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29th February   

Update: Concert Date Inked Out...

Tattoo leads to the cancellation of Erykah Badu's performance in Malaysia
Link Here

erykah-badu with tattoosThe publishing of a photo that included an American singer tattooed with the Arabic word Allah has forced Malaysia's the Star newspaper to apologize in response to the inevitable muslim rage.

The photograph of singer Erykah Badu, who was scheduled to hold a concert in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, was published in Monday's edition of the newspaper, but it led to a backlash among readers who were supposedly 'offended' by the tattoo.

We deeply regret any offense caused to Muslims and sincerely apologize for the oversight, the Star said.

Tattoos in Islam are forbidden and the use of the Arabic word for God, Allah, is looked upon by many extremist Muslims as blasphemy.

The Ministry of Home Affairs asked the chief news editor, the managing editor and the senior editor to submit a written explanation of the incident within a week.


29th February   

Update: A Mickey Mouse Prosecution...

Egyptian court clears telecom tycoon of religiously insulting cartoonery
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Egypt...Unswaying belief in injustice

mickey minnie offence in egyptAn Egyptian court has thrown out a case brought against Christian telecoms tycoon and politician Naguib Sawiris by a group of extremist Muslim lawyers who accused him of showing contempt for religion, saying the plaintiffs had no legal standing in the case.

The lawyers had brought the case against Sawiris, a prominent figure in Egypt's Coptic Christian community, over a cartoon he posted online that they considered an insult to Islam. The cartoon featured Mickey Mouse with a long beard and Minnie Mouse veiled in black.

Sawiris's company suffered a boycott by some customers when news of the cartoon spread, but Sawiris said the impact had eased by October.

Update: 2nd case rejected

4th March 2012. See article from

An Egyptian court has rejected the second of two lawsuits brought by extremist muslims accusing a Christian media mogul of insulting Islam when he relayed a cartoon online of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.

The judge ruled the plaintiff was not eligible to file the religious defamation lawsuit and sent the case back to the state prosecutor's office for further investigation. The first lawsuit against Sawiris was thrown out by a different court earlier this week on similar grounds.

Businessman Naguib Sawiris Saturday used his Twitter account -- the same way he spread the original images -- to express relief.

I thank God for this ruling because I feel that there is still hope, he wrote. Congratulations to an open, free and smiling Egypt that respects all religions.


29th February   

The Kyrgyz Cult of Religious Intolerance...

Kyrgyzstan bans the Moonies
Link Here

Kyrgyzstan flagA court in Kyrgyzstan has banned the Unification Church.

The Unification Church became active in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s and has thousands of followers in the region. During the Seventies and Eighties the Unification Church was controversial primarily for its recruitment tactics. The cult was founded by South Korean Sun Myung Moon, who considers himself to be the Messiah.

According to Radio Free Europe the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security, the Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office and the State Directorate for Religious Issues filed a complaint with the court earlier this month.

The complaint states that the church, officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), poses a threat to Kyrgyz national security by forcibly propagating nontraditional religious views without proper registration.


29th February

 Offsite Article: Parliamentary Report Spells Out Some Religious Truths...

Link Here
Excessive Christian whingeing is doing their cause no good whatsoever and as for their obsession with bad mouthing gays...By Andrew Brown

See article from


28th February   

Extract: Fears of Violence and Easy Offence...

BBC boss confirms that christianity is treated with less sensitivity than 'other' religions
Link Here

Mark ThompsonBBC director-general Mark Thompson has claimed Christianity is treated with far less sensitivity than other religions because it is pretty broad shouldered .

He suggested other faiths have a very close identity with ethnic minorities , and were therefore covered in a far more careful way by broadcasters.

But he also revealed that producers had to consider the possibilities of violent threats instead of polite complaints if they pushed ahead with certain types of satire.

...Read the full article


28th February   

Updated: Violence by the Book...

Afghan protests over the incineration of discarded books that included Korans
Link Here  full story: Freedom of Religion in Malaysia...No freedom of Religion in Malaysia

Afghanistan flag2,000+ angry Afghans gathered outside a US airbase to protest against the inadvertent burning of Korans and other Islamic religious materials. The items are thought to have been burned as part of routine disposal of rubbish at the base. The books were previously used by detainees and were no longer required.

US Gen John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, apologised and ordered an investigation into the incident, which he was not intentional in any way.

The incident stoked anti-foreign sentiment that already is on the rise after nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan and fuelled the arguments of Afghans who believe foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion.

As word of the incident spread, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul in Parwan province this morning. As the crowd grew, so did the outrage. Die, die, foreigners! the demonstrators shouted. Some fired hunting guns into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base.

Update: Violence Intensifies

25th February 2012. See article from

Thousands of enraged Afghans have taken to the streets for a fourth day, after US soldiers inadvertently set fire to copies of the Koran.

In the deadliest day of unrest so far, at least 12 people died across the country, as mobs charged at US bases and diplomatic missions.

More than 20 people have been killed since the unrest began, including two US soldiers who died on Thursday.

President Barack Obama has apologised for the Koran-burning incident. In a letter to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, Obama said the books had been unintentionally mishandled .

Update: Violence Continues

27th February 2012. See article from

Protests continued in Afghan cities and spread to Pakistan yesterday after the US admitted that copies of the Koran were accidentally burned by US forces at Bagram airbase.

The worst trouble was in Kunduz province, where a peaceful rally turned violent as marchers tried to enter the district's largest city.

Amanuddin Quriashi, the district administrator, said some in the crowd fired at police and threw grenades at a US base on the city's outskirts. Seven Nato troops were wounded and one protester died when soldiers fired back from the US base. Another protester was killed by Afghan police.

Update: Violent Revenge

28th February 2012. See article from

A Taliban suicide car bomber has killed at least nine people and wounded 10 others in an attack at Jalalabad airport in eastern Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an email to media: This attack is revenge against those soldiers who burned our Koran.

Update: Shameful UN call for a sacrificial lamb

8th March 2012. See article from

The UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, JŠn Kubiš, has called for the US military to take disciplinary action against those who burned Korans at Bagram air base.

After the first step of a profound apology, there must be a second step of disciplinary action, Kubis spewed.

Update: Soldiers to face punishment but not criminal charges

22nd June  2012. See article from

A military investigation is recommending that seven U.S. soldiers are punished for the burning of Korans.

They face administrative punishments, but not criminal charges, following the incident four months ago at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. Punishments can range from a letter in their file to docking their pay or assigning them additional duties.

U.S. military officials said the classified report and recommendations for disciplinary action against the service members involved were delivered to the Pentagon more than a week ago.

The lack of any criminal charges being taken is because military officials feel the incident was regrettable, but a mistake.

The decision is likely to anger Afghans who were enraged by the burning. Thousands took to the streets across the country in deadly riots after it happened. More than 30 people were killed in the clashes, including two U.S. troops who were shot by an Afghan soldier. Two U.S. military advisers were also gunned down at their desks at the Interior Ministry.


27th February   

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie...

Obscure court in Pakistan re-opens the Mohammed cartoon nonsense and calls for the arrest of Mark Zuckerberg
Link Here

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Innovators Kidhaven A case for the arrest of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Cultural Editor of Danish Newspaper Fleming Rose, for allowing blasphemous cartoons of  Mohammad. has been registered in Jhang, in Pakistan

The case was registered after Advocate Muhammad Zahid Saeed, stirred by websites allegedly supposedly demeaning Mohammad, filed a petition before the District Session Judge seeking a ban on websites including Facebook, YouTube, Google and others.

In his petition, Saeed said that on visiting some websites while on the internet, he and his companion found caricatures of Mohammad published which, he alleged, were trying to create a war between Muslims and non-Muslims . He added that the caricatures were a form of international terrorism and evil profession .

Session Judge Arshad Masood responded to the petition by saying that the deliberate and malicious act of displaying derogatory caricatures is a continuing offence and a case must be registered in Pakistan and anywhere else in the world where the sentiments of Muslims were hurt.

The petitioner had maintained that the proceedings against the accused should be served through the Danish Ambassador and US Ambassador in Pakistan.


27th February   

Christians Want to be Treated Like People with Disabilities...

Christian parliamentarians produce report proposing that their rights get put above gay rights and that they should get special treatment to accommodate their religious nonsense
Link Here

Houses of ParliamentA cross-party parliamentary group of Christians, says reasonable accommodation should be made for Christians. This would be an extension of the current law which requires employers and public bodies to accommodate those with disabilities.

The report, called Clearing the Ground , says by extending the equality law, religious beliefs could be looked at on a case-by-case basis. It says the interpretation of legislation put in place under the Labour government has resulted in religious beliefs being relegated below the rights of others.

