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30th April   

Offsite: Ireland Goes Sharia...

For God's sake, why have blasphemous libel?
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Oireachtas logoThe proposal to make blasphemous libel an offence would likely criminalise many writers and publishers.

What about other religious groupings and faiths? The proposed amendment makes the degree of outrage among adherents of any religion, in response to things said or written about them, a defining factor in determining whether an offence has been committed. We have seen elsewhere in Europe large-scale expressions of outrage by members of the Muslim community in response to films, books and cartoons. Books such as Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and films and cartoons, such as those published by a Danish newspaper and which offended some Muslims, would almost certainly be criminalised in Ireland by the present proposal.

...Read full article

 

30th April   

Child Marriage...

Islamic opposition defeats attempts to end child marriage
Link Here

Yemen flagShe was 2 years old when her father promised her in marriage to a man in his 30s.

At age 9, the girl was put on a sack of rice to appear taller next to the bridegroom in the wedding picture.

At 11, she was taken to her husband's house to live. Despite promising not to consummate the marriage before she reached puberty, he tied her to a bed, stuffed a rag in her mouth and raped her, she says.

Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, where tribal customs dominate society. More than a quarter of its females marry before age 15, according to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry.

The issue of child brides vaulted into the headlines here two years ago when an 8-year-old boldly went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s. She eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice.

In February, parliament passed a law setting the minimum marriage age at 17. But some lawmakers are trying to kill the measure, calling it un-Islamic. Before it could be ratified by Yemen's president, they forced it to be sent back to parliament's constitutional committee for review.

In Yemen, poverty is the main reason families marry off young daughters, to get bride-prices up to several hundred dollars. Local traditions encourage the practice out of a belief a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.

The weak government relies on support from tribal leaders and Islamists so is reluctant to take action on customs they support.

Legislator Sheik Mohammed al-Hazmi, one of the most ardent opponents of a minimum marriage age, says the new law is a Western plot aimed at Westernizing our culture. The West wants to teach us how to marry, conceive and divorce. This is cultural colonization that we reject, he told AP.

 

30th April   

Islamic Unwellness Centres...

Women only gyms and wellness centres banned in Saudi
Link Here

Saudi flagSaudi women could see their private sports clubs and gyms closed down because the government seems likely to only grant licences to men only clubs

The problem that has emerged in recent months is that women's gyms are unlicensed and so illegal. Female fitness fans complain of a lack of places to exercise outside the home since they cannot use men's clubs.

The general presidency for sport and youth welfare is responsible for men's gyms but it has not been allowed or prepared to regulate those for women. Businessman Bader Al-Shibani wanted to open a women's sports club along with the one he runs for men in Jeddah: I ran into a stone wall at every turn. Every department I visited denied that they had the authority to give permission to establish a women's club. In the end, I just abandoned the project.

Action has already been taken against two women's gyms, in Jeddah and in Dammam, according to al-Madinah newspaper. Clubs in Riyadh have so far been spared.

This month a group of Saudi women launched a campaign entitled Let Her Get Fat, in opposition to a decision to close down all-female wellness centres that are not under the supervision of a government hospital or clinic.

Leading Saudi clerics have condemned the gyms and clubs as shamelessness and warned that women would be tempted to leave their homes and neglect their husbands and children.

 

30th April   

Humour: Hogwash...

Fatwah banning muslims from contracting swine flu
Link Here

  Who are you
calling unclean?

Saying it must strictly adhere to the rule that no pig shall pass their lips--or enter their bloodstream--Nation of Islam leaders today told members they should not contract the swine flu.

The NOI prohibits members from eating pork because it considers the pig to be an unclean animal. It holds the same feeling toward the swine flu.

The pig is a nasty foul beast and no man should eat of it, said Minister Bartholomew 298X, NOI chief of health and wellness for Mosque #458: Nor shall he allow it to infect his white blood cells or his red blood cells or take residence in the holy places of his bowels.

The edict comes just two days after the U.S. government declared a public health emergency to respond to the flu, which has so far sickened people in Kansas, California, New York, and several other states.

But you will notice that none of the afflicted are in the Nation of Islam, said Bartholomew 298X: We adhere very strictly to our religion, unlike the devils who have contracted this foul disease.

 

29th April   

Update: Pandering to Nonsense...

Irish Minister of Injustice proposes Saudi pleasing blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Oireachtas logoA new crime of blasphemous libel is to be proposed by the Irish Minister for Injustice in an amendment to the Defamation Bill, which will be discussed by the Oireachtas committee on injustice today.

At the moment there is no crime of blasphemy on the statute books, though it is prohibited by the Constitution. Article 40 of the Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of speech, qualifies it by stating: The State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State. The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, under the chairmanship of Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ardagh, recommended amending this Article to remove all references to sedition and blasphemy, and redrafting the Article along the lines of article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which deals with freedom of expression. It also stated that a special protection for Christianity was incompatible with the religious equality provisions of Article 44.

Minister for Injustice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.

Blasphemous matter is defined as matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

Labour spokesman on justice Pat Rabbitte is proposing an amendment to this section which would reduce the maximum fine to €1,000 and exclude from the definition of blasphemy any matter that had any literary, artistic, social or academic merit.

 

29th April   

Have I Got Nutters for You...

Nutter calls the police in over ill-judged jest on Have I Got the News For You
Link Here

Have I Got News For You DVD The Metropolitan Police have received a complaint from George Hargreaves, the leader of The Christian Party over a jest on Have I Got News For You

Openly gay Tory MP Alan Duncan has weighed in on the Miss California gay marriage row.

Miss California Carrie Prejean had been asked by blogger Perez Hilton her thoughts on gay marriage at the Miss America contest last week. She replied: I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Appearing on BBC comedy news quiz, Alan Duncan called her a silly bitch. I don't agree with her at all. A few minutes later he added: If you read that Miss California has been murdered, you will know it was me, won't you?

Fellow guest Katy Brand appeared shocked by the comment, saying: That's a hell of a statement to be making on camera there, Alan.

The complainant George Hargreaves said: How can we stop gun and knife crime when the man who thinks he will be the next Home Secretary makes death threats?

Duncan said yesterday: Of course it was in jest. It is a comedy show after all. I'm sure Miss Prejean's very beautiful and that if we were to meet we would love each other. I have no plans to kill her. I'll send her a box of chocolates - unpoisoned.

 

29th April   

Updated: Faith Fighter...

Nutters whinge at Faith Fighter flash game
Link Here

Faith Fighter game Nutters are calling for a ban on an online game where holy figures such as Jesus and the prophet Muhammad fight to the death.

Critics say the free Faith Fighter flash game is deeply provocative and disrespectful towards all world religions.

Muslims are particularly outraged because Islamic tradition prohibits drawings of Allah.

Hindus and Buddhists are also upset as the god Ganesha and Buddha are two of the six players .

This game is going out of its way to upset people and I think it should be taken off the internet, said Douglas Miller, pastor of the Link Church in Birmingham: Playing violent video games will ultimately affect your behaviour and this game is deeply offensive and provocative.

A spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations said: In the current climate, this game can only create fear about religion. 'Having images depicting Muhammad in this way is also very offensive to our faith.

Brian Appleyard, former chairman of the Buddhist Society, called the game an offensive futile project.

Update: Inciting Intolerance

29th April 2009. Based on article from mediawatchwatch.org.uk

The repressive Organisation of the Islamic Conference - representing muslim nations - have released a statement about the Faith Fighter computer game which has led to its replacement on the Molleindustria website.

When his attention was brought to the online game, a spokesman of the OIC Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah expressed his concern stating that the computer game was incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.

He said that the game would serve no other purpose than to incite intolerance. He called on the Internet service providers who are hosting the game to take immediate action by withdrawing it from the web.

Molleindustria have now replaced the game with Faith Fighter 2 a game to show your love and respect for the easily offended deities (complete with a blob over the face of Mohammed).

Update: Showing Faith in Faith Fighter

2nd May 2009. See article from gamepolitics.com

Molleindustria have brought the original Faith Fighter 1 game back

 

29th April   

Update: They Will be Fish Food...

Senegal lynch mobs assemble to murder freed gays
Link Here

Senegal flagA mob gathered near a mosque outside Dakar. They were there to hunt down and kill nine men accused of homosexual acts.

Earlier this week the nine Senegalese AIDS activists were freed from eight-year-prison terms for alleged homosexual acts, but they went into hiding because of death threats from Muslim religious leaders and the general population.

The homosexuals will not escape lynching. They will be fish food, Dakar newspaper L'Observeur quoted a local youth leader as saying.

Gay men will never be free in Senegal. They expose us all to danger, said Imam Mbaye Niang, a prominent religious leader and member of parliament: The judges should understand that Senegalese people need to protect their children, their families from homosexuality.

In Senegal homosexual acts are punishable by fines and up to five years in prison. In January, the nine men received the harshest sentence yet for such an offense in Senegal, getting the maximum of five years and an additional three for criminal conspiracy.

Though widely supported in Senegal, the conviction was condemned by international human rights groups and foreign governments, most notably France.

A Dakar appeals court overturned that decision Monday, citing violations of legal protocol.

Acting on an anonymous tip, police had arrested the men at the home of a prominent gay activist. But the police did not have a search warrant, nor did they catch the men in the act, which is required by the Senegalese law prohibiting indecent acts against nature. The judge hearing the appeal therefore declared their convictions null and void.

In our society, homosexuality will never be accepted, Imam Niang said: Our religion forbids it, so we can never accept it, even if it is accepted everywhere else in the world.”

 

29th April   

Update: Miraculously Overflowing Coffers...

Keeping a close eye on the healing claims of preacher Richard Roberts
Link Here

Richard Roberts logoAn American televangelist who claims he can 'cure' cancer is bringing his roadshow to Scotland.

Fundamentalist preacher Richard Roberts is due to host a 'healing' session in Glasgow where he will tell the seriously ill to expect miracles. People will also be asked for offerings . He will visit Glasgow's Destiny Church, an independent evangelical organisation, on May 6, and pledges that, through the holy spirit, he will cure the sick.

The event is free, but people will be invited to make financial "offerings" afterwards.

Professor Jim Cassidy, head of Glasgow University's Centre for Oncology, believed the event would give false hope to the most vulnerable: Undoubtedly there will be lots of people who wish to take up this offer. People do clutch at straws, but this is likely to be quite damaging to them. It would be interesting to challenge the legality of these claims.

The cancer specialist was concerned by the idea of people feeling obliged to pay money to receive 'healing': The idea that this individual can cure your cancer is quite cruel. I'd be keen to find out if there was way of stopping such a thing.

