Notes and Comment Blog

It is not safe to be in the city centre

Feb 14th, 2015 5:59 pm | By


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 the first shooting.

They released photographs showing the alleged attacker apparently wearing a purple balaclava and thick puffer jacket.

The three injured were police officers.

For now, police have not linked the two attacks, the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant reports from Copenhagen.

But he says that the Danish capital has been abuzz with sirens and helicopters, amid fears that other attacks could be imminent.

The police have warned residents that it is not safe to be in the city centre.

It’s fucking unreal.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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 with photos.

The boys were just two when they saw their father batter their mum with his weight-lifting dumbbells, slash her throat with an Army knife and try to ­suffocate her with a pillow.

Ok but they’re still his kids, right, so of course the other parent should keep him updated on what they’re doing. The fact that he nearly killed her in front of them is neither here nor there.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and he was kneeling over me, beating me repeatedly in the face.

“At first I thought he was punching me and then I realised he was using his weights.

“He was smashing them into my face over and over. There was blood everywhere but he didn’t stop.

“It was midnight and then the next thing I knew I was coming round and it was 3am. I don’t know whether I fell asleep or was knocked unconscious.”

Probably the latter. I don’t think you’d just fall peacefully asleep if your face were all punched to a pulp.

After that he tied her up and cut her throat.

Hughes refused to call an ambulance, but at 7am Natalie managed to dial 999 herself. When officers arrived, the couple’s two-year-old twins, Ethan and Timmy, were in bed with their mother and covered in her blood.

But that was then. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, and now he wants to be all connected up with his little boys again. So they were covered in her blood, so what!

The negotiated terms stated that she would have to send letters three times a year – at Easter, September and December.

The order requires that the letters include “an update regarding the ­children’s general progress, both at nursery/school and socially, to include details of their health and emotional ­development”.

The letters must also include an “update photograph of each child no smaller than 6 inches by 4 inches”.

Hughes, 42, is also allowed to send birthday cards, Christmas cards and a letter at the start of each school year. Yet most shocking of all is the threat of legal repercussions for Natalie if she fails to complete the gruelling task of writing the letters three times a year.

He could be out of prison in a year. She’s afraid he’ll find her because of the letters.

Reunions are so sweet and touching.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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 her close friendship with Charb, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, and how they both stood strong exercising their right to freedom of expression. A few minutes into her speech we heard separate bangs. It sounded like crackers. Everyone was sitting and Inna was speaking as the bangs turned into a shower of bullets. It sounded like a machine gun. There was lots of shouting in Danish, the security shouted that Lars should evacuate, everyone started to run or hide. A few people remained sitting. I slid behind the stage to hide.

Then the shooting stopped, and after awhile people started to get back together and talk, and then they decided to continue with the presentation.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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 that through their heads – they’re not doing their beloved religion any favors.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Feb 14th, 2015 12:33 pm | By


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

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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.)


19.24 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


17.50 Two suspected assailants escaped by vehicle after Copenhagen attack: police

It’s like a goddam flashback.

The pathetic thing is that this is young man shit. Young men are fodder for this kind of thing. They’re the IRA, they’re gangs, they’re Shining Path, they’re Nazis or neo-Nazis – whatever. There’s a veneer of ideology but the bedrock is adventure and excitement and danger. It’s adrenaline more than it is ideology. And all it takes is two or three young men, and you can put a whole crucial part of a society and culture at risk. If just a very few strategic young men take it into their heads to make it dangerous to go to conferences where liberals and secularists gather…then things get a lot worse with a minuscule expenditure of human capital.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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 “courted” anything.

“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as [the 7 January attack on] Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Zimeray told AFP.

“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200. Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor,” the ambassador added.

“We managed to flee the room, and now we’re staying inside because it’s still dangerous. The attackers haven’t been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood.”

Fabulous. Imagine the fun.

Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told Denmark’s TV2: “I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting. Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie.”

Helle Merete Brix, one of the meeting’s organisers, said: “I saw a masked man running past. I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks.”

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, condemned what he called a “terrorist attack”.

