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31st December   

Dangerous Comedy...

Top Egyptian comedian under fire from clerics
Link Here

Shahed Mashafsh Haga Adel Imam Egypt's top comedian Adel Imam, widely known across the Arab world as the leader, is locked in a sharp spat with a Muslim preacher, who accuses Imam of degrading Muslim clerics in his movies.

Imam mocks preachers, including me, Khalid Al Guindy, a prominent Muslim televangelist said on Azhari, a private religious TV station, which he manages: I have asked Imam more than once to stop making fun of Islamic figures, but to no avail.

He casts Muslims in an unfavourable light by portraying the Muslims wearing the jallabia (flowing garments) and sporting beards as terrorists. He is a mere actor, who calls himself a leader. He is the leader of himself. My leader is (President) Hosni Mubarak.

Imam, who portrayed a militant in a hit film called The Terrorist , responded: I have always been the target of insults from others. But this time I feel distressed because my detractor is a Muslim preacher, who said I am a mere actor, Imam said in a call to the private television Al Hayat channel. I ask God to forgive him for what he said against me.

Earlier this year, a fundamentalist in Algeria had reportedly passed a fatwa (a religious edict) on shedding the blood of Imam for criticising the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas for triggering a devastating Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip.

 

31st December   

Update: Religious Violence...

Israeli religious thugs attack police tending to victim
Link Here

Israel flagPolice officers were attacked by a haredi mob after being dispatched to the ultra-Orthodox Beit Yisrael neighborhood in Jerusalem to tend to a woman who was assaulted by vigilantes of the modesty patrol. Haredim protest in Jerusalem.

When the law enforcement officials arrived at Rehov Admon, haredim began to congregate and throw stones at the officers. The police car was slightly damaged, but no officers were hurt.

The modesty patrol, an all-male vigilante group which has been active in the city's haredi neighborhoods, has been linked to numerous acts of violence over the years in their attempts to ensure the city's haredi residents conduct themselves in accordance with the conventions of their ultra-Orthodox lifestyle.

 

31st December   

Igniting Tension...

Arsonists attack Cradley Heath mosque
Link Here

Burning mosqueArsonists have destroyed a Black Country mosque.

Ten fire crews were called to Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre in Plant Street, Cradley Heath. However they could not save the mosque building, which was completely destroyed in the attack – the second in recent years.

The Islamic education centre next door was also burned out during the attack at 10.15pm on Boxing Day.

Fire crews said the fire was started deliberately and police are now investigating. There are around 400 worshippers that regularly use the mosque and the community is devastated by the blaze. The site is next to a new mosque which the worshippers are due to move into once construction is finished.

 

30th December   

Unbelievable in North Carolina...

Atheists legally banned from office in 7 US states
Link Here

US flagAccording to their respective state constitutions, it is illegal for atheists to hold office in Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and both Carolinas.

Surely these are dormant, outdated clauses, you say? Not so fast: in Asheville, North Carolina, enraged Christians are demanding that duly-elected council member Cecil Bothwell resign because he does not believe in God. They have the state law on their side. Article 6, section 8 of North Carolina's constitution says: The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

 

30th December   

Offsite: Indonesia's Religious Police...

Sharia tightens its grip on Banda Aceh
Link Here

Indonesia flagIn September the provincial parliament approved a new criminal code that includes a provision for adulterers to be stoned to death. The move was condemned by human rights groups, and has alarmed local businessmen, who fear it will harm Aceh's attempts to attract investment following the tsunami five years ago. The provincial governor, Irwandi Yusuf, has refused to sign the new code, so for now it remains in an uncomfortable limbo. That has not prevented the Wilayatul Hisbah, sometimes compared with Saudi Arabia's notorious vice and virtue police, from pursuing their task with zeal. And Aceh is not alone. Across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, dozens of local governments – given wide scope to enact their own laws under a decentralised system – have adopted Islamic regulations on dress and behaviour.

...Read full article

 

29th December   

Wailing at the Wailing Wall...

Extremist jewish men insult praying jewish women
Link Here

Wailing WallOnce a month a group of Jewish women risk arrest and brave a crowd of angry ultra-Orthodox men calling them Nazis, to pray at the western wall, the holiest place in Judaism.

In this Holy City, where the focus of differing opinions is more often on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these religious Jews say they face discrimination because of their gender.

Their adversaries, including the rabbi of the wall, say that the women have no business wearing such religious garments as yarmulkes and prayer shawls, or carrying the Torah, the Jewish holy book. Such things, the ultra-Orthodox Jews say, are reserved for men.

The women have also come under fire for singing, with some rabbis complaining that this could provoke feelings of lust among the men praying on the other side of the partition.

In 2003, the Israeli supreme court ruled that the Women of the Wall could not hold vocal prayers at the wall as this presented a threat to law and order.

The police commander for the wall recently told her the women could be arrested for wearing fringed black and white prayer shawls like those used by the men. He did say something flowery would be okay, said Hoffman.

 

29th December   

Offsite: Nonsense Exposed...

Winning against scientology in 2009
Link Here  full story: Cult of Scientology...Protests against a dangerous cult

ScientologyAs 2009 comes to a close, the Scientology organization is reeling from another year of high-level defections, criminal convictions, journalistic exposes and books detailing the cult's criminal practices, and intense pressure from human rights activists. The Anonymous global network of human rights activists are keen to hold Scientology's leaders accountable for their crimes, which include organized fraud, human trafficking, kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and toxic waste dumping.

Here are just a few of the many recent victories against the Scientology organization, which until quite recently believed itself immune to all criticism, able to do as it pleased in its insane quest to clear the planet of non-Scientologists through the global obliteration of psychiatry.

...Read the full article

 

27th December   

Update: Westboro Baptists Go GaGa...

Nutters target Lady GaGa for their homophobic protests
Link Here  full story: Westboro Baptists...Reprehensible nutters hate gays and soliders

Lady GaGa CDA new flier distributed by the Westboro Baptist Church invites its supporters to protest gay icon and equality advocate Lady Gaga, in St. Louis Missouri, the first week on January.

According to the Bible homosexuality is an abomination and she has to shut her filthy mouth and stop promoting it, says attorney and Westboro member Shirley Phelps-Roper, reports Radar Online.

Surreal statements from the event listing on Westboro Baptist's web calendar include:

Lady Gaga has no qualms about displaying her filth for all the world to see, using the platform given to her by God to teach rebellion against Him. She loudly and proudly proclaims her fornication and sexual relations with women, saying that she wants to free and liberate her young fans. Gag! She glories in her shame, encourages everyone she can get her hands on to do the same....Like the many whores who came before her, Lady of the night Gaga thinks she can change God by teaching you to hate Him and liberating you from His standards. ....

And to all those that would follow the example of this treacherous tart.... this warning from God: ....I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. Lev. 26:27-30. Catch that? Because you won't obey, God will cause you to eat your children, He'll cast your dead bodies on those of your idols, and He'll abhor you. Obeying God is your only recourse at this hour. But because you heed the words of stupid rebels like Lady Gaga INSTEAD of the God who created you, this generation is doomed.

Gaga has been an avid supporter of gay rights, famously appearing at the Marriage Equality March in Washington, D.C. in October.

 

27th December   

Update: Prescription for Sufferers of Moralising...

Consultation about pharmacists moralising when dispensing
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Council for Healthcare Regulatory ExcellenceThe right of pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs is under threat after a consultation asked if it should be scrapped.

For centuries, pharmacists have been able to decline services with which they disagree on moral or religious grounds.

A significant number, mainly Christians and Muslims, have refused women the morning-after pill because they believe it is a form of abortion.

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, a Government quango that oversees the health professions, is now asking whether the practice should continue. The consultation, which ends on January 12, is part of plans to set up a new General Pharmaceutical Council to regulate the profession.

Calls for the conscience clause to be scrapped have come from pharmacists as well as groups such as the National Secular Society.

 

27th December   

Update: Day of Unrest...

Ultra-orthodox rabbis get wound up by car parking on the sabbath
Link Here  full story: Sabbath in Israel...Violence and the Jewish sabbath

Israel flagDozens of ultra-Orthodox protestors demonstrated in Jerusalem Saturday to protest the opening of the Karta parking lot on the sabbath.

As opposed to recent rallies that remained largely orderly, protestors hurled stones at police vehicles stationed on Jerusalem's Shivtei Israel Street; no injuries were reported in the violence but there was some damage.

The demonstrators also torched several garbage dumpsters, but security forces deployed at the scene were able to keep the road open.

Hundreds of protestors have been rallying at the corner of Shivtei Israel and HaNevi'im Streets almost weekly in recent months to protest sabbath desecration.

 

27th December   

Updated: A Lesson in How Nasty Religion Can Be...

School burning in Pakistan
Link Here  full story: School Burning in Pakistan...Taliban take offence at education, particularly for girls

Pakistan flagTaliban militants blew up a girls' school in Pakistan's Khyber district, officials said.

The pre-dawn school attack took place in Saddokhel town in northwest Khyber tribal district, where militants detonated explosives planted around the building, destroying all five school rooms but causing no injuries.

They are Taliban. They are the same people who do not want children to get an education, senior administration official Rahim Gul Khattak told AFP.

Islamist militants opposed to co-education have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in the northwest of the country in recent years as they wage a fierce insurgency to enforce Sharia law.

