Just say no

I guess the Alabama legislature took a look at what happened to Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway, and liked what they saw. They want that to happen to Alabama women too. From the ACLU blog:

All miscarriages can be devastating. But, for women in Alabama, this nightmare could soon get a lot worse. This week, the Alabama Senate is set to consider a cruel bill (HB 31) that would permit the hospital staff, including any doctor, nurse, counselor, or lab technician, to refuse to participate in any phase of patient medical care related to ending a pregnancy, even if that is what a patient like this woman needs to protect her own health and future fertility.

Yes, you heard that right. Under this law, if you or a loved one is pregnant and go to an emergency room in Alabama because of serious complications, every medical professional in that emergency room could refuse to help you if the care you needed to protect you from serious harm to your health required ending the pregnancy. [Read more…]

The BBC cast him as the faux-Muslim

Another good (meaning: reasonable) piece on The Veiling of Jesus and Mo, by Janice Turner in the Times. It’s paywalled, but it’s good to know it’s there anyway.

It’s about Newsnight’s terrible and ridiculous decision to hide the Mo of Jesus and Mo behind a black egg. Turner notes the absurdity of hiding the very subject of the segment. She acknowledges the risks involved in possibly pissing off “people who might kill us.” But.

Mr Nawaz’s frustration is understandable. In banning the image, the BBC cast him as the faux-Muslim, his opponents as the rational, majority voice that must be heeded. [Read more…]

Challenging power is “offensive”

A terrific article by Kenan Malik on Channel 4’s contemptible decision to throw Maajid Nawaz under the bus by siding with the “offended” brigade.

‘Thank you @Channel4News you just pushed us liberal Muslims further into a ditch’. So tweeted Maajid Nawaz, prospective Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, last night. He had every right to be incandescent. Channel 4 News had just held a debate about theJesus and Mo cartoons and about the campaign to deselect Nawaz for tweeting one of the cartoons, not finding them offensive. Channel 4 decided that they were offensive and could not be shown. It would have been bad enough had the channel decided simply not to show the cartoon. What it did was worse. It showed the cartoon – but blanked out Muhammad’s face (and only Muhammad’s face). In the context of a debate about whether Nawaz had been right to tweet the cartoon in the first place, or whether his critics were right to hound him for ‘offending’ Muslims, it was an extraordinary decision. The broadcaster had effectively taken sides in the debate – and taken the side of the reactionaries against the liberal. [Read more…]


More from the “danger to community cohesion” crowd at Plymouth University. They had their demonstration against Usama Hasan Wednesday evening, and the Facebook page for that demo is full of poisonous commentary. It does a good job of illustrating why people like Maajid Nawaz and Usama Hasan (and Tehmina Kazi and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Irshad Manji and Tarek Fatah and Taj Hargey etc etc) are so desperately needed.

Top item on the page at the moment:

hayleyk [Read more…]

Alex Aan is out of prison

The Jakarta Post reports:

Alexander Aan, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on June 15, 2012 under the Blasphemy Law for publicly declaring himself an atheist on Facebook, was released from prison on Jan. 27.

Aan, a 30-year-old former civil servant, posted statements and pictures on the social networking site stating that he was a member of the Minang atheist Facebook group, which some considered insulting to Islam and Prophet Muhammad.  [Read more…]

As we are sure you can appreciate

The National Secular Society shares the form letter it got in response to its open letter to Channel 4 about its wretched decision to paste a black egg over Mo when it reported on the childish fuss over Maajid Nawaz and Jesus & Mo.

The letter, from Steve Reynolds of Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries, reads:

As we are sure you can appreciate, this is a very sensitive subject for many viewers. Channel 4 News editorial staff gave great consideration to the issues involved and believe that they reached a fair and balanced judgement, weighing up the potential for offence to some viewers by showing the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and the necessity of showing the cartoon in full. [Read more…]

The sacred tradition of cutting off bits

Doctors in Sweden and Denmark have recommended a ban on non-medical circumcision. Unfortunately they’re putting the age of consent at 12, which seems obviously too young, since minors are just that – they’re subject to their parents.

The recommendation is contained in a resolution approved by majority members of the Sweden Medical Association which covers about 85 per cent of doctors in Sweden.

Similarly, the Danish College of General Practitioners, which has 3,000 members, issued a statement that ritual circumcision of male children is equal to abuse and mutilation. About 87 per cent of Danish GPs favored the ban on non-medical circumcision. [Read more…]