Religious Watch logo
 Home World of Intolerance News: 2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  Latest
 Campaigns Family Abuse RSS:   Headlines Feed
 Forum Clerical Abuse Email: webmaster@religiouswatch.com
 


31st July   Raining Cats & Pigs...
 

flying pigs


Muslims wake up and smell the bacon

From the Daily Mail see full article

A group of Muslims have opposed plans for a pet food factory to be built as possible pork emissions will violate their religious rights.

Butchers Pet Care could shelve plans for a factory in Coton Park, near Rugby, because angry Asian families have complained to their residents' association about pork smells drifting into their garden.

Muslim residents in the area also claim the pork will effectively "rain down" on their homes and gardens after the factory's 100ft chimney has pumped the meat extracts into the atmosphere.

The Coton Park Residential Association said they have received complaints from Muslims - who are directed to not eat pork by the Qur'an - and are taking the matter very seriously.

One family who live less than 100 yards from the proposed factory, but who did not wish to be identified, said: "A significant proportion of meats used in the pet foods processes are pig meat. Our religion expressly forbids us to consume pig meat in any form. Because of the way in which this meat material will leave the factory and give that the area can be 'rained upon' we will be consuming pork via inhalation of this 'rain'. Not only that but our clothes will be contaminated by pork.

Another Muslim said: In this country we are allowed the right to follow our religion and religious beliefs. By allowing this plan to go ahead our religious rights are being swept to one side for what appears to be economic greed.

The pet food company said there is an 'almost 99% guarantee' the smell of pork would not reach the Coton Meadows residential area. A spokesman said: At Coton Park we plan to introduce state-of-the-art odour extraction through the chimney stack. An environmental impact report has already concluded that emissions at the proposed Coton Park site should not have an adverse impact on air quality and odour levels. We would like to reiterate that we do not burn any animal materials.

 

31st July   Self Imposed Incompetence...
 

Washington State


Nutter pharmacists whinge at requirement to sell morning after pill

From Spero News see full article

Pharmacists have sued Washington state over a new regulation that requires them to sell emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill,” because it contains no exception for those who object on the basis of belief or conscience.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, pharmacists Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen, and Stormans Inc., said the rule that took effect Thursday violates their civil rights by forcing them into choosing between their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs.

The stakes really couldn't be much higher, plaintiffs' attorney Kristen Waggoner said.
Earlier this year, the state ruled that druggists who believe emergency contraceptives are tantamount to abortion cannot stand in the way of a patient's “right” to the drugs.

In a statement about the then proposed law, the Catholic Bishops of Washington state said, The Church opposes the sale of any drug that would induce an abortion, and supports pharmacists, especially those who follow Catholic moral teaching, who uphold their right to act according to the dictates of their conscience when asked to dispense such drugs.

Plan B is often called “emergency contraception”, but in fact, it can cause an abortion because if it fails to stop ovulation it then acts to prevent any embryos from implanting in the uterus. 

Darlene Wilson, a licensed pharmacist is one such person who objects to the law. For me, that would be killing a human life and I don't want to have any part of that, she said. 

Under the new state rule, pharmacists with personal objections to a drug can opt out by getting a co-worker to fill an order. But that applies only if the patient is able to get the prescription in the same pharmacy visit.

The federal Food and Drug Administration made the morning-after pill available without prescription to adults last year.

 

30th July   Standing Up to Nonsense...
 

Exeter City Council logo


Opting out of council prayers

From the National Secular Society

A row has erupted after an Exeter councillor refused to stand for prayers during a civic meeting. Councillor Paul Pettinger sought to explain his decision but was told to be quiet by Exeter's Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Slack.

But Councillor Yolonda Henson, the council's Conservative Party leader, said she would ask for a new rule, requiring anyone who does not want to stand at council meeting prayers to leave the chamber. The Lord Mayor began the meeting by saying that she intended to be a traditionalist, which appears to mean she will not tolerate dissent.

She added: I have no qualms in asking you all to show the mayor, and whoever, respect and more importantly, respect for each other. I realise we do not all follow the same religions but I ask we stand for prayers to show respect.

After the prayers, Councillor Henson said she wished to introduce a rule requiring those who did not wish to stand should leave the meeting during prayers. Councillor Pettinger replied that he had two reasons for not standing. He began to explain that he was not a Christian, despite a Christian education, but the Lord Mayor interjected that councillors swore an oath to represent the city of Exeter.

When he continued to talk, she said: As Lord Mayor I've asked you to sit down. Could you please sit down or I will ask you to leave the chamber.

Cllr Pettinger, who, at 24 years old, was the youngest councillor in the city when he was elected in 2004, declared that he intends to maintain his position: I'm elected to do a job for my residents and the people of Exeter and faith has nothing to do with it. I am a secularist and believe in the complete separation of personal faith and state. I'm an atheist and don't wish to take part in Christian worship. It's highly inappropriate to put pressure on people to act in this way when there are people of so many faiths in this country.

He suggested councillors should instead be given the option to hold prayers in a separate room beforehand.

 

30th July   Sharia in Lagos...
 

Nigeria flag


Nutter police chief battle indecency

From the BBC see full article

About 90 women and three men have appeared before a magistrate's court in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, on charges of indecent dressing.

A night-time police patrol picked them up on the streets of Lagos, which some see as Africa's party capital.

The clampdown on "indecently dressed girls" was ordered by new Lagos police chief Muhammad Abubakar who says skimpy dressing could cause public disorder.

There is no law banning indecent dressing in Nigeria.

Abubakar says women in skimpy dresses are often prostitutes and he wants to put an end to such "immorality" in Lagos.

The BBC's Fidelis Mbah in the city says it is common to see scantily-clad women on the streets as some night clubs and restaurants open throughout the night.

 

29th July   Kicked in the Butt, Other Cheek Turned...
 

Burning church


Christians forgive mob who attacked church

From Cross Rhythms see full article

Muslims have apologised for attacking a church last month in Pakistan's Punjab region, but they offered no compensation for injuring Christians and damaging the building. Seven Christians were wounded at the Salvation Army Church in Chak 248, a village 20 miles north of Faisalabad.

We are sorry and promise this will not happen in future, Faizur Rehman, one of 41 Muslims originally accused of attacking the church on 17 June, said in a 28 June notarised affidavit.

The Christian people have forgiven them, lawyer Khalil Tahir Sindhu, legal representative for the Christian community, told reporters after attending the 28 June meeting between the Christian and Muslim groups, arbitrated by 12 local Christian and Muslim politicians. He said both parties had dropped court cases in which each accused the other of instigating violence.

The mob stormed Chak 248's lone church with guns, axes and wooden sticks at 5.00pm on 17 June, a Sunday, only one hour before the start of an evangelistic meeting. Christians inside the building fought back but were unable to prevent many of the congregation's Bibles and hymn books being destroyed.

 

28th July   Brave Art...
 

Pink Power by Charles Merrill


Gay artist deletes homophobic sections from the Bible and burns the Koran

From the Gay.com see full article

Charles Merrill, the gay artist who gained notoriety for editing the Bible with a black marker and a pair of scissors, now says he's made what he called a statement against Muslim homophobia by burning an antique Koran valued at $60,000.

The purpose of editing and burning Abrahamic Holy Books is to eliminate homophobic hate, Merrill, 73, said in a statement from his gallery, the Broadway Gallery in New York City. Both ancient books are terrorist manuals.

He inherited the book from his late wife, Evangeline Johnson Merrill, daughter of the founder of international pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson, who was given the valuable text by the king of Jordan during a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Airplanes are flown into buildings because of words, and hate crimes against gays, Merrill said in his written statement.

 

28th July   Update: Wanting a Divorce from Humanity...
 

Stop Honour Killings


Family murderers found guilty

From the BBC see full article

A 70-year-old grandmother and her son have been found guilty of murdering his wife in a so-called "honour killing".

Bachan Athwal and her son Sukhdave arranged the murder of Surjit Athwal to defend the family honour.

Surjit who wanted a divorce, went missing in 1998 after going to the Punjab with her mother-in-law.

An Old Bailey judge remanded the mother and son from Hayes, west London, into custody and told them to expect a life term when sentenced in September.

Surjit never returned from a trip with Bachan Athwal to a family wedding in India in December 1998. Later, the grandmother boasted she had got rid of her by getting a relative to strangle her and throw her body into a river in the Punjab. Her body has never been found.

The pair were only caught when "frightened" members of their own family reported them to police. They were frightened that if they told anybody, the same sort of thing might happen to them as they believed happened to the victim, Michael Worsley QC, prosecuting, said.