Update: 9th school in 6 weeks

27th December 2009. See article from google.com

The Taliban blew up a girls' school in Pakistan's Khyber district, where troops are fighting against militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said.

Militants detonated explosives overnight at the government-run school in Bazgarah town, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Peshawar, capital of the violence-plagued North West Frontier Province.

The building had 21 rooms. All have been completely demolished, local administration chief Shafeerullah Wazir told AFP. There were no casualties because the property was empty at the time.

Taliban and their local allies are responsible. They are destroying educational institutions to avenge the military operation against their hideouts in the area, said Wazir.

This was the ninth educational institution blown up in Khyber over the past six weeks, he added.

 

26th December   

An Eye for an Eye...

Pakistan imposes medieval punishments
Link Here

Pakistan flagA Pakistani court has ruled that two brothers should have their noses and ears cut off after they were found guilty of doing the same to a woman who refused to marry one of them. The judge at an anti-terrorism court in the eastern city of Lahore handed down the sentences in line with the Islamic law of Qisas.

The law stipulates punishment equal to the crime, akin to an eye-for-an-eye, unless the culprit is pardoned by the victim or the victim's family.

The two brothers, Sher Mohammad and Amanat Ali, abducted their 22-year-old cousin, Fazeelat Bibi, at gunpoint in September after her father refused to let her marry Mohammad. They put a noose around her neck and tried to strangle her. After failing to do so, Sher Mohammad chopped of her nose and ears with a knife, government prosecutor Ehtesham Qadir said.

Such sentences are rarely handed down by Pakistani courts and have always been revoked on appeal. The court also sentenced the pair to life in prison, Qadir said.

 

26th December   

Update: Wake Up and Smell the Bacon...

Police chef has to pay costs for failed claim about being asked to serve bacon
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons
bacon sandwich

  Wake up and smell the bacon!

A Muslim chef who lost a claim of religious discrimination against Scotland Yard after complaining he was forced to cook sausages and bacon faces a legal bill of more than £75,000.

Hasanali Khoja accused the Metropolitan Police of failing to consider his Islamic beliefs when he was asked to handle pork products as a catering manager at a police station.

Khoja lost his claim in May after a police employee told an employment tribunal how she saw Khoja eat bacon rolls and sausages.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has now won a ruling ordering Khoja to pay its costs, which total at least £76,200. In its costs claim, the Met said Khoja knew that he had asked for a bacon roll two or three times for personal consumption before bringing his claim and throughout the conduct of his claim .

The fact that he had knowingly come into contact with pork products before bringing the claim shows that the claim had no reasonable prospect of success from the outset.

Judge Michael Southam agreed and ruled Khoja should pay costs, though these would be determined at a later date at a county court.

 

23rd December   

Update: Voice of Inhumanity...

Stephen Green supports Ugandan capital punishment for gays
Link Here

Christian Voice logoStephen Green, the director of campaign group Christian Voice, has spoken out in support of the death penalty for homosexuals.

His comments come almost a month after Uganda proposed a law that would make gay sex punishable by a life sentence or even death.

In a statement that will outrage human rights groups, Stephen Green claimed:

  • Gay people who have sex knowing they are HIV positive should be given the death penalty because they have committed murder ;
  • Capital punishment is acceptable because it is ordained by God in the Bible;
  • Britain's laws promote perversion because they do not make homosexuality a criminal offence.

Green said: As a Christian I agree with the death penalty and I don't see why infecting someone with HIV should be treated in any other way than if you killed someone with a knife. It is extraordinary to think it is OK to infect someone else with HIV and get away with it.

Green's organisation is urging other Christians to support the Ugandan people in their determination to rid their nation of foreign homosexual proselytisation . It claims gay westerners are travelling to the country to convert Ugandans. Green added: This law is an understandable reaction to the pressure from human rights activists and homosexuals who are coming to the country as sex tourists.

 

23rd December   

Update: Religious Education...

Teacher sacked for unwelcome religious advances
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

The parents who complained when a Christian teacher offered to pray for their sick daughter have spoken of their anger.

Paddy and Stephanie Lynch say maths tutor Olive Jones knew they were a non-religious family and that their 14-year-old daughter was distressed when she talked to her about heaven in visits to their home.

Mrs Lynch lodged a formal complaint about Jones and Mrs Jones claims managers then dismissed her – an allegation which North Somerset Council denies. Jones said she had been made to feel like a criminal, and claimed that Christians were being persecuted because of political correctness.

Mrs Lynch said: My daughter has leukaemia and has not been to school this academic year. The local authority provide a tutoring service so that my daughter doesn't fall too far behind her classmates.

Mrs Jones was employed to teach maths but used every opportunity to discuss religion, despite the fact I made it clear we were a non-religious family and didn't want to talk about these issues in this way. On one occasion she asked my daughter to pray with her. My daughter was distressed by this behaviour.

On another, after the death of my daughter's close friend, Mrs Jones told my 14-year-old daughter that when young people die they go to heaven. These conversations upset my daughter deeply. The sessions with Mrs Jones became increasingly traumatic and we decided it was not appropriate for this woman to come to my home.

Update: Reinstated

4th February 2010.  See article from mailonsunday.co.uk

Olive Jones, the Christian teacher who was sacked after she offered to pray for a sick child, has won her job back.

After a case review council bosses now say she can return as supply maths teacher.

North Somerset Council agreed it could be appropriate for a teacher to share his or her faith, but a spokesman added: A careful judgment has to be made. We have now offered Olive further work.

 

21st December   

Update: A Snapshot of Discrimination...

Photographer successfully sued for refusing gay wedding job
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

US flagA state court in New Mexico has upheld a ruling against Jon and Elaine Huguenin. As owners of Elane Photography, they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2006 and were sued.

The court ruled the owners had violated a non-discrimination law.

Jordan Lorence, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), said it exposes the threat such laws pose to religious liberty: The court showed very little respect for that and said that this was no different than a caterer serving food and was liable to this same-sex couple.

Lorence points out New Mexico hasn't legalized same-sex unions. So, these couples are going through these ceremonies that have no legal significance to them. They're using these non-discrimination laws like 'blasphemy' laws, and they're going on witch hunts to root out the heretics and punish them.

ADF plans to appeal.

 

21st December   

Update: Nonsense Begets Nonsense...

Malaysian robbers said to use black magic to ensure successful heists
Link Here

Malaysia flagMuslim clerics in Malaysia want laws to ban witchcraft to 'help' stem a tide of robberies, the New Straits Times newspaper reported.

Witchcraft is forbidden in Islam, but there are currently no civil, or Islamic sharia laws, that clearly prohibit it.

Reports of the use of so-called black magic are widespread in in this majority Muslim country, with robbers said to use spells to ensure a successful heist.

Criminals were said to have tapped a victim's back or blow cigarette smoke on a victim's face to cast spells, making them unaware they are being robbed, 'respected' Muslim scholar Haron Din was quoted as saying. Haron claimed one way to catch black magic practitioners was to find evidence of animal skulls, rosary beads, incense and old daggers that he said were used in performing witchcraft.

Influential cleric Mohamed Tamyes Abdul Wahid said laws on black magic should be applied to Muslims as well as the sizable Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities in the country.

The punishment for black magic under Muslim laws could include whipping and banishment from the district where the offender resided, the nutters said.

 

21st December   

Offsite: Sikh and Kill...

'My people refuse to talk about honour killings'
Link Here

KirpanJagdeesh Singh's sister was murdered by her in-laws for daring to seek a divorce. But, he tells Jerome Taylor, it is a crime his community would prefer to ignore

Jagdeesh Singh wants to get straight to the point. There is this very distinctive and self-incriminating silence within communities that have a history of 'honour' killings, he says. The so-called community leaders, the influential religious groups and the local language newspapers remain deafeningly silent when these killings happen. But that silence makes them just as guilty as the people who kill in the name of honour.

Talk like this has made Mr Singh a deeply controversial character within the suburbs of west London where he and many of Britain's 400,000-plus Sikhs have made their homes.

Many younger people regard him as a devout and tireless Sikh who is unafraid of speaking out against the more parochial traditions of Punjabi culture that they often find themselves struggling against. Others, particularly the more conservative and older elements, look on the 39-year-old as a troublemaker who needlessly provokes controversy by shining an unwelcome spotlight on things that should not be aired in public.

...Read full article

 

20th December   

Update: Freedom Defamed...

Defamation of Religion Motion passes again in the UN with the smallest margin yet
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logoThe U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Friday deploring the defamation of religions and expressing concern that Islam is frequently and 'wrongly' associated with terrorism and human rights violations. 

The nonbinding resolution, sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was adopted by a vote of 80-61 with 42 abstentions.

The United States and many European and developed nations voted against it. Many see it as an interference in freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the resolution fails to solve the very real problems of religious discrimination and hatred and further promotes intolerance and human rights violations by curtailing individuals' rights to express their religious beliefs.

He noted that the General Assembly has adopted defamation of religion resolutions annually since 2005 — and this year it was approved by the smallest margin yet.

Among other things, the resolution expresses deep concern at the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief.

 

20th December   

A Lesson in Discrimination...

Jewish school loses argument restricting freedom of religion
Link Here

JFS logoDozens of jewish schools face rewriting their admissions policies after a Supreme Court ruling. They will be forced to tear up existing entry rules after the court upheld an earlier judgment that a school in north London racially discriminated against a boy.

