News round-up

News round-up

So many reports of interest to freethinkers have been sent my way over the past 24 hours that I decided today – a day in which much of my time will be spent in hospital getting various tests and an MRI scan – to simply direct you to the relevant links.

First off, you know and I know and the Charity Commission definitely knows that the Plymouth Brethren  – who, among other things  regard radio and television as “pipelines of filth” – are as beneficial to humankind as advanced dementia.

Nevertheless, according to this report, almost 60 Plymouth Brethren congregations in the UK have succeeded in gaining charitable status in the past year, providing them with significant tax benefits – and infuriating secularists.

More encouraging news comes from the Independent, which reports that Twitter has backed down and reinstated the account of the Godless Spellchecker, a prolific Twitter user and podcaster who has spent years enraging religious zealots by publicly challenging their dogmatic views – and correcting their spelling mistakes.

Even more heartening is an op-ed-piece in the Guardian by Adam Lee who writes:

The quiet truth behind the inescapable headlines about man’s inhumanity to man is that the world is actually becoming a more peaceful place. Deaths from war and conflict have been declining for decades – and, if current trends continue, we can make them rarer still.

What mysterious force is sowing peace among humankind? One possible reason is that there are more atheists and nonbelievers than ever before.

From the wacky world of Islam comes three reports: the first about a Muslim drag queen in London who regularly receives death threats; a worrying report about Muslim inbreeding and its awful consequences, and an examination of the enslavement of black people over the centuries by Arabs.

Hat tips: BarrieJohn (Plymouth Brethren); Angela K (Godless Spellchecker); Trevor Blake (Guardian op-ed); AgentCormac (drag queen report) and Antony Niall (inbreeding and the Islamic slave trade.)

• Normal service will be resumed tomorrow (or later today if the medics turn me back loose on the world earlier than I anticipate).

33 responses to “News round-up”

  1. Broga says:

    @Barry Duke: Good luck at the hospital, Barry. If you have an encounter with a priest offering to help you with prayer, do let us know.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Best of luck, Barry.

    Breaking news which just about trumps anything else today:

    I’m lost for words!

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Hope all goes well today, Barry. Sickening story you linked to there, barriejohn.

  4. Stuart H. says:

    Echoing that good luck wish, as will many of us.
    On Charlie Hebdo – years back I remember the editor of Fortnight, a Belfast equivalent to Private Eye, joking his mag was so even-handed the press had been blown up by paramilitaries of both sides and his office raided by the Army & RUC, yet in all those years not one life was lost – or even threatened as far as I know. I’m not sure what’s worst about Islamist exremists, their contempt for all humanity or just their absolute lack of a sense of humour.
    Speaking as someone who in a local newspaper Q&A gave my hobby as ‘winding up fundamentalists until they explode’ I’m now going to poke fun at the chumps all the more.

  5. Angela_K says:

    The members of the “religion of peace” who slaughtered twelve at Charlie Hebbo’s office are probably a prime example of Muslim inbreeding.

  6. Broga says:

    I suppose the cowardly murderers who carried out this slaughter are now proud of themselves. They are so detached from any semblance of civilised behaviour that they can no longer recognise it. With their brains scrambled by their religion they will think this gets them a ticket to their fictional paradise with its fictional 72 virgins.

  7. andym says:

    Peter Hearty has already responded.

  8. Newspaniard says:

    I can just hear the left now, “Oh, Wait. IF this atrocity was committed by our muslim friends, they must require counseling not blame nor punishment”. Our PM, “Islam is a religion of peace and these people are not true muslims”. Prepare to be sickened by our political leaders.

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    Keep your pecker up, mate.

    Nose. That means nose.

  10. Dave says:

    A French magazine produces a few drawings with some words. Appropriate response? – machine gun a few people to death. WTF?

  11. andym says:

    Dave, Ironic that the morons cried,”Allah is great” as they shot . So great he can’t even tolerate a few images of his supposed prophet. “Allah is an extremely sensitive child” might have been better.
    Seems the editor and several cartoonists were among the victims. Jihadi shit,it not just you who salutes their martyrs. You may get more than you bargained for.

  12. Daz says:

    Barry, here’s hoping all goes well.

  13. barriejohn says:

    The BBc are now talking about the “eternal debate” regarding freedom of expression and religious freedom. These people DO have religious freedom in France and throughout the western world. Are the BBC journalists really so muddled in their thinking that they can’t see this?

  14. andym says:

    Is it the BBC, or just one journalist called Nabila Ramdani, who seems to be getting a lot under the wire on several channels in the name of objective journalism? This woman needs to be watched closely.

  15. Cali Ron says:

    Best of luck to you, Barry.

    If mighty Mo is all powerful why would he care about some cartoons with low circulation. And why does he need thugs to kill the cartoonists. Apparently, Mo has no sense of humor and needs some brainwashed thugs to do his dirty work. More senseless violence from the “religion of peace”!

