Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

“Do not use it with non-Muslims”

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:51 am | By

When she was 16, the daughter of a diplomat from a secular family and newly returned home to Kuwait after four years in Morocco, Elham Manea encountered a girl a year older than she was leading an Islamist religious group.

The sessions were fascinating. Our leader explained about the love of God. The moment we enter into Islam, she said, all our sins are washed away and we become equal. The fate of those who are not Muslims was never mentioned. She told us that we could be better people if only we embraced the message of Islam – the true Islam, not the corrupted form of our society. For a teenage girl, lacking direction, the message was mesmerising, and

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

Yanking the Overton window back and forth

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:18 am | By

Maajid Nawaz points out in a public Facebook post that liberalism is not extremism.

No, my secular liberalism is not the “other extreme” to Islamism (a desire to enforce a version of Islam over society). The other extreme is anti-Muslim bigotry & the desire to ban Islam.

My liberalism means a legal right for you to be religious, or not.

So no, I have not gone from ‘one extreme to another’. Nor have ex-Muslims for that matter, so long as they remain liberal, ie: support individual liberty.

But obviously, if your starting point is way out there with Islamism, then even conservative Islam appears “moderate” to you, and the idea of liberalism would appear like an extremely distant aberration, even

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Working on a reply

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:14 am | By

An item from Andy McSmith’s Diary in the Independent:

Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, arranged a Commons debate on civil rights in Saudi Arabia during which he raised the Badawi case. Replying for the Government, [Foreign Office minister Tobias] Ellwood claimed “the case is in the Supreme Court and is under review. We therefore cannot interfere with that process, in the same way that the Saudi authorities would not interfere with our process.”

When challenged, he insisted: “The case has returned to the Supreme Court, which reflects the fact that the leadership has taken stock of international opinion. The punishment has stopped and is under review. Until that process moves forward, it would be incorrect to comment on

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Flying gun

Jul 21st, 2015 6:21 pm | By

Soooooo…stay out of the parks. Well just stay inside altogether. But they can come up to your windows I suppose, so…

I guess just kiss your ass goodbye.

The Feds are investigating.

The US Federal Aviation Administration says it is investigating an online video that shows an alleged home-made “drone” firing a handgun in the Connecticut countryside.

The 14-second video called Flying Gun shows a homemade multi-rotor hovering off the ground, buzzing furiously and firing a semiautomatic handgun four times at an unseen target.

It does, too. A gun. Firing. In a park.

It was posted on YouTube on July 10 and has been watched nearly 2 million times.

It was filmed by 18-year-old Austin Haughwout from Clinton, Connecticut.

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The whole earth

Jul 21st, 2015 5:36 pm | By

From NASA:

On February 11, 2015, DSCOVR was finally lofted into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After journey of about 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) to the L1 Lagrange Point, the satellite and its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth. At L1—four times farther than the orbit of the Moon—the gravitational pull of the Sun and Earth cancel out, providing a stable orbit and a continuous view of Earth. The image above was made by combining information from EPIC’s red, green, and blue bands.(Bands are narrow regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to which a remote sensing instrument responds. When EPIC collects data, it takes

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Dahlia day

Jul 21st, 2015 4:06 pm | By


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More from Saudi Arabia

Jul 21st, 2015 12:12 pm | By

Elham Manea shares some news on the Raif Badawi front.

Important statement of the family of Raif Badawi

We have watched with great interest the response of the British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, in today’s Parliamentarian questioning regarding the case of Raif Badawi. Mr Ellwood said that he was informed that the case of Raif Badawi was sent back to the Saudi Supreme Court for consideration.

Although we cannot confirm this news due to the secrecy that shrouds the Supreme Court’s procedures, we do hope that the information is accurate. We recall with hope that the last statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry on 12 June did deny that the Supreme Court

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The erasure of Mecca

Jul 21st, 2015 12:02 pm | By

This is something I didn’t know – the Saudis have demolished most of Mecca in order to put up shiny new modern boxes. Ziauddin Sardar wrote it up for the New York Times last year.

WHEN Malcolm X visited Mecca in 1964, he was enchanted. He found the city “as ancient as time itself,” and wrote that the partly constructed extension to the Sacred Mosque “will surpass the architectural beauty of India’s Taj Mahal.”

