Saudi Sheikh Saad al-Hajari has reportedly come out strongly against the movement to allow women in the Kingdom to drive. Sheikh Saad al-Hajari said that the ban should remain because women “lack of intellect” compared to men meant they should not be in control of a car. He explained that they have only half the brainpower of males and bizarrely tied that lack of intellect to the fact that their menstruation period does not allow them to pray as much.
White supremacist Dylann Roof says that he has something of a problem on his hands: he has court-appointed counsel who happen to be Jewish and Indian. He has asked the court to replace Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani in his appeal of his death sentence for the massacre of nine people in the Emmanuel AME Church during a Bible study in 2015. Roof appears to believe that the right of counsel includes the right to white counsel. It doesn’t. The court should not be a vehicle for racial or religious discrimination to cater to the wishes of a homicidal fanatic. More importantly, that is the view of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Sometimes being a supporter of free speech can be really really really hard. A leading expert of “comparative jurisprudence” and Sunni cleric at al-Azhar University, Dr. Sabri Abdel Raouf, has been placed under review by his university (and ordered by the state media regulator to stay off the air) after dispensing some rather chilling advice on Sharia law and Islamic values. Abdel Raouf had told viewers that it is is permissible under Islamic law for a husband to have sex with his dead wife in what is called “goodbye intercourse.” The action taken by the university and the government highlights the curious line drawn over the discussion of Islam in Egypt. Moreover, it is a rather bizarre example of the debate that we are having in this country over the right of academics to engage in free (and controversial) speech outside of their schools. In this case, both the university and the government have moved to prevent anyone from airing these views as an insult to Islam.
It comes with much personal reflection that after the United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference for the Pacific Northwest Conference area, encompassing where I live in Washington State, I decided to leave the church after seeing what I believe to be the church leadership moving away from spirituality and Christian teachings to a place where members of the hierarchy in our conference use the Church as a platform to pontificate a particular flavor of politics, aligning itself with an American political party, promoting organizations that provide legal advice to those who evade the law, and worst of all having members that promote an organization that advocates the killing of law enforcement officers. This is a sad outcome, but it represents an evolution of thinking becoming endemic to particular districts. I do not believe that most of the districts approve generally of these changes but unfortunately for me they encompass the area I reside. The best choice for me was to end my relationship.
The Meat & Livestock Australia organization is under fire for its advertising campaign, which includes a humorous dinner scene of deities, prophets, and religious figures enjoying a lamb dinner. The gods including Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard , Jesus, God, Aphrodite, Zeus, Buddha, Ganesh and Moses as well as other Gods and one atheist. at a long dining table to enjoy a spring barbecue of lamb. A formal complaint has been lodged by the High Commission of India for the depiction of the Hindu god Ganesha. The effort to have fun with the notion of the lamb of gods clearly did not resonate with some who declared the commercial as distasteful.
There is a new free speech controversy on a university campus this week. Robbie Travers, a 21-year-old third-year law student at the University of Edinburgh, is under investigation for a “hate crime” after mocking ISIS fighters targeted in a massive air strike by the United States. Esme Allman, a second-year history student, accused Travers of “blatant Islamophobia” and creating an unsafe environment for students through his mocking of the terrorists being helped to paradise.
We previously discussed the crushing abuse and discrimination faced by Muslims in Myanmar. The Rohingya are denied basic rights and face continued violence in the country. While it was hard to imagine the abuse of these Muslims becoming any more extreme in the Buddhist nation, it just did. The government has allowed a new spasm of violence against this community which has been denied the most basic rights and the support. Rohingya children have been reportedly beheaded and civilians burned alive.