A media that paints puritans and fanatics as mainstream forfeits its right to condemn them

Asif Quraishi, better known as drag queen Asifa Lahore, sits unassumingly in a TV studio. ‘One question I’d like to ask’, he says, ‘is when will it be all right to be Muslim and gay?

The programme is Twitter-powered BBC Three debate series Free Speech, whose host Rick Edwards (of Tool Academy and, unexpectedly, Cambridge) makes Nicky Campbell seem subdued, and where no thought is too complex for 140 characters. Producers, show name notwithstanding, spiked the question from a previous edition when officials at Birmingham Central Mosque, where Free Speech filmed on March 13, ‘expressed deep concerns’ about gay Muslims being discussed. The speed at which showrunners acquiesced, postponing the segment, speaks to a wider trend.

So begins my column this week at Index on Censorship – read the rest there.




  1. mig06 says

    I’m happy you’ve posted about this. I think it’s high time people started realising how truly messed up today’s media is about this, and how damaging it is. As Sam Harris once said: “Losing our spines to save our necks”.

  2. chrisdevries says

    Islamist views may not be the majority amongst Muslims in the UK (although they are a very sizable minority, according to polls) but in the Middle East and places like Indonesia and Malaysia, they are. I agree that the fear-mongering and Islamophobia in the West (and especially the UK and US) is painting all Muslims with the same suspicious brush, but I really wish these bigots would knock it off – they are making it far too easy for legitimate attacks on those working to abridge our values and freedoms to be dismissed and labelled racism. The events at the LSE are a perfect example (anyone know why this seems to be a place this comes up very often?). The Jesus & Mo cartoons, pineapples named Mohammed, segregation of men and women at public events…people, ALL people need to understand that their religious rules do not apply to everyone else. In the USA, Christians are busy looking for ways to covertly do just that (under various guises), and sympathetic judges exist who uphold plainly unconstitutional laws. Why can’t they just practice their religion in private as much as they please and leave their out-group fellow citizens alone?


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