Twitter Restores Blocked Accounts, Upholds Free Speech Principles

 According to Ex-Muslims of North America, Twitter announced that it is restoring access in Pakistan to several accounts and tweets it had blocked at the request of Pakistan’s government starting on May 18, 2014.

EXMNA, thank Twitter for taking a stand against censorship, and for refusing to use their software to comply with oppressive, theocratic blasphemy laws. Twitter’s actions should strengthen the resolve of other international companies and organizations that find themselves in similar situations. Twitter was forged on the principles of open communication; we are glad to see them once again standing up for freedom of expression, and we hope they exercise due diligence in the future should the company receive demands for compliance with oppressive laws again.

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Jihadists are seeking destruction of secular world

According to The Australian, the success of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in creating a proto-Islamic state in Iraq, confirms an unmistakable message — Islam, as it is conceived by a quarter of the world’s population, seeks the destruction of the secular world and the imposition of Islamic rule.

To believe otherwise, such as that recent events are the fault of the West arising from a botched invasion of Iraq, is thoroughly delusional.

In broad terms, we can respond in one of two ways. The first option, another military intervention, would again prove a waste of blood and treasure. For the social and cultural destiny of Islam lies in totalitarian or authoritarian religiosity and no volume of drone strikes or boots on the ground can turn this around.

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48 Killed in Terror Attack on Kenya Town

By TOM ODULA and JASON STRAZIUSO Associated Press

 The gunmen went door to door in the Kenyan costal town, demanding to know if the men inside were Muslim and if they spoke Somali. If the extremists did not like the answers, they opened fire, witnesses said on Monday.

Al-Shabab, a Somali al-Qaida-linked group, claimed responsibility for the hours-long assault on Mpeketoni in which 48 people were killed. The attack began Sunday night as residents watched World Cup matches on TV and lasted until early Monday, with little resistance from Kenya's security forces.

After daybreak, Kenyan troops and residents stared at the bodies lying on dirt streets by still-smoldering buildings. Two hotels and many vehicles were set on fire.

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Why Saudi Arabia calls atheists ‘terrorists’

BY Portia Crowe , Chicago Sun-Times

Since Syria’s conflict began in 2011, a stream of jihadist militants has travelled from Saudi Arabia to join rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al Assad. Although travelling fighters are a Saudi tradition going back to the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Saudi government worries that this time they may return home and take up arms against the monarchy.

So it was perhaps no surprise when the government this year criminalized the act of fighting in foreign conflicts, and named as “terrorist” several groups with which the Saudi jihadists identify: Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and various factions of al-Qaida.

What was surprising was the inclusion of another group on the “terrorist” list: Saudi atheists. (join AAI petition and action against this law)

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Sunni extremist insurgents seize Iraqi city of Mosul

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki responded by asking parliament to declare a state of emergency after sunni militants with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) overrun Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul.

The day's developments mean Isis now has effective control over three cities, including Falluja and Ramadi in neighbouring Anbar. 

A rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that the U.S. military said it had quelled before withdrawing its forces in 2011, ISIS has been expanding its reach for months in Iraq and in Syria in pursuit of its goal of creating an Islamic state.

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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, critics debate 'path to heaven'

By Shahir ShahidSaless

President Hassan Rouhani's public battle with hard-line clerics over Iranians' route to heaven is symptomatic of the broader war he faces over his reform efforts.

In the last two weeks, the tit-for-tat exchanges between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his hard-line opponents have grabbed the headlines, not only inside Iran but around the world. Triggered by the arrest of six young Iranian men and women who had created a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy,” Rouhani remarked May 24 in a speech, “Do not interfere so much in people’s lives, even out of compassion. … Let people choose their own path to heaven. We cannot send people to heaven by force or a whip.”

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Campaign against #TwitterTheocracy on June 10th 2014

 Twitter has agreed to use its ‘Country Withheld Tool’ to block “blasphemous tweets” in Pakistan, thus becoming complicit in suppressing free speech, and in aiding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Over the past month, Twitter accounts have been suspended and tweets have been blocked in Pakistan; a Twitter user has recently been jailed in Turkey for a “blasphemous” tweet. In Pakistan and other theocracy-based states, blasphemy laws are key tools used by those in power to actively persecute minorities. We urge Twitter and all other international companies and organizations to uphold human rights-based standards of conduct, particularly when it comes to freedom of expression.

We at Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) are committed to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19, pertaining to freedom of expression. Alongside AA, AHA, Black Non-Believers, Camp Quest, CFI, SHJ and other secular allies, we are organizing a day of protest on June 10th to highlight the role Twitter is playing in aiding and promoting anti-freedom, anti-human-rights, theocratic policies.

On June 10th, tweet hashtag #TwitterTheocracy and speak up about how Twitter has chosen to side with theocratic regimes instead of those who are trying to resist those regimes.

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Religious Freedom Linked to Economic Growth, Finds Global Study

Religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, according to a new study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

As the world navigates away from years of poor economic performance, religious freedom may be an unrecognized asset to economic recovery and growth, according to this new study. The study examines and finds a positive relationship between religious freedom and ten of the twelve pillars of global competitiveness, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

The study, however, goes beyond simple correlations by empirically testing and finding the tandem effects of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion (as measured by the Pew Research Center) to be detrimental to economic growth while controlling for 23 other theoretical, economic, political, social, and demographic factors.

For more details please check RFBF.

