Friday, March 31, 2006

Blinkered

From Black Information Link (Blink) (via the Pub Philosopher):
A sea of white faces

FREEDOM FOR WHO? That was the question being asked after an all-white 'Freedom March' took place in London.
Oh really, that's the question being asked is it? Well, here's another question that's now being asked - where were all the non-Muslims at the anti-free expression protest?

Yes, most people at Trafalgar Square were white (over 90% of the population is that colour, after all), but compared with the event in Birmingham the free expression rally was a model of multicultural integration.

Trafalgar Square, London



Here's Labi Siffre defending free expression at the "all-white" march. I guess he's not black enough for Blink:



Victoria Square, Birmingham





The wide cross-section of speakers:




(Thanks to Nordish, Michael Fuchs and Hugh Watkins for the pics)

Just another average week...

Let's see what's offended Islam over the past few days.

Cartoons first. Attempts to prevent their appearance at the March for Free Expression failed, although one man is due in court because this fat-faced little fuck complained.


Forbes:
A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.

New York Sun:
A student group at New York University last night bowed to what they said was pressure from administrators and decided not to display the controversial Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed at a panel discussion on the often-violent worldwide reaction to the cartoons.
News & Observer:
Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.
One more point about the cartoons. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the Alberta Human Rights Commission had accepted the complaint of a radical Imam and was pursuing the Western Standard for printing the cartoons. This week the magazine launched a defence fund to fight this malicious attack on the freedom of the press. Learn more and donate here.


It's not just little drawings of Mo that have caused offence, though.

Churches:
A crowd of Muslims of Griya Bukit Jaya Housing Complex, in Bogor Regency of West Java Province, forced a Christian pastor, Fekky Tatulus, to stop his Sunday service and to close his home church on Sunday 26 March. The reason given was that the lack of a permit to hold religious services in a private house.
Christians:
US-based Christian news source, Compass Direct, reports that more Christians have been arrested for their faith in Afghanistan in the wake of the release of Abdul Rahman.
Mother Teresa:
Muslims in Albania's northern city of Shkoder are opposing plans to erect a statue to Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian Catholic nun in line for elevation to sainthood by the Vatican.
Jesus:
Cairo. Plans by an Orthodox Christian filmmaker to make the first movie in Arabic about Jesus are receiving opposition from Muslims...
And best of all, the word "Muslim" (hat tip Justify This):
Posters with the phrase "America's latest hero is a Muslim straight out of jail" has been banned from the Tube by London Underground (LU).

LU said it will not show the posters from a £1m advertising campaign for new TV series Sleeper Cell until creators remove the word Muslim from the text.
As Charles says at LGF:
Maybe it would be easier for everybody if some sheikh somewhere just made a list of things that don’t offend the feelings of Muslims.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Anti-free expression demo pics

Here are a couple of rare items - photographs from the anti-free expression demo in Birmingham on Saturday. Rather a lot of placards left over, eh? And notice how the women have to stand over to the side out of the way.





A few more pics showing the preparations here and here.

NuTories help pass ID cards

From the Guardian:
Identity cards will be compulsory for new passport holders from 2010 after votes in the Lords and Commons last night which ended the tortuous and bitter legislative wrangle between the two houses.

Citizens who apply for new or renewed passports before January 1 2010 will have their names put on the new national identity register establishing the scheme, but will not be required to accept an ID card until that date. But last night's deal could pave the way for the cards to be made compulsory from 2010 for all citizens.
Spy Blog notes the way MPs voted:
Most Conservatives abstained, but 24 of them including their Home Affairs front bench spokesmen David Davis, Edward Garnier and Patrick Mercer voted with the Labour Government. Only 8 Conservatives voted against the motion with the Liberal Democrats.

It seems that David Cameron's NuTories cannot be trusted on civil liberties issues any more than Michael Howard's Tories could be.

Why are they collaborating with NuLabour ?

What does this mean for other vital votes such as the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill?
It doesn't look good.

Abdul Rahman in Italy

Good news:
An Afghan man who escaped a possible death sentence for becoming a Christian has arrived in Italy where he has been granted asylum, says Italy's PM.
But:
...two more Christian converts have been arrested in other parts of the country, but further information is being withheld in the “sensitive situation” caused by the international media furor over Rahman.

Reports of beatings and police raids on the homes of Christians are filtering out of the country through local Christian ministers.
(via Michelle Malkin)

Support Denmark - boycott Danish goods!

Are you still showing solidarity with Denmark by buying Arla products? Well get up to speed will you, that’s so yesterday!

Arla has grovelled, stabbing in the back supporters of free expression in the process, and it's worked:
Islamic scholar Dr Yousuf Al Qaradawi has stated that curbs imposed on Danish firm Arla will be withdrawn...

Qaradawi made the announcement at an international Islamic conference being held in Bahrain. He praised Arla’s stand for stating that there was no need to publish such cartoons unnecessarily. Because of this stand, he said that curbs should be withdrawn and the company’s position would enable the opening of the avenues of dialogue for further such initiatives.

The company had announced its position in a 52-page insert in an Arabic-language magazine. Further, representatives of the firm also interacted with the Bahrain conference attendees and made their opposition to publication of such cartoons clear.
In response, Danish women’s rights activists have begun their own boycott of Arla (website in Danish).

So, the current state of play is this: support Denmark, but don’t buy Arla goods.

No beers will be hurt in this boycott.


(Hat tip the Big Pharoah)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"...you must have been reading the BBC's report ..."

...That's why you don't know these UK terrorists are Muslims, that al Qaeda are here and that there are many many more UK Muslim terrorists out there. Or, that prior to 7/7, UK Muslim terrorists tried to recruit a Muslim Underground worker to mount a terrorist attack.
More at USS Neverdock.