He was rejected from JFS – formerly the Jews' Free School, in Brent – because his mother was not born Jewish.

The school went to the Supreme Court after three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled in June that the admissions rules were unfair. The Supreme Court agreed with the appeal court decision decision.

It is thought the ruling will force most of the 38 Jewish state schools in England to rewrite their admissions policies.

Lord Rodger – one of nine Justices who heard the case – said the decision meant that there can in future be no Jewish faith schools which give preference to children because they are Jewish according to Jewish religious law and belief. Jewish schools will be forced to apply a concocted test for deciding who is to be admitted [that] has no basis whatsoever in 3,500 years of Jewish law and teaching . The… decision leads to such extraordinary results, and produces such manifest discrimination against Jewish schools in comparison with other faith schools, that one can't help feeling that something has gone wrong.

After the hearing, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was extremely disappointed by this decision . It said it would lobby for a law change to allow Jewish schools to apply admissions rules based on the faith of children's parents, which was a fundamental right for our community .

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, chairman of Accord, which lobbies for a major overhaul of faith schools entry requirements, said: We hope this ruling will serve as a wake-up call to faith schools by showing that religious admissions rules must conform to the law of the land, though we will continue urging for all faith schools to stop discriminatory policies entirely. Taxpayer funded faith schools should serve not just themselves but also the community around them.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said after the ruling: This is an important verdict. The commission believed that it had to intervene in order to preserve the same protection against racial discrimination for Jews as for anyone else – not least at a time when anti-Semitic groups are active across Europe. The decision of the court achieves that end; and it confirms that no school will be allowed to discriminate based on the ethnic origin of an individual.

 

19th December   

Update: Censor as we Say Not as we Do...

Index on Censorship censor Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Danish papersIndex on Censorship today carries an interview with Jytte Klausen, the author of The Cartoons That Shook The World . The theme of the interview is Yale's cowardly act of pre-emptive self-censorship in deciding to publish the book without the cartoons which were its subject.

Guess what? In a cowardly act of pre-emptive self-censorship, Index on Censorship decided to publish the interview without the cartoons which were its subject.

The decision, accepted by editor Jo Glanville, was made by the board, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby:

To summarise our common view: re-publication of the cartoons would put at risk the security of our staff and others which, on balance, could not be justified on freedom of expression grounds alone.[...]

[...] We have a greater vision and purpose, which is to reach out to those in the United Kingdom and elsewhere who are not yet aware of how vital freedom of expression is to an open society and how easily and rapidly it can be eroded.

One notable dissenter on the board is Kenan Malik, who is understandably furious at the decision. He makes clear that IoC's position is untenable:

The question that now arises is this: what should Index do when the next Jewel of Medina comes along? After all, we cannot in good conscience criticise others for taking decisions that we ourselves have taken and for the same reasons. So, does Index now believe that it was right for Deutsche Oper, Random House, Yale University Press (and myriad others) to censor?

 

19th December   

Updated: Cyclic Nonsense...

New York bike lanes removed as lycra clad cyclists offends Hasidic nutters
Link Here
 
 

New York State sealGroups of bicycle-riding vigilantes have been repainting 14 blocks of Williamsburg roadways ever since the city sandblasted their bike lanes away last week at the request of the New York community of orthodox jews.

The Hasids had complained that the Bedford Avenue bike paths posed both a safety and religious hazard.

Scantily clad hipster cyclists attracted to the Brooklyn neighborhood made it difficult, the Hasids said, to obey religious laws forbidding them from staring at members of the opposite sex in various states of undress. These riders also were disobeying the traffic laws, they complained.

Two cycling advocates were apprehended by the Shomrim Patrol, a Hasidic neighborhood watch group, as they repainted a section of bike lane at 3:30 a.m. yesterday, but when cops arrived, no one was arrested and no summonses were issued, police said.

A source close to Mayor Bloomberg said removing the lanes was an effort to appease the Hasidic community just before last month's election.

Neighborhood activist Isaac Abraham claims the bike lanes put children at risk of getting hit by cars or bicycles as they exited school buses.

But Baruch Herzfeld, who has tried to bridge the gap between hipsters and Hasids with a bike-rental program, said safety is not the issue so much as xenophobia: They don't want the hipsters in their neighborhood, he said. It's like in Howard Beach back in the day when they didn't want black people in the neighborhood.

Update: The Righteous Path

19th December 2009. Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

Bicyclists angered by the removal of a cycling lane in Brooklyn are planning a nude protest on Saturday - when heavy snow is predicted in New York.

The Freedom Ride is designed to protest against the removal of a bike lane in Williamsburg, a long-time Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood that has in recent years been taken over by young artists.

The activists intend to go topless in front of Hasidic residents who can't handle scantily clad women on wheels, Heather Loop, a bike messenger, told a local newspaper earlier this week.

Cycling advocates claim Mayor Michael Bloomberg erased the bike lane because conservative residents objected to seeing scantily clad riding through the neighbourhood every day.

Members of the Satmar branch of Judaism don't want to see women in shorts, said Baruch Herzfeld, who runs a bike-sharing programme in a community where Jewish women wear modest long skirts and blouses with long sleeves and men heavy coats and hats, even in the hot NY summer.

 

19th December   

Update: Hells Bells...

Turks threaten to destroy church bell towers in response to Swiss minaret ban
Link Here  full story: Minarets Referendum...Swiss vote on banning minarets

No minarets posterIn response to a Swiss vote banning the construction of new mosque minarets, a group of Muslims this month went into a church building in eastern Turkey and threatened to kill a priest unless he tore down its bell tower, according to an advocacy group. Related

Three Muslims on Dec. 4 entered the Meryem Ana Church, a Syriac Orthodox church in Diyarbakir, and confronted the Rev. Yusuf Akbulut. They told him that unless the bell tower was destroyed in one week, they would kill him.

If Switzerland is demolishing our minarets, we will demolish your bell towers too, one of the men told Akbulut.

Fikri Aygur, vice president of the European Syriac Union, said that Akbulut has contacted police but has otherwise remained defiant in the face of the threats: He has contacted the police, and they gave him guards, he said. I talked with him two days ago, and he said, 'It is my job to protect the church, so I will stand here and leave it in God's hands.'

 

19th December   

Offsite: Religious Half Life...

The decline of organised religion in Britain
Link Here

British Social Attitudes Report Survey The British Social Attitudes survey of religious belief in Britain shows the decline in Christianity generally and Anglicanism in particular continuing. But what it does not show is any concommitant rise in atheism. Religious decline in Britain is generational say the authors, David Voas and Rodney Ling:

the gap between age groups arises not because individuals become more religiously committed as they get older, but because children are less religious than their parents. The results suggest that institutional religion in Britain now has a half-life of one generation, to borrow the terminology of radioactive decay. Two non-religious parents successfully transmit their lack of religion. Two religious parents have roughly a 50/50 chance of passing on the faith. One religious parent does only half as well as two together.

...Read full article

 

18th December   

Update: Registered as Discriminatory...

Gay marriage refusenik registrar loses case
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Old BaileySecular and libertarian groups have welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling that a council did not discriminate against a Christian registrar who refused to perform civil partnerships.

Lillian Ladele claimed that she could not officiate the ceremonies for gay couples because of her strict Christian beliefs.

She argued that Islington council's disciplinary action was discriminatory but the Court of Appeal ruled against her in the latest round of the case.

Gay organisation Stonewall said it was pleased the court had upheld the right of lesbian and gay people to receive public services from public servants .

Civil rights group Liberty had supported council in the case and described it as a common sense judgement .

Corinna Ferguson, Liberty's legal officer who specialises in religious freedom cases, said: Freedom of conscience is incredibly precious but other people have rights and freedoms too. Employers can't be expected to promote equal treatment under the law if they must also accommodate discrimination on the part of their employees.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said the ruling was important and definitive . He said: It establishes, we hope definitively, that because a person has strong religious views, it does not give them the right to discriminate against and deny services to others of whom they disapprove.

Parliament has decided that gay people are entitled to civil partnerships and that their right to such a service be protected in law, so there should therefore be no opt-outs on any grounds, religious or otherwise, for public servants from performing these ceremonies. Christian conscience should not be a blanket licence to discriminate against others.

Ladele and the Christian Institute, which is supporting her, were refused leave to appeal at the Supreme Court. However, they plan to go to the Supreme Court directly to attempt to overturn the ruling.

Update: Appeal Refused

12th March. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Lillian Ladele's situation does not raise legal points of general public importance , according to the highest court in the land.

She is now considering whether to try to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights, as she believes it shows that the right to religious conscience has been trampled by the rights of homosexuals.

 

18th December   

Update: Abhorrent Saudi...

Amnesty International call on Saudi not to flog old lady
Link Here  full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves

floggingAmnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to stay a sentence of 40 lashes handed down against a 75-year-old woman for breaching the kingdom's sex segregation rules.

The minister of the interior (Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz) is reported to have ordered the immediate detention and flogging of a 75-year-old woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, along with two Saudi Arabian men known only as Fahad and Hadyan, the London-based watchdog said. The Saudi Arabian authorities must not carry out the imminent flogging and imprisonment of an elderly woman and two younger men.

Amnesty said all avenues of appeal had been exhausted in Saudi courts against the trio's March conviction for being in the company of members of the opposite sex who were not close relatives.