Well it wasn’t a friendly greeting.

Danish reports said there were about 30 bullet holes in the window of the Krudttønden cafe where the meeting organised by Lars Vilks was being held.

The cafe in northern Copenhagen, known for its jazz concerts, was hosting an event titled “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression” when the shots were fired.

The meeting was also being held to mark the anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie issued by Islamic fundamentalists after he wrote The Satanic Verses.

Ah yes, Valentine’s Day. Happy Fatwa Day to you too.

Vilks, 68, outraged many Muslims in 2007 after he depicted the prophet Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog.

Oh look, they do stick the target on him after all. You were doing so comparatively well, Graun, why mess it up now?

In 2010 Swedish newspapers reprinted the controversial cartoon after two Muslim men were arrested and subsequently charged in the Irish Republic in connection with an alleged plot to murder Vilks.

Since then he has received numerous death threats and has lived under constant police protection.

A hellish way to live.

The Lars Vilks committee gave its freedom prize to the Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, in October 2014 – three months before the terrorist attack on its Paris office.

Gerard Biard, the magazine’s editor-in chief, who received the prize in Copenhagen, survived the attack as he was in London on 7 January.

After the Charlie Hebdo attack, Vilks said that even fewer organisations were inviting him to give lectures over increased security concerns.

He also thought that Sweden’s SAPO security service, which deploys bodyguards to protect him, would step up the security around him. “This will create fear among people on a whole different level than we’re used to,” he said. “Charlie Hebdo was a small oasis. Not many dared do what they did.”

They’re getting what they want. Terrorism works. They’re making it harder and harder and harder for us to say anything they don’t like.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

One killed

Feb 14th, 2015 9:31 am | By

Reuters says one person was killed in the shootings in Copenhagen.

One civilian was killed and three police were wounded on Saturday in shooting at a public meeting in the Danish capital Copenhagen attended by the controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, police and the Danish Ritzau news agency reported.

Danish police confirmed one civilian had been killed in a shooting and said the suspects had fled in a car.

Ritzau said both Vilks and the French ambassador, who was also attending, were both unharmed, but that three police had been wounded. The gathering was billed as a debate on art and blasphemy.

Just over a month ago, 17 people were killed in France in three days of violence that began when two Islamist gunmen burst into the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, opening fire in revenge for its publication of satirical images of the Prophet Mohammad.

Bad bad bad bad news. The implications are horrific.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

From Copenhagen

Feb 14th, 2015 9:22 am | By

Just publicly posted to Lars Vilks’s Facebook page by Jenny A Wenhammar who is at the Copenhagen blasphemy conference with him –

– meeting in Copenhagen was attacked.

At the panel discussion about freedom of speech in Copenhagen organized by the committee of Lars Vilks, during the speech of Inna Shevchenko there were around 20-40 shots. In the room together with her were also Lars Vilks and French ambassador Francois Zimeray. Inna escaped with some people through the back door, and is at the moment at the police station. The meeting is said to continue and not be stopped by terror.

— with Lars Vilks and Inna Shevchenko.

One person was killed in the shooting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Shootings at blasphemy seminar in Copenhagen

Feb 14th, 2015 8:58 am | By

The BBC reports:

Danish police have said three officers were shot and wounded at blasphemy debate in Copenhagen where the French ambassador was speaking.

Two gunmen are said to be still at large.

Reports say up to 40 shots were fired outside the venue in the Danish capital.

Controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has drawn caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, was also present at the debate.

Thanks, BBC, be sure as always to sneak in some condemnation of people who dare to do things like caricature Mo. Lars Vilks is “controversial” only among theocrats.

The area around the venue, reportedly a cafe, is under lockdown, the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant reports.

Police have erected cordons and are searching a nearby park, he adds.

Lars Vilks stoked controversy in 2007 by drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad dressed as a dog.

There it is again, only more so – Lars “stoked controversy” by doing something that should be perfectly ordinary.

But that’s not the point. The point is that they want to silence us all. It’s too bad the BBC can’t even report on an ongoing gun attack on people at a conference without sticking a target on some of those people.



