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UK Nutter News

2014: Jan-March

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Update: The Modern World Sits in Judgment of Religion...

Transport for London, unsurprisingly prefers not to carry adverts featuring religious satire. And christians do not understand why

Link Here31st March 2014
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
There is an exhibition at St Marylebone Church of the work of 20 artists' representations of the Stations of the Cross. Throughout Lent, some of these have been approved by TfL to appear on the London Underground.

But not Antony Micallef's Kill Your Idol , a representation of the first station, where Jesus is condemned to death, this time by an X-Factor style panel of judges.

A spokesperson for TfL said the poster was rejected because it did not comply with the firm's advertising policy. She pointed to a clause that concerns causing widespread or serious offence to members of the public and another referring to advertisements that do not comply with the law or incite someone to break the law.

It is the view of St Marylebone's Rector, the Reverend Canon Stephen Evans, that this work raises:

Important contemporary questions about the fickleness and shallowness of fame and celebrity, success and failure. About who has the power to say just who is going to be a 'hit' and who a 'miss'.

It is not an image that could cause offence, it's not obscene; it is just a very, very strange decision.

But of course the decision is nothing to do with nuances of offence. It's just that everybody knows that religion and satire simply do not mix, and anything coming anywhere close is simply best avoided for fear of either violence or else a station load of moaning minnies. It seems that religion these days is not really very welcome in the normal world, it causes far too much trouble in the world.



Update: Morality Lectures...

Scottish university lecturers call for the censorship of lads' mags

Link Here29th March 2014
Full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
University lecturers have backed plans to censor lads' magazines from Scottish universities.

Academics from the UCU Scotland union are demanding shops on campus are either banned from selling the publications or at least prevented from putting them on display.

The union's annual congress in Stirling heard that the sale of lads' magazines was part of a supposedly growing culture of sexism at Scottish universities that had to be tackled.

Janice Aitken, UCU Scotland's equalities spokeswhinger, said such:

We have to think about the impact it has on a female student entering a university shop to find magazines on sale that depict women as sex objects. It is equally important that male students are also aware that the university views these sort of magazines as unacceptable.



A Fashion for Taking Offence...

HM pulls a vest featuring a star and skull at the request of jewish organisation

Link Here29th March 2014
H&M has pulled a vest from sale after receiving complaints that it was anti-Semitic. The top featured a jewish style star emblazoned with a skull. A spokesperson for H&M said:

Please accept our most sincere apologies that this has caused offence. We understand the criticism and in response to this have decided to remove the T-shirt from all stores with immediate effect.

Mark Gardner, director of communications at a jewish organisation called Community Security Trust, said that fashion brands need to be more mindful when deciding on religious-inspired prints.

Fashion statements can work in diverse ways and if you randomly saw somebody wearing this in the street, then you might well believe it to be anti-Semitic and purchased from a neo-Nazi website or similar. It is for H&M to decide if they care about such things, but would they risk such reactions with a Christian crucifix or a Muslim crescent?



Walking on Water...

BBC religious police think they are beyond reproach in censoring Eliza Doolittle

Link Here17th March 2014
The BBC asked pop star Eliza Doolittle to drop a reference to Jesus when performing a song on the radio.

Doolittle was asked to re-word her love song Walking On Water for an appearance on the Radio 2 breakfast show, hosted by Chris Evans, because she refers to Jesus walking on water, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Her lyric refers to putting on a pair of trainers to run across the water to a yearned-for love. She told the Mail on Sunday that she had to change the lyrics from:

Sometimes I wish I was Jesus, I'd get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you.


Sometimes I wish it was easy to get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you.

BBC bosses are facing justified accusations they were oversensitive over Doolittle's religious reference.

Now the BBC claimed there had been a misunderstanding , and that the corporation would not request a singer alters their lyrics.



Not So Free Speech...

BBC censored by the Birmingham Central Mosque

Link Here14th March 2014
The BBC has controversially dropped a debate on homosexuality from a live panel discussion show because of objections from Birmingham Central Mosque in which the programme was being filmed.

