All entries by this author

Where girls and boys are taught separately

Feb 16th, 2015 2:41 pm | By

Some people in Izmir protested the growing influence of Islam in schools in Turkey on Friday. They were dispersed by water cannons.

Education is the latest flashpoint between the administration of President Tayyip Erdogan, and secularist Turks who accuse him of overseeing creeping ‘Islamization’ in the NATO member state.

Riot police were out in force on Izmir’s streets, with water cannon being used to disperse banner-waving demonstrators who had gathered in the center of the city, according to pictures from Dogan news agency. At least one person was seen being led away by plain clothes security officers.

Parts of some regular schools have been requisitioned to create more places for students in “Imam Hatip” religious schools championed by Erdogan,

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The horrible idea filter

Feb 16th, 2015 2:21 pm | By

I wrote this month’s column for the Freethinker yesterday. It’s a rather heated rejection of the “we must be responsible if we want to live in harmony with horrible ideas” approach. I don’t want to live in harmony with horrible ideas; I want to reject them, and explain my reasons for rejecting them.

It’s not always immediately clear which ideas are horrible. Sometimes it takes extended discussion and illustration and listing of examples to make the horribleness of a particular idea clear. That’s one major reason free speech is important, and why it often trumps other goods.

But some ideas we already know are horrible. We don’t need to keep reopening the question every hour, because we already know and … Read the rest

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Actually…

Feb 16th, 2015 11:42 am | By

Brilliant cartoon by Kevin Moore at The Nib – Parking Space Atheists.… Read the rest

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“Islam has defined a position for women”

Feb 16th, 2015 11:23 am | By

More on Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Minister Ayşenur İslam via an article in Today’s Zaman last November.

An activist who was kicked out of the Women and Justice Summit organized by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) on Monday has said Erdoğan committed an unconstitutional act by saying men and women are not equal.

On the first day of the conference activist Fikriye Yılmaz was silenced and forcibly removed from the room by security at the request of Family and Social Policy Minister Ayşenur İslam after Yılmaz attempted to ask a question during a speech by the minister.

Yılmaz, a member of the We Will Stop the Murders of Women Platform, spoke with Today’s Zaman about her experience

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How dare you resist

Feb 16th, 2015 10:44 am | By

Speaking of people being murdered for terrible petty self-regarding narcissistic reasons – in Turkey 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan was murdered for having the audacity to resist being raped.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS in Turkey took to the streets yesterday in protest at the murder of a young woman after she resisted an alleged attempt to rape her, local media reported.

Hundreds of women gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square chanting slogans such as “You will never walk alone!”.

The protesters also demanded that family and social policies minister Aysenur Islam, a woman, step down.

See if you can find someone whose name isn’t Submission.

On Friday, police discovered the burned body of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan in a riverbed in southern Turkey.

She

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A more serious turn

Feb 16th, 2015 10:05 am | By

About the Copenhagen shooter.

Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein has been widely named as the gunman who killed two people and wounded five at a cultural centre and synagogue in the Danish capital.

El-Hussein was not an immigrant. He was of Palestinian descent but his parents settled in Denmark before he was born. Like the gunmen in Paris, he turned against the country of his birth.

Classmates who spoke to the Ekstra Bladet newspaper (in Danish) remembered a loner with a hot temper who loved to discuss Islam and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He was not afraid to voice a hatred of Jews, said one.

So he was on the path to becoming a thoroughly terrible person, one with no … Read the rest

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None is allowed to sell books at the fair that can hurt religious sentiments

Feb 16th, 2015 9:31 am | By

In Dhaka today, a publisher’s stall at a book fair was shut down for displaying a biography of Mohammed.

Bangla Academy has shut down the Rodela Prokashani stall on the allegation of publishing and selling a translated book on Prophet Muhammad’s biography, which “hurts religious sentiment of people.”

Dr Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair, said: “The stall of Rodela Prokashani was shut down on Monday for publishing and selling a book [translated], Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, which allegedly hurts people’s religious sentiments.”

“According to article 13.13 of Fair Regulations 2015, none is allowed to sell books at the fair that can hurt religious sentiments. The

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Fact check

Feb 15th, 2015 3:21 pm | By

Wow. More dreck from the Guardian. This time it’s not so much the “we must defend free speech but not really” brand of dreck as the making up their own facts brand. Let’s play Spot the Mistakes.

