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30th April   

Update: Fitna for Trial...

Trial of Geert Wilders set for October
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

rechtspraak logoDutch political party leader Geert Wilders is set to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims, the Amsterdam district court has announced.

The trial of Mr Wilders will start in October, the court said in a statement. According to a preliminary schedule, the case is to be heard on October 4, 6 and 8, followed by judgment on November 2, it said.

The lawmaker is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement. Wilder faces up to one year in jail if convicted.

His 17-minute film, Fitna , was called offensively anti-Islamic by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after its screening in The Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world. Prosecutors initially declined to charge Wilders, citing freedom of speech in dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country. But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put the MP on trial, saying politicians could not make statements which create hate and grief .

 

30th April   

Update: Fear of Teddy Bears...

Swedish affiliate of Comedy Central opts to censor episodes of South Park
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

comedy central logoThe Swedish affiliate of broadcaster Comedy Central has said it will not show two controversial episodes of US satirical cartoon show South Park depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a bear costume, Aftonbladet reports.

Comedy Central has decided not to air these two episodes of South Park. It is a decision we've made with great reluctance. Comedy Central believes strongly in creative freedom of expression; when unique and deeply insightful creative talents like those behind South Park are able to express themselves freely, we all benefit.

However, the safety of our employees is our unquestioned number one priority, and therefore we have decided to take these precautionary measures, the broadcaster explained in a statement released to Aftonbladet.

Spokesman Peter von Satzgerl told the Svenska Dagbladet daily that the decision came as a result of international directives from the channel's parent network in the United States.

 

30th April   

A 1001 Tales of Nutter Censorship...

Egyptian book burners try to get A Thousand and One Nights banned
Link Here

Arabian Nights Tales Penguin Classics A group of nutter Egyptian lawyers have filed a communiqu้ to the Prosecutor General in order to confiscate A Thousand and One Nights book and imprison its publishers.

They claim that the heritage script is offensive to public decency .

The lawyers filed their complaint as per article #178 of the penal code, which fines and punishes with imprisonment for a period of two years anyone who published literature, pictures, offensive to public decency .

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has said that the failure of the Egyptian government to take a clear stance regarding the religious and political Hesba cases (private actions) has encouraged more religious extremists and publicity seekers to join the “Actio popularis” team.

Gamal Eid, ANHRI executive director said, Demanding the confiscation of a heritage book and a creativity piece , such as A Thousand and One Nights, is a crime in essence . We will not be silent regarding these cases . ANHRI legal aid unit for freedom of expression will lead the defense of these writers and intellectuals who are exposed to an unfair crackdown by those publicity seekers. These writers and intellectuals insist on handing over historical and cultural treasures to the Egyptian reader and making them accessible to the Egyptian citizen just like other citizens in other countries that respect freedom of expression and freedom of creativity.

 

30th April   

Update: Non Discriminatory Legal Guidance...

Carey Counselled to shut up about legal privilege for nutters
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Old BaileyThe former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has accused judges of moving towards a new secular state that would downgrade the rights of religious believers. Attacking a deeply worrying court ruling, Carey claimed the judiciary was now tipping the legal balance against believers in a deeply unedifying collision of human rights .

Carey reacted angrily to a judge who sharply criticised him for previously appealing for a court of hand-picked judges to determine religious rights cases. Carey had also warned of civil unrest over decisions he claimed could lead to Christians being barred from jobs.

Lord Justice Laws, dismissing a marriage guidance counsellor's attempt to challenge his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexuals, said legislation to protect a position held purely on religious grounds could not be justified and would be irrational, as preferring the subjective over the objective ... divisive, capricious and arbitrary .

His judgment at an appeal hearing by Gary MacFarlane will fuel resentment among Christian groups at what they see as unfair treatment. MacFarlane was seeking to appeal against an employment appeal tribunal ruling by Relate Avon in 2008. He alleged unfair dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Carey had sent a statement to the court calling for a special panel of judges with proven sensitivity and understanding of religious issues to hear the case, alleging recent court decisions had used dangerous reasoning and could lead to civil unrest.

But addressing Carey's concerns, Lord Justice Laws's ruling said: We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion – any belief system – cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other. If they did, those out in the cold would be less than citizens and our constitution would be on the way to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.

As to Carey's plea for a special court, he said: I am sorry that he finds it possible to suggest a procedure that would, in my judgment, be deeply inimical to the public interest.

McFarlane said the decision not to let him appeal against the ruling left him disappointed and upset , adding that because of my Christian beliefs and principles, there should be allowances taken into account whereby individuals like me can actually avoid having to contradict their very strongly held Christian principles.

 

30th April   

Update: Cut Off from Humanity...

Another amputation in Mogadishu
Link Here

Somalia flagA sharia court in Mogadishu run by Al-Shabaab Islamist group sentenced a man to amputation of the right hand.

The man, Shine Abubakar Hassan, was reportedly found guilty by the court on Monday of stealing mattresses and other domestic items. The court also ordered Hassan to compensate for the value of the stolen items.

The amputation was carried out on the same day. A judge of the al Shabaab Sharia court, Sheikh Omar announced that they found Hassan guilty of the crime when the limb was chopped off.

 

29th April   

Update: The Evangelical Fellowship Recommends...

Canada's Vanessa satellite porn channel
Link Here  full story: Satellite Porn in Canada...Channel licensed with half local programing

efc logoChristians are 'appalled' that Ottawa is giving the green light to a Canadian pay TV pornography channel that will encourage and sustain a homegrown adult entertainment industry.

The channel, called Vanessa, will begin airing Oct. 28. Montreal-based Sex-Shop Television licensed the channel in 2007 as a national pay TV service. The licence requires Vanessa to air 20% of Canadian programming. But it's only now launching the French-language adult subscription channel in Quebec for $14.95 a month, with an English-language counterpart promised for the rest of Canada in late 2011.

Don Hutchinson, director of law and public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, is 'outraged' that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is in effect, supporting a pornography industry that will lure young Canadians.

We have an official government body saying that a pornography industry must exist in Canada, Hutchinson said: Studies have shown that there are various levels of corruption, from organized crime to engagement in human trafficking and prostitution that are all affiliated directly with the pornography industry. The types of violent and explicitly sexual portrayals that are displayed in pornography reduce people to objects, Hutchinson said. [perhaps better to turn people into objects rather than turning them into paedophiles, which seems to be where church sexual repression often leads].

The CRTC, Canada's TV watchdog, said the pornography channel must follow industry codes on violence and equitable portrayals of the sexes.

The new service, billed as Canada's Playboy Channel, promises a range of erotic-themed dramas, reality shows, documentaries and variety and magazine shows. The Quebec broadcaster also will broadcast its soft-core pornographic content in HD.

Canadian cable and satellite TV services already feature a host of XXX-rated pay TV adult content, but they source the programming from U.S. suppliers.

Hutchinson said the Canadian pornography station will be given some form of preference, likely a lower channel number that will result in higher viewership.

He also lamented that while the CRTC has approved new pornography channels, it also recently rejected two applications for Christian radio stations in the Ottawa area.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada will now try to convince Canadians not to subscribe to the Vanessa channel: If it goes on air and it doesn't have enough subscribers, then the channel will die of a natural death .

 

29th April   

Update: Worshipping the Sun God Banned...

Iranian police to imprison suntanned women
Link Here  full story: Dress Code in Iran...Religious police enforce repressive dress code
volcano eruption

  The Sun God is displeased with Iranian police

Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran's police chief, said a national crackdown on opposition sympathisers would be extended to women who have been deemed to be violating the spirit of Islamic laws. He said: The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehaviour by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins.

We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them.

Iran's Islamic leadership has in recent weeks launched a scaremongering campaign to persuade the population that vice is sweeping the streets of the capital. National law stipulates that women wear headscarves and shape shrouding cloaks but many women, particularly in the capital, spend heavily on fashions that barely adhere to the regulations.

 

28th April   

Diary: Everybody Draw Mohammed Day...

An alliance against fear and intimidation
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

soiuth park mohammed teddybearEverybody Draw Mohammed Day
20th May 2010

As you may have heard, Comedy Central recently censored an episode of South Park after the show's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone -- who have long called themselves equal opportunity offenders -- were threatened with death by Muslim extremists who were offended by the show's parody of the prophet Mohammed (along with leaders of other religious faiths), and by the mere fact that they tried to depict Mohammed visually, which is considered taboo by some Muslims.

Jyllands-Posten editor Flemming Rose said that the threat of violence was infringing on the free speech of artists to address Islam and Mohammed as they would any other religious figure or faith: the modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule.

So what's an artist who cares about free speech to do? Draw Mohammed.

May 20th has now been designed Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. There is power in numbers, and if you're an artist, creator, cartoonist, or basically anyone who would like to exercise your right to free speech in a way that it is actively threatened, that would be the day to do it.