It is abhorrent that an elderly woman is at risk of 40 lashes, said the deputy director of the watchdog's Middle East and North Africa Program, Philip Luther. We urge the authorities to prevent the imprisonment and flogging of Khamisa, Fahad and Hadyan. Sawadi and Fahad were sentenced to 40 lashes and four months' imprisonment, and Hadyan to 60 lashes and six months' imprisonment, Amnesty said. Sawadi also faces deportation to her native Syria on completion of her prison term.

 

17th December   

Golden Compass Goes West...

It seems that catholic protest has terminated the film series
Link Here

Golden Compass disc Special DVD Actor Sam Elliott has accused the Catholic Church of pressurising Hollywood producers to scrap a classic fantasy trilogy.

Studio bosses have shelved plans to film the final two instalments of His Dark Materials , despite the success of the first movie, The Golden Compass , two years ago.

The film, based on the books by Philip Pullman angered Catholics who accused it of promoting atheism. In the book trilogy, set in a series of parallel worlds, heroine Lyra fights the Magisterium, an evil organisation some have interpreted as being based on the Catholic Church. The Magisterium wields huge power and experiments on children. In a climactic battle angels fight each other and God is presented as a frail, ancient and powerless figure.

Catholic campaigners in America organised a boycott of The Golden Compass. Right-wing US broadcaster Bill O'Reilly, of Fox News, attacked its release in 2007, calling it a war on Christmas .

Elliot, who plays Lyra's ally, Lee Scoresby, has challenged O'Reilly to a TV debate and claimed money could not be the reason for the series being shelved.

The production company, New Line, had said the making of the second and third films was dependent on the financial success of The Golden Compass . The movie had a budget of $180million (£110million) and made $380million (£234million).

Asked what happened to the series, Elliot said: The Catholic Church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I'm concerned. It did 'incredible' at the box office, taking $380million. Incredible. It took $85million in the States. The Catholic Church ... lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off.

 

17th December   

Nutter Lust...

Nutters picket Playboy Mansion
Link Here

Two dozen members of a Southern California Christian organization picketed outside the Playboy Mansion for more than three hours Saturday night.

The group, called Strike LA, said the picket was a major prayer initiative and was intended to disrupt Playboy's 56th anniversary of its publication, according to its website.

The magazine, according to Strike LA, has promoted a culture of lust, sensuality, pornography and all sorts of sexual perversion.

Strike LA said it chose Saturday, Dec. 12, as an ideal to protest because 12 is the number of perfection (governmental perfection).

The group also asked its members to fast for 10 days before the Playboy Mansion picket.

 

17th December   

A Hard Act to Follow...

New Zealand poster causes debate about virgin birth
Link Here

Poor Joseph posterA billboard outside a church depicting Mary and Joseph in bed with each other, apparently after having sex, has caused 'outrage' in New Zealand.

The billboard, which was erected outside Auckland's St Matthew-in-the-City Church, features Mary and Joseph naked under the sheets, with Joseph looking rather dejected. Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow, the slogan reads.

The vicar of the progressive Anglican church, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, said that the billboard was meant to challenge literal interpretations of the Bible and engage non-believers ahead of Christmas.

The idea was to lampoon and ridicule the idea of a male God in the sky who somehow impregnated Mary, Archdeacon Cardy told The Times: We would question the virgin birth in any literal sense. We would question the maleness of God in any literal sense.

However, Auckland's Catholic diocese was not impressed, describing the implication that Mary and Joseph had just had sex as disrespectful and offensive to Christians.

A spokeswoman for Auckland's Catholic Church, Lyndsay Freer, told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that it was particularly 'inappropriate' given that the inference was wrong.

St Matthew's was 'inundated' with phone calls and e-mails from both supporters and those who opposed the radical billboard. Archdeacon Cardy said that about 50% were in favour and 50% were opposed.

Archdeacon Cardy said that the billboard would remain on display until Boxing Day.

 

15th December   

Update: Stoning in Somalia...

Scourge of humanity
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Somalia flagSomalia's hardline muslim group Hezb al-Islam killed two men in front of hundreds of residents in the district of Afgoye, officials and witnesses said.

Mohamed Abukar Ibrahim accused of adultery, was stoned to death by dozens of militants from the group and Ahmed Mohamoud Awale was executed by firing squad for murder.

It was the first time Hezb al-Islam had carried out such executions, usually their  the Shebab order amputations, executions and stonings in the name of Sharia law.

He was screaming, blood was coming from his head and his body , Adan Nurkey who witnessed the stoning told AFP, he died very quickly after being hit by a big stone , another witness, Mohamud Ashur said.

The 15-year-old girl with whom the man was accused of having a sexual relations received a hundred lashes, she escaped the death penalty because she was not married at the time.

 

15th December   

Update: Health and Safety...

France continues to consider a burkha ban
Link Here

France flagFrance could ban face-covering by Muslim women under a law drawing on sexual equality and public safety.

Jean-Francis Copé, the parliamentary leader of President Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement, said that wearing the burka had nothing to do with religion, but was about extremists who are testing the limits of the Republic .

He said that France's guarantees on sexual equality could be invoked, along with public safety, as the basis for a ban. People in France are expected to bare their faces, he said, and schools, for example, should not hand children after classes to people whose faces they cannot see.

No decisions have yet been taken and legal experts were trying to ensure that any legislation would not fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights, he added. Related Links

Next month a parliamentary committee is to recommend measures to prevent women from wearing full veils. A police intelligence report leaked yesterday said that about 2,000 women in France covered their faces for religious reasons.

 

14th December   

Extremist Watchtower...

Russia bans Jehovah's Witnesses
Link Here

Russia flagRussia's Supreme Court has upheld a Rostov-on-Don Regional Court ruling finding 34 Jehovah's Witness publications extremist , ensuring that their distribution will be banned nationwide.

The Supreme Court also upheld, as part of the ruling, the liquidation of the Taganrog Jehovah's Witness congregation as extremist. The congregation's property will now be confiscated, and it will be banned from meeting as a community.

Asked why the Supreme Court upheld the lower court decision, the secretary for the Supreme Court's Civil Cases Division, who would not give her name, told Forum 18 News Service: The Jehovah's Witnesses are extremist. Asked if they have for example killed anyone, she responded: To a certain extent, yes.

Grigory Martynov of the Jehovah's Witnesses expressed disappointment, telling Forum 18 that the decision was taken very quickly and they gave no explanation as to why they upheld the Rostov decision. He also stated that they will consider whether to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

 

13th December   

Banned Words...

Home Office advice to ministers to avoid linking islam with violence
Link Here

Home Offie logoMinisters have been banned from using words like Islamist and fundamentalist. An eight-page Whitehall guide lists words they should not use when talking about terrorism in public and gives politically correct alternatives.

They are told not to refer to Muslim extremism as it links Islam to violence. Instead, they are urged to talk about terrorism or violent extremism. Fundamentalist and Jihadi are also banned because they make an explicit link between Muslims and terror.

Radicalisation must be called brainwashing and talking about moderate or radical Muslims is to be avoided as it splits the community . Islamophobia is also out as it is received as a slur that singles out Muslims .

The guide, produced by the secretive Research, Information and Communications Unit in the Home Office, tell ministers to avoid implying that specific communities are to blame for terrorism. It says more than 2,000 people are engaged in terror plots.

The Home Office said: This is about using appropriate language to have counter-terrorism impact. It would be foolish to do anything else.

 

13th December   

Moral Patrols...

Religious vigilante patrols in Spain
Link Here

Spanish flagThe reported capturing of a Muslim women in Reus (Tarragona) and the issuing of a stoning sentence for adultery by religious fanatics are a gauge of a phenomenon that has already appeared in Holland and France, and which is now taking root in Catalonia: the creation of Islamic moral brigades by fundamentalists, who claim the role of judges and police officers imposing a strict observance of Sharia, or Islamic law.

The theatre of the incursions of these Islamic moral patrols are the rural towns where the mosques are controlled by Salafists, a fundamentalist sect of Islam, with a substantial presence in the province of Tarragona. These groups are heavily inspired by the Koran and the rigid regulations applied in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

On November 14, nine alleged Islamic extremists were arrested, accused of having captured and sentenced a Northern African woman to death after convicting her of adultery.

The investigation, still in the preliminary phases, is classified. However, according to reports in the media, the woman was captured and held for three days in an abandoned factory, and then in the home of the group's spiritual leader in Reus, where she was tried before an Islamic tribunal made up of seven people, who found her guilty of infidelity and sentenced her to death by stoning.

The woman, who was pregnant, managed to escape and call the Catalonian police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, for help, and she is currently under their protection. In the meanwhile, the operation against the fundamentalist cell is ongoing.

Investigators have warned that the phenomenon of these brigades , which could increase, has not only been found in Tarragona, but also in the provinces of Girona and Segarra, where mosques are controlled by Salafites. Many of the victims do not dare report their persecution, and intimidation continues for them. Investigators have confirmed beatings and segregation by their parents or spouses of women who do not wear veils, and the case of a Moroccan teenager who was beaten because he played football with other non-Muslim children.

 

13th December   

Update: Threats Unveiled...

Somali town bans tobacco and demands veils
Link Here

Somalia flagThe linked Islamist rebels Al-shabaab have ordered Somali women in the border town of Dhobley close to Kenya to wear veils or face punishment, the top rebel commander in the town declared.

