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By JASON LEWIS
August 18, 2007
The BBC has been forced to remove statements from its website referring to Jesus as a 'bastard'.
It is the latest in a string of offensive comments that BBC editors have allowed members of the public to post.
The remarks have been allowed to remain for weeks, despite complaints from religious groups.
It has led to claims that the BBC is allowing its output to be hijacked by extremists while censoring anti-Muslim sentiment.
The remarks about Jesus were left as part of a discussion of the death of the Archbishop of Paris.
The debate had descended into an argument about the merits of Christians, Jews and Muslims when a writer, known as 'colonelartist', posted: "Are you a christian? You do know that jesus had to hide all his short life he lived in those promised land because his tribesmen used to call him fatherless, ridiculed him for being a B-A-S-T-A-R-D...'
He added: "Jesus...was also persecuted because the jews would never accept as their Messiah a person whose father was missing...'
The comments were allowed to remain for a week despite complaints. But after The Mail on Sunday contacted senior BBC officials, they were deleted.
Colonelartist is a regular contributor to the BBC site.
He has also written: "The jews in much remembered concentration camps had even better qualitity of freedom that these palestinians have...'
One website user wanted to see if BBC editors were allowing these offensive remarks to remain while blocking others. He wrote: "No one can surpass the Muslims for denial of their role in Terrorism and Suicide bombing." The remarks were almost immediately deleted.
The BBC has also been criticised for allowing allegedly anti-Semitic posts from a contributor called "Iron Naz'.
In a message left on the site for more than a month, Iron Naz says: "Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths. This is found in the Talmud...which allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews."
The remarks brought complaints from the Board of Deputies, the organisation that represents Britain's Jews and its Community Security Trust. They say the post draws on a discredited 19th Century text, the Talmud Unmasked, which is still distributed by neo-Nazi booksellers.
However, the BBC said the remarks did not merit removal.
A spokesman said posts were taken down if they were considered likely to 'disrupt, provoke attack or offend others or are considered racist, homophobic, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable'.
The Board of Deputies intends to pursue its complaints. Mark Gardiner, of the Community Security Trust, said: "The BBC obviously no longer recognises anti-Semitism. The BBC is a public body, funded by the British taxpayer. It has legal obligations."
Last night the Church of England also criticised the management of the BBC discussion sites noting that "voices of reason, compassion and charity seem to get little look-in".
A spokesman said: "Discussion - including robustly critical discussion - of any faith's doctrines and practices is an important feature of civilised discourse.
"But deliberately or recklessly offensive denigration of those doctrines and practices is unacceptable."
By Riazat Butt
August 18, 2007
There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.
With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honours Christ as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Koran the crucifixion was a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven.
The one-hour special, commissioned and narrated by Melvyn Bragg, is thought to be the first time the subject has been dealt with on British television. Lord Bragg said: "I was fascinated by the idea ... Jesus was such a prominent figure in Islam but most people don't know that."
He denies the programme will divide communities. Raised as an Anglican, he describes the documentary as thoughtful and well researched. "I hope it will provoke among Muslims the feeling they are included in television."
The director and producer, Irshad Ashraf, said the film was an attempt to shift the focus away from extremism to the spiritual side of Islam. "Jesus is loved and respected by Muslims and he's one of the most important prophets in our religion." Representatives from mainstream Anglican and Catholic organisations were invited to take part in the film, to be broadcast on Sunday, but nobody was available, Mr Ashraf said.
Philip Lewis, the Bishop of Bradford's aide on inter-faith matters, urged believers on both sides to take advantage of a "worthwhile contribution to understanding a complex issue".
However, Patrick Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon and spokesman for the Barnabas Fund, which works with persecuted Christians, accused broadcasters of double standards. Mr Sookhdeo, who was born a Muslim and converted to Christianity in 1969, said: "How would the Muslim community respond if ITV made a programme challenging Muhammad as the last prophet?"
