Saturday, 25 October 2008

BNP Copyright Theft of Condell YouTube videos?

Condell purports not to support the BNP, and yet they have one of his videos - Appeasing Islam - playing on 'BNP Internet TV'.

BNP Internet TV is powered by Mogulus which imports YouTube videos as part of creating your own TV channel. The critical thing is that Mogulus actually imports the YouTube video to its own system. This bypasses the need to embed the YouTube player into a site to play a video and is in clear violation of the copyright which Condell has over his videos.

Condell has created a copyrighted DVD of some of his YouTube videos which is sold for $15 a pop. Clearly, he values his intellectual property. If I were to, for instance, copy that DVD and give it away for free, he would be well within his rights to request that I cease and desist from such an activity. Will he request that the BNP, then, cease and desist from using his copyrighted videos on their Internet TV channel? If not, we can assume that he has given permission for them to broadcast his material, which would clearly be at odds with his claim that he does not support the BNP.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Stop Sharia Law in Britain!!!

So Condell caused a commotion with his video entitled 'Saudi Britain which was flagged for violation of the Community Guidelines as he said that the all Saudis were mentally ill.  This is a favourite phrase of Condell, and whilst he made a second video which 'clarified' what he said (he apparently meant to say tht Saudi laws are insane - which is something altogether different).  

Pat Condell loves to label Muslims in particular as mentally ill, as he has done in the past with those Muslims who chose to cover their faces.  I think that we can forgive Condell an isolated incident or slip of the tongue, but when you string together his entire back catalogue of videos I'm sure you will find many slips of the tongue along the same lines as hate speech.  How many times can this happen before you have to say that he is either walking a thin line when he writes his diatribes, or he is just being flat out hateful?

Anyway, once again the trademark Pat Condell  hypocrisy shines through, and so my reply to him again points out the ill-informed nature of his thoughts.  Will I get a reply?  Doubt it.



Oh!  And good news, TheNinjaGirl01 returns with a scathing attack on Condell! You go girl!!!


Monday, 30 June 2008

Latest YouTube posting

I've actually posted a few videos to YouTube since my last post.  The videos I've posted I think represent my political evolution somewhat.  I'm becoming less ignorant of the things happening around me, and around the world.  My post regarding Condell having lots of friends in the BNP took me off on a tangent which led to the video below.

It is my shortest video yet, so gets to the point quickly.  The point being that the BNP is not run as a democracy, so why would anybody expect the BNP to run a democratic government if they actually took power in the UK?  For once, this is not a video about fascists or racists or bigots inhabiting the BNP, though undoubtedly there are such people in the upper echelons of the BNP command structure.  This video is about how the BNP is run, and how members of the BNP actually get very little say in how the organisation is run.

The BNP constitution is not available on the BNP site at the time of writing.  If I was a BNP member, I'd want to know why.




Monday, 19 May 2008

YouTube Post 8: Social Networking Proves Pat Condell a Liar and hypocrite.

Pat Condell finally got around to launching his new website, and, as I thought, he has made more of an effort to promote his atheist wares with his revamp.  His FAQ section made good reading though, especially the bit which says:-
I don't support any political party, especially not one of the far right.
Well, that got me thinking.  I realised that although Condell claims not to support 'far right' (yes, I mean the BNP) political parties, we can't actually see this for ourselves because he hides his friend list from public viewing.

And this is where social networking comes in.  YouTube is a social networking tool, it lets like-minded people connect, exchange ideas, and meet in the virtual world.  By looking through the friends or subscription list of Pat Condell, we could get a real flavour of his mindset.  But we can't do that because he hides his friends and subscriptions away.  Why is that?

Luckily, there are other people who don't hide who they are friends with.  People like bnprenaissance, EnochPowell2008 and 1kewldude3. All of whom are 'friends' with Pat Condell, and all of whom support the BNP.  Through these and other YouTube users it is easy to see that Pat Condell is deeply embedded into the social network of the BNP party, and my 8th YouTube video will take you through the evidence.

The only way Pat Condell can deflect this damning evidence is to show us his entire friend list, and show us that his network of friends extends beyond BNP supporters and their friends.


Monday, 5 May 2008

Stats Update


Condell now has a total of 40 videos on YouTube, not bad since he only joined YouTube in Feb '07, can't fault his measured posting really. Whilst other YouTubers go mental posting a video very other day, Condell at least takes his time.  Thanks to our resident image guru for updating the hate-o-meter again, click the pic for a breakdown of where Condell has been sending his venom to for the past year.

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Saturday, 3 May 2008

You Tube Post No.7

Fanboys.  Gotta love 'em.  And it seems Condell has a few of them.  Fanboys go beyond the norm.  They don't just subscribe to Condell, they actively promote him.  Kind of the anti-thesis of what I'm doing.
I've come across Fanboys in one particular area before.  Gaming.  In gaming, fanboys can be mainly split into opposing hardware clans, Nintendo Fanboys, Sony Fanboys, and, of course, Microsoft Fanboys.  There can be sub-types (Mario Fanboys, Sonic Fanboys, etc) but generally, the main fault lines are down the choice of hardware.  With Fanboys, once they have made the choice of hardware (not many people can afford more than one games console!), they are wed to it and will swear undying fealty to the brand.

Condell, I think, is becoming a brand.  I fully expect his revised website to be a much slicker affair, with better signposts to his merchandise.  He is moving beyond YouTube 'amateur', especially now that his money spinning DVD is available over on richarddawkins.net.

So, it is not surprising that there are a few Condell Fanboys springing up.   None of them have the delivery skills that Condell does, which in turn makes it easier to dissect what they say.  My favourite Condell Fanboy is nz2k2.  This guy has much love for Condell.  It seems every other video he makes references Condell in one way or another, and, yes, he even has the t-shirt.

What I find quite funny is the admission in his profile that:

I am British, and stuck in Britain right now, but I feel far more at home in wonderful New Zealand, where I work and spend as much time as legally possible...
I'm a Brit by passport (hopefully not for long now) but I consider myself a Kiwi at heart.

How embarrassing. He spends as little time as possible in the UK, and yet still feels he can comment upon the religious situation in the UK (and Europe).   The guy is leaving the UK for New Zealand!  Perhaps there are too many Muslims here for his liking?  Hopefully, when he gets a New Zealand passport he'll stop pretending he's British.  Still, at least he answers his comments.

My latest post is an answer to nz2k2's video 'Happy Half Million Pat Condell! And some serious thoughts..'  In it, he makes the assertion that there is a 'lack of denouncement' or terrorism from Muslims.  And taking a quick look around on YouTube, there are actually a number of videos from Muslims denouncing terror, but nothing that has summed up the global Muslim community efforts since 9/11 to condemn terrorism in the name of Islam.

So, using my favourite research tool, I set about gathering evidence and put together a video showing how Muslims have been denouncing terrorism.  Hope you like it.





Monday, 14 April 2008

StickAm

Image Hosting by Picoodle.comSo I've started to use StickAm.  There are plenty of people there with which to exchange ideas.  But one guy I'm not so sure of goes by the name of 'shootupaschool'.  This guy basically said that he likes to rape and sexually molest Muslim children.  Obviously he was not serious.  But even in jest.  That just isn't funny, is it?

UPDATE: 16/04/2008 Funnily enough, the user 'shootupaschool' does not exist at Stickam anymore.  Wonder why that is?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A great primer...

Got sent this Middle East primer today.  Thought it might be useful for some people to read, regardless of if they are American or not.