Oops, they did it again

From BBC News:



So even though the sculpture is called “Monument to Pro-Life”, the BBC uses the terms “pro-choice" and "anti-abortionists”. When the term pro-life is mentioned it’s in quotes; pro-choice is not.

My personal view is that it’s not a government’s business to tell a woman what to do with her body, but nevertheless I find the bias in this report disgraceful.

And it's not the first time.

Arab cartoons

Here are some cartoons taken from mainstream Arab papers over the past few weeks.



"The Western Media"



"The freedom of the media"



"Cartoons harming Allah's messenger"



On the left, "Islam" is caricatured; on the right, the "Western media" bows in front of a toilet bowl, labelled "Zionism," from which fire, labelled "the Holocaust," emanates. Behind stands the devil, above which are the Menorah and the Star of David.

Via the ADL's "Arab Media Review: Anti-Semitism and Other Trends January - March 2006", where there are many more examples of this deranged mindset.

Andy Burnham says...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Have you seen this man?

The Nordish Portal has had a tip-off that this is indeed the man who complained about a placard displaying the forbidden cartoons of blasphemy at Trafalgar Square on Saturday.



Pickled Politics want his name, and Jonz thinks a batwa (a bloggers' fatwa) should be declared.

Radio Five Live does the marchers (well, some of them)

There's a fairly lengthy piece about the March for Free Expression in the latest Pods and Blogs on Radio Five Live (6 min 45 secs in). There are interviews with Peter Tatchell, Dan Johnson from Muscular Liberals, David T from Harry’s Place, an Iraqi guy called Ali who said a few words at the rally, a Muslim journalist, and Peter Risdon (or Risdale as the BBC's Chris Vallance calls him).

It's a shame there's nothing from any of the various Infidels, Samizdatans, Freedom Associates and Libertarians who were also at the rally, but I guess their views were considered too extreme for the delicate sensibilities of the BBC.

Miracle Fish of Allah

From 24dash and icLiverpool:
A pair of fish which appear to bear the words Allah and Mohammed were hailed as a "message from God" today.

The Oscar fish were spotted in a pet shop in Speke, Liverpool, by 23-year-old Ali Al-Waqedi.
-----
Long queues have been building up outside the terraced house in Mulgrave Street, Toxteth, where the fish are being kept.
Damn, just a couple of days too late to stick on some placards.

Monday, March 27, 2006

South Park's revenge on Scientology

The opening episode of the new South Park series was shown last week:
Without Hayes' participation, they cobbled together clips of his character for Wednesday's episode, in which the "Super Adventure Club" that Chef joins turns its brainwashed members into child molesters. "South Park's" impish grade-schoolers try to save him, but he is burned, stabbed and mauled by a mountain lion and bear. They try to revive him, and it's not clear if they succeed.

"We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us," says one of the children. "We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains."
That fruity little club! I hope that's how Scientology will be known from now on. See Chef's demise here.

Civilisational Confidence

Mark Steyn's latest Sun Times column deals with the "civilizational confidence" needed over issues such as the case of Abdul Rahman:
At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like Steyn. Here's a report from the theological news source Ekklesia:
Around a thousand Muslims in northern Afghanistan have protested publicly against a decision to dismiss the death penalty case against a man who converted to Christianity 16 years ago in another country...

Chanting “Death to Bush!”, they warned the international community to keep off the case. Condoleezza Rice and other US government representatives had condemned the trial, in a move which some church and human rights activists privately felt was foolish – since it reinforced the idea that Christianity is a western religion and a front for America.

These pathetic, cringing “activists” would rather see Abdul Rahman die than back an American call for his release. It's beyond my comprehension.

And over on the Guardian's blog Faisal Bodi, news editor of the Islam Channel, says it would be a mistake to execute Rahman because that would be bad PR for Islam.
Sending Abdul Rahman to the gallows would indict Islam on a charge of which it is wholly innocent
Yeah, it wouldn't be great news for Rahman either. Bodi thinks that the "turncoat" Rahman should just learn to keep his mouth shut:
So long as his change of heart remains a private matter, he should be left alone to practise his new-found faith.
I think this is what is known as moderate Muslim opinion.

Protester Summonsed

From the Pub Philosopher:
It appears that Reza Moradi, the Iranian who held up the large placard with the Mohammed cartoons on it on Saturday, has been told that he will be summonsed.

Abusing dogs? Now they've gone too far!

I bet more people in Britain get worked up about this than they do about threats to free expression:
Pro-islamic municipalities in Turkey are killing stray dogs, animal rights groups claim.

Municipal workers are hunting, torturing and killing the animals by the hundreds, the campaigners say.

The allegations surfaced when Burcu Isikalp, a young veterinary surgeon, went searching for seven strays she had been caring for near her home in the capital, Ankara. Witnesses told her that municipal workers had taken them away.

She went to Ankara's largest refuse dump, Mamak, where she found one of the strays with hundreds of other dogs. "They were all dead, stacked in large pits," she said. "We also found 10 dead puppies in a bound plastic bag. There is a myth among pious Muslims that dogs are unclean."

Animal rights campaigners who accompanied Miss Isikalp last week said that at least two of the dogs had been sexually abused.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More Free Expression Fallout

The March for Free Expression’s Peter Risdon has written an open letter to Ismaeel Hijazi of the Muslim Action Committee, available at the MfFE blog. He concludes -
This opportunity we both have to break down barriers is one of the best things to come out of the free expression campaign. I'm glad I had a chance to make a contribution first. I'm also very glad you now have a similar opportunity.
Here's the emboldened Ismaeel Hijazi's latest entry on the MAC blog:
The NYU instends to display the cartoons, please send emails asking for civility.
We have just recieved this letter from Stop Political Terror one of our supporting organisations, by our sister Yvonne Ridley.
as'salaamu alaykum,
Our brothers and sisters in New York desperately need our help and support.
On March 29th, this Wednesday, an event is being held by a student organization at New York University called the Objectivist Club. The event's purpose is to analyze the issue of free speech with an emphasis put on the vile cartoons published in Denmark that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and Islam in a highly offensive manner.
The student group is also planning on displaying the cartoons at the event. I joined Muslim students in an emergency meeting with the university and its administration on Friday to ensure the display will not go ahead
I wonder when Peter will get it.

