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31st January  More Censorship Or Else...

FPI protesting

We are ready to perform a peaceful dialogue
with anyone who opposes this. BUT if they don't
listen to us, we will use our 'notorious' way.

Indonesian Programmes have ruined their children

From Pacific Media Watch

A hardline Indonesian Muslim group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), have expressed support for the Indonesian Film Censorship Body (LSF) and called for an expansion of its power.

Jafar Sidik, a FPI co-chairman We encourage LSF to expand their power not just on films, but also on TV programmes that have ruined our children.

FPI's stand came in reaction to an campaign launched by young Indonesian artists and filmmakers in the past few weeks for the dissolution of Indonesia's censorship institution, which they accused of discouraging freedom of expression in Indonesian films and TV.

We are ready to perform a peaceful dialogue with anyone who opposes this (increased censorship) idea, Sidik said: But if they don't listen to us, we will use our notorious way.

The hardline FPI is known for its violent attacks against bars, nightclubs and other establishments it considers "anti-Islamic."


31st January  Family Mob...

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

Adulterers lynched by their own family

From the BBC

Two people have been arrested after a couple were tied to a tree and stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery, Pakistani police say.

They were killed in a village in Punjab province on Sunday. Police said those arrested were relatives of the woman.


30th January  Update: All Credit to Madonna...

Maddona on a crucifix

None to blasphemy accusing Amsterdam nutters

From Antara News

Prosecutors in Amsterdam said they would not take action against the singer Madonna over charges of alleged blasphemy during a concert tour in which she underwent a mock crucifixion.

Young people belonging to the SGP, a small deeply conservative Protestant party, called for her to be prosecuted after she gave two concerts last September in Amsterdam during which she knelt and took off a crown of thorns while a crucifix was projected behind her.

The prosecutor's office believes that through her show, the singer on all the evidence tried to express her frustrations about certain situations in the world .. it is not a question of contempt for God: Furthermore, Madonna did not discredit Christians as a group.


30th January  Hounded by Nutters...

Hounddog poster

Nutters call for investigation into filming of Hounddog

Based on an article from the BBC

Twelve-year-old actress Dakota Fanning is the focus of nutters over a new movie, Hounddog,  that depicts her being raped by a teenage boy.

US religious groups are calling for a boycott, saying Fanning's appearance in the film is tantamount to child abuse.

Director Deborah Kampmeier has defended the film, saying issues like child rape need to be discussed in public: This issue is so silenced in our society. There are a lot of women who are alone with this story.

The criticism began before the film was screened, with the New York-based Catholic League calling for a federal probe into whether child pornography laws were violated during filming.

Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, also believes the rape scene falls foul of the law.

Fanning herself played down the controversy following the film's premiere: It's not a rape movie. That's not even the point of the film. It's not really happening. It's a movie, and it's called acting. I'm not going through anything. And for me, when it's done it's done. I don't even think about it any more.

During the rape scene, only Fanning's face, neck, shoulders, hand and foot appear on screen. Much of the scene takes place in darkness, punctuated only by the sound of Fanning's screams.

Prosecutors in two states said on Jan. 26 that they found nothing illegal about a movie shot in North Carolina and screened last week at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who watched the movie last week with his state’s child sexual exploitation law in hand, said his concerns didn’t materialize on the screen.

None of the things on the Internet that people were saying about it were true, Shurtleff said. Not only does it not violate the statute, I think it’s a good message for people on the subject.

The opinion is shared by the district attorneys in the two North Carolina counties where Hounddog was filmed last summer.

Rex Gore, the Brunswick County district attorney, said there was no evidence that the scene constituted “sexual activity” under North Carolina law, so child exploitation didn’t occur. Even if a film contains simulated sexual activity, Gore said, it doesn’t cross the line into obscenity as long as the film has serious artistic value or is protected speech.

That outcry led state Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to begin work on legislation that would require any film seeking North Carolina’s 15% tax credit for television and movies to receive script approval from the state. Berger said the state should ensure its citizens aren’t subsidizing what many may consider inappropriate.


29th January  Angry Young Men...

Islamic family law

40% of young muslims prefer to live under sharia law

From The Telegraph

A bleak picture of a generation of young British Muslims radicalised by anti-Western views and misplaced multicultural policies is shown in a survey published today.

The study found disturbing evidence of young Muslims adopting more fundamentalist beliefs on key social and political issues than their parents or grandparents.

40% of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under sharia law in Britain. The figure among over-55s, in contrast, was only 17%.

The study, by the Right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange, also found a significant minority who expressed backing for Islamic terrorism.

One in eight young Muslims said they admired groups such as al-Qa'eda that are prepared to fight the West.

Turning to issues of faith, 36% of the young people questioned said they believed that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be "punished by death." Three out of four young Muslims would prefer Muslim women to choose to wear the veil or hijab,

Support was also strong for Islamic schools, according to the Populus survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Policy Exchange. 40% of younger Muslims said they would want their children to attend an Islamic school.

Britain's foreign policies were a key issue among the Muslim population as a whole, with 58% arguing that many of the world's problems are a result of arrogant Western attitudes.

The Policy Exchange report, Living Together Apart: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, says there is strong evidence of a "growing religiosity" among young Muslims, with an increasing minority firmly rejecting Western life.

Munira Mirza, the broadcaster and one of the authors of the report, argued that multicultural policies pursued by the Government had succeeded in making things worse, rather than better. She said: The emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multi-cultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasised difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines. There is clearly a conflict within British Islam between a moderate majority that accepts the norms of British democracy and a growing minority that does not.

Baroness Uddin, the Muslim peer, said: Unlike their parents, our young people feel that this is their country and are saying why are we being told we do not belong here. There is also a problem of a lack of opportunities. Some people have been brutalised by their experiences with the police and this war on terror.


29th January  Un-Australian Cleric...

Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali

Sheik Hilaly wins Un-Australian of the Year award

From The Sydney Morning Herald

A Muslim cleric Sheik Hilaly has won an Un-Australian of the Year award.

The religious leader was awarded the gong by men's magazine Zoo Weekly for his raft of controversial claims over the past year.

Sheik Hilaly was particularly notable for his comments comparing immoderately dressed women to meat. He  prompted an uproar by saying that some women are attracting sexual assault by the way they dress. He said women who did not wear a hijab (head dress) were like "uncovered meat".


28th January  A Plague Upon You...

witch doctor

Vaccination declared unislamic

From The Independent

A leading Islamic doctor is urging British Muslims not to vaccinate their children against diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella because they contain substances making them unlawful for Muslims to take.

Dr Abdul Majid Katme, head of the Islamic Medical Association, says almost all vaccines contain un-Islamic "haram" derivatives of animal or human tissue, and that Muslim parents are better off letting childrens' immune systems develop on their own.

Dr Katme, an NHS psychiatrist, said: If you breastfeed your child for two years - as the Koran says - and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, and you do ablution each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system.

The Department of Health and the British Medical Association have criticised Dr Katme, saying his suggestions are likely to increase infection rates of children in Muslim communities. Other Muslim groups have also condemned the suggestion.