 

28th April   

Update: Boobquake...

Experiment to prove that Iranian clerics speak a load of tit about indecent dressing inducing earthquakes
Link Here  full story: Dress Code in Iran...Religious police enforce repressive dress code

jen mccreightPlanet Earth has not (yet) been destroyed by a terrifying Boobquake experiment - one Indiana student's response to Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi's insistence that immodestly dressed women provoke earthquakes.

Sedighi recently declared: Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupting their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes.

Jennifer McCreight declared: On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake.

McCreight's picture speaks for itself, and thousands of other females have thrown their weight behind the effort to either provoke a major catastrophe or prove that Iranian clerics have a poor grasp of the fundamentals of the physics of plate tittonics.

 

27th April   

Deterioration of Brain Cells...

Genesis TV censured for religious nonsense about cancer cures
Link Here

genesis tv logoBible Medicine
Genesis TV, 4 January 2010, 19:30

Genesis TV is a UK-based Christian channel that features a range of programmes with a religious theme.

On 4 January 2010, it broadcast Bible Medicine, a programme produced and presented by an 'academic' named Dr. John Grinstein. In the programme Dr Grinstein presented his approach to the prevention and treatment of cancer, which was proposed as an alternative to invasive surgery or traditional medicine.

Ofcom received a complaint that this programme provided advice giving people false expectations about…health issues and in particular claim[ing] to cure cancer . Dr Grinstein named his approach GC100. GC100 is founded on the belief that cancer and other neurological conditions1 can be prevented and cured by tackling the problem of DNA2 deterioration, through the eating of specific fruits and vegetables that naturally prevent and inhibit DNA deterioration or repair existing DNA damage.

The programme contained numerous comments about the benefits of using the GC100 approach. Some of these suggested that the GC100 approach could not merely help prevent or delay cancer, but cure it. All these comments were juxtaposed with statements about the ineffectiveness and negative side-effects of traditional medical treatments for cancer.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.1 of the Code. This states: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.1

During the programme Ofcom noted that there were several statements that were potentially harmful in two respects.

Firstly, we noted that there were statements which seemed to suggest that the GC100 approach might be preferable to established medical treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy. In addition, during the Presentation, Dr. Grinstein made some comments suggesting that the GC100 approach could cure cancer.

Secondly, we noted that there were statements that could be construed as referring to traditional medical cancer treatments in negative terms and as being uniformly ineffective, and could be construed as either directly or indirectly encouraging viewers to stop using traditional medical for serious medical conditions such as cancer.

Ofcom notes that official Government health advice advocates the consumption of fruit and vegetables to help prevent cancer.5 However, we considered that, overall, the programme made unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous medical claims regarding the efficacy of the GC100 approach in relation to other established anticancer treatments. In particular, the statements endorsing the use of the GC100 approach to the detriment of established forms of medical treatment, and the cumulative effect of the views espoused in both the Testimonial and Presentation, created a potential risk of viewers with treatable cancers from dispensing with orthodox medical treatment in favour of the GC100 approach. Ofcom considered that this resulted in inadequate protection being provided to viewers against this risk and so a failure to apply generally accepted standards. We considered that the advocacy of GC100 as an anti-carcinogenic strategy had a clear potential to cause some members of the audience – especially vulnerable ones – very serious (and possibly life-threatening) harm.

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom takes very seriously the issue of broadcasters providing content that dispenses potentially misleading advice on serious illnesses, and in particular cancer. This partly reflects the fact that legislation6 exists that makes it a criminal offence for anyone to publish an advertisement offering to treat any person with cancer or prescribe any remedy or to give any advice in connection with the treatment of cancer. Parliament has therefore made clear that any public advertisement or advice on how to treat cancer must be very carefully regulated in the public interest.

Although, on balance, we did not recommend this case for consideration of a statutory sanction, we put Genesis TV on notice that we may consider recommending any future similar breach for consideration of a statutory sanction.

Note:

Perhaps this one of the reasons why Genesis TV (associated with Revelation TV) have opted out of Ofcom's remit and are now licensed in Spain.

 

27th April   

Party Poopers...

Jehovah's witnesses miserable about birthday parties
Link Here

watchtowerA Pennsylvania judge has denied unemployment benefits to a Jehovah's Witness who quit her job in a jewellery store when her responsibilities conflicted with her religious beliefs against celebrating birthdays.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court's ruling reversed a decision by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review to grant benefits to Trista Reichman after she quit working as a part-time salesperson at Calhoun Jewelers in Royersford, Pa.

In addition to birthdays, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas or most other holidays. The court determined that Reichman's decision to quit after being asked to print messages on promotional birthday cards, although she had been willing to sell and wrap jewelry for birthday presents, did not merit compensation.

According to the court memorandum, during her two years at the store, Reichman had refused to sing or eat cake when co-workers celebrated birthdays, though she did eat other food brought in for the parties. She also typed up a list of employee birthdays, including her own, at her employer's request.

Three years ago, a Jehovah's Witness who had refused to sing Happy Birthday to customers at a Texas restaurant, where she worked as a waitress, won a $38,750 settlement. Based on the case, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidelines on religious discrimination, advising employers to make appropriate accommodations to allow Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid celebrations that conflict with their beliefs.

 

26th April   

A Roundabout Sort of Censorship...

Freedom of speech seminar cancelled on fears of protest
Link Here

jonkoping university logoArtist Lars Vilks was invited by J๖nk๖ping University to speak about freedom of speech. But the seminar was canceled for security reasons: I've understood that Muslim students protested, says Lars Vilks.

The politically independent Foreign Policy Association at J๖nk๖ping University was forced to cancel a lecture with controversial artist Lars Vilks.

Due to the security risk, the International Business School, the Culture Center and Hotel Victoria, all refused to offer their premises.

Johan Nordberg of the non-profit association was asked if there been any threats? We haven't received any direct threats at all, neither did Vilks. But we've heard angry voices, but it's well in the lecture's nature that it will be so.

According to Nordberg they've had continuous contact with the police in J๖nk๖ping before the lecture Lars Vilks was suppose to give. The lecture was about freedom of speech.

Lars Vilks is constantly guarded by Sไpo (Swedish Security Service) and thinks that it's unfortunate that his seminar had been cancelled: Evidently somebody pressured the organizers and thinks that it will be xenophobic and racist. It's actually ironic that a seminar on freedom of speech should be censored.

 

26th April   

Corrected: A Mockery of Justice...

Campaigner sentenced for public order offences over religiously insulting cartoons
Link Here  full story: UK Religious Hatred Law...Law abuse by the authortites
Sermon on the mount

  Love your neighbour...
Not gays, obviously

Harry Taylor left home made posters at Liverpool John Lennon Airport three times in November and December 2008.

The self-styled philosopher was convicted in less than an hour by a unanimous jury.

Among the posters, one image showed a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of no nails glue. In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: Not for women or gays, obviously. Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise were told in another: Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins. One image showed a pig excreting sausages with insults to Islam, and others linked Muslims to attacks on airports.

Unemployed Taylor, on medication for depression, said it was preposterous to suggest people could be incited to violence by cartoons.

It emerged that Taylor was previously convicted of similar offences. The previous December he was arrested handing out offensive leaflets in Waterstone's book store in Deansgate, Manchester. Police discovered he had also visited a nearby Tesco and unplugged the Christmas music because he found it offensive.

Taylor had also visited two city centre churches, St Ann's Church and St Mary's, known as the Hidden Gem. Inside he left leaflets including a picture of a monk making a finger gesture with the caption Father Fucker .

Judge James told him: Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did but even now you continue to maintain that you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.

He was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours' of unpaid work and pay £250 costs. He was also given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.

Update: Distressed by Catch All Law

26th April 2010. From Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum

Are we sure that Mr Taylor was convicted of an offence under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act?

The reports suggest the offence was that of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress, which would be under Part 1 of the Public Order Act 1986.

4A Intentional harassment, alarm or distress

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

It is not necessary for there to be a racial or religious aspect to the offence, but if it is racially or religiously aggravated, it becomes triable in Crown Court and the maximum sentence is increased from 6 months or a fine to up to 7 years.

The Blair government added the racially aggravated aspect in 1998 and extended that to include the religiously aggravated offence in 2001, but the Public Order Act was introduced by the Thatcher government.

 

26th April   

Update: Veiled Threats...

French government burkha banner receives death threats
Link Here

France flagA French conservative politician at the forefront of a campaign for a full ban on veils has been placed under police protection after reportedly receiving islamic death threats.

Jean-Francois Cop้, who leads the parliamentary group of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, has had a security officer accompanying him since January, it emerged.

Cop้ submitted a proposed bill on banning the veil in public in January, on grounds of security and women's equality. On Wednesday, the government announced its intention to push through a full ban as early as this summer.

 

26th April   

Multicultural Mishmash...

