According to Radio Free Europe, a Pakistani court has upheld the death sentence for the killer of a politician who sought blasphemy law reform, but dropped a terrorism conviction, making it unlikely he will be executed soon.
The Islamabad High Court dismissed an appeal against the death sentence by Mumtaz Qadri, a former bodyguard who fatally shot Punjab governor Salman Taseer in Islamabad in January 2011.
Qadri admitted shooting Taseer, saying he objected to the politician's calls to reform Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty.
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.”
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.