Caption Contest...

...over at the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. My effort:


Victory for the Free Expression Marchers

Abdul Rahman to be freed. It was yesterday's rally wot swung it:

Don't believe me? Fine - tell me what the fuck you did to help then.

Free Expression Rally

Here’s March for Free Expression organiser Peter Risdon, interviewed by Richard Evans on Radio Five Live’s Weekend News last night:
I changed my mind about whether or not people were welcome to display the cartoons and I changed it because of discussions with Muslim people including a number of interviews which I did with your colleagues in the BBC and the BBC Asian network...
I didn’t realise it was the job of BBC journalists to exert such influence, but it makes me even more convinced I was right to ignore Mr Risdon’s request and turn up with the cartoons. Quite apart from anything else, it was remarkable just how many people had never seen them. Only a handful of us displayed the pictures in various forms, although given the total turnout it could be argued that was a reasonable percentage, all things considered. I don’t know how many people were there in total, but I think Perry at Samizdata overestimates a tad when he reckons a thousand (I think the police were probably closer to the mark with a couple of hundred but as I say I don't really know- I didn't get an overview). I do agree with Perry on this:
However in my opinion Sean Gabb was without doubt the best speaker as he was direct, clear and uncompromising, and most importantly confined his remarks entirely to the subject of freedom of expression. He also spoke for about half as long as most as the others, eschewing off-topic rambling and partisan digressions, which also endeared him to many in the crowd. If an unreconstructed free market capitalist like Gabb can resist advocating capitalism at a pro-freedom of expression rally, I will thank communists, socialists, greens and anyone else to kindly show the same focus on why we came to listen to what they have to say.
I think the decision to discourage the cartoons affected turnout, as did the possibility of trouble. On that topic, it’s a shame that nobody seems to have pictures of the gang of Muslims that turned up. I heard their chants but didn’t see them - the police wouldn't let them near because they refused to remove the scarves wrapped around their faces (I wonder why) , so they left.


I'm glad I went, and I can't knock Peter Risdon and his colleagues for their effort, but I wasn't particulalry pleased when I heard his radio interview as I drove home from the station last night. Here’s the full transcript, excluding the initial niceties:
Richard Evans: I say it went off without trouble but there were some people carrying placards bearing those cartoons which have caused such offence. How do you feel about that?

Peter Risdon: Well, there was one placard...
I think we’ll stop right there. There was more than one. Check out the photos at Nordish for starters.
...there was an incident when there was a complaint because of it and somebody was taken to one side by the police and there may be action taken over it, I don’t know. The person was part of a group from Iran and erm, they decided to - I’d asked people not to bring placards with the cartoons on but they come from the Islamic world, they were all Iranians, and they felt so strongly about it that they decided they wanted to disregard it and they had one of the cartoons, very small...
Clearly visible, (see Nordish)...
...in the middle of a placard which had other material on it as well. Um, they come from the Islamic world, in some ways I feel like I’m not entitled to tell them they shouldn’t feel so strongly about it.
But people not from the Islamic world - it's ok to tell them not to feel so strongly about it?
RE: How difficult has it been for you to organise this demonstration? I mean you are marching for what you say is the freedom of expression - how difficult was it do that without causing any further offence.

PR: Um… the question ‘causing offence’ wasn’t uppermost in my mind. If you advocate the right of freedom of expression then you are advocating the right of people to offend other people - you are. The questions that I was most concerned about was how to exclude the extremists and how to reclaim this question for the moderate middle ground and I think we were able to do that.

RE: Ismaeel Hijazi, were you caused any offence today?

IH: I wasn’t caused any offence today. Erm, we’ve been talking, me and Peter, we’ve been talking the past few days about this issue and I think er, initially when the issue of organising counter-demonstrations came up there was lots of crossed wires. Um, and what’s happened is Peter made the right decision...
And will all future demonstrations now need the official endorsement of the Muslim Action Committee to prevent potential violence? Do as we say or else...
... - he told people not to bring the cartoons and as he said this got rid of the extremist elements that were either … were being very vocal on his blog. And , you know, (unheard) I’ve also spoken to one of the speakers who spoke there today and she said it was very , y’know, very calm, very peaceful and it went very well and so y’know I’m very happy about it.
I’m so happy you’re happy Ismaeel because that’s all that really matters in the end, isn't it? One point - why wouldn’t it have been very calm and very peaceful? Those of us who displayed the cartoons weren’t the ones itching for a fight. Will the MAC condemn the gang who turned up with scarves around their faces?
RE: It’s interesting isn’t it because your demonstration was set up in direct response to the one in Trafalgar Square and here you are the two organisers - you sound like best mates to me tonight.
I was thinking that.
IH: Well not quite best mates, but um, I mean I think through this process of dialogue we’ve, y’know, we’ve managed to get to a point where at least we can speak to each other and we can understand each other’s perspective. And I think this is what our campaign has been about, which is not so much been a counter-demonstration to Peter’s, it’s also been a demonstration in support of the campaign for global civility which is essentially talking about not abusing one another.

RE: You remain deeply offended by the cartoons do you?

IH: Oh absolutely.

RE: The cartoons which Mr Risdon says that the Danish cartoonists have the right to publish. And to cause offence with.