Monday, 7 April 2008

YouTube Post No.6

So, I've taken a different tact with this video, which is why it took me a bit longer than usual. Hope you will see why.
This video is a basic demonstration of the moral hazards of taking something, anything, out of context.  So I mashed up 3 or 4 of Condells' videos to produce my take on context.  I have no doubt that Pat Condell fans will not hesitate to leave comments along the lines of 'but that isn't what he meant...', but then, that is my point.  Hope you enjoy it.

UPDATE: A hearty congrats to TheMilitantKafir who was the first to point out that I took Pat Condell out of context.  Bravo, my good man, bravo.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Blog Me Baby One More Time

So, I found this little ditty today, this guy thinks I have an axe to grind. and I suppose to some extent he is right, but how he can use that tired cliche against me, and not think about how it applies to Condell, is beyond me.

What irks me about this particular post, is this nugget of wisdom:
Give the guy credit! At least he stakes his claim, offers his opinion and is willing to stick his neck out. He admits he is an atheist!

Hey! It’s a free world. Let’s keep it that way! We need dialogue not dis-respect.
I agree with the last sentence at least.  In fact, I'd say that is exactly what I've been trying to do.  I'm not sure why Pat Condell should get credit for staking his claim.  I mean.  Tony Blair staked his claim on a 'dodgy dossier'.  He was wrong, but should we give him credit for it?  I'm not sure how he is sticking his neck out either.  Is the implication that he is in danger for making his claims?  And so what if he admits he is an Atheist?  I understand he is an Atheist.  That does not make his views more or less valid than anyone elses'.  Does it?

I'm all for respectful dialogue. Condell, though, doesn't want dialogue.  In fact, he is actively avoiding it.  Apart from his first video, none of his rants has actually been a reply or a comment on anything else going on in the YouTube community.  He never responds to the replies to his videos, and I've never seen a text comment that he has posted.  And, adding insult to injury, I never see him on StickAm!  No. His is a monologue.  We must listen to his imparted 'freethinking' pearls of wisdom, who questions him will be set upon by the freethinking police.  'You must agree with pat because he is right and all Muslims are wrong' is the typical chain of reasoning.

Ironic?  I think so!

Monday, 31 March 2008

A response to a response...

Nothing to do with Pat Condell, but I'd be surprised if the Condell-Meister doesn't comment on Fitna.

In the meantime, I've kept myself occupied with this simple rebuttal of PfanderFilms' claims over on YouTube.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Stats Update

Image Hosting by Picoodle.comSo Condell squeezed another video out, "Appeasing Islam", and our resident image guru (I like to call him 'Deep Throat') updated the running stats. Click on the stats image for a bigger version.

At the time of writing. the "Appeasing Islam" video has had 439,977 views. In stark contrast, his video previous to this ("Take a cruise, Tom"), in which Condell applied his 'comedy' skills to Scientology, has received a less than stellar, for Pat anyway, 86,340 views. This is despite it being published for a whole two weeks longer.

I'm no psychologist, but surely Pat realised as quickly as I did that his Scientology video was not going to garner him a massive amount of viewers.  Is it any wonder that he quickly followed it with his usual Islam-bashing rhetoric?

Whilst the numbers alone make an interesting topic of debate (who are all these people who believe what is told to them by somebody on the Internet without at least seeking some sort of confirmation from other sources?), I wonder which of Condells 30,000 odd  subscribers are the ones who ensure the wide distribution he so obviously gets in particular response to his Islam baiting?

Obviously, Condell enjoys the support and linkage of the BNP, but probably not when he lets loose on Christianity... I don't know, I'll need to ponder this, perhaps I'll get my thoughts together enough to write something coherent on this.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

YouTube Post No.4

[Update - 26/03/2008, OK, so Pat allowed my video to be a response to his.  Can't deny he is a good sport]

Finally uploaded my reply to Pat Condells' 'Am I a racist' video.

This one took longer than I expected, even though I did very little research for it. It's just an out-an-out dissection of the points Pat Condell makes.

One thing I noticed, which I never saw before, was that when tried to make the video a reply to Pat Condells' original, a message popped up saying that my video would only be associated once Pat Condell had authorised it.  At first I thought that maybe Condell had begun censoring the video replies he gets, but having looked at my video options in YouTube, I see it is the default setting, maybe YouTube just added it, or maybe I've not been paying attention in the past.

Either way, lets' see how much of a sport Pat Condell is...


Friday, 14 March 2008

YouTube Post No.3

So. Got my 3rd video posted up to YouTube. It is the video version of my analysis of 'The myth of Islamophobia'

Hope you like it, but either way, comments appreciated.


Monday, 10 March 2008

Condell teams up with Richard Dawkins Foundation

I read the Pat Condell interview a few days ago on 'The Freethinker'. There are a few interesting tidbits of information, but chief among them was the announcement that The Richard Dawkins Foundation is issuing a 'not for profit' DVD of the first 35 YouTube videos posted by Pat Condell. 

Quite what a Heavyweight intellectual like Dawkins is doing supporting Flyweight Condell I don't know. And don't be fooled by the 'not for profit' tag either. I worked in a 'not for profit' organisation for many years, the trick is, you see, to call the 'profit' by another name.   I have no doubt that Condell is being paid for what is his content, and rightly so.

I'm part way through Dawkins' 'The God Delusion', and have found it on another intellectual plane from the 'common sense' Condell trots out.  The more I read Dawkins, with his scientific reasoning, the more I'm intellectually offended by Pat Condell, and that really does take some doing!

I find it a shame, then, that The Richard Dawkins Foundation is supporting Condell and his bigoted diatribes.  It will do nothing but drag the name of Richard Dawkins into the gutter.  Perhaps Dawkins is thinking that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'.  Maybe that is his reasoning, but to sully his reputation by supporting a clearly blinkered and bigoted view of religion, and Islam in particular, will not do him any favours amongst open-minded religious folk, or even those atheists who can see through the transparent arguments put forth by Condell. 

Dawkins mentions 'consciousness-raising' a lot in his book.  He wants to raise the consciousness of the public with regards to understanding the implications of science, especially where science impacts or disproves elements of religion.  And that is fine.  But how is supporting a non-scientific 'comedian' going to do this?  Especially when, in this very blog, I have personally disproved, in a rational manner, the majority of what Pat Condell has to say about Islam (hey, I've only analysed 3 of his videos, lots still to do!).

Putting that subject to rest, and carrying on with my tradition of analysing what Pat Condell says, there are a few other interesting points that Condell raises.

When asked what he likes about the Internet as a medium, Condell replies:-
We no longer have to ask someone else’s permission to communicate with a wider audience.

I’ve been criticising religion for years, but only in comedy clubs. Whenever I tried to do it in the mainstream media I was censored, especially by the BBC where jokes about the subject are always heavily edited, and it’s virtually impossible to say anything at all about Islam.

The internet allows all of us to bypass these self-appointed gatekeepers and communicate our ideas without interference.
Is it just me, or do I detect a spot of bitterness in there?  Perhaps one of the reasons that Condell was censored by the BBC was because, well, his material simply isn't funny enough.  Maybe it be as simple as that?  Condell mentions that 
...somebody alerted me to LiveLeak, a site with a more newsy edge than YouTube...
Huh?  I think Condell is trying to have it both ways.  He is billing himself a 'comedy' act, but claiming it is 'newsy'.  Whilst this is not unheard of, when it is done on mainstream TV, there is at least the pressure to get your facts right.  Fortunately(?) for Condell, there is no editorial team (or should that be 'self-appointed gatekeepers'?) to stop him from passing something off as truth, when in fact there is no truth in it.

