They always lie; Sakineh is not safe

I had mentioned earlier that the head of the judiciary in East Azerbaijan had said that the prison did not have the “necessary facilities” to carry out Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s sentence of stoning and that therefore they were considering hanging as an alternative.

Two days after the news of Sakineh’s imminent execution spread, he has now said he was misrepresented!

This is the usual cat and mouse game the regime often plays in order to exhaust those concerned and also cause confusion by giving conflicting statements.

But there can be no confusion. As long as Sakineh is in their prison, she is at risk of execution. According to reports received by the International Committee against Stoning, she has herself been informed of her imminent execution.

This is the Islamic Republic of Iran we are talking about. There are many people who have been executed even though their cases were under review. Remember Delara Darabi? [Read more...]

We are not an atheist community

Rebecca Watson has recently blogged about the outrageous abuse and misogyny directed at a 15 year old atheist on Reddit saying it makes her hate atheists.

But this shouldn’t surprise any of us. After all just because someone’s an atheist doesn’t necessarily mean they are pro-equality, anti-war, socialist, secularist, and so on.

I mean how many times have we been betrayed by the Left, feminists, progressives, humanists or atheists siding with Islamists, sharia law, the veil – you name it – for a variety of reasons (some of which even seem rational and moral on the surface).

Just because someone’s a woman doesn’t mean she will side with welfare mothers and oppose stoning. And just because someone’s an ex-Muslim doesn’t mean they are automatically secularists or rationalists. In the same way that being male or having religious beliefs doesn’t automatically mean that one is anti-woman.

I’ve spent a large part of my life opposing this sort of ‘community’ based on race or nationality or gender or belief, which is largely thanks to multi-culturalism and moral or cultural relativism. What it has done is box people into ‘communities’ often out of no choice of their own and at the individual’s expense. It holds the dominant culture as the community’s culture and norm. And it exerts unbelievable pressure on those like Rebecca Watson who dissent and refuse to conform. [Read more...]

We will not let them kill Sakineh!

The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced plans to execute rather than stone Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. We can’t let this happen.

Please take the time to send an email, letter or fax to the authorities demanding that her execution be stopped immediately and that she be released. Here’s a list of things you can do to help her. Do it now!

(Via Patty Debonitas and Iran Solidarity)

Be afraid; be very afraid!

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK is a Christian country ‘and we should not be afraid to say so’ in a speech in Oxford on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. And he staunchly defended the role of religion in politics and said the Bible in particular was crucial to British values.

Whilst the rise of politicised religion allows a prime minister in one of the most secular societies (socially speaking) to spout such nonesense, we know better. Religion and politics has always meant nothing more than witch burnings and inquisitions.

That which is celebrated and considered British values today is the result of an enlightenment and a battle against Christianity. It’s a gain secured despite Christianity not because of it.

And Cameron is in good company. Look at the type who get ‘excited’ over his promotion of the role of religion and politics: [Read more...]

Iran does not have necessary facilities to stone Sakineh to death so want to hang her instead

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of the judiciary in East Azerbaijan, said on Sunday that the prison does not have the “necessary facilities” to carry out Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s sentence of stoning!! Therefore, he said, they are considering hanging as an alternative. Really? Have they run out of stones and hired Islamic sadists?

More likely, it is as Mina Ahadi of the International Committee against Stoning says. “Sharifi’s remarks prove[s] that international pressure ha[s] succeeded”. We may never see another stoning take place as a result of this pressure but this international outrage must also save Sakineh’s life. It’s been done before. It can be done again.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is considering Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s execution

International Committee against Stoning
Press Release 26 December 2011

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of East Azerbaijan province’s justice department, has announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran is considering changing Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s stoning sentence to execution by hanging and said that they are waiting for the go-ahead from the Ministry of Justice to execute Sakineh.

Clearly, the regime has been unable to stone Sakineh to death because of the global outrage. The regime arrested her lawyer and son and forced her and her son to ‘confess’ on Press TV and incriminate themselves. They have been barred from contacting international institutions. [Read more...]

We intend to step up pace against Sharia law in 2012

Dear Friend,

We want to thank you for your support throughout 2011 and to give you a reminder of the important steps we took throughout the year, none of which would have been possible without you.