During a press conference Al shabab's security chief in the town Sheik Da'ud Hassan Ali said that all women in Dhobley and surrounding villages are told to wear veils and cover all their bodies otherwise they will be punished for neglecting the Islamic orders.

According to the holly Quran Allah had obligated Muslim women in all over the world to have veils, that is a religious article and any woman who doesn't obey will be dealt with in accordance with Islamic sharia law the Islamist official told reporters.

Al-shabaab also banned cigarettes and Kat {the green narcotic leafs grown in the neighbouring Kenya} to be used in the city.

 

12th December   

Archbishop of Oddity...

Rowan Williams laments that religion is practised by oddities.'
Link Here

Williams looking decidely oddThe Archbishop of Canterbury has accused the government of treating religious faith as an eccentricity practised by oddities .

Rowan Williams told the Telegraph: The trouble with a lot of government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it's an eccentricity, it's practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities. The effect is to de-normalise faith, to intensify the perception that faith is not part of our bloodstream. And, you know, in great swaths of the country that's how it is.

He said it would not do any harm for political leaders to be more open about their religious beliefs.

He said the three main part leaders curiously all have a very strong moral sense of some spiritual flavour . Part of establishing their human credentials is saying This is where my motivation comes from. Part of establishing their human credentials is saying 'This is where my motivation comes from... I'm in politics because this is what I believe'. And that includes religious conviction.

 

12th December   

Update: Curse of Saudi Justice...

EU voices concerns about Saudi death sentences for 'sorcery'
Link Here

astrology chartThe European Union has voiced concern over reports of death sentences in Saudi Arabia on charges relating to sorcery .

The alleged activities cannot be punishable by law, since they would simply correspond to individuals exercising their freedom of opinion and expression, the Swedish Presidency of the EU said in a statement.

According to the London-based Amnesty International, two men are sitting in death row in Saudi Arabia on charges relating to sorcery .

One man, Lebanese national, Ali Hussain Sibat, travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform a Muslim pilgrimage, and was arrested by Saudi religious police in his hotel room in Medina in May 2008.

He was sentenced to death on 9 November 2009, after what Amnesty International described as secret court hearings where he had no legal representation. Sibat was a presenter on a television show on a Lebanese satellite station, where he gave advice and predictions about the future.

The other man facing execution was sentenced to death for apostasy on grounds relating to sorcery by a court in the city of Hail.

According to Amnesty International, Saudi authorities have arrested scores of people for "sorcery" this year.

The EU and Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to rescind the death sentences.

 

12th December   

Update: Stoning Still Law...

Barbarism in Indonesia still not challenged
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Indonesia flagThe National Commission on Violence Against Women urged the government to review a number of sharia-based bylaws deemed discriminative against women as part of its first 100-days program.

Commission chairwoman Kamala Chandra Kirana told The Jakarta Post such bylaws violated the Constitution, and that the central government was responsible for amending them so they adhered to the Constitution.

As Indonesians, we are bound by the social contract inscribed in the Constitution, which clearly mentions non-discrimination among its main principles, Kamala said.

Special or regular *regional* autonomy should not lead to legislation that strays from the basic principles. The central government has a role to safeguard the consistency between national and regional law, she added.

By prioritizing the harmonization of local regulations with those at the national level, the new government could include the reviewing of discriminative bylaws into the program, Kamala suggested. The most dramatic of such bylaws, she said, is the Islamic criminal code bylaw passed in September by Aceh's legislative council, which introduced stoning and caning as punishment for adulterous acts.

The punishments have never appeared in national law and are actually controversial in Aceh itself. But it was still endorsed because there are many political interests involved, she said.

 

12th December   

Religious Freedom...BUT...

No religious freedom in Morocco
Link Here

Morocco flagA group of five foreigners, was arrested last week in Morocco on suspicion of proselytising. The Christian missionaries - two South Africans, two Swiss and one Guatemalan - were expelled from the country for holding undeclared meetings , said police. Proselytising is a crime in Morocco, even though the constitution supposedly guarantees individual freedom.

Mohamad Reda Benkhaldoun, member of parliament for Morocco's main opposition party, says the geopolitical location of Morocco between Africa and Europe makes it accessible to all ideas and movements. However, this regularly leads to friction. In theory, freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution and Islamic Sharia laws, ...BUT... the MP says there are limitations: When missionaries proselytise among Moroccans, particularly among young people who have no resistance to certain ideas, the state has an obligation to take the necessary steps to prevent a sort of legal destabilisation of the Islamic faith in Morocco.

Professor Mohamed Darif has found that Morocco not only penalises missionary zeal, but also has a long history of punishing Moroccan citizens for changing their religious beliefs. In the 1960s and 1980s a number of converts to the Bahá'í faith was convicted. Morocco recently broke off diplomatic relations with Iran because of its alleged spreading of the Shiite doctrine among Moroccans. The government denies it wants to limit individual freedoms ...BUT... says it only wants to safeguard social cohesion .

Morocco often sends messages of religious tolerance to the West, and a not particularly perceptive tourist travelling through Morocco may arrive at the conclusion that is indeed the case in the country ...BUT... human rights activists, independent journalists and Islamists often face repression under the guise of maintaining the unity of Sunni doctrine, or the prevention of social unrest.

 

11th December   

Thoughts Darken...

The pope has a whinge about the media
Link Here

PopePope Ratzinger has been whingeing about the media. He complained that the mass media: Tend to make us feel like spectators, as if evil regards only others and certain things could never happen to us.

He also lamented about what he described as a steady diet of news about evil in the world: Every day, through the newspapers, television, radio, evil is reported, repeated, amplified, making us used to horrible things, making us become insensitive, and, in some way, poisoning us. Hearts harden and thoughts darken.

Perhaps he was referring to news coverage of abusive catholic priests.

 

11th December   

Update: Unaggravated Insult...

Hotel owners cleared over heated religious argument
Link Here  full story: Hotel Sharia Argument...Hoteliers prosecuted for row with muslim guests
 
 

Old BaileyChristian hoteliers accused of insulting a Muslim guest for wearing the hijab and berating her for her beliefs have been cleared.

Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words which were religiously aggravated against white British Muslim convert Ericka Tazi.

District Judge Richard Clancy, who heard the case in the absence of a jury, told the couple that religion and politics was the tinderbox which set the whole thing alight and it would appear because of strongly entrenched positions that is what has happened here .

Explaining his reasons for dismissing the case, he said Mrs Tazi's claim that she was verbally attacked by the couple for up to an hour had not been borne out by other prosecution witnesses, who suggested that any discussions lasted around seven minutes.

Judge Clancy said: I'm not satisfied on the facts that this case has been made out. His decision was greeted by prolonged applause from the couple's supporters in the public gallery.

Outside, Sharon Vogelenzang told reporters: We've been found innocent of any crime. It has been a very difficult nine months and we are looking forward to rebuilding our business and getting on with our lives.

Tazi told the court yesterday that she was left traumatised after being insulted by the couple while a guest at The Bounty House Hotel in Aintree, Liverpool, on March 20. She said they laughed at her when she came down wearing a hijab on her final day at the hotel and shouted at her, saying her Islamic dress was a form of bondage and that she had provoked an argument by wearing it.

She claimed Mr Vogelenzang called the prophet Mohammed a murderer and a warlord and likened him to Saddam Hussein and Hitler.

But the couple denied her version of events and claimed Mrs Tazi told them Jesus was a minor prophet and that the Bible was untrue. r Vogelenzang said: She took the examples of history and she started provoking me by saying 'Oh, will you tell me then that I'm a murderer, that I'm a Nazi? You're telling me I'm a terrorist?

 

10th December   

Offsite: Are we better off without religion?...

Correlation between religiosity and societal breakdown
Link Here

QuetzalcoatlIn this latest research Gregory Paul measures popular religiosity for developed nations, and then compares it against the successful societies scale (SSS) which includes such things such as homicides, the proportion of people incarcerated, infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage births and abortions, corruption, income inequality, and many others. In other words it is a way of summing up a society's health. The outlier again and again is the US with a stunning catalogue of failures. On almost every measure the US comes out worse than any other 1st world developed nation, and it is also the most religious.

For this reason Paul carries out his analysis both with and without the US included, but either way the same correlations turn up. The 1st world nations with the highest levels of belief in God, and the greatest religious observance are also the ones with all the signs of societal dysfunction. These correlations are truly stunning. They are not barely significant or marginal in any way. Many, such as those between popular religiosity and teenage abortions and STDs have correlation coefficients over 0.9 and the overall correlation with the SSS is 0.7 with the US included and 0.5 without. These are powerful relationships. But why?

The critical step from correlation to cause is not easy. Paul analyses all sorts of possibilities. Immigration and diversity do not explain the relationships, nor do a country's frontier past, nor its violent media, and so he is led to his conclusions: Because highly secular democracies are significantly and regularly outperforming the more theistic ones, the moral-creator socioeconomic hypothesis is rejected in favour of the secular-democratic socioeconomic hypothesis ; religious prosociality and charity are less effective at improving societal conditions than are secular government programmes .

...Read full article article

 

9th December   

Merry XXXmas...

Nutters whinge at light hearted Ann Summers slogan
Link Here

We wish you a horny christmasA marketing campaign for Ann Summers sex shops wishing customers a Merry XXXmas provoked a row with the Church of England. Religious nutters branded the shop's Christmas slogan - in the windows of all its 138 stores - as insensitive and crass and called for it to be removed. There was also anger over another Ann Summers slogan calling on customers to Have a horny Christmas .

