According to Independent, Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) - which has its headquarters in Jeddah - convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as the kingdom's Supreme Court preparedto rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.
The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.
According to the Cairo Post, the Council of Churches will organize a Cairo conference to “counter atheism in Egypt” June 16, Youm7 reported Tuesday.
Under the slogan of “Church Facing Atheism,” the council has invited all Egyptian churches’ patrons and priests to the conference, which will be held in the Jesuits’ Saint Family school in Cairo.
Representatives from the Orthodox and Catholic churches will deliver speeches at the conference, including a speech on atheism from a scientific perspective. Workshops for priests will be organized to conclude recommendations after the conference.
Egypt’s Council of Churches was established in February 2013 and includes five churches; the Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical (Presbyterian), Greek Orthodox and Anglican Churches.
According to International Business Times, the Indian police are investigating the death of a 55-year-old man beheaded in what is thought to be a ritual sacrifice intended to conjure up a better harvest.
The headless corpse of Thepa Kharia was found in his house in a remote village in the state of Jharkhand, eastern India.
Kharia's brother told police that a group of occultists, known as Orkas, decapitated the man after breaking in his house in order to carry out a sacrifice calling for more rain and better crop yields.
The Hindustan Times quoted Khana's brother as saying: "Orkas can be anyone, from farmers to tantriks. They bury the head in the field and expect that the sacrifice will yield good harvest for the community."
With the Islamic-conservative AKP set to lose its majority in Turkey's upcoming elections, dissenting voices have started to speak up. One of those is the country's only atheists' league. Sertan Sanderson reports.
According to DW, the latest polls show that Turkey's President and former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have to form a coalition government following the June 7 elections. In its unlucky 13th year in rule, Erdogan's AKP has suffered several image attacks in recent months, triggering defections among erstwhile supporters to other parties, especially within Turkey's minorities.
Among his opponents, a newly-formed group of "Istanbullu" - those born and raised in Istanbul - has grown steadily over the past year and now numbers around 150 individuals across Turkey. Without a party-political agenda, the country's first official atheism league, Ateizm Dernegi, says that it wants to create a platform for like-minded people amid the AKP-driven climate of political Islam.
"Being an atheist in Turkey is not exactly a desirable label. We few are wearing it proudly and we refuse to be silenced by the fear and threats," Morgan Romano, vice-president of the association, said at the group's first public conference in Germany on Sunday.
According to Daily News Egypt, The Old Cairo Misdemeanour Court handed Saturday a five year prison sentence to TV presenter Islam El-Behiry for blasphemy.
A lawyer filed a lawsuit against El-Behiry, saying he led a campaign through his TV show to attack Muslim scholars and Islamic teachings’ textbooks.
El-Behiry has been hosting a programme that questions the teachings of Salafi preachers. In many of his episodes, he provides clips of famous and much respected Salafi preachers, and criticises their religious arguments.
The independent researcher also calls for disregarding ancient interpretations of the Qur’an and preaches individual understanding of the text.
Presbyterian pastor Reverend Ian Brown made the comments in a sermon in which he referenced Ashers Bakery which earlier this month was found guilty of discrimination after refusing an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage”
Brown said God punished Europe with the Nazis because of its greed, covetousness and wickedness prior to World War II and that this is happening again:
“That’s why the dark specter of ISIS is closing in on us today from the east and homosexuality closing in from the west, including ourselves as part of the west.
According to Pakistan Defence, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman following the Friday sermon requested the armed forces of Pakistan to launch a military operation against “jeans-wearing women” all over Pakistan in a press conference at a local hotel in Islamabad. Fazlur Rehman while highlighting the demerits of an operation against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said that the Taliban were not Pakistan’s enemy and the forces needed to target the real enemies of Pakistan.
“The Taliban are our brothers and their angst against the state is justified,” Fazl said adding that, “As brother Ansar Abbasi has so eloquently put in the past: TTP’s suicide bombings are just Allah’s wrath upon us. And so there is a need to earmark and eliminate the real enemy of Pakistan: every woman who wears jeans.”