This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← BBC 'too scared to allow jokes about Islam'

BBC 'too scared to allow jokes about Islam' - Comments

oshottan's Avatar Comment 1 by oshottan

"There is no evidence that the BBC is afraid to tackle difficult subjects."

The evidence is everywhere, but I must say that the BBC, and Britain in general, are much more willing to allow religious satire than here in the US

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 16:51:00 UTC | #146353

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 2 by FightingFalcon

There's definitely something to be said about being too religiously tolerant. We're so desperate to be tolerant of everyone that we're now slowly allowing the death of free expression.

I'm still waiting for someone to explain why we should be so accommodating to Muslims. If they want to respond with hatred and violence, so be it. I thought living freely was more important than safety anyway.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:23:00 UTC | #146362

sidelined's Avatar Comment 3 by sidelined

I can see how the phrase "'If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain."could be upsetting to the poor infantile minority of Mohammed's followers who are incapable of maturing to the point of relating to the world around them.

They also are incapable of conceiving of another old phrase from a time when political correctness was not stuffed so far up politicians asses that the stench overwhelmed common sense. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

To those few followers of Islam who are incapable of understanding that the freedom to criticize religion is not going to be set aside just because you lack the ability to deal with others with any level of competence you can expect to hear another phrase regularly.

"Grow the fuck up!"

That goes double for the politicians and organizations that fold under threat instead of exposing the vermin that employ such actions as a means of hiding the fear that runs through their petty minds.

Now that I have got that off my chest. Anybody heard some good Mohammed jokes lately?

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:29:00 UTC | #146365

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 4 by rod-the-farmer

This line needed an additional word in the middle

I think it all starts with people nodding off whenever anyone says, 'As a person of faith ...'

Sorry, I got distracted. Imam jokes are not forbidden ? OK, show us a recent one on the BBC. No ? The prosecution rests.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #146369

Sittingduck's Avatar Comment 5 by Sittingduck

Yikes - I hope this isn't accurate.

If we find ourselves censoring thought and speech simply out of fear of antagonizing literal believers, we are doomed. The war of ideas and reason is already lost.

I think Sam Harris got it exactly right in "The End of Faith" when he talks about religious moderates enabling fundamentalists by protecting the belief as beyond question.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #146370

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 6 by Gymnopedie

Come on guys, think this through. If we insult religion, we might hurt someone's feelings. Can't we all just get along?

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:43:00 UTC | #146371

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 7 by Border Collie

Amen to "sidelined". Quivering in our boots and wetting our pants about whether we're going to piss off some religious nut by an intentional or unintentional infraction of political correctness will not make the religious nut any less of a religious nut. While we are whining, trembling, apologizing and equivocating, they are strapping on their suicide/homicide bombs, loading their AK47's and planning more refined ways to destroy us.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:57:00 UTC | #146378

Shuggy's Avatar Comment 9 by Shuggy

I can't wait to see "The Mullah of Dibley" or "Imam Ted".

Come to think of it, is "The Vicar of Dibley" or "Father Ted" shown in the US?

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:58:00 UTC | #146381

nancy's Avatar Comment 8 by nancy

I was just telling a colleague today how compelling Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book Infidel is and her response was that people are racist when they say Islam treats women badly and that it's only the Fundamentalists who do that sort of thing, if anyone at all actually does. I felt I was being called racist, and that I should feel duped, and this from an educated New Yorker. It seems hopeless when I hear comments like that. I don't know what's happened to the New York democrats who used to be completely against this kind of torture, intolerance, and oppression.
And the British should not be patting themselves on the back. Just have a gander at the Slate story on the Archbishop of Canterbury's belief that British Muslims should be allowed to rule their own, superseding British law.
People are thoroughly convinced that it's wrong to object to any behavior whatsoever, that it's somehow bigotry. What a bind the world is in. If Muslim women don't complain, people outside the Muslim world don't believe what goes on; if they do complain, they don't survive. And if they don't complain, the outside world can justify its hands-off policy, maintaining that as long as members of a group are in agreement, they should be allowed to practice whatever traditions they like.
We've got to take back freedom of speech and use it for what is was meant for: to prevent oppression and expose tyranny, not to give license to anyone who wants to cloak themselves in religion so that they can violate the basic human rights of others.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:58:00 UTC | #146380

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

I mentioned this on another thread and Steve Zara pointed out at least one example where the BBC has run humour about Islam.,1440,Can-the-rest-of-us-have-our-planet-back,The-Now-Show-Marcus-Brigstocke

So either they don't mind things like this which are having a go at all religions or maybe they don't like Ben Elton .... :-)


Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:04:00 UTC | #146384

shaunfletcher's Avatar Comment 11 by shaunfletcher

Even in the article Ben (and someone here) is falling into the trap..

