All entries by this author

Girls Attack Saudi Religious Police *

Sep 26th, 2007 | Filed by

Two cops approached the girls to advise them about their clothes; they got pepper sprayed and yelled at.… Read the rest

Danny Postel on Our Real Iranian Friends *

Sep 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Like Akbar Ganji, who has just issued an Open Letter to Ban Ki Moon refusing ‘the double blackmail.’… Read the rest

Rape is Cheaper Than Bullets *

Sep 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Soldiers from all sides are targeting and raping women as part of a military strategy.… Read the rest

The Greatest Silence: Rape in Congo *

Sep 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured.… Read the rest

What the Church Fails to Understand *

Sep 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Forced pregnancy and forced maternity are regarded as war crimes and are breaches of the Geneva convention… Read the rest

Catholic Apologist Rebukes Amnesty International *

Sep 25th, 2007 | Filed by

Those women who have suffered rape will not be short of pastoral care from a range of humanitarian groups.… Read the rest

Wicked Vatters

Sep 25th, 2007 10:58 am | By

Rape is used as a weapon of war. Cath Elliot thinks bishops and their churches ought to ponder that fact a little more deeply.

What the bishop and his church fail to understand is that forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy against her will is a continuation of the violence against her. It doesn’t matter how much empathy and support is on offer, at the end of the day it is the woman, not the church, who is faced with the reality of an unwanted child…When they occur as part of an armed conflict, forced pregnancy and forced maternity are regarded as war crimes and are breaches of the Geneva convention.

But no matter – there’s always someone … Read the rest


Sep 24th, 2007 4:56 pm | By

Jean has a post about belief at Talking Philosophy*. I find myself unconvinced, and I’m curious as to what other people think.

The idea is that ‘faith’ in the sense of belief without evidence is okay, and it’s belief in belief that is pernicious.

A person who was willing to believe nothing “on faith” would have a rather scanty store of beliefs. He or she would be missing some beliefs I take to be very important. For example—the belief that every human being matters. Exactly why does everyone matter? No doubt you could say a few intelligent things about it, but you’d soon find yourself not quite sure what the basis for the belief is.

I argued that moral … Read the rest

Nick Cohen on the Degrading Saudi Connection *

Sep 24th, 2007 | Filed by

‘Saudi money is now a major source of income for London libel firms. School fees and second homes depend on it.’… Read the rest

The Difference Between Science and Theology *

Sep 24th, 2007 | Filed by

Some universities have theology departments; what of it?… Read the rest

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Muslim Obscurantism *

Sep 24th, 2007 | Filed by

‘They write to me, bright and ambitious students who feel spied on, coerced, hounded and tormented.’… Read the rest

Vatican Incredulous About Our Lady of Surbiton *

Sep 24th, 2007 | Filed by

Archbishop says the supposed revelations are highly questionable. Tsk.… Read the rest

Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General

Sep 24th, 2007 | By Akbar Ganji

September 18, 2007

To His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

The people of Iran are experiencing difficult times both internationally and domestically. Internationally, they face the threat of a military attack from the US and the imposition of extensive sanctions by the UN Security Council. Domestically, a despotic state has – through constant and organized repression – imprisoned them in a life and death situation.

Far from helping the development of democracy, US policy over the past 50 years has consistently been to the detriment of the proponents of freedom and democracy in Iran. The 1953 coup against the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq and the unwavering support for the despotic regime of the Shah, … Read the rest


Sep 24th, 2007 10:29 am | By

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown talks better sense this time.

You hear these outpourings of grief and hopelessness a lot these days. Ignorance is not bliss, it is oblivion, wrote the American novelist Philip Wylie. Ill-educated, volatile, easily led, despised by millions, Muslims the world over are falling into that void, into oblivion. Some are and will be annihilated by external foes and enemies within, including the demon cheerleaders inside the heads of suicide bombers, but many more will be consumed by their own terror of the modern world.

There is discrimination, she notes, but there is also self-limitation.

In nearly all universities in this country, including the elite establishments, there are cells of well organised Muslim obscurantists who entice or bully

Read the rest

US Election Campaigns are All About Narrative *

Sep 23rd, 2007 | Filed by

Once the narrative is determined, it’s virtually impervious to revision. … Read the rest

What Alex Knew *

Sep 23rd, 2007 | Filed by

A thinking bird would topple everything we’d previously assumed about animal intelligence.… Read the rest

Are Sacred Texts Sacred? *

Sep 23rd, 2007 | Filed by

‘In many respects, the Bible was the world’s first Wikipedia article.’… Read the rest

Jesus Must Remain Sacrosanct *

Sep 23rd, 2007 | Filed by

Jesus-irony is ‘like walking by a funeral and shouting obscenities at a family.’… Read the rest

Secularism not Allowed in UK Schools *

Sep 23rd, 2007 | Filed by

Daily ‘act of worship of a broadly Christian nature’ must remain mandatory in all state schools.… Read the rest

Most people are almost blind

Sep 23rd, 2007 10:17 am | By

I’ve just read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I know, I know, you all read it two years ago, where have I been – well I meant to read it but didn’t get to it, but I spotted it at the library the other day and grabbed it.

Absolutely extraordinary novel. Shockingly readable, for one thing, in the way thrillers are supposed to be but mostly (for me) aren’t, and also fascinating in multiple ways.

Consider item (or entry or chapter) 181 for instance. It starts ‘I see everything’ then goes on to enumerate the detail with which Christopher does indeed see and notice, if not everything, at least a great deal more than non-autistic … Read the rest