Who needs blasphemy laws anyway?

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There have been two victories for freedom of speech recently. The first, on 28th October, was when Ireland voted in a referendum to scrap its blasphemy laws. Stephen Fry was reported by a member of the public in 2015 for the following comments:

“Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded stupid god who creates a world so full of injustice and pain?” the actor said.”The god that created this universe, if it was created by a god, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac, totally selfish.”

The reaction from the political establishment was embarrassment swiftly followed by legislative reform. How ridiculous that this stuff is still on the statute book, said the press.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where blasphemy is a capital offence and blasphemy laws are defended by its UK educated Prime Minister,  Asia Bibi was finally freed after 8 years on death row. After some grubby bargaining with the political parties who wanted her dead, it’s hoped she has finally been allowed to leave the country – the latest news is still unclear.

But unlike Stephen Fry’s opinions, Western media outlets don’t like to repeat what Bibi actually said. The BBC reports coyly “she made three offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad.”  Sky News says she was imprisoned “over allegations she insulted Islam’s Prophet Muhammad”. Mohammed Hanif in the New York Times went further still:

“We can never know what she may or may not have said because repeating blasphemy is also blasphemy, and writing it down may be even greater blasphemy. So let’s not go there….”

Surprise, surprise, the same newspaper decided to publish Stephen’s comments in full! Why this lack of editorial consistency? I wonder if the violent protests  across the country, calling for the assassination of Bibi and the judges who acquitted her had anything to do with it.

So what exactly did Asia say that everyone is too shy to report? Asia recounts answering her neighbour, who had just referred to Jesus as a “bastard”, with the words “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammed ever do to save mankind?” Probably one of the most prescient, probing, relevant questions ever asked. And not even blasphemous -her neighbour was blasphemous. Either way – blasphemy should never be a criminal offence. But who cares? A blasphemy law is redundant when the mainstream media is sharia compliant by choice.

Indeed Twitter’s sharia-compliance officers charged us with ‘hateful conduct’, after we tweeted Sky News on the issue of grooming gangs:

“Religion of Islam has lots to do with this. Qur’an supports their actions. Role model of Muslims is Muhammad and his actions support the actions of grooming gangs (should be called ‘rape gangs’.” (You can probably tell which one of us wrote that.)

Clearly Twitter can’t tell the difference between ‘hateful conduct’ and ‘uncomfortable facts.’ But then, this is the organisation that accepted a paid  ad promoting female genital mutilation. (You can watch our response to Twitter  here, and you can read our article where we link the issue of rape gangs with Islamic teaching here.)

But at least the European Court of Human Rights is on the side of free speech – right? Wrong. The ECHR thinks free speech is less important than “the rights of others to have their religious feelings protected, and to have religious peace preserved.” So if people feel on religious grounds, that having sex with 9 year old child is acceptable (because their prophet did so) their religious feelings take precedence over proper discussion of their prophet’s behaviour.  All at a time when “child marriage has become one of the most pervasive and enduring forms of sexual exploitation of young girls in the Middle East and North Africa,” according to this  white paper on Child Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa.  (Click here for the full article by Jules Gomes.)  Likewise Asia Bibi won’t be offered asylum in Britain, according to one source, due to ‘security concerns and unrest in certain sections of the community.’ Yet again Muslim feelings trump the morally right thing to do.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday. I wonder what the soldiers who laid down their lives would make of the freedoms they fought for being discarded so cheaply? But bemoaning it doesn’t help. Nor does silence. The church needs to find her voice again, and be firm and be courageous. We must “speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9); we must preach the Gospel in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2), and “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5), especially as it gets more costly. But we can do with joy and hope, with Jesus as our victorious King.

‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)

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A package to Sharia Twitter

A package to Sharia Twitter.

Sharia comes to Twitter! One of our tweets is removed for ‘hateful content’ for linking the criminal activity of Muslim rape gangs to the teachings of Islam.

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Asia Bibi, Freedom of Speech and Muslims’ feelings

Asia Bibi, Freedom of Speech and Muslims’ feelings.

Godwin talks with the Dawah team on whether people should be allowed to critique Islam.

From Ibn Sa`d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, translated by S. Moinul Haq, volume 2, pages 30-31.

SARIYYAH OF `UMAYR IBN `ADI Then (occurred) the sariyyah of `Umayr ibn `Adi Ibn Kharashah al-Khatmi against `Asma’ Bint Marwan, of Banu Umayyah Ibn Zayd, when five nights had remained from the month of Ramadan, in the beginning of the nineteenth month from the hijrah of the apostle of Allah. `Asma’ was the wife of Yazid Ibn Zayd Ibn Hisn al-Khatmi. She used to revile Islam, offend the prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She composed verses. Umayr Ibn Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?” He said: “Yes. Is there something more for me to do?” He [Muhammad] said: “No. Two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the apostle of Allah. The apostle of Allah called him `Umayr, “basir” (the seeing).