Critics say this law would give private prejudices, particularly those discriminating against gay people, the support of public law.


27th February   

Explosive Issues...

Muslim group complains about cartoon that depicts terrorists with hooked noses
Link Here

terrorists complain about spying The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called on the New York Post to apologize for publishing a political cartoon that the Muslim civil rights group claims evokes anti-Semitic themes through its depiction of hook-nosed terrorists objecting to the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) widespread campaign of spying on Muslims without warrants or evidence of wrongdoing.

The cartoon by Sean Delonas was published Friday in the Post and shows the turban-wearing, hook-nosed terrorists preparing bombs and weapons in an apartment, with an NYPD vehicle in the street. One of the terrorists is depicted on the phone with The Associated Press news agency, and says: Hello, AP Press? ... I'd like to register a complaint against the N.Y.P.D. for spying on us.


27th February

 Offsite Article: Airport Security on a Hair Trigger...

Link Here
Minor quip about a muslim headscarf triggers ludicrously over sensitive and politically correct airport security staff

See article from


26th February   

Will Surely be Accused of Blasphemy...

Tunisian president acts against those making accusations of blasphemy
Link Here

Tunisia flagTunisian President Moncef Marzouki has called on parliament to outlaw accusations of blasphemy as a threat to public order.

Such practices can threaten the peace between citizens living in the same country and lead to conflict, Marzouki warned in a statement. Violators of the new law should be prosecuted to protect the coexistence, fraternity and solidarity among Tunisians, he said.

Nobody has the right to make such accusations against a fellow citizen because such behavior risks leading to violence which is reprehensible in itself, Marzouki added.

Salafist extremists have accused Tunisian journalists and other public figures of not following the teachings of the Koran. They have also demanded full-face veils for female university students, castigated a TV channel for an allegedly blasphemous film and beat up journalists at a protest.


25th February   

Comment: Riots Without a Cause...

Chinese style censorship of the news comes to Britain
Link Here

China flagIt is fascinating to read the newspaper reports of the riots in Rochdale that so obviously  go to great lengths to avoid mentioning a single word of the motivations driving the unrest.

I can understand that newspapers or the authorities don't want to fuel any further tensions between the muslim community and the anti muslim rioters. But readers should be informed about the underlying reasons. This can surely be done in a suitable, even handed way without invoking accusations of being islamophobic or whatever.

But to totally not mention the perceived connection between gang rapes and the muslim community, and then not mention the groupings behind the rioting is exactly the support of reporting bollox that one would expect in China. I bet Chinese authorities try to do the best for their communities by obscuring and propagandarising the news with the best of intentions, just like in Britain.


25th February

 Offsite Article: Losing the Middle Ground...

Link Here
An aggressive approach to apposing the inroads of secularism may lead to the Church of England losing its traditional middle ground of not so religious liberal supporters. By Theo Hobson

See article from


24th February   

Updated: The Francisco Franco Foundation Recommends...

Obscenity by Bruce LaBruce
Link Here

obscenity by bruce labrucei advertPhotographs of women posing sexily as nuns at an exhibition in Spain has sparked nutter 'outrage' and complaints of blasphemy from Catholic and conservative groups.

Obscenity , an exhibition of 50 photographs by the Canadian artist Bruce LaBruce, includes a portrait of Spanish actress Rossy de Palma in a black and white habit and corset with a rosary between her teeth. Another shows Alaska, a singer well known in Spain, dressed as a sexy saint in black with a communion wafer on her tongue.

The show at the Fresh Gallery in Madrid, drew condemnation from the Eucharistic Ministr y called for a demonstration against blasphemy . while a nutter campaign group, Make Yourself Heard , noted the news with the claim: Blasphemous provocation threatens again,

The Francisco Franco Foundation , a group that campaigns to preserve the memory of Spain's dictator, claimed the exhibition to be a virulent and morbid attack on the Catholic religion .

Update: Firebombed by Christian Terrorists

24th February 2012. See article from by Paul Geddis

Re the Christian right's totally over-the-top reaction to Bruce LaBruce's Obscenity exhibition in Madrid.

Obscenity is made up of photos of fairly well-known people from Spain's culture industry, posing with religious paraphernalia like sacraments and rosaries. The photos don't seem all that shocking to me. Self-consciously shot in a fashion magazine style, aside from some bleeding trackmarks and a lascivious looking gayngel, there's nothing all that explicit about them. Even so, the exhibition has caused an uproar, with senior politicians like the mayor of Madrid calling for it to be closed, religious groups protesting outside, and then, last Friday, someone threw a firebomb through the window. Due to some miracle it didn't explode (maybe God is on Bruce's side after all).

No one involved really understands what all the fuss is about. When I spoke to Rossy de Palma earlier this week her point of view was that religious iconography belonged as much to the models in the show as the angry Christian terrorists who tried to boycott it. We grew up with all that bullshit and we can do what we want with it, she said.

Anyway, the exhibition was great, and the opening was packed with all the arty gays and fashion people that are currently making Madrid shit on Barcelona as far as creativity is concerned. Overall verdict? One in the asshole for freedom of expression over hysterical reactionaries.

...Read the full article


24th February   

Contracting Rights...

A Christian loses yet another employment tribunal case where it was ruled that there is no legal right to Sundays off for the religious
Link Here

Tribunals Service logoChristians lost another employment case when a care worker was told she had no legal right to take Sundays off.

An employment tribunal was told that MMba had a contractual obligation to work on Sundays at Brightwell children's home because it was open every day.

Celestina Mba lost her claim for constructive dismissal after a judge ruled her employer could make her work on the Sabbath. The judge explained: There was no express agreement ever arrived at between the parties that she would not have to work Sundays. On the contrary, she was contractually obliged to work Sundays.

Baptist Mba had claimed that she was forced from her job caring for disabled children after clashing with bosses over the issue. But the tribunal ruled that keeping Sunday as a day of rest was not a core component of Christianity.

Speaking after the hearing, Mba said:

I am amazed by this decision. I thought this was a Christian country and known for its welcome and hospitality to all people. I worked hard for years at my job, and to lose it because of intolerance towards my faith is shocking to me.

For me, Christianity requires Sundays off. The Bible asks us to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. It's about much more than going to Church. I spend the whole day helping others in the community -- some of whom have no one to be there for them.

Mba is now considering appealing the rejection of her claim against Merton Council in south London for constructive dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination.


23rd February   

Update: Death Sentence Confirmed by Court...

Iran set to execute pastor convicted of apostasy
Link Here  full story: Apostasy in Iran...Apostasy, heresy and witchcraft capital offences

Iran flagA trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering a Christian pastor to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, according to sources close to the pastor and his legal team.

Supporters fear Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.

It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order.

The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith, said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).


23rd February   

Update: Forced...

Scientology rehabilitation for kids involved working long hours in a kitchen for a pittance
Link Here

Australia flagScientology, has a secret Rehabilitation Project Force compound in the heart of suburban Sydney -- and this week Australian TV viewers were horrified by a report that exposed degrading and inhumane treatment meted out to those held captive in what was described as a gulag .

Shane Kelsey, who was brainwashed and brutalised in a Scientology gulag

The report centred on 21-year-old Shane Kelsey, who was held captive in the RPF base from the age of six until he was 20. He was put there by his Scientologist parents.

According to expose, by the age of fifteen Shane was living a nightmare even he now struggles to believe. He told reporter Bryan Seymour: As soon as I turned fifteen I was working seven days a week, 14 hour days.


23rd February

 Offsite Article On Religion and Feminism...

Link Here
I feel that allegations of racism when it comes to discussion of religion act as a way of silencing debate. And I believe that religion should absolutely be up for discussion and criticism

See article from


22nd February   

Updated: Interpol Enforces Saudi Totalitarianism...

Interpol threatens the free world and the very notion of justice
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Saudi...Blasphemy laws used to settle private scores
interpol logo

  The world stabbed in the back?

Saudi Arabia has used Interpol's system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for supposedly insulting Muhammad on Twitter

Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari was detained at the airport following a request by Interpol on behalf of the Saudi authorities.

Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on Mohammed's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read:

I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you ... I will not pray for you.

More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari . Clerics joined in the call for blood with the demand that he be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death.

Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said:

Interpol should be playing no part in Saudi Arabia's pursuit of Hamza Kashgari, however unwise his comments on Twitter.

If an Interpol red notice is the reason for his arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be barred from any involvement in religious or political cases.

Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country.

