    I’m assuming that if Deepa Mehta’s “Water” is banned after similar consultation with Hindu groups

    Well she already had to re-locate to Sri Lanka for the filming because the “peaceful” brothers from VHP wouldn’t let her film in India.

    You’re boring me with the rest of your drivel xyz, quit while you’re ahead.

    We choose to poke fun at whoever we want to, whether that be Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs from around the world. We made a big deal about the Sania Mirza thing, about people getting banned from kissing in India, about people hounding Kushboo etc. Some slip under the radar, other controversies may come up when we’re busy.

    Look mate, ever since I’ve started criticising Sikh, Hindu and Muslim groups (since about 1999) I’ve had plenty of dickwads accusing me of being anti-Hindu/Sikh and Muslim. It’s a water off a duck’s back. It has stopped bothering me. People can make whatever conclusions you want. Stop wasting your time with conspiracy theories.

  82. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd June, 2006 at 1:10 am  

    You guys talk too much.

    Man paints something.

    You either like it, or you don’t.

    Don’t destroy it.

    Don’t quote aesop or allah to marx to validate what you believe.

    If you think what you know is right, sleep easy.

    Perchance to wank…

  83. PetesRipe — on 2nd June, 2006 at 1:33 am  

    i know about some of awaaz’s work but cant speak for them and im not a member or associated with its network orgs. i was involved with a few awaaz people around the activities of world vision international and of christian voice (both christian fundamentalists / evangelicals).

    i think you are being either really dim or really stupid and sound like you have a great big complex about a group you know nothing about. what is all that crap about ‘appointed themselves secular guardians of freedom of expression, against religious hatred’. first get your facts right. awaaz didnt write the guardian letter nor to my knowledge (i might be wrong) have they ever launched a petition. everyone i have ever met at events who is involved in awaaz is a hindu, though to be honest im not sure of other members (in any case that is irrelevant to the issue). i know for a fact that awaaz people organised a mobilisation of asian youth from west london to defend a muslim artist from physical attacks by islamic fundamentalists. i know from my work with some awaaz people that they equally oppose christian fundamentalists, though god knows why they should be accountable to a rancid apologist for hindu fascism like you.

    this is from their website

    “WHY DON’T YOU CRITICISE PAKISTAN OR BANGLADESH?
    Human rights and the rise of Hindutva in India are issues in their own right and it is completely legitimate to focus on them alone. Hindutva groups and supporters do not like international focus on the atrocities committed by Hindutva organizations. They therefore demand that secular and human rights groups ignore them and focus on Pakistan or Bangladesh or Islam or Christianity – anything, so long as it is not a criticism of the violence, atrocities or abuses committed by Hindutva forces. This is a morally indefensible.

    However, for the record, Awaaz members have been involved in active work against both Islamic fundamentalism and military dictatorships in Pakistan and elsewhere. This includes: active work against the Zia ul Haq dictatorship in Pakistan and the institutional / state influence of the Pakistani Jamaati-i-Islami; war crimes by both the Pakistani army and Jamaati forces in Bangladesh; an attempt to arrest General Musharraf and bring him to trial in the UK; action against forced marriages in Pakistan and Bangladesh; the current alliance of Islamist parties in the NWFP and their imposition of shari’a; the role of the Jamaati-i-Islami and its violent student wing in Pakistan, as well as the MQM offshoots of the JI; and the role of Islamist politics in the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence Directorate and its impact in Afghanistan and Kashmir. We stand firmly opposed to the violation of human rights in Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh, including attacks on and murders of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Shias, Ahmaddis, secularists and other groups. Several Awaaz members have been involved for decades in work on women’s rights in Muslim countries. Awaaz members have been involved in public campaigns against both Islamic and Sikh extremism in Britain. Awaaz members have directly confronted Islamist groups, both in the UK and in Pakistan.”

    in fact, what have YOU actually done about islamic or christian fundamentalists? is the davinci code all you can whinge about? if it concerns you so much, fucking do something about it instead of attacking others. or is it that you are just too scared? what real risks have you ever taken apart from tapping at your tired keyboard, you pathetic, stupid, ignorant little boy?

  84. xyz — on 2nd June, 2006 at 1:39 am  

    No need to be so rude Sunny.:) Really, you take it so personally as if it was all being said about you in particular. But it is obvious from the tone of your response that it does bother you.

    “Some slip under the radar, other controversies may come up when we’re busy.”

    Ok. “Some” slip under the radar, “other controversies” may come up when others (I’m not including you, don’t bite my head off) are “busy.”
    If I were as driven as you – and I do admire it, which is why I care enough to comment so much — I would start a blog like “Back in Black” to catch all those major stories that are reported on virtually every major global news outlet, print and tv yet somehow slipped through the holes.

