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30th June   

Golden Opportunity...

Kuwaiti police investigate magic spells used to rob gold shops
Link Here
Kuwait policeman

  Sgt. Gul Abul at your service!

The Jahra police have taken into custody an Iraqi man who goes by the name of Kaka for using a magic spell to steal gold ornaments from a shop, reports Al-Shahid daily.

The arrest came following a complaint filed by the owner of the shop who said two persons entered his shop and asked to see sets of gold ornaments. The owner added he displayed in front of the men five sets. After checking the men said they were not interested and left the shop. However, after they had gone the salesman was shocked to find two sets missing. He was puzzled because he did not see the man taking the gold with them.

However, a case was filed against the thieves and intensive police investigations led to the arrest of the two men who are believed to criminals.

During interrogation Kaka reportedly admitted to the charge and said he had stolen items in similar fashion with the help of three other friends after casting a magic spell on the salesmen.

Investigations are underway to find out how many thefts the suspects have committed in similar fashion.

 

30th June   

Predictable Nonsense...

Astrologer arrested for predicting the fall of the Sri Lankan president
Link Here

  Mystic Mel predicts that,
 with  Pluto rapidly converging on Uranus,
June will see astrologers bit on the bum

A popular astrologer who predicted that the President of Sri Lanka would be ousted from office has been arrested.

Chandrasiri Bandara told an opposition party meeting that Mahinda Rajapaksa would be replaced by the Prime Minister on 9 September.

A police spokesman said that the astrologer had been arrested on Wednesday to allow police to investigate the source of his prediction.

Astrology is influential in Sri Lankan society. Many plan weddings and special events based on the advice of such advisers. Rajapaksa himself has said that he too is a devoted believer and often consults a favourite astrologer for advice on what time to make speeches or to depart for trips.

Bandara, who has a weekly television show and writes a deeply political column for a pro-opposition newspaper, is one of the most popular astrologers in the country. The opposition United National Party condemned the arrest. The crime committed by Bandara is not making predictions favourable to the government, it said.

 

30th June   

Cold Comfort...

Steady flow of sexual assaults by clergy of the Church of Sweden
Link Here

Sweden flagAfter another wave of sex scandals has hit the institution this year, the Church of Sweden is trying to limit damage and maintain the faith of its flock. The Church has been dealing with a steady flow of publicised sexual incidents for a number of years, and things have yet to cool down.

Archbishop Anders Wejryd told the TT news agency he regrets the incidents, but to his credit insists that transparency is the best way to deal with the ongoing problem: It is tragic, but I think that we have been successful in our ambition to get people to file reports.

In April, branches of the Church in Stockholm, Lund and Vaxjo had to deal with several incidents related to sex such as a priest who has having an inappropriate relationship with a 15 year-old, a priest who slept with a grieving widow, and a third who was caught abusing women with language on an Internet dating site.

Wejryd completely understands the media's obsession with sex and priests, but believes his church is doing all it can to curb the problem. The Church widely distributes a brochure at all its churches providing contact information to report a sexual assault. The sexual assault reports already filed over the past few years show numerous incidents involving priests and deacons from nearly every district in Sweden.

 

30th June   

Update: De-educating Pakistan...

Schools continue to fall to bombing attacks
Link Here

Pakistan flagIslamic militants bombed a girls' primary school on the outskirts of Pakistan's Peshawar city, the latest in a series of such attacks blighting the northwest of the country, police said.

The school was badly damaged during the attack in Mattni village, local police official Abdul Ghafoor Afridi said.

Explosives were used to raze the building, although some of the structures were left standing, he added.

Three rooms and the outer wall of the government-run community model girls primary school was totally destroyed while the staff room was damaged, the police official said. There were no casualties as schools are closed for the summer in Peshawar

Militants have destroyed at least 191 schools in the valley, including 122 girls' schools, leaving 62,000 pupils without classrooms, local officials said.

Militants also blew up a girls' school in South Waziristan, a tribal region that falls outside direct government control and where a full-scale army offensive is expected against Pakistan's Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud.

 

29th June   

Councillor with a Religious Disability...

Barmouth councillor suspended over religious inspired anti gay comments
Link Here

BarmouthA councillor has been disqualified for a year after referring to homosexuality as a notorious disability. Bill Pritchard, who was a town councillor in Barmouth, Gwynedd, wrote to an assembly government minister, referring to two men in a local development. He described homosexuality as a demon which can be driven out.

An adjudication panel of the public service ombudsman for Wales found he breached the council's code of conduct.

After the hearing in Dolgellau, Pritchard, an evangelical Methodist, said he was not sorry and stood by his views that homosexuality was a disability.

The hearing was told that the complainant - referred to only as Mr Smith - had found the comments grossly homophobic.

Giving evidence, Pritchard said he did not like to condemn people but preferred to rescue them into the church.

He was asked by the panel whether he accepted homosexual people might be offended by the term disability.

He replied: It is definitely a disability rather than a sin. He went on to add: I respect them as someone who is struggling with a disability as I would with someone in a wheelchair.

Pritchard was judged to have breached the code of conduct on two counts - one that he brought the council into disrepute and the second that as a councillor he must show respect and consideration for others.

 

29th June   

Update: Somali Pits of Humanity...

Somali man stoned to death
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Somalia flagHardline Islamist militiamen in Somalia have stoned to death a man accused of raping and murdering a woman.

The execution took place in front of a large crowd in the town of Wanlaweyn, about 90km south of the capital Mogadishu.

The man was convicted by an unofficial court set up by the al-Shabab movement: This man was accused of raping and killing an 18-year-old girl in May this year. The court found him guilty of the charges brought against him, Sheikh Mohamed Saleban, a local al-Shabab official, told AFP news agency. He was a married man, which is why the court sentenced him to be stoned to death, he added, explaining that a rape conviction only incurs flogging.

Local resident Abdullahi Husein said most of the town's population turned out to watch the lynching, where gunmen banned cameras and mobile phones: Ten masked men from the al-Shabab forces stoned him to death in front of everyone. They had dug a hole, buried him to his neck before throwing stones at him, he told AFP.

 

29th June   

Update: Illegal Advice...

Women are predictably being stiffed at UK sharia courts
Link Here  full story: Sharia Law in the UK...Shariah tribunals operating in Britain

CivitasDozens of sharia courts in the UK are regularly giving illegal advice on issues including marriage and divorce, a report published today claims.

Decisions concerning marriages not recognised under English law, polygamy, and disputes regarding children are being made by at least 85 sharia courts, according to the report by the thinktank Civitas.

There is no clear divide between the functions of imams and the sharia courts. An imam who conducts a marriage which is not registered and then advises on disputes within that marriage acts in breach of the law and outside the scope of the sharia court's role, Civitas say.

Some of these courts are advising illegal actions, said Denis MacEoin, a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic studies who wrote the report. And others transgress human rights standards.

About two-thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal, said Neil Addison, a barrister specialising in the law on religion. A woman with such a marriage would have no choice but to go to a sharia tribunal … But it's not the way arbitration is supposed to work.

MacEoin said: By demanding marriage under Muslim law, the divorce is determined by the man saying 'I divorce you' three times. Divorce under Islamic law also affects the wife's entitlement to alimony, custody of children, and who keeps the family house. These will all be decided by sharia law and will be discriminatory towards the woman in all cases.

Many Muslim lawyers have compared the operation of sharia courts to the Jewish beth din, which also operate as arbitration tribunals under UK law, a comparison which is questioned by the report. The report disputes the comparison. These courts are not operating within the same disciplines as the beth din. The beth din acknowledge that 'the law of the land is the law.' and a rabbi cannot perform a synagogue marriage ceremony unless a registrar is present to simultaneously register the marriage under English law.

Sharia courts also need to be more transparent if they are to continue, critic says. These tribunals don't seem to have any system of record keeping said MacEion: They are not transparent, either within their own community or for the outside community. That is a problem that needs to be looked at.

 

29th June   

Update: Defence Militia...

People fight back against the Pakistan Taliban
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan flagIt was the Taleban's demand to take the women they had widowed that was the last straw for the residents of Upper Dir.

When the militants arrived in their mountainous corner of northwestern Pakistan in February the locals cautiously welcomed them. Some even joined them, attracted by the five or six pounds a day they paid. Over the next three months, however, Upper Dir's residents were increasingly angered by the Taleban's criminal activities and disrespect for local customs, according to residents and Pakistani officials.

In early June elders asked them to leave the five villages they had occupied. The Taleban responded on June 5 with a suicide attack on a local mosque that killed 39 people. The next day they told the elders to give them the women who had been widowed in the attack.

Instead, the elders summoned men from 30 surrounding villages, told them to fetch their weapons (many men in the region own a gun), and launched a “lashkar” — or tribal militia — of more than 1,000 people to drive out the Taleban.

They shot dead the local Taleban leader — who went by the name of Champo — burnt several more to death in the houses that they had occupied, and surrounded the remaining 150 in a mountainside village, where they were still under siege.

 

29th June   

Offsite: Dangerous Cult...

Scientology's Crimes And Abuses Are Finally Hitting The Fan
Link Here  full story: Cult of Scientology...Protests against a dangerous cult

Scientology is a dangerous cultIt is with a sense of awe and splendor Glosslip is reporting on what may be the most damaging coverage of the cult of Scientology ever written.

The St. Petersburg Times Newspaper unleashed a three part series, that must have cult leader David Miscavige popping veins in his head. This three part series is of such EPIC proportions, that we were only able to outline the stories and touch on a few of the most maligning accounts and testimonies given by four top ranking Scientology defectors.

...Read full article

 

29th June   

Offsite: Burnt Alive...

Horror of Kenya's 'witch' lynchings
Link Here  full story: Witch Hunts...Witches still hunted even in modern times

Kenya flagVillagers, many straight from their farms, and armed with machetes, sticks and axes, are shouting and crowding round in a big group in Kenya's fertile Kisii district.

Suddenly an old woman breaks from the crowd, screaming for mercy. Three or four people go after her, beat her and drag her back, pushing her onto - what I can now see - is a raging fire.

I was witnessing a horrific practice which appears to be on the increase in Kenya - the lynching of people accused of being witches.

...Read full article

 

28th June   

Update: Religion on the NHS...

Doctors ask to be given right to discuss spiritual issues with patients
Link Here  full story: Religion on the NHS...Medical practictioners talk religion with patients

BMA logoDoctors are demanding that NHS staff be given a right to discuss spiritual issues with patients as well as being allowed to offer to pray for them.

Medics will tell the British Medical Association conference this week that staff should not be disciplined as long as they handle the issue sensitively.

The doctors said recent cases where health workers had got into trouble were making people fearful. The doctors, who are behind the motion being discussed at the Liverpool conference, are unhappy about the guidance that has been issued.

The General Medical Council code suggests that discussing religion can be part of care provided to patients - as long as the individual's wishes are respected.

At the start of this year the Department of Health issued guidance warning about proselytising. It said that discussing religion could be interpreted as an attempt to convert which could be construed as a form of harassment.

The Department of Health said it was the responsibility of the NHS Chaplaincy Service to meet the spiritual needs of patients. A spokeswoman said: We are committed to the principle of ensuring that patients and staff in the NHS have access to the spiritual care that they want, whatever faith or belief system they follow. Although all staff should be sensitive to religious needs and preferences of patients, the delivery of spiritual care should be provided by the hospital chaplaincy service.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, agreed it was not the role of doctors and nurses to bring up religion: The risk is that it makes patients feel uncomfortable. They may feel compelled to say 'yes' thinking their care will suffer. Really, it is an infringement of their privacy. I think we should be very clear that patients should have to ask for this, not offered it.

