Monday, March 10, 2014

"Taliban" ban in Legoland

While in India debate is raging about how hardline groups can (preemptively) force pusillanimous publishers to withdraw  books, in Britain things seemed to have taken an even darker turn, whereby a "fun day for muslims" has been preemptively banned due to threat of violence.

I would blame loud and proud members of both British Islamists and British Firsters for this turn of affairs, whereby threat of violence can be used to get your way. The protagonist on the Islamist side is Haitham al-Haddad who gets off while making offensive statements about Jews, gays and also about the permissibility of Female Genital Mutilation (in brief: some versions are sunnah or proper).

In response you have Richrd Littlejohn referring to the muslim group visit as a "Jolly Jihadi Boy's Outing" One would argue that payback (at a personal level and only as speech) is fair-play but certainly not as wholesale intimidation of groups. With every such incident the vicious circle keeps getting twisted into a tighter knot.

Far-right extremists gloated with images of Lego Taliban figures after a Muslim fun day at Legoland was cancelled. The images formed part of an outpouring of glee, spearheaded by EDL splinter group Casuals United, which greeted news a fun day for Muslim families at the theme park in Windsor been pulled, following a campaign of threats and intimidation against it. Opponents of the event - dubbed "halal entertainment" by organisers - posted jihadi fighter versions of the much loved children's figures on social media. They are grasping heavy weaponry and have grenades strapped to them. 

The cancelled event was planned by the Muslim Research and Development Foundation and was controversial because its leader, Haitham al-Haddad, has a history of anti-Semitic comments. Anti-Muslim tweets and threats of violence on social media forced the decision, which was made in consultation with Thames Valley police.

Legoland said it was "appalled" at pulling the plug on the event.  Police are investigating a number of offensive messages. A spokesperson for the theme park said: "These alone have led us to conclude that we can no longer guarantee the happy fun family event which was envisaged, or the safety of our guests and employees on that day – which is always our number one priority. 

regards