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31st December   

Update: Allah be Praised...

Malaysian christians allowed to continue using the word 'Allah'
Link Here  full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia

Herald logo The Malaysian government has reversed a decision to ban a Christian newspaper using the word 'Allah' to refer to God.

The government had threatened to refuse to give the Weekly Herald a publishing permit if it continued to use the word.

Now the government has back-tracked. In a fax to the Herald's editor, the government says it will get its 2008 permit, with no conditions attached.

Father Andrew Lawrence told the BBC he was delighted, saying prayers had been answered.

He blamed politics and a general election expected here in 2008 year for what he said were the actions of a few over-zealous ministers in the Muslim-dominated Malay government.  

 

31st December   

The Great Cabinet Maker in the Sky...

Cabinet and shadow cabinet surveyed about religious belief
Link Here

Puritans

Gordon Brown's ministerial team.
Left to right:
Women's Issues,
Patriotism & Jingoism,
Religious Observance,
Fun & Recreation,
Men's Issues 

The Mail on Sunday have been surveying cabinet ministers about their religious belief.

8 out of 22 Ministers are prepared to say they are Christians, while two admit to being atheists.

The Mail on Sunday also asked David Cameron and his Shadow Cabinet whether they believed in God. The Conservatives emerged as a more devout group, with 20 of the 30 frontbenchers professing to have faith.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Health Secretary Alan Johnson said categorically that they did not believe in God.

Peter Hain, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was prepared to admit he did not know whether God existed. His spokesman said: "He had a Christian upbringing but is now agnostic."

Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton appeared slightly unsure of his faith. When asked if he believed in God, his special adviser said: "Yes, I think so."

Alistair Darling, Geoff Hoon and Ed Miliband ducked the question, insisting religion was a "private matter", while the rest declined to comment.

The believers include Gordon Brown, son of a Presbyterian preacher, who has often spoken of how his church upbringing gave him a "moral compass".

The other seven confirmed believers are Jack Straw, Douglas Alexander, Ruth Kelly, Des Browne, Hazel Blears, Shaun Woodward and Andy Burnham.

Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, who is a member of the hardline Catholic sect Opus Dei, confirmed she did believe in God but chose not to elaborate.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears was the most outspoken in professing her Christian faith: "Yes, I do believe in God. I was brought up in the Methodist Sunday school and now attend church.

Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: Yes, I do go to church. I am a Catholic. It's a bit like being an Everton supporter – once a Blue always a Blue.

The Tory believers include Cameron – who plans to send his two younger children to Anglican primary schools – and one Muslim, Baroness Warsi, spokeswoman on Community Cohesion. She said: I am a Muslim by faith and part of that faith is a belief in God.

Intellectual David Willetts, the Universities spokesman, professed to believe in God but not as a conventional Christian deity: I am not a practising Christian. I believe in lots that we cannot understand. God is a symbol of those things that give life its meaning. It is about realising how small mankind is."

Two gave answers best described as agnostic. Housing spokesman Grant Shapps, who is Jewish, said: There may have been a catalyst to the Big Bang. I just do not know. If there is a God, I am quite certain that He does not require people to adhere to one particular church.

Andrew Mitchell, International Development spokesman, said: I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I do go to church, but only on high days and holidays.

Cheryl Gillan, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, said: Of course I believe in God. My father was a good Scottish Presbyterian although I was brought up in Cardiff. I have been to more churches than you've had hot dinners. But I am very low key. I have on occasion held on to my faith by my fingertips. Sometimes you ask if there really is a God.

Michael Gove, the Schools spokesman, said: I was brought up in the Church of Scotland and I attend an Anglican church. I am a believer in mainstream Christianity.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory Chief Whip, said: I am a Christian – perhaps not a very good one. Do I believe in a single being called God? That is a slightly different question.

Francis Maude, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said: I am a regular attender at church but I do not claim to be a saint.

 

31st December   

Pakistan Impersonating Civilisation...

Ahmadis persecuted for wrong flavour of nonsense
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flag Hardline clerics are using Pakistan's blasphemy laws to persecute members of a small Islamic splinter group they say are not proper Muslims.

The two million-strong Ahmadiyya community, based in Rabwah in the Punjab, risks charges of "impersonating Muslims" under the country's controversial religious laws.

Shameen Ahmad Khalid, a community leader, said: We have people serving long jail sentences for blasphemy or for 'posing as Muslims'.

The laws mandate three years' imprisonment for Ahmadis who dare to call themselves Muslims, call their places of worship mosques, recite the Koran or announce the azan, the call to prayer.

Twenty years ago, the people of Rabwah were charged with impersonating Muslims. Since the charges are still outstanding, the town's 50,000 inhabitants have to hide their Islamic habits, keep their beards trimmed and avoid using Muslim invocations.

Rabwah is surrounded by mosques whose clerics host prominent annual anti-Ahmadi rallies and bellow hateful slogans from their minarets' loudspeakers. In 2005 gunmen burst into an Ahmadi village mosque at prayer time and killed eight people and wounded most of the 30-strong congregation.

The Ahmadis' reverence for a prophet who lived in the 19th century offends the principle orthodox Muslim tenet that the Prophet Mohammed was the final prophet.

An amendment to Pakistan's constitution in 1974 declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. The anti-Ahmadi laws, which allow Ahmadis to be charged with impersonating Muslims, were promulgated by late dictator Gen Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s.

 

30th December   

Oh MY God...

Suing Malaysia for banning christians from using the word Allah
Link Here  full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia

Herald logo A church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word "Allah" can only be used by Muslims.

In the Malay language "Allah" is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries.

A spokesman for the Herald, the newspaper of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, said a legal suit was filed after they received repeated official warnings that the newspaper could have its licence revoked if it continued to use the word.

We are of the view that we have the right to use the word 'Allah', said editor Rev Lawrence Andrew.

The Sabah Evangelical Church of Borneo has also taken legal action after a government ministry moved to ban the import of religious children's books containing the word.

In a statement given to Reuters news agency, the church said the translation of the bible in which the word Allah appears has been used by Christians since the earliest days of the church.

There has been no official government comment but parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the decision to ban the word for non-Muslims on security grounds was "unlawful": The term 'Allah' was used to refer to God by Arabic-speaking Christians before Arabic-speaking Muslims existed .

 

30th December   

No Fiction Please, We're Muslims...

German TV episode offends
Link Here

Tatort logo One of Germany's most popular television series drew loud protests from a Muslim group over what they consider an unfavourable portrayal in the show's most recent episode.

The Alevi Muslim Community AABF called on its members to hold peaceful protests against the "slander and disparagement" contained in the Dec. 23 broadcast of Tatort , the German word for crime scene.

A criminal complaint has been filed by the group against NDR, the network that produced the program, accusing it of incitement to racial hatred.

It is appalling to us that a public and legitimate broadcaster would revive these centuries' old prejudices, said Ali Ertan Toprak, the secretary general of the Alevi community in Germany.