As first reported by Breitbart London, the BBC Three live debate and discussion show aimed at young people, Free Speech , had intended to ask the question, When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay? However the show's host Rick Edwards, announced that the debate would not take place as planned. He told the audience:

We were going to debate that question today, but after speaking to the Mosque, they have expressed deep concerns with having that discussion here.

The producers of the show, Mentorn Media say the debate will happen on its next show on 25 March.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society said:

After agreeing to allow a programme called Free Speech to be filmed at the Mosque, it is absurd and counterproductive to then censor the topic being discussed.

It is unfortunate that the BBC allowed itself to be censored on this occasion by reactionary imams, but this was a place of worship, and perhaps the BBC would do well to choose religiously neutral venues to hold such debates in future.

Update: Censored by threats violence

15th March 2013. See  article from



Beware of the Dog...

Leeds students get all aggressive and yap about jokey greeting cards

Link Here28th February 2014
Some greeting card companies have taken rude jokes to the point where they offend the easily offended.

Helena Brooks, a student at Leeds University, recently found a card on sale in her university union shop that read:

Beware of the dog. (She might look sexy in those hot pants but she's probably got Chlamydia.)

She then tweeted a picture of the offending card, with the message:

Is this really okay to be selling in Leeds Uni Union? For a union that's just banned page 3 how is this appropriate?

Her complaint racked up support and the university union eventually responded by deciding to remove the card, made by company Brainbox Candy. Mark Williams, a Brainbox Candy director, told a Telegraph contributor:

We certainly don't set out to make cards that are sexist or offensive, far from it. But often how far do you go? Our cards are meant to be fun and irreverent and certainly not meant to offend.

Offsite Comment: Leeds University's war on filth

28th February 2013. See  comment from

Student unions are becoming increasingly intent on mollycoddling students instead of treating them as adults capable of forming their own opinions. LUU is trying to be progressive by appealing to feminist sentiment and banning offensive material; in fact, it is just patronising and pandering to a bunch of prudes.

...Read the full comment



Updated: Recommending Dark Horse by Katy Perry...

Petition claims music video is blasphemous

Link Here28th February 2014
A petition has been started to get Katy Perry's latest music video banned. The fantasy video for the song Dark Horse includes a necklace disintegrating in a flash of CGI lighting effects. Apparently the necklace has script bearing the name of the Muslim religious character, Allah.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford, England, condemned the video claiming that the image of the  disintegrating necklace is somehow blasphemous and should be banned from YouTube. The petition states:

Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,

This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.

By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been electronically signed by more than 42,000 people, a number dwarfed by the 30 million views the video has garnered on YouTube since Feb. 20.

Update: Necklace gets removed but have muslims achieved any more 'respect'?

28th February 2013. See  article from

Today we learn that, although the video of Katy Perry's latest single has been cut by censors. The bit that was deemed "offensive" has been removed.  It showed the zapping of an Allah pendant worn by a character in the video.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford set up a petition claiming this was tantamount to "blasphemy". More than 50,000 people signed the online petition, and now the petitioner is cock-a-hoop:

Guys I'm thrilled to let you all know the name of Allah has been removed from the 'Dark Horse' video we couldn't have done it without everyone's support so I thank each and every one of you deeply, our voices have been heard! God bless you all.

This clearly shows that our voice has been heard, having gained so much publicity on the matter and by getting everybody talking we have put the message out there that such inappropriate material will not be accepted.



Recommending Dark Horse by Katy Perry...

Petition claims music video is blasphemous

Link Here26th February 2014
A petition has been started to get Katy Perry's latest music video banned. The fantasy video for the song Dark Horse includes a necklace disintegrating in a flash of CGI lighting effects. Apparently the necklace has script bearing the name of the Muslim religious character, Allah.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford, England, condemned the video claiming that the image of the  disintegrating necklace is somehow blasphemous and should be banned from YouTube. The petition states:

Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,

This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.

By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been electronically signed by more than 42,000 people, a number dwarfed by the 30 million views the video has garnered on YouTube since Feb. 20.



Extract: Twenty five years on from Rushdie...

