Hamas: “No dancing and no gays”; & on banning Winnie the Pooh...

October 07, 2005


1. No more Winnie the Pooh; No more Burger King ice cream
2. Hamas: “No dancing and no gays”
3. Egypt issues warning to Hamas
4. White House accuses Palestinian foreign minister of lying
5. Elusive truth: the BBC’s rewriting of history
6. BBC denies pro-Israel bias
7. Independent BBC panel?
8. Woman elected to power in Afghanistan
9. “Nearly a million dead in Iraq” claim
10. “Anti-soccer fatwas led Saudi players to join Iraq jihad” (Saudi daily Al-Watan)
11. Boyfriend was stabbed 46 times in “honor killing,” court told
12. “Making a pig’s ear of defending democracy” (By Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, October 4, 2005)


[Notes by Tom Gross]


I attach (below) an important piece by Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph, which I sent to some people on Tuesday. I recommend reading it in full. Steyn, who is a longtime subscriber to this email list, writes “the United Kingdom’s descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody” as “pig-related items” including Winnie the Pooh tissues are now banned.

Steyn adds sarcastically (in a parody of the famous 1930s saying): “As Pastor Niemoller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I’m more of an Eeyore.”

Burger King has also withdrawn its ice-cream cones from some British restaurants after complaints by British Muslims that the creamy swirl on the lid resembled the word “Allah” in Arabic script.


At least one foreign correspondent in the British media has finally noticed that Islamists are not exactly progressive. In a news report in this morning’s Times of London (“No dancing and no gays if Hamas gets its way”) Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, the most senior leader of Hamas in Gaza, explains that he envisions an Islamic society that “bans mixed dancing and sternly disapproves of homosexuality.”

His comments come after Islamist gunmen stopped a rap band performing in Gaza, and a dance festival was called off following further threats by Hamas.

“A man holds a woman by the hand and dances with her in front of everyone. Does that serve the national interest?” the Times of London quotes Dr Zahar as saying on the pro-Hamas website Elaph. “Are these the laws for which the Palestinian street is waiting? For us to give rights to homosexuals and to lesbians, a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick?”


The regime in Cairo warned Hamas yesterday that if Hamas takes up arms, the Palestinian elections scheduled for January will be postponed. The Egyptians have become increasingly influential in Gaza during the past year, working with the Palestinian Authority on security affairs. The warning comes at the end of another bloody week of clashes between Hamas and Palestinian security forces. Hamas wants the elections to take place on time, feeling it can win a significant number of seats.


The front pages of the British press today, as well as the main BBC domestic and international service bulletins, are dominated with claims to be broadcast in a BBC documentary next week by de facto Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath that when he met President Bush in 2003, Bush said that his Middle East policies were the result of being “driven with a mission from God” and that God had told him to invade Iraq

The White House has dismissed the allegations to be broadcast by the BBC as “absurd,” “He’s never made such comments,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said angrily.

(As I have pointed out before, senior officials who were appointed by Yasser Arafat routinely lie, but most western journalists seem to forget to mention that to their readers and viewers.)


The comments attributed to Bush by Nabil Shaath are contained in the upcoming BBC TV series “Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs” to be broadcast on BBC 2 on Monday 10, 17 and 24 October at 21.00 BST, and later to be rebroadcast throughout the world by the BBC’s international networks.

Yet even the trailer presently being broadcast by the BBC reveals the extent of its bias, failing to mention Yasser Arafat and instead blaming Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon for Arafat’s failings. Instead it reads:

“Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace
Mon 10 Oct, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins

The story of how Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak persuaded President Clinton to devote his last 18 months in office to helping make peace with Yasser Arafat. But Barak got cold feet twice. Then Ariel Sharon took a walk around Jerusalem’s holiest mosques, and peace making was over.”


Meanwhile the main group representing Britain’s “moderate” Muslim community, The Muslim Council of Britain (the leader of which was knighted by Queen Elizabeth recently), continues to claim that the BBC is anti-Muslim and guilty of pro-Israel bias because it is influenced “by highly placed supporters of Israel in the media”.