On his stand-up, Condell says this:-
I haven’t worked the circuit full time for years. I wrote my last show specifically to say something about religion.
Yes, well, when your act is mauled by the critics, I'm sure it gets harder to find work.  I think Pat Condell is being less than honest with himself if he thinks that he was being censored by the BBC for the religious content of his material.  You can throw out jokes about religion (and culture) and be funny on the BBC, as Omid Djalili proves time and time again.  The critical word here - and please do take note Condell - is 'funny'.

When asked to describe his personal philosophy, Condell says that he is a vegetarian, and he 'strongly' supports animal rights.  One wonders, how strongly?  Strongly enough to send death threats and dig up the remains of an innocent women?  Probably not.  Pat Condell would no doubt be disgusted at this sort of radical animal rights activism, and yet, he probably cannot see the ideological similarities between it, and, say, 'radical' Islam?  Should we ask Condell to apologise for the behavior of radical animal rights activists in the way that he calls for Muslims to apologise for all Muslim behaviour?  Of course not.  That would be a idiotic thing to do.  Does Condell genuinely not see this blindingly obvious fact, or is he just conveniently ignoring it?
As for my opposition to religion, it’s not about theology – I couldn’t care less whether God exists or not – it’s a civil rights issue. I believe everyone should be free to determine their own experience in life and not have it imposed by someone else. We don’t need our reality filtered through religious dogma any more than we need spring water adulterated with chemicals.
How strange.  Having based his entire range of YouTube videos on the premise that God does not exist and religion is only followed by people too stupid to think for themselves, Condell abruptly states that he 'couldn't care less' if God exists?  Surely, if there ever was any overwhelming evidence as to the existence of God - either way - it would have an impact on Condells' life?  If God was proved to exist, would Condell still make anti-religion rants?  And if God was proven not to exist, surely Condell would have to find something else to talk about, as the debate will have been settled once and for all.  Though even I would not begrudge him a smug 'I told you so' video.  Just the one though.

It seems that 'everyone should be free to determine their own experience in life', as long as your 'experience' does not contradict that of Pat Condell and his army of 'freethinkers'.  If it does, you are quite obviously a demented religious nut, and should not be allowed to express your opinion.

Finally, on the subject of 'resisting the growing influence of religion', Condell issues a battle cry:-
If you hear somebody claiming special treatment because of their faith you’re entitled to say: “No, I object to this. It offends me, it insults my beliefs, and it’s a violation of my human rights.”

Use their tactics if you feel strongly enough. Make a nuisance of yourself. Make an official complaint. Take it to a tribunal. As an atheist you’re part of a minority whose beliefs are constantly ignored and marginalised while religious prejudice is pandered to and encouraged, and you have every right to be offended by that.
What examples of people claiming special treatment could Condell be talking about?  I've yet to hear one from him, no doubt I'll catch one at some point!  Condell believes that Atheists are part of a minority.  The 2001 Census clearly shows that Atheists make up at least 14.6% of the UK population.  As an ethnic group(?) they are second only to Christians.  Muslims, on the other hand, make up 3.1% of the population.  

Surely, the argument that Muslims (and Sikhs, and Hindus, and Jews and Buddhists et al) are being ignored and marginalised holds as much water as Condells' assertion that Atheists are being ignored and marginalised?  I doubt Condell would recognise this view, but it would be interesting to put it to him.

In a democratic country, the majority rules.  I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Over 70% of the UK is Catholic, and Condell has proven that this is incompatible with his way of life.  If he doesn't like it, why doesn't he leave the UK and move to a country with no official religion.  Like China.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Myth of Islamophobia - A critical Analysis

So I'm working my way through the videos that Pat Condell has posted, when I'm struck by the title of 'The Myth of Islamophobia'.  What a great title.  I mean, surely, this video must be full of intelligent debate and statistical proofs.  Combine that with Condells' dead pan delivery, and we have a recipe for a great 5 minutes of vitriol. I'm almost looking forward to it. Almost.
"I've had a lot of e-mails from people who seem to think that I hate Muslims, when nothing could be further from the truth..."
This is a great start. A metaphorical olive branch. I'm left wondering for a few seconds if Condell has turned over a new leaf.
"...we tend to read into a thing what we want to see there rather than what's actually there..."
On this issue, I couldn't agree more. This is one of the biggest problems which Islam faces. Many people just don't take the time to misunderstand Islam in the indefatigable way that Pat Condell does. Instead, they rely upon nuggets of information handed down by the media, and YouTube rants.
"I have no problem with Islam. With the Islam where people just get on with their lives and pray everyday and don't bother anybody else, nor do I have a problem with any religion that has the common decency to mind it's own business..."
Oh dear. He lost me there. He reminds me of those people, you know the ones, they start off a conversation with "I'm not racist, but..." and it all goes downhill from there.

There is only one type of Islam, you know. It's written down, in Black and White, in the Qur'an. You might call it a tertiary source. What is written in the Qur'an is Islam. And what isn't written in the Qur'an, well, isn't kosher, so to speak.
"I don't hate anyone. Because hate is for losers. Hate is just fear with attitude."
What an insightful, kindly gentleman. So far so good.
"...whatever you hate and fear, well, you know your' going to attract it, because if you invest that much emotion in something, it's coming your way..."
Well, yes. I can see his point here. This, by definition, must mean that Pat Condell really has it in for fascist racist bigoted ill-educated ignorant idiots, because there are, literally, so many coming in his direction.
"... this week the Queen of England was burned in effigy on the streets of Pakistan. Why? Because she gave a knighthood, a pretty worthless bauble at the best of times, to an author better known for his nuisance value than for his actual writing..."
Yes, but fortunately for us Pat, this is a demonstration of healthy freedom of speech in Pakistan. While we might consider it bad taste, no doubt, to burn an effigy of Her Madge, I'm sure they are well within their rights to do so. Who are we to deny them that right? 

Pat Condell famously has no respect for any religion, and yet, he can't stand an affront to the Queen - who, after all, holds the title 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England' - even though it is, in fact, part and parcel of free speech? One wonders what Pat Condell thought about the portrayal of the Queen on Spitting Image in the 1980s. I'm sure he sent in a stern letter of complaint.
"... The [Pakistani] government has declared this an insult to Islam. Well, I mean, what isn't these days?"
Lost me again. Which of the Islams you know of has been insulted? The 'good' Islam, or the 'bad 'Islam'? Oh dear. I'm so confused. Can anybody else please explain this to me? I must say, that it never ceases to amaze me how the actions of a country can be taken to represent the 'hive mind' of Islam.
"...I do find it difficult to take seriously this moral outrage in Pakistan... a country whose attitude to women degrades the entire human race..."
I see. You'd much rather watch the bitches n' ho's on MTV? Or maybe catch snaps of female celebrities having drug problems and mental breakdowns? Maybe the trafficking of sex slaves into the UK is more to your taste? Is it not degrading that the so-called empowered women of the west can't walk the streets alone at night or receive a comparable wage to men for the same type of work? What is it they say about people in glass houses? If Muslim governments have the excuse of being medieval throwbacks, what , then, is the excuse of the most enlightened, secular, developed countries in the world for the way they treat women?

He is right though. The fact that European countries can treat women shamefully does not negate any ill treatment of women by Pakistan. But you must remember that Pakistan is a country. Pakistan is not Islam. Islam, as I'm sure you know, is not a country.
"The real insult to Islam is the fact that in Pakistan a woman can be murdered for the crime of being raped..."
I do wish Condell would have the decency to show his sources on this on this issue, I really don't have the time to reverse engineer every statement he makes. And it does seem to be YouTube etiquette to give sources to your claims in the information box to your videos.

