Motoon II: Another update

First the good news. Aleksandr Sdvizhkov, the editor in Belarus who was jailed for publishing the Muhammed cartoons back in 2006 has been released.

More than a 1,000 (mainly small and local) Danish websites were hacked by some individual calling himself United Arab Hackers and reportedly from Saudi Arabia. The websites of international companies based in Denmark, such as Lurpak and Carlsberg, were not affected.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is threatening to expel Danish organizations, snub its officials and boycott the countrys products in reaction to the republished cartoons. Denmarks foreign aid minister is considering whether this might have consequences for Danish aid (130.2 million kroner last year) to the African country.

Bahrainis took to the streets and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe jumped on the bandwagon.

With thanks to Media Watch Watch (twice) and The Comics Reporter.


The Vatican and the Al-Azhar university in Cairo have issued a joint statement condeming (via) the republication of the cartoon but studiously avoiding any mention of the foiled murder plot against the 72-year-old cartoonist which prompted the republications.

Were peaceful and well burn anyone who says otherwise

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed regret for the reactions by Muslims to his speech last week where he quoted a Byzantine emperor who claimed the prophet Muhammeds teaching had brought along evil and inhuman ideas.

In his weekly Angelus prayer on Sunday (17 September), the pope said: I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages in my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.

Some groups have accepted the Popes comments as an apology, others havent.

Anjem Choudary, of the banned Al Ghurabaa, told a demonstation yesterday that those who insulted Islam would be subject to capital punishment.

Yesterday he said: The Muslims take their religion very seriously and non-Muslims must appreciate that and that must also understand that there may be serious consequences if you insult Islam and the prophet.

Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to capital punishment.

He then resorts to the weasel defence of claiming: I am here have a peaceful demonstration. But there may be people in Italy or other parts of the world who would carry that out. Like the peasceful, tolerant people that murdered a nun, perhaps?

A doctor said the nun, who was named as Sister Leonella Sgorbati, from Piacenza in northern Italy, had been shot four times in the back by two men with pistols. The attack was linked by some to the Popes remarks.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said he hoped it was an isolated event, adding: We are worried about the consequences of this wave of hatred and hope it doesnt have grave consequences for the church around the world.

Elsewhere, Ken Livingstones buddy, Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called for a day of anger, saying the Pope had not apologised.

At least seven churches have now been attacked since the speech in areas under the Palestinian Authority.

MediaWatchWatch also notes that the Pope has also annoyed a few Jews as well by quoting from St Paul, the anti-semitic founder of Christianity: We preach the crucified Christ - a scandal for the Jews, a folly for the pagans.

Jewish representatives yesterday expressed surprise at the latest incursion into sensitive territory.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, a member of the board of the Council of Christians and Jews recognised the Popes right to quote his own religious texts but suggested that it may be unwise in the current climate to choose those which relate to other faiths.

However, it is especially important that anyone who does protest does so verbally, not physically, otherwise they put themselves even more at fault.

And this is the point really, isnt it. The Pope is clearly an intolerant bigot with a mentality stuck in the Middle Ages, but this doesnt give other groups of violent intolerant bigots a right of veto over what he may or may not say.

More Da Vinci nonsense

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, has called on Christians to respond to The Da Vinci Code with legal action.

Arinzes appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.

Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget, Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs.

I like the bit about not forgiving and forgetting. Werent Christians supposed to be keen on turning the other cheek?

(via Cosmic Variance)


The films director, Ron Howard, has turned down demands from Opus Dei to add a disclaimer at the beginning of the film pointing out, quite reasonably, that spy thrillers dont start off with disclaimers.