Sharia Comes to Canberra

Woroni, a student newspaper at Australian National University in Canberra, was compelled to yank a cartoon satirizing Islam from its latest edition. The paper had presented a series of cartoons mocking various religions, but only the one poking fun at the Religion of Peace had to be censored.

The logic for singling out the Islamotoon deserves special scrutiny. But first, let’s have a look at the monstrous, racist, deeply offensive cartoon that caused all the brouhaha. It was removed from the paper and taken down from the web, but as usual, someone managed to take a photo of the image in the print edition and distribute it as samizdat around the Internet:

As near as I can determine, this is the text in the picture:

Women are required to:

  • Before the law, equal the testimony of one man.
  • Before the Lord, perform one man’s religious duties and obligations.
  • While menstruating, be present in a place of business or worship. [x 0]
  • Run the affairs of one household. [x ∞]
  • Satisfy the prophet Muhhammed’s [sic] conjugal requirements.
  • Satisfy a man’s rape fantasies in Paradise.

[Footnote] * The Prophet’s third wife Aisha was 9 when the marriage was consummated (a 53 year old man f***ed a 9 year old girl).

The following clip shows a news report on the incident from Australian TV:

Below are excerpts from the ABC story on the Woroni’s Islamotoon:

Australian National University vice-chancellor Ian Young says a cartoon published in a student newspaper satirising Islam overstepped the mark.

The student newspaper Woroni originally published the cartoon as part of its ‘Advice from Religion’ infographic.

It was part of a series previously featuring Mormonism, Catholicism, Scientology, and Judaism.

The university has forced the editors to retract the piece online and issue a formal apology.

Professor Young says he acted after the university received formal complaints from international students.

“They felt it was both offensive and discriminatory,” he said.

“That was the view of the university as well. We felt that it actually breached the rules of the university in terms of student conduct and indeed we believed it breached the rules of at least the Australian Press Council principles to which Woroni abides.”

Professor Young says he was also concerned the satire could have provoked a violent response.

“There have been a number of cases internationally of satirical cartoons about the Koran which can have some very unfortunate side effects,” he said.

Editors from the Woroni say they feel the university had ulterior motives for banning the cartoon.

Editor Gus McCubbing says the cartoon was part of a series poking fun at different religions.

“We’ve been called homophobic, we’ve been called sexist, chauvinist,” he said.

“I guess every edition given we’re a student publication we choose a line between satire and bad taste.

“The problem I had here was never before had the Chancelry taken such an active role in disciplining us and saying what we can and can’t publish.”

In an article on the Woroni website, the editors stress the cartoon was intended to be satirical and raise concerns about how the incident will impact on freedom of speech

Professor Young says he is not concerned by the comments, and denies the censorship is an attack on freedom of speech.

He says the paper has published satirical pieces on other major religions without censure.

But he says those pieces did not attract formal complaints.

“They published a cartoon which was part of a satirical set of cartoons about religion but this one we felt overstepped the mark,” he said. [emphasis added]

So the logic seems to be this: if a cartoon attracts a formal complaint, it will be censored. Since only Muslims file formal complaints when they are offended on behalf of their prophet, only cartoons that satirize Islam will be censored.

The coup de grâce was administered by an organization ostensibly charged with guarding the civil liberties of all Australians:

The head of Civil Liberties Australia Tim Vine says the ANU may have been justified in censoring the newspaper.

Mr Vine says the ANU has a responsibility to ensure all of its students are supported.

“If it is defamatory, if it inspires hatred against a segment of the university community, Muslim students for example, or if it is racially vilifying a particular group then the university has a justification to intervene in this circumstance,” he said.

Well, that seems to be it for Woroni, Australian National University, and all law-abiding Australians. Full sharia compliance is now being enforced in Australia. Decent citizens may sleep safely and peacefully in their beds.

Hat tip: Steen.

12 thoughts on “Sharia Comes to Canberra

  1. All religious doctrines and practices are easy marks for college satirists. I’d love to have seen the other cartoons in the series, though.
    Scientology? Tom Cruise would strike them with his Japanese sword.

    Mormonism? Watch out – they’ll send out some of their missionaries to build a house for you.

    Catholicism? Lock up your small children.

    Hey, in the US we have 57(00) varieties just of Christianity just hoping for the attention, and enough ashrams to give India a run for its money.

