Iran students face expulsion from Norway over sanctions

This is another example that current sanctions hurt people and not the regime. While Khamenei’s wealth has grown under the sanctions, and specific military linked fundamentalist groups have benefited greatly, Iranian economy has toppled and people’s lives have gotten worse. One of the groups worst hit by these sanctions are Iranian students who study abroad, who have trouble getting money into the foreign countries, who have also suffered because of the 300% drop of currency value. And now this is another example.

Via BBC:

Academics from Norway’s top technical university have expressed concern after almost a dozen post-graduate science students from Iran had their residence permits cancelled because of international sanctions.

“When I first heard about this, I just couldn’t believe it,” says 27-year-old Hamideh Kaffash who was about to start a PhD in material engineering at the prestigious Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

She’s one of 10 Iranian post-graduates who have received letters from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration in recent months informing them that they must leave the country.

The letters say that Norway’s Police and Security Service has ruled that their studies could result in the transfer of sensitive technology which could help Iran develop its nuclear industry.

The security services say this would put Norway in breach of international sanctions in place against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

But Hamideh says her speciality has nothing to do with the nuclear industry.

“I’m working on a project to reducing Co2 emission in ferromanganese production,” she says. “It’s a project which will benefit the environment and is now being applied in Iran.”

Read the whole report here.

They have challenged the ruling, and many other students and lecturers have joined them in protest. It’s very hard for Iranian students to go abroad, and to deal the financial hardships. It’s wrong to let political sanctions destroy the future and the dreams of young people.

Link Round Up 7/26/2014

The Story of the Week: Our friends over at Skptic Ink publish a joint book. Read about it here. Skeptic Ink writers visit Skeptic Canary Show to discuss their new book. I personally don’t have access to the book, but you might want to check it out.

Other Story of the Week: Make sure to continue reading the Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal. This is Mahmoud’s story about sneaking in food, for example.

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The Subtlety Illusion

I had this atheist friend who used to be mean to every religious person he came across. He would call religious people “stupid”, simply for believing in religion, and mocking them in a mean spirited manner. I confronted him on multiple times over this, and he always argued reasonably – he even sometimes confronted other atheists when they said things like “If you weren’t stupid you wouldn’t be religious”. He was always nuanced, saying things like “We criticize the religious thought and ideology and do not negatively judge believers”. But he always judged believers negatively, and ultimately I came to the conclusion that his opinions are more nuanced and subtled than his actual mentality and attitude. He had a moderate brain, but an extremist heart. His ideas were nuanced and tolerant, but he himself was intolerant and abusive. When I came to this conclusion, I ended my friendship with him.

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PSA: Never Trust Press TV

This originally was posted on Facebook, changed a bit.

People, it’s pathetic to block people for questioning your source.

A Facebook user shared a story from Press TV, which is officially and openly funded by the Islamic Republic, and it is very notorious as a blatant propaganda news agency, claiming that an Israeli MP has said the mothers of Palestinian children should be killed.

Very naturally, I reminded her that her source is extremely unreliable, asking her to link to a more credible source. She simply said “this is not propaganda!” and when I said “Do you know what kind of a website Press TV is?” she blocked me.

I did a short google search and I saw the story in Al Jazeera and Independent too, and the Independent one was written by an Israeli. So, I guess it was probably true, but that doesn’t mean linking to this shoddy source and believing it was right.

This comment had been left standing on the Press TV story:

The world owes Adolph Hitler an apology. Instead of fighting him we should have let him finish the job. It turns out he was right, and was trying to do the world a favor. If only we knew then what we know now.

I mean, if a site attracts such readers and doesn’t ban them from commenting, that should raise some sort of flags, no?

So: in conclusion: please never trust Press TV. It is funded by a totalitarian regime, it lies all the time. One of its most shameful episodes includes airing confessions of political prisoners obtained by torture; including journalists and human rights activists. It doesn’t deserve to be treated like anything but a hate-mongering propaganda site. So never trust it and always fight it when you see people linking to it.Thanks.

Iranian Volleyball Watchers Protest Censorship and Political Prisoners

Iran’s volleyball team is good, becoming the fourth in the World League. Women were recently banned from watching the game in the stadium, which justifiably caused the volleyball world federation is banning Iran from taking part in future tournaments for its sexist policies. And when TV broadcasts the games taking place in other countries, it heavily censors the games, omitting all footage of female audience.

Some Iranians in Italy used this opportunity to protest by holding signs while watching the games.


The sign says: “Great job, censor!”


The sign says: “Thank you censor”.


It says “Our censor brother, support us, support us” (A culturally loaded slogan going back to Islamic Revolution and used later by reformists as well for multiple people, usually addressed to oppressors) and the other sign says “Mousavi and Karroubi must be freed”.

These photos made me feel very good and I shared them with you too. Cheers.

Check Out Avicenna’s Very Important Post on a Rape Case in Afghanistan

This is really important. I wanted to put it in my link round ups, But Avicenna brought up some major concerns in Facebook so I decided to do the best I can. Please share this as it needs to be read. This is the post: No Honour – The men have to wash their shame with blood. It deals with this piece of news:

The story goes as follows. A 10 year old girl was raped by Mullah Mohammed Amin in a mosque. The mullah claims it was consensual which is puzzling. Since this is rape and in Afghanistan? The spectre of honour crime raises it’s head. Family members openly planned to kill the girls. In order to protect her, the rapist agreed to marry his victim.

The girl was moved from the local shelter where she was staying and returned to her family. The legal ruling in Afghanistan is that no shelter can keep a woman if her family demands her back. The workers at the shelter believe that she is at risk.

Dr. Hassina Sarwari runs Women for Afghan Women. Remember how A Voice for Men guffawed about the lack of feminists in Afghanistan? Hassina Sawari is such a feminist.