Update: Deportation shames Malaysia

13th February 2012. See article from
See also Saudi king arrests writer who abused the Prophet from

Malaysian authorities have deported a Saudi journalist accused of supposedly insulting Muhammad via a tweet saying:

I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you ... I will not pray for you.

Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups.

The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities, Malaysia's home ministry said in a statement.

Amnesty International has warned that Kashgari could be executed in Saudi Arabia if he is found guilty of apostasy.

If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty's Middle East division.

Kashgari is in big trouble as it was the the Saudi king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who ordered his arrest

Update: Trial by Religion

20th February 2012. See article from

Saudi flagSaudi Arabia's mufti, the country's highest religious figure, has rejected calls to shift the trial of a Twitter user, who was accused of blasphemy, from religious courts to the information ministry.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Shaikh said that Hamza Kashgari, charged of disrespecting God and insulting Mohammad in his Twitter account, will face trial in the country's religious-court only. The mufti claimed:

We are in a Muslim country and we have a fair justice system.

All matters related to justice should be reviewed by Shariah courts as God the Almighty said in the Holy Quran. The justice system in Saudi Arabia is fair.

Update: Reprehensible Malaysia

22nd February 2012. See article from

Malaysia flagIt seems that the Malaysian authorities would have rather kept the arrest and deportation off the radar. However, the news began to spread. The authorities began trying to justify themselves and their intended actions.

It was suggested that the arrest was part of an Interpol initiative, though Interpol denied any knowledge of the matter.

Attempts were then made to characterise the affair as being part of an extradition exercise but Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

Lawyers were appointed and began efforts to meet their client and to secure his release. They appear to have been given the run-around or kept in the dark about the fact that the authorities had already unilaterally decided to return Kashgari to Saudi Arabia. The procuring of an injunction from a High Court judge on Sunday to temporarily restrain the deportation came to nought; Kashgari had been deported earlier that morning despite awareness of the intended legal challenge.

One cannot help but question the manner in which the Malaysian authorities conducted themselves. Malaysia was under no legal obligation to return the journalist to Saudi Arabia and the two countries are not bound by an extradition treaty, meaning what Kashgari has done in Saudi Arabia is not of relevance in Malaysia. Kashgari had not committed any offence in Malaysia and had entered the country on a valid travel document. He was not intending to stay in Malaysia; his final port of call was New Zealand.

...Read the full article


22nd February   

Update: Mob Rule...

Salafist mob set fire to church in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Muslims attacking Copts...Minority christian Copts uder continuous attack

Egypt flagA mob of nearly 2,000 radical Muslims, mainly Salafists, set fire to the Church of St Mary and St Abram in the village of Meet Bashar, Sharqia province. The area has been the scene of clashes between Muslim extremists and Christians. Calm returned to the area after mediation by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, who convinced the Salafists to leave the village.

The violence was caused by the disappearance of Rania Khalil, a Christian teenager who went missing last Sunday. Her father is a convert to Islam. She was found today and is in police custody. She and her mother will be interrogated by police. Salafists claim she was abducted by Christians to prevent her conversion to Islam.

Since the victory of Islamist parties in Egypt's recent elections, anti-Coptic attacks have increased across the country.


21st February   

Update: Freedom of Speech Breached in Egypt...

Prime minister calls for ban of internet porn
Link Here

Egypt flagEgypt's prime minister from the religious extremist party, al-Nour Salafist, is pushing for a complete ban of internet porn.

According to reports, Younis Makhioun has requested an urgent briefing to be discussed in Egypt's lower house. He said:

These sites spread evil among different sects of the Egyptian society, its content is criminalized by Egyptian law as well as being a breach of religious beliefs and social values and morals.

Despite an outcry from some Egyptians about the loss of personal freedoms and the possibility of further censorship to non-porn sites, the prime minister stated that blocking adult sites should not be considered a breach of freedom of speech.

The new proposed ban is expected to pass the Islamist-dominated parliament.


21st February   

An End to Multiculturalism...

The Government's new strategy on community cohesion and integration
Link Here

Eric PicklesThe English language and Christian faith will be restored to the centre of public life, ministers are to pledge today.

Eric Pickles will praise the traditions and heritage of the majority and describe multiculturalism as the politics of division.

Public bodies should no longer bend over backwards to translate documents into dozens of languages and migrants must be asked to learn English and understand the British way of life, the Communities Secretary will say.

Children should be educated in a common culture , promoting a British identity that crosses class, colour and creed.

Pickles told the Daily Mail that the last Labour government and Harriet Harman, who was its equalities minister, had encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream .

Pickles said political correctness had replaced common sense and left millions of people afraid to express legitimate concerns and frustrations. We need a new approach: one that emphasises what we have in common rather than difference, he added.


20th February   

Update: Laying Down the Stones...

Iran promises again to end capital punishment by stoning
Link Here

Iran flagTehran has said that it has amended the Iranian penal code, effectively banning the use of stoning as a method of execution and the execution of minors. However, there are loopholes open to clerical interpretation.

In response to international criticism over Tehran's policy of executing juvenile offenders, the guardian council that ensures judicial punishments are compliant with sharia law, has introduced amendments to the penal code.

The reforms are set to be implemented once President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has signed them into law.

The FT reported that Tehran will end the death penalty for juveniles, in addition to banning death by stoning, a death sentence that has caused international outrage. When the amendments come into effect adulterers will still be sentenced to death, but it may be by hanging, rather than stoning.

The exact method of punishment has not been established but Ahmadinejad is aware of the negative image which ensues from using stoning as an execution method. According to the Telegraph at least 99 people have been stoned to death in Iran since 1980.

Even with the planned amendment juveniles will still receive the death sentence for murder. Judges can still apply the death sentence in cases that are considered to be 'claims of God' and therefore have mandatory sentences (such as sodomy, rape, theft, fornication, apostasy and consumption of alcohol for the third time). However, judges will not be able to apply the death sentence in the cases of minors in none mandatory cases such as drug offences.

The Guardian also cites another change in the law pertaining to homosexuality: Sodomy for men was punishable by death for all individuals involved in consensual sexual intercourse, but under the new amendments the person who played an active role will be flogged 100 times if the sex was consensual and he was not married, but the one who played a passive role will still be put to death regardless of his marriage status.


19th February   

Update: Worrying Times...

Egyptian women worries as presidential candidate proposes mandatory hijabs
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Egypt...Threatening nightlife and tourism

hijabEgyptian Presidential hopeful Hazem Saleh Abu Ismail has angered women in Egypt by saying he would force women to wear the hijab if he is elected as President.

The ultra conservative Ismail, long affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood but no longer a member, advocates the Salafi brand of extreme Islam that seeks to impose Sharia law.

According to Alarabiya Ismail said he would enforce the veil on women opposed to wearing it, and if they do not want to wear, they have to change their 'creed.' He went on to state this is Islam. Does she want to be a Muslim and not obey Allah's rules?

Bikyamasr reported that Egyptian women are angered by the intention to force the niqab on them. A group of Cairo University students have taken a stand by forming a women's alliance organization to protect their freedoms. They say this forcing of women to do this or that is not Egyptian. One member of the alliance stressed the veil is never forced, or it shouldn't be, so these people who are trying to do so are going against Islam. There is no obligation in religion, Islam says.


18th February   

Magic Locket...

ASA censures bollox claims about incredible powers of a religious locket
Link Here

taweez locketA TV ad in Urdu, for Islamic Taweez lockets, stated DM Digital Global Network is presenting an Islamic locket, which consists of ninety nine sacred names of Allah Almighty and these sacred names has [sic] been recited with specific numbers. Wearing this locket, you can constantly increase blessings, call right now and book your locket today .

