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


31st March   

Update: Four Lions at the BBFC...

BBFC comment on classifying material that may offend the easily offended
Link Here  full story: Four Lions...Chris Morris satire re religious extremists

Four Lions DVD Riz Ahmed Chris Morris's 2010 UK terrorist comedy was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC with the consumer advise: Contains strong language and sex references.

The BBFC explain their decision as follows:

Four Lions is a satirical comedy about British Muslims who aspire to be suicide bombers. It has been passed 15 for strong language and sex references.

There are over fifty uses of strong language, mostly in English but several in untranslated Urdu, which go beyond what is acceptable under the BBFC's Guidelines at 12A/12 where The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent . In terms of sex references, strong verbal references to sexual behaviour are permitted at 15 and the verbal descriptions of sex in this work fell short of containing the strongest references which might have placed it at 18 instead.

The theme is treated in a manner designed to satirise, rather than to promote or endorse, terrorist activity and is therefore appropriately contained at 15 where No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds . Few of the range of individuals and groups portrayed in the film escape its comic and satirical scope: this may give rise to offence in some quarters, but this would not have been mitigated by artificially raising the category to 18.

Four Lions also contains moderate comic violence, and self referential uses of Paki which in this comic context are not endorsed.

 

31st March   

Persecution by Scottish 'Justice'...

Preacher fined £1000 for minor gay insults whilst speaking in public
Link Here

Scottish Courts logoGay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has defended a Christian street preacher fined £1,000 for saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Baptist Shawn Holes was taken from a busy shopping street in a police van and locked in a cell for the night. He appeared in court the next day charged with uttering homophobic remarks in a breach of the peace that prosecutors said was aggravated by religious prejudice .

Campaigner Peter Tatchell has defended Christian street preacher Shawn Holes, who was fined £1,000 for saying that homosexuality is a sin. Tatchell attacked the fine as heavy-handed and totally disproportionate . The price of freedom of speech is that we sometimes have to put up with opinions that are objectionable and offensive.

Just as people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should have the right to criticise homosexuality. Only incitements to violence should be illegal.

Holes, an American preacher who was travelling around Britain with a dozen colleagues, was arrested in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, on March 18. When asked about his views on gays, Holes said he told questioners: Homosexuals deserve the wrath of God - and so do all other sinners - and they are going to a place called Hell. He also said he told listeners, when asked for his views on Islam, that he believed there is only one true Christian God and he believed the Prophet Mohammed is a sinner like the rest of us .

Holes appeared before Sheriff Rita Rae on March 19, charged under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. Although he denied criminality, Holes said he felt he had no choice but to plead guilty. He explained: I am not a rich man and was due to fly back to the U.S.

 

31st March   

Jealous Religion...

Sri Lankan author arrested for book about converting to islam
Link Here

Sri LankaAn expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.

Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country's emergency laws, according to the police.

They declined to give precise details of the writer's offence, but suggested that her books were deemed to have caused offence to ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists.

Sri Lanka's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but also says that the state shall give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the religion.

Ms Perera recently completed two books on her conversion, called From Darkness to Light and Questions and Answers , and was having them printed in Sri Lanka.

 

31st March   

Update: Lashings of Nastiness...

Sudan's president as succinctly revealed by The Freethinker
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Sudan...Beating and floging women over dress restrictions

omer bashirWar criminal President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir of Sudan has warned that his government will have zero tolerance for those who drink or deal in alcoholic drinks, saying they will be whipped under Islamic sharia laws.

The grumpy Muslim tyrant warned:

Anybody who drinks alcohol, we lash them. Anybody who makes alcohol, we lash them. Anybody who sells alcohol, we lash them.

I don't care about the UN or human rights organisations

 

30th March   

Inappropriate Time for Moralising...

Peterborough priest has a whinge about local lap dancing club
Link Here

pulse8A Peterborough priest has called on religious leaders to join a campaign to reverse a decision to allow a club near his church to run lap-dancing nights.

Father David Jennings, of St Peter and All Souls Roman Catholic Church, has written to religious leaders of all faiths in the city asking them to support his campaign over Pulse 8 nightclub, in Geneva Street, which recently began holding pole dancing nights.

In the letter Father David said:

We have been shocked that no attempt was made by the authorities to consult the residents of Geneva Street, nor the Catholic Church which residents next door but one to the night club.

This inappropriate decision fails to take into account the views of the 1,800 who attend mass each week.

As faith leaders within the city, I know you would not appreciate such an establishment being sited next door to your place of worship.

 

30th March   

Update: A Modest Compromise...

For hospital workers who would rather not show their forearms
Link Here  full story: Hospital Hygiene...Superbug refuses to respect muslim sensitivities

Photographic Hospital Science Photo Library Female Muslim doctors and nurses are to be allowed to wear disposable sleeves in order to comply with NHS rules to prevent the spread of hospital superbugs.

All staff involved in caring for patients should be bare below the elbows to ensure sleeves do not become contaminated and hands can be washed thoroughly to prevent infections passed around the ward.

However female Muslim staff had been concerned about the rule as exposure of their forearms is seen as immodest.

New guidance from the Department of Health said that using alcohol gel to cleanse hands between treating patients does not contravene strict Muslim rules on alcohol.

If Muslim women wish to cover their forearms during direct patient care they can wear disposable sleeves which are elasticated at the wrist and elbow but washing of hands and wrists should still be observed.

The guidance was drawn up following meetings between the Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS group and Islamic scholars, chaplains, multi-faith representatives and infection control experts.

The General Medical Council has said that female Muslim doctors must be prepared to remove their veil to treat patients effectively as religious clothing must not be a barrier to good care. The guidelines say women can wear the hijab which covers the head and hair but not the face.

 

29th March   

Updated: Inappropriate Images...

New Thai movie winds up Buddhist campaigners
Link Here

nak prokThe Association of Buddhist Relations have said that the film Nark Prok ( Naga Hood ) gave Buddhist monks a bad image and vilified the religion as a whole.

The association's chairman Adisak Wannasin said he would lodge a petition with the Thai Culture Ministry asking it to review its decision to allow the film to be screened.

Adisak said the film included inappropriate images like showing three men dressed as monks touching women - an act that is forbidden under the discipline of monkhood. According to the screenplay, the three saffron-clad men are bandits planning to rob a temple.

Somkiat Sorralump, a member of the House committee on religions, arts and culture, said his panel would take drastic action if the film ended up getting screened. He said the panel believed the movie was meant to make Buddhism look bad. The producers want to destroy Buddhism, he added.

Update: Temple thriller

29th March 2010. Based on article from bangkokpost.com

Romping, gun-slinging monks (spurious monks, it turns out) have roused 'anxiety' among Thai religious groups - and even a senator. What has happened since last week's release of the contentious film Nak Prok ( In the Shadow of the Naga ) is not so much a debate as grumbles and subterfuges.

Somchai Khemklad and Ray McDonald are crooks disguised as monks in a controversial movie which critics say harms the image of Buddhism.

Opponents are unhappy that the integrity of Buddhism is compromised by the film's posters, which show muscular men in precariously-clad saffron robes, baring fangs and swinging guns.

Members of a religious group marched to the office of Sahamongkol Film, who produced the film, demanding what I'm not sure, since Nak Prok has got the permission to play, with an 18-plus rating and warning captions.

The studio agreed to take off the posters by the end of this week. Meaning: after two weekends in the cineplexes, the film is likely to have generated the majority of its income and the removal of the posters will hardly matter. I don't know if the protestors were trying to get the film banned, which is impossible, since it had already passed the censors.

Nak Prok tells the story of two bandits who disguise themselves as monks and hole up in a forest temple. If nothing else, the film defines a new sub-genre: temple thriller.

The film was canned for three years for fear of a ban but is now making decent money.

 

29th March   

Update: Pakistan's Shame...

Pakistan tries to hide persecutions under trumped up blasphemy charges
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flagPolice in Alipur have arrested a Christian woman on a baseless accusation of blaspheming the Mohammed and tried to keep rights groups from discovering the detention, a Christian leader said. Related

Alipur police in Punjab Province denied that they had detained Rubina Bibi when Khalid Gill, Lahore regional coordinator of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) inquired about her detention after a Muslim woman accused her of blasphemy, Gill told Compass.

The Muslim woman's name was kept secret by the police and Muslim people, and we were not allowed to see the Christian woman, Gill said. The Alipur police said they had not arrested her yet, contrary to the fact that they had arrested and tortured her at Alipur police station.

A reliable police source told Compass on condition of anonymity that a First Information Report identified Rubina Bibi of Alipur, wife of Amjad Masih, as accused of making a derogatory remark about Muhammad. The charge comes under Section 295-C of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which have gained international notoriety for their misuse by Muslims to settle personal grudges.

Police told Compass that the FIR was now sealed and no further information would be released to any person or news outlet.

APMA's Gill said the case registered against Rubina Bibi was without basis, growing out of a quarrel with her Muslim accuser over a minor domestic dispute. Condemning the arrest, Gill said a radical Muslim relative of the accuser, Sabir Munir Qadri, had turned the quarrel into a religious issue in which the Christian could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment with a large fine.

Update: Acquitted

16th August 2010. See article from christianpost.com

A Pakistani court exonerated a Christian woman of blasphemy charges after authorities had pressured her into making a false confession, according to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).

Rubina Bibi arrived in Lahore yesterday after Additional and Session Judge Mohammad Asghar Khan in Wazirabad district set her free in Gujranwala, Punjab, said CLAAS National Director Joseph Francis.

Rubina Bibi had purchased some edible fats from a Muslim woman, Seema Bibi, but asked for a refund when she found they were impure. Seema Bibi began threatening her and speaking derogatorily of Christ, Christians and Christianity, Chaudhary said. In her false confession on April 6, Rubina Bibi said under duress that she was not used to hearing such contempt about herself and her faith and responded by insulting Muhammad.

Her statement of confession was under pressure, and we obtained her new statement in the presence of lawyers in which she said that she did no such thing, Francis said.

After hearing evidence in two previous hearings, the judge ordered the investigating officer to appear in court yesterday. Bashir of CLAAS, which took up Rubina Bibi's case on March 30, offered an extended argument from previous case law, and Khan acquitted her, Francis said.

 

29th March   

Offsite: Is Satan a Catholic?...

Pat Condell on good cutting form with his take on catholicism
Link Here

condell on catholic church video Patt Condell comments on the catholic church washing its dirty laundry in public... They just can't seem to get the semen stains out, can they?

...See the video

 

28th March   

Ethically Challenged...

Ofcom to investigate the Islam Channel
Link Here

islam channel logoBritain's leading Muslim TV channel was last night accused of encouraging marital rape and promoting hatred and intolerance.

TV censor Ofcom launched an investigation after being handed a major report by counter-terrorism think tank Quilliam on the London-based Islam Channel, which has a worldwide audience of two million.

The report claims the Islam Channel's presenters and guests regularly make derogatory statements about women and their role in society .

In one programme, a guest tells viewers that Muslim women cannot refuse their husbands' sexual advances. He says: The idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband's relations – this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage. He said the concept of a woman's individual choice was something which is part of the Western culture, but not Islam .

A presenter said the main sources of problems facing modern society were caused by women. Viewers were told the majority of the people in hell will be women because they are the cause of calamities, hardship and suffering .

Last night an Ofcom spokesman said: This report raises some serious allegations. We will investigate where our rules may have been broken.

 

28th March   

Update: Ethically Challenged...

Religiously incompetent pharmacists allowed to continue practising
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

gpc logoThe General Pharmaceutical Council has decided to uphold the right of pharmacists in the UK to refuse to dispense treatments that conflict with their brand of religious nonsense.

The new pharmacy regulator said it would retain an existing code of ethics when it replaces the Royal Pharmaceutical Society as the regulator of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians later this year.

The code of ethics contains a conscience clause that allows pharmacies to opt out of providing items such as the morning after pill if doing so goes against their religious beliefs.

The council said, however, that consultation on the issue would continue and that in the future pharmacies may have to tell patients of other providers.

Pharmacies may also be compelled to display notices telling patients of the services they are unable to provide because of their religious convictions.

 

28th March   

Update: Burnt Alive...

Christian man burnt alive in Pakistan over refusal to convert to islam
Link Here

Pakistan flagA Christian man, Arshad Masih, was burnt alive in Pakistan as he refused to convert to islam.

He died from burns which covered 80% of his body and it took three agonizing days before he finally passed away.