But I do agree, it is an insult to Islam. And to Christianity. And no doubt to Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and, yes, even Atheism. See. Something we can agree on. Thank heavens that there is no justification within Islam to murder a rape victim.
"Every year in Pakistan, thousands of women are murdered by members of thier own family, and yet nobody is insulted by that, nobody is demanding an apology for that. Instead what do we get, a deafening silence from Muslims. Almost a miracle in itself."
Again, Condell should show his sources, and again, I'd agree that it is insulting to any decent human being regardless of race, religion, or lack therof. In this spirit of apology, why is nobody demanding that Atheists apologise for all the things that Atheists have done wrong over the years? Why don't we ask all the black people of the world to apologise for all the wrongs that black people have done? Shall I give you a clue? Because it is the ridiculous, fatuous proposition of somebody with no reasonable reserves left in their intellectual arsenal. 

You see. If everybody had to apologise for the sins of everybody else who claimed to belong to their race, religion, or belief system, (and for the sake of argument, I'm including Atheism here) we would all be apologising for something or other.  All the time. Frankly, that much politeness is just unhealthy. But regardless, why should a Muslim, or anyone, apoligise for something of which they were never complicit in?

People condemn illegal actions by not taking part in them.  Is it not enough for Pat Condell that the majority of Muslims do not take part in terrorism or wife-beating, that he must make them all apologise? Muslims can't even get to a wedding on time and you think that they could organise some sort of trans-global apology? What would happen? Should somebody send out a memo?
"Dear Fellow Muslims, 

It has come our attention that some of you have been very, very naughty. For the sake of global harmony, after Friday prayers,  please go out onto the street and say, "I must apoligise for the behaviour of Muslims during the War on Terror". 

Maybe that would do it for Condell and his crowd? Maybe. But I doubt it.  What else does Condell have to say about Pakistan?
"According to the human rights commision of Pakistan, 80 per cent of Pakistani women are regularly beaten by their husbands. I mean come on guys shape up. You can't blame your culture for everything."
Sorry. Lost me again. It seems that here, Condell is implying that Islam is responsible for the beating of women in Pakistan. This is in direct contradiction to his original statement that he has no trouble with the Islam "where people just get on with their lives and pray everyday and don't bother anybody else". But here, he implies that, well, 80 percent of all Pakistani Muslim husbands beat their wife as an integral part of their religion?

Does this argument even merit a serious reply?
"... And yet these are the people who have accused the British Government of Islamophobia. [The Government has] ... already done so much to accommodate Islamic sensibilities. Even legitimising crackpot pressure groups like the Muslim Council of Britain, who recently issued a list of demands that would impose Islamic values on all children in British schools."
We've heard this all before from Condell.  He complains that the British Government bends over backwards to appease Muslims, and yet, he offers up no examples to prove his point.  Surely, this line of reasoning would produce rich and deep seams of 'comedy' for Pat?  But no.  I've yet to hear him give a single example of the UK Government appeasing those Muslims.

Moving on from that though, The Muslim Council of Great Britain was never an illegitimate organisation, so the government has never had to legitimise it.  I have to hand it to him. Condell demonstrates a flair for language.  His smoke-and-mirrors tricks are designed to stop us from even lightly probing his postulations, but if you get past the pseudo-Neuro-Linguistic Programming his arguments are very transparent.

Pat Condell is always mentioning this 'list of demands', so I thought I'd finally take the time to find it, being as Condell doesn't have the nerve to link to it in the information box for his videos. 

This 'list of demands' is called 'Meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools' Page two of the document states that it is an 'information and guidance booklet'. Far from imposing Islamic values on 'all children in British schools', the document is designed to highlight the specific needs of Muslim pupils. It is actually a good guide for teachers who may know nothing about Islam, and importantly, reduces the scope for Muslim pupils to try to pull the wool over a teachers' eyes by playing the 'my religion says so' card. If a teacher is aware of the requirements of Islam, they are less likely to be taken for a ride, or cause offence through ignorance. Lets have a look at a tidbit of this guide:
"Muslim pupils are allowed to take part in educational visits to all places of worship, including churches, synagogues and temples."
Sounds reasonable to me. Not really an earth shattering demand. 

It seems that Pat Condell took his opinions about this document from the Daily Express who ran what can only be described as an inflammatory article, with comments like this nugget from Terry Sanderson of that bastion of intelligent and rational secularism, the National Secular Society (of which Condell is a fully paid up member):
“Schools with even just a handful of Muslim kids will find they have to follow these guidelines because there aren’t the staff to have one set of classes for Muslims and another for the rest. The MCB shouldn’t try to force its religious agenda on children who may not want it. The Government needs to send the MCB packing. Schools should be about teaching, not preaching. ”
The document was launched on the MCB website on 20th February, one day before the article came out. It seems that Terry Sanderson read and digested a 72 page report before the copy deadline for the newspaper. I doubt he spent a full 24 minutes, never mind 24 hours analysing it, because if he had, he would have realised that the publication is not at all about 'forcing a religious agenda on children who may not want it', but it sets out to be an advisory document which schools can refer to for good practice. 

If the best the NSS can do is get manipulated like a puppet by the national media, it is small wonder Pat Condell frets about the political nouse of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Unsurprisingly, the MCB wrote a letter to the Press Complaints Commission about this report, wonder what the result was?

A more balanced synopsis of the document could be found at the BBC four days after it became available. Mike Baker, an Education Correspondant (so, pretty well qualified to judge a document aimed at schools then) asks the right questions:-
"How reasonable were these requests? Were they, in fact, demands?"
Baker at least passes fair comment on the language of the document, particularly, he seems to wonder why the word 'should' appears so many times.  He also points out that schools have the right to 'expect willingness to conform, whether it is to school uniform codes, curriculum requirements, behaviour policies or parental co-operation', and that makes absolute sense.  

Baker goes on to say that "...telling schools what they 'should' do for one particular group, without necassarily considering the impact on others, may not be the most persuasive approach."  He has a point, but it is not in the remit of the Muslim Council of Britain to vouch for the requirements of non-Muslim children.  That is for the schools themselves to balance, given the information they have. 

The purpose of the document was so that schools could create even-handed policy that includes Muslims are far as possible, not for 'special treatment'.

Race Equality Teaching published a great article dissecting not only the story, but the comments to be found on the Daily Express website regarding the story. And, finally on this subject, it seems even atheists can see that we have entered storm-in-a-teacup territory with this one.

So, we return now to Condell, who is still bleating on about the Muslim Council of Great Britain.
"The Muslim Council of Britain sounds like an official body but in fact it's just another extremist group of fanatics who want to turn Britain into an Islamic republic. They'd never admit this publiclly of course, any more than the British National Party would admit that they want to repatriate the blacks and gas the Jews, but we all know thats' where they are really coming from."
The Muslim Council of Britain are no more or less extreme than, say, the National Secular Society, and as I've pointed out before, the NSS have more political and media clout. Who then, should we be more wary of?  Also, is it ironic that he mentions the BNP, who absolutely find everything that Condell has to say about Islam right on.  Funny though, that they don't seem to support his views on Catholicism.  Still, every cloud has a silver lining, eh?

Condell never tires of 'dissing' the MCB:-
"...they love accusing people of Islamophobia. A totally made up word and a blatent lie."
Hold on a cotton picking minute! People accusing other people of stuff when they have no basis for it? Gee whizz. Pat, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas no more!