Glasgow City Council's Trading Standards Unit confirmed it was monitoring the situation. A spokesman said: If Mr Roberts, or anyone else, advertises or promises a cure for cancer then he is likely to be in breach of consumer protection regulations. Anyone advertising a product, which includes a service, must be able to deliver.

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society has attended similar gatheringsand described them as dangerous and exploitative. I attended a meeting at Wembley held by an another American televangelist called Morris Cerullo. They didn't charge you anything to get in, but before long around came the little envelopes where you could provide your credit card details. There is a real danger that vulnerable people can end up parting with sizeable sums of money through sheer desperation.

Cerullo later caused controversy after a women he had pronounced 'cured' of epilepsy stopped taking her medication and drowned in bath following a seizure.

Sanderson said: Telling people they are cured when they are not is downright dangerous as well as being exploitative. We shall be keeping a very close eye on Mr Roberts during his time in the UK and challenging each and every unsubstantiated claim he makes.

Cancer Research's chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson said: We would urge any cancer patient to continue with the scientifically proven medical treatments prescribed by their cancer specialist

 

28th April   

Update: Forbidden Art...

Russian museum directors under duress for banned art which wound up the nutters
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

Andrey Sakharov MuseumTwo Russian men could face up to five years’ imprisonment for inciting hatred or enmity and denigration of human dignity after they organized a contemporary art exhibition in Moscow.

Yurii Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeev staged the Forbidden Art 2006 exhibition at the Sakharov Museum in March 2007.

A Moscow City court will consider both men's appeals against the charges. The defendants will be told whether the hearing into their case will go ahead or whether it will be sent back to the prosecutor's office for further investigation.

When the charges were brought in May 2008, Yuri Samodurov was director of the Sakharov Centre and Andrei Yerofeev was head of the Department for Contemporary Art at the State Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition gathered together a number of works of art that had been refused inclusion at various exhibitions in 2006. Several of the pieces had already been shown at other exhibitions of contemporary art in Russia and across the world. The exhibition included Mickey Mouse, Lenin, pornography pictures, and obscene sexual slang painted on crucifix and other Christian symbols, which are to be observed through holes in a sheet.

When the Taganskii District Prosecutor brought charges against both men, he said that the exhibition was clearly directed towards expressing in a demonstrative and visible way a degrading and insulting attitude towards the Christian religion in general and especially towards the Orthodox faith.

Amnesty International has called on the Russian authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and to stop the criminal prosecution of Yurii Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeev.

 

28th April   

Young Wives Tales...

Finish politician charged with blasphemy over references to Mohammed's young wife
Link Here

Finland flagPopular Finnish politician and blogger Jussi Halla-aho has fallen foul of Finland’s archaic blasphemy laws by claiming that Mohammed was a paedophile.

The Eurabia blog revealed at the weekend that the Helsinki city councilman was charged in the Helsinki district court with blasphemy, and incitement of an ethnic group, and ordered to stand trial for publishing the slur.

According to the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Jorme Kalske: Halla-aho had uploaded to the Internet and submitted writings to the general public, in which Islam and its sacred institutions were combined with paedophilia …

 

28th April   

Harmful Nonsense...

No sex for oldies in a catholic world
Link Here

QuetzalcoatlThe Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul have published some reprehensible nonsense speaking against millions of people's sex lives.

The article, by Father Michael Schmitz, states that sex is ordered toward two things: bonding the couple and bringing forth life. He then uses this rather odd definition to state that if either of these elements is missing, then the relationship is disordered:

Anything that directly violates either the bonding or the possibility of life is a disordered use of the sexual act (as well as use of the other person).

In other words, if you are too old to have children, sterile, gay, or simply choose not to procreate, the Catholic Church says you shouldn't be having sex.

 

28th April   

Conversion of Convenience...

Malaysia ends father's automatic child custody via conversion to islam
Link Here

Malaysia flagMalaysia has banned the religious conversion of children without both parents' consent, local media reports.

The announcement by new Prime Minister Najib Razak is being seen as a major step in easing ethnic tensions in the predominately Muslim country.

It follows a string of legal rows in which converts to Islam changed their children's religion despite protests by their estranged non-Muslim spouses.

Non-Muslims have complained of discrimination, saying the Islamic Sharia courts assert their greater power over minorities when disputes arise. Meanwhile, the secular courts that preside over family disputes for non-Muslims say they have no jurisdiction over such cases.

Law Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said the government had decided that when couples separate, their children must be raised in their common religion at the time of marriage. He said that religion should not be used as a tool to allow a spouse to run away from his or her responsibility as husband or wife.

He also said that the civil courts were the right place to dissolve a marriage in the event of a spouse converting to Islam.

 

27th April   

Abortificients...

Nutters whinge about morning after pill TV adverts
Link Here

CCFON logoChristian Concern For Our Nation has spoken out against the UK’s first TV advert for the morning after pill.

The advert for Levonelle One Step was aired for the first time last Thursday night after the 9pm watershed on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. The advert shows a woman waking up next to her partner and going to buy the contraception, which can terminate pregnancy in the first 72 hours after intercourse.

Manufacturers Bayer Schering Pharma were allowed to run the advert after the recent lifting of bans on TV and radio advertising for pregnancy advisory services and condoms pre-watershed.

CCFON said it was concerned the advert signalled: the further liberation towards abortificients.

It is clear that increased availability of the morning-after pill is a move towards abortion on demand, said a spokesperson for the organisation: It has also clear that such attitudes will not increase responsibility but rather will encourage promiscuity and irresponsible sexual behaviour, with a consequent risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases.”

The adverts have also been criticised by the ProLife Alliance. The group’s leader, Dominica Roberts, said the advert would have little impact on the numbers of unplanned pregnancies and abortions: It is advertised inaccurately as emergency contraception, when in fact its major function is to cause the abortion of an embryo that has already been conceived, not as suggested by the name to prevent conception.

 

27th April   

Update: Nonsensical Anti-Gay Protest...

Westboro Baptists meet their match at Walt Whitman High School
Link Here  full story: Westboro Baptists...Reprehensible nutters hate gays and soliders

"God hates you" posterThe Westboro Baptist 'Church' of Topeka, Kansas is notorious for its tasteless and frequently nonsensical anti-gay protests.

However, the Westboro protesters may have overreached when they attempted to picket Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD, because it is named after the nineteenth century poet who many biographers believe to have been either homosexual or bisexual.

Whitman sophomores Ryan Hauck and Amar Mukunda set up a Facebook group to generate support for the counter-protest through which more than 600 students have committed to attend.

As it happened, the turnout far exceeded Mukunda's expectation of a couple of hundred. The Washington Post reports that faculty had spun the event into an interdisciplinary lesson. English teachers spent the day teaching Whitman's verse. Social studies teachers led a unit on tolerance. Math teachers fanned through the crowd, attempting a head count.

Although the handful of picketers initially had the street to themselves, that changed dramatically when school was dismissed at 2:10 and five hundred students marched out, chanting the school name alternating with Go home!

LGBT group Driving Equality had even set up a Phelps-a-Thon webpage, promising, For every minute the 'God Hates Fags' clan is protesting, we will be collecting donations for the Walt Whitman High School gay/straight alliance. ... You can pledge any amount you chose, whether it be $0.25, $0.50, $1, or even $2 for every minute they protest. ... After the event, we will send Phelps a thank you card, telling him how much money he raised for LGBT equality.

 

27th April   

Update: Lynch Mob Justice...

Fears of Taliban rule in Pakistan
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan flagTheir deaths were squalid, riddled with bullets in a field near their home by Taliban gunmen as the execution was captured on a mobile telephone.

In footage which is being watched with horror by Pakistanis, the couple try to flee when they realise what is about to happen. But a gunman casually shoots the man and then the woman in the back with a burst of gunfire, leaving them bleeding in the dirt.

Moments later, when others in the execution party shout out that they are still alive, he returns to coldly finish them with a few more rounds.

Their 'crime' was an alleged affair in their remote mountain village controlled by militants in an area that was only recently under the government's sway. It was the kind of barbarity that has become increasingly familiar across Pakistan as the Taliban tide has spread.

In the past few days the footage has circulated among Pakistanis who usually show little interest in the rough ways of the distant frontier regions. They have now started to wake up to the fear that al-Qaeda-linked rebels from the frontier could take over their nation.

In an extraordinary move, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on the people of Pakistan to defy their government, saying they need to speak out forcefully against a policy that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents.

The Taliban are steady and confident, the government is weak and faltering, said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor at Islamabad's Quaid-e-Azam University and one of Pakistan's leading intellectuals: A Taliban victory will enslave our women, destroy Pakistan's rich historical and cultural heritage, make education and science impossible, and make the lives of its citizens impossibly difficult. Some are already contemplating an exodus.

 

26th April   

Pandering to Subjugation...

Air stewardess sacked for refusing to fly to Saudi
Link Here

AbayaA BMI air stewardess was sacked for refusing to fly to Saudi Arabia after she was ordered to wear a traditional Islamic robe and walk behind male colleagues.

Lisa Ashton was told that in public areas in Saudi Arabia she was required to wear a black robe, known as an abaya. This covers everything but the face, feet and hands. She was told to follow her male colleagues, irrespective of rank.

Ashton who was worried about security in the country, refused to fly there, claiming the instructions were discriminatory. She was sacked last April.

It’s not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I’m not going to be treated as a second-class citizen, Ashton said last week.

Saudi experts and companies that recruit women to work in the country say it is a myth that western women are required to walk behind men. There is no requirement for them to wear the abaya in public, though many do.

Earlier this year an employment tribunal in Manchester ruled that BMI was justified in imposing rules of a different culture on staff and cleared it of sexual discrimination. Ashton has consulted Liberty, the human rights organisation, and may seek a judicial review of the decision.

Her letter of dismissal said it was proportionate to ask female employees to walk behind men out of respect for Saudi culture. BMI has also defended its decision to require female staff to wear abayas.

In the employment tribunal decision over Ashton’s case it was ruled there was no evidence that women would regard BMI’s requirements on wearing the abaya, or walking behind men, as placing them under any disadvantage. Ashton’s case was dismissed.

 

26th April   

Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Them...Not...

US Supreme Court upholds death sentence where jurors consulted the bible
Link Here
Jury of priests

  The jury is sworn in

The US Supreme Court has declined to review a case which rendered the death penalty after jurors reportedly consulted the Bible.