On March 19 a group of Islamic extremists burned alive Arshed Masih, a driver employed by a wealthy Muslim businessman in Rawalpindi. His wife worked as a maid in the same estate, situated in front of a police station. Recently disagreements had arisen between the employer, Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, and the couple because of their Christian faith. The couple had suffered threats and intimidation to force them to convert to Islam.

Arshed Masih died after three days of agony and suffering at the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Punjab province. His wife Martha Arshed was raped by police en she sought to denounce the violence inflicted on her husband. The couple's three children - ages 7 to 12 years - were forced to witness the torture inflicted on their parents.

 

28th March   

Update: Egyptian Church Crushed...

Luxor authorities demolish church buildings and assault pastor
Link Here

anglican church luxorAn Anglican Church pastor and his wife were assaulted by Security agents in Luxor on March 18, 2010, in order to evacuate them by force from their home and demolish Church property. Out of the nearly 3000 sq. meters of buildings attached to the Church, only the 400 sq. meter prayer hall was left standing.

Pastor Mahrous Karam of the Anglican Church in Luxor, said that the Church was still in negotiations with the Luxor authorities the day before regarding a replacement for the community center building which lies within the Church's compound, and was told the authorities were still considering their options. Early next morning, a 500-man force of Central Security and State Security blocked all roads leading to the Church compound, forced their way in and broke into the pastor's residence, dragging the family out by force.

In an effort to save the buildings from demolition, the Pastor sat on the fence of the Church compound, to prevent the demolition work, but was beaten and dragged away, reported Katiba Tibia News.

The Pastor's wife, Sabah, said that two men went into her flat and evacuated her by force, by slapping her face, pulling her by her clothes and dragging her by her hair. They threatened that if I do not leave the place they would take my 3-year-old boy and throw him under the bulldozers which came for the demolition work, she told Sherif Ramzy of Freecopts. Twenty traumatized children were dragged out of the attached nursery and thrown into the church hall, Sabah said.

Dr. Samir Farag, Governor of Luxor, told the media that his forces seized only one room from the Anglican Church, and denied any bodily assault on the pastor's family.

An Anglican witness said: The Governor is lying, that is why the forces blocked the road leading to the Church before their attack, so that nobody would witness their doings. But he forgot there is the Internet and cell phone videos to show the whole world the uncivilized way Egypt deals with Christians and their places of worship.

 

27th March   

Update: Defamation Nonsense...

Defamation of religion resolution renewed at UN with diminished majority
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logoThe non-binding defamation of religion resolution that has been an annual fixture at the United Nations Human Rights Council was has been passed again – but only narrowly.

Voting in favour were 20 states, including China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. 17 — mostly Western nations — opposed, including the United States and the Netherlands. 8 states abstained. (Last year the vote was 23 in favour, 11 opposed and 13 abstentions).

The resolution was similar to one passed last year, but also included a section slamming the recent Swiss referendum vote to ban the construction of minarets in the country.

Pakistan introduced the resolution, accusing Western countries of targeting Muslims and using pressure instead of reason to influence votes. The only religion specifically mentioned as being discriminated against was Islam. Opponents noted tight restrictions on Christians, Jews and others in states such as Saudi Arabia and Libya, which were not mentioned in the adopted text.

The United States opposed the resolution, which it said failed to galvanize international support for real solutions to improve the lives of people on the ground. It called the resolution ineffective and an instrument of division.

 

27th March   

Intolerance in Indonesia...

Gay conference cancelled on fear of violent muslim protest
Link Here

Indonesia flagA gay and lesbian conference in Indonesia has been cancelled by police after Muslims protested.

The event, held by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), was due to take place in Surabaya, East Java's capital.

But police cancelled the event after a group of around 60 Muslims entered the hotel where the conference was to be held to complain.

Associated Press reports that the conference was cancelled because police feared it could lead to violent protests.

Two hundred participants from 16 countries were to join the conference.

 

27th March   

Update: Religious Thugs...

Lawyers opposing Indonesia's blasphemy laws roughed up
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Indonesia...Blasphemy applied to slight deviations of belief

Indonesia flagA judicial review of Indonesia's blasphemy law turned ugly when two members of two hard-line Islamic groups roughed up two lawyers acting for groups who want the law scrapped.

According to this report, several members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islamic Defenders Army (Laskar Pembela Islam) grabbed the lawyers and tried to persuade them to withdraw from the hearing.

Nurkholis Hidayat, a member of the legal team, said: The mob kicked my legs while talking me into doing what they wanted. His colleague, Uli Parulian Sihombing, received similar treatment.

Several people immediately produced cameras and mobile phones to take pictures of the bully-boy tactics. This ignited further rage among the hard-liners. They crowded around three men who were seen taking pictures and yelled at them: Erase the pictures!

Earlier, Indonesia's Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, warned of social breakdown if the law was to be abolished: People, figures, could establish new religions, declare new prophets, new angels.

 

27th March   

Updated: Security and Communications...

Face coverings to be removed when interacting with Quebec government services
Link Here  full story: Burkha Bollox...Burkhas threaten to undermine world peace

Quebec flagThe Canadian province of Quebec has passed landmark legislation that stipulates Muslim women will need to uncover their faces when dealing with Quebec government services.

The bill says people obtaining or delivering services at places such as health or auto insurance offices will need to do so with their faces in plain view. The law covers all garments ranging from the face veil to the burqa, a traditional head-to-toe veil worn by some Muslim women. It says people's face-coverings will not be tolerated if they hinder communication or visual identification.

Premier Jean Charest told a news conference that the province was drawing a line in defense of gender equality and secular public institutions.

Salam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal questioned the need to legislate against such a small minority of the population. It is a knee-jerk reaction to the opposition and vote-grabbing more than anything else, he said, adding the law was unlikely to encourage integration of Muslim immigrants.

 

26th March   

Updated: Hallelujah...

Stephen Green gets wound up by Eric Idle's Not the Messiah
Link Here

Not The Messiah Poste On Thursday, 25th March, a number of cinemas in the UK will be screening Eric Idle's Not the Messiah – a musical version of The Life of Brian.

The film is being promoted by Classic FM – much to the annoyance of Britain's most comical Christian, who is demanding that CFM pulls its trailers for the movie, and ditch an accompanying competition.

Stephen Green of Christian Voice said in an email:

The film sponges off the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and this mock-oratorio parodies the glorious music of Handel's masterwork. It is even billed as a spoof of Handel's Messiah . It has the song from Life of Brian which 'Brian' sang while hanging from the cross, Always look on the bright side of life . Crucifixion is not funny. It even has Hail to the Shoe sung to the music of the Hallelujah Chorus . That isn't funny either.

While pretending Not the Messiah is not blasphemous or offensive, Idle is well aware of what he is doing – mocking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Eric Idle: There is no controversy .. it's only people stupid enough to realise Christ is in the movie twice, and Christ isn't Christ, so there's no real controversy… It's very simple – you either get it or you don't .

But Eric Idle is an avowed atheist and a supporter and reader of both Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. He has a song on Atheist Nexus: Fuck Christmas . This is a man with an agenda and a big anti-Christ chip on his shoulder. I think we get it. He is out to mock religion and people of faith; and it's a great pity that Classic FM has joined him, showing contempt for their Christian listeners.

Update: Classic Misunderstanding

26th March 2010. Based on article from mediawatchwatch.org.uk

Stephen Green had a good crow after the Classic FM promotion of Not the Messiah came to an end. In a press release from christianvoice.org.uk he wrote:

Leading classical music radio station, Classic FM, have dropped all their promotion of Eric Idle's Not the Messiah , in response to a deluge of complaints from Christian listeners.

It took a couple of hours this morning for Classic FM executives to realise they had made a terrible mistake in promoting it.

Faced with hundreds of distraught emails sent over the weekend, and bombarded with so many telephone calls they stopped taking them, managing director Darren Henley ditched Not the Messiah quicker than you can say Whose bright idea was that?

Listeners were not amused to find their radio station promoting a militant atheist production insulting Jesus Christ and doing violence to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus in the run-up to Easter. By 10am on Monday morning the competition was over and all reference to Not the Messiah , including images from the show, had been removed from the website..

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said: I am also pleased that Christian Voice was able to play a small part in explaining to Mr Henley the offence caused by the station's promotion of Eric Idle's atheist rant.

We give all the praise to God for the change of heart at Classic FM and we hope and pray they will be more discerning in future.'

But it appears that Stephen Green may have been a bit hasty.

Classic FM  Director Derren Henley explains that the Not the Messiah ad campaign had run its natural course, and Christian Voice's complaining campaign had nothing to do with it stopping.

Henley wrote:

Following an email campaign, a number of incorrect views about Classic FM's involvement in this event appear to have gathered momentum in the online community and I hope that you will allow me to take this opportunity to correct them:

1. Classic FM broadcast an advertising campaign for this event which ran from last Wednesday until last weekend. The station also ran a competition to win tickets to the event on the station's website which also ended last weekend. No further advertising activity was booked to run either on-air or online after the weekend.

2. At no point did Classic FM ever intend to broadcast this event on air, nor did it ever enter into any negotiations to broadcast the event on air, so any assertion that any programme content has been withdrawn from broadcast is simply incorrect.

3. Classic FM has never been a financial supporter of this event and nor was it ever the promoter of the live event – and that relationship has in no way changed over the past week.

 

26th March   

Updated: Jobsworth Dermot Ahern...

Hope for Irish referendum that could remove recent blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Atheist Ireland logoDermot Ahern, the Irish Justice Minister, is proposing a referendum this autumn to remove the newly-introduced offence of blasphemy from the Irish Constitution, along with two other referenda that the government is already committed to.

Atheist Ireland, which tirelessly campaigned against the law that made Ireland the laughing stock of the Western world, revealed that the Minister told the Sunday Times:

I was only doing my duty … there was an incredibly sophisticated campaign [against me], mainly on the internet.

And that there had been:

A lot of nonsense about that blasphemy issue and people making me out to be a complete right-winger at the time … I was only doing my duty in relation to it, because clearly it is in the constitution.

AI thanks everyone who has helped to make the campaign against this new law as effective as it has been to date. It is now important we maintain the pressure on this issue to ensure that the referendum happens as proposed and, more importantly, that it is won.

AI added: We reiterate our position that this law is both silly and dangerous: silly because it is introducing medieval canon law offence into a modern plularist republic; and dangerous because it incentives religious outrage and because its wording has already been adopted by Islamic states as part of their campaign to make blasphemy a crime internationally.

A final decision on a blasphemy referendum rests with the cabinet, but if Ahern remains justice minister after this month's reshuffle, he is likely to propose that it be added to the autumn list. The government is already committed to referenda on children's rights and establishing a permanent court of civil appeal.

Update: There may be some delay

26th March 2010. Based on article from irishtimes.com

Dermot AhernThere were no plans in the immediate future for a referendum deleting the constitutional prohibition on blasphemy, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern told the Dáil.

Ahern said that he remained of the view that, on the grounds of cost, a referendum on blasphemy should not be held on its own. It should be run, possibly together with one or more referendums.

Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte claimed that the Minister's statement was a backtracking on what he understood the position to be from the Taoiseach in the Dáil.

Ahern repeated that he would be happy to propose to the Government a referendum on blasphemy at the appropriate time: I did indicate that given the fact the programme for government indicated that we would have two or three referendums – if my memory serves me correctly – in the lifetime of the Government, it may be appropriate to add on a referendum relating to to the article to which you refer .

 

26th March   

Threatening Christianity...

Sounds like bollox that street preachers could be considered threatening
Link Here

street preacherA district judge has thrown out the case of a Christian street preacher in Colchester who was arrested by police because of comments he made about homosexual conduct.

Paul Shaw was arrested on February 19 after complaints about his preaching in the town centre.

Shaw denied the charges of using threatening words or behaviour and he insisted there was nothing wrong with his conduct.

The prosecution could not proceed because there was neither evidence nor written statements from the complainants, resulting in the judge dismissing the case.

District Judge David Cooper asked: There are other sorts of sins. Do you think you could concentrate on those for a bit?

 

26th March   

Update: Hardly Social Cohesion...

KFC makes 86 restaurants halal food only
Link Here  full story: Halal Resturants...Halal restaurants prove divisive

kfc big ddy advertAlan Phillips was told that his Big Daddy, a chicken burger, topped with bacon, cheese and salad was no longer on the menu.