IH: That’s his opinion. He’s entitled to his opinion and I disagree with him.. I disagree that they have the right to…er … and it’s not just a question of offence because if anyone - if you have any two people with different opinions sitting down talking to one another obviously there’s going to be offence. It’s how you have that discussion - do you go up an abuse, er, your opposition by y’know insulting his mother, insulting his father, or do you just put across you points in a good mannered way. And this is what … this is the difference that we’re talking about.

RE: Peter Risdon, by talking to Mr Hijazi do you understand more tonight where he was coming from why there is so much offence amongst the Muslim community about these cartoons?

PR: The word ‘understand’ can have different meanings - it can mean ‘comprehend’ or ‘sympathise with’ can’t it, and what I’ve really…er, I changed my mind about whether or not people were welcome to display the cartoons and I changed it because of discussions with Muslim people including a number of interviews which I did with your colleagues in the BBC and the BBC Asian network, with Sunrise Radio, with Asian magazines where it became obvious to me… something I hadn’t realised before… that the cartoons which to me which are part of the mainstream tradition of secular, erm, satire - in the present context when the BNP are waving them around on election literature would’ve created an environment which would’ve been impossibly hostile and intimidating for any Muslim who agreed with us to come.
But the BNP lost their council by-election last week. Note to organiser of free expression demo - let the voters decide.
Now that’s why I didn’t say … that’s why I asked people not to bring them. We’ve been staring at each other from bunkers and we’ve been unable to see that we don’t agree about everything but we agree about quite a lot. The Muslim Action Committee are not, so far as I can see, trying to censor everything that everyone might do…and they don’t seem to be trying to impose sharia law on everyone who isn’t a Muslim.
Hizb uh Tahrir is one of MAC’s affiliates. They don’t want “global civilty”, they want a global caliphate under sharia law.
They have a particular view about self-restraint which thy feel ought to be imposed, people ought to impose on themselves. Now I don’t think you can say that but we’ve reached the point where we can discuss it and that for me is one of the most constructive things that’s come out of this… that we’re not… that we realise that we‘re not at each other’s throats over this, that we realise that there’s been a lot of misunderstanding and that we can actually have a civil debate about it and that’s what we’ve doing. We have spoken with each other over the last few days about it and we don’t agree but we’re discussing it. And a debate is a two-way flow. A debate is me imposing my views on somebody else and it isn’t somebody imposing there views on me - it’s an exchange.

RE: All right, well thanks for telling us about it tonight and may that debate continue.
I don’t think Peter’s summary reflects the tone of yesterday’s speeches. It wasn't so conciliatory. People were very angry - peaceful, yes, but angry nonetheless. Do others who attended have any views?

One big disappointment - my camera got banged about on the way down to London and I spent the afternoon snapping away for no reason. Charles at Islamophobic has links to more photos.

And finally - you know when you think of something really funny and apposite to say, but only after the event? That happened to me yesterday. A small, middle-aged white guy came up and told me he thought I was being unnecessarily offensive by displaying the cartoons. I politely replied that he was free to think that. What I should’ve said was “Fuck off!”


(Update - correct name of interviewer is Richard Evans)

Blog problem - service now resumed (hopefully)

The big "Free Abdul Rahman" picture I put up was causing problems with my blog so I've had to delete that post.

I'm busy this morning but intend to post something about yesterday's rally in Trafalgar Square soon.

Friday, March 24, 2006

March For Free Expression on Radio 4

The March for Free Expression was featured on Radio 4's World at One (23 min, 25 secs in) today. The general tone - display the cartoons and you’re an extremist.

Peter Risdon was interviewed first and he pretty much repeated what he’s said on the MfFE blog.

Then the Muslim Action Committee’s Ismaeel-Haneef Hijazi was on and he dismissed the request by the organisers to not show the cartoons at the march as too little too late. He was then asked about the police:

Nick Clarke: Do you think the police should intervene?

Hijazi: I think they should intervene because they’re risking public disturbances. Our organisation has already said we are not against freedom of speech but what we are against is public provocative abuse. They said they are going to enforce anyone bringing racist placards and I think they should do the right thing and do that. There’ll be a counter-demonstration in Birmingham. We’re not going to risk counter-demonstrations in London because we’re not going to be responsible for gathering large numbers of Muslims because if that gets out of hand we’re not going to be held responsible for that.
Who exactly is the one being provocative here? And the cartoons are now officially racist are they?

Chief Superintendent Dave George was next:
Nick Clarke: What will happen if people turn up with banners displaying these cartoons showing the prophet Mohammed?

George: Well, first of all can I just say we’ve got no evidence to suggest that will happen (!!!!) but our policing plan will have a number of provisions to take into consideration anything that happens during the day. Clearly if people are turning up and doing anything that might cause concern, harassment or distress then we have provisions to actually take action about it.

Nick Clarke: Do the police have a view as a result of the rallies that took place a month ago now on whether those images amount to a provocation to public order?
Just to get that straight - Nick Clarke is asking if, as a result of the “Kill Those Who Insult Islam” placards, the cartoons amount to a provocation to public order. Huh? Muslims threaten to murder people and yet those who wish to display some cartoons peacefully as a show of solidarity with Denmark are the ones who are provocative?
Chief Superintendent Dave George: We will deal with anything that arises on any public order event. Clearly we’ll have provision and we’ll have plans to deal with that. It would be wholly inappropriate at this stage to suggest what our course of action would be. I t would be depending on the ambient circumstances for each incident. However you can rest assured that we do have provision to deal with anything that will happen on the day.
He went on say he doesn’t think there’ll be a counter demonstration but there are provisions to deal with that as well (which will probably involve asking the counter-demonstrators exactly what they want the police to do, and then doing it for them).

