Channel 4 – Report on this!

I wrote earlier about Channel 4’s daily call to prayer for Ramadan as much of the same old same old pandering to identity politics.

In my previous post I mentioned how Channel 4 should report on the many who refuse to fast and who are threatened into fasting and still refuse.

Here’s a great example of what I was talking about:

After an Islamist threatened that his “Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform” group (very moderate indeed!)  would “photograph and stigmatise” anyone who failed to fast, many Tunisians took to publishing photos of themselves eating during Ramadan.

Despite the Minister of Religious Affairs also saying that cafes and restaurants should be closed, the Tunisian president’s advisor had to intervene given the uproar it has caused saying:

“This is not a surprise if it stems from his position that Tunisia is a Muslim country, but Khademi [Minister of Religious Affairs] should be aware that observant Muslims have the right to practice their faith during the month of Ramadan, yet there are a large number of non-observant Muslims and non-Muslims who reside in Tunisia”.

Hear that Channel 4. Why not report on this too?

Of course I won’t be holding my breath.

Channel 4’s daily call to prayers for Ramadan same old, same old

Channel 4 is airing the Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan every morning and also broadcasting a series of programmes about Ramadan. It says it is doing so as a deliberate act of “provocation” to challenge viewers who associate Islam with terrorism and extremism.

Far from being provocative, however, it is just more of the same old, same old.

Whilst people have innumerable characteristics that define them, Channel 4 is again promoting a portrayal of Muslims as one dimensional religious beings that always fasts and like to hear the call to prayers.

What about all the Muslims (and ex-Muslims) who can’t stand to hear the call to prayers? or who don’t fast during Ramadan? There is a movement of eating during Ramadan as a way of challenging laws that make it an offence to eat in public. Here’s one example of people being arrested for “inciting public eating during Ramadan” but of course none of these will be shown on Channel 4.

Rather than being provocative, Channel 4 is feeding into the narrative that all Muslims are religious and conservative and fast during Ramadan. Something Islamists insist upon thereby justifying their attacks on those who refuse to fast or transgress their vile norms.

Religion is meant to be a private matter, lived in a myriad of ways. Often religion is not even an integral part of many people’s lives but of course that’s irrelevant for Channel 4.

As an aside, the call to prayers makes the hairs on my neck stand up. It has always been background noise during executions and attacks on the public in Iran.

Channel 4: want to do something really provocative? Show “Muslims” and ex-Muslims living every day lives, eating, laughing, loving, opposing Sharia, leaving Islam, defending secularism and women’s equality or gay rights and living without religion. Show them as 21st century human beings and citizens with countless characteristics like everyone else. Not just as Muslims and a certain type of Muslim at that.

But of course that is too much to ask…

As for me I will be eating extra this month.

Opposing Censorship

cwtat

Following One Law for All’s statement on Channel 4 and the BBC’s censorship and blasphemy-law-by-stealth of a film adaptation of DV8 Physical Theatre’s “Can We Talk About This?”, they have issued the following statement entitled ‘Opposing Censorship':

Human rights activist Maryam Namazie recently posted a blog about the reluctance from Channel 4 and the BBC to produce a film adaptation of Can We Talk About This?

Here is a statement from DV8 Physical Theatre:

DV8’s company name stands for both ‘deviate’ and ‘dance and video 8’. From the company’s very beginning we have been committed to recording our work on film. Our very earliest works were recorded on video 8 film. As the company’s reputation grew, our films were commissioned by the major broadcasters and produced professionally. They have been screened worldwide, and are taught as part of the National curriculum of dance, theatre and performance studies. We are aware that much of the company’s reputation is based on these films – their reach is many times more than that of a live touring production. But the films don’t only benefit DV8, they were hugely successful to the commissioning broadcasters, too: jointly the four DV8 films have won 31 international awards including three Prix Italia, an International Emmy, and a Rose d’Or.

Read the rest of their statement here.

Oppose Channel 4 and BBC’s censorship when it comes to Islam

cwtat2Dear Friend,

You may remember Lloyd Newson’s verbatim hit play ‘Can We Talk About This?’ which enjoyed a successful run at London’s National Theatre and Sydney Opera House amongst others. The play focused on the reluctance of media and political figures to openly discuss the dangers of Islamism and Sharia law.

Featuring speeches and interviews with leading figures from across the political and cultural spectrum, including One Law for All’s Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters, the play explored issues of freedom of speech, censorship and violence, as well as the impact of significant events such as the ‘Rushdie Affair’, the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, and the Mohammed cartoons.

‘Can We Talk About This?’ received rave reviews around the world and won several high profile awards, including ‘Best Dance or Ballet’ (Helpmann Awards, Australia 2012) and dance ‘Production of the Year’ (Germany, 2011/12).

Channel 4 decided not to commission the play due to the ‘current climate’ even though Lloyd Newson’s last film, the Cost of Living, was commissioned for Channel 4 and won 17 international awards, including a Prix Italia and the coveted Rose D’or. Similarly the BBC, which had commissioned previous films from Newson, declined to film the play though they broadcast ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera’ (which featured Jesus Christ in a nappy). So much for the supposed ‘bravery’ of Channel 4 and the ‘impartiality’ of the BBC when it comes to Islam! [Read more…]

Urgent Action: Islam: The Untold Story must not be cancelled

Dear friend

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain would like to make public its support for Tom Holland’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. We are indignant to learn that due to threats made on Holland, Channel 4 has cancelled a repeat screening of the historical inquiry into the origins of Islam similar to the kind of inquiry that has been applied to other religions and histories in Britain for many years.

The threats and concerted attempt to stigmatise the documentary and its producers by attacking its credibility and even legitimacy as a field of inquiry is nothing less than an attempt to impose a blasphemy taboo by stealth and coercion against programming that scrutinises Islam.

Caving in to the coercive pressure of Islamists will have catastrophic effects on free inquiry and expression where it pertains to Islam. It would not only further silence academic, historical and theological scrutiny of Islam but would also have the chilling effect of exerting added pressure on Muslims and ex-Muslims who wish to dissent from and question Islam.

CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie says:

“Here’s my question to Channel 4: what about the threats on our lives for being apostates, ex-Muslims, atheists, freethinkers, secularists, 21st century human beings?

“What part of our thoughts, lives, and bodies do you recommend we cancel to appease the Islamists?

“If only there was such an ‘easy’ ‘solution’ for those who are languishing under Islam’s rules.

“You may accept censorship and cowardly silence in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation but we cannot afford to do so. And we never will.”

The CEMB urges you to view the documentary (also available on Youtube and on liveleak) and write to Channel 4 and Ofcom (contact information below) calling for a repeat screening.

We look forward to your support. [Read more…]

We never will

I have just posted a statement by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain in support of Tom Holland’s documentary “Islam: The Untold Story”.

Channel 4 has just cancelled a repeat screening due to threats.

Here’s my question to Channel 4: what about the threats on our lives for being apostates, ex-Muslims, atheists, freethinkers, secularists, 21st century human beings?

What part of our thoughts, lives, bodies do you recommend we cancel to appease the Islamists?

If only there was such an  ‘easy’ ‘solution’ for those who are languishing under Islam’s rules – like Afghan actors facing death threats or  the 16 year old girl waiting to be flogged in the Maldives?

You may accept censorship and cowardly silence in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation but we cannot afford to do so.

And we never will.

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View the documentary here.