Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Lady Fatima

June 8, 2022 • 1:00 pm

I am back home, having showered thoroughly and tossed my muddy clothes into the washing machine. So now it’s Wednesday:  Jesus and Mo Day.

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “w1sh,” came with a note:

This is the story Jesus is reading.

And that’s from the Telegraph & Argus, which may be the West Yorkshire version of the Torygraph. In short, Muslims have been offended:

protest against a new film claimed to negatively depict deeply loved religious figures has been held in Bradford.

The Lady of Heaven portrays the life story of Lady Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, weaved together with the tale of young Iraqi orphan in modern day.

It has now been released nationwide, including places with high Muslim populations such as Blackburn and Manchester, through mainstream cinema chains such as Vue, Cineworld and Showcase.

But some Muslims have expressed feeling hurt and angry over the film, suggesting the plot goes against their understanding of historical events.

It shows Muhammad’s face, though it’s computer generated. And there are other beefs, too:

The Prophet Muhammad’s face is a mixture of computer generated and lighting imagery.

The film said holy personalities were not represented by ‘any one individual’ and were made up of computer-generated images.

Critics say it also looks to liken an ISIS assault on a woman to an inaccurate story of how two of the Prophet’s closet companions were responsible for an assault on his daughter Fatima to the fourth caliph Ali, revered highly by both Shias and Sunnis.

Ergo, there are demonstrations to shut the film down (I wonder how many of these people have seen it?), which are of course legal, but the protestors criticize larger issues of freedom of speech:

Speaking to the crowd through a megaphone, one man said: “We are very offended. We have a right not to be insulted. You talk about freedom of speech but where does your freedom of speech go when it goes to criticising your policies, when it goes to making critical analysis of your version of history.”

He added: “You have no right to tell us our history. We will not let this film go on further.”

Is a fatwa in the offing? At any rate, here are Jesus and Mo discussing it, and Mo isn’t paying attention.

22 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Lady Fatima

  1. I was struck when reviewing Hitchens’ brilliant exposition on free speech (see below) that he emphasized that it is (my paraphrase) the victims of religion that account for the greatest promulgation of censorship, and for very good reason. As John McWhorter has now made a case for the “woke” as being simply just another victimization by religion, it makes even more sense (…I think…)…

    But of course, listen to Hitch, not me :

  2. > “You have no right to tell us our history.”

    *sigh* Of course, this is Europe, where Right To Be Forgotten rules are the law of the land. People there do have the right to challenge any record held and shared about themselves. I guess they are also free to invent their own histories.

    I wish I could tell you what a nightmare RTBF is for anyone running an international database or website.

    (OK, OK. I guess RTBF hasn’t been fully implemented in the UK. A lot of EU policies were left in limbo as Brexit dragged on. )

  3. Imagine film makers sitting around: “Why don’t we make a movie about the Islamic prophet?”
    “What a good idea! People’ll LOVE it!” – Which universe does this make any sense at all in?

    Of course, the assassin’s (crowd sourced) veto on works of art is so obnoxious. I keep track of blasphemy, particularly in Pakistan, and what a disaster it is when we in the west abide by all this violent nonsense.
    I notice in a protest about what some BJP (bigot) spokesperson said about Islam and the ensuing crisis in the Islamosphere, no news agency has told us WHAT the BJP spokeswoman actually SAID.

    1. I was delighted to see a photo of the protesters, in which one of them carried a placard saying “Don’t give in to extremists”. Plainly irony-deficient.

    2. I noticed that too! If we don’t know what the spokesperson actually said, then we have no way of gauging the response to it. Apparently these news agencies decided that reporting what was said might invite Charlie Hebdo-style repercussions. But since we don’t know what was said, we have no way of knowing if those agencies over-reacted. Very frustrating!

  4. …the plot goes against their understanding of historical events.

    Absolutely! Historical accuracy is what religion is all about — can’t have people making stuff up.

  5. Mo: “At least until Judgement Day, then we’ll….” Ah yes. That ever present, just-over-the-horizon, Judgement Day. One of Big Marketing’s top five coup-duh-tots.

    1. I always find it amazing that so many people believe Judgment Day, or the Second Coming, or whatever, will happen during their particular lifetime. What makes them so special? Why do they get to experience what every single generation before them predicted would happen for themselves?

