Anti-Islam and pork-day: All provocations by Calderoli

July 14, 2013
Jokes about the Pope and the death penalty: the parable of an outspoken League

Minister Cecile Kyenge, makes him think “of an orangutan” this is just the latest in multiple invectives launched by Roberto Calderoni. Provocations decidedly uncomfortable to almost all of its stakeholders with only two exceptions: Umberto Bossi and Silvio Berlusconi.

Calderoni had never been outspoken in his invectives, and never sparked controversy raging not only from the center but also in the CDL. This all changed with his provocation on TV, in February 2006 in which he wore T-shirts printed with the Danish Mohammed cartoonist blacklisted by Islam. This made him have to resign from Minister Berlusconi’s government after the harsh reaction from the Libyan government.

The Anti-Islam T-shirt
February 15, 2006 Calderoli was seen on TV wearing a T-shirt under his shirt, on which is printed a cartoon that mocks Muhammad. In the days following were successive violent reactions in Muslim countries, including the assault on the Italian consulate in Benghazi and the Church in the same city. Calderoni was forced to resign.

Pig Day
In 2007 Calderoli unleashed a political storm and outrage of the Muslim community with his shocking proposal to hold a “pig-day” (whose meat is forbidden food in the Quran) against the construction of new mosques in Italy.

Calderoni has continued his invectives against the pope, Iraq and the death penalty.

Ofcom fines TV channel DM Digital for broadcasting ‘duty to kill’ speech by Islamic scholar

A television channel has been hit with a hefty fine after broadcasting a speech by an Islamic scholar who said Muslims had “a duty to kill” anyone who insulted the prophet. Communications watchdog Ofcom levied the fine, totalling £105,000, after it found DM Digital had twice breached the broadcasting code. The Manchester-based channel, which says it has a worldwide audience of 30 million, describes itself as bringing “Asian and English cultures closer by integrating its people, the cultural diversity, communities and the economy”.

 

Ofcom’s report cited a programme called Rehmatul Lil Alameen which was broadcast on October 9 2011, and which featured a live lecture which it said was “likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder”. It stated some of the scholar’s comments could be seen as “a generic call to all Muslims encouraging or inciting them to criminal action or disorder, by unambiguously stating that they had a duty to kill anyone who criticises or insults the Prophet Mohammed and apostates”. The lecturer also praised the introduction of a blasphemy law in Pakistan and the murder of a prominent politician who opposed it.

 

Ofcom fined the channel £85,000 and ordered them not to repeat the broadcast.

Channel 4 to air daily Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan

Channel 4 is to air the Muslim call to prayer live every morning during the month of Ramadan. The broadcaster said it was an act of “deliberate provocation” aimed at viewers who might associate Islam with extremism. The headline-grabbing move will see Channel 4 broadcast the three-minute call to prayer at about 3am for 30 days from the start of Ramadan on 9 July. Channel 4 will also interrupt programming four times on the first day of Ramadan to mark subsequent calls by means of a 20-second film to remind viewers of the approaching prayer time. After that date, the channel will air the 3am call to prayer on live TV, and the other four prayer times will be broadcast on its website.

 

Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s head of factual programming, said: “The calls to prayer prompt Muslims to carry out quiet moments of worship, but hopefully they’ll also make other viewers sit up and notice that this event is taking place.

 

“Observing the adhan on Channel 4 will act as a nationwide tannoy system, a deliberate ‘provocation’ to all our viewers in the very real sense of the word.”

 

The Muslim Council of Britain supported Channel 4’s move.

 

The film, made by production company Watershed, will “feature a range of voices, from imams to architects, feminists to a former rock chick, each providing some serious Ramadan food for thought”.

 

But it is not without discussion from within the community:

 

Nabil Ahmed: ‘This is an opportunity to learn’. There could not be a better time to try to understand Islam than during Ramadan. Muslims believe that Ramadan is primarily about one’s relationship with God, and the effort to live in accordance with a divinely ordained order. It is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, which Muslims believe is God’s final revelation to mankind. It is thus also the month in which Muhammad was sent to warn humanity of future dangers, as a bringer of glad tidings and as a conduit of God’s mercy. TV should be a medium in which we share our understanding of faith in Britain. Ramadan seeks to reawaken our consciousness of God, but also teaches us to give to the poor and to practise self-discipline in relation to our ego and with material temptations. Fasting is a means, not an end, to reconnect with our divine purpose by not relying on food and drink. Channel 4’s approach is an opportunity for all of us to learn – and to put aside preconceived ideas.