NEWSFLASH. THIS JUST IN....
All words are made up. But seriously. Lets' nail this lie once and for all. Pat Condell is a rational man. I feel sure that when he is presented with overwhelming evidence to disprove his theories, he'll undoubtedly change has rhetoric. Well, I can but try.

Way before 9/11 and 7/7, far back in the mists of 1997, even before Pat Condell had heard of the Internet, the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia issued a report entitled 'Islamophobia: a challenge for us all' . The report contained 60 recommendations, by the time of the follow-up report in 2004 progress on the original 60 recommendations was minimal. Here is an example of Islamophobia:
"During the war in Iraq in 2003 a student at a secondary school in central England approached one of the staff. She was of Pakistani heritage, as was the member of staff. She was being teased, she told the teacher, by other students in the playground and on journeys to and from school. 'We killed hundreds of your lot yesterday … Saddam's your dad, you love him, don't you … we're getting our revenge for what you Pakis did to us on 11 September…' The teacher asked if she had told her form tutor. Yes, she had told her tutor, and her tutor had said: 'Never mind, it's not serious. It'll soon pass. You'll have to expect a bit of teasing at a time like this.'"
Confronting Islamophobia in the Education System, page 1)
But that is just the UK. It is recognised that a European wide initiative to tackle Islamophobia is required.
"EU member states must also accept their responsibility towards all ethnic and other minority communities. To do this, measures must be taken and new initiatives implemented. Those such as the Irish government's anti-racism awareness programme, that is now to include Islamophobia as well, is a good case in point."
Undeterred by the truth though, Condell gives us the skinny on Islamophobia
"...A phobia is defined as an irrational fear or dread of something, and its' true that many people fear and dread the growth of Islam but there's nothing irrational about that when you look at the evidence. In countries where islam has control there is repression there's torture there's precious few human rights and there's no free speech..."
Great point. I would contest that the countries of which Condell speaks are not implementing Islamic law at all, or not implementing it correctly, or at least, are adhering to an ultra-strict interpretation which a moderate Muslim (yes, they do exist!) would not recognise, and where in fact, there could be a more lenient interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence.

I do find Pat Condell quite naive in his outlook, especially for a man of his years. There may be free speech in Britain, but, funnily enough, not in Westminster, the heart of UK democracy. How very embarrassing.
"... if the Muslim Council of Britain had it's way this would be one of those [oppressive] countries and I'd be arrested and tortured for making this video. This is not a belief system that I want to see encouraged, but there's nothing phobic about it, it's just common sense."
Ladies and Gentlemen... I give you Islamophobia in action. I hope that I've pointed out the holes in the arguments that Condell raises. If, like Pat Condell, you don't take the time to learn about a subject, and simply regurgitate what the media force-feed you, then maybe you could get away with thinking that Islamophobia is common sense. If, however, you have a modicum of intelligence, or bother to do some research for yourself, you might come to the conclusion that Islamophobia is not a belief system you would want to see encouraged.
"...The real phobia lies with Islam itself, and with all religions with their pathological fear of reason, which they know can evaporate all their delusions in an instant, because reason to religion is like sunlight to a vampire. Thats where the real fear is, and that's where the real hate is."
And so, we come to the end of the rant. Condell delivers a closing statement that is diametrically opposed to his opening one. How we got from "I have no problem with Islam" to discussing pathological fear of reason, and insinuations that that is where hate lies within Islam. I should hope this response to Pat Condell is full of reason, and backed up with clear evidence to support what I say.

I'm willing to debate these issues with anyone, I may even learn something in the process. I get the feeling that Pat Condell thinks he already knows it all. Pat Condell delivers good diatribe, but when you actually probe deeper, a less than scholarly approach is evident in his videos. And yet, his word is taken as gospel.

Go figure.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Stats Update

So, I finally got around to asking for help to update the stats, and my illicit source (maybe I should call them 'Deep Throat' or something?) came up with the goods.

Annoyingly, Condell has made a video about Scientologists, so an icon had to be found for that!  Is this guy deliberately trying to mess us up?  On a serious note, he also seems to be easing up on using the 'Comedy' label for his videos, and going more for 'News and Politics'.  I don't know if either is an appropriate label for the chuff that he churns out.


Friday, 22 February 2008

YouTube Post No. 2

This one took a while but finally finished it.  This is a reply to a video posted by Condell entitled 'A word to Islamofascists'.  During my research I found out a number of interesting things. 
  • Condell accuses the current Labour government of pandering to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) which I could almost stomach if the National Secular Society didn't have 7 Labour MPs as well as some Lib Dem and Green Party MPs amongst the Honarary Associates it lists proudly.  Not forgetting the peers, MEPs and members of the media who are also listed.  The MCB simply can't muster that kind of heavyweight political and media savvy clout.
  • Condell thinks the Muslim vote is too important to Labour, but Muslims make up about 3.1% of the UK population.  What planet is he on.  I also found out some cold hard facts based upon local election results, which you'll see in the video.
  • There are several instances where Condell takes quotes out of context, and I managed to find the actual interview he was ranting about.  Now.  I never thought that the MCB represented me as a Muslim, and there is no doubt that whenever an MCB spokesperson gets on the news they never come across well, but a bit of media training would sort that.  But to take a simple quote and mangle and distort it is beyond reason, so I've pointed out where Condell does that.
  • Condell seems to have forgotten his roots as an 'Irish Catholic' which he revealed in an interview with Time Out.  So I discuss how this might affect his attitude towards immigrants, being as his family must have come to the UK from Ireland at some point.
  • Condell insists that Muslims were not invited to this country, but I point out that the East India Trading Company might have had a hand in that, by employing people and bringing them to the UK to fill in skills gaps.  Was that not an open invitation?
I think his delivery is very practiced, and the way he jumps from one subject to another entirely unrelated subject is amazing, and it is this device that he uses to deflect his viewers from seeking out the truth.  If you look like you know enough about a subject, and you deliver a good spiel, it seems people will swallow everything you have to say!  But what do you do when the facts don't suport what you are saying?

Whilst I was posting this video I noticed that Condell posted something on Scientology.  It was weird, realising that we were both crafting videos for YouTube at exactly the same time.

Anyway. Please watch the video and let me know what you think.


Friday, 15 February 2008

Journey into myself.

So. OK. I've had some support from friends and strangers alike. And thanks for that. What Condell has forced me to do is to learn a lot more about Islam than I ever knew before. And the more I learn, the more I disagree with Condell. I think that is a Good Thing. And whilst YouTube seems to be the social media platform for bigots, nutters, and the downright ignorant, there are a few examples of people who just exude the qualities that I believe are the correct ones for a Muslim.

At the moment, I'm struggling to see the end game. I mean. Am I wasting my time with this? Is it gobbling up time I should be spending with my family? Do I have the determination to see it through? It feels like I'm outnumbered by bigots or just plain ignorant people. Can I even begin to engage in a rational debate? Some atheists pride themselves on the rationality of what they say. And thats fine by me. But there seems to be no desire to actually discuss, claim, and counter-claim in a basic, civilised manner.

I'm really quite surprised at the lengths people go to to express hatred for religion, not just Islam, but religions in general. Some people might think I crossed that line in the way I feel about Condell. But I think at all times, I've looked at what he had to say, analysed it, spotted the glaring flaws, and tried to counter them. I respect his right to free speech. And if he learns about Islam, and the truth of it, and disagrees for whatever reason, thats fine too. But what I cannot abide by is the fact that he is disseminating untruths, as if they were truths. Either because he genuinely does not understand, or because he is being disingenuous. That, and the fact that he just isnt funny. Oh. And he is a bigot making money and gaining noteriety for Islam bashing. Apart from that, I've got no problem with him.