MCB Media Secretary Inayat Bunglawala said the BBC’s programs in august were “very, very pro-Israel.”

BBC editor Mike Robinson accused the Muslim Council of Britain’s officials of creating a “grotesque distortion” of the truth.

As noted earlier this year on this email list, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, boycotted ceremonies earlier this year, to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which ought to leave Britons and her majesty who has since knighted him, pondering exactly what he thinks of Jews, Britain, and of democracy.


Meanwhile the BBC this week also revealed who would sit on the independent panel reviewing the impartiality of the corporation’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The panel members are:

* Sir Quentin Thomas (chair) President of the British Board of Film Classification
* Lord Eames Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
* Stewart Purvis Former editor-in-chief and chief executive of ITN; professor of television journalism, City University
* Philip Stephens Associate editor and columnist, Financial Times
* Elizabeth Vallance Former head Department of Politics, Queen Mary College, University of London; member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; author; magistrate

Anyone who has followed Philip Stephens’ hostile views on Israel will be dismayed by the kind of people chosen to decide whether the BBC is biased.

The review will include output analysis carried out by Loughborough University.


One of the first victors to be announced yesterday following last month’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan is a woman who spoke out against the Muslim warlords who previously controlled the country. Malalai Joya is a 27-year-old women’s-rights worker. An election, let alone a female victor, would have been unimaginable were it not for the policies of the Bush administration.


The latest edition of the magazine Socialist Worker contains this impressive contribution to the debate over how to calculate the number of casualties in Iraq:

Moira Hope writes: “I think the estimate of 100,000 dead in Iraq (How Iraq’s dead were counted, 1 October) is necessarily an underestimate. It cannot include all of the war’s indirect casualties and those that result from the destruction of infrastructure. They can never all be counted, but I feel the numbers are nearer a million.”



The Saudi daily Al-Watan reports that Islamic extremists were inciting Saudi football (soccer) players to quit their teams and wage jihad in Iraq. According to Al-Watan, the young players were influenced by fatwas forbidding the game of soccer except when played under certain conditions and with the express intention of using the game as physical training for jihad. (Translation from Al-Watan courtesy of Memri.)


A British university student was murdered to “vindicate a family’s honor” after he fell in love with their daughter and made her pregnant, a court was told yesterday.

Chomir Ali, a Bangladeshi Muslim living in Oxford, ordered his son, Mohammed Mujibar Rahman, to kill Arash Ghorbani-Zarin for the “shame and dishonor” brought on their family by Ghorbani-Zarin’s relationship with his daughter, Manna Begum, it was alleged at Oxford Crown Court. Ali, a 44-year-old waiter, became angry when his 19-year-old daughter began going out with Ghorbani-Zarin, 19, who was from a Muslim Iranian family living in Oxford.

Oxford is not what it used to be.

-- Tom Gross




Making a pig’s ear of defending democracy
By Mark Steyn
The Daily Telegraph (London)
October 4, 2005


A year and a half ago, I mentioned in this space the Florentine Boar, a famous piece of porcine statuary in Derby that the council had decided not to have repaired on the grounds that it would offend Muslims. Having just seen Looney Tunes: Back in Action, in which Porky Pig mentions en passant that Warner Bros has advised him to lose the stammer, I wondered if for the British release it might be easier just to lose the pig.

Alas, the United Kingdom’s descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Tory-controlled) has now announced that, following a complaint by a Muslim employee, all work pictures and knick-knacks of novelty pigs and “pig-related items” will be banned. Among the verboten items is one employee’s box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. And, as we know, Muslims regard pigs as “unclean”, even an anthropomorphised cartoon pig wearing a scarf and a bright, colourful singlet.

Cllr Mahbubur Rahman is in favour of the blanket pig crackdown. “It is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding,” he said. That’s all, folks, as Porky Pig used to stammer at the end of Looney Tunes. Just a little helpful proscription in the interests of tolerance and acceptance.

And where’s the harm in that? As Pastor Niemoller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I’m more of an Eeyore.