Judge Giles Forrester remanded the mother and son in custody for sentencing on 19 September.

 

27th July   Update: Amnesty Appeal...
 
Hanging from the bridge

...On the seventh day,
God created blasphemy and lynch mobs.
Happy with his delegation,
he could now take a rest.


Support for Pakistani sentenced to death for being Christian

From Religious Intelligence see full article
See also Pakistani Catholic condemned to death for blasphemy tells of his trauma

Amnesty International have launched an appeal for a Christian man, one among many in Pakistan facing the death penalty under the country’s blasphemy laws.

After Younis Masih was sentenced to death his family began receiving death threats, forcing them into hiding. Today Amnesty said they believe he is being prosecuted because he is a member of a minority faith.

They called on the Pakistani government to release him immediately and to abolish all laws which violate the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.

The case gained high profile because he gave evidence via video link because of fears for his safety. But there were reports the trial was unfair, that evidence was based on hearsay and that changes had been made to the original prosecution witness statements.

Younis Masih’s lawyer, Parvez Aslam Choudhry, has received threats, including death threats, during and since the trial. In May 2006, unknown assailants deliberately rammed their car into Parvez Aslam Choudhry’s car, which then was pushed off the road and fell forty feet, killing one passenger, lawyer Rana Javed Rafiq.

The judge in the case ordered the Punjab police to provide Choudhry with protection, but he has stated that this order has not been implemented.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said: It is clear that Younis Masih has been targeted because of his faith, and now faces execution because the law in Pakistan permits the persecution of religious minorities.

President Musharraf must put an immediate halt to this execution, and ensure that the blasphemy laws in Pakistan are re-examined so that they cannot be used to persecute those who are different from the majority.

Update: Acquitted

5th April 2013.  See article from christiantoday.com

Morning Star News is reporting that a court in Pakistan overturned the death sentence of a Christian convicted under Pakistan's blasphemy laws and ordered him released.

Younis Masih, who has languished in jail since his arrest on 10 September 2005 was declared innocent by Lahore High Court justices.

On September 9, 2005, he left a midnight gathering at a house after Muslims loudly singing a religious song became angry at him for requesting that they sing more quietly, reports Morning Star News.

The Muslims incited others against him the next day and beat him unconscious. Islamic leaders later incited mobs to burn Christians' homes, saying Masih had committed blasphemy and uttered derogatory remarks against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

He was sentenced to death by a judge in Lahore in 2007. The appeal was filed by the Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement, and his case was re-opened in September 2012.

 

24th July

  Propagating Hatred of Religion
 
Blasphemy: Art that Offends book

 
Pakistan man jailed for life for criticising stoning

Based on an article from The News see full article

The Anti-Terrorism Court handed down a writer a life term as well as other sentences, having found him guilty of the offence of defiling a copy of the Holy Quran, outraging religious feelings and propagating religious hatred among society.

The judge sentenced Younus Sheikh to life imprisonment under section 295-B, awarded 10 years in prison under section 295-A with a fine of Rs50,000, ordering that, in default, he shall have to suffer a further six-month term. The court also sentenced him to five years in prison under the Anti-Terrorism Act with a fine of Rs50,000.

Sheikh was arrested by police in January 2005 for writing a book against the Islamic laws deviating from the teaching of Quran and Sunnah. The accused had negated the punishment of Rajam (Stoning to death in case of adultery) in his book and wrote contemptuous remarks against Imams of Fiqah.

Eight copies of his book out of 5,000 published books were recovered from his possession at the time of arrest.

The prosecution placed eight witnesses including four religious scholars of Muslim schools, who unanimously issued a Fatwa (religious edict) against the accused after perusing the book, written by the accused, to prove the guilt of the accused.

The court had sentenced Younus Sheikh to life imprisonment but the Sindh High Court, disposing of his appeal against conviction under blasphemy charges, remanded back his case for retrial from the stage of final arguments.

 

23rd July   No Honour in India...
 

Stop Honour Killings


Couple killed despite police protection

From Stop Honour Killings

Baljit Kaur, a Jat Sikh girl and her husband Ashwini Kumar, alias Sonu, had to pay with their lives for getting married against the wishes of the girl’s parents. Baljit’s relatives allegedly abducted the couple, killed them and then threw their bodies into the Beas.

The police have arrested the girl’s father, Kartar Singh Nihang, and brother Jaspal Singh, both of whom justified the killings on the grounds that they were safeguarding their honour. The father confessed that he gave celphos tablets to the couple, strangled them and then threw their bodies into the Beas.

After getting married, the couple filed an application in the High Court, which granted them police protection. Jalandhar SSP Arpit Shukla said though the police tried to provide them protection but the couple didn’t return to their village after marriage following threats by the girl’s family. Terrified by the threats, even the boy’s family left the village.

The accused were arrested while they were trying to flee the state. The police have recovered the body of the girl from the Beas.

 

22nd July   Abstaining from Nonsense...
 

Virginity RUles poster

 
US states drop abstinence sex education

From The Telegraph see full article

For more than a decade, America's campaigners for sexual abstinence have successfully preached that the best thing for teenagers is to stay celibate - and that the best thing for schools is to teach chastity and never mention condoms.

With an evangelical Texan as president and social conservatives running Congress, their campaign held sway - especially when the teenage pop star Britney Spears took a vow of celibacy.

But now that is suddenly changing. A string of states from Montana to Maine have decided to stop teaching pupils to "Just say no" and  a key Senate committee has voted to cut government spending on abstinence-only sex education.

Most significantly, opponents of the 700 schemes across America - with names such as Virginity Rules and Great to Wait - have seized on research released in April to argue that teaching teenagers not to have sex makes little difference.

Lawmakers in 14 states have this year concluded that the education programmes they once backed with such enthusiasm are ineffective and a waste of public funds.

The change in the country's political landscape last year - when Democrats regained control of Congress and also made inroads at state level - has fuelled the changing mood on sex education.

 

22nd July   Unchristian...
 

Aston Cantlow church

 
Church hold to medieval law to screw people out of £250,000

From Stratford Observer see full article

A 'stalemate' has been reached almost six months after a landmark ruling ordered a couple to pay a six figure sum for repairs to a rural district church. No money has been handed over to the Parochial Church Council responsible for Aston Cantlow's Church of St John the Baptist because they still refuse to release the liability on the village land the battle centres on.

In a landmark ruling back in February, Andrew and Gail Wallbank lost their 17 year battle and were ordered to pay almost £250,000 for repairs to the chancel and roof because of a medieval law which named the Wallbank's as lay rectors to the church because of their ownership of Glebe Farm in Aston Cantlow.

The couple, who live in Wales, inherited Glebe Farm from Mr Wallbank's parents, who believed the lay rector title carried no significance. After years of battling, the High Court disagreed leaving huge costs at the Wallbank's feet.

Mr Wallbank told us it was an impossible situation: We have reached stalemate really. Very few people have that sort of money readily available to them, they have to sell something, but it will be very difficult if not impossible to sell the farm with the liability still attached to it.

The couple are facing the prospect of losing their home, a farm in Powys, or being taken back to court if the matter can't be resolved and the church doesn't get its money.

Speaking in April, Carol Evans, church council secretary and church warden said: We cannot remove the charge until the chancel is put into good repair. When that is done we will remove it. If Mr Wallbank does not pay the money he will be in contempt of the High Court. The property in Wales will be taken over his head.

 

22nd July   Even Nutters Want to Get Laid...
 

Christian Action League

 
Even those that criminalise the enjoyment of life

From Alaska Report see full article
See also the usual nutter views of Christian Action League

Coy C. Privette a former lawmaker resigned Friday as president of the Christian Action League of North Carolina a day after he was charged with soliciting a prostitute.

Privette was charged with six counts of misdemeanor aiding and abetting prostitution by renting a hotel room and paying for sexual acts, according to warrants.

A retired Baptist minister, Privette served four terms in the state House and is a member of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners.

The Christian Action League board of directors suspended him Thursday, pending the outcome of the criminal case. The organization represents Christian groups' interests in the General Assembly.

Privette had been the group's president for the past six years and served as its executive director for 15 years before that. Privette is due in court on Aug. 22 to face the prostitution charges.

 

19th April   Update: Unlawful Discrimination...
 

Religious art depicting love your neighbour

Love your neighbour...
unless he's gay


Gay man wins case against Church of England

From The Telegraph see full article

A gay man won a landmark case of unlawful discrimination against the Church of England yesterday after a bishop refused him a job because of his sexuality.

