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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Yet there has never been a more pressing time to engage with these issues in the classroom. If I were a teacher of Religious Studies, I would find it difficult to justify ignoring the question of the perceived conflict between religious faith and free speech, or not to discuss the murders of Samuel Paty and the satirists of Charlie Hebdo. While there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the potential offence that depictions of the Prophet Mohammed might cause, it is not a sufficient reason to avoid the topic altogether. I am sure that many pupils are disturbed by the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda cartoons that are routinely included in history textbooks, but they serve an important function in the learning process. We know very little about the context in which the images of Mohammed were shown at Batley Grammar, but it is implausible that the teacher’s motives were anything other than educational.

Andrew Doyle

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Penseivat

    It has been said by many muslims that a visual depiction of Mohammed is forbidden and an insult to their faith. Why? Is there a paragraph, or chapter, in the Koran which states that? If not, why is a drawing of him such an alleged insult? If the Koran, which apparently contains the words given to Mohammed by Allah, does state that, why would Allah be so concerned about people knowing what his prophet looked like? I have, over the years, asked muslim friends and colleagues about this and no one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer, or any answer at all on occasions, often changing the subject. We already know about Mohammed’s philosophies on death, torture, rape, and sexual slavery, but was he a giant of a man, a dwarf, only had one eye or, Allah forbid, white? In a society where a white, heterosexual, male is now seen as a figure of hate and oppression, perhaps that is the reason, to stop descendants of his victims claiming reparations from the local mosque?
    The purpose of education is to learn, to discuss and debate, to improve knowledge and, when necessary, to challenge or question. If pupils or students are not allowed to do that, then they are not being properly educated.

  • pete

    Hundreds of sexually abused young girls in places like Rochdale and Rotherham were not helped because nobody dared speak out for them.

    This teacher is in a similar predicament. Nobody will help him.

  • APL

    Penseivat: “Allah forbid, white?”

    Oh dear! Do you think Mohammed’s followers would be really upset if it were so?

  • Fraser Orr

    Penseivat’s question actually got me thinking. In the ten commandments the Bible specifically says that we should not make an image of God. However, there are images of him all over the place (including, ironically, on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.) Nonetheless, I am struggling to remember the last time a group of Catholics busted into a newspaper and killed all the journalists.

    It seems ironic that this teacher is accused of doing harm when the only actual evidence of harm coming from an image of the Prophet are in the blood stained walls at Charlie Hebdo. I’ll take offense over murder any day.

  • Penseivat

    “In the ten commandments the Bible specifically says that we should not make an image of God.”
    Fraser Orr

    I am assuming the words “graven images” mentioned in the Commandments includes those of God as well as man made objects, idols, or other images of God.
    The protests by the muslim community in Batley are nothing to do with an image of their God, Allah. The protests are over an image, which was a copy of a cartoon which imagined what their prophet looked like. There is a difference in this. I understand that the Koran refers to Jesus, and describes him as a prophet, yet there are no protests, riots, or murders over images, including cartoons and caricatures, of Jesus being shown around the world.
    The muslim world has followed the rest of the world in progressing in almost everything except their religion. Perhaps it’s time that some challenges or questions be made, and that must come from the young, who have been educated, rather than brain-washed.

  • Pete Lloyd

    @Penseivat March 29, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Mohammed was most likely not white but he was allegedly ginger … which might explain a lot.

  • James Strong

    Rather than consider Mohammed’s appearance we should consider his character and behavoiur.
    Prone to anger and violence he carried out raids on his enemies and had at least one dissident in his society murdered. He had sex with a 9 tear old girl. He made it quite clear that women should not have trhe same rights as men.He made it quite clear that non-muslims should not have the same rights as muslims. He ‘received revelations’ that allowed him to depart from the laws of his society to suit himself as an individual. And, far from being peaceful, when he established his society in Medina he was an oppressive authoritarian.
    I have heard it said, and I agree with it, that if the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men it would be a banned organisation.
    A lot of the offence taken by mohammedans ove cartoons of Mohammed is bogus. They do not turn violent over pictures of their other ‘prophets’ like Jesaus, John the Baptist, Moses.
    But mohammedans and their societies are prone to violence. Look at the flag of Saudi Arabia, which has a weapon on it. A Dark Ages weapon it is true, but what if the USA put a stealth bomber on its flag? That would be different, and unacceptable, because reasons.

  • bobby b

    Blasphemy. We’re gonna get PdH killed.

