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Commented: Prosecuted for religious insult...

Northern Ireland fire and brimstone preacher foolishly insulted islam

Link Here26th June 2015
An evangelical preacher who described Islam as satanic and heathen is to be prosecuted for insult.

Speaking to his congregation in north Belfast on 18 May, McConnell said:

A new evil had arisen and there are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain.

Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.

In a statement, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said the firebrand preacher had refused to accept a lesser punishment which meant the case would not have gone to court. A spokespersector said:

I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

That offence was one of sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive. The offer of an informed warning was refused by the defendant and accordingly the matter is now proceeding by way of a summary prosecution in the Magistrates Court.

Pastor McConnell initially defended his remarks made during a sermon at his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle last May but, following a huge public outcry he apologised for any offence or distress caused.

Offsite Comment: A disgraceful use of the Communications Act

26th June  2015. See  article from by Padraig Reidy



Updated: Only Trouble and Strife...

London cinema decides against a gender segregated screening in the London Israeli Film Festival

Link Here13th June 2015
The Odeon group has said it will not refuse entry to men to a film being screened as part of the London Israeli Film Festival.

Israeli Charedi film-maker Rechy Elias said she did not want men to see her historical romance, Gift of Fire.

Venues JW3 and the Odeon cinema in Swiss Cottage had agreed to a female only audience despite complaints from men who have requested to see the film. But, Odeon has now decided to lift the restriction. A spokesman said:

We offer a wide range of films throughout the year for all our guests to enjoy. We do not, and will not, restrict entry to any film based on gender.

Festival organisers responded to the Odeon statement by saying they:

Will stand outside the cinema and stop men from going in if we have to.

Update: Screening pulled

13th June 2015. See  article from

In response to the Odeon deciding not to enforce gender segregation, the co-founders of the festival, Odelia Haroush, Anat Koren and Patty Hochmann released a joint statement saying they were withdrawing the film. They said:

We could not accommodate Mrs Elias's religious requirements and enable the cinema to maintain its policy not to restrict entry to any film based on gender.

The film contains women dancing and singing, and the Charedi community, and indeed many religious Jews, do not feel that men should be watching this.

We respect the position of the filmmaker and the cinema alike, but have decided at this time we need to honour both parties and the only way to do so is to cancel the screening at Odeon Swiss Cottage.



Political pressure for a new blasphemy law...

Religious extremist fails in his attempt to bully Labour MP into supporting the introduction of a new UK blasphemy law

Link Here16th May 2015

A former councillor from Slough has effectively resigned from the Labour Party after failing to persuade his MP, (now a candidate seeking re-election), to support the introduction of a new UK blasphemy law.

Mohammed Arif, who was a councillor in the 1990s, was unhappy with Fiona Mactaggart's refusal to publicly back the Blasphemy Law which limits the freedom of expression relating to blasphemy. He said:

I am not happy about resigning but I had no choice, I am not being listened to. She is not listening to us. This has really hurt me.

Arif is the president of the Pakistan Welfare Association (PWA). He wrote to Ms Mactaggart in February, on behalf of the PWA, and asked her to back a Parliamentary bill which would support such a law. He received a response from Mactaggart in April in which she said she would pass a petition on to the correct government minister if the feelings were widespread across Slough. He complained:

I have no difficulty with the Labour Party itself. It is the people who run the local party, they do not bother to listen.

I am not against freedom of expression, everybody has the right to their own views... HOWEVER ...respect is more important.

Arif has now pledged support to the Conservative parliamentary candidate, Gurcharan Singh and says he is in favour of David Cameron's commitment to tackling Islamophobia .

Update: Post-election update

16th May 2015. See  article from

The Labour MP for Slough has hit out against voter intimidation, after some Muslim voters were told that they were not true Muslims unless they voted against her.

The row centres over a local campaign for a blasphemy law. During the General Election campaign newly re-elected MP Fiona Mactaggart apparently resisted calls for the draconian measure, and when the result was announced she issued a stark warning about spiritual coercion in one community - in an apparent reference to Muslims in Slough.

Mactaggart said voters had been intimidated and that she wouldn't build bridges with those behind the smears:

I don't see how you can build a bridge with someone who says 'you aren't a proper Muslim if you vote for Fiona.

There has been an element of spiritual coercion in one community which I profoundly regret. I think it was an attempt to divide Slough and its community which is dangerous. It is religious intimidation.

Her defeated Conservative Party rival, Gurcharan Singh, said :

The truth is that Fiona refused to listen to the concerns of Slough's Muslim community and the Pakistan Welfare Association about the need for action to provide a legal channel to respond to those blaspheming against their religion.

Worryingly, Singh said the local campaign for a blasphemy law resonated with Sikhs and Hindus too.

Stephen Evans of the National Secular Society said:

The recent election campaign saw numerous attempts to exert religious or spiritual influence over voters. There may well be problems with how the law deals with this kind of action by religious groups and leaders, as some argue. Either way, it is an extremely troubling development. We do not want to see sectarian politics emerging in this country.

As for Mr Singh- it is deeply concerning to hear a parliamentary candidate supporting a campaign for a blasphemy law. Inter-faith support for such a regressive measure is nothing to be proud of.



Best Kept Archived...

Fear of muslim violence leads V and A museum to disclaim possessing images of Mohammed

Link Here25th January 2015
The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the religious character Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions .

Similar images have been shown in exhibitions across Europe and America without prompting outrage, much less protests or a violent response.

British museums and libraries hold dozens of these images, mostly miniatures in manuscripts several centuries old, but they have been kept largely out of public view. Fear of displaying them is apparently driven by controversy about satirical or offensive portraits of Muhammad by non-Muslims, despite the huge difference in form and purpose.

When the V&A was asked if it held any images of Muhammad after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo , it said there were none. A US expert later provided a link to a poster in its collection, with the inscription Mohammad the Prophet of God . That page in the database was deleted last week, but can still be found in a cached version. A spokeswoman said their original response was an honest error .

Other British institutions with images of Muhammad in their Islamic art collections show some on websites, but have shied away from exhibitions.

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