BBC replies to Maryam; Maryam replies to BBC *

Sep 9th, 2010 | Filed by

Saying that stoning is no longer in existence in Iran or labeling Ms Ashtiani a murderer has direct bearings on her case.… Read the rest

Citizens of the world against flogging and stoning *

Sep 9th, 2010 | Filed by

The Islamist regime in Iran is killing Sakineh little by little, to demonstrate its continued existence.… Read the rest

The sexually abused dancing boys of Afghanistan *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

Dancing boys are picked out at a young age by men who cruise the streets looking for boys among the poor and vulnerable.… Read the rest

The Convenience Marriage of Fundamentalism and Perversion

Sep 8th, 2010 | By Lauryn Oates

In a 2003 essay for Daedalus, Christopher Hitchens wrote that, “religious absolutism makes a good match with tribal feelings and with sexual repression—two of the base ingredients of the fascistic style.”

There’s no doubt that repressed sexuality is a feature of most religions, and the cause of many an unhappy union made under god’s banner. But less often discussed is religion’s facilitative role to sexual perversions. The more fundamentalist the dogma, the sicker the stuff taking place in between the sheets.

Take the bacha baz of Afghanistan for instance. The bacha baz are men who take boys as lovers, or more accurately, as repeated rape victims. Over the years I’ve worked in Afghanistan, there has always been hushed … Read the rest

Zeal of the X syndrome

Sep 8th, 2010 1:03 pm | By

I googled zeal of the convert syndrome, out of curiosity, even though it’s pretty self-explanatory. The meaning is pretty self-explanatory, but I was curious about what and whom it’s applied to. The answer is: lots of things. Islam, Zionism, Bush/Fox News/Palin derangement, Stockholm syndrome, Yvonne Ridley syndrome (funny that one syndrome refers to others, but apparently it is so).

So anyway, does new atheism fit? Sure, probably. Clearly a lot of things fit, so why wouldn’t gnu atheism? It has aspects of “a movement,” it is in some ways political, so sure, it probably has aspects of zeal of the convert syndrome too.

But I don’t think that’s the source of my “zeal,” at least (assuming for the sake … Read the rest

The smugness files

Sep 8th, 2010 12:30 pm | By

The Telegraph is rubbing its nasty hands in glee (yes I know newspapers don’t actually have hands – they have gills) about yet another scientist saying ew ick about yet another scientist who missed an opportunity to credit god for making something out of nothing.

[Susan Greenfield]  criticised the “smugness” of scientists who claim to “have all the answers”… in a BBC Radio 4 Today programme discussion about [Stephen] Hawking’s views. Last week he angered many religious believers by saying science “can explain the universe without the need for a creator”.

Says the Telegraph, self-righteously and bullyingly – and in fact smugly. The Telegraph smugly assumes that scientists and others are not supposed to “anger religious believers” by attempting to … Read the rest

Congo rape victims estimate rises again *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

The estimate has risen from 150 to 240 to more than 500.… Read the rest

HRW says India should ban degrading rape “test” *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

Many Indian hospitals routinely subject rape survivors to forensic examinations that include the unscientific and degrading “finger” test.… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo discuss that wack guy in Florida *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

What to do about such intolerance and barbarity? Mo has a suggestion.… Read the rest

Joseph Hoffmann asks: should atheism be studied? *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

We are enshrining mystery when there is no mystery. We are saying “Who could possibly know?” when there are plenty of people who know.… Read the rest

Susan Greenfield calls atheist scientists “smug” *

Sep 8th, 2010 | Filed by

“When they assume, rather in a Taliban-like way, that they have all the answers then I do feel uncomfortable.”… Read the rest

Open letter to the BBC

Sep 8th, 2010 | By Maryam Namazie
BBC Sunday Live invited me to join its debate on whether ‘it is right to condemn Iran for stoning’ on 5 September 2010 via webcam. During the debate, the programme allowed only two interventions via webcam (that of Suhaib Hassan of the Islamic Sharia Council and Mohammad Morandi of Tehran University – both of whom were in support of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s stoning and/or execution). I (who had presumably been invited to defend Ms Ashtiani and oppose stoning in the debate) was never given the opportunity to speak.   To the BBC’s Sunday Live Programme   I am writing to ask that you rectify gross inaccuracies regarding Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s case and that of stoning in Iran in your upcoming programme.   Presenter… Read the rest

Robert Fisk on a vicious patriarchal system *

Sep 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Forced to marry her own rapist, Hanan now lives in terror of losing her son – and of being murdered by her family.… Read the rest

“Psychic” says a sanctuary croc ate 2 missing children *

Sep 7th, 2010 | Filed by

So many of the crocs in the sanctuary were killed, and the sanctuary was demolished. Good work.… Read the rest

Robert Fisk on “honour” killings *

Sep 7th, 2010 | Filed by

How should one react to a man who rapes his own daughter and, when she becomes pregnant, kills her to save the “honour” of his family?… Read the rest

Muslim stonemason models for church gargoyle *

Sep 7th, 2010 | Filed by

A far-right group pitches a fit; no one else is perturbed.… Read the rest

Bernard-Henri Lévy updates news on Ashtiani *

Sep 7th, 2010 | Filed by

Only one thing, in fact, is sure. The stoning has been suspended, not canceled.… Read the rest

What about evidence?

Sep 6th, 2010 5:23 pm | By

I don’t understand what Tim Crane is trying to say. Maybe it’s just the usual (the ingredients of which are present): religion isn’t science, it’s about meaning; the end. Maybe, but Crane says more than that, and some of what he says doesn’t go well with “religion isn’t science, it’s about meaning.”

Atheists, he says, ask for evidence for religious claims, and reject the claims when the evidence is not forthcoming. Yes that’s right. Then he says in their view those claims are

a bit like scientific hypotheses. In other words, they are claims — like the claim that God created the world — that are supported by evidence, that are proved by arguments and tested against our experience

Read the rest

52 victim cards per deck

Sep 6th, 2010 12:59 pm | By

The Catholic church is pitching another fit, this time complaining that the BBC is anti-Christian and liberal and secular when it should be pro-Catholic and reactionary and theocratic like – well like the Catholic church.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said the BBC’s news coverage is contaminated by “a radically secular and socially liberal mindset”…

“Senior news managers have admitted to the Catholic church that a radically secular and socially liberal mindset pervades their newsrooms. This sadly taints BBC news and current affairs coverage of religious issues, particularly matters of Christian beliefs.”

They certainly do think they’re owed a great deal of deference and air time, don’t they, especially for people who are mired in an institutional scandal about pervasive child-rape and … Read the rest

Cardinal says BBC has anti-Christian bias *

Sep 6th, 2010 | Filed by

Complains of “a radically secular and socially liberal mindset”; demands more air time for clerics.… Read the rest