“Happy” Iranian in custody

Six young men and women, who were arrested and detained in Tehran for making a video in which they danced to Pharrell William’s hit song “Happy” should be immediately released, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

The youth were paraded on state TV on May 20, 2014, where they were forced to express remorse for their “guilty” act.

“If it is now a criminal act for youth to show their happiness in Iran, then law enforcement, and the hardline centers of power they represent, must really be running scared. This is exactly the kind of moment when Rouhani must take a stand,” said Campaign Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

The video, set to the smash 2013 hit, went viral on YouTube, where it was viewed well over a hundred thousand times before being removed. The video is no longer publicly available. A copy of it was posted on YouTube today and can be viewed here.

A Twitter campaign, #freehappyiranians, calling for the release of the youth, was launched on May 20.

It is not clear what charges the youths face; authorities referred to their “criminal act” which included making a video that “hurt the public’s chastity.”

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Astan Quds Razavi is stealing the wealth of Iran’s people

Astan Quds Razavi is stealing the wealth of Iran’s people

WRITTEN BY MOHAMMAD, AAI NEWS TEAM

Under the name of Islam and Imam Reza, Astan Quds Razavi – a bonyad or autonomous charitable foundation, in Mashhad, Iran – steals the wealth of the people and the country.

Astan Quds Razavi is the administrative organization managing Iran’s most important shrine, the Imam Reza shrine (the eighth leader of Shia Muslim). Estimated to be worth $15 billion, Astan Quds Razavi is a dictator in Mashhad’s economy and its wealth increases at the expense of the citizens who can’t pay their rent.

The shrine:

The bonyad’s power is getting too big: it owns the Economic Organization of Astan Quds Razavi, the Carpet Company, the Housing and Construction Company, the Bread Manufacturing Industry, the Wood Industry, the Dairy Products Company, the Agricultural Units of Astan Quds Razavi, the Razavi Brokerage Company, and the Razavi Transport Company – and more! Moreover, it heads the publications Quds Daily, Za'ir Magazine and Haram magazine. It is also behind vital cultural and educational institutions such as Imam Reza University, the Islamic Research Foundation, the Museums of Astan Quds Razavi, the Razavi Cultural Foundation, and the Central Library of Astan Quds Razavi. Not to mention it has too much political sway: the head of the foundation, Ayatollah Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, is a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, which supervises the Supreme Leader.

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Saudi blogger Raif Badawi gets 10 year jail sentence

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"

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Egypt's atheists find each other on social media

Following the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, several changes occurred in Egyptian society, most of which involved breaking away from the habits and customs that various generations were raised with. One example is the trend of young people abandoning the religion they once embraced and declaring themselves atheists.

The actual number of atheists in Egypt is unknown, and no one has tried to determine their number. Atheists say that there are 3 million of them in Egypt, but there is no proof of the accuracy of this figure. Amina Nasir, a professor of philosophy at Al-Azhar University, said that through her dealings with students at the university and youth in general she had noticed an increase in the number of young people who announce their atheism.

A look at the lives of atheists in Egypt

Majd, an Egyptian who hails from a Christian family and did not want to give his full name for security reasons, says he once pondered who created the universe. Is there such a being? He started thinking about atheism after the death of his friend Mina Dania, who was killed during the events of the January 25 Revolution. Majd went to a priest and asked him, “Why did Mina die?”

How does an atheist live?

Majd no longer goes to church. He is a young man who grew up among priests. He had been part of the church activities since he was a schoolboy, but he now no longer believes what the Bible says. “I can no longer understand how God, whom everyone calls just, would accept that my innocent friends died during the revolution, that I lost people I loved and that I suffer for their death, without me having committed a sin to be punished for,” he told Al-Monitor.

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Syrian rebels crucified: Islamic extremists execute two men in the most public way for 'fighting against Muslims'

 

  • WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT (therefore we did not upload those pictures, but you can see them on Daily mail) 

 

  • Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant announced it had executed seven prisoners, including two by crucifixion
  • Group said it held the seven responsible for grenade attack this month


Islamic extremists have publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.

The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant said it had executed a total of seven prisoners who it claimed had carried out a grenade attack on one of its fighters earlier this month in the Euphrates Valley city of Raqqa.

The group, which even Al Qaeda have been keen to distance themselves from, said on Twitter: 'Ten days ago, attackers on a motorbike threw a grenade at an ISIL fighter at the Naim roundabout. A Muslim civilian had his leg blown off and a child was killed.

'Our fighters immediately set up a roadblock and succeeded in capturing them. They were then able to detain other members of the cell.'

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Sectarianism overshadows Iraq's elections; the winner will be Iran

Sunnis and Shias are on the brink of civil war, and Islamism is emboldened. Two years after US withdrawal, Iraq is unraveling

 Candidate Rabba Mohammed pastes a campaign poster on a wall in Ramadi, Iraq. Photograph: Stringer/Iraq/Reuters

Iraq holds national elections on Wednesday, its first since the US left in December 2011. Relations between its Sunni and Shia communities have deteriorated and the country is on the brink of civil war as well as territorial disintegration.

The elections are likely to sustain and exacerbate these problems. The country has struggled to contain domestic instability and regional volatility since the US withdrawal, to the extent that many believe it is no longer a question of if, but when, the 2006 sectarian civil war is repeated. That conflict, also between Sunni and Shia communities, took the country to the brink, claimed thousands of lives and divided Baghdad along sectarian boundaries.

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Egypt’s ’Secular’ Gov Uses Religion as Tool of Repression

 By MOHAMAD ELMASRY

MINYA, Egypt — An Egyptian court here on Monday sentenced to death the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and more than 680 other people after a swift mass trial on charges of inciting or committing acts of violence that led to the destruction of a police station and the killing of an officer.– New York Times, April 28, 2014

Egypt’s military-backed government has followed a pattern established by a long line of Egyptian political leaders who have exhibited public religiosity and presented themselves as men of God. Notably, the recently-ratified constitution—drafted by a group of fifty people hand-selected by the nation’s military-installed president—did not do away with an article dictating Islam as the official religion of the state and Islamic Shari’ah as the primary source of legislation.

Three factors make the current Egyptian regime’s use of religion significant, however. First, the regime took power in a cataclysmic event apparently aimed at saving the country from a group, the Muslim Brotherhood, allegedly bent on exploiting religion for political gain; second, the post-coup government has suggested that secularism is a safer political path, as evidenced by its decision to ban religious parties; and third (and arguably most importantly) the regime has employed religion to justify a host of repressive policies.

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