    As for Awaaz, they really don’t need any mud from me to stick, it was already stuck. My mistake was that I should have just left my comments on them at “Awaaz. Ha Ha Ha.” Naam Ke Vaste Posers :)

    As for me not needing to bring up Da Vinci Code, well I was just copying all that equally desperate bringing up of how come Europeans don’t print more anti-semitic and anti-christian cartoons stuff and how come they apologize for that and not for anti-muslim cartoons and all the other desperate stuff that was brought up during the cartoon controversy. Just an attempt to throw mud at them.

    “quit while you’re ahead.”

    thanks. at least I know I am ahead.:)

    Well, it’s been fun all of us exchanging our respective drivel with one another:) See you at the exhibition.

  85. Sunny — on 2nd June, 2006 at 1:51 am  

    Thanks for that Petesripe, it has all I wanted to say.

    xyz
    But it is obvious from the tone of your response that it does bother you.

    It just bothers me when seemingly intelligent people start trying the old “you must be biased against [pick religion]” when someone starts criticising their flock. Other than that I’m not fussed, just letting you know that your long-winded way of saying I have a bias against Hindu (fundmentalism) is getting boring.

  86. xyz — on 2nd June, 2006 at 2:07 am  

    “in fact, what have YOU actually done about islamic or christian fundamentalists? is the davinci code all you can whinge about? if it concerns you so much, fucking do something about it instead of attacking others. or is it that you are just too scared? what real risks have you ever taken apart from tapping at your tired keyboard, you pathetic, stupid, ignorant little boy?”

    Funny you should mention that. I have been involved with a group working to protect tribal rights in northeast India (one of my pet peeves is harassment and terrorization of indigenous, Hindu and Buddhist tribals in northeast India by Christian terrorist militant groups, backed by missionary groups). Groups such as the Khasis see their culture, language and way of life constantly under threat and intimidated by people who insist they only worship Christ. The rise of Islamic militancy in the northeast is now another factor they have to deal with. Some are maimed or killed because they refuse or resist. Travel through the region and you will see for yourself. In Manipur, the group works with local tribals to maintain their traditional dances, clothing which converts are told not to perform/wear because they are “heathen.”

    No doubt now, I will be accused of persecuting a minority and inventing this whole problem in the northeast. Since I am such an apologist for hindu fascism (there’s that word again.) Because some of my complaints happen to mirror someone else’s, I am a fascist. Well, some of your complaints mirror those of fundamentalists and apologists and pseudoseculars, so what does that make you?

    As for getting my facts right, PP said this: Petition to reinstate MF Husain exhibition

    A letter was published in today’s Guardian, by Awaaz Saw, calling for Asia House to reinstate the cancelled exhibition of MF Husain’s paintings following two of them being destroyed by vandals last week. [hat tip: BlueDesi].

    So if Awaaz didn’t publish the letter, take it up with PP.

    You think I’m full of it, I think you’re full of it. That’s what freedom of expression is all about:) We can all go to bed happy.:)

  87. xyz — on 2nd June, 2006 at 2:35 am  

    Sunny, for the nth time, I never said you have a bias against Hindu fundamentalism in particular.

    But yes, it bothers me too when seemingly intelligent people can’t get the point and choose instead to see that I am an apolgist for Hindu fanaticism or are annoyed when you mention things that happened to slip through the holes, when they themselves feel free to mention all sorts of other things.

    And ripe peter, if you can’t see why I whinge about the Da Vinci Code the same way Awaaz whinges about Hussain well… let’s just say I too don’t like religious nutcases being consulted about whether something is going to offend them or not and I too don’t like to see religious nutcases being rewarded for their threats, violence and promises “to do anything” to get a movie that offends Christians and Muslims banned. The intimidation that stopped the Hussain exhibition and the intimidation that stopped and continues to stop the Da Vinci Code are both very ripe (as in stinks to high heavens) to me.

    But I do want to thank you for one thing. I realize that I do get carried away by my zeal to see a truly secular India that appeases no one unnecessarily. And you’re right, complaining about it on PP is really of no use (and that goes for all the other whiners on this board). So thanks to you I shall devote more of my time and money to grassroots level efforts that tackle the problems that bug me and seem grossly unfair to me.

  88. Fundu Chadi — on 2nd June, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

    Ooeer!! Petesripe, I agree with what you say, but will oppose to the death the way you say it. Does a real disservice, you know, to THE CAUSE…ur giving too much importance to the opinions of misguided jellyfish. You should take a valium, then take another valium and then apologise to xyz for your tone.

    btw What’s this thumbs thing?

  89. Sunny — on 2nd June, 2006 at 2:47 pm  

    Agree with Fundu… just throwing the word Hindutvadi left right and centre is not going to help, specially in the tone you are taking. Either please discuss civilly, or don’t. I don’t think xyz is a Hindutva supporter, though like other he does have that chip on the shoulder.

