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