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fatpie42 - LiveJournal.com

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    Businessman Rachid Nekkaz hopes to render new law useless by paying fines for women caught wearing veil in street

    A French property tycoon enraged at his government's plans to
    ban women from wearing the full veil in public has promised a fund of €1m (£830,000) to help any Muslim who is fined for wearing the niqab in the street.

    Rachid Nekkaz, a businessman of Algerian origin who launched a short-lived campaign in the 2007 presidential elections, has already put €200,000 into a bank account aimed at bailing out women who find themselves on the wrong side of the new law.

    He insists that the ban, which was approved by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and is set to be ratified by the senate in September, is "anti-constitutional" and a move that could put France on a slippery slope towards greater intolerance.

    While he has no problem – like most of the French population – with an idea initially mooted by MPs of banning the full veil in state areas such as town halls and post offices, he is vehemently against a law that applies to women simply walking down the street.

    "I am very, very sensitive to when people start playing around with institutions and the constitution. I was not shocked by the idea of a ban in public services; I am a [French] republican. But when I saw the president – the guarantor of the constitution – announcing a ban in the street I said to myself, 'this is serious'".

    Nekkaz, who says his fund received €36,000 in donations in the 24 hours following its announcement and hopes it will reach €1m by September, is selling properties in the Parisian suburbs to keep the money coming in.

    Under the planned law, any woman found wearing a face-covering veil anywhere in public faces a possible fine of €150 as well, potentially, as a course in "citizenship". However, if she has been fined for wearing the garment in the street, she will be able to pay the charge from Nekkaz's fund. The law, he hopes, will be made "inapplicable".

    "I think this would never happen in the United States or the United Kingdom … France is a country which is not scared to compromise its principles," he said.

    Nekkaz, a Muslim, is not the only one to have raised concerns about the viability of the law, due to come into full effect by spring next year. France's constitutional watchdog has twice warned that it could be found to infringe personal freedoms.
    (Source)



    Please note that opposition to the burkha ban is not the same as approval of the burkha. A ban on the burkha targets a tiny minority amongst Muslim women, but entirely fails to engage with the patriarchy which forces women to wear it. As such, it serves to prevent this minority group of women from leaving their home and bars practically all possible access to education, employment and other means of personal independence. Not only that, but a large proportion of Muslims in France are of Algerian descent and thus there is also quite a complex long-running race-related issue at play here.

    I also notice that while the ban is apparently on wearing the burkha, the article seems to suggest that the nikab is also included.

    I'm not sure why he supports a ban in the town hall or in post offices, but I'm nevertheless pleased to see him setting up a fund to contest this ridiculous ban.

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    Inception. Just seen it. Wondering whether to believe the hype?

    This is Christopher Nolan directing. Think about it....
    Do you really have to ask?

    (I mean who are you going to believe? Me or Armond White?)

    (Also Mark Kermode loved it.)

    Since you already know you are going to see this, do yourself a favour and don't read anything about it. The less you know in advance the better!

    (If you really want some info about what the movie is about, it's a science-fiction heist movie. Not sure what that means? Good!)

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    People have probably noticed by now that I absolutely love the blog Filmdrunk. It isn't always that great, but when it's good it's really good. A  while ago Filmdrunk drew my attention to a movie called Winter's Bone (which I'm still looking forward to). He has since turned out to be absolutely right about it and he particularly noticed the talents of actress Jennifer Lawrence. (Actor Jason Isaacs recently claimed to have put money on her winning an Oscar in the next ten years.) So anyway, with the background now provided, Filmdrunk had this to say....

    One of the things I was so impressed with about Lawrence in Winter’s Bone is that Hollywood is always trying to cram this “tough, hot chick” character down our throats. It’s kind of a response to the old “why do women only get to be damsels in distress?” criticism. Now that they’re aware of that, they do this thing where the female lead in an action movie has to say “the thing about my character is, she’s actually really tough!” Only it’s still pretty much the same old damsel in distress, only now, instead of a demure nightie, she’s wearing leather and angry stripper clothes and occasionally punches people. It’s still just as offensive, only now it’s wholly unbelievable too. Anyway, Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone is one of those rare instances of a female lead actually being tough in a non-bullsh*t way. AND she’s hot, so there’s that.
    Yeah, it's pretty typical that Filmdrunk should end a really awesome feminist statement with: "Oh yeah, did I mention that she's really really fit?" But I thought that summed up the issue with supposed "strong female characters" really well. (More on that issue here if you are interested.)

    Filmdrunk's normal humour (to take other comments about Jennifer Lawrence) goes more like this:
    I know, it sounds like boring-festival-movie-by-numbers.  It’s not, I promise.  It will take you to the woods, get you drunk on moonshine, and rape you in the drama hole.
    ...
    Winter’s Bone knows that the quickest way to this reviewer’s heart is with a big f*cking chainsaw.
    ...
    If anyone in Hollywood does see it, Jennifer Lawrence is going to be a big star. 19 years old and all soft features, she manages to play Ree with genuine toughness and a sex appeal that comes through without her being tarted up like a common whore (not that there’s anything wrong with that), or playing that phony seductress character that’s so popular. She is the real deal. She charmed my pants off. Literally.
    ...
    She played a 16-year-old in the film, but as I told the other movie goers who acted really immature about me wanking, she’s 19 in real life. Not only that, but she’s a good actress. And I mean like an actual acting actress, not just a hot chick who can smile while she deep throats a banana and Michael Bay sprays whipped cream on her crotch (though that is a skill).
    Like I said, the awesome statement in bold near the beginning of my post is unusually insightful and clever for Filmdrunk. :)

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    I'm following the RichardDawkins.net blog feed and so I wouldn't be writing about this if they hadn't posted it. In fact, the reason I didn't react when Pat Condell noted the party he was going to vote for in the last election was because websites like RichardDawkins.net presumably either thought no one would be interested, or were actively worried about being linked with the sentiment. In the thread on [info]atheism  I was informed "Pat has stated many times he doesn't support the BNP. In a recent vid, he urged his listeners to vote small party/independent (whatever that means)." The "small party/independent" was UKIP (UK Independence Party) whom our new centre-right Prime Minister once referred to as "full of loonies and closet racists mostly". So no surprise that this particular loony and closet racist wanted to support them, but moving on now...

    Pat Condell's Book Club

    Even having seen this new video I was considering keeping the rage to myself until, right at the end of the vid, Pat Condell decides to recommend a book.