And aren’t we all? When the Queen knights a Muslim “community leader” whose line on the Rushdie fatwa was that “death is perhaps too easy”, and when the Prime Minister has a Muslim “adviser” who is a Holocaust-denier and thinks the Iraq war was cooked up by a conspiracy of Freemasons and Jews, and when the Prime Minister’s wife leads the legal battle for a Talibanesque dress code in British schools, you don’t need a pig to know which side’s bringing home the bacon.

A couple of years ago, when an anxious-to-please head teacher in Batley was banning offensive “pig-centred books”, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain commented that “there is absolutely no scriptural authority for this view. It is a misunderstanding of the Koranic instruction that Muslims may not eat pork.” Mr Bunglawala is a typical “moderate” Muslim - he thinks the British media are “Zionist-controlled”, etc - but on the pig thing he’s surely right. It seems unlikely that even the exhaustive strictures of the Koran would have a line on Piglet.

So these little news items that pop up every week now are significant mostly as a gauge of the progressive liberal’s urge to self-abase and Western Muslims’ ever greater boldness in flexing their political muscle.

After all, how daffy does a Muslim’s willingness to take offence have to be to get rejected out of court? Only the other day, Burger King withdrew its ice-cream cones from its British restaurants because Mr Rashad Akhtar of High Wycombe, after a trip to the Park Royal branch, complained that the creamy swirl on the lid resembled the word “Allah” in Arabic script.

It doesn’t, not really, not except that in the sense any twirly motif looks vaguely Arabic. After all, Burger King isn’t suicidal enough to launch Allah Ice-Cream. But, after Mr Akhtar urged Muslims to boycott the chain and claimed that “this is my jihad”, Burger King yanked the ice-cream and announced that, design-wise, it was going back to the old drawing-board.

Offence is, by definition, in the eye of the beholder. I once toured the Freud Museum with the celebrated sex therapist Dr Ruth, who claimed to be able to see a penis in every artwork and piece of furniture in the joint. Yet, when I suggested one sculpture looked vaguely like the female genitalia, she scoffed mercilessly.

Likewise, Piglet is deeply offensive and so’s your chocolate ice-cream, but if a West End play opens with a gay Jesus, Christians just need to stop being so doctrinaire and uptight. The Church of England bishops would probably agree with that if, in their own misguided attempt at Islamic outreach, they weren’t so busy apologising for toppling Saddam.

When every act that a culture makes communicates weakness and loss of self-belief, eventually you’ll be taken at your word. In the long term, these trivial concessions are more significant victories than blowing up infidels on the Tube or in Bali beach restaurants. An act of murder demands at least the pretence of moral seriousness, even from the dopiest appeasers. But small acts of cultural vandalism corrode the fabric of freedom all but unseen.

Is it really a victory for “tolerance” to say that a council worker cannot have a Piglet coffee mug on her desk? And isn’t an ability to turn a blind eye to animated piglets the very least the West is entitled to expect from its Muslim citizens? If Islam cannot “co-exist” even with Pooh or the abstract swirl on a Burger King ice-cream, how likely is it that it can co-exist with the more basic principles of a pluralist society? As A A Milne almost said: “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace/ Her Majesty’s Law is replaced by Allah’s.”

By the way, isn’t it grossly offensive to British Wahhabis to have a head of state who is female and uncovered?

I doubt whether the Post Office will be in any rush to issue another set of Pooh commemorative stamps, or the BBC to revive Pinky and Perky. Forty years ago, Britain’s Islamic minority didn’t have the numbers to ban Piglet and change the Burger King menu. Now they do. What will be deemed “unacceptable” in the interests of “tolerance” in 20 or even five years’ time?

It has been clear since July 7 that the state has no real idea what to do to reconcile the more disaffected elements of its fastest-growing demographic. But at some point Britons have to ask themselves - while they’re still permitted to discuss the question more or less freely - how much of their country they’re willing to lose. The Hundred-Acre Wood is not the terrain on which one would choose to make one’s stand, but from here on in it is only going to become more difficult.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.