28th January  Update: Malak's Story...

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

Story of Iranian woman initially sentenced to stoning

From Family Security Matters
See the full article
See Video of Stoning to Death
Sign the petition: Stop Stoning Forever

On December 24, 2006, a new trial began in northwestern Iran for Malak Ghorbany. Malak, a devout Muslim, 34-year-old illiterate wife and mother of two, had waited for 18 months in prison for a bit of hope.

In 2005, she was living happily with her husband and two children in the Iranian town of Urmia.

In that summer, a man she had never met began calling her persistently. He told Malak that he was infatuated with her. He refused to stop his pursuit. She was frightened.

One day the phone calls turned to terror - when Malak answered the phone, she heard Morad’s familiar voice. Still on the phone, she went to answer a knock on the door - and found Morad. He forced his way in, and raped her. While he lingered in her house, her brother and husband arrived home and chased him out. They chased him down and stabbed him 20-25 times, and killed him.

Then Malak’s real nightmare began. The avengers returned to her, and using the same knife stabbed her repeatedly and beat her severely, putting her in the hospital in a coma. When she awoke she realized her dilemma: under Islamic Law, there was no punishment for her beating, and she could not prove rape - this required four male witnesses to the event. Crimes against her were therefore inconsequential. . . .but her husband, for killing a man, would be punished with death.

Malak thought of her children . . . where would they be with no father and a mother whose reputation was forever tainted by dishonor? She made a decision, which she explained to the court:

I am a woman from a small village; I have had little formal education and I have no understanding of the law or the legal system. I thought that by saying that the murder was a response to some wrong-doing on my part and in an attempt to restore the family’s honor, I would be able to save my husband and my brother from execution. So I said things that were not true. I had no idea that those statements could be used to incriminate me for a crime that I did not commit.

Malak told the court that she had committed adultery, thereby lessening the responsibility of her husband for the murder. Her husband and brother were spared, and each received a six-year prison sentence for killing Morad. Malak received a death sentence for adultery: she was to be stoned. Under Iranian Penal Code, based as it is on Islamic Law (Sharia), adultery is a capital offense. Stoning is the penalty for many “acts incompatible with chastity” for women - it is not uncommon. (Malak did not receive legal counsel, and little representation.)

The hands of the person to be stoned are tied. She is then bound in a sort of body sack. She is placed in a pit, standing, and buried up to her neck. A circle is drawn and behind this circle her community of peers stands. The size of the stones is determined by Islamic Law - they must be big enough to cause pain and injury, but not so big as to make death too swift. She is then pelted with stones until she is dead.

Malak was given a miracle - someone learned of her case and contacted human rights organizations on the outside. A team of lawyers arrived to help, and petitioned the court to stay her execution and retry her. They were ignored, and they appealed to the international community. Through efforts led by Iranian dissident groups in the West, the story was told to the world. There are now over 16,000 signatures on a petition to save Malak. The U.N. has issued a proclamation reminding Iran that it was a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - and that aside from the travesty of her “trial”, stoning was universally unacceptable. Finally last fall, a retrial was granted.

Malak's next hearing is tentatively scheduled to take place some time in February 2007.


28th January  Honour Amongst Murderers...

Stop Honour Killings

Honour crime in the UK

From Stop Honour Killings

Samaira Nazir rejected Pakistani suitors chosen by her family and planned to elope with her Afghan boyfriend. The penalty for her defiance: death from 18 stab wounds inflicted by her brother and cousin at the family home in Southall, England.

More than a dozen women are killed for violating community standards each year in the UK, according to police. While Nazir's killers were jailed for life.

There is a kid-gloves approach on the basis that you don't want to offend these communities, says Usha Sood, a lawyer and lecturer at Nottingham Trent University who specializes in forced marriage cases. If you take into account the whole range of honor offenses, the number runs into the thousands.'

Combating honor violence is one element of the UK's struggle to assimilate its 1.6 million Muslims. Prime Minister Tony Blair recognized the clash of cultures during a Dec. 8 speech to educators in London titled "The Duty to Integrate.'': There can be no defense of forced marriage on cultural or any other grounds. We stand emphatically at all times for equality of respect and treatment for all citizens. Sometimes the cultural practice of one group contradicts this.'

Police are struggling to identify honor crimes because family members and neighbors often regard them as just punishment. Victims are often targeted because of sexual orientation or for relationships with outsiders.

Steve Allen, a commander with London's Metropolitan Police who's charged with combating honor crimes, says UK law enforcement is tackling the issue. Beginning this year, Scotland Yard computers will register honor-based violence as a separate category of crime for the first time.

Allen says police were slow to recognize the problem. As an officer in the ethnically diverse city of Bristol in the 1990s, Allen says honor crime just wasn't on our radar.

Growing awareness of honor killings prompted Scotland Yard to establish a task force in 2004 to re-examine 109 homicides over the previous decade to determine how many were honor-based.

So far, 22 cases have been analyzed and 18 have been classified as either "definite'' or "suspected'' honor killings, says a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police who asked not to be identified, citing department policy. The probe doesn't have a time limit.

The true impact of honor violence can't be measured by crime statistics alone, says Veena Raleigh, who teaches epidemiology and public health at the University of Surrey in Guilford, England. In Britain, the suicide rate among first-generation Asian women, aged 15 to 24, is more than twice the national average of 5.4 per 100,000 women, according to her research: The evidence suggests that these women found themselves trapped by social factors and not feeling there was an escape for them.

Sometimes violence stems from the desire to keep women isolated from the modern world.

Girls are being beaten up for things like having a mobile phone, says Sanghera, who runs the Karma Nirvana shelter for women in Derby, England. The group deals with seven forced marriages a week, and about four cases each month of people under the threat of murder, she says.

There are about 300 safe houses for abused women in the UK, though many have only a handful of beds, says Diana Nammi, director of the International Campaign Against Honour Killings, a London-based group that represents victims. Her group counseled 186 people last year, and 14 of them were sent to the police because they were deemed in danger of being murdered, she says. Two men were included in the high-risk group.

Last year the Blair government established an agency to offer help to UK citizens whose parents are trying to compel them to marry partners from overseas. The Forced Marriage Unit's six officers deal with 250 to 300 cases each year. About 15% of the cases are initiated by men and two-thirds come from Britain's Pakistani community, says Peter Abbott, head of the unit, which is part of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Still, Blair's government in June dropped a proposal to ban forced marriage in the UK. Patricia Scotland, a Home Office minister in the House of Lords, said such a law could drive the practice further underground. A Labour member of Parliament, Ann Cryer, is now gathering support for new legislation.

In the UK, the minimum age for foreign spouses and Britons seeking to sponsor them for entry to the country is 18. Cryer has been campaigning to raise the minimum age for both bride and groom to 21.

When I came here in 1996 I thought honor killings only happened in other countries, says Nammi, a Kurd who was born in Iran and also lived in Iraq. I thought that with the better education and more freedom here, it wouldn't be a problem, but soon after I came here I found honor killings happening here.