The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle, said: Without wanting to be a killjoy, [...BUT...] my feeling is that it is insensitive, at best uncomfortable, and at worst a crass marketing slogan. Many people see Christmas as a sacred and special festival.

That isn't to say ordinary fun and human enjoyment shouldn't be part of it, but people need to be sensitive to the feelings not just of the Church, but of the many people for whom Christmas is an important part of their relationship with God.

One has to accept this is a time of year which is of great importance commercially. But it is about having awareness of the spiritual significance of Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth. Let's not throw the Christ child out with the bath water.

Last night the boss of Ann Summers said she would investigate the complaint - but also pointed out that the company was proud of its marketing campaign.

Jacqueline Gold, chief executive at Ann Summers. said: Our festive campaign was designed to put our customers in the Christmas spirit, with a model accessorising our lingerie with a pair of reindeer horns. The accompanying slogan is a light-hearted play on words, which if questioned by children, can be explained by the fact the horns are being worn - after all, Rudolph plays a large part at Christmas time. We are proud of our tongue-in-cheek window and marketing messages, designed to make our customers smile. We aim to offer women the opportunity to feel sexy and have fun.

One or two questions have been raised about our new Christmas windows and we are listening to feedback from our customers and staff to ensure that we achieve the right balance. We value customers opinions and we will always investigate any complaints, however few and far between.'

Matt King, who passes Ann Summers every day on his way to work at Newcastle University, contacted his local councillor, Nick Forbes, to raise his concerns about the window display and to ask him to take it up with the council: I think it brings a highly sexual language to the high street. Everyone who can read, whether they are four years old or 80, is being wished this message, which they may not want. I would have thought the council would be concerned that this would end up being a seedy end of town as a result.

Councillor Forbes said: I can see how this would be extremely offensive to Christians at this special time of year. I would have thought that sex shops would be aware of the potential offence they could cause and I would urge them to stop using the slogan immediately.

A council spokesman said: We have received a complaint about this window display. It is in poor taste and inappropriate in a main shopping street, but we have no powers to make the shop owners take it down.

 

9th December   

Gay Criticism within Limits of Free Speech...

Canadian judge overrules misleadingly named Alberta Human Rights Commission
Link Here

Canada Human Rights Commission logoA Canadian judge last week exonerated a former pastor who was charged of committing a hate crime for sending a letter to a local newspaper criticizing homosexuality. Related

Judge E.C. Wilson overturned a 2008 ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission that ordered former Alberta pastor Stephen Boissoin to stop all public criticisms of homosexuality and to pay the plaintiff $5,000 in damages, according to The Canadian Press.

Wilson ruled on Friday that the 2002 letter, which carried the headline Homosexual agenda wicked, was not a hate crime but is permissible under freedom of speech.

The decision of Justice Earl Wilson of the Court of Queen's Bench in Boissoin v. Lund will have a significant long term positive impact on religious freedom in Canada, wrote Gerald Chipeur , Boissoin's attorney, in a summary analysis of the judgment, according to LifeSiteNews.com. Chipeur commented that the definition of what qualifies as hate speech was made clearer through the ruling. He also said the judge took away the tools of censorship and protected freedom of expression.

In 2002, Boissoin sent a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate newspaper criticizing the pro-gay rights curriculum in the province's education system. From kindergarten class on our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators, Pastor Stephen Boissoin wrote.

The letter caught the attention of a human rights activist who filed a complaint against the pastor for hate-mongering. The activist supported his case by pointing to a homosexual who was beaten up two weeks after the letter was published as evidence that such speech can incite violence.   While the decision did not strike down Alberta's 'hate speech' laws, it significantly limited the application of such laws, Chipeur said.

But plaintiff Darren Lund responded to the ruling saying, I really think this is a step backwards for our province, in an e-mail to The Canadian Press: In my view, the judge's ruling sets such strict standards for hate speech that this section is rendered all but unenforceable.

 

9th December   

Update: Queen Honoured...

Jordan's Queen Rania campaigns against honour killings
Link Here

Queen RaniaQueen Rania of Jordan is challenging Islamic hardliners by supporting tougher sentences for men who commit honour killings .

Queen Rania, who regularly appears without head-scarf, let alone hijab, has given her quiet support to women's rights groups who want to change laws amounting to legal impunity for men involved in honour killings.

But standing against is are another symbol of the country's attempts to show a progressive face. Jordan's MPs, who have been given more power to hold the government and royal family to account than in other Arab countries, have shown little enthusiasm for the moves.

This whole issue is being exaggerated, and the reason behind it is not innocent, said Sheikh Hamza Mansour, leader of the parliament's Islamic Action Front. His coalition of Islamist and tribal representatives has so far blocked an attempt to introduce tougher sentences for men who have killed their sisters and daughters for bringing shame on their families: It's as if the government is giving up our personality to turn us into a Westernised society.

For Rania, it is deeply offensive that the killing of women not only appears to be condoned, but seems to be on the rise: the number of deaths reported, currently between 20 and 25 a year, is increasing. Sentences remain low, often as little as six months to three years in jail.

The government is introducing a special tribunal to hear honour killing cases, but a parliamentary alliance has so far blocked attempts to change two articles of the legal code. The first is article 340, which allows an in flagrante defence to a man who kills his wife and her lover if he finds them in bed together. It has only ever been used once. More important is article 98, a crime of passion defence, which is commonly used and gives reduced sentences to those who claim they commit violence in the fury of the moment. The government wants a minimum penalty of five years even under this defence, but is coming under vociferous attack.

 

9th December   

Update: Intimidating Figures...

Honour crimes increasing in Britain
Link Here

Ragged Union JackPolice have seen honour crime surge by 40% due to rising fundamentalism, new figures show.

Honour-based violence, including crimes like murder, rape and kidnap has increased in London during the last year.

Reported instances of intimidation and attempts at forced marriage have also increased by 60%.

A report into the scale of the problem by Scotland Yard found there were 161 honour-based incidents recorded in 2007-8, of which 93 were criminal offences. But in 2008/9 the number of incidents had risen to 256, with 132 being criminal offences.

The latest figures indicate that the trend is continuing, with 211 incidents reported in the last six months until October, of which 129 were offences - more than double the number in the same period last year.

Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said the group is now dealing with four times more complaints relating to honour than two years ago.

She said: More women are coming forward. They are becoming more aware of their rights in the UK, that there is help available and they feel confident enough to report matters to the police. But I also think cases and violence are increasing.

 

8th December   

Baghdad Goes Miserable...

Religious authorities close down Baghdad nightlife
Link Here

Iraq flagThe raids came just before midnight a week ago. At the start of Eid al-Adha, the four holiest days on the Islamic calendar, hundreds of Iraqi police and soldiers stormed each of Baghdad's 300 or so nightclubs. Officers from the most elite units stood outside as soldiers slapped owners' faces, scattered their patrons and dancing girls, ripped down posters advertising upcoming acts, and ordered alcohol removed from the shelves.

They left many of the clubs with a warning – any owner who tried to reopen would be thrown into prison, along with his staff.

The official reason for the mass raids is that none of the premises had licences. The reality is that a year-long renaissance in Baghdad's nightlife may be over, as this increasingly conservative city takes on a hardline religious identity. Bohemian Baghdad did not last long.

The clubs are only the most colourful victims of the conservative crackdown. Other potential sources of liberal licentiousness have been targeted. Internet cafes have been told that filters will soon start blocking some websites, especially pornographic ones, and alcohol vendors in the city's international zone were informed they will soon be out of business. To some in Iraq, particularly the young, the government moves are a dismaying throwback to the later years of Saddam, who ruthlessly crushed freedoms he largely saw as subversive.

The government last month demanded that all 58 broadcast media outlets in the country start paying an annual licence fee and signalled similar moves for the press, both homegrown and foreign. Local journalists, who had enjoyed more freedom of movement and access to officials than in most other countries in the Middle East, have recently reported that several colleagues who tried to cover sensitive issues were savagely beaten by police and soldiers. Senior ministers have become increasingly sensitive to coverage of bombings after four massive explosions targeting government ministries since August.

One of Baghdad's leading Islamic figures, Saleh al-Haidri, happily claims credit for leading the crackdown on wayward youth – and for curtailing the city's nightlife.

They were forbidden under Saddam and they are forbidden again now, said Haidri, the head of the Religious Endowment Office. There is social and religious backing for this. Two months ago I personally talked to the Baghdad governor. I saw many youths drinking alcohol in the streets and in cars and I received many complaints from families, especially about nightclubs, which are dens of pornography and corruption. Believe me, they are a breeding ground for crimes and they anaesthetise our youth. They violate Muslim rules, but Iraq will not turn into a religious state by closing these dens down. We need to teach people culture and morals in order to rebuild this country, not allowing them nightclubs.

 

8th December   

Update: Child Witches in Britain...

Man tortured his own daughter believing her to be a witch
Link Here

DR Congo flagThe nonsensical belief that children can be possessed by evil supernatural forces is increasingly being spread in the UK by evangelical preachers with African backgrounds.

The problem was highlighted a year ago by a Channel 4 Dispatches team – and this week we were reminded of the devastating effects of child witchcraft belief when an evangelist church leader was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for torturing his 10-year-old daughter.

