Tag Archives: France

Tortured For Being An Atheist. I Interview Waleed Al-Husseini


Waleed Al-Husseini is a Palestinian ex-Muslim. He fell afoul of the Palestinian authorities after blogging critically about Islam in 2010. For this ‘crime’, he was jailed and tortured. He managed to flee to France where he currently resides. He details these experiences in his French language book: ‘Blasphémateur’.

I initially recorded a conversation between us which I hoped to release on The Godless Spellchecker Podcast. Due to a combination of poor audio and a language barrier, I felt it would better serve Waleed’s story to arrange a written interview instead.

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Taking The Myth – Nothing To Do With Islam – 28 June 2015

This week on Taking The MythStephen Knight and A Scotsman Abroad discuss the big topics with guest callers: The spate of Islamist terror attacks in recent days and the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ brigade. We also talk about the latest episode in the CJ Werleman saga, answer your questions and have a disagreement about religious freedom plus much more!

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

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Ep#41 – Ex-Muslims of North America #ExMuslim

Muhammad Syed (@motheatheist) and Sarah Haider (@SarahTheHaider) of The Ex-Muslims Of North America (@ExMuslimsOfNa) join me on this week’s #GSPodcast.  We discuss the wonderful work they are doing in providing a support network for people leaving the Islamic faith.  They tell us about their own ‘apostasy’ and explain the issues surrounding the depiction of Muhammad in the wake of the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks.  We also discuss anti-Muslim bigotry, ‘Islamophobia’, gender segregation and freedom of expression.  Please show them some support.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH

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BBC Guidelines on Depicting Muhammad

BBC_GatesIn the wake of the appalling Islamist terror attacks (still currently unfolding at the time of writing) in France this week over apparent cartoon based satire of Muhammad – one deeply obscene question is doing the rounds yet again; ‘Should news channels show the cartoons in question?’.

The fact that this question is even asked, and indeed that most news channels will not show the cartoons integral to their reporting proves we’ve already lost our freedom of expression in this area.  It’s gone.

I was appalled to learn this week that depicting Islam’s prophet on the BBC is actually prohibited as per their own stated editorial guidelines:

“The prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.”

Full of bluster, indignation & aspirations of petitioning – I was half way through a ranty blog post on the topic when the BBC pulled the guidelines in question from their website and announced they were making revisions:

They’ve spared you my unlettered ramblings at least, but I do wonder at which point was prohibiting depictions of Muhammad considered ‘in date’ or acceptable?  It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve reported on their refusal to promote freedom of expression over the ‘hurt feelings’ of the godly.

I await the revised guidelines with anticipation1. When will a mainstream news channel take a brave stance on this?  Or even an honest one?  Let’s no longer pretend we are concerned about upsetting the sensibilities of the religious – we’re scared we will be killed.  And for good reason.  Only when you admit the problem can you even hope to combat it.

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said, now is the time to ‘spread the risk’.

UPDATE: 09/01/15

The updated guidelines are in.  The relevant section reads:

Any content dealing with matters of religion and likely to cause offence to those with religious views and beliefs must be editorially justified as judged against generally accepted standards and must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor.

To me, this seems like a long-winded way of refusing to clarify the actual issue at hand whilst keeping the previous position alive – but unstated.  I can’t help but think this has simply been an exercise in reducing the BBC’s embarrassment at having their cowardice and self censorship exposed in plain black & white for all to see.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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