Bully boy Zahid uses KDN to threaten journos again

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs of all Malaysians or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

• Zahid twists facts, claims attacks on him are attacks on KDN
• Then accuses journalists of “spinning” to suit political interests

Facing intense political pressure over a letter that he wrote under the KDN letterhead to an alleged gambling kingpin, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has now tried to use Home Ministry staff against journalists in order to save his arse.

At a monthly staff assembly, he claimed that “the home ministry is under attack. Yes we are.”

This is despite the fact that no one in the past weeks has criticised the ministry itself or its civil servents, only Ahmad Zahid and the letter that Zahid wrote, using his ministerial position, to vouch for Paul Phua, who is on trial in the United States for running an illegal World Cup gambling ring.

Zahid, however, tried to turn the criticism as if they were attacks on the ministry.

When we execute our duties not everyone will be pleased. We cannot please everyone. All they do is scrutinise us. There are many good things that we have done but they never report it. But when there are a few bad things, they focus only on that. This culture of spinning has become something of a norm. — Malay Mail Online

The minister conveniently twisted the fact that he is the one being criticised, for writing on KDN letterhead, for committing the Malaysian Government into an endorsement of Paul Phua: the FBI, relying on a report from Malaysian police, says he is part of the Hong Kong-based 14K Triad. Continue reading


Newsagent Mrs Aghera stands up for Charlie

Nervous, shaking…but what I’m doing is right.
I’m not going to be scared.
Wrong (to kill) over a silly cartoon, a joke

A lone Asian newsagent, Mrs Ila Aghera, 54, is standing up for Charlie Hebdo with an order for more than 100 copies of the ‘survivors’ edition published today.

“I am nervous. I’m shaking now, I’m only a little village shop (in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham) but I don’t care because what I am doing is right.

“I might be old fashioned but I’m not going to be scared. I’m selling it as a one off. I have 80 orders so far and it is getting out of hand as people across the UK are calling and asking from them,” Mrs Aghera told the Telegraph newspaper.

Mrs Aghera is doing what large chains such as WH Smiths have refused to do.

A mother of two, she said: “All age groups should know what happened. What happened in France is very upsetting, [the killing] was very wrong, for a silly cartoon that was a joke to make people laugh. I’ve ordered over 100 copies. I’m just doing my job and providing a service. If people want to read it they should be able to.”

The magazine’s cartoon front cover of the Prophet Mohammed has sparked anger amongst some Muslims, with radical cleric Anjem Choudary describing it as “an act of war” and warning of “retaliations”.

The latest edition is published a week after many of the Charlie Hebdo editorial team were massacred in an attack at their Paris office which saw terrorist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi kill 12 people.

Five of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists – including the editor – were killed in the attack.

The satirical weekly’s cover was described as “blatant provocation” by Anjem Choudary, a lecturer in syariah law, who was arrested in the UK last September as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism.

But Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, said freedom needs to be defended “at all costs”.

“Those Muslims who feel offended may have a right, but in the scheme of things we should be far more offended by injustice, economic exploitation, anti-Semitism, homophobia, murder, etc,” she said.

“We are not defending the new cartoon per se, but the ‘all is forgiven’ sentiment is important and gracious and if many of my work colleagues were shot dead, I would feel defiant and want to fight back, so I understand where this is coming from.

“The people that committed the murders in the name of Mohammed did anything but help his teachings and his cause.”

The edition will be priced at £3.50 in the UK.

A total of 17 police and civilians were killed by the Kouachi brothers and their colleague Amedy Coulibaly in separate attacks on the French capital.

The Telegraph | Photos: Daily Mail

How I drew the new Charlie Hebdo cover – Luz

SEE ALSO: powerful and poignant cover says ‘All is forgiven’

Luz, a survivor of last weeks Charlie Hebdo attacks, drew this week’s cover and gave a moving account of how he created the front page. He broke down repeatedly during the press conference on Tuesday.

I invoked all the talents of the magazine, all those who were not there any more, all those were still there, I said to myself, we must do a drawing that above all makes us laugh, and not one on the emotional charge we are victims of.