And we are too frightened to say we are scared. By Nick Cohen

Link Here21st February 2014
Full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended

In my You Can't Read This Book , I gave 10 rules for fighting back against dictatorial regimes and movements. The simplest, and the most important was:

If you are frightened, at least have the guts to say so. Once one did not write the word liberal and add hypocrite . Since the Rushdie Affair, the reflex has become automatic. The worst aspect of the fear the ayatollahs spread was that Western intellectuals were afraid of admitting that they were afraid. If they had been honest, they would have forced society to confront the fact of censorship. As it was, their silence made the enemies of liberalism stronger.

...Read the full article



Everyone can hear you scream 'offensive'...

Joke in artwork of a Brighton restaurant offends the easily offended

Link Here17th February 2014
The MeatLiquor Bar in Brighton has removed supposedly offensive artwork after silly claims of trivialising sexual assault. The slogan read:

With my sausage in your mouth no one can hear you scream

The local paper, the Argus, refused to print the slogan in its article about the 'outrage'.

The restaurant has now removed the poster and made a donation to the easily offended campaigners of Survivors' Network by way of apology.

Fabia Bates, director of domestic abuse campaigners, Survivors' Network, whinged:

It is horrifying that in 2014 MEATLiquor find it acceptable to use references to rape in their decoration.

Their justification that the image was part of a spoof campaign and was meant to be playful is even more concerning. Rape is wrong, unlawful and causes unimaginable distress to more than 85,000 women and 9,000 men in the UK every year. It is not a topic to be joked about or taken lightly. This kind of message serves only to validate the unacceptable level of tolerance and misunderstanding about rape in our society.

Katie Russell from charity Rape Crisis weighed in:

The combination of imagery and slogan on this poster is clearly intended to make reference to very serious sexual violence against women.

It is sexist, offensive, and potentially deeply distressing for the large numbers of survivors of sexual violence who will inevitably see a poster displayed in a public place. It's extremely ill-considered and irresponsible for a business to attempt to trivialise sexual violence in this way.

A spokeswoman for MEATLiquor said:

The decor is designed to be playful and cheeky, and while we regret any offence that has been taken in this case, we wish to make clear that at no time have we intended to condone or trivialise such serious matters.

This is the first occasion we are aware of in which a diner has considered our decor in our 'peek a boo room' to have transgressed what they consider to be acceptable, and we are sorry that this is the case. We have taken immediate action to redact the material in question.



Update: Stimulating Conversation...

Primary teacher whinges at playground conversations supposedly stimulated from playing Grand Theft Auto

Link Here14th February 2014
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Primary school kids are supposedly initiating games involving simulating rape and sexual intercourse scenes from adult video game series Grand Theft Auto, a school has warned.

Pupils have also been having conversations about sexual acts and play acting extremely violent games resulting in injury , according to staff at south Wales primary school Coed-y-Brain. They were also having detailed playground discussions about drug use.

Headteacher Morian Morgan sent a letter to parents expressing his worry about some of the pupils' concerning playground behaviour at the school. He blamed the worrying behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series which sees players take on the role of criminals in America's dark and seedy underworld.

I think some of the parents will tell you that they have been equally naive. But I must stress it's not a matter of me condemning parents at all. . ..[BUT]...



Offsite Article: Freedom of speech: Is it my right to offend you?...

Link Here3rd February 2014
Full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended
Fascinatingly detailed account of the religious censorship of the Jesus and Mo website

See article from



Updated: Reduced to Censorship...

Easily offended Ulster council censors the Reduced Shakespeare Company from staging The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)

Link Here1st February 2014
A comedy show about the Bible, which producers say has been endorsed by hundreds of clergy, has been axed from the Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey amid claims it was anti-Christian .

The Reduced Shakespeare Company was due to kick off its latest UK tour by presenting The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at the council-run venue. But earlier this month, calls for the show to be cancelled were made by DUP councillors.

The party's Robert Hill told UTV that members of the public had approached representatives asking them to get it stopped on the grounds that it was offensive.

UUP Mayor Fraser Agnew also told UTV:

There were a lot of people concerned about the nature of this play, that it was anti-Christian - and we have established indeed it was anti-Christian, he said.