The branch, in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, is one of 86 KFC restaurants which is running trials of a scheme where they sell nothing other than halal meat. Burton-on-Trent branch of KFC

The company has taken the burger off the menu because Islamic dietary law forbids Muslims to eat anything which has been prepared on the same premises as pork, which is itself strictly forbidden.

It said it was responding to increased demand for a halal menu in the areas of Britain with growing Muslim populations.

 

25th March   

Not Suitable for Public Articulation...

Akon banned from Sri Lanka over Buddha statue appearing in music video
Link Here

My Ghetto Akon Sri Lanka has refused to issue a visa to R&B star Akon, who was due to perform there next month, saying he offended the country's Buddhists.

The ban comes after protests over one of the star's music videos featuring scantily-clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha.

In a statement, the government said the video for Sexy Bitch by David Guetta, featuring Akon on vocals, triggered a lot of disappointment among Buddhists . It added some of Akon's lyrics were not suitable for public articulation .

On Monday, hundreds of people protested the head offices of the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television Network, the media sponsor of the planned concert.

Two Facebook groups protesting against the concert have surfaced: The We Hate Akon (Abuse Music Video Against Lord Buddha) group has more than 8,000 followers while another, Akon Who Disgraced Buddhism — STOP Sri Lanka Concert , has 800 adherents.

Considering the controversial video images, offensive song lyrics and strong protests coming from various cultural, religious groups and organisations in the country, the government was compelled to take this decision, the government said.

 

25th March   

A Vulgar Whinge...

Zed grade whinger calls for more film censorship in India
Link Here

Rajan ZedThe Hindu perennial whinger, Rajan Zed, is asking for immediate restructuring of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of India because of continuous increase in the unnecessary vulgarity and violence in Indian films.

Zed, in a statement said that it appeared that the Board of the largest filmmaking country had lost the sense of India's cultural milieu and was ignoring the directions given in the Cinematograph Act.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, claimed that they were fully supportive of the artistic freedom and expression and did not want any unnecessary censorship ...BUT... were highly concerned about the increasing presence of the immodest and risqué scenes in the movies which were there simply for mercantile greed having nothing to do with cinematic elements.

Rajan Zed pointed out that CBFC chairperson Sharmila Tagore and her team needed to be retrained in what India stood for and what were our moral perimeters.

 

25th March   

God's Wrath...

Brunei nutter minister opposes alcohol zone for tourists
Link Here

Brunei flagBrunei's religious affairs minister has poured cold water on a plan to set up an alcohol zone for tourists in the Muslim country saying it would invite God's wrath.

Zain Serudin rejected MP Goh King Chin's proposal to establish a special area for foreign tourists to buy and drink alcohol.

 

24th March   

Cut Off from Humanity...

Nigerian court silences Facebook debate about amputation for theft
Link Here

Facebook logoA Nigerian Islamic Sharia court has banned Twitter and Facebook debates on the country's first wrist amputation for theft, according to court papers seen by AFP.

A Kaduna court ordered the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), one of the country's leading rights groups, to suspend its Twitter and Facebook online debates on the amputation, which was carried out in 2000.

The court granted an interim injunction restraining the respondents either by themselves or their agents... from opening a chat forum on Facebook, Twitter, or any blog for the purpose of the debate on the amputation of Malam Buba Bello Jangebe, said the order.

Jangebe was the first person to have had his right hand amputated on the orders of a Sharia court in Zamfara State, a year after 12 northern Nigerian states adopted the strict Islamic penal code.

The order followed a suit filed by the Association of Muslim Brotherhood of Nigeria, a pro-Sharia group based in the northern political capital of Kaduna, which argued that Internet forums would be used as a mockery of the Sharia system as negative issues will be discussed .

 

24th March   

Bed and Bollox...

Gay couple turned away from B+B by christian owners
Link Here  full story: Bed and Breakfast Gay Ban...B+B refuses gay guests on religious grounds
Sermon on the mount

  Love your neighbour...
Unless of course he's gay

A gay couple were turned away from a bed and breakfast by its Christian owner who claimed it was against her convictions for two men to share a bed.

Michael Black and John Morgan booked a double room at the B&B in Cookham, Berkshire.

When they arrived, Susanne Wilkinson and her husband Francis refused to allow them to stay. The owner said later that she had turned them away because it was against her policy to accommodate same sex couples.

Black and Morgan claimed they were treated like lepers as a result of their sexuality. They reported the matter to Thames Valley police and have given a statement to police. Under the Equality Act 2006 it is illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Black said: We're two respectable middle-aged men. John is leader of the Lib Dem group on Huntingdon town council. This was the first time either of us had experienced homophobia at first hand, despite being aged 56 and 62. We were shocked and embarrassed. Mrs Wilkinson saw us both before we got out of the car and immediately acted in an unwelcoming, cold way, but my boyfriend and I were polite and friendly. She apologised for turning them away and she returned their deposit and was in no way abusive, the couple said.

Mrs Wilkinson said: I don't see why I should change my mind and my beliefs I've held for years just because the government should force it on me. The property is not a hotel. It operates as a guest house and private home.

Mr Wilkinson said: We are Christians and we believe our rights don't have to be subordinated. We have religious freedom and we are not judging that but we are not prepared to have that sort of activity under our roof.

Based on article from christian.org.uk

The Christian B&B owners who wouldn't give a double bed to a homosexual couple have been deluged with hate mail, including a threat to burn down their home.

Mike and Susanne Wilkinson have been subjected to abusive phone calls, text messages and emails since the story emerged in the media.

And police officers arrived at the couple's home last night to look into the abuse.

Mr Wilkinson described the abuse, saying: There must have been 900 emails, and I would say half of them are really abusive and threatening . I'm really saddened that so many people have articulated themselves in such a foul way.

The Christian Institute's Mike Judge said: Whether you agree with the Wilkinsons' beliefs or not, a diverse society is one that respects diversity of opinion. Surely the world is big enough to let people disagree. Suing someone because you don't like their beliefs is illiberal, undemocratic and has no place in a free society.

 

24th March   

Updated: Burk on Burkhas...

Philip Hollobone calls for ban on wearing burkhas in public
Link Here  full story: Burkha Bollox...Burkhas threaten to undermine world peace

philip hollobonePhilip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, told the Commons: This is Britain. We are not a Muslim country. Covering your face in public is strange, and to many people both intimidating and offensive. I seriously think that a ban on wearing the burka in public should be considered.

His call came in a debate on International Women's Day and follows previous comments by the MP that wearing a burka was like going round with a paper bag over your head .

Hollobone said wearing the full-face burka was oppressive and regressive to the advancement of women in society. By wearing them, women were effectively saying they did not want any normal human dialogue or interaction with anyone else , and effectively saying our society is so objectionable ... we aren't even allowed to cast a glance upon them .

Update: Equality Nonsense

24th March 2010. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

nrec logoPhilip Hollobone MP has been investigated by police for alleged racial hatred after criticising the burka during a Commons debate.

Northamptonshire Race Equality Council, which is funded by taxpayers, complained to police. they also sent the MP a letter criticising his stance.

Hollobone said the group wanted to see him prosecuted for inciting religious hatred but the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to take action: What we cannot have in this country are MPs being threatened when they speak out on contentious issues . The judgment of Northamptonshire Race Equality Council is quite wrong in speaking to police as they haven't tried to engage in any debate. It's complete hypocrisy. They talk on one hand about freedom of speech and expression and then without even making contact try to get me prosecuted.

A police spokesman said: It was brought to our attention and we looked into it but the CPS decided there was no case to answer.

Anjona Roy, of the race equality council, said: Even though the CPS said there were not enough grounds to proceed, cautionary words were issued. In our view that is a positive outcome.

 

22nd March   

Saints and Scoundrels...

Philip Pullman sent threatening letters over his new book
Link Here

Good Jesus Scoundrel Christ Myths Novelist Philip Pullman has been threatened by religious nutters over his new book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

He has received scores of letters condemning him to eternal hell or damnation by fire and accusing him of blasphemy.

Many refer to the title itself, for which there is clearly a passionate objection from some out there, said Pullman.

Published next week, the book is written in the form of a gospel. It says that a man called Jesus lived 2,000 years ago but that Christ, as the son of God, was the invention of the disciple Paul.

The letter writers essentially say that I am a wicked man, who deserves to be punished in hell, said Pullman. Luckily it's not in their power to do anything like sending me there.

Pullman, famous for the trilogy His Dark Materials , was partly inspired to write the book by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was at a debate with him at the National theatre, and he asked why I had not put Jesus in His Dark Materials. So I told him that I would in my next book. And that's what I have now done. The two men will discuss the book on Radio 4's Start the Week on Easter Monday.

 

22nd March   

Update: Pill Averse...

Church pressure unites Irish meeting venues to refuse euthanasia activist
Link Here

Peaceful Pill Handbook Revised International Australian euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke has been banned from four Irish venues during a European tour of his controversial right-to-die workshops.

The director of Melbourne-based assisted suicide group Exit International had earlier been detained in France on his way to Britain during the tour.

While Dr Nitschke has faced problems booking venues before, he says the level of opposition he's faced in Ireland is extraordinary. He said the cancelled bookings were due to church pressure rallied in a well-orchestrated campaign of censorship as he sought to educate Irish people on voluntary euthanasia.

I fully respect the Church's right to hold their opinions but I take issue with those who try to ram their opinions down the throats of non-believers and people who elect to reconcile their faith with their right to know about safe suicide, Dr Nitschke said.

The workshop has since been rescheduled at Seomra Spraoi in Dublin.

 

22nd March   

Updated: Roundabout Support...

Swedish papers reprint roundabout dog cartoon over solidarity against murderous plot
Link Here

dagens nyheterThree leading Swedish newspapers and the national broadcaster carried a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a dog's body after an alleged plot to murder the artist who drew it was unveiled in the Republic of Ireland.

The threat to Lars Vilks was a threat against all Swedes, the country's biggest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, proclaimed, adding that the new year axe attack on a Danish cartoonist for drawing the Prophet meant that Scandinavian values of openness were being assaulted.

The drawing by Mr Vilks was published yesterday in the Stockholm-based Dagens Nyheter and Expressen newspapers and the Malmo daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet, in defence of one of the cornerstones of Sweden's constitution. This states that Swedes have the right to freedom of speech and cannot be restrained from the lawful expression of their views.

Gunilla Herlitz, the Dagens Nyheter editor-in-chief, defended the reprinting of the cartoon as a legitimate part of the story of the day. I believe that, in this case, the cartoon is a part of the news and therefore we would like to show the readers what this is all about. But the cartoon is published in a context and is not the leading picture on the page.

Update: 3 Released

14th March 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

IrelandPolice in the Irish Republic have released three of seven people detained over an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist.

They were freed without charge after three-and-a-half days of questioning.

The trio had been held on suspicion of planning to kill Lars Vilks over a cartoon he drew depicting the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

Update: Protests in Pakistan

14th March 2010. Based on article from nation.com.pk

Pakistan flagA protest day was observed across Pakistan on Friday to condemn republication of supposedly blasphemous sketches in Swedish newspapers.

Ulema and khateebs delivered special speeches on the issue of blasphemy during Friday prayers.

Condemnation resolutions were passed against Norwegian, Swedish and Danish governments.

After Juma prayers, peaceful demonstrations were held outside mosques to protest against publication of the sketches in western newspapers.

Highly charged participants chanted slogans against Danish, Swedish and Norwegian governments. The speakers urged the Muslims to boycott all products of Denmark, Sweden and Norway to convey a strong message. They urged the rulers to expel Swedish, Norwegian and Denish ambassadors from Pakistan.

In Lahore, addressing a public gathering Ameer Jama't-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed said that silence of rulers in Muslim countries over the blasphemy was criminal. He stressed the need of forcibly stopping the enemies of Islam from indulging in the criminal acts of blasphemy.

Update: 2 Charged

16th March 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

IrelandTwo men have been charged in the Irish Republic in connection with an investigation into an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist.

They were refused bail after detectives told the court they were not convinced their identities were authentic.

Ali Charaf Damach was charged with sending a menacing text message on 9 January.

Abdul Salam Monsour Khalil Al-Jahani was charged with an immigration offence after allegedly giving a false name. He is accused of presenting false documentation under the Immigration Act 2004.

A third man who was also being held has been released.

Update: Malaysia whinges at Sweden

16th March 2010. Based on article from straitstimes.com

Malaysia flagMalaysia has urged the Swedish government to act against three newspapers that reprinted a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, its foreign minister said.