I had the idea of drawing this character of Mohammed, as it’s my character, because he existed, at least in people’s hearts, and in any case he exists when I draw him.

He is a character that got our offices burned, and a character who at first got us treated as the great white knights of the freedom of the press because the offices had burned down. Then a year later when we redrew the character we were treated as dangerous provocative and irresponsible. So this character led us to be called either white knights or provocateurs, whereas we are above all cartoonists who draw little people like children do.

The terrorists were once kids, they drew like us, like all kids, then one day they perhaps lost their sense of humour, perhaps their child soul able to see the world from a bit of a distance, because that’s Charlie – being able to draw the world from a small distance. So I drew saying to myself: “I am Charlie”. That was my idea but it wasn’t enough.

The only idea left was to draw Mohammed, I am Charlie. Then I looked at him, he was crying. Then above, I wrote: “All is forgiven”, and then cried. We had the front page, we had finally found this bloody front page. This was our front page.

This was not the front page the world wanted us to draw, it was our front page.

This is not the front page that the terrorists want us to draw, as there are no terrorists in it, just a man who cries: it’s Mohammed. I am sorry that we drew him again, but the Mohammed we drew is a Mohammed who is crying above all.”

The Telegraph

Quran does not bar images of Prophet

Charlie Hebdo’s new cover says ‘All is forgiven’

A powerful and poignant cover with a message of love over barbarism

The satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo has returned to the newsstands with a print run of one million copies and a powerful and poignant cover that speaks of the power of love rising above the barbarity of hate.

A headline that says “All is forgiven” is run over a cartoon of a tearful Arab-looking man holding a placard that says Je Suis Charlie, the slogan that has been adopted by millions around the world in sympathy with the 12 cartoonists, journalists and police brutally murdered last week.

Charlie Hebdo: “All is forgiven”

The magazine said the figure portrayed the Prophet Muhammad, and headlines around the world focused on the theme of Charlie Hebdo’s defiance of Islamic radicals, for whom images of the Prophet are sacrilegeous.

Charlie Hebdo usually prints 60,000 copies of which 30,000 are sold. This week’s comeback issue has a print run of one million copies, and the magazine has readied plans for two million more if necessary. It will be available in 16 languages around the world.

Proceeds from the issue will go towards the survival of the magazine, which has been near bankruptcy in recent years.

‘Quran does not bar images of Prophet’

‘Quran does not bar images of Prophet’

The Koran does not prohibit figural imagery. Rather, it castigates the worship of idols… [In] Islamic law, there does not exist a single legal decree, or fatwa [that prohibits] images of the Prophet…the decree that comes closest was published online in 2001 by the Taliban

Christiane Gruber


Prophet Muhammad sitting with the Abrahamic prophets in Jerusalem, anonymous, Mi‘rajnama (Book of Ascension), Tabriz, ca. 1317-1330. Topkapı Palace Library

By Christiane Gruber
associate professor at the University of Michigan whose primary field of research is Islamic book arts, paintings of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic ascension texts and images.

Newsweek, Jan 9
In the wake of the massacre that took place in the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, I have been called upon as a scholar specializing in Islamic paintings of the Prophet to explain whether images of Muhammad are banned in Islam.

The short and simple answer is no. The Koran does not prohibit figural imagery. Rather, it castigates the worship of idols, which are understood as concrete embodiments of the polytheistic beliefs that Islam supplanted when it emerged as a purely monotheistic faith in the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century.

Moreover, the Hadith, or Sayings of the Prophet, present us with an ambiguous picture at best: At turns we read of artists dared to breathe life into their figures and, at others, of pillows ornamented with figural imagery.

If we turn to Islamic law, there does not exist a single legal decree, or fatwa, in the historical corpus that explicitly and decisively prohibits figural imagery, including images of the Prophet. While more recent online fatwas can surely be found, the decree that comes closest to articulating this type of ban was published online in 2001 by the Taliban, as they set out to destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

In their fatwa, the Taliban decreed that all non-Islamic statues and shrines in Afghanistan be destroyed. However, this very modern decree remains entirely silent on the issue of figural images and sculptures within Islam, which, conversely, had been praised as beneficial and educational by Muhammad ‘Abduh, a prominent jurist in 19th century Egypt.