 

28th June   

Discriminating School...

Jewish school told that its selection criteria breach Race Discrimination Act
Link Here

JFS logoBritain's Jewish faith schools may have to revise their admission policies after the Court of Appeal ruled that the widely used criteria for selecting pupils breached the Race Discrimination Act.

In a far-reaching judgment, three judges found the well known JFS (formerly the JFS in Brent, north-west London, racially discriminated against a 12-year-old boy by denying him a place at the school because his mother was not a recognised Jew.

The ruling was immediately attacked by the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs, who said he supported an appeal to the House of Lords to try to overturn the judgment so that Jews could be true to the Jewish faith by upholding the existing criteria for membership of the Jewish religion.

The boy's father is Jewish by birth, but his mother is Jewish by conversion conducted at a Progressive rather than an Orthodox synagogue and therefore not recognised by the Office of the Chief Rabbi (OCR). It is a basic principle that a child is not recognised by the OCR and other bodies as Jewish unless his or her mother is Jewish.

JFS argued that its admissions policy giving preference to Jewish children when the school was oversubscribed was lawful because it was based on religious and not racial criteria.

But the judges said that the requirement that if a pupil is to qualify for admission his mother must be Jewish, whether by descent or by conversion, is a test of ethnicity which contravenes the Race Relations Act.

 

28th June   

Updated: More to Hate...

Westboro nutters turn to unsettled scores with Israelites
Link Here

God Hates You placardThe Fred Phelps God Hates Fags lunatics weren't getting enough attention with the picketing of soldiers' funerals and whatnot, so now they are just straight-up taking on the Jews. Hey, they're coming to New York!

This coming Sunday, in New York City's Central Park, the Phelps clan plans to visit an Israeli tourism event, with a calendar entry that reads:

All the remainder can sit and stew in your own filth, remain filthy until the day God spews you out of the land and punishes you for never repenting from having killed Jesus. You will be destroyed at the hand of Antichrist Obama, and you will eat your little cute, chubby, Kosher babies.

Update: Sponsored Hate

28th June 2008. See article from nydailynews.com, thanks to Alan

A Manhattan synagogue turned a visit from hate-spewing demonstrators into a lucrative fund-raiser.

Leaders of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a West Village synagogue that caters to gays and lesbians, didn't want to ignore a planned visit by members of the rabidly anti-gay and anti-Semitic Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

Instead, they asked supporters to pledge a dollar or more for every minute that six protesters stood near their synagogue hurling epithets and holding signs that read God Hates Fags and Jews Stole the Land.

The final haul after 50 minutes: $10,000.

 

27th June   

Update: Peace Undisturbed...

Turkish author acquitted of blasphemy in his novel The Daughters of Islam
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Turkey...Blasphemy repressing Turkish people

booky by Nedim GurselAn Istanbul court has acquitted the Turkish novelist Nedim Gürsel of inciting religious hatred with the publication of his novel The Daughters of Islam.

The judgment cited errors in the original complaint, and concluded that there had been no criminal intent in the publication of the novel.

The decision brings to an end a process that has lasted for more than a year, after a private citizen accused the novel of denigrating religious values under article 216 of the Turkish penal code, a complaint supported in a rare intervention by the Turkish directorate of religious affairs.

Speaking by phone from his home in France the author said he was happy and even relieved to be acquitted of a charge which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

He had been worried when the directorate intervened, he continued, particularly because the evidence they submitted reproduced the errors in the original complaint, confusing the phrase Allah's servants in the book with the phrase Allah's lovers, and citing a description of Allah's daughters lying completely naked that did not appear in the novel.

This means that the directorate wanted to condemn me without even having read the book, he said.

An appeal may be lodged against the decision within seven days, but Gürsel considered it unlikely that a higher court would reverse the decision, since a police report concluded that the publication of the book had not disturbed the peace, a vital part of any prosecution for blasphemy under article 216.

The author pronounced himself satisfied with the verdict, but sad that the trial had degraded the image of Turkey in the eyes of democratic countries. The offence of blasphemy shouldn't even exist in a secular republic, which is what Turkey considers itself to be.

 

27th June   

Update: Give it a Rest!...

Nutters get violent over a Jerusalem car park opening on the sabbath
Link Here  full story: Sabbath in Israel...Violence and the Jewish sabbath

Israel flagOrdered into the streets by their rabbis, thousands of ultra-orthodox protesters earlier this month tried to storm a car park next to the city hall after the new secular mayor, Nir Barkat, opened it on the Sabbath. Thousands of ultra-orthodox protesters hurled rockets, bottles and screams of "Nazis" at police before they were pushed back to their stronghold of Mea Shearim.

While Barkat's aides said the step was necessary because of a shortage of parking for Israeli tourists near Jerusalem's historic Old City, some ultra-orthodox leaders saw it as the start of an effort to make the more than 3,000-year-old biblical city's character more Western.

From our point of view, the character of Jerusalem is at stake. This is a city of sanctity. It is not a place for having a good time like Tel Aviv, said Shmuel Feffenheim, a spokesman for the Eda Haredit group that led the protests.

Secular leaders said the issue was not just parking but one of personal freedom. I don't force them into a car on Saturdays and they have no right to dictate to us how we live, said left-wing city councilor Laura Wharton.

After the protests, Mr Barkat postponed the opening of the facility for two weeks. He also took pains to assuage religious sensibilities by promising to have non-Jews who are not bound by Sabbath strictures staff the garage.

Ultra-orthodox leaders have promised even larger demonstrations.

 

27th June   

Update: Conversion to Reversion...

Indian government looks to repeal abused anti-conversion law
Link Here

India flagThe newly elected central government has agreed to repeal a Bill that has restricted the freedom of religion in India.

Home Minister P Chidambaram will reportedly be reviewing and making recommendations on the controversial anti-conversion Bill, also known as the Freedom of Religion Acts.

Presently, the anti-conversion law is in force in five states - Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. In two other states - Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan - the law has been passed but not yet implemented.

It is unlikely that Rajasthan will enact the Bill after Congress wrested power from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The anti-conversion law was originally introduced to curb religious conversions made by “force”, “fraud” or “allurement". Christians, however, say the law has been misused to arrest and imprison church leaders with fabricated charges.

While Hindu nationalists are pushing for a national anti-conversion law, church leaders continue to appeal for the anti-conversion law to be repealed in all states and for the equal treatment of minorities.

 

26th June   

Update: Dramatic Condemnation...

New movie highlights Iranian injustice and the evil of stoning
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

The Soning of Soraya M. film posterAn Iranian woman is framed for adultery, then bound, gagged and buried to her waist in dirt before being stoned to death in a bloody and harrowing sequence in a new film in US cinemas this week.

The movie, The Stoning of Soraya M., is a dramatization based on the bestselling book of the same name by a French-Iranian journalist about a woman's death in an Iranian village in 1986.

The film aims to give a dramatic condemnation of the practice, which still occurs in countries including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, Nowrasteh told Reuters.

This is overdue and it has been too long suppressed as an issue for open discussion, said the US-born director, who is of Iranian descent and spent part of his childhood in Iran: Fundamentally this film is about injustice.

The film stars exiled Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, whose character tells a passing journalist the story of her murdered niece, who was framed for infidelity by her divorce-seeking husband.

Those who say the stoning in this film is graphic should see a real one, Aghdashloo said.

 

26th June   

Update: Poetic Injustice...

Poet jailed for a year for blasphemy in Jordan
Link Here

Jordan flagA Jordanian court of first instance has sentenced a poet for one year in jail after finding him guilty of slandering Islam, judicial sources said Monday.

The tribunal also fined poet Islam Samhan 10,000 dinars (14,000 dollars), in the case that was filed in October last year by the Printing and Publication Department.

The Department accused Samhan of using sentences and quotations from the holy Koran in such a manner that involved an insult of prophets and religious sentiments.

Samhan denied the charges, saying the verdict was designed to please religious circles. His lawyer, Khair Hourani, said the ruling was not founded on sound legal bases and that he intended to appeal it.

The blasphemy accusation originated from Jordan's grand mufti, Noah Alqdah Samas, the kingdom's highest religious authority. He called Samhan an enemy of religion for his poetry, some of which included lines comparing his loneliness to that of the prophet Yusuf in the Quran.

 

25th June   

Moral Emergency...

Church whinges at Berlusconi having fun with escort girls
Link Here

Silvio BerlusconiA defiant Silvio Berlusconi insisted that he had never paid a woman for sex, as pressure mounted on the Italian Prime Minister to explain his actions amid lurid allegations that he had entertained escorts and call-girls at his home.

The comments — the first since an inquiry into alleged prostitution was launched — came as an influential Catholic magazine attacked his behaviour as indefensible and accused him of causing a moral emergency in his nation.

In an interview with Chi magazine, which he owns, an unrepentant Berlusconi said he had nothing to apologise for in his private life. I have never paid a woman.

Referring to Patrizia D'Addario, the escort girl who spent a night at Palazzo Grazioli, his Rome residence, he insisted that he was the victim of a set-up. Someone sent her with a very precise aim ... if I suspected a person of anything of the kind I would keep them a thousand miles away.

Ms D'Addario denied Berlusconi's account. She said: If he has the slightest proof to support his allegation he should hand it to the authorities.

The Prime Minister added that his estrangement from his wife, Veronica Lario, who has asked for a divorce, was a very painful wound.

His supporters fear a drop in Catholic support and yesterday Italy's most popular Catholic magazine said that Berlusconi had passed the limits of decency. Father Antonio Sciortino, the magazine's editor, said the Italian Church cannot ignore this moral emergency. One cannot pretend that nothing is happening.

Father Sciortino said Christians were bewildered by this climate of moral decadence and that Berlusconi had still not explained the contradictions in his accounts of how he knew Noemi Letizia, the aspiring model whose 18th birthday party he attended in a Naples suburb.

 

25th June   

Update: Sticking One's Necklace Out...

NHS worker quits over crucifix ban
Link Here  full story: Religion on the NHS...Medical practictioners talk religion with patients
Crown of Thorns

  Ok Ok...no crucifix
Can I wear a hair band?

A Christian hospital worker who was ordered to remove a crucifix which could harbour infection has left her job in protest.

Helen Slatter was told by Gloucestershire Royal Hospital the necklace posed a health and safety risk and could even be used as weapon.

Ms Slatter, a blood sampler - or phlebologist - was not content to accept the hospital's offer that she wear the emblem in her pocket and has now resigned.

When the row erupted in May the trust said: The issue is not one of religion. The trust employs a uniform policy which must be adhered to at all times. Necklaces and chains present two problems - firstly they provide a surface that can harbour and spread infections, and secondly they present a health and safety issue whereby a patient could grab a necklace or chain and cause harm to a member of staff.

 

24th June   

Update: There's Probably No God in Finland...

Bus drivers call off their boycott of atheist buses
Link Here  full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

Finland flagBus drivers with religious convictions, who are employed by Helsingin Bussiliikenne, which operates public bus lines in Helsinki will not be taking any action against an international advertising campaign by the non-religious.

Last week, the prospect that they would have to drive buses with advertisements proclaiming There probably is no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life, caused a stir among religious drivers, some of whom had threatened to refuse to drive vehicles with the slogan.