Malaysia strongly denounces the reprinting of the caricature of Prophet Muhammad by three Swedish newspapers on 10 March 2010, Anifah Aman said in an unusually outspoken statementy.

He said his country was concerned that such despicable acts disregard the sensitivity of the Muslim world in the name of freedom of expression. Such irresponsible acts are provocative and offensive in nature and hence it is totally unacceptable, he added. Malaysia wishes to request the Swedish government to take measures against such publications to prevent the recurrence of such irresponsible acts in the future.

The conservative Islamic party PAS said it would organise a demonstration after Friday prayers and submit a letter of protest to the Swedish embassy over the re-printing of the caricature.

Update: Vilks becomes a Roundabout Dog

22nd March 2010. Based on article from thelocal.se

vilks roundabout dogSwedish artist Lars Vilks has confirmed that he has sold around 20 copies of his cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog to private collectors, according to the Helsingborgs Dagbladet daily.

Vilks said that the interest has come from private buyers and added that he experiences no moral dilemma selling a work that many consider deeply insulting.

In a new turn to the controversy which returned to the spotlight this month after the discovery of an alleged plot to murder the unrepentant artist, a colleague Kent Viberg has created a similar piece featuring Vilks in place of the prophet Muhammad.

When the alleged plot became known on March 9th, several major Swedish newspapers re-printed the cartoons as a gesture of support for Vilks and freedom of expression, but Viberg has instead accused his colleague of being interested only in marketing himself.

I do not feel sorry for Lars Vilks, Viberg told local Karlshamn newspaper Östran arguing that the Muhammad cartoons contribute neither to art nor the public debate. Kent Viberg unveiled his work at a roundabout in the southern Swedish city of Karlshamn on Thursday featuring a French bull dog with a photograph of Lars Vilks at its head.

Update: US Charges

4th April 2010. Based on article from timesonline.co.uk

US flagA second US woman has been charged over the alleged Jihad Jane terror plot to kill the Swedish cartoonist whose drawing of the prophet Mohammed triggered worldwide protests in 2007.

Mother-of-one Jamie Paulin Ramirez surrendered herself to FBI agents at Philadelphia airport, Pennsylvania, after flying in from Ireland where she had been freed earlier.

Ramirez, a US resident from Colorado, was first arrested in Ireland on suspicion of conspiring with her friend Colleen LaRose to murder Lars Vilks.

Update: Guilty Plea

2nd February 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

The US woman who allegedly called herself Jihad Jane has pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania to involvement in an overseas terrorism plot.

Colleen LaRose conspired with Islamists and pledged to murder in the name of a Muslim holy war, prosecutors say.

The 46-year-old was indicted as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew pictures of the Prophet Muhammad.

 

22nd March   

Update: Saudi Justice Possessed by Demons...

TV astrologer set to be executed for his nonsense
Link Here  full story: Witch Hunts...Witches still hunted even in modern times

Amnesty logoAmnesty International has called on the King of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Lebanese national, whose death sentence for charges relating to sorcery was upheld by a court last week.

If the higher courts reject his appeal, Ali Hussain Sibat, a former television presenter for a Lebanese satellite TV station, who gave advice and predictions about the future, could be executed at any time.

Another unidentified man sentenced to death for "apostasy" in July 2009 by a court in Hail on grounds relating to "sorcery" may also still be at risk of execution.

Ali Hussain Sibat was arrested by the Mutawa'een (religious police) on charges of "sorcery" in May 2008 while he was in Saudi Arabia to perform a form of Muslim pilgrimage, the umra.

His lawyer in Lebanon believes that 'Ali Hussain Sibat was arrested because members of the Mutawa'een had recognized him from the show, which was broadcast on the Sheherazade TV station.

He was sentenced to death by a court in Madina on 9 November 2009 after secret court hearings where he had no legal representation or assistance.

In January 2010, the Court of Appeal in Makkah accepted an appeal against 'Ali Hussain Sibat's death sentence, on grounds that it was a premature verdict. The Court of Appeal said that all allegations made against 'Ali Hussain Sibat had to be verified, and that if he had really committed the crime he should be asked to repent.

But on March 10, a court in Madina upheld the death sentence. The judges said that he deserved to be sentenced to death because he had practised "sorcery" publicly for several years before millions of viewers and that his actions "made him an infidel".

The court said also that there would be no way to verify that his repentance, if he should repent, would be sincere and that imposing the death sentence would deter other people from engaging in "sorcery" at a time when, the court said, there is an increase in the number of "foreign magicians" entering Saudi Arabia.

The case has been sent back to the Court of Appeal in Makkah for approval of the death sentence.

 

21st March   

Update: Barbaric Justice...

Writer accused of blasphemy over his view that a Hadith law is barbaric
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Saudi...Blasphemy laws used to settle private scores

Saudi flagThe Summary Court in Jeddah is expected to look into complaints raised by a number of people against a Saudi writer for allegedly insulting Muhammad.

The Saudi writer had allegedly described a Hadith of the Prophet as barbaric, during a program on Al-Hurra Channel.

Sources told Arab News that the court had sent a copy of the lawsuit filed against the man to Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Eissa in order to seek his opinion on the issue.

The plaintiffs have presented audio and visual evidence to prove their argument. They want the court to give the writer a strong punishment in accordance with the Shariah law. The Saudi plaintiffs said the writer's action would not be accepted by any Muslim who is proud of his religion.  The plaintiffs have presented a copy of the writer's interview with the television channel to the court along with their complaint in which they accused the writer of attacking the Muhammad's personality.

 

21st March   

Christian TV Banned in Bethlehem...

Palestine raids and closes christian TV station
Link Here

al mahed logoThe Palestinian Authority has closed down the only Christian TV broadcaster in the Territories.

Located near Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the station, which has been operating for fourteen years, was closed for supposedly operating without a licence.

Palestinian police raided the broadcaster's offices after an order from the Interior Ministry.

 

20th March   

A Religion Past its Sell By Date...

Catholic adoption agency wins opt out ruling from equality law
Link Here

Old BaileyA Catholic adoption society has won a High Court ruling that could lead to it becoming exempt from having to consider gay couples as parents under UK equality laws.

Catholic Care, based in the diocese of Leeds, West Yorkshire, says it will have to give up its work finding homes for children if it has to comply with the laws.

It came to court to challenge a Charity Commission refusal - backed by the Charity Tribunal - to grant it an exemption from new equality regulations which prohibit discrimination against same-sex couples wanting to adopt.

Mr Justice Briggs, sitting in London, ruled the Commission had misinterpreted Regulation 18 of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which allows for exemptions. The judge ruled the purpose of 18 was to allow exceptions if they could be justified under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination.

He said Catholic Care was in a very unusual predicament with its status as an adoption agency of last resort for 'hard to place' children . The arguably pre-eminent needs of those children who will otherwise be left unadopted may constitute a very special and unusual case for recognition under Article 14, quite unlike any other to be found in the existing jurisprudence, but none the worse for that , said the judge.

He ordered the Commission to reconsider the case and to analyse whether an exemption was justified in the light of his judgment.

The judge's decision was warmly welcomed by Catholic organisations but greeted with dismay by critics including the National Secular Society, which described the ruling as the first major setback for the protection of gay people from discrimination by religious groups .

Comment: Adopting Hypocrisy

From JAK

After the Pope had to apologise for the Irish Catholic church covering up child abuse by it's priesthood we get news that a Catholic Adoption agency has won the right to exclude homosexuals from using their services.

Perhaps the same service will protect children further by not letting them near ANY Catholic priests... somehow I think not, it's fine to cover up child abuse by your own people but not ok to be gay and give kids a loving home.

 

20th March   

Send a Sexy SMS and Go to Jail...

More shite from Dubai
Link Here

UAE flagTwo Emirates Airline cabin crew in Dubai were given three-month jail terms for exchanging sexy text messages.

The then-married flight attendant and her male supervisor were convicted of coercion to commit sin, the National daily reported.

It said the pair -- both Indian -- were earlier sentenced to six months in prison to be followed by deportation, but an appeals court last week reduced the jail time and dropped the expulsion penalty. The court concluded there was not enough evidence to prove that the unidentified pair had actually been sexually involved.

The messages were exposed during a bitter divorce battle between the attendant and her husband that began in 2007, the daily said.

It said the divorce court had ordered Dubai's telecommunications company, Etisalat, to produce the text messages after the husband accused his wife of an affair. Etisalat provided copies of SMS messages in October 2008, allowing the husband to file a criminal complaint against his wife, the paper said.

 

19th March   

Update: Posted a Guilty Plea...

US man on trial for plot to decapitate Jyllands-Posten employees connected with the Mohammed Cartoons
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

 jyllands postenDavid Headley, a U.S. citizen of partial Pakistani descent, has pleaded guilty in a Chaicago court to a dozen federal terrorism charges, admitting that he participated in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, as well as later planning to attack a Danish newspaper.

Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende reports David Headley planned a suicide attack against one of Jyllands-Posten's offices in Copenhagen, including decapitating the employees responsible for the Muhammed cartoons.

Regarding the Denmark terror plot, Headley admitted that in early November 2008, he met with a Lashkar member in Karachi, Pakistan, and was instructed to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in preparation for an attack in retaliation for the newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

In January 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to Copenhagen to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and scouted and videotaped the surrounding areas.

In late January 2009, Headley met separately with Abdur Rehman and a Lashkar member in Pakistan to discuss the planned attack on the newspaper and provided them with videos of his surveillance.

 

19th March   

My God!...

Facebook take down a user named Allah
Link Here

Facebook logoThousands of Muslim Facebook users have flagged an Arabic-language Facebook page created by a user taking the name Allah.

The user claimed to be an atheist and believed in no God but him/herself.  The page, displaying warped Koranic verses and making fun of Islam, soon garnered a 600,000 strong following and drew thousands of responses to its status updates, many of them scolding the creator.

Campaigners who said it was an insult to Islam and to God demanded Facebook remove the page and some even urged users to boycott Facebook altogether.

While campaigners are viewing the removal of the page as an indication of their success, the creator of the controversial profile page was improbably said to have removed it to create a new look.

Olivier Bassile, chief executive of Reporters Without Borders to the European Union and head of the organization's Belgian office, said censorship of the material was the wrong strategy by Facebook, if Facebook did indeed remove the page under pressure: On the Internet, you find far more cases of criticism of religion, but this is the price you pay for the freedom of the Internet . You have to accept the most dirty parts of the Internet if you want the beautiful part of the Internet and have access to anything you want. On the Internet you want to promote the international point of view, this is part of the debate.

Two new pages under different names were set up with similar content and appear to be by the same author, based on the content and the style of writing. One of them, called Believers in the New Allah prominently features a cartoon in which a Muslim is saying Islam is the religion of compassion and peace. In the next scene he is wielding a gun over a dead man in front of a burning church, saying whoever says otherwise is the son of a dog.

 

18th March   

Update: Offended by Libel Tourism...

Saudis use UK libel courts to attack Danish newspapers over the Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Politiken coverThe Danish minister of justice has called on the European Commission to put a stop to a lawsuit by a Saudi lawyer who is using the UK's famously libel-happy courts to go after Danish newspapers for their publication of cartoons of Mohammed.

It's fundamentally reasonable that judgments in the EU can often be exercised across borders, the minister, Lars Barfoed, said according to the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

But it would be taking it to the extreme if a UK court could rule against the Danish media and then require compensation and court costs to be paid.

Britain is said to be the libel tourism capital of the world. In English and Welsh courts, the burden of proof is borne by the accused rather than the complainant, and as a result they have become the jurisdiction of choice for oligarchs and mafiosi, Saudi billionaires and even totalitarian governments.

On Monday, the Danish government said that they had had enough. Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed demanded that Brussels step in to prevent lawyer Faisal Yamani from suing the Danish papers for damages in British courts on behalf of 95,000 descendents of Mohammed who claim they and their faith have been defamed.

In August 2009, Yamani asked 11 Danish publications to take down the Mohammed cartoons from their websites. While most papers have refused to do so, the left-leaning daily Politiken, finally agreed to do so in February. Rebuffed by the Danish publications, Yamani has moved his fight to UK jurisdiction, where even publication on the internet in a foreign country in another language is considered as good as published domestically.

 

17th March   

Protection For, Of, and Against Children...