27th January  More Blasphemy Abuse...
She's a witch, burn her!

Blasphemy claimed after dispute with Christian


Martha Bibi, a Christian woman from Kot Nanak Singg, was accused on January 22 of making derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad and defiled his sacred name, Shahbaz Bhatti said.

Bhatti, head of the Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), explained that the woman and family live along with other 12 Christian families in an area inhabited by some 500 Muslim families. The husband is a bricklayer and rents out construction equipment with his wife’s help. They recently rented out some tools for the construction of the Sher Rabbani mosque, but the builders have failed to pay.

Martha Bibi went to the construction site to collect the money but was refused. So she asked the equipment be returned and tried to retrieve it, but Muhammad Ramzan, Mohammad Akram and Muhammad Dilbar started beating her. Only the action of passer-byes enabled her to get away.

Later that night the mosque’s imam accused Martha of uttering blasphemous words about the prophet Muhammad and incited Muslims to attack Christians. Martha and her family fled to neighbours to hide. However, the police eventually came and arrested her. She was taken to the Changa Manga police station.

She was charged under the blasphemy law, a law that provides for long prison terms as well as the death penalty.

In a press release, the APMA appealed yesterday to the chief judge of the Supreme Court to intervene against the abusive use of the blasphemy law and called on the government to change the rules since they are used by extremists to persecute religious minorities or anyone who gets in their way. In its appeal, the APMA said that a judicial commission should be set up to review all such cases and all those who are patently innocent like Martha Bibi should be released immediately.


27th January  Just Not Cricket...

Stop Honour Killings

Former Pakistan cricket captain arrested for wife beating

From Stop Honour Killings

The arrest of Moin Khan, a former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, in Karachi this week on charges of physically beating his wife has brought into focus the serious and vastly underreported issue of domestic violence in Pakistani society. At the outset, however, one would like to commend the cricketer's wife for having the courage to call the police and also the latter for making the arrest and not brushing the matter under the carpet as a domestic or private matter as usually happens.

The deeply patriarchal nature of Pakistani society is such women are strongly discouraged from speaking up when they have been subjected to abuse of any kind, when they are made to feel as if the fault lies with them and not with the perpetrator of the violence. Hence, often it happens that a victim of domestic violence thinks it simply not worth it because of perhaps the impact it may have on the children or because she may not be financially independent. Also, families of married women and large sections of society as a whole often tend to frown on those women who try to show some independence.

One good thing arising out of this incident is that it at least shows that some women can and do stand up against their abusers, even if they happen to be their husbands. It also reminds us that domestic violence is not something that only women from low-income and/or underprivileged backgrounds have to deal with and that it happens in situations where the husband and wife are both educated and the family is relatively well off. Domestic violence cases tend to go mostly unreported and are not restricted to husbands but can also involve fathers and brothers or even other male relatives. Also, while the police did arrest the offender in this particular case, the routine is to dismiss the victim's plaint as a family or internal matter and to tell her to seek reconciliation. This needs to change if we are to root out this evil from our society. Also, families in general need to be more supportive of victims of physical abuse instead of asking them to forget about the abuse, as they normally tend to do.

The government which has done something positive at least on the issue of discrimination against women by piloting the Women's Protection Bill through parliament has spoken of further measures to safeguard women's rights. It has been said, from the prime minister to the president of the ruling PML-Q, that new legislation is on its way and that it will outlaw swara, vani, karo kari and other kinds of misogynist customs and traditions. It is hoped that any such new legislation will also contain provisions that bring domestic violence within the ambit of the law. Civilised nations do not tolerate wife-beating because they realise that being a spouse does not give one unbridled authority to do anything with one's partner. It would be good if our laws moved in this direction as well.


26th January  Honour Violated...

Stop Honour Killings

Turkish girl killed for being raped

From Stop Honour Killings

Yet another "honor killing" case tells the story of 15-year-old rape victim in Turkey's southwest who became pregnant, gave birth and was murdered by her family because her circumstances had shamed them. This week a Van prosecutor has demanded life sentences for her brother, father, mother and three uncles.

In his indictment Chief Prosecutor Yahya Akçadirci accused the girl's brother of murder and her father, mother and three uncles of being accomplices to the murder.

The girl became pregnant after being raped, and was murdered after giving birth to the child. According to the prosecutor's claims, a 'family assembly' was convened and a punishment of death was pronounced for the girl. Her brother was chosen to carry out the killing.

The prosecutor said the whole 'family assembly' was guilty of murder. All of the suspects are currently in prison.

The girl's aunt, who had tried to help her, is currently under state protection.


26th January  Justice Challenged Law...
She's a witch, burn her!

Another blasphemy acquittal in Pakistan

From Journal Chretien

A mentally challenged Pakistani Christian man who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court on blasphemy charges in 2004, was acquitted by Lahore High Court on January 19, 2007. Khalil Tahir, defense counsel of Shahbaz Masih gives details

Shahbaz Masih was an escapee from the Government hospital for psychiatric diseases in Lahore. Trouble of a more horrific magnitude was awaiting him as he was charged with torching pages of the Quran by a prayer leader of the Imam Masjid Mosque, Qari Muhammad Rafique.

The complainant wrote that he was teaching the Quran to students at the mosque when he heard the voices from the nearby graveyard. The complainant went on to say in his application that, as he came out of the mosque with two Muslim men named Muhammad Jamil and Muhammad Ali, they saw that Masih was trampling upon pages of Quran and was throwing them on the graveyard after having torched them.

The Muslim cleric along with Muhammad Jamil and Muhammad Ali, the prosecution witnesses handed over Masih to police after subjecting him to a thrashing. Masih was arrested on June 4, 2001.

Khalil Tahir disclosed that Masih was kept in isolation cell. He said that the beating he had received concerned police officials who felt it was unjust that a man of unsound mind was kept in the isolation cell.

Tahir said he was hugely disappointed when the Additional District and Sessions Judge convicted and sentenced Shahbaz Masih to life imprisonment on September 25, 2004. Tahir also said that the verdict of the judge must have been influenced by the presence of hundreds of fanatic Muslims in and outside the court premises. Most of them, who maintained their menacing presence outside the court, he said, were armed.

Tahir lodged an appeal in the Lahore High Court. After hearing his arguments, the Judge of the High Court accepted the appeal and set aside the impugned judgment of Lower court and acquitted Shahbaz Masih "honorably" on January 19, 2007.


25th January  The Pope Plays Lemmings...
Pope Benedict

The pope considers media sex & violence to be a perversion

From CNET News

Pope Benedict XVI voiced his opinion on games from the Vatican, saying that violent or sexually explicit games are a "perversion" and "repulsive."

As part of the annual papal message for World Communications Day, the theme of which was Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education, the pope talked about the media's effect on children, paying particular attention to games and films.

Any trend to produce programs and products--including animated films and video games--which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray antisocial behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programs are directed at children and adolescents, the pope said.