An employment tribunal ruled that John Reaney had been discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation when he was turned down for the post of youth worker in the diocese of Hereford.

Reaney said he was "delighted" by the decision, which could have implications for employment policies in the Church.

But the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, said he was naturally disappointed and was considering whether to appeal.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said the bishop should resign.

During the tribunal hearing in Cardiff in April, Reaney said that he had been asked intrusive questions by Bishop Priddis about his previous gay relationship during a two-hour meeting in July 2006.

During his evidence, Bishop Priddis said he had made it clear to Reaney that a person in a sexual relationship outside marriage, whether they were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender, would be turned down for the post. The Bishop said that Reaney's behavior was contrary to official Church teaching and had the potential to impact on the spiritual, moral and ethical leadership within the diocese.

The tribunal found that Bishop Priddis should have considered only the present lifestyle of Reaney, who is single, and he should not have speculated about potential future relationships.

Delivering the judgment, the tribunal said the case would be listed for a remedy hearing and Reaney is expected to be awarded substantial damages.

Update: Church Offer No Appeal

1st October 2007

Hereford diocese has said it won’t appeal against a tribunal’s ruling that its bishop, Anthony Priddis, discriminated against a gay job applicant.

There will be a remedy hearing in December at which it will be decided how much compensation to pay Mr Reaney who was unfairly treated.

Update: Compensation

16th February 2008

Bishop Priddis has been ordered to undergo equal opportunities training and to pay a gay youth worker nearly £50,000 for refusing him a job because of his sexuality.

The compensation includes £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8,000 for future pension loss, £7,000 damages for psychiatric injury, £6,000 for injury to feelings, £1,320 for counselling and £25 for costs incurred seeking work.

The diocese's costs in fighting the case are expected to be around £50,000, but a spokesman said this was being met by an anonymous donor.

But the diocese will have to pay the £47,000 compensation award from its own funds.

 

17h July   Pope Pantyhose...
 

Pope in pantyhose

 
Nutters claim blasphemy and art exhibition is cancelled

Based on an article from Art Forum see full article
Spotted by MediawatchWatch

Vado Retro —an exhibition with 150 works about art and homosexuality, from Da Goeden to Pierre et Gilles—has been cancelled at Milan's Palazzo della Ragione.

The exhibition was already installed when protests were voiced about a "blasphemous" sculpture of the Pope made by the Milan artist Paolo Schmidlin. The sculpture—titled Miss Kitty—features a likeness of the Pope dressed in pantyhose. Another piece showed the Italian Premier Roman Prodi’s spokesman talking to a transvestite.

The Miss Kitty exhibit prompted the Catholic Anti-Defamation League to complain: It is a vulgar offence against Christ’s Vicar and the feelings of the Roman Catholics.

To calm critics, Vittorio Sgarbi, the city's councilperson for culture who is responsible for the exhibition, had already announced that visitors under the age of eighteen would not be allowed to visit the exhibition. But the measure was not enough. The opening was delayed after Miss Kitty and two other works were taken out the exhibition. That measure was also insufficient, at least for Milan mayor Letizia Moratti, who requested that another twelve works be removed from the show, due to their pornographic and pedophilic nature. Sgarbi refused—a refusal that led to the cancellation of the exhibition.

Vado Retro will be shown in its entirety in Naples.

 

16th July   Jordan Aiding & Abetting Family Murders...
 

Stop Honour Killings


Lenient 6 month sentences

From Stop Honour Killings

A Jordanian court sentenced a man to just six months in prison for killing his pregnant sister in an "honour killing" the man said was necessary to uphold his family's reputation.

The court justified the lenient sentence, saying it was warranted due to the "state of fury" that led to the woman's slaying.

According to the court, when the woman told her brother she was five months pregnant with her former husband's child, he began chasing her and pulled on her scarf to strangle her. He then put a pillow on her head and sat on it until she suffocated.

The court said the woman's confession angered her brother and caused him to act in an irrational way. The court also said the woman's "shameful behaviour' ' deviated from the traditions of Jordanian society and harmed her family's honour.

International human rights organizations have condemned honour killings in Jordan and appealed to the country's ruler, King Abdullah, to put an end to the practice.

Under orders from Jordan's King Abdullah II, the state attempted to scrap lenient six-month penalties for men who commit honor killings, replacing them with prison terms of up to 15 years. But government efforts were blocked by a conservative, tribal-dominated parliament that regards the tougher penalties as encouraging women to engage in illicit behavior. 

 

16th July   Emmanuelle Meets the Nutters...
 

Christian Action Network banner

 
South African Christians whinge at late night adult TV

Based on an article from Christian Post see full article

Christian nutters 'outraged' over the presence of late-night porn on public television held a protest outside the TV station’s studios, arguing that pornography fuels sexual abuse.

Christian Action Network – a conservative umbrella organization mobilizing Christians to protest against pornography, abortion, and same-sex union in the country – demonstrated and prayed outside the e-TV studios in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

We have had e-nough! Porn on free-to-air national TV is outrageous, said Taryn Hodgson, international coordinator of the Christian Action Network, in a statement.

There are many parentless homes in South Africa and many homes where children are not supervised as to what TV they are watching. R18 restrictions are not enough to prevent children from watching these films [Emmanuelle & the like].

E-Tv denied the link between pornography and sexual abuse. A letter from e-TV’s regulatory affairs executive officer Olefile Bop Tshweu read: We submit that in broadcasting these films the timeslot is appropriate, the warnings are adequate, the content does not breach the Code and there is no evidence that these films contribute to sexual crimes.

The Christian Acton Network plans to urge advertisers who are currently advertising during these pornographic films on e-TV to discontinue advertising.

Nutters are planning to hold protests outside the e-TV studios in Durban and Bloemfontein in the month of July.

 

16th July   Update: Loss of Belief in Apostasy Bill...
 

Apostasy CD cover


Death penalty unlikely for Pakistan apostates

From Journal Chretien see full article

Christian and government leaders yesterday said they are hopeful that Pakistan’s parliament is unlikely to support the death penalty for Muslims who abandon their faith.

Critics have worried that the Apostasy Act 2006, proposed in May, signalled further reduction of religious freedom in Pakistan, where vigilante enforcement of strict sharia law has been on the rise.

The bill likely will not be approved in its original form by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice, where it is being revised, a member of the committee said.

The person who changes religions of his own will and wish, according to his own thinking, should not be punished at all, Dr. Sher Afgan Khan Niazi told Compass from Islamabad: Therefore we don’t consider that it will be passed in this way.

Proposed by the Mutahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six Islamic parties, the bill states that the testimony of two Muslim male witnesses would be sufficient to sentence to death a male “apostate” or man who changes his religion from Islam. A female “apostate” would receive life imprisonment.

According to article 5 of the draft, a convicted “apostate” would have up to 30 days to revert to Islam and avoid punishment. But repeat male offenders who committed “apostasy” a fourth time would not be given a chance to repent.

The draft drew condemnation from human rights organizations and the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which denounced the bill as “repressive” in a June 11 press release.

Peter Jacob of the Catholic Church’s National Commission for Justice and Peace told Compass the bill was politically motivated. The MMA, he said, was trying to create “a kind of frenzy” by stirring up religious feelings. Jacob said that the bill was unlikely to resurface as the government was busy fighting religious extremism.

 

15th July   Update: Religious Police Chastised..
 

Muttawa car badge


Saudi removes their right to detain

From the Times of India see full article

The Saudi interior ministry has issued guidelines banning morality police from detaining suspects, after recent deaths in their custody raised questions about the role of the controversial force.

Newspapers reported on Friday and Saturday that the order, which has been distributed to state prosecutors, includes an explicit ban on extracting confessions and inspections of morality police offices to ensure no one is being held there.

A source close to the affair told Reuters that this week's order was not intended to be made public. Recent cases have caused embarrassment to the force, which has wide powers to enforce bans on drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

 

15th July   Cartoon Libel...
 
Burning the Denmark Flag

 
Muslim case against Danish politician fails

From Reuters see full article

A Muslim group lost a libel case on Friday against the leader of a Danish anti-immigrant party who had accused its members of treason for publicizing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

A court ruled that Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), did not libel the Islamic Faith Community when she accused some of its members of treason for traveling to the Middle East to publicize a Danish newspaper's publication of the drawings, which caused a worldwide uproar in 2006.