The Koran's denial of Jesus's divinity was "unacceptable". "On the last day the Koran says Jesus will destroy all the crosses. How can we praise that?"
NOTE - Trying to draw attention away from beheadings, bombing innocent women and children, mutilating vaginas and honor killing your sister is not too effective when your strategy is to call Christ a fraud, his death for the sins of man untrue and attempt to debunk that he was the son of God.
By Soeren Kern
August 23, 2007
Europeans love to mock the salience of religion in American society, but they won't be laughing for very long. The de-Christianization of Europe in the name of "tolerance" is rapidly driving the spiritually shiftless continent into the arms of Islam. And now, amidst the postmodern theological confusion that defines contemporary Europe, even Catholic clergy are jumping on the Islamomania bandwagon.
The latest post-Christian theological spectacle comes to us from the Netherlands (of Ayaan Hirsi Ali fame), where the Roman Catholic Bishop of Breda, Tiny Muskens, says he wants Christians to start calling God "Allah" because he believes such a gesture would promote "rapprochement between Christianity and Islam". Appearing on Dutch television, the 71-year-old cleric said:
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him?"
Inquiring minds want to know: If the bishop really thinks the names "God" and "Allah" are interchangeable, why doesn't he ask Muslims to start calling Allah "Yahweh", the biblical name for God? But he won't, because he knows they won't.
Indeed, just because Christianity, Judaism and Islam are called "monotheistic" faiths, it does not follow that Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to the same God. So for those pre-postmoderns who believe that words still mean something, a quick survey of archaeology, history and theology-accompanied by a dose of common sense-can answer the question of whether the Allah of Islam is really the God of the Bible.
What Archaeology Says about Allah
Muslims claim that in pre-Islamic times, "Allah" was the biblical God of the Patriarchs, prophets and apostles. Indeed, the credibility of Islam as a religion stands or falls on its core claim of historical continuity with Judaism and Christianity. No wonder, then, that many Muslims get uppity when the claims of Islam are subjected to the hard science of archaeology.
Because archaeology provides irrefutable evidence that Allah, far from being the biblical God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was actually the pre-Islamic pagan moon-god. Indeed, it is an established archaeological fact that worship of the moon-god was the main religion of the ancient Middle East.
But what about the Arabian Peninsula, where Mohammed (570-632) launched Islam? During the last two centuries, prominent archaeologists have unearthed thousands of inscriptions which prove beyond any doubt that the dominant religion of Arabia during Mohammed's day was the cult of the moon-god.
In fact, for generations before Mohammed was born, the Arabs worshipped some 360 pagan gods housed at a stone temple in Mecca called the Kabah. According to archaeologists, the chief deity of Mecca was the moon-god called al-ilah (meaning the god or the idol), which was shortened to Allah in pre-Islamic times. Pagan Arabs even used Allah in the names they gave themselves: Mohammed's father (Abdallah), for example, had Allah as part of his name.
What History Says about Allah
Historians say that pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped the moon-god by bowing in prayer toward Mecca several times a day. They would also make a pilgrimage to Mecca, run around the Kabah seven times and throw stones at the devil. And they fasted for one month, which began with the appearance of the crescent moon and ended when the crescent moon reappeared.
These same rites form the core of Islam today: Muslims bow in prayer toward Mecca; they make a pilgrimage to Mecca and run around the Kabah seven times; and they still throw stones at the devil. They also observe the fast of Ramadan, which begins and ends with the crescent moon.
Moreover, the ancient symbol of the pagan moon-god, the crescent moon, is the official symbol of Islam; it appears on the flags of Muslim countries, as well as on the tops of mosques and minarets everywhere.
Historians say that Mohammed, who as a traveling trader was exposed to Judaism and Christianity during his visits to different parts of the Middle East, tried to mimic those monotheistic faiths by taking Allah, the main deity within the Arabian pantheon, and making it the only god. Indeed, the basic confession of Islam is not that "Allah is Great" but that "Allah is Greater". Greater than all the other idols, that is.
