All entries by this author

Raif not flogged again

Feb 13th, 2015 10:15 am | By

CBC News reports:

Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger jailed for criticizing Islam, has had his weekly lashes delayed for a fifth time according to Amnesty International.

He was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes, to be delivered in batches of 50 every week.

He was flogged for the first time on Jan. 9. However, the next five flogging sessions were postponed. At least two of the postponements were due to medical reasons.

Well – they’re going to look like complete ogres and complete fools as well if they go ahead with it after this. They’re in a hot spotlight, and that situation isn’t going to get any better for them.

Amnesty International is calling for Badawi’s

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In front of the embassy

Feb 12th, 2015 6:03 pm | By

Ensaf shared some photos from Vienna.

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Don’t stop until

Feb 12th, 2015 5:59 pm | By

Ensaf Haider has done a short video to thank people for working to free Raif. She asks us not to stop until he’s free and with them. Nope nope nope – not going to stop until then. On the ground, in Montreal – only then will I stop.

But then there is Waleed, and there are the others. Not stopping until they’re all free then.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlYq_kAHBW8Read the rest

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The long-standing parking disputes

Feb 12th, 2015 5:44 pm | By

That Washington Post article that Glenn Greenwald linked to – it’s by Michelle Boorstein yesterday, on the (cough) tensions between atheism and Islam.

On Wednesday, the father of the two women said one of his daughters had mentioned Hicks’ before and felt he was anti-Muslim. A week ago, he said, she told her family she had  “a hateful neighbor.”

“Honest to God, she said, ‘He hates us for what we are and how we look,’” Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, who has a psychiatry practice near Chapel Hill, told The News Observer.

Later on Wednesday, Hicks’s wife insisted that the shooting was only due to parking arguments and not to any bigotry. “I can say with my absolute belief that this

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Better off asking questions

Feb 12th, 2015 5:03 pm | By

Glenn Greenwald tried to school Maajid Nawaz. That didn’t go well.

Maajid posted a screenshot.

@ggreenwald @SamHarrisOrg as if to say “those poor natives are just born like that and we must patronisingly defend everything about them”

Aka the racism of low expectations.… Read the rest

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Pope opens mouth, inserts scarlet slipper

Feb 12th, 2015 1:42 pm | By

Pope pope pope. You really should learn to think before you speak. NPR says why.

Pope Francis said that couples who opt not to have children are being “selfish” as he spoke of a “greedy generation” that’s choosing not to procreate.

Think, pope pope. Slow down, stop talking, take a breath, and think.

Any luck yet?

Pope pope, you opted not to have children yourself. Officially. You look very fucking stupid saying things like that, given your own choices.

I know – you expect us to treat that as different, because it’s part of your ReLigIon. Nope. Not gonna do that. It’s not different, it’s the same, so you have no standing to go tut tut at … Read the rest

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Last Saturday in London

Feb 12th, 2015 1:22 pm | By

Peter Tatchell spoke at the “Sharia law, apostasy and secularism” conference in London last Saturday, the one that Maryam organized.

Although Sharia law is not the law of the UK, there have been repeated and on-going attempts by Islamists to apply Sharia principles in law and education, in a bid to make these public institutions Sharia-accommodating. This is a direct threat to human rights; most notably to the human rights of UK Muslims.

Speaker after speaker last Saturday warned of an Islamist agenda of stealthy, creeping, subtle Sharification. This involves sustained attempts by Islamists to pressure public institutions, in the name of religious freedom and multiculturalism, to make special allowances for their reactionary sectarian clerical values.

By Islamists, … Read the rest

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Listen up, sons of the house of Saud

Feb 12th, 2015 12:16 pm | By

The government of Quebec is once again calling for the release of Raif Badawi.

The National Assembly unanimously passed a motion condemning the whipping of Badawi, and expressing support for his wife, Ensaf Haidar, and their three children.

The motion calls on the governments of Quebec and Canada to do everything possible to secure Badawi’s freedom.

“We will not put our arms down. The democratic world has to say loud and clear that we don’t want those practices to go again without any notice from the rest of the world,” said Premier Philippe Couillard.

Haidar, as well as some of Badawi’s supporters, watched the debate as it happened.

The premier has brought up the case directly with Saudi Arabian

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Speculation

Feb 12th, 2015 11:30 am | By

A really gruesome thought has occurred to me.

First, fair warning: I’m speculating about the motives of Craig Hicks in killing the three people in that Chapel Hill condo. I know it’s stupid to speculate about the motives of killers in the absence of knowledge…but that ship has sailed. People already are speculating about the motives, and if we – by which I mean we vocal atheists – stay silent we just come across as evasive or worse.

Plus there’s the fact that it looks like a hate crime against Muslims because Muslims, and there was anger at the fact that it wasn’t being reported.For that reason too I think we shouldn’t ignore it.

So I’m speculating; that is, I’m … Read the rest

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MEPs strongly condemn the flogging of Raif Badawi

Feb 12th, 2015 10:21 am | By

From a press release today by the European Parliament:

Case of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia

MEPs strongly condemn the flogging of Raif Badawi by the Saudi Arabian authorities as a “cruel and shocking act” and call on them “to release him immediately and unconditionally” and to ensure that his conviction and sentence, including his travel ban, are quashed.  They see Mr Badawi’s case as a symbol of the assault on freedom of expression and peaceful dissent in the country, and “more broadly of the Kingdom’s characteristic policies of intolerance and extremist interpretation of Islamic law”.