Pointing toward the media's growing influence on youth, he said the media can support a family's education of children provided it promotes fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity. He called upon media leaders to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity, and promote respect for the needs of the family.


25th January   Calling Children to Jihad...
Sheik Feiz DVD cover

Australian police investigate the DVD


Firebrand cleric Sheik Feiz Mohamed's defence of his comments on a DVD calling children to jihad has been undermined by revelations, the video also urges Muslims to kill the enemies of Islam and praises martyrs with a violent interpretation of jihad.

In the DVD, which runs for almost four hours, Sheik Feiz describes inmates of Guantanamo Bay as better Muslims than those in Australia, who would would not forsake their lifestyles for martyrdom.

The sheik, who left Australia in 2005 to live in his father's homeland, Lebanon, exorts his followers to seek the honourable death of the believer, quoting from narrations about the prophet Mohammed.

The DVD was a recording of a series of passionate fire-and-brimstone sermons that told his audience over several weeks nearly four years ago his thoughts on the way to live their lives. This is our intention that we want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam, loving Islam, he said.

Details of the DVD's contents have sparked an Australian Federal Police investigation and have been met with condemnation.

AFP officers visited the Muslim youth centre founded by Sheik Feiz yesterday to collect a copy of his DVD, which was handed over voluntarily. The two federal agents who arrived at the Global Islamic Youth Centre at Liverpool, in Sydney's west, declined to comment on the investigation.

Muslim internet forums were buzzing with criticism of the media for running the story yesterday, accusing news outlets of misinterpreting the meaning of jihad, which can also mean a peaceful quest to be a good Muslim.

Islamic Friendship Association's Keysar Trad said that, while he could not comment on behalf of Sheik Feiz, jihad literally meant to "exert effort", the highest form of which was to stop oppression. But he attacked politicians for tripping over themselves to attribute the most controversial comments to Muslim leaders.


24th January   A Veneer of Hypocritical Piety...
Waking the Dead Season 3 DVD cover

Opus Dei whinge about Waking the Dead

Based on an article from the Daily Mail

The religious sect, Opus Dei has accused the BBC of portraying its members as "murderers, thieves and adulterers" in over a popular fictional drama.

The secretive Catholic organisation lodged an official complaint of defamation after the award-winning drama, Waking the Dead showed an episode featuring a murder investigation of a Opus Dei devotee.

In the drama, a spurned Opus Dei member exacts revenge on his lover, a married woman, also a member of the sect, by shooting her and his love rival to death in what the organisation has called gratuitous scenes of sex and violence.

The episode entitled The Fall also sees the fictional head of Opus Dei being portrayed as a shadowy figure pursuing wealth and influence.

Last night a spokesman for the community, which the former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is a member of, accused the corporation of copying ideas from the Hollywood blockbuster Da Vinci Code, whose plot also revolves around a murdering Opus Dei member.

Jack Valero said: In this programme Opus Dei was portrayed as an organisation of murderers, thieves and adulterers who justify and cover up evil actions while hiding behind a veneer of hypocritical piety and penitential rituals of self-flagellation. The three characters were portrayed as members are self-serving hypocrites whose main reason for belonging to Opus Dei is depicted as being their wealth. This portrayal is lifted from the Da Vinci Code, a book and film which claimed – against all evidence - to be based on fact.

The religious organisation has also accused makers of the two-part BBC 1 drama shown on Sunday, January 21 and 22 of breaching the corporation's strict guidelines on religious prejudice.

Valero added: Members of Opus Dei are Catholics, they are not going around killing people, having sex with married people and making money. It is a completely false portrayal. Whilst the BBC chose to create a fictional bank for the programme, it chose not to create a fictional religious organisation. We believe that it is irresponsible of the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, to have perpetuated that prejudice, in breach of its editorial guidelines. Opus Dei is not an anonymous corporation but a family with feelings and values.

Last night a BBC spokesman said: We are unable to comment as we are yet to receive the complaint. There have only been four complaints from the viewers about the show.


23rd January  Symbolic Nonsense...
Fly the crucifix

British Airways give way on wearing religious symbols

From the BBC

British Airways is changing its uniform policy to allow all religious symbols, including crosses, to be worn openly.

BA announced a review last year after a row erupted when Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida challenged a ban on her visibly wearing a cross necklace.

The airline now says it will allow religious symbols such as lapel pins and some flexibility for individuals to wear a symbol of faith on a chain.

Ms Eweida, who has been on unpaid leave since September because of her refusal to stop wearing her cross at work, welcomed the decision: I will carry on working as I've always worked. My dignity has been restored. I've suffered for my faith.

During the review, BA consulted staff and customers, examined the uniform policies of other organisations and canvassed the opinions of the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the Muslim Council of Britain.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said: Unintentionally, we have found ourselves at the centre of one of the hottest social issues in current public debate.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said: I am grateful that BA have listened to the deep concerns that have been expressed about this issue and that their change of policy now allows Christians to wear crosses openly. Important issues have been raised. This is a positive and constructive outcome.


22nd January  Religion's a Fag...
Lambert & Butler cigarette packet

Why does belief in nonsense give authority to impose it on others?

From Cambridge Evening News See full article

A smoker was refused cigarettes at a Cambridge store because the Muslim shop assistant said it was against her religion to sell tobacco.

A woman was shocked when she attempted to buy a pack of cigarettes at the WH Smith store in Market Street and was turned down.

She said: I asked for a pack of 20 Lambert & Butler and the woman behind the desk asked me if they were cigarettes. When I said they were she told me that it was against her religion to sell them - I couldn't believe my ears.

I rang up the manager to complain and he said the shop assistant has to ask someone else to serve them for her if a customer wants tobacco.

If she had just said, I can't serve you, then that would have been fair enough, but the thing that really annoyed me was the way she gave me a lecture as well. She started saying she doesn't agree with smoking, that it kills you - I was really gob-smacked.

Asim Mumtaz, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Cambridge, said: I don't think there is any basis for refusing to sell cigarettes. Islam, like most religions, is against anything that injures health or the body, but there is no ban on cigarettes or on smoking.


22nd January  Pakistan Blasphemy Abuse...
She's a witch, burn her!

Week evidence leads to acquittal

From Spero News

A Pakistan Court has ordered the release on bail of Shahid Masih, a Christian man arrested four months ago on blasphemy charges. Before the release, the judge set bail at 100,000 rupees as surety.

Masih was arrested on September 11, 2006, for allegedly tearing pages from a tafseer, a book explaining Quranic verses. He was charged under the blasphemy laws, which provides for life imprisonment for anyone who desecrates the Koran.

The law is a bit more lenient when it comes to “offending the Islamic world”, but it is regularly used to settle private disputes and affects both Muslims and Christians.

The charges were filed by Arshad Masood, a doctor from a clinic located near the young Christian’s home. According to Dr Masood, the boy, acting at night when no one could see, entered the clinic and ripped up the book.

The judge agreed that the evidence was weak and that the plaintiff had accused the boy for personal reasons. Thank God that someone innocent got bail and can sleep tonight at home after spending more than four months in isolation, Khalil Tahir, Masih’s defence attorney, told AsiaNews.

