Comic in US 'hate speech' row
Added: Thu, 24 May 2007 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Ranjani for the link.
A British stand-up has been accused of spreading 'racist hate speech' in California.
Pat Condell has faced a barrage of criticism after links to his anti-Muslim monologue on YouTube were circulated to commissioners in the city of Berkeley.
In the five-minute video, Condell condemns Islam as a religion of war and its prophet Mohammad as 'some rambling ancient desert nomad with a psychological disorder'.
He attacks fundamentalist men as 'primitive pigs whose only achievement in life is to be born with a penis is one hand and a Koran in the second' and accuses women who wear veils of their own will of being 'mentally ill'.
'If God had intended for you to cover your face then in His wisdom He would have provided you with a flap of skin for the purpose,' he said.
Jonathan Wornick, who is on the 'peace and justice commission' adivisng Berkeley city council emailed his colleagues with the link, saying it was 'an honest attempt to bring dialogue'.
But his actions have caused a political storm. Commissioner Michael Sherman said Condell's views were 'stunning' because of his 'stereotyping and bigotry of the tone and the language'.
And commissioner Elliot Cohen called the tape 'insulting, degenerating and racist'.
'People should not be allowed to spew racist propaganda without others being able to respond,' Cohen said. 'It's not about free speech - it's hate speech.'
Condell, an atheist, has released a number of monologues on the internet, criticising all religions. The anti-Islamic video has been seen almost 16,000 times on YouTube and more than 190,000 times on another file sharing site, LiveLeak.
He said he didn't want to condemn the entire Muslim faith , because 'I don't want to be murdered hysterical, murderous, carpet-chewing, book-burning by muppet with shit for brains', and hoped that the medieval values preached by some Muslims would come to be looked at with 'embarrassment and shame' in years to come.
Of the row in California, Condell said: 'I think this is clearly more about their internal politics than it is about me. I'm glad they included a link to the video so people can make up their own minds.
'Inevitably some people are less than impressed and I've had death threats from such exotic locations as Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Tower Hamlets, but generally the response has been very supportive.
'Lots of people tell me I'm saying exactly what they think but are afraid to say publicly. I'm also getting loads of e-mails from Americans applauding my views on the religious right. Some who live in the Bible belt tell me they're afraid to go public as atheists in case they're victimised.
'One woman said she's afraid it would affect the family business if anyone knew she didn't believe in God. Welcome to the 21st century.'
Here is the contentious video:
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
- - human rights first Comments
Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”
Ed Kilgore - Political Animal Comments
update - too crazy even for the evangelical right
Barton’s Fall From Grace
David Barton says his documents prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas - but do his sources check out?
Cory Doctorow - BoingBoing Comments
Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy
Graham Veale - Saints & Sceptics? Comments
Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get” God
- - BBC News Comments
The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.