In the appeal, Khristian Oliver’s defense said jurors reviewed a biblical passage stating that a murderer who used an iron object to kill ’shall surely be put to death.’ Jurors were deciding whether to sentence Oliver to death for shooting and bludgeoning his victim with the barrel of a gun, reported the Associated Press.

The court previously has said jurors should base their verdicts only on evidence presented in the courtroom, the service noted.

Oliver was convicted of shooting a man then beating him to death with his gun’s barrel during a home invasion in 1998. In the case, jurors testified that some had consulted the biblical passage and concluded that a gun barrel is similar to the aforementioned iron object.

State and lower federal courts upheld Oliver’s death sentence, despite testimony that some jurors in the Nacogdoches County case consulted the biblical passage, noted AP.

 

26th April   

Update: Convert or Die...

Taliban murder christians who protested against Taliban threats
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan flagThe Taliban, emboldened by their success in Swat Valley and advance near Islamabad, have attacked a Christian neighborhood and executed two residents after Christians held a rally protesting graffiti ordering them to convert to Islam or die.

On the night of the protest, April 21, more than 100 masked terrorists invaded Taseer Town with automatic rifles. The terrified Christian residents ran to their homes and locked themselves inside.

According to Asif Stephen, a Christian politician, one of the protesters said, We were protesting peacefully and all of sudden, a few militants carrying the latest weapons rushed in. Some of the attackers entered homes and pillaged money and jewelry and abused the women and burned their properties. The elderly were injured and one child fell to the ground and died in my friend's arms.

The terrorists sexually assaulted several women and physically abused dozens more with clubs, iron rods, and whips. They set a number of homes on fire. When two Christians resisted, the militants killed them execution-style directly in front of their families. The identity of those killed has not yet been confirmed.

According to AsiaNews, police have arrested seven of the Taliban militants involved in the attack.

Update: Music to Shave To

27th April 2009. See article from digitaljournal.com

Self-proclaimed definers of Islamic law, the Taliban have begun giving out punishments for breaching their bizarre version of Sharia law. Four men were shaven, (a punishment indeed, when beards are a cultural symbol) for listening to music.

 

25th April   

Updated: Revolutionary Guards Revolted...

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards arrest porn site bosses
Link Here

Iran flagIran has arrested 26 men and women on a wide array of charges from producing adult and child porn content to mocking Islamic beliefs.

The arrests were made by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. The special Guards unit for fighting organised internet crimes announced in late March that its task force had closed down 90 porn sites.

The arrest victims are accused of promoting orgies and incest, illegally uploading sex clips of young girls, and ridiculing Shia Islamic beliefs such as the death of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. One of the people arrested is accused of writing hardcore erotic stories.

Among those arrested are at least two Iranian men and one woman who used to live abroad, but whose friends say were tricked into coming home and then arrested. Others were caught after their e-mails were intercepted by the task force, says Ali Rahnama, a journalist in Tehran quoting sources close to the operation.

The Guards say the group was supported by foreign countries including the US, Canada and Israel. But the sites seem merely to be hosted by private companies in these countries.

Although access to porn websites is blocked in Iran, many people manage to access them. One of the busted porn sites had 300,000 registered Iranian users and some of the adult video clips were downloaded at least six million times, according to the Guards.

Since boys and girls are banned from socialising freely in Iran, demand for online adult content has exploded in big cities where internet access has become widespread.

Update: Deserving Death

25th April 2009. See article from xbiz.com . Thanks to Alan

Iranian operators of pornographic and anti-Islamic websites deserve to face the death penalty, a special prosecutor said in a newspaper report.

Tehran's deputy prosecutor Reza Jafari said 50 Iranians had been arrested and were under investigation for running such websites and promoting prostitution, according to Iran newspaper Vatan Emrouz.

He also said the term corrupt on Earth was appropriate to describe a person who manages many immoral, anti-religious and anti-revolutionary sites, and corruption on Earth is legally punishable by death under strict Islam.

Jafari, who is the prosecutor for a special tribunal against cybercrimes, said 90 websites had been shut down since March and that half of the 50 people arrested were out on bail. Iranian officials arrested 26 adult site operators last week.

 

25th April   

Update: Morning After Nonsense...

Ranting against emergency contraception
Link Here

QuetzalcoatlA bishop has attacked a council-led plan to allow pupils at six schools in Oxfordshire to access contraceptive advice and contraception, including the 'emergency' pill.

William Kenney, the Bishop of Birmingham has criticised the scheme, which is likely to be piloted in July.

The bishop said: It goes against the very central idea the Catholic church has on human life. It is sending out the message that it was better to deal with the aftermath of what people do, rather than the causes. I don't think this will help solve the teenage pregnancy rate and is taking away responsibility from parents.

Father Daniel Seward, the school chaplain at one the schools, joined in the bishop's criticism. He said: The school is part of the Catholic church and the church has a very clear view that sexual relations take place properly within marriage and that any abortion or contraception is contrary to the dignity of the human person. Sex is never just a recreational activity.

 

25th April   

Update: A Blasphemy Against Humanity...

Blasphemy in Pakistan now carries a mandatory death Sentence
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flagThe death penalty is now mandatory for blasphemy, under Article 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. The option of a life term for a person convicted on the charge has been taken away. This has come about purely on the basis of a technicality.

The Supreme Court's Shariat Appellate Bench dismissed an appeal against a 1990 Federal Shariat Court ruling making death compulsory.

The results of this verdict are potentially dire. The fact is that for any person accused of blasphemy, the possibility of obtaining a fair hearing have over the past decade or so become slimmer and slimmer with each passing year. Each time an accusation is made, an environment of hostility is quickly whipped up – often by extremist forces – creating a highly charged atmosphere. Neither the police nor the lower judiciary is able to function independently or without bias, and courts at the district and sessions level repeatedly pass the maximum sentence – if only because judges fear for their lives.

To make the situation still worse is the fact that the blasphemy law has been abused more and more often. All too often they have been accused on the basis of petty disputes – a bid to settle a business dispute; a plot to grab property or simply to seek revenge for some trivial act.

The change in the provisions of Article 295-C are alarming and should serve as another reminder of the need to amend this flawed piece of legislation.

 

24th April   

Update: A Rasht of Barbarity...

Secret executions by stoning continue in Iran
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Stoning scene from movieA man was secretly stoned to death in northern Iran in February and another man is only days away from facing a similar fate, The Tehran-based online daily Rooz has reported.

The report  said that in the case of the man who was stoned in the city of Rasht in February, judicial sources did not hand over the body to his family for burial to keep details of his execution from leaking to the press.

The main opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, citing ‘reliable sources’, said a man, identifed as Vali Azad was 'secretly' stoned to death in a prison in Rasht. It said that the stoning sentence, handed down by Judge Kashani, was carried out in a remote part of the yard of Lakan Prison in the presence of a few prison officials.

Rooz reported that another stoning sentence will be carried out in the coming days in Rasht. The judiciary in Gilan Province (northern Iran) is getting ready to carry out the sentence, which is a serious cause for concern among human rights activists, the report said. It identified the man awaiting the sentence as Mohammad Ali Navid Khamami.

 

24th April   

Update: Child Neglect...

Taliban halt polio vaccinations in Swat
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

Pakistan flagTaliban blocked the polio vaccination drive in parts Pakistan's North West Frontier Province by threatening to kidnap health officials if they go ahead with the campaign.

Many clerics in the region say the vaccination programme is part of a plot by the West to destroy Islam. They believe taking the vaccine will cause infertility .The Taliban leadership says this is not exactly true, but local leaders continue to oppose polio vaccination in children. Taliban had issued a similar threat in Afghanistan last year, but had to revoke it following protests from the parents.

Pakistan had started its polio vaccination campaign in 1994. Since then, the no. of cases reported every year had come down significantly from 20,000 in 1994 to 100 in 2004. But in the last couple of years the threat of polio has come back in the North West Frontier Province after many children were denied the vaccination due to threats from the militants.

Muslim Khan, the Taliban spokesman in the region said: It is a US tool to cut the population of the Muslims. It is against Islam that you take a medicine before the disease.

 

24th April   

Updated: Swat Goes to Shite...

Taliban thugs video flogging to send out a message
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan floggingThis is the chilling moment a 17-year-old Pakistani girl is punished in a horrific flogging by Taliban thugs for being seen with a man who is not her husband.

The girl, who received 37 lashes at the hands of her brother and Taliban forces, has sent shockwaves throughout the once stable Swat Valley region.

The mobile phone footage shows the girl pinned down by two men while a third whips her as she begs for mercy.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging in today's Guardian, which obtained footage of the shocking act.

He said it was the Taliban's right to thrash women and that the girl was being punished for coming out of her house with another man who was not her husband.

The girl in the video, named as Chaand, was punished in Matta in the Swat Valley. She did not receive a trial and was punished according to the suspicious of one neighbour.

Pashtun documentary maker Samar Minallah, who lived in Swat for two years in the late 1990s, handed the footage to the media. Ms Minallah said the video is being circulated because the Taliban wanted people to see it: They want to give the message that this is taking place after the peace deal because this is something they ideologically believe in.

Update: Protests against Swat Flogging

5th April 2009. Based on article from nation.com.pk

Swat protestCitizens of Lahore Saturday took out a peace rally condemning the Swat incident of flogging a young girl in the public gaze as well as to press for the government action for peace in the tribal and other restive areas of the NWFP where the terrorists now call the shots.

A large number of citizens, NGOs, rights organisations, political activists, students, lawyers, and professionals marched on the Punjab Assembly. The participants were carrying banners and placards and throughout the way they continued to chant loud slogans for protecting the life and other rights of the citizens, particularly belonging to Swat and the adjoining areas. The participants of the rally in strong words condemned the spread of Talibanisation in the country.

Asma Jahangir and others on the occasion strongly condemned the Swat incident and the growing influence of Taliban in Swat, Dir and other parts. They said the situation was becoming threatening with every passing day as the Taliban influence had reached the urban areas as well. The speakers called for practical steps to curb the menace of terrorism and violence on women.

Condemning the incident, Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid’s President Zia Ahmed Awan said that Islam does not allow punishments based on injustice and brutality without conducting proper inquiry and following the set procedure. He said that it is a shameful incident and in clear violation of human rights, specially children and women rights. He lauded the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry for taking suo motu action of the incident.

Update: Back to the Dark Ages.

22nd April 2009. See article from dailytimes.com.pk Thanks to Alan

Human Rights Watch (HWR) urged Pakistan to reverse its decision to enforce sharia in Swat, saying the deal threatens women and takes the region back to the Dark Ages.

The rights group said the government’s move amounted to granting the Taliban control presents a grave threat to the rights of women and other basic rights in the troubled region.