Anyway, at some point I need to update The Condell Stats. If my memory serves me correctly, Islam and Christianity are now neck and neck in the stats, with Judaism way behind on points.

In the meanwhile, I'm drawing some inspiration from this.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

YouTube Post

OK. I've finally made a reply to Pat Condell. With the natty title of 're:The trouble with Islam'. I'm no great video editor, but I'm not impressed that the YouTube preperation process got rid of my fade transitions!. Anyway, this is basically a video version of my first post about Pat Condell, it ain't too pretty, but hey, I hope you watch it and get the points I'm trying to make.



Originally I set it to Janet Jackson's 'The Knowledge' but for some reason YouTube added a funny effect to the music whilst the images were fine... Maybe some form of copyright protection in action from YouTube??? Pretty weird considering the amount of copyrighted music videos that are posted to YouTube.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

An Apology.

Having seen TheNinjaGirl01 (below) in action, I thought about my actions over the past few days, and decided it was best to remove links from my site to CapnOAwesome, and remove him from my condell playlist and favourites over on YouTube.

Why?

Well, I see now that there is a better way to conduct yourself, and thanks to TNG for showing me that. From now on I'll try to be more dignified in my approach to engaging with Condell, and I'll take this opportunity to apologise to him, and his fans, if my linking/support of CapnOAwesome offended them.

I wonder. If I can admit my mistakes. Can Condell?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Condell Stats

I'm eternally grateful to the person who sent what you see below. Click on it it for a full size view of what I'm snappily calling 'The Condell Stats'.



For an atheist, Condell actually spends a lot of time discussing religion, not much time discussing, well, atheism. In fact, if it wasn't for Judaism, atheism would be his least commented upon subject of the subjects he has raised. Our stats show that Christianity and Islam get the brunt of his 'wit'. And what exactly are his views on Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism? Is Condell actually aware of these other religions?

Perhaps he is taking his time. Making sure that he gets his facts straight before he passes comment on them.

Only time will tell I guess.

Thanks for the support. You know who you are ;)

Friday, 1 February 2008

re: The Trouble With Islam, by Pat Condell

I saw this Pat Condell video (The Trouble  With Islam) some time ago. At the time I ignored it. But the content of it has been niggling away at me. I mean, it purports to be The Truth. But is it? So I found myself writing a rebuttal, looking at each of his points and debating them. He has a lot to say, so it took me a while. But I think I've done OK. Let me know what you think.

Condell starts off with this:-

“... here in the UK religion was always pretty dormant until the Muslims came along and started burning books and passing death sentances and generally demanding special treatment for no good reason...”

Religion, dormant, in the UK? Is Condell referring to before, or after the English Reformation? I don’t know about you, but from where I’m sitting, splitting away from the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church is not a ‘dormant’ activity. Neither was Dissolution of the Monasteries and confiscation of their property. Anybody else want to discuss Catholic Emancipation?.

But I’m being facetious. Let us fast forward to more recent events.

Let us look no further than the Catholic Vs Protestant grudge match that had been played out for a long time on the shores of the UK. Condell looks old enough to remember things like this, and, my personal favourite, this. When, in 2001, Catholic parents and children couldn’t walk through a Protestant area without the British Army to escort them, would you say that religion was ‘dormant’ in the UK?

These examples demonstrate a fine tradition of religious upheaval in the UK, going back centuries. Why single out the Muslims? They are just the latest in a long line.

“... they’ve shown everybody else what can be achieved by bullying and intimidation so now every crackpot in the country feels entitled to respect for their precious beliefs, beliefs often lifted wholesale from the ramblings of an ancient desert nomad with a psychological disorder...”

What? What, prey tell, have Muslims achieved by bullying and intimidation, exactly? An example or two would have been nice. Interestingly, Condell speaks as if all Muslims have benefited from something, he doesn’t state what, but apparently, this homogenous group we call ‘the Muslims’ are all better off nowadays. It seems Condell believes that Muslims are like the Borg from Star Trek, that is to say, a bunch of bad guys with no individualism at all.

The next part of what Condell says is quite telling. Let us split it into 2 parts. Firstly, his assertion that ‘every crackpot in the country feels entitled to respect for their precious beliefs’. I wonder, has he read Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights? Even if you are a ‘crackpot’, you are legally entitled to respect for your religious beliefs. A right that Condell is freely exercising at will, but which, seemingly, he thinks other people should not have. Secondly, his assertion that these beliefs are ‘lifted wholesale from a desert nomad with a psychological disorder...’ I can only presume that Condell is here referring to Mohammed, the central prophet of Islam. The phrasing of this sentence is intriguing. Is Condell saying that all followers of Islam are crackpots? And what, specifically, is this psychological disorder Condell speaks of? Condell lists himself as a ‘comedian’, does this skill set extend to psychiatric evaluations of long dead religious figures?

“... it does seem quite ironic to me that the very people who have clearly made no attempt to think for themselves are always the most vocal in demanding respect for their ideas.."

I’ve already pointed out that everybody is entitled, under international law, to respect for their ideas. So, not content with being a comic and psychiatrist, I can only assume that Condell is also gifted in the practice of Law, otherwise, how could he possibly dream up a way to legally deny someone their fundamental human rights? I note the head tilt towards the camera at the end of this sentence. Was this the bit that was meant to be funny? Condell, who does not seem a man who lacks ideas, or words to express them, gives no explanation as to why he thinks Muslims don’t think for themselves, clearly, we must figure that out for ourselves.

“... some Muslims go further than this and claim that they are being victimised in British society, but I don’t really believe that’s true.”

Again Condell gives his view, but fails to support it with any hard evidence. One wonders if he has heard of institutional racism? Apparently it exists in our Police force and our schools, the army, fire service, Parliment and judiciary. And thats’ before we take a look at the representation of Muslims in the media. Ethnic minorities in general, not just Muslims, get a raw deal in the UK. Does a Muslim run a FTSE 100 company, for instance? In 2005, 22 of the FTSE 100 companies still had no female board members. That to me seems like institutionalised sexism! Good grief, how hard would it be if you are Muslim and female to get onto a FTSE 100 board?

“I do think a lot of people are getting fed up of hearing about Muslims all the time and the wish that Muslims would just shut up and get on with their lives instead of constantly bellyaching about nothing, but that’s not the same as being victimised”

Here, I couldn’t agree more with Condell about people being fed up about hearing about Muslims all the time. But I’d hazard a guess that chief among those fed up people are, wait for it... the Muslims themselves. Condell again lumps all the Muslims into that Borg-like group. As if they are all bellyaching, all the time, when, patently, there is a silent majority of Muslims. I even see them, occasionally. They are people who work in shops, play in the park with their children, go out for a meal, and all manner of other well-balanced and normal activities. These people do get on with their lives as best they can, and, in all likelihood, would take offence at a white, middle aged man badgering them, one might say for no good reason, from the media temple that is YouTube.

“...we live in a liberal democracy and therefore have certain double standards to maintain...”

What a great statement, apparently, in the UK, we live in a liberal democracy. If you call leading the country to an illegal war, despite mass public protests against it, ‘liberal’, then yes, we live in a liberal democracy. If you call the planned introduction of ID cards ‘liberal’, then yes, we live in a liberal democracy. If you call imprisonment without trial 'liberal', then yes, we live in a liberal democracy. If you believe that allowing UK citizens to be tortured in Guantanamo Bay ‘liberal', then yes, we live in a ‘liberal’ democracy. I'm not so convinced.

