Monday, February 06, 2006

Offensive caricatures

Demonstrating your right to free speech by publishing nasty little racist doodles? That aren't funny, but are just pointlessly offensive?

Then...protesting about offensive stereotypes by behaving like an offensive stereotype?

Demonstrating your fury about the key figure of Islam being represented as a murderous suicide bomber *dressing as a suicide bomber and calling for murder? (* turns out that particular clown is a convicted drug dealer on licence from prison for selling cocaine and heroin. So clearly someone who has utterly failed to grasp any of the principles of Islam then. Idiot.)

For God's sake. For pity's sake.

The right to protest and the right to free speech are bloody important: it is sickening to see both sides abusing these rights in this way, behaving like spiteful, selfish children. Especially now.

Why can't people pull themselves together?

The Religious Policeman is excellent on the subject. The memo is superb, but the whole site deserves a leisurely read. Hat-tip, troubled diva


Blogger BondBloke said...

I whole heartedly agree with every comment!

February 07, 2006 10:14 am  
Blogger Ally said...

Yes, ditto.

February 07, 2006 11:00 am  
Blogger Spark said...


Wow and congratulations!

And what an amazing coincidence with your love affair and links to the number 7

Also, there's been a slight change of plan. As you will see below we're doing the 77 Enquiry happening this evening. We don't expect much of a turn out, but if you or any of the others from KCU and beyond could make it it would be great to see you.

Not sure what the media presence will be like, but we've NOT sent a formal press release so hopefully they'll be in a minority

[777 Memorial Enquiry]
Dear Friends,

Due to unforseen circumstances, there was no 777 Memorial Service this
morning. Therefore, we have decided instead to hold it this evening,
before which a communique requesting a 77 Enquiry [see below] will be
read out and delivered to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The communique will be read out at 6.45pm, and the service will begin
15 minutes later outside Downing Street or Number 10.

The service will be completely non-denominational, and mainly in
silence. We will stand together for 7 minutes, from 7pm before ringing
56 [8x7] Tibetan bells of peace [at 7.07pm].

So, please come along to show your support, either to take part in the
service directly or as a witness to the unfolding events.

Assemble at 6.30pm if you wish to add your signature to the
Communique, or at 7pm to catch the service.

To: The Prime Minister
From: Some People

Prime Minister,

Today it is exactly 15 years since the IRA shelled 10 Downing Street,
in order to get publicity for their cause. It is also the 7month
anniversary of the London bombing, and we are marking this by holding
a service of remembrance outside or near your home, at 7pm, to which
you are invited. We are doing this because we believe that there is a
connection between 77 and the actions of your administration and we
think it is important that you come clean about this. Why? Because it
is not to condone violence to recognise that legitimate grievances can
be a driver of the most heinous actions.

In order for there to be peace, these grievances must be explored and
properly addressed in the public sphere. It is not a sign of weakness
but strength to admit openly that the war on terror is not working,
and people should know that you recognise that the way you and other
world leaders have been dealing with the global crisis is mistaken,
that it tends to decrease rather than increase national security. It
is a sign of honesty and courage, and it is therefore helpful. I call
on you to today publicly confess these things.

Until there is an effective reconciliation process, in the public
sphere and with full participation, there will be no chance of
understanding 77 or 911, and therefore no justice and no peace.
Understanding justice and peace can only be achieved through a process
of dialogue, and never through wars between states.

We therefore call upon you to speak openly about these things, and to
instigate an open-ended public enquiry into the legitimate grievances
and the wider context of the bombing of 77.

Signed: [ ]

Cheers, Mark and Prasanth

February 07, 2006 3:08 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

sorry..but i have big problems with a so-called religion of peace rioting,burning down embassies,and threatening death-all over a cartoon they dont like? gee

ill change my opinion when these muslims show judaism and christianity some respect..when was the last time you saw christians acting in such a way?


February 07, 2006 5:25 pm  
Blogger Ham said...

I looked at those pictures on Religious Policeman, and what struck me is how those offensive banners are all wriiten by the same person (look at the "S", for example). Doesn't that say more about how our media set themselves up to be exploited? A symptom of the feeding frenzy that passes for journalism these days?

February 07, 2006 5:32 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

They are a disgrace, aren't they, Seth - but these extremists have as much in common with regular Muslims as the Klu Klux Klan have with ordinary Amwericans. Thye are embarrassign and harming their fellow Muslims with their idiocy and violent posturing.

I wonder where are the non-extremist, ordinary Muslim voices in all of this? Because these fanatical zealots are doing a grave disservice to Islam - and if all people see if howling mobs and foaming Mullahs then the majority of religious, peaceable followers of Islam are doubly disenfranchised... we need more voices speaking out for balance - and we need them speaking loudly, clearly and as soon as possible

February 07, 2006 5:35 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Seth - two words for you...Northern Ireland.

Totally agree with you Rachel, in fact I had a rant about it myself and surprised everyone I know as I don't usually get political.

