Joe Walsh is an American conservative radio host and former congressman. He may now also be responsible for the most ignorant and misjudged tweet ever sent. Those who have spent enough time on Twitter will understand the magnitude of this achievement.
The tweet reads: ‘French rag Charlie Hebdo mocks Harvey victims as Neo Nazis Charlie Hebdo makes fun of everyone but Muslims. Cowards’
Charlie Hebdo is a left-wing, satirical newspaper produced in France. Of course, the only reason most outside of France have even heard of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ is because two Islamist gunmen forced their way into their Paris headquarters in 2015. Twelve members of Charlie Hebdo’s staff were slaughtered at the hands of these Muslim fanatics for the ‘crime’ of drawing Islam’s prophet in their magazine. The headquarters had previously been firebombed in 2011 for the same reason.
The emergence of 24 hour news has produced an insatiable need for talking heads and social commentators. Producers under pressure to deliver a package on the big topic of the day thank their lucky stars for the availability of an expert or representative. It’s become clear over the years that some are more available than others however.
When choosing someone to speak on behalf of a community, it’s especially important that you do so carefully and carry out the due diligence on their CV.
Many in the UK may be familiar with the mug of Mo Ansar for instance. At one time he was the most prominent Muslim face in Britain’s media. Unfortunately for Mo, his celebrity unravelled when a few inconvenient observations about his credentials and proclamations finally caught up with him.
The changes in UK religious demographics have brought about a new set of challenges for retailers in recent years.
Stories of Muslim employees refusing to sell alcohol and pork products whilst working for non-religious supermarkets are not uncommon. Back in 2016 I also reported on taxi drivers refusing to take passengers with guide dogs for ‘religious reasons’. This ended in perpetrators being fined for breaching equality laws.
It’s no shock to hear of people making unreasonable requests due to their faith, it’s just surprising to me when their employers say “yes”.
Richard Dawkins was scheduled to appear on American radio, KPFA as part of an event to promote his new book. The radio station have now retracted that invitation and issued the following email to Richard Dawkins and ticket holders:
…KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t
know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.
KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.
It was all fun and games when Richard Dawkins focussed his ire solely on Christianity. For the most part, the liberal applause was plentiful. After his publication of ‘The God Delusion’ in 2006, accolades followed and he practically became the face of atheism.
When I first launched my Taking The Myth podcast as a companion piece to the regular interviews, the idea was to bring listeners a regular dose of sceptical discussion without an emphasis on religion. The odd deconstruction of homeopathic claims here, a debunking of a ‘ghost sighting’ there coupled with some reporting on scientific innovation.
I didn’t foresee just how intense Europe’s collision with fundamentalist Islam would become, and as a result the show has more or less become the ‘what horrible thing has been done in the name of Islam this week’ show. I make no apologies for being preoccupied with one of the most pressing issues of our time, but at the end of the latest episode released yesterday, I tentatively asked my co-host Iram what atrocities we could expect before our next opportunity to record, such is their depressing frequency. A podcast on Islamic extremism can unfortunately become out of date in the time it takes you to hit ‘release’.