Working through a list of atheist bloggers

In the Independent, Rory Fenton says something terrifying about the situation in Bangladesh.

Far from just being two random murders, these attacks are the methodical work of vigilante extremists working through a list of atheist bloggers. The list was drawn up last year when 100,000 protesters called on the government to introduce the death penalty for blasphemy. The government refused to introduce death penalty, but it did begin a crack down on the country’s free-thinking blog community. It shut down some of its most popular sites, and imprisoned bloggers accused of “offending religious feelings”. Once known as the only place where non-religious Bangladeshis could gather safely, the internet suddenly became unsafe for atheists wanting to air their views.

[Read more…]

The defendant insulted the beloved and revered Thai monarchy

And let us not forget Thailand.

A Thai military court sentenced a businessman to 25 years in prison on Tuesday on charges of defaming the country’s monarchy in what appears to be the longest sentence handed down in recent years for the crime of lese majeste, a civil liberties lawyer said.

Yingcheep Atchanont of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Center said the court in Bangkok found Thiensutham Suthijitseranee guilty on five counts of lese majeste for postings he made on Facebook, and handed him a 10-year sentence for each count. It cut the total 50-year term in half because Thiensutham pleaded guilty to the charges. [Read more…]

Trevor Noah pushes boundaries

But hey, don’t worry about it, that was a year ago, which is like, a lifetime, pretty much, and he was only young then, and people change, and besides it’s comedy, and what’s more comedy than laughing at Jews and “fat chicks”? NPR presents the minimizations:

Updated at 4 p.m.

Comedy Central has now responded to the criticism directed at comedian Trevor Noah. In a statement cited by Politico, it said:

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.” [Read more…]

What, was Tosh already booked?

Silly me, I was assuming this Trevor Noah they said was going to replace Jon Stewart was one of the regulars on his show and I just happened not to have seen him. But no – apparently they just wrote a bunch of comedians’ names down on file cards and threw them all up in the air and then stabbed one with a spike and that was the new Jon Stewart. Because guess what, it turns out he’s

  • an asshole
  • not funny

Now if they had sat down and carefully thought about who would be good for the host of the Daily Show, they could have found someone who was neither an asshole nor unfunny. There are people like that. Instead they zeroed in on someone who is both. How inept of them. [Read more…]

Guest post: But what war are they fighting?

Originally a comment by Kausik Datta on “Because he humiliated my Prophet.”

The situation becomes even more chilling when you consider the situation as reported in Bangla news channels.
1. These three assailants did not know Washiqur, did not know of Washiqur, and didn’t even know how he looked like, where he lived and what he had done to warrant the wrath of the fundies.

2. These three assailants didn’t even know each other. They are students of Islam, in their middle to late 20s. Of the two who have been captured, one (Zikrullah) is a student of a Madrassah in Chittagong, the main seaport in southern Bangladesh, and the other (Ariful) is a student of another Madrassah (under same management) in a district in more centrally located Dhaka. The distance between the two is about 180 miles, but because of the terrain, by road the journey from one to the other takes about 6 hours. They must have been motivated enough to make that journey. [Read more…]

They think they have done a very good job for their religion

The New York Times points out, accurately, that the murders of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh sends a chilling message to atheist bloggers in Bangladesh.

When the steamy, clamorous evening had settled over this city, and Oyasiqur Rhaman had finished his day’s work at a travel agency, he would turn to one of his favorite pastimes: Poking fun at fundamentalist Islam.

Mr. Rhaman, 27, blogged under the name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, or The Ugly Duckling, and he specialized in sharp-edged satire. In one post, he adopted the persona of a self-important believer fielding questions from an atheist. (An example: “See, the captive women, impressed at the heroism of the Muslim fighters, used to engage in sex with them willingly. Don’t you see that it gave pleasures to them as well?”) He posted photos of sausages wrapped in pastries, labeled “pigs in a burqa.”

[Read more…]


The disgust at the prosecution and sentencing of Purvi Patel has spread to the UK. The Independent has a story:

Her lawyers say Patel, who is from a conservative Hindu family, had concealed her pregnancy from her parents and panicked when she realised she was in labour. Patel lived with and cared for her parents and infirm grandparents in a house in South Bend, Indiana.

Patel maintained that the foetus was stillborn but the prosecution argued that she gave birth to a live foetus that died within a few seconds. [Read more…]