Religious Watch

 2016: Oct-Dec



 Update: Ofcom Teachings...

Ofcom fines Noor TV 75,000 for a religious parable about killing jews


Link Here 26th December 2016  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
noor tv logoNoor TV is a digital satellite television channel broadcasting religious and other programming in Urdu from an Islamic perspective to audiences in the UK and internationally.

On 17 November 2015, the Licensee broadcast the second instalment of a series of four programmes which had been recorded at the Urs Nehrian festival in Pakistan that had taken place in June 2015. The programme consisted of 15 religious scholars and preachers addressing an assembled congregation with short sermons, homilies and poetic verses.

One of the speakers, Allama Mufti Muhammad Saeed Sialvi Sahib (“Allama Sialvi”), recounted a parable in which he stated that the Prophet Muhammed had given a general command to kill all Jewish people. He stated that upon hearing this command one Muslim follower had immediately killed a Jewish trader with whom he had long standing business relations. Allama Sialvi held this to be an example of the devotion and obedience of a disciple to the Prophet Muhammed and on several occasions appeared to condone the killing of a Jewish trader.

We noted that Allama Sialvi held the titles “Mufti” and “Allama”, denoting that he was a figure of religious authority within the Muslim community, and therefore someone whose views would carry some weight within the Muslim community.

We considered that Allama Sialvi's clear statement that religious obedience within the Islamic faith could be demonstrated through murder of Jewish people had the potential to be interpreted as spreading anti-Semitism, i.e. his comments could amount to a form of hate speech . In this context we were mindful of the Council of Europe's definition of' hate speech', as follows: all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin

We considered that Allama Sialvi's speech, particularly due to his standing and authority within the Muslim community, involved clear potential to cause significant offence as it held up in unequivocal terms the killing of a Jewish person as an example of devotion and obedience within the context of the Islamic faith. We also considered that the content had the potential to cause harm by portraying the murder of Jewish people in highly positive terms and promoting a highly negative anti-Semitic attitude towards Jewish people.

Ofcom's Decision is that an appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a financial penalty of £75,000. In addition, Ofcom considers that the Licensee should broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings in this case, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

  An even more miraculous conception...

Two Josephs Christmas decoration winds up campaign group, Christian Concern


Link Here 20th December 2016
two josephsA gay Christmas decoration showing a nativity scene with two Josephs has been slammed by 'outraged' Christians.

The tree ornaments, on sale at Zazzle.co.uk also have a lesbian version with two Virgin Marys sitting beside a baby Jesus Christ, who is lying in a manger.

Campaign group Christian Concern has branded the decorations, created by a California-based designer, a blasphemous attempt to rewrite the Christmas story . Chief executive Andrea Williams whinged:

These decorations are a desperate and ridiculous attempt to pretend that homosexual relationships are pure and holy.

They blasphemously portray the Lord Jesus being parented by a homosexual couple. What depths will the LGBT lobby stoop to in order to try and normalise their behaviour?

God's design is for children to grow up with a male and a female parent. The Lord Jesus was parented in this way, and this is what is best for children.

The LGBT lobby is not interested in the welfare of children but only in pursuing its own selfish agenda. Trying to rewrite the Christmas story is their latest self-deception.

Artist Mark Thaler, from California, designed the decorations for his company Pride and More, responded:

Not everyone's viewpoints are the same. People need to coexist and not judge one another. It's just an image. They need to focus on themselves and not worry about what everyone else is doing.

Update: Censored

21st December 2016. See  article from pinknews.co.uk

California-based artist Mark Thaler, who created the decorations, appears to have now removed them from sale. He had initially told the newspaper he would consider removing them out of respect for his fellow humans .

The decorations are no longer listed on Zazzle.

 

 Update: Anything but peace...

Ofcom fines islamic TV channel for bad mouthing jews


Link Here 12th November 2016  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
  peace tv logoBritain's TV censor, Ofcom, has fined Peace TV Urdu £65,000 for discriminatory remarks about the jewish community.

Peace TV Urdu is part of  Zakir Naik's Peace TV group based in India. The group is currently under Indian government scrutiny and the process has been initiated to declare them terrorist entities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The channel is also banned in Bangladesh after the Dhaka Terror Attack on advice of the internal security agencies.