    The book in question has a nice and revealing title: "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America"

    Conspiracy Theories Or Serious Non-Fiction?

    One of the commenters of RichardDawkins.net had the following to say in response:

    Wait a moment, isn't the book Pat is pimping published by the ultra right wing WorldNetDaily (WND) Books of "911 truth" and "Birthers" fame?

    Oh dear Pat. First supporting UKIP now supporting conspiracy theorists....

    I do hope he's being ironic.

    Other books from WND include:
    The Politically Incorrect Guide To Science (Tom Bethell exposes how science has been “politicized” to suit the agenda of the Left. From evolution to global warming--propaganda, hidden facts, and lies now surround most scientific topics.)
    The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists

    Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam
    The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America
    The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America Andrew C. McCarthy offers a harrowing account of how the global Islamist movement’s jihad involves far more than terrorist attacks, and how it has found the ideal partner in President Barack Obama, whose Islamist sympathies run deep.
    George Washington's Sacred Fire Most people believe that George Washington was a deist. However, in this innovative and well-researched account Peter Lillback and Jerry Newcombe prove definitively that George Washington was indeed a devout, practicing Christian.
    The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast

    So the list goes on...

    And sadly, it's pretty clear from this point that Pat Condell is not being ironic and early on in the video Pat Condell makes it pretty clear that he's buying into conspiracy theories when he claims: "Just look at the craven behaviour that allowed the massacre at Fort Hood to take place. We know it could have been prevented. But thanks to political correctness in the American Army - the American Army? - all the warning signs were ignored in case somebody got offended." Condell doesn't go into details, but the idea that anyone could have predicted Nidal Hasan was about to go nuts and start a mass-shooting seems bizarre to say the least.  We've had a fair number of shootings in the UK recently (and hand guns aren't even legal here) yet no one seems to be suggesting that they could have been predicted in advance. Those investigating Hasan's motives concluded that he was acting alone, but it looks like Pat Condell is probably more inclined to trust his new favourite book which asserts that Muslims are infiltrating the American government.

    BTW Pat Condell's new favourite book claims that America is being infiltrated by a group called CAIR who, for the record, openly condemned the shooting in Fort Hood.

    So Is The Book Right-Wing?
    It's important to note that Pat Condell is quite desperate not to be seen as right-wing. He likes to think of himself as a liberal and he's angry that people keep noticing that he's not. So imagine my surprise (yeah right) when he decides to recommend a book with a foreword from Republican congresswoman Sue Myrick. Here's what she has to say on the subject:
    "What they want to do is re-create the caliphate that happened . . . when they ruled the world." [Ruled the world???]  Steps include plans to throw out our government and "throw out our Constitution and force us to live under sharia law."
    Yeah, how're those plans going then? Nearing fruition are they? *facepalm*

    She also reckons that Iranians are smuggling their way into America across the Mexican border by learning Spanish in six months. (Yeah, you read that right.)

    Other politicians who decided to join Sue Myrick in attacking CAIR over the accusations in this book include:
    Trent Frank - Voted amongst the "most conservative" members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 by the National Journal. Opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. Infamously claimed that legalised abortion is worse for the African American community than slavery: "Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."
    John Shadegg Voted against the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which increased the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. Voted for a bill to build a 700-mile (1,100 km) fence along the border between the United States and Mexico (Secure Fence Act of 2006). Opposed health care reform, referring to it as "Soviet-style gulag healthcare".
    Paul Broun In May 2009, Broun proposed legislation that 2010 be proclaimed "The Year Of The Bible". In June 2009, Broun voted against a climate change bill, calling the entire concept of man made global warming a "hoax" perpetuated by the scientific community.

    If it weren't for Sue Myrick being brought in to write the foreword to the book, we might imagine that this book was being hi-jacked by right-wing figures. However, looking into the writer David Gaubatz we find more evidence of a similar ultra right wing stance than I could possibly go into here.

    An advocacy group called CAIR (who've had some pretty harsh criticism for simply providing Rifqa Bary's parents with a lawyer) seem to be viewed by the writers of "Muslim Mafia" as a radical extremist group who are infiltrating the government. Their method? By the strategic placement of interns. CAIR's spokesman Ibrahim Hooper found it hard to take the book seriously precisely because: "the worst thing he could say about us was we placed interns on Capitol Hill"

    In Conclusion
    Perhaps I'm getting mixed up. Perhaps when Pat Condell says "if you've ever accused anyone of Islamophobia, read this book" then what he's actually saying is "this is REAL Islamophobia and anything else you've seen will pale by comparison".

    Perhaps if Pat Condell actually read something a little less right-wing, he might have realised that the mosque he referred to in his last vid isn't actually a mosque.

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    Councillor faces inquiry over tweet calling Church of Scientology 'stupid'

    Watchdog says Cardiff councillor John Dixon's Twitter message 'likely' to have breached code of conduct for local authority members



    A councillor is facing a disciplinary hearing after calling the Church of Scientology "stupid" on Twitter, it emerged today.

    The Welsh public standards watchdog investigated Cardiff councillor John Dixon's short message and decided it was "likely" to have breached the code of conduct for local authority members.

    News of the ombudsman's decision prompted a flood of messages of support on Twitter for Dixon, the council's executive member for health, social care and wellbeing.

    Tweets included an offer to find a lawyer to fight his case pro bono and many others defending his right to free speech.

    The case centres on a message posted by the Liberal Democrat councillor during a visit to London.

    It said: "I didn't know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off."

    The message was posted on an account called CllrJohnDixon. He has since set up a second account, JohnLDixon, for his "more personal musings", in which he describes himself as a "microbiologist and web developer, into science, rugby and web geekery".

    By 3pm today, Dixon's number of followers on Twitter had trebled.

    One supporter said: "Instead of a disciplinary hearing, they should canvas all the electorate to see if they agree with you. I think they just might."

    Another wrote: "We're all behind you mate, if any disciplinary action goes ahead it will be because the stupid rubbed off on someone."
    Dixon later tweeted: "Just seen all the retweets about my ombudsman's judgement. Um... Wow... Thanks."

    A spokeswoman for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales confirmed there had been an investigation into Dixon.

    The investigation had found there was likely to have been a breach of the code of conduct local authority members must follow.

    The ombudsman has referred the case to Cardiff council's standards and ethics committee, which will consider it in the autumn. It will have to decide if there has been a breach and, if it finds there has been, consider any sanctions.

    A spokesman for the Church of Scientology said: "The complaint was made by an individual Scientologist who was personally offended by the comments."