Members of the Alevi community in Berlin tried to stop the broadcast of the episode but were unsuccessful.

To answer the complaints, the network reiterated in the opening credits that the program was a work of fiction and in no way intended to harm religious feelings or rekindle prejudices against the Alevi community.

About 300 people protested outside the studios of Germany's public broadcaster ARD on Thursday, Dec. 27.

The episode in question is entitled To Whom Honor is Due and dealt with incest and murder within an Alevi family living in Germany.

During the course of the program, investigators discover that a young Alevi girl was murdered by her father after she confronted him about impregnating her sister.

 

30th December   

Fundamental Nonsense...

Archbishop of Wales rants against atheism
Link Here

Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world.

He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism". He said it led to situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels.

In his Christmas message, he said: Any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous.

The archbishop said "atheistic fundamentalism" was a new phenomenon. He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".

Morgan said: All of this is what I would call the new "fundamentalism" of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion. It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that because God is on our side, he is not on yours.

He said the nativity story in St Luke's Gospel, in contrast, had a message of joy and good news for everyone: God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety.

 

30th December   

No Barrier to Inhumanity...

Groom kills bride over suspicion of lost virginity
Link Here
Stop Honour Killings An Egyptian man has been charged with fatally stabbing his wife on their wedding night when he decided she was not a virgin.

Ibrahim Ali and Hoda Salem were married in the village of Al-Quba in the Nile Delta. On their wedding night, residents heard Salem screaming and found her on the floor, al-Arabiya reported.

Salem said that her husband had stabbed her. She died at the hospital.

Ali, after his arrest, said that he was unable to break his wife's hymen on the wedding night, leading him to conclude that she was sexually experienced.

Gynecologist Naglaa Ahmed said that in many cases new husbands are unable to break the hymen on the wedding night because of nervousness. In other cases, women have unusually tough hymens, requiring surgical intervention.

 

29th December   

Iran vs Satanic Verses...

Iran demands a ban on a Romanian translation
Link Here

Satanic Verses book cover The Iranian Embassy in Bucharest criticized the translation into Romanian of the book Satanic Verses , by Salman Rushdie. The Iranian diplomats condemned the publishing as a 'blasphemy' and even demanded the banning of the volume in Romania.

Romanian Patriarchy earlier criticized the publishing of the volume, considering that it wrongs the spiritual values and religious symbols, regardless the official religion that uses it.

 

28th December   

Censorial MPs Don't Like being Censored...

And for once oppose censorship
Link Here  full story: Gay Hate Law in the UK...Christian MPs and ban on anti gay speech

CCFON logo A group of nutter MPs has tabled an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.

Devout Roman Catholics Ann Widdecombe and Jim Dobbin are among the MPs attempting to amend the government's proposal to make incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence.

Christian Concern for our Nation, a pressure group which attempts to stand up against a tide of unChristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom, is urging its supporters to pressure MPs into supporting the new amendment.

Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, have been giving evidence to parliament's  scrutinising committee about the sort of incitement to homophobic murder and hatred that goes unchallenged. Chief executive Ben Summerskill quoted extensively from the homophobic lyrics of dancehall star Beenie Man and others to demonstrate the nature of their comments about gay men and lesbians.

Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation. One might also want to look at the context in which any expression is made that people should be killed or put to death because they are homosexual.

The homophobic incitement provisions were later passed by the whole committee, and none of the Tory MPs voted against them.

The new amendment from Christian MPs reads:

Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.

Among the MPs asking for the right to show antipathy towards their gay constituents are: Lib Dems Colin Breed (South East Cornwall) and Alan Beith (Berwick Upon Tweed); Conservatives Philip Hollobone (Kettering) and Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and the Weald); and Labour MPs David Taylor (North West Leicestershire) and Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton).

 

28th December   

Permit to Repress...

Police arrest Egyptian christians collecting to rebuild church
Link Here

Egypt flag Egypt officials arrested 13 Christians earlier this week for collecting donations to rebuild a church without a permit, their lawyer said.

The group of believers, who work in a church in the southern city of Assiut, had been collecting money to rebuild a church in another southern town called Saqulta.

Security authorities had arrested eight men and five women and deployed troops to surround local churches. After hours of interrogation, the group was cleared of any terror related charges but continued to be imprisoned because they collected donations without a valid permit, according to their lawyer.

Christians in Egypt remain a small and largely powerless minority that often complains about discrimination – which ranges from social to economic to religious oppression – in the Muslim-dominated society. One of their main complaints is about the requirement to obtain a license to build or rebuild churches when Muslims can build mosques anywhere and without requesting a permit.

 

28th December   

Relieved...

Backing off from promises of sharia in Kenya
Link Here

Kenya flag Muslim leaders in Kenya have denied reports that the presidential candidate for the opposition has promised to introduce Sharia law if he is elected.

The National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namlef) said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement in order to end existing discrimination against Muslims, and not to implement Sharia law.

Christian leaders called for the pact between frontrunner Odinga and Namlef to be made public. The MOU was originally signed on 29 August 2007.

Namlef responded by making the MOU public in late November following concerns aroused by a document on the internet claiming that Odinga had promised to introduce Sharia law in Muslim majority areas.

Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi of Namlef said: There was a fear that Muslims will force their faith on other people, Islam does not allow suppression of other religions and we will be the last to advocate for this.

The MOU which has now been made public says that Odinga in fact promised only to defend Muslims against harassment and victimisation by the state security forces who claim they are fighting terrorism.

 

27th December   

Update: Ordered Into Hiding...

Taslima Nasreen held is safe house
Link Here  full story: Taslima Nasreen...Writer offends Indian muslims

Shame book cover Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen said she was ordered to go into hiding in India to avoid renewed protests over her "anti-Islamic" writings.

Nasreen said that she would not be allowed to return to Kolkata for now.

Nasreen, speaking from an undisclosed safe house in New Delhi, said she protested against the restrictions allegedly imposed on her by unspecified Indian agencies.

I told the government officials that I am not a criminal that I will not be allowed to return to Kolkata. I told the officials that I be allowed to lead a normal life at least in New Delhi, she said.

Nasreen alleged she was being held against her will: I have been put into solitary confinement.... I have not done anything wrong. Why should I not be able to meet my friends and relatives and I have to live in Kolkata .

A senior official from India's home ministry, which is in charge of her security, rejected the purported charges. The entire exercise is to keep Ms. Nasreen safe, very, very safe, even in New Delhi, the officer told AFP on the condition that she was not identified by name or rank.

 

27th December   

Burkha or Die...

Senior Iranian cleric calls for the death women not wearing burkhas
Link Here

Burkha The “Religion of Peace” has been sounding off again – with the language of violence.

Atop Muslim cleric in Iran, Hojatolislam Gholam Reza Hassani, declared this week that women in Iran who do cover themselves up should die. And not only them, but their husbands and fathers too!

Hassani said: I do not understand how these women who do not respect the hijab, 28 years after the birth of the Islamic Republic, are still alive. These women and their husbands and their fathers must die.

