By Raphael Rowe
Mikaeel Ibrahim (centre) was met at Manchester Prison by Mizanur Rahman (left) and Abdul Muhid (right)
The head of the prison and probation service says there is a small but "significant risk" of Muslim prisoners becoming radicalised. Panorama spoke to one convict who was met by Islamic extremists when he was released from prison.
Michael Coe went into prison as a gangster and left as Mikaeel Ibrahim, a convert to Islam.
In 2006 he had been jailed for eight years after threatening police officers with a shotgun while on parole for a knifepoint carjacking.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Growing up in a conservative Muslim household in rural West Sumatra, Alexander Aan hid a dark secret beginning at age 9: He did not believe in God. His feelings only hardened as he got older and he faked his way through daily prayers, Islamic holidays and the fasting month of Ramadan.
He stopped praying in 2008, when he was 26, and he finally told his parents and three younger siblings that he was an atheist — a rare revelation in a country like Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. They responded with disappointment and expressions of hope that he would return to Islam.
But Mr. Aan neither returned to Islam nor confined his secret to his family, and he ended up in prison after running afoul of a 2008 law restricting electronic communications. He had joined an atheist Facebook group started by Indonesians living in the Netherlands, and in 2011 he began posting commentaries outlining why he did not think God existed.
“When I saw, with my own eyes, poor people, people on television caught up in war, people who were hungry or ill, it made me uncomfortable,” Mr. Aan, now 32, said in an interview. “What is the meaning of this? As a Muslim, I had questioned God — what is the meaning of God?” He was released on parole on Jan. 27 after serving more than 19 months on a charge of inciting religious hatred.
A Saudi court has imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi for 10 years for "insulting Islam" and setting up a liberal web forum, local media report.
He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000; £133,000).
Amnesty International called the verdict "outrageous" and urged the authorities to quash the verdict.
Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012.
A Saudi newspaper close to the government reported that he had lost his appeal against an earlier, more lenient sentence of seven years and three months in jail and 600 lashes.
Last year he was cleared of apostasy, which could have carried a death sentence.
AAI also start a petition against Rescind Saudi Laws Designating Atheists as "Terrorists"
The Vatican revealed for the first time the extent of the child abuse issues that have plagued the Catholic church over the last decade during an interrogation by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT).
The Holy See’s permanent observer to the UN in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the committee that the Vatican had defrocked 848 priests who were believed to have raped or molested children, and sanctioned a further 2,572 priests for lesser offences since 2004.
According to the AP, Tomasi also admitted that the Vatican only explicitly ordered bishops to report credible accusations of child abuse to the police as well as forward the cases to Rome for review, after finding that bishops would shuffle ‘problem’ priests between dioceses rather than imposing a church trial. However, he said that now there was a total commitment by the Vatican to clean house and prevent future abuse.
CATHOLIC CHURCH MESSAGE IN UGANDA - blessings to all Christians who have been working so hard to make Jinja a land free of gay persons
by Melanie Nathan, April 20, 2014.
The Bishop of the Jinja Diocese of the Catholic Church, Bishop Rt. Rev. Fr. Charles Wamika, in today’s Easter Message delivered at St. Chalres Lwanga Catholic Church, praised the Members of Parliament for the Anti-Homosexuality Act that provides life in prison for gay (LGBTI) people in Uganda. The Bishop called for a blessing for Uganda’s Christians who worked so hard to ‘free the land of gays.’ The Bishope also asked for parents to hand over their gay children to authorities, so they would be rewarded in heaven. I would call that a statement praising and calling for a genocide.
Since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people have gone into hiding. The law, which institutionalizes homophobia and affirms the persecution of LGBTI people, has been held in esteem, the highest reverence and praised by Christian leadership in Uganda, to the point of holding rallies to reward parliamentarians and the President, Yoweri Museveni. The Ugandan Churches and Christian community, (except for a handful, who have been banished and shamed for their compassionate and affirming stance,) have led the assault against gays.
Asif Mohiuddin is one of Bangladesh's most famous bloggers. As an open atheist in a mainly Islamic country, he has been attacked and thrown in jail for his beliefs. DW caught up with him after his recent move to Germany.
In addition to being an active blogger, Asif Mohiuddin co-founded the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh, which has been arguing for the strict division of state and religion in the country, as well as justice for victims of Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
Mohiuddin recently arrived in Germany on a one-year scholarship. He says that living in Germany now means he can walk the streets safely. But still, he says, he has to keep his location secret.
DW: What did you write on your blog that was so offensive? Can you give us examples of what it might be that Islamists found so blasphemous?
Asif Mohiuddin: I wrote a blog entry about women's rights which caused problems. In the Koran, Chapter 4, Verse 34, it says that a man can beat his wife, if she doesn't obey her husband. I criticized that because in modern civilization there is no place for hitting anybody. Also, according to Sharia law, if someone leaves Islam, then that person has to be killed. I don't think that is a good thing, so I criticized that. And that is why people got angry.
The top official of the first ever Atheism Association founded in Turkey has invited religious people to become members too, ruling out atheist proselytizing.
Tolga İnci, interim chair of the association based in Istanbul’s Kadıköy neighborhood, told daily Hürriyet that they had 11 founders and 90 supporting members so far. He said their doors “are open to everybody.”
“You don’t have to be an atheist to come. Anybody who understands and accepts the charter of our association can become a member. Even religious people should come and see what kind of people atheists are,” İnci said, stressing that his association would not get involved in politics.
In an interview with daily Agos last month, the founders had said their main goal would be providing legal support to people facing problems as atheists in Turkey.
Speaking to Hürriyet, İnci said they also “wanted to be understood.”