I believe there's got to be some form of censorship, otherwise you'll have all sorts of things happening.

The show's producer Davey Naylor told UTV that the production had toured extensively around the world over the past 20 years. The company has even performed the show at the Jerusalem Festival in Israel without objection, he said, calling for people to come and see it before branding it unholy. This is the very first time in the almost-20year life of the show that a performance has been cancelled because of the complaints of a few.

Playwright Austin Tichenor, co-author of the script and one of the managing partners of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, said:

We find it quite staggering that this type of censorship still appears to flourish in the UK and would like to apologise to all the audience members who bought tickets and are therefore unable to see the show. We'd also like to thank everyone for the hundreds of messages of support we have received. It's a shame these voices are drowned out by the few dissenting, uninformed ones.

Update: Comedian Jake O'Kane wades in

25th January 2013. See  article from . Thanks to Nick

One of NI's leading comedians has criticised the council zealots who have banned a play in County Antrim. Jake O'Kane said unionist councillors who took the decision weren't elected to be moral guardians . O'Kane said:

I haven't seen the play, and unfortunately I'll never be able to see the play because councillors have decided that we will not be allowed to see the play.

It's like getting in a time machine and they went back to before the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

There was £ 7m spent on this theatre, it opened in 2010, and they may as well close the doors. If they are going to be the moral guardians of what we see and don't see, that theatre is dead in the water.

We already have laws, we have hate speech laws, that dictate what the arts can and cannot do. If it is hateful, if it is against minorities, the laws are already there to censor that.

We don't need a bunch of unionist councillors in Newtownabbey deciding what we can or cannot go to see.

They call themselves moral guardians - they weren't elected to be moral guardians. We elected them to empty our bins, make sure the leisure centres were open - that's the powers they have.

They didn't put on their manifesto that they were going to decide what we can or cannot see.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said:

It is well established in international human rights law that the right to freedom of expression, though not absolute, is a fundamental right which may only be restricted in certain limited circumstances to do with the advocacy of hatred.

It is quite obvious that those circumstances are not met in the context of this work of comedy and thus that the cancelling of the play is utterly unjustified on human rights grounds.

Such interference with freedom of speech and artistic expression should be of concern to freedom lovers everywhere.

Update: Saddened by a culture of censorship

27th January 2013.See  article from

Culture and Arts Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has described the cancellation of a controversial play about the Bible as disappointing:

I was disappointed to hear of the decision to cancel the production of The Bible: The complete Word of God (abridged). I know that the play has travelled extensively and been performed on the international stage for the past 20 years.

I am saddened that audiences here will not be offered the opportunity to see the performance and judge for themselves the virtues of the show.

I fully support the views of the Arts Council that the artist's right to freedom of expression should always be defended and that the arts have a role in promoting discussion and allowing space for disagreement and debate.

Update: Council shamed into revoking the ban

28th January 2013. See  article from . Thanks to Nick

A ban on a play which was claimed to be blasphemous has been lifted by a council in Northern Ireland .

Members of the artistic board at Newtownabbey, Co Antrim reversed an earlier vote, allowing the Reduced Shakespeare Company to now stage The Bible: The Complete Word of God at Theatre at the Mill, which is run by Newtownabbey borough council.

Councillors who backed the play claimed the ban made them look like a laughing stock.

Update: The inevitable protest

1st February 2013. See  article from

70 fundamentalist Christian protesters made their voices heard at the second sold-out night of the controversial play The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) .

Members of the Free Presbyterian Church sang hymns and passed out leaflets at the entrance of the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey as theatre-goers made their way to the play.

The protesters, led by Rev Brian McClung of the Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church, handed over a letter of protest to Newtownabbey Borough Council. McClung described it as perverse human nature that the play had sold so many tickets since opposition was raised. He said:

Primarily we are here tonight to stand up for the honour of God's word. We believe this play mocks the word of God.

We are offended because people are mocking the scriptures and we are here to show our offense. Supposedly the council and society is to have regard for minorities, but they don't seem to have much regard for evangelical Christians when it comes to things like this.