 

Nesrine Malik: ‘To reduce it to a media gimmick is exploitative’. Apparently, there is an urgent need, post-Woolwich in particular, to show that Islam is a religion of peace and sacrifice. This is an inherently contradictory stance. If there is such a charged atmosphere in the UK vis a vis Islam, why “provoke” people by projecting this message even more loudly? It all rather smacks of busy-bodying do-goodery. Even on Arab Muslim satellite channels, only the national ones broadcast the call to prayer, with others merely showing a ticker along the bottom of the screen to indicate sunset and iftar times. Channel 4’s idea might be well-intentioned, but it also seems spurred on by the fact that Islam has become the latest topic of media sensation, to be turned into a spectacle under the guise of “debate” and furthering understanding. The way to do this isn’t to project the call to prayer five times a day in a cultural vacuum. It is instead to resist particularising the Muslim experience by attempting to mainstream it by putting some British Muslim faces in front of the camera as something other than religious curiosities to be examined. Reducing it to a media gimmick is exploitative and an unwise, crude way to promote a sensible discussion.

 

Channel 4 was warned not to give excessive coverage to Ramadan. Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “I wouldn’t object to it as at least it gives some balance to the BBC’s emphasis on Christianity but Channel 4 has to keep it in proportion.

 

Jon Stewart Appears On Egyptian TV, Talks Movie, Political Satire, And Fox News With Bassem Youssef

Daily Show host Jon Stewart is on a hiatus from anchoring the late night comedy program to direct a feature film, but two months after “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” Bassem Youssef appeared on Comedy Central, Stewart returned the favor with an appearance on Youssef’s program Albernamegtoday. The two comedians bantered about everything from Egyptian traffic to “which pit of hell” Fox News is reporting from. They also talked a lot about political satire, with Stewart remarking, “If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime.”

 

After impressing the audience with a few words of Arabic, Stewart told Youssef he is “honored” to be on his show, and mockingly announced to the audience he has been appointed to a mayorship by President Mohammed Morsi. Stewart joked that after handing off his show to John Oliver, he’s just wandering around the Middle East, because “my people like to wander the desert.”

Stewart explained the background of Rosewater, the movie he is directing based on a book written by Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek journalist who was imprisoned by the Iranian government during the post-2009 election protests a few days after he sat down for an interview with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones

Youssef brought up Stewart’s favorite sparring partner, Fox News, and remarked, “I was wondering in which pit of hell do they do their editorials.” Stewart said he doesn’t see what they do as “hate,” but “fear,” whether it be honest or just manipulation. Youssef brought up Bill O’Reilly‘s latest Daily Showsit-down, particularly O’Reilly mockingly demanding that Stewart be replaced on the show by a Muslim host. Youssef deadpanned, “Why didn’t you think of me?”

Stewart said he never wants to single out anyone for their religious beliefs, saying there’s one thing that’s true of all people all around the world.

Anjem Choudary controversy sparks debate over TV censorship

Anti-terror law reviewer David Anderson QC says broadcasters should decide whether to show radicals on their channels. Channel 4 and the BBC were criticised last week for giving Anjem Choudary airtime in the wake of the Woolwich attack. Radical speakers such as the Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary should not be banned from appearing on television, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation said on Wednesday. Broadcasters including Channel 4 and the BBC were criticised last week for giving Choudary airtime in the wake of the Woolwich attack and it has been reported that extremist preachers could be banned from television under new powers for Ofcom.

 

Most French view Islam negatively

16.04.2013

Nearly three French out of four (73%) hold negative views on Islam, a recent survey reveals. The study, commissioned by the research agency Tilder and the Institut Montaigne for the French private broadcaster LCP, was revealed during a TV show called ‘Place aux idées’ (Space for ideas). Contrary to the dominant negative perceptions upon Islam, the majority of French hold favourable views towards Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism. Only 26% shared favourable views about Islam.

Whilst 52% of participants consider Islam to be a religion like any other, 40% think that the presence of Islam in France can be an enriching experience for French culture.  Accordingly, 77% judge the Islamic pilgrimage Hajj to be compatible with life in French society. 55% furthermore consider the consumption of halal food, the celebration of Eid-Al-Kebir (51%), the fasting during Ramadan (47%) and the upholding of five prayers a day (36%) perfectly compatible with a sound life within French society. Only 10% consider the Islamic veil, hijab, to be acceptable to be worn in public spaces. Additionally, merely 36% consider Islamic practices to be compatible with French law. Similarly, only 33% state to have deeper knowledge about Islam.