The campaign, sponsored by the Freethinkers Association, and the Finnish Humanist Association is part of the international atheist bus campaign.

The leader of resistance by religious bus drivers, Tapani Mäkinen, said that there were few legal ways for Christian and Muslim drivers to refuse to drive buses with the offending ads and still keep their jobs. The drivers asked their shop steward if it was possible to refuse to drive a certain vehicle out of religious conviction. We hit a dead end. Something like that would be seen as a refusal to work, Mäkinen said.

The atheist ads will be on the buses for two weeks. The advertising campaign will also take place in Turku and Tampere, although the wording of the slogan was toned down a bit.

Christian groups are also planning to take a public stand on the question of the existence of God. Two Lutheran congregations in Helsinki, as well as the Finnish Bible Institute are planning a summer event in August with a slogan: God exists. Don't worry, enjoy life.
Timo Junkkaala, the executive director of the Finnish Bible Institute insists, however, that organisers came up with name before the international atheist bus campaign was launched.

 

24th June   

Bravery Unveiled...

President Sarkozy backs a ban on burkhas
Link Here

burkhaPresident Sarkozy has risked the wrath of Muslims by backing demands for the burkha to be banned.

He declared that the full-body religious gown is a sign of the debasement of women.

In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity, he said to extended applause in Versailles, at a joint session of France's two houses of parliament: The burkha is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.

The president was supporting a weekend call by dozens of French politicians for a parliamentary commission to study whether the burkha, which is growing in popularity in France, should be banned.

 

24th June   

Update: Keeping the Faith...

At the expense of children who die from treatable conditions
Link Here  full story: Prayer Before Medicine...Suffering as prayer is prefered to medical aid

OregonDespite the deaths of numerous children from medical neglect, the members of an Oregon church insist that government intervention is unconstitutional. In a statement released Sunday, the Followers of Christ Church made clear that it stands by Carl and Raylene Worthington, who withheld medical care from their fifteen-month-old daughter Ava last year. The church believes that seeking medical treatment is a sign of weak faith.

Ava died in March of 2008 from bacterial pneumonia and a blood infection, and doctors believe both of these could easily have been treated with antibiotics. Ava's parents will go to trial for manslaughter and criminal mistreatment on June 23rd .

The church said in the statement released by their counsel, Concerning the question of parental prerogative in making decisions for children, where core religious beliefs are invoked: Family autonomy is a deeply respected value and tradition in our country, as is religious freedom.

Raylene Worthington also lost her teenage brother to death from an easily treatable medical condition in 2008. Ava's 16-year-old uncle, Neil Beagley, died of an easily treatable urinary tract infection in November. Neil's parents will probably not be charged criminally because he was legally old enough to refuse treatment. He chose instead to die of heart failure as his body filled up with urine.

If convicted, Carl and Raylene may be treated as heroes in the faith, according to one former member of the church. In an article in religionnewsblog, the former member said> They'll probably be looked up to, that they made this sacrifice for the love of God, for the church and for all of the members.

 

24th June   

Reason Takes a Day Off...

Delayed plane cancelled rather than arrive in Tel Aviv on the sabbath
Link Here  full story: Sabbath in Israel...Violence and the Jewish sabbath

El Al logoEl Al airline passengers in Bangkok were ordered off a plane due to the company's commitment not to desecrate the Sabbath.

The 120 passengers, some of whom already were on the plane, were told that mechanical problems would prevent the flight taking off to Tel Aviv as scheduled.

The flight crew contacted El-Al's CEO, Haim Romano, who decided to postpone the flight until after the Sabbath's end. Passengers were accommodated in Bangkok hotels. Religious passengers were booked at hotels within walking distance of Bangkok's Chabad House, where they held prayer services and ate Sabbath meals.

El Al noted that its decision cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, El Al remains committed to Sabbath observance. After its receiving information that there would be a doubt of Sabbath desecration, El Al's CEO decided to cancel the flight.

 

24th June   

PEPSI Nonsense...

Pay Every Penny to Save Israel
Link Here

PEPSIExtremist Moslems have not dropped their allegations that Pepsi Cola is essentially the code name for a Zionist plot.

MEMRI has released an English transcript of an address given by a Muslim religious leader in Egypt this past February, in which he explains that PEPSI is actually an acronym for Pay Every Penny to Save Israel.

In addition, a member of the Hamas terrorist organization's parliament in Gaza made similar accusations against Pepsi last year. Speaking with official Hamas TV station Al-Aqsa TV on April 23, 2008, Hamas MP Salem Salamah said, There are companies established by the colonialists and occupiers - large companies with branches all over the world, like Pepsi, Pepsi Cola. This is a well-known company. Pepsi is an acronym. P-E-P-S-I - Pay Every Pence to Save Israel.

Al-Aqsa TV promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

More recently, this past February, Egyptian cleric Hazem Abu Ismail made a similar accusation. Speaking on Al Nas TV, a Muslim religious channel in Egypt that provides Islamic programming for Muslim Muftis, Abu Ismail all but called for a Muslim boycott of Pepsi because it stands for Pay Every Penny Saving Israel.'

 

23rd June   

Updated: Sharia in Thailand...

More autonomy on the agenda for Thailand's restive south
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Thailand...Cconsidering sharia law for the troublesome south

Thailand SouthThailand may allow more local autonomy and consider allowing Shariah law to defuse a separatist insurgency in Muslim provinces that border Malaysia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Abhisit is seeking to undermine suspected separatists in four southernmost provinces who have attacked teachers, Muslim worshippers and policemen this month, leaving at least 31 dead and more than 50 injured. The prime minister, who took office in December, has insisted any decentralization of power wouldn't be tantamount to autonomy, which the government opposes.

Most of the local Malay Muslims just want a more autonomous, more decentralized administration so that they have political space for their own cultural and religious identity, said Srisompob Jitpiromsri, a political science lecturer at the Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani province: So far the local identity has been suppressed by the central government.

Abhisit has advocated a reconciliatory approach with more development aid for the region, where separatists have fought for an independent state since Thailand formally annexed the autonomous Malay-Muslim sultanate in 1902. A planned development plan that would create jobs in the region will go a long way to contribute to stability, he said.

Abhisit said negotiations with separatists were impractical because the movement was not integrated. Insurgents in the area, which is about twice the size of the Palestinian territories, were supported by funds from drug cartels, human trafficking rings and other criminal syndicates, he said.

Recruiters appeal to a sense of Malay nationalism and pride in the old Patani sultanate, says Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, Crisis Group's Thailand analyst: They tell students in these schools that it is the duty of every Muslim to take back their land from the Buddhist infidels.

 

23rd June   

Update: Iran Seeing the Light?...

Iran suggests backing off from inhumane punishments
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Iran flagIranian lawmakers are mooting legislation that would outlaw harsh punishment methods such as stoning and amputations, Iran's official news agency IRNA said on Monday.

Ali Sharokhi, who is the president of the Iranian judiciary commission said MPs are eyeing legal amendments to make illegal stoning, cutting off the hands of thieves, amongst other 'Islamic' punishments.

Currently, stoning, or lapidation is a legal punishment for crimes such as adultery, prostitution, and incest.

 

23rd June   

Updated: Unappealing UAE...

UAE compounds adultery injustice as man is freed whilst woman loses appeal and remains in jail
Link Here

UAE flagThe woman recently sentenced to three months in jail in the United Arab Emirates on sex-related charges has lost her appeal against the sentence.

But, in a strange twist, the man Roxanne Hillier was alleged to have had sex with, and who had also been sentenced on these charges, has been released from jail.

As far as we understand, there is no other way that we can take this further in court. But we are exploring other options, Maxine Hillier said shortly after her sister's appeal was heard on Monday.

Hillier, 22, a dive instructor, had been fighting for her freedom since her arrest just more than a month ago. She and the owner of the centre were arrested during a police raid on May 16. She was later found guilty of being alone in a room with a man to whom she was not related, and of engaging in sex out of wedlock.

Her boss, a UAE citizen who is married with children, was sentenced to six months' jail and Hillier to three months.

Hillier's family unsurprisingly insisted the charges were trumped up and that foul play was involved. Strangely the authorities have listed Hillier as muslim when she is in fact christian. They said she had been working late the day of her arrest and had decided to sleep in a locked guest room at the dive centre, while her boss was working in another room. Her father Freddie said the police had forced their way into the centre and broke down Hillier's door.

Maxine Hillier said her family was battling to accept the appeal decision: The family is taking it badly. My sister and my mother are taking a lot of strain. However, they were still hoping to use the release of Hillier's boss to help her sister.

 

23rd June   

Update: Cut Off From Humanity...

4 Somali teenagers sentenced to double amputations for stealing mobile phones
Link Here

Somalia flagSomalia's al Shabaab insurgents in a Mogadishu stronghold sentenced four teenagers to each have a hand and a leg amputated as punishment for robbery.

It would be the first such amputation carried out by the Islamist rebels, who follow strict sharia law in the parts of south Somalia they control.

Al Shabaab has carried out executions, floggings and single-limb amputations before, mainly in south Kismayu port.

Today, the Islamic court sentences these four men who carried out robberies to have their opposite hand and leg amputated, said Sheikh Abdul Haq, judge of a sharia court in the Somali capital: They robbed mobile phones and people's belongings.

International rights group Amnesty International condemned the sentence, saying the men had no lawyer and were not allowed to appeal: We are appealing to al Shabaab not to carry out these cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, said Tawanda Hondora, Africa deputy director of the group: These sentences were ordered by a sham al Shabaab court with no due process.

Update: Postponed

24th June 2009. See article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

An Islamic court in Somalia that sentenced four men to have a hand and a leg cut off postponed the punishment yesterday, saying the sweltering weather could cause them to bleed to death.

Update: Inhumanity Confirmed

27th June 2009. See article from news.bbc.co.uk, thanks to Alan

Inhuman Islamists in Somalia have carried out double amputations on four men for stealing phones and guns.

They have each had a hand and foot cut off after being convicted by a Sharia court in the capital earlier this week.

More then 300 people, mainly women and children, watched as masked men cut off their limbs with machetes.

The four men reportedly admitted to the robberies, but were not represented by a lawyer and were not allowed to appeal against their sentence.

 

22nd June   

Kosher Aint Kosher...

Government scientists report that religious slaughter is cruel
Link Here

Kosher symbolsReligious slaughter techniques practised by Jews and Muslims are cruel and should be ended, says a scientific assessment from the Government's animal welfare advisers.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council says that slitting the throats of the animals most commonly used for meat, chickens, without stunning, results in significant pain and distress. The committee, which includes scientific, agricultural and veterinary experts, is calling for the Government to launch a debate with Muslim and Jewish communities to end the practice.

One Muslim organisation, the Halal Food Authority, already insists on the slaughterhouses it regulates stunning animals first on welfare grounds, as long as they are still alive when their throats are slit. But in other halal and almost all kosher slaughterhouses, animals have their throats slit without prior stunning which would render them insensible to the pain. Religious groups say that doing so would be against their interpretation of religious texts. They are granted an exemption to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, which stipulates that creatures such as cows, goats and chickens be stunned first.

In a report into the slaughter of white meat, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (Fawc) said evidence suggested that chicken and turkeys were likely to be conscious for up to 20 seconds as blood seeped out of them. The animals are killed by a transverse incision across their neck, cutting skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and major nerves.