Hassina has been recieving death threats from… pretty much everyone. She is one of the people who ran the shelter. In order to play down the rape, both sides have gotten involved as such a case brings great shame to the family and the Mullahs (for reasons only understandable to Pashtun honour culture). Sarwari was forced into hiding by threats from the girl’s family and mullahs. The Mullah defence is that the girl is actually older than 10. She has recieved threatening text messages.

Dr. Sarwari wishes to flee Afghanistan, her life in peril.

But Avicenna’s excellent post covers much more than that, providing context, nuance, everything. Should be considered one of the greatest posts I’ve read.

Why it is so important and why I thought it’s urgent to post it? These are what Avicenna said in a Facebook discussion:

I actually regularly point out that my REAL blog posts are thoroughly ignored. Everyone likes the drama, no one likes the stuff. So for every accusation of “drama blogging” I have like ten different posts of stuff I think is rather cool or rather important that never gets read by all the naysayers who keep telling everyone that I drama blog only.

Yesterday I wrote about an aquaintance getting turfed out of Afghanistan for trying to ssave a 10 year old girl from her rapists who is a Mullah. Afghan Government Officials sent her death threats, Taliban sent her death threats, The Mullah send her death threats and the Child’s Family sent her death threats.

WE don’t know if the child is alive anymore. Just that her family was planning to kill her and the child was given back to them.

Nope. People wanted to discuss Jaclyn… The things that hit and miss and go viral are so weird that I have no ideaa what is and what isn’t good blogging anymore.

Yeah considering I had to read the medical examination of a 10 year old rape victim…. That was fun….

But such is the issue with blogs. You never know what will go viral. Some of the stuff that goes viral has me going “Seriously? I wrote that on a train because I was bored”.

So, read it, share it, let everyone know about it.

As an Ex-Muslim I Cannot Stop Caring About Islam Because It Still Defines My Life

As I have mentioned I recently submitted to Hiba Krisht’s project Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal a guest post entitled 101 Sins I Commit During the World Cup and Ramadan Just in One Day. Now my post in particular and her project in general has received a reply, which I think capsulizes many problems ex-Muslims have with the attitudes they face, and I write this in hoped that people try to see things from our perspective as well. Hiba shared that and I use it with her permission. This is the quote in its full:

Good news!
Dear Ladies,

I am happy to know, that there are ex muslims! and ex female muslims!I hope your campaign is very successful and much much more join you.

Of the 101 sins, while I was reading them, I had to smile.

I have only one comment: Some day in the future, after much labour over having been a muslim, when you think about sins it will be just one single sentence: “I care a shit about sin!”.

I do not have much in common with you. I am male (some generation older, and sorrily with no daughter , former fundamentalist christian.

We also had a dress code to go to church (tie obbligatory, no jeans), and women had to dress modestly and not sexy. I was excommunicated because of atheism, and my former communty doesn’t greet me (even after 20 years of having left them. Guess I am radioactive

As I said, when you become ‘healthy”, you stop to care about garbage.

If you still haven’t, I suggest you to read Sam Harris “The end of faith”.

A big hug

Orazio di Bella

And now I want to enumerate the problems I have with this quote.

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Yes, Khomeini Has Really Endorsed Pedophilia

Content note: pedophilia, very very VERY disgusting pedophilia imagery.

Richard Dawkins tweeted this today:

Which has led people to search google and find this post by Dan Fincke, in which he quotes Maryam Namazie quoting Khomeini endorsing pedophilia.

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My Problem with Chris Hall’s “Dawkins and Hitchens Are Over” Article

I don’t know if it’s this one article that people keep digging up and sharing on my Facebook feed or really it seems there’s a ton of them, but from time to time I stumble upon this Chris Hall article with a title like Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris Are Old News: A Totally Different Atheism Is on the Rise, or Forget Christopher Hitchens: Atheism in America is undergoing a radical change (both are the same article published in two different venues).

And every time I see this article, I cringe and feel there is something distasteful about it. And I want to explain why.

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Check out my guest post at Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal about Ramadan

The great Hiba Krisht, aka Marwa Berro who has recently come out, and will soon grace FTB, and whom I very proud to call a friend, honored me and ran a post of my mine on her fantastic project Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal few days ago. I had no Internet access recently and my VPN was not completely in order and I was posting from my phone. Well, she asked for these submissions:

In this holy month for Muslims, many of us who have chosen to not practice and/or not believe are still enmeshed within communities and situations where we cannot live by our choices. Many of us are compelled to fast, pray, read Qur’an, and more. Many of us are subjected to greater scrutiny regarding our actions, and our “sinfulness” is treated with greater denigration. It can be exhausting, depressing, and very difficult.

Let us celebrate the choice to ‘sin’. Let us celebrate Haramadan! Did you sneak off to grab a bite to eat or some water? Snap a photo an send it in! Have you gone out with your friends while your family thinks you’re at Taraweeh? Snap a photo and send it in? Reading some philosophy or erotica tucked into the pages of your prayer book? Snap a photo and send it in! Send in photos of kisses in corners, cocktails you quaff on the side, stolen moments and opportunities for self-expression and respite. These are just examples. Send in whatever you like. Send in photos and/or your stories. Hold hands. Let the wind into your hair. Be happy.

This is a place where you can air your grievances and celebrate the small moments of pleasure and joy you’re barred from. No matter who you are. Submissions welcome regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, age, size, etc.

Send your submission to [email protected] OR use the submit page:

Haramadan Kareem!

I submitted my own version. So check out my blog post there and I will be back in full capacity soon.

101 Sins I Commit During the World Cup and Ramadan Just in One Day