What Condell means by ‘double standards’ I don’t know. If he feels that Muslims get special treatment, Condell might do well to recall the incident of BA banning crosses.

“...any criticisms of Islam or Muslims always draws the immediate accusation of Islamophobia, a dishonest word which seeks to portray legitimate comment as some kind of hate crime....”

Interesting that Condell should raise this point, considering that the title of this video bears more than a passing resemblance to the title of a book by Irshad Manji, ‘The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-up Call for Honesty and Change’. Controversially, Manji addresses some of the basic problems with Islam today, a job made easier by the fact that she is a Muslim. Manji tells of the Islamic tradition of independent thinking, or Ijtihad (pronounced “ij-tee-had”). I’d ask Condell to read this book, it might give him a more balanced view of Islam. Put bluntly. Manji knows her shit, and she knows the weak spots of Islam, and the historical reasons (legitimate or not) for them. Not something one could honestly say of Condell.

Once again I find myself agreeing with Condell with regards to his thoughts on the accusations of Islamophobia. Not wholly though. You see, unlike Condell, I don’t think the word ‘Islamophobia’ in itself is dishonest. Islamophobia exists. Some commentators even say Condell is guilty of it. Yes. Some Muslims abuse the term for their own reasons. The same as some women cry ‘sexism’ for their own reasons, and yet other people might cry ‘agism’ for their own gain. Quite frankly, It is tiring that Condell consistently lumps all Muslims into the same group, as if they have no mind of their own, but then, by his own mouth, Condell calls all Muslims crackpots.

“... the truth is that Islam has a chip on it’s shoulder the size of a mosque and it looks to take offence at every opportunity...”

The terminology Condell uses here is interesting. He purports that Islam, as a religion, is inherently designed so as to “take offence at every opportunity”. It never occurs to him that, just perhaps, it might be that some people who are ‘practicing’ the religion, do not understand the true meaning of what they are practicing. That they are applying an interpretation of the Qu’ran that is simply not correct. Either because they are ignorant of the true meaning of the Qur’an, or because they are deliberately using Islam as a guise to meet their own goals. Some people call this ‘Islamism’. Some might use the term ‘ignorant’, others might just see that Islam is being used by a few people to further their own political or personal agenda. Condell, however, actually believes that Islam itself “has a chip on it’s shoulder”. Now. Condell certainly looks old enough to have studied the Qur’an, and the myriad Hadith, and no doubt you would call me crazy if I were to suggest that Condell had come to his conclusions without doing his background research, but that is indeed what I’m suggesting.

“... you never hear a peep out of any of these people when some young girl is murdered for bringing dishonuor upon her insane family. Suddenly, everyone is looking at the floor then...”

Really? What about this? Or this? In 2003, Adab Saoud, a Muslim woman sitting in the Jordan Parliment said this:-

“Obviously these killings are wrong and against our religion. But the notion of honour is a very important one in our society. And we need to accept that.”

A Muslim woman. Sitting on a Muslim Parliment. In a Muslim country. Denoucing honour killings as “against our religion”. It doesn’t get any clearer than that really, does it? Condell refers to an “insane family”, I sincerely hope he means this just in relation to their murderous intent, but I fear that he is actually talking about their practice of Islam.

“They keep telling us that Islam is a religion of peace, but all the evidence points to a religion of war. It’s holy book urges Muslims to conquer the world and subjugate everyone to the rule of God. If Islam had it’s way, elections would become a thing of the past and the rest of us would be living in the past, for the forseeable future”

Again, I’m sure Condell has studied the Qur’an and Hadith to such an extent that he is a reliable source of information on this. But he gives no examples as to how he draws these conclusions. Personally, I’d bypass reading the Qur’an on this issue, and just take a look at Turkey. Today. How Condell can ignore a secular Muslim state on the world stage is beyond comprehension. I’ve heard they have a great McDonalds in Istanbul. And let us not forget that Turkey has proved a strategic military ally by allowing the US to build air bases from which they can pound Iraq and Afghanistan from the air. Turkey does hold free and fair elections. Currently, Turkey bans the wearing of headscarves in schools, and this is still a hot issue. Turkey is something like 99% Muslim. I don’t get the impression that as a country it is trying to conquer the world and subjugate everyone to the rule of God. Do you?

“... some people are very keen to bring this situation about. Especially the loud-mouthed rabble rousing clerics who we always hear praising the suicide bombers as glorious martyrs...”

Ahh yes. Those one-eyed-hook-for-a-hand clerics, eh? Permit me an indulgence, dear reader. No. Permit me two, if you will. Firstly, orthodox Islam does not recognise any form of formal preisthood. There is no formal religious hierarchy in Islam. If we accept this to be true (and, dear reader, it is), it doesn’t matter what a cleric says about suicide bombers, the modern Muslim is left to their own devices when it comes to interpreting the actions of others in relation to Islam. Secondly. If you will allow it. I would submit that not all Muslim clerics are ‘loud-mouthed’ or indeed ‘rabble rousing’. Some of them want to just lead prayers and serve the community even. But, you see, we don’t get to see those ones on TV very often, but we are ‘always’ seeing those crazy clerics with wide-eyes, because, well, they, they make better news, don’t they?

Going on to question why these clerics don’t blow themselves up for martyrdom, Condell says

“... despite the guarantee of all those luscious virgins waiting for them in heaven, these guys are so selfless that they can always find somebody more deserving...”

Again, Condell, unwittingly I’m sure, picks up on several sore points for many Muslims. Firstly. Suicide is forbidden in Islam. It is like an affront to God. Then, the issue of virgins in the afterlife. There is a school of thought that supposes that ‘virgins’ is not the correct interpretation of what is available to Muslims in heaven, but that actually, they can look forward to a bountiful supply of raisins. Also, why blow yourself up anyway? The reward (be it virgins or raisins) to Muslims is apparently available regardless of how you pop your clogs. Why even tempt the wrath of God by committing suicide?

“... the whole 72 virgins scenario has become comedy staple, and with good reason...”

Again, must I bow to Condells’ superior knowledge of Islam, but the classic Arabic meaning of the passage in the Qu'ran that Condell refers to

"Companions pure, most beautiful of eye."
The spectrum of translations of this passage range from "virgins" all the way to a typical winged angel as you might expect to find in the Christian tradition. Condell skirts over this though.
“... the virgins are likely to be good wholesome Islamic virgins because there won’t be any infidel rif-raf in heaven...”

Condell, I'm sure, is well versed in the Qur’an. But maybe he missed the bit about Allah judging all the different people on the Day of Judgement (22:17). In fact, Islam recognises Jesus as a prophet of God. This surely means that Jews, Christians and Muslims are all following the same God? Just through different practices. If so, would this God cast all his children out, apart from the Muslims? Funny that Condell uses the word ‘infidel’. It is in fact an English word, with no basis in Islam, although it provides as a rough translation for the Arabic word ‘Kafir’.

“...[about the virgins in heaven] presumably they will have brothers and cousins and uncles who are all determined to defend their honour by killing anyone who makes eye contact with them...”

I’ve already looked at how the concept of ‘honour killing’ (lets face it, murder has no honour) is not a belief of Islam, but something which society has dreamed up. Therefore Condell has no basis for this statement. Also, the issue of wether it’s ‘virgins’ or ‘raisins’ on offer in the afterlife could have an impact. I’ll reserve my judgement on this issue until after I know the outcome of that particular debate.