Offsite Article: Jesus and Mo and Channel 4 News...

Link Here1st February 2014
Full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended
Channel 4 News had just one job to do here, which was to present its viewers the facts they needed not only to make sense of the story but to form their own opinion of it and decide for themselves whether this cartoon is offensive

See article from



Updated: Will the LibDems Condone Threats and Intimidation?...

LibDem politician Maajid Nawaz has been threatened by muslim extremists after he noted BBC censorship of Jesus and Mo t-shirts. And muslims have called on Nick Clegg to ban Nawaz from standing for election

Link Here31st January 2014
The BBC decided that extreme Wahhabi and Salafi Muslims, who would ban all images of Muhammad, represented all Muslims. It ordered its producers not to show the offending T-shirts. Nawaz left the studio in some disgust. He tweeted the cartoon of Jesus saying: Hey and Muhammad saying: How ya doing? and added: This is not offensive & I'm sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it. God may not have felt threatened, but his supporters did. A Liberal Democrat activist called Muhammad Shafiq took it upon himself to organise a national and international campaign against Nawaz.

At the time we went to press, about 20,000 people had signed Shafiq's petition to Nick Clegg, saying that the tweet had caused an extreme amount of insult, hurt and anguish . The Lib Dems must stop Nawaz standing as their candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn at the next general election, they demanded.

Nawaz told his critics he had merely said that he did not think the BBC should censor a mild cartoon. He then went to the core of what is wrong with extremist religion and Britain's thoughtless multiculturalism which, in the name of diversity , spatchcock people into ethnic and religious blocks that deny their individuality. If you want to ban inoffensive images of the prophet, Nawaz said, then I am sorry, I am not that type of literalist Muslim.

In other words, neither community leaders nor multicultural bureaucrats could talk of the Muslim community whose taboos must be observed. There were many Muslim communities and ex-Muslims, too, and they should be free to argue without fear.

Shafiq denies that he is spreading fear and if you had not done the research you might believe him. Certainly, you could think him a man who can snuffle out offence where no one else can find it. You could think that the 20,000 or so who have signed his petition are so desperate for reasons to censor that they will manufacture them. But this is a free country and they are entitled to their hysterias.

But to put it as politely as I can, Shafiq is not your standard Liberal Democrat. He is in charge of the Ramadhan Foundation, which has hosted speakers whose attitudes towards gay people and Jews are anything but liberal. To make sure that Nawaz felt the full force of his critique, Shafiq slipped an aside into his open letter to Nick Clegg. He talked of Nawaz's expected, suspected, wanted reaction from the minority of unhinged in those communities . Nawaz was deliberately soliciting attacks from the unhinged , apparently. He expected them. He wanted them. And if the unhinged should assault or kill him -- he had no one to blame but himself. Shafiq told me that he did not mean that Nawaz was inciting his own murder, but I struggle see how else his followers can interpret his words.

...Read the full article

Comment: And all I said to my wife was: That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah

27th January 2013. See  article from

By now I'm sure you're aware of the fact that Maajid Nawaz, a Lib Dem PPC in Hampstead and Kilburn, stands accused of committing the thoroughly heinous crime of causing religiously aggravated butthurt in the first degree, the suggested punishment for which appears to be political career death by petition.

At the heart of this is, yet again, a completely innocuous Jesus & Mo cartoon which Maajid clearly considers to be anything but offensive, hence the tweet

...Read the full article

Update: In defence of Maajid Nawaz, blasphemy and (funny) cartoons of Mohammed

26th January 2013. From by Tom Chivers

I've been a fan of the webcomic Jesus and Mo for years. The idea is a simple one: the two religious figureheads J Christ and Mohammed share a house and discuss matters of religious philosophy, often in arguments with a wise atheist barmaid at their local. It's funnier than I've made that sound.

It is, of course, irreligious and arguably blasphemous. ( In its very first edition or episode or whatever you call it , Mo points out that it's forbidden to depict him pictorially. Jesus asks what he's doing in a cartoon, reasonably enough, and Mo claims he's a body double.) It's also very clever, informed by philosophical and religious argument, and -- as mentioned -- funny.