The man, who came to the UK from the Congo, kept the girl prisoner for four days with no food because he was convinced she was a witch.

According to this report, the twisted 39-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, dripped boiling hot plastic over his terrified daughter's feet and beat her senseless after she became possessed by evil spirits .

The girl was held prisoner and force-fed olive oil and milk for four days after her father became convinced she had powers to make people fall asleep, Coventry Crown Court heard. Interviewed by Dispatches, this woman said church leaders are such strong people in our community

The preacher admitted child cruelty. His second wife, the girl's step-mother, admitted wilful neglect of a child and was jailed for four years.

Sentencing the man, Judge Peter Ross told him:

Your daughter, in the last three to four weeks that she lived with you, was subjected to the most horrific torture. She did not even have a bed to sleep on. You bound her, you gagged her, you beat her, you whipped her and then kept her prisoner with no food.

It is hard to imagine any man, let alone a father, quite deliberately inflicting such calculated cruelty on a child. It is your beliefs which led you to believe she was possessed by evil spirits. These beliefs are frankly something an intelligent man would know were nonsense.

According to the Metropolitan Police there have been almost 60 cases of child abuse related to witchcraft or possession reported to Scotland Yard between 2006 and 2008.

 

7th December   

An Abomination...

Ultra-orthodox rabbis get wound up by the internet
Link Here

Israel flagUltra-nutter rabbis in Jerusalem have launched a crackdown on the use of the internet, on the grounds it is filled with abomination and is leading believers astray. The rabbis have called on the public to report to them anyone engaging in religiously proscribed use of the web.

Ultra-orthodox rabbis are uncomfortable with the net's growing popularity within their insular community, which strives to preserve an ancient lifestyle guided by strict Jewish law.

In recent weeks, a growing number of rabbis have devoted sermons to the perceived evils of the internet. It is seen foremost as violating modesty laws – according to ultra-orthodox belief, it is forbidden to publish even images of the faces of women. Rabbis say the web is also rife with evil speech . Yisrael Hager, a leading rabbi, told his followers: This epidemic must be stopped.

One ultra-orthodox group has threatened to exclude from its education system any children of people found to be internet-users, while others allow it for work purposes if the content is filtered.

Posters have sprung up in the ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim area, signed by the Committee for the Purity of the Neighbourhood . The posters voice alarm at growing surreptitious use of the net by rabbinical seminary students who live in rented flats. To our dismay, there have been found in the unsupervised apartments computers with all sorts of abomination, say the posters. Possession of a computer has been forbidden by the great sages of Israel and its results cannot be estimated.

 

7th December   

Curse of Trafficking...

Dutch courts sentence Nigerian traffickers to 4 years
Link Here

NetherlandsTwo Nigerians accused of using curses to force about 140 Nigerian girls into prostitution in Europe were sentenced to jail terms of four and and four-and-a-half years.

Four other defendants received terms of one or two years while three were found not guilty by a court in the Netherlands.

The trial, on charges of human trafficking and membership of a criminal organisation, opened in March.

Prosecutors said about 140 Nigerian girls brought by the gang into the Netherlands as asylum seekers had disappeared from asylum centres in 2006 and 2007.

About a dozen of the girls were traced, while the rest were thought to have been forced into prostitution in Italy, Spain and France. Their ages ranged from 16 to 23.

The Netherlands allegedly served as a transit point for the girls, sent by the suspects from Nigeria with false identity papers and instructions for an asylum application.

The suspects used voodoo to influence the girls, said a prosecution statement. They had to give blood, nails or a piece of clothing and make a promise to a voodoo priest to repay the 'debts' incurred for their travel to Europe -- between 30,000 euros (44,400 dollars) and 60,000 euros each.

That means that they would have had to have forced sex about 3,000 times and give up the proceeds. In a foreign country, far from home, with no way out -- living with the fear of going crazy or dying if they disobey their handlers, said the statement.

 

5th December   

Re-Education...

China jails church leaders
Link Here

China flagAnother five leaders of the Chinese megachurch whose pastor was recently sentenced to prison have been ordered to be 're-educated' through labor camps, a U.S. human rights group reported. Related

A Chinese court sentenced Pastor Wang Xiaoguang of Linfen Fushan Church in Linfen, northern Shanxi province to three years in prison and handed out three- to seven-year jail sentences to four other church leaders, ChinaAid Association learned that five more church leaders were each sentenced to two years in labor camps.

In the latest sentences, the members were charged with gathering people to disturb the public order based on when they organized a 1,000 people prayer rally on Sept. 14 – the day after hundreds of people dressed as security force had raided and demolished 17 church buildings and injured more than 30 believers on the church campus.

The 50,000-member Fushan Church was raided on Sept. 13, by reportedly 400 people. Men tore at the building's foundation with shovels as bulldozers worked to level other buildings on the site. Church members sleeping at the construction site of the new church building were attacked with bricks and other objects, according to CAA. Several members were severely injured and were sent to the emergency room, and some members were unconscious.

 

4th December   

Playing Easily Offended...

Brazil to ban video games that offend religions
Link Here

BrazilBrazilian Senator Valdir Raupp has authored a bill that would make it a crime to make, import or distribute offensive videogames in Brazil.

A story on the website UOL reports that the Education Commission of the Senate has approved the measure, which will now go to vote in the Committee on Constitution and Justice.

Raupp's goal is to, curb the manufacture, distribution, importation, distribution, trading and custody, storage, the video games that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.

The bill seeks a penalty of one to three years imprisonment for those committing an offense.

 

4th December   

Update: Spawn of the Devil...

Witchfinder goes to court against humanitarian campaigners
Link Here

Helen UkpabioHelen Ukpabio, the demented leader of Nigeria's Liberty Gospel Church, has brought a lawsuit against humanist Leo Igwe and a number of other parties opposed to her campaign against witches , claiming two hundred billion Naira ($800,000 dollars) in damages.

An email we have just received from Igwe reveals that Ukpabio is claiming that her church's rights rights to practice their Christian religious belief relating to witchcraft had been infringed.

Also named in the law suit is the Goverment of Akwa Ibom state, the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police of Cross River State, Sam Ituama, Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network, and Gary Foxcroft of Stepping Stones Nigeria.

The case is due to be heard on December 17.

Ukpabio applied to the Federal High Court in Calabar for the enforcement of her fundamental rights. She claimed, among other things, that the conference on Witchcraft and Child Rights, held on July 29 in Calabar – disrupted by her members – and the arrest of church members at the event, constituted an infringement on her rights.

She asked the court to issue perpetual permanent restraining Igwe and others from interfering with their practice of Christianity and their deliverance of people with witchcraft; from holding seminars or workshops denouncing the Christian religious belief in witchcraft; and from arresting her and her church members.

Leo Igwe said:

Helen Ukpabio should be ready to face justice and answer for her crimes. She should be ready to pay damages to thousands of children who have been tortured, traumatised, abused and abandoned as a result of her misguided ministry. Helen should be ready to pay for the damage she has done to many homes and households across Nigeria through her witchcraft schemes and other fraudulent activities. She should be ready to pay compensation to all care givers and child rights advocates who have been attacked, harrassed and robbed by her gangs and goons.

A recent documentary , Return to Africa’s Witch Children , reveal some of these atrocities.

So, whatever the mischief this vicious woman and her rag-tag ministry are planning, I am convinced that at the end of the day, reason, justice and human rights will prevail.

Update: Law Suit Abandoned

6th February 2010.  See article from freethinker.co.uk

We have just been informed by Leo Igwe, Executive Director of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, that the lunatic head of the Liberty Gospel Church, Helen Ukpabio, failed for the second time to appear in the Federal High Court in Calabar to press a lawsuit she initiated against him and a number of others – and the case was struck out.

 

3rd December   

Nutter Research...

The effects of pornography on nutters and the religious
Link Here

Family Research CouncilThe Effects Of Pornography On Individuals, Marriage, Family And Community

The study, authored by Pat Fagan, Ph.D., FRC's senior fellow and director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion, is actually a selective review of a number of articles, studies and research done over the years.

Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.

Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects.

  • Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
  • Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
  • Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
  • Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
  • Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.
     
  • Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction.
  • Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornorgraphy they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as sex objects.
  • Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn, lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
  • Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
     
  • Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame, diminished self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing.
  • The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.
  • The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use. Traditionally, government has kept a tight lid on sexual traffic and businesses, but in matters of pornography that has waned almost completely, except where child pornography is concerned. Given the massive, deleterious individual, marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens, communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach.

 

3rd December   

Update: The Book without a Spine...

Yale University Press criticised for spineless approach to free speech
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

The Cartoons that Shoock the World book A letter has been delivered to Yale university chastising it for not standing up for free speech in the face of imaginary threats of violence.

The letter was signed by sixteen organisations:

  • American Association of University Professors
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Center for Inquiry
  • College Art Association
  • First Amendment Lawyers Association
  • First Amendment Project Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • International Publishers Association
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Coalition Against Censorship
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • National Education Association
  • People For the American Way Foundation

The statement, written by National Coalition against Censorship Executive Director Joan Bertin, argues that by capitulating to threats of violence, Yale has fed a climate in which people will be afraid to speak and publish freely. Yale's decision drew widespread criticism and debate from professors, students and alumni in the past three months.