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

No papers for you!

Feb 13th, 2015 5:38 pm | By

When parents go bad.

On Sep. 24, 2014, 18-year-old Alecia Faith Pennington left her family and childhood home with the help of her grandparents. Having been raised in a staunchly Christian, homeschooled family in Texas, she was ready to set off and pursue a new life.

You know, that needs a re-write.

On Sep. 24, 2014, 18-year-old Alecia Faith Pennington escaped her family and childhood prison with the help of her grandparents. Having been imprisoned in a fanatically Christian family in Texas that wouldn’t let her go to school, she was ready to escape and find a life.

But there’s a glitch: she has no paperwork of any kind.

Ms. Pennington, who says she’s now 19, has launched a campaign via YouTube and Facebook called “Help Me Prove It.” In the video, she explains her strange circumstance: she was born at home, after which her parents neglected to file for a birth certificate or a social security number; she was homeschooled and therefore has no school records; she has never been to a hospital and is without medical records. Furthermore, her parents have refused to help her in any way.

Never been to a hospital or a doctor of any kind – which is or should be criminal negligence.

She appears caught in a Kafkaesque bureaucratic web – one that’s been dubbed “identification abuse,” which  a small percentage of homeschooled children and adults sometimes experience, often due to the anti-government views held by their parents.

It’s appallingly abusive. She’s basically enslaved – her parents have systematically deprived her of everything she needs to get an education and/or work.

James and Lisa Pennington have refused to help, according to their daughter.

James and Lisa live in Kerrington, Texas, where they serve on the board of the Hill Country Home School Association. In 2010, they were named the 2010 Texas Home School Coalition Association’s “Leaders of the Year,” according to the THSCA website. Lisa is also an ardent Christian, homeschooling, and parenting blogger, posting at Hip Homeschool Moms and The Pennington Point.

In other words she’s an “ardent” child abuser. Very hip.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Isis efficiency

Feb 13th, 2015 4:37 pm | By

Just imagine the fun of being a Muslim in Raqqa. It’s a good deal more peppery than life in Chapel Hill, according to what the Independent says.

Residents of a city besieged by Isis have described living under strict bans on alcohol and cigarettes, with anyone caught smoking publicly flogged, handed huge fines and even reportedly executed.

I dislike smoking myself, but I don’t think people should be executed for it.

Raqqa, in Syria, is one of the group’s biggest strongholds.

A leading figure with Isis’s police force was recently found in  Deir-al-Zor beheaded and with a cigarette in his mouth, with the sentence “O Sheikh this is munkar (hateful and evil thing)” written on his body.


Isis swiftly shut down shops selling cigarettes and water pipes after Raqqa fell and banned street vendors from selling smoking materials. One man described militants bending his fingers with pliers after being [he was] caught smoking in the street to Al Monitor.

The group also released a series of statements from the so-called Isis ‘Preaching Office’ describing the health problems that made smoking “a slow suicide“.

Ah! Well no wonder they execute people for doing it then. Speeds up the suicide.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

19 Muslims massacred in Peshawar

Feb 13th, 2015 4:27 pm | By

Meanwhile…let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. The much much much bigger picture; the orders of magnitude bigger picture. Like this item from CNN today

The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for a Friday attack on a Shiite Muslim mosque in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan — a suicide bombing and gunfire assault that a hospital representative said killed 19 people.

The Islamist militant group said the attack was orchestrated by a commander who was behind December’s massacre of 145 people, including 132 children, at a Peshawar school.

Sixty-seven people were injured Friday, said Tauheed Zulfiqar, a representative of the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar.

All of them Muslim, it would appear.

That’s just today, just in Pakistan. Then there are all the Muslims killed over the past few years by Boko Haram, and all the Muslims killed by Daesh, and all the Muslims killed in Somalia, Libya, Kenya, Algeria, Iran and Iraq, Syria, India – all the Muslims killed by other Muslims.

That’s a bigger picture. The murders in Chapel Hill are horrifying, but so are the murders at that Shiite mosque in Peshawar today.