Fifty years on, no one could possibly describe Mecca as ancient, or associate beauty with Islam’s holiest city. Pilgrims performing the hajj this week will search in vain for Mecca’s history.

The dominant architectural site in the city is not the Sacred Mosque, where the Kaaba,

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Zelig among the skeptics

Jul 21st, 2015 11:24 am | By

Mark Oppenheimer has a long piece at the Tablet about someone I don’t think I’d heard of before, Al Seckel.

In the early 1980s, freethought was especially hot in L.A. The city has always appealed to land’s-end, far-horizon dreamers: sci-fi aficionados, futurists, quick-buck schemers (L. Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in L.A., was all three). But others take the same tendency toward the extreme and flip it around, into a radically skeptical, debunking mindset. Many magicians—James Randi, Penn and Teller, the sleight-of-hand master Jamy Ian Swiss—are committed atheists and scientific skeptics. And as the home of the postwar defense and aerospace industries, Southern California also attracted legions of scientists who were alarmed by the region’s growing influence in the evangelical

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Are you now or have you ever been

Jul 21st, 2015 9:23 am | By

I almost never close posts to comments here, but I closed one just now because it was an explosion of inquisitorial dogmatic stupid. I deleted the last few comments, so don’t bother looking for them.

Don’t ever, ever ask me questions of the form: “Do you think X is Y, yes or no?”

And don’t ever follow up such a question (or any question) with “be aware that ‘yes, but’ or any other kind of ‘sort of’ or ‘maybe’” will be treated as a no and you will be excommunicated accordingly.

Just fuck right off with that kind of thing, because it’s ordering me not to think and analyze but just say yes or no, and that’s not what I … Read the rest

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Those concerns are overblown

Jul 20th, 2015 3:13 pm | By

The theocrats are fighting back.

Legislation granting protections for tax-exempt organizations and individuals objecting to same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds is gathering momentum in the House. The bills, drafted by Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, already have 130 co-sponsors. On Thursday, the Republican Study Committee, the largest, most organized group of conservatives in the House, demanded a vote.

“All religious Americans deserve assurance that they can carry out their conscience without a federal government crackdown,” said Representative Bill Flores, Republican of Texas and the committee’s chairman.

Do they? What if their conscience tells them they have to kill same-sex couples? Or set fire to their houses, or kidnap … Read the rest

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Proud to be top

Jul 20th, 2015 11:35 am | By

At a different Pride parade, a month ago…

Just days after Pride Toronto’s dispute resolution process banned the group from forthcoming celebrations, the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) — a group denounced by critics for being anti-feminist and misogynist — were peacefully walking the streets of Richmond Hill for Pride York Fest.

Oh good grief. That’s Justin Trottier’s group.

MRAs marching in a Pride parade.

And so the nine-person CAFE contingent, including a handful of women, marched, sandwiched between contingents from the federal and provincial Liberal parties as well as a local newspaper.

Few who lined Yonge St. between Crosby Ave. and Vern Dynes Way batted an eye when CAFE members doled out buttons and leaflets advertising their group,

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Good lad

Jul 20th, 2015 10:58 am | By

Inspired by karmacat, I looked up the Good Lad Project that so irritates Dan Bell of InsideMAN.

What We Do

The Good Lad Workshop is an Oxford-based effort to empower men to deal with complex gender situations and become agents of positive change within their social circles. We run workshops throughout term time for groups of men within the university, such as sports teams, drinking societies, clubs and JCR/MCR members.

Our workshops focus on issues relating to consent, masculinity, peer pressure, power and responsibility. Instead of casting men as potential perpetrators who just have to learn to obey the law, we promote the idea of ‘positive masculinity.’ We challenge men to see not just obligations to avoid harming women,

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Not just for their own good, but for women’s too

Jul 20th, 2015 9:23 am | By

So much ugly. It’s the Torygraph, so whaddayouexpect, but all the same – the bluntness is a little surprising. Dan Bell says We must stop indoctrinating boys in feminist ideology.

On Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported that a school in Oxford has become the first to introduce “Good Lad” workshops, in which boys are singled out for sessions that teach them about “the scale of sexual harassment and violence aimed at female students” and how they must stand up for women’s rights.