Lebanon rally for a secular state
Link Here

Lebanon flagCivil society activists in Lebanon are hoping that thousands will turn up for an unprecedented rally in Beirut.

The march for secularism will call on all Lebanese to unite and work towards the abolition of the country's deeply divisive sectarian system.

Eighteen groups make up Lebanon's multi-denominational system, and the civic rights of the members of these groups are determined by their religious leaders rather than the government.

Only religious authorities can register marriages, births or death or rule on matters of inheritance - so all Lebanese end up having different rights.

Muslims, for example, cannot adopt children; Maronite Christians cannot get divorced, and it is impossible for members of different sects to marry each other, while civil marriage is not an option here.

The government, too, is divided. Since independence in 1943, Lebanon's president has always been a Maronite Christian, its prime minister a Sunni Muslim and speaker of parliament a Shia.

Supporters of this unique system claim it gives all the religious communities a voice. But more and more young people, many of whom will take part in this march, point to its failures - chronic instability, weak central government and sectarian tension which has resulted in civil wars in the past.

 

25th April   

Updated: 200 Hundred Threats...

Another episode of South Park winds up the easily offended
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

South Park Season 13 Blu ray Episode 200 of South Park has provoked the wrath of a radical Muslim group which took offence at the depiction of the prophet Mohammed.

In the episode entitled 200? , Tom Cruise and a host of celebrities previously insulted by the town of South Park threaten a class action suit against unless Mohammed is brought in. Cruise tells the boys that he has always wanted to meet the prophet, but he reveals the real reason for the demand to his co-complainants:

Mohammed has a power that makes him impervious to being made fun of. What if we could harness that power?

Now Revolutionmuslim.com, released a YouTube video featuring the words of a sermon by Anwar a-Awlaki played over images of the murdered Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them

Update: Spooked by Islamic Death Threats

23rd April 2010. Based on article from entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

comedy central logoAn American television network has blocked global internet broadcasts of an episode of South Park featuring the Prophet Muhammad after death threats from an Islamic group.

The 201st edition of the satirical animation was aired on Comedy Central last night but only after the channel had introduced a slew of audio and visual obfuscations in addition to the self-censorship applied by the programme's makers.

Trey Stone and Matt Parker, the cartoon's creators, were warned this week that they would be killed if they were seen to continue mocking the Prophet after an episode broadcast. It included a character representing Muhammad, who spoke from inside a giant bear suit to prevent the illustrators having to depict him — a blasphemous act according to some Muslims.

The latest episode also featured Muhammad, but not before it was sent to Comedy Central by Stone and Parker with a black silhouette marked CENSORED in place of the bear. Every mention of the Prophet was also bleeped out.

Despite the programme-makers' alterations, Comedy Central added more bleeps and have now stopped the original episode being played on the South Park website.

The dispute comes after a little-known American group calling itself Revolution Muslim posted a message on its website warning Stone and Parker that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show .

Update: Lining up to take easy offence at South Park

25th April 2010. Based on article from thesundayleader.lk

Sri LankaSr Lanka's Sunday Leader has uncovered a 'shocking' new example of the West's contempt for Buddhist culture and values.

On two recent episodes of the popular American television show South Park , the Lord Buddha is depicted as a drug addict, graphically snorting several lines of cocaine.

When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Uplift Secretary H. M. Herath expressed his indignation over the show's contents. We are going to forward this to the responsible authorities, Herath vowed. We will take it to the Sangha and to the Buddhist Congress. This is defamation to every religion. It is a crime and hurts others' beliefs, which shouldn't be done by any person. We should respect other people's beliefs.

When asked what action the Ministry of Religious Affairs would take, Herath said that he would ban the show, and even the entire TV series from coming to Sri Lanka. However, Herath would not say whether he would attempt to prevent the sale of South Park DVDs, which are widely available in Colombo.

The Sunday Leader has learned that Lord Buddha is a recurring character on South Park. He is portrayed as member of the Super Best Friends, along with Jesus, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and other religious leaders. In the television show's 200th episode last week, the Super Friends defend the fictional town of South Park, Colorado against a class-action lawsuit by a group of Hollywood celebrities led by Tom Cruise.

The show depicts Jesus scolding the Buddha for his drug abuse. The Buddha takes a rolled-up dollar bill and snorts several white lines of cocaine off the table. Buddha, don't do coke in front of kids! Jesus tells him.

In the most recent episode, the Buddha is again seen snorting lines of cocaine. Jesus tells him that his drug addiction is becoming a problem. The Buddha responds by pointing out that Jesus is watching internet porn. Jesus then says Internet porn isn't the same as doing coke, fag!

 

25th April   

Sharjah Shite...

UAE police doing door to door search for unmarried couples
Link Here

UAE flagSharjah police are going door-to-door looking for couples living out of wedlock.

Police say they will initially target more densely populated residential areas before spreading the net to include the whole emirate.

Police are knocking on doors and demanding to see evidence that couples under the same roof are married.

Brig Musa al Naqbi, the head of Sharjah Police CID, said: We managed to find one couple, an Arab man and an Asian woman, illegally staying together. The couple also had two children. One was two years old and the other one was four. This campaign is continuing throughout Sharjah because women and men having children outside wedlock is not allowed in the UAE, as well as being against Islam.

Couples found to be breaking the law will be referred to public prosecutors, and lawyers say they could technically face lashes under the emirate's strict Sharia.

Salah Mabrouk, a Dubai based lawyer who regularly handles cases in Sharjah's courts, said: In Sharia law the punishment for a fornicator is different to one of an adulterer, a fornicator is lashed 100 lashes while an adulterer is stoned to death. However, Mabrouk said it was more likely that offenders would face a prison term of less than a year, followed by deportation if they were expatriates.

Under federal law, cohabiting couples face two possible sets of charges depending on their circumstances, according to Jouslin Khairallah, another Dubai-based lawyer whose case load often takes her to Sharjah. If you have a flat with a man living in one room and a woman living in another, they would immediately face an unlawful residency charge, she said. However, if it could be proved that the couple were sharing a room, they could be charged under crimes of honour legislation that carries a heavier sentence of up to three years in jail.

 

24th April   

Update: Drawing a Veil over Safety...

French woman ticketed for wearing veil whilst driving
Link Here

niqabA French Muslim woman has been fined for wearing a full-face veil while driving a car.

Police in the western city of Nantes said the veil - which showed only her eyes - restricted her vision and could have caused an accident.

After stopping the woman police asked her to raise her veil to confirm her identity, which she did. They then fined her 22 euros ($29; £19), saying her clothing posed a safety risk .

This fine is not justified on road safety grounds and constitutes a breach of human and women's rights, her lawyer, Jean-Michel Pollono, told AFP news agency. He said the woman's field of vision was not obstructed and added that a veil was no different from a motorcycle helmet in terms of hindrance to vision. He said he had formally complained to the state prosecutor.

Update: Fine Quashed

14th December 2010. See article from islamophobia-watch.com

A French court has annulled a fine given to a woman driver wearing an Islamic face veil, months before a ban on wearing the garments goes into effect.

Traffic police in the city of Nantes fined Sandrine Mouleres €22 in April, saying she did not have a clear field of vision, but the court quashed the fine.

Jean-Michel Pollono, Mouleres' attorney, said the court in Nantes had ruled we are in a free country, and as a result, everything that isn't forbidden is allowed.

 

24th April   

Update: Starved of Reason...

Cult brainwashed mother who starved her child sent for more brainwashing
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

one mind ministries logoA Baltimore woman who starved her son to death after she became involved with a bizarre Christian cult has released from jail – on condition that she attends a rehabilitation programme at a faith-based treatment centre.

Ria Ramkissoon pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in the death of her 16-month-old son, Javon Thompson.

Cult leader Queen Antoinette, of 1 Mind Ministries, ordered her followers not to feed Javon when he did not say Amen during a mealtime prayer. The toddler died of starvation. His body was later found stuffed in a suitcase in Pennsylvania.

Ramkissoon, who has been in jail since her 2008 arrest, was given five years' probation, and must complete a programme at a Christian-based, residential treatment facility. Assistant State's Attorney Julie Drake called Ramkissoon's sentence fair and compassionate.

She says the state sees Ramkissoon as a victim: In the beginning, I think I shared the view of a lot of people that we should just lock her up and throw away the key. That any mother who would allow her child to starve to death must be a cold and unfeeling person. [But] there was no malice in her at all regarding this baby. None. And we want to punish people for acts that are malicious.

 

24th April   

Update: Mixed Messages...

Saudi religious police chief sacked for querying lucrative segregation of the sexes
Link Here  full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves

Saudi religious police logoThe head of Saudi Arabia's powerful religious police has fired the chief of the Mecca branch for advocating the mixing of the sexes.

Ahmed bin Qassim al-Ghamidi's suggestion in a newspaper interview this week that men and women should be left to mingle freely directly clashed with a central preoccupation of the force.