The court said the term "treason" was not libelous because it was used extensively in public debate. It ordered the plaintiffs, a loose network of Danish Muslim organizations which says it represents 50,000 members, to pay Kjaersgaard 40,000 Danish crowns ($7,400) in costs.

We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal, said Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Muslim group. He added that the group would issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against Jyllands-Posten if it did not receive an apology from the paper.

It's too early to say any details of the fatwa, Ahmad said. The fatwa is the last step and will also satisfy Muslims in the Middle East.

 

14th July   Pits of Despair...
 

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

 
Iran lines up 8 more stonings

From the NCR Iran see full article
See Video of Stoning to Death

Sign the petition: Stop Stoning Forever

The Iranian mullahs’ regime sentenced eight women to death who are currently serving time in the Iranian prisons, the state-run daily Etemad-Meli reported.

The paper reported, Eight women have received death sentences by stoning in the Iranian prisons. At least, two of them are in Evin Prison in Tehran, two in Sipedar Prison in [the south-western city of] Ahwaz, one in [the northern city] of Tabriz, one in Varamin [in suburban Tehran], one in Chobin Prison in [the western city of Qazvin], and the last one in Orumieh Prison [northwestern Iran], are spending time in fear and despair.

The NCRI’s Women’s Committee Chair Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz said that having admitted the implementation of such crimes by the mullahs on Tuesday, July 10, means that they are planning to continue similar cruel and degrading punishments to create public fear.

She called on the United Nations and all human rights organizations as well as women activists to condemn the crimes of the mullahs’ medieval regime and adopt measures to put an end to inhuman behavior.

 

14th July   Weak Minds...
 
Evan Almighty soundtrack CD

 
Malaysians succumb to biblical nonsense

From Bernama see full article

The Malaysian government has been asked to ban the movie Evan Almighty scheduled to be screened in Malaysian cinemas from Aug 23, as it is said to hurt Muslims' sensitivities by poking fun at God and Prophet Noah.

Secretary-general of the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia (PPIM), Datuk Dr Maamor Osman said parts of the film were contrary to Islamic teachings and he feared that this could adversely influence the minds of young Muslims.

He said Muslims the world over should be wary of devious ways used by the enemies of Islam to influence Muslims' thinking through the media and movies.

The movie refers to the big flood during the time of Prophet Noah, but this has been turned into a comedy which is insulting to Islam. Featuring a human being as God in the movie is also against Islam.

The movie features actor Morgan Freeman as God, asking Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark to escape the big flood that is to hit New York.


16th July   Update: Don't Overreact...
 
Evan Almighty soundtrack CD

 
Malaysian nutters told to suppress their natural urges

From Bernama see full article

Muslims in Malaysia should exercise wisdom in addressing religious issues and not become hysterical when confronted with something seen as challenging their faith or belief like a film, said Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin.

He said it was crucial for parents to play their role to nurture strong religious belief in their children which would protect the young Muslim generation from being easily influenced by elements which could dent their faith.

Zainuddin said this to Bernama in reaction to calls by various quarters for the government to ban the screening of the film Evan Almighty following claims that the movie contained scenes which insulted Muslims and Islam.

Zainuddin said banning the film would not solve any problem because Malaysians are a multi-racial society and has different religious beliefs. Zainuddin said even if the film was to be banned, people could still watch it on online.

The film has been approved by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board and will be screened in cinemas starting Aug 23.

 

13th July   Our Nonsense is Better than your Nonsense...
 
Pope Benedict


Pope belittles other churches

From The Guardian see full article

Protestant churches yesterday reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by Pope Benedict XVI insisting they were mere "ecclesial communities" and their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion.

Coming just four days after the reinstatement of the Latin mass, yesterday's document left no doubt about the Pope's eagerness to back traditional Roman Catholic practices and attitudes, even at the expense of causing offence.

The view that Protestants cannot have churches was first set out by Pope Benedict seven years ago when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed the Vatican "ministry" for doctrine. A commentary attached to the latest text acknowledged that his 2000 document, Dominus Iesus, had caused "no little distress".

But it added: It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of 'Church' could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church.

 

12th July   Update: The Satanic Curses...
 

Satanic Verses book cover

 
Al Qa'eda threaten revenge on Britain

From The Telegraph see full article

Osama Bin Laden's second in command issued a warning yesterday that Britain faced fresh terror attacks as ''punishment'' for Salman Rushdie's knighthood.

The threat - addressed directly to Gordon Brown - came in a 20-minute audio-tape posted on jihadi websites by Ayman al-Zawahiri.

He threatened ''a very precise response'' in retaliation against Britain for having knighted the controversial novelist in the Queen's Birthday Honours last month.

Al-Zawahiri, who is de facto leader of al-Qa'eda since bin Laden has not been heard of for several years, said it insulted Islam to reward the author of The Satanic Verses.

 

11th July   Bums on Pews...
 

Washlet smileys & bums

 
New York church gets arsey about billboards

From Actress Archives see full article

A poster for a bidet company was to be put up in Broadway's theater district on a building that houses a church. The billboard featured bare buttocks, but has been temporarily banned by a judge in New York City. State Supreme Court Justice Mary Friedman ordered the temporary restraining order against the bidet company billboard yesterday after hearing the complaints of Reverend Neil Rhodes, the pastor of the interdenominational Times Square Church. Bidets, buttocks, and religion don't mix in Times Square.

The billboard ads were for the Washlet, a bidet-toilet seat that uses warm water and air to clean the buttocks. The ads featured naked buttocks with smiley faces. Sounds quaint.

To get the billboards banned, Reverend Rhodes had to pay a $90,000 bond pending a decision on the issues at a conference between the parties. The bond will go to the bidet company for damages and costs, including lost revenue, if the restraining order is overturned and the court rules that the church wasn't entitled to an injunction.

 

11th July   Stop the Mutilators...
 

 
In Kurdistan and the UK

From Stop Honour Killings
Sign the petition: Stop FGM in Kurdistan

Legal prohibition of female genital mutilation is becoming likely in Kurditsan after members of the regional parliament and government official expressed their support for the campaign Stop FGM in Kurdistan.

The women’s commission in the Kurdish regional government has already endorsed the demand for a law to prohibit FGM. Support for the legislation also came from prominent politicians in the region, among them the Secretary of State for women, Dr Jinan Qasim; spokeswoman of the women’s parliamentary group, Pachschan Zangana; and the President of Parliament, Adnan Mufti.

The official legislation process is expected to begin after the parliament’s summer recess. According to WADI’s survey conducted in 116 villages in the Kurdish region, 65% of the 3665 women interviewed were mutilated. It is possible that the bill against FGM will be introduced to the parliament together with additional legal initiatives concerning domestic violence against women.

This legislation was initiated by campaign, Stop FGM in Kurdistan. The campaign was launched in April with an appeal to the public that quickly attracted more than 14,000 supporters. Stop FGM in Kurdistan is an association of local women’s and human rights organizations, doctors and lawyers, supported by the German-Austrian relief organization WADI.

Reward for Information about Mutilation in the UK

From the BBC see full article

The Metropolitan Police in the UK are offering an unprecedented reward for information which would bring to justice anyone involved in female genital mutilation.

The campaign is being launched at the start of the summer holidays, during which young girls - mainly from African communities - are thought most at risk.

Mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural reasons. Up to 7,000 girls in the UK are seen as at risk of this form of circumcision.

The long summer holiday is seen as the most likely time for parents to seek the procedure for their daughter as she has time to recover from what is usually a brutal ordeal before returning to school.

A new law was introduced in 2003, which not only repeated 1985 legislation banning the procedure, but also criminalised those who took a child outside the country for mutilation to be performed. No-one has been prosecuted under the new legislation.

It's a hidden act, said Alastair Jeffrey, head of the Child Abuse Investigation Command, as he announced the £20,000 reward. And that's why it's so hard to uncover. This is child abuse. It is not an attack on anyone's culture, it is an attack on anyone who commits this horrendous abuse of children.

 

10th July   Update: Iran is the Pits of Humanity...
 

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

 
Man stoned to death in official execution

From the BBC see full article
See Video of Stoning to Death

Sign the petition: Stop Stoning Forever

The Iranian judiciary says a man has been stoned to death for adultery - the first time it has confirmed such an execution in five years.

Jafar Kiani was executed on 5th Juky in a village in north-west Qazvin province.

Amnesty International said Kiani and Mokarrameh Ebrahimi were convicted of adultery more than a decade ago. Kiani and Ms Ebrahimi were said to have been married to others at the time of their arrest. They were sent to Choubin prison, Qazvin, where Ms Ebrahimi is thought to remain with her two children.