Hassani is the representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in eastern Azerbaijan.

 

27th December   

Azerbaijanis don't have the right...

To meet for religious purposes just where they want
Link Here

Azerbaijan Police in Azerbaijan's second city Gyanja have threatened Adventist pastor Elshan Samedov with prison, if he refuses to ban children from attending worship services and does not halt worship in two church-owned properties.

People don't have the right to meet for religious purposes just where they want, Major Alovset Mamedov told Forum 18 News Service, they need to have permission.

Major Mamedov demanded that Pastor Samedov sign a statement that he would prevent children from attending services in future, but he refused to do this. Following a separate raid in the capital Baku, police tried to pressure eight Adventists into giving up their faith and fined them under the Administrative Code for holding meetings not connected with the conducting of religious rituals with the aim of attracting young people and youth.  

 

26th December   

Liberation Army Against Freedom...

Lighting a firecracker under the arse of the easily offended
Link Here

Laaf page Dutch government firework safety ads featuring a spoof Islamist terrorist group have been criticised as insensitive and depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community.

The online ads, made for the Dutch government's consumer safety institute, have been made to look like a video message filmed by an Islamist military organisation called the Liberation Army Against Freedom.

Featuring a group led by an Osama bin Laden lookalike figure at their camp, the viral ads are dubbed into Iraqi-accented Arabic and have versions with subtitles in Dutch and English.

The tone is intended to be humorous, with the terrorist group seen receiving a shipment of fireworks like an arms cache, wearing suicide vests made of firecrackers, and bungling efforts to demonstrate to you our true power by blowing themselves up.

However, the light treatment of such a serious issue has angered some industry insiders.

What is the campaign hoping to achieve by depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community in a fireworks advert? said Saad Saraf, the chief executive of multicultural marketing specialists Media Reach Advertising.

Saraf, an Iraqi, was particularly offended by images in one ad that show one person strap fireworks around him in a style similar to a suicide belt, which later explodes.

This is insensitive to society as a whole. Suicide bombings have destroyed many thousands of lives - using them in a humorous way is totally inappropriate. Are these adverts then for people who have not been affected by terrorism, suicide bombings and the invasion of Iraq in some way? said Saraf.

However, Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, did not think the ads were particularly offensive: I thought they were very humorous public safety films, he responded by email after being sent several links to the ads: Obviously there will always be some who find it to be in bad taste, but I thought it was done light-heartedly and funny and with clear educational value.

 

25th December   

This Little Piggy Pissed off Qatar...

Piglet censored
Link Here

Angry Piglet A discussion about censorship of a children’s book on community forum Qatar Living has been censored by Qtel, an online news portal

The blocked webpage details a parent’s visit to a local bookshop, where he finds that a copy of a Winnie the Pooh encyclopaedia has been edited to remove images of Disney’s Piglet character.

The description is illustrated with photos of the censored book, following which there is a discussion by readers about whether looking at a cartoon piglet is forbidden.

 

25th December   

Feminism is Terrorism...

Iran charges women activists with terrorism
Link Here

Iran flag Iran has charged women's rights activists Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi with acting "against national security" by allegedly participating in terrorist acts.

The two women were arrested in October and are accused of having connections to Kurdish leftist group Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) and of using their feminist advocacy as a front for terror activity.

Iranian officials denied that their arrest was related to their opposition to "discriminatory" laws against women.

Safarzadeh and Abdi were arrested following their involvement with a campaign to help collect one million signatures protesting Iran's interpretation of Sharia law, under which women must obtain their male guardian's permission to work or travel, are prohibited from serving as judges, and their testimony is given only half the value of a man's.

Amnesty International has called for action against their detention, saying that they were detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association.

 

24th December   

Reserved Words...

Malaysian catholic paper cannot use the word 'Allah'
Link Here  full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia

Herald logo Authorities in Malaysia have threatened not to renew the publishing license of a Catholic weekly newspaper if it continues to use the word "Allah" in its Malay language section, Catholic and government officials said.

The Herald, the organ of Malaysia's Catholic Church, has translated the word God as "Allah" but it is erroneous because Allah refers to the Muslim god, said Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications control department, in remarks monitored by BosNewsLife. Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people, Che Din added.

However church sources say the Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God. We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in
church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah,
Reverend Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, told reporters.

Yet, Che Din said there are four Malay words that must not be used by other religions, he said: Allah for God, "solat" for prayers, "kaabah" for the place of Muslim worship in Mecca and "baitula" the house of Allah. The weekly should instead, use the word "Tuhan" which is the general term for God, he reportedly said.

The Herald's permit will only be renewed in two weeks if they stop using Allah in their publication.

 

24th December   

Blasphemy, Mother of All Repressive Laws...

2 men sentenced to 6 months for blasphemy in Sudan
Link Here

Sudan flag A Khartoum court has sentenced two Egyptians to six months in prison for marketing a book that is deemed offensive to Aisha, one of Prophet Mohammed’s wives.

Abdel Fattah Abdel Raouf and Mahrous Mohammed Abdel Aziz were sentenced under article 125 of Sudan’s penal code, the same section under which U.K. teacher Gillian Gibbons was convicted after allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Justice Minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardhi said Dec. 11 following the pair’s arrest that they were guilty of bringing over the book entitled Aisha, mother of believers, devoured her sons from bookseller and publisher Madbouli in Egypt and selling it in Sudan.

The book contains blasphemous passages and particularly despicable offenses to the prophet and to the mother of believers, as Aisha is often called, Mardhi said at the time.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) said the book was titled Aisha: The Wife of Prophet Mohamed and that: The arrest is a flagrant violation of freedom of opinion and expression.

HRinfo said the Egyptians found themselves in danger when a radical islamist had bought the book and in turn informed the authorities about its contents.

Madbouly had already received permission from the Sudanese censorship authoritie s to distribute the book, written by London-based Syrian writer Nabil Fayyad, before arriving in Khartoum for the festival.

Another book confiscated at the book fair was about the Shiites, a book called Darfur, the history of war and genocide, published by Horizons House.

Egypt requested an explanation from the Sudanese authorities.

 

24th December   

Update: Winter Morality Campaign...

Iranian police close internet cafes and smoking rooms
Link Here  full story: Dress Code in Iran...Religious police enforce repressive dress code

High heeled boots Iranian police have closed down 24 Internet cafes and other coffee shops in as many hours, detaining 23 people, as part of a broad crackdown on immoral behavior in the Islamic state.

The action in Tehran province was the latest move in a campaign against fashion and other practices deemed incompatible with Islamic values, including women wearing high boots and barber shops offering men Western hair styles.

Using immoral computer games, storing obscene photos ... and the presence of women wearing improper hijab were among the reasons why they have been closed down, Colonel Nader Sarkari, a provincial police commander, said.

Sarkari told the official IRNA news agency that police had inspected 435 coffee shops in the past 24 hours, and 170 had been warned.