Mixing (between the sexes) is just natural and there is no good reason to ban it, al-Ghamidi said in the interview.He was dismissed soon after.

The force's new chief, Abdul-Aziz bin Humain, has been billed as a reformer and promised a new tone after being appointed by the king last year. But his dismissal of al-Ghamidi shows there are limits to how far he is willing to go.

 

23rd April   

Update: Cartoon Wars...

Dutch Arab group acquitted of publishing revenge cartoon
Link Here  full story: Holocaust Denial in the Netherlands...Cartoon wars over Mohammed cartoons

holocaust cartoonA Dutch court has acquitted an Arab group of hate crime for publishing a cartoon on its website questioning the Holocaust.

The Dutch arm of the Arab European League said it had wanted to highlight what it said was double standards.

It published the cartoon last year after a decision by Dutch prosecutors not to put MP Geert Wilders on trial for distributing cartoons of Muhammad.

The court in Utrecht said the group itself was not denying the Holocaust. It said the league had published the cartoon with a text explaining its purpose: Freedom of speech need not come second in this case to the right of others to be free from discrimination . The right of the AEL to make such a statement must be guaranteed, given the specific context and intention of the case.

 

23rd April   

Divorced from Civilisation...

World attention to Saudi child brides may initiate change
Link Here

Saudi flagA girl aged 12 has won a divorce from her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia in a case that may help to introduce a minimum age of marriage in the kingdom for the first time.

The girl's unusual legal challenge to the arrangement generated international media attention and scrutiny of Saudi Arabia's record of child marriages.

It also prompted the state-run Human Rights Commission to appoint a lawyer to represent her. The commission has capitalised on the case and pushed for a legal minimum age for marriage of at least 16.

Three committees have been assembled to examine the possibility. Medical experts, child psychologists, social workers and scholars in Islamic law will debate the issue over the coming months before submitting their recommendations to a public hearing.

Based on these findings, the commission and the Ministry of Justice will issue new guidelines and impose a legal minimum age for the first time. The main aim is to not allow cases like this to happen again, said Alanoud alHejailan, a lawyer for the commission: There will be some opposition, of course, but we feel that public opinion has changed on this issue. We want to gather all the public support we can for a minimum age for marriage.

The 12-year-old has been fighting her case through the courts in the conservative town of Buraidah, near Riyadh, the capital. She was married against her wishes to her father's elderly cousin last year. A dowry of 85,000 riyals (£14,500) was paid and the marriage consummated. She has now reached agreement with her family that a divorce will be settled privately, and has dropped her legal challenge to the marriage.

 

23rd April   

Provocative...

Malmo political party puts up posters of a naked Mohammed
Link Here

skane party logoA Malm๖ Anti-Islam party has put posters with a naked cartoons of Mohammed and his 9 year old wife. The caption reads Mohammed with wife, he's 53, she's 9. Is this the type of marriage we want to see in Skๅne?

The anti-Islam Skๅne Party put posters with cartoons in twenty different places in Malm๖

The posters have been reported to the police and reporters think it could be hate speech.

There's no reason for that. We're attacking Islam, not people who believe in Islam. We consider Islam to be very dangerous and psycho-social infectious disease, said Carl P Herslow, head of the Skๅne Party, who thinks the posters defend freedom of expression and the press.

The Muslim Association of Sweden demands an apology from Skๅne Party leader. The party's posters are hate speech, the association's leader Mahmoud Aldebe said in a statement.

 

22nd April   

Censorship is No Laughing Matter...

Swiss TV removes cartoons of priestly abuse
Link Here

mix and remix logoSwitzerland's public television service TSR has agreed to the Catholic Church's request to remove what the church said were offending cartoons.

Cartoonist Philippe Becquelin, who goes by the name of Mix n Remix , had prepared a series of cartoons about priests and sexual abuse for the TSR Infrarouge programme, but the Catholic Church in Switzerland asked that they be removed from the Internet, which TSR did.

 

22nd April   

Offsite: O'Reilly Decides...

European economy is hurt by secularism and paganism
Link Here

euro pagans video The entertaining Fox News nutter, Bill O'Reilly, has been having fun referring to the pagan losers of Europe. Here he debates whether a lack of christianity is to blame for European economic problems.

...See the video

 

22nd April   

Update: Sending Hidden Messages...

French government set burkha ban in progress
Link Here

BurkhaNicolas Sarkozy has ordered the French government to prepare legislation paving the way for a total ban on the full Islamic veil.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel said that proposals for a full ban on the niqab and burqa would be submitted to parliament in the coming months and could theoretically be made law by summer. Plans to outlaw the garments, he added, were in line with the wishes of the head of state , who has repeatedly made clear his aversion to face-covering veils.

The ban on the full veil must be total in all public places because women's dignity cannot be watered down, said Chatel, keeping to the official line that a ban would be in keeping with republican French values of gender equality and secularism. He added: Everything must be done to ensure that no one feels stigmatised because of their faith or religious beliefs. The president and the prime minister have asked all members of the government to commit to this point.

However it was denounced by the mediator of the French republic, Jean-Paul Delevoye, who said that a partial ban would be preferable to a more wide-ranging law. He also supported the verdict of France's highest constitutional body, which earlier this year said such a radical move could be unconstitutional. I think the council of state gave rather interesting advice which said that, in certain places and at certain times, it would be suitable to ban the full veil, Delevoye told French radio.

Earlier this year a parliamentary commission set up by Sarkozy recommended that the full veil be banned in certain public services such as hospitals, trains and buses.

 

20th April   

Update: Indonesia Restricted to 6 Religions...

Indonesia's blasphemy survives challenge
Link Here

indosia courtThe Indonesian Constitutional Court has ruled to uphold the repressive Blasphemy Law, a decision that plaintiffs said was mainly based on fears of a public backlash.

With only one dissenting judge, the court argued that the law is still needed to maintain public order among religious groups .

If the Blasphemy Law was scrapped before a new law was enacted … it was feared that misuses and contempt of religion would occur and trigger conflicts in society, Constitutional justice Akil Mochtar claimed.

The dissenting opinion came from justice Maria Farida Indrati, who said the 1965 law had many shortcomings relating to the fundamental amendments on human rights in the Constitution: With the many problems that have often triggered arbitrary actions in the implementation of this law … I think that the petition should have been granted .

A plaintiff, Poengky Indarti of Imparsial (The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor), said the dictatorship of the majority has contributed [to the decision]. It is very disappointing that the Constitutional Court, which is supposed to be the guardian of the constitution, is not doing its job well.

The verdict reading invoked a cry of joy in the courtroom, with dozens of supporters from various Islamic groups shouting Allahu Akbar! [Allah is great] the moment presiding judge Mahfud MD declared the petition was turned down.

The panel of judges said it had decided to take a middle course as suggested by a court expert, noted scholar Jalaludin Rakhmat, to give an official interpretation of the law without repealing it. This interpretation includes giving new meaning to the explanation of Article 1 in the law, which states that aside from acknowledging six religions, the state leaves alone followers of other religions.

The phrase 'leaves alone' has to be interpreted as [their followers not being] obstructed and even given the right to flourish and thrive; it cannot be interpreted as 'ignored', judge Muhammad Alim said.

 

20th April   

Dangerous Accusations...

Braving Dubai's rape with impunity laws
Link Here

UAE flagA British woman risks being charged for breaching Dubai's repressive decency laws after claiming she was raped after a drunken night out.

The 24-year-old claims an Arab man raped her after driving her into the desert.

But the alleged attacker claims the woman consented, and if his version is believed, she could face prison for having sex outside marriage in the strict Muslim state.

A court source told the Sun: She told police she screamed and cried out begging him to stop during both attacks, which were entirely against her will. She went straight to the nearest police station and reported the sex attack at 3.20am the same day.

Police tracked down the alleged rapist, known as Saif, after the woman had saved his mobile number after they met during the night.

If a court was to find in the man's favour, the woman could face a charge of having unlawful sex, which could result in a jail term. It is also an offence to be drunk in Dubai.

 

19th April   

Quaking with Laughter...

Iranian cleric correlates earthquakes to sexy dressing
Link Here

kazem seddighiA senior Iranian cleric has claimed that dolled-up women incite extramarital sex, causing more earthquakes in Iran, newspapers reported.

Many women who dress inappropriately ... cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran: Calamities are the result of people's deeds . We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers.

 

19th April   

Update: Open Letter to President Mubarak...

Egyptian Copts reach out for help from murderous persecution
Link Here

dina athanasiusDina el-Gowhary, the 15-year-old Egyptian Muslim-born girl who converted to Christianity, was subjected to an acid attack, the latest in a string of failed attempts by Muslim fanatics against her and her father Peter Athanasius, who converted to Christianity 35 years ago.