  • APL

    Penseivat: “The protests by the muslim community in Batley are nothing to do with an image of their God, Allah.”

    Interestingly enough, ‘learned’ Islamic scholars have been known to discuss the physical attributes of Allah. Apparently Allah, according to what is written in the Koran and the Hadith, has some err, ‘interesting’ physical characteristics.

    James Strong: “I have heard it said, and I agree with it, that if the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men it would be a banned organisation.”

    I think Islamic scholars who study rather than learn by rote, the Koran are in for an uncomfortable surprise.

    Then, 7th century Arabia, with it’s diversity (pre Islamic societies, various sects of Christian etc,) was just the sort of environment where libetarian principles and ideas should have taken root. Why violent Islam instead of the non aggression principle?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    In the Islamic world, ‘innovation’ is a sin. It is limited to religion, but innovation (shirk) is frowned upon in all areas, just in case. So calls to update and modernize Islamic teaching will never be fulfilled.
    In contrast, I can call for Christians to re-interpret the Gospels without being killed. For instance, Genesis chapter one ends completely differently from the next chapters, so I interpret that to be a later history of humans, with Adam and Eve being the start of a new race of humans. This would mean that Christians could accept evolution, and vast ages before Adam. As Saint Paul tells us in Romans, non-Adamites are grafted onto the tree of faith.
    I doubt if Muslims could do that, and survive.

  • Paul Marks

    We do know what Muhammed looked like – it is clear in the Islamic sources.

    Muhammed (Mohammed) was a tall, well proportioned man who was picked out in a crowd because he was pale (“white”), there was little Sub Saharan African genetic material in Middle Eastern populations back then – the many centuries of black African slave trading was in its early stages, Muhammed himself was involved in that trade and he had certain opinions about black people – if anyone is interested they can look them up.

    As for depictions of Muhammed – Islam is clear that Muhammed was a man, not God. The Sunni hold that Muhammed should not be depicted (although they do not regard him as God – most certainly not), historically the Shia have held a different opinion on this matter.

    As for censorship n the education system…….

    Frankfurt School Marxism (“Wokeness”) has massive influence in the education system – it censors the truth and it pushes lies every day. Conservatives sometimes oppose “Wokeness” of “Political Correctness” but they will not even say what it is – they dare not say it is the Frankfurt School of Marxism which is “Third Wace Feminism” and “Critical Race Theory” and the Trans Cult for CHILDREN – and so on.

    I am told that Tucker Carlson is very brave for opposing this stuff – but he NEVER uses it’s name. Give me one example of when he has openly said it is Frankfurt School Marxism. I can thing of no example.

    I am NOT attacking Tucker Carlson – I know he gets death threats and he may also be dismissed from his job, or arrested by the FBI on some made-up charge. But it is still note worthy that he and the other conservative commentators never dare use the name of the thing they are fighting.

    And if you will not even mention the name of Marxism (not even when it is now taking over the United States military) – you CAN NOT WIN.

    The forces of Islam, in this case Sunni (not Shia) Islam in Bury would say “if you roll over for the Marxists – why not for us as well” and why not indeed.

    The British government says there should be “balance” – with the discussion of Islam being allowed, as long as it is a respectful and positive way.

    Historically people who opposed a religion, or any world view, did not talk about it in a “balanced, respectful and positive way” – quite the opposite, they were as abusive as they knew how to be.

    The “Central Office” view of Freedom of Speech is not Freedom of Speech at all – but they would reply that they are simply enforcing the LAW OF THE LAND.

    Under, for example, the Equality Act of 2000 a whole series of opinions are crimes – if they expressed on the internet and shown in insulting memes and so on.

    It is hard to think of any major figure in British history who would not now be in prison – not just for their comments about Islam, but because of their comments about all sorts of things (including skin colour).

    Winston Churchill, and just about everyone of his time, would be in prison. I will not go into detail about how he spoke and wrote – but it would be today considered “Crime Think”.

    My own view?

    Do I think that for example the once well known Labour Party Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin should have been allowed to talk about JEWS as he did?

    Yes I do – which is why I also think that people in the Labour Party should be allowed to talk in an insulting way about Jews (or any other group) today. That does not mean I agree with them – it means I believe they should not be punished (lose their jobs and so on) for saying that I am greedy, or that I have no right to be in this country (or whatever). Of course I reserve the right to insult them, as Socialist cretins (and so on) – just as they have the right to insult half breeds like me.