Catholic bishops whinge at pre-watershed condom adverts on TV
Link Here

cbcew logoThe advertising censors are to allow condoms to be advertised on daytime TV in defiance of church nonsense that it will encourage under-age sex. A new code will permit condoms to be promoted before the 9pm watershed around any programme, providing it is not designed for children under ten.

The move follows claims from the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV that greater access to condoms is necessary to reduce the levels of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

But bishops and family campaigners say it will normalise the idea of children under 16 having sex. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: It is profoundly inappropriate to advertise condoms to children. Promoting the use of condoms cannot be separated from promoting sex, and the sexualisation of the target audience, which will be extended to children from ten to 16.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: Government sexual health strategies including public health advertising in recent years have amounted to pouring petrol on a fire. Every public health message has contributed to a worsening of the problem and allowing unrestricted advertising of condoms is likely to do the same.

The new UK Advertising Code, announced yesterday, also puts the TV industry at odds with church leaders on both pornography and gambling. It will allow pornographic films and magazines to be advertised on subscription adult TV channels.

Proposals to allow commercial abortion clinics to advertise their services on TV and radio have been delayed. It is not clear if they will be pursued.

 

14th March   

Update: Kiss and Go to Jail...

Give Dubai a wide berth
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail

UAE flagA British man is facing jail in Dubai after he was accused of kissing a woman in public.

Ayman Najafi is expected in court today alongside a 25-year-old female British tourist to appeal against a one-month prison sentence.

The pair were allegedly seen kissing on the mouth in a restaurant, breaching Dubai's nasty decency laws. They were arrested by police in November last year and appeared in court last week.

A judge at Dubai's Misdemeanours Court heard written evidence from a woman who initially snitched to police about the alleged incident. She said she was 'offended' by their behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her daughter.

The judge dismissed Najafi's claim that he had merely kissed the woman on the cheek and sentenced both defendants to a month in jail followed by deportation. The Britons were bailed pending the appeal against a custodial punishment.

The Dubai authorities are holding their passports so that they cannot leave the country.

 

14th March   

Pig Headed...

French group protest in pig masks against a halal only hamburger restaurant
Link Here  full story: Halal Resturants...Halal restaurants prove divisive

pig masks in quick The Tundra Tabloids reported a week ago on the French hamburger chain, Quick, that decided to strip pork products from its menu in order to serve the religious needs of the local population.

This inspired a protest from people angry at being force fed this sharia nonsense.

So Operation Anti-halal to Quick Villeurbanne was born.

A herd of 70 dissatisfied pigs invaded Quick Halal Villeurbanne on a Sunday morning. They protested against the decision to remove the bacon burger from a branch of Quick that only serves halal food.

 

13th March   

Update: Heated Debate...

Rowdy crowd supports retention of Indonesia's repressive blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Indonesia...Blasphemy applied to slight deviations of belief

Indonesia flagHeated debate and cries from a rowdy crowd marked the hearing in the judicial review of the 1965 Blasphemy Law, as leaders of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front and the conservative Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia took to the podium at the Constitutional Court to deliver their arguments in support of the law.

Packed with people wearing the uniforms of the Islamic Defenders Front, also known as the FPI, and Arabic-style outfits, the courtroom was filled with shouts of joy each time an Islamic leader took to the stand in support of the law, and jeers for plaintiffs who supported the review of the law.

Outside the courtroom at least 100 people from a number of conservative Islamic groups, calling themselves part of the Islamic People's Forum (FUI), declared that they were against the judicial review, saying it was an effort by the court to harass Islam.

Indonesian law recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. All others are officially banned.

This hearing was the sixth in the review process.

Blasphemy law violates women's rights: Commission

Based on article from thejakartapost.com

The law on blasphemy tramples on the rights of women, the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) testified in the judicial review of the 1965 law.

Commission chairwoman Yunianti Chuzzifah told the Constitutional Court her organization had received several reports from women who had been discriminated against because they were followers of religious sects and traditional beliefs not officially recognized by the government.

The implementation of the 1965 Blasphemy Law ... violates women's constitutional right not to be discriminated against, Yunianti said.

Female members of some faiths and beliefs that aren't recognized by the state can't obtain an ID card unless they list one of the official religions [on the ID], which is done against their will.

Yunianti said many women from these unrecognized faiths had also been deprived of the right to a registered marriage: Children borne from the union are denied birth certificates because the mother isn't considered an individual before the law. As the result, the children are denied the right to an education, or worse, suffer the stigma of being labeled illegitimate children.

Her testimony was met with loud jeers from the gallery, mostly members of hard-line Islamic groups. The Ahmadiyah are deemed heretics by mainstream Muslims for recognizing sect founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet.

 

13th March   

Update: Fitna 2...

Geert Wilders is working on sequel
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

FitnaGeert Wilders is sticking to his plan to make a follow-up to his anti-Islam film Fitna . But it will not be released before the general elections on 9 June.

Last year, Wilders announced that his new film will show the effects of mass immigration from Muslim countries. Fitna 2 will be spectacular, but it will not happen before the elections, the politician said.

Wilders will also concentrate in Fitna II on themes such as freedom of expression and the Sharia, the Islamic law system. Wilders said earlier that professional US filmmakers are helping him on his film.

 

12th March   

Update: Censorial Sect...

Scientologists attempt to ban German TV film
Link Here  full story: Scientology Censors...Scientogists quick to litigate against critics

ard logoGermany's state broadcaster is locked in a row with the Church of Scientology which wants to block an upcoming feature film that depicts the organisation as totalitarian and unethical.

Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt , or Until Nothing Remains , dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.

Scientology leaders have accused Germany's primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.

According to the makers of Until Nothing Remains , the €2.5m (£2.3 m) drama, which is due to air in a prime-time slot at the end of March, is based on the true story of Heiner von Rönns, who left Scientology and suffered the subsequent break-up of his family.

Scientology officials have said the film is false and intolerant. Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for Scientology in Germany said: The truth is precisely the opposite of that which the ARD is showing. The organisation is investigating legal means to prevent the programme from being broadcast. Stettler said the organisation was planning its own film to spread our own side of the story .

 

12th March   

Update: Newspapers Caned in Malaysia...

Newspaper banned from criticising nasty sharia canings
Link Here  full story: Malaysian Taliban...Muslims flogged for drinking and pre marital sex

A caningReporters Without Borders condemns the censorship and self-censorship which the home affairs ministry has imposed on Malaysia's leading English-language daily, The Star, by issuing it with a warning about an article criticising the caning of three Muslim women under Sharia law.

As one of the country's most widely-read newspapers, The Star should have a free hand to provide its readers with the broadest range of news and views on social issues, Reporters Without Borders said. We urge Prime Minister Abdul Razak to reconsider this decision and to quickly amend the 1984 Publishing and Printing Presses Act, whose licence renewal system denies newspapers the security they need.

In response to the pressure from the government and Muslim groups, the newspaper was forced to publish an apology and withdraw the offending article from its website. Written by managing editor P. Gunasegaram and published in the paper on 19 February, the article, entitled Persuasion, not compulsion, said the sentence of caning passed on 9 February on three Muslim women accused of adultery was disproportionate. It was the first time in years that a Malaysian court has issued such a sentence.

After receiving the home affairs ministry's warning letter, the newspaper refused to publish an article by one of the newspapers contributing columnists, Marina Mahathir , in which she argued that Sharia laws were written by men, not God, and as such were open to debate. She finally posted the column on her blog .

 

12th March   

Update: Prescription for Incompetence...

Religiously incompetent pharmacist in Sheffield
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

lyds pharnacy logoA pharmacist refused to serve a woman a prescription for the contraceptive pill because it went against her religious beliefs. The branch of Lloyd's pharmacy adjoins the doctor's surgery

Shocked Janine Deeley initially thought the female pharmacist must be joking, but became angry when she was told to try another chemist or come back the next day when someone else was on duty. She said she was furious at being treated like a child and having to explain herself like an irresponsible teenager.

She said: I couldn't believe the arrogance of the woman. Who is she to refuse to give me properly prescribed legal drugs? I am a responsible adult.

A spokeswoman for Lloyds pharmacy said an investigation had been launched: We are very sorry Ms Deeley was refused supply of her prescribed contraceptive pill at our Duke Street pharmacy. We have launched an investigation into the incident and been in contact with her to apologise for any distress and inconvenience caused.

A spokeswoman from NHS Sheffield, the primary care trust responsible for how well pharmacies and other health bodies across the city perform, said it would investigate the matter if a formal complaint was made.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) said the pharmacist was acting within her rights. The spokesman said: the Code of Ethics and Standards does not require a pharmacist to provide a service that is contrary to their religious or moral beliefs.

 

12th March   

Update: Protected Hate?...

US Supreme Court to consider whether the nastiness of the Westboro Baptists is protected free speech
Link Here  full story: Westboro Baptists...Reprehensible nutters hate gays and soliders

us supreme court logoThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the father of a fallen soldier can sue religious protesters for picketing at his son's funeral with signs that read Thank God for dead soldiers.

The case will test the boundaries of the Constitution by weighing whether extreme speech that inflicts emotional pain -- especially at sensitive venues such as memorials -- should be protected by the First Amendment.

Members of Westboro Baptist Church, led by pastor and founder Fred Phelps in Topeka, Kansas, have protested at military funerals to express their belief that America is being punished for tolerance of homosexuality.

Westboro protestors traveled to Westminster, Md., to picket at the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who killed in combat in Iraq on March 3, 2006. They marched around the outskirts of St. John's Catholic Church and the cemetery with signs that read God Hates the USA, Fag troops and Pope in hell. After the funeral, Phelps also posted material on his Web site against the fallen Marine, saying his father had taught Matthew to defy his creator and raised him for the devil.

 

12th March   

No to the National Front...

Far right election poster challenged in French courts
Link Here

non a lislamism advertFrench far-right party the Front National (FN) has revealed its latest election poster – a map of France decked in Algerian national colours, covered with minarets and featuring a woman whose face is hidden behind a niqab face veil. No to Islamism, the poster screams in big black letters.

The image features in forthcoming regional elections due to begin March 14.

French anti-racist group LICRA failed to get an injunction against the distribution of the posters at a Marseille Court on the technicality that the group itself was not based in Marseille .

French campaign group MRAP has started proceedings at a Nanterre court (Paris) to ban the posters. The court is due to make a ruling on Friday, two days before voting in the regional elections begin.

Another anti-racist group SOS Racisme has started criminal proceedings against Le Pen, who will have to attend the criminal court in Paris on May 6. The group said in a statement: Under the pretext of denouncing religious extremism, Le Pen has clearly marked a wish to solicit fear and rejection of not only Muslims but also all people of Algerian origin living in France.

 

11th March   

Update: Forgive Them Lord, They Know Not What They Do...

Blasphemous Polish prosecutors despoil heavy metal icon for ripping a bible asunder on stage
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Poland...Under duress for minor comments about religion

Satanica Behemoth Adam Nergal Darski, frontman for Poland's heavy metal band Behemoth , has been formally charged for destroying a copy of the Bible over two years ago.

While it is a crime in Poland to destroy any religious iconography, there must be at least two formal complaints before a charge is laid. The first charge was made in 2008 – and recently an undisclosed number of additional complaints were lodged against Darski.

At the first hearing Darski said what he does on stage is part of artistic license and it wasn't intended to offend religious feelings. This was countered by an expert on religious history and studies from Jagellonian University in Krakow, who stated that every copy of a Bible could be considered a religious icon.

The case will now go to court, and if found guilty, Darski could face two years in prison.

Last month it was reported that the national conservative Polish political party Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS), was orchestrating efforts to prosecute Darski for offending people's religious beliefs.

 

11th March   

Update: Killing with Impunity...

Muslims acquitted over murder of Egyptian christian
Link Here  full story: Muslims attacking Copts...Minority christian Copts uder continuous attack

Egypt flagAn Egyptian court in the southern city of Assuit has acquitted four Muslims accused of killing 61-year-old Farouk Attallah on October 19, 2009.

This has been reported by Mary Abdelmassih in a story for the Assyrian International News Agency who said, In broad daylight and in full view of witnesses, the killers fired 31 bullets to his head before beheading him, in the busy village market place of Attaleen. The dead body was then dragged in the street, accompanied by shouts of victory.

The judge presiding over the court on February 22, said that he was not satisfied that the testimony of the witnesses established that the imprisoned men were the killers. After the acquittal of Mohamad, Ashraf, Osama and Ahmad Hassouna, there was jubilation in the court room, with shouts of 'Allah is Great' and congratulations from all Muslims, including members of the state security forces who were present.