The Taliban are taking Swat back to the Dark Ages and the Pakistani government is now complicit in their horrific abuses , a HWR spokesman said.

Update: No room for democracy in Islam

24th April 2009. See article from timesofindia.indiatimes.com Thanks to Alan

Hardline cleric Sufi Muhammad, who played a key role in enforcing Islamic law in Pakistan's restive northwestern Swat valley, said there is no room for democracy in Islam and it contravenes the Quran.

The chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi (TNSM) described democracy as an un-Islamic system. The existing political system in the country contravenes Islam and the Quran, he claimed.

Asserting that there is no room for democracy in an Islamic system, he accused Pakistan's rulers of appeasing the West by thrusting the system of 'kafirs' or infidels on the people of the country.

 

22nd April   

Update: Easily Hurt Religious Sentiments...

Indian bishops whinge about Angels and Demons
Link Here  full story: Angels and Demons...Another Dan Brown film/book winds up the nutters

Angels and Demons poster The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the country's top Catholic body, is calling for a ban of the Tom Hanks-starring Angels & Demons set for worldwide release on May 15.

This film could seriously hurt religious sentiments, CBCI spokesperson Father Babu Joseph was quoted as saying in media reports over the weekend: Christianity is not understood by the majority of people in India yet, and many non-Christians may mistake the content as the truth.

CBCI secretary general Stanislaus Fernandes reportedly has written to the chair of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) asking to stop the film's release.

We are still waiting for a print to arrive from our head offices, after which we will submit the film to the CBFC, Sony Pictures Releasing India managing director Kersy Daruwala said.

Father Anthony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese in Mumbai also called for a boycott: We are calling on Christians to adhere to the principle of not supporting anything that goes against our faith. We are asking people not to watch it.

 

22nd April   

Update: The Writing is on the Wall...

Iraqi vigilantes terrorise gays in Baghdad
Link Here

Iraq flagThreatening fliers have been posted around the impoverished Shiite enclave of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad targeting homosexuals, according to residents.

If you don't cease your perverted acts, you will get your fair punishment,
read the warnings, which were posted on walls on a variety of streets around the neighborhood.

On some were scrawled the names of two or three local men suspected of being gay. The fliers were signed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Platoons of Righteousness.

In addition, graffiti reading we will get you, puppies -- a derogatory Iraqi term for gays -- was sprayed on walls in red paint.

Residents said the fliers and graffiti were removed after a few hours, though it wasn't clear by whom.

Police said the bodies of three slain men who were suspected of being gay were found earlier this month in Sadr City, and news reports say at least 25 homosexual men have been murdered in Baghdad over the last two months.

Is this Horror for Real?

22nd April 2009. Based on article from towleroad.com Thanks to Alan

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission writes: The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country:

A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using Iranian gum. ... Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that: Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.

According to her, the new substance is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.

According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.

 

22nd April   

Freedom Withers on the Vine...

Moroccan religious party proposes bans on selling alcohol
Link Here

Morocco flagMorocco's conservative muslims are fighting hard to curb the country's enthusiasm for wine, causing a painful tug of interests as the Muslim kingdom strives to open up to the West.

Stringent laws ban the sale of alcohol to Muslims, but you can buy wine in any Moroccan supermarket. The drinks section is separate from the main area, but always bustles with activity as people openly leave with bottles clinking in their hands. Morocco is a free country, and everyone can buy what they want, one supermarket manager said.

As the country prospers, and welcomes millions of European visitors, it discreetly flouts the booze ban. In restaurants, Moroccans enjoy drinking wine with their meals. But curtains are drawn on the windows, bottles are kept from view and glasses may be tinted to disguise their contents. If police visit, Muslim diners are advised to say they're consuming soft drinks.

Muslims in the Justice and Development Party (PJD), who have a sizeable parliamentary presence, want to stop this easygoing approach, and enforce the ban on alcohol sales to Muslims. The party's MPs propose to ban advertisements and promotional festivals for alcoholic drinks on pain of huge fines or imprisonment. The government recently introduced a drink-driving law, acknowledging for the first time that alcohol abuse exists.

Mohammed Raouandi of Morocco's High Council of Ulemas, or religious scholars, insists that Islam clearly forbids drinking alcohol. If a Muslim drinks, the government can punish him, Raouandi said recently: and afterwards he will be punished by God.

Some reconcile the conflict as best they can: I'm a practising Muslim and I would never drink alcohol, said one chateau employee: But there are 6,000 people here who have jobs, who live comfortably because wine exists.

 

21st April   

Updated: Z Rated Whinging...

Indian video game with religious setting winds up the easily offended
Link Here

Hanuman: Boy Warrior gameHindus have urged Sony Corporation to withdraw the new Indian release Hanuman: Boy Warrior video game for PlayStation2, saying it trivializes the highly revered deity of Hinduism.

Perennial whinger Rajan Zed, in a statement from the US, said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the destiny of Lord Hanuman while in reality the believers put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating Lord Hanuman with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Lord Hanuman was not meant to be reduced to just a character in a video game to solidify company/products base in the growing economy of India.

Zed explained that Lord Hanuman was greatly revered and his worship was very popular among Hindus and there were numerous temples dedicated to him. Son of wind-god, besides incredible strength and changing shape at will and flying, he was believed to be a perfect grammarian, great scholar and excelled in all the sciences.

Rajan Zed pointed out that as Sony was said to be a socially responsible and ethical corporation, it would effectively understand the feelings of Hindu community on this issue.

Zed suggested that until India came up with such organization, Central Board of Film Certification should be given the authority of rating and deciding whether the particular video game was suitable for public distribution in India.

Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encouraged peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people.

Update: Disrespectful & Disgraceful

21st April 2009. Based on article from webnewswire.com

More Hindus have joined the protest movement against Sony Corporation’s newly released Hanuman: Boy Warrior video game for PlayStation2.

The protest has now even extended to Australia, where Vamsi Krishna of Sanatan Sanstha found it very disrespectful, disgraceful and an insult to all those devotees of Lord Hanuman and followers of Hindu dharma.

Vamsi Krishna requested Sony to remove this video game with immediate effect from the market before this causes further unrest in the Hindu community worldwide and issue an apology to all those who have been hurt by this insensitiveness.

Meanwhile, Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening argued that using a sacred figure from Hinduism, namely, the Hindus' revered Deity, Sree Hanuman, as a character in a video game is highly objectionable to us Hindus worldwide.

Shinde urged Sony to withdraw this video game, Hanuman: Boy Warrior at the earliest, and publish an apology to the Hindu community and Hanuman devotees worldwide. She requested all distributors and sellers of video games to exclude Hanuman: Boy Warrior.

 

21st April   

Offsite: Lost Voice...

Freethinker notes near silence from Christian Voice
Link Here

Christian Voice logoSomething's been bothering us over the last few months: A deafening silence from Stephen “Birdshit” Green.

Goodness knows there’s been enough in the media to prompt another piece of nutty prose from the head of Christian Voice, but his website has been utterly devoid of any statements since February 11, when Green posted a piece headed “Kent Police undermining families in gay essay stunt.”

Is there any truth in an anonymous note we received suggesting that Christian Voice was no more; that it had been absorbed into an outfit called the National Council for Christian Standards in Society.

...Read full article

 

21st April   

Update: UNControversial...

Ahmadinejad stirs up UN anti-racism conference
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

Mahmoud AhmadinejadIran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has returned home to what has officially been described as a sensational welcome.

This follows his controversial speech at a UN anti-racism conference.

European delegates walked out when he described Israel as a racist state. France called his address a hate speech, while the US called it vile. Delegates walked out from at least 30 countries with a raft of condemnation from Western officials.

Some countries had boycotted the conference because the Iranian president was appearing, namely the US, Israel, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Ahmadinejad spoke on Monday at the start of the five-day UN conference in Geneva. Jewish migrants, he said, had been sent from Europe and the US after World War II in order to establish a totally racist government in the occupied Palestine. ... And in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed dismay at both the boycotts and the speech, saying Ahmadinejad had used it to accuse, divide and even incite.

 

20th April   

Update: Subdued Voice...

One man Christian Voice protest at latest production of Jerry Springer: The Opera
Link Here

Jerry Springer The Opera Around 20 supporters of a nutter Christian group last night held a peaceful protest against the staging of the musical, Jerry Springer The Opera , in St Andrews.

It was in stark contrast to Saturday’s opening night of the production, a centrepiece of a new arts festival organised by students at St Andrews University.

Only one member of the national Christian Voice group, which had branded the institution a cesspit , turned up to demonstrate on the first night of the production.

Lecturer Dr Charles Ferguson mounted his one-man protest outside the students’ union where the show was staged. The doctor of theology handed out leaflets condemning the production to members of the audience entering the Union building and to passers-by, said: This show degrades Jesus and it is offensive and blasphemous. The Lord’s name is taken in vain and it degrades his person.

However, last night he was joined by a party of supporters of the Christian Voice organisation from the East Kilbride area, many carrying placards and banners, who travelled to St Andrews to participate in the peaceful demonstration.

Also taking part was the national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, who said, This production is just filth. It is a great shame that the St Andrews students have put this on and I hope and pray it will be the last time.

 

20th April   

Update: UNBoycotted...

Boycott of UN anti-racism conference expands
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

Durban Review Conference bannerAn international boycott of a UN conference on racism was growing last night amid western concerns that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other Islamic leaders could use the meeting as a platform to attack Israel, question the reality of the Holocaust, or to try to limit the right to criticise religion.

Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands have all joined the US and Israel in announcing their withdrawal from the Geneva conference. British officials said they still planned to attend, but would consult other European states overnight and reconsider their presence in light of what was said at the conference.

The flashpoint may come today, on the first day of the conference, with an address and a press conference by Ahmadinejad, who has previously made comments calling into question the facts of the Holocaust and hosted a 2006 conference to review its history.

 

20th April   

Updated: Burkha Bullies...

Women ordered to wear Burkhas in Somalia
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Somalia...Somalia adopts sharia law

BurkhaHardline muslims in the southern Somali town of Baidoa have ordered women to wear Burkhas or full body veils and businesses to close for prayers.

We are giving a three-day deadline to all women living in the region to cover their body with thick veils, Sheikh Abdiasis, a local spokesperson for the Shebab group, said at a press conference.

If they fail to comply with that order, they will be sentenced to 12 hours of imprisonment, he said, complaining that many women in Baidoa were still seen without a jalabib , the local head-to-toe Islamic garment.

