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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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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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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. --

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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British adulterers are three times more likely to be Christian than atheist

A major survey of the religious affiliations and sex secrets of adulterers is released today by AshleyMadison.com - and if you think religious types never stray, prepare for a shock.

AshleyMadison.com is a website for people who want to have affairs, offering 'discreet encounters' for all. Their subtle tagline is 'Life is short. Have an affair.'

Male and female members of the site responded to questions providing a snapshot of their behaviours; the results? Respondents were more than three times as likely to be Anglican or Roman Catholic than atheist.

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Boko Haram: How Political Islam Has Underdeveloped Northern Nigeria

BY LEO IGWE 

When the drafters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enshrined in section 10 that “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion,” they envisaged the divisive and polarizing nature of mixing faith and politics. They knew that for a religiously pluralistic entity like Nigeria to survive and develop, thrive and flourish, the state must be neutral in religious matters. Unfortunately, subsequent state actors in Nigeria have ignored this crucial constitutional principle to the detriment of the Nigerian nation. Segments of the Nigerian Federation or state have continued to mix religion and politics in ways that have undermined progress, unity, tolerance and development across the country.

In particular, political Islam rules in the Muslim majority states in the north. Contrary to the constitution, sharia is the state law, Islam is the state religion, and jihad is a way of retaining, restoring, or securing the Islamic political status quo.

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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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It is the time to start challenging Islamic extremism

Racism doesn't have a grey area, and extremism is no different.

In the article by Independent, Jonatjan Russell describe that we have to start challenging Islamic extremism.

He mentioned the problem that Cameron’s cabinet have is a public disagreement about the best way to tackle extremism, in much the same way that Blair’s cabinet did after London bombings on 7 July 2005.

This is not about saying that all extremists are terrorists or about dividing the world into goodies and baddies. Rather, it is about identifying that all Islamist terrorists subscribe to an extremist ideology and a narrative that is a political distortion of an otherwise peaceful religion.

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God at the Centre of Zambia’s Independence Celebration

WRITTEN BY JO STEPHANIE, AAI NEWS TEAM

On 24th October Zambia will celebrate 50 years of independence from British colonial rule. Several events have already taken place to celebrate Zambia’s golden jubilee. The theme for this year’s independence celebrations is “Commemorating God’s favour of 50 years of independence, for continued peace, unity, democracy, patriotism and prosperity”. God can be found in so much of the independence rhetoric, not just in this official jubilee theme. Speakers on radio and television programmes tell us we must thank God for our freedom and that we need to continue to look to God to maintain the peace we have. So many Zambians are buying it.

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Meriam Ibrahim death sentence draws formal complaint against Sudan

Four African rights organisations step up pressure on Khartoum to release woman convicted of apostasy

 According to Guardian, pressure on the Sudanese government to release Meriam Ibrahim stepped up on Monday with a formal complaint against authorities in Khartoum brought by four African organisations alleging multiple violations of fundamental rights.

The death sentence imposed on the Sudanese mother, who has been in prison since February, should be suspended, and she and her two children immediately released, they say.

The four organisations – the African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies, the Sudanese Organisation for Development and Rehabilitation, the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative, and the Justice Centre for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy – together with Redress, a London-based anti-torture group, say Sudan has violated Ibrahim's fundamental rights as enshrined in the African charter on human rights, which the Khartoum government ratified in 1986.

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