She said that Christians were enraged over the acquittal, since similar cases would result in life imprisonment or execution for a Copt if the victim was a Muslim and came as another wake-up call to many Copts in Egypt.

According to Peter Sarwar, the plaintiff's attorney who told Mariam Ragy of Katiba Tibia Coptic site, It sends a clear message that Coptic blood is extremely cheap. This acquittal will make permanent the present culture of impunity enjoyed by Muslim aggressors against Copts.

Sarwat asserted that he will appeal the ruling. We cannot remain silent over this verdict as it has very serious implications for all Copts in Egypt. He added: It is not safe for Copts now, as any Muslims who wants to get rid of a Copt, would kill him, knowing well that in the end he will be acquitted.

 

11th March   

Update: Mob Repression...

Indian riot targets author Taslima Nasrin, still under fire over supposedly blasphemous book
Link Here  full story: Taslima Nasreen...Writer offends Indian muslims

Shame Taslima Nasrin Two people have been reported killed in riots against Humanist writer Taslima Nasrin in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The rioters were protesting supposed anti-Islamic statements made in a local newspaper article attributed to Nasrin.

According to local news reports, thousands of Muslims took to the streets in the town of Shimoga, vandalising shops and damaging vehicles. The rioters were protesting an article in Kannada Prabha, a daily newspaper in Karnataka. The riots subsequently spread to neighbouring areas and were joined by Hindu groups. A group of masked men set fire to the offices of Kannada Prabha and the offices of another newspaper. According to reports from the BBC, the riots led to 50 arrests and injuries to about 50 people.

The Kannada Prabha article, which was printed without Taslima's knowledge, criticized the traditional Muslim veil, describing it as a symbol of women's oppression.

 

10th March   

Catholic Anti-gay Senator Comes Out Gay...

More public virtues and private vices
Link Here

roy ashburnA California state senator who has been a staunch opponent of homosexual rights was forced to admit that he himself is gay.

Republican lawmaker Roy Ashburn, a divorced conservative Roman Catholic, came out on KERN radio, saying he felt compelled to address rumours that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his arrest last week for drunk driving.

I am gay. And so, those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.

Ashburn has consistently voted against gay rights measures since he was elected to the state Assembly in 1996. He has said those votes reflected the way constituents in his district wanted him to vote.

A statement issued after Ashburn's arrest said: I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuses for my poor judgement. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences of what I did.

Senator Ashburn was arrested after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, according to cbs13.com.

Writing on The Gospel According to Hate, (ex) Father Tom said:

What happens when a good Catholic, married father of four, grandfather of two, tea-bagger, Reagan lover, Republican, senator, and staunch opponent of gay rights takes a state-issued vehicle out for a spin after dark on your tax dollars?

Ding! Ding! Ding! He goes to a Sacramento gay bar (appropriately named Faces), gets trashed, picks up a trick, drives away drunk, swerves all over the road, gets pulled over, and blows a whopping .14 into the breathalyser.

My dear heretics, it's time to canonize another conservative Catholic and Republican anti-gay hypocrite.

Senator Roy-Toy has voted against every piece of civil, immigration, labor, LGBT, and women's rights legislation since being elected, but that didn't stop him from having his boys on the side.

 

10th March   

Update: Dogged by Assassins...

Seven people arrested in Ireland over plot to murder Lars Vilks
Link Here

Roundabout Dog drawingSeven people have been arrested in the Irish Republic over an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist for depicting Muhammad, police say.

The four men and three women are all Muslim immigrants, according to media reports, though a police statement did not confirm this.

Cartoonist Lars Vilks had depicted Muhammad with the body of a dog in the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper.

In 2007 a group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 reward for killing Vilks, and a 50% bonus if he was slaughtered like a lamb by having his throat cut.

Irish police said the seven suspects were arrested after an investigation into a conspiracy to murder an individual in another jurisdiction , a probe that also involved police in the US and other European countries.

Ireland's RTE news network said those in custody were originally refugees from Morocco and Yemen, but had gained asylum and were in the Republic of Ireland legally.

Vilks was quoted as saying he was unfazed by the arrests, which he said he thought could be linked to two death threats he had received by telephone in January.

Vilks has been under police protection in Sweden since threats were made against his life. The Vilks controversy arose in 2007, when his entry in an arts project was published by the newspaper. It pictured a dog with the head of a bearded man in a turban.

 

10th March   

Denial of Sex Screws People Up...

As proven by frequent child abuse scandals amongst celibate catholic priests
Link Here

tablet A leading Roman Catholic theologian has linked clerical sex abuse with priestly celibacy, blaming the Church's uptight views on sex for child abuse scandals in Germany, Ireland and the US.

Father Hans Kung, President of the Global Ethic Foundation and professor emeritus at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said that the Church's attitude was also revealed in its opposition to birth control.

Robert Zollitsch, Archbishop of Freiburg and head of the German bishops' conference, branded clerical abuse outrageous and begged forgiveness from the victims but denied any link between abuse and celibacy.

Writing in The Tablet, Father Kung, who in 1979 was stripped of his licence to teach Catholic theology after he rejected the doctrine of Papal infallibility, welcomed the apology but described the denials of any link between abuse, celibacy and other teaching as erroneous .

He said that it was the case that abuse was found also in families, schools and other churches. But he asked: Why is it so prevalent in the Catholic Church under celibate leadership? He said that celibacy was not the only cause of the misconduct but described it as the most important and structurally the most decisive expression of the Church's uptight attitude to sex.

Citing the New Testament, he says that Jesus and St Paul practised celibacy but allowed full freedom in this matter to each individual . St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians wrote: Because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Father Kung said: Compulsory celibacy is the principal reason for today's catastrophic shortage of priests, for the fatal neglect of eucharistic celebration, and for the tragic breakdown of personal pastoral ministry in many places.

He argues that there are two simple solutions to the shortage of priests: Abolition of the celibacy rule, the root of all these evils, and the admission of women to ordination. The bishops know this, but they do not have the courage to say it in public.

 

10th March   

Call to Ban Kuwaiti Women from Sport...

Committee To Study Negative Phenomena Alien to Kuwaiti Society
Link Here

Kuwait flagKuwait's female MPs have condemned a call to bar women from international sport competitions as an attempt by an Islamist-dominated parliamentary committee to suppress women's rights.

Kuwait's National Assembly has a five-member Committee To Study Negative Phenomena Alien to Kuwaiti Society. They met with the minister of social affairs and labour, Mohammed al Afasi, to discuss women's participation in sport.

One of the committee's members, Jamaan al Harbash, said: We have sent out a clear message that such participation runs counter to Sharia provisions and we have called for their suspension .

But Aseel al Awadhi, one of the four women to win a seat in parliament last year, said last week: This is a continuous and systematic attempt by the Islamist lobby within parliament to suppress women's right to participate in the public domain.

 

9th March   

Update: Religious Massacre...

Muslim gangs hack 500 Nigerians to death in Jos
Link Here  full story: Mob Rule...Churches, temples and mosques attacked by mobs

Nigeria flagDozens of bodies lined the dusty streets of three Christian villages in northern Nigeria yesterday. Other victims of Sunday morning's Muslim rampage were jammed into a local morgue, the limbs of slaughtered children tangled in a grotesque mess.

Officials estimate that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by Muslim gangs near Jos, the city that bestrides Nigeria's Christian-Muslim fault line.

Witnesses said gangs waited at main entry points to the villages while others went from house to house, setting the homes on fire. Those who fled were killed at the exit points. Others were slaughtered after being caught in animal traps and nets as they ran in the dark.

Ben Kwashi, Anglican Archbishop of Jos, said he visited one of three villages engulfed by the violence. I could see kids from age zero to teenagers, all butchered from the back, macheted in their necks, their heads. Deep cuts in the mouths of babies. The stench. People wailing and crying, he said.

Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, ordered troops into the riot-affected area to confront and defeat these roving bands of killers , he said in a statement. Last night he sacked Sarki Mukhtar, the national security adviser, a powerful figure in the inner circle of the ailing President, Umaru Yar'Adua.

Update: 162 to be Charged

26th March 2010. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Nigerian police plan to charge 162 people for their role in sectarian clashes that killed hundreds in Plateau state earlier this month.

Some of those arrested could be sentenced to death following the deaths of over 200 people during riots around the central city of Jos.

Forty-one of the suspects are to be charged with terrorism and culpable homicide, which are punishable by death, police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said.

The remaining detainees would be charged with unlawful possession of firearms, rioting and mischief by fire for the burning of buildings during the attacks.

 

9th March   

Community Harassment...

London councillor reports death threats over her choice of western dress
Link Here

BurkhaA secular Muslim woman councillor has been forced to dress more conservatively after receiving death threats and sexually harassing phone calls from members of her own community.

Shiria Khatun has called in the police over the sinister calls in which threats were made not only against her, but also her four young children. In one they warned they would dig up parents' graves and bury her there instead.

The Labour councillor in the borough of Tower Hamlets is considered one of the area's most progressive politicians. She was elected in 2006, worked for Ken Livingstone as a transport adviser at London's City Hall and frequently campaigns for more Muslim women to enter politics.

However, over the past year she has been the victim of a harassment campaign. She has been bombarded with anonymous calls and even followed home. At first she was too embarrassed to call the police, but when the threats, mostly made in the Bangladeshi dialect Sylheti, targeted her family she decided to act.

She said: As a councillor I'm meant to be a strong woman and I didn't want to show that I was bothered, but it's gone too far. They're really disgusting. They would talk about my Western clothes, my tight jeans and my body parts.

Following the calls, she started wearing more loose-fitting traditional Asian clothes and glasses instead of contact lenses to be taken more seriously . I didn't even realise that I was giving into them, but my skirts started getting longer and the whole thing left me demoralised.

 

9th March   

Update: Staff Offended...

Staff distance themselves from their newspaper's apology over offence caused by the Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Politiken cover38 staff members of the Danish daily Politiken issued a letter on Saturday saying they are against the newspaper's apology for offending Muslims by reprinting the turban bomb Mohammed cartoon.

In a letter published in the newspaper, the editorial staff said Politiken has nothing to apologize for. The settlement gives the impression that we regret our journalism, something there is no basis for whatsoever, they wrote, saying democratic journalism entails describing reality as precisely as possible and to encourage social debate. They also said they fear the settlement could interfere with their editorial freedom.

Politiken, which has around 200 staff members, last week apologized for offending Muslims with the 2008 reprint but did not apologize for reprinting the cartoon.

 

9th March   

Update: A Billion Years of Counselling...

Needed after 13 years in the scientology Sea Org
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Cult of Scientology...Scientology jealously guards its own members

sea org advertRaised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org.

They signed a contract for a billion years — in keeping with the church's belief that Scientologists are immortal. They worked seven days a week, often on little sleep, for sporadic paychecks of $50 a week, at most.

But after 13 years and growing disillusionment, the Collbrans decided to leave the Sea Org, setting off on a Kafkaesque journey that they said required them to sign false confessions about their personal lives and their work, pay the church thousands of dollars it said they owed for courses and counseling, and accept the consequences as their parents, siblings and friends who are church members cut off all communication with them.

Why did we work so hard for this organization, Ms. Collbran said, and why did it feel so wrong in the end? We just didn't understand.

 

9th March   

Update: Preaching Disbelief in Freedom...

Egyptian Journalist's Syndicate supports newspaper columnist in rant against atheist blogs
Link Here

almasryalyoum logoThe Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate's misleadingly named freedoms committee announced its full support for Al-Masry Al-Youm's columnist, Sahar El-Ga'ara, in her call for shutting down and prosecuting the authors of blogs that she said preach atheism and disrespect religions.

El-Ga'ara wrote a column titled Complaint to the Prosecutor General, in Al-Masry Al-Youm, condemning three specific blogs: Do the rules and regulations of publishing apply to the internet? I don't think so. Therefore, the internet is turning into a lethal weapon in the hands of organizations with fanatical ideologies and homosexuals.

Mohamed Abdel Qudous, head of the 'freedoms' committee, told Daily News Egypt, We are supporting Sahar El-Ga'ara for two main reasons. First, because we reject atheism, if a person wants to be an atheist he can be but he can't preach it. The second reason is because of the foul language and insults directed at her on the internet.