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Shia doesn’t stay for answers to his questions

Shia doesn’t stay for answers to his questions.

While talking about Asia Bibi, freedom of speech and how Muhammad killed his critics, Hatun’s Muslim interlocutor changes the topic and ask questions about the Christian God, Trinity and deity of Jesus . But he doesn’t want to stay for the answers…

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Should you be allowed to critique Islam?

Should you be allowed to critique Islam?

Hatun and Yahya discuss Freedom of Speech in Islam.

From Ibn Sa`d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, translated by S. Moinul Haq, volume 2, pages 30-31. SARIYYAH OF `UMAYR IBN `ADI Then (occurred) the sariyyah of `Umayr ibn `Adi Ibn Kharashah al-Khatmi against `Asma’ Bint Marwan, of Banu Umayyah Ibn Zayd, when five nights had remained from the month of Ramadan, in the beginning of the nineteenth month from the hijrah of the apostle of Allah. `Asma’ was the wife of Yazid Ibn Zayd Ibn Hisn al-Khatmi. She used to revile Islam, offend the prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She composed verses. Umayr Ibn Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?” He said: “Yes. Is there something more for me to do?” He [Muhammad] said: “No. Two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the apostle of Allah. The apostle of Allah called him `Umayr, “basir” (the seeing).

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Critiquing Muhammad and Asia Bibi with a Shia Muslim

Critiquing Muhammad and Asia Bibi with a Shia Muslim.

Hatun asks a Shia Muslim if he thinks people should have the freedom to question/ critique Muhammad.

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Dawah team walks away at Speaker’s Corner

Dawah team walks away at Speaker’s Corner

Dawah team doesn’t want to talk to us, despite misrepresenting Christianity week in, week out. Our feelings are very hurt!

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Muhammad – intercessor or not intercessor?

Muhammad – intercessor or not intercessor?

Godwin discuss the contradictions in Islam. One hadith states that the invoker of a curse cannot be an intercessor. Muhammad invoked curses, but the hadith also states he is an intercessor..

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet said: My intercession will be for those of my people who have committed major sins. Sunan Abu Dawud 40:4721 The Holy Prophet the Intercessor of the Sinners said, “Pulpits of gold will be arranged for the Prophets and they will sit on them, and my pulpit will remain empty as I will not sit on it – but I shall stand humbly before my Lord fearing that I may be sent into Paradise while my Ummah remains behind me. I shall then pray, “O my Lord! My Ummah! My Ummah!” Allah the Supreme will proclaim, “O Mohammed! What is your wish regarding what I should do with your Ummah?” I shall submit, “O my Lord! Settle their accounts quickly!” So I will continue to intercede until I get letters to get released those who had already been sent to hell – to the extent that Maalik, the custodian of hell, will exclaim, “O Mohammed! You have not left even a bit of the Lord’s wrath among your Ummah!” (Hakim with sound chains and Tibrani & Baihaqi from Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas.)

Muhammad invoked a curse: Anas b. Malik reported that there was an orphan girl with Umm Sulaim (who was the mother of Anas). Allah’s Messenger saw that orphan girl and said: O, it is you; you have grown young. May you not advance in years! That slave-girl returned to Umm Sulaim weeping. Umm Sulaim said: O daughter, what is the matter with you? She said: Allah’s Apostle has invoked curse upon me that I should not grow in age and thus I would never grow in age, or she said, in my (length) of life. Umm Sulaim went out wrapping her head-dress hurriedly until she met Allah’s Messenger. He said to her: Umm Sulaim, what is the matter with you? She said: Allah’s Apostle, you invoked curse upon my orphan girl. He said: Umm Sulaim, what is that? She said: She (the orphan girl) states you have cursed her saying that she might not grow in age or grow in life. Allah’s Messenger smiled and then said: Umm Sulaim, don’t you know that I have made this term with my Lord. And the term with my Lord is that I said to Him: I am a human being and I am pleased just as a human being is pleased and I lose temper just as a human being loses temper, so for any person from amongst my Ummah whom I curse and he in no way deserves it, let that, O Lord, be made a source of purification and purity and nearness to (Allah) on the Day of Resurrection. Sahih Muslim 32:6297

Muhammad as a sinner: Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying: “By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.” Sahih al-Bukhari 8:75:319

Al-Agharr al-Muzani, who was one amongst the Companions (of the Holy Prophet) reported that Allah’s Messenger said: There is (at times) some sort of shade upon my heart, and I seek forgiveness from Allah a hundred times a day. Sahih Muslim 35:6522

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Can invoker of curse be intercessor?

Can invoker of curse be intercessor?

Muhammad Hijab, Daniel and Godwin discuss why Muhammad is able to intercede for people when Islamic tradition teaches that you can’t intercede as well as curse people – Muhammad does both.

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Sad Sunday for Dawah team at Speaker’s Corner

Sad Sunday for Dawah team at Speaker’s Corner.

Another very common scene from the Islamic Dawah team.. run away day..

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