    The spokesman suggested people go to their website to find out about the church and its founder, L Ron Hubbard.

    Dixon argued that the remarks were made in a personal capacity rather than as a councillor, and said his Twitter name was CllrJohnDixon only because JohnDixon had been taken.

    He told the Guardian he was in London in June last year to buy a wedding ring for his wife-to-be – which he also tweeted about. Other postings made at the time included remarks about visiting a relative in Richmond and going to a musical.

    Dixon said he thought the remark about the Church of Scientology was "whimsical" and had thought nothing more about it until he began to suspect that members of the church were following him on Twitter.

    He posted another message: "Just realised the Scientologists are following me. Quick everyone, pretend you're out."

    But he said that, in December, the ombudsman received a complaint about the remarks. Councillors are obliged to carry out their duties with due regard to the principle that there should be equal opportunity to all, regardless of their religion.

    Dixon said that even if he had been speaking in an official capacity – which he maintains he was not – he was surprised at the complaint going so far.

    "As a Liberal Democrat, I'm used to having things said about me. You take it on the chin," he said.

    He said he did not have very strong opinions on Scientologists before the saga. "Having done some research on them, I take a harder line now," he added.
    (Source)

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    Rifqa Bary is a girl from a Muslim family who was indoctrinated by an evangelical Christian group who helped her run away with them. I have previously written posts on this here, here and here.

    The Story So Far

    In initial interviews at that stage she was generally seen clinging to the evangelical group leader like this:


    She was insistent that her parents wanted to kill her, but the courts have found much of what she has said has been false. Her claim that her blood is halal sounds more like something told to her by the evangelical Christians than language that Muslims in favour of honour killings might genuinely use. Pamela Gellar organised a protest where most attendees were wearing "Islam Is Of The Devil" t-shirts:


    It turns out that her parents are actually from a fairly moderate Islamic group, not least since they originate from Sri Lanka where Buddhism is the majority religion rather than Islam. Images of her cheerleading in the typical revealing outfit were displayed in the lounge while it's clear that the brother drinks alcohol - neither of which would be consistent with an overly strict Muslim upbringing.


    Accusations have been made that her  parents' are actually illegal immigrants. She is now back in Ohio, but away from the evangelical group living with foster parents.

    A more recent story revealed that Rifqa Bary has now been diagnosed with uterine cancer and Pamela Gellar decided to blame the parents.

    (Best Source)

    The New Twist



    Anyway, yes there is actually a new twist. It feels oddly predictable, but only if you are expecting the worst:

    Christian convert Rifqa Bary is refusing chemotherapy for cancer because she believes that she was cured at a faith-healing event, according to a motion in Franklin County Juvenile Court.

    Rifqa was to undergo a year of chemotherapy after her cancer was surgically removed, the document filed by her parents states.

    But Rifqa, who is in foster care, was taken to a faith-healing event in Youngstown a couple of weeks ago by Franklin County Children Services, without her parents' consent, according to the document.

    A motion to force treatment is to be considered today in Juvenile Court.

    Rifqa's attorneys, meanwhile, are asking the court to make "special findings" so that she can obtain an immigration status that will allow her to stay in the country and obtain medical care. Rifqa, a native of Sri Lanka, does not have legal status in the United States, her attorneys have said in court.

    An attorney for her parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary, indicated in April that the family also was pursuing immigration documentation. All parties are under a gag order and cannot comment on any aspects of the case.

    Rifqa ran away from home in July 2009, saying her Muslim father would kill her for converting to Christianity. She lived with evangelical pastors in Florida before returning to Ohio to live in a foster home.

    That case is to conclude next Tuesday, when Rifqa will turn 18, making her an adult.

    Meanwhile, tests have determined that Rifqa has a "rare form of cancer," according to her attorneys' court filings. Her supporters have said she has uterine cancer.

    It's unclear whether she is cancer-free at the moment. The Barys' attorney, Omar Tarazi, said in a motion that Rifqa will need a hysterectomy if the cancer returns.

    The Barys want to force chemotherapy and are concerned that their daughter could die without treatment, Tarazi wrote....

    (Source)

    Unclear? Either that means the writer of this piece is considering the possibility that Rifqa Bary has actually been healed through faith or (more sensibly) they may be recognising that there are rare cases where cancer clears up without treatment.

    It's probably worth noting at this stage that Rifqa Bary's parents came to the US in the first place in order to provide her with medical care:
    The Barys are from Galle on the southern coast of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. When Rifqa was 5 she fell on a toy airplane that pierced the cornea of her right eye. Scar tissue built up over the next couple of years. Doctors told the Barys they might have to remove the eye. So they went to New York in 2000 for medical treatment,

    Right Wing Watch note the irony of the current situation. Bary initially ran away from her parents, claiming that they were going to kill her for converting to Christianity. Now her parents are trying to force her to get chemotherapy because they are afraid that she will die without it, while Bary claims not to need it because her Christianity has cured her cancer.

    Side Note
    I originally found out about the whole Rifqa Bary situation on this website and I found out about the latest news on that same website. In spite of all that has happened since their initial article, they still feel the need to finish their article with the following note:
    Under Sharia, Islamic law, the punishment for apostasy is death — and throughout the world, many apostates from Islam are indeed murdered by Islamic extremists.
    *sighs*

    (Cross-posted to atheism)
    (Cross-posted to ONTD_P)

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  • 08/03/10--16:09: Vibrators = Insanity?

  • Image of Hello Kitty shoulder vibrator to give a completely
    misleading impression about the content of this post.

    My new piece of news is best summed up by the article on Chattahbox:

    The Christian right, including clownish Catholic League President Bill Donahue, is incensed over Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen’s admission that she masturbates with the aid of a trusty vibrator, she calls her “best friend.” Donahue condemned the use of a “dildo” as evidence of “insanity.” And the leader of a biblical parenting group declared that Momsen’s solo performances would doom her to a life of failure. And Foxnews.com wonders if Momsen’s “newfound notoriety” will destroy her career. Hmm–by this reasoning, does that mean only non-masturbating Christians are successful and sane? The mind reels.
    Ok so yeah, I know it's Bill Donohue, so I really shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not.

    However, Bill Donohue here represents the extreme of a more common issue amongst Roman Catholics and other religious traditions too. The idea that children in their late teens shouldn't masterbate. (People who've seen Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" will actually have seen a far more extreme example of this opinion.)