But Islam also draws from other pagan traditions. For example, the tale of Mohammed's night journey into heaven parallels the Zoroastrian story of Arta Viraf. Zoroastrianism also inspired the Islamic belief that dark-eyed virgins await every man who enters heaven. And the Islamic ritual of praying five times a day? That, historians say, originates with the Sabeans, Syrian pagans who practiced an ecumenical mixture of Babylonian and Hellenic religion.
No surprise, then, that some scholars refer to Islam as monotheistic heathenism.
What Theology Says about Allah
Muslims claim that Islam is Judaism and Christianity reformed. They say the Koran confirms the truth of the Torah and the Gospels. But since those texts did not jibe with Mohammad's beliefs, they accuse Jews and Christians of changing and distorting the original versions. Muslims therefore assert that the Koran "clarifies" the Bible.
Even if that were the case, the Koran and the Bible present ideas about God (especially about His character) that are so diametrically opposed that any reasonable observer would conclude that each book refers to a distinct deity.
The Koran, for example, states unequivocally that Allah is an unknowable and non-personal deity. By contrast, the God of the Bible allows Himself to be known and desires fellowship with human beings on a personal basis. Indeed, the Bible says that Abraham (the same Abraham whom Muslims say they venerate) was the "friend of God."
The Koran also portrays Allah as a vindictive deity who hates sinners and desires to afflict them. But the Bible says God is love.
Moreover, the New Testament teaches that God loved humanity so much that He came to earth to pay the debt for man's sin, and that that act of grace is available for free to anyone who believes Jesus Christ is their personal Savior. But Islam denies that Christ was God or that He died in order to save humanity. Indeed, Allah does not provide any way for man to be reconciled to God.
And the theological differences go on and on, so much so that the God of the Bible cannot possibly be the Allah worshipped in Islam. Unless, of course, a Dutch bishop says so.
Allah and Eurabia
Mohammed thought the Jews and Christians of his day would receive him as a prophet. But the Bible says that any new revelation must agree with what is already established in Scripture (Isaiah 8:20). So they rejected his Allah as a false god. And Mohammed replied by setting his Islam on a permanent warpath against Judaism and Christianity that continues to this day.
The Dutch bishop and other Muslim fellow travelers think they can buy a fake peace with Islam by playing relativistic word games as a part of an "inter-faith" dialogue. But Muslims understand much better than do post-modern Europeans that ecumenical appeasement is a symptom of a Judeo-Christian civilization that is weak and dying.
The irony is that the real danger from Islam stems not so much from ordinary Muslims as it does from sickly Europeans who have subverted their Judeo-Christian heritage in search of secular hedonism. Because they live only for the moment, they are willing submit to anything, including Islam, as long as it doesn't interfere with the pursuit of pleasure today.
It has been more than 50 years since the late Christian apologist C.S. Lewis first warned about Western Civilization's disastrous lurch into post-Christianity. But even he would be surprised to see how quickly Islam is filling the religious and cultural vacuum that is post-Christian Europe.
It's not that Europeans haven't been forewarned. It's that they couldn't care less.
Soeren Kern is Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.
By LAURA CLAR
April, 2 2007
British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.
It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.
There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.
The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.
The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools.
It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.
The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.
The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'.
It added: "In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils.
"But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques."
A third school found itself 'strongly challenged by some Christian parents for their treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict-and the history of the state of Israel that did not accord with the teachings of their denomination'.
The report concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
But Chris McGovern, history education adviser to the former Tory government, said: "History is not a vehicle for promoting political correctness. Children must have access to knowledge of these controversial subjects, whether palatable or unpalatable."
The researchers also warned that a lack of subject knowledge among teachers - particularly at primary level - was leading to history being taught in a 'shallow way leading to routine and superficial learning'.
Lessons in difficult topics were too often 'bland, simplistic and unproblematic' and bored pupils.