"I'm quite certain that the average Muslim does not want" is the same kind of thinking.

Ill tell you what, Im 100% sure that many 'average muslims' DO want exactly these things. They DO want noone to be allowed to criticise their faith, they have been taught since birth to think that and they do so. Do people not realise that when polled, a majority of muslims support the death penalty for Apostasy?

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:09:00 UTC | #146387

Nogodscanuck's Avatar Comment 12 by Nogodscanuck

I think Pat Condell covers this topic perfectly.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:17:00 UTC | #146388

dragonfirematrix's Avatar Comment 13 by dragonfirematrix


I like your comment quoted below:

"Comment #154132 by FightingFalcon on April 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm
There's definitely something to be said about being too religiously tolerant. We're so desperate to be tolerant of everyone that we're now slowly allowing the death of free expression."

If I may add an old phrase, which I think applies here: "if you give them an inch, they will take a mile."

If we cave in to being sensitive to the religious, they will run us down.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:25:00 UTC | #146391

theantitheist's Avatar Comment 14 by theantitheist


I think you've just yourself out of a lot of cash. Imam Ted sounds like a brilliant idea that should be taken up IMMEDIATLY. Come on Channel 4, sort it out.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:40:00 UTC | #146398

The Reverend Dark's Avatar Comment 15 by The Reverend Dark

Joking about any religion should be undertaken with the most careful attention to craft and detail. One should strive for the perfection of the Baby Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells from Blackadder Season II.

My favorite variation was deliberately trying to qualify in the list of uncleans brought forwards by the late Ayatollah Rudy the K. Sweat of a camel that eats unclean stuff was not easy; and it was in fact a dromedary, but bachterian enough to qualify.

Two Imams walk into a bar... Unclean! Unclean!

Where do Ayatollah's buy online Porn? E-Mam.

When is the next Islamic schism going to be? Sunni.

Who loves Jello pudding, stoning women, and going Hey! Hey! Hey!? Fatwah Albert.

Okay... It's late and these jokes are so very, very, lame.


Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:44:00 UTC | #146401

dragonfirematrix's Avatar Comment 16 by dragonfirematrix

If the main stream media fails, Pat Condell will correct the problem.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:57:00 UTC | #146408

prolibertas's Avatar Comment 17 by prolibertas

I agree that we should start with the Mohammed jokes. Surely any pedophile joke can be adapted to the pervert, he did marry a nine year old. We can make it proverbial, like when you're talking about how hot you were after a run, (for example) you can say 'I was sweating like Mohammed at a pre-school!'

Well, that one might be a bit distasteful, but we can drag his name through the mud just like that, all as part of the 'conversational intolerance' that Harris and Dawkins talk about.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 19:03:00 UTC | #146411

cam9976's Avatar Comment 18 by cam9976 islam&total=1295&start=50&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1

I'd be afraid of Islam too... This is the reason Theo Van Gogh was killed.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 19:08:00 UTC | #146412

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 19 by Agrajag

17. Comment #154182 by prolibertas on April 2, 2008 at 8:03 pm
... like when you're talking about how hot you were after a run, (for example) you can say 'I was sweating like Mohammed at a pre-school!'

*cleans laptop screen... again*

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 19:19:00 UTC | #146419

Hobbit's Avatar Comment 20 by Hobbit

But he also said that "lack of faith" should be taught in schools.

"I think the concept that faith in itself is a good thing should be questioned from day one, which it isn't," he said.

"There's a presumption that if you're a religious leader you are in some way already halfway up to the moral high ground and your opinion has more relevance than anyone else's."

I particularly like these three quotes.

Very interested to read what our faith head ahh... religious (sorry fides) contributors think of this idea.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 21:21:00 UTC | #146444

Absurd Hero's Avatar Comment 21 by Absurd Hero

Ugh... let's look for ways to surrender. Crying before they're hurt. Somebody go tell Hitchens about this, see if he can fix it. I would, but I don't want to be there when he finds out. He is going to be maaaaad.

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 22:34:00 UTC | #146451

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 22 by Enlightenme..

Omid Djalili can. :)

Did anybody see bbc newsnight cover it?

The item before about 70 'Brain gym' instructors being in the employ of our education authorities was even more scary.
The headmistress of Acresfield primary school is a total fanboy of this Woo, and I expect her to have about 5 minutes left in her job, hopefully.
They interviewed kids about why they're doing these actions, and their brainwashed responses got my blood boiling.
'connecting hemispheres'
'opening up the electrical channels' you know - that sorta thing.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 00:14:00 UTC | #146464

Dinah's Avatar Comment 23 by Dinah

There is no point in abolishing the laws of blasphemy, or succeeding in watering down the religious hatred laws if people and organisations are simply going to use self-censorship to prevent satire, jokes and criticism of religion instead. In practice this self-censorship is more likely to apply to Islam because it is Muslims who take offence at any ridiculing of their faith more readily than adherents of other faiths, and express their outrage by rioting, waving placards and setting fire to things. For some reason, they believe this type of behaviour demonstrates what a wonderful religion Islam is and why we should all practice it.