Many young Iranians are avid users of the Internet, some using chat rooms to socialise with the opposite sex. Mingling between sexes outside marriage is banned and many Web sites considered unIslamic are blocked by the authorities.

In a separate campaign, IRNA said police had inspected 275 restaurants in the capital to check compliance with a new ban on smoking in public places. The ban includes water pipes, known in Iran as qalyan, offered in some outlets. Of those, 138 received a warning and 17 were shut down, police official Mohammad Reza Alipour said.

 

23rd December   

O Come All Ye Faithless...

Borders offends nutters with jokey Christmas card
Link Here

Borders logo A Christmas card reading O come all ye faithless has been strongly criticised by Christians as an ill judged and insensitive joke .

Borders bookshop began giving away the card free for everyone who bought Richard Dawkins’ well known atheist work, The God Delusion this Christmas.

Rev Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain said the idea was “crass”: I am quite sure that Borders intended their Christmas card as a joke. However, I personally find it an ill-judged and insensitive joke. Christians have always been used to being punch bags but I would have hoped that, in a society in which we are seeking to show respect to all people and beliefs, we might have grown out of this kind of nonsense.

He was supported by Justin Thacker, head of theology at the Evangelical Alliance, who said: It won't surprise me if this spectacularly fails. Christmas still holds a high place in people's hearts - I think a lot of people will be offended by it. Borders wouldn't do this to any other religious festival. Borders have made a strategic mistake and Christians will boycott it.

Borders have responded to the criticism by issuing a statement which said it did not intend it as anti-Christian or a swipe at the Christian faith , and said that it apologises to any of our customers who feel it was that , reports Baptist Times.

 

22nd December   

Tacky Comments...

Nutters whinge at jokey nativity advert
Link Here

Betta Electronics advert still Australian nutters have branded a television commercial depicting the baby Jesus tossing gifts back at the three wise men as tacky and offensive.

The ad for electronic goods retailers Betta Electrical recreates the Christian nativity scene, showing three wise men offering gifts to baby Jesus as he lies in the manger.

The commercial, which has angered Anglican and Catholic leaders, shows Jesus throwing gifts out of the manger as the words Give a better gift flash on the TV screen.

Christian leaders criticised the ad, calling it a tacky and offensive exploitation of religious imagery which perverts the true meaning of Christmas.

This ad comes within the orbit of tacky Christmas things , senior Sydney Anglican bishop Glenn Davies told The Daily Telegraph: The gifts that the wise men were giving were appropriate for a king, so the notion that Jesus would reject them is absurd.

A spokesman for Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell said the use of Christ was inappropriate: The advertisement is interesting because it shows how commercialised Christmas has become .

But Julieanne Worchurst, marketing manager at BSR Group which operates more than 170 Betta Electrical stores, said the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek and humorous approach to the gift giving season. We accept that this could have been seen as offensive, but that was not the intention at all. The ad was never intended to upset or disrupt people's Christmas.

Worchurst said while the company had received just two complaints from viewers.

 

22nd December   

Who is the Messiah?...

Supporting the hype for the Christmas Dr Who
Link Here

Dr Who Season 3 The BBC has provoked controversy over a Christmas Day Doctor Who special that uses religious imagery to depict the Time Lord as a “messiah”. Voyage of the Damned , starring Kylie Minogue, is expected to be the holiday viewing highlight.

However, Christian groups expressed concern that the imagery employed was inappropriate for a BBC One Christmas evening show.

The Doctor (David Tennant) must save a group of passengers after the Titanic, now a futuristic space vessel, is holed by a meteorite storm.

He convinces the despairing survivors to believe in his powers after ascending through the ship’s decks, carried by a pair of robotic angels. Russell T. Davies, the writer and executive producer of the revived series, said: The series lends itself to religious iconography because the Doctor is a proper saviour. He saves the world through the power of his mind and his passion.

Stephen Green, of the evangelical group Christian Voice, said: The Doctor would have to do a lot more than the usual prancing around to be a messiah. He has to save people from their sins.

But Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: Science fiction at its best helps to illuminate eternal themes, and that’s something the Church can happily work with.

 

22nd December   

Isna No Peace...

Egyptian Police arrest 7 after muslim riot against Christian shops
Link Here

Church set on fire Police arrested at least seven Egyptian Muslims after a riot in the southern city of Isna on Sunday that left at least 13 Christian-owned shops smashed up or burned and a church front damaged.

They said a car and a motorcycle owned by Christians were also burned and it appeared the rioters had attempted to burn the church.

Tensions have been high in the city for several days with a number of incidents threatening to escalate into sectarian clashes. Police have upgraded their presence.

The tensions appear to have started when an angry crowd of Muslims surrounded and smashed up a Christian-owned store on Wednesday, where they suspected a Muslim girl was having sex with two Christian boys.

Sunday's riot comes after an altercation last night that saw a Christian shop-owner accuse a Muslim woman of stealing a mobile phone from his shop. The woman was cleared by authorities and released.

Update: Compensation

4th January 2008

The Egyptian Government has given 1,265,000 Egyptian pounds (US$230,000) in compensation to 17 Coptic Christians whose property was damaged by a mob of angry Muslims.

 

21st December   

Hopeless Whingers...

The Vatican rails at The Golden Compass
Link Here

Dark Materials Trilogy The Vatican has condemned the film The Golden Compass , which some have called anti-Christian, saying it promotes a cold and hopeless world without God.

In a long editorial, the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, also slammed Philip Pullman, the bestselling author of the book on which the family fantasy movie is based.

It was the Vatican's most stinging broadside against an author and a film since it roundly condemned The Da Vinci Code in 2005 and 2006.

In Pullman's world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events, the editorial said.

In the fantasy world created by Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials , the Church and its governing body the Magisterium, are linked to cruel experiments on children aimed at discovering the nature of sin and attempts to suppress facts that would undermine the Church's legitimacy and power.

In the film version all references to the Church have been stripped out, with director Chris Weitz keen to avoid offending religious cinema goers.

Still, some Catholic groups in the United States have called for a boycott, fearing even a diluted version of the book might draw people to read the bestselling trilogy.

 

21st December   

Coke Slite...

Russian nutters object to coke adverts featuring churches
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols

Russian cola Prosecutors in Russia say they are studying a complaint accusing Coca-Cola of insulting Orthodox Christian beliefs in an advertising campaign.

They say the complaint was lodged by 440 residents of the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod earlier this month.

It accuses Coca-Cola of blasphemy through using adverts with images of Orthodox churches and crosses, some of which were even put upside down.

" Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures," the complaint said: Some images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses .

Coca-Cola officials have defended the company's marketing approach, saying it was promoting Russia's cultural heritage.

 

21st December   

No Phone No Religion...

Kazakhstan refuses registration of religions
Link Here

Kazakhstan flag Lack of work phone numbers for the founders of the Jehovah's Witness community in the Caspian Sea port of Atyrau on its registration application was enough for the regional Justice Department to deny legal status.