First two sentences of the piece:

The attacks were in different continents and on people of different faiths and of none, but in the North Carolina university town of Chapel Hill and the Danish capital, Copenhagen, it was freedom itself that was the intended target. On Tuesday, three young Muslim students were gunned down in their Chapel Hill flat, apparently by a neighbour, Craig Hicks, who claimed their faith was an affront to his atheistic principles.

Is that a mistake or deliberately … Read the rest

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Partial body count for today

Feb 15th, 2015 12:36 pm | By

Islamic State is reported to have killed 21 Egyptian Christians it was holding captive.

A video has emerged purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped by Islamic State (IS) in Libya.

The footage shows a group wearing orange overalls, being forced to the ground and then decapitated.

It was posted online by Libyan jihadists who say they are allied with IS.

It’s getting to be like living in an old myth, or in a wilderness full of bears. Or in Europe circa 1942.

The kidnapped Egyptian workers, all Coptic Christians, were seized from the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya, now under the control of Islamist groups.

On Friday, IS released pictures of

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But also abhor publication

Feb 15th, 2015 9:54 am | By

The Guardian is prompt with the “but we must guard against the understandable temptation to be provocative in the publication of these cartoons” crap. Defend free speech, it cries. But don’t be provocative about it.

Great advice, were it not for the fact that that’s exactly what these shooters are saying. Hugh Muir writes:

We are in perilous territory. Slaughter as political protest cannot be defended. Free speech as legal and moral pre-requisites in a free society must be defended. But there are also other obligations to be laid upon those who wish to live in peaceful, reasonably harmonious societies. Even after Paris, even after Denmark, we must guard against the understandable temptation to be provocative in the

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Arrested

Feb 15th, 2015 9:26 am | By

Haaretz says Copenhagen police also arrested a suspect last night.

Police said they shot and killed a suspect in the attack, and that another suspected accomplice had been arrested. At the same time, police raided the Copenhagen home of the terrorist and found a gun.

The Danish intelligence agency said investigators have identified the suspect and that he is someone who had been on the agency’s “radar.” He did not reveal his identity.

Danish media reported police also raided an internet café in the Norrebro neighborhood in the capital and arrested two people. It was not reported if the arrests were linked to the shootings.

Hours after the attack, Danish police shot and killed a man near Noerrebro train

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The wrong inflamer

Feb 15th, 2015 8:26 am | By

As I’m sure you already know, the Copenhagen police tracked the shootings suspect to where he lived, there was gunfire, he was killed. No interviews, again. No doubt that was his intention, again.

The BBC account:

Police say they killed the man in the Norrebro district after he opened fire on them.

Police say video surveillance suggested the same man carried out both attacks. They do not believe any other people were involved.

Officials said the gunman fled by car. A black Volkswagen Polo was found abandoned a short distance away.

Police said the gunman then called a taxi to take him home.

They used information from the taxi driver to identify the address, near the railway

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It is not safe to be in the city centre

Feb 14th, 2015 5:59 pm | By

Update: 

One dead at the synagogue.

A shooting near a synagogue in Copenhagen has left one person dead and two injured, hours after a deadly attack at a cafe in the city.

In the second shooting one person died after being shot in the head, and two police officers were wounded. The attacker is believed to have fled.

More on the shootings at the Copenhagen synagogue, because the BBC has updated its report.

The second shooting took place on Krystalgade street.

“We cannot say anything about the condition of the injured yet,” the Danish police were were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“The perpetrator fled on foot,” they added.

Police launched a massive manhunt after

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Daddy dearest

Feb 14th, 2015 5:47 pm | By

Now in case you’re somewhat exhausted by the horrific news of today – I know I am – here’s a little change of pace. A win for the Men’s Rights movement, perhaps, or just an example of domestic harmony restored.

A mum battered and slashed to within an inch of her life by her jealous ex-fiance has been threatened with jail if she refuses to write to him in prison.

Horrified Natalie Allman, 29, has been ordered by a judge to send letters three times a year to brutal Jason Hughes who tortured her for seven hours in front of their twin sons.