February 07, 2006 5:35 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Spark - I am teaching a dance class but all the best for tonight.

February 07, 2006 5:37 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi kate,

yes..northern ireland is an example..but didnt gerry adams and the rest of sein fein finally sit down and negoiate a truce with the british government?

February 07, 2006 5:46 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

the problem is that the non-extremist ordinary go about their daily lives and dont bother anyone muslims..are afraid to speak out. even the former muslim chaplain for the new york police department was shouted down and given death threats when he appealed for calm,reason and understanding in the hours and days after the horrific events of september 11.

February 07, 2006 5:49 pm  
Blogger steve said...

We have to remember that the Muslims who we see rioting on the news have been fed anti-Western propaganda in an increasing amount for years, straw...camel.

In the same way that our media is presenting them as all rioting militant extremist thugs at the moment.

Unfotunately it's easier to adopt this point of view, and I'm seeing a lot of people around me closing their minds to any form of tolerance.

Where are the moderate Muslim voices? Are they speaking out? Or are we just not seeing them?

February 07, 2006 5:55 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

i have an idea-lets jam their radios and tv sets with the simpsons- 24 hours/day of bart,,.that'll make em go nuts lol !!!!

seth :) (back to page 3 :)

February 07, 2006 7:38 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

@Steve; they're there, but they're not getting covered.

The protests in London were organised by Hizb, well known extremist group, normally sticking just this side of the legal line.

@ Seth; you're right that a lot of moderates are afraid, but they're pretty stuck in the middle. Shame that when they do speak out they don't get much coverage.

@ Rachel. Agree with post completely. Also, congrats &c

February 07, 2006 11:54 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

Addenda, via Biodun, this story about condemnation from leading Muslim figures in the UK. I'm trying to post this on my site, but Blogger isn't letting me, been playing up all weekend...

February 08, 2006 12:41 am  
Blogger boneycdr2 said...

Question: How many people in the Government are history graduates?

February 08, 2006 9:07 am  
Blogger Mike said...

The danger is catagorising people by 'belief' rather than 'behaviour'

Extremist Muslim or Coke Dealing Idiot?

February 08, 2006 10:37 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

@ mike

Coke dealing idiot. Innit. He may *think* he is an extremist Muslim because that gives him a certain cachet and makes people tip-toe round the whole freedom of beliefs politically correct response thing - but let's face it, he is just a common criminal - how can being a drug dealer and being a devout Muslim be compatible? I hear he has since apologised. Said he did not mean to cause offence to 7/7 victims and families. (After he was caught and identified.) I'm glad he apologised but he is either a complete muppet for letting himself be used in this way by the organisers of the march - or he intended to cause offence by dressing up as a killer at the time and was fully aware of what he was doing.

I don't mind that the police took their time arresting these people: charging in and arresting them on rolling news at the time was *exactly* what the extremists wanted to happen. The whole thing - the offensive banners, the suicide bomber costumes - looked extremely staged for the cameras, and yes, many of the banners looked like they were written by the same hand. ( I expect the conspiraloons who read this blog and who are presently amusing themselves by speculating that I work for M15 on nine-leven websites are probably clutching themselves at this stage and saying 'YES! It was all a set up! By the Government! The people with banners were agent provacateurs! To lay the blame at Muslim feet and feed the Global Elite Clash of Civilisations! And the End of the World!')

But they're wrong.

And here's a thing.
If I was a Muslim I would be absolutely sick to the back teeth of my faith being abused and misrepresented in this way. And Abu Hamza's reported preaching of hatred and perversion of jihad and accruing of weapons and sympathising young fools over the last few years - at my local Mosque (in the papers today) would wind me up no end as well. It's as if all Roman Catholic Christians were judged by the antics of the IRA bombers. Where are the voices of ordinary Muslim men and women? If extremsists and only extremists grab the front pages then all Muslims suffer. Time for counter-action?

You can for example be anti the Government's foreign policies and *still* make your point that you abhor the hijacking of Islam by those with such a poisonous nihilistic agenda. Yes, it is stupidly sad that it has even got to the stage that non-extremist Muslims might feel that they have to take a stand and make the point that they do not condone or recognise the actions and rants of a few who say that they act in the name of Islam. But it is ordinary 'Muslims' who are being linked in people's minds when they see the demonstrations, like it or not. Almost all the media coverage is of ''extremist Muslims''. If everytime you see a Muslim on the news he is shouting angrily behind a banner or in a court accused of terrorism, what happens over time? What is already happening? What are you meant to do as a Muslim if these people do not speak for you? Sit there, say nothing? Take the guarded looks and the racist gibes and the unfair accusations and the stereotyping and be silent?