Ofcom found the broadcast of the public lectures by an Islamic scholar highly critical and potentially offensive to the Jewish people. This was broadcast on September 12 and 13 on Peace TV Urdu.

Ofcom highlighted a number of discriminatory remarks made about the Jewish people as an ethnic group in the lectures delivered by Islamic scholar Israr Ahmed who died in April 2010. The role and actions of the Jewish people through history from c.1500 to the present day were examined in the lectures that had comments like this cursed people, this cursed race , found to be offensive under Ofcom's rules.

Ofcom observes that the breach of the code was serious as the content included numerous examples of overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical references to Jewish people which, in its view, were a form of hate speech.  The sanctions document notes:

Ofcom was concerned that the highly critical and negative statements made about Jewish people , uninterrupted by an individual likely to be held in high status by the viewers of Peace TV Urdu had the clear potential to cause harm by portraying Jewish people in highly negative terms.

Peace TV expressed its sincere regret and acknowledged that the programme should not have been broadcast.

 

 Updated: Whenever politicians speak of 'balance' they are taking our freedoms away...

And Theresa May notably fails to support free speech when asked about Louis Smith and insults about religion


Link Here 4th November 2016

National Secular Society protests decision to suspend Louis Smith after he mocked Islam


british gymnastics logoThe National Secular Society has written an open letter to British Gymnastics calling on the body to reverse the two month suspension given to athlete Louis Smith for mocking Islam.

The sporting body suspended Smith for two months and gave fellow athlete Luke Carson a reprimand over a video in which the two mocked Islamic prayer.

President of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson wrote to British Gymnastics that's its own censorious actions had caused far more harm than Smith and Carson's mockery of Islam.

In an open letter Mr Sanderson said that:

British Gymnastics has contributed to a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of religious extremists.

Rather than defending free expression, one of the most precious pillars of our liberal democratic society, you have chosen instead to side with extremists and patronise British Muslims by assuming they will take offence at the trivial actions of these two athletes.

British Gymnastics' condemnation and punishment of Louis Smith and Luke Carson will only serve to embolden the religious extremists who reject free speech and religious tolerance by demanding that Islam must not be mocked.

We urge you to consider whether by taking the actions it has, British Gymnastics has further endangered the safety of these two athletes by giving succour to those who seek to silence all criticism and mockery of their religion.

British Gymnastics' Standards of Conduct prohibits athletes from making offensive jokes or remarks. The National Secular Society has now called on British Gymnastics to revise its code of conduct to protect athletes' freedom of expression.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Je suis Louis Smith

Why we must be free to mock Islam. By Brendan O'Neill

3rd November 2016. See article from blogs.spectator.co.uk

Update: Parliamentary Questions

4th November 2016. See  article from freethinker.co.uk

House of Commons logoYesterday in parliament Tory MP Charles Walker was speaking about the chilling vilification of Louis Smith and accused politicians of having looked the other way over death threats to Smith.

During Prime Minister's Questions, he told MPs:

When people make fun of Christianity in this country, it rightly turns the other cheek.

When a young gymnast, Louis Smith, makes fun of another religion widely practised in this country, he is hounded on Twitter by the media and suspended by his association.

For goodness sake, this man received death threats and we have all looked the other way.

My question to the Prime Minister is this: what is going on in this country because I no longer understand the rules

In response, Theresa May seemed to affirm that freedom of speech has been repealed and that the criticism of islam is now officially considered off limits. She said:

I understand the level of concern that you have raised in relation to this matter. This is a balance that we need to find.

We value freedom of expression and freedom of speech in this country -- that is absolutely essential in underpinning our democracy ... BUT ... we also value tolerance to others. We also value tolerance in relation to religions.

This is one of the issues that we have looked at in the counter-extremism strategy that the Government has produced.

I think we need to ensure that yes it is right that people can have that freedom of expression. ..BUT... in doing so that right has a responsibility too.

And that is a responsibility to recognise the importance of tolerance to others.
 

Offsite Comment: British Gymnastics needs to get off its high horse

4th November 2016. See  article from theguardian.com . By Marina Hyde

Offsite Comment:  Islam is trying to make itself untouchable

4th November 2016. See article from talkradio.co.uk