El Ghazzali Criticizes Blasphemy Laws at the UN

Kacem El Ghazzali, an atheist blogger from Morocco who now lives in exile in Switzerland because of that country’s authoritarian blasphemy laws, addressed the UN Human Rights Council and strongly criticized the use of blasphemy laws, including by several of the nations that sit on that council. The International Humanist and Ethical Union has the transcript of his brief speech.
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EU Wants Saudis to Respect Religious Freedom

This news is about a month old, but the European Union has approved a report calling on Saudi Arabia to respect religious freedom. Unfortunately, that declaration says nothing about the right of the non-religious not to practice a religion or the right to criticize religion.
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FBB Mounts Crisis Response for Syrian Refugees

Foundation Beyond Belief, with whom I work, is mounting a Humanist Crisis Response to raise funds to help the International Rescue Committee provide basic care for the millions of Syrians who have become refugees in the current civil war. Regardless of the political divisions in this country, there is a humanitarian crisis going on that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees calls “a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
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US-Backed Dictator Escapes Justice

Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt is one of the many brutal Central American dictators the United States helped put in power in the 70s and 80s. He seized control of Guatemala in 1982 in a military coup and then went on a killing spree and instituted extremely repressive policies, especially toward the indigenous population. He was on trial for genocide, but a former crony has ended the trial and subverted justice:
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UPDATED: Saudi Cleric Okays Gang Rape of Syrian Women

Update: Alternet has retracted this story, as it turned out to be a hoax.

Alternet reports that an influential Saudi imam who is closely tied to jihadist groups worldwide has issued an edict endorsing temporary “intercourse marriages” to allow opposition fighters in Syria to each have their turn having sex with any Syrian woman over 14 who is widowed or divorced.
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