Freedom of expression has its limits; a person cannot preach atheism or insult the three divine religions. This is not accepted anywhere in the world, claimed Abdel Qudous.

 

8th March   

Nutters Go to War...

Texas nutters style themselves as 'the Special Forces of spiritual warfare'
Link Here

repent amaril logo A little over a year ago, Amarillo's swingers geared up for their New Year's Eve party at Route 66 Party and Event Rental, a downtown business owned by a prominent couple, Mac and Monica Mead.

Few in this conservative, church-heavy city knew about the weekend parties, and the swingers liked it that way. Everybody in the lifestyle has to be very, very discreet, says Mac.

The Meads enforced strict rules at the members-only club: no drugs, no single men, no audio-visual equipment. Most couples, even ones who had been in the lifestyle for years, are on a first-name basis only. The location of the club is (or was) to be kept strictly private. So imagine the swingers' surprise when they arrived at their New Year's Eve bash to find two dozen protesters, local media in tow, holding signs and singing songs. This was a most unwelcome coming-out party.

Some protesters, mostly young men in their teens and early 20s, wore black hoodies and military fatigues. The men, Amarillo would soon learn, were foot soldiers of Repent Amarillo, a new, militant evangelical group that advertises itself as the Special Forces of spiritual warfare. Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor, explained the action. We're here to shine the light on this darkness, Grisham told the Amarillo Globe-News. I don't think Amarillo knew about this place. This is adultery. This is wrong. There's no telling how many venereal diseases get spread, how many abortions. The goal, Grisham says, was not just to save the swingers' souls, but to shut the club down.

For the past year, this Bible Belt city of 200,000 has been consumed by a culture clash between Repent Amarillo and their targets, a list that includes everything from gay bars to liberal churches. For the Route 66 swingers, Grisham's special forces have been a near-constant presence. Jobs have been lost, families estranged, assault charges filed and businesses shuttered. So far, no public official has stood up to defend these businesses, which operate legally. To the contrary, Repent Amarillo has managed to turn the city's own laws and employees into an effective weapon. Amarillo, it turns out, doesn't have the stomach to stick up for gays, swingers, strippers or even Unitarians. Absent a peacekeeper, the conflict might end up being settled the old-fashioned way, frontier-style. This will not end until somebody gets hurt, either us or them, one swinger warns.

Repent has made it clear that its crusade won't end with the swingers. Last January, community theater group Avenue 10 was set to open Bent , a play about the persecution of homosexuals during Nazi Germany. The day before opening night, the fire marshal, police and code enforcers showed up, tipped off by a Repent associate, according to Sirc Michaels, co-founder of the theater. Avenue 10 didn't have the right permit for holding events, and the space was shut down.

What's next for Repent? They've posted a Warfare Map on the group's Web site. The map includes establishments like gay bars, strip clubs and porn shops, but also the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Repent believes the 600-acre prairie park's Walmart-funded Earth Circle, used for lectures, is a Mecca for witches and pagans. Also on the list are The 806 coffeehouse (a hangout for artists and counterculture types), the Islamic Center of Amarillo ( Allah is a false god ), and compromised churches like Polk Street Methodist (gay-friendly).

 

8th March   

Update: Medina Bar and Grill...

In the market for easy offence
Link Here

bar rio dundeeA Scottish bar that has undergone a re-branding exercise has caused 'outrage' among some of the local Muslim community who say it is disrespectful to the Islamic faith.

The Dundee establishment, which was formerly known as Bar Rio, has recently reopened as Medina Bar and Grill in the city's Nethergate.

Medina is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia and is the second holiest site in the Islamic faith behind Mecca.

One senior member of Dundee's Central Mosque said the use of the Medina name in a place serving alcohol was disrespectful . Mohammed Bashir Chohan, chairman of the Dundee Islamic Society, said: People are upset about it because Medina is a holy city in Islam. It does hurt when somebody misuses the name, especially if they are going to sell liquor.

A spokesman for Medina said there was no offence intended in the bar's new name. He said: The designer of the bar came to us with a number of different names. Medina Bar & Grill was one of them. The bar has a Moroccan theme and, as far as we were told, medina also means the market hustle-bustle of an old quarter of a north African city. There was no intended link to the second holiest city of Islam, and there was absolutely no offence intended.

 

8th March   

Update: Failed State...

The most basic tenets of civilised life nixed by Pakistan's blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flagA 'court' in Punjab, have convicted a Christian couple, Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi, to 25 years in prison.

According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), Judge Ajmal Hussein convicted the couple for touching the Koran without washing their hands.

Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi were released on bail last January, but were re-arrested after the judge ruled against them.

The incident, which dates back to December 2008, unleashed the fury of Muslim extremists who put pressure on police. Unconfirmed reports suggest that extremists paid off police agents to discover new evidence to justify the sentence.

At the end of the police investigation, husband and wife were charged with blasphemy. The blasphemy law is the harshest tool for religious repression available in Pakistan. It was adopted in 1986 by then dictator Zia ul-Haq to protect Islam and Muhammad, from attacks and insults.

CLAAS announced that it was filing an appeal with the High Court in Lahore to have the 25-year sentence against Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi overturned

 

7th March   

Update: Sharia TV Censor...

Aceh proposal for TV censorship adhering to sharia law
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Aceh...Inhuman sharia punishments in Aceh

Indonesia flagThe Aceh office of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission has proposed a draft of the province's broadcasting qanun , or bylaw, that will be used as a standard to censor films, TV and programs to ensure they adhere to Islamic law.

The draft, however, received strong opposition from the local branch of the Independent Journalists Association (AJI), which objected on the grounds that the proposed measure violated press freedom laws.

Mukhtaruddin Yakob, head of the local branch of the AJI, said the draft had been submitted at the end of January to the governor's office for preliminary review: The proposed qanun is inconsistent with the [national] Press Law and the Broadcasting Law, he told the Jakarta Globe.

Mukhtaruddin said the qanun would require inappropriate censorship of the program content of broadcasters operating in the staunchly Islamic province.

The proposed bylaw would require radio and television stations to broadcast live the obligatory weekly prayer on Fridays and prohibit them from airing crime reconstructions, obscene material and sexual harassment cases.

It also bans broadcasters from airing fund-raising efforts that are not in the Muslims' interests, Mukhtaruddin said.

Under the qanun, movies, television shows (including soap operas and documentaries) and commercials would be subject to censorship by the Aceh Film Censorship Board and Aceh Film Advisory Board (Bapfida).

 

7th March   

Update: Repressive Style...

Men banned from working in women's hair salons
Link Here

Palestine flagGaza's Islamic Hamas government has banned men from working in women's hair salons. It is the latest step in a campaign to impose strict Islamic customs on Gaza's 1.5 million people.

Hamas police said in a statement on their website that those who violated the ban would face legal consequences.

 

6th March   

International Women's Day, Saudi Style...

Woman jailed and flogged for being unchaperoned
Link Here

floggingA Saudi Arabian woman, Sawsan Salim, has been sentenced to 300 lashings and one and a half years in prison for filing harassment complaints about government officials and appearing in court without a male guardian present.

In 2007, Salim filed 118 harassment complaints against local officials, who allegedly mistreated her when she appeared in their offices unchaperoned, according to Business Week. Salim appeared without a male guardian because her husband, her sole male family member, was in prison at the time. She initially approached a local court in 2004, when she sought help to release her husband from prison.

The legal guardianship system in Saudi Arabia requires that women, both minors and adults, must be accompanied by a male guardian outside the home. If women wish to conduct themselves in public business, work, or to drive, they must obtain permission from or be accompanied by their male guardian, who may be her husband, father, brother, or even a minor son, according to Human Rights Watch.

 

6th March   

Updated: Fitna for Lords...

Geert Wilders on rescheduled visit to the House of Lords to show Fitna
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

House of Lords logoThe Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders arrives in Britain on the crest of an electoral triumph that could mean him entering government in June.

Wilders's Freedom Party made big gains in Dutch local elections this week, widely regarded as a dress rehearsal for the national poll on June 9.

He has been invited to the House of Lords by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the UKIP leader, to show his controversial film Fitna .

The Freedom Party, founded by Mr Wilders in 2005, won in the town of Almere, near Amsterdam, and came second in The Hague, the only two places in which it fielded a candidate out of 394 cities and towns, aiming for maximum impact with minimum campaigning. Related Links

Opinion polls show Wilders vying for the national lead with the Christian Democrats, whose coalition Government collapsed last month after the Labour Party walked out in a row over keeping Dutch troops in Afghanistan.

Update: Support, protests and arrests as Wilders visits parliament

6th March 2010. Based on article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

The visit of Dutch politician Geert Wilders sparked angry scenes outside parliament. The controversial Dutchman visited London to show his anti-Islamic film Fitna at the House of Lords.

About 200 members of the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL) marched down Millbank in support of Wilders.

Demonstrators, taking part in a counter-protest, chanted Nazi scum, off our streets as the EDL supporters gathered outside parliament, but the two groups were kept apart by lines of police officers. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said about 50 people, mostly taking part in the counter-protest organised by the group Unite Against Fascism, were arrested.

Wilders said: Islamism and democracy are incompatible. The more Islamism we have, the more freedom we will lose, and this is something worth fighting for. Wilders also called for an end to immigration to Europe from Islamic countries, but said Muslims who agreed to obey the law of the land would be welcome to stay.

And he pledged that, if he were elected Dutch prime minister, he would seek to introduce a first amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech: The right of freedom of speech is especially to listen to someone who is saying something you don't want to hear .

 

6th March   

Update: Archaic Morality Above Modern Morality...

Philippines bishops call for a complete ban on condom advertising
Link Here  full story: Religion and AIDS...Promoting poverty and AIDS

cbcp logoThe Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called for a complete ban on condom ads in the country, claiming that condoms only imperil the morality of the youth.

In a statement, CBCP President Nereo Odchimar said the condom business is a multimillion dollar industry that heavily targets the adolescent market, at the expense of morality and family life.

Condom advertisements should be banned in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, and public places, as they desensitize the youth's delicate conscience and weaken their moral fiber as future parents, Odchimar said in a statement on the CBCP website.

The CBCP president questioned the Philippine government's thrust to promote condom use to combat the rising number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country. He said condoms should be required to have warning labels that say Condoms may fail to protect from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Odchimar said it was unjust for government to use the money of Catholic taxpayers for purposes that are against their moral beliefs. He said the funding and effort involved in promoting condoms should rather be used to fight diseases that afflict millions of people in the country each year, such as diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, hypertension and influenza.

 

5th March   

Updated: Threatening to Make a Mockery of the Law...

Campaigner prosecuted for religious hatred with claims that cartoons are 'threatening'
Link Here  full story: UK Religious Hatred Law...Law abuse by the authortites
Adam paintng

  By the way, I've just invented blasphemy
Thought you'd like a bit of fun

A campaigning atheist who left leaflets mocking Jesus Christ, the Pope and the Koran in the prayer room of an international airport has gone on trial charged with religious harassment.

The materials left by Harry Taylor at Liverpool's John Lennon airport included one image showed a smiling Christ on the cross next to an advert for a brand of no nails glue. In another, Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise are told: Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins.

A further cartoon showed two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: Not for women or gays, obviously.

Taylor, a self-styled philosophy tutor, denied bearing a grudge against people of faith and said he was only trying to convert believers to atheism. He said: The airport is named after John Lennon and his views on religion were pretty much the same as mine. I thought that it was an insult to his memory to have a prayer room in the airport.

The leaflets were discovered by Nicky Lees, the airport chaplain, who told the court she felt deeply offended and insulted by their contents. [But didn't mention feeling threatened].

Outlining the case against Taylor, prosecutor Neville Biddle said that he had gone beyond freedom of expression by leaving the insulting, threatening and abusive images in a room used for worship. He said: Of course people have a right to speak freely and have a right to insult people. It is one of the most important rights we have and it must be jealously guarded ...BUT... it is a right not without some prescription. Mr Taylor exceeded that right.

The defendant from Salford, Greater Manchester is charged with three counts of religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress under the Crime and Disorder Act. The alleged offences took place on separate dates in November and December 2008.

Taylor denied the charges and said it was preposterous to suggest that people could be incited to violence by the cartoons. He said: I am not hostile to religious people but I am hostile to religion. He told the court that he adapted cartoons cut out of newspaper and magazines like Private Eye and added captions of his own.

