Story here. Blasphemy laws can get scuffed.

Discussion (55)¬

  1. Laripu says:

    There are Jewish customs regarding this kind of thing:

    If you drop a book containing the Torah (i.e. first five books of the bible, in Hebrew) you’re supposed to fast for one day, unless your health makes that risky.

    If you drop an ordinary prayer book, you’re supposed to pick it up and kiss it.

    These are customs meant to show reverence, not commands, and they don’t apply to non-Jews. They also don’t apply to anyone if the books weren’t written in the original ancient Hebrew. And there wouldn’t be anything like an investigation.

    This is surprising to me. How much political power do Muslims have in the UK?

  2. moqifen says:

    @laripu “how much political power do Muslims have in the UK?” probably more to do with the ever present threat of violence from them plus of course claims of racism.

  3. smee says:

    @ Laripu Islamists in the UK have invented something called ‘Islamaphobia’. A phobia is a clinically diagnosable medical disorder. I have yet to read of a single case of someone having an irrational fear of a religion? Its a complete falsehood thats been concocted by dishonest and corrupt, Religious leaders, Theologians and politicians to protect their beliefs from scrutiny, examination, mockery and ridicule, and to gain political advantage. Its the modern day equivalent of the blasphemy laws that we had in the UK; which could well be still on the statute book. The other problem with Islamaphobia is that it obscures one of the real social ills ‘racism’ and gives the far right a banner to rally under.

  4. Simon Maddison says:

    Yes a serious matter. Well examined in this week’s strip

  5. M27Holts says:

    Aye. Islamaphobia is a wedge strategy that islamists are using to undermine free speech and eventually get what they want. Which will be blaspheme classed as “Hate Speech” which could land you a jail sentence and criminal record enough threat to silence most people I would suggest…and eventually the death sentence will be back on the agenda…

  6. Fred F says:


    Some of the ‘Islamophobia’ accusations are used where the author of the insulting piece has substituted ‘Islam’ for ‘brown people’ to try and avoid being accused of racism, but the dog-whistling is clear

  7. M27Holts says:

    And strangely the Hate Speech doesn’t apply to statements attached with the caveat…”Religious faith” of course the get out of jail free card played by the religious hate mongers…

  8. M27Holts says:

    Fred. Islamists come in all colours, surely?

  9. smee says:

    @Fred F You’d be amazed how many gulible idiots in the UK have been taken in by Islamophobia, and use t to attack their political enemies or non believers, to push their own agenda.

  10. M27Holts says:

    I was drinking in a popular student bar on Chapel Street Salford, early December last year. I was listening to a bunch of humanities students having a right Royal go at a couple of Chemistry post grad students. They were insistant that “white priviledged science books” (presumably the principia) had no merit when compared to the truths to be found in the bible and koran. I just shook my head and removed my coat…I was wearing my “Science flies you to the moon…” T-Shirt. The two science grads walked over and started a conversation with me. The no-marks then tried to get the bar-staff to throw me out…and they got quite aggressive…but not quite brave enough to throw any punches…

  11. Donn says:

    I would like to think that here in the benighted US, if some kids took any book out in the school yard and kicked it around, the only question would be damage of someone’s property. I guess those people are more abundant in the UK, relatively speaking – is that why the schools etc. take them seriously? or is there just more ambiguity about what values your society is based on?

  12. Merci says:

    Stop spreading hate against islam you guys have been brainwashed by the media and the government…islam is peaceful and real. If really want to learn about islam learn it from muslim perspective… there are so many former Islamophobes who have become normal….cj werlemen,joram van klaveren.. even Christian priest have accepted islam
    Here’s the link

    Learn islam from other perspective because politicians are using islam to gain followers they are spreading fear
    There are some people who are in isis,alqaeda etc but those people are terrorists they aren’t muslims tbh they have no connections with islam….the fact is Majority of their victims are muslims! Because muslims oppose their acts here’s the link

    Every religion has boundaries so does islam

    Here’s the final link of Muslim perspective

    Try to understand

  13. Khan says:

    Forgot to mention
    As i said before every religion has their own boundaries….like….
    If someone disrespects Judaism so there’s a death penalty same thing with Christianity
    You don’t even know about your own religion…you should read Bible and Qur’an you’ll see the truth and reality

    Read Qur’an
    Read Qur’an
    Just give it a try

    Truth shall prevail

  14. Donn says:

    It’s true I don’t know about my religion. Completely news to me – do you have any idea? I was thinking it might be sun worship? As far as I know, sun worshippers don’t worship books and get all bent out of shape when some appears to have disrespectfully handled that object of worship. But as you say … I don’t know.