      1. What makes them so special?

        What makes them special is that their reveréd parents told them that they were “special”, where as any other superficially similar statements by anyone else, to anyone else, weren’t blesséd with the holiness of that sacred bond between speaker and listener.
        Such people have a trichotomy of the universe : me ; my immediate family ; rocks, food, rest of the universe.

        I guess the religiously-infested include their god(s) in the middle category.

  6. According to The Guardian:

    Health secretary Sajid Javid has said he is “very concerned about cancel culture in the UK” after screenings of a “blasphemous” film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad were pulled from cinemas.

    On Tuesday, Cineworld pulled all screenings of The Lady of Heaven “to ensure the safety of our staff and customers”. Showcase cinemas also reportedly pulled the film from its cinemas (the chain did not respond to a request for comment).

  7. It’s now been about 50 years since Life of Brian was released. Frankly, we need the same kind of movie for Islam. And, if people of said faith want to be accorded the same respect and integration as other religions, they need to be able to tolerate the lampooning of their beliefs. We all need to be able to tolerate the mocking of our own beliefs, be they religious, political, personal, or about anything else. The foundation of society is tolerance, of being willing to live with other people who don’t agree with you, and people who you might not even like! We all agree on a social contract, wherein we enjoy the benefits of having a large-scale society at the expense of having our feelings hurt on occasion, of losing elections, etc. And, as the tracking of quality of life and other indicators of just how good most of us have it these days clearly shows, the benefits of these societies far outweigh the costs.

    1. The Pythons addressed Islam in a video game they released. I think it was the “Complete Waste of Time”. They mocked most of the major religions, but had nothing but exaggerated praise for Islam.

      1. I played that game and have no recollection of what you describe.

        John Cleese and Grapham Chapman wrote a sketch for “The Meaning of Life” that critiqued Islamic extremism, but it didn’t get enough votes from the other Pythons to make it into the film, as Cleese remarked:

        “I probably owe my life to the fact that I couldn’t get the rest of them to vote for my material. Graham [Chapman] and I wrote this savage attack on the Ayatollah Khomeini, about this frenzied loony with all these religious objections to toilet paper. It was just a scurrilous, way over-the-top attack on Islamic extremists. I thought it was hilarious, and the others didn’t, so it never got in. And I owe my life to that, because we would’ve got at least a fatwah each. Actually, maybe that’s what happened to Graham…”

      1. But do you think that is effectively the case? Maybe it does not apply ‘just as well’. The Christ figure is central to Christianity but not to Islam. The central figure of Islam is Mo. Seen that that way, Jesus and Mo is close to lampooning both equally.

        1. The frequency of the Arabic name ‘Isa’ (Arabic for ‘Jesus’) attests to that. If we use the frequency of prophets’ names for newborns as a way to represent the relative importance and centrality of those ‘holy’ persons, Jesus (and the other prophets) are much more important to Islam than any prophets are to Christianity.

          I know my fair share of religious reconstructionists who view Islam as just an organic outgrowth and evolution of Christianity as Christianity was from Judaism.

          1. I wouldn’t consider myself a religious “reconstructionist” as much as a “deconstructionist”, but I do consider Islam to be a festering outgrowth from Judaism, with possibly a side route through Christianity (another festering outgrowth from Judaism). There’s a very clear phylogeny of the monotheisms (with the traditional murky roots, possibly involving Akhenaten). It’s as obvious and as un-fictional as Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar being descended from Suetonius via Plutarch.
            I wonder if anyone with the mathematical chops has tried working out a graph (networking sense) that represents the spaghetti-serving of inter-relationships between the individual gods and pantheons of the various polytheisms. There’s a potentially interesting (if not “useful”, in any meaningful sense) field of theology that generally gets lost by people concentrating on monotheisms. Who did what, and to whom, using what, has been keeping fiction writers occupied since before Apuleius tickled his ass’s ears with his stylus.

  8. There appear to be a couple of dodgy links in the original article Jerry has taken this from.

    The URL linked to from the word ‘film’, in this passage: “A protest against a new film claimed to negatively depict deeply loved religious figures has been held in Bradford” is to another story about a protest in Bradford in 2012. I think there are also some quotes from that story in there too. Also, the URL linked to by the word ‘film’ in this passage: “He added: ‘You have no right to tell us our history. We will not let this film go on further’” appears to refer to a story about some BBC shows that were being objected to in Bradford in 2007.

    Anyway, whatever they are complaining about, one thing’s for sure: they very much don’t have the right not to be offended!

Leave a Reply