The Shebab official also said that businesses should close five times a day for prayers and that owners ignoring the order would face five days in jail.

Update: Sharia Law Endorsed for Somalia

20th April 2009 See article from wire.antiwar.com Thanks to Alan

Somali parliamentarians unanimously endorsed a proposal to implement Islamic law in the Horn of Africa nation.

Lawmakers say they hope that Saturday's vote will help drain support from Islamist insurgents battling the UN-backed government. Implementation of Shariah law has been one of their key demands. The vote was done by a show of hands instead of the usual secret ballot

Information Minister Farhan Ali Mohamed says scholars and imams will be invited to review the country's constitution and suggest amendments to clauses they regard as un-Islamic. Any changes would have to be approved by two-thirds of Parliament.

Update: Sharia Law Approved by President

17th May 2009 See article from thaindian.com

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has signed a bill that will allow the implementation of Sharia or Islamic law in the country.

Since Somalia has now implemented the Sharia, there is no reason for the continuation of hostilities in the country, Ahmed said after signing the bill into law

 

20th April   

Rubble Rabble...

Yemeni lynch mob get the scent of blasphemy
Link Here

Yemen flagTens of bearded extremists burnt and devastated a house belonging to Abdulmalik al-Mansour in al-Hasaba.

The attackers accused al-Mansour and his mother of blasphemy. They held a meeting near the victims house, got a fatwa to execute al-Mansour and his mother and destroy their house. At 5 in the morning the attackers came from al-Eman 'university' and form other mosques in the capital to burn the house, two cars and a motorcycle belonging to al-Mansour before they brought some bulldozer and started devastating the three-storey house.

The attackers accused al-Mansour of tearing the Quran and walking on it in the mosque. They also accused his mother Makyah of threatening to change the mosque into a nightclub.

The government did not interfere until the attackers had burnt the cars, and the motorcycle and destroyed the house. The police then arrested al-Mansour, his mother, and children and rest of his family to put them all in the prison.

Relatives of al-Mansour denied that he torn the Koran pages at any time saying that he was a good Muslim and usually prays in the mosque. They also denied the story that his mother threatened to change the mosque into a night club. There are no night clubs in the country and mother Makyah do not know what the meaning of a night club is, she is a good Muslim but she doesn’t like Salafayeen and that’s why they burnt her house, Makeya’s relative said.

Sheikh al-Zindani’s office confirmed that the attackers had called on Sheikh al-Zindani but said that he did not issue such fatwa.

Last week extremists from the same university broke into a house in al-Khaniq where they destroyed a satellite dish, stabbing and beating its owner and his son whom they accused of directing the dish to a European satellite to watch porn movies. The authorities arrested some of the attackers but later arrested the victims and put them into the investigative police prison.

Update: Unfair Trial

16th May. See article from yobserver.com

In the first case of its kind in Yemen ever, the lawyer of the Yemeni citizens AbdulMalik al-Beidhani withdraw from the court after the judge had refused to allow him get the file of the case or listen to the witnesses and ask them questions.

The Lawyer Yasin al-Azizi told journalists that the court has been dealing with his client as being condemned already prior to trial. The court did not respond to my requests as a lawyer of the defendant, said al-Azizi. He also accused the judge of being administrating the trial based on prior believes for neglecting the defendant rights of defense.

At the first session the suspect did not have a lawyer as all lawyers that his family asked to defend him refused the case at the last minute. However at the first session the suspect denied all accusations and said that accusations were fabricated by some people he had problems with. He said he believed in God, his holly book and the Sunnah of the prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.

 

19th April   

Send Your Pink Chaddis to Facebook...

Facebook prove to be a failure in defending campaign group from hackers
Link Here  full story: Hindu Taliban...Hindu Taliban target women pub goers

Pink Chaddi posterI have written before about the brilliant Pink Chaddi Campaign and highlighted the important role played by Facebook in helping the campaign go viral.

Briefly, journalist Nisha Susan set up The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose, and Forward Women on Facebook and urged women to gift pink panties to Pramod Mutalik, the head of the ultra-conservative Hindu group Shri Ram Sena, in order to shame him into backing down from his threats to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The campaign has become one of the best Indian examples of how a grassroots community can come together, collaborate and take collective action using social media tools.

The Pink Chaddi Facebook Group has been getting hacked throughout last month, and, instead of dealing with the hackers, Facebook suspended both the group and Nisha's account last week.

Before the group was suspended, the hackers changed the name of the group to A Good Bong is a Dead Bong and posted vulgar and violent messages on the group.

In an open letter to Facebook posted Nisha wondered if the first rule of Facebook activism is to not use Facebook.

 

19th April   

Update: Blog Resurrected...

Saudi apostate blogger surprisingly released from jail
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Saudi...Saudi bloggers arrested and imprisoned

Apostasy CDHamoud Saleh Al-Amri, a Saudi blogger imprisoned in January for writing about his decision to convert to Christianity, was released by Saudi authorities at the end of March 2009 instead of being put death as an apostate as prescribed by Sharia.

However, he has been banned from travelling outside Saudi Arabia or appearing in the media.

According to Hamoud himself, who is back writing on his Christ for Saudi blog, his release is due to pressure brought on Saudi authorities by the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information, one of several rights groups that have campaigned for his release.

Following his arrest in January, the Saudi authorities blocked access to his blog inside Saudi Arabia. Google then censored the blog with a bollox claim of a technical violation of their terms of service, before restoring it on 5 February 2009 following public pressure.

The relative leniency of the Saudi police and regime in this case has surprised some analysts, given Hamoud's explicit claim to have left Islam, which amounts to apostasy punishable by death, and his outspoken criticism of the regime, something which is not normally tolerated.

 

19th April   

Abhorrent Law...

Afghan women protest against hard line misogyny law
Link Here

Afghanistan flagHamid Karzai's repressive new legislation has provoked violent scenes in Kabul. Women marching against new legislation which effectively legalises rape met violent opposition from an opposing mob.

Dozens of riot police, backed by more than 50 elite counter-terrorism officers, struggled to keep the groups apart as hordes of men charged at the protesters, who had taken to the streets near Afghanistan's parliament.

The 300-strong group of women braved crowds of bearded men, screaming dogs and Slaves of the Christians! as they held their demonstration in Kabul.

At one point the women , who were marching to parliament to deliver a petition, were pelted with stones. Men chanted long live Islam and spat at the women who had assembled outside a mosque built by Ayatollah Mohseni, the Shia cleric who helped draft the law.

The legislation restricts a woman's right to leave her home and demands she submit to her husband's sexual desires. Sima Ghani, one of the women's organisers, said: This law is against Islam and it's against women. It's against the people of Afghanistan.

Most of those protesting against the law were young Shia women who took to the streets despite the threat of violence. Earlier this week, one of Afghanistan's leading women's rights activists was murdered at her home.

In a Shia neighbourhood a few miles away police opened fire to disperse a mob that began ransacking a school. Aziz Royesh, the headmaster at the Marefat School, said local mullahs had accused him of helping to organise the women's protest.

Around 40 or 50 people came here and surrounded the school. They said we were unbelievers. I tried to talk to them but they wouldn't listen. They smashed the windows, kicked down the doors and they beat up two of our teachers.

Politicians on both sides claim President Karzai signed the law to win support from hardline Shia clerics, but he has since ordered a Supreme Court review following widespread international protests led by US President Barack Obama. Obama called the law abhorrent . Some Nato countries have threatened to withdraw troops unless the law is repealed.

The law regulates the personal affairs of the minority Shia community. It stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least once every four nights, it negates the need for sexual consent within marriage, and it gives husbands the right to demand their wives wear make-up.

Update: Karzai To Rework Misogyny Law

28th April 2009. See article from timesonline.co.uk

President Karzai bowed to international pressure yesterday by promising to amend a new law condoning marital rape and child marriage that provoked violent clashes in the Afghan capital.

The Shia Family Law, signed by the Afghan President last month, appeared to reintroduce the draconian policies of the Taleban era, such as a ban on married women leaving their homes without their husbands’ permission. The law applies to the 15% of Afghans who are Shia Muslims.

At a press conference in Kabul yesterday Karzai said: The law is under review and amendments will take place. I assure you that the laws of Afghanistan will be in complete harmony with the constitution of Afghanistan, and the human rights that we have adhered to in international treaties.

Update: Karzai Reworked Misogyny Law

15th July 2009. See article from theglobeandmail.com , thanks to Alan

Afghanistan's government has revised a law that stirred an international outcry because it essentially legalized marital rape, officials said yesterday. The new version no longer requires a woman to submit to sex with her husband, only that she do certain housework.

The changes, which parliament is expected to approve, likely reflect a calculation by President Hamid Karzai that his reputation as a reformer is more important than support from conservative Shiites who favoured the original bill.

Presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said the revisions show that Mr. Karzai has followed through on a pledge made in April to expunge the offensive parts of the marriage law, which applies only to minority Shia Muslims.

Women's rights activists welcomed the new draft, but many said the government has not done enough and that little will change in day-to-day life.

 

19th April   

Update: Starved of Reason...

Parents starve their children in the name of islam
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

France flagA delusional French father has been charged with starving and beating his eight children in the belief that it would make them good Muslims.

Police were alerted after a neighbour spotted one of the children, a boy of 13 who weighed just 70lbs, foraging in bins for food in the Mediterranean town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.

Searching the family apartment on Saturday police found seven other children, aged seven to 17, in a state of hunger and neglect, including two girls, aged 13 and 15, who each weighed just 22kg.

The boy and two sisters have been taken to hospital and the other siblings taken into care, while their parents have been detained on charges of depriving their children of food, and physical abuse.

The father, a market worker of Moroccan origin, and his wife, an east European Muslim convert, told police they sought to raise their family in strict obedience to Islam, which they said included going without food. The eldest girls had been taken out of class because of a French law banning headscarfs in public schools.

The parents explained that they practised their religion scrupulously, and with a very strict diet, said the prosecutor. The father told investigators he had beaten his son to cure him because he was possessed by lies.

Commenting on the case, the Paris Mosque said the father was clearly deluded in his interpretation of Islam, stressing that even during the fasting month of Ramadan, children are exempt, along with pregnant women and the elderly.

 

18th April   

The Democracy of Death Threats...

Christian journalist under duress in Pakistan
Link Here

Aaj Kal logoA Christian journalist in Pakistan has received death threats after publishing articles calling for greater democracy and for refusing to convert to Islam.

George Masih who writes for the Lahore-based newspaper Aaj Kal, wrote a number of columns which provoked the ire of Muslims.