Bigger picture is bigger.

That fact makes Erdogan’s show of indignation at Obama for not condemning the murders pretty contemptible.

Speaking on a visit to Mexico, Mr Erdogan criticised Mr Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and US Vice-President Joe Biden for not having made any statement about the murder of the “three Muslims”.

“If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don’t make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you,” he said.

“As politicians, we are responsible for everything that happens in our countries and we have to show our positions.”

Mr Erdogan is a devout Sunni Muslim who has been increasingly critical of the treatment of Muslims living in Western societies.

The treatment of Muslims living in Western societies is a hell of a lot better than the treatment of Muslims living in Muslim societies. As theocrats, you are responsible for everything that happens in your theocracies, so give that some thought, Mr Erdogan.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Atheist but not also humanist

Feb 13th, 2015 12:15 pm | By

Michael DeDora has an excellent post on what Craig Hicks does or doesn’t have to do with vocal atheism and what vocal atheism has to do with being a decent human.

…as merely a position on whether god/s exist, atheism is no guarantor of moral behavior, and no guarantee should that be expected from it. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and many others — apparently now including Craig Hicks — are atheists who have killed. A person’s atheism only tells you that they reject the idea of a god. It does not tell you about the rest of their character, which, as with all people, can include a very human but very misguided hatred. I guarantee some atheists will continue to do violence in the world so long as both atheists and the world exist. Why atheists continue to defend atheism at the expense of a broader moral and philosophical framework remains a mystery to me. This event should remind us that mere atheism is not enough — that for humans to find decency and sustain it, we must construct and nourish moral frameworks that engender complete respect for our fellow humans regardless of their beliefs on religion or gods. Hicks was an atheist, but he was apparently not also humanist. Humanism provides no shelter for such hatred and murder.

Quite. For a good long while I was focused on being a vocal atheist, partly just because I was fed up with the taboo on being that very thing. I’m over it. The accumulated nastiness and brutalism of a huge swath of The Atheist Movement put me off it. I still am a vocal atheist, for sure, but also a vocal feminist and internationalist and advocate of universal rights and similar things.

Which brings us back to the issue of causation. It is very easy to point at reports of a parking dispute, or quotes from a Sam Harris book. But, as when examining terrorism and violence carried out in the name of religion, it is much more difficult to address complex reality, which in this case is that Hicks was most likely driven by a multitude of factors, which hopefully the police investigation will reveal. But, whatever his inspiration, Hicks is responsible for his actions. Yes, he might have found intellectual and emotional comfort in anti-religious writings. But not a single report has shown that the writings he consumed, or that he shared on his social media accounts, condoned violence against any innocent persons, including religious believers. One can think that religion is a burden on society, and that we would be better off without it, while also respecting the dignity and autonomy of individuals to believe in a religion and lead their lives peacefully. For all their stridency, I see no evidence that Dawkins or Harris believe otherwise, or that Hicks found otherwise in their writings.

No, neither do I. On the other hand there are a lot of intermediate steps, and there I’m not so confident. I think Dawkins encourages some contemptuous attitudes by modeling them so often and enthusiastically on Twitter. It’s a big leap from contemptuous attitudes to murder…but it’s a big leap, not an infinite gap. Contemptuous attitudes can and do lead to bullying, to violence, and even to murder. That can happen. It’s playing with fire, that kind of thing.

Of course, some anti-religious rhetoric is charged, and could provide cover for, or amplify, stereotypes of believers. Atheists must have a serious conversation about what counts as this kind of unfair rhetoric, what rhetoric should be welcomed and promoted, and what rhetoric should be rejected outright. But even when we decide on what counts as “too far” in intellectual criticism and argument, are we willing to blame the peaceful anti-religious people around us for inexcusable physical acts like cold-blooded murder?

No, of course not. But what about blaming the verbally belligerent people around us for creating an atmosphere of callous contempt? That I’m willing to blame those people for. To the extent that I’ve contributed to it I’m willing to blame myself.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

She cannot fathom why it has taken so long

Feb 13th, 2015 10:58 am | By

Sometimes movie stars put their celebrity to good use.