 

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-- Some of the e-conomic platforms, like DHgate.com and dress factory, have become an indispensable part of global economic growth. --

800 Baby Skeletons Found in Mass Grave at Irish Home for Unwed Mothers

 A local historian has found the bodies of 800 babies buried in a mass grave in a septic tank at next to a home for unwed mothers and their children in County Galway, Ireland. The grave was first discovered in 1971, but has not been investigated since.

According to Liberty voice, this is yet another example of the Catholic Church’s treatment of what they called “fallen women” in Ireland. The last of these homes closed in 1996, after an estimated 30,000 women had passed through their doors.

Though nearly 800 skeletons were found in the mass grave, locals believe there could be more. Children were often sold to families for the US, or fostered without record. This shoddy record keeping could keep the actual number of dead children unknown. Records show that the children died of a number of causes, including starvation and tuberculosis. When the babies died, they were tossed into the unmarked septic tank on unconsecrated ground. The nuns would not even give them a proper Christian burial, and the mothers were often not told.

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Atheists in Kenya want Prophet Owuor to verify his miracles

According to Standard Digital, the president of Atheists in Kenya Harrison Mumia has written to Dr. Prophet Owuor challenging him to show up at Kenyatta Hospital on  July 19 for purposes of verifying his miracles.

In a letter sent to news rooms, the atheists question the authenticity of Prophet Owuor’s miracles and they claim that there is no sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they happen.

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'Massacre' by Jihadist militants in Iraq

According to BBC News, the Sunni extremist group that has taken territory across Iraq has posted photos online that appear to show its fighters massacring Iraqi soldiers.

The pictures, apparently posted by ISIS, are said to show what happened to soldiers after the group took over an army base in Tikrit following the surrender of the garrison there, but it appears that all the people wear civilian not military clothing, ISIS claim they killed 1700 Shi'a men in Salahadin province.  

Iraqi military spokesman Lt Gen Qassim al-Moussawi said the pictures were authentic and depicted events in Salahuddin province.

The BBC's Jim Muir, in northern Iraq, says if the photographs are genuine, it would be by far the biggest single atrocity since the time of the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death

 

According to The New Civil Rights Movement, a conservative Christian Tea Party Republican candidate running for the Oklahoma House of Representatives says he is OK with stoning gays to death. Scott Esk reportedly said in a Facebook conversation, “I think we would be totally in the right” to stone gay people to death. He also quoted the bible — including Leviticus 20:13 — and added, “ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”

In a Facebook conversation, Esk insisted that stoning “was done under the Old Testament, a law that came directly from God.”

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Boko Haram Kidnaps Another 30 Women in Nigeria

ABUJA (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants have kidnapped up to 30 women from nomadic settlements in Nigeria's northeast, close to where the group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls, residents and Nigerian media said.

Villagers from Chibok, where the schoolgirls were grabbed in April, told Reuters on Tuesday they had met nomads fleeing last week's raids and saying the kidnappers were demanding cattle in exchange for the women.

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Cosmos 2014 Forum

One of the main goals of the Asociación de Ateos y Agnósticos del Atlántico (4A) is science divulgation to the general public so taking advantage of the success of the new Cosmos documentary an on the occasion of its ending we organized a forum as part of a series of science events in the Planetarium on June 4th in Barranquilla, Colombia.

We had Jorge Senior and Jorge Salazar (representing 4A and Fundación Apolo) as moderators. We discussed the differences between the 80’s series and the 2014 one: How much did the world change in these few years? How much science has advanced since then? What does this series tell us about the universe, life and us?

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Australian prime minister “Tony Abbott” spends millions to push God in schools

The prime minister has allocated $226 million for more chaplains, all while slashing his country's education budget

According to Salon website, the Australian government’s slash and burn approach to fiscal management doesn’t appear to have stretched to the God Squad.

The right-wing conservatives have so far announced cuts to aged care, education, the environment, science and hospitals, plus introduced controversial new fees for doctor’s visits.

Yet Prime Minister Tony Abbott — a staunch Catholic who opposes gay marriage and once described abortion as “the easy way out” — has somehow managed to find $226 million for a school chaplaincy service designed to support the “emotional and spiritual wellbeing” of students. That’s like the US government allocating about $2.2 billion, relative to the size of the economy.

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Turkey’s intra-Islamic witch hunt

 “If this is called a witch hunt, then yes, we perform a witch hunt,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a May 10 “consultation and assessment meeting” of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He was referring to the purge and reshuffling within the Turkish judiciary and police with the clear aim of dismantling the “parallel state” allegedly formed by the Fethullah Gulen movement.

“In order to sterilize this dirty water that contaminated the milk, we will either boil or molecularize it,” Erdogan added, using a biological reference to justify an operation on state and society.

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Egyptian Writer ‘Karam Saber’ Sentenced to Five Years in Jail for Atheist Book

Activist and writer Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years – the maximum sentence – in jail in Egypt for writing a book considered by the authorities as promoting atheism in the country.

When the author published "Where Is God?" -- a collection of short stories about poor farmers in Egypt -- in 2011, some citizens from Beni Sueif filed a legal complaint alleging the work promoted atheism and contradicted religious precepts.

Hamdy Al-Assiuti, one of the members of Saber's defence team, said the court disregarded the evidence submitted by Saber's lawyers.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Egyptian government to revoke the sentence and repeal laws violating freedom of expression.

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