Such a large cut will inevitably trigger sensory input to pain centres in the brain, the council said. Our conclusions ... are that such an injury would result in significant pain and distress ... before insensibility supervenes. Fawc is in agreement with the prevailing scientific consensus that slaughter without pre-stunning causes pain and distress. On the basis that this is avoidable and in the interests of welfare, Fawc concludes that all birds should be pre-stunned before slaughter.

While recognising the difficulties of reconciling scientific findings with matters of faith, it urged the Government to continue to engage with religious communities to make progress. In a 2003 report on red meat, Fawc called for ministers to repeal the religious groups' legal opt-out.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it would not change its long-standing policy of religious tolerance" by ending the opt-out. And while the Government would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter, we will continue to ensure that required standards of animal welfare are effectively monitored and enforced in all slaughterhouses, it said in a statement.

Update: Animals Will Continue to Suffer

27th June 2009. See article from politics.co.uk

Animal rights groups have reacted with outrage at a European Union ruling earlier this week protecting Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughtering animals.

Jews practise a form of ritual slaughter called shechita, while Muslims practise dhabiha. Neither will have to involve stunning the animal before slaughter under the ruling, a factor many animal rights advocates consider objectionable.

The new EU rules require all slaughter techniques to make sure animals do not suffer any avoidable distress or pain, but they make an explicit exception for cultural traditions and religious rites.

It means there will now be a requirement for kosher and halal food to be traded and sold freely in every EU state.

 

21st June   

Raiding Party...

Saudi police in mass arrest of Philippines gay men
Link Here

Saudi flagSaudi Arabian police are reported to have arrested 71 foreigners accused of homosexuality in the capital Riyadh. According to a report in the Arab daily, al-Quds al-Arabi, police raided a party and arrested the group.

Several residents are reported to have snitched to police about people who were doing things that did not conform with Islamic sharia law.

When police arrived they reportedly found people wearing indecent clothes and conducting themselves in an indecent manner. Seventy Filipinos and one Yemeni were arrested by police.

Philippines embassy Vice Consul Roussel Reyes told AFP that: They had alcohol and some were dressed up like women.

Both drinking and cross-dressing are forbidden under Saudi Arabia's conservative Islam-based sharia laws, and both could bring up to six months in prison and lashes.

None were charged with homosexual acts, a much more serious charge under Saudi law, Reyes said. The men have all been released to their employers while formal charges are drawn up, he added.

 

21st June   

Update: Budd Lite...

Indonesian police relaxed about Buddha Bar
Link Here  full story: Buddha Bar Barred...Jakkarta's Buddha Bar causes offence

Buddha BarKey religious figures have signed a petition to protest the use of religious icons by Jakkarta's Buddha Bar restaurant, calling for the owners to cease using the symbols for commercial purposes.

The more than 20 prominent petitioners included catholics, muslims and buddhists. The petition said the commercialization of a religion violated ethical and moral values in the society, and was tantamount to blasphemy, punishable by law in Indonesia.

They urged firm action by the government and city administration.

The protest was organized by the Anti-Buddha Bar Forum (FABB), consisting of mostly mainstream Buddhist groups in Indonesia.

The Buddha Bar, the only Asian branch of the French lounge chain, has received numerous protests from the local Buddhist community for its use of the name Buddha as the restaurant's name, and for its statues of the Buddha throughout the bar.

Forum head Kevin Wu said the FABB demanded the bar change its name and shed any Buddhist themes. He added the FABB had reported it to the police for blasphemy: However, the police investigation has been slow.

FABB lawyer Sugianto said the police had told them to relax.

 

21st June   

Update: Married to Nonsense...

Another Islington marriage registrar refusing to marry gays
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Islington Council logoA Christian registrar was demoted to receptionist because she refuses to preside over gay marriages, and last night claimed she is facing dismissal. Theresa Davies said she is being forced out of the £26,000-a-year job she loves because of her religious objections to same-sex civil partnerships.

The case parallels that of Lillian Ladele, the registrar who had a similar battle last year with the same Islington Council in North London. Davies has worked for the council for 18 years and was a friend and colleague of Ladele in the same department.

She will send a strongly worded letter to all members of the House of Lords tomorrow, highlighting her plight and complaining of a militant political-sexual libertarian lobby at the council.

Davies told The Mail on Sunday: Britain is supposed to be a nation that respects freedom of conscience. But my conscience is not being respected. If Islington Council believes in dignity for all, why can't my beliefs be accommodated and why is my dignity not being respected? I have nothing against homosexuals. My colleagues in the office will tell you that, and the openly gay ones have no problem with me. All I am asking is that the system can be arranged so I do not have to perform civil partnerships.

With the backing of the Christian Legal Centre, Davies is now launching a grievance procedure against the council, arguing that she has been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of her religious beliefs.

 

20th June   

Update: There's Almost Certainly No God...

German atheist bus completes its tour
Link Here  full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

German atheist busThere's almost certainly no God. [reported as Close to certainty, there is no God] With this slogan on the side of their bus, German atheists have been touring through Germany for three weeks, on a trip that has stirred up controversy and debate.

On Thursday, the atheist bus stopped off in Berlin, bringing the promotional tour throughout the country to a close.

In the German capital, the atheist bus tour fell on fertile ground. The London-style red double-decker was crammed full on Thursday, which was perhaps not surprising as approximately two-thirds of Berliners say they are not religious in any way.

Campaign spokesman Peder Ibelher explained why the campaign slogan, Close to certainty, there is no God, lacked a fiery anti-religious sting: This reflects the scientific approach that Germans have to the question of God. You can never say there is no God because there's no evidence for a God and no evidence against it.

A second bus, emblazoned with the slogan, And what if there is God? was right behind the atheist bus at every stop it made.

Among the anti-demonstrators was Axel Nehlsen, a protestant pastor who fundamentally disagrees with the atheists: All ideologies have been thrown away in the last decades and even capitalism is in a crisis now. So I think the Christian faith and the relationship to God and Jesus Christ can give everybody a foundation which is not depending on the current mainstream. And we want to challenge them to find out whether God exists.

Official church leaders in Germany have reacted calmly to the atheist bus, arguing that the activists would actually do the Christian faith a service, by enlivening the public debate about God.

Public transport authorities were less comfortable. In contrast to London, where the slogan appeared on city buses and in the Underground (tube) network, German cities banned the slogan from being advertised. They claimed it would inflame religious feelings.

Peder Ibelher, however, said the campaign was a huge success despite the public advertisement ban: The campaign went really well. We've heard that up to a quarter of the German population noticed our slogan. Maybe it's come out even better in the end with no public advertisement - with the bus just going around from city to city in Germany.

 

19th June   

Inhuman UAE Rape Law...

Women warned not to report rape in UAE
Link Here

UAE flagA Brisbane woman was jailed for eight months in the United Arab Emirates for claiming she was raped by three men after her drink was spiked in a hotel bar.

The woman, identified only as Amanda, said she ordered one drink from the bar in the UAE hotel she was staying, but then remembered nothing until waking up the next afternoon.

Amanda, interviewed on ABC radio this morning, said she was arrested after reporting her rape to police and later sentenced to 11 months' jail for having illicit sexual relations and one month for consumption of alcohol.

I don't remember anything except for having that drink ... in one way that's a good thing but from what happened following, it's still an extremely traumatising,' she said.

She was released five months ago after securing a royal pardon after serving eight months, and is now home in Australia.

Amanda said said four high-ranking muslim men had to witness penetration to prove a rape charge, so women who reported rapes were typically seen as confessing to illicit sexual relations or prostitution.

I can move on, and I'm working on that, part of my process is to help other people with awareness of what's going on and making changes,' she said.

Amanda met with several state MPs this week to tell her story.

Amnesty International's Michael Hayworth said he sent a letter to United Arab Emirates officials, asking them to comply with United Nation's Women's Rights Conventions and remove discriminatory laws.

 

19th June   

Not So Wicked Witches of the Northwest...

Social club booking cancelled due to wrong kind of nonsense
Link Here

Crystal Cauldron shopSandra Davis - High Priestess at the Crystal Cauldron - had reserved Our Lady's Social Club in  Stockport for her Pagan group's Annual Witches' Ball.

But when she rang to make payment arrangements she was told the event could not be held there.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury have since confirmed witches are not compatible with the Catholic ethos.

Sandra said: I'm appalled. My congregation is shocked that in this day and age there can be such religious discrimination. We're normal people who follow an earth-based religion and want to enjoy ourselves. We thought we were bridging the gap with other religions but misconceptions still exist, like we sacrifice animals. Does the church check everyone's beliefs before allowing them in the club?

Sandra, of Bridge Hall, set up the Crystal Cauldron as a pagan meeting place and hopes to turn it into a temple.

The Reverend John Joyce, from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, said there was no way the event could go ahead: Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church. In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met.

 

19th June   

Update: Unconvertable...

A sad day for freedom of religion in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Egypt...Court challenge over imposing islam on ID cards

Egypt flagAn Egyptian court has refused a request by Muslim-born Maher El-Gowhary, who converted to Christianity 34 years ago, to order the Civil Registry to alter his religious designation on his ID. The Civil registry had refused to amend his State identification documents to show his Christian name Peter Athanasious and his Christian affiliation, leading him to file a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior.

According to the Court ruling, the religious conversion of a Muslim is against Islamic law and poses a threat to the Public Order in Egypt.

It is a sad day for freedom of religion in Egypt, said Fayez Saeed, a member of the legal team working on El-Gohary's case, to the Coptic News Bulletin: Today the Egyptian judiciary was struggling between establishing the principle of religious freedom to which Egypt is committed and its support for the Islamic State advocated by the Salafis in Egypt (fundamentalist Islamic thought), but it (the judiciary) sided for the victory of an Islamic State at the expense of Freedoms.

The Egyptian Constitution, under Article 46, provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites; while Article 2 which was introduced in 2007 states that Islamic Shari'a is the primary source of legislation. Many Coptic lawyers and activists see a contradiction between those two articles and believe that Article 2 supercedes Article 46.

 

18th June   

Barking Mad...

Bus driver orders blind man off bus as his guide dog offends muslim woman
Link Here

Guide dog puppyA driver told a blind cancer sufferer to get off his bus when a woman and her children became hysterical at the sight of his guide dog.

George Herridge, 71, told how the woman flew into a rage and shouted at him in a foreign language. A passenger explained she wanted him to get off the bus during the incident on May 20.

Herridge said: Her child was kicking and screaming and someone off the bus told me her child was frightened of my dog. The driver said, ‘Look mate, can't you get off?'

I stood my ground. I had not done anything, my dog had not done anything and I was getting off the bus for no one.

He is unsure what has provoked outbursts but said he thinks some have come from Asian people and that it may be due to religious or cultural differences. If the people who were upset were Muslim, they consider dogs to be ritually unclean. Anything coming into contact with its saliva, such as clothes, must be washed seven times if they intend to pray in those clothes.

Herridge said: I do not expect any special treatment but just to be left in peace and live my life the best I can.

Reading Buses accepted the driver was wrong but had been placed in an impossible situation. Drivers have been re-instructed to convey the blind and the bus company has sought advice from the Royal National Institute for the Blind and hopes to speak with Muslim leaders.

As part of a Muslim Council of Britain project, Mufti Zubair Butt, Shar'ia advisor to Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS, admitted Muslims require some education on guide dogs.

 

18th June   

Update: Storm over a Tea Cup...

Christian man murdered for ordering tea at muslim only stall
Link Here  full story: Mob Rule...Churches, temples and mosques attacked by mobs

Pakistan flagInternational Christian Concern has learned that radical Muslims running a tea stall beat a Christian man to death for using a cup designated for Muslims on May 9.