    Bill Donohue's comments were made on a discussion on Fox News. Another guest was Shirlee Smith from "Talk About Parenting":
    “In my way of raising daughters, she shouldn’t be involved with ‘men’ and any of these men who have driven her to sexual boredom belong locked up because our society says men having sexual encounters with those under the age of consent are criminals.”
    Just in case anyone is worried about the choice of the word "men", you'll be glad to hear that in the original conversation she said she was "tired of d**k", so someone on Fox News presumably thought replacing the word "dick" with the word "men" would be less offensive to their audience. *rolls eyes* With that in mind, she's only one year below the age of consent in the US and, within my own country, she's one year above it. The fact that she is no longer a virgin is not the most surprising thing in the world (nor is the fact that she has found early sexual experiences to be less than impressive).

    The rather bigger issue I have here is with Donohue's claim that masturbation is somehow indicative of insanity in a 17 year old:
    ...and now we have Taylor Momsen prancing around with a dildo in hand. Looks like this gal’s got lots of issues. No wonder she voiced her insanity in a magazine called Disorder.”

    At that age masturbation is the most natural thing in the world. In the movie I referred to above a child is informed that it can lead to physical illness and I'm not sure that the claim that it indicates mental illness is any more pleasant.

    The way they insist on making children ashamed of their bodies is just horrible. However, I happen to have saved the perfect response to this kind of thinking from a certain Jennifer Howze quite early in my blog:
    So why do some groups keep condemning efforts to improve and normalise sex education? Why don't they applaud the move to bring education into a safe classroom environment conveyed by teachers or parents rather than leaving it to nuggets whispered by the know-it-all kid in the playground?

    It seems obvious to me. What so-called family campaigners' want to teach children about their bodies and sex is shame. Shame explains the thinking that there's something inappropriate and "wrong" for a child to know the correct word to describe a part of their body. That knowing the correct words indoctrinates an attitude of free and easy sexuality. That it sullies their pure souls to know how babies are made and to explain what they can see the cow and the bull doing in the field.

    A few years ago I wrote a piece for Seventeen magazine called Vagina 101 that answered the real questions young girls had about their bodies: what should I look like? Should I shave my hair? What's a clitoris and where is it?

    It was refreshing to interview highly respected doctors who robustly argued that girls and parents should get over their phobias. "The vagina is no different from an ear or a nostril. It's just a place that's part of us," one said.

    The piece won an award, but one chain of grocery stores pulled it from the shelves. Some parents had complained about the "graphic" nature of the medical illustrations and descriptions. They likened it to pornography. One mother of a 17-year-old told a local reporter, "It's dirty. It's dirty."


    (Via Right Wing Watch)
    (Jennifer Howze Article)

    (Cross posted to Atheism)

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  • 08/05/10--04:30: Symphony of Idiocy!

  • Click on the super awesome image below for a ridiculous spech from Ken Ham made even more ridiculous by an excellent orchestral accompaniment!


    (Super awesome image via blag hag)

    (Song via Pharyngula - pictured above, sort of)


    Also, so I don't feel left out....

    YAY!!!!! PROP 8 OVERTURNED. GOOD JOB YANKS! :)


    (Cross posted to Atheism)

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    I'm not going to bother with a tirade today. I am mainly just going to post what other people have written. Unless stated otherwise the comments I have posted are from the Richard Dawkins Website where I discovered the video.

    First of all, a comment summarising the basic gist of Pat Condell's latest video post:

    I don't care what the atheist community thinks of me. In fact, I don't care so much that I'm going to make a video saying how much I don't care, and post it to a high-traffic site within the atheist community. That's how much I don't care.

    See? This is me not caring.

    Peace.

    Now a quick update on what the problem with pat condell is. (If you want to find my own posts criticising Pat Condell, check here.)
    [Recent video responses to Pat Condell] usually have [a] few fairly similar points in common.

    - That he is supporting an ultra-right wing bill in the US to ban a muslim community center 2 blocks from ground zero.

    - That he is recommending a book published by a fundamentalist christian news organisation with an awful track record.

    - That he has used thouroughly debunked statistics on muslim birthrates as evidence for the "islamization of europe".

    - That he is old.

    Nobody, even his detractors, could seriously argue that Pat Condell is incapable of articulating his thoughts. So it begs the question, why did he choose to discuss only these peoples conclusions and not discuss any of the points they brought up, which have led them to the same conclusion? Especially when it obviously be a far more effective way of refuting it than merely asserting that he is not a bigot, and then childishly pronouncing that, anyway, he doesn't care.
    That's the big question. If Pat Condell had refuted some of the accusations against him, it might have seemed vaguely worthwhile. But why simply make a post which says "I don't care what you think"?

    Some more comments I like:

    Pat if you’re reading this (and I hope you are), you would not know what freedom meant if it jumped up and hit you on your ‘little white Britain’ UKIP supporting noggen.
    --------------
    -when we come up with superficial critiques of the islamic world, some of the arguments might end up being used by christians to justify blind hate and violence... which defeats the purpose; there needs to be more essence and quality in the arguments.
    --------------
    Sadly, I'm one of those who finds Pat is starting to come across like the BNP with O Levels. His stuff is more or less Melanie Philips-lite. While there's clearly evidence that some anti-democratic stuff is being pushed by Islamic groups, much is just made up by the UK press, and Pat swallows this Daily Mail rubbish uncritically. If viewing the Mail sceptically makes me "PC", so be it.
    (This comment is from Atheist Media Blog)
    --------------
    Seems to me that the atheists that Pat is complaining about are those who don't share his 'the muslims are coming to get me' paranoia.
    --------------
    i think it would be best for the integrity of this site to stop spreading pat condell's xenophobic propaganda. i think it would be a shame for anyone to google "pat condell" and find a link to the richard dawkins website. it gives him way too big a platform, and sullies what richard dawkins has been fighting for.
    ZOMG SENSORSHIP!!!1 AMIRITE???   :P

    Dodgy comments

    "He appears to be attacking the modern cultural relativist hard left, who are organised under the auspices of groups like Unite Against Fascism. "
    ... Yeah. Unite Against Fascism eh? I can see why Pat Condell wouldn't like them.


    Some of these comments seem to do a REALLY bad job of defending him.
    "There is also the problem that Pat Condell is being castigated for reasons unconnected to his message...i.e. UKIP and WNP."
    WNP? I've never heard of that before. I wonder what.... SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS WTF??? White Nationalist Party??? Sheesh, I'd never have linked him to that. How the heck are they able to blithely suggest that he'd support a group like that and then suggest that it's no big deal? O_O

    This is what Pat does every time he speaks out against the extremist, xenophobic Islamic communities. The resemblances between Islamic and Nazi totalitarianisms are quite striking.