  15. Toast in the machine says:

    The lynch mob and death threats in this case whipped up by local Labour party ‘councillor, Usman Ali, [who] took to social media to describe the so-called desecration as “serious provocative action which needs to be dealt with urgently by all the authorities, namely, the police, the school and the local authority.”‘

    The scumbag hasn’t been disciplined or reprimanded by party HQ, let alone booted out and investigated by the police. In the UK, our mainstream left wing party – and the Greens – are in bed with the islamist fascists.

  16. Rrr says:

    Khan, that argument sounds somehow familiar – “No True Scotsman” is usually classed as a logical fallacy. But I may be mistaken.

    In the end it does not matter much to the victim what motivated the murderous thug, or that other people are usually kinder and gentler. One counter-example is enough to falsify a hypothesis. Here, we are seeing more than one …

    Go in peace, brother. You do you – but let others do them too.

  17. Laripu says:

    It looks like we have Merci and Khan joining us, staunch defenders of Islam.

    Khan, I don’t know why you believe that there’s a death penalty for disrespecting Judaism or Christianity, but that isn’t the case. There is no death penalty, nor should there be.

    Another thing to remember: A Quran is a mere book, which is a manufactured thing. It is not a person. To raise a thing above a human is immoral. It is idolatry. To kill a person for disrespecting a thing is evil.

    Merci, you said “Islam is a religion of peace”, to which I say “it is what it does, not what it says it is”. Judging all religions by what they do, there is no religion which is a religion of peace. In particular, judging Islam by what it does, it is a religion of confrontation, argument, anger, death penalty and war.

    It is immoral. It should disappear from the face of the earth. All religions should disappear from the face of the earth.

  18. Rrr says:

    “It is immoral. It should disappear from the face of the earth. All religions should disappear from the face of the earth.”

    Exactly! To Hell with them!
    Oh wait … 😉

  19. M27Holts says:

    What about the church of the flying Spaghetti monster? Can any death be attributed to his noodly magnificance? I have attempted death by ingesting huge portions of new york style 3 meat meatballs and spaghetti….but not succeded yet…

  20. jb says:

    Merci/Khan (hey, pick a handle and stick with it!) — I have “just given it a try”. I have an English translation of the Koran on my bookshelf. I haven’t tried to read it cover to cover, but I’ve dipped into it, and it’s struck me as a rambling, repetitive, boring waste of time. Vastly inferior to the Bible in a literary sense; the Bible is at least full of interesting stories, while the Koran comes across as the stream-of-consciousness rambling of someone who isn’t quite right in the head. Can you explain what it is about the Koran that I’m supposed to find so impressive?

  21. M27Holts says:

    I just picked up a Koran.p119. Surah 10 (yunus) 4.
    “While as for those who disbelieve, theirs will be a boiling drink and painful doom because they disbelieved”. and. “Their home will be fire”. Basically page after page of what happens to people who refuse to share the delusions of a seventh century madman…

  22. Succubus ov Satan says:

    Islam – the ‘religion of peace’ that thinks issuing death threats to school children is perfectly reasonable and justified

  23. M27Holts says:

    Islamist attrocities are high on the agenda here im Manchester. The bombing enquiry report was out yesterday. The blame is being laid on MI5 and not the 7th Century madman and his Mein Kampf terrorist making manual…

  24. Deimos says:

    I have read the koran, both parts of it. One written whilst Mo was still a struggling camel seller, this part is all a badly written attempt to convince existing religious types to accept the new improved religion.
    The nasty second part is written when he was a successful warlord and suddenly its “convert or die” time. Bits of part two also contradict part 1.
    It’s a nice example of religious writing but not anywhere as funny as the book of Mormon.