The ad also stated ... Any incurable patient who recites the name of Allah excessively and prays for recovery will be restored completely ... ; ... childless women use this sacred name ... will be awarded with a baby ... ; ... a person who eat four bites of bread for forty days after reciting this name ... will be save of problems of appetite, thirst, wounds and pain ... ; ... recite this name excessively over the water at the time of break and drink it, Inshaa Allah (Allah willing), syndrome will cured ... ; ... a woman unable to feed his [sic] baby, recite Ya-Matin over water and give her, Inshaa Allah... will have plenty of milk ... ; ... an ill person who recite Ya-Muhyiy excessively or recite it on other sick person will Inshaa Allah ... be better ... ; ... a person who recite Ya-Hayy three thousand times daily will Inshaa Allah ... never get ill ... A person who will write this name with camphor and rose ... will be restored completely ... ; ... a person who daily recite Ya-Ghaniy seventy times, Allah will increase his wealth, and he will not be dependent of [sic] anyone ... ; ...A person having any internal or external infection or disease, recite Ya-Ghaniy all over his organs and body, s/he will Inshaa Allah be restored to health ... ; ... A person who recite [sic] this name excessively, all of his problems and troubles will Inshaa Allah ... be solved and money and children will be good ... ; ... A person who have any income problems, or any other distress, grief, or sorrow, recite this name forty one times daily, will Inshaa Allah ... be free from all these problems ... ; ... A person having disobedient wife or children held his/her forehead and recite Ya-Shahid twenty one times, Inshaa Allah ... s/he will become obedient ... ; ... The person who recite Ya-haqq on all four corners of a square paper, raise upwards placing it on the palm, and pray, Inshaa Allah ... misplaced person or article will be found and will stay save from loss ... Call now and buy your locket ... ; ... If anyone place a hand over the belly of pregnant woman and recite Ya-Mubdi ninety-nine times, Inshaa Allah ... her pregnancy will neither waste ... nor a premature birth ... ; ... A person who recite Ya-Ar-Ra'uf excessively will Inshaa Allah ... be kind to and have kindness of people... .

Throughout the ad, text stating This locket is not for medical purposes scrolled along the bottom of the screen.

  1. A viewer challenged whether the claims that wearing the locket would positively affect the wearer in multiple ways were misleading.

  2. The ASA challenged whether the claims that wearing the locket provided health benefits for wearers and those they knew, particularly sick or incurable patients, were irresponsible, because they could discourage consumers from taking appropriate medical advice.

1. & 2. DM Digital TV Ltd (DM Digital) said the ad was a teleshopping feature shown during the month of Ramadan to promote religious faith, via the recital of 99 names of Allah. They said the various lockets with the difference names of Allah were worn by those who believed in the Islamic faith, in order to receive blessings as described in the Holy Quran and that those who regularly prayed and recited the specific 99 different names of Allah, during Ramadan, could expect to receive rewards. They also said the ad was not intended to be educational or to be construed as medical advice, and that it was for entertainment purposes only. They said this was made clear by the on-screen text throughout the feature which stated this programme does not give any medical advice. Please seek your GPs advice before any treatment. This is a teleshopping presentation and entertainment feature brought to you by DM Digital Television .

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA noted the ad was shown during the month of Ramadan in 2011 and had not been shown since. We noted DM Digital said the feature was not intend to be construed literally by viewers. However, we were concerned that, while the ad made claims that the locket and act of reciting would provide many benefits, we had not seen evidence relating to those claims. We considered that the ad was therefore likely to mislead viewers into believing that wearing the locket would positively affect the wearer.

On this point the ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 (Exaggeration).

2. Upheld

We acknowledged the ad contained on-screen text which indicated that the programme did not give medical advice. However, we were concerned that the main text of the ad stated that people with infections or diseases would be restored to health. Because of the nature of the claims made, we considered that the ad was socially irresponsible and, furthermore, could discourage people, particularly those who were vulnerable, from seeking essential medical treatment.

On this point the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 11.3 (Medicines, Medical Devices, Treatments and Health).


17th February   

Update: So Much for Free Speech Rights to Offend...

A man has been jailed for allegedly offensive comments on Facebook
Link Here

Facebook logoA man has been jailed for posting racist remarks on the internet.

Anthony Buck wrote anti-Muslim comments on social networking site Facebook.

He was sentenced to a total of four months after breaching a suspended sentence for a previous crime.

Buck pleaded guilty to sending offensive messages by public communication network.


17th February   

Nutters Obsessed with Deviation...

Christian fundamentalists win in British Caledonia and get erotic fair cancelled
Link Here

taboo anughty but nice show logoThe politics of liquor and sex have collided with Christian fundamentalism in British Columbia's Bible belt, forcing organizers of an adults-only erotic show to cancel a three-day event.

For the past four years, the Fraser Valley Taboo Naughty But Nice Show has offered patrons the opportunity to shop for sex toys, watch fashion shows and live demonstrations and participate in seminars.

But Canwest Productions have now announced that the fifth annual show at the Abbotsford Tradex is history because the company couldn't secure a roaming liquor licence and because of push back from a vocal group of Christian fundamentalists.

The company said a roaming licence allows patrons to carry their drinks around the event, instead of being restricted to a beer garden in the corner of the trade show's floor. Peter Kiddell, the company's president said:

Based upon the restrictions placed upon us concerning our ability to serve liquor and the negative push-back we were getting concerning our show's entertainment and educational offerings, we do not feel that we can meet the expectations of our guests or our exhibitors.

The nutter backlash was led by former mayoral candidate Gearda Peachy who has lobbied Abbotsford's city council to ban the event. Peachy explained why she opposed the event:

This obsession with deviation, it does nothing to help, it does nothing to enhance humanity.

Dan Stefanson, executive director of Tourism Abbotsford, said the community will feel the effect because the exhibition attracted many visitors. He said:

People would come and stay in our hotels and rent cars and fly into the airport, and that's going to be very sadly missed in our community in a few weeks when the events not here.


17th February   

Maybe Why Media Companies are Pulling Out of Kuwait...

Islamist MPs push for sharia law for Kuwait
Link Here

Kuwait flagThe Islamists who swept the Kuwaiti parliamentary elections last week are already clamoring for an extreme constitutional change that would make sharia the only source of law of the land.

Kuwait's Islamist opposition and their allies won a major victory in the recent parliamentary elections that took place on February 2.

Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah once again asked Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to form a government. The latter began consultations on this matter immediately, while the Islamists began to make some very significant demands, including constitutional reforms in line with Islamic law.


16th February   

Update: Hanging on to Freedom...

Tunisian court appeal trying to prevent the country slipping back to bad old ways of internet censorship delayed
Link Here

Tunisia flagA court hearing of a case regarding censorship of pornographic websites in Tunisia has been postponed to February 22nd, confirmed Olivia Gre, director of the Tunisian chapter of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Last year, a lawsuit was filed by three Tunisian lawyers, who found free access to pornographic websites in Tunisia to be dangerous to children and corrosive of Islamic values. The court's decision sided with the lawyers, yet the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) appealed the ruling on May 26th. On August 11th, 2011, the appeal was denied, but the ATI delayed implementing the decision, pleading technical and financial limitations.

They appealed the decision again, to Tunisia's Supreme Court, prolonging the legal debate as to the acceptable extent of internet freedom.

On February 3rd, RSF released a statement, entitled Internet Filtering: Risks to Stepping Backwards , in which it argued that blocking porn sites in Tunisia could mark a prelude to the return of old censorship practices of the previous regime. The statement recommended that internet providers promote tools of parental control.

Update: Blocking Blocked

23rd February 2012. See article from

The Tunisian Internet will remain unblocked, for the time being. The Supreme Court of Tunisia has cancelled the decision of a lower court, which had previously ruled in favor of blocking pornographic content on the internet.

The decision did not end the case, but sent it back to a lower court, giving an apparent vote of no confidence in the legal argumentation previously presented.

The decision was immediately hailed by free speech advocates and by the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI). The ATI's legal argument against the suit, however, did not hinge upon issues of civil liberties, but rather the technical ability of the agency to implement the decision. According to a press release distributed by the ATI this afternoon, all attempts of application of judgment led to serious degradation of service.

Olivia Gre, director of the Tunisia office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: For us, it's definitely good news. It means not taking a step backwards . According to Gre, the trial would begin from scratch, with new legal arguments to be employed in two to three months.


16th February   

Update: No Love for Saudi Arabia...

Saudi religious police terrorise 140 people caught celebrating Valentine's Day
Link Here  full story: Valentine's Day...Red roses not appreciated worldwide

Religious PoliceSaudi Arabia's religious police have arrested more than 140 people for celebrating Valentine's Day.

The religious police say they have punished those caught so far, and that its campaign of arrests is continuing. They further claim they were saving women from deceiving men , who used the day to give the fake impression that they loved a woman while pretending to be a harmless lamb .

The religious authorities say Muslims who take part in Valentine's Day are in fact weak, lacking imagination, and far removed from the sublime and virtuous objectives of their religion.

The police have also confiscated all red roses from shops.


15th February   

Update: Observing Censorship...

Le Nouvel Observateur magazine banned in Morocco
Link Here  full story: Persepolis Banned...Iran tries for worldwide ban of movie Persepolis

le nouvel observateurThe Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemns the Moroccan authorities for their confiscation of the last issue of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur due to its publishing of an image adopted from the French-Iranian film Persepolis .