    I do hope they did a send up of whatever form of Anglicanism abides in Oz. Or rather, whatever form Aussies can abide.

    Organized denominations are in retreat all over the world. Islam, being a totalitarian political entity, is exempt from this for the moment. But only for the moment. It is an incontrovertible fact that Islam is always a step or two behind the rest of the world. It, too, will begin to recede before the aggression of atheism in another decade or so. It is too fragile to survive the modern world.

    It will be interesting to watch as Aggressive Atheism implodes in turn. AA is even more sensitive and brittle than Islam ever was…and far more boring.

    Let’s see what happens as Russia and China, turning away from AA, push into the limelight their own versions of a nationalized Christianity. For the moment though, the provinicial Western world continues to view the world through its own ennui…

    …as is perfectly ‘illustrated’ by this Australian university’s foray into self-conscious satire. The students’ strident irony is cute, innit? So precociously and shallowly intellectual. Meanwhile, they give college administrators an excuse to exist, i.e., to protect the larger culture from the students’ biting humor.

    Hand me the smelling salts, Minnie…

    • It’s badly spelt, not entirely comprehensible, not entirely accurate (what’s that bit about being required to be in a place of worship while menstruating–surely it’s the other way around) and just the usual undergraduate humour. I expect the pieces they did on other religions/denominations were probably even more riven through with misunderstanding (other faiths tend to be more subtle and complex and easier to misconstrue). But, hey, we all understand–it’s undergraduate ‘humour’. It’s like that. It’s not to be taken seriously, and those of us who pray can pray that one day they’ll get over it. If the other pieces weren’t banned, this one shouldn’t be either.

      • It’s badly formatted, but notice there’s a “x 0” (zero), which means no women in those places while menstruating. To the right, the infinity sign would mean, I think, that all menstruating women are expected to carry out their housekeeping duties (no matter how “unclean” they are).
        Above that, there are two women equaling the testimony of one man, whereas each woman alone is expected to carry the full measure of religious obligations.

        • Thanks. It’s becoming comprehensible now. Still, I expect what they had to say about mainstream Christian beliefs was the predictable undergraduate stuff, but perhaps the authorities should wonder whether it is fair for non-Muslims to have to tolerate insults.

      • I agree. Enough already with this being offended. Life in Australia means lots of things are said and done which may offend you. That’s how we live here. Get over it people. It’s pity that the ANU, in the capital of Australia, does not know this and plays into the victimisation narrative of those who want to silence criticism of Islam. The cartoon looks too silly to be worth fussing about.

    • I think we need to do more than complain here in a blog. Write to the newspapers. Contact the University admin and students. Ask the Minister for Education why ANU is allowed to have a policy of acting in this way due to “fear of violent reaction” and “response to formal complaints”. Universities are now governed by fear? Complaints policy trumps other policies of the ANU? They don’t allow intellectual freedom to engage in satire? This is serious stuff and we need to combat it in the public arena and by confronting the ANU with our robust complaint! “Formally” perhaps?!

  2. You know, it’s not the demented slaves of Allah that are the problem. It’s the Dhimmi invertebrates who enable and encourage them in their pursuit of global conquest and eternal human slavery.

    Both the head bangers their useful idiots can and must be dealt with in the same way, it is only a matter of which order of business will be most effective in terms of a practical resolution.

    To yet again quote an old cliché “Freedom is never free”. And, I would add, the price is always high and will always have to be paid by those who are prepared to pay that price, those who value the future that they can but strive to pass on to their descendants above those few, personal moments of their own, ephemeral existence.

    S. III

  3. Oops: between ‘bangers’ and ‘their’ please insert ‘and’. 🙁

  4. So, all that is necessary is for Christians to formally complain, and the paper will be censored by the University. Or is there also the necessity of a credible threat of violence? If that is so, isnt the University saying that they will give violent thugs censorious control of their speech? All Christians have to do is start killing atheists who criticize them and their ideas, and boom, the Uni will capitulate to their wishes? Isnt the university here just exclaiming that violence works, and setting up the society for more increased violence, not just from Mohammadeans but other groups who see that violence gets your concerns addressed.

    • Well said. The threat of violence was a major motive for the weight of the Uni and, disturbingly also the Press Council (if I’ve got the details right), pressuring the student magazine to withdraw that item. To avoid a perceived risk of outrage such as has been seen in Europe over such cartoons, Australia is not have freedom of expression re Islam.

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