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Monthly Archive: May 2012

May 31 2012

The veil is yet another restriction on women

I’ve been meaning to comment on a recent article in the Guardian (surprise, surprise) about how wonderfully liberating the hijab is and am glad I was reminded of it today. The author, Nadiya Takolia, says: …in a society where a woman’s value seems focused on her sexual charms, some wear it explicitly as a feminist …

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May 30 2012

Sharia law: neither equal nor free

Here’s a letter being sent out today by my One Law for All co-spokesperson Anne Marie Waters: Dear friend Update on Baroness Cox’s Equality Bill One Law for All has been spending a lot of time recently working with Caroline Cox and her team in promoting the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equalities) Bill. The aim …

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May 29 2012

You want to ban hate speech? Isn’t that what religion is?

I was on a panel discussion this past weekend on free expression. In such discussions, there are always those who are proponents of banning ‘hate’ speech because they say it causes emotional distress and can lead to discrimination. My response is that much of religion is hate speech. Have they read the Koran or Bible …

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May 28 2012

None of your business!

For those who think all ‘Muslims’ think alike and love to live under restrictions and Sharia law, here’s a brilliant video of a Saudi woman refusing to comply with the demand of the morality police that she leave the mall because her hair is showing, she’s got nail polish and lip stick. She stands her …

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May 26 2012

We don’t draw the line

I am off to Brighton today to join a panel discussion on ‘Where do you draw the line’ on free expression. I say no where. Let people talk even if what they say is disgusting. You can’t and mustn’t stop people from reciting the Koran because it’s inhuman just as you can’t and mustn’t stop …

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May 24 2012

Where do you draw the line?

On 26 May 2012 from 4.30 – 6pm at the Brighton Dome, Pavilion Theatre, I will be joining a panel discussion staged by Index on Censorship and Free Word as part of this year’s Brighton Festival called ‘Where do you draw the line?’ Open dialogue is the key to a healthy, cohesive society, but some …

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May 23 2012

Freedom of Expression, Multiculturalism and Political Islam

I got back from Kamloops yesterday. Though I was exhausted, I’m really glad I went – fantastic people, speakers and organisers! Here’s the speech I gave: * Kuwait’s parliament recently voted in favour of a legal amendment that would make blasphemy a crime punishable by death following the arrest of a man accused of insulting …

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May 18 2012

Kamloops here I come

I am off to Kamloops, BC Canada to speak at the Imagine No Religion 2 Conference being held during 18-20 May 2012. For more information on the conference, click here. It’s been sold out. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the greats there (I’ll be seeing PZ again, yay!) but am not looking forward …

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May 17 2012

HOLD THIS DATE: 23 June Luncheon for CEMB’S 5th Birthday

Hello The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) will be 5 years old next month. To celebrate the work, significance and achievements of this unique organisation, we are holding a fundraising luncheon on Saturday 23 June 2012 in London from 13.00-16:00 hours. The luncheon will be a wonderful opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and enjoy …

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May 16 2012

May 26 2012: Day of Action to Defend rapper Shahin Najafi facing a death fatwa

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) supports the International Day of Action in support of Shahin Najafi, an Iranian rapper and songwriter living in Germany who has received a fatwa of death by the two Iranian Ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi and Safi Golpayegani. Shahin has been accused of offending Islam in his rap, Naghi. A …

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May 16 2012

Conspiratorial nut-jobs, Nazis and extremists

Here’s a wonderful letter I received recently from a thoughtful ex-member of the far-Right British National Party. There is a lot we can learn from Alistair Barbour in challenging the far-Right. As I have said before, when the pathetic excuse of an ‘anti-fascist’ and Post-modernist Left allies itself with Islamic fascism, it leaves the space …

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May 12 2012

We need more cartoons

Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokrayeh has been sentenced to 25 lashes for ‘insulting’ a Member of the Islamic Assembly, Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani, by drawing him in a football kit. The cartoon is criticising the interference of politicians in sports. Another Iranian cartoonist, Mana Neyestani, condemned the sentence as “cruel and uncivilised” and called on others to publish more …

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May 11 2012

Finally, they’re getting it

According to the National Secular Society’s Newsline: A British TV channel that broadcast a talk saying it is acceptable to murder someone who has shown disrespect to the prophet Muhammad is facing a heavy fine or potential closure by Ofcom. The regulator ruled that DM Digital is the first UK broadcaster to break the broadcasting code …

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May 10 2012

Yes to profiling of Muslims?

The atheist author Sam Harris says: We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye… But there are people who do not stand a chance of being …

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May 10 2012

Shahin Najafi’s death fatwa: They are at it again

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ayatollah Golpayegani has issued a death fatwa against 31 year old rap artist Shahin Najafi for apostasy. Shahin’s rap entitled Naqi is deemed to be ‘offensive’ to a Shia imam. The Fars press agency (which is a government mouthpiece) has announced the ‘establishment of a campaign to execute Shahin Najafi’ …

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May 07 2012

Often, the silence is deafening

I have just returned from the Center For Inquiry’s Rhine River cruise where Richard Dawkins, Ronald A Lindsay and I were speaking. I gave two talks – one on Sharia law, Islamophobia and Secularism and the other on Free Expression and Islam. Here’s my speech on Sharia law: My talk today is on Sharia law, …

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May 07 2012

The only hatred is towards Alex Aan himself

Here is Rafiq Mahmood’s letter to the editor in response to a 3 May piece in the Guardian on Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan: I read Kate Hodal’s piece on Alexander Aan (Indonesia’s atheists face battle for religious freedom – 3 May) with great interest having recently visited Alex with his legal team. I was more …

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May 07 2012

May 2012: Nudity is such a natural thing

May2012_uncensored

May 2012 is here. The photo for the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar is that of Sonya JF Barnett who also designed the calendar. She joined the ‘Scream’ and Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar because:  I felt that women needed to stand in solidarity with Aliaa. It takes a lot of guts to do what she did, …

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May 01 2012

May 1: On Strike

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