Jehovah's Witness lawyer Yuri Toporov complained to Forum 18 News Service of "ridiculous excuses" in rejecting this and all the community's previous applications since 2001. Law professor Roman Podoprigora told Forum 18 that state bodies sometimes use "just any excuse", even an insignificant one, to reject religious communities' registration applications.

Atyrau Region officials have denied legal status to at least two local Protestant churches, and this summer pressured an independent Muslim community to hand over its mosque to the state-backed Muftiate.

Unregistered religious activity in Kazakhstan is illegal and punishable. Local Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants have been fined for unregistered worship.

 

20th December   

Incompatible with Free Speech...

Author under Canadian duress for muslim incompatibility idea
Link Here  full story: Human Rights in Canada...Canada's Human Rights works against free speech

America Alone book Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book America Alone .

The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt" for Muslims.

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech."

 

20th December   

Advent of Repression...

Police raid church in Azerbaijan
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Azerbaijan...State dissalows the practise of most religions

Azerbaijan flag Neighbourhood police officer Elhan Sokhbetov, who took part in an 8 December raid on a Baku Adventist congregation's worship service, denied that it was a raid. Asked why 13 police officers had raided the service, why eight church members had been held for five hours, insulted, threatened and fined he responded: No-one was threatened.

Pastor Rasim Bakhshiyev told Forum 18 he was warned they would be imprisoned if they meet again for worship. They tried to make us sign statements that we had been led astray in coming to services and that we were renouncing our faith. This was a crude violation of the law.

 

20th December   

Church Protection...

Police defend Indonesian church against muslim attack
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Indonesia...Muslim group targeting Indonesian churches

Church set on fire Indonesian security forces have prevented an attack by about 50 Muslim militants on the troubled Pasundan Christian Church in West Java Province, the second act of violence against the Protestant congregation in two weeks.

Netherlands-based Open Doors, which supports Christians allegedly persecuted for their faith, said two trucks of police officers arrived December 2, just several hours earlier than the planned attack to protect the building against suspected members of the Anti Apostasy Movement Alliance' (AAMA).

The latest incident came after some 250 radical Muslims of AAMA forced their way into the Pasundan Christian Church on November 18.

Although the church already exists over five decades, the municipality authorities have refused to give official permission to use the building for worship services apparently under pressure of Islamic leaders and militants, several sources have said.

 

19th December   

Archbishop of Intolerance...

Latvian cardinal calls for anti-gay prime minister nominations
Link Here

Quetzalcoatl A Roman Catholic Cardinal has suggested that gay people should be banned from political office.

Latvia's Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis resigned last week and the Archbishop of Riga Janis Pujats warned new candidates not to support LGBT related issues.

He asked that all candidates running for the post of Prime Minister state whether they intended to defend the Latvian nation against the invasion of homosexuality in public life. Anyone who is not a stern advocate of the people's moral values, must neither run nor be nominated for prime minister, he said, urging candidates to give a public answer on the issue, as he said people were entitled to it.

 

19th December   

Islamic Scarf...

Traditionally used to strangle errant daughters?
Link Here

Scarf A Canadian man has appeared in court in Toronto accused of killing his 16-year-old daughter, reportedly over her refusal to wear a traditional Islamic head scarf.

Police received an emergency call from Muhammad Parvez who said that he had just killed his daughter.

The girl, who was allegedly choked, later died in hospital. Her father was arrested at the scene, and appeared in court on murder charges on Wednesday.

The girl's friends told local media that Aqsa, an eleventh grade student, had had trouble at home over recent months: She wanted to go different ways than her family wanted her to go, and she wanted to take her own path, but he [her father] wouldn't let her, a classmate said.

The daily Toronto Star cited another girl as saying, she loved clothes... she just wanted to show her beauty ... She just wanted to dress like us, just like a normal person.

However, some Muslim groups have urged the media not to sensationalize the story, saying that the head scarf, or hijab, may have just been "one of many issues."

 

19th December   

Sticking the Boot In...

Iranian police take it on themselves to ban high boots
Link Here  full story: Dress Code in Iran...Religious police enforce repressive dress code

High heeled boots Several clerics sitting as MPs in the Iranian parliament have criticised the Tehran police chief for showing excessive zeal by ordering a crackdown on women's high boots, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

No officials have the right to mix religion with emotions and issue decrees and implement them on behalf of clerics, clerical MP Seyed Hadi Tabatabai said: Such behaviour tarnishes Islam.

The police last week launched what was termed a "winter" crackdown on unIslamic dressing, to follow an unusually vigorous summer drive against women whose clothing was deemed overly flimsy.

Tehran police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said women who wear high boots with their trousers tucked-in would be targeted by the moral police, as well as those who sport hats instead of headscarves and short tight winter coats.

 

18th December   

Update: Lashings of Bad Press...

Saudi king pardons rape victim
Link Here

Protestor with barbaric rule A Saudi woman sentenced to 200 lashes after she was gang-raped has been pardoned by the country’s leader, King Abdullah.

The woman, known only as Qatif Girl after the area where the crime occurred, had also been sentenced to six months in prison as punishment for being alone in a car with a man who was not a relative.

However Saudi Arabia's al-Jazira newspaper reported today that King Abdullah had pardoned the woman.

Saudi Justice Minister, Abdullah bin Muhammed, told the newspaper that the pardon did not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people."

There was an international outcry when a Saudi court handed down the flogging sentence last month. Her offence was in meeting a former boyfriend, whom she had asked to return pictures he had of her because she was about to marry another man, in 2006. The couple was sitting in a car when a group of seven Sunni men kidnapped them and raped them both.

Update: Apparently not pardoned

28th September 2013. See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

Saudi lawyer Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim had the temerity to draw the world's attention to the fact that a court had sentenced a 19-year-old rape victim to 90 lashes.

The resultant publicity so enraged the Saudi judiciary it has INCREASED the sentence imposed on the young woman to 200 lashes, plus six months in jail.

And the court punished al-Lahem too -- banning him from further defending the woman, confiscating his license and summoning him to a disciplinary hearing later this month. Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim

The justice ministry implied the victim's sentence had been increased because the media had been alerted. A statement issued by the official Saudi Press Agency said:

For whoever has an objection on verdicts issued, the system allows to appeal without resorting to the media.

 

18th December   

The Great Unwashed...

Egypt arrests 22 for practising a variation of islam
Link Here

Egypt flag Egyptian authorities have arrested 22 men including three Lebanese and a Kazakh national on charges of membership in an illegal organisation and contempt for religion.

The source said the men belong to the al-Ahbash sect, considered heterodox by many Islamic clerics, and said they possessed literature outlining their beliefs.

Among the group's unorthodox beliefs cited by the judicial source are permitting Muslims to pray without ablutions, contrary to established Muslim practice, and seeking blessings from graves.

The men had suppsoedly been attempting to spread their beliefs on the campuses of al-Azhar University, Egypt's prestigious centre of Sunni Islamic learning, and had managed to recruit a number of followers.