The situation is extremely disturbing because Yale is a very prominent university, and their doing something like this might justify other institutions doing so, Bertin said. This action compromised the book, the press and an important principle: not only should academics be able to discuss these things among themselves, but in this country we're entitled to talk about and view the images.

 

3rd December   

Update: You Couldn't Make it Up...

Relate employee loses case against dismissal for refusing to counsel gays
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Relate logoA relationship counsellor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples has lost his unfair dismissal appeal.

Gary MacFarlane was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex.

He alleged Relate had refused to accommodate his Christian beliefs.

The service's chief executive Claire Tyler said: The appeal judgement validates Relate's commitment to equality of access to our services. Relate's trusted service, both in Avon and across the country, relies on making sure that all members of society, regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or relationship status, are able to access respectful and professional counselling and sex therapy.

Relate is committed to supporting all religious beliefs working within Relate. However, our primary consideration is to our clients who often need complex advice and assistance. We cannot allow anything to damage our clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins our work.

MacFarlane, a former church elder, was appealing on the grounds of religious discrimination at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bristol.

The tribunal, chaired by employment judge Toomer, dismissed MacFarlane's claims of harassment.

 

3rd December   

Sunday Closing...

Germany inflicts religious day of rest on its population
Link Here

Germany flagGermany's Constitutional Court has ruled that the nation's capital must, akin to the rest of the country, abide by the law instituting Sunday as a day of rest from work and of spiritual improvement .

Since the war, Berlin had enacted its own legislation allowing 10 shopping Sundays per year. That local ruling is now quashed. Effective from Jan. 1, 2010, Berlin must fall into line with the law institutionalizing Sunday as a day of rest and religious contemplation as contained in Germany's Basic Law.

The actual law establishing Sunday as Germany's weekly day of worship is enshrined in an appendix to the Basic Law under the heading, Extracts From the German Constitution of Aug. 11, 1919 [Weimar Constitution]. There we find, under the subhead Religion and Religious Societies, Article 139, which reads: Sunday and holidays recognized by the state shall remain protected by law as days of rest from work and of spiritual improvement.

 

3rd December   

You Couldn't Make it Up...

Make-up forbidden for women on Iranian TV
Link Here

Iran flagWomen appearing in television programmes will not be allowed to wear make-up because it is against Islamic law the head of Iranian state television was quoted as saying.

Make-up by women during television programmes is illegal and against Islamic sharia law, Ezatollah Zarghami was quoted as saying by the Etemad newspaper yesterday.

Zarghami, a former member of the Revolutionary Guards who has been re-appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also ordered that female guests should preferably be hosted by women.

Speaking at a conference of network directors, he also called for cutting down on music during programmes.

When he reappointed Zarghami to a second term, Khamenei reportedly told him it was essential to make an outstanding representation of morality, religion, hopefulness and awareness in state media programmes.

 

3rd December   

Update: Lashings of Music...

10 Lashes for listening to music on a mobile phone
Link Here

Somalia flagSomali militants of Al-shabaab have given 40 lashes to each of three young Somali men after being found guilty of watching pornography on their mobile phones. A fourth man who was accused of listening to music on his mobile also received ten lashes in a public place.

Sheik Mohamed Abu Jafar, the head of preaching department of Al-shabaab's administration in the region told reporters that the men were found of guilty of being involved in anti-Islamic behaviour: Islam doesn't allow watching films or listening to music so we are warning people in the region to desist from such bad habits and whoever is caught doing this bad thing will be dealt with in accordance with the Islamic law , the militant leader added.

 

2nd December   

Angels and Nutters...

Nutters whinge at Joanna Krupa's PETA adverts
Link Here

Always adopt,never buy advertThe Catholic League has condemned Joanna Krupa's racy ads for PETA in which she lobbies against pet stores and animal breeding.

In the Be An Angel for Animals campaign, the Playboy model and Dancing with the Stars alum appears as a nude, winged angel: in one, she holds a strategically placed crucifix; in another, she holds her dog and a rosary.

The Catholic League, calling PETA animal killers and a fraud, says that the organization exploits Christian symbols with the new Krupa billboards.

Krupa fired back in a statement: As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of. I'm doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of god's creation.

 

2nd December   

Update: Electoral Games...

Australian Sex Party campaigns for R18 video games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australian Sex PartyThe Australian Sex Party have produced a YouTube video to get some of their ideas across to the public

Fiona Patten, Sex Party Convenor, said:

The Australian Sex Party is the newest registered political party in Australia and the only party with a policy to legalise R rated games. We are also the only party actively opposing mandatory internet filtering. We are standing candidates in this weekend's by elections of Higgins in Victoria and Bradfield in Sydney. Unbelievably, the Greens are standing the architect of the government's internet filtering scheme, Clive Hamilton, as their candidate in Higgins.

Our ideological base is predicated on the fact that Australian parliaments are becoming more stacked with overtly religious MPs. Kevin Rudd is a well known committed Christian who goes to church every week and openly admits that his parliamentary life is strongly influenced by his religious one. The new leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, is a former Jesuit priest in training and close friend of Archbishop George Pell. His religious zeal is legendary.

R (and X) rated computer games are currently illegal because a religious Attorney General from South Australia, has the power to veto all the other Attorneys General on this issue. This is unlikely to change in the near future.

A vote for the Sex Party in the two by elections this weekend will send a strong message to the major parties about support for R rated games. We need to activate gamer networks in Australia to contact friends and colleagues who live in these electorates to vote for the Sex Party. We also need help on polling day in handing out How To Vote cards at polling booths. It's a fun day and the smartest way to support legalising R rated games and getting rid of internet filtering.

 

2nd December   

Update: Unhealthy Behaviour...

Indonesia nutters stage rallies to ban condoms
Link Here

condomsSeveral hundred Muslim protestors have staged rallies in Indonesia to urge the government to prevent the spread of HIV by implementing Islamic law.

Ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, members of the Hizbut Tahrir group took to the streets in several cities including Jakarta, Solo, Yogyakarta and Makassar.

We urge everybody to support the application of sharia in an Islamic caliphate so that, God willing, all of us will be free from the HIV/AIDS threat, Hizbut spokeswoman Febrianti Abassuni said in a statement.

In the capital, more than 200 female demonstrators urged the government to close down brothels and ban condoms, which they said encouraged free sex and unhealthy behaviour .

One banner read: Prostitutes, drug users and homosexuals are the agents of immorality.

 

2nd December   

Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion...

Baroness Warsai pelted with eggs
Link Here

Sayeeda WarsaiThe most senior Muslim politician in Britain was pelted with eggs yesterday and accused of supporting the death of Muslims in Afghanistan.

Baroness Warsi, Shadow Minister for community cohesion and social action, was attacked by a group of Muslim men during a visit to Luton.

She was mobbed as she walked down Dunstable Road and a group started screaming abuse at her. They were saying something about her not being a proper Muslim, a spokesman said. But rather than run off, she stood her ground and said 'Let's have a proper debate, let's have an argument.' They just carried on screaming and shouting.

One egg hit her and soiled her jacket but her spokesman said she was not shaken. She was taken to a nearby shop and the visit continued with police protection.

Lady Warsi said afterwards: These men are a bunch of idiots who do not represent the wider Muslim community. I stood up to them and challenged them to a proper debate, but they weren't prepared to listen.

One of the leading Muslim protagonists in the protest was Sayful Islam, who argues that the soldiers as well as the Government are to blame for the conflict. Would we excuse the Nazi soldiers who carried out atrocities because they were just obeying orders?

He was interviewed yesterday and told the BBC that the protesters were against everything she \ stands for . He said: She is not a practising Muslim. Clearly by looking at her, she does not represent Muslims.

 

2nd December   

Update: Under Siege...

International response to the Swiss vote to ban the building of minarets
Link Here  full story: Minarets Referendum...Swiss vote on banning minarets

No minarets posterMuslim leaders from around the world, senior church figures, European politicians and human rights experts have deplored Switzerland's decision to ban the building of minarets.

Scandalous, said the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, while Babacar Ba, a senior official of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, warned of an upsurge in Islamophobia in Europe.

But far right leaders in Europe applauded the Swiss vote and called for parallel prohibitions in other countries.

In the Netherlands, the anti-Muslim Freedom party of Geert Wilders, which is steadily growing in popularity, called for a similar vote for the Dutch. It's the first time that people in Europe have stood up to a form of Islamisation, it declared.

The surprisingly high vote of 57% for the minaret ban put the Swiss government and establishment on the defensive, engaged in damage limitation. In Brussels, the Swiss justice minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who opposed a ban, argued that the vote was neither against the Muslim community nor against Islam. She sought to explain the decision to EU interior ministers, some of whom were highly critical.

The Vatican denounced the ban as an infringement of religious freedom. Roman Catholic bishops in Swizerland issued a statement regretting the ban, accusing the rightwing Swiss People's party, which spearheaded the prohibition campaign, of caricaturing and exaggerating the alleged threat posed by Muslims, and also warned that the ban will not help Christians oppressed and persecuted in Islamic countries .

Under the rules of Switzerland's direct democracy, which leans heavily on single issue referenda, yesterday's vote compels the government to amend the constitution. The article defining church-state relations will acquire a new sentence stating: the building of minarets in Switzerland is forbidden .

But the government and parliament knows that this will breach the European convention on human rights and the UN charter proscribing discrimination on religious grounds and entrenching freedom of religion.