    PS I decided to read a few books written on subjects I couldn’t understand as a personal pilgrimage to understanding. I tried all the religions I couldn’t fathom and certain beliefs I have difficulty understanding i.e. far right and far left, antisemitism and xenophobia.
    It was a total failure but did pass the first year after retiring.

  25. M27Holts says:

    Deimos, is the book of mormon as funny as Terry Pratchett or Tom Sharpe?

  26. Laripu says:

    M27, I had a quick look at the news, about that report. It’s just a quibble, but it seems that MI5 isn’t being blamed for the bombing, but rather for failing to stop the bombing when they might have, by acting more quickly on information they did have.

    There are millions of Muslims who never commit acts of violence. Many more than those who do. So mere belief isn’t a cause. However, belief plus radicalization does seem to be the cause, so it makes sense to focus on radicalization. (Because… what’s the other option? Kick all Muslims out of the UK? Something similar was done but Edward I in 1290. Apparently the C of E offered an act of repentance for that in 2022. So that kind of thing is not done anymore.)

    It seems that MI5 should have taken the information they had more seriously. The same is true of the FBI, about 2001/09/11. People make mistakes.

  27. M27Holts says:

    Yeah. But how do you know how many of those Muslims would willingly kill you if it was legal under Sharia Law? I’d guess about 99.9% of them…because THEY do believe that the Quran is gods word, and he says that unbelievers must die…which part of that do people not understand. I deliberately didn’t mention 1930’s Germany because that immediately makes my argument null and void…

  28. M27Holts says:

    I don’t condone the damage of any books even those as inflamatory as the Koran. I am a bibliophile. But for children to get DEATH threats, should be taken seriously by the police and those responsible should be sentenced to 100 hours community service or whatever…

  29. Son of Glenner says:

    M27 Holts: I can’t comment on the actual Book of Mormon, but I have seen the stage show of that name. I have read the back story of how the Book of Mormon got written in the first place. The stage show is moderately funny but not nearly as witty as anything by Terry Pratchett; and it shoots at easy targets. The back story of the book itself reads like something out of Terry P, but millions actually believe it. I don’t know whether anyone reads TP and believes every word, although much of it is far more plausible than the story of the golden plates inscribed in an unknown language which could only be read through seeing stones. Many years ago, a man called L R Hubbard wrote moderately good Sci Fi books which were reasonably successful, but he discovered that if he presented his stories as absolute truth – ABSOLUTE TRUTH – many people took them seriously and paid him lots of money. If Terry P had done the same as Hubbard, he could have become very very rich, but he was too nice a guy to pull the same trick, and he still did pretty well out of it anyway.

  30. M27Holts says:

    Yeah. I have the Mission Earth books. All 10 of them, read them when I was 15….ish

  31. Rrr says:

    M27: Now I’m confused. Which of all those comedians wrote the Mission Earth books?
    Of course I could Google it, but heresy is preferred. 🙂

  32. Mockingbird says:

    Interesting to see the Muslim community rush to protect their all-powerful omnipotent god (Allah?) from an English schoolboy.

  33. M27Holts says:

    Rrr. L Ron Hubbard wrote the Mission Earth books. Father of Scientology….

  34. M27Holts says:

    Why are there so many gullible people?

  35. M27Holts says:

    I see Dawkins has got himself into another science v woo battle. With the New Zealand science education policy this time….

  36. Paul Seed says:

    Something similar seems to have happened to the term antisemitism, particularly in the UK. It originally described some of the nastiest racism that disfigured Europe for over 1,000 years – pogroms, ghettoes, massacres and expulsions, culminating in the Nazi holocaust. Now used as a stick to attack anyone who criticises the Israeli government and their oppression of the Palestinians.

  37. Laripu says:

    Paul Seed, there is a continuum. At one end there are harmless things like saying “Palestinians in the West Bank deserve better treatment by Israel”, to peaceful protesting. But then there’s, violent protesting, and calling for all Jews in Israel to be driven into the Mediterranean, and physical attacks on Jews in other countries:

    At some point in the continuum, there is a change from valid criticism of the Israeli government to antisemitism. I think the Israelis have a valid claim that they are the indigenous people of that area. Also, many generations of Israelis have lived and died there and have lived nowhere else. That is also true of local Arabs.

