Religion begs to be mocked, so why punish those who do so?

Religion begs to be mocked, so why punish those who do so? November 1, 2016

In a sane world, gymnast Louis Smith’s grovelling apologies for taking the mick out of Islamic prayer should have been the end to the matter.
But we don’t live in a rational world, and Smith was today suspended for two months by British Gymnastics.
The sport’s governing body sanctioned Smith, who claimed a silver and a bronze medal at this summer’s Rio Olympic Games.
A statement read:

Formal disciplinary proceedings have been conducted with regard to a recent video which captured the behaviour of British Gymnastics members Louis Smith and Luke Carson, alleged to be a potential breach of the Standards of Conduct.

Luke Carson
Luke Carson
Independent panels were convened to address each case individually.
Louis Smith admitted his behaviour was a breach of the Standards of Conduct. The Panel upheld the allegation and taking into account a previous breach of the Standards of Conduct heard in June this year (where it also was made clear to Louis the consequences of any further breach), the Panel determined a cumulative penalty was appropriate and ordered a two-month period of suspension.
During Luke Carson’s hearing, he admitted his behaviour was a breach of the rules as alleged. The Panel upheld the allegation and having taken into account that there have been no previous incidents, issued a reprimand that will remain on Luke’s record for two years.

British Gymnastics Chief Executive Jane Allen commented:

It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high profile members in breach of our standards of conduct.
As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have had no choice but to act responsibly and refer this case to an independent Panel for their review and determination.
Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and communities.

I was already seething when I heard news of the suspensions on BBC Radio 4 because it had just broadcast a serious, deferential interview with a Muslim “spiritual healer”.
From the BBC’s website:

Yasmin Ishaq doesn’t believe in ghosts but in Jinn, supernatural creatures in Islamic tradition. She explains this phenomena to Selina [Scott] and the devastating impact it can have on Muslim communities.

In the 15-minute programme, Ishaq, a teacher from Rotherham, said she “absolutely” believed in the existence of Jinn, as do most Muslims, because they are frequently mentioned in the Koran.
Yesterday in the three-part One to One series Scott interviewed Canon Paul Greenwell from Ripon Cathedral who carries out “home blessings” for people who think they have encountered a ghost or spirit.
Yet we’re told that we we’re not allowed to point and laugh at superstition-ridden belief systems, and that all manner of punishments will be inflicted on us if we dare to so so.
Hat tip: AgentCormac

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  • Paul

    The most important point that’s left out by the BBC is that he was constantly sent death threats.
    Mocking religion has got to be acceptable because religion is a mockery of humanity. But threatening to kill someone for mocking it- that is the epitome of Islam and shows it has no place in a tolerant decent society.
    Moreover, it must be acceptable to make any sort of comment or controverial point such as how it’s disgusting the so called and so revered ‘prophet’ who cannot be held up as any form of decency or prophet as he married a 6 year old, but he didn’t f***k her until she was 9.

  • Rick scarbo

    Mockery of religion is the very least we should expect in an educated society. I’d like to mock it to death.

  • With no word of support for the man who said it (it wasn’t Voltaire), what he said was true: “To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?”

  • AgentCormac

    You’re absolutely right – Smith claims he has been sent death threats by followers of the religion of peace ‘on a daily basis’.
    So I’m really not surprised he has been visiting mosques and trying to do whatever he can to try and avoid being murdered in cold blood for having the temerity to take the piss out of their superstitious beliefs.
    Nor, sadly, am I surprised that the governing body of British Gymnasts has resorted to banning Smith by way of punishment for his ‘crimes’. Can you imagine being a fly on the wall in that particular meeting? You can only suppose that references to the massacre of Hebdo staff in Paris and the general slaughter of innocent secularists the world over were used as the ultimate reason to bend the knee of a venerable sporting institution in humility before the juggernaut of islamic intolerance.
    Now, the easiest thing in the world is for me to accuse members of the British Gymnasts governing body of being cowards for taking the stance they have. Especially when I’m not in line for death threats. But somehow, somewhere, sometime we have all got to come together to stop this. We really, really do. Because if we don’t these bastards will keep on using our own goodwill and tolerance against us to destroy everything we hold dear.
    We should not be in fear of saying yes, just like absolutely everything else in this life, you and your religious beliefs can be questioned and made fun of. Yes, it’s perfectly okay for anyone to criticise something they do not agree with without fear of being intimidated by death threats. And if you can’t accept that, then you have no place in modern society.

  • barriejohn

    Good point from the Mail comments section again: where would this leave Dave Allen today? Can you imagine him ignoring the Religion of Peace?

  • Les

    Smh. … it’s this same religion that forces the punishment, if he had mocked ANY other religion. … this would be a non story… UK is finished as a ‘free’ society, sharia/Islam is the new ‘enlightenment’ get used to it… oh and thank you to our ‘liberal’ friends for this… what was the saying ‘Nero played the fiddle as Rome burned’ …. canny how history repeats itself…

  • AJ

    What a very special religion is it to have all this special protection. Unfortunately this “special protection” comes from a place of fear. It is well known how followers of this very special religion react to any perceived slight. Fear is what drives this religion and it has a firm grasp on this country.

  • Laura Roberts

    Minor correction for the article above: it should read “the sport’s grovelling body”. Theirs is the most truly shameful act in this scenario.


