A letter to King Salman

A press release from Amnesty International

WASHINGTON–On the eve of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL 6th District) and James McGovern (D-MA, 2nd District) have sent a bipartisan letter to Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, King Salman. The letter urges the new King to free all prisoners of conscience—including blogger Raif Badawi and attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair—and to allow women, religious minorities and peaceful political reformers to freely express themselves and fully participate in public life in Saudi Arabia.

The letter garnered 67 congressional signers and endorsements from 17 women’s, human rights, religious freedom, and advocacy organizations, including Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch. [Read more…]

Ruining it for the rest of us

Another atheist woman who says no thanks to the atheist “movement” because it’s such a shit-show.

But as defensive as I’ve gotten with believers, I’ve never actually been tempted to join an atheist group. Partly, that’s because it’s hard to avoid the white men ruining it for the rest of us by using atheism as just another platform for a macho power struggle. Atheism offers no guarantee of other shared ideas or philosophies – and when white male atheist leaders and communities act racist, Islamophobicand misogynistic, I find myself wishing that there were another way to describe my non-beliefs.

It’s sad. The “movement” could have been good, but it took a wrong turn and then a whole bunch of wrong turns and here we are – a big swathe of atheists repulsed by organized atheism.

The piece is from January, by the way. The situation has improved out of all recognition since then.

Hahahahaha totally kidding, no it hasn’t.

Guest post: Galloway’s endorsement of dictatorship extends beyond the Muslim world

Originally a comment by newenlightenment on Letters demanding £5,000.


Galloway’s endorsement of dictatorship extends beyond the Muslim world. Here he is in 2008 at a rally for the ultra Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist)* praising Mao’s cultural revolution and denouncing free Tibet protestors as ‘Running dogs of imperialism':

[Read more…]

Guest post: No other MP acts like that

Originally a comment by Rosie Bell on Letters demanding £5,000.

I’m ardently hoping that this will backfire on Galloway. The disgusting scumbag has threatened to sue people before, they’ve told him to take a hike, and a hike he has taken.

Various top-notch lawyers are offering free advice to his victims. This article below gives a good & amusing account of Galloway’s & his lawyers’ doings.

“Chambers appear to be focused on immigration, serious crime and fraud and personal injury, among other topics. But above all, they are, according to their own website “calculated risk takers”, who are “not afraid to take on challenges that would daunt many others”. [Read more…]

Letters demanding £5,000

George Galloway’s lawyers have been sending people letters demanding money for…retweeting an allegation that Galloway is anti-semitic.

George Galloway has ordered lawyers to issue Twitter users who alleged he was an anti-Semite with letters demanding £5,000 and threatening legal action.

The Bradford West MP has reportedly singled out up to a dozen people, including some who had only re-tweeted other posts and a charity worker with just 75 followers.

The letters, seen by The Times, were issued by Bradford-based Chambers Solicitors. They said the recipient was “required” to pay legal costs of £5,000 plus VAT into a HSBC bank account by 10 March. [Read more…]

To travel with Conradian determination

Priyamvada Gopal adds more to the picture of the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh and the documentary and the reactions against it. I’ve disagreed with Gopal in the past and thought I was going to again, but in the end she makes good points.

She does some rather annoying sneering at Udwin on the way there though.

Udwin’s elevation to the status of free speech martyr and the ensuing controversy is likely to boost the viewing figures in Britain for a film that she describes as having been made through enormous personal sacrifice. She has stressed her abdication of home comforts to travel with Conradian determination to explore “the blackest recesses of the human heart”. Indian feminists, on the other hand, have expressed unease – not only with the timing of the documentary’s broadcast which might, they fear, result in a further trial by media of the accused, already fast-tracked through the judicial system because of the public outcry, but also with some of the premises both of the film and the associated “Daughters of India” global campaign against sexual violence to be launched next week at a star-studded New York screening. [Read more…]

Exploring ways of stopping the worldwide broadcast

Leslee Udwin is appealing to Narendra Modi not to ban her documentary about the gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh – but of course Modi is not the guy to undo that kind of ban. Modi is a Hindu nationalist, a right-wing patriot; of course he’s not going to listen to some liberal woman from the UK who is sullying India’s good name.

Shortly before her statement was released, the parliamentary affairs minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, declared: “We can ban the film in India. But this is an international conspiracy to defame India. We will see how the film can be stopped abroad too.”

Yeah good luck with that. [Read more…]

Because it believes in universal values

Nick Cohen informs us that Tell Mama is being torn apart by Islamists usurping Tell Mama’s liberal message.

Tell Mama is Britain’s most prominent opponent of anti-Muslim prejudice. It monitors everything from criminal assaults to everyday abuse. The far right loathes it, and the Conservative press sells the grotesque pretence that the group exaggerates prejudice to divert attention from the horror of Islamist violence.

But attacks from the right only wound. Tell Mama’s ‘friends’ in the Muslim community have turned out to be far more dangerous and are threatening to destroy the organisation. ‘I am on a knife edge,’ one activist told me. ‘I may just leave. I’m so fed up.’

[Read more…]