Update: LibDems tell both sides to shut up

29th January 2013. See  article from
See also Why I'm speaking up for Islam against the loudmouths who have hijacked it  from by Maajid Nawaz

Two Muslim commentators involved in a very public spat over a cartoon of the religious character Mohammed have agreed to make peace with each other, over their shared intention not to further tarnish the Liberal Democrats.

In a joint statement, posted by Lib Dem Voice, both Nawaz and Shafiq agreed to call off the war of words that has raged for days on social media and the blogosphere.

The Lib Dem members acknowledged they had conflicting views on depictions of Prophet Muhammad and that other Muslims did too. It acknowledged that other Lib Dems had the right to complain to the executive about the behaviour of either side.

The statement continued with worthless half truths claiming that both sides supported freedom of speech.

Offsite: University Islamic Society tries to stop talk because speaker didn't condemn Maajid Nawaz

30th January 2013. See  article from

Update: Free speech opponents demonstrate at Plymouth University

31st January 2013. See  article from

Update: Nick Clegg has his say

31st January 2013. See  article from
See also article from

Nick Clegg has admonished one of his party's parliamentary candidates, Maajid Nawaz, for tweeting a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammad .

He said Nawaz was in his opinion wrong to retweet the cartoon, but defended his right to do so:

We simply cannot tolerate anyone in a free country -- where we have to protect free speech, even if that free speech might cause offence to others -- being subject to death threats and them and their family being put under extraordinary pressure to recant what they said.

I would be the first to say that when you are dealing with issues of religion and deeply held faith, you have got to express yourself moderately and sensitively, and with respect one to the other. That is the corollary of free speech. However strongly you feel either side of this debate, we cannot in any way be tolerant of that level of threat to someone who says something that someone else does not like.

He is not going to be dropped as a Liberal Democrat candidate. He has the right - as any Muslim, non-Muslim or anyone of any faith or none in this country has - to say things even if that causes offence to other people.



Updated: Channel 4 Sides with the Bullies...

National Secular Society write open letter to Channel 4 over the censorship of Jesus and Mo cartoon

Link Here31st January 2014

Dear Mr de Pear, Editor, Channel 4 News

We are writing in response to a package presented by news correspondent Katie Razzall, on Tuesday 28 January 2014, which looked at the controversy surrounding Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Maajid Nawaz, and his recent tweeting of a Jesus & Mo cartoon.

We were surprised and extremely disappointed to see that Channel 4 News took the decision to cover up the image of Mohammed when showing the Jesus & Mo cartoon, and we are thus keen to elicit the rationale behind that particular editorial decision.

During the report, it was noted that this decision was taken so as not to cause offence to some viewers; however we would like to point out that by your making this decision you have effectively taken a side in a debate where a Muslim man has suffered violent death threats after he explicitly said he did not find the cartoons offensive. You have taken the side of the reactionaries - the side of people who bully and violently threaten Muslims, such as Mr Nawaz, online.

By redacting the picture of Mo , you have contributed to a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of some religious extremists. Rather than defending free expression, one of the most precious pillars of our liberal democratic society, you have chosen instead to listen to extremists and patronise British Muslims by assuming they will take offence at an irreverent and satirical cartoon. By taking the decision you did, not only did you betray the fundamental journalistic principle of free speech, but you have become complicit in a trend that seeks to insidiously stereotype all Muslim people as reacting in one uniform way (generally presented as overly sensitive and potentially violent).

Given that your editorial decision seems to be have been weighted by a concern with offence, we might also note that you ended up with a report that was, in fact, very offensive to many; offensive to those who take seriously and cherish our basic freedom to speak and question, and offensive to many Muslims, whose voices you do not hear because you insist on placating the reactionary voices of people claiming to represent what it is to be an authentic Muslim .

In the subsequent interview with Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, presenter Jon Snow made the point that there are a number of places in the world where blasphemy is punished by death. This reality provides an apposite backdrop to the whole debate and, by extension, Channel 4's decision to censor. In a world where the notion of offence to those with religious views is being used to control and punish people of all religions and none, the UK has an urgent responsibility to uphold freedom of expression in the face of religious extremism. Its news outlets share in this responsibility.