    As for right-wing, this is a commonly mis-applied pejorative, often used against any group that questions the left/liberal agenda. The EDL has recently demonstrated against the Islamization of Britain in an explicitly non-racist, peaceful way. Yet within weeks of their formation the anti-EDL UAF appeared and has been accusing the EDL of far-rightism and racism ever since. It appears to be an organised rather than a merely reflex kind of response. Anyhow, the term 'far-right' refers to a kind of 'laissez-faire' capitalist view; nothing to do with Islam/isation or immigration.
    Yeah, um... that doesn't appear to be the attitude of the police force towards the EDL (English Defense League). I guess they're just unfairly discriminating against white salt-of-the-earth mobs, eh?

    You can call Pat whatever you like for joining forces with right wing Christians and Jews against Islam when it suits him, but we all make alliances of circumstance in the face of what we see as a greater threat.  The ones who don't will find that they lose almost every time.(This comment is from Atheist Media Blog)
    Yeah, I know you think you are helping Pat out here, but you're really not!

    Finally, I've come across this video refuting Pat Condell's recent stuff. Their latest video is pretty good too.


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  • 08/06/10--06:19: Awesome 3D Light Projection
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    The video announces that the green party have awful policies such as:
    - Oppposing discriminatory hiring policies in schools!
    - Favouring more effective counselling services in schools which will cater to people from multiple faiths and cultures!
    - Promoting effective abortion provision for women who wish to terminate their pregnancy!
    - Encouraging setting up effective euthanasia provision for people who wish to end their lives prematurely!
    (In the case of the last two, the video even says "provide effectively".)
    - Arranging state recognition of gay marriage!
    - Opposing unfair discrimination in the adoption system, ensuring that children are not unfairly prevented from entering a loving family!

    ZOMG THE MONSTERS!!!!



    Researching further I found this comment. I'm not sure if they were being serious:
    If we get an Atheist PM, does that mean we will lose holidays like Easter and Christmas?

    (Video via ONTD_P)

    (Cross-posted to atheism)

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  • 08/07/10--13:40: Dexter Series 5 Trailer!



  • ZOMG I NEED TO SEE THE WHOLE SERIES RIGHT NOWWWW!!!!!

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    Link to article about Conservative MPs comments and also featuring horrible Stormfront poster which I am not about to feature on my blog.

    In short: Yes, a burkha ban is f***ing racist dammit!

    Update 1: Image from article recommended by [info]midwinterspring  about the recent ban on the burkha in France, to make this post look pretty. :D



    Update 2: Technically the burkha looks like this. When people use the term to refer to the particularly extreme style of dress found in Aghanistan, the term for that style of dress is a "chadri".

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    So many reviews outstanding, but I'm just going to do four for now.

    An Education (2009)

    Well I must admit, I was probably feeling the same way most people felt when they saw the promotion stuff. I expected it to be a bit overly Hugh Grant and not sufficiently engaging. As it was, I found it very cleverly kept my attention from beginning to end. The success of the movie lies, I think, in its not always taking things in the direction you expect them to go, but yet leaving things just predictable enough for you to make you surprised when you find you haven't got it sussed.

    That's not to say that it's a mind-warping movie or anything like that. It really is fairly down-to-earth. But then again, another bonus is the way the characters, especially the most down-to-earth ones, pull you in. It was interesting to find that the most recent discussion on the imdb page was "What about Graham?" Every character feels important in this movie.

    The story brings up themes of tradition, partiarchy and feminism, of the importance of education, issues of morality, integrity and bigotry. This is based on a true story and the main character is most certainly portrayed as far more one-sidedly wonderful than would be true to life. Nevertheless I can't say that I'd be entirely surprised if Carey Mulligan's sweet yet smart and self-detemined Jenny were to turn into the somewhat fire-breathing figure upon which her story is based in later life.

    I saw another interesting thing on the imdb page (actually I was there to check out which actors were which, not to look at the message boards). There was a recent review where someone claimed that negative aspect of the movie was Peter Sarsgaard's British accent..... At which point I instantly went "he's not English???" Seriously, there was nothing wrong with his accent. His entire performance was impeccable.

    So yeah, I know screenshots really aren't going to sell this one for you and I will wholly admit that this isn't an action movie. But seriously, you will really regret not seeing this movie. Of the movies from 2009 I've reviewed so far I'd put it slightly lower than "A Serious Man" (which I would currently consider the best movie of that year) and a little bit higher than "Moon". In other words, it's by far one of the best movies of last year and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

    5/5

    The Howling (1981)

    Any list of the very best werewolf movies seemed to provide only a very few choices. The obvious choice is, of course, "An American Werewolf In London" which comes up just as inevitably as "It's A Wonderful Life" appearing in a list of Christmas movies. Another choice quite often picked out is the excellent "Ginger Snaps" and others will pick out "Dog Soldiers" (which I personally was underwhelmed by, but nevertheless seems to have a cult following). However, another title which often gets suggested in such lists is "The Howling" from Joe Dante (director of Gremlins).

    While it had its moments it also had its flaws. The characters felt poorly defined and there were an awful lot of them. The movie is not, from what I could see, intended as comedy. It would perhaps have been better if it were (after all comedy didn't harm American Werewolf or Ginger Snaps), since the over seriousness meant that I found myself feeling all the more cynical. Most of the characters seem very weird and while their various idiosyncracies do get explained later, it doesn't feel like the most satisfying explanation. Meanwhile, Dick Miller (who appears in most, if not all, Joe Dante movies) manages to completely steal the few scenes he's given. The female lead screeches a lot, though often with good reason, but by the time we reach the latter scenes the amount of screeching seems to be unnecessary.

    The first werewolf changing scene in the movie looked a bit naff, but it turned out that they were saving their big guns til later. That said, when watching the final werewolf change I was going "wtf", while my gf was saying "that's what turning into a werewolf looks like if you have bad eighties hair".

    So yeah, the down sides are: a whole array of similarly unengaging characters, acting which often feels a little off or a lot over the top, poor pacing and a general failure to pull me in. On the positive side, some of the performances are actually pretty good (including the female lead, in spite of the aforementioned screeching) and the werewolf changing effects are pretty cool (which is, let's face it, what we are really there for). All in all though, I'm going to have to rate this one as average.

