On April 1, AAI's newest affiliate group, the Atheist Alliance in Iraq, was accepted as AAI's 48th affiliate group, and the first in the state of Iraq.
Organized by Zaid Sameer on Facebook, the group already has over 100 members since being constituted only a month earlier.
Zaid Sameer says that religious strife in Iraq is constant, with Sunnis and Shi'a holding strong sectarian views and more often than not considering the other side as 'infidels'. Being an atheist is even tougher: Although places like Baghdad are relatively secular and people in general are more tolerant of different faith views, the smaller towns and rural provinces are rife with sectarianism and tribal intolerance. But Zaid sees Iraq, after more than two decades of economic sanctions and war, as reaching a new stage where the ideals of freedom of conscience and secularism have their best chance of taking root in a long time.
The Atheist Alliance of Iraq is a group to give voice to those ideals, and to provide a way for similarly-minded Iraqis to find and support each other.
According to Reuters, Russian lawmakers have introduced to parliament a draft bill to support Islamic finance, aiming to attract capital inflows at a time when an economic slowdown is intensifying and Western sanctions show no sign of being lifted.
The draft law, sent to parliament's lower house, the State Duma, this week, proposes allowing banks to engage in trade activities, a concept central to many of the structures used in sharia-compliant financial products.
What's the future of religious institutions in the U.S.? Answer: None.
According to AlterNet, with fire-breathing religion figuring anew in global conflicts, and political discussions at home often dominated by the nuttery of the Christian right, you might get the sense that somebody’s god is ready to mug you around every street corner. But if you’re the type who doesn’t like to hang your hat on organized religion, here’s a bit of good news: in America, your numbers are growing.
There are more religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. today than ever before. Starting in the 1980s, a variety of polls using different methodologies have come to the same conclusion: people who do not identify with religious labels are on the rise, perhaps even doubling in that time frame.
Some call them “nones”: agnostics, atheists, deists, secular humanists, general humanists, and people who just don’t care to identify with any religious group. It’s not exactly correct to call them nonbelievers, because some still have faith and spirituality in some sense or another. A 2012 Pew study noted that 30 percent of these people believe in "God or universal spirit" and around 20 percent even pray every day. But according to the latest research, Americans checking the “none of the above” box will make up an increasingly important force in the country. Other groups, like born-again evangelicals, have grown more percentage-wise, but the nones have them beat in absolute numbers.
We are proud to announce that our president, Christine M. Shellska, has given a speech at the UN's Commission for Social Development. Prepared and researched by Rustam Singh, the speech brilliantly and succinctly details AAI's vision and goals for the future. The text of the speech, as well as a link to the video of Ms. Shellska presenting the speech, is provided below.
Transcript of AAI’s oral statement presented at the Commission for Social Development, Fifty-third Session, 9th meeting, UN Headquarters, New York (Tuesday, February 10, 2015)
Researched/prepared by:Mr. Rustam Singh, AAI UN Special Consultative Status Project Lead
Delivered by:Christine M. Shellska, President, AAI
Thank you, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to speak, and to the committee for your commendable work and your commitment to sustainable social development.
Atheist Alliance International’s vision is of a secular world, where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence.
According to Le Monde, by a twist of history and weight of geopolitics, Greek law recognizes the authority of Sharia in settling civil matters for the country's Muslim minority. One widow is fighting to end this European anomaly.
In the privacy of a cosy flat in this city in northeastern Greece, Shatitzeh Molla Sali speaks to us softly, so softly that she is sometimes barely audible. Hers is the voice of a weary 65-year-old who says she always "lowered her head and accepted everything."
But her gaze now shows the steely resolve of a changed woman. Molla Sali has just become the first member of Greece's Muslim minority to lodge an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights against a court ruling based on Islamic Sharia law, in her case on charges that she was deprived part of her inheritance.
According to Huffington Post, the Vatican has for weeks failed to accept the appointment of an openly gay diplomat as France's new ambassador, leading to speculation that the Holy See is effectively rejecting him because of his sexual orientation.
The French Council of Ministers nominated Laurent Stéfanini for the position in early January. All the Vatican needs to do is officially confirm the appointment. European media note this would not be the first time the Vatican has refused an openly gay ambassador.
The Huffington Post reached out to the Vatican for comment but did not receive a response.
Proposal aims to prevent entry of persons found to be in contempt of religions or penalised for derision of Islam
According to Gulf News, a Kuwaiti parliamentary committee has endorsed a proposal to ban persons found guilty of blasphemy from entering the country.
Under the proposal presented by lawmaker Abdul Rahman Al Jiran and discussed by the legal and legislative committee on Sunday, any person convicted of contempt of religions or penalised for derision of Islam, Islamic beliefs or the Prophet’s (PBUH) companions or family members will be banned from entering Kuwait.
Not to forget, in last days of 2012, Kuwait authority arrested and jailed Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, the most famous Kuwaiti atheist blogger.
For watch the video please check DW
It took less than a year for a Turkish court to block the website of the country’s first official atheism association.
According to News.AZ, the Atheism Association, the first of its kind in any Muslim-majority country, was officially founded in Istanbul’s Asian-side neighborhood of Kadıköy in April 2014, Hurriyet Daily reports. However, the Gölbaşı 2nd Civil Court of Peace in Ankara has finally moved to block the association’s website, according to the group’s statement on March 3, 2015.
As of March 4, Turkish internet users could not access www.ateizmdernegi.org without using tools to bypass blockings, such as a VPN.
The court ruling cites Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Law, which forbids “provoking the people for hate and enmity or degrading them.”
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