Created on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 17:46
According to Atheism UK, on 12th August the Home Office refused the fresh asylum claim of Syed Mohammad Tabish.
Atheism UK, Ex-Muslims of Britain and FaithFreedom provided evidence for his new asylum claim.
However the Home Office rejected his asylum claim asserting that none of the evidence provided amounted to fresh new evidence.
Syed Tabish faces being deported to Pakistan in mid September. The Taliban and his family have threatened to kill him on his return to Pakistan.
Created on Friday, 08 August 2014 15:05
According to BBC News, China says it may try to create a theology based on Christianity - that integrates the religion with Chinese culture and is compatible with the country's socialist beliefs, it's been reported.
Wang Zuoan, a senior official for religious affairs, says China supports the development of Christianity within the country. But "the construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition,"the state-backed China Daily website reports. His comments came at a conference for Sinicization of Christianity in Shanghai.
Created on Friday, 08 August 2014 13:48
Around 300 Yazidi took to the streets in the early evening. They were demonstrating against the attacks on members of their faith in Syria and Iraq and a religiously-motivated attack against their community earlier that day, Herford police reported.
According to The Local, the police decided to intervene after a large group of hooded people started attacking passers-by in the town centre, with at least one person injured. The police used pepper spray to control the mob, confiscating tools and one firearm, and took the details of 86 people involved.
Created on Monday, 04 August 2014 18:34
WRITTEN BY MARK KOLSEN, GUEST WRITER FOR AAI NEWS TEAM
In Contradiction, Jeremiah Camara’s intelligent film about religion’s seduction of African-Americans, Lawrence Krauss says “the rise of non-belief is the rise of science.”
Krauss refers of course to natural sciences like cosmology and evolutionary biology, disciplines now giving us empirically based theories for the origin of the universe and man; and to social sciences like sociology and psychology, which are now explaining how the brain generates religious beliefs and behaviors. These new scientific discoveries, Camara recognizes, “are clashing with biblical doctrine,” and exposing the contradiction between truth and African-Americans’ irrationality. In the film – to take just one example – we hear the muddled African-American view that god must have created us, that we could not have evolved from “monkeys” because on earth “we still have monkeys.” This illogic is followed by Richard Dawkins’ concise, scientific explanation of the human family tree.
Contradiction seamlessly mixes this science with history. Camara traces religion’s stranglehold over African-Americans’ reason (today 76% of all African-Americans say they pray daily) to the institution of slavery, when African-Americans either went to church or faced their masters’ wrath. Slaves adopting Christian beliefs and attending Christian churches received special treatment, even if the ‘beliefs’ were dictated by their masters. And Camara nicely documents the similarities and differences between the roles religious belief and churches have served in African-Americans’ lives.
But what makes Camara’s film so special is neither its science nor its history. Rather, Camara’s film is spellbinding because he takes us right into the faces of both believers and non-believers, in a way quite unimaginable if his subjects were white. It’s not that Camara is uncomfortably confrontational: on the contrary, his deep, mellow voice, eloquence and friendly style remind me of Chicago’s Harold Washington, who seemed totally non-threatening but who also, after five minutes’ conversation, made you wonder why other people were laughing at you. As Camara asks African-American believers honest questions they can’t reasonably answer, they respond to Camara with unembarrassed smiles and cheer. Would any white congregation be so willingly cheerful in verbalizing their ignorance and/or stupidity? And, as we hear from the educated nonbelievers in the Black community, would any of their white counterparts be so openly scathing in their criticism of white believers? In our age of political correctness and divisiveness, Camara’s interviewees are refreshingly honest, though this honesty also reflects religion’s successful subversion of African-Americans’ self-critical faculties.
To be clear, while Camara wants to lay open the symptom, his real mission is to finger the cause. Why, compared to other groups, are African-Americans most committed to their faiths? Camara convincingly demonstrates that religion especially affects (and attracts) them because it offers ‘pie in the sky’ to economically struggling people, people who even think more about Jesus’s suffering than Martin Luther King’s suffering. (Yes, Camara is told, King died for African-Americans’ freedom, but it’s Jesus’s blood that will “wash away our sins.”). Prayer is the first line of defense against this suffering. And as for African-Americans’ increasing attendance at the churches flooding their neighborhoods: the mindless fear-inducing sermons of unqualified African-Americans preachers is the premium African-Americans (especially black women) pay for – the “insurance policy” protecting them from eternal damnation and Satan’s lurking presence. (Anton Scalia, take note: a good preacher can allay your fears too).
