And now the news.

Iraqi forces are closing in on Mosul in an attempt to liberate the city from occupation by the terror group ISIS.

In other news, the gymnast Louis Smith has been banned from his sport for two months for allegedly mocking islam.

The former story is another unfolding tragedy where, I fear, many will die and most of the many will be the innocents, which is pretty well everyone in Mosul. A group of religious fanatics will die before they surrender, a religion they believe endorses beheadings, setting fire to people and throwing gay people off tall buildings. The latter is a betrayal of free speech.

Smith had a few beers with some friends, one of whom filmed him chanting “allahu akbar”, which is Arabic for God is Great. Following the usual death threats from the religion of peace, Smith went round to various mosques, presumably to avoid having a fatwa placed on him. The general assumption from everyone, never mind from religious fanatics, is that Smith acted foolishly. I really don’t care whether he did or not, but he has done nothing to deserve to be banned from competing in gymnastics for two months.

The British Gymnastic suits should hang their heads in shame. They should have minded their own business when the non story came out. If he said something offensive towards islam, well, that’s not against the law. We are allowed to mock and be mocked – that is the price we pay for free speech – and if people are upset about it, too bad.

If Smith had committed some crime or other, then allow the police to do their job, but of course he hasn’t. The suits have decided to pacify the permanently offended muslim community by punishing someone for doing nothing wrong.

Time after time we get this, whether it is the Satanic Verses or cartoons of the prophet. And now a bloke says something after a few jars and we arrive where we are.

I’ve got news for the permanently offended: most of us don’t go to church, mosque or temple. We don’t care. Most of us are content for the devout to practice their religion for so long as it does not impact upon the way we live. When Louis Smith gets punished for offending a particular religion, we are on the slippery slope to a miserable return to blasphemy.

If God really exists, then why does he go to such lengths to avoid us? Why does he not provide for us a single shred of evidence he ever existed? I think you know the answer to that and the answer to that is Louis Smith has been punished in the name of superstition.