The workshops are the latest in a mushrooming series of initiatives in which ideologically-driven activists are being invited into schools, driven by the belief that boys need to be re-educated to prevent them from becoming a threat

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The imam simply smiled

Jul 19th, 2015 6:15 pm | By

The New Yorker ran a long piece on slavery in Mauritania last year, by Alexis Okeowo.

In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery, while making no provision for punishing slave owners. In 2007, under international pressure, it passed a law that allowed slaveholders to be prosecuted. Yet slavery persists there, even as the government and religious leaders deny it. Although definitive numbers are difficult to find, the Global Slavery Index estimates that at least a hundred and forty thousand people are enslaved in Mauritania, out of a population of 3.8 million. Bruce Hall, a professor of African history at Duke University, said that people endure slavelike conditions in other countries in the region, but

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Obtaining the unpaid services of a child

Jul 19th, 2015 5:29 pm | By

Jakub Sobik reports at Anti-Slavery:

We have just received news of a verdict in one of our slavery cases in Mauritania – a 10-year-old boy called Issa who we’d been supporting through our UN-funded project.

The Criminal Court reclassified the slavery charge as ‘obtaining the unpaid services of a child’ which carries much smaller sentences. Slavery crimes are meant to carry sentences of 5-10 years in prison.

So the slave-owner was given a 3-month sentence, which he already served through the time he’d been in detention, and was consequently released.

Neither the child, the lawyer nor the guardian of the child [was] even informed that the ruling was due to take place so they weren’t present in court.


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Jul 19th, 2015 3:43 pm | By


ITV News reports:

[Labour leadership contender] Liz Kendall told a Mail on Sunday journalist to “fuck off” when she was asked how much she weighed during an interview.

When she was asked what?? For what reason? Was the journalist planning to ship her somewhere? Is there an official weight limit for party leaders?

In the much-criticised article, journalist Simon Walters wrote: “In fact she looks the same weight as the Duchess – about 8st – though when I ask she slaps me down with a raucous ‘fuck off!’, adding quickly: ‘Don’t print that.’”

The Duchess? What duchess? The one in Alice in Wonderland? The one who was married to Andrew Windsor for awhile? The one who’s married … Read the rest

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Guest post: Off to America on a coffin ship

Jul 19th, 2015 12:52 pm | By

Originally a comment by Marcus Ranum on David Brooks tells Ta-Nehisi Coates to try some social mobility for a change.

For them, America was the antidote to the crushing restrictiveness of European life, to the pogroms. For them, the American dream was an uplifting spiritual creed that offered dignity, the chance to rise.

My ancestors came over because they faced near certain death in potato famines; they would have gone anywhere, except the landed class restricted the poor’s ability to relocate. So: off to America on a coffin ship; one more than half of the family made it, the rest were buried at sea. I started to read great great-grandpa’s journal, once, and couldn’t bear it.

Perhaps the famine … Read the rest

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Panto dames and other drag queens on TV

Jul 19th, 2015 11:24 am | By

The day after Free Pride Glasgow issued its statement saying No to drag performances, Pink News ran a story about a Scottish broadcaster saying No to a drag queen. Uncomfortable timing eh?

Pride Glasgow has attacked Scottish broadcaster STV, for refusing to allow a drag queen to appear in its Pride coverage.

According to the Herald, the group were due to appear on the Riverside Show on the newly-launched STV Glasgow ahead of this week’s Pride event, but the show’s producer refused to allow drag queen Bee Fiarse Beaujambes to appear in the coverage.

Alastair Smith of Pride Glasgow said: “We had suggested to them that a drag queen come on the show to promote the gay pride

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Starvation and jaguars

Jul 18th, 2015 4:52 pm | By

Al Jazeera on slavery in Brazil.

Slavery is reported across the country, from farms in the wealthy south to five-star hotels in Rio de Janeiro and factories in São Paulo. But for decades, the heart of the problem has been this well-trodden route. It leads from northeastern states such as Maranhão and Piauí, known for their poverty and political corruption, to Pará, a vast state in northern Brazil encompassing much of the Amazon rain forest.

Former slave Elenilson de Conceição, whose furrowed face belies his 29 years, knows it intimately after he was himself enslaved to deforest the jungle. He was not paid a cent for three months of grueling labor and slept under the stars amid a forest

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