The Egyptian constitution 'guarantees' freedom of religion... BUT... the Egyptian penal code contains penalties for broad offences such as contempt for religion, and these are sometimes used for closing down unorthodox religious groups.

 

18th December   

No Faith in Cooperation...

Indonesian muslims get church shut down
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Indonesia...Muslim group targeting Indonesian churches

Church set on fire A Catholic priest in Indonesia has been prevented from celebrating mass by the authorities after a group of Muslims challenged the legal status of Christ’s Peace Church in South Duri, West Jakarta.

The pressure by Muslim extremists led the officials of Tambura Sub-district to ban the activities of the church in a bid to avoid supposed “social tensions”.

A few weeks ago a Muslim group called the Cooperation Forum for Mosque, Prayer Rooms and Koranic Group of Duri Selatan, challenged the legal status of the church, saying that they do not have the correct permits needed for places of worship.

 

16th December   

The Bull's Head...

Ukraine nutters whinge at Damien Hirst exhibit
Link Here

Romance in the Age of Uncertainlty The Orthodox Church in the Ukraine is unhappy. Ukraine’s Orthodox believers held a prayer manifestation in protest against an exhibition of the local businessmen and arts patron, Viktor Pinchuk, in a Kiev art-center, which they considered blasphemous.
They demanded that the organizers should remove a blasphemous exposition named Jesus and twelve apostles . It is a horrific exposition, where ‘the holy apostles’ are presented as 12 cows and bulls heads placed in 12 aquariums with formalin’, the statement of the action organizers’ reads.

Orthodox believers consider mocking at our Lord Jesus Christ and the holy apostles unacceptable. It insults the feelings of all Orthodox believers and all Christians, the statement says.

The name of the artist is not given, but this is obviously Damien Hirst’s Romance in the Age o Uncertainty.

 

15th December   

Addicted to Nonsense...

Nutter likens computer games to crack cocaine
Link Here

Tetris An opinion piece has been posted on Canada's National Post website yesterday from a Roman Catholic priest, The crack cocaine of the electronic world reads the strap line. Father Raymond J. De Souza - the author of the piece - is, of course, talking about games.

The nutter goes beyond simple criticism, however, openly agitating against free choice at this time of spending by stating: This Christmas, do the poor kids of all economic levels a favour: Don't buy them video games.

He then goes on ...assuaged my conscience with the fact that video games are not intrinsically evil. But they are close.

Apparently, the classic puzzler , Tetris, contributed to De Souza's struggles with further education. My capacity to waste time with Tetris was prodigious; how many hours were lost is unknown, he says. There was only one way out. He went cold turkey and deleted the game.

So Tetris was gone. Life improved immediately. Since that hard-disk-deleting day back in 1991" , he waxes fondly, I have never played another video game. It's too dangerous. Video games take what is most precious -- time and thought. And they are making kids fat.

Video games are like a black hole into which time disappear. Students today often confess to wasting a couple of hours a day on them. Corporate Canada likely loses whole weeks of productive work to those who are playing games at work. Video games have some kind of addictive allure that means any number of hours is not enough. It is always possible to play again -- to rise to that 'next level' which somehow acquires near-mystical importance. They are the crack cocaine of the electronic world.

 

15th December   

Cursed by Christianity...

Child witches in Africa
Link Here

Witchfinder General Evangelical pastors are helping to create a terrible new campaign of violence against young Nigerians. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered while the preachers make money out of the fear of their parents and their communities

Poverty has delivered an opportunity for a new and terrible phenomenon that is leading to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.

Behind the smartly painted church doors pastors make a living by 'deliverances' - exorcisms - for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it's a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children - naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

Some parents scrape together sums needed to pay for a deliverance - sometimes as much as three or four months' salary for the average working man - although the pastor will explain that the witch might return and a second deliverance will be needed. Even if the parent wants to keep the child, their neighbours may attack it in the street.

This is not just a few cases. This is becoming commonplace.

Read full article

 

13th December   

Muslims Cross...

Symbol of Milan is also symbol of Knights Templar
Link Here

Knights Templar shield A football strip worn by Italian team Inter Milan is at the centre of a legal row after a lawyer claimed it offended "Muslim sensibilities".

Players wore the new strip – a white shirt with large red cross on it – in a Champions League match last month against Turkish team Fenerbahçe to celebrate the club’s centenary.

But a Turkish lawyer, Baris Kaska, took exception to the "Crusader-style" cross which he said symbolised Western racist superiority over Islam. He claimed the offending shirt reminded Turks of an emblem of the Christian order of the Knights Templar.

Kaska, who specialises in European law, has lodged a complaint in a local court against the club. He is seeking damages, and is appealing to Uefa to annul the match, which Inter Milan won 3-0. He said the court had contacted both Uefa and Fifa to convey his demand that Inter Milan should be "heavily fined for displaying an offensive symbol".

Inter Milan officials are reportedly "astounded" at the controversy. They have pointed out that a red cross on a white background was the symbol of the city of Milan, and that many Italian football clubs have incorporated the cross on their shirts.

 

13th December   

Saints Go Marching On...

As do blasphemy and commercialism
Link Here

St Alphonsos on the phone An Italian company has earned the wrath of the Catholic Church leaders by offering download services of images of saints.

McKay and Sisters, a Milan-based communications company, came up with the idea after noticing that many Italians carried religious images around with them in their wallets,

The service offers subscribers to receive up to three images of saints and great figures of the Church, including Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio and the Virgin Mary for three euros a week.

But some Catholic Church leaders have labelled it as blasphemous and commercial. Italian bishops' conference accused the company of offending Catholics by "exploiting" their faith: This is a poor show and has nothing to do with faith, the Telegraph quoted Bishop Lucio Soravito De Franceschi, a spokesman on doctrinal matters, as saying.

"It is exploiting the faith, lowering it to banality with no sense. It is a blasphemous idea that will horrify the true faithful: For the Church a saint is someone of great heroic virtue, not someone to be commercially exploited," he added.

However, Barbara Labate, a director of the company, slammed the Church's response, insisting that her company's service was in tandem with the changing times: I don't think it is scandalous or blasphemous at all. We have had saint and prayer cards for more than 600 years and we will always continue to have them. What we are doing is moving with the times.

 

12th December   

Update: Veiled Repression...

Indonesian anti-porn bill includes sharia morality laws
Link Here  full story: Anti-Porn Law in Indonesia...A front for the implementation of shariah

Bali dancing threatened by anto porn bill For the past two years, conservative Islamic parties in Indonesia, often supported by paramilitary religious groups known for their intolerance have been periodically pushing to have elements of Islamic Law become the law of the land.

This time, social critics are pushing back. On 3 December, a diverse group of activists—including many from mainstream Islamic groups—urged the country’s legislative branch to reject the proposed legislation.

What makes the debate noteworthy is the way that the Islamic hardliners have been able to disguise their end-game. In a brilliant political move, they penned a so-called “Anti-Pornography Bill” that would ostensibly protect women and children from the scourges associated with pornography.

