Reputation, Censorship

A friend of mine, a committed, caring professional, has recently come under attack by a seemingly deranged woman who has written a number of blog posts which attack him and his work, despite the fact that the woman concerned has never even met him. Naturally he’s been concerned that her baseless accusations will affect his reputation and livelihood. It’s particularly unfortunate that searching for his name (and he has a very distinctive surname) on Google brings up her hate pages in positions 2, 3 and 4. Hurtful as the situation is, my advice to him was to do nothing; any attempt at publicity will only fuel the situation.

***

Until a couple of days ago I’d never heard of Caroline Spelman or her teenage, rugby-playing son, Jonny. However, she applied for a superinjunction to prevent any publication of details of her son’s bad behaviour. That application failed, but she did obtain a common-or-garden injunction which has prevented the British press from publishing details of what happened. Naturally I was curious. Information is hard to come by about what Jonny did, though the suggestion appears to be that he had sex with an underage girl, which is rather embarrassing for his mother, given that she’s a government minister in “the party of family values”. No doubt the dinner party set in Hampstead knows the ins-and-outs of his tiny peccadillo, but it’s not something for us little people to know about.

***

Sometimes I want to write on my blog about a particular subject, but hold myself back. The recent failed terrorist attack in Bangkok is a case in point. Because the would-be bombers were Moslem and because the planned attack was seemingly motivated by a religiously inspired hatred of Jews I stayed my pen. Had the attackers been inspired by Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Zoroastrian extremism I am pretty certain that I would have written something, but we’ve been conditioned to treat matters relating to The Religion of Peace with kid gloves.

***

It’s a pity (for him) that Hazma Kashgari wasn’t a little more cautious when he tweeted, referring to Islam’s prophet:

“I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you”.

It’s now a distinct possibility that his head will be severed from his shoulders by the authorities in Saudi Arabia. (I rather doubt they got Interpol involved to get him deported from Malaysia just so they could have a prolonged philosophical discussion with him about his theological doubts.)

In all religion there’s a lot not to believe. I no more believe that Jesus walked on water than that Mohammed had a magic flying donkey. I equally doubt that Sidartha Gautama was able to walk from the moment he was born and that lotus blossoms grew from where his feet touched the ground. I also doubt the powers of The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendages, and that Haile Selassie is a god. I’m also pretty sure that a monkey army from India didn’t invade Sri Lanka. (The only army of monkeys I believe in was in The Wizard of Oz – and they flew.)

I can well believe that for a thinking Moslem the fact that their prophet, supposedly the perfect man, had sex with a nine year old girl, and that he ordered the execution of several hundred Jews at Qurayza, and … well, there’s a lot more … might be a bit of a problem. Frankly, I’m not surprised that the 23 year old Kashgari is confused about his prophet. I think in the same circumstances I would be too – though I’d rather not to lose my head over it.

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