    M27 noted that some Muslims are prone to “Islamist atrocities”, and I responded that it is a minority of Muslims that do that. While do I believe that, it’s also true that a disproportionate number of “Islamist atrocities” have Jews as their targets. That’s particularly true in the West Bank and Gaza.

    So the Israelis go overboard, against Muslims who have gone overboard against them. If the UK experienced what Israel experiences, they would respond similarly. And like the Israelis, they would go overboard, and criticism would probably be justified in some cases.

    But in no case would the UK or any country accede to calls that it must be annihilated, calls like this one: “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free”. Because they’re talking about the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is a call for Israel to cease to exist, and no country will accept that. Would Anglo-Saxons agree with a demand from the Welsh and the Scots that they must return to Europe?

    Since 1948, Arab countries and Iran have expelled Jews. In the distant past, there have been many expulsions from European countries, including England, but the expulsions from Muslim countries aren’t as well known. The Wikipedia page below mixes expulsions, and migration due to fear of violence, and migrations due to economic oppression.

    So a Muslim-majority state established “from the river to the sea” isn’t something any Israeli government can tolerate.

    That, and given all of Jewish history, Jewish fears of annihilation are perfectly rational.

  38. Rrr says:

    M27: Thanks. I had read about LRon (like how he stole his best friend’s boat and sold it) but that was a lifetime ago, and there are so many other hysterically funny comedians mentioned in this thread 🙂

    Laripu: It is indeed worrisome that such a complicated issue has become so profoundly polarized as to make it almost impossible to talk about with words rather than weapons.

    One of the reasons it feels like a bit of a release to spend time here with more adult conversations (in a sense 😉 ) such as ale. 😉

  39. Donn says:

    I personally hold that England, or rather Britain, should be returned to its rightful Celtic owners and those horrible Germanic occupiers deserve whatever’s coming to them until they depart. Dir agan thas!

  40. Rrr says:

    Donn: Oyez! Oh that was French, wasn’t it? But you DID beat off those pesky Romans and those Normands from Scandinavia, and then those Normands from across the Channel, so successfully that Celtic is now the Lingua Franca of half a world. Except for me, who am totally illiterate at that.

    Comes to mind though, there was a fellow from Hungary who became an English professor I believe, who made a lasting impression with his observation over a theatre poster for Pygmalion, “pronounced success” which bewildered some. Or maybe something got lost in translation again?

  41. M27Holts says:

    Well I have celtic DNA according to my genomic analysis. So I’m fucking staying put Donn….

  42. Son of Glenner says:

    M27Holts: And you also have some Neanderthal DNA – unless you are pure Black African (and I don’t think you are).

    Come to that, whatever our colour etc now, ALL of us are of African descent, even though it’s from thousands of years ago.

    (Guess who’s just been visiting the Human Evolution zone at the Natural History Museum!)

  43. M27Holts says:

    I have got a very hairy arse, so probably more Neanderthal than most…

  44. jb says:

    It is true that if you go back far enough we are all Africans. It’s also true that if you go back even further we are all fish. Neither fact has any real relevance to anything happening today. Even if we were all one in the past, we are different now, and that’s what matters now.

  45. M27Holts says:

    JB. However, despite differential in culture, my spunk could impregnate and produce viable offspring in females of reproducing age in every case? Thus as science is concerned we are all 1 species. And all differences are ephemeral and purely philosophical constucts. People can be reasonably stereotyped by their cultural upbringing and that is only a problem for close minded bigots…

  46. Donn says:

    The viable offspring definition isn’t really current, and accordingly intergeneric hybrids are not considered cause for reclassification.

    It seems to be common among cat species. Lots of those “Bengal” crossbreeds in the domestic cat population, but also larger species – interesting comment from wikipedia, about a 3 way intergeneric starting with the liguar:

    When the fertile offspring of a male lion and female jaguar mates with a leopard, the resulting offspring is referred to as a leoliguar.

  47. Rrr says:

    Karin Bojs wrote a tome some years ago:
    My European Family: The First 54,000 Years
    delineating her analysis of her own antecedentia. Spoiler alert: She discovered a relationship with virtually all of mankind.