One of the most significant events this year was the introduction of the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill which was introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Caroline Cox. Baroness Cox has said that she was inspired by the work of One Law for All. I, along with Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society, have been working closely with Baroness Cox in recent months to assist in her efforts, within Parliament, to shore up support for the Bill. Last week, I addressed a meeting of Peers at the House of Lords and further talks and information sessions will be held in the New Year. The Bill aims to end discriminatory practices, particularly against women, in arbitration and mediation carried out in the UK. This would mean that the sharia practice of giving the testimony of women only half the weight of that of men would be unlawful. The Bill will also create a criminal offence which will prevent people from pretending to have lawful jurisdiction that they do not have. This would carry a five year prison sentence and is aimed at protecting vulnerable women. We will continue to push this incredibly important Bill in 2012, which promotes equal rights for all. [Read more...]

Can you please respect the man and move to the back?

Tanya Rosenblit, a woman passenger on a public bus to Jerusalem was told to move to the back of the bus by an Orthodox male passenger. When she refused, the man held the door open and would not allow it to move. The driver called the police who took the man aside for ‘a pleasant conversation,’ after which the policeman asked her if she would move to the back of the bus! After Rosenblit refused, the man who had held the door got off and Rosenblit continued on her way…

Isn’t it infuriating that we are always required to ‘respect’ the wishes of the misogynist and intolerant? What about our wishes? And when did the term respect come to mean the disrespecting of women?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, respect is for people not for religions and beliefs.

Anyway doesn’t this all sound familiar?

(Via Iain Simpson on Facebook)

Thousands of women protest Egyptian military’s brutality

Today, thousands of women protested the Egyptian military’s brutality. Egyptian security forces have killed 14 people and injured more than 900 since Friday. One particular incident, which has enraged the world, is a video clip of Egyptian soldiers dragging a woman protester on the ground by her shirt, exposing her underwear, then clubbing and stomping on her body.

There are many other incidents of women protesters being beaten or dragged by their hair and molested whilst in custody. [Read more...]

Religion isn’t a personal matter

I just found an in-depth interview I did with Virginia Haussegger on Australia ABC News 24′s One Plus One programme which aired in September 2011 on Youtube. In the interview, I talk about everything from apostasy, sharia law to death threats and moral relativism and how religion isn’t a personal matter…

MEPs condemn the assassination of Islam critic, Rafiq Tagi

In early December, Mina Ahadi, Nick Cohen, Richard Dawkins, Taslima Nasrin, Salman Rushdie, Joan Smith and I wrote a letter to the European parliament calling on them to condemn and investigate the assassination of Islam critic Rafiq Tagi. Mina Ahadi delivered our letter during her meeting with the office of the European Parliament President.

Mina has just informed me that Members of the European Parliament have this week condemned Rafiq Tagi’s assassination and expressed concern over the safety of his colleague, Samir Sadagatoglu, the editor of Sanat newspaper. They have also called on the Azerbaijani government to ensure a thorough investigation into his murder and for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

If you recall, in 2006 Ayatollah Lankarani issued a death fatwa against him. Ayatollah Lankarani’s son (whose father has since died) saluted Tagi’s murder; the Islamic regime of Iran’s paper gleefully wrote ‘Azerbaijan’s Salman Rushdie is dead.’ [Read more...]

Beating your wife honours her

Here’s a video clip of an Islamic ‘scholar’ speaking about the wife-beating ‘etiquette’ in Islam; he says ‘Allah honours wives by instating the punishment of beatings’. Yes, it is such a sign of respect and honour not to have a man shake your hand, to be segregated, to be veiled and to be beaten, amongst other things.

Not surprisingly, the scholar’s ‘interpretation’ is not very different from the [not so] ‘moderate Ahmadiyaa speakers I debated last week. They too said beat her only after admonishing her, don’t leave marks, and so on and so forth. Listen to the ‘scholar’ here: [Read more...]

Christopher Hitchens has died

Christpher Hitchens, a leading voice of secularism, atheism and rationality died yesterday.

He’ll be sorely missed.

Below is a letter sent to him from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain some while back and his response:

Dear Christopher Hitchens,

We at the Council of Ex-Muslims wish to convey to you the sincere thanks and good wishes of our members and friends for the enormous strength and support we have gained from your talks and from your writing. [Read more...]