Several Fatwa's were issued calling for the spilling of his blood, which makes their lives in constant danger in the face of the reactionaries and advocates for the enforcement of Islamic apostasy laws, which call for the death of a convert.

Dina said that three weeks ago as she ventured out from their hiding place in Alexandria with her father to get some bottled water, her jacket was set on fire due to acid being thrown at her. My father quickly took my jacket off before the fire reached my arms. Ever since then I am terrorized to go out in the street, with or without my father.

Through an aired interview with Freecopts advocacy Dina addressed an open letter to President Mubarak of Egypt begging him to save her and her father and allow them to leave Egypt.

In her letter to President Mubarak, Dina expressed her deep distress at the mistreatment and continuous troubles she finds everywhere she goes, including being beaten and humiliated. She tells of how because of her love for Jesus she left her Muslim mother and went to live with her Christian father, abandoning school where she was persecuted by teachers and students. I was threatened many times before. Once coming back from school, a bearded young man stepped out of a car, lifted me through my clothes from the ground and warned me that if my father and myself do not go back to Islam, both of us will be killed.

In June 2009 a Court refused his request to order the Civil Registry to alter his religious designation on his ID to reflect his Christian religion and his Christian name, Peter Athanasius. The Court ruling said that the religious conversion of a Muslim is against Islamic Sharia law and poses a threat to the Public Order in Egypt.

The el-Gowhary family was barred from leaving Egypt on September 17, 2009 without any legal reason. They were told, however, that the order came from a higher authority.

 

18th April   

It's not Easy to be a Priest you Know...

Mexican bishop blames internet porn for priestly depravity
Link Here

Mexico flagA prominent Roman Catholic bishop in Mexico blamed eroticism on television and Internet pornography for child abuse by priests, in the latest nonsense comments on sex scandals in the church.

With so much invasion of eroticism, sometimes it's not easy to stay celibate or to respect children, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said during an annual meeting of Mexican bishops.

If on television and on the Internet and in so many media outlets there is pornography, it is very difficult to stay pure and chaste, said Arizmend: Obviously when there is generalized sexual freedom it's more likely there could be cases of pedophilia .

The bishop was in charge of the formation of priests for two decades in Mexico but said that loose morals in society had made it difficult to keep seminarians committed to the faith.

 

18th April   

Update: Bats in the Belfry...

Somalia schools banned from ringing bells at the end of lessons
Link Here

Traditional school bell wooden handle Islamic militants al-Shabab have banned teachers using bells to signal the end of class in the town of Jowhar, north of Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab said the bells sounded too much like Christian church bells.

A teacher told the BBC's correspondent in Somalia that handclaps were now being used instead of bells to bring classes to an end. The end of classes is also marked by teachers beating on tables and doors, reports the Associated Press news agency.

 

18th April   

Centres of Immorality...

Afghanistan's religious police raid bars popular with westerners
Link Here

Religious PoliceAfghanistan's religious police targeted western bars and restaurants in a series of raids – seizing thousands of gallons of alcohol and arresting at least six international waitresses they accused of being prostitutes.

Officers armed with AK47 assault rifles hit four well-known night spots claiming they were centres of immorality . The French proprietor of one of Kabul's best-known bars was also detained.

The waitresses, from an upmarket restaurant popular with diplomats, were forced to undergo intrusive medical tests at an Afghan clinic to ascertain who they might have been sleeping with, police officials said. At least ten people were arrested. They were held for 48 hours and all have since been released.

These guest-houses were the centres of immorality and alcohol, Kabul's chief detective, General Sayeed Abdul Ghafar, said. They sold alcohol to everyone. Senior Afghan officials claimed the raids were ordered by interior minister Hanif Atmar.

Although selling and consuming alcohol is prohibited under Afghan law, all four restaurants were licensed by the ministry of information and culture, which has long issued exemptions for restaurants catering to Kabul's vibrant expat market.

Foreigners are not covered by this law, said deputy culture minister Mohammed Nabi Farahi, responsible for tourism: That's why they have permission to drink alcohol in restaurants that have permits and to sell alcohol, just to foreigners.

Supplying alcohol carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. The police said they were waiting for the attorney general's office to decide how to proceed.

 

17th April   

Barbaric Filipinos...

Bishop claims that UFC on TV has turned Philippines people into barbaric animals
Link Here

UFC Best 2008 Brock Lesnar A Philippines Catholic bishop wants to knock the mixed martial arts sport, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), off the airwaves, saying it is destructive and un-Christian.

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, Bohol, said UFC is proving to be a negative influence on the youth: The people [are] becoming barbaric over this. It's makes us like animals, Medroso said over the Church-run Radio Veritas.

The bishop called on the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board to consider his call to ban UFC from television, saying it promotes violence. Christianity promotes civilization and the acts being shown in the UFC program certainly do not conform with it, Medroso said.

Medroso said he was baffled why many people enjoy the sight of two men pummelling each other until they are bruised and bloodied: The unfortunate thing about this UFC is the way people cheer when a player is bloodied and unconscious on the floor. It's as if a person is a plaything, that it would not matter if he is hurt or died, he said.

 

17th April   

Update: Biblical Plagues...

George Carey warns of civil unrest if christians are banned from haranguing gays
Link Here  full story: Religion on the NHS...Medical practictioners talk religion with patients

george careyLord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned of future civil unrest if judges continue with disturbing and dangerous rulings in religious discrimination cases.

He intervened in a case being brought by a Bristol solicitor and relationship counsellor who wants a special panel of five senior judges to hear his appeal against being sacked for refusing to counsel homosexual couples.

Carey attacked the courts over a series of disturbing judgments and accused judges of being responsible for some dangerous reasoning which could, if taken to extremes, lead to Christians being banned from the workplace.

Carey said it was but a short step from the dismissal of a sincere Christian from employment to a religious bar to any employment by Christians.

Carey, who said he had the support of several other Anglican bishops and other leading churchmen, also attacked recent decisions by the Court of Appeal on the right of Christians to wear crosses in the workplace. These displayed a worrying lack of awarness of Christian religious and cultural manifestations, he said.

This type of 'reasoning' is dangerous to the social order and represents clear animus to Christian beliefs. The fact that senior clerics of the Church of England and other faiths feel compelled to intervene directly in judicial decisions and cases is illuminative of a future civil unrest.

The effect of these decisions is to undermine the religious liberties that have existed in the United Kingdom for centuries. If there is to be a limitation of Christian liberties in Britain, this should be a matter for Parliament.

 

17th April   

Gut Feeling, It's a Dick...

Church art winds up the nutters
Link Here

jesus abdomenA religious controversy is swirling around a church on Oklahoma City's northwest side. Some say a giant painting of Christ hanging in the sanctuary of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic church and school is pornographic. Others feel the painting merely depicts Christ with muscles in his abdomen.

However, two women leading a protest against the painting believe the image is obscene.

Religious art is beautiful. I do not consider this to be iconography. I feel that is blasphemy against the holy spirit. I feel it is pornographic, says Seannene Smith.

The painting is said to be a copy of a work in the Vatican. A local 'artist' was commissioned for the job.

 

17th April   

Unethical Interference...

Nutters don't like the idea of ethics being taught in schools outside of religious control
Link Here

QuetzalcoatlThe Bishop of North Sydney has urged Anglican priests to collect information from principals of public schools to stop the spread of the secular ethics classes the Sydney Anglicans believe may threaten religious education.

The nutters are worried about a trial, which is being piloted at 10 schools under the guidance of the St James Ethics Centre.

The St James Ethics Centre claims that there are large numbers of students not enrolled in SRE [special religious education], the email from Bishop Davies read. We need to gather some accurate information to challenge this claim.

The NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations and the St James Ethics Centre renewed their invitation to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to meet to discuss the trial.

There is absolutely no desire or intention to weaken religion or eliminate scripture from schools and to suggest otherwise is misleading, the centre's head, Simon Longstaff, said. The reality is that, prior to this trial being mounted, in some schools, 50 to 80% of students were electing not to go to scripture.

The course would let children who did not take scripture class examine ethical issues, but without an overarching theology, he said.

The NSW Teachers Federation said it was highly inappropriate that religious organisations should seek to interfere in a course designed to provide an alternative to religious education.

Dr Jensen, who privately lobbied the Premier, Kristina Keneally, over the classes, said ethics should not be offered as an alternative to the Bible.

 

17th April   

Update: Islamic Preaching Bill...

Nigerian state proposes licensing of preachers
Link Here  full story: Preaching in Nigeria...The Islamic Preachers Bill licenses preachers

Nigeria flagPoliticians in Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria are debating a bill aimed at curbing religious extremism.

The Islamic Preaching Bill would outlaw preaching likely to cause a breach of the peace as well as requiring most clerics to obtain a preaching licence.

The legislation was proposed after an Islamic sect was blamed for sectarian violence in northern Nigeria last year in which hundreds of people died.

