Unfortunately, freedom of expression is under unprecedented threat. Any broadcaster, commentator, or newspaper editor – whether from the left or the right – will confirm that they are operating under greater restrictions than they were ten or even five years ago. For them, and their proprietors, self-censorship is rife, and is growing. They are worried about powerful, well-financed and litigious religious groups, as well as the criminal law. Just ask yourself why Britain is one of the few European countries to have not even republished one of the Danish cartoons.
Until relatively recently, we have taken for granted our freedom to argue, offend and mock.
This week a leading retailer in Singapore has withdrawn a cosmetics range with a Jesus theme after complaints from local Roman Catholics. The range, branded “Looking Good for Jesus”, was on sale at three Top Shop outlets in the city state. Catholics complained the cosmetics' marketing was disrespectful, full of sexual innuendo and trivialized Christianity.
The products included a "Virtuous vanilla" lip balm and a "Get Tight with Christ" hand and body cream, featuring a picture of Christ flanked by two adoring women.
Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, Baroness Warsi (born 28th March 1971) is a British politician for the Conservative Party and a lawyer. Baroness Warsi is currently a member of the Shadow Cabinet.
Sayeeda Warsi has been politically involved from her early college days when she was elected as the Vice President of the Student Union. She was also instrumental in the launch of Operation Black Vote in West Yorkshire in 1996. She stood as a Parliamentary Candidate in the 2005 general election. Since June 2005, she has been a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for cities. In June 2007, Sayeeda was appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion.
She has always had a keen interest in racial justice issues. For many years she was an executive member of the Kirklees Racial Equality Council. She is also a member of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust's Racial Justice Committee and regularly represents them at national conferences.
Each month Westminster Journal will be adding an Muslim individual and feature it. This individual will be recommended by Editorial process. Any submissions would be welcomed - simply send through details of the Feature Section you wish to recommend and give the reasons why you feel they deserve their place.
Ed Husain (born 25th December 1975 in London) is the pen name of the British writer Mohammed Mahbub Hussain who is the author of The Islamist. Husain's father was born in India and his mother originates from Bangladesh. He grew up in the Limehouse area of London where there is a large Bengali community. Hussain attended Sir William Borough School, Stepney Green School, Tower Hamlets College and Newham College. He later worked for HSBC and the British Council in Saudi Arabia and Syria before enrolling at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He later joined the Labour Party.
We simply do not comprehend the meaning of many words that we use to describe the enemy. American leaders misuse language to such a degree that they unintentionally wind up promoting the ideology of the groups the United States is fighting. We cannot win wide-spread support throughout the Muslim world if we use terms that, to them, define the behaviour of our enemies as moral. Because the Global War on Terrorism—or more precisely the war against Islamic totalitarian terrorism—includes a war of ideas, leaders, journalists, authors and speakers must use the most accurate terms to describe those ideas.
The responsibility for precision in expression rests with anyone who believes in the need to share information candidly. But for those unfamiliar with Islamic doctrine, history and tradition, it may often be necessary to rely on scholars or other experts about the Islamic world to provide one with the necessary guidance to help convey the message correctly. Muslims will ultimately determine whether the ideology of al-Qaeda, its affiliates, franchisees and fellow travellers represents authentic Islam or not, but the West can have enormous influence on their decisions.
CNN’s king of the talk-show hosts and the icon of one of the major television networks, Larry King, hosted an interview on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 with the devil himself. Many Iranians felt completely betrayed by Mr. King’s line of questioning. They felt that Mr. King was missing key questions. I am not advocating a hostile interview here, but how could Mr. King allow Ahmadinejad to easily dance away. It seemed he was deliberately making Ahmadinejad look and act like a human being.
As the old saying goes, "There's no such thing as a stupid question." However, in the minds of many Iranians as well as many non-Iranians, there is such a thing, and Mr. King lost huge points with his line of questioning. Yet, valid questions remain about media performance and the role of public communication practitioners in shaping perception. The role of media is not to impose self-censorship and avoid critical questions.
Last week WikiLeaks’ former “no. 2” Daniel Domscheit-Berg said that Julian Assange, the organization’s chairman, “sought out” Israel Shamir for collaboration. Shamir, A Russian Jew who converted to Christianity, is best known as an anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist conspiracy theorist, and author of numerous articles and several books in this genre. According to Domscheit-Berg, Assange had read Shamir’s works and found them “compelling.”
A statement on Shamir’s website claimed that he “is NOR [sic] a member, NEITHER an employee of Wikileaks: he is a freelance writer covering the Cablegate for the Russian media.” Cablegate, a play on the so-called “Irangate” scandal, refers to the leaking, and the subsequent Wikileaks’ publishing, of tens of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.
In the abstract, Shamir seems a highly unlikely figure to seek out for collaboration on such a project. An anti-Zionist conference, held by MAUP in the Ukraine, was attended by Shamir, former KKK leader David Duke, and others in this field of study. Hardly surprising, Shamir is highly praised by David Duke, although he also has friends on the far-Left of the political spectrum, most notably Gilad Atzmon.
Saint Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), also known as Sir Thomas More, was an English lawyer, author, and statesman. During his lifetime he earned a name as a leading humanist scholar and occupied many public offices, including that of Lord Chancellor from 1529 to 1532. More coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in a book by the same name published in 1516. More is chiefly remembered for his principled refusal to accept King Henry VIII's claim to be supreme head of the Church of England, a decision which ended his political career, sped along his beatification and led to his execution for treason.
The residue of the now banned British-based radical Islamist groups, Al Muhajiroun, the Saved Sect and Al Ghurabaa currently use the website Islambase to congregate when Omar Bakri’s cyber mosque on Paltalk is closed. The site is full of “fake jihadi” chatter and members’ whimsical sighing about their brothers (and some sisters) who are now locked up in jail.
The site was part of a December 2007 investigation by a team of Russian hackers, who entered several extremist Islamist sites around the world. Using their manipulated version of eBlaster they recorded the key strokes of certain users of these extremist sites for up to several days. Those users who clicked on the Russians’ links and entered the websites at certain times fell into their clever traps.