In a surprise Vatican ruling for many Catholics, the Church has declared at Catholic are forbidden from keeping the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, scattering them, or dividing them between family members. This widespread practice has been deemed one of the “new ideas contrary to the church’s faith”.
We previously discussed the ridiculous case of prominent Jordanian writer, Nahed Hattar, 56, who was charged with blasphemy for merely sharing this cartoon. The charge was a disgrace for a nation that long prided itself on being a moderate Arab nation. It is increasingly succumbing to extreme Islamic voices and the charges against this writer were a worrisome development. Now he is dead. A man dressed in traditional Islamic garb shot and killed Hattar as he walked outside of the court in Amman.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious government body, has begun a campaign to force restaurants and cart owners to rename hot dogs to avoid offending Muslims. The reason, Director Sirajuddin Suhaimee explained with a straight face, is that “In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification.” So chains like Auntie Anne’s has been told it cannot receive halal certification without calling hot dogs something else.
Posters in Jerusalem neighborhoods have reminded women of the hold of orthodox groups over life in the city. The posters ask women in an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood to avoid the main street during the intermediate days of the religious holiday of Sukkot. So women are expected to use side streets in the town of Mea Sharim, one of the oldest Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, to avoid men seeing them.
There is an interesting ruling in Los Angeles where United States Judge Andre Birotte Jr. has lifted a temporary restraining order against a California synagogue performing Kapparot, a ritual where chickens are twirled in the air and then slaughtered. We previously discussed the controversies surrounding the Yom Kippur ritual.
It often appears that no natural disaster can occur without some religious group claiming divine retribution. The latest example is Hurricane Matthew, which Andrew Bieszad, a contributor to the Christian website Shoebat.com, claimed as God’s retribution for this country tolerating homosexuality.
Top women chess players are considering a boycott in the face of a decision by the World Chess Federation (or “Fide”) to hold the world championship in Iran where female grandmasters will be required to play in hijabs to avoid arrest by the Islamic morality police. It is another example of an international organization disregarding the interests of competitors in cutting deals with countries like Iran. Not only is Iran an authoritarian theocracy, but the country denies women, journalists, political dissidents and others basic rights. One would think that a condition of being considered as host would be a guarantee that competitors will be afforded their human rights.