    3/5

    The Company Of Wolves (1984)

    Now this is a werewolf movie that doesn't seem to get recommended so often. It actually didn't do very well when it was first released, not least since it is a Terry Gilliam-esque movie placing werewolves in the world of fairtales which nevertheless has an 18 rating. The werewolves in this movie are, if anything, MORE savage than those in The Howling. The movie actually feels quite similar to "The Neverending Story". Imagine if the fight with Gmork in Neverending Story was about 10 times more gruesome and you've got an idea of what to expect from The Company Of Wolves.

    Of course, there are other problems with The Company Of Wolves besides the fact that the makers don't seem sure what age their target audience is. On top of that, the vast majority of the movie takes place in a dream, with constant reminders that it is a dream. While this is similar to the set up in Gilliam's "Time Bandits" and also allows them to use the same method of including elements from her room within the dream (also found in "Neverending Story" now I think of it), the lack of time spent in the real world makes this feature seem rather odd. Still, if they hadn't used this device I might be wondering why the actual fairy tale world has so much abstract symbolism in it. At least with the clear explanation that none of it is real and it's all in a young girl's head, we aren't so surprised to see odd things like a mirror and lipstick lying in a bird's nest and little jellybabies being born from the bird's eggs. Still, I found the werewolf effects were absolutely brilliant and there were some other rather neat little touches like a flower formed in ice coming to look like a rose when it is soaked in blood.

    Company Of Wolves is beautiful and thought-provoking, but in the end the symbolism is just a little too bizarre at times and the ending is far too abrupt. A very neat and inventive, if not flawless, re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood.

    4/5


    Note: For a very different kind of re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, I can thoroughly recommend: Freeway (1996)

    The Little Shop Of Horrors (1960)

    I had no idea what to expect from this. I haven't seen the musical remake. Still, the DVD cover showing something akin to the Pirahna Plant from Super Mario saying "Feed Me, Feed Me, Feeeed Meeee!" got me in a good mood.

    Dick Miller is in this one too! He's a lot younger and he's not got a terribly big part, but he's still undeniably awesome. Speaking of only having a small part, Jack Nicholson's name is found prominently on the DVD cover but his actual part is pretty much a cameo (which was a relief tbh).

    This is very much a horror comedy with an emphasis on the comedy. With its light-hearted monster mayhem, this black and white movie felt like extra long and super awesome episode of The Addams Family. Only much funnier. This had me in stitches for the vast majority of the running time.

    How can I say this? A really feel-good black comedy about a monster plant with tragic elements. That's a proper all-rounder and an utter classic. Loved it! :)

    5/5

    Coming soon: the remaining reviews of the entire back catalogue of John Carpenter and David Cronenberg movies.

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    Ah, the Tabloids, bless them!



    Some weeks ago I tried to explain to an American blogger the hierarchy of the British press in terms of political leaning, bias and reliability. I don't particularly have a problem with political bias, after all there is more than one perspective on party politics and so, armed with the knowledge of the editorial stance of these papers, I would have no problem reading The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian or the Independent and their Sunday editions. I would join many people in describing these papers as the "quality" press.

    It is below these - often well below these - that the problems start and I often berate my students for their lamentable knowledge of current affairs.

    Do you read a newspaper?

    All too often the answer is in the negative. Those whose parents do regularly buy a national daily or Sunday edition tend to go largely, it seems, for the tabloids. They express amazement when I tell them that I can predict what party their parents vote for and what stance they will take on a variety of current issues based on their newspaper of choice. I have always been right. Too often in the classroom I can hear their parents talking and talking through the headlines and editorial position of their newspapers.

    My response to my American friend arose out of trying to make a comparison between British and American news outlets. The same rule that I apply to my pupils can be applied to American bloggers in their choice of which British papers they cite in support of their position. If I see a Daily Mail article used as evidence against global warming, for instance, or The Star cited in a diatribe against Islam as another example I can safely assume I am dealing with a Republican.

    At risk of upsetting many British newspaper readers (including my mother who reads the Daily Mail - for the crossword allegedly) I try to point out that these and the Sun, The News of the World, the People and the Daily Express are not good or credible sources of objective information. The comparison to Fox News springs to mind. Objectivity is not the primary objective and, after all, why let factual inaccuracy and downright misinformation get in the way of a good journalistic rant?

    I have become increasingly aware of the liberties some of our media outlets take with the truth of late, particularly following one episode of Radio 4's The Now Show. See this recent post

    This morning on the Sunday Programme (thank you God for BBC Radio 4) there was an interesting article on a youth camp for British Muslim teenagers which has the aim of turning Muslim youth from Islamist extremism. The camp is run by Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, who has written a 600 page Fatwa against terrorism and suicide bombing. Sadly none of the usual suspects feels that this is a story worthy of publishing.

    What we have had recently are headlines like This Note the phrase The Muslim Council of Britain confirmed that music lessons are likely to be “unacceptable” to 10% of Muslims. Now not only does the Star not specify that the Muslim Council of Great Britain does not support the view, but it pointedly says nothing about the 90% of Muslims who have no problem with it. Good grief, if only 10% of Christians I have met belonged to the lunatic fringe I'd think the rapture was due.

    And then you get the story at the top of the post - no not Naomi (don't get me started on that empty headed princess!). This is the story where British children are being forced to eat Halal meat. Where to start? All meat is slaughtered. If you don't like this fact you are probably already a vegetarian. If you eat meat you probably couldn't tell whether meat was slaughtered according to Halal, Kosher or other means. If you're a meat eater you're a meat eater. What on earth do people think Halal meat is, something sacrificed to Satan and dipped in the blood of Christian virgins?

    But look at the wider implication: Muslims aren't British, not properly. This will come as a surprise to my Muslim friends. (Actually, it won't, more's the pity.) It is also supposed to be clear that there is an Islamisation of Britain because of those uppity Muslims. The problem with this story is that it is simply not true. According to The BBC Harrow Council is giving the choice to serve Halal meat to its primary schools. See also The Harrow Observer. The Star however asserts that all High Schools have been told to provide only Halal meat.

    You might also like This one

    Then we get organisations like Islamisationwatch which exist because of the sorts of things the tabloid press write. One feeds off the other in a cycle of suspicion and fear. It should make us angry and it should make us campaign for an honest press.