The human rights group has appealed for Ms Ebrahimi to be spared. Adultery is a capital offence, punishable by stoning, under Iran's Islamic law.

In 2002, the judiciary suspended the practice.


12th July   Update: Rumblings in the Pits of Humanity...
 

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

 
More killings in Iran

See Video of Stoning to Death
Sign the petition: Stop Stoning Forever

From AlertNet see full article

Iran's top Judiciary official must act immediately to prevent the execution by stoning of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, Human Rights Watch said today.

In a letter to the official, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, Human Rights Watch urged prompt action to prevent the stoning and called on the Iranian authorities to revoke regulations under the country's Islamic Penal Code that permit execution by stoning. Despite a written stay of execution, local officials stoned to death Jafar Kiani, the father of two of Ebrahimi's children on July 5.

Government officials stoned Jafar Kiani to death despite a stay of execution from Iran's top Judiciary official, said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. Ayatollah Shahrudi must make sure that Mokarrameh Ebrahimi does not meet the same terrible end.

From The Guardian see full article

Iran is to defy western criticism over its human rights record by executing 20 sex offenders and violent criminals days after a convicted adulterer was stoned to death.

Alireza Jamshidi, spokesman for the judiciary department, said 20 thugs convicted of rape, sodomy and assault and battery would be hanged in the coming days once prosecutors had decided whether to execute them in public.

The condemned include at least 15 detained in May during a so-called "public morals" crackdown in poorer neighbourhoods of Tehran and other cities. Iran drew international condemnation following the internet distribution of photos showing some of the arrested being publicly paraded with toilet hygiene implements hung around their necks and bearing signs of having suffered severe beatings.

The anticipated executions are certain to intensify international pressure on Iran after the UN's human rights high commissioner, Louise Arbour, this week condemned the stoning last Thursday of Jafar Kiani in a village 130 miles north-west of Tehran.

The punishment — carried out by several police officers and a judge — was an apparent snub to the judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who ordered the suspension of the stoning verdicts against Kiani and his partner, Mokarameh Ebrahimi.

But Jamshidi suggested Kiani's sentence had been upheld on the order of higher authorities to send a signal to the west. We are not obeying pressure from human rights groups. We are obeying religious regulations and our own laws, he told Iranian journalists.


16th July   Update: The Right to be Barbaric...
 

Preparation for Sharia Stoning

 
Iran defends stoning

See Video of Stoning to Death
Sign the petition: Stop Stoning Forever

From The Peninsula see full article

A top Iranian official yesterday defended the practice of execution by stoning after a sentence was carried out on an adulterer, saying the punishment was legal and in line with Iran’s rights commitments.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary’s human rights committee, said the judiciary supported the principle of stoning after confirmation last week of the execution sparked international condemnation: Stoning is based on Islamic sharia law and it is not contrary to any of our international obligations. We have signed four important treaties on human rights. None of them has any opposition to stoning.

 

10th July   Faith Under Threat...
 
Pakistan flag


Death threats to Christians in Pakistan

From Salem Voice see full article

Islamist militants in Pakistan have threatened to kill 10 Christian clerics in Southern Punjab's Khanewal district if they did not embrace Islam and stop preaching Christianity.

We are feeling insecure and unsafe today because of these threatening letters from Muslim fanatics, said Provincial lawmaker Naveed Amer Jeeva, coordinator of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).

The letters ordered: embrace Islam, stop preaching Christianity and quit your faith otherwise the countdown of your life has begun.

On June 12 Christians in Shantinagar village had also received anonymous letters written in Urdu asking them convert to Islam or leave the area. The letters were sent to 10 religious, political and social leaders of this mainly Christian village.

Shantinagar village has about 3,000 Christians and 500 Muslim residents.

Update: Facing Death

2nd September 2007

The most recent episode dates to August 25th: Christians of Shantinagr, a Christian village in south Punjab, were invited to convert or face death.

The letter reads: We have already sent you letter some times back but you did not follow our advice. We know, you have torn or burnt the letter. Through this action you have committed blasphemy so you are liable to death. We will only leave you alone if you will follow our demand otherwise you will be killed.

 

10th July

  Wise Council
 
Blasphemy: Art that Offends book

 
Council of Europe calls for repeal of blasphemy laws

From the National Secular Society see full article
See also Preliminary Resolution

The Council of Europe passed a resolution last week calling on member states to repeal all laws relating to blasphemy. It also said that religious groups must accept that in a free society their activities and doctrines cannot be protected from criticism and open examination.

The only restrictions on public debate about religion should be dictated by public order concerns and incitement to hatred and violence, the Council resolved.

The resolution, which was passed with a large majority in Strasbourg, said that criticism of religious groups should be tolerated in democratic societies. However, the council put a limit on religious criticism and freedom of opinion: it was not allowed to incite hatred, disturb the public order or be targeted at members of religious groups.

Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society commented: Freedom of expression is the bedrock of democracy, indeed of our civilisation. The Council of Europe stands out among international organisations in recognising the potential damage to freedom of expression from religion and not caving in to the huge pressure for massively extended blasphemy laws. If only the United Nations and, to a lesser extent, the European Union we are far-sighted in this respect.

 

9th July   Rage Boy...
 
Rage Boy


Meeting the 'easily enraged' face of muslim protests

Based on an article from the Middle East Online see full article

He has become the face of Muslim fury: an angry young man whose bushy beard and fiery-eyed scowl take centre stage at nearly every pro-Islamic demonstration in Indian Kashmir.

Shakeel Bhat, 31, has been displaying his teeth and shaking his fist over anything from Salman Rushdie's knighthood to Danish cartoons, becoming a photographers' favourite and earning himself the nickname "Rage Boy" in online columns and blogs.

Whatever I do, I do for God, said Bhat, who admits to having been an armed militant between 1991 and 1994 with a pro-Pakistan rebel group: I can't resist injustice. I protest for all the oppressed Muslims in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

If my photographs get published across the world, it is because my emotions are real …. The photos show the anger inside, said the full-time demonstrator, who when off the street looks distinctly modest and a little shy.

Bhat has been detained more than 300 times since he first took to the streets of Srinagar in late 1997. Police have registered 40 cases against me for taking part in the protests and I have to shuttle from one court to another to defend myself. I've been in almost every police station.

Although not a Shiite Muslim, he says his inspiration is Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Apart from drawing ridicule from bloggers, Bhat has even inspired one American neoconservative website to push "Rage Boy" merchandise, including T-shirts, beer mugs, mouse pads.

 

9th July   Religious Prison...
 
Malaysia flag


Malaysia practising a distinctly moderate form of humanity

Based on an article from the BBC see full article

People A Malaysian woman held for months in an Islamic prison says she was subjected to mental torture for insisting her religion is Hinduism.

Revathi Massosai, the name by which she wants to be known, says she was forced to eat beef despite being a Hindu.

Miss Massosai was seized by the Islamic authorities in January when she went to court to ask that she be registered as a Hindu rather than a Muslim. Miss Massosai was born to Muslim converts and given a Muslim name, but she was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother and has always practised that faith.

However, under Malaysia's Islamic law, having Muslim parents makes one a Muslim and, as such, one is not allowed to change one's faith or marry a non-Muslim. But Miss Massosai married a Hindu man in 2004 and the couple have a young daughter.

When in January she asked a court to officially designate her a Hindu she was detained and taken to an Islamic prison. Her detention was twice extended to six months, during which time she says religious officials tried to make her pray as a Muslim and wear a headscarf.

However, the claim that will particularly shock Hindus is that the camp authorities tried to force her to eat beef.

A lawyer representing the Malacca state Islamic department responsible for Miss Revathi's arrest, rejected her allegations and said officials believe that she can still be persuaded to embrace Islam.

She is adamant that she will remain a Hindu. In the meantime, Miss Revathi and her daughter have been placed in the custody of her Muslim parents.


12th July   Update: Constitutionally Worthless...
 
Malaysia flag


Malaysian PM promises to look into lack of religious freedom

Based on an article from ABC see full article

Malaysia's prime minister has vowed to look into politically sensitive cases of Muslims renouncing Islam in favour of other religions.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says Islamic religious authorities should be ready to handle apostasy cases.

His comments came days after a Malaysian woman accused Islamic religious police of intimidation and mental torture during a six-month detention for renouncing Islam in favour of the Hindu religion.

Religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution which is proving worthless in practice. Malaysia's sharia courts don't allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring to send apostates to counselling and, ultimately, fining or jailing them if they refuse to desist.