Under parental rights laws, Natalie is being forced to send updates on the five-year-olds along

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Now a synagogue

Feb 14th, 2015 4:50 pm | By

And now this.

Several people have been injured after shots were fired near a synagogue in Copenhagen, Danish police say.

One person was reportedly hit in the head, and two police officers had arm and leg injuries. The attacker is believed to have fled.

It is not clear whether the shooting is connected to an earlier attack on a cafe in the city.

Hell and damn.

 … Read the rest

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It sounded like crackers

Feb 14th, 2015 3:42 pm | By

Agnieszka Kolek was there today, and she tells us about it in the Spectator.

I was invited to Lars Vilks committee in Copenhagen to present Passion for Freedom London Art Festival. The committee is  organized annually and happens on the anniversary of Salman Rushdie’s fatwa. The meeting started with a short introduction from one of the organizers followed by François Zimeray, the French ambassador, commemorating Charlie Hebdo and discussing the challenges that we face when it comes to the threats to freedom of speech and democracy in our countries.

Not knowing they were about to get a graphic demonstration of those threats.

Inna Shevchenko opened the panel and started to talk about Femen and her work. She also discussed

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Unintended consequences

Feb 14th, 2015 3:29 pm | By

A press release from the European Commission:

The European Commission and the High Representative deplore today’s crime in Copenhagen costing the life of at least one citizen. One life is one too many. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Europe stands united with Denmark in upholding freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Europe will not be intimidated.

I hope it really won’t. This kind of shit is intimidating, make no mistake about that. That’s what it’s for and that’s what it does.

But one thing it also does is make more people loathe Islam with more of a passion. Maybe the disgusted parents and older siblings of these “jihadists” will eventually be able to get … Read the rest

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Planning

Feb 14th, 2015 12:33 pm | By

Ouch.

Via Helle Merete Brix on Twitter –

Helle Merete Brix @hellemerete1 · 30 Nov 2013
The Lars Vilks Committees´ next public meeting is about freedom of speech. Copenhagen, February, 14. With Lars Vilks, Henryk Broder etc.

6 Dec 2014
Inna Shevchenko from FEMEN will be on the the panel of The Lars Vilks Committee´s meeting, February 14 in Copenhagen. Freedom of speeech.

7 Jan 2015
Curator Agnieszka Kolek from Passion for Freedom Arts Festival will be on the Lars Vilks Committee´s panel on February 14. in Copenhagen

8 Jan
The Lars Vilks Committee sends its thoughts and deepest sympathies to Charlie Hebdo who received our freedomprize2014

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Adventure time

Feb 14th, 2015 11:51 am | By

The Telegraph is reporting live on the Copenhagen shootings. (I know; it’s not my favorite paper either, but the live reporting is useful.)

19.34 DANISH PRIME MINISTER SAYS COPENHAGEN SHOOTING IS A TERRORIST ATTACK, WHOLE COUNTRY IS ON HIGH ALERT

19.24 This is the photo released by police of the gunman.

18.38 Danish PM calls Copenhagen shooting ‘terrorist act’

18.23 More from David Chazan in Paris.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, tweeted: “Freedom attacked in #Copenhagen. Solidarity with the Danes. @BCazeneuve (French interior minister) is going there. France does not yield. #JeSuisCharlie

18.15 DANISH POLICE SAY THEY DO NOT KNOW IF COPENHAGEN SHOOTING INCIDENT WAS A “TERRORIST ACT” BUT ARE INVESTIGATING IT AS ONE

17.50 Two suspected assailants

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A whole different level

Feb 14th, 2015 10:13 am | By

The Guardian can do it, so why can’t the BBC?

One civilian has been killed and three police officers injured after armed men opened fire on a cafe in Copenhagen where a debate on Islam and free speech was being held.

The meeting was attended by Lars Vilks, the controversial Swedish artist who has faced death threats for caricaturing the prophet Muhammad. Also in attendance was François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark.

That’s how you explain who Lars Vilks is without pretending he did something wrong and deserves to be pursued by theocrats who want to kill him. They could have left “controversial” out but at least they didn’t say he “sparked” or “provoked” or “set off” or … Read the rest

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