Update: Justice Not Done

On release from prison, Shahid Masih said: The real tragedy is this. I was in prison and I was released because the court found me innocent but my life is over. No one wants to hire me and I am afraid to go out because people think I am a blasphemer who must die.


22nd January  Nigerian Anglican Homophobia...
Nigeria Flag

The most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed

From Pink News

New legislation currently being debated by politicians in Nigeria could be the most serious crackdown on the rights of gay and lesbian people since the Iranian revolution.

The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, is the title of the bill.

It has been approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council and is now before the National Assembly. It is expected to be passed and become law shortly.

The president, Olusegun Obasanjo, controls the Executive Council and his Nigerian People's Party has a majority in the both the Senate and House of Representatives. Although a centrist party, they derive most of their support from the Christian south of the country, and the Anglican church played an active role in promoting this legislation.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell contacted to draw attention to the nature of the new legislation, which has the active backing of other Christian churches in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa: The bill outlaws almost every expression, affirmation and celebration of gay identity and sexuality, and prohibits the provision of sympathetic advice and welfare support to lesbians and gay men. This draconian measure will outlaw membership of a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality.

Donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video.

The new law carries an automatic five year jail sentence for those who break it.

Despite protests of governments and human rights activists, the Nigerian government have pressed ahead with the new laws, which are in contravention of various international treaties. Homosexuality is already illegal in the country. Nigeria's criminal code penalises consensual homosexual conduct between adults with 14 years imprisonment.

The Anglican Church, who have a huge powerbase in Nigeria, have been key in promoting this bill. The church has been increasingly vocal about its disapproval of the position of women and gay men in the English and American churches.

The bill currently being debated in the Nigerian parliament, is the most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed in any country in the world," said Peter Tatchell: We appeal to gay and human rights groups worldwide to take urgent action to press the Nigerian government to uphold international human rights law and to drop this draconian legislation.


21st January  24 Under Attack...
24 season 5 DVD cover

Islamic terrorist storylines criticised

From the BBC

The TV drama, 24, is under fire from Muslim groups in the US, which say the show's latest storyline fuels intolerance.

The Council on American-Islam Relations said: Repeated association of acts of terrorism with Islam will only serve to increase anti-Muslim prejudice.

The current series begins with Islamic terrorists waging an 11-day campaign of suicide bombings across America. TV network Fox said it had "not singled out any ethnic or religious group for blame in creating its characters". 24 is a heightened drama about anti-terrorism, the statement continued. Over the past several seasons, the villains have included shadowy Anglo businessmen, Baltic Europeans, Germans, Russians, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the (Anglo-American) president of the United States.

I do realise it's a multi-dimensional show that portrays extreme situations, said Sireen Sawaf from the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council: But I'm concerned about the image it ingrains in the minds of the American public and the American government, particularly when you have anti-Muslim statements spewing from the mouths of government officials.


29th December  Update: Ill Will...
Burning a copy of Playboy

Protesting about Indonesian Playboy centrefold

From Mainichi

Islamic protesters hurled abuse at Playboy magazine's first Indonesian centerfold, calling her a prostitute and saying they hoped her daughter would be raped.

Andhara Early did not respond to demonstrators as she left the South Jakarta District Court after testifying in the indecency trial of editor Playboy's Indonesia editor, Erwin Arnada.

Islamic conservatives loudly protested what they dubbed a global icon of pornography.


15th January  Tolerating Intolerance...
Channel 4 logo

Channel 4 documentary investigates preaching in mosques

From Christian Today See full article

A documentary aired on Britain’s Channel Four showing extremist clerics at a number of leading British mosques exhorting followers to prepare for jihad, to hit girls for not wearing the hijab, and to follow Islamic law over UK law.

The documentary, Undercover Mosques, Dispatches, contains video footage secretly filmed in British mosques over a period of 12 months.

At the Sparkbrook Mosque, run by the UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), an organisation that maintains 45 mosques in Britain, a preacher is captured on film praising the Taliban. In response to the news that a British Muslim solider was killed fighting the Taliban, the speaker declares: The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.

Another speaker says Muslims cannot accept the rule of non-Muslims. You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir, Dr Ijaz Mian tells a meeting held within the mosque. We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others.

Inside the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham a preacher is recorded saying: Allah has created the woman deficient. A satellite broadcast from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, beamed into the Green Lane mosque suggests that Muslim children should be hit if they don’t pray: When he is seven, tell him to go and pray, and start hitting them when they are 10. Another preacher is heard saying that if a girl doesn’t wear hijab, we hit her.

Another preacher says: The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won’t get killed - unjustly.

A spokesman for Green Lane mosque accused Channel Four of intensifying the “witch-hunt” against Muslims. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) accused Channel Four of attempting to foment division and sectarianism among Britain’s 1.8 million Muslim community.


15th January  Update: Cartoon Capers...
Danish flag being burnt

Danish Imams get away with stirring

From the Belfast Telegraph

A Danish prosecutor said today that a group of imams cannot be charged for travelling to the Middle East to seek support against a Danish newspaper after it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The drawings triggered attacks on Danish embassies and protests across the Islamic world, which many Danes blamed on Muslim clerics.

The demonstrations came weeks after five imams, based in Denmark, had travelled to the Middle East and prompted more than 100 complaints against the group for allegedly inciting acts of terrorism, making threats and treason.

But, Prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg said she found no evidence that the imams had sought hostilities against Denmark or had any reason to suspect that the reported persons have violated the penal code.

Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the imams, said he was very satisfied by this decision. Anything else would have been a disaster for the imams and their image.


14th January  Life or Death for Blasphemy...

Life imprisonment or death for blasphemy in Pakistan

From Gulf Times

In Pakistan the act of using electronic system or device by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of Prophet Muhammad, will be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall be liable to fine.

Accordingly the defiling of copy of the Holy Qur’an using any electronic system or electronic device wilfully will attract life imprisonment.

These punishments have been prescribed in the revised draft of electronic crime bill.

14th January  Nonsense Protection...

Changes to Pakistan's much abused blasphemy law

From The Peninsula

A senior Pakistani official said yesterday that Islamabad planned to reform its blasphemy law that Christian churches and human rights groups say the Muslim majority uses to oppress religious minorities. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the law, which allows up to the death penalty for insulting Islam, would be changed after a general election due late this year or early next year.

President General Pervez Musharraf tried to reform the law in 2000 but had to drop that plan after widespread protests from Pakistan's powerful Islamic religious parties. After detailing at a Paris academic conference steps taken to improve conditions for religious minorities, the senator was asked when Islamabad would reform the blasphemy law.

Inshallah (God willing), after the election, said Hussain, secretary general of the governing Pakistan Muslim League party and chairman of the Pakistan Senate's foreign affairs committee. He did not detail how the law would be changed.

A blasphemy law left over from the British colonial period was sharpened in 1980 to cover a wide array of possible insults to Islam and its maximum penalty was boosted to death in 1982.