In the end, through a variety of other images – especially his hilarious clips depicting the “six types” of African-American preachers – Camara’s film serves as the cultural supplement to Thomas Piketty’s recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Just as Piketty reminds us that capitalism inherently produces inequality and misery, Camara reminds us that in a capitalist society, religion is the opium of a powerless people. In Camara's words, “Extreme poverty and extreme religiousness go hand in hand ... and dependence of supernatural intervention has become a way of life in African American communities,” where African-Americans pastors encourage parishioners to abandon self-sufficiency and instead rely on divine miracles to improve their lives. To those who criticize our “culture of dependency,” Camara clearly lays the blame at the feet of the African-Americans churches. Yet, herein lies my only disappointment with the film: in Chicago, African American ministers have a well-publicized, cozy relationship with the Mayor’s office. To what degree do African-Americans churches – and the poorly schooled ministers who rule them – serve the larger political and economic interests of the capitalist system and America’s ruling class? A big question perhaps beyond the scope of this film, but I hoped Camara would at least suggest an answer.
If Contradiction presents already familiar arguments, you should still treat yourself to the experience. My top 7 not-to-be missed scenes (in no particular order):
1. Martin Luther King III’s pathetic response when Camara asks if the hours African-Americans spend in churches inhibit their productivity;
2. from “A Raisin in the Sun”: the scene illustrating Graydon Square’s assertion that to African-American children, god is “the big black woman with a belt”;
3. Norm Allen’s matter-of-fact observations on the inverse relationship between education and religious belief;
4. Dan Barker’s portrayal of slave submission and its similarities to prayer, as well as his funny piano rendition of “Poor Little Me”;
5. Camara’s short but touching interview with Brooklyn pastor Phyllis Brown, who candidly admits her altruism is about love for her people, and is not contingent upon her attending any church;
6. The nonplussed responses of churchgoers to Camara’s simple question: What did you learn in church today?;
and 7. his interviews with hip-hop singer Graydon Square, whose sharp, right-on the-money commentaries are alone worth the price of admission. (A sample: “[At church, pastors tell blacks that] if they don’t believe in my particular skydaddy, then you’re not gonna get free ice cream…tell that to people in Nigeria, in Liberia, to people in certain parts of South America.”)
Contradiction should not be seen merely by atheists. Children should also have the opportunity to view it. In fact, if I were emperor, I would mandate that every grade school child see it in order to understand the social and political conditions which foster humanity’s irrational addiction to religion. That wish is itself pie-in-the-sky, but for his hard work and intelligence, I thank Jeremiah Camara for providing me with a first-rate teaching resource.
AAI News Team's guest writer is Mark Kolsen, Managing Editor of the Richard Dawkins Foundation Newsletter
Created on Friday, 01 August 2014 21:09
By Hank Pellissier
Brighter brains institute interviewed the founder of the first atheist school in Uganda, in western Uganda, near Ruwenzori National Park - just 22 miles from the Congo border - there’s a recently established ”atheist” school, called Kasese Humanist Primary School.
Brighter Brains Institute: Are you the founder? When did you get the idea to start the school? How did you get the initial funding?
Bwambale M Robert:Yes, I am the founder of Kasese Humanist Primary School. I first founded Kasese United Humanist Association in the year 2009 with a vision to spread free thought in my area.
Atheist Alliance International was the first organization to send a team of 4 volunteers - they came to a pilot school we opened in Kilembe under the name Kilembe Valley Humanist School. This school was relocated to Kasese a year later (in 2011) to serve a wider semi-urban population. We renamed the school to be Kasese Humanist Primary School.
Created on Friday, 25 July 2014 14:26
According to BBC, the life of a liberal journalist in Pakistan is not an easy one. Write about someone fighting a blasphemy case, or someone whose faith is considered heresy, and you may very soon find yourself in deep trouble.
Shoaib Adil, a 49-year-old magazine editor and publisher in Lahore, has many well-wishers and they all want him to disappear from public life or, even better, leave the country.
Since blasphemy charges were filed against him last month, the police have told him that he can't return home, he can't even be seen in the city where he grew up and worked all his life. It wouldn't be safe.
Created on Thursday, 24 July 2014 11:11
By Jacob Siegel
According to The Daily Beast, Religious groups are threatening to kill the members one of the few Iraqi organizations dedicated to helping women and gays.
Dalal Jumaa, member of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq said “This morning they called and said if you do not move from this house we will kill you.”
It was the police who phoned the organization Sunday morning, she said. They told her they had heard she harbored gay men and runaway girls. But the threat, which the police were relaying, came from Asaib Ahl al Haq, a powerful and notoriously brutal Shia militia in Baghdad. “I cannot stop Asaib Ahl al Haq,” the policeman told her, “they received this information and will kill you if you don’t leave.”
Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 10:27
Creationist Ken Ham has said that the U.S. space program is a waste of money because any alien life that scientists found would be damned to hell.
“I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life,” Ham wrote in the Christian website called Answers in Genesis.
According to The Raw Story, Ham argued that “secularists are desperate to find life in outer space” as a part of their “rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution.”
Created on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:25
According to UCA News, an Indonesian Muslim group filed a complaint yesterday against an English-language newspaper which it has accused of blasphemy for an editorial cartoon in its July 3 print edition.
The Jakarta Post cartoon criticized the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has reportedly committed executions and other acts of violence in Iraq. The cartoon's phrase "La ilaha illallaah" (there is no God but God) was presented on a flag with a skull, which is typically identified with pirates.
Created on Friday, 08 August 2014 14:51
According to Prime Magazine, minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Goma’a, approved a proposal prepared by a group of Awqaf scholars and experts in psychiatry and sociology to oppose atheism through forming an alliance between the Ministry of Awqaf and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The plan aims to confront the atheistic “phenomenon” by making the youth aware of the danger it poses for religion, morality, and patriotism. Part of the plan also consists of “curing” atheists psychologically, religiously, and socially.
Created on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 17:36
By J. Lester Feder
“For too long a time in Europe, pro-life people did not really say clearly and directly what they believe.” After years on the margins of European politics, social conservatives are learning to fight back.
“We believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement,” declared Bannon, who took over the American conservative new media empire after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012. Speaking via Skype to a conference on Catholic responses to poverty, he said, “You’re seeing a global reaction to centralized government, whether that government is in Beijing or that government is in Washington, D.C., or that government is in Brussels… On the social conservative side, we’re the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement.”
Created on Monday, 04 August 2014 07:20
By Emma Margolin
According to msnbc, Uganda’s Constitutional Court has nullified a draconian anti-gay law that carried, among other penalties, life-long prison sentences for so-called “aggravated homosexuality.”
In a decision Friday from a panel of five judges, the court found Uganda’s recently-enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act “null and void” because it was passed without a quorum of the necessary one-third members of parliament present. Ugandan officials have not yet announced a decision on whether they’ll appeal the ruling to the nation’s Supreme Court.
Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 19:40
By Jewel Topsfield
According to The Age, Lunchtime prayer and bible study groups run by teachers or volunteers have been banned at state schools in Victoria under a ministerial directive.
The new policy has angered Christian groups who say it could be in breach of human rights and religious freedom.
The ban, which has taken many by surprise, came into effect on July 14, as part of changes to the controversial special religious instruction requirements.
Created on Friday, 25 July 2014 11:50
According to Al-Monitor, the Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowment), in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Youth in Egypt, has begun a national campaign to fight the presumed spread of atheism among youth.
Thus, those state departments decided to break into the world of atheists without having the slightest information that would allow them to control this phenomenon in any possible way.
Both Sheikh Ahmad Turk, director of mosques at the Ministry of Awqaf and in charge of the campaign against atheism, and Nuamat Sati, who is in charge of the campaign at the Ministry of Youth, told Al-Monitor that the spread of the phenomenon of atheism, specifically among youth, is what pushed the ministries to undertake this campaign today.
Created on Thursday, 24 July 2014 09:41
The Huffington Post | By Shadee Ashtari
Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.
Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories -- religious, fantastical and realistic –- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.
The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.
Created on Saturday, 19 July 2014 11:55
Activists say the Al-Qaeda breakaway group stoned a woman to death for adultery in an incident shrouded in 'mystery'
According to aljazeera, fighters from Al-Qaeda-breakaway group the Islamic State have stoned a woman to death for adultery, in the first such execution of its kind in rebel-held northern Syria.
The stoning, first reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and confirmed to Al Jazeera by two activists, took place in a public square Thursday evening in the town of Tabaqa, Raqqa province. Activists said the woman was tried in an Islamic sharia court, but that witnesses to her alleged offense were never identified and that the man involved was not charged with any crime.
“Mystery surrounds the whole thing,” said Abu Khalil, an activist in Raqqa who runs the anti-Islamic State group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which obtained a cell phone photograph that purports to depict the incident.
Created on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:22
According to VOA, a court in Pakistan has sentenced a man to death on blasphemy charges.
Lawyers say a judge in the eastern city of Lahore rejected Mohammad Zulfiqar's defense of mental illness and convicted him for violating the country's blasphemy laws of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Zulfiqar was arrested for reportedly writing derogatory language against the Prophet on the walls of a public park in the Islampura area of Lahore in April of 2008.