The survey follows a number of recent studies conducted on French societal attitudes towards Muslim communities and Islam in France. The consensus achieved by these numerous studies can be summarized to express a striking and rising amount of prejudice, fear, suspicion and xenophobia directed towards Muslim communities in France.

New Islamic Broadcaster for the Netherlands

April 13 2013

 

A new Muslim broadcaster in the Netherlands has been granted the provision of radio and TV programmes. The Commissariat for the Media has granted broadcaster SZM a license valid through 31 December 2015.  At the initiative of the supervisory body, various Islamic organizations are to collaborate in the SZM, as a result of which the Commissariat feels the broadcaster will be representative of Muslims in the country. Each major religion in the Netherlands has a representative public broadcaster, however ideological broadcasting will cease in 2016, after which time only eight broadcasting organizations will exist.

Labour peer Lord Ahmed suspended over claims he blamed imprisonment on ‘Jewish conspiracy’

The story today is that the labour party has suspended one of its members in light of comments made in a Pakistani television interview. The peer was suspended after he appeared to blame a Jewish conspiracy for his imprisonment for dangerous driving. The leader of the Labour Party Ed Milliband responded as follows: “There’s no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and frankly anybody who makes those kinds of comments cannot be either a Labour lord or a Labour Member of Parliament”. With the relations between Islam and Judaism tense as it is, the labour peer is reported to have said in the TV broadcast: “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

On TV, an Everyday Muslim as Everyday American

The screen showed a balding man with tawny skin and a salt-and-pepper goatee, and seconds later it spelled out his name: Mujahid Abdul-Rashid. The advertisement went on to show him fishing, playing in a yard with two toddlers, and sitting down to a family meal.

One week later, again during an N.F.L. game, the same commercial appeared. This time I listened to the words. The advertisement was for Prudential’s financial products for retirees. Mr. Abdul-Rashid was talking about his own retirement after 19 years as a clothing salesman, and the family time he now intended to enjoy.

“That’s my world,” he said over that closing shot of the family dinner.

What I had just seen was something rare and laudable: what seems to be the first mass-market product commercial featuring an identifiably Muslim person not as a security risk, not as a desert primitive, but as an appealing, everyday American.

As if to underscore the point, the Prudential commercial with Mr. Abdul-Rashid was appearing on television during the same period last fall that saw two widespread commercial campaigns vilifying Muslims. One was the series of ads on New York subways and buses placed by a group led by Pamela Geller, the outspoken blogger and critic of Islam, which depicted a worldwide conflict between the civilized West and Islamic “savages.” The other was the billboard during the presidential campaign that showed President Obama submissively kissing the hand of a sheik.

Then, during the Super Bowl last weekend, a Coca-Cola commercial trotted out the stereotype of the Arab on camelback.

An aphorism says that no good deed shall go unpunished. You can only hope that Prudential’s silence about its own admirable commercial isn’t an example, in a nation where Islamophobia persists, of a good deed that is being disavowed.

Al-Jazeera hopes Current TV purchase will give it access to more American homes

Since its launch in 2006, al-Jazeera TV’s English-language news channel has racked up prestigious journalism awards for its reporting on international issues, including the Arab Spring uprisings. The problem: Hardly anyone sees al-Jazeera English (AJE) because few cable TV operators carry it.

On Wednesday, al-Jazeera’s owner — the emir of the oil- and natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state of Qatar — sought to change that.

Al-Jazeera will pay an undisclosed sum — unconfirmed reports said $500 million — for Current TV, the little-watched but widely distributed cable network co-founded by former vice president Al Gore. Al-Jazeera doesn’t want Current for its name or programming; it wants Current’s entree into American households. Al-Jazeera will start a new channel called al-Jazeera America that will produce news for and about Americans. It will instantly have access to about 50 million cable homes that Current reaches, more than 10 times AJE’s distribution.

 

The deal could mark a new era in a new hemisphere for a news organization that helped smash government control of information in the Arab world. Al-Jazeera — the name means “the peninsula” in Arabic — transcended national censors when it began broadcasting across the Middle East via satellite in 1996.

But its attempts to enter the rich media markets of the West haven’t been quite as revolutionary.