The mentioned issue of the magazine was supposed to be distributed on 2 February 2012 and addressed Persepolis, an animated film about the suffering of an Iranian family following the Iranian revolution in 1979, forcing the family to travel to France. Persepolis seems to have offended by a depiction of the muslim god as an old man. 


15th February   

Bishops Discouraged...

Spanish public TV station refuses ads encouraging parents to sign up their kids for religious education at school
Link Here

eitb logoReligious instruction in public schools in Spain is optional, and parents must sign their children up in order for them to attend.

In a statement sent to CNA, Catholic bishops explained that two ads (one in Spanish and the other in Basque) were sent to EITB Television, which were slightly edited and then aired two days later.

The ads featured two mothers discussing the importance of religious education for their children and encouraged parents to sign their children up for religious classes.

The ads were soon pulled off the air by EITB who said that the the public service announcements were incompatible with their advertising policies.

Catholic bishops in the Spanish dioceses of Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria criticized the public television station for pulling the adverts. They called the move a violation of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and religious freedom. The bishops added that the ad removal reflected a secular outlook that sees religion as something to be excluded from social life which is unsuitable for a public institution at the service of all.


14th February   

A Load of Wank...

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes that masturbation be considered an action against an unborn child
Link Here

Monty Pythons Meaning Life Special Anti-abortion lawmakers have vowed to continue pushing a new measure for tighter restrictions in Oklahoma.

Now one Democrat has added an amendment to the bill stating that every sperm is sacred, according to Think Progress.

State Senator Constance Johnson, added language which states that masturbation and sex acts other than vaginal intercourse could be considered detrimental to unborn children as abortion. The amendment states:

Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.


14th February

 Offsite Article: Sexual Revolution Costing Britain Billions Annually...

Link Here
Nutter study seems to think that only 'morally good' things contribute to Britain's economic activity and well being

See article from


13th February   

Dangerous Thinking...

Man is on trial in the UAE for atheist Facebook comments which offended muslims
Link Here
UAE flagA facebook user is being prosecuted in UAE for updates he posted on the social network that prosecutors claim insulted Islam.

The Egyptian born man appeared at Abu Dhabi Criminal Court on blasphemy charges and has now been sent to a clinic for mental-health tests.

His facebook posts included a picture that depicted God as an ordinary man, along with what prosecutors claimed were comments designed to insult the Quran and Mohammed. The man told investigators that his father was an atheist and that he had struggled with religious questions since he was 13 years old.

He said he had tried to be a good Muslim but had too many unanswered questions. A court official said: The comments were very insulting to people with a Muslim point of view , adding that the facebooker could be jailed for five years if found guilty. The court is waiting for the results of a psychological evaluation before the next hearing, later this month.


13th February   

Toy Censors...

Iran adds Simpsons dolls to its list of banned toys
Link Here

Simpsons Pluschfigur Maggie 28 cm An Iranian government-affiliated agency has banned dolls of the Simpsons cartoon characters, who join Barbie and others on a toy blacklist,.

We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys, Shargh daily quoted Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, secretary of policymaking at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, as saying.

He did not elaborate on what was wrong with the Simpsons specifically. But he noted that any doll on which genitals are distinguishable, as well as dolls of adults, are banned. So were toys with speakers that blare out the voices of Western singers, or toy kitchen sets that include glasses for drinking alcoholic beverages.

Farjoo said however that dolls of Spiderman and Superman were authorized for sale. They help oppressed people and they have a positive stance, he said.


12th February   

Update: A Day to Defend Free Expression...

Report from event organised by One Law for All
Link Here  full story: Religion Trumps Free Speech...Religious intimdation cancels public debate about sharia

one law for all logo Atheists, secularists and supporters of free speech rallied in London to protest what they feel is an increased confidence of Islamists to censor free expression publicly . Around 200 people gathered on the steps of the memorial to King George V in Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Lords in Westminster.

Anne Marie Waters from the One Law for All group, which protests against sharia law in the United Kingdom, said that freedom of expression was the greatest freedom we have and included the freedom to offend .

Accusations of Islamophobia against those who reposted the Jesus and Mo webcomic was one of a number of incidents highlighted by speakers. Susan Zhuang from the University College London Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society spoke of the reaction to the posting of the cartoon to their Facebook profile: maybe we were naive but we never thought it would come to this . The university's student union demanded that the group remove the cartoon, but the group declined and launched an Internet petition to defend freedom of expression .

The blogger and activist Rhys Morgan, who had been previously threatened with libel for saying that the a clinic operated in Texas by Staislaw Burzynski was charging hundreds of thousands of dollars to cancer patients for unproven treatments, also spoke of being threatened by his sixth-form college to remove the Jesus and Mo cartoon from his Facebook account. He said that the staff at his college implied that [he] would be suspended or expelled , claiming that the image offended Muslims. He also said that he had got threats of violence including someone saying that his house would be burned down, and was called a God-hater .

The philosophy professor A. C. Grayling and the popular science writer Richard Dawkins both spoke at the rally, with the latter criticising the decision by the organisers of a literary festival in Jaipur, India, to kowtow to a violent threat by rescinding an invitation to the author Salman Rushdie based on a demand by some local Islamic scholar . (Dawkins joked about how, unlike Islamic scholars, a true 'scholar' studies more than one book .)

Dawkins argued that people should stop being so damn respectful . Without freedom of speech, Dawkins said, society would be in a scientific, technological, moral dark age .

Update: Report from the event

See article from


12th February   

Update: Preaching Nonsense to the Easily Offended...

Christian street preacher cleared of causing harassment, alarm or distress over comments about gays being sinners
Link Here  full story: Religious Gay Discrimination...Hotelier denies double room to gays

HM Courts ServiceA Christian street preacher has been cleared of hate crime charges over comments he made about homosexuality.

Mike Overd was arrested last year under the Public Order Act for saying that gay men could be forgiven by God for their sin.

The charge was brought against him following a complaint by civil partners Craig Nichol and Craig Manning, who were walking by arm in arm as Overd preached on Taunton High Street.

They felt that the preacher had singled them out as sinners and complained to police, who arrested Overd and charged him with a hate crime.

Overd was acquitted after the Magistrates concluded that he had not intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Overd said his case should never have been brought before the court.


11th February   

Updated: Religious Hate...

Leaflets calling for gays to be executed lead to trial under gay hatred law
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceFive Muslims who distributed leaflets calling for gay people to be executed have appeared in court accused of inciting hatred.

One leaflet said the death penalty had been passed against all homosexuals and showed a mannequin hanging from a noose.

Another showed a figure burning in a lake of fire with a list of punishments for homosexual acts.

The five defendants, all from Derby, are the first to be prosecuted under new laws banning the stirring up of hatred due to sexual orientation. Ihjaz Ali, 42, Razwan Javed, 28, Kabir Ahmed, 28, Umar Javed, 38, and Mehboob Hussain, 44, were arrested following complaints about leaflets distributed in Derby before a gay pride parade in July 2010.

The material was handed out in the street as well as posted through letterboxes.

The first, titled Death Penalty? , claimed that Allah permitted the destruction of gay people and the only question is how it should be carried out .

The second, titled Turn or Burn , featured the figure in a blazing lake with the warning that the decriminalisation of homosexuality was the root of all problems .

A third, GAY...God Abhors You told of severe punishment for homosexuals.

Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court the pamphlets were threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty and had been designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people .

The maximum penalty for the offences is seven years in jail. The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.

Update: Three men convicted

21st January 2012.  See article from

Muslim extremists who handed out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be hanged, stoned and burned to death have been convicted of gay hate crime.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed are the first to be prosecuted under new laws against inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Ali, 42, Ahmed, 28, and Javed, also 28, all of Normanton, Derby were found guilty of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. They will be sentenced next month.

Two others who distributed the leaflets, Mehboob Hussein, 44, and Umar Javed, 38, also of Normanton, were cleared of inciting hatred.

It has also emerged that Muslim fanatic and hate preacher Anjem Choudary was secretly invited by the group's ringleader, Ihjaz Ali, for a series of meetings in Derby. The group had links with the extremist organisation Al-Muhajiroun, which is banned under UK anti-terror laws.

Moderate Muslim leaders who spoke out against the group's activities were targeted in a hate campaign in which their faces were printed on wanted posters; *

The Daily Mail also reported that police had to be called during local elections because the group' s supporters were standing guard at polling stations, ordering Muslims not to vote.

Update: Jailed

11th February 2012. See article from

Three muslim extremists have been jailed after becoming the first to be convicted of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation for handing out leaflets calling for gay people to be executed.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed gave out the pamphlet, entitled The Death Penalty?, that showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

Ali was jailed for two years and Ahmed and Javed for 15 months each.