The young man, Ishtiaq Masih, had ordered tea at a roadside stall in Machharkay village, Punjab, Pakistan, after his bus made a rest stop.

When Ishtiaq went to pay for his tea, the owner noticed that he was wearing a necklace with a cross and grabbed him, calling for his employees to bring anything available to beat him for violating a muslims only sign posted on the stall. Ishtiaq had not noticed the warning sign before ordering his tea.

The owner and 14 of his employees beat Ishtiaq with stones, iron rods and clubs, and stabbed him multiple times with kitchen knives as Ishtiaq pleaded for mercy.

The other bus passengers and other passers-by finally intervened and took Ishtiaq to the Rural Health Center in the village. The doctor who took Ishtiaq's case told ICC that Ishtiaq had died due to excessive internal and external bleeding, a fractured skull, and brain injuries.

ICC's correspondent visited the tea stall and observed that a large red warning sign with a death's head symbol was posted which read, All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This tea stall serves Muslims only. The warning also threatened anyone who violated the rule with dire consequences.

Ishtiaq's family said that they immediately reported the incident to the police and filed a case against stall owner Ali. However, the murderers are still freely operating the tea stall. When ICC asked the Pindi Bhatian Saddar police station about the murder, the police chief said that investigations were underway and they are treating it as a faith-based murder by biased Muslims.

The public is encouraged to call the Pakistani embassy of their country to protest this heinous crime?

 

17th June   

Update: Easily offended for £3000...

Muslim waitress claims for being made to wear summer frock
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

red dressA Muslim waitress has been awarded a £3,000 pay out for sexual harassment after being made to wear a revealing red dress for work.

Fata Lemes quit her job after claiming that the low-cut dress was disgusting and made her look like a prostitute.

Miss Lemes, a Bosnian Muslim, had told an employment tribunal that she might as well have been naked in the dress: I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.

But lawyers acting for the Rocket Bar where she worked, have tried to re-open the case after a picture emerged of Miss Lemes on Facebook showed her wearing a plunging T-shirt exposing her cleavage while she was at the beach.

The Central London Employment Tribunal awarded Miss Lemes damages after pointing out that only women - and not male staff - were required to wear the summer uniform at the bar in Mayfair, London. The outfit was described as brightly coloured, figure hugging garb.

But the tribunal said Miss Lemes's £20,000 compensation claim - including £17,500 for hurt feelings - was manifestly absurd. Instead they awarded her £2,919.95 for both hurt feelings and loss of earnings.

The tribunal said that while Miss Lemes held views about modesty and decency which some might think unusual in Britain in the 21st century, her employer should have taken her feelings into account when asking her to wear the dress.

The ruling said: Her perception was that wearing the dress would make her feel as if she was on show, as if she was being presented as one of the attractions which the Rocket Bar was offering its customers. In our view that perception was legitimate and not unreasonable. It [the dress] is clearly a garment for a girl or young woman. It is intended to, and does, show the curves of the body.

 

16th June   

Update: Somalis Severely Punished...

Somalis banned from watching DVDs and films on TV
Link Here

Somalia flagSharia: Where Government knows best meets Allah knows best. The lack of separation of religion and state and the lack of meaningful checks and balances, combined with a brutal set of laws and the presumption of divine endorsement for it all set the stage for a corrupt, capricious and vicious government. And governments like that issue decrees like this.

Islamists controlling southern Somaliia have banned watching DVDs or movies on television and said raids would be conducted to catch offenders, who would then be severely punished.

Watching films is totally banned even indoors, Sheikh Mowlid Ahmed, a security forces commander in the port city of Kismayo said in a statement: People are allowed to use their home televisions only to watch news on such channels such as Al-Jazeera. Raids will be carried out on homes of people suspected of illegally watching films and if found guilty, they will face punishment.

Residents say Islamist security forces in the town recently started inspecting mobile phones to prevent them from being used for watching movies.

The punishment normally meted out on offenders is flogging.

 

15th June   

Update: No Honour in Torture...

Turkish family torture girl who refused marriage
Link Here

Turkey flagIn Turkey a young woman who had refused to marry a man was kidnapped by members of his family - who then tortured her, broke her arms and legs and killed her with blows to the head.

The victim, 19-year-old Nimet Gurbunar, was "guilty" of turning down the marriage proposal of 24-year-old Tayfun Sahin. His sister Fadime and one of his brothers, Sayfi, kidnapped the girl to convince her to accept the wedding. They started torturing her and, when the girl still refused, they started breaking her limbs one by one.

Despite the injuries the girl had already sustained - a newspaper writes - her suitor wanted to rape her as final act, but only abandoned the idea when he saw her bloodstained legs. Then, several blows to the head, probably with a bat, smashed the victim's skull.

The woman and her brothers have been arrested.

 

14th June   

Update: From Human Rights Defenders to Human Rights Cases...

China bans human rights lawyers who defended christians
Link Here  full story: Christianity in China...Restricting Christianity

China Bible banLi Dunyong, one of several lawyers involved in the defense of Uyghur house church Christian Alimjan Yimit was effectively disbarred at the end of May when Chinese authorities turned down an annual application to renew his law license.

Zhang Kai, another Beijing lawyer who had defended Alimjan, suffered the same fate.

Authorities failed to renew licenses for at least 15 other lawyers who had defended civil rights cases, religious and ethnic minorities and political dissidents, according to watch group Human Rights in China (HRIC).

During a process of Annual Inspection and Registration for all lawyers and law firms, with a closing date of May 31 for renewal applications, authorities also denied three law firms the necessary approval to practice. Officials harassed and physically abused several of the affected lawyers in the months prior to the loss of their licenses.

The process of building a country ruled by law has suffered a serious setback, HRIC claimed in a statement on June 4.

The rejection of applications followed the Feb. 4 disappearance of Gao Zhisheng, a high-profile Christian human rights activist who once said that every human rights lawyer would eventually become a human rights case. Gao's whereabouts remained unknown at press time.

 

14th June   

Update: Bingeing on Whine...

Bishop demonstrates new middle class social problem
Link Here

John GladwinMiddle-class drinkers who consume alcohol in their homes are just as irresponsible as drunk youths on the streets, a senior bishop has claimed.

The Rt Rev John Gladwin, the Bishop of Chelmsford, criticised the double-standards he claims exist in the attitudes of more affluent sections of society towards Britain's binge-drinking culture.

He argued that they could not condemn teenagers' behaviour if they are getting drunk themselves, and claimed that they are ultimately responsible for the rise in alcoholism.

Bishop Gladwin, a former social responsibility secretary for the Church, called for a new approach to the problem, which he said was caused by growing prosperity. Growing prosperity is behind the rise in alcoholism. We now go out and buy our wine for the weekend.

The bishop said that it was unfair to draw attention to young and poorer people getting drunk in public when they are also having too much alcohol, but in the privacy of their own homes.

 

14th June   

Update: Westboro Unchristians...

Nutters to turn out to condone the murder of abortionist
Link Here

Baby Killer in Hell placardThe funeral of a slain doctor who carried out controversial late-term abortions was held Saturday amid tight security, six days after he was shot dead.

Nutters from Rev Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church inevitably turned out to picket the funeral services for Dr George Tiller.

Around 1,000 mourners gathered in Wichita, in the central US state of Kansas, for the burial of Tiller who was gunned down in the foyer of his church.

Police outside ringed off groups of protesters who held signs claiming God sent the shooter and God hates abortions.

Counter-demonstrators lined the sidewalk directly outside the church, holding white carnations and sporting buttons identical to the one Tiller had worn for decades, which read attitude is everything.

Many anti-abortion groups have denounced his killing and distanced themselves from his alleged killer, Scott Roeder. Earlier this week Roeder was remanded on a five-million-dollar bond, while he faces a state charge of first-degree murder.

Counter Protest

See article from kcjc.com, thanks to Alan

About 100 counter-protestors showed up Saturday morning to show their disdain for the members of Topeka's infamous Westboro Baptist Church who were there to picket Congregation Ohev Sholom.

It seemed like most of the crowd was Jewish, but there were clearly members of other faiths present, too, from Christian clergymen such as the Rev. Bob Hill to Buddhist leader Lama Chuck Stanford in his red robes to Sikh leader Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa in his white garb and turban. The day before the demonstration, Rev. Hill sent out a notice to members of a local interfaith clergy coalition, alerting his colleagues to the event.

WBC founder Fred Phelps wasn't in sight Saturday, but four adults, five children and one young woman who appeared to be a teenager held up signs reading things like God Hates Fag Enablers and You're Going to Hell. One man wore an Israeli flag with one end tucked into the front of his shorts, stepping on the flag as it dragged across the ground.

They stayed on the northeast corner of the intersection, surrounded by police, for 45 minutes, occasionally shouting things at the larger group gathered on the other side of the Street. At one point, they sang to the tune of Hey Jude the following refrain: God hates evil, reprobate Jews; God hates you, You Christ killers.

The counter-protestors mostly stayed quiet and held up home-made signs with such messages as God is Love and Honk if you love Jews. At one point, they broke out a rendition of We Shall Overcome.

 

13th June   

Dangerous Comic Books...

Singapore jails couple for seditious or objectionable comics
Link Here

Who is Allah bookletA Singapore court has sentenced a Christian couple to eight weeks in jail each for distributing seditious or objectionable publications to Muslims, a media report said.

Ong Kian Cheong and his wife, Dorothy Chan Hien Leng had distributed two booklets by US publisher and comic author Jack Chick, which, according to the judge, could spark ill-will or hostility between Christians and Muslims in Singapore.

The pair claimed ignorance in their defence, saying they did not know the contents of the booklets and had no reason to believe they had a seditious tendency.

In 2007, the Protestant couple mailed Jack Chick's controversial booklets titled The Little Bride and Who is Allah? to three Muslims who complained to the police. Both publications are supposedly critical of Islam. When the couple were arrested in January last year, police seized more than 400 copies of 11 reportedly seditious comics from their home, the report said.

As a multi-racial city state, Singapore clamps down on anyone who is seen to incite tensions in the community.

 

13th June   

Discriminatory Turkish Justice...

Not prosecuting honour criminals is ruled a breach of human rights
Link Here

European court buildingsThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey had denied a citizen her right to life by failing to prevent her murder by her son-in-law and ordered it to pay damages.

It was the first time the court ruled against a state for failing to protect a citizen against domestic violence, Turkish broadcasters reported.

Turkey was also found to have violated the convention on human rights which prohibits torture, inhumane treatment and discrimination in Opuz vs. Turkey. It was ordered to pay 36,500 euros ($50,670) to the applicant, whose ex-husband killed her mother, according to a ruling on the ECHR's website: The general and discriminatory judicial passivity in Turkey created a climate that was conducive to domestic violence,

 

13th June   

Offence to be Sneezed At...

Prison newspaper withdrawn over satirical pig flu article
Link Here

pig fluThe latest issue of Inside Time: The National Newspaper for Prisoners has been withdrawn due to the Angry Andy column and a satirical article on Osama Bin Laden's War on Pork

John Roberts, Operations Director and Company Secretary at Inside Time confirmed that all 50,000 copies have been removed from prisoners throughout the penal estate because of a complaint received from the Iman as it was believed it would offend Muslim prisoners. Roberts added that plans are under way to republish and redistribute the June issue without the offending satirical article.

