Category Archives: religion

Desert Lion Extinguished

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It’s not every day that one celebrates the death of another human being, well, not in the UK anyway.  However, news from the US was released this week confirming the death of the notorious ‘desert lion’ Abu Wahib.  He was a senior ISIL leader known for his brutality who had stood out in a land where brutality and acts of evil are commonplace.

Abu Wahib, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s military emir for Iraq’s Anbar province,  was targeted by a US led coalition  Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Monday.

The spokesman said Wahib is a former member of al-Qaida in Iraq and has been seen in ISIL execution videos.

That strike also killed three other ISIL jihadists, Cook said.

“Abu Wahib’s death is another blow to ISIL’s leadership that will further degrade its ability to operate, especially in Anbar province,” he said.

I find it striking that in certain parts of the world where people seem at their most ‘godly’ – the acts that they do to each other – the slaughter, maiming, beheading and torture…all appear utter godless. If that is what God truly wants – they can keep their belief and their god to themselves.

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Leadership ‘Hit Hard’

ISIL leadership has been hit hard by coalition efforts, Cook said. “This is another example of that,” he added. “It is dangerous to be an ISIL leader in Iraq and Syria these days, and for good reason we want to apply pressure [on] ISIL on as many fronts as possible. Taking out leadership targets is one way to do that.”

Cook noted Anbar province is a critically important area in the fight against ISIL, and the death of Wahib will harm ISIL’s ability to conduct operations in the region.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook

The spokesman noted that taking out leadership is part of what he called “a multipronged effort” to apply pressure on as many fronts to ISIL as possible, “and for ISIL leaders to be very worried about their next step.”

I started this story saying how we don’t celebrate death here, and it’s true. Yet, watching some of the videos of men standing beside other men who are either dead or about to be killed (by them) I just can’t imagine the hatred and anger which drives this desire to glorify and celebrate the killing or death of another human.

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Islamic students disrupt blasphemy & apostasy lecture

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Maryam Namazie – hear the interview 

Well known campaigner Maryam Namazie had been invited to talk at Goldsmiths University on December 3 by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society campus group, on speech on blasphemy and apostasy.

However, as she was speaking members of the Goldsmiths University Students Union’s Islamic Society (ISOC), who had already try to ban her from speaking, began to heckle, with one switching off a projector and when looking at the video, it does show hat that Maryam was subjected to intimidation by a group of Islamic men who were set up disruption rather than engagement.

The Islamic students disrupted the speech, entitled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of Isis’, because they claimed it “violated their safe space”.

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Most surprisingly, Maryam told me how both Goldsmiths LGBT Society and Goldsmiths Feminist society “sent a solidarity message with the Islamists who disrupted my talk, rather than with me, someone who is a women’s rights campaigner, gay rights campaigner – someone who has campaigned for the free expression that these societies are using”.

I couldn’t quite believe what Maryam was telling me however she went on to say “they have labelled me an Islamophobe.  They’ve shown solidarity with Isamic Society brothers who actually have invited speakers in the past who defend the execution of gay people, who defend the execution of apostates and it’s such an irony that they would support them”.  Maryam said that identity politics had removed politics and choices from being debated and all that was left for some people was their identify as a muslim and “therefore anyone who identifies as a muslim is automatically seen to be the oppressed one in this conversation”.

And in further developments, Zak Thomas from Goldsmiths Students’ Union paper The Leopard wrote that “Members of the Islamic Society (ISOC) and the Atheist and Humanist Society (ASH) could face disciplinary action after a row broke out”.  When asked to comment about the investigation into those members of (ASH) – who had tried to restore order Maryam commented “afraid so” on twitter. The Leopard went on to quote Goldsmiths SU and said that the “SU will arrange a meeting between both societies specifically to identify how the incident should be dealt with”.

Listen: Maryam speaks to Jason

 

Bigotry Reinforced at the BBC

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Local BBC Radio station Three Counties Radio which serves Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire has confirmed that presenter Ian Lee will no longer present the breakfast show on their station.

It follows a recent heated interview  with Libby Powell, a lawyer representing Christian Concern, who believe that certain religious interpretations of the bible are more important than laws and equality.

Libby had consented to speak to Ian about an employment tribunal which is being sponsored by Christian Concern  – in defence of a prison gardener called Barry Trayhorn who got into trouble after lecturing prisoners on sin – including homosexuality.

Barry had acted unofficially as a chaplain to prisoners however, when a prisoner complained about one of his sermon – it was discovered that Barry shouldn’t have been conducting sermons in the first place.  Mr Trayhorn then claimed stress and finally resigned days before the disciplinary hearing in November at the prison. He has now launched an employment tribunal against the prison saying he was forced out – supported by Christian Concern.

It is important to point out that all prisons are places which try and espouse a zero tolerance on bullying and discrimination – including remarks that would imply that a sexual preference for the same sex is wrong.  It doesn’t matter what your religious belief is – if you want to work with prisoners and in a prison environment – you better understand their policies on discrimination in the work place.

And then came the interview.  Ian asked Ms Powell straight out “do you support bigotry?” and then read a passage from the Corinthians 6:9-11 of the bible “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God..”

Ms Powell suggested that the passage wasn’t bigoted because it was gods word and written in the bible.  Ian dug in and said that that both the opinions that Mr Trayhorn expressed and that Ms Powell defended them meant they were both bigoted.

Ian has since apologised for the interview on air saying “Last week I interviewed the Revd Barry Trayhorn and solicitor Barry Powell about their understanding of biblical teaching on homosexuality.  I want to make it clear that I apologise for any offence that may have been caused over the way I conducted the interviews”.

One is left wondering how these spineless wonders in BBC management slide into their suits without their webbed feet getting caught.  I think Ian was strong in his interview style – but why not.  Why should we favour bigots – she is a solicitor for god’s sake. She can’t defend herself? SO why go on a radio show?  Maybe she thought it would be all cuddles and smiles – at her indirect homophobia and bigotry.

Good on you Ian, you done the profession proud. I just wonder how many other presenters would have had his balls?  I’ll let you ponder that one.

 

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The BBC went ahead and sacked him anyway.  He received lots of support from various corners including from chat show host Matthew Wright and broadcaster Emma Kennedy.

@iainlee with you all the way! #notobigotry
Matthew Wright (@Matthew_Wright)

I’m proud of @iainlee for calling out a homophobe and appalled at BBC Three Counties Radio for lacking the balls to support him.
Emma Kennedy (@EmmaKennedy)

Loving the Twitter support for Iain Lee this morning.
Greg Scott (@GregScottTV)

The BBC treatment of @IainLee is a disgrace. If I had said what he did and stood up to bigotry @LBC would have praised me, not sacked me.
Iain Dale (@IainDale)