The British Medical Journal’s Hookah Smoking Prophet : Another Twist of the Danish “Caricatures”?

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“The BMJ Group is one of the world’s most trusted providers of medical information for doctors, researchers, health care workers and

Résumé en français: Le journal médical britannique de référence (British Medical Journal) s’en prend d’une manière haineuse à une certaine religion qu’il juge trop permissive vis à vis du tabac. La métaphore utilisée est celle de son prophète fumant le narguilé (houka, chicha, shisha)

Afghanistan, by C. Charpentier (our book, 1997)

Further to the publication (in the “prestigious” British Medical Journal) of an amazing article not empty of inuendoes reminiscent of a recent international hatred scandal

[1][2], a short E-Letter to the Editor (Rapid Response) was posted on the site of the journal[3].

In it (see below), we invited its author, Dr Liam Farrell, to clarify what he actually meant. Because the letter was not published, we then resorted to the Editor in Chief, Dr Godlee, from whom we received nothing but the same silence.

By experience, and because we now know that when it comes to non-“Western” forms of smoking (hookah, in particular), ethics is not applicable in some influent biomedical journals, we have decided to publish this letter furthter down so that the broad public can decide by itself whether the British Medical Journal article conveys hatred and xenopohobia or not.


[1] [E-Letter to the Editor] Chaouachi K.

Is This Story the Antismoking Twist of the Danish Caricatures?Submitted on 10 March 2011 to the site of the British Medical Journal.

[2] Liam Farrel. The prophet of nudge.British Medical Journal 2011; 342:d1448 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d1448 (Published 10 March 2011)

[3] Voltaire.Caricatures and Hysteria that Disguise the Truth. 2 March 2006.

Self-Explanatory Text of the Censored Response

Dr Farrell,

You wrote: “I looked at the other prophets doubtfully. They were smoking hookahs, foaming at the mouth, and torturing a pagan”.

[Please note the use of the plural form in order to avoid an overt attack from potential critics and the delightfully distinctive “torturing a pagan”…]

Is not there enough hatred in the world , particularly these very days? Is the “cruising US AWACS Hercules C-130”a mere coincidence?

[also forgotten to mention the not less relishable Seventy six virgins wasn’t meant to be taken literally,” he said” ]

To me, the above sentence [we realised that they are, in fact, three sentences…] sounds very like another twist of another “innocent” “joke” (Danish caricatures depicting a famous prophet as a terrorist) that turned rather tragic, didn’t it ?

If I mistake not, you are actually targetting a certain religion for being permissive and even promoting smoking, aren’t you ?

In any case, one thing is clear to me: xenophobia and the antismoking ideology share one thing in common: hatred as an attack on the very identity of human beings.

Competing interests: None declared

Posted online 10 March 2011, by Kamal Chaouachi, President, French Association for Truth about Hookah (“Association pour la Verite sur le Narguile”).

[Paris and Tunis, Geneva and Cairo].

– On politicised pseudo-science published in the same British Medical Journal and aiming to justify the smoking ban in the United Kingdom(targeting shisha in particular, the “Arab” “Muslim” way of smoking)[4], see our previous critiques [5].

[4] Gatrad R, Gatrad A, Sheikh A. Hookah smoking. BMJ 2007 Jul 7;335(7609):20.

[5] Chaouachi K [E-Letters to the Editor]: Hookah Smoking: A Few Comments on Some Errors and Misconceptions. BMJ online 2007 (15 Aug).

– On endorsed politicised pseudo-science –against the very teachings of a great religion of the world– aiming to justify the recent smoking bans across the world and similarly targeting shisha in particular, the “Arab” “Muslim” way of smoking, see:

[6] Prohibition Through the Hookah Looking-Glass (Speech) . Knol. 2010 (19 Apr).

[7] The Mystique of Hookahs . Health and Religious Misconceptions .SciTopics [research summaries by experts].2010 (25 Dec).

“Scientific” Xenophobia in “Peer-Reviewed” Biomedical Journals

On how all these all-out attacks generate xenophobia in the world (with official anthropology tacit agreement), it is very easy to understand:

“Their” fathers teach “their” children how to smoke out of shisha(WHO flawed reporton ““waterpipe”” smoking) ;

“They” pollute the “West” with their smoke:See ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). ““Shisha 200 times worse than a cigarette” say Middle East experts””. 27 March 2007 (prepared by Martin Dockrell)(accessed 13 June, 2008) [based, among others, on an interview with Wasim Maziak and Alan Shihadeh]

-etc (e.g., elsewhere Bertrand Dautzenberg (Office Français du Tabagisme, France) and his anthropometric

pseudo-scientific findings about smokersin the Arab world who would not have the same lungs as in Europe….)

-and now

their Prophet would be a hookah smoker, according to the British Medical Journal…


ADDENDUM January 2012: What is “white”? What is “ethnicity”?…

This is not the first time the British Medical Journal publishes similar papers. Please consider

Dr JK ANAND’s reactionto another one:

“These terms are meaningless, even if they are embraced by politicians. What is “white”? What is “ethnicity”? When I am ill, I want to be treated by a decent doctor – whether pink or green, with straight hair or curly. It matters not. I appreciate that there are funds available for research in pseudo-science which uses such terms . Destroy the computer software engaged in collecting, analysing and publishing the product of the useless statistics -or d****d lies. Use your research fellows to better purpose (looking after patients). Please, learned journals (BMJ included) – could you stop publishing papers devoted to this non-sense? Thank you”

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