The images shown to the jury included a drawing of the Pope with a condom on his finger, and a picture of a woman kneeling in front of a Catholic priest captioned with a crude pun. In another image sausages were were labelled as The Koran .

The trial continues.

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

Based on article from opsi.gov.uk

29A Meaning of “religious hatred”

In this Part “religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.
Acts intended to stir up religious hatred

29B Use of words or behaviour or display of written material

(1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

29C Publishing or distributing written material

(1) A person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

29J Protection of freedom of expression

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

Update: A Disgraceful Verdict

5th March 2010. Based on article from liverpooldailypost.co.uk

The jury of ten women and two men, at Liverpool Crown Court took just 15 minutes to find Harry Taylor guilt of religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress after viewing the grossly abusive and insulting images in court.

Harry Taylor is now on bail awaiting sentencing on 23 April. Religiously aggravated offences carry a potential seven-year prison term.

The National Secular Society have supported Taylor. They claim that new laws dealing with religiously aggravated offences amount to a blasphemy law in another guise.

Terry Sanderson, president of the society, said: This is a disgraceful verdict, but an inevitable one under this pernicious law. It seems incredible in the 21st Century that you might be sent to prison because someone is 'offended' by your views on their religion . . . Mr Taylor struck me as slightly eccentric and he acted in a provocative way, challenging the necessity for the prayer room. He didn't cause any damage and he didn't harm anything, nor was he threatening or abusive. Yet he might still end up behind bars because some Christian has decided they are offended.

In a multicultural society, none of us should have the legal right not to be offended. This law needs to be re-examined urgently.

 

5th March   

Offensive Nonsense...

Library refuses to display uncontroversial notice for church service
Link Here

world womens day logoA poster advertising a day of international Christian prayer was banned from a library - in case it 'offended' people of other religions.

Staff said council policy prevented them from displaying the poster for Women's World Day of Prayer.

But the decision to turn down a churchgoer's request to put it up at Kayll Road Library, Sunderland, has been condemned by leaders of all faiths in the city.

Adbur Rouf, of Sunderland Mosque, said it was hard for him to understand how anyone could find the poster offensive. Founder and chairman of Sunderland Sikh Association, Manjit Chema, said: This is not the way. This sort of thing creates divides and ghettos of different communities.

Reverend Peter Robson, whose parishioner at St Gabriel's Church wanted to put the poster up, said: I really find it hard to understand. It's just a notice - we're not trying to force people to go along.

The only religious symbol on the poster in question was the Women's World Day of Prayer international logo. The design comprises arrows from the four points of the compass, four figures kneeling in prayer, the Celtic cross and a circle representing the world and unity through all diversity.

Sunderland Council says it is reviewing its guidelines in light of the row. Ron Odunaiya, Executive Director of City Services said: We regret that on this occasion a decision was taken not to display the poster and we fully accept that the poster would not have caused any concern to other individuals. We will be reviewing our guidelines to ensure this situation is not repeated. Sunderland Public Libraries would be happy to display the poster at any of its service points as space permits. We apologise for any upset that this decision may have caused the customer.

 

4th March   

God Almighty!...

Italian football federation bans 'god' cusses
Link Here

figc logoAn Italian football coach has been banned for taking God's name in vain

According to the disciplinary watchdog of the Italian football league, the Verona club's coach proffered a blasphemous expression that was to make him the first victim of a zero-tolerance policy on irreverence.

Di Carlo, whose side narrowly avoided relegation last season, was banned from the touchline for a game after the outburst.

The Italian federation, Federcalcio, decided last month that the time had come for disciplinary action to be taken against players and coaches heard taking God's name in vain. The president, Giancarlo Abete, declared it would intervene with official decisions to make clear that blasphemy is within the definition of 'offensive, insulting or abusive language' in the rules [that warrant sending-off] .

Chievo's coach was not the only one caught out; one of his players, Michele Marcolini, was deemed to have said God as he left the field after a red card.

 

4th March   

Smut for Smut...

Atheist campaigner accept bibles as a trade-in for porn mags
Link Here

atheist agenda logo Last Monday at the University of Texas at San Antonio, a campus atheist group, Atheist Agenda, began their fifth annual Smut for Smut campaign. For three days Atheist Agenda members will give students pornographic magazines in exchange for Bibles or other religious texts.

Leaders of the Atheist Agenda justify their campaign by arguing that, Religious books contain violence, spark religious wars, advocate for the mistreatment of women and are therefore no better than pornography .

As to be expected, Christian students across campus are understandably offended and many have begun protesting the Atheist Agenda's campaign, which even they themselves admit is mostly a publicity stunt. It does bring to light, however, and interesting question: How is it that a holy book, filled with God's message to His people and foundational to the Christian faith, is considered by others to be no better than pornography?

 

3rd March   

Update: No Kano Do...

Religious police ban music festival in Nigeria
Link Here  full story: Censorship in Kano...Everything is banned in Negeria's Kano state

Nigeria flagSharia police ordered the closure of an annual music festival funded and organised by the French embassy in northern Nigeria at the weekend.

We have banned the music festival for the reason that we were not notified and our permission was not sought, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim, head of the film censorship board in the northern Kano region, told AFP.

The French embassy said they had been told they could not stage the event at the local French cultural centre as they did not have prior authorisation.

Following a notification by the Kano state censorship board, the Kano festival of music is cancelled the French embassy said in a statement emailed to AFP.

 

3rd March   

Update: Blasphemy Abuse...

Another life imprisonment for a Pakistani christian accused of blasphemy
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flagAnother christian has been sentence to life imprisonment for supposed blasphemy in Pakistan.

Qamar David was sentenced to life imprisonment by in Karachi under blasphemy laws; Sections 298, 295-A and 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), while a co-accused, Munwar Ahmed, a Muslim, was acquitted.

David was arrested in 2006 for allegedly sending blasphemous messages from his mobile phone.

Kamran Khan, a Christian leader from Karachi, said that acquittal of the co-accused on grounds of benefit of doubt rise to doubts about the impartiality of the trial.

A group of Christians organized a protest rally outside Karachi Press Club on Feb. 28 against the court's verdict. The protest rally was organized by the Save the Churches' Property Welfare Association and the United Church of Christ.

According to the verdict, a SIM card was found in possession of the convict and the data produced by the cellular company established that messages were sent from the seized SIM. Police registered a case against David on the complaint of Khurshid Ahmed Khan, a Muslim.

Qamar David will appeal against the court's verdict, according to his lawyer.

 

2nd March   

Update: Stop Worrying...

Enlightened New Zealand ministers supports atheist buses in Auckland
Link Here

New Zealand flagA church minister in New Zealand has branded as regrettable , the decision by a bus company not to allow atheist bus slogans to be displayed on its buses, and called for a rethink.

Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland, says NZ Bus's decision last month to stop the display of paid adverts showing atheistic slogans similar to those which appeared in the UK last year, should be revisited.

The NZ Atheist Bus Campaign has raised nearly $23,000 from public donations for the ads that read: There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

NZ Bus had tentatively approved the ads for buses in major centres, but backed down after receiving complaints from the public and staff.

Archdeacon Cardy, who last year put up a controversial billboard outside his church showing Mary and Joseph in bed, hoped NZ Bus would review its decision. Glynn Cardy told Ekklesia: The decision of NZ Bus to prohibit the display of so-called atheistic slogans is regrettable. Similar slogans overseas used such wording and have fomented much debate. There are many Christians who although not atheistic do not wish for those of differing beliefs, including those of such slogans, to be censored. Their view would coincide with Evelyn Beatrice Hall's words 'I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'

The proposed atheist campaign brings into the public eye a debate about the nature and existence of God. This is a debate that many Christians want to engage in.

Buses these days seem to carry a number of advertisements some of which promote the consumption of alcohol, a diet of violent television, and other messages that could be seen to be morally questionable. Most advertising is encouraging us to buy, whether the product is essential or not. How refreshing it is to see advertising that is not asking us to buy anything, aspire to be slim, or sell us a lifestyle we can't afford. How refreshing that the advertising simply asks us to think, not worry, and enjoy life.

I hope NZ Bus will review their decision.

 

2nd March   

Update: Veiled Temperance...

Hijabs not welcome in Cairo's clubs and cafes
Link Here  full story: Burkha Bollox...Burkhas threaten to undermine world peace

hijabEgypt's steady drift towards religion has been well documented. But now there are signs of a backlash.

In trendy clubs and cafés across Cairo, the hair and neck-covering scarf known as the hijab is increasingly being shunned as unacceptable dress.

Several bars and restaurants where alcohol is served now essentially ban veiled women from entering. The policy is more open in some places than others but seems to apply to at least half a dozen Cairo venues. Related Links

Club and restaurant managers refused to comment on the record about the ban, but several questioned why a devout veiled woman would even want to attend venues that served alcohol. One manager of a Cairo club, however, said that the restrictions were less about protecting the veiled women from sinful environments than about shielding the club's core clients from having to look at veiled women. It causes a lot of discomfort and doesn't create the atmosphere I need to make money, the manager said. I can either make my regulars comfortable or I make the other 1% comfortable.

Our relationship with religion has become so schizophrenic and love-hate, said Ethar al-Katatney, a young veiled journalist and regular contributor to the Muslimah Media Watch website, which tracks global issues relating to Muslim women. We're actually more judgmental to muhajabat [veiled women] than they would be in the West.

 

2nd March   

Update: And the Girls Can't Even Read About It...

16 schools attacked in Pakistan in February
Link Here  full story: School Burning in Pakistan...Taliban take offence at education, particularly for girls

pakistan school destroyed january 2009Taliban-linked militants have blown up a school in northwest Pakistan, bringing to 16 the number of such attacks in February 2010.

Militants blew up 16 boys' and girls' schools in the tribal regions of Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber and Dara Adamkhel during the current month, provincial education minister, Sardar Hussain Babak told AFP.

He blamed the attacks on Taliban and other extremist groups, including Lashkar-e-Islam, which has some links to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The latest government boys' high school to be attacked was blown up overnight in Mohmand tribal region, officials said. All 21 rooms in the school building were destroyed after bombs planted in seven different places went off, local administration official Roshan Khan told AFP.

In North West Frontier Province, only 22% of women and girls older than 15 are literate.

 

1st March   

Update: Archbishop of Viciousness...

Philippines bishops attack health minister for distributing condoms
Link Here  full story: Religion and AIDS...Promoting poverty and AIDS

Philippines flagThe supposedly non-political Catholic Church is agitating to get the Health Secretary of the Philippines, Esperanza Cabral, sacked because she authorised the distribution of condoms on Valentine's Day in the fight against Aids.

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said on the Church-run Radio Veritas: It is immoral for a government official to support the distribution of condoms which we know do not really reduce or stop the spread of HIV-AIDS.

Another bishop, Dinualdo Gutierrez, joined the attack when he said Cabral should not remain as health secretary. Gutierrez said Cabral was not a good Catholic — if she was one in the first place — if she backs the distribution of the prophylactics.

Ms Cabral responded by saying that the Catholic Church can be vicious at times, but she intended to continue defying it. Of course, I am afraid of the Church. They are very powerful and they can sometimes be very vicious. I'm not exactly one who likes to live dangerously, Cabral told a local TV station. However, she said that she'd rather live dangerously than do nothing against the very alarming rise in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed a total of 4,424 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to December 2009. The highest number was recorded in 2009 with a total of 835 cases. At the rate we are going, in 3 years, we are going to have more than 30,000 people with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, the health secretary said.

 

1st March   

Diary: Seminar on Banning Sharia Law...

Legal and legislative means to ban Sharia law in Britain
Link Here  full story: Sharia Law in the UK...Shariah tribunals operating in Britain

olawevent Seminar on banning Sharia law in Britain
8 March 2010 Time: 6:30-8:30pm Arrive at 6:00pm for registration and refreshments Conway Hall, Holborn, London

Seminar on legal and legislative means to ban Sharia law in Britain

Tickets: £10; £3 students/unwaged.

Speakers include:

  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (British Muslims for Secular Democracy)
  • Yassi Atasheen (One Law for All)
  • Clara Connolly (Women Against Fundamentalism)
  • David Green (Civitas)
  • Denis MacShane (Nutter MP)
  • Rony Miah (Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Lawyers' Secular Society)
  • Maryam Namazie (One Law for All)
  • Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters)
  • Fariborz Pooya (Iranian Secular Society)
  • Yasmin Rahman (Women Against Fundamentalism)
  • Joan Smith (Writer and Activist).