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God Might Get Insulted!
If your god is really all-powerful, yadda, yadda, yadda, can't he take a little criticism? Not according to (gak!) Lord Ahmed, Britain's first Muslim peer. (Whose bright idea was that, titling somebody who abhors the free speech that is a major western value?) While Lord Ahmed hasn't joined his brethren from "the religion of peace" in calling for Salman Rushdie's head on a pole, Mark Hookham writes in the UK Star:

A SOUTH Yorkshire peer has said he is "appalled" that Salman Rushdie has been awarded a knighthood, because the author has "blood on his hands". In an astonishing attack, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham said the decision "damaged British interests abroad and also community relations here in the UK".

Lord Ahmed, Britain's first Muslim peer, branded the decision by Downing Street as "provocative", saying Sir Salman was "a man who has not only been abusive to Muslims, but also to Christians".

Harry Potter author JK Rowling or campaigning journalist Robert Fisk are more deserving of the honour, the Labour peer said.

The former Rotherham councillor said: "I was appalled to hear that Salman Rushdie had been given a knighthood.

"Two weeks ago the Prime Minister was calling for building relations between the Muslim world and Britain, then suddenly this knighthood is given to a man who has not only been abusive to Muslims, but also to Christians - because he used abusive language towards Jesus Christ - and also Margaret Thatcher."

He added: "The confidence that was being built within Britain with inter-faith work and community cohesion work...has once again been damaged because of this provocative decision made by someone in Downing street.

"This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world.

Yeah, but only among the violent. Hey, loser...here in the west, if we don't like a book, there's a simple response: we put it down.

How about you turn in your royal decoder ring or whatever they give you with your peerage, and you go back to the life you're more comfortable with, in one of those lands where free speech is an automatic suicide move? And if speaking freely doesn't get you...some pregnant lady in TNT control-top pantihose probably will.

Posted by aalkon at June 21, 2007 10:57 AM

Comments

> "This man not only provoked
> violence around the world
> because of his writings,
> but there were many people
> who were killed around the
> world.

I know London is the world's new financial capital and all, but Britain seems lost to us. If there isn't a slapback at least as fierce as the one that came to Falwell and Robertson on 9/13, maybe we should consider ourselves to be a solo act.

It's a bogus award from a (tautologically) bogus regent, but I still admire the Queen for doing this.

Posted by: Crid at June 21, 2007 2:17 AM

There's plenty "slapback," Crid, though it's not necessarily in the style used in the US. Here's an article by Andrew Marr in the Telegraph. Marr is a political comentator that I always find time for.


I'm not sure how you can admire a bogus queen for a bogus act. Is your admiration genuine? The bottom line is, these awards are far from bogus, even if you are no royalist.

Posted by: Norman at June 21, 2007 3:36 AM

> "This man not only provoked
> violence around the world
> because of his writings,
> but there were many people
> who were killed around the
> world.

Maybe he's talking about the prophet Muhammad.

Posted by: doombuggy at June 21, 2007 5:47 AM

There was a report recently that said the second most popular name for boys in Britain was Mohammed, and it's likely to rise to first by next year. Crid, I think your appraisal that we are or are soon to be a solo act is correct.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 6:26 AM

> I'm not sure how you can
> admire a bogus queen for
> a bogus act.

Exactly... It's a dilemma. But this is like that time she sang the (our) national anthem after the attacks... Y'know, that old drinkin' song about how we were going her country's red-coated ass. It's evidence that she understands who's who and what's what, and isn't stupid about saying so.

(Also, Mirren, who played her in that movie, is really sexable.)

OTOH, a tolerance for monarchy is the core of the problem, isn't it?

Posted by: Crid at June 21, 2007 7:43 AM

Yes, yank their funding! (Per Marr.) Mirren is hot. Charlotte Rampling, too. Unlike Deneuve, she doesn't seem to have had renovations done.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 8:21 AM

Rushdie is "a man who has not only been abusive to Muslims, but also to Christians"?

Abusive? He's a friggin writer. "Midnight's Children" snickers quite a bit at Hinduism, but the delicate Lord Ahmed is probably too busy hosting tea parties to actually read one of his books. Rushdie's novels "abuse" all sorts of people. He is not a feel-good kind of novelist. This is nothing a prescription for Valium couldn't resolve. Could someone call the hysterical Lord's doctor, please?