I’m going to turn up with the cartoons and a "Free Abdul Rahman" picture. If the police order me not to display the cartoons I won’t wait for the rally - I’ll just come straight back home having learned that free expression doesn’t exist in my country because of Islam.

Free Abdul Rahman

From the Australian:
PRIME Minister John Howard will personally protest to the Afghanistan Government over the prosecution of a man who faces possible execution for converting from Islam to Christianity...

"I am going to personally protest again to the president of Afghanistan," he told Southern Cross radio.

"This is appalling. When I saw the report about this I felt sick literally.

"We are putting the lives of Australian soldiers on the line. This is outrageous. The idea that a person could be punished because of their religious belief and the idea they might be executed is just beyond belief.

"I am very unhappy about it."
[...]
Islamic clerics have said local people will tear the man to pieces if the Government bows to western pressure.

"I don't want friends like that. Whoever said that is no friend of Australia," Mr Howard said.
The US, Germany, Italy, Canada and Australia all have troops in Afghanistan and all have condemned the threat to Abdul Rahman’s life.

Tony Blair? Nothing. Jack Straw? Nothing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I am Drinking From Home...

... and I endorse this message.

March for Free Expression - Shameful Update

I'm fucking furious, me. I've just read this on the March for Free Expression website:
At the outset, we said that displays of the Danish cartoons would be welcome on Saturday. No, let me rephrase that: At the outset, I, Peter Risdon, said the cartoons would be welcome. I am going to take full responsibility for this. I now think that was a mistake.

In practice, Muslims who wholeheartedly endorse our statement of principle, as quoted below by Peter Tatchell in his superb essay, who abhor the threats made against Danish cartoonists and believe people should have the right to publish things they themselves find offensive or abhorrent would be UNABLE to come to our rally on Saturday, because to be surrounded by these cartoons, now, in the present context when the BNP are using them as a rallying point, would be intolerable.

So I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.
I had no intention of turning up with a placard displaying the Danish cartoons. BUT I FUCKING WELL WILL NOW.

There was a slim chance my work would prevent me from attending on Saturday but by this morning I felt happy enough to buy my NON-REFUNDABLE, short-notice, insanely expensive rail tickets from North Yorkshire to London. I still have important stuff to do on Saturday morning AND Saturday evening, but I managed to get tickets which would allow me just enough time to dash from Kings Cross to Trafalgar Square, stay for the demo, and race back again to Kings Cross for the return journey. That's a 500 mile round-trip for a couple of hours in the capital.

Having read Peter Risdon’s post my first thought was - fuck it, money down the drain, stay at home, take time over my work and have a nice leisurely Saturday. But I’ve decided that I’m not wasting the tickets. I’m going to Trafalgar Square, and I’ll have the fucking cartoons on display. They were the catalyst for this demonstration and I intend to show solidarity with the cartoonists, journalists and publishers who now face each day with the prospect of murder.

Peter Risdon cites Tatchell’s “superb essay” in his defence. Yes, Tatchell makes many good points, but if the organisers of the march really think I, or many like me, promoted Saturday’s event because we were inspired by the prospect of hearing Mr Tatchell “assert the right to condemn British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan” then they were very much mistaken. I will attend on Saturday, even though I now know that Trafalgar Square will once again, for the umpteenth time this year, echo to the sound of our troops being condemned and Palestinian terrorists lauded, and God knows what else, but I will endure because that is free expression.

I won’t be fucking censored though, and I hope nobody else will. Join me.

Read all about it...

...over at USS Neverdock - Marc's been very busy today.

Kember rescue

Could this be any more embarrassing for the peace activists?
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. and British troops Thursday freed three Christian peace activists in rural Iraq without firing a shot, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the U.S. military spokesman, said the hostages were being held by a ``kidnapping cell,'' and the operation to free the captives was based on information from a man captured by U.S. forces only three hours earlier.
I wonder if the Americans got the info during a damn good interrogation. Heh.

One thing seems likely - the soldiers involved won't get any thanks from Kember's Christian Peacemakers. I've just heard one spokeswoman on the radio say they hadn't wanted troops to intervene. Hopefully next time they won't bother.

Jilbabble

Boris Johnson on the Shabina Begum case:
This case wasn't even about religion, or conscience, or the dictates of faith. At least it wasn't primarily about those things. It was about power. It was about who really runs the schools in this country, and about how far militant Islam could go in bullying the poor, cowed, gelatinous and mentally spongiform apparatus of the British state.

Galloway now pro-nuclear

Here's George Galloway getting arrested at a CND demo in 2001:



And here he is defending Iran’s nuclear project on Abu Dhabi TV last Saturday
(clip available at MEMRI - hat tip Harry’s Place):




This doesn't quite chime with the following resolution passed at the national conference of Galloway’s Respect party last November:
Nuclear waste won't be safe for over a million years, is a toxic hazard the whole time and no safe storage method has ever been agreed. Nuclear is also dangerous, as the example of Chernobyl shows and is vastly expensive. The last nuclear reactor built in Britain, Sizewell B, was over double its original budget and the government has already put aside £50 billion pounds to cover existing nuclear waste. Finally, nuclear power provides the raw material for nuclear weapons programmes.

Respect should... Oppose any new nuclear power stations.
Unless they’re being built by anti-Western madmen, of course.

Re MAC's anti-free speech protests

On March 16th the Muslim Action Committee, an umbrella organisation of “over 400 Islamic Scholars of the United Kingdom” representing nearly 200 affiliate groups, announced that it would be holding demonstrations in 31 towns and cities to protest against the March for Free Expression taking place at Trafalgar Square this Saturday.

These ambitious plans have now been revised a little. According to the MAC blog, “after extensive discussions between the Ulema (Religious Scholars and Imams)” there will now be just the one demo in Birmingham “Allah willing”. Various excuses are given.

Heh.