12th January  Nutters of Lithuania...
Popetown figure

Lithuanian catholics to sue MTV over Popetown

From MediawatchWatch

The catholic church in Lithuania plans to sue MTV Lietuva over Popetown.

Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference President Sigitas Tamkevicius told Reuters: We are going to lodge a complaint in court because we believe that the rights of the faithful were violated by this mockery. The Popetown series is not only an insult to the pope, but to all the catholics of Lithuania.


11th December  Voicing Nonsense...
Christian Voice logo

Christian Voice start blasphemy proceedings

From Christian Voice

A criminal action for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and producer Jonathan Thoday has begun in respect of Jerry Springer the Opera.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, laid information before Horseferry Road Magistrates this morning, Monday 8th January 2007. It is two years to the day since the broadcast of the musical on BBC2 and six months to the day from when it finished its tour in Brighton last year.

Counsel Mark Mullins and instructing solicitor Michael Phillips made oral submissions to District Judge Caroline Tubbs to support the application for a summons to be issued in a private prosecution of the two executives. All the tests which had to be applied before a private prosecution can begin appeared satisfied, and Mullins explained to the judge the complexity and necessity to gather evidence which had led to an interval of two years between the BBC2 broadcast and the initiation of proceedings.

The District Judge reserved her decision for later this week.

Stephen Green said afterwards: There is a ancient law against blasphemy in this land because the law believes it should not occur. It is as simple as that. If artistic people do not where or how to stop as they push against the boundaries of decency, then the law must step in and tell them.

In this present case, it appears prime facie that a most odious and wicked blasphemy was perpetrated against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, justice must be done. No-one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.

We await the decision of the Judge and ask for prayer so that: "Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." Indeed the very first petition of the Lord's prayer is: "Hallowed be Thy name." The holiness of God's name is at the root of this case. There is a long way to go yet, but the first step was taken today.

17th January  Blasphemy Nonsense Thrown Out...
Christian Voice logo

Christian Voice silenced in the courts

From Chortle

Christian Voice's attempt to bring a private blasphemy case over Jerry Springer: The Opera has been thrown out of court.

Horseferry Road Magistrates rejected the criminal action brought by Christian Voice over the BBC’s airing of the controversial show two years ago.

Campaigner Stephen Green was trying to level blasphemy charges against the corporation’s director-general, Mark Thompson, and producer Jon Thoday at Avalon. The show’s creators, comedian Stewart Lee and composer Richard Thomas, were not involved in the action.

Before the case, Green said: If artistic people do not where or how to stop as they push against the boundaries of decency, then the law must step in and tell them. In this present case, it appears prime facie that a most odious and wicked blasphemy was perpetrated against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, justice must be done. No one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.


9th January  Sacrilege...
Culture Minister

Culture Minister
Khaisri Sri-aroon

Thailand take offence at porn website with Buddha images

From The Nation

Thailand will take action against a United States-based pornography website for abusing images and the identity of the Lord Buddha.

The site operates out of Chicago and employs the name and images of the Lord Buddha in its content.

It's an act of sacrilege, Culture Ministry monitoring centre chief Ladda Tangsupachai said yesterday. Ladda said the centre asked the Information and Communications Technology Ministry to block the site.

Ladda said Buddhists across the world should condemn the site.

The site and its activities have been reported to Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon and the Foreign Affairs Ministry will now approach the United States Embassy in Bangkok.


9th January  Flogging a Dead Justice System...

Man being flogged

Bloody result of flogging

Public flogging in Iran

From This Is London

A man was flogged in public in the town of Behshahr, northern Iran, for producing home-made pornographic videos.

The unnamed man was lashed 100 times in public. He had been found guilty of filming his sexual relations with married women

Thousands of young people are flogged in Iran each year on trivial charges that include drinking alcohol,  attending mixed-sex parties, and sexual misconduct. Iran’s Judiciary views flogging as the appropriate punishment for combating moral crimes, particularly among the youth. Islamic judges insist on carrying out the punishment in town squares, as "a lesson for all to see."


7th January  Learning about Homophobia...

Students launch High Court action

From This Is London

Christian students barred from using their university's facilities because of their refusal to accept gay rights rules have launched a High Court case against the ban.

The battle over the rights and status of the Christian Union at Exeter University will now be decided by a judge.

Their legal move set up a test case likely to decide a series of arguments in a number of universities between Christian societies which believe that homosexual practice is wrong, and student unions and universities which demand they accept gay equality.

Similar rows over attempts to censor students who profess traditional Christian beliefs have broken out at universities in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

At Exeter, the 50-year-old Christian Union was banned by the Students' Guild and forbidden to use university rooms after it refused to withdraw rules which demand members declare they believe in Christ. The rules effectively prevent gay activists from joining and using the Christian group to promote gay equality.

A statement on the Exeter University Students Guild website said: The premise of the situation is that students felt that as students fund our societies and as our equal opportunities policy states, all activities should be open to all students.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has issued a condemnation of attempts to silence Christian students who oppose gay rights. Dr Williams said in December that student unions who tried to shut down Christian Unions had: a fear of open argument.

The Archbishop added that it would be bad for academic standards if the idea were allowed to gain ground that a student union could be an arbiter of publicly acceptable belief.


7th January  The One that Got Away...

Spanish church in battle with apostasy

From adnki

The Roman Catholic Church has launched a legal battle to stop parishioners leaving the flock.

In Madrid and Valencia, bishops are to challenge the growing practice of apostasy in the High Court

The archbishops of these regions are battling the Spanish Data Protection Agency, which told the Church to note down all apostasy requests and cancel all related personal data.

The Church argues a baptism record is not a register for Catholics, but a mere written certification of a historical fact which cannot be cancelled.


6th January  Music of Repression...

Iran flag

Iran imprisons musician

From adnki

Habib Moftah Bushehri, an internationally renowned musician, has been sentenced to two years in jail in Iran on charges that his music offends Islam.

Bushehri, who lives in Paris where he performs with his group, the Ensemble Busherhri, had recently returned to Iran to visit his family. The musician, who is well known with his group as a performer of folk music from southern Iran, is accused of offending religion with his melodies, which mix music performed during Islamic Shiite ceremonies with contemporary pieces, mainly jazz - a combination which has made him extremely popular.

6th January  In the Name of Nonsense...

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow

From Christian Today see Bishop Warns Against Creeping Anti-Christianism

The Catholic Bishop of Leeds has warned against creeping anti-christianism after revealing he was "appalled" by abuse of 'Jesus’ name on television over Christmas.

Bishop Arthur Roche warned Catholics not to become complacent to the anti-Christianism infecting the nation’s everyday life.

It was as if my television set had been infested with anti-Christian and deeply disrespectful and derogatory sentiments, he said: Yet, as St Paul reminds us: God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He added: “There is an ease and a carelessness today in which it is possible, without any resistance, to ridicule Jesus, his Church and his followers.

But Christians themselves must also guard against encouraging the use of such language by ensuring that they themselves do not fall into the same trap: The blasphemous abuse of the holy name of Jesus is something that can infest our own vocabulary because of it is so constantly and so flippantly used in every day speech.