It may well be true for all I know that many Muslims - perhaps even the majority - do not approve of this type of behaviour, but unfortunately it is not the more liberal-minded, Westernised Muslims who are calling the shots at the moment.

To label someone as 'rascist' for condemning the oppression of women under Islam is ridiculous, because Muslims are not a race any more than Christians are.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 00:36:00 UTC | #146469

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

This is a non-story. We already have an example of such jokes on this site - the wonderful Marcus Brigstocke "can we have our planet back?" rant, which was taken from the BBC Radio 4 programme "The Now Show".

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 00:41:00 UTC | #146472

Justanotheratheist's Avatar Comment 25 by Justanotheratheist

Imam Ted, set on an island off the coast of Iran...complete with back-chatting female housekeeper. Oh boy, that would be something. Won't ever happen, though, and you cannot blame the BBC or anyone else from running a mile from Muslim jokes.

It's just too damned dangerous. Even teddy bears aren't safe, remember?

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:05:00 UTC | #146480

Severus's Avatar Comment 26 by Severus

As a stand up comedian (occasionally) i have in the past done material on religions and each time whether it is christianity or islam or any others i have been greeted with laughter at he time and criticism afterwards. one guy pulled me up, outside the gig, after i had done a sketch on some alternative ten commandments and asked me why i hated god and had to be taken away by his girlfriend. so i can tell you from first hand information that it seems pepople are still 'hard wired' to be very uncomfortable when you criticise or make fun of any religion.
it also depends on the level of the joke; if you make a joke about trying to buy a church to turn it into a block of flats you get a polite laugh, if you call god a paedophile for symbolically marrying millions of seven year old girls every year you get a shocked 'how dare you' silence and deep intake of breath.
britain has a long history of being able to make fun of its institutions, including the church but i beleive they 'allowed it' as long as they continued to be a powerful institution, as they are now losing their power they are beginning to panic and react badly to any criticism.
as for Islam, their reaction to humour is simple, 'we've decided that it's not acceptable so you can't do it, discussion over, if you continue to do it we'll react violently. people are rightly afraid of violence and as such are becoming cowed into suppressing their right to criticise. i firmly beleive that the more an institution denies you the right to do something, especially when it is part of a global strategy of world domination then the more we should stand up in the clubs, on radio, inprint and on television and make them realise, we know how stupid you are, and we're not afraid to tell the world.
Comedy is the only medium where you can genuinly say what you really think and go that little bit further with criticising those who think they are untouchable, long live comedy.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:06:00 UTC | #146481

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 27 by rod-the-farmer

To Steve Zara

I wonder how recent that Marcus Brigstocke program is ? And would the beeb re-run it now ? I think we are seeing rapidly shifting attitudes in many countries. What was once acceptable may no longer be, even a few weeks later. The door to humour about islam may have been slammed shut.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:44:00 UTC | #146489

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 28 by Steve Zara

Comment #154267 by rod-the-farmer

I wonder how recent that Marcus Brigstocke program is ?

Pretty recent - only months ago. It has also been repeated on other programs. Brigstocke has also made anti-Islamic jokes on his BBC4 program The Late Edition in recent weeks.

This is a non-story, and the facts should have been checked before publication on this site.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:50:00 UTC | #146493

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 29 by mixmastergaz

I disagree with you by degrees Steve. One of the great things about the Marcus Brigstocke routine was how unusual it was. I can think of no other well-known comedian who has dared to be so outspoken. I'm sure there's no official BBC policy stating that Imams are off limits; what's been going on is self-censorship. I remember Alexei Sayle doing a routine that was mildly satirical about Christianity that concluded with something like the following remarks:

"Of course, it's not just Christianity. There are lots of jokes to be made about fundamentalist Islam. But you won't catch me telling any of them!"

One of the dangers of treating Islam as a special case is that some Muslims may come to regard themselves as a special case.

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 02:57:00 UTC | #146504

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 30 by Szymanowski

rod-the-farmer: Imam jokes are not forbidden ? OK, show us a recent one on the BBC. No ? The prosecution rests.
That's rather unfair. By that logic, jokes about the following are "forbidden" too:
-Structural engineers
-Tabla players
-Social anthropologists

...get my drift?

Thu, 03 Apr 2008 03:10:00 UTC | #146507