10th February   

Update: Inevitable Loss of the Legal Fight Against a Clear Law...

Christian hoteliers lose their legal case to be allowed to discriminate against gay guests
Link Here  full story: Religious Gay Discrimination...Hotelier denies double room to gays

StonewallStonewall today welcomed a decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold a landmark court ruling in favour of a couple refused a hotel room by the owners of a hotel in Cornwall.

Civil Partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy had been turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2010 by owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull. In January 2011 a judge at Bristol County Court ruled that the Bulls' behaviour amounted to direct discrimination, and awarded a total of £ 3,600 damages to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: We're delighted that the Court upheld the judgment. The Court's decision vindicates Stonewall's hard lobbying to make it illegal to deny goods or services to someone just because they happen to be gay. That obviously includes hotel rooms for many gay holidaymakers, which can only be a good thing in a Jubilee year. I hope Mr and Mrs Bull will now feel content to go home to do God's good work as Easter approaches, instead of relentlessly pursuing a happy couple through the courts.


9th February

 Offsite Article: Preaching Tolerance Whilst Practising Intolerance...

Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN
Islamic countries' 'religious intolerance' move in the UN ignores oppression at home

See article from


8th February   

Unchallenged Eyewitness...

Ofcom censure muslim channel programme for giving a one sided view of US foreign policy in Afghanistan and the Middle East
Link Here

ahlulbayt tv logoEyewitness
Ahlulbayt TV, 27 September 2011, 18:30

Ahlulbayt TV is a satellite television channel serving the Shia Muslim community in the UK. The licence for Ahlulbayt TV.

Eyewitness is a current affairs programme that contains lengthy interviews about topics of political interest.

A viewer alerted Ofcom to a programme featuring Agha Murtaza Poya, a Pakistani politician and journalist. In this programme, Agha Murtaza Poya talked about various geo-political issues, and his contribution included a critique of US foreign policy in relation to, for example, Afghanistan, Iran and Israel/Palestine. The viewer considered that the programme:

  • incited hatred towards countries such as the USA; and
  • presented no alternative point of view to that expressed by Agha Murtaza Poya.

Ofcom noted that the programme featured Agha Murtaza Poya speaking at length about his views on the conflicts in the Middle East, the US presence there, the spread of Islam and the future of Israel. The programme consisted of Agha Murtaza Poya giving answers to a range of questions. The programme did not include the voice of the interviewer. Instead the questions asked in the interview were included in voiceover as part of the programme commentary.

We noted that the programme included a range of statements from Agha Murtaza Poya, including the following, which could be interpreted as being highly critical, in particular, of: the foreign policies of the USA Eg:

I would certainly want all these regimes to start showing a more human face - whether it is an Assad or a Gaddafi or anybody - but the crimes being committed by the so-called international community - that is worse than anything else.

They [the US] didn't fail, they didn't go in for anything else. They didn't fail in Iraq. They beat the daylights out of the Iraqi society, and fractured it, gave it multiple fractures, so therefore... but it's bought Israel ten years, and that was the purpose of going in.

Ofcom considered Rule 5.5 (due impartiality) of the Code, which states that:

Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service…. This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 5.5

This programme consisted entirely of an interview with Agha Murtaza Poya. We noted that ATNL argued that any particular view points presented by the guest were challenged through questions included in the voiceover to the programme.

We considered that the questions included in the voiceover did, to some limited extent, clarify or add context to the viewpoints being expressed by Agha Murtaza Poya. In our view however these questions served principally to highlight geo-political issues relating to various nations, such as Palestine, Pakistan and Afghanistan; and served as a means of punctuating the points being made by the interviewee. None of the questions included in the voiceover could reasonably be said to reflect the viewpoint of the US Government in relation to its foreign policy in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In our view, taken overall this programme contained a range of statements that were highly critical of various aspects of US foreign policy, but did not include any views that could reasonably be said to reflect the viewpoint of the US Government in relation to its foreign policy and that countered the points being made by Agha Murtaza Poya.

The programme gave a one-sided view on this matter of political controversy. Further, the broadcaster did not provide any evidence of views of the US Government on this issue being included in a series of programmes taken as a whole (i.e. more than one programme in the same service, editorially linked, dealing with the same or related issues within an appropriate period and aimed at a like audience). Ofcom therefore considered the programme to be in breach of Rule 5.5 of the Code.

Ofcom is concerned that this breach of Rule 5.5 comes only a few months after a similar breach by the Licensee of the due impartiality requirements of the Code4 . Ofcom is therefore requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to explain its compliance procedures in this area. The Licensee is put on notice that any further similar contraventions of the Code will be considered for further regulatory action by Ofcom.

Breach of Rule 5.5


8th February   

Extract: The Saga that Refuses to End...

Authors under threat of legal proceedings for supporting Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literary Festival
Link Here  full story: Satanic Verses...Salman Rushdie irritation of the muslim world

Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie Legal proceedings have been filed against four authors that read aloud from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.

The Jaipur story has now taken a new turn, on 6th February two courts in the city began legal proceedings after complaints were filed by among others, members of an organisation that campaigned against Salman Rushdie's participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival. They allege that the festival organisers and four authors who read from Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

The four authors --- Amitava Kumar, Hari Kunzru, Ruchir Joshi, and Jeet Thayil --- read from the novel to express solidarity with the absent Rushdie, and as a mark of protest. Rushdie did not go to Jaipur after he received plausible information that security forces had evidence of death threats against him. Now the festival's organisers are also being charged under provisions of India's criminal laws, which date back to the colonial era.

The complainants main contention is that the authors and the festival organisers conspired to promote enmity on grounds of religion. One magistrate has recorded the complaint to decide if the case has any merit before it is sent to the police to register a First Information Report. That case will now be heard on 8 March.

...Read the full article


7th February   

Update: TV Channel Told to Wash its Mouth Out with Soap...

Ofcom fine Believe TV over nonsense religious healing claims
Link Here  full story: Censors vs Religious Healing...Censors unimpressed by claims of religious healing

believe TVOfcom have fined Light Academy Ltd £ 25,000 in respect of claims made by its Believe TV channel.

Ofcom decided that the programmes on Believe TV:

  • Paul Lewis Ministries, December 2010
  • Pastor Alex Omokudu Healing Ministry Testimonies, December 2010 - February 2011
  • Bishop Climate Irungu Ministries, January 2011

Breached rules:

  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material .
  • Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience .

Ofcom considered only the breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 to be so serious as to warrant consideration of a statutory sanction. In addition, Ofcom considered the Code Breaches to be repeated because they happened repeatedly over a period of several months.

Ofcom have previously highlighted a number of examples of broadcast material which had the potential for harm in breach of Rule 2.1, because some viewers with serious illnesses, especially more vulnerable ones, may not seek, or abandon existing, conventional medical treatment on the basis of what they have seen on Believe TV.

For example, Ofcom noted examples:

  • Paul Lewis, in the programmes Paul Lewis Ministries broadcast on 21 December 2010 and 22 December 2010, preaching directly to camera and providing 'healing' direct to individuals through the use of his 'Miracle Olive Oil Soap'; and
  • Bishop Climate Irungu, in the programmes Bishop Climate Irungu Ministries, broadcast on 4 January 2011, providing testimony of 'healing' direct to camera; and
  • 'testimonies' of congregation members (supported by statements by Pastor Alex Omokudu), which clearly encouraged viewers to believe that the healing or treatment of very serious illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart problems could be achieved exclusively through healing provided by being anointed with a product such as olive oil soap, Ribena or oil.

Ofcom also considered whether to revoke the licence for believe TV but decided that this would not be proportionate.


7th February   

Update: Over Revered Cleric...

Pakistan cleric sentenced to death after an overly warm welcome back home
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas
Pakistan flagA revered cleric accused of blasphemy has been sentenced to death and given a 10-year prison term in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Soofi Mohammad Ishaq of Talagang town was settled in the US, where he worked as a cleric. When he visited Talagang in 2009, he was given a warm welcome by hundreds of his disciples, some of whom kissed his feet.

But some people objected to the act of bowing down before Ishaq and accused his followers of branding him a prophet. Ishaq's rivals launched a campaign against him and  one man lodged a complaint at Talagang police station in which he accused Ishaq of committing blasphemy. Police booked Ishaq under the much abused blasphemy law.


7th February   

Religious Intolerance in Saudi...

Saudi arrests, jails and will deport 35 christians caught at prayer in a private home
Link Here
Human Rights Watch logo 35 Ethiopian Christians are awaiting deportation from Saudi Arabia for illicit mingling, after police arrested them when they raided a private prayer gathering in Jeddah in mid-December, 2011, Human Rights Watch said.