Whilst we understand that you covered both sides of the issue through your report and subsequent interview, we were keen to highlight the dangerous precedent you have set by taking the editorial decision to censor the Jesus & Mo cartoon, and the deeply symbolic implications that decision has. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.

We are considering this an open letter.

Yours sincerely,

National Secular Society

Offsite Comment: On the importance of the right to offend

 See  article from

Thank you @Channel4News you just pushed us liberal Muslims further into a ditch . So tweeted Maajid Nawaz, prospective Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, last night. He had every right to be incandescent.

...Read the full article

Update: Channel 4 Responds

31st January 2013. See  article from

Rather than respond directly to an open letter from the National Secular Society, Channel 4 replied with a standard letter sent to all those who complained about its redaction of the cartoon depiction of the religious character Mohammad.

The letter, from Steve Reynolds of Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries, reads:

As we are sure you can appreciate, this is a very sensitive subject for many viewers. Channel 4 News editorial staff gave great consideration to the issues involved and believe that they reached a fair and balanced judgement, weighing up the potential for offence to some viewers by showing the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and the necessity of showing the cartoon in full.

The senior editorial team decided that the showing of the entire illustration, whilst likely to cause offence, was not integral to the story, and therefore took the decision to pixelate. Whilst we acknowledge your views, we believe that on balance this was the correct decision and as a rule, where we consider the likelihood of significant offence to our audience, we will attempt to mitigate against that. As to not pixelating the image of Jesus, it was not felt that the same level of offence was likely to be provoked as the image is commonly depicted in cartoon form.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, commented:

The claim that showing the entire illustration was 'not integral to the story' is ludicrous. It was the story. The truth is that Channel 4, like so many others, is intimidated and afraid of the reaction from violent extremists. Such extremists have got this country in a fearful stranglehold that is gradually destroying our commitment to freedom of speech. We may have abolished the blasphemy law, but who needs it when the same effect can be achieved by terrorising people?



Offsite Article: The Guardian: Defender of free speech...Unless of course it's related to men enjoying sex...

Link Here30th January 2014
Lap dancing clubs need tougher legislation, at least according to anti-lap dancing campaigner Anna van Heeswijk

See article from



Update: Christians Score PC Points in Court Win...

After accusing Boris Johnson of scoring PC points by banning christian anti-gay advert...

Link Here29th January 2014
Full story: Chrstian Adverts...Adverts banned on grounds of political ends
The banning of a London bus advert suggesting people could get over homosexuality should be investigated, the appeal court has ruled.

Christian charity The Core Issues Trust accused mayor Boris Johnson of unlawfully using his position as chairman of Transport for London to obtain the ban to secure the gay vote.

The High Court had upheld the ban. But the Court of Appeal has now ruled a probe is needed to consider whether the mayor acted for an improper purpose .

The posters produced by the Christian charity reading Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it! were designed in response to adverts by gay rights group Stonewall, which said Some people are gay. Get over it! . Reveal all emails

Ruling on the charity's appeal, the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson said evidence had been produced of an email which unequivocally states that the mayor 'instructed' TfL to pull the advertisement just before the 2012 mayoral elections. He said the need for examination of the role of the mayor was even greater because the email sent on 12 April 2012 shows that the mayor's office contacted the Guardian (newspaper) immediately, apparently in order to make political capital out of the story . Arrangements had also been made for the mayor to appear the following day at a hustings organised by Stonewall.

The judge said: This is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs.



Update: Recommending Beyonce...

The Daily Mail awards Beyonce its highest accolade, 'vile'

Link Here29th January 2014
The Daily Mail has lauded Boyonce's performance at the Grammy's in glowing terms:

Is this really what little girls should aspire to, Beyonce? Parents attack vile display at the Grammys

Singer performed provocative routine at Grammy Awards last night Danced and writhed around on stage in a barely-there leotard Grinded up against her husband Jay-Z who joined her for act. At one point, the mother-of-one straddled a chair and was seen running her hands up and down her thighs in a suggestive manner before leaning back to drape herself seductively over her seat.

Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, said:

It is time Beyonce realised she is offending every decent person in this country who I hope in future once they hear her name will switch off their TV.'

Pippa Smith, of SaferMedia, said:

There is something rotten at the heart of this so-called "music" industry when young women celebrities and now a husband and wife start to behave in such an obscenely sexual manner at events popular with all ages. They are doing enormous harm to children's perception of what is normal behaviour.

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK, said:

In this footage Beyonce is wearing a really skimpy outfit but Jay-Z is not. If girls and women are seen exclusively as sexual beings rather than as complicated people with many interests, talents and identities, boys and men may have difficulty relating to them on any level other than the sexual.

The show was aired at 9pm after the watershed



Update: Aggressive Complaints...

Mothers Against Murder and Aggression are 'outraged' about a Dolce and Gabbana fashion advert

Link Here21st January 2014
A complaint about a fashion advert featuring guns and knives has been lodged by a moralist campaign group.

Fashion company Dolce & Gabbana created an advert for their winter campaign. It depicts a man with a flintlock pistol grasping a naked woman as they stand over a dead body with a bullet hole in its forehead, while two other men stand poised with daggers.

Dee Warner, of campaign group Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, said:

The poster has nothing whatsoever to do with fashion and everything to do with the glorification of guns and knives.

Dolce & Gabbana should take responsibility for the part they play in the damage caused by these insensitive and irresponsible advertising campaigns.

The fashion industry is looked up to by our young people, those that aspire to wear the clothing that their celebrity idols wear.

The industry is filled with irresponsible adverts that send out messages to these young people that guns and knives are cool and so are drugs.

Warner said she was submitting a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).



Update: Toxic Climate...

Demented campaigners blame online porn for contributing to a toxic climate of stress and pressure

Link Here21st January 2014
Children in Britain are suffering from growing up in a toxic climate of stress and pressure at school and online, according to survey commission by campaigners.

Fear of failure, bullying, the burden of trying to be thin and attractive, and depression were among the multiple threats facing young people. And almost a quarter of youngsters questioned said their relationships with their peers had been harmed after viewing online porn, according to the poll.

The survey, commissioned by the campaign group YoungMinds questioned 2,000 children and young people aged 11 to 25, found that 50% of 11-14 year olds have viewed online porn. The survey also found that children feared exam failure, 50% are bullied, 40% skip meals to stay slim, and a third don't know where to get help (presumably YoungMinds is conveniently willing to step in to help out).



Offsite Article: You can't parody Islam...

Link Here2nd January 2014
Full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters
Monty Python star Michael Palin believes religious sensitivities have increased so much it would be impossible to make Life of Brian today

See article from



Diary: Recommended by Christian Concern...

The Last Temptation of Christ continues to 'outrage', this time at Wells Cathedral on 25th January

Link Here25th January 2013
As part of the Bath Film Festival 2014, Wells Cathedral is hosting a screening of Martin Scorsese's controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ on Saturday 25 January.

The film caused outrage when it was released in 1988 because some hold that it is a blasphemous interpretation of Jesus' life on earth, depicting, among other things, His marriage to Mary Magdelene and raising a family with her.

The Cathedral is standing by its decision to show the film despite nutter pressure to get it banned.

Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said:

The planned screening at Wells Cathedral will spread a wholly false message and obscure the New Testament history of the life and purpose of Jesus Christ from his birth to his death on the cross.

In an age when many people may have the sketchiest knowledge of the Gospel and history of Jesus Christ, the screening of this blasphemous film which challenges the perfection of the life of Jesus, by introducing an offensive dream sequence, will spread misunderstanding of the tenets of the Christian faith and give the impression that the church endorses such false teaching.

We have received calls and correspondence from concerned churchgoers, not only in the Somerset area, and the Western Daily Press has reported that some worshippers have described the film as 'appalling' for introducing the 'theme of debauchery'. It is difficult to understand how screening such a film in a hallowed cathedral serves the Kingdom of God. For that reason we have urged our supporters to make their views known to the Dean, who is principally responsible for the administration of the Cathedral.

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