Shameless Self-Promotion Sunday
7 hours ago
To speak specifically of our problem with the Muslim world, we are meandering into a genuine clash of civilizations, and we’re deluding ourselves with euphemisms. We’re talking about Islam being a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by extremists. If ever there were a religion that’s not a religion of peace, it is Islam. – Sam HarrisRecently Brandeis University withdrew an honorary degree promised Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an atheist feminist born in Somali. She documented the horrors of her life under Islam in her best selling book, “Infidel“.
Brandeis University has withdrawn the honorary degree promised Ayaan Hirsi Ali after realizing that Ali has criticized Islam in the past. In fact, criticizing Islam was the focus of her best-selling memoir Infidel. The petition to reject her was written by a barely literate undergrad peeved that the university would honor someone who is “an outright Islamophobic.” Oh dear. Views are Islamophobic. People are Islamophobes.Really…
Humanist and secular organizations, as well as civil liberties and human rights groups around the world, have responded with outrage to the news that a new law in Saudi Arabia equates “atheism” with “terrorism”.From Care2: Brunei is Gearing Up to Start Stoning People to Death
The Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing criminalizes as “terrorism” all free expression on a vast range of topics, including advocacy of “atheist thought”, criticism of Islam as it is understood by the state, and any expression deemed to “insult the reputation of the state”.
Saudi Arabia is a current and recently-elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Details of the lawArticle 1 of the “terrorism” law prohibits “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” The law was introduced by royal decree without judicial oversight.
Domestic “terrorism” is defined in the decree as “any act” (expressly including non-violent acts) which among other things is intended to “insult the reputation of the state,” “harm public order,” or “shake the security of society”. The terms are very broad, and and could be used to prosecute any criticism of the state, its king or officials, or the state conception of Islam.
The provisions of the “terrorism” law define and outlaw numerous acts and forms of expression as “terrorism”, including:
- “Calling for atheist thought in any form”;
- any disloyalty “to the country’s rulers”, or anyone “who swears allegiance to any party, organization, current [of thought], group, or individual inside or outside [the kingdom]“;
- anyone who aids, affiliates, or holds “sympathy” with any “terrorist” organization as defined by the act, which “includes participation in audio, written, or visual media; social media in its audio, written, or visual forms; internet websites; or circulating their contents in any form”;
- contact with groups or individuals who are “hostile to the kingdom”
- and the article on “Seeking to shake the social fabric or national cohesion” prohibits all protest, without qualification as to its message or intent, by outlawing “calling, participating, promoting, or inciting sit-ins, protests, meetings, or group statements in any form”.
Brunei wants to stone more people to death, and it’s about to bring into force a new penal code provision that would allow it to do just that.Considering the horrific behavior on the part of so many Muslims in the name of their faith I have a hard time believing atheist infidels like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie are simply Islamophobes meriting the condemnation of all correct thinking progressive people. Actually I tend to see them as highly courageous people standing up to a force filled with numerous fanatics, who would consider murdering them an act of faith.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced in October of 2013 that he would move Brunei, a predominantly Muslim country, toward adopting Islamic Sharia law within the next six months. While Sharia was previously implemented for what are essentially family court disputes, the country officially had secular laws though many of those laws gave great deference to Sharia anyway.
At the time of announcing this change, the Sultan said that Sharia law would only be applied to Muslims. However, the United Nations and international human rights bodies feel that the law change will likely affect all of Brunei’s citizens, if not immediately then over time.
Making it a Crime to be Gay or to Insult Islam
The penal code change would make consensual same-sex sexual encounters a crime punishable by stoning. Homosexual “acts,” and by extension homosexuality, have long been a crime in Brunei. At the moment, though, someone convicted under the penal code can only serve a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Homosexuals are not the only group to be targeted by this law change, however. The revised penal code would proscribe the death penalty for the following (not an exhaustive list but one designed to give a good overview):
While a lot of media attention has focused on how this penal code change would impact , and for good reason, the penal code also seems particularly malignant to women’s rights, something that the International Commission of Jurists has already noted. Writing in commentary made back in January while the change was still being considered, the ICJ said that because of how a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam privileges men, would therefore be “more [at] risk of receiving this penalty because they are most likely to be found guilty of adultery or having engaged in extra-marital sexual relations.”
- insulting any verses of the Quran and/or the Hadith
- declaring that you are not a Muslim (apostasy)
From The Guardian UK: Egypt’s gay community fears government crackdown
Recent series of raids and long jail terms fan fears that gay people may be new target of authoritarian government
Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
The Guardian, Thursday 17 April 2014
Egypt‘s gay community fears it is the latest target of the country’s authoritarian government following a series of recent raids on gay people.
Activists interviewed by the Guardian said they had documented up to nine raids across the country since October 2013 – an unusually high rate of arrests. Most significantly, at least seven raids have seen people arrested at home rather than at parties or known meeting places, raising concerns that the community is facing the start of a targeted crackdown.
The latest and most concerning raid saw four men seized from their east Cairo apartment on 1 April within hours of signing the lease, according to activists. Within a week, the four were given jail terms of up to eight years – sentences unusual for both their length and the speed at which they were handed down.
Interviewees warned against exaggerating the oppression levelled at what is a flourishing underground gay community. But almost all agreed the recent arrests had frightened and perplexed many of its members. One experienced activist, who identified himself as Mohamed A, said: “It has struck fear within many of us. I could be sitting with a couple of friends [at home], and these arrests could happen at any moment.”
While homosexuality is technically legal in Egypt, citizens suspected of being gay have long been the target of sporadic detentions – with those arrested often convicted of debauchery or insulting public morals. But some activists claim the recent arrests, which began at a gay meeting-place in a poor Cairo suburb last October, are happening at a faster rate than at any point since 2004.