27th July   Update: Intercourt Disputes...
 
Malaysia flag


Malaysia rules civil court to be used to settle muslim/non-muslim disputes

From Christian Today see full article

Malaysia's highest court has ruled that legal cases involving non-Muslims cannot be decided by sharia courts, drawing a line after a spate of high-profile cases that left many in legal limbo.

The Federal court, in a landmark judgement, held that disputes between a Muslim and a non-Muslim on family and Islamic matters should be settled in a civil court.

They (non-Muslims) can't be present to defend themselves in the sharia courts, Judge Abdul Hamid Mohamad was quoted by the daily as saying.

Malaysia's legal system has been bogged down by the conflicting jurisdictions between civil and sharia courts.

 

8th July   Blasphemy Bollox...
 

Indonesia flag

 
Indonesian draft blasphemy law discussed

From the Jakarta Post

Items regarding religion within the new draft of the Indonesian Criminal Code would encroach a person's private life and could be easily misinterpreted, analysts and experts said in a discussion last week.

The new draft of the Code put religious blasphemy in one chapter with eight articles, while the current one mentioned it in one article.

Stipulations included in the draft said, it was an offense to insult the greatness, teachings, characteristics of God; to besmirch and disparage the teachings of prophets and religious services; and it was prerequisite to protect officers of religion.

The draft reassured six recognized religions despite the country being home to hundreds of traditional beliefs and varying religious practices.

 

8th July   Tajikistan Bans Christianity...
 

Tajikistan flag

 
New draft law on religion

From AsiaNews.it see full article

Under Tajikistan’s new draft law on religion, children under the age of seven would not be able to receive a religious education, and all religious education in private home would be prohibited. Only Tajik nationals would be authorised to lead religious organisations, which would need 400 adult members per district to be registered

In response to the bill, 22 religious minorities present in the country, including Baha'is, Catholics and various Protestant denominations, sent a joint letter of concern to the Tajik President Emomalii Rahmon, the Majlisi Oli (Tajikistan’s parliament) and the state Religious Affairs Committee, in which they express their "deep anxiety" over the bill.

If adopted, it would not only require a religious group to have 400 adult members in a district, but they would have to 800 in a city away from Dushanbe and 1,200 in Dushanbe itself. It would also require 2,000 supporters to sign a registration application to found a monastery. This effectively bars most Christian groups from getting recognition since they have small communities of a few dozen members here and there. It will be almost impossible for any non-Muslim religious group to gain legal status.

Current legislation prohibits banning religious group and requires that official recognition be granted when requested by only 10 adult members.

 

7th July   Update: Holy Game Wars...
 

Resistance: Fall of Man game

 
Sony apologise but the church continues the conflict

From The Independent see full article

Sony have apologised "unreservedly" for featuring Manchester Cathedral in the computer game, Resistance: Fall of Man.

President of Sony Computer Entertainment Dr David A Reeves for the Manchester Evening News: It is clear to us that the connection between the congregation and the cathedral is a deeply personal and spiritual one.

As a result, it is also clear that we have offended some of the congregation by using the cathedral in our science fiction game.

It was never our intention to offend anyone in the making of this game, and we would like to apologise unreservedly to them for causing that offence, and to all parts of the wider community who we might also have offended.

Furthermore, we will ensure that Manchester Cathedral is never used as a setting in any future Sony Computer Entertainment video game.


A Sony spokesman said the firm now considered the matter closed and would not be making any further comment.

From The Times see full article

Manchester Cathedral is calling for all video games manufacturers to sign up to a new set of “sacred digital guidelines” to prevent future “virtual desecration” of religious buildings.

The guidelines, which will be debated at the Church of England’s General Synod in York this weekend, are released today as Sony issue an unreserved apology to the clergy and congregation of Manchester Cathedral for using the building’s interior as the setting for a violent computer game.

But cathedral clergy say the apology, due to be published in the Manchester Evening News today is not enough.

Sony has admitted that it did not receive permission from Manchester Cathedral to use its nave for a climactic gun battle in the game.

Dean of Manchester, the Very Rev Rogers Govender, said: We asked Sony to apologise unreservedly to the Cathedral and wider community for the offence caused. This they have done. We asked them to withdraw the game. They have refused to do this. We asked Sony to make a donation to community groups nominated by the Cathedral. They have not responded.

He said the Cathedral Chapter had drawn up what are believed to be the first ever Sacred Digital Guidelines to prevent a repeat episode. He called on all computer games manufacturers, not just Sony, to sign up to the new guidelines, published in the form of a code of conduct for the use of religious building interiors in the computer and digital domain.

Digital Guidelines code of conduct

  1. Respect our sacred spaces as places of prayer, worship, peace, learning and heritage.
  2. Do not assume that sacred space interiors are copyright free.
  3. Get permission from the faith leaders who are responsible for the building interiors you want to clone.
  4. Support the work of those engaged in resisting the culture of gun crime and those involved in promoting the work of conflict resolution.

Comment: Melon farmers suggestions re Digital Guidelines code of conduct

  1. Give all due respect for sacred spaces as places of prayer, worship, peace, learning and heritage but recognise they may also be used as places of indoctrination, incitement, violence, misinformation and pomposity.
  2. Do not assume that sacred space interiors are copyright free...they ARE copyright free
  3. If possible, get permission from the faith leaders who are responsible for the building interiors you want to clone. If not, fuck 'em.
  4. Support the work of those engaged in resisting the culture of gun crime and those involved in promoting the work of conflict resolution. But don't support religious organisations, they are more likely to cause conflict than resolve it.

 

14th July   Update: Resistance Against Nutters...
 

Resistance: Fall of Man game

 
Manchester Cathedral to get wider exposure with gamers.

So not only have Sony told the church that they will not suspend sales of Resistance Fall Of Man, they have upped the ante. They have announced that they will now bundle the game with all Playstation 3 consoles.

From XBoxer

Sony's new bundle launching on July 18th can only be sold to customers over the age of 18 in the majority of Europe. Due to PEGI classifications, 28 of the 29 participating members of PEGI have classified Resistance: Fall of Man as an 18+ certified videogame.

In the UK, PEGI didn't rate the game, but the BBFC have, and given it a 15. So, legally, people under the age of 15 are not allowed to buy the console.

 

6th July   Inciting Prosecution...
 

Behead those who insult islam placard

 
For incitement to murder via websites and demonstration

From the Daily Mail see full article

Malaysia's

A Muslim extremist who called for British troops in Iraq to be brought home in body bags faces a life sentence after he was convicted of inciting murder.

Mizanur Rahman ranted at a demonstration last February against the publication in Denmark of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Protesters had gathered at the Regent's Park mosque before marching on the Danish Embassy in Sloane Street to burn the country's flag.

The married father of one called for the massacre of coalition troops in Iraq, yelling: We want to see them coming home in body bags. We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad.

Prosecutor Brian Wright QC said: This was not idle chatter, but an exaltation to seek bloody revenge for what was felt to be a grave insult to the Muslim faith.

Rahman was found guilty after a retrial. The jury in the first trial last November convicted him of inciting racial hatred but could not agree on the charge of soliciting to murder - which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Rahman is expected to be sentenced with three other British Muslims who have all been found guilty of similar offences.

From The Telegraph see full article

Three men who used the internet to incite Muslims to wage murderous holy war against non-believers were jailed yesterday.

They included Younes Tsouli who hosted a jihadi chat site, which attracted a message from a purported group of 45 doctors who wanted to use car bombs and grenade rockets to launch attacks in the US. Tsouli, who also ran a site which regularly featured beheadings, was imprisoned for 10 years.

Tariq Al-Daour, who was also involved in a £1.8 million fraud, was jailed for six and a half years. The third man, Waseem Mughal, was given a seven-and-a-half-year sentence at Woolwich Crown court, south-east London.

All three pleaded guilty two months into their trial to inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder.

They are the first people to be convicted, effectively, of incitement to murder over the internet. The case is also the first prosecution to be based entirely on the distribution of jihadi material on the internet.


7th July   Comment: Inciting Censorship...
 

Behead those who insult islam placard

 
Censoring those who demand censorship

From Alan

I find this a difficult one.

I've got no time for the nutters getting their knickers in a twist about the Mohammed cartoons. In fact, I get a bit peeved about way in which the British press now routinely refers to "the Prophet Mohammed" (not just the the Grauniad, but even the Torygraph). That the bloke was a prophet is a specific theological tenet of Islam. The same papers don't similarly reinforce, say, Christian theological claims (e.g. "the Saviour Jesus Christ").

