Real vigilantes of Karachi

You know how it’s impossible to keep up and you’re always missing stuff? I missed Maya Khan. I saw a mention somewhere, but didn’t have time to follow it up.

One morning last week, television viewers in Pakistan were treated to a darkly comic sight: a posse of middle-class women roaming through a public park in Karachi, on the hunt for dating couples engaged in “immoral” behavior.

It shouldn’t be called comic, not even “darkly.” It doesn’t sound the least bit comic to me. I’ve heard too much about posses of that kind in Gaza, in Saudi Arabia, in Malaysia. There’s nothing funny about them. Mohammed and Tooba and Hemat Shafia were a kind of posse of that sort, restricting their vigilantism to their immediate family. [Read more…]

Freedom of secularism

The Catholic bishops have been gearing up for this fight for months.

Hours after President Obama phoned to share his decision with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who is president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishops’ headquarters in Washington posted on its Web site a video of Archbishop Dolan, which had been recorded the day before.

“Never before,” Archbishop Dolan said, setting the tone, “has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”

Ah yes Archbishop Timothy Dolan. We’ve encountered him before. [Read more…]

Grovel for the sake of it

Brilliant. The Obama admin knows the bishops and the Republicans won’t be mollified but the admin is submitting anyway. Worst of both worlds! Lose-lose! Give way on the principle but gain no actual votes or support. Good thinking!

The Obama administration, seeking to rein in a runaway political furor over birth control and religious liberty, is set to announce a possible compromise on Friday that is meant to calm ire from the right about a new administration rule that would require health insurance plans — including those offered by Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities — to offer free birth control to female employees.

Administration officials called the expected announcement an “accommodation” that they said sought to demonstrate respect for religious beliefs. [Read more…]

Not acceptable to all those who believe in respect for all religions

Via Padraig Reidy at Index on Censorship, a new depth of absurdity.

An Early day motion (query: wozzat?) in Parliament a week ago:

That this House notes with concern the sketch on the NBC Jay Leno Show where the most sacred Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, was disrespected by Jay Leno when it was referred to as GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s summer home; expresses concern and regret that this depiction of the Golden Temple as a home of the rich shows a complete misunderstanding of the Sikh faith and is derogatory to Sikhs across the world; believes that these comments are not acceptable to all those who believe in respect for all religions; calls on Jay Leno and NBC to apologise to all Sikhs for this disrespectful depiction of the Golden Temple; and further calls on the Government to make representations to the US government that while recognising principles of freedom of speech there should be more understanding and respect shown to the Sikh faith. [Read more…]

Play up and play the game

It’s always nice to see friendly rivalry among people of similar interests. It keeps their skills honed and their energy high. The right-wing Hindutva student group in India, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, is competing with the “activists” who shut down Salman Rushdie at Jaipur. The ABVP objected to the screening of a documentary on Kashmir, and behold, the objection achieved its aim: the showing was cancelled. “Activists” 1, ABVP 1. Next round!

Symbiosis University has cancelled the screening of documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak’s Jashn-e-Azadion Kashmir, after the right-wing student organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), raised objections to its ‘separatist’ nature. The film was supposed to be screened at a three-day national seminar called ‘Voices of Kashmir’ at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, organised in association with the University Grants Commission (UGC) on February 3, 4 and 5. [Read more…]

One stop shopping

I’ve done a lot of posts about all this shut-uppery at UCL and Queen Mary U and LSE. I thought it might be useful to collect them all in one place.

Say more good things about Islam please

Another busy day for the shutters up.

A bunch of Islamist bullies managed to get Salman Rushdie’s video talk to the Jaipur Literary Festival blocked.

A bunch of Islamist bullies and some allies wrote a stupid letter to the Guardian demanding more friendly coverage of Islam in the media.

Let’s take a look at that letter. (Martin Bright has been arguing with Sunny Hundal, who signed the letter, at Twitter for an hour or two. Sunny ended up saying he signs letters he doesn’t agree with, leaving Martin and also Padraig Reidy gobsmacked.)

That letter is a dog’s breakfast. [Read more…]

It has come to our attention that you are wicked

The LSE Students’ Union has put out a statement on its quarrel with the LSE Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society. It’s a horrible little document.

On Monday 16th January it was brought to our attention via an official complaint by two students that the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society posted cartoons, published by the UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, depicting the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus “sitting in a pub having a pint” on their society Facebook page. Upon hearing this, the sabbaticals officers of the LSESU ensured all evidence was collected and an emergency meeting with a member of the Students’ Union staff was called to discuss how to deal with the issue. During this time, we received over 40 separate official complaints from the student body, in addition to further information regarding more posts on the society Facebook page. [Read more…]

No Jaipur Literature Festival for you

Yesterday Praveen Swami reported that

Local intelligence officials in Rajasthan invented information that hit men were preparing to assassinate eminent author Salman Rushdie in a successful plot to deter him from attending the Jaipur Literature Festival, highly placed police sources have told The Hindu.

I didn’t post about it yesterday only because it was a little thin (and it’s absolutely extraordinary), so I decided to wait.

Now Salman Rushdie has said on Facebook and Twitter:

I have investigated this myself and am now convinced that the story is true. I was lied to by the Rajasthan authorities, and don’t know when I have felt so angry.

Staggering. So much for secular India.