Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 14:25
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"
Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 13:06
Gunmen in the Pakistani city of Multan have shot dead a lawyer defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy, police and officials say.
Police said that Rashid Rehman was sitting in his office when he was shot. Two of his assistants were injured.
Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan.
Critics argue that blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are often unfairly targeted.
Senior police official Zulfiqar Ali told AFP news agency that Mr Rehman died amid "indiscriminate firing" in his office on Wednesday evening.
Created on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 17:38
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.
Created on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 15:31
By: Ali A. Rizvi Pakistani-Canadian writer, physician and musician
As of this writing, the National September 11 Memorial Museum still hasn't caved in. But the pressure is building, and it feels very familiar.
The problem is a seven-minute film being shown at the soon-to-open museum calledThe Rise of Al Qaeda. Narrated by NBC's Brian Williams, it uses words like "Islamist," "Islamic," and "jihad" in reference to the 9/11 hijackers and their motives.
Some Muslim groups, and others like the Interfaith Center of New York, want the film edited to remove those terms. They don't want the public to think that Islamism or jihad had anything to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, because that could foster "Islamophobia." We've so been down this road before.
Created on Monday, 05 May 2014 15:50
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.
Created on Saturday, 26 April 2014 14:30
BERLIN — A German court has rejected a Muslim student’s lawsuit against a vocational school’s ban on wearing face-covering veils in class.
The Bavarian Administrative Court said Friday the school’s ban didn’t infringe illegally on the right of the student to exercise her religious rights freely.
The student, whom the court didn’t identify in keeping with German privacy rules, saw her admission to the state-run school revoked last year when she refused to attend classes without a face-covering niqab.
The court found that teaching requires “open communication” that includes facial expressions and body language. It said that, if a student wears a face-covering veil, “nonverbal communication is essentially prevented.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Washington Post
Created on Friday, 25 April 2014 16:17
A new group has been launched at the House of Lords to campaign for greater recognition of the threat posed by Islamic Sharia law. Sharia Watch UK says it wants to highlight the impact of Islamism in Britain and campaign against the prevalence of Sharia tribunals, particularly where it relates to women's rights. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Anne Marie Waters, spokesperson for Sharia Watch, and to Aina Khan, a solicitor in London who specialises in applying Sharia law within the English legal system.
“Our aim is quite simply to tell the truth," says Waters. "There is a large lack of knowledge of what Sharia Law actually stands for, what it does to women, how it treats women. And our aim is simply to tell the public – warts and all – what Sharia is: its views of women, its views of free speech, its threat to democracy, how it is operating in Britain, the organisations behind it and what their agendas are, and, indeed, the public support that such organisations receive from public figures.
Where do you see the threat coming from?
“It’s acceptance of it by the mainstream, that is a huge issue. If you look at what Sharia says about women, for example, it essentially advocates the slavery of women. If you strip it away and bear it down, that’s what it is, it’s the slavery of women, it’s the ownership of women. It degrades and humiliates women and yet it is accepted by the mainstream and supported by mainstream figures."
Created on Monday, 05 May 2014 18:33
(CNN) -- Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist militant group that kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.
"There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women," he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.
Boko Haram is a terrorist group receiving training from al Qaeda affiliates, according to U.S. officials. Its name means "Western education is sin." In his nearly hourlong, rambling video, Shekau repeatedly called for Western education to end.
"Girls, you should go and get married," he said.
Created on Monday, 05 May 2014 15:13
He calls himself Ismo. His real name is Ismael Houllich, but you’ll probably think of a more fitting name for him after you hear about his “music.” The Blaze writes that one of his songs (titled “Eenmans,” or “One Man’s”) contains the lyrics “I hate those f**king Jews more than the Nazis,” “don’t shake hands with f**gots,” and “don’t believe in anything but the Quran.”
The news service Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports that Dutch police are investigating after a gay citizen filed a complaint that the lyrics incite hatred.
The Netherlands news site Algemeen Dagblad reported on Friday that a 19-year-old resident of the city in which the video clip was filmed named Lars Hobma filed the police complaint which prompted the investigation.
So what does Ismo have to say for himself? He insists it is a bad rap (pun intended). From a statement he released to the regional radio station Omroep Brabant:
They are trying to twist my words against me. I don’t hate all Jews. I hate only Zionist Jews that made Palestine smaller than my neighborhood.
Created on Saturday, 26 April 2014 14:20
CAIRO — The architects of the military takeover in Egypt promised a new era of tolerance and pluralism when they deposed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer.
Nine months later, though, Egypt’s freethinkers and religious minorities are still waiting for the new leadership to deliver on that promise. Having suppressed Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters, the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades.
Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians, Shiite Muslims and atheists on charges of contempt of religion. A panel of Muslim scholars has cited authority granted under the new military-backed Constitution to block screenings of the Hollywood blockbuster “Noah” because it violates an Islamic prohibition against depictions of the prophets.
The military leader behind the takeover, Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, often appeals to the Muslim majority in a language of shared piety that recalls Anwar el-Sadat, nicknamed the believer president, who invoked religious authority to bolster his legitimacy and inscribed into the Constitution the principles of Islamic law.
Created on Friday, 25 April 2014 09:33
The BJP, in political terms, is not a political organisation; it is a socio-religious platform devoted to the promotion of Hindu culture and religion
The largest democracy in the world is at work again. Over 845 million voters are exercising their right of franchise one more time. The electoral exercise will continue till May 9. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Indian National Congress, and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are the major contenders for power. Congress has been in power many times since India gained independence. Over this period it lost some popular support and leaned on regional parties to help rule the country. When support from regional parties plummeted in 1998, a coalition led by the BJP emerged as the stronger and came to power in New Delhi that year. Its victory sparked a wave of anxiety amongst Muslims in India. Neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Bangladesh, felt concerned about their bilateral relations with India. The BJP is now poised to come to power again.