  90. PetesRipe — on 2nd June, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

    i unconditionally withdraw my last post (moderator can delete it) and substitute this one instead. and i apologise to the forum and moderator for the intemperate tone. i didnt need valium, thanks. also this is my last post and wont be bothering your forum again – just happened to stumble on it.

    ‘involved with a group’ – which one exactly, because i have worked with several groups in manipur since the 1970s (none of them what your lot would call ‘christian’). also, tell us all exactly which regions and taluks. and what exactly have you done there. also, did you go there from britain on the many safe and jolly trips that rss groups organise for people who are suddenly worried about what you call the ‘tribals’ (ive been on them too). also, please let us the names of what you call ‘the christian terrorist groups’ that are upsetting you – the exact names please. its odd, isnt it, that only the hindutva fascists use this language about groups in the north and northeastern states that they dont like. interesting also that only the vhp/vka have focused so heavily (and for so long – ever since early rss days) on and against the khasis specifically and their religious and secular beliefs. (that is why i was throwing about the hindutva word)

    also, i’m wondering if you have actually been to manipur. because if all you can see there is islamic and christian militancy in the conflicts (which have been there since well before 47 ) – and what an absolute giveaway it is that you only see this – then you have not understood one little thing about the ethnic groups there (including the khasis) or the battles between and within them, or the history of autonomist movements there, or their fights with the indian army and the indian government. any external group involved with the khasis, within which the dominant ethnic group has been subject to vhp vilification for decades, has to be transparent about its political agenda. virtually every single group involved with the khasis has been a hindutva one.

    by the way, is the group that you are ‘involved’ with making what you call ‘the tribals’ rub their thumbs on leaves and leaf juice and stamp their thumb prints on declarations to what is presented outside to the world as preservation of ‘tribal’ heritage and culture, but are statements of declaration to hindutva and the vhp – ive seen this many times in several districts and among whole villages. have you done anything to oppose the continuing assaults and destruction of ‘tribal’ heritage and cultures by hindutva fascists? if you haven’t, then, at the very least, you are morally inconsistent.

    also, ‘taking it up with pp’ – you’ve been abusing an organization gratituously, so take responsibility for what you say instead of trying to slide out of it and blame others. hindutva apologist arguments are so predictable. can recognise them, their arguments, their language a mile off.

  91. xyz — on 2nd June, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

    Ripe peat comes back with the predictable line: Since I oppose Christian/Islamic militancy ( and fundamentalism) in the northeast (I didn’t say it was in Manipur alone, I said in Manipur the group works to preserve tribal culture as an example of what they do.) Ho hum. I could have written his/her response myself. Can recognize the ripeness of the arguments, language even from outer space.

    Naturally, since you fight against Hindutva forces you are secular and good, and naturally since I complain about Christian militants and unethical fundamentalists I am an evil fanatic who goes around forcing tribals to do things (unlike the Christian fundies who behead people for not converting or who ban festivals and threaten people who defy them.) Your response is wholly predictable and really puts paid to your hogwash about being secular and fighting against all forms of extremism. Naturally groups like Awaaz/their supporters are the only legitimate ones, everyone else who dares mention and says they are trying to combat Christian and Islamic militancy must be raving. This is why people like you push moderate people against you, because you are basically dishonest and despicable at the core.

    The group I worked with (And yes, I do visit the northeast. Some of my relatives on one side of my family are from that region. You know, the Southeast Asian looking ones?) is not affiliated with the VHP. But it’s interesting that while its ok for Christian fundies/fanatics to target tribals and Christian fundies to complain that Jews are converting Christian tribals in the northeast (who were converted from tribal religions to Christianity in the first place. So if Christians can convert tribals into Christians, why can’t Jews convert Christian tribals into Jews?) and to whinge to the government of India to stop Jews converting Christians (which the “secular” government of India naturally did), its not ok for any Hindu/Buddhist group to counter them without being labelled fanatics. The day Awaaz categorically castigates the Christian taliban/fundies in India for their unethical activities and spreading of hate and stop protecting them under the guise of persecution is the day anyone will respect your whinging about Hindu activities in tribal areas. Talk about moral inconsistency. When you do something real to combat forced conversions and coerced and unethical conversions, and stop pretending that it’s all made up and a conspiracy theory or a chip on someone’s shoulder (never mind the personal testimony of the people affected. Apparently some people’s chips are more real than other people’s chips) and stop trotting out the same old Hindutva line, then come back and talk about moral consistency.

    You must be an imbecile if you think I’m going to tell you the name of the group or in what specific places it operates. Why? So someone and/or their cohorts can do a hatchet job on them like they’ve attempted on others? I’ve seen some of the supporters on Awaaz’s list and oh yes, they really will tackle the Christian/Islamic taliban/fundies/”seculars” in India with the same zest. Don’t make me laugh. Just look at your own response to my statement about the northeast.