The Ethiopians gathered to pray together on December 15, during the advent of Christmas, in the private home of one of the Ethiopians, when police burst in and arrested them, three jailed members of the group, two women and one man, told Human Rights Watch.

While King Abdullah sets up an international interfaith dialogue center, his police are trampling on the rights of believers of others faiths, said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch. The Saudi government needs to change its own intolerant ways before it can promote religious dialogue abroad.


7th February   

Update: A Dangerous Kiss...

UAE teenager jailed for 3 years for kissing two girls
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail
UAE flagA 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to three years in juvenile detention in the United Arab Emirates after he was caught kissing two sisters.

The father of the two 13-year-old girls called the police after he caught the teenager in his house in Abu-Dhabi.

In addition to sexual assault, the boy had originally been charged with breaking and entering until he told the judge that the girls had let him in.  At an earlier hearing, the boy told the court that it was not the first time the girls had invited him inside and willingly kissed him.

A judge ruled that the boy could be detained until he is 18, but said he could be released sooner if he showed he was ready and suitably disciplined.


7th February   

Update: Miserable Valentines Day...

Indonesian clerics spout the usual miserable nonsense about Valentines Day
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail
Indonesia flagClerics in Aceh, Indonesia have warned Muslims, the younger generation in particular, that observing Valentine's Day is not allowed in Islam and against Sharia law that is in force in all of Aceh province.

It is haram for Muslims to observe Valentine's Day because it does not accord with Islamic Sharia Tgk Feisal, general secretary of the Aceh Ulema Association, said. he added that love should not be expressed or shown on a certain day only but every day. Therefore, Islam's younger generation should not participate in the celebration of a foreign festivity.

Faisal Ali who is also chairman of the Aceh branch of Nahdlatul Ulama called on Muslim parents, especially those in Aceh, to instruct and supervise their children in the matter: We must prevent the Muslim younger generation in Aceh from being poisoned by a culture that contradicts our Muslim values. Therefore, everybody, parents in particular, should give our youth the proper guidance .


7th February

 Offsite Article: Why should religions be exempt from advertising rules?...

Link Here  full story: Censors vs Religious Healing...Censors unimpressed by claims of religious healing
Responding to Brendan O'Neill's comment piece that arguing that if Christians are not free to say 'God heals', then there is no religious freedom in this country

See article from


7th February

 Offsite Event: Swords to Ploughshares...

Link Here
Wednesday 15 February, 6.30pm -10.30 pm, Brighton Unitarian Church, New Rd, Brighton A lively and topical debate about faith and sexual orientation in the public arena

See article from


7th February

 Offsite Article: Calls to Behead Indonesian Atheist Alexander Aan...

Link Here
Predictable intolerance both from the state and from religious extremists

See article from


7th February

 Offsite Article: Victory in sight for revolution over female genital mutilation...

Link Here  full story: Stop FGM...The nasty world of female genital mutilation
Amid the horrors surrounding female genital mutilation (FGM) there is a quiet revolution, which experts hope could lead to the eradication of the practice.

See article from


6th February   

Update: Radical Findings...

Parliamentary Committee find that ISPs should monitor the internet for websites radicalising religious extremists
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

House of Commons logoWebsite should be monitored and material that promotes violent extremism should be removed. A nine-month inquiry by the Commons home affairs select committee concluded the internet is a fertile breeding ground for terrorism and plays a part in most, if not all, cases of violent radicalisation.

ISPs should be more active in monitoring sites and the government should work with them to develop a code of practice for removing material that could lead to radicalisation, the report said.

The inquiry found that the internet played a greater role in violent radicalisation than prisons, universities or places of worship, and was now one of the few unregulated spaces where radicalisation is able to take place .

But it added that a sense of grievance was key, and direct personal contact with radicals was a significant factor . The government's counter-terrorism strategy should show the British state is not antithetical to Islam , the committee said. Keith Vaz, its chairman, said:

More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalisation through the internet and in private spaces. These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism.

The July 7 bombings in London, carried out by four men from West Yorkshire, were a powerful demonstration of the devastating and far-reaching impact of home-grown radicalisation.

We remain concerned by the growing support for non-violent extremism and more extreme and violent forms of far-right ideology.

He added that a policy of engagement, not alienation would prevent radicalisation and called for the government's counter-radicalisation strategy Prevent to be renamed Engage.

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties and privacy group Big Brother Watch, said:

Whatever the reason for blocking online content, it should be decided in court and not by unaccountable officials.

There is a serious risk that this kind of censorship not only makes the internet less secure for law-abiding people, but drives underground the real threats and makes it harder to protect the public.


6th February   

Update: Exile...

Kolkata book launch event cancelled lest religious people get offended (and get violent)
Link Here

nirbasanThe cancellation of the release party for Taslima Nasreen's autobiography at the Kolkata Book Fair has thrown the spotlight on the destructive clout of religious fanatics in a city once known for savouring cultural pluralism.

Coupled with the Salman Rushdie controversy - when the Booker awardee had to call off his visit and then his much-anticipated video address at the Jaipur Literature Festival following security threats triggered by some Islamic groups' protest - would go down as another instance of Indian authorities and parties kowtowing before religious rabblerousers.

While the Rushdie episode saw the political parties and the government, in the words of novelist Vikram Seth, knuckling under an enforced disgrace because of power and politics , the only difference here was that publishers went ahead with the launch of the book at the fair, despite the hostile attitude of organisers.

The seventh volume of Nasreen's book Nirbasan ( Exile ), which deals with her life after exile from Kolkata in 2007 and which almost nobody had read before the release, saw religious fundamentalists protesting against the launch.

This was nothing new for the Bangladesh-born author, a doctor by profession in the early 80s, who was forced to leave her country in 1994 after there was widespread agitation against her novel Lajja ( Shame ), which a section of people saw as an assault on Islam.

Hours before the release function, the organisers telephoned the publishers, People's Book Society, asking them to cancel the programme due to logistical problems . But later it transpired that some Islamic groups had approached the authorities and the city police against the book release.

A top official of the organising body, Publishers' and Book Sellers' Guild, confirmed the development saying:

We cannot allow any such thing to happen inside the Book Fair premises which can hurt the interest of the common people coming to the fair. We cannot allow anything that may hurt the religious sentiments of any community.

Update: Cancer of Censorship

11th February 2012. See article from

Taslima Nasreen commented to the Times of India:

You may wonder why the authority tries to ban me or ban my book launch. They believe I am anti-Islam, and supporting me or allowing me entry to the country or the state or the city or the book fair would send a wrong message to the Muslim fanatics. They fear they would lose the Muslim vote. They do not want to take the risk of a single Muslim vote.

The author believes the appetite for censorship is growing in India , she said. With Rushdie prevented by fears of violence from attending or even speaking via video link at the Jaipur event in January, Nasrin says we are witnessing the disturbing victory of Islamic gangsters in Jaipur and Kolkata. I am wondering how to stop this growing cancer from spreading, she said. According to Nasrin, intolerance is growing

because the government does not take action against intolerant fanatics and the fanatics are forgiven for whatever violence they commit in the name of religion ... India needs to secularise the states, judiciary and educational systems. People need to learn about the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, human rights and humanism. They need to be enlightened. In the name of 'Indian secularism', irrational blind faith and the barbarity of all religions seem to be accepted and respected equally.


5th February   

Inflamed Tensions...

Carnival mockery of islam resulted in a violent response
Link Here

Macedonia flagAn Orthodox Christian church was set alight in southern Macedonia amid religious tension between Christians and minority Muslims over a carnival in which Orthodox Christian men dressed as women in burkas and mocked the Koran.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in the two century-old Sveti Nikola church, near the town of Struga. The church's roof was destroyed but its icons were not damaged.

The January 13 Vevcani festival prompted angry, sometimes violent demonstrations by Muslims. Ethnic tension has been simmering in this small Balkan country since the end of an armed rebellion in 2001.

The Vevcani carnival, said to have been held for some 1,400 years, attracts thousands of visitors. Local residents traditionally wear elaborate, frequently sarcastic masks, with some of the most common costumes including devils and demons.

Macedonian Muslim leaders called for restraint but also accused the government of promoting Islamophobia. Deputy Prime Minister Musa Xhaferi said such incidents create discord and violate mutual respect and trust.


4th February   

Update: Cartoons Still Dangerous...

Men jailed for planning terrorist attack on the Jymands-Posten and Kurt Westergaard
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Norway flagA Norwegian court has convicted two muslim men of planning to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten after it printed cartoons of Muhammad.