Last August, he wrote a column entitled The Nation should wake up now. In the autumn he wrote a further three columns entitled The Sunrise of Democracy, The Triumph of Democracy and I am Pakistan. The articles were aimed at promoting religious tolerance and democracy in Pakistan.

Masih claimed to receive the first threatening letter late in October from the Islamic Tanzeem Organisation, which threatened dire consequences for him and his family if he did not become a Muslim.

In December, Masih said he received another letter in which the senders directly threatened to kill him and his family if he still did not convert.

At first he ignored the threats, but as more threatening letters came he sought police protection. The police at first refused to take action but were later ordered by the Session’s Court Lahore to act on 11 February of this year.

This Easter George and his family were in hiding for fear of attacks as no suspects have been detained yet.

 

18th April   

Cleansing Utrecht...

Muslims hounding out gays from their neighbourhoods
Link Here

NetherlandsA transsexual woman from the Utrecht district of Zuilen has moved house as a result of bullying by a group of about 30 young Moroccans.

Earlier, two lesbian couples left Zuilen because they no longer felt safe there. Utrecht Mayor Aleid Wolfsen said the situation was extremely regrettable.

Last year, the city council took a series of measures to prevent this type of incident, including CCTV supervision and so-called 'street coaches', Moroccan parents appointed to tackle problem youths about their conduct.

 

18th April   

Update: UNAgreement...

Trying to keep defamation of religion off the UN agenda
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

Durban Review Conference bannerIntensive diplomatic efforts are under way to salvage a UN conference on combating racism amid western fears that Muslim countries may use it to attack Israel, restrict freedom of expression and promote Islamist views on religion and sexual orientation.

The World Conference Against Racism, due to open in Geneva on Monday, is a follow-up to a similarly named summit in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

That meeting saw vocal clashes over Palestine, the likening of Zionism to racism, and the legacy of slavery. It ended in disarray when the US and Israel walked out.

The decision of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran and a Holocaust denier, to attend this year's event has increased worries that the conference is being politicised.

Negotiations over a Durban II statement, to be issued at the end of next week, have been taking place for months and were continuing yesterday.

Robert Wood, a US state department spokesman, said objectionable language had been removed from the draft, including all language that singled out any one country or conflict and language that embraced the concept of defamation of religion, and that demanded reparations for slavery. Wood said the US could still not accept any statement that reaffirmed what he called the flawed 2001 Durban declaration, or any text that used incitement to religious hatred as a pretext for restricting freedom of expression.

Britain is planning to attend but will insist on a balanced document that deals appropriately with issues such as antisemitism and Holocaust remembrance.

 

17th April   

Update: Fitna 2...

Geert Wilders plans follow up to Fitna
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

Fitna The Dutch MP Geert Wilders is planning a follow-up of his provocative anti-Koran film, Fitna . The outspoken leader of the opposition Freedom Party, who has labelled the Koran fascist , says the new film will deal with the growing Islamisation of Western countries.

Wilders told the newspaper De Telegraaf that the film would tackle freedom of speech and Sharia: And I will offer solutions.

The National Counter-Terrorism Coordination Services said that they had taken note of the new announcement and would monitor the security situation.

 

17th April   

Update: Resurrection of Attacks on Christians...

Muslim mob attacks Nigerian Easter Sunday parade
Link Here  full story: Mob Rule...Churches, temples and mosques attacked by mobs

Nigeria flagPolice in Nigeria say they have made 120 arrests following clashes when Muslim youths attacked a Christian procession on Easter Monday.

Sectarian violence erupted in the towns of Gwada and Minna in the state of Niger when Christians were attacked and churches set on fire.

Scores of people were reportedly taken to hospital with injuries.

Police reinforcements have been deployed to the two towns in an attempt to restore order.

 

17th April   

Update: Certified...

Small step in the impossible Egyptian process to convert from islam to christianity
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Egypt...Court challenge over imposing islam on ID cards

Egypt flagFor the first time ever, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church issued a certificate of conversion to a believer with a Muslim background last week. The move is seen as an unheard of in a country where it is practically impossible for Muslims to legally change their religious status.

Maher al-Gohari requested and was granted the Egyptian Coptic church's first conversion certificate. Al-Gohari is seeking to officially change his religion on legal documents and his ID card. The Egyptian court had requested he provide a conversion certificate from an Egyptian church

To date, no convert from Islam has successfully won a court case to legally change his religious status.

In Egypt, religious conversion to Christianity is not illegal, but they have been functionally impossible. Yet any legal conversion to Islam is done with great ease.

 

16th April   

Update: Eloping from Inhumanity...

Honour killings from around the world
Link Here

Stop Honour Killings banner Taliban militants publicly executed a man and girl for eloping when she was already engaged to marry someone else.

Hashim Noorzai, head of Khash Rud district in southwestern Nimruz province, said the two were executed by gun shots in front of a crowd of villagers.

Nimruz is a sparsely-populated area near the Iranian and Pakistani borders where foreign or government troops have little presence.

Mini Skirt and Mini Humanity

Based on article from theaustralian.news.com.au

Russia flagAn Azeri immigrant in Russia's Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a mini-skirt, police have said.

The man's arrest follows the detention last week of two other citizens of Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim state in the Caucasus, who confessed to murdering the girl, a university medical student. They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles ($4140) by the girl's father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a mini-skirt.

The girl was abducted on the street in Russia's second city on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and then shot twice in the head, the source said.

Hacked off with his Sister

Based on article from stuff.co.nz

Jordan flagA Jordanian man confessed to stabbing to death his pregnant sister and mutilating her body supposedly to protect the family honor.

The man turned himself into police and has been charged with murder.

The 28-year-old married woman was five months pregnant and stabbed repeatedly in the face, neck, abdomen and back as well as being hacked up with a meat cleaver.

The incident is the ninth such case this year and the second this month.

 

15th April   

Vulnerable People...

Whinging at Coronation Street for mention of christian indoctrination
Link Here

Coronation StreetCoronation Street producers have defended the TV soap against claims that it was anti-Christian after a character’s attack on the faith during an Easter Sunday episode.

Viewers complained after Street veteran Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roach, said Christians forced their views on vulnerable people.

At one point Ken accused his grandson Simon’s school of indoctrinating him, before vowing to tell the youngster the truth about religion.

Ofcom confirmed it had received dozens of complaints and fans of the show posted comments on ITV1 message boards labelling Ken’s rant completely unacceptable.

Stephen Green, of campaign group Christian Voice, said: What is it about Christianity that is so scary for these people. I don’t know if they do it out of ignorance or antipathy but it is not the kind of example television should be setting.

 

14th April   

Update: Gone into Denial...

Website selling Mohammed cartoons is internet bombed
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Free Press Society A day after the mainstream media reported that the Denmark-based International Free Press Society was selling 1,000 signed prints of Kurt Westergaard’s iconic turban bomb cartoon, their website was hit by a denial of service attack and remains unavailable.

Two alternative sites have been set up at Wordpress and Blogspot , which are unlikely to collapse at the hands of zealous Turkish script-kiddies.

As is usual with such crude attempts at censorship, the actual effect is the opposite of the intended effect. Lars Hedegaard, President of the International Free Press Society said it had the effect of increasing support for our activities as the word spread that we were being threatened.

Westergaard said The contemptible attempts to close us down will not succeed. The enemies of free speech will soon realize that their hacker attack on the IFPS website has only made us all the more determined to get our messages out. I take great comfort from the fact that so many people have already bought my cartoon. It’s good to know that freedom of expression has defenders all over the world.

Signed prints of the cartoon will set you back US $250 (188 Euros), including postage.

 

14th April   

Update: Injustice in Triplicate...

Saudi man divorces wife via SMS
Link Here

I Divorce You 3 times in smsIn what is claimed to be the world's first divorce by text message, a Saudi man has snapped nuptial ties with his wife by sending an SMS.

The man was in Iraq when he set the legal precedent by sending the SMS, informing his wife that she was no longer his spouse, and followed up with phone calls to his two relatives, confirming the split, the Arab News reported.

A court in Jeddah finalised the split after summoning the two relatives to check whether they had received word of the husband's intention.

Saudi Arabia practises a strict form of Islamic injustice, under which a man could divorce his wife by simply saying I divorce you three times.

 

13th April   

Hooked on Nonsense...

Vincent Nichols whinges at family planning TV advert plan
Link Here

Vincent NicholsVincent Nichols, the newly-designated Archbishop of Westminster, has urge Roman Catholics to oppose new plans to allow abortion services to advertise on radio and television.

Nichols is asking lay members to contest a new initiative which would relax rules on how pregnancy services and condoms can be advertised. As The Independent revealed last month, Britain's advertising censors are considering allowing television ads for abortion.

The Broadcasting Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP), which covers TV and radio, and the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) have proposed allowing pregnancy services to advertise during prime-time television and to allow condoms to be advertised before the 9pm watershed. Aware that the issue will be controversial, particularly within religious communities, the watchdogs have launched a three-month consultation.

Nichols said: I doubt that any intended adverts about abortion would be fully truthful and tell the whole truth of the effects of abortion on a woman's life. He also attacked the latest condom adverts, calling them demeaning because they promoted casual sex on the street corner and drunken sex. I do not think these things do anything to genuinely help young people to understand themselves in their own dignity and in the proper meaning of what human sexuality is about .

Marie Stopes International, Britain's biggest independent pregnancy advisory service, has said it may consider paying for prime-time adverts and last night it criticised Archbishop Nichols' stance on abortion adverts. A spokesperson said: Advertising condoms and pregnancy advice services could work as a tool to educate young people to be sexually responsible when they are discovering sex. Earlier advertising of condoms and pregnancy advisory services will be a step forward in meeting this aim and may contribute to lowering high rates of teenage pregnancy.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, the country's largest HIV and sexual health charity, said the Church was out of touch with young people.

 

13th April   

Nutters Photoshopped...

Israel newspaper airbrushes out picture of female cabinet ministers
Link Here

Israel flagLimor Livnat and Sofa Landver, two apparently inappropriate ministers, simply "disappeared" from a photograph of the new cabinet in the weekly newspaper Shaa Tova, with black holes visible in the spaces where they had been standing. Meanwhile, in the newspaper Yated Neeman, male cabinet members were blown up and superimposed on to the images of the two female ministers in the frame.

Shaa Tova told the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv: Anyone who is acquainted with the ultra-orthodox press knows that from time immemorial, ultra-orthodox newspapers avoid publishing pictures of women.

 

12th April   

Update: 500+ Deaths Per Year...