    The head of british gymnastics must be sacked for this total abdication to facism and the wanton betrayal of all those, many long dead, who gave everything to win the freedoms of free speech and democracy that he is mindlessly enjoying. How dare he cave in to hair trigger sensitivities of those who are waiting for every opportunity to wail and scream about imaginged offences to their dangerous death cult dogma. Those who are “offended” are those that hand out DEATH THREATS and he should know damned well that there are fanatical muslims here and now in the uk who with very little provocation are willing and even desirous of the opportunity to murder for their religious beliefs. There is the adage that where ever you are only 10m from a rat. Well
    the truth is that in a house on a street near you right now there are islamofacists plotting and aching for the day when islam is dominant in the west and then we will have given up everthing of value … free speech, democracy, arts, music, science, freedoms to dress as we wish, sexual freedom, education, inclusivity, equality, fairness … everything.
    The head of british gymnastics must go now and apologies to all decent people for his crass cowardly stupidity. Someone who read this must have the abilty to start on of those On Line petitions to call fot the sacking of this misguided treacherous fool.

  • barriejohn

    “Je suis Louis Smith” – hahaha:
    The claim that we should “celebrate” religion, but in particular Islam, is laughable. How many Muslims “celebrate” other religions? (Just visit Saudi Arabia.) When I was a young Christian, we were given a little booklet called “Truth and Error”. When you folded out its pages it listed different religions down the left hand side, and in columns to the right explained how they were all “wrong” on different subjects in the light of Bible teaching. We didn’t “celebrate” Mormonism or Christian Science – or Islam – I can tell you, and most Muslims are the same!

  • barriejohn

    According to the Mail (take it at face value), a Muslim lawyer has come to Smith’s defence:
    ‘Forgiveness is always preferred when a person has expressed remorse as Louis has,’ said Qasim Rashid, a lawyer and Islamic Studies fellow at Harvard University.
    ‘They could have accomplished a lot more by recognising people make mistakes and appreciating they can rectify mistakes and rewarding them for that.
    ‘Islam prescribes no punishment for mocking Islam.’
    ‘The Muslim community has been working hard to demonstrate that Islam’s true face is compassion.
    ‘I hope this punishment doesn’t make people feel that Muslims are demanding some form of retribution.’

    So he’s “expressed remorse”, and made efforts to “rectify his mistake” – i.e. grovelled – so that he might be “rewarded” with “forgiveness”. What part of “seeking special treatment” does he not understand?

  • tonye

    Following the recent atrocities in France, it seems that all governing bodies, whether it be sports or any free pursuit, in Europe have lost what little spines they have left.
    What history has shown, repeatedly, that when you seek to constantly appease any invading force they will only have even more contempt for you and the demands get more and more extreme.

  • Brian Jordan

    According to the Mail (take it at face value), a Muslim lawyer has come to Smith’s defence:
    ‘Forgiveness is always preferred when a person has expressed remorse as Louis has,’ said Qasim Rashid, a lawyer and Islamic Studies fellow at Harvard University.”
    Straw man: there was nothing to forgive. Moreover, he’s only defending after the grovelling, not defending Carson’s right to take the piss.

  • barriejohn

    Here’s an imam saying the same thing:
    “He’s shown genuine remorse for his action”, so he shouldn’t be suspended. He’s even worried that the suspension might lead to others “going out of their way to offend Muslims and Islam”! Absolute, utter bollocks. They haven’t got a clue.

  • L.Long

    People talk about PC language and don’t embarrass other people and beliefs. This is pure BS!! Religion as said asked to be mocked, but people don’t like mocking religion because they are terrified of the jihads that they call out!! It aint about respect it is about pure fear!!!

  • The Left is responsible for this current climate of fear in which a single ‘inappropriate’ word or remark may well end a career or destroy a reputation. This is one of the principal reasons I despise leftists even more than I despise Muslims. I find both categories of person highly sinister and disturbingly creepy. They give me the willies.

  • Willie Wanka

    MFR – I bet a lot of guys give you the willies dont they.

  • Graeme

    I’ve had death threats for mocking Christianity, and it comes from the deep elotional attachment that the extremists have with their religion. They see an attack on their religion as a personal attack on them to which they respond.

  • RussellW

    More soft totalitarianism on the Swedish model.
    The ‘Left’ such as it is these days, is indeed responsible. The modern ‘Left’ and its pathetic accommodation to Muslims’ demands has reinforced their supremacist mentality. Cultural relativists should consider Sweden’s decline towards Third World status.

  • Vanity Unfair

    I know he is no longer in favour but I am old enough to have been at school when Rudyard Kipling was taught in English and I am reminded of his thoughts on Danegeld.

  • barriejohn

    The NSS has taken up his case, but don’t expect any action:
    “British Gymnastics’ condemnation and punishment of Louis Smith and Luke Carson will only serve to embolden the religious extremists who reject free speech and religious tolerance by demanding that Islam must not be mocked.”
    “We urge you to consider whether by taking the actions it has, British Gymnastics has further endangered the safety of these two athletes by giving succour to those who seek to silence all criticism and mockery of their religion.”

  • andym

    For all the good it will do, petition here:
    Matthew Syed argues that the draconian rules imposed on UK athletes need to be challenged in court. They are not allowed to criticise anyone’s beliefs about anything, surely a breach of human rights law.

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