Under the new bill, there would be stiff penalties for clerics found guilty of insulting or inciting contempt of any religious belief which causes a breach of the peace, says the BBC's Bilkisu Babangida in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. The penalties include at least 10 years imprisonment and a fine.

Our correspondent says recommendations for preaching licences would be given by a new Islamic Religious Preaching Board consisting of clerics, public administrators and security personnel.

 

15th April   

Chastity Addles the Mind...

Vatican's foreign minister spouts bollox about reasons for child abuse
Link Here

tarcisio bertoneGay rights activists have criticised a Vatican official who sought to link homosexuality to paedophilia when commenting on child sex abuse scandals.

The UK's Stonewall group said it was astonishing gay people should still be dealing with such an offensive myth .

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had said homosexuality, not celibacy, lay behind the child sex abuse scandals.

The cardinal, the Vatican's foreign minister was attempting to defuse the scandals currently afflicting the Catholic Church, which are largely cases of priests molesting children, mainly boys. He added that some surprising initiatives regarding the sex abuse scandal would soon be revealed but did not elaborate.

Visiting the Chilean capital Santiago, Cardinal Bertone told a news conference: Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem.

A Chilean communist MP, Hugo Gutierrez, told AFP news agency: Celibacy does more damage to a human being than homosexuality. I'm shocked by these words from a senior dignitary of the Church.

In Rome, the head of Italian gay rights group Gaylib, Enrico Oliari, said it was worrying that the foreign minister of a state that occupies the heart of the Italian capital would use arguments that are considered passe even in the Third World .

 

14th April   

Maltese Sensitivity for Papal Visit...

Call to cover up phallic column with giant condom
Link Here

colonna mediterraneaA row has broken out in Malta over an artwork in the village of Luqa, ahead of the Pope's visit on April 17.

The local council, describing it as a monument of shame wants the thing removed before Ratzinger hits town.

But the Front Against Censorship said that it believes that the phallic-like sculpture should not be removed, not even temporarily for the Pope's visit. Such an act would classify as yet another obscene case of censorship, much in the same vein as the recent literature and theatre censorship cases.

It said it believed it was not within the remit of Luqa local council to decide what was acceptable for the Pope to view. The front said it regretted that this issue hade made international headlines, bringing ridicule on Malta.

In a statement issued on Monday, Luqa Mayor John Schembri said: In the opinion of the council, the Pope's first visit among us risks being a source of embarrassment to the people of Luqa and the Maltese in general, due to the obscene monument which is still dominating the LIDL roundabout on one's entry into the village.

Colonna Mediterranea, as the monument is actually called, is the work of Paul Vella Critien and was installed in January 2006. The monumental sculpture was said to be an abstract based on fantasy and the beauty of the Mediterranean colours.

Commented one wag beneath the Times of Malta report: Why don't we cover it with rubber. Wait better, not or else we will surely offend the Pope!

 

13th April   

Update: Socially Cohesive...

Muslims and non muslims alike unite in condemnation of KFC policy on Halal
Link Here  full story: Halal Resturants...Halal restaurants prove divisive

kfc big ddy advertBritain's second biggest fast food chain hoped to woo the Islamic market by opening 86 trial outlets selling halal-only meat.

But they're now being threatened with a boycott by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

KFC's target diners insist the chickens are not being killed in the right way and say they will stay away.

And furious non-Muslim customers have set up Facebook groups protesting that the trial branches, which also ban pork, have dropped their favourite bacon-topped Big Daddy burger from menus.

Groups with names such as Against the KFC Halal Trial and No Halal at Colne KFC - referring to a branch in the Lancs town - are rapidly attracting members.

For meat to be halal, the animal must be alive when its throat is cut as a verse from the Koran is recited. KFC insists their methods meet the approval of the Halal Food Society. But Islamic leaders disagree, saying the pre-stunning of animals in the chain's mechanical process means a third are already dead at the point of slaughter. And the fact the prayer is played over a speaker means each bird it not blessed individually as it is killed.

They have now threatened to warn the UK's 2.4million Muslims not to eat KFC meat, and will meet with the fast food giant on Wednesday to question how it is killing chickens sold as halal.

A KFC spokesman said: We've worked with animal welfare organisations and the Halal Food Authority to ensure our processes fully comply. And wherever possible we've made sure our trial stores are near non- halal restaurants, to provide customers with a choice.

 

13th April   

Update: Unharassed in Bangladesh...

Freedom not to wear veil upheld by Bangladesh court
Link Here

Bangladesh flagBangladesh's high court has banned educational institutions in the Muslim-majority country from bullying female employees into wearing headscarves or veils.

Wearing a burka or niqab in the South Asian country is not compulsory, but women are often pressured into adopting Muslim headwear, which is tantamount to sexual harassment, Sara Hossain, a barrister, told AFP: It is a woman's personal choice to cover her head or not and nobody can force them to do so against their will, she said, quoting the court ruling.

The high court decision followed a case lodged by a headmistress who claimed she was verbally assaulted by a government official for not covering her hair during a staff meeting. The government official has since been ordered by the court to apologise, Ms Hossain said.

 

12th April   

Update: Tunes of Repression...

Mogadishu radio stations told to stop broadcasting music
Link Here

Somalia flagThe Somali insurgent group, Hisbul Islam has imposed oppressive edicts on the radio stations in Mogadishu, especially those based in the areas under their control. Music has again been banned.

The edicts instruct stations not to air music and songs and not to name the foreign fighters as foreigners, but rather to refer to them as Muhaajiriin .

This is the first time the media stations in Mogadishu are facing such public censorship. Six of the eight radio stations under the Hisbul Islam and Al-Shabaab-held neighbourhoods of Mogadishu will be directly affected by these oppressive edicts.

Similar edicts have been imposed on media stations in the southern Somalia regions held by the radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) from Mogadishu strongly protested the increased censorship.

 

12th April   

Update: Ministry of Religious (Extramarital) Affairs...

Indonesian lynch mob beat adulterous couple
Link Here

Indonesia flagTwo Indonesians were paraded nude through their village in a province dominated by Islam, following a beating by mob angered when it was alleged that the pair had been caught having extramarital sex.

Bus is an official with the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs in the province of Aceh Barat. He and Yus were caught on April 7 in the woman's home by a mob.

Islamic police, who impose Islam's repressive Sharia religious laws, said that the pair were dragged out of the woman's home, stripped nude and paraded through the streets of the town. They were then manacled and tied to a post were they were beaten with sticks until black and blue. Police intervened before a summary execution by the mob could be carried out. Even so, the offending man and woman may still face further corporal punishment that is required by Sharia: nine lashes each in public if they are found guilty of adultery.

 

11th April   

Offsite: Beyond Belief...

Sikhs struggling with free speech
Link Here

Behzti Oberon Modern Gurpreet Bhatti Just over five years ago, in December 2004, a row kicked off in Birmingham over the play Behzti (Dishonour) by the playwright Gurpreet Bhatti. Sikh fundamentalists took to the Birmingham Rep to protest because it featured rape in a Sikh gurdwara and eventually managed to get the play shut down. They declared victory.

The writer is now back in the limelight as her next production, Behud (Beyond Belief) comes to theatre. It is also written as an attempt to recreate what happened over those fateful days. But any coverage of the new production, alongside with a review (which this isn't), raises the question: did the controversy change anything?

...Read full article

 

11th April   

Update: The Art of Provocation...

Danish city hall gets censorial over Kurt Westergaard spoof
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

sorensenThe Grenaa City Hall decided to remove a painting down from their Easter exhibition after complaints.

The painting's motif is a veiled woman and a pig looking at a picture of Kurt Westergaard with a bomb in his turban - exactly like in his own controversial caricature of Muhammed.

Mayor Jan Petersen said: But I agree with the decision, that we shouldn't have pictures hanging at city hall, which some people feel offends their religious feelings.

Hans Christian Sorensen, a leisure artist, was very surprised by the city hall's decision to take the picture down. He says it's humorist and denies that the picture is a provocation. He was at the exhibition for several days and he only got positive comments from the public. He says the picture is surreal and funny.

Art should be original and not copy anything. We can all paint flowers, but people see so much of it. Art should be debated, that the point of it. That's the difference between art and decoration, he says.

 

11th April   

Army Under Fire...

Mosques are the target at army firing range
Link Here

target mosquesA Muslim group has demanded an apology from the British Army after it emerged that replica mosques were being used on a North Yorkshire firing range.

The chairman of the Bradford Council for Mosques (BCM) said the structures at Catterick should be taken down immediately. The Ministry of Defence said it had no intention of causing offence.

Saleem Khan, the chief executive of the BCM, called for the Army to apologise. The first thing they need to do is remove this straight away . They do owe apologies to the Muslim community and it is the mind set which needs changing.