“They haven’t really thought this whole thing through it seems to me. For this they blow themselves up? Wouldn’t it be easier to get an inflatable woman and blow her up, and then if one of your friends happens to glance at her with lustful eyes, why you can simply stone her to death and get another one in the usual way...”

Is this really the pinnacle of Condells’ comedy? Note that he doesn’t mention how the concept of stoning is not peculiar to Islam, it is referred to in both Christian and Jewish religious texts. But that doesn’t make it right. Regardless, the Qur’an is very clear:-

‘The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers.” (24:3)

Why would an adulterer or adulteress be able to marry anybody if they were to be stoned to death? I also would draw Condells’ attention to Turkey. You remember, don’t you, that democratic state that is 99% Muslim? If Islam can exist in a secular country, where religious rulings and the law can be kept seperate, what exactly is Condells’ issue here?

Next, Condell moves on to Muslim women covering themselves in Britain:-

“... I think Muslim women in Britain who cover their faces are mentally ill...”

A bold statement indeed. At least though, he seems to recognise that not all Muslim women cover their faces. Some scant recognition that there is a choice available here. Some Muslim women are happy with a head scarf. Others are happy to wear the fashion of the day. My only problem with Condells’ view on this issue is that it is my belief that men and women, of any race or religion, should be entitled to wear what they want. As long as they don’t potter about the streets naked, it’s fine by me. It follows, therefore, that if she so chooses, a Muslim women should be able to cover herself from head to toe without fear of being called ‘mentally ill’. What about Burqinis? I’d not be phased if I saw a Muslim lady wearing a Burqini at my local swimming pool. They are modest, but note that they don’t cover the face, and appear to be selling like the proverbial hot-cakes. One could say that wearing a shell suit, or maybe MC Hammer pants, or even a mullet might indicate a slight personality imbalance, but then, as with the niqab (face veil), I would defend the right of someone to wear those styles if they so wanted to, even if they are not quite to my liking.

“...I realise that in some parts of the world women don’t actually have any choice in this matter, governed as they are by primitive pigs whose only achievement in life is to be born with a penis in one hand and a Qur’an in the other...”

A scathing attack indeed. I wonder if Condell is attempting a double insult by calling the Muslim men of which he speaks ‘pigs’. Can we credit him with knowing that pigs are forbidden to Muslims? I think so. In fact, the illustrations of pigs on Condells' personal home page serve to ram his point home. No need to get personal Condell! But the rebuttal of this argument is simple. 

There are two schools of thought within Islam on covering of the face. The first is that it is ‘compulsory’ to do so. The second that it is ‘recommended’ to do so, as the wives of Mohammed covered their faces around men they did not know. As I’ve already said, there is no formal priesthood within Islam, so this leaves Muslim woman to - and get this - make up their own mind on the matter. Freedom of choice. No Muslim man has the right to require any Muslim woman to wear or do anything she does not want to. Condell, on the other hand, obviously feels that he should be able to write the rule book on which types of clothing women should wear.

As for Condells’ comments about “penis in one hand and Qur’an in the other”. Well, he was doing OK up until that point. Fairly reasoned debate, even. But really, there was no need for that.

“...if God had intended you to cover your face then, in his wisdom, he would have provided you with a flap of skin for the purpose. Of course, if it gave you any sexual pleasure it would have to be removed...”

Oh dear. Now Condell has simply degenerated into uneducated slurring. In fact. Islam is one of the least sexually repressed religions. Certainly, if Condell consults the hadith, he might find this:-

“In three matters, the weakness of a male is disclosed. Firstly if a lover meets his beloved, and then they separate without enquiring into their mutual condition and health; secondly, rejecting the honour which someone wishes to pay him; thirdly to engage in sexual intercourse with the wife or the female who is legally permitted, without talking to her or kissing her or by being unable to restrain the ejaculation of semen before that of his wife." (Related by Daylami)

Hold on there. Is it really the duty of a Muslim man to sweet talk his wife into bed and ensure she has an orgasm before him??? Cripes. I bet a lot of Muslim men need to buck up their ideas.

“...I think years from now a lot of intelligent Muslims will be looking back on all this medievalism and jihad nonsense with embarrassment and shame...”

Well, at least Condell recognises that there can be intelligent Muslims. Maybe not right now. But sometime in the future. Interesting choice of words again from Condell. I wonder if he is aware of the debate around the meaning of the word ‘jihad’. There are two possible meanings, one is that jihad is a physical military struggle, the other that jihad is an internal struggle with oneself, a struggle against vice and ignorance, for instance. Once again, Muslims are split on this issue, and so, without guidance from a formal priesthood, each Muslim must decide for themselves the type of jihad they want to promote.

So, that basically tackles the major gripes against Islam that Condell elucidates in his video.

But what about my gripe with him?

You see, I find Condell very offensive. Not for what he says mind. I’m not against freedom of speech. I’m mildly offended that he is blatently ignorant of the internal politics of Islam, blurting out, what I would label, the typical bigots’ view of Islam, and yet purporting to be a free thinker with a firm handle on the way things are.

But do you want to know what really gets my goat? What really winds me up about Condell? He says he is a comedian. And yet, I found nothing of what he said even mildly amusing.  Where are the punch lines? Good grief, Islam provides such a wealth of material to poke fun at, and the guy didn’t raise even a smirk from me. Am I the only on who finds him deeply unfunny?

I'm not the only one that thinks the comedy of Condell leaves something to be desired.  His YouTube videos seem to be an extension of his 'Faith, Hope & Sanity' stand up show, but there was at least one reviewer who didn't think much of the act in 2006-

"... when you joke about religion, you’re judged against the very best there is. And, disappointingly, Condell is not quite up to the job."

Well, the material hasn't aged well, thats for sure.  The reviewer goes on:-

"There’s no structure, no building up to a passionate, climactic conclusion, no ebb and flow of storytelling."

Phew.  At least this guy knows how I feel!

Then there is Ian Shuttleworth, a Theatre critic for the Financial Times, who had this to say of 'Barry Sorts It Out', a play by Condell:-

"...a sordid East End comedy written by stand-up Pat Condell. It repeats ad nauseam the same gag, in which Barry's narrative recounts his calm, reasonable thoughts followed with a "so I..." by his crassly Neanderthal actions. Andy Linden looks as if at any moment he is going to ask the audience menacingly who they are looking at, but this is a play with all the bite of a set of joke-shop fangs".

Ouch.  Speaks for itself really.

But I think I know what the problem is.  Condell is, in fact, only one half of a double act.  He is a straight man, without the aid of a funny sidekick. like Bob Mortimer without Vic Reeves.  Tommy Cannon without Bobby Ball.  For the non-UK readers, he is like Tommy Lee Jones without Will Smith. That is to say. Just. Not. Funny.

Is there meant to be some irony in that he has called his video 'The Trouble With Islam', but it is in fact nothing but an ill-researched rant, based largely upon common misconceptions about Islam?  Is that the joke I'm not getting?

If you are going to be telling jokes about Islam, why not take a leaf out of Omid Djalilis’ book? Eh? Something like this perhaps. Or this. If you want a general ethnic minirity view, Chis Rock does a nice line, following in the fine tradition of Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. Or what about Russell Peters who manages to get laughs all the way across the ethnic spectrum? Who would have thought that Muslims in America can have a laugh about Islam? Even random Muslim kids on the Internet and relative unknowns do a better job of poking fun at Islam than this guy. How does that work, exactly?

I’ll tell you how it works.

They, unlike Condell, know what they are talking about.