    The people I support are a bunch of really good, simple, humble people who do not seek the limelight, do not issues press releases, are not fanatics, including a lot of poor tribal people who are primarily concerned with quietly preserving their way of life, whether it happens to be indigenous, Hindu or Buddhist or a combination. They promote local music, dance, language, ways of dressing, religious customs in the face of an onslaught against them that has pretty much engulfed a lot of the northeast. They are supported by other groups abroad (run by non-Indians from a variety of countries) interested in preserving the tribal way of life around the world, wherever it is threatened by religious nutters seeking to save their heathen souls or by economic/cultural forces. They do work in Thailand and other places. I am certainly not going to endanger their lives or activities by exposing them to the dishonesty of people like you. They are already endangered. Clearly, the work that they are doing is annoying you, because it just doesn’t fit in with your scheme of things.

    Anyways, one good thing has come from your pablum. I am now more determined to pump more of my money, time and efforts into the above and any other problem I see as needing attention. I can’t tell you how much reading your spiel has encouraged me. Likewise, I’m sure my spiel has encouraged you. You concentrate on the Hindu fundies, by all means, and I will concentrate on the Christian/Islamic ones and all bases will be covered. But then again, seeing the “transparency” of your post, I wonder if you really do want all bases covered? Basically I distrust you and you distrust me. I also think that your lot (or the group you support) are also not above gratuitous abuse and slander of organizations/people so you shouldn’t be surprised when the same happens to you. Maybe we’ll even meet up in Manipur one day.:) I’ll teach you a dance or two, but you have to be in good shape and very athletic and know how to play the drums.

    Finally, PP was the one who said that the letter in the Guardian was published by Awaaz Saw. So if that is incorrect, please tell Sunny. I said Awaaz wrote that letter because that’s what it says above.

  92. nydesi — on 2nd June, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    “also, i’m wondering if you have actually been to manipur. because if all you can see there is islamic and christian militancy in the conflicts (which have been there since well before 47 ) – and what an absolute giveaway it is that you only see this – then you have not understood one little thing about the ethnic groups there (including the khasis) or the battles between and within them, ”

    let’s be honest…neither of you jackasses has been to manipur to work with any group.

    One, you can’t travel outside of Imphal, and even then its only for like 10 days or maybe less than that. Plus you can only fly in.

    Even in Imphal, what work would you do? The valley is almost entirely Gaudiya Vaishnav having converted to the religion several centuries ago.

    It’s not a sect of hinduism that the VHP and RSS have any affiliation with. So Peterripes I have no clue which Manipuri/VHP incidents your referring.

    and what the hell do the khasis have to do with manipur?

  93. xyz — on 2nd June, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    Mentioning the Khasis does not mean putting them in Manipur does it? I know where they come from. I referred to the northeast as a whole and then mentioned a cultural effort in Manipur particularly. Work with some Khasis is separate. I have been to the northeast and I didn’t say travelling there was a breeze, but there are ways of getting around and people will help you. But you know best.

  94. brihanalla — on 4th June, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    The following extract from an Awaaz press release from Awaaz may serve to clear up any gratuitous worries about targetting Hindus unnecessarily. It could also be noted that Awaaz is organising an event on the 29th to focus specifically on Islamic fundamentalism/political Islam. Yes, Awaaz should and would condemn the da Vinci code nonsense. As also the violent shenanigans around the cartoon drama (which they did, I think). As also Nick Cohen’s careful omission of Jewish fundamentalism from his ‘think-piece’ in the Guardian attacking everyone but Zionists.

    ‘JAMMU AND KASHMIR
    In the northern state of Jammu and Kahsmir, as many as thirty five Hindus were rounded up from their homes and killed on April 30 and 1 May in the Doda and Udhampur districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The perpetrators are reported to be violent Kashmiri Muslim groups. Awaaz strongly condemns these acts. In the past fifteen years more than 90 per cent of Kashmiri Hindus who lived in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley have fled their homes for fear of attack and are living as refugees in the lowlands and in India’s cities. The government of Pakistan is urged to investigate if groups from within territories it controls are responsible, and to take appropriate action.

    Violent attacks by armed Muslim militias against especially Hindu civilians in Doda district have escalated, particularly since 1998. Several armed militia groups, including the Harakat-ul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e Tayyiba are strongly implicated or involved. Mass targeted attacks on civilians have occurred in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu. Both these organizations have been fostered or sponsored by sections of the Pakistani state.

    We are urging people living in the UK to add their voice to the calls for action. Individuals and organisations you can write to’

    Give up whining and do something (abc rather than xyz)for a change.

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