In fact, the anti-pornography angle was just a veil. According to the authors of the document, pornography is vaguely defined to include just about anything that would offend their hyper-caffeinated moral sensitivities. Many forms of women’s bathing suits, for example, would suddenly become illegal. Any publications or works of art that showed all but a fully-dressed female form, too, would conceivably be off limits. So would many cultural events, such as those in tourist destinations like Bali.

Worse, the bill calls on “all parties” to protect morality. This has been seen as a call to arms for the Islamic Defenders Front and their ilk, which have made a name for themselves raiding nightspots during the Ramadhan fasting month.

Secular political groups oppose this shift, which they correctly note would undermine the nation’s cultural diversity. But because of the name of the bill, they are often left having to explain why they are defending “pornography.”

No date has been set for the final debate on the Anti-Pornography Bill. But with presidential campaigning set to unofficially start next year (the election is not until 2009), hard-line Islamic parties will probably try to flex their muscles—and make another push for passage of the bill—within the next two quarters.

Update: Definitions

16th December 2007

The definition of pornography according to the bill says: "Pornography is any man-made work that includes sexual materials in the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversation, or any other form of communicative messages; it also may be shown through the media in front of the public; it can arouse lust and lead to the violation of normative values within society; and it can also cause the development of pornographic acts within society".

 

12th December   

More Barbaric Justice...

Iranian sentenced to stoning for adultery
Link Here

Stoning scene from film A 48-year-old man with two children faces death by stoning in Iran after he was accused of having had extra-marital sex.

Iran's Supreme Court has sentenced Abdollah Farivar Moghaddam to death by stoning in the city of Sari, in the north of the country.

Abdollah was accused of adultery and the Supreme Court confirmed the sentence that was passed by the judges in the tribunal in Sari.

 

11th December   

Red Bull Advert Pulled...

Christianity is limited to 3 wise men...ever
Link Here

Red Bull advert with 4 wise men An angry Italian priest has persuaded soft drinks company Red Bull to withdraw an advertisement setting its product in a nativity scene on the grounds it is disrespectful to Christianity.

Father Marco Damanti, from Sicily, wrote to the makers of the drink denouncing their commercial as "a blasphemous act" and said he had received a prompt reply promising to remove it from Italian television.

The advert depicted four wise men, instead of three, visiting Mary and the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The fourth wise man bore a carton of Red Bull.

The image of the sacred family has been represented in a sacrilegious way, Father Damanti told Corriere della Sera. Whatever the ironic intentions of Red Bull, the advert pokes fun at the nativity, and at Christian sensitivity.

The priest also objected to the company's slogan, "Red Bull gives you wings", said by angels in the animated advert.

 

11th December   

Nutter Rain...

Australian drought caused by moral decline
Link Here

Catch the Fire Ministires logo A Christian nutter group with the ear of prominent politicians has blamed "sinful" Australians for the nation's record drought.

Catch the Fires Ministries, which has links to several prominent politicians including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, has hired Festival Hall so 5000 of its followers can pray for rain on Australia Day.

Leader Danny Nalliah said moral decline, not climate change, was responsible for the drought: Australia has turned away from Almighty God ... the sinful condition of mankind has contributed to the stem of rainfall.

But Mr Nalliah, who was one of two pastors sued for vilifying Muslims, said prayer was breaking the drought: When John Howard called the nation to pray for rain, and the church enthusiastically responded in united prayer, the heavens opened. Since that historic prayer gathering in our nation's capital, Australia has experienced unceasing drought-breaking rain.

 

9th December   

Hard to Believe...

UK apostates from islam face threats of death
Link Here

Apostasy CD When Sofia Allam left the Muslim faith for Christianity, the response from her family was one of persecution and threats. Alasdair Palmer explores the dangers facing Islam's apostates

Sofia Allam simply could not believe it. Her kind, loving father was sitting in front of her threatening to kill her. He said she had brought shame and humiliation on him, that she was now worse than the muck on their shoes and she deserved to die.

And what had brought on his transformation? He had discovered that she had left the Muslim faith in which he had raised her and become a Christian.

He said he couldn't have me in the house now that I was a Kaffir [an insulting term for a non-Muslim], Sofia remembers: He said I was damned for ever. He insulted me horribly. I couldn't recognise that man as the father who had been so kind to me as I was growing up.

Religious persecution of the kind Sofia suffers is increasingly common in Britain today.

Read full article

 

9th December   

ID Fraud...

Injustice masquerading as religion in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Egypt...Court challenge over imposing islam on ID cards

Egypt flag An Egyptian Christian woman has been jailed for three years because her father's brief conversion to Islam 45 years ago made her legally a Muslim while her official papers said she was Christian, her lawyer said.

Shadia Nagui Ibrahim, 47, was charged with fraud for stating Christianity as her religion on her marriage certificate, unaware that her father's conversion to Islam in 1962 had made her officially a Muslim, Michael Maurice told AFP.

Nagui Ibrahim left home in 1962 when daughter Shadia was two years old, converted to Islam and took on the Muslim name Mustafa.

Three years later, after a reconciliation with his wife, he moved home and re-converted to Christianity. In the process, he got someone to forge his documents back to say he was Christian.

A rally is being planned on Sunday by Coptic Christians in Egypt who have decided "enough is enough" after a 47-year-old mother was jailed because she married as a Christian.

The seriousness behind this is this is the first time in the history of the Copts of Egypt [they are giving] a signal, a very, very important signal, that the people of Egypt … say, 'Enough is enough.' Sam Grace, of Coptic News told WND.

He said the rally in Cairo will be a march to the presidential palace where there will be several speakers addressing the issue of human rights in the nation that admits it governs itself by Islamic sharia law.

 

8th December   

My Nonsense is Less Exploitative than your Nonsense...

Germany looks to ban scientology
Link Here

Scientology book cover Germany's federal and state interior ministers have declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional, clearing the way for a possible ban.

The ministers have asked Germany's domestic intelligence agency to examine whether the Church's legal status as an association could be challenged.

Scientology is not recognised as a religion in Germany.

A Church of Scientology statement said the attempted ban is a blatant attempt at justifying the on-going and never-ending discrimination against the Church of Scientology and its members in Germany.

Critics accuse the organisation of cult-type practices and exploiting followers for financial gain.

But Scientologists reject this and say that they promote a religion based on the understanding of the human spirit.

Since January, when the Church of Scientology opened a new centre in the German capital, Berlin, Scientologists have come under intense public scrutiny. People living near the centre complained that its members were actively trying to recruit and some politicians called for the organisation to be banned, accusing it of cult-type practices.

For years, Scientology has been monitored by German intelligence agencies, who claim the movement's structures and methods could pose a threat to the rule of law and democratic order.

But the Church of Scientology insists that 10 years of surveillance has uncovered absolutely no wrongdoing.

 

8th December   

Crib Shite...