Parliament instructs its Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula to raise the cases of Mr Badawi and other prisoners of conscience during

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The prince and the king talked privately

Feb 11th, 2015 5:43 pm | By

Now for some better news at last – Priss Choss did talk to the Saudi dictator about Raif Badawi. Who knows if it did any good or not, but he did it. Well done Choss. I’ve said very hard things about you, especially about your promotion of homeopathy and other woo, but fair play to you: good job.

Prince Charles has raised the plight of jailed blogger Raif Badawi with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and has received 50 of 1,000 lashes for offences related to setting up a website for Saudi liberals. Before Charles’s trip to the Middle East, Amnesty International UK urged the prince to intervene on Badawi’s behalf.

The

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Amira remembers Yusor

Feb 11th, 2015 5:04 pm | By

Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha’s best friend talks about her and about the murders. She’s very generous, and very level-headed.

As told to Latoya Peterson.

Words can’t really describe who she was. She’s such an amazing person. I feel like people always say that after they lose someone. This isn’t to boost her after her death—she really was a good person.

She always put others ahead of herself, just like her husband, Deah Barakat. I am the person I am today because of her. She’s a really sweet person, you never catch her angry. She’s patient, very loving, like her mom, she’s caring. She’s a good person. She was newly married and getting used to that life transition. She had just been

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A gun on his hip

Feb 11th, 2015 4:12 pm | By

The Huffington Post has some more details on Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, and on Craig Hicks.

Barakat and Mohammad were newlyweds who helped the homeless and raised funds to help Syrian refugees in Turkey this summer. They met while running the Muslim Student Association at N.C. State before he began pursuing an advanced degree in dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mohammad planned to join her husband in dentistry school in the fall.

Abu-Salha was visiting them Tuesday from Raleigh, where she was majoring in design at N.C. State.

She was visiting. If she’d been in Raleigh she’d still be alive.

Imad Ahmad, who lived in the condo where

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So let’s relieve their pain

Feb 11th, 2015 12:18 pm | By

The Charlotte [North Carolina] Observer reports that the father of the two women murdered in Chapel Hill says it was a hate crime.

…the women’s father, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, who has a psychiatry practice in Clayton, said regardless of the precise trigger Tuesday night, Hicks’ underlying animosity toward Barakat and Abu-Salha was based on their religion and culture. Abu-Salha said police told him Hicks shot the three inside their apartment.

“It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” Abu-Salha said Wednesday morning. “This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his

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She would like to dispel the rumors

Feb 11th, 2015 11:40 am | By

Mayim Bialik, the anti-vax tv star, has a Facebook post saying she is not either anti-vax so stop being poopy to her.

i would like to dispel the rumors about my stance on vaccines. i am not anti-vaccine. my children are vaccinated. there has been so much hysteria and anger about this issue and i hope this clears things up as far as my part.

It’s not rumors. I’ve read interviews in which she explains why she’s anti-vax. Tara Smith at Science blogs has more:

So did she really change her mind and her stance?

If so, why? Or is she just jumping on the “I’m not anti-vaccine” bandwagon like Jenny McCarthy and others who claim not to be

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They were just starting out

Feb 11th, 2015 10:31 am | By

Damn. Twitter is full of photos of the three murdered students and they’re heartbreaking. They looked so happy…

There’s also a Facebook for them set up by their families.

One post -

Yusor dancing with her father at her wedding. Her wedding was a little more than a month ago.

May Allah have mercy on the bride and groom in paradise.

 

 … Read the rest

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Who your friends are

Feb 11th, 2015 9:18 am | By

Three students were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina yesterday, two sisters and the husband of one of them. All three were Muslims, but the police are saying the shooting may have been to do with a parking dispute.

A 46-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shooting deaths of three students in an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

Police said “an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking” may have been a factor in the shootings Tuesday evening.

The suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, turned himself in to police later in the night and is being held in the Durham County Jail without bond. He was cooperating with investigators, police said Wednesday morning.

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For uh, committing sex crimes, uh

Feb 10th, 2015 5:29 pm | By

Here’s George Galloway being disgusting in 2008, that time he said a gay man was executed in Iran not because he was gay but because he committed “sex crimes” – on the basis of nothing whatever, apparently.

Outspoken London MP George Galloway has said that the boyfriend of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi was executed for sex crimes.

The Respect politician made his claims on Channel Five show The Wright Stuff yesterday morning.

Mr Kazemi is claiming asylum in the UK.

He claims his boyfriend was arrested by police in Iran for being homosexual, forced to reveal the names of men he had relationships with, and executed.

The 19-year-old also said there was a warrant for his arrest as

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Galloway’s nice little earner

Feb 10th, 2015 4:03 pm | By

What else does Galloway do for the betterment of humanity? He rakes in large sums of cash from Russian and Iranian state tv.

George Galloway has earned £65,000 in just six months as a presenter and guest for dubious state-run broadcasters.

The Bradford MP is the highest earner of any MP, raking in the cash for his polemics against the West on the Kremlin-backed Russia Today and from LBP TV, a channel run out of the offices of Press TV which is now banned by Ofcom. Galloway still presents two shows for the channel, whose head was appointed directly by Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, but on an unpaid basis.

Through his television work, Galloway has doubled his income. He

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Galloway crushed London’s only Jewish community radio station

Feb 10th, 2015 3:29 pm | By

In 2008 Galloway succeeded in getting a tiny London podcast shut down by suing.

London’s only Jewish community radio station has been forced to cease broadcasting after losing a High Court libel case brought against it by the Respect MP George Galloway.

Jcom, a non-profit station which broadcast online and to a small area in north-west London, was wound up after it was told to pay the MP damages of £15,000.

Mr Galloway sued the station after one of its presenters played a spoof character based on the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and implied he was anti-Semitic. It was also ordered to pay Mr Galloway’s court costs, thought to be £5,000. Mr Galloway said that the judgment

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