Quantifying honour killings in Pakistan
Link Here

Pakistan flagDr. Muazzam Nasrullah at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan compiled a statistical study that attempts to quantify honour killings in Pakistan.

Nasrullah used local and national newspaper reports systematically compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan as the basis for his study.

A total of 1,957 incidents of honor killings were recorded over four years, the study reported. The majority occurred in response to alleged extramarital relations.

But Nasrullah said he is confident the results were lower than the actual number because not every event makes it into the media.

Honor killings are not unique to Pakistan, and the World Health Organization estimates about 5,000 women are murdered by family members in the name of honor each year worldwide. Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, an adviser on gender violence at the World Health Organization, said honor killings are an extreme form of violence against women which we see primarily in the Middle East and in parts of Asia, but in many ways they are not very different than some of the murders that are being documented in other places.

Nasrullah said the most important conclusion of his study is that more research needs to be done on honor killings to reveal more about the causes and scope of the problem. His hope, expressed in the published study is that clear knowledge about the extent and the brutal consequences of [honor killings] may serve to alter traditional practices.

 

12th April   

Update: Arch Rivals Take a Tilt at the Premier League...

Birmingham Bishops whinge at Easter Sunday football
Link Here  full story: Religion vs Football...Churches whinge at fooball on Easter Sunday

Vincent NicholsThe next Archbishop of Westminster has attacked the heads of the Premier League and Setanta Sports for holding football fixtures on Easter Day.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who will be enthroned at Westminster next month, has written a strong letter of complaint to Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, and Trevor East, the director of sport at Setanta, for showing disdain for the religious traditions of Britain. Two Premier League games – Aston Villa v Everton and Manchester City v Fulham – are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Writing as Archbishop of Birmingham, along with the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Rev David Urqu-hart, he accused the league and the broadcaster of disregarding the importance of Easter Day and treading on the sensitivities of their employees and football supporters. Commercial considerations are not all that matters, he said.

 

12th April   

Update: Fit for Nothing...

Ending the Saudi notion that fits are caused by bad spirits
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

Saudi flagNeurologist Fawzia Ba-Mogdam, who specializes in epilepsy and sleep disorders, disagrees with the layman’s understanding that epilepsy is caused by jinni (spirits) and should be treated with recitations from the Holy Qur’an rather than medication. Contrary to the advice given by some religious scholars, epilepsy is a physical condition that should be treated with the help of medical science.

In a seminar organized by King Fahd Medical City under the title Religious and Medical Viewpoints of Epilepsy, Ba-Mogdam explained that epilepsy is a medical condition due to excessive neurological activity in the brain, which can cause seizures: Believing in the power of Qur’an is not negotiable. It surely heals, and it is a part of our daily lives. Spiritual healing is very important, but medical treatment should accompany it. Epilepsy is a medical condition that needs to be controlled.

The neurologist cited a number of cases, some of them fatal, where epilepsy went untreated by doctors because faith healers advised against seeking scientific treatment.

Faith healer Sheikh Abdul Muhsen Al-Ahmed, who also spoke at the seminar, underscored his belief that roqia (Qur’an recitation as a medical treatment) has its place alongside medical treatment.

 

11th April   

Adverse Verse...

Magazine banned for supposedly blasphemous poem
Link Here

Egypt flagAn Egyptian court has withdrawn the publishing licence of a monthly magazine, Ibdaa (Creativity), because it carried a supposedly blasphemous poem.

In its ruling the court said the poem, printed two years ago, had included expressions that insulted God.

Egyptian courts have in the past convicted individuals or groups of people in blasphemy cases. But correspondents say that it is unusual for a magazine to have its licence withdrawn.

The offending poem, On the balcony of Leila Murad , by Egyptian poet Hilmi Salem, was published in the small circulation magazine in 2007.

The court's ruling said: Freedom of press... should be used responsibly and not touch on the basic foundations of Egyptian society, and family, religion and morals.

 

10th April   

The Dangers of Denying People Sex...

Warning that catholic report will shock over the scale of child abuse by the priesthood
Link Here  full story: Abusive Priests in Ireland...Ireland reports on the scale of child abuse

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has warned a report on clerical child sex abuse, due out this summer, will shock everybody.

Archbishop Martin said the report from the Commission on Child Sex Abuse was likely to show thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests.

(It) will make us and the entire church a humbler church, he said.

 

10th April   

Update: Demon Parents...

Boy starved to death for not saying amen after meals
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

One Mind Misnistries logoA Maryland woman involved with a group described as a religious cult pleaded guilty in the starvation death of her son, but insisted that the charges be dropped when he is resurrected.

The condition was made a part of Ria Ramkissoon's plea agreement, officials said. She entered the plea in Baltimore, Maryland, to a first-degree felony count of child abuse resulting in death, her attorney, Steven Silverman, said.

Ramkissoon, a member of a group called One Mind Ministries, believes Javon Thompson, her year-old son, will rise again, and as part of her plea agreement, authorities agreed to the clause.

She certainly recognizes that her omissions caused the death of her son, Silverman said. To this day, she believes it was God's will and he will be resurrected and this will all take care of itself. She realizes if she's wrong, then everyone has to take responsibility ... and if she's wrong, then she's a failure as a mother and the worst thing imaginable has happened. I don't think that, mentally, she's ready to accept that.

Under the plea agreement, Ramkissoon must testify against four other One Mind Ministries members who are also facing charges, including first-degree murder, in Javon's death. At her sentencing, set for August, she will receive a 20-year sentence, which will be suspended except for the time she has already served behind bars, Silverman said. She must also undergo deprogramming and psychiatric counselling.

Ramkissoon and the others are accused of denying Javon food after the group's leader, a 40-year-old woman who goes by the name Queen Antoinette, decreed the boy was a demon since he refused to say amen after meals, Silverman said.

Ria would cling to him every day and try to get him to say 'amen,'  Silverman said. Eventually, Queen Antoinette ordered that Ramkissoon be separated from the child, he said.

Javon is believed to have died in December 2006, court documents allege. Following his death, the group members put the boy's body in a back room, and everyone was directed to come in and pray. The Queen told everyone that 'God was going to raise Javon from the dead. Javon remained in the room for an extended period of time (in excess of one week). The resurrection never took place.

 

10th April   

Cross Christians...

Resurrected whinges of Easter Sunday football at Villa Park
Link Here  full story: Religion vs Football...Churches whinge at fooball on Easter Sunday

COE Aston logo The Church of England in Aston & Nechells are having a much publicised whinge at Easter Sunday football. They write on their website:

On Easter Sunday this year, our celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus will have to compete with a Premier League football match at neighbouring Villa Park.

The match will begin at 2.00 pm (it was scheduled to kick-off at 1.30 pm, but it was announced on 30th March that it has now been delayed by 30 minutes), which will mean that:

  • churchgoers will have to struggle home past thousands of fans rushing to the match
  • many season ticket holders face a choice of missing out on the match or their celebration of Easter
  • Villa’s match day staff, local police and many others will be forced to work on a day that the Sunday Trading Act of 1994 envisaged would be a national day of rest

The roads around Villa Park are closed 75 minutes before kick off – ie at 12.45 pm. The normal Easter Sunday services in Aston finish at …. 12.45 pm, after which most people stay for coffee and a chat.

Aston Churches Together, the umbrella group of 11 churches in Aston, are determined that their celebrations of Easter will go ahead regardless. Nevertheless, they want to make sure that this never happens again. Three years ago, in 2006, the same thing happened, and people were actually turned back on their way to church because roads were closed to ensure the fans’ safety. We are determined that this should be the last time that Easter is disrupted by Premier League football.

 

9th April   

Update: The Dark Ages...

Six men shot in Iraq for being gay
Link Here

Iraq flagSix gay men were shot dead by members of their tribe in two separate incidents in the past 10 days, an official with Iraq's Interior ministry said.

In the most recent attack, two men were killed in Sadr City area of Baghdad after they were disowned by relatives, the official said.

The shootings came after a tribal meeting was held and the members decided to go after the victims.

On March 26, four additional men were fatally shot in the same city, the official said, adding that the victims had also been disowned by their relatives.

Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.

 

9th April   

Update: Limited Edition...

Signed prints of Mohammed cartoons go on sale
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Free Press Society Prints of the Danish cartoon depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammed as a suicide bomber in 2005 -- much to the chagrin of the international Muslim community -- will now be sold by the Denmark Free Press Society for $250 each. One thousand copies are to be printed and sold, with each having a designated number and signature by the artist, Kurt Westergaard, who has been in hiding due to numerous death threats.

As the AFP notes here, Westergaard has never apologized or expressed regret for the drawings. And indeed, he enjoys the backing of free speech and free press advocates around the globe in this regard.

A notable example of one such advocate, just this week, is NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who defended the drawings in 2006 and who forewent any diplomatic gesture or apology in Turkey this week at the Alliance of Civilizations meeting, despite earlier reports that said an apology was forthcoming.

 

9th April   

Update: False Claims...

Imam wins damages from The Muslim Weekly who didn't like his liberal views
Link Here

Muslim Weekly logoTaj Hargey has declared: Today is a great day for British Islam. Liberal, progressive Muslims have finally won a battle against the extremists that dominate the Muslim establishment in Britain.

Hargey, an imam from Oxford who describes himself as a thorn in the side of the Muslim hierarchy, had just won a libel claim against a conservative Muslim newspaper that claimed he belonged to a sect which many in his faith believe is heretical.

Unlike most British imams who insist on segregation during Friday prayers, Hargey allows men and women to pray in the same room. He believes Muslims should not feel compelled to grow beards or wear a veil and last November his mosque became the first in Britain to allow a female Islamic scholar to lead Friday prayers.

One of his staunchest critics was the Muslim Weekly, a popular English language newspaper which takes a relatively orthodox line on social issues. Yesterday, after nearly three years of legal wrangling, it agreed to pay a substantial five-figure sum in damages to Hargey over an article it published in May 2006 claiming that Hargey was a member of the Ahmadiyya, a sect of Muslims who believe their 19th-century founder was the Mahdi – Islam's equivalent to the messiah. The paper also wrongly claimed he was forced to leave a post teaching Islamic studies in Cape Town because of his beliefs.

Hargey said: "This is a watershed moment in the struggle between liberal Muslims in the UK and the extremist views ... [of] a foreign-educated clergy. Progressives like me are described as heretics in order to ruin our credibility. It's a form of Muslim McCarthyism that is used to root out anyone who dares question these unenlightened, tribal and foreign forms of Islam.