However, these convictions make me wonder. First of all, should we react to a demand for censorship by trying to censor the person who demands it? More generally, it looks as if these guys were convicted for calling for a right which is pretty unequivocal in international law - that of resisting foreign forces occupying your country. What would be a modern historians reaction to, say, the prosecution of a German in 1940 for saying that he thought Churchill's fight them on the beache" speech was a pretty good idea? Or the old song, reacting to Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, saying: Will you come to Abyssinia, will you come? Bring your own ammunition and your gun... A clear invitation to British citizens to go off to Abyssinia and kill Italian troops!

Remembering the miners' strike

From Alan

I think the trouble with this situation is that Muslims might reasonably conclude that they are being singled out.

Bloodthirsty chants are not uncommon on demonstrations.

Twenty-odd years ago, I remember a song at rallies in support of the miners' strike, which asked "What shall we do with Maggie Thatcher, come the revolution?" Answer: "Fling her to the bottom of the nearest pit shaft..." Likewise in other verses - "Ronnie Reagan? Fry, fry, fry the bastard"; "Leonid Brezhnev? Hang him from a crane in a Polish shipyard" (regarded as uncomradely by CPGB members!); "Norman Fowler? Wall him up with Maggie Thatcher"; "Norman Tebbit? Send him out to work on a YTS scheme"; "Norman Willis? (Ineffectual head general sec of the TUC, and blokes called Norman getting paranoid by now!) Hang, hang, hang the bastard".

No arrests.

And even closer to the present time, the speech that got George Galloway kicked out of the Labour Party celebrated Iraqi resistance, but he didn't get arrested.

 

19th July   Update: Cartoon Sentences...
 

Behead those who insult islam placard

 
Muslim protestors jailed for soliciting murder

From The Telegraph see full article

Three men were each sentenced to six years in prison yesterday for soliciting murder during a rally against a newspaper cartoon that offended Muslims around the world.

Mizanur Rahman, Umran Javed and Abdul Muhid were convicted at the Old Bailey in separate trials.

Judge Brian Barker, told the defendants: Your words were meant to ferment hatred and encourage killing.

Rahman, Javed and Muhid were jailed for six years for soliciting murder and three years concurrently for stirring up race hatred. Abdul Saleem,  was cleared of soliciting murder at his trial but convicted of inciting race hatred. He was jailed for four years.

As they were jailed, a group of about 40 demonstrators chanted and held placards outside the court.

Rahman was convicted of soliciting murder and inciting race hatred after calling for soldiers to be brought back from Iraq in body bags. Javed, from Birmingham, was recorded on video by the police shouting: Bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb USA. He was found guilty of soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred.

Muhid was found guilty of soliciting murder. He led a crowd in chanting Bomb, bomb the UK and had placards calling for annihilation.

Saleem was convicted of stirring up race hatred. He was heard to chant: 7/7 on its way and Europe you will pay with your blood. Judge Barker said the men had subjected London's multi-national citizens to a barrage of hatred and intolerance. Your words and behaviour were designed to encourage any young and impressionable person to perform a terrorist act in the name of religion with the indiscriminate carnage with which we are all too familiar.

 

6th July   Revealing Repression...
 

Religious policeman beating victim

 
Malaysian singer jailed for wearing backless dress

From the Reuters India see full article

Malaysia's religious police detained a Muslim singer at a popular club, saying too much of her back was exposed by a sleeveless blouse she wore while performing.

I was surprised when the officers told me this top was too revealing,
Noor Idayu said after being released from a night's detention on a bond of 1,000 ringgit ($290).

Siti Noor Idayu Abd Moin has been ordered to go before the sharia, or Islamic court, at Ipoh in the northern state of Perak, on Aug 6, to face charges of "revealing her body" and "promoting vice".

The singer was picked up along with four members of her band, and subjected to repeated breathalyser tests by officials in futile attempts to prove she had drunk liquor too.

 

6th July   Discriminatory Law...
 

Iran flag

 
3 Years and 10 lashes for protesting for Iranian women's rights

From the Daily Times see full article

An Iranian court has sentenced a women’s rights activist to almost three years in jail and 10 lashes for attending a banned rally, her lawyer said.

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh said Delaram Ali was her fourth client to be convicted over the protest that demanded equal rights for women in Iran. The women’s movement is expanding and it worries the government.

Sotoudeh said Monday’s sentence would be appealed, adding Ali was free on a bail of about $21,600. Ali received a total of 34 months on charges of participating in an illegal gathering, propaganda activities against the system and disrupting public order and peace.

Campaigners complain women face difficulties in getting a divorce and also decry unjust inheritance laws and the fact that their court testimony is only worth half that of a man’s. Iran says it does not discriminate against women and says its laws are based on the Islamic Sharia code.

Update: Appeal Refused

18th November 2007

The Iranian authorities have now dismissed Delaram Ali's appeal ad she has been ordered to serve her jail sentence

Update: Postponed

19th November 2007

Iran temporarily suspended the sentence of women's rights activist Delaram Ali for two weeks while officials decide whether to review her case.

 

4th July   Update: Las Masjid Under Siege...
 

Lal Masjid supporters


Pro Taliban mosque provokes Pakistan Government into action

From The Guardian see full article

The Pakistani army was preparing to storm a pro-Taliban mosque in central Islamabad early this morning, after a day of vicious street battles had left at least 12 people dead and 150 wounded.

A column of troops and armoured vehicles moved towards Lal Masjid, or the Red Mosque, where the electricity had been cut off and a curfew imposed. A government minister warned hundreds of armed students holed up inside to surrender. We ask them to lay down their arms. But if anyone comes out with weapons, he will be answered with bullets, deputy interior minister Zafar Waraich told a midnight press conference.

The dramatic siege was the culmination of months of simmering tension between authorities and the radical students, whose anti-vice campaign - including kidnapping alleged prostitutes and burning films - has embarrassed the president, Pervez Musharraf.

Heavy gunfire echoed across the capital from midday after a clash at a security checkpost triggered a five-hour gun battle. Masked students hid behind sandbags on the mosque roof, firing at police and rangers in the surrounding streets. Security forces returned a barrage of bullets and teargas shells. From the mosque loudspeaker a voice urged students to prepare for suicide bombings.

Hospital officials confirmed 12 people dead including at least four students, several civilians, a soldier, and a journalist. Mosque authorities claimed a higher toll.

 

4th July   Arranged Killing Supercedes Arranged Marriage...
 

Stop Honour Killings


Family murder in Italy

From Stop Honour Killings

A court in the north Italian city of Brescia has begun hearing the case against a Pakistani immigrant accused of having killed his own daughter.

It is alleged he did so because she had become too Western in her dress and manners. It could be the first case of "honour killing" in modern Italy.

Hina Saleem, 20, had worked as a waitress. She had an Italian boyfriend and wore Western clothes and make-up.

Police found blood all over her bedroom at the family home last August. Police also found her body in a shallow grave. Her throat had been slit.

Prosecutors believe her father killed her after discussing the matter at a council of male family members because she refused to change her ways and return to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.

At the hearing, a female judge opened and adjourned the case against Hina's father and three other male relatives accused of killing her.

Outside, a group of Muslim women demonstrated their solidarity with the victim - carrying a banner proclaiming "I am Hina". They were supported by the right-wing Italian MP Daniela Santanche - who was given police protection last year after being branded an infidel for comments she had made about the Muslim veil.

 

3rd July   Update: Appealing for Religious Freedom...
 

Apostasy CD cover


Apostasy appeal accepted by Egyptian Supreme Court

From Jerusalem Post see full article

An Egyptian court accepted an appeal from 45 Copts who were denied the right to reclaim their religious identities after they decided to convert back to Christianity from Islam.

A lower administrative court ruled against the plaintiffs on April 29, prohibiting them from restoring their Christian identities on their national identification cards.

Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court accepted their appeal and referred the case to a related committee that will make the final ruling, said Mamdouh Naklah, a lawyer for 12 of the plaintiffs.


25th July   Update: Not Yet Losing Belief in Religious Freedom...
 

Apostasy CD cover


Good words from Egyptian Mufti

From the Daily Times see full article

Egypt’s official religious adviser has ruled that Muslims are free to change their faith as it is a matter between an individual and God, in a move which could have far-reaching implications for the country’s Christians.