The March for Free Expression is still taking place as planned this Saturday, March 25th, Trafalgar Square, 2pm-4pm. Speakers will include Sean Gabb, Director, Libertarian Alliance; Evan Harris, MP, Lib Dem human rights spokesman; Maryam Namazie, Broadcaster & Human Rights Campaigner; Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society; Sayyida Rend Shakir al-Hadithi; Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner; Mark Wallace, The Freedom Association. Get along.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pass the sick bag

Via Guido Fawkes comes this sickly picture from Labour's post-Budget email:

Someone in the comments at Guido's place thinks it looks like a graphic artist's version of infant drawing. I think he's probably right.

As they used to say in MAD magazine - blecch!

Update 7:15pm. CRAYONGATE! Is it legal to forge the Chancellor of the Exchequer's signature?

They'll be hiding things from the party treasurer next.

Budget Screencaps

The excitement of Gordon Brown's Budget speech was all a bit too much for John Prescott.




Jack Straw was unusually restless too.

'Why don't you die?'

The plight of Abdul Rahman is very worrying, but there are stories of hope in Afghanistan too, such as this one of a child bride saved from torture (via Dhimmi Watch):
"When I was three years old my father died, and after a year my mother married again, but her second husband didn't want me," says Gulsoma. "So my mother gave me away in a promise of marriage to our neighbor's oldest son, who was thirty."…

"They beat me with electric wires," she says, "mostly on the legs. My father-in-law told his other children to do it that way so the injuries would be hidden. He said to them, 'break her bones, but don't hit her on the face.'"

There were even times when the family's abuse of Gulsoma transcended the bounds of the most wanton, sadistic cruelty, as on the occasions when they used her as a human tabletop, forcing her to lie on her stomach then cutting their food on her bare back...

One evening, Gulsoma says, when her father-in-law saw the neighbor giving her food and a blanket, he took them away and beat her mercilessly. Then, she says, he locked her in a shed for two months…

"When he came to the shed he kept asking me, 'Why don't you die? I imprisoned you, I give you less food, but still you don't die.'"

Gulsoma said when her father-in-law finally let her out of the shed, he bound her hands behind her back and beat her unconscious. She says he revived her by pouring a tea thermos filling with scalding water over her head and her back...

Eventually, her story was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Women's Affairs...

She says she believes there are other girls like her in Kandahar, maybe elsewhere in Afghanistan, and that she wants to study human rights and one day go back to help them.
In the meantime the UN will continue its crusade against... er... Denmark.

Abdul Rahman

BBC News:
The US and three Nato allies have expressed concern over reports that a Muslim convert to Christianity could face the death penalty in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could be executed under Sharia law unless he reconverts.

The US made a subdued appeal for him to be allowed to practise his faith - but stressed it did not want to interfere.

Germany, Italy and Canada
, which all have troops in Afghanistan, also voiced concern over Mr Rahman's plight.
I notice one prominent Nato ally with particular interest in Afghan affairs is yet to say anything. Why the silence from Britain? Is Jack Straw scared of upsetting his Muslim constituents in Blackburn, perhaps?

Meanwhile:
An Anglican archdeadon resigned as editor of the official Church in Wales magazine yesterday after reprinting a cartoon caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed from the French newspaper France Soir.

The Ven Meurig Llwyd Williams, the Archdeacon of Bangor, quit after the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, apologised to the Muslim Council of Wales.

Dr Morgan also appealed to the 500 subscribers to the Welsh language magazine Y Llan - meaning "Church" - to return all copies to be pulped.

He said publishing the cartoon, to illustrate an article about the shared ancestry of Christianity and Islam, was "a gross error of judgment"
.

A press release highlighting the grovelling apology is available on the Church in Wales website, but there is no comment on the proposed death sentence for a Christian convert.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mullahs sign BBC deal?

What's this all about then? Via Busting BBC Bias.
Iran's mullahs signed a huge agreement with BBC

Iran will soon present its tourist attractions in a publicity campaign to be waged in the international and local television networks, said an official of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Foundation (ICHTF) in Madrid Wednesday.

"The publicity campaign will be in the form of advertisements introducing cultural, historical and development attractions of Iran," said Deputy Head of ICHTF for Cultural and Communication Affairs Alireza Sajjadpour...

"We have signed a huge agreement with BBC," he added. He, however, declined to cite the contracts' details.

Making a monkey of Lord Falconer

Meet Charlie the Chimp (you'll need to turn your speakers up - the recording isn't very loud).

Let's face it, a chimp could do a better job than him anyway.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bush warns Iran on Israel

This is more like it (via Jihad Watch):
"I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," said Bush.
America - Fuck Yeah!

Monk-e-Mail

Big hat tip to the Gallows Ape for introducing me to Monk-e-Mail. Be warned, don’t click on the link if you’ve got important other stuff to do - it’s addictive.

"There is no England" backlash

Neil Herron reports that Newcastle City Council leader Peter Arnold's letter to the Indie asserting that “there is no England” hasn’t gone down too well in the city:
Mr. Arnold conveniently omitted his political title when replying to a letter in the Independent newspaper. It was well spotted and passed to us and we have assisted the local press in bringing it to everyone's attention...

Coun Arnold last night revealed he had received "vitriolic" emails since the letter was published, accusing him of being a traitor to the country.
I do hope my message on the CEP blog last Thursday played some small part:
“Could the Peter Arnold from Newcastle who wrote the above letter be the same Peter Arnold (Lib Dem) who is leader of Newcastle City Council?

If so, he can be emailed here - peter.arnold@newcastle.gov.uk”

Early release murderers

Three murders all committed by people on early release. But that's not the only similarity.