What makes Dr Hargey so unusual and controversial is his determination to confront British Islam's view of the role of women. We need to create an indigenous British Islam that is integrated into its own environment. It should stay true to Koranic teachings but is also erudite, egalitarian and enlightened.

 

8th April   

Update: Turkey vs Denmark...

Political throwback to Danish Mohammed cartoon crisis
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Burning the Danish flagDenmark's prime minister was appointed the new Nato chief following a bit of brinkmanship and bitter dispute over religion and liberty that risked turning the western military alliance into the hostage of a clash with Islam.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen was named Nato secretary-general after President Barack Obama intervened in a row between the Dane and President Abdullah Gul of Turkey, which had earlier vetoed the appointment.

As the single big Muslim country within Nato, Turkey had refused to yield on the appointment of Rasmussen because of his defence of free speech during the Danish cartoons crisis three years ago and because Denmark is host to a Kurdish rebel TV station broadcasting to Turkey.

Rasmussen was supported by most leading European states, with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, his keenest advocate.

Turkey yielded at the very end after the summit was extended by two hours and heads of state and government met alone to try to strike a deal. A European foreign minister told the Observer that Turkey backed down when it was promised membership of the European Defence Agency, increasing Ankara's clout in the EU's defence affairs.

The Turkish leader had complained that Rasmussen had spurned his pleas during the 2006 cartoon crisis to make a gesture to defuse the tensions with the Islamic world. How can those who made no contribution to peace at that time contribute to peace now?

Due Apologies

Based on article from blogs.abcnews.com

Despite reports in Turkish media suggesting that new NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen would apologize for his freedom of speech stance during the 2006 controversy surrounding the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, Rasmussen made no such apology in Istanbul Monday at a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations.

During a panel discussion in Istanbul, Rasmussen said that, I would never myself depict any religious figure, including the Prophet Mohammed, in a way that could hurt other people's feelings. I respect Islam as one of the world's major religions. My position is clear before, during and after the crisis. I condemn action that aims to demonize people on their religious or ethnic background.

Rasmussen also asserted that: all kinds of censorship are the enemy of dialogue and enhance prejudice. All kinds of prejudice have to confronted, not ignored. That is why freedom of expression is a precondition for open dialogue.

Media reports have also speculated that Rasmussen had promised to shut down Kurdish ROJ TV, which broadcasts in Denmark, because of its alleged ties to the Kurdish terrorist group PKK. But at a press conference in Istanbul, Rasmussen merely said that he would commission a study to see if such ties exist and if so, then he would take action.

 

7th April   

Update: Soiled Souls...

Petition opposing the first steps to the return of cinemas to Saudi Arabia
Link Here

Saudi flagHundreds of muslims in Saudi Arabia have signed a petition demanding a stop to what they say is a trend of films being shown in public.

There have been no cinemas in Saudi Arabia since the 1970s. And there are unlikely to be any soon.

The petition has been motivated in particular by the showing of a home-grown Saudi film in Jeddah last year. It was financed by the Rotana network, which dominates Arab entertainment and is owned by the billionaire Saudi Prince Waleed bin Talal.

But even a one off event as the showing of the first Saudi feature film at two venues has aroused the suspicions of Islamic conservatives. They claim cinemas fill people's minds with evil and pollute the purity of their souls.

 

7th April   

Ridiculed Religion...

Mormon leader tells members not to be discouraged by mass ridicule after opposition to gay marriage
Link Here

Utah state sealMormon church President Thomas S. Monsonn has told members not to be discouraged by those who may malign or ridicule the church as it seeks to uphold its moral values in a changing world.

His remarks at a conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a tacit reminder of the negative backlash Mormons felt since last fall when the church worked with a coalition of groups to successfully ban gay marriage in California.

Many gay marriage advocates turned their anger toward the Mormon church, picketing outside church temples nationwide. In Utah, more than 3,000 staged a protest march outside the Salt Lake City temple after Proposition 8 was passed by California voters in November. A local church meeting house was vandalized and envelopes filled with white powder were sent anonymously to church headquarters.

Mormons hold traditional marriage as a sacred institution and a critical part of God's plan for humanity. Homosexual sex is considered a sin, but gays are welcome in the church and can maintain church callings if they remain celibate.

 

6th April   

Celebrity Endorsement...

Condom manufacturer uses image of Pope Benedict
Link Here

I Said No condomA manufacturer in France is using an image of Pope Benedict to market its condoms .

The unholy rubbers are packaged in a wrapper that show the Pontiff raising his hands in the air above the phrase I Said No! . Sources indicate the item is selling well.

 

5th April   

Updated: Putting a Smile on your Face...

Sex shop advert winds up Wellington's Archbishop
Link Here

D.Vice advertA Wellington sex shop has upset the Catholic Church with a billboard advertisement showing a praying woman with a smile on her face. The D.Vice store's ad shows four parishioners in a church and three of them have their eyes closed and hands clasped. But the fourth, a woman, is smiling and below her is a tagline: Anal beads from $55.99.

Wellington's Catholic Archbishop John Dew told the paper it was unnecessary and distasteful to associate a church with a sex shop device, adding: It is an insult to anyone who recognises a church as a sacred gathering place for believers in God and a place of prayer.

Wendy Lee, a director of D.Vice, said the billboard was meant to make people laugh and not intended to offend.

Update: Family First haven't a prayer of a chance with their whinge

5th April 2009. Based on article from scoop.co.nz

Family First NZNutters of Family First NZ are slamming a Wellington sex shop advertisement as highly offensive and tacky and is perfect evidence of the need to have a pre-vetting procedure on public billboards.

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ said:

It is completely inappropriate for public billboards to have sex toy advertisements which are both offensive and inappropriate, especially for children to be confronted with, and the church setting simply adds to the offensive nature by offending a sector of our community who would find the ad in particularly bad taste.

A company that associates people praying in church and sex toys is quite simply out to offend.

The only redeeming factor of the Prostitution Reform law was that it dictated the level of advertising that brothels could do, in order to protect children and families from unwanted exposure.

It is time that we applied this principle to all billboards.

Family First NZ will be laying a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority – for what it’s worth.

 

3rd April   

Updated: Berserk Censors...

ASA declare advert to be offensive for depicting Pope Paul at nightclub
Link Here

Fire Club advert featuring Pope PaulA flyer for a nightclub featured an image of the late Pope John Paul II holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a blonde woman in a short dress. Headline text stated BESERK. Smaller text stated AT THE NEW CLUB FIRE MONDAYS.

The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality challenged whether:

1. the depiction of the deceased Pope John Paul II was offensive;

2. the ad was particularly offensive to Polish people, because Pope John Paul II was a well-respected Polish figure;

3. the ad was irresponsible, because it linked alcohol to sexual success and could encourage immoderate drinking.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted Warped's intention not to repeat the flyer. Despite their assertion that the ad had been distributed only to those people who were the club's target audience, we nonetheless considered that the depiction of the deceased Pope caused serious offence. Because it had caused serious offence, we concluded the ad was irresponsible.

2. Not upheld

Although we noted the deceased Pope John Paul II was a well-respected Polish figure, we did not consider his nationality was the primary factor associated with his papacy, or that the ad had set out to denigrate Polish people. Whilst we accepted that some members of the Polish community in Ipswich may find the image distasteful, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause widespread offence on the grounds that the Pope was Polish.

3. Not upheld

We noted the deceased Pope was depicted holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a young woman. However, we also noted that the bottle of beer was not given particular prominence in the scene. We therefore considered its role in the relationship between the dancing figures was incidental, and it was unlikely to be seen as a contributory factor in any perceived sexual success. We concluded the ad was unlikely to encourage immoderate drinking and did not link alcohol with sexual success.

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

Comment: Flyers

3rd April 2009. Thanks to Alan

The ASA really makes me wonder. The utter triviality of some of its rulings, like this about the late Pope, is truly astonishing.

They hand down some "ruling" (unenforceable so far as I am aware) after the ad has run its course. It was a bloody FLYER, for freak's sake - a totally ephemeral one off.

Why don't they bother with some of the really iniquitous adverts, like the "Fly FREE!!!!" offers, where the small print reveals the £10 to check in, the £20 to take a suitcase, the £5 for the privilege of paying them your money by credit/debit card, the £20 to sit inside instead of standing on the wing....?

 

2nd April   

Body Taboo...

Brave magazine about the body and sexuality published in the Middle East
Link Here

Jasad magazine cover From explicit articles about masturbation and homosexuality to columns about My First Time, Jasad (Body) is out to shine a spotlight on Arab cultural taboos, and the glossy magazine that is already the focus of controversy. 

The first issue of this quarterly publication, the brainchild of writer and poet Joumana Haddad, hit Lebanese newsstands last December. Tongues have wagged ever since about a daring venture into uncharted territory in the largely conservative and Muslim Middle East.

Haddad told AFP: We need to stop treating our bodies, especially we women, as if they're something to be ashamed of. We have so many issues to deal with without having the extra weight of needing to cover our bodies.

The December issue of Jasad, which sold for $10, includes articles on self-mutilation and cannibalism. The cover story of the March issue focuses on the penis.

The magazine has predictably drawn the wrath of religious authorities and women's organizations in Lebanon who are calling for its closure on the grounds that it amounts to pornography.

We are all in favor of modernity, claimed Aman Kabbara Shaarani, head of the Lebanese Council of Women ...BUT... this magazine, under cover of being cultural, appeals to sexual instincts. Subjects that teach our youngsters how to make love do not fit in with our moral values and civic education.

Shaarani said she had written to the highest religious authorities in the country as well as to Cabinet members and the censorship bureau calling for Jasad to be banned: I will not give up because there needs to be a media watchdog for these sorts of publications. We are considering taking this before the courts.

For now Lebanese authorities appear content to let publication continue. Haddad, who is also culture editor of the well-known Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, argues that her publication does not target minors and is sold in a sealed plastic envelope clearly marked for adults only.

The magazine's first issue - all 3,000 copies - sold out within 11 days. Sales of the second issue, printed at 4,000 copies, have so far been brisk, Haddad said. Outside Lebanon the magazine is sold by subscription only as no bookstore in the Arab world would dare stock it, she said. So far advertisers have shied away for the most part, fearing a backlash.

 

1st April   

Ragged Justice...

Man in Saudi to be flogged for cleaning cloth with Allah on it
Link Here

Saudi flagThe Summary Court in Jeddah has sentenced an Asian man to 40 lashes for using a cloth with Allah’s name on it to clean his kiosk.

The man was arrested by a patrol in Obhur and charged with desecrating the name of Allah.

The court also took from the accused an undertaking not to repeat the act.