Posted by: Lena at June 21, 2007 9:27 AM

Freethinking is so hard for the primitives to take.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 9:55 AM

You know, I was completely indifferent to Lord Ahmed's anti-Salman diatribe right up until he said he insulted Thatcher.
I mean Islam - so what, Christianity - we're used o it, but Thatcher?




Behead the infidel!!

Posted by: Joe Schmuckatelli at June 21, 2007 10:07 AM

Behead the False Joe! Just kidding.

Here is Pat Condell's views on the matter. Enjoy:

http://tinyurl.com/2zscjr

Posted by: Joe at June 21, 2007 10:13 AM

Funny...but that is pretty much what they're saying. It's so fifth grade playground tantrum.

And thanks for posting more Condell. I just love the guy.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 10:59 AM

He makes such a great point - how Muslims are deeply insulted by a few words of criticism against Mohammed, but not about honor killings and beatings of women and all the other sick ways their religion makes it terrible to be female and living under Islam.

Another great point he makes -- fearing Islam (which is knocked as "Islamophobia") is actually quite wise, in light of how far too many Muslims behave toward the rest of us. It's not a "baseless" fear -- quite the contrary.

He notes Muslims' "pathological fear of reason" (a fear which other religions share...but Islam is the only one that is life-threatening for vast numbers of non-practitioners).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 11:09 AM

My favorite joke about religious intolerance tells of an agnostic man dying. To his amazement he is conscious after death. He is greeted at the “Pearly Gates” by St. Peter and as he is being led around heaven, he is struck not only by its beauty but by the massive throngs of people. St. Peter is pointing to various groups and identifying them by the religion that they practiced while alive. “Over there are the Protestants, in that area is the Buddhists, up ahead on the left is the Jews” etc.
The man couldn’t help but notice an enormous wall that he could not see over or around. When he asked St Peter what the wall was for he replied “Shhh… That’s the Muslims, they think their up here by themselves.”
The beauty of this joke is that you can put any religious group on the other side of that wall and the joke still works!

Posted by: Ari Rodriguez at June 21, 2007 12:18 PM

OTOH, a tolerance for monarchy is the core of the problem, isn't it?
The monarchy's certainly the core of a lot of problems, and I for one would be happy to see it go. As for who sings whose national anthem - I've always been delighted at how welcome Brits are at 4th July celebrations, and I've always enjoyed myself at them. So just watch what you say about going solo, you daft bugger, or I'll have to come over there and sort you out.

Posted by: Norman at June 21, 2007 12:44 PM

Like with that guy you linked who used opium?

Posted by: Crid at June 21, 2007 8:16 PM

There was a report recently that said the second most popular name for boys in Britain was Mohammed, and it's likely to rise to first by next year.

True, but misleading. What they don't tell you is that the "most popular name" is a lot less popular than it used to be.

Among boys born in the U.S. in the 1970s, the most common name was Michael. Over four percent of men born in the 70s are named that. In earlier decades, it was even more.

Among boys born in the 2000s, the most common name is Jacob; however, only 1.4 percent of all boys born then have that name.

What does this have to do with Mohammed? If you're comparing the most common name in 2006 with the most common name among people your age, you're overstating the former by at least 300%. (Unless you're too young to remember SkyLab.)

Presenting Mohammed in terms of "most popular" makes it look like there are a lot more kids named Mohammed than there really are. If English-language naming practices hadn't changed over the last generation, Mohammed wouldn't be in the top 20.

The article is also misleading in another way: it counts all the variants of Muhammad as one name, without doing so for non-Muslim baby names. If you counted variant pairs like Jake/Jacob, Charlie/Charles, Joshua/Josh, Ben/Benjamin, James/Jamie, etc., the same way, many of them would be ahead of Muhammad in the popularity chart. Especially in the U.S., where non-standard spellings are popular.

Anthroponymy is an interest of mine.

Posted by: Gary S. at June 21, 2007 8:56 PM

Some serious beer & burgers was more what I had in mind.

Posted by: Norman at June 21, 2007 11:41 PM

We'll be glad to do battle, but out here, our weapons are sushi and sake.

Posted by: Crid at June 22, 2007 8:04 PM

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