The prisoner who wrote the article has been charged with a disciplinary offence against the Prison Rules, and is in the Segregation Unit. He is also being transferred out of Hull Prison.

 

13th June   

Porky Pies...

Toy pigs ejected from Sarajevo shops
Link Here

Peppa Pigs toysMuslim extremists have banned Peppa Pig dolls from a shopping centre claiming the children's cartoon character breaks Islamic laws.

Hardline religious leaders told shopkeepers in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, that because the dolls were based on pigs they breached muslim food laws which ban pork, reports local news website Bljesak.info.

Muslim leaders have denied trying to impose sharia law on the shopping centre but have already managed to ban alcohol and pork from all restaurants.

The Daily Star has attempted to bring the story closer to home by raising unsupported propositions that there are 'concerns' that the same nonsense will be brought to Britain:

See Mad Mullahs Demand Ban On Our Kids' Toys from dailystar.co.uk

 

13th June   

Abduction...

Muslim abduction of girls for forced conversion in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Forced Conversion in Egypt...Muslims kidnap and forcibly convert christian girls

Egypt flagIn another incident of abduction and forced Islamization of Egyptian Coptic minor girls, 16-year old Nermeen Mitry was abducted by a Muslim man to coerce her into converting to Islam. She was successfully recovered on the same day by her family.

Nermeen was abducted from El-Mahalla by Muslim Hossam Hamouda in conspiracy with his family.

The success of recovering the Coptic girl led to anger, revenge and assaults from the disappointed village Muslims against her family. Nearly 150 Muslims, armed with swords and clubs, physically assaulted five family members of the abducted Coptic teenager, as they drove back to their village after being forced into reconciliation with the abductor's family by State Security, compromising their right to pursue the case any further.

The police rounded up 11 Copts including the assaulted family and 14 Muslims. The police let the real attackers go free and were just arresting people randomly, said Sameh, Nermeen's uncle: We were released after 3 days except for two Copts whom the State Security held as pawns -- just in case we made any trouble they would be detained for a long time.

Nermeen Mitry was on her way to sit for an exam on May 21, 2009, when she was lured by a Muslim female friend to go home with her where she offered her spiked tea. She regained conscious hours later to find herself facing a bearded Muslim man trying to convert her to Islam, in a far away town.

When Nermeen did not return home, the Mitry family went to the police. Unable to get the police to register the case as an abduction, the family subsequently went to State Security and reported the incident, but were delayed there for hours with no progress.

Meanwhile, one of the abductor's family members contacted Nermeen's cousin Romany and told him he knew her whereabouts, and offered to accompany him to bring her back, Sameh told Coptic News: I am sure the abductor's family knew that we would have implicated them and they were afraid. We freed the girl ourselves; State Security did nothing to help.

 

12th June   

Update: A Feast of Nonsense...

Catholics seek ban on Madonna concert
Link Here

Madonna on crossCatholics are urging the Polish government and organizers to ban pop star Madonna's concert scheduled for Aug. 15, the Assumption of Mary feast.

Marian Brudzynski, member of the Mazowiecki regional assembly, said Madonna cannot sing on the religious feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and announced a protest committee is being organized to stop the concert.

Brudzynski, a former member of the conservative League of Polish Families party, said Catholics will do all in their power to prevent the concert from taking place. The protest committee plans to ask Interior Minister Grzegorz Schetyna to cancel the concert, he said.

Brudzynski said if they fail to stop Madonna's concert they will stage a massive picket outside and added: We want to stifle Madonna.

Krzysztof Zagozda, of the Catholic Society organization, said the concert would hurt Poles' religious sentiment as Madonna's performances are anti-Christian.

Stanislaw Malkowski, former Warsaw Solidarity union's chaplain, said the Catholic church and the Polish nation should protest loudly against the Madonna concert.

 

12th June   

Crystalised Nonsense...

Red diamond recognised as alternative to red cross
Link Here
sexy nurse costume

  Red cross
Instantly recognisable
as medical practitioner?

A Labour minister has sparked controversy by claiming that an alternative symbol is needed for the Red Cross because of the logo's supposed links to the Crusades.

Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant said that the historic emblem risked undermining the work of the humanitarian organisation.

His intervention came as MPs debated the adoption of the 'red crystal' - a diamond-shaped badge - to avoid the religious connotations of the cross and crescent symbols currently used by the international body.

But critics said the new insignia was a sop to political correctness and warned that it may be the first step towards it replacing cross and crescent. Others fear that it may not be as widely recognised on the battlefield.

Philip Davies, a Tory backbencher, said: At face value to the layman it seems at best a solution looking for a problem and at worst another example of extreme political correctness. No one has ever suggested to me that the Red Cross refers to the Crusades.

Tory Oliver Heald said the Red Cross symbol was widely recognised and counselled caution that we are careful not to undermine that.

The founding Conference of the Red Cross Movement in 1863 adopted a red cross on a white background, the reverse of the Swiss flag, as the emblem of the voluntary medical personnel who assisted the wounded on the battlefield. It was never intended to have any religious meaning and is thought to have been intended as a tribute to traditionally neutral Switzerland, which hosted the conference.

However, the symbol unintentionally raised suggestions that it was somehow linked to the Hospitallers, a military order which took part in the Crusades, the centuries long series of military campaigns waged by Christians from Europe. Subsequently, a red crescent emblem was adopted in tandem.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement hope that the neutrality of the red crystal will help improve protection for casualties, military medical services and humanitarian workers. It was chosen because it is devoid of religious and other partisan connotations. A treaty which established the red crystal as an additional protective symbol became part of international law in 2006. It will now receive the same status in UK law as the red cross and red crescent under the Geneva Conventions and United Nations Personnel (Protocols) Bill passed today.

 

11th June   

Update: Repression of Biblical Proportions...

Chinese man jailed for 3 years for distributing free Bibles
Link Here  full story: Christianity in China...Restricting Christianity

China Bible banA Beijing court has found Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan guilty of illegal business operation and sentenced him to three years in prison and a 150,000 yuan (US$21,975) fine.

Sources said Shi's store operated legally and sold only books for which he had obtained government permission, and that his Holy Spirit Trading Co. printed Bibles and Christian literature without authorization but only for free distribution to local house churches.

Others in a printing company who stood trial with Shi appeared to have received similar sentences. A written judgment is expected within 15 days to allow time for an appeal to be filed, said Ray Sharpe, a friend of Shi.

Chinese officials claim that the Nanjing Amity Printing Co. (Amity Press), the only government-approved Bible publisher, produces enough Bibles to meet the needs of the Chinese church, which various religious freedom organizations dispute. The groups complain that Amity prints a large share of its Bibles for export, and those sold domestically are not available to many Christians.

 

11th June   

Damaged Minds...

US nutters claim that they are damaged by the display of a library book
Link Here  full story: Baby Be-Bop...Book censorship and gay issues for young adults

Baby Be-Bop bookAfter fighting for the removal of the book Baby Be-Bop from a Wisconsin, library, the Christian Civil Liberties Union and three other plaintiffs have sued over the book, seeking the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the book and asking for $120,000 in damages because they were exposed to it in a library display.

Accusing the board of submitting to the will of the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, plaintiff Ginny Maziarka declared, We vehemently reject their standards and their principles, and characterized the debate as a propaganda battle to maintain access to inappropriate material. She cautioned that her group would let people know that the library was not a safe place unless it segregated and labeled young adult titles with explicit content.

For the immediate future, West Bend officials will be dealing with the CCLU's legal claim. Describing the novel by celebrated author Francesca Lia Block as explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian, the complaint by Braun, Joseph Kogelmann, Rev. Cleveland Eden, and Robert Brough explains that the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library, specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains the word 'nigger' and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and put one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.

 

11th June   

Updated: Flirting with Repression...

More victims of UAE ban on sex outside of marriage
Link Here

UAE flagA South African woman has been jailed in the United Arab Emirates for sleeping with her boss in the latest example of the country's hardline approach to sex outside marriage.

Roxanne Hillier has now been jailed for three months even though she agreed to carry out medical tests to prove there had been no sexual contact.

Roxanne Hillier was asleep in a room above the dive shop where she worked in the emirate of Sharjah when police broke down the locked door and arrested her.

They claimed she was having an affair with her boss, an Emirati, who was downstairs at the time repairing the shop's dive equipment. She was also accused of being alone in the same room with him, also technically a crime in Sharjah.

Her father, Freddie Hillier, said police records showed the raid was ordered after someone rang them to say her boss was using the room above the shop to have sex with foreign women: We believe it was aimed at the boss of the place. My daughter was caught in the crossfire.

Hillier said his daughter's big mistake was to sign a confession in Arabic that she did not understand: They were shouting at her in Arabic. She was scared and made the mistake of bowing to pressure. She thought that was going to get her off.

She was brought before a court on May 22 for a fifteen-minute hearing conducted in Arabic. Last week, she was brought before the court again to be told briefly that she had been found guilty and sentenced to three months' jail. Her boss was sentenced to six months.

An appeal in the case is due to be heard on Sunday.

Update: South African

Thanks to Freddie who pointed out that Roxanne is South African, not British as widely reported.

 

11th June   

Citizen Ex...

Egyptian court agrees that those marrying Israelis should lose their citizenship of Egypt
Link Here

Egypt flagAn Egyptian attorney has won a suit calling for the implementation of an old law stripping the citizenship from Egyptians married to Israelis, and from their children.

It is not clear if the government will actually implement the law, however.

The case underlines the deep animosity many Egyptians still hold toward Israelis.

Lawyer Nabih el-Wahsh, who petitioned the court to implement a law pre-dating the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, told The Associated Press the ruling was a triumph of Egyptian patriotism.

The court said the measures would> avert potential damage to the country's national security, the state news agency reported, but it was unclear how the ruling could be enforced or how many Egyptians it would apply to.

El-Wahsh claimed there are about 30,000 Egyptians married to Israelis, whether Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs or Palestinians with Israeli passports, with possibly tens of thousands of children by now.

There is no indication that the Interior Ministry will adhere to the court's decision, but el-Wahsh said he would pursue the case and sue the interior minister for contempt of court if there was no action.

 

10th June   

Comment: BNP Outrage...

Letter to ReligiousWatch
Link Here

letter writingDear Sir

It is an absolute outrage that on the day after British soldiers celebrated the 65th anniversary D-Day (the beginning of the end of fascism in Europe) that the BNP should win 2 seats in the European parliament

The BNP are the heirs of Adolph Hitler. They stand for everything that the allies fought against in World War 2. The BNP have repeatedly denied the Holocaust sand wish to rid Britain of all so-called non-British people. My ancestors came from Germany so I would like to know if I am on their reparation list as well as, all the Irish immigrants who came here in the 19th century. Certainly all black and Asian people are.

The BNP are using the same tactics the Nazis did during the 1930s using the lanuage of economic populism and blaming the immigrant communities for the recession instead of the greedy bankers where the blame really lies.

Nick Griffin may be trying to portray the BNP as respectable but, at the end of the day they are still a bunch of racist jackbooted thugs

 

9th June   

Update: Denying Free Speech to Free Speech Rapporteur...

OIC whinges at UN Special Rapporteur for not following the defamation of religion line
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

Islamic states have fired back at a United Nations- appointed special expert on freedom of expression, who said that speech should not be restricted in order to protect religion.

Restrictions should never be used to protect particular institutions or abstract notions, concepts or beliefs, including religious ones, wrote UN Special Rapporteur  Frank La Rue in his report presented to the Human Rights Council.

