One sentence, from nine years ago

This matters.

As I said in the last post, Mehdi Hasan calls Maryam “Islamophobic” and claims that she “compares hijab to Nazism.”


This matters; he’s influential, and influential on the left as opposed to the right.

I expressed incredulity about his claim on Twitter but he hasn’t replied (yet) so I Googled. Guess where he got that little poison pen item.

Dear old Islamophobiawatch, that’s where. From a post nearly two years ago. [Read more…]

Arguing again

I’m having a rather heated discussion with Mehdi Hasan on Twitter, with Oliver Kamm joining in, also the Ex-Muslims Forum and Alex Gabriel and a few more. What about? “Islamophobia” of course.

I started because Mehdi had been equating Maryam with fascists and the EDL earlier.


mehdi2 [Read more…]

Morris dancers drinking ale and wearing hijabs

Now there’s a stupid idea.

Pints of hearty ale flow freely as morris dancers frolic in the spring sunshine and gentlewomen recline under a weeping willow… dressed in traditional Muslim headscarfs.

OK, that last part may seem out of place with the hackneyed picture of merry England that is peddled to tourists.

But it is time for the hijab to be embraced as an integral part of national life, according to religious leaders. [Read more…]

Beyond or just beyondish?

What about transcendence?

I don’t like the word. I’m suspicious of it.

James Croft and Tom Flynn just had an interesting discussion of that on Facebook, with contributions from me and Alex Gabriel and Valerie Tarico among others.

What do we mean by it? It seems to need some pinning down; once there is pinning down there is more agreement. Are we talking about Something Beyond, or are we talking about this world experiences that feel beyondish but in fact are still this world experiences? [Read more…]

Excuuuuuuuuuse me

Another wonderful column from Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, this time “apologizing” to “the #MuslimahPride social media jihadis.”

It’s amazing what a week of introspection can do. I now realise how ridiculous it was of me to try and promote Western, postcolonial and imperialistic ideals like gender equality and human rights. I realise how foolish it was to stereotype everything by quoting your authentic religious commandments and regularly reported events in Islamic countries. I realise how obnoxious it was to think that demonstrating against stoning women to death was a better cause than protesting against shameless infidels. [Read more…]

It is a definite sin to trust in medical help

Killing one child by praying instead of going to a doctor isn’t enough. True faith requires killing another one.

A couple serving probation for the 2009 death of their toddler after they turned to prayer instead of a doctor could face new charges now that another son has died.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia. [Read more…]

The BBC cringes

Oh the horror, Rowan Atkinson did an archbishop of Canterbury routine as part of Comic Relief. Cue Outraged of Basingstoke!

The monologue, which was broadcast on BBC1 before the watershed at 7.45pm, was the subject of 2,133 complaints to the BBC – making up the bulk of the 2,819 complaints received about the show overall.

The Atkinson sketch featured his Archbishop of Canterbury character – or “Arch” as he styled himself – underlining that he was not gay, using the phrase “arsing about” and the word “shagging”, and comparing One Direction to Jesus’ disciples.

The skit was pre-recorded on a studio set but was played out to the live audience at BBC Television Centre, who audibly gasped at the line: “Keep on praying – it doesn’t work, but it’s a good part of a getting-to-sleep routine if you’ve got insomnia.”


The BBC is vewwy sowwy.

The BBC has not included the sketch in its iPlayer compilation of Comic Relief highlights, and has issued this statement: “Comic Relief night features seven hours of live television and is known for pushing at the boundaries of comedy alongside heartfelt appeal films.

“It is made for a varied and wide-ranging audience, so getting the language, tone and content of the evening is extremely important to us… to any viewers we may have offended, we apologise.

“Rowan is well known for his comedy characters and this was an affectionate portrayal of an Archbishop figure, which was intended to amuse and entertain. We did not mean to cause any offence.”

I’m sure Rowan is very flattered by that endorsement.

Meaningful answers

Huffington Post UK helpfully reported on the Twitter blowup, with lots of tweets – so much pleasanter to read than Storify.

I went back to the December NS piece in which Mehdi Hasan confirmed his belief in flying horses. Really he’s not talking about the flying horse in particular, but about how reasonable it is to believe in goddy things overall. It’s the usual shifty kind of thing.

In trying to disparage “faith”, Dawkins and his allies constantly confuse “evidence” with “proof”; those of us who believe in God do so without proof but not without evidence. [Read more…]