The essential question before us is that can a person who is a Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a posting on a Washington Post-Newsweek forum picked up by the Egyptian press on Tuesday. The act of abandoning one’s religion is a sin punishable by God on the Day of Judgement. If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment, he wrote.

In September, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court is to hear the case of 12 Copts who converted to Islam and have been prevented by the state from reverting to Christianity on the grounds that it is apostasy.


26th July   Update: Religious Freedom a Lost Cause...
 

Apostasy CD cover


Egyptian Mufti's good words retracted

From Middle East Times see full article

Egypt's mufti denies saying Muslims can choose their faith as had been reported by a US Washington Post-Newsweek forum on Islam.

"The quotes attributed to the mufti were never said during the interview published by the Washington Post," said a spokesman for Dar Al Iftaa, the body headed by the mufti.

The forum, entitled "Muslims Speak Out," had quoted Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa as saying that the essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can.

However, according to the denial, the mufti said that Islam forbids Muslims from renouncing their faith ... and that if a Muslim did they would be committing a mortal sin.

Sheikh Ali Gomaa said apostasy is a kind of subversion and a sort of crime that requires punishment.

Update: First Appeal Hearing Adjourned

2nd September 2007

An appeal by 12 Egyptian converts to Islam who wish to return to the Coptic Christian Church convened briefly on Saturday before being adjourned to November 17.

 

2nd July   Flooded by Bilge...
 
Quetzalcoatl


Nutter bishop says floods are a vengeful consequence of moral degradation

Based on an article from the Daily Mail see full article

The floods which claimed seven lives and deluged thousands of homes were the result of "moral degradation", a senior Church of England bishop said.

While stressing that those affected were innocent victims, they claimed the devastation was the consequence of the West's decision to ignore Biblical teaching, with an arrogant world reaping what we have sown.

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, whose district suffered horrendous flooding two years ago, believes the extreme weather is the direct consequence of mankind's lack of respect for each other, for the planet and for God.

He said: This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as environmental damage.

Comment: Bishop of Carlisle on the Radio

Thanks to Alan

See www.bbc.co.uk/blackcountry/content/articles/2006/03/28/les_ross_feature.shtml and click on "listen again". The link will be available for 7 days from broadcast

The interesting programme is the Les Ross show, broadcast at 1pm, Monday 2 July. You'll need to go forward to about 1 hr 37 minutes into the programme, when Les (who's gay) wonders what century we're in and refers to "a couple of bishops", he then has a break to play a song, and his main rant about the bishops of Carlisle and Liverpool comes in at just after 1 hr. 41 mins. The cuckoo sounds are marvellous.

Update: When is a bishop like a suicide bomber?

A searing critique by Thomas Sutcliffe

From The Independent see When is a bishop like a suicide bomber?

Update: Misquoted

20th July

The nutter Bishop of Carlisle claims to have been misquoted, he said: I did not say that the Yorkshire floods were God's action or because of recent legislation.

The way I see it is that all through Scripture - from Genesis 3, through Noah's flood, the period of Old Testament kingship, right through to Revelation - God views life as a whole; that is, our morality and the health of the land are all one piece.

The land is not neutral to us; it is God's, and for us to steward. If we want to enjoy its fruits then we must live God's way. That is the message all through Scripture.


The Bishop said: Of course we know that disasters have physical causes; but I believe that at such times we also do well to ask questions about our morality, as the book of Revelation does.

 

2nd July   Easing the Pain of Inhumanity...
 
Egypt flag


Egypt completely bans genital mutilation

From the BBC see full article

Egypt has announced that it is imposing a complete ban on female circumcision, also known as genital mutilation.

The announcement follows a public outcry after a young girl died during the operation. A ban was introduced nearly 10 years ago but the practice continued to be allowed in exceptional circumstances. The doctor who carried out the operation has been arrested.

A health ministry spokesman said no member of the medical profession would be allowed to perform the operation in public or private establishments. Those who broke the law would be punished, the spokesman said.

The new ban cancels out a provision that allowed the operation to be performed by qualified doctors in exceptional cases only.

Egypt's first lady, Susanne Mubarak, has spoken out strongly against female circumcision, saying that it is a flagrant example of continued physical and psychological violence against children which must stop.

The country's top religious authorities also expressed unequivocal support for the ban. The Grand Mufti and the head of the Coptic Church said female circumcision had no basis either in the Koran or in the Bible.

The practice is common among Muslim as well as Christian families in Egypt and other African countries, but is rare in the Arab world.

 

1st July   Torture Porn Viewers...
 
Iraq flag


Iraq murder squads stake out internet cafes

From X Biz see full article

Dozens of Iraqi citizens have been murdered after using the Internet to access adult websites.

We have received information from many sources that militants are operating spies inside Internet cafes just to find out who is browsing sites they have deemed offensive to Islam, Iraqi Aid Association spokesperson Fatah Ahmed said.

According to Ahmed, most of the killings and abductions have happened directly after the victim leaves an Internet café.

One victim of kidnapping and assault, university student Ibraheem Abdel-Qahar, told Al-Jazeera that he was kidnapped after leaving a café, then blindfolded, transported to what he believes was a house on the outskirts of Baghdad, and then beaten and tortured.

They told me to take off all my clothes and handcuffed me. They started to beat me and use cigarettes to burn my legs, Abdel-Qahar said, adding that he was beaten with an iron bar, and forced to drink chicken blood and his own urine.

Abdel-Qahar said that he was desperate, shouting questions at his abusers as to why they were assaulting him: After three hours of continuous torture they told me that it was because I was watching non-Muslim sites on the internet.

Armed marauders have not spared the proprietors who operate Internet cafés, either; in February, Internet café owners Fadhel Ibraheem and Youssef Ala’a were tortured and beheaded, reportedly for allowing access to adult sites in their café.

 

1st July   Religious Police in Chechnya...
 
Chechnya flag


Fishing expeditions for bribes and unmarried couples

From Prague Watchdog see full article

Chechen police officials see men and women who go walking after dark as violators of morality. After the first Chechen war, a similar view was taken by members of the Sharia Guard, and by all kinds of "Jamaats", which literally hunted loving couples.

A few days ago, my wife and I returned home from the house of a friend who lives a couple of bus stops away. It wasn’t very late, but it was dark. We walked along the street, and then sat down at a bus stop for a short rest, and were almost immediately surrounded by men in camouflage uniforms with submachine guns, says a 30-year-old resident of Grozny. They demanded to see our identity papers, and then began to ask questions about what the relation between us was. and what we are doing at a bus stop in the dark.

They took my passport and began to copy the data in it. When I said that that the woman with me was my wife, one of them asked if she had her documents on her. But she had left her passport at home. They didn’t believe us, of course, and began to threaten to take us down to the police station, where they would establish if it was true that we were man and wife. Fortunately, after lengthy arguments and explanations we were able to prove that we were who we said we were, and they let us go. As we left, they advised us not to go out walking at night. They behaved as if we’d committed some crime.

Things like this have happened before, 1998-99, when there were was a Sharia Guard, as well as various groups and 'Jamaats'," he says.

In those days many members of the Ichkerian security forces of Ichkeria literally went hunting for couples who were out on their own. At night they checked the cafés, parked cars, inspected parks and gardens. If they found a man and a woman, the couple were detained and taken to the base. Then the bargaining began. The detained couple were warned that the incident would be reported to their families, and a video was taken to make the arrest more convincing.

Naturally, in such cases, the hapless "chevalier" had to fork out money in order to save the honour of his lady. The amounts could range from a few hundred dollars to 1,500-2,000, depending on the circumstances. Adultery was one of the most serious crimes in Chechnya, and the perpetrators faced harsh penalties, including death. Now this "relic of the past" is returning in the form of raids on couples once again.

 

1st July   Religious Slavery...
 
Malaysia flag


Malaysian state increases penalty for proselytizing

From International Herald Tribune see full article

People who try to convert Muslims to other religions could face a whipping, a fine and longer prison terms in a state in northeast Malaysia.

The Kelantan state legislature have approved changes to the law providing for a maximum punishment of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of 10,000 ringgit (€2,080) for non-Muslims who preach to Muslims, said Hassan Mohamood, who heads the state's Islamic affairs government committee.

Proselytizing of Muslims is forbidden in Malaysia, where nearly 60% of the country's 26 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. Such cases are rare, and people found guilty face prison terms in most states. However, the amended penalties in Kelantan are believed to be the heaviest nationwide.

Malay Muslims who try to convert to other religions are often sent by Malaysian authorities for counseling and rehabilitation, and some have also been imprisoned for apostasy.