I wish there was a silent protest - a Not In My Name gathering - about the actions of these extremists. Just as millions turned out to say Not in My Name about the latest Iraq war, just as millions of Spaniards turned out after the Madrid bombings to say Not In My Name to terrorism - despite differing regional loyalties and languages - how I wish that a great mass or ordinary people - led by ordinary Muslims - would get out on the streets to show their disgust. I'd happily join them. But it would be so much better if the front pages were grabbed by real Muslims, ordinary Muslims, showing their hurt and disapproval at the damage the actions of a few have brought upon the perception of Islam. We need to hear more voices, more people - you can criticise the Government, you can speak out against injustice and you can roundly condemn the actions of bigots and zealots at the same time. You just need a platform. So why not reach out, why not spreak out? Counter the negative images with something positive. This isn't 'spin'. this is sense and strategy and communication. People will listen if you speak to them and have something they are interested in hearing

Whatever the message you want to communicate, terrorism is never an appropriate messenger though it can be an effective one in the short term. Look at the media noise 7/7 and 9/11 generates. The extremists are using the media for their own agenda. Time to fight back? Time to speak out? Time for the mainstream media to publish more pictures, broadcast more voices, listen to more people? Time for people to ask, why the silence? is there no appetite to speak out or no appetite to listen? I believe people DO want to hear more of what ordinary Muslims think is being done in their name.

February 08, 2006 1:56 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

@matgb - thanks for that, I just found the Biodun, story about condemnation from leading Muslim figures in the UK.


Still think it would be good if ordinary people took to the streets in silent protest though against the actions done to them...

February 08, 2006 2:06 pm  
Blogger MuppetLord said...

Hmm...well if those 12 cartoons are deemed offensive, what about what the Arab press put out?

See here, a German site with copies of the 12, plus 12 from the Arab press.

February 08, 2006 2:06 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Like I said, yes, you have freedom of speech - but why use it to publish nasty racist crap? And that goes for both sides.

Why the obsession with revenge? As for this tit for tat publishing of anti-Western cartoons in retaliation, or by European newspapers as if to prove that 'they started it'. It's completely pathetic. Children behaving like this would be told to calm down and stop behaving like idiots.

February 08, 2006 2:17 pm  
Blogger Ceridwen Devi said...

Once again we agree. We are having great fun in the trenches of the Great Cartoon War. We'll be boring our grandchildren with tales from the front. You wait first you'll get married, then settle down, then have kids, then bore everyone with your Tales from the Trenches. Somehow I knew I could count on you. Lucky bugger! I'm very happy for you! Ceri

February 08, 2006 5:25 pm  
Blogger The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


There is something in what you say about the futility of "They started it".

You should read, if you have not already, the wiki write up of the background to the original publication of the cartoons.

These cartoons were published to illustrate the creeping self-censorship practised by "western" "liberals" of any mild examination of Islam for fear of violent reprisals. In this context I am reluctant to describe the cartoons as an abuse of free speech.

Equally, whilst condemnation by Bukhari et al of violent protests is welcome, there has so far no introspection as to WHY the cartoons were published in the first place, whether Islam does have a little image problem and whether that does need to be dealt with.

The main Muslim leaders (MCB, MPACUK, MAB etc) stand by their grievances. In order to take offence in this way, you have to assume that the Danes had no other intention than to be gratuitously offensive.

As regards your "Not in my Name" comment: ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON. It is ordinary Muslims who suffer the most from the repression of the extremists.

EVERY citizen of this country should be able to enjoy the freedoms for which many have fought and died to win and defend.

As non-Muslims, we cannot help flush out the extremists as we are outside the terms of their debate, but we can give Muslims the cover to know that they are supported and that we welcome them and the extremists serve only to hold them back from prospering as they could and should.

With this in mind, I have another suggestion for a slogan:


Keep up the good work.

February 09, 2006 9:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The crack dealer convereted to the nut-job variant of Islam in prison. This is common phenomenon, due to the traditional if-we-don't-see-it-it-isnt-happening stance of government officials. For a fuller write up on this comedy read some Theodore Dalrymple.

The problem for muslims as a whole is that the fundies are claiming to be better muslims... All their actions are backed by quotations from the Koran. Of course, you can do this with any religous text - I recommend you read up what the leaders of Bhuddism is Japan got up to in the 30'..... Unless you have a very deep knowledge of the Koran, it is very hard to argue back with someone quoting verses at you. Interestingly, in Sudan, they tried getting genuine Imamms to talk to captured terrorists. Generaly it took him about half an hor to convince *them* that their view of Islam was wrong.....

The Anon

February 10, 2006 10:02 am  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Ditto here too.

February 10, 2006 2:02 pm  
Blogger Ceridwen Devi said...

Amsterdam, Amsterdam! Funny how you fall in love in the city where a sister gets mugged. Still your dreams are worth their worth in gold. Go for it, Rachel! The wave is just that, a wave. Enigmatic? No, just the lateness of the hour and a woman's despair! PS All Roma are thieves according to Rita Verdonk. She's Dutch and runs their immigration ministry. Sorry to be the party pooper! Remember Sorina, the Roma who missed the 7/7 bomb by one hour.
PS Congratulations!

February 10, 2006 11:17 pm  

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