Monday, 18 September 2006


I said I wasn't going to bother with the pope/Islam debacle but there is a pretty good debate going on at CIF about it, based on something of a one-sided "Christianity is aggressive and horrible and all the problems are caused by Christian ignorance" article by Karen Armstrong, the former nun who seems to have made it her job since she quit the convent to put the knife into her old employers. Among the usual personal abuse and mud-flinging are some excellent and well-reasoned posts on both sides of the argument, including serious doses of what I assume is worthwhile history.

Today's rubbish includes the photos at the BBC website of the protests outside Westminster Cathedral. The BBC must take their share of the blame for this nonsense by making it the lead story across almost all Sunday and Monday news bulletins on 5 Live (at least) and helping to stoke the rage. They have been a lot quieter on the consequences for innocent Christians of the reaction across the Muslim world. A quick inspection of the online news now (7.30pm) reveals a prominent article on the protests against the pope and the reasoned and tolerant reaction "in pictures", but the articles on the consequences or Sunday's protests a lot harder to find. Teletext pointed out this evening that Sunday's protest passed off peacefully and without arrests. Given the rather inflammatory (or at best mildly irritating) nature of the slogans being chanted you'd think it merited a caution or two, or even a prosecution, such as Stephen Green is expecting for his leafleting a gay rights meeting or something. Au contraire, but the police are "investigating" some comments made by Anjem Choudhary about people who insult Islam being executed, although in his defence he was pointing out that this was under Sharia Law (R5Live 4.30pm).

Expect, as before, the "investigation", to be quietly dropped when the stupidity has all died down and everyone is back to normal. Forgive me for thinking that while the police will happily feel the collars of people they don't think are real threats to lawandorder, where they do sense a threat they will refuse to act; fine and dandy for short term community relations but in the long term it will leave peace-loving people without the protection they need while denying genuine peaceful and non-threatening protest.

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