    She has been a science editor at Sweden’s major daily paper, Dagens Nyheter, and spent an immense amount of work researching for this book. It deservedly and prominently places Svante Pääbo at the front, the latest Nobel Laureate for his work on Neandertal heritage. A kind of biography of his is titled Neandertal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes.

    On the topic of chimerae, I have actually seen a zonkey once! 🙂 In the same field as some other half-breed asses, by a local church. 😉 (Also an actual zebra. And a few horses in striped pajamas.)

    I also met a guy with a distinctly sloping forehead, suggesting a significant portion of Neandertal heritage, and he was one of the most intelligent and capable persons I have ever come across – a very accomplished polyglot in half a dozen live and dead lingos, even under duress. Also played in a band.

    Seems to suggest, at least to my foggy view, that eugenics is NOT GOOD.

  48. M27Holts says:

    Played in a band? Could have been a punk or manufactured pop band, where good looks and not virtuoso musical ability is the prime requisite….Now if you had said a symphonic prog rock band, then we would be cooking on gas…

  49. Rrr says:

    M27: Can’t claim to be much “in” but to me it sounds like melodious classic rock with lyrics in blues; but in Finnish, so … Featured on pop lists and in some tv-series. Do concert tours; still active afaict. Linked to a sample here.

  50. jb says:

    There are all kinds of political, moral, and practical issues with eugenics, but the science is perfectly sound. Human beings after all are just a particular kind of animal, and like any other animal they could be bred for specific traits. For example they could be bred to be smarter and more capable. Or they could just as easily be bred to be dumber and less capable. In fact we may already be doing that.

  51. Donn says:

    I don’t get “dumber and less capable” out of that article. The trait in question is the tendency to spend more years in the educational system.

    That said, it’s hard to see how the mechanics of natural selection favor any increase in intelligence, or for that matter anything of much value. In terms of how many offspring make it to adulthood, we’ve moved to survival of the not so fit.

  52. jb says:

    The study in question used “educational attainment” as a proxy for IQ; smarter people tend to spend more years in the educational system, so the two are correlated. And all else being equal, the smarter you are, the more capable you are. Being smart is a plus in all jobs! Even if you are a janitor, a smart janitor is likely to be better organized and more efficient than a dumb one. So if it’s true that IQ is declining then it would follow that we are becoming, in my words, “dumber and less capable”.

    One study of course is not proof, but it does offer a piece of actual evidence suggesting that we may indeed have moved, in your words, to “survival of the not so fit”). So it’s something we need to be able to talk about.

  53. Rrr says:

    jb: The guru Tony Robbins has made that kind of journey from a school janitor to millionaire flying his own helicopter to mega-crowd events, by spouting palatable NLP* nonsense to paying customers. That he has a hormonal misalignment which affects his physical growth and brain functions probably has nothing to do with his fixation on monetary wealth and otherwise measurable accomplishments. Nor his unwillingness to disavowe his one-time idol, the (alleged) killer of a famous California car chase involving a glove. O.J.

    In a book he spends pages virtually worshipping a front door for being extremely expensive! Come on, give us a break.

    Note: No doubt Tony is highly intelligent, smart and prosperous. To me, he’s still a creeping freak. Not my kind of idol, thankyou very much.

    * NLP: Where you tell yourself you can be whatever you want, and believing makes it so. OK, it has a little bit of merit – but I mean, come on! And on.

  54. Donn says:

    I was hoping it would be obvious that the two aren’t correlated enough. To some extent, people spend more time in the education system because they’re less capable, or at least less certain of their capability to go out and “make it.” The trait likely does correlate with intelligence, but it also correlates with a set of other factors inversely related to fecundity. So while I have no argument with the conclusion, I don’t buy the premise.

  55. M27Holts says:

    Aye. I know a geezer whose feckless and sexually promiscuous daughter has 8 children, all with different fathers, none of which support their progeny. A winner in evolutionary terms is to impregnate as many women as possible with the least cost. Oh and her oldest daughter is pregnant at 13…not unusual in north Manchester unfortunately…


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