There are seven of the structures on the range at Bellerby, which have green domed roofs. Ishtiaq Ahmed of the BCM said that they were undoubtedly meant to resemble mosques.

The shape of the structures, the colour of the dome – the green dome – symbolises an Islamic place of worship, he said. Anyone looking at it will think about mosques and Muslims and think about them negatively.

 

10th April   

Update: Venue Pressured...

Dieudonn้ M'bala M'bala performance cancelled in London
Link Here  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour

Dieudonn้ M'Bala M'Bala posterA performance by the French comedian Dieudonn้ in London has been cancelled following complaints from the Jewish community, the Jewish Chronicle reports. Dieudonn้ M'bala M'bala, who was last year fined by a French court for performing an anti-Semitic sketch, was due to perform in Kensington this weekend.

Dieudonn้ previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed together with Alain Soral, an ex-member of the extreme-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

After discovering that he was due to appear in London, campaigners urged the hotel where the comedian was due to appear to reject the booking and cancel the event.

A spokesman for the Millennium Gloucester Hotel and Conference Centre said: It's not going to take place. We had an enquiry from someone representing Dieudonn้ and then recently we had some calls from the Jewish community, telling us what the situation is with him. We decided not to pursue the booking and now it will not happen.

Update: Not Cancelled

19th April 2010. Thanks to Elodie

The show has not been cancelled, it rescheduled to the Savoy Theatre. here is the video

 

10th April   

Casting the First Stone...

German magazine investigated for priestly satire
Link Here

titanicThe current cover of the German magazine Titanic has provoked nearly 100 complaints.

The complaints were received by the Press Council and included two criminal charges from the Frankfurt prosecutor.

The cover artwork shows a Catholic priest facing a crucifix - but arranged so that it could be interpreted as a blow job. The Jesus figure's face is blushed red and bleeding from the wounds. The slogan reads: The church today

The idea came from Titanic editor Stephan Rrup, it was illustrated by the Munich painter Rudi Hurzlmeier. It is a satirical allusion to the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the last few weeks dominated the media.

The German Press Council on Meedia is now considering whether the cover constitutes discrimination against adherents of a religious group.

According to a report by Dwdl.de the Frankfurt public prosecutor's two criminal charges against the responsible editor are related to a possible violation of Section 166 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the abuse of confessions, religious communities and faith groups. The chief prosecutor Claude Joerg said that this will be decided next week

 

10th April   

Offsite: UNRelenting...

Tide turning against support for 'defamation of religions'
Link Here

human rights first logoIn numerous examples unearthed by U.N. experts each year - blasphemy and defamation of religion laws have resulted in arrests and arbitrary detentions, as they have sparked assaults, murders and mob attacks. Journalists, bloggers, teachers, students, poets, religious converts and others are targeted, charged and sentenced for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Those who support defamation of religions law say these policies are necessary to combat incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, as well as to protect freedom of religion. But the facts tell a very different story, one that has resulted in eroding international support for this flawed concept.

Last month, as the United Nations Human Rights Council met in Geneva, it became increasingly clear that the tide is swiftly turning against support for defamation of religions. As it has since 1999, UN States from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) sponsored a resolution endorsing the concept that nations have an obligation to implement laws against the defamation of religions. Although the text squeezed through to its adoption, that was only by a small margin of three votes -- it was 12 votes last year -- and a growing number of UN States voted against the measure and many nations that had previously abstained from the debate spoke out in opposition to the resolution's passage.

This weakening UN Human Rights Council support for the defamation of religions was also evident in a second resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards that has been charged to identify new methods to combat racism. That resolution's final text did not include any defamation of religions language and there was no authorization for the Ad Hoc committee to codify defamation of religions into a binding international treaty.

...Read full article

 

10th April   

Update: Humanity Takes a Caning...

Malaysian man given a year in jail for drinking a beer
Link Here  full story: Malaysian Taliban...Muslims flogged for drinking and pre marital sex

Religious PoliceA Malaysian man has been sentenced to a year in jail and six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol in public.

Mohamad Sabri Zulkepli pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol at a shopping mall in February.

Zulkepli had asked to pay a fine and be given fewer lashes. He plans to appeal against his sentence, officials say.

Correspondents say the case is the latest in a string of harsh punishments meted out by Islamic 'judges'.

The accused can use the time spent in jail to reflect on how to lead a better life , 'Judge' Abdul Rahman Mohamad Yunos was quoted as saying by Malaysia's Star newspaper.

 

8th April   

Update: A Very Bad Day for Christianity...

Hospital justified in its necklace ban much to the annoyance of crucifix wearer
Link Here  full story: Religion on the NHS...Medical practictioners talk religion with patients

Tribunals Service logoA Christian nurse who refused to remove a crucifix at work has lost her claim for discrimination after an employment tribunal panel ruled that she should have reached a compromise with her hospital employers.

Shirley Chaplin suggested that her religious beliefs would be violated if she took off the necklace because she felt that she was being asked to hide her faith. She had the support of a number of bishops who claim that Christians are being persecuted in an increasingly secular society. The Archbishop of Canterbury has also criticised a wooden-headed bureaucratic silliness that prevents people from wearing religious symbols at work.

John Hollow, the tribunal chairman, ruled that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital had acted reasonably in trying to reach a compromise. It had argued that the objection to the crucifix, which Chaplin had worn for 30 years, was based on health and safety concerns about patients grabbing the necklace, not religion.

The hospital came up with a series of compromises after Mrs Chaplin's case was taken up by the Christian Legal Centre. Managers suggested that she pin it to her uniform or wear it on her identity lanyard.

Hollow suggested that the damage to Chaplin, who wore the jewellery each day to the hearing in Exeter, had been slight and noted that wearing a cross was not a requirement of the Christian faith.

After the judgment Chaplin claimed that every Christian would now be afraid to reveal their beliefs at work, adding: This is a very bad day for Christianity.

The Christian Legal Centre intends to appeal.

 

7th April   

Diary: Blasphemous...

Art exhibition challenging Ireland's new blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

blasphemous advert Blasphemous
Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA)
Lad Lane, Dublin 2
Until 25th April 2010

A new art exhibition titled Blasphemous opened on Good Friday in the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA) in Lad Lane, off Baggott Street, Dublin 2. It's the second art exhibition to highlight and challenge the new Irish blasphemy law, which became active on 1st January 2010.

Since then, the Irish Justice Minister has responded to the campaign against the law by saying that he will propose a referendum, later this year, to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution, thus enabling the blasphemy law to be repealed.

This makes the new exhibition in IMOCA not just a challenge to the blasphemy law, but also a celebration of artistic freedom, and freedom of expression generally.

The exhibition runs until 25 April and is open from 12 noon to 5 pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

6th April   

Passion for Censorship...

Re-enactment of crucifixion too much for the Australian police
Link Here

Passion DVD James Nesbitt When a tiny Australian church decided to remind people that Easter was about something more than chocolate, it was thought that re-enacting the crucifixion in a busy shopping mall would do the trick.

But 40 minutes into the display — which comprised a man spattered in red paint, a large wooden cross, two women mourners in black and orchestral music — the police shut it down, saying that it breached the peace. Shoppers, taken aback by the apparently bloody man hanging in Geelong, Victoria, complained that it had reduced children to tears. One mother said that her six-year-old son had been upset at seeing Jesus being hurt and crying out: Why, why?

Pastor Sarah Kenneally, of the Heaven on Earth Church said that she had seen no distressed children and that the decision compromised religious freedom. It wasn't like we were trying to take over the city, or tell everyone they were going to Hell, she said. They [the police] didn't talk to us first, they just came and yanked the cord out of our amp and said we had to stop. We got through 40 minutes of Jesus hanging on the cross. I was a bit disappointed.

The church has promised to tone down its performances in the future.

 

6th April   

Update: A New Life Outside of Dubai...

Air Stewardess cannot return to Dubai home as she becomes unmarried mum
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail

UAE flagAn air stewardess fears she can't return to Dubai where she lives because she has had a baby out of wedlock.

Irish Ex-pat Liz Curry has Alexandra during a 24-hour stopover in South Africa.

Dubai's strict Muslim laws mean Liz could now be sent to prison if she goes back to the country where she has lived for eight years.  The penalty for having sex outside marriage is at least three months in prison followed by deportation.

Liz said: I'm on unpaid leave at the moment but I can't go back to work in Dubai because of the law. I'm unmarried so if I'd had the baby in Dubai I would have been arrested and I can't take that risk.

 

5th April   

Update: A Revelation...

Christian TV channel opts out of Ofcom TV censorship
Link Here  full story: Revelation TV...Religious views winds up TV censors

Revelation TV logoThe christian TV station Revelation TV has crossed swords several times with the TV censor Ofcom.

The satellite TV station has been censured by Ofcom for programmes going over the top in criticising homosexuality, islam and abortion.