Removing the crib from Christ at Christmas
Link Here

RTE logo Ireland's state broadcaster, RTÉ, has enraged the Catholic church by axing a Christmas advertisement because of a mention of the word "crib", which was deemed to have religious undertones.

The advert was plugging a charity Christmas card for Veritas, the church's publishing arm. Under Irish broadcasting rules broadcasters must not permit advertising directed towards a religious end . An RTÉ spokesman said that an issue might arise in relation to promoting the sale of cribs and that the station could have broken the rules if it broadcast ads directed towards religious ends.

Yesterday the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference expressed concern at the axing of the ad, saying it highlighted a trend to remove Christ from Christmas.

 

7th December   

Update: Opera Encore...

Christian Voice to appeal for a blasphemy prosecution
Link Here  full story: Jerry Springer Blasphemy...Christian Voice attempt private prosecution

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD cover A High Court verdict to refuse a private prosecution for blasphemy in the case of Jerry Springer the Opera will be appealed, it was announced today.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, is seeking to prosecute Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and Jonathan Thoday of producers Avalon, following a theatre tour of the show from January to July 2006 and its transmission on BBC2 in January 2005.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today: We must appeal this disappointing decision. The law as the Court has interpreted it now gives carte blanche to broadcasters and theatre companies to blaspheme, while the press still may not. That cannot be logical, let alone right. In effect the guts of the law against blasphemy have been torn out, and not even by Parliament, but by judicial decree. I believe the judges have wrongly interpreted

So we have one High Court judge say there was an arguable case in our favour, and now two have gone the other way. I hope and pray the House of Lords will uphold the totality of the law against blasphemy and allow the prosecution to proceed. If they do not, then a bit more common decency, courtesy and respect, which is part of what it means to be civilised, let alone British, will have been thrown away.'

 

7th December   

Humanity Axed in Punjab...

Girl axed to death on suspicion of affair
Link Here

Stop Honour Killings A girl in Pakistan's Punjab province became victim of 'honour killing' when she was axed to death by her father and close relatives for allegedly having an affair with a boy of her locality.

The girl was killed after her father, Farooq Khan Baloch, became suspicious that his daughter was having an affair with Amjad, a youngster in Jhang tehsil in Punjab province.

Seeing them together, Farooq along with relatives Sher Khan, Asghar Khan and Riaz Khan, axed the girl to death, while the boy managed to escape, the Dawn daily reported.

The police have registered a case, it said. 'Honour killing' is widespread among rural Muslim tribes in Pakistan where the victim is mostly female. The spilling of blood under the garb of honour is mostly at the behest of close family members with the aim of undoing the perceived loss of wider family status owing to the actions of the victim.

Women in Pakistan face death by shooting, burning or killing with axes if they are deemed to have brought shame on the family. They are killed for supposed 'illicit' relationships, for marrying men of their choice, for divorcing husbands.

They are even murdered by their kin if they are raped as they are thereby deemed to have brought shame on their family. Often, the truth of the suspicion does not matter - merely the allegation is enough to bring dishonour on the family and therefore justifies the slaying.

 

6th December   

2 Years Hard Labour...

Uzbekistan persecutes believers of nonsense
Link Here

Uzbekistan flag A Baptist has been sentenced to two years hard labour, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Nikolai Zulfikarov was sentenced under Uzbekistan's Criminal Code for teaching religious doctrines without special religious education and without permission from a central organ of administration of a religious organisation, as well as teaching religion privately.

Zulfikarov, who led the five member Khalkabad unregistered Baptist church, was also sentenced to pay the state 20% of his earnings over the the next two years. It is not clear whether Zulfikarov will appeal against the decision.

Asked whether it was illegal to be a religious believer in Uzbekistan, Judge Bakhrom Batyrov told Forum 18 that the laws of Uzbekistan prohibit people worshipping and praying together without being legally registered.

 

5th December   

Update: An End to the Blasphemy Nonsense...

Judges end Christian Voice blasphemy prosecution
Link Here  full story: Jerry Springer Blasphemy...Christian Voice attempt private prosecution

Jerry Springer: The opera DVD cover Christian Voice has lost its High Court battle to prosecute the BBC's director general over the screening of Jerry Springer - The Opera , in 2005.

Christian Voice director, Stephen Green, had hoped to overturn a previous ruling which forbade him from prosecuting Mark Thompson. Green said the show "clearly crossed the blasphemy threshold".

Two judges ruled it was reasonable to conclude the play "in context" could not be considered as blasphemous. They said the production as a whole was not and could not reasonably be regarded as aimed at, or an attack on, Christianity or what Christians held sacred.

The play had been performed regularly in major theatres in London for
a period of nearly two years without any sign of it undermining
society or occasioning civil strife or unrest,
said Judge Anthony Hughes. There
had been no violence or even demonstrations.

 

5th December   

Porous Nonsense...

Solving AIDS by stoning those having sex
Link Here

Condoms Breaking a long-held taboo, the Indonesian government has decided to promote safe sex by launching its first ever National Condom Week in an effort to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.

However, the condom campaign, which will start on 1 December - World AIDS Day - has split Islamic religious leaders, who have differing views on how to fight the killer virus.

Fauzan al-Anshori, spokesperson for the hardline Indonesia Mujahiddin Council (MMI) slammed the initiative and called the strict implementation of strict Islamic (sharia) law as the way to fight the disease: We strongly feel that condoms can't prevent people from getting AIDS. The pores of the latex are bigger than the virus itself, adding that in his view the campaign was harmful and morally wrong: AIDS prevention should start by implementing Islamic laws and punishing rule breakers, infidels and those who engage in pre-marital sex. In Islam we normally throw stones at them.

Executive Head of another hardline Muslim organisation, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Habib Hasan al-Jufri, on the other hand, told AKI that he is not totally opposed to the initiative: I think the idea of the campaign is good, but without any additional religious programmes, it is nothing more than a promotion for condom manufacturers.

Islamic studies lecturer at Indonesia's Muhammadiyah University in Surabaya, East Java, Chairul Mahfud, backs the campaign, however: I'm not against the campaign. I am not against anything that can preserve the life of human beings. There are verses in the Koran that says humans should take good care of their health.

Update: Anti Porn Nutters

7th December 2007

About 100 people from the group Anti-Pornography protested the distribution of the contraceptive, saying it promoted "free sex."

 

1st December   

Lashings of Inhumanity...

100 lashes and a year in jail for adultery in Nigeria
Link Here

Nigeria Flag A Nigerian sharia court has sentenced a man to one year in prison and 100 strokes of the cane for adultery.

Mahmud Hamisu is the first man known to have been convicted of the crime in a sharia court since 2000 when 12 northern, mainly Muslim, Nigerian states began a stricter enforcement of Islamic law.

Hamisu was given 100 lashes in public just after his conviction, then moved to prison. Under Nigerian sharia law, adultery convictions require either a confession or at least three witnesses to the couple having sex.

Hamisu was taken to court by a woman who had accused him of impregnating her. She was also convicted but spared both the lashes and jail because of a mental disability.