In sum, a search for a ban on images of Muhammad in pre-modern Islamic textual sources will yield no clear and firm results whatsoever. » READ MORE…

Christiane Gruber is currently writing her next book, The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images. Some of her other work:
Images of the Prophet Muhammad In and Out of Modernity: The Curious Case of a 2008 Mural in Tehran
The Image of the Prophet between Ideal and Ideology: A Scholarly Investigation

But he called us extremist, and other excuses


“But…he called me a terrorist”


In Lebanon’s An Nahar newspaper: The Arabic inscription reads “But…he called me a terrorist”

How some Arab papers viewed it


“But…he called us extremist”

Eric Paulsen: arrested because the words "Jakim" and "extremism" were in the same sentence

Eric Paulsen: arrested because the words “Jakim” and “extremism” were in the same sentence

When an opinion becomes a criminal matter


Malaysian Insider
It took no fewer than 20 policemen to arrest Eric Paulsen last night, just hours after Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin asked for an investigation into the human rights lawyer’s tweet… And it took no less than the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to use the same Twitter microblogging network to announce Paulsen’s arrest – akin to revealing a major breakthrough in solving crime or arrest of kingpins.

Impressive, to say the least, considering that Paulsen was left unmolested when he lodged a report earlier yesterday over death threats following his tweet, which he had taken down after a barrage of criticism. » MORE…



Cartoonist Makhlour says…


Je Suis Charlie

IGP lives up to ‘Enemy of Human Rights’ label

Police chief (No. 3) and Umno-inspired hate brigade (No. 5)
take revenge by force for civil liberties lawyer’s words


Khalid Abu Bakar has got his own back on Eric Paulsen, by using brute force against Eric’s words, hand in hand with the Umno-inspired Malay-Muslim ultras whose extremist views and actions have raised the level of hate speech in the country with impunity.

Exactly a month after Eric listed Khalid as Human Rights Enemy No 3 and the hate brigade as No 5, the police chief and the hate brigade took their revenge.

Last night on Twitter, the Inspector-General of Police was behaving like a typical lowlife Umno cybertrooper (whose photomontages he had used on Twitter no doubt in solidarity with them).

He crowed about Eric being arrested, after having prepared the ground over the past couple of days by trying to justify the need for the Sedition Act — used against political critics but not against Malay-Muslim supremacists such as Utusan Malaysia editors who have inflamed race relations by always blaming others.

Late in the night, he bragged about Eric being put in remand. This morning, he retweeted snide remarks against Eric’s organisation Lawyers for Liberty, showing solidarity with louts.

Showing off a connection with the Saudis, who flogged a blogger in public

Raif Badawi flogged

Raif Badawi flogged

IGP stands by Saudi cop

IGP stands by Saudi cop

And as if to reinforce public perception of where he stands on Islamic issues, Khalid also showed off photos of himself with visiting head of police of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which houses the Kaaba.

Saudi Arabia has imposed a punishment of 1,000 lashes on Raif Badawi, a blogger who set up a web site in 2008 to encourage debate on religious and political matters in Saudi Arabia.

Last Friday, Raif Badawi was flogged 50 times in public in front of a mosque in Jeddah, the first of 20 sessions. Continue reading

Free speech

» stolen from XKCD

I’m a journo – and I’m scared…

By Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online

SEPTEMBER 12 — Despite the ongoing government crackdown under the Sedition Act against opposition lawmakers, a student, a law professor and even a journalist, I was generally unconcerned as I figured that the courts would never entertain such ridiculous charges.

Then a student activist named Muhammad Safwan Anang was sentenced last Friday to 10 months’ jail for sedition. His crime? Making a speech about overthrowing the government.

Besides investigating a Malaysiakini journalist for sedition over an article that put the police in a bad light, the authorities are similarly probing a mosque official under the 1948 law for allegedly criticising the police over their actions against the Penang voluntary patrol squad. Continue reading

Sedition – sense or nonsense? [video]

Al Jazeera’s Stream catches the drift