Keith Vaz has ‘no problem’ with blasphemy laws so long as applied ‘equally’

Keith Vaz, February 2011 by daliscar1

In a move that will please the religious right as well as egalitarians, it seems Home Affairs Committee chair Keith Vaz is open to blasphemy laws being brought back onto the books, so long as they protect the butthurt of all religious cranks “equally”.

Speaking after the subject of blasphemy was discussed by the Muslim Council of Britain last week, Vaz flip-flopped from one side of the debate to the other, first seemingly supporting the laws before backtracking.

Continue Reading

Tony Abbott has a surprisingly nuanced view on Islamic militancy

Guildhall, City of London, March 2015 by DncnH

Some of you may still remember Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister who was turfed out by his old buddy Malcolm Turnbull in a brutal political coup back in September.

At the end of October, and presumably with a lighter schedule, Abbott spoke at the Second Annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture at the Guildhall in the City of London, the seat of the shady body that runs the capital’s financial borough.

Continue Reading

No BuzzFeed, it doesn’t matter that British broadcasters say Hajj wrong

Hajj, December 2008 by Al Jazeera English

Another strong contender for Most Retarded Complaint of the Year emerged on BuzzFeed on Friday as news reporter Siraj Datoo penned an entire piece to complain that broadcasters are not pronouncing Hajj correctly.

The likes of BBC and Sky News tend to elongate the “a” in Hajj (as in Haaj) when in Arabic the word is apparently pronounced with a short sound akin to the “u” in fudge.

This allegedly matters because Haaj and Hajj are “entirely different” words of, er, pilgrim and pilgrimage. As Datoo unconvincingly argues:

“When broadcasters say ‘haaj pilgrimage’, they’re really saying ‘pilgrim pilgrimage’, which we can agree makes no sense.”

Of course “pilgrim pilgrimage”, redundant as it is, makes rather more sense than “pilgrimage pilgrimage”, but it would be remiss to bring logic into the debate at this stage.

Meanwhile in the real world foreign words are routinely imported into English with mistakes and changes in pronunciation as normal people ignore the wonks at the Department for Spurious Complaints and get on with their day. And it’s okay.

Image Credit – Hajj, December 2008 by Al Jazeera English