La Rue, a Guatemalan human rights jurist, said restrictions to prevent intolerance should only be applied to advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

He also called on the council, and the UN General Assembly in New York, not to adopt resolutions that support the idea of defamation of religion. At its previous session in March the council adopted, in a blow to European nations, a resolution condemning the so-called defamation of religion as a human rights violation.

Addressing La Rue at the current session, Pakistan's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram, speaking on behalf of the 57 member- states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), slammed La Rue for not reporting on the abuses of this freedom. Pakistan's ambassador said the OIC would monitor the expert and take an appropriate course of action if he deviated again from the mandate they wanted him to implement.

 

7th June   

Update: A Lesson in Repression...

School bombing continues in Pakistan
Link Here

Pakistan flagIslamic militants blew up a girls' school on the outskirts of Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Thursday as the military pressed on with an offensive against the Taliban, police said.

The school was heavily damaged in the attack. At least 40kg of explosives were used to blow up the school. Four rooms were completely destroyed and three were damaged.

There were no casualties as schools are closed for the summer, he said.

Police suspected the bombing was part of an intimidation campaign. Militants in the district of Swat, where the operation is concentrated, have destroyed scores of schools, mostly for girls, during a two-year campaign waged by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah to enforce sharia law.

Militants destroyed 191 schools in the valley, including 122 girls' schools, leaving 62,000 pupils without classrooms, local officials have said.

 

7th June   

Update: Sion City of Allah...

More 'blasphemous' sect leaders arrested in Indonesia
Link Here

Indonesia flagPolice have arrested a leader of the Sion City of Allah Christian sect and his six followers in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, suspected of blasphemy.

They were charged under Article 156 of the Criminal Code on blasphemy. Police seized six robes of various colors, six scarf used as belts, two bibles and several songbooks from the suspects.

According to the police, the sect's doctrines deviated from Christian teachings, and the sect only based its teachings on the book of Jeremiah.

A police spokesman said the sect banned its members from attending church on Sunday and from paying their condolences: They believe people should not take care of the dead.

The Timor evangelical church praying group chairman Melkianus Adoe said the Sion City of Allah sect was illegal since its liturgies deviated from Christianity teachings: The group is categorized as illegal since the liturgy is deviant from Christianity. I support the legal process conducted by the police. If the sect was found committing blasphemy, they should be processed according to the law.

 

7th June   

Update: No Honour in Canada...

Canadian court holds no sympathy for honour murderer
Link Here

Canada flagA twisted sense of values led an Ottawa man to murder his sister and the man she loved, the judge in an honour killing trial said.

You put your own self-esteem over those of your own sister and the young man she had chosen to become her life partner, Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford told an expressionless Hasibullah Sadiqi. And consigning them to partnership in death has shocked and bewildered every community in the nation's capital. The forfeiture of your liberty for the rest of your life seems only just. Sadiqi, who had pleaded not guilty, will spend the next 25 years in jail.

Minutes earlier, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on two counts of first-degree murder against the 23-year-old Sadiqi, who gunned down his 20-year- old sister, Khatera, and her fiance, Feroz Mangal, 23, in the early hours of Sept. 19, 2006 while the couple sat in her parked car.

Prosecutor Mark Moors said Sadiqi was motivated by a perverted notion of honour and respect for the sole purpose of restoring the family's reputation and respect in the Afghan community.

Moors told the court that Sadiqi murdered the couple because Khatera moved in with Mangal's family before the wedding and because she refused to have her estranged father involved in her wedding plans.

 

7th June   

Update: Pakistan Police Do Nothing...

12 Year old girl kidnapped, converted to islam and forcibly married
Link Here  full story: Kidnapped and Converted...Christian girls under duress in Pakistan

Pakistan flagThe Christian mother of a 12-year-old girl in Punjab Province who was kidnapped, coerced into converting to Islam and forcibly married to a 37-year-old Muslim hopes to recover her daughter at a court hearing next week.

The reaction of Pakistani law enforcement authorities to Sajida Masih's complaint so far, ridiculing her and asserting that there is nothing she can do because her daughter is now a Muslim, does not encourage her hopes of recovering her daughter Huma at the June 11 hearing.

Masih said that Muhammad Imran abducted Huma at gunpoint on Feb. 23, forcibly converted her and then married her.

Imran, father of three children, has since disappeared along with his first wife, children and new child-bride.

 

7th June   

Update: Home Tax...

Christians refused residence in the tribal areas of Pakistan
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan flagPakistan's Khyber Agency political administration is not issuing domicile certificates to Christian inhabitants.

Khyber Agency Christian Community Chairman Arshad Masih said, We have contacted the political agent, the (NWFP) governor and (Federal) Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti for issuance of domicile certificates, but no action has been taken so far. We cannot apply for jobs without our domiciles.

Landikotal Assistant Political Agent (APA) Azam Jan Khalil said, The Christians are not permanent residents of the Tribal Areas. That is why we have not issued them domicile certificates. The tribal people were also against the issuance of the certificates to the Christians.

A senior member of the community said the government had given permanent residential rights to the Sikh community of the agency, but the Christians had been denied the same right.

 

5th June   

Update: Nailing Heads to Floors...

Norman Tebbit likens sharia courts to Kray Twins justice
Link Here  full story: Sharia Law in the UK...Shariah tribunals operating in Britain

The Krays DVDVeteran Tory Lord Tebbit provoked anger among Muslims yesterday by comparing Islamic sharia courts to gangsters.

He likened the tribunals to the system of arbitration of disputes that was run by the Kray brothers.

Lord Tebbit told the Lords: Are you not aware that there is extreme pressure put upon vulnerable women to go through a form of arbitration that results in them being virtually precluded from access to British law?

The intervention from Lord Tebbit, the former Tory chairman and cabinet minister whose leading role in the Thatcher years has made him a revered figure for many in the party, reignited the row over Islamic courts and their role in the British justice system.

Warning that women could be shut out from the protection of the law, he asked Justice Minister Lord Bach: That is a difficult matter, I know, but how do you think we can help those who are put in that position?

Lord Bach admitted a problem undoubtedly exists over the treatment of women in sharia courts.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: We can only wonder whether Lord Tebbit has ever set foot in a sharia council to see what they actually do before making such a baseless and ignorant comparison with the workings of the Kray brothers.

Both Muslim sharia councils and Orthodox Jewish Beth Din courts exist to try and help resolve civil disputes amongst individuals through a voluntary process of arbitration. They are entirely legal and have to operate firmly within the law.

 

5th June   

Update: Intolerance Tax...

Pakistan militants tax non-muslim residents
Link Here  full story: Pakistan Goes Sharia...Sharia in the Northwest Frontier Province

Pakistan flagLashkar-e-Islam (LI, an Islamic militant group) has imposed jazia, an Islamic tax, to the non-Muslim communities, including Sikhs, Hindus and Christians living in Khyber Agency, a tribal agency of North West Frontier Post (NWFP) near Afghanistan's border and which is under the control of militants.

The warning came from LI on May 31 following which the community agreed to pay the tax instead of leaving the area, where they are living for decades.

The minority communities had many meetings with the local militant group but LI was not ready to give any concession to the minority community. They were told that they are not Muslim so they have to pay jazia.

The media reports say that only women, children and handicapped persons had been exempted from paying the tax, while other members of the communities would be bound to pay Rs1,000 (US$12.5) per head annually.

Jazia is an Islamic tax which is being imposed by an Islamic state to its non-Muslim subjects. Though Pakistan is an Islamic state, the state has never imposed jazia to its religious minorities. Some radical Muslim religious leaders have been demanded for it but this undemocratic demand never gets public support.

 

4th June   

Update: Baring Arms...

Bali governor refuses to enforce repressive pornography law
Link Here  full story: Anti-Porn Law in Indonesia...A front for the implementation of shariah

Bali dancerIndonesia's mainly Hindu island of Bali has no intention of enforcing a controversial anti-porn law passed last year because it conflicts with local culture and tradition, the provincial governor said in an email interview.

The new law, which created much confusion over what would be considered pornographic, was slammed by religious minorities but backed by the Islamic and Islamist political parties allied to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon.

As long as I am the governor of Bali, I, along with the head of the provincial government in Bali, have stated that we will not enforce this law in Bali, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika told Reuters, adding that the law is not appropriate for the people of Bali.

He said the most serious effect of the law would be its impact on Bali's culture and traditional art, which includes nude statues and often sexually explicit imagery.

Centuries-old traditions including outdoor bathing would also have to be banned if the law was properly enforced, added the governor.

Pastika said that he had not yet been reprimanded by the central government, despite his stated aim to disobey the law.

 

4th June   

Update: Acrimonious Dubai...

More legal nastiness as couple are jailed for adultery
Link Here

UAE flagA British woman and her lover have been jailed for two months for adultery in Dubai a crime in the repressive UAE.

Sally Antia was arrested after her estranged husband Vincent Antia told police she was conducting an affair with Mark Hawkins.

Mr Antia is thought to have informed police about the affair to benefit from laws under which wronged husbands get custody of the children.

Mrs Antia and her boyfriend will spend the next month in the spartan Al Aweer prison after which they will be deported to Britain. They were sentenced to two months but will serve only one after the month they have already spent in the cells is taken into account.

Under Emirati law, there is very little legal provision for Mrs Antia to get custody of her two girls, aged 11 and 13, who are being looked after by their father in Dubai. And being convicted of a dishonour crime could wreck her chances completely.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: Sally and Mark should not be in jail right now and should never have been facing criminal charges in the first place. The sex lives of consenting adults shouldn't be a criminal matter. Sally and Mark should be released, immediately and unconditionally.

Update: Sentence Completed

18th June 2009. See article from dailymail.co.uk

A British mother jailed for adultery in Dubai has been freed - straight into the arms of the husband who put her behind bars. Sally Antia has apparently decided to forgive Vincent Antia even though he told police she was having an affair, which is illegal in the Islamic country.

Both Antia and her lover Hawkins served six weeks of their two-month sentence. Two weeks were spent in prison, the rest being in a police cell awaiting trial.

 

4th June   

Update: The Wrong Type of Nonsense...

Another Indonesian sect leader jailed for blasphemy
Link Here

Lia EdenCult leader Lia Aminuddin or better known as Lia Eden has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail by a local court for religious blasphemy, Kompas.com reported.

Presiding judge Subachran said Lia had violated Article 156a of the Criminal Code on religious blasphemy.

The court found Lia guilty of religious blasphemy and incitement of hatred among religious adherents by proselytizing her religion - which she named God's Kingdom of Eden - and delivering her messages to thousands of government institutions, including the Presidential Palace.

The defendant did not show any remorse. This is the second time she has been tried for religious blasphemy. The court hereby sentences Lia Eden to two years and six months in prison, said Judge Subachran during the trial.

Lia's follower Wahyu Wibisono was sentenced to two years in prison for writing Lia's religious concept, lighter than the prosecutor demand of two and a half years imprisonment. Subachran said Wahyu got a lighter sentence due to his young age and zero criminal record.

Lia began proselytizing publicly in 1997, writing songs, poetry and books. She has also called herself the Virgin Mary and her son Ahmad Mukti, Jesus Christ. Her followers have named the religion Salamullah, and declared all religions truthful.

Her religion has drawn attention because not only does she require her acolytes to dress in white from top to toe, but they must also wear white plastic halos on their heads.

 

3rd June   

Update: Allah Ban Continues...