    (Article From Here)

    Their Sources
    ("News" Source For Daily Star Article)
    ("News" Source For Daily Star Article)
    (News Source For BBC Article Which Refutes The Above Sources)
    (Local News Source)


    I get very annoyed when I get told that criticising Islamophobia and criticising right-wing Christians is being biased against one religion over another. The fact is that the two criticisms are actually very closely tied right now. To me, atheists who start jumping on the "Islamification of Europe" bandwagon need to recognise that this movement is, in the main, a right-wing Christian movement.

    Naturally my priority when deciding whether to support someone is to consider whether they actually talk sense and "Doorman Priest", who wrote the article above, is most certainly an example of that. He sums up very nicely the way that reactionary UK tabloids appeal to their more conservative readers, often without any interest in checking their facts.


    (Cross-posted to atheism)

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    The slow, whiny death of British Christianity

    Posted by Johann Hari 

    And now congregation, put your hands together and give thanks, for I come bearing Good News. Britain is now the most irreligious country on earth. This island has shed superstition faster and more completely than anywhere else. Some 63 percent of us are non-believers, according to an ICM study, while 82 percent say religion is a cause of harmful division. Now, let us stand and sing our new national hymn: Jerusalem was dismantled here/ in England's green and pleasant land.

    How did it happen? For centuries, religion was insulated from criticism in Britain. First its opponents were burned, then jailed, then shunned. But once there was a free marketplace of ideas, once people could finally hear both the religious arguments and the rationalist criticisms of them, the religious lost the British people. Their case was too weak, their opposition to divorce and abortion and gay people too cruel, their evidence for their claims non-existent. Once they had to rely on persuasion rather than intimidation, the story of British Christianity came to an end.
     

    Now that only six percent of British people regularly attend a religious service, it's only natural that we should dismantle the massive amounts of tax money and state power that are automatically given to the religious to wield over the rest of us. It's a necessary process of building a secular state, where all citizens are free to make up their own minds. Yet the opposition to this sensible shift is becoming increasingly unhinged. The Church of England, bewildered by the British people choosing to leave their pews, has only one explanation: Christians are being "persecuted" and "bullied" by a movement motivated by "Christophobia." George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, says Christians are now "second class citizens" and it is only "a small step" to "a religious bar on any employment by Christians".

    Really? Let's list some of the ways in which Christians, and other religious groups, are given special privileges every day. Start with the educational system. Every school in Britain is required by law to make its pupils engage every day in "an act of collective worship of a wholly or mainly Christian nature". Yes: Britain is still a nation with enforced prayer. The religious are then handed total control of 36 percent of our state-funded schools, in which to indoctrinate children into their faith alone.

    These religious schools, paid for by you and me, are disfiguring Britain. I know one reason I grew up without the prejudices of some of my older relatives was because I went to school with kids from every conceivable ethnic and religious group, and I could see they were just like me. A five year old will make friends with anyone, and he'll be much less likely to believe smears against those friends for the rest of their lives. But in Britain today, that mixing is happening less and less. Increasingly, the children of Christians are sent to one side, Jews to another, Muslims to another still, and they never see each other except from the window of their parents' cars. After the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley in 2001, the official investigations found that faith schools were a major cause.

    So why keep them? Their defenders say these schools perform better in exams - and at first glance, it seems to be true. On average, they get higher grades. But look again. A number of studies, including by the conservative think thank Civitas, have blown a hole in this claim. They have proven that faith schools systematically screen out children who will be harder to teach: children from poor families, and less bright children. Once you look at how much a school improves the pupils it actually admits, the only real measure of a school's success, it turns out faith schools do less well than other schools - which isn't surprising given they waste so much time teaching them crazy nonsense like Virgin births and Noah's Ark. The British people instinctively know all this: 64 percent want every state school to be neutral when it comes to religion.

    Special rights for the religious don't stop at the school gates. They automatically get 26 unelected bishops in the House of Lords. Public broadcasters are required by law to give them large amounts of money and time to screen religious propaganda. Jews and Muslims are allowed to ignore the laws on animal cruelty and engage in the barbaric practice of slitting the throats of live animals without numbing them in order to create kosher and halal meat.

    And it seems that, in crucial cases, religious figures are virtually exempted from the law. There is now overwhelming evidence that Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope, was involved for over twenty years in an international criminal conspiracy to cover up the rape of children by priests in his Church. (Check out the superb edition of the BBC's Panorama, 'Sex Crimes and the Vatican', for the evidence.) But when he arrives in Britain in September, our politicians will fawn over him, rather than dialling 999.

    Given all this unearned privilege, how can Christians claim they are in fact being "persecuted"? Here are the cases they offer as "proof". A nurse called Shirley Chaplin turned up to work wearing a crucifix around her neck. Her hospital told her that they were worried the elderly and confused patients she worked with could grab at it, so they said she could pin the crucifix to her uniform instead if she liked. That's it. That's their cause celebre. Oh, and a woman called Theresa Davies who worked in a registry office, but refused to perform civil partnerships for gay couples, so... she was moved to working on reception.

    In response, Carey and the CofE demand Christians be allowed to break the law requiring them to treat gay people equally when providing a service to the general public - and that any case where a Christian feels discriminated against should be judged by a special court of "sensitive" Christians. If we started allowing religious people to break basic anti-discrimination laws, where would we stop? Until 1975, the Mormon Church said black people didn't have souls. (They only changed their mind the day the Supreme Court ruled this was illegal, and God niftily appeared to their leader that morning and announced blacks were ensouled after all.) Would we let a Mormon registrar refuse to marry black people? Would it be "Mormonophobia" to object?

    When Lord Chief Justice Laws, who is a Christian himself, ruled the exemptions demanded by Carey would be "irrational, divisive, and arbitrary", he threw an extraordinary tantrum and said Christians might begin to engage in "civil unrest". When I saw Carey make these threats on television, red-faced and rageful, it made me think of a nasty child in the playground who had been beating up the gay kids and spitting at the girls for years and is finally told to stop - only to start bawling that he's the one who is being picked on.

    As their dusty Churches crumble because nobody wants to go there, the few remaining Christians in Britain will only become more angry and uncomprehending. Let them. We can't stop this hysterical toy-tossing stop us from turning our country into a secular democracy where everyone has the same rights, and nobody is grantedspecial rights just because they claim their ideas come from an invisible supernatural being. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Holy Lamb of God to carve into kebabs - it's our new national dish. Amen, and hallelujah.


    The article doesn't appear to get anything wrong, though it may contain a few sins of omission. Overall I think this article makes some extremely good points and their criticism of the activities of the former Archbishop of Canterbury since his retirement helps to explain why Rowan Williams is considered a liberal.