    In reference to the article on inbreeding, a quick goggle search will produce lots of data on it and the claim of reduced intelligence is not supported by the facts. The primary risk from inbreeding is lower immunity, increased risk of rare diseases and infant mortality. To blame the seemingly unbelievable acceptance of islamic bullshit by it’s followers on inbreeding is a huge leap not supported by the facts. Frankly, my theory is most people are easily manipulated, especially when immersed and indoctrinated in their youth. I’m not letting the muslims off the hook because of inbreeding. They need to break the chains of religion that enslaves them.

  16. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Best wishes Barry.

    Re: CH, I fully accept that muslims have the right to feel upset about depictions and satirisations of Mohamed. What they don’t have is the right to demand that others obey their edicts and they don’t have any right to commit violence in furtherance of their aims.

  17. Dan says:

    Newspaniard says:
    “I can just hear the left now”

    Charlie Hebdo IS ‘the left’.

  18. zombiehunter says:

    Ok all the newspapers and media outlets saying they stand shoulder to shoulder with france in defending free expression should put their money were their mouths are and publish the material Charlie hebdo is publishing.

    I’ve been reading comments from people saying that although they don’t condone the shooting of journalists that the magazine brought this on themselves, people saying stuff like that are fucking idiots.

  19. tonye says:

    Barry, best wishes.

  20. Rob Andrews says:


    Right! Publish more cartoons.
    Newspapers all over the world have been expressing solidarity with C. Hebdo. But they are making the other guarded statement you said-maybe there afraid themselves.

    I think the next few day will be a test of heart for free speech. I urge people to email their local papers to urge the publication of articles condemning this act and the printing of the cartoon in question.

  21. AgentCormac says:


    They should also come out and call this exactly what it is – an act of war perpetrated in the name of religion. As ever, however, Cameron and the rest will pussy-foot around the whole issue. It is an insult to everyone’s intelligence that they will not make the connection between barbarism and religion. Instead we will be expected to swallow terms like ‘terrorists’, ‘militants’ and ‘insurgents’, all of which neatly sidestep what really lies at the heart of atrocities such as this.

  22. dennis says:

    hope things went well today and the Doctors had good news

  23. Marky Mark says:

    Barry…I wish you well.

    I am shocked by this C. Hebdo attack…when are we going to hold responsible the people who create such monsters. When they catch these religious thugs, find out what prayer group they belong to and arrest every member for conspiracy to murder as it was there behind their walls that this hate was created, taught, and instigated.

    …I’m sick of these religious fanatics and their hate and violence, time to stop the seeding of these evil thoughts by the people who manipulate others of lesser intelligence to carry out their sick deeds since they are the real cowards…lock them up.

    Freedom of religion does not mean freedom to force your religious beliefs on others…or kill them. It also means freedom FROM religion as well.

  24. Robster says:

    Ahh, the world’s a better place with more islamic goodness on display in Paris. Can religions be sued for false advertising? Muslimism is no way a “religion of peace”.

  25. barriejohn says:

    Believe it or not, USA Today has given that arrogant pig, Anjem Choudary, a platform, and he says this:

    Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”

    Talk about twisted logic and “veiled threats”; and it’s all the fault of the French government, of course, for not banning criticism of lslam in the first place, thus “provoking Muslims”! But at least he’s honest about Islam not being “The religion of peace”.

    It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.


  26. barriejohn says:

    The BBC is showing a selection of great cartoons relating to the Charlie Hebdo attack this morning:

  27. Newspaniard says:

    @Dan. I’m aware that the “left” would like to claim Charlie but the actual left hated Charlie and all he stood for, mainly freedom of expression.

    I thought when it was said that the BBC were showing cartoons, at least they would include some originals from his mag. Not one. No-one wants to publish the cartoons which these brave people were killed for. “Press solidarity”, my a*se. A selection of the cartoons from the magazine should be published on the front page of every newspaper who regard themselves as guardians of freedom of expression.

  28. Rob Andrews says:


    Islam isn’t a ‘religion of peace’. ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION. That is the meaning of the word. We have peace if we submitt.

    Bin LAuden said this many times.

  29. Newspaniard says:

    Bloody Telegraph, presumably some fat cat sheik is pulling the strings there. I read as far as “Europe has a terrorism problem not a muslim problem”, used my sick bag and had a lie down. In the 21st Century if you are a muslim, you are either a terrorist or a terrorist excuser. The only good muslim is an ex-muslim.

  30. Broga says:

    I caught the end of an interview on radio with a cartoonist – might have been Ralph Steadman. He made the point that if Islam is seen to be beyond criticism what comes next? What other religion will decide that by killing critics the criticism stops? Then maybe a political party follows the same route.

    The cartoonist said he had been threatened after he drew a cartoon about aircraft spotters who see a big plane and write its name down in their book.

  31. Cyprian Candon says:

    “Islam is the religion of peace” say it enough times and apparent conviction and a few deluded people will believe you.