It would be a timely New Year's resolution if we were to resolve to resist in our own everyday speech any abuse of his name. When many of us were at primary school we were taught to bow our heads when the name of Jesus was spoken.


4th January  Shared Nonsense...

Lowest common denominator is the hatred of gay sex

From the Daily Mail see Muslim and Jews join gay-laws protest

Prominent Muslims and Jews united with Christians yesterday to voice concern at laws boosting gay rights. Churches are organising demonstrations next week against the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which are due to come into force in April.

Dr Majid Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, yesterday urged Muslims to join protests against the "unjust" laws, including a torchlight parade in Westminster to coincide with a Lords debate next Tuesday.

The regulations, which are in line with EU requirements, will punish businesses and organisations which discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. Hotels which refuse to let double rooms to gay couples could, for example, be taken to court. Christian campaigners fear churches which refuse to let out parish halls or conference centres to gay groups would face legal action, as could schools which fail to teach that homosexuality is equal to marriage.

Dr Katme made his plea to Muslims in a letter circulated to several hundred supporters and 40 imams, who are expected to publicise the issue during Friday prayers. Urging Muslims to join our Christian friends in their campaign against the new proposed law on sexual orientation. It is against our religious rights and against our human rights and against our conscience and religious beliefs to have this new unjust law forced on all of us British Muslims,

Dr Katme, a prominent figure in campaigns against abortion and the decline of traditional family life, warned that the new laws would require Muslims and Christian believers legally to accept and appoint homosexuals or anyone with any sexual deviation in our Muslim institutions and centres, mosques, schools, clubs, companies, hotels, business, shops etc. He urged supporters to carry banners which were polite, sensible and on the issue only.

Nadia Lipsey, spokesman for the Board of Deputies - the representative organisation of British Jewry - said yesterday: It must be possible for people to live their lives in the manner in which they choose as long as it does not impinge upon the rights of others.

We hope that to this effect the regulations will be framed in such a way that allows for both the effective combating of discrimination in the provision of goods and services whilst respecting freedom of conscience and conviction.

12th January  Update: Having Faith in Discrimination...

Protesting against gay rights

Based on articles from Christian Today and The Guardian

Gay rights laws were upheld despite a crowd of around 1,000 protestors gathered outside the House of Lords to voice their opposition.

Protests have taken place 9th January, outside the Palace of Westminster as the House of Lords debated the new Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs). Protestors, including a large number of christians, took part in the torch-lit rally outside the House of Lords, shouting “No, No, No SOR” as they urged peers inside to oppose the regulations.

I believe in freedom of conscience, and when anyone starts imposing views that are against freedom of religion, then we are moving into a state that I think is evil, said Michael Reid, the leader of a pentecostal church in Essex whose members made up a sizeable section of the crowd.

Rod Lewis, a pastor from Staffordshire, said: [The law's supporters] propose that children in primary school should have government-recommended literature that homosexuality is an OK lifestyle. I'm not against homosexuals, I'm against the influence of young minds.

Gay rights campaigners yesterday pointed to explicit parliamentary questions put to Lord Rooker, the government spokesman on Northern Ireland in the Lords, asking if Christian printers or hoteliers, for instance, would be criminalised if they refused to print gay literature or accept gay couples. The answer was no in each case. Martin Reynolds, of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, described the campaigners' arguments as "deliberate misinformation" from a "Taliban tendency" in the church.

Peers held a one-hour discussion on a motion put forward by Lord Morrow, calling for the Northern Ireland regulations, which came into power on January 1, to be annulled.

Earlier in the day, a petition signed by 10,000 concerned christians was delivered to the Queen.


3rd January  Cartoon Protest...
Protester with placard: Behead those who insult Islam

British muslim protester on trial

From the BBC

A British Muslim called for American and Danish people to be murdered, at a protest against cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, a court has heard.

Umran Javed took part in the event on 3 February last year after the cartoons were published in Denmark. Javed was recorded on video by the police and arrested later.

Javed denies charges of soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred. The defendant has been accused of using a loud hailer to address around 40 people outside the Danish embassy in Sloane Street, Knightsbridge. He is then said to have continued with his speech as the crowd were joined by between 200 and 300 other Muslims who had marched from the central mosque in Regent's Park.

The prosecutor told the Old Bailey the defendant appeared to be one of the leaders. He said Javed condemned the cartoons as dishonouring Muhammad and accused non-believers of declaring war against Islam and the Muslim community. He said disbelievers would pay a heavy price...and said Denmark would pay with blood.

The QC said the words used were plainly criminal and had nothing to do with freedom of speech. He told the court: The words used were straight-forward and plain. If you shout out 'bomb, bomb Denmark; bomb, bomb USA', there is no doubt about what you intend your audience to understand. The prosecution case is that the defendant was clearly encouraging people to commit murder - terrorist killing.

The trial has been adjourned until Wednesday.

6th January  Guilty of Hate...
Protester with placard: Behead those who insult Islam

Protestor found guilty in court

Based on an article from The Telegraph

Umran Javed has been found guilty of soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred in the wake of the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. He was said to have been one of the leaders of a demonstration against the cartoons in London.

He was found guilty of calling for the murder of American and Danish people and remanded in custody until sentencing in April.

There were shouts of protest from the public gallery as the verdicts were returned on the second day after the jury retired.

During the protest he condemned the cartoons as dishonouring Mohammed and accused non-believers of declaring war against Islam and the Muslim community, said the prosecutor, David Perry: He said disbelievers would pay a heavy price ... and said Denmark would pay with blood.

He was said to have shouted: Bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb USA. Perry said the crowd responded to his calls with similar calls and chants.

Perry said the case was not about freedom of assembly or freedom of speech. He said the words used were plainly criminal: The words used were straight-forward and plain. If you shout out 'bomb, bomb Denmark; bomb, bomb USA', there is no doubt about what you intend your audience to understand.


3rd January  Fed to the Lions...
Lion: Welcome Christians

250 million christians face persecution

Based on an article from the Christian Post

Around 250 million Christians worldwide will face persecution in 2007, according to persecution watchdog Release International (RI). In particular the U.K.-based group found that persecution is growing the fastest in the Muslim world.

According to Release, most persecution takes place in four distinct “zones”: those of Islam, Communism, Hinduism and Buddhism. But persecution is growing fastest of all in the Muslim world.

Governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities, explained RI. Abuses suffered by Christians include kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church destruction, torture, rape and execution.

One of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedom is Saudi Arabia who forbid all other religions. A Muslim found “guilty” of converting to Christianity could face the death sentence for apostasy. And anyone who leads a Muslim to Christianity faces jail, expulsion or execution.

There’s a conspiracy of silence around Saudi, said Release International’s CEO Andy Dipper, probably because the West wants their oil and their money. But this is a government that hands out the death sentence for its own citizens who want nothing more than the freedom to choose their own faith. And while Saudi bans all Christian literature, it spends billions of dollars each year propagating Islam around the world.