    As far as the court ruling by Chief Justice Laws is concerned, there's a rather neat youtube vid about it:

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    Update: Okay, there's a reason why this guy is able to put his arguments so simply and clearly while also being horrendously stupid at the same time. It turns out it's a parody. The guy never actually says so himself, but this video pretty much clinches it. Poe's Law strikes again!

    A video from this guy was posted on atheism and one thing that was quite impressive was how simply they put their quite ludicrous arguments. Anyway, I checked out a few other videos in their account and this one was by far the funniest.

    So yeah, I've got no big outrage here. I'm not worried about creationists undermining education. (Well, not on the basis of this guy anyway.) This is just pure comedy (from someone who, bizarrely, thinks they are making a serious point):


    By the way, if you are going to watch the video you are probably best off not reading this stuff first. It's sounds much more idiotic when he says it.

    "Animals can't decide that. They can't just say 'let's just do this, let's have longer necks.' And even if they could, they wouldn't come up with it - because they're stupid."


    "God didn't want [giraffes] to have wings because if everyone's flying around with wings it's chaos. And everyone would have survived the flood, with Noah y'know?"


    [God:]
    "We don't give everyone wings. I'm not crazy, c'mon!"

    [On the big bang:] "As far as I'm concerned explosions usually destroy things. If I take a house and put explosives in it and blow it up, there's not going to be a better house. There's going to be broken house, which is a worse house. A worse house."

    "See? .... So that's evolution put to rest. That's it. Thank you."



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    When searching in vain for the actual interview from the Radio Times, I found this very sensible comment. Saves me the bother of writing it myself. Needless to say, not all claims of Islamophobia are correct and sensible. It's important to consider each case properly.

    Don’t let the burka stifle free speech

    Tuesday 10 August 2010
    I’ve been arguing for ages that the burka is a ridiculous garment, but that it shouldn’t be banned. Now Richard Dawkins is saying pretty much the same: in an interview with Radio Times he says he feels ‘visceral revulsion’ when he sees the ‘full bin-liner thing’.

    Fair enough. He’s entitled to his opinion and he’s not calling for it to be outlawed, as several European countries are proposing. Inevitably, though, he’s been accused of ignorance – a curious charge when I have Muslim friends who are just as scathing about the burka; they call women who wear it ‘ninjas’ – and Islamophobia.

    I’m not surprised. Dawkins describes the burka as ‘a symbol of the oppression of women’ but I’d go further than that. It’s a symbol of an authoritarian ideology which seeks not just to hide women but to silence critics of religion. Like me, Dawkins is an atheist, a rationalist and a supporter of human rights. One of the most important is free speech, and that includes our right to say what we like about absurd forms of religious dress.
    (Article from "Political Blonde")
    Richard Dawkins website oddly links to the Daily Fail, so I've picked another, slightly more reliable, news website:

    Richard Dawkins causes outcry after likening the burka to a bin liner

    The 69-year-old author and Oxford academic said he is filled with “visceral revulsion” when he sees women wearing the traditional Islamic covering.

    But he held back from advocating a ban on the all-enveloping cloak, insisting that such legislation would fly in the face of Britain’s liberal tradition.

    Professor Dawkins referred to the burka as a “full bin-liner thing” in an interview with the Radio Times in which he discussed his forthcoming documentary on the dangers of faith schools.

    He has sparked fury among Muslim groups, who have accused him of being “ignorant” and “Islamophobic”.

    But he stood by his remarks last night, telling the
    Daily Mail: “I do feel visceral revulsion at the burka because for me it is a symbol of the oppression of women.”

    But he added: "As a liberal I would hesitate to propose a blanket ban on any style of dress because of the implications for individual liberty and freedom of choice."


    Last month the French government voted to ban the burka from public places. It also banned the niqab – a piece of cloth covering the face.

    Seyyed Ferjani, of the Muslim Association of Britain, accused Professor Dawkins of “Islamophobia”.


    She said: “This kind of thing has been on the rise for some time. Britain is a diverse and free society.


    “It is a woman’s choice if she wishes to wear a burka, a niqab or not. Why does it matter to this man what a woman is wearing?”


    In Faith Schools Menace? on More4 next week, the Oxford University evolutionary biologist argues that religious schools are encouraging social segregation.


    (Richard Dawkins Website)
    (Telegraph Article) 

    Like Richard Dawkins, I am not in favour of a ban and his description of the burkha is not Islamophobic. From his description it seems that he not referring to the nikab (which is more ninja-like) so the style of dress he refers to is the one from Afghanistan in particular which has a history of being used to oppress women. I think Political Blonde hits the nail on the head when they point out that we should be free to mock all religious clothing regardless of the religion. I've never been Dawkins' biggest fan, but his comments here are clearly not bigoted.

    (cross-posted to atheism)

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  • 08/15/10--08:15: Hindu Tolerance?
  • The Destruction Of The Babri Mosque imagined as a short dialogue. Probably works best if you imagine both sides as having cockney accents. ;)

    - This mosque used to be a Hindu Temple.
    - Well possibly. Ages ago perhaps. Who knows?
    - Yeah, but not only was it a Mandir, but it marked the birthplace of Ram.
    - Evidence?
    - Y'what? This is religion! We don't need evidence!
    - Oh STFU
    - Ok, can we at least worship our gods in your Mosque? It's only fair!
    - No it bleeding well isnt.
    - Oh you blooming Muslims, you're so intolerant. Why can't you accept the rules of Hindustan if you aren't going to bugger off to Pakistan?
    - ... Um, excuse me. Who put this murti in here? You realise we find any representation of god or gods to be a bit of an issue, right?
    - Weren't any of us mate. Still, can't say I don't sympathise with them. Hmmmph, offended over one of our statues when you're worshipping in our blooming temple. The cheek!
    - Okay, how about this? We respect your right to a temple directly opposite this one. That way both our places of worship will be built on this site (whether Ram was born here or not) and it'll be a nice gesture.
    __Next day:
    - Okay, starting to perform a ritual symbolising laying of the foundations aaaand... ALL RUSH THE MOSQUE. SMASH IT DOWN! RAAAAGH!
    - Hey police? Some help here?
    - Y'what? The police are here to defend us from YOU, dummy. HEY RIOTERS, HOW LONG BEFORE YOU SMASH DOWN THOSE MOSQUE DOMES? AH YES, BRILLIANT WORK. Ahhhh, just think. Soon everyone will be able to worship here on the site of Ram's birthplace. Tolerance in action, eh?

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