Malaysian Catholics lose bid to use the word 'Allah' pending July court case
Link Here  full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia

Catholic HeraldThe Catholic Church in Malaysia has lost its latest bid to use 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its newspaper pending a further court case now set for 7th July 2009.

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan made the decision after hearing submissions from two counsels for the applicant, Archbishop Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, and two counsels for the respondent, the Home Ministry, according to Bernama, Malaysian National News Agency.

A spokesmand for the Home Ministry told reporters outside the chambers that if the High Court allowed the church to use ‘Allah' in a non-Muslim context, it would be helping the church to commit an offense under state laws. This means that the church's weekly news publication, The Herald, cannot use the word until the court decides.

The Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, who edits the Catholic weekly, was disappointed with the outcome: We had asked them to lift the ban so that we can use the word until the court decides. We are innocent until proven guilty, so why shouldn't we use it, Father Andrew told AFP:The court is going to hear our case on July 7 so that's an opening in the dark tunnel.

Under the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment passed into law by 10 states in 1988, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah' to refer to any God other than the Muslim God.

 

3rd June   

Witnesses to a Tragedy...

Father in legal battle with Jehovah's Witnesses over death of daughter through restricted medical care
Link Here

Watchtower Society logoA tragic saga began in the winter of 2002, when a 16-year-old Calgarian, Bethany Hughes, urgently required a blood transfusion. Bethany and her mother refused because they adhered to the Watchtower Society's blood ban.

With Bethany's death approaching, an Alberta court granted an order requiring blood transfusion, and Bethany subsequently received lengthy chemotherapy and supportive blood transfusion.

In June, 2002, Child Welfare released Bethany from its care. The girl's father, Lawrence Hughes, alleges in court documents that the society then took Bethany from Calgary without telling him; limited her treatment options at the Cross Cancer Centre so that she did not receive the best available therapeutic and palliative care; and refused to disclose Bethany's location until after her death two months later.

Hughes, who had refused to accept the society's Biblical interpretation regarding blood transfusion, contends that the religious lawyers (who are also priests) were instrumental in this rupture of his family's private life.

The Watchtower Society, a highly litigious organization, has brought numerous legal motions in an apparent effort to prevent the father's case from being heard on its merits. But the court on Monday permitted Hughes to proceed on the essential issues: Who authorized the medical treatment? And was the treatment negligent?

Now, the physicians and the Cross Cancer Centre are likely to be asked in court what they did to protect Bethany from such undue religious pressure; and why they did not seek consent for medical treatment from the one family member who resisted Watchtower Society pressure: her father.

In a lonely and courageous battle, Hughes has successfully forced the courts to hold the Watchtower Society and medical defendants accountable for their actions. But whether an unrepresented, bereaved and shunned father's lawsuit will be successful remains to be seen.

 

3rd June   

Update: Cheap and Not So Cheerful...

No fun at Somalia weddings under islamic rule
Link Here

Somalia flagThe Islamic Administration in Kismayo, southern Somalia, has banned ways wedding celebrations are conducted in the town and have imposed various restrictions meant to align it with the teachings of Islam and change the way these celebrations are conducted.

Sheikh Abdirashid Ma'alin Ahmad said there will be no music or dancing by men and women in weddings that are held in the town since it involves men and women who are not allowed to mingle and is against the teachings of Islam.

Escorting of couples with a convoy of vehicles has also been banned as it creates unnecessary traffic jam in the town. We will not allow more than three cars which we will ensure that they are carrying the immediate relatives of the two couples. The Administration will not also be allow any filming of the wedding,.

Many bachelors in the town who were looking forward to get married have said that they are in favor of the restrictions as it will completely eliminate some of the expenses they would have incurred. Women in the town have received the news with dismay saying that it is too restricting and favors the men.

 

3rd June   

Update: Four out of Ten...

Netherlands midwives record cases of FGM they find
Link Here  full story: Stop FGM...The nasty world of female genital mutilation

NetherlandsFour out of ten Somali and Ethiopian women who give birth in the Netherlands have been genitally mutilated. This is relatively few, Health State Secretary Jet Bussemaker said.

The figures were recorded by research organisation TNO after questioning midwives. The number of cases of female circumcision is fairly low, since nine out of ten women in the countries of origin have been circumcised, Bussemaker reasoned.

To obtain a better picture of female circumcision, the state secretary previously announced that midwives would be registering this form of mutilation. They will also be trained in how to discuss circumcision with families.

 

2nd June   

Update: Christian Party Pooped...

Norway rejects proposed blasphemy law
Link Here

Norway flagThe Norwegian parliament has voted overwhelmingly to remove the blasphemy paragraph from a raft of new legislation.

It was replaced with an additional paragraph on racism.

Only the Christian People's Party wanted blasphemy to be formally criminalised, as a symbolic law.

 

2nd June   

Updated: For the Love of God...

Abortionist murdered in Kansas
Link Here

Kansas state sealA doctor who was one of the few in the US to continue carrying out late-term abortions was shot dead in a church today.

George Tiller, 67, who had been picketed, bombed and shot in the arms in previous incidents, was killed at his church in Kansas, according to police sources.

Tiller was a controversial man, whose clinic has been the site of protests for two decades. He was shot and wounded by a protester in 1993 and someone placed a bomb on the roof of the clinic in 1986, seriously damaging the building.

According to the reports a white man carrying a handgun shot the doctor and then fled in a blue Ford Taurus. The FBI and state police were called in to help search for the gunman, whose licence plate was registered to a home in a suburb of Kansas City, 200 miles away.

Tiller had been regularly targeted by abortion opponents who protested outside his clinic. Some 2,000 protesters were also arrested outside the clinic during summer-long demonstrations in 1991.

Update: Suspect Arrested

2nd June 2009. Based on article from theledger.com

A man suspected of fatally shooting abortion doctor George Tiller in church was in jail Monday while investigators sought to learn more about his background, including his possible connections to anti-abortion groups.

Tiller was serving as an usher during morning services Sunday when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, police said. The gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.

The suspect, identified by one law enforcement agency as Scott Roeder, was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the shooting.

Update: Fox Reports, Vigilantes Decide

2nd June 2009. Based on article from bradblog.com, thanks to Alan

Kansas physician GeorgeTiller who was shot and killed this morning when he entered his church in Wichita was better known to Fox 'News' viewers as Tiller the Baby Killer, as he's long been described by Bill O'Reilly. The outlandish news commentator has spent years targeting Tiller on the most-watched show in cable news. O'Reilly has long demonized him with allegations of performing illegal late-term abortions, characterized as murder by O'Reilly and his guests.

In March of this year, after Tiller had been acquitted of charges alleging that he'd performed late-term abortions in violation of Kansas state law, O'Reilly continued his series of programs focusing on the Kansas physician, charging him with operating a death mill, and alleging that he was executing babies.

 

2nd June   

Update: Murderous Clerics...

The usual Pakistani lynch mob fired by accusations of blasphemy
Link Here

Pakistan flagPakistani Muslims in a town outside of Lahore this month overran a courtroom in hopes of swaying a judge in a blasphemy case against a Christian couple, and a member of the prosecution later threatened to kill the wife.

Some 50 molvis (Muslim clergy) on May 14 burst into the courtroom in Mustafabad, where a bail hearing was taking place in the case against Munir Masih and his wife Ruqiya Bibi, according to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).

The molvis said: No non-Muslim has the right to keep a Quran in his house, they have done this so they are liable to be punished.

Masih and Bibi, both in their 30s, were originally accused under section 295-B of Pakistan's penal code with defiling the Quran by touching it with unwashed hands on Dec. 8 of last year. Masih was taken to prison and remained there until Jan. 22, when a Muslim neighbor who had asked him to store some of his possessions, including his Quran, testified on his behalf and the case was dropped.

The complainant, Mohammad Nawaz, subsequently filed another accusation on Feb. 12, this time under 295-C, blasphemy against Muhammad, Islam's prophet. This charge carries a death sentence, whereas defiling the Quran calls for life imprisonment.

Despite pressure from the crowd of clerics, Judge Shafqat Ali, also a molvi, granted the couple bail. Following the hearing, however, a member of the prosecution team approached Bibi outside the courtroom and threatened to kill her: Whatever the decision, we will kill you.

Charges of blasphemy are common in Pakistan and particularly incendiary, often leading to strong shows of religious zeal. It is not uncommon for sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistani penal code to be invoked in retaliation for personal grievances.

Update: Acquitted

25th May 2012.  See article from tribune.com.pk

The Lahore High Court acquitted a Christian couple of blasphemy charges, overturning the life terms awarded to them by a trial court in Kasur.

Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi accepted the couple's appeal against the conviction as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against the accused couple.

Complainant Muhammad Nawaz had accused them of disgracing the Holy Quran and insulting the religious character Mohammed. In the FIR, Nawaz accused Ruqayya of using the Holy Quran for exorcism. He accused her of touching the Holy Quran without ablution, and said that her husband was equally responsible for he remained a silent spectator.

During the trial, not a single witness spoke against the couple regarding the allegations of blasphemy; therefore, the trial court on March 2, 2010 acquitted the couple in 295-C PPC but awarded them life imprisonment under section 295-B.

 

1st June   

Update: Boy Whingers...

Hindus call for worldwide boycott of Sony over Hanuman Game
Link Here  full story: Boy Warriors Censorship...Indian computer game under fire from Hindus

Hanuman: Boy Warrior gamePerturbed over Sony's Hanuman: Boy Warrior videogame and further vexed by stiff-necked attitude of Sony officials, various Hindu groups have given worldwide boycott call against Sony PlayStation products.

Spearheaded by the ever whinging Rajan Zed, who said that Hanuman game trivializes the highly revered deity of Hinduism; various Hindu groups/leaders who have jointly given the boycott call include Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening in USA; Vamsi Krishna of Sanatan Sanstha of Australia and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti headquartered in India

Zed further said that immature handling of the issue by Sony, which is said to be a socially responsible and ethical corporation, saddened them. He also urged Sony to create a high-level check system so that denigrations like this did not happen in the future.

 

1st June   

Offsite: Children of a Stupid God...

Pat Condell's latest video
Link Here

Pat CondellEven for Pat Condell, his latest video...is a little bit angry

...See video

 

1st June   

Update: Paper Protest...

More Greek demonstrations over pieces of paper with extracts from the Koran
Link Here

Greece flagMore than 1,000 Muslims demonstrated in Athens Friday over an alleged police insult to the Koran, a week after two similar protests degenerated into clashes with anti-riot police.

The protest was called by leftist and anti-racist groups after a police officer allegedly tore up some sheets of paper with extracts from the Muslim holy book belonging to an Iraqi migrant during an identity check last week.

We want this officer put on trial, and we ask the government to protect our prayer sites in Athens, said Zuri, a Moroccan protester: But we intend to set a good example and refrain from violence, Islam is a religion of peace, he claimed unconvincingly.

Scores of police on foot and on motorbikes were mobilised to maintain order and keep the migrants who marched on parliament from coming into contact with a few dozen neo-Nazi militants staging a street gathering a few blocks away. The far-right group was commemorating the fall of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Greece's main Muslim and migrant organisations distanced themselves from the migrant demonstration, preferring to take judicial action instead. Our problems can be solved by dialogue, not demonstrations, said Ahmet Moavia, head of the Greek Migrants' Forum.

Muslim groups have demanded an apology over the incident which the government has so far failed to give. Calls to identify the officer who allegedly tore the Koranic verses have also been ignored.