Europe’s first academic centre to combat the brutality faced by women in warzones has been opened in London by Angelina Jolie, who called for “the empowerment of women to be the highest priority for the finest minds, in the best academic institutions”.

Jolie, a special envoy for the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), has just returned from northern Iraq, where she met some of the millions of refugees forced to flee from their homes due to Islamic State (Isis) violence. She said students of the centre on women, peace and security at the London School of Economics (LSE) had the chance to change the world.

That seems like a good thing to have.

The Hollywood actor, director and international women’s rights campaigner was joined at LSE by the former UK foreign secretary William Hague. The pair have worked together for three years on an initiative to prevent sexual violence in conflict.

A four-day summit hosted by Jolie and Hague in June last year, as part of the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, resulted in a protocol signed by 151 countries and the LSE’s centre on women, peace and security is the latest step in trying to combat the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The groundbreaking LSE centre on women, peace and security will gather key thinkers, activists, policymakers and academics together in order to better tackle intransigent global problems such as the prosecution of warzone rapists and women’s engagement in politics.

Thumbs up.

Asked after her speech why it had taken so long for sexual violence to gain the world’s attention, Jolie said: “My emotional response is: I have no idea. I find it abhorrent and it makes absolutely no sense to me that we know that girls are being are being sold into sexual slavery; that when a woman is raped she is forced from her community; that girls as young as nine are being married off.

“I cannot fathom why it has taken so long. I cannot fathom why it has ever been alright to treat women this way.”

Christine Chinkin, professor of law at LSE and head of the new centre, said it would provide an opportunity to further her long-term commitment “to ending the marginalisation of woman’s human rights in academia, including the right of women to be free from all forms of violence”.

Yessssssss – I would love to see that marginalization and normalization ended. Good luck to them.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A typical Asian woman going through a typical Asian situation

Feb 13th, 2015 10:44 am | By

One woman killed by an abusive husband.

Mumtahina Jannat was killed by her abusive husband, Abdul Kadir, in 2011 after surviving years of being drugged, beaten and raped by him.

The abuse had started since she married Kadir at the age of 16, and continued till her death at the age of 28.

She’d approached various doctors, case workers and lawyers, but didn’t receive the support necessary to leave her husband and have sole custody of her children.

Her niece Onjali Rauf, who founded an anti-abuse charity called Making Herstory after Jannat’s death, has now spoken out saying that one of the biggest problems was that professionals all dismissed Jannat’s abuse as “a typical Asian situation”.

One judge told Jannat she was being “silly” when she said she was afraid her husband was going to kill her.

“One of the key things my aunt went through that lost her faith in the system was she was seen as a typical Asian woman going through a typical Asian situation and therefore being ignored by her case workers or her lawyers even,” said Rauf.

“She just felt like she didn’t have a voice, like her voice was numbed because of the fact that she represented a certain community.”

As if violence becomes less lethal when there is more of it.

Rauf was speaking at the launch of the Femicide Census, which has been created by Freshfields law firm for Women’s Aid and Nia, a charity working to end violence against women and children, to raise awareness about men’s fatal violence against women.

It analyses existing census data and has found thatnearly half of the 694 British women killed by men over four years died at the hands of a partner or former partner.

It means Jannat’s situation is not uncommon – she is one of 319 women to be murdered by a partner, between 2009 and 2013.

And that’s no more normal or routine for her than it is for anyone else.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of Nia, stressed: “Male violence against women is cultural – it is absolutely intrinsic and systemic in mainstream British culture.”

The Femicide Census now hopes to reduce femicides – murders of women – by raising awareness about the common themes involved in the killings.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said the statistics show that violence against women “should be at the absolute centre of our social policy.”

Quite as if women actually mattered.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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 sentence to be quashed and for him to be released immediately and unconditionally so he can join his family in Canada.

Damn right. And his lawyer, too, Waleed Abu Al-Khair.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

In front of the embassy

Feb 12th, 2015 6:03 pm | By

Ensaf shared some photos from Vienna.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

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.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)