    However, my belief in Freedom of Speech is totally out of place in this society – as was shown to me a couple of years ago when I was punished for a private bit of Noel Coward language (“vile creature”) – not even a public comment, private counts to.

    If I had any real courage I would have killed myself long ago. This society is not one I wish to live in – and the United States, and so on, is just the same (the 1st Amendment is already a Dead Letter – as the Free Speech CULTURE is dead).

    I say again – it is NOT just Islam, it is many groups. There is no Freedom of Speech culture here – instead we must be “respectful and positive” and drive people who speak and write like, for example, John Milton out of society – fire them from their jobs and so on.

  • Paul Marks

    In case anyone does not know what Islamic Law is on this specific matter.

    The “insulting” description or depiction of Muhammed is punishable by death – so the Shia (but not the Sunni) would argue that their historical depictions of Muhammed do not come under that, because they were not “insulting” (quite the contrary).

    Muhammed himself was a white man (that is how he was picked out in a crowd – and people in Arabia then were not particularly dark skinned anyway, there were various skin tones). So “racism” is not a thing in this context.

    As for “racism” itself – should people be allowed to make fun of others on the basis of the colour of their skin, the modern legal answer is “no” – which means that virtually everyone before the last few decades would be sent to prison under modern legal principles.

    Up to only a few decades ago, most people used language that today would be criminal.

  • Paul Marks

    Again the Equality Act of 2000 is quite clear that it does not just apply to skin colour – it applies to all sorts of groups. Essentially under the vague principles of this, and other, legislation – almost all forms of “insulting” speech are crimes if directed against many favoured groups (on general Frankfurt School of Marxism grounds – Freedom of Speech being seen as evil “Repressive Tolerance” as Herbert Marcuse or the British “Law Commission” might put it).

    Talking of Freedom of Speech in a British context is absurd. But, as already stated, it is not much different in the United States – as a person can be driven from his job (and prevented from having other employment) for the mildest of comments – there is no Freedom of Speech CULTURE in the United States.

    Why do we cling to life in this society – the modern West?

    Cowardice is the only reason I can come up with – at least in my own case.

    Making “Hate Speech” a crime might actually be merciful – as at least then people would have somewhere to live, PRISON, rather than sleep on the streets as de facto punishment for their “crime think”.

  • Paul Marks

    Lastly.

    Everyone in public life in the United Kingdom has to agree to the “Diversity and Inclusion” agenda – is that from Islam? No it is NOT – it is from Frankfurt School Marxism.

    I repeat it is not optional – not if you want to be a local councillor or anything like that. It is at the heart of various laws and “policies” (“it is policy” is modern language for “it is sacred”). We all have to sign up to it – and we excluded if we do not (yes the word “inclusion” is Orwellian – it really means exclusion, the exclusion of people with traditional Western conservative beliefs).

    So let us drop this idea that Muslims are a threat to our Free Society – they can not be a threat to our Free Society, because we do not have a Free Society (and that is NOT their fault).

  • Rob

    Then, 7th century Arabia, with it’s diversity (pre Islamic societies, various sects of Christian etc,) was just the sort of environment where libetarian principles and ideas should have taken root. Why violent Islam instead of the non aggression principle?

    Maybe they did, and fostered Islam under “I will defend their right to incite our murder and subjugation”, etc. Then Islam conquered them and erased any reference to them.

  • staghounds

    Why violent Islam instead of the non aggression principle?

    Because violent, or even pushy, believers in something will generally triumph over people who just want to be left alone. Hence the current triumph of silencing.

  • Paul Marks

    Rob – laws against incite ….. do not achieve anything.

    Weimar Germany had them – Britain and the United States did not (you could say anything you liked against Jews in Britain and the United States in that period) – in what country did Mr Hitler come to power? He came to power in the country that had all the speech laws.

    Laws against various forms of speech are not going to stop Islam – on the contrary they are exactly what the protestors in Bury want, and their argument is (for example) if the teacher showed offensive cartons of homosexuals he would be sacked (and most likely more than that – if he put them on the internet), so why should be Muhammed be treated worse than homosexuals?

    The United Kingdom has already conceded the principle of Freedom of Speech – it did that as long ago as 1965 (the sort of names that Muhammed called black people have long been illegal here), so why should Muhammed not be protected?

    staghounds – correct, those who are strong and violent win. Those who are nice – loose.

    I remember Perry used to show pictures of various weapons – aircraft, missiles, tanks, and so on.