Murderers (clockwise from top left) Adrian Thomas, Indrit Krasniqi, Jamaile Morally, Michael Johnson, Llewellyn Adams and Joshua Morally

Victim Mary Ann Leneghan


Murderer Yousef Bouhaddaou

Victim Robert Symons


Murderers Damien Hanson and Elliot White

Victim John Monckton


If these had been white murderers and ethnic victims would the media now be talking about a disturbing trend? And is political correctness playing a part in decisions about the early release of prisoners?

The dhimmi UN demonises Denmark

Here’s the poster that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is using to publicise its International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination tomorrow.



Lego - geddit?

(Via the Nordish Portal and the Anti-Jihad Pundit.)

Update 8:50pm
. I never had the Pub Philosopher down as a cock-eyed optimist, but...

The Home Secretary's favourite phrase

Over the past few weeks Charles Clarke has promised to learn a great deal.

Today:
A sixth gang member behind the kidnap and stabbing of Mary-Ann Leneghan has been found guilty of murder.

Indrit Krasniqi, 18, of Chiswick, west London, was convicted on Monday. Four men had already been found guilty and a fifth man had admitted the murder.

Four of the gang were on probation at the time of the killing in Reading, Berkshire, it has been revealed...

Home Secretary Charles Clarke described the case as "dreadful" and said it was "vital" lessons were learned.
March 15, 2006:
A burglar who stabbed a teacher after he broke into his home just five weeks after early release from jail was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday.

Yousef Bouhaddaou was told at the Old Bailey he would serve at least 27 years for murdering 45-year-old Robert Symons at his home in Chiswick, west London...

Home Secretary Charles Clarke is expected next month to announce changes to the supervision of offenders... The Home Office said there had already been a review of the Bouhaddaou case and any lessons from it would be included in Clarke's conclusions.
February 28, 2006:
Damien Hanson and Elliot White were convicted of the killing of Mr Monckton and the attempted murder of his wife in December 2005. Both Hanson and White were under the supervision of London Probation Area (LPA) at the time the crimes were committed in November 2004...

The report identifies many serious deficiencies in the way in which the cases of Hanson and White were managed and is the result of an urgent investigation ordered by Home Secretary Charles Clarke to consider the management of both cases by LPA and the lessons to be learned for all the authorities involved.
February 9, 2006:
The Home Secretary rejected calls today for a judicial inquiry into why the radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza was not brought to justice sooner…

Mr Clarke said it was a "lack of confidence" in the ability to secure a conviction that was behind the length of time taken to bring Hamza to trial.

And he promised to learn lessons.
Yeah, whatever you say Charles.

Saturday's Stopper Demos

Kittykiller was at the anti-war demo in London on Saturday, and he's grateful to the MSM:
...the event seemed to attract small number of 9/11 and 7/7 conspiracy theorists. Thankfully media coverage avoided the "Inside Job?" banners held by a few people on the march...
Yes, it would be a terrible shame if the stoppers were associated with the moonbats. Let's hope nobody draws attention to pictures like these (viaFlickr):


And here's a nice sentiment from the peace movement in America:



Many speakers at demos around the world called for more land to be given to the Palestinians (yeah, I thought it was meant to be about Iraq too). Fortunately, a solution was also found - they're going to build new settlements on this guy's butt.

A few links

Excellent article by John Leo on how the MSM mollifies Islam.

Victor Davis Hanson on Teflon Europe. Think of the European outrage if Milosevic and Milan Babic had died in American custody, or Bush rather than Chirac had threatened to use nuclear weapons.

The Sunday Times on the wonderful Wafa Sultan.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Welsh Culture in Chaos!

From BBC News
Culture Minister Alun Pugh has been urged to ask the chair of the Arts Council of Wales to stay in the job, despite a dispute between them...

Mr Talfan Davies, a former BBC Wales controller, has claimed he was effectively sacked because he was not automatically reappointed by Culture Minister Alun Pugh after his first three years in the post.

That term ends this month and Mr Talfan Davies refused to go through what he called the "charade" of reapplying.
"I didn't have to go through all this accountability bullshit when I was at the BBC, I can tell you!"
Plaid Cymru AM Owen John Thomas said: "There'll be nobody at the helm in the arts council when the review starts. On top of that the minister has just gone off to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and there'll be nobody here.
Welsh culture will be devoid of political and bureaucratic guidance for a little while. What will artists do? Can Wales survive? It's only a matter of time before walls start crumbling...

BBC reports on evil money-grabbing Jews

Alan Johnston reports from Gaza, using the romantic style so beloved of the BBC’s Middle East correspondents (cf. Jim Muir: “But in that cold December, there were no flowers...”):
The tractor trailer rose slowly and began to dump its load of perfect, red and green peppers onto a stretch of wasteland in southern Gaza.

Later a herd of goats wandered over and began feasting on the great mound of vegetables that lay shining in the sun.

In this poverty-stricken place, farmers are being forced to throw away tons and tons of produce that ought to be fetching high prices in the supermarkets of Europe.

The problem is that the Israelis have blocked Gaza's export route.
The heartless, vindictive bastards, eh? But hang on, read further - quite a bit further - and you'll come to this:
The terminal was attacked by Palestinian militants early last year. Several Israelis died. And now the Israeli military says it believes another attack may be in the offing.
Why “says it believes” (as in "or so it claims") and not just “says” or “believes”? Because Johnston won’t take the Israelis at their word, whereas everything said by Palestinians is reported as fact. He goes on to say:
Israel has offered a smaller, temporary, alternative exit point from Gaza. But the Palestinian Authority has rejected this.
So when Johnston says “The problem is that the Israelis have blocked Gaza's export route”, he’s not actually telling the truth is he? The real problem is that the Palestinian Authority has rejected alternative export routes whilst Israel tries to guarantee the safety of its citizens against further terrorist attacks from Palestinians.