With another Ofcom investigation under way, Revelation TV has made a strategic withdrawal from UK censorship.

On 1st April 2010 Revelation TV gave up its UK broadcasting licence and took up a new one from the Spanish government. This means that they no longer have to comply with UK broadcasting regulations and Ofcom will not accept any further complaints about the channel.

 

5th April   

Poetical Threats...

Indian religious party whinge at play about Pakistani poet
Link Here

Shiv Sena logoSelf styled religious police in India have taken action against a Hindi play, Sara , based on the life of a Pakistani poet

Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab said: We received some complaints from local people saying that some of the dialogues in the play are very obscene. So we are demanding that they should be removed.

The party has also given a letter to local police station regarding the issue and asked the play producer Tarun Singh Negi to show its censor certificate.

We will agitate if the objectionable lines are not removed, Shiv Sena local leader Suresh Dube said.

However, the play director Mahesh Dattani said the allegations are baseless: Their complaint letter does not mention any specific dialogue. Initially, they objected to the play, saying it was written by a Pakistani, which is not true. None of the Shiv Sena activists have seen the play .

Threatening calls were also made to the producer and the director who have asked the police for protection.

The drama is written by Shahid Anwar on the life and time of Sara Shagufta, one of Pakistan's most controversial poets. Her life was troubled with personal conflict, which were expressed through her writings.

 

5th April   

Update: Kissing Visitors Goodbye...

Dubai not a nice place to visit as couple seen kissing are jailed
Link Here  full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail

UAE flagA British couple jailed in Dubai for kissing in public have lost their appeal against their conviction.

Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams were sentenced to a month in prison with subsequent deportation and fined about £200 for drinking alcohol.

The couple were arrested in November after a vengeful local woman accused them of breaking the country's decency laws by kissing on the mouth in a restaurant.

The couple's defence lawyers said the woman - who did not appear in court - had not seen the kiss herself, but had been told by her two-year-old child that the girl had seen the couple kissing.

The pair said they would make a second appeal against the judge's decision. The couple decided not to start their sentence immediately, but the Dubai authorities are holding their passports so they are unable to return to Britain.

The BBC's Ben Thompson, at the court, said the judge spoke entirely in Arabic as he quickly dismissed the appeal, saying he upheld the previous sentence.

Professor John Strawson, an expert in Islamic law, told BBC Radio 5 Live he was not surprised by the judge's decision. He said: The problem in this particular case is that one of the British citizens is of Muslim origin.

And I think that the combination of the alleged kissing and the consumption of alcohol in an illegal place, meant that this was a case that the authorities really wanted to pursue, and they are probably sticking to their rigid interpretation of the law.

 

3rd April   

Flying Kites for Censorship...

Nutters get The Kite banned from Lebanese TV
Link Here

Kite Flavia B%C3%83%C2%A9chara Private Lebanese TV channel NTV has refused to broadcast the feature film The Kite , directed by Randa Chahal Sabbag. Winner of the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 2003, the film tells the story of an impossible love affair between a young Lebanese Druze woman and a Druze man in the Israeli army (the Druze religious community practice a form of Islam derived from Shi'ism, live in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel).

Two political leaders from the Druze community, Walid Joumblatt and Talal Arslan, as well as several of the community's religious authorities convinced the channel's executives to postpone broadcasting the film. Their efforts were motivated by what they saw as the film's potential to offend members of the Druze community. Earlier in the day, several dozen protesters had gathered near the home of the channel's owner and next to the channel's headquarters to demand the cancellation of the film's scheduled broadcast.

 

3rd April   

Interfaith Discussion...

This is my church. Oh no it isn't. Oh yes it is
Link Here

mezquita catedral cordobScuffles broke out after a group of Muslims tried to pray inside a Spanish Roman Catholic cathedral that used to be a mosque.

Guards at the world-famous cathedral in the southern Spanish city of Cordoba called the police, and two of the Muslim tourists were arrested. A security guard and a police officer were slightly injured in the incident.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba was built after the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 8th century – Cordoba is known as the City of Three Cultures because Muslims, Jews and Christians lived there in harmony during medieval times.

The mosque was turned into a cathedral in 1236 when King Ferdinand III captured the city from the Moors. Since then, except for rare occasions, Muslim prayer rites have been forbidden inside.

Police spokeswoman Rosa Ortiz said a group of 120 Muslim tourists from Austria had gone into the cathedral and six or seven had started to pray. Security men told them to stop, but the small group insisted and argued with the guards. It was then police were summoned.

Two men, aged 23 and 19, continued praying after the police arrived and got into a shoving match with officers, after which they were arrested and charged with disobeying and threatening law enforcement officers.

 

3rd April   

Update: Saudi Justice Possessed by Evil...

Execution of TV astrologer put on Hold
Link Here  full story: Witch Hunts...Witches still hunted even in modern times

Saudi flagLawyer May al-Khansa had learned from a Saudi judicial source that that the execution of TV astrologer Ali Sibat for witchcraft was imminent.

So a dozen people demonstrated near the Saudi embassy in Beirut's western district of Qureitim. Four of the men wore masks to look like executioners and carried a wooden gallows with a cloth bag hanging from it. One of the men carried a small banner that read in Arabic: Don't kill .

Ms Khansa said she had called upon Saudi King Abdullah to pardon Sibat. She added that Sibat did not make predictions in Saudi Arabia and was neither a Saudi citizen nor a resident in Saudi and therefore should have been deported rather than tried there.

Sibat made predictions on an Arab satellite TV channel from his home in Beirut. He was arrested by the Saudi religious police during his pilgrimage to the holy city of Medina in May 2008 and sentenced to death last November.

Ali is not a criminal. He did not commit a crime or do anything disgraceful, Ms Khansa said. The world should help in rescuing a man who has five children, a wife and a seriously ill mother.

A Reprieve

Based on article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

The Lebanese man incredibly condemned to death for witchcraft by a Saudi court was not beheaded yesterday as had been expected, his lawyer said.

May al-Khansa said her client, TV psychic Ali Sibat, had been spared, but it was not clear whether the beheading had been waived or only postponed.

 

2nd April   

Update: Flogging Nasty Justice...

Malaysian beer drinker's flogging commuted to community service
Link Here  full story: Malaysian Taliban...Muslims flogged for drinking and pre marital sex

A caningA Malaysian woman sentenced to be caned for drinking beer has had her punishment commuted.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarnor had pleaded guilty to the offence under Malaysia's Islamic law and was to have received six strokes of a rattan cane.

But her family said religious officials had overturned the ruling, ordering her to carry out community service instead. Ms Kartika's family was informed by letter that the sultan of Pahang state, where Ms Kartika was arrested for drinking beer in a beachfront hotel in December 2007, had overturned the ruling.

The sultan has decided that the caning sentence will be substituted with a three-week community service at a children's home in Pahang from 2 April, Ms Kartika's father, Shukarnor Mutalib, told the AFP news agency.

The commutation was welcomed by Malaysia's Bar Council, which had called caning: anachronistic and inconsistent with a compassionate society.

 

2nd April   

Update: Facing Jail...

Belgian Burkha ban to go before parliament
Link Here

Belgium flagWomen could be jailed for wearing a burqa under new laws to go before Belgium's parliament.

The draft legislation, aimed at clamping down on Islamic extremism, forbids anyone from hiding their faces in public.

And those who break the law will be fined or sent to prison for up to a week if the legislation is approved.

A committee of MPs voted unanimously to put the hard-line bill to a full parliamentary vote on 22 April.

If passed, Belgium will become the first country in Europe to impose a complete ban on the wearing of full-face veils. The law has cross-party support and is likely to be voted through.

The text of the proposed new law does not specifically mention burqas. Instead, it makes it illegal for any person to wear clothing that covers all or most of the face in any public place, including pavements, parks, schools, shops and all public buildings.

We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen, said liberal MP Daniel Bacquelaine, who proposed the bill. It is necessary that the law forbids the wearing of clothes that totally mask and encloses an individual.

The proposed law stipulates that local mayors could suspend the ban on veils during festivities such as Carnival, when people traditionally wear costumes, including masks.

 

1st April   

Update: Shrouded in Doubt...

A French burkha ban may prove unconstitutional
Link Here

France flagFrance's top administrative body has advised the government that any total ban on face-covering Islamic veils could be unconstitutional.

The State Council also said a ban could be justified in some public places.

Prime Minster Francois Fillon had asked the council for a legal opinion before drawing up a law on the subject.

The State Council is required to give an opinion before any major piece of legislation is drafted in France.

However, Jean Leonetti, the deputy parliamentary leader of Sarkozy's UMP party, said a ban needs to be complete or else it is misunderstood . We still are of the view that a message needs to be sent that is clear and does not waver in terms of its implementation .

President Sarkozy has said more than once that the face-covering veil is not welcome in France, and that he wants a law restricting it.