But some of the most violent persecution in the Muslim world is beyond government control. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the world has been made dramatically aware of extremist Islamist global networks.

A rising number of extremists interpret the call to jihad as a call to violence. They seem to regard it as their religious duty to force Christians and non-Muslims to convert to Islam. Those who refuse must be driven out or killed, said RI.

Despite the spectacular collapse of communism in Europe, persecution of Christians continues in China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, while the dubious accolade of the world’s worst persecutor of Christians goes to North Korea.

As China prepares for the Olympic Games, western governments would do well to remember that China detains more Christians than any other country, said Dipper.

RI also explained to Christian Today that in the Hindu world Christians face persecution in India and Nepal. Several Indian states have introduced laws against forced conversion, but these are wide open to abuse. Christians face most pressure in rural areas, where militants have destroyed churches and threatened, attacked and killed church leaders.

In the Buddhist world, Christians face persecution in Bhutan, Burma and Sri Lanka. Buddhist militants regard Christianity as a threat to their national identity and unity. They have stirred up harassment and violence against Christians in Bhutan and Sri Lanka.


3rd January  Educationally Sub-Normal...

Bombing schools in Pakistan

From Stop Honour Killings

Men claiming to be local Taliban bombed a girls school in Pakistan and threatened further attacks if the students did not wear veils. The militants also left Urdu pamphlets at the school saying: Be veiled, otherwise we will bomb you again.”

The attackers planted the bomb near the principal’s office at the Government Girls Middle School. The bomb exploded at 12:45am, destroying three rooms and partially damaging four others, authorities said.

There were no casualties reported. A source in the area, seeking anonymity, told Daily Times that the local Taliban had asked locals to stop their daughters from going to college. They have however allowed veiled students to go to middle and high schools, he added. He said most Darra Adam Khel residents had stopped their children from going to schools and colleges, but some were still sending their daughters to school.

Car-lifters and opium growers have also been warned to wind up their activities within six months or face action, he said. The local Taliban have already closed down video centres, and many shopkeepers are now selling their shops due to pressure from local militants.


2nd January  Deviant and Sinful...

Holy Bible

Love your neighbour...
...unless he's gay

Discriminating against a homophobic church

From The Independent

Under changes that come into force today Northern Ireland is to trailblaze regulations which make it unlawful to refuse goods and services to people on grounds of sexual orientation.

In response, an alliance of church and political groups, has gone to the High Court in Belfast to try to have the law overturned, saying that they discriminate against Christians and their teachings.

PA MagLochlainn, and his Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, believes he is facing as determined an opposition as the "brimstone and treacle" rhetoric of Rev Paisley and his Free Presbyterian Church in the run up to the introduction of the age of consent: Before we had the age of consent the police would raid homes and guest houses and drag people out of their beds.If they couldn't find anyone in them then they would check for pubic hair. Even after 1982, when we won the battle, I still saw people being beaten up just for snogging in public.

One of the clerics leading the new church alignment is the Rev Eric McComb who has said that he is prepared to go to prison rather than see the new laws come into force: The Pentecostal movement, on the basis of Holy Scripture, views homosexuality as being deviant and sinful.

The Labour policy is being championed by Peter Hain, Northern Ireland Secretary, who has already defied a call by Ruth Kelly, the Cabinet minister responsible for equality, to hold fire until a common approach has been agreed.

Ms Kelly, a devout Catholic, is sympathetic to pleas by the Anglican and Catholic churches, who claim that tough anti-discrimination laws could force their adoption agencies, youth and breakfast clubs to close, their bookshops could be sued if they refuse to stock gay literature and hotel owners with strong religious beliefs could be fined if they do not allow gay couples to share a room.

Peter Tatchell, of OutRage! said: The belligerent and hateful opposition by sections of the church is a very poor advertisement for Christianity. It bears no relationship to Christ's gospel of love, tolerance and compassion.

Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission said that although attitudes have been changing we have to confront the reality that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people face unacceptable prejudice in their everyday lives. We cannot call ourselves an inclusive society unless we give equality of opportunity to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. We have to confront discrimination, challenge stereotypes and change attitudes, on this issue as on others, if we are to achieve a fully just and equal society.

From the Daily Mail

Meanwhile in mainland Britain, thousands of Christian lawyers are to petition for the Queen's help to stop the Government from imposing sweeping new gay rights laws on Britain.

They will ask the Queen, as defender of the Church of England, to make the case to Tony Blair that the proposed Sexual Orientation Regulations discriminate against Christians.

A torch-lit protest will also take place outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a Lords debate on the new rules next Tuesday.

The plea to the Queen is being made by the Christian Concern for Our Nation, an offshoot of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, a group which lists more than 2,000 barristers and solicitors among its members.

The Queen cannot herself bar the rules from being introduced, but could raise her concerns during her regular meetings with Tony Blair.

Any indication of concern from Buckingham Palace would increase pressure on Ministers to scrap the proposals, have come into force in Northern Ireland. The Regulations also have an impact on religious believers in business. Christian hoteliers will be compelled to rent rooms to gay couples while Muslim printers will be unable to refuse to print homosexual magazines or advertisements.

The final version of the UK rules - which the Government has produced supposedly to meet the demands of a European Directive - has yet to be published.

But the Northern Ireland rules say people found guilty of discrimination will be fined between £500 and £1,000 for a first offence. Subsequent serious offences can attract penalties of up to £25,000.


2nd January  Ye of Little Faith...

Tele-evangelist sued over 'faith healing'

From The Independent

A tele-evangelist with a large following across the United States is being sued by relatives over her claim that prayer cured her brother's throat cancer.

Darlene Bishop's claims appear in her book, Your Life Follows Your Words, which fails to mention that her brother, the songwriter Darrell "Wayne" Perry, died of the disease 18 months ago.

Perry's four children have filed a lawsuit against their aunt for wrongful death, claiming that she persuaded him to stop chemotherapy and to depend instead upon God's healing.


1st January   Deck the Fools with Blows of Holly...

Burning church

Carol singers attacked in India

From Christian Today

Evangelical Christians in India have been attacked by Hindu militants for singing Christmas carols. The attack has raised concerns for Christians in the region, particularly as elsewhere in India news has also emerged that a church was attacked and completely destroyed by extremists.

The Church of God in Jalanpur village in the central state of Chhattisgarh had been running a Christmas program distributing bibles Pastor James Ram said in a statement distributed by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): On 24th at about noon [local time] some activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Dharam Raksha Sena [groups] burnt some of the Bibles in public in the centre of town…”

20 young people were then attacked whilst holding a procession with balloons, and singing Christmas carols. A gang of activists from the BJP [party], Bajrang Dal and Dharam Raksha Sena [groups] became angry as they saw the procession, explains the GCIC. They objected to the believers singing carols and distributing Christian literature, and attacked the church members and beat them up.

Christian Today has learned that up to 5 believers were injured in the attacks, whilst a total of 11 people were arrested on “false charges” of “illegal conversion”, Worthy News explains. However, they were all released on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.