And just for good measure, he throws in this gem:
In a rare gesture of goodwill, wealthy Jewish American philanthropists paid the departing settlers around $14m (£8m) to leave the hothouses standing.
Geddit? Jews giving away money - hell must be freezing over! Isn’t there a name for people who hold those sort of prejudices?

Mercedes drivers against the war?

Here’s a photogenic young protester in London yesterday. Shame she got the peace sign a bit wrong (hat tip Michelle Malkin):



The above picture is from Yahoo News. Here’s the one from the Press Association that the BBC used (picture 9). Looks like she’s put on a bit of slap for this heroic pose.



The BBC’s caption reads “But the message across the globe was the same - to end the war in Iraq.” They should just go the whole hog and add - “This is the BBC and we endorse this message”.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Blair's Slush Fund

Matthew Parris in today's Times:
I believe Tony Blair is an out-and-out rascal, terminally untrustworthy and close to being unhinged. I said from the start that there was something wrong in his head, and each passing year convinces me more strongly that this man is a pathological confidence-trickster. To the extent that he ever believes what he says, he is delusional. To the extent that he does not, he is an actor whose first invention — himself — has been his only interesting role...

The genius Mr Blair showed this week in extricating himself from this latest corner was breathtaking. If a burglar, caught red-handed, should by effrontery and oratory make from the dock so stirring a call for the fundamental reform of the Theft Acts that the whole court were distracted from the charge and persuaded to “move on” . . . then the tour de force would hardly be more impressive.
And the Tories can't capitalise because they've been taters deep too.

Scientology - South Park creators respond

From Variety:
The battle between "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Scientology is escalating.

The dust-up gained steam last week when Isaac Hayes, a practicing Scientologist who has long been the voice of the character Chef, quit after objecting to a "South Park" episode called "Trapped in the Closet," which lampooned both the religion and Tom Cruise.

The skirmish continued this week, when Comedy Central abruptly pulled a repeat of that episode that was scheduled to air Wednesday evening...

While the "South Park" creators didn't directly comment on Comedy Central's decision to pull the episode, they issued an unusual statement to Daily Variety indicating the battle is not over.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"

The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."
Heh!

The cartoon affair rumbles on...

Danish Muslims are reporting Denmark to the UN. More on this and related events from the Anti-Jihad Pundit.

Equal Opportunities

The Infidel Bloggers Alliance now has a Muslim Babe of the Month to complement its Infidel Babe of the Month.

March For Free Expression



Good news for those elements on the left who oppose next week’s March For Free Expression - the Muslim Action Committee (MAC) is organising a series of counter-demonstrations in towns across the country for those who are against free speech or only support it in a limited way on their own terms.

MAC is an umbrella body representing many British mosques and political organisations (including the widely-banned Hizb uh-Tahrir). It was behind the “moderate” February 18th cartoon demo in London where placards such as these conveyed an underlying message of threat:



MAC has a website and blog devoted to opposing next week’s march.

Millions of people have died to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. Don’t take those freedoms for granted. Please be at Trafalgar Square next Saturday.



Update Sunday. Similar sentiments from Nick Cohen in today's Observer.

Friday, March 17, 2006

BBC & the 'T' word

BBC News:
Gujarat police 'kill militants'

Police in the western Indian state of Gujarat say that they have killed four suspected militants.

Senior police official PP Pande told the BBC that the militants were killed in the fighting in the state capital, Ahmedabad early on Friday.

He said a policeman was injured in the fighting.

Mr Pande said the police had information that militants were planning to carry out attacks against prominent persons in the state.

The police suspect that the militants were members of a militant group which is active in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Enough already! We get the message - they were militants, right? Even that senior police official said so, didn't he? Or did he? Well, not according to NDTV, who actually quote him:
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) PP Pande said "prima facie it appears that the four terrorists gunned down in Vatva locality belong to Kashmir-based outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen."
Is Mr Pande really using one phrase for domestic media and another for foreign agencies? Or is the BBC now so repelled by the 'T' word that it can't even report its use by someone else?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson in the latest Democratiya:
I will speak today from the democratic left and mainly about the left. But I am seeking interlocutors from, and alliances with, the much wider set of democratic and liberal traditions represented at this conference.
From the March for Free Expression blog last week:
Blogs and journals of the left have been commenting on the fact that some of their number have offered their support to this campaign and, thereby, found themselves sharing a platform with people with whom they disagree about politics more generally.

As a consequence, Alan Johnson of Democratiya has decided to withdraw his support from our campaign.

"Let's Talk"

A letter to the “Let’s Talk” column at Aljazeera.com (which is nothing to do with Al-Jazeera TV, incidentally) asks “Religious tolerance in the West - Does it exist?”

Here’s the answer from one Sheikha Sajida:
“Religious tolerance is indeed needed in the West as it has a variety of people and cultures from all over the world, those who went to study, work, or immigrants.”

If, for some reason, you are not struck by the irony of this, try this snippet from Wikipedia for starters:
According to the CIA World Fact Book, 100% of Saudi Arabia’s citizens are Muslims.

The exit and entry visa cards ask applicants for their religious affiliation and officially bans entry to atheists, Jews or anyone with an official stamp from the State of Israel
.

More about the "Let's Talk" column.

A not unrelated link.

Make of this what you will...

...but it sure as hell isn't being reported in the MSM.

The body of a missing schoolgirl may have been turned into burgers and kebabs and served up at a seaside fast food outlet.

Police fear the remains of 14 year old Charlene Downes, who went missing in November 2003, may also have been ground up into tile grout.

Iyad Albattikhi, 28, who ran the Funny Boyz takeaway in Blackpool, is charged with her murder.

The co-owner of the business Mohammed Raveshi, a 49 year old former social services worker and foster father, is charged with assisting in the disposal of her body.
Hat-tip Laban, more here and here.