    It was all quite pointless – as such weapons were not going to be used in BURY (or anywhere else in Britain).

    A society can have lots and lots of weapons – but if the WILL of that society is weak (is broken) it will lose.

    Western societies gave up the struggle against Frankfurt School Marxism long ago – there is still resistance in countries like Poland, but most certainly NOT here on the United States (the “Woke” Frankfurt School Marxists dominate the cultural institutions here).

    So why should not Muslims not say “you do not believe in Freedom of Speech, you showed that when you gave in to the demands of the “Woke” Marxists – so you had better give in to us as well, OR ELSE”.

    Perfectly consistent – and I quite see their point.

  • Paul Marks

    What is the best answer to Richard Wagner – his insulting depiction of the “typical Jew” as a greedy dwarf, utterly subhuman in every way.

    Is it to send Mr Wagner to prison? Or is it to write “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” where the Dwarves are shown as sometimes greedy, and sometimes worse (Tolkien was not like modern “Woke” Hollywood and Marvel Comics – which depicts blacks and others as angelic beings, without sin, and thus totally unrealistically and uselessly) – but also shows Dwarves as great craftsmen, and often loyal to a fault (the Dwarves get themselves captured trying to rescue Mr Baggins – long before they have any reason to be grateful to him) and brave.

    As the Israeli Defence Force might say “Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!” (the Dwarven language is, of course, based upon Hebrew – the Lonely Mountain, or the more ancient home of Moria, is the Holy Land – it is “Next Year In Jerusalem”).

    Not “allegory” but “applicable” – Tolkien always insisted that a story must stand on its own merits (again he would not last long in modern circles – not the publishing houses of London and New York or the pits of vile places such as modern Disney Studios), even if a reader does NOT see the deeper meanings.

    Sir Walter Scott and other 19th century writers showed how a Muslim warrior, such as Saladin, could be a noble man.

  • Paul Marks

    I think he had ill tidings to record in a fair hand, said Gandalf – The first clear word is “sorrow”, but the rest of the line is lost, unless it ends in “estre”. Yes it must be “yestre” followed by “day being the 10th of November, Balin Lord of Moria fell in Dimrill Dale. He went alone to look in Mirror mere, an orc shot him from behind a stone. We slew the orc, but many more…..up from east up the Silverlode”. The rest of the page is so blurred that I can hardly make anything out, but I think I can read “we have barred the gates and can hold them long if..” and then perhaps “horrible” and “suffer”. Poor Balin! He appears to have kept the title he took for less than five years. I wonder what happened afterwards; but there is no time to puzzle out the last few pages. Here is the last page of all…

    It is grim reading, I fear their end was cruel. Listen! “We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frar and Loni and Nali fell there”. Then there are four lines smeared so that I can only read “went five days ago”. The last lines read “the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the water took Oin. We cannot get out. The end comes” and then “drums, drums in the deep” I wonder what that means. The last thing written is a trailing scrawl of letters “they are coming”. There is nothing more.

  • I would find it difficult to justify ignoring the question of the perceived conflict between religious faith and free speech

    It would also be difficult to justify ignoring which particular religious faith threatens free speech in the UK at this time, or that islam threatens it less than the cult of wokeness and/or most threatens when most allied with that cult.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Niall – “Wokeness”, Frankfurt School Marxism, threatens what little is left of Freedom of Speech in the West. Yes there can be a tactical alliance between it and Islam – but they can also be enemies. In the Middle East they normally are enemies.

    Life is complicated – the ally of one situation can be the enemy of another situation.

    I do not care for that (for the idea that principles do not really matter) – for example, I would have declared war on the Soviet Union on the grounds that they had invaded Poland in 1939 (our reason for going to war with National Socialist Germany in 1939) and had invaded Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and had invaded Finland (the Winter War) and taken large areas of Romania – and were giving Nazi Germany all the help they possibly could. Not just raw materials, but using the Communist Party and Trade Unions in France to (under the orders of Moscow) organise a massive campaign of strikes and sabotage to help the Nazis against France and Britain.

    But, as I have repeatedly reminded today, I am an insane fellow who posts “fake Moon Landing stories”. Declare war on the Soviet Union for doing the same thing the Nazis were doing and being an ally of the Nazis, that would be UNTHINKABLE. Why that would be like rounding up the Marxists in Britain in 1939-40, rather than letting them control so many things – such as political education in the armed forces.

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