Mikael Davud, a Norwegian from China's ethnic Uighur minority who had links to al-Qaeda, was jailed for seven years.

An Iraqi Kurd, Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, was given three-and-a-half years. Another man, David Jakobsen, was cleared of terror charges.

The judge said that Davud had planned the attack together with al-Qaeda .

During the trial, prosecutors said that Davud had learned about explosives at an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan and, together with Bujak, had planned to use them against the Danish newspaper. It was also claimed they had intended to kill Kurt Westergaard, who drew some of the cartoons.

Bujak admitted his hatred for the cartoonist but said he and Davud had gone no further than discussing the possibility of punishing Kurt Westergaard and the newspaper.


4th February   

Update: Mobile Mob...

Over 3000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes and Shops in Egypt, 3 Injured
Link Here  full story: Muslims attacking Copts...Minority christian Copts uder continuous attack

Egypt flagA mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked Copts in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat, Alexandria. Coptic homes and shops were looted before being set ablaze. Two Copts and a Muslim were injured. The violence started after a rumor was spread that a Coptic man had an allegedly intimate photo of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone. The Coptic man, Mourad Samy Guirgis, surrendered to the police for his own protection.

According to eyewitnesses, the perpetrators were bearded men in white gowns. They were Salafists, and some of were from the Muslim Brotherhood, according to one witness. It was reported that terrorized women and children who lost their homes were in the streets without any place to go.

According to Father Boktor Nashed from St. George's Church in el-Nahdah, a meeting between Muslim and Christian representatives was supposed to take place in the evening in Kobry-el-Sharbat. But, by 3 P.M. a Muslim mob looted and torched the home of Mourad Samy Guirgis, as well as the home of his family and three homes of Coptic neighbors. A number of Coptic-owned shops and businesses were also looted and torched. We contacted security forces, but they arrived very, very late, Said Father Nashad. The fire brigade was prevented from going into the village by the Muslims and the fires were left to burn themselves out. Those who lost their home, left the village, said Father Nashed.


3rd February   

Update: Wounding Religion...

ASA censure of bollox claims about healing by prayer causes offence to religious group
Link Here  full story: Censors vs Religious Healing...Censors unimpressed by claims of religious healing

healing on the streets bath A website and a leaflet, for Healing on the Streets - Bath, viewed on 10 May 2011:

a. The website home page stated Our vision is to :- Promote Christian Healing as a daily life style for every believer, through demonstration, training and equipping. We are working in unity, from numerous churches outside the four walls of the building, In order to :- - Heal the sick ... .

A page headed What people have told us afterwards ... included five testimonials in which people stated that after receiving prayer their conditions had been improved.

b. The leaflet was available for download on the website under the heading Download a healing flyer by clicking below . The leaflet stated NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness? We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness . Issue

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the claim in ad (b) that the advertiser could heal the named conditions was misleading and could be substantiated;

  2. the testimonials in ad (a) misleadingly implied that the advertiser could heal the conditions referred to; and

  3. the ads were irresponsible, because they provided false hope to those suffering from the named conditions.

  4. The ASA challenged whether the ads could discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1., 2. & 3. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that HOTS sought to promote their faith and the hope for physical healing by God through the claims in their ads. However, we were concerned that the prominent references in ad (b) to healing and the statement You have nothing to lose, except your sickness in combination with the references to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought such as arthritis, asthma, MS, addictions, depression and paralysis, could give consumers the expectation that, by receiving prayer from HOTS volunteers, they would be healed of the conditions listed or other sicknesses from which they suffered. We also considered that the testimonials in ad (a) could also give consumers that expectation, and furthermore, noted that a video on the website also made claims that HOTS volunteers had successfully prayed for healing for people with cancer, fibromyalgia, back pain, kidney pain, hip pain, cataracts, arthritis and paralysis. We noted the testimonials on the website and in the video but considered that testimonials were insufficient as evidence for claims of healing. We therefore concluded the ads were misleading.

We acknowledged that HOTS volunteers believed that prayer could treat illness and medical conditions, and that therefore the ads did not promote false hope. However, we noted we had not seen evidence that people had been healed through the prayer of HOTS volunteers, and concluded that the ads could encourage false hope in those suffering from the named conditions and therefore were irresponsible.

We acknowledged that HOTS had offered to make amendments to the ads, and to remove the leaflet from their website. However, we considered that their suggested amendments were not sufficient for the ads to comply with the CAP Code.

On these points, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1 and 3.6 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.47 (Endorsements and testimonials), 12.1 and 12.6 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).

4. Upheld

We understood that HOTS volunteers were instructed to give a letter to the recipients of prayer which told them they should not stop taking their medication or following the advice of medical professionals. We also noted their offer to add a prominent reference along the lines of that letter to their website. However, we considered that, because both the leaflet and the website made claims that through the prayer offered by HOTS volunteers people could be healed of specific medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought such as arthritis, asthma, MS, addictions, depression and paralysis, the ads could discourage people, and particularly the vulnerable or those suffering from undiagnosed symptoms, from seeking essential treatment for medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. We concluded the ad breached the Code.

On this point, ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code rule 12.2 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products). Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told HOTS not to make claims which stated or implied that, by receiving prayer from their volunteers, people could be healed of medical conditions. We also told them not to refer in their ads to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

HOTS Bath official response


We are disappointed with the ASA's decision, and will appeal against it because it seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.

The ASA has even demanded that we sign a document agreeing not to say this, which is unacceptable to us - as it no doubt would be for anyone ordered not to make certain statements about their conventional religious or philosophical beliefs.

All over the world as part of their normal Christian life, Christians believe in, pray for and experience God's healing; our ministry, in common with many churches, has been active in praying for God's healing (of Christians and non Christians) for many years.

Over that time the response to what we do has been overwhelmingly positive, and we find it difficult to understand the ASA's attempt to restrict communication about this. Our website simply states our beliefs and describes some of our experiences.

We tried to reach a compromise, recognising some of the ASA's concerns, but there are certain things that we cannot agree to -- including a ban on expressing our beliefs.


3rd February   

Update: Dangerous Movies...

Egyptian film star sentenced to jail for offending islam
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Egypt...Unswaying belief in injustice

qn196aqofroqr9One of the Arab world's best known Egyptian actors has been sentenced to three months in jail for supposedly offending Islam.

The judge confirmed that  veteran actor Adel Imam was convicted in absentia of insulting the religion. The judge said Imam can appeal.

The state-run Ahram Online English website reported that he was found guilty for defaming Islam in a 2007 movie in which he plays a corrupt businessman who tries to buy a university diploma. The film, Morgan Ahmed Morgan , included a scene with bearded Muslim men wearing traditional Islamic robes. Other reports said the court objected to his use of Islamic symbols in the film and others he has appeared in.

offsite Extract: More

4th April 2012. See article from

The Arab world's most revered comedian faces potential jail time for a series of supposedly blasphemous films --- released two decades ago.

In February, a case was filed against Imam by Arsan Mansour, a lawyer accusing the actor of consistently slandering Islam --- as well as several of its symbols, such as the jilbab and, in all seriousness, the beard --- in his films Al-Irhab wal-Kabab ( Terrorism and Kebab ), Al-Irhabi ( The Terrorist ) and, breaking with tradition, Teyour al-Zalam ( Birds of Darkness ). The films were released in 1992, 1994 and 1995, respectively.

While the three films did generate some controversy upon their original release, this delayed legal reaction is being seen by most as having little to do with any alleged onscreen blasphemy, and more to do with the changes sweeping the nation.

Gamal Eid, the human rights lawyer spearheading Imam's defense team said:

The real problem is the precedent this case has already set, as well as its implications. Over the past two months, three major film and television productions have been shut down for supposedly violating Sharia. Cases similar to the one against Imam have also targeted acclaimed filmmakers like Sherif Arafa, Wahid Hamed --- both of whom can be counted among Imam's frequent collaborators --- and several others. These are only a few of the latest higher-profile incidents.

As Eid puts it, They're coming out of the woodwork now --- all these self-righteous characters with cloudy intentions and misguided beliefs.

...Read the full article


3rd February   

Open Society...

Netherlands bans the burkha
Link Here

NetherlandsThe Netherlands government has just approved a ban on face-covering clothing.

After France and Belgium, the Netherlands is the third European country where a burqa ban in force.

People on the street a burqa, a balaclava or a full helmet, can soon look forward to a fine.

Liesbeth Spies, Home Affairs Minister said it's very important that people find each other in an open society open approach.