Category: Religion

Kurds: Islamic State Defeat To Be Announced “In A Few Days” But Is ISIS Truly Vanquished?


By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

If there was ever a “nation” in the ordinary meaning comprising the Islamic State it is unquestionably moribund. The area reportedly controlled by the terrorist organization remains for the time down to one square kilometer, according to some reports less than six hundred meters square in Baghuz.

What actually has so far saved the jihadists from annihilation was that they interspersed themselves among civilian human-shields while Kurdish forces and allies exercise pause to protect the innocent. Thus remains the glory of the Caliphate, hiding among women and children to save itself.

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“That Hero Lies In You”: Saudi Feminist Leader Reportedly Tortured In Saudi Arabia While Saudis Enjoy Mariah Carey Concert

Saudi Arabia is full of contradictions as a nation imposing medieval Islamic laws while striving to portray itself as a modern country. We have routinely discussed the incredible bravery of women in the Kingdom who have risked everything to demand the most minimal rights of human beings from freedom of speech to freedom of travel to associational rights. One of these heroes is Saudi activist Loujain Alhathloulwho remains incarcerated and is being reportedly tortured for her advocacy of equal rights. For all of the women being abused in the Kingdom, many objected to Maria Carey holding a concert when this repression continues. Carey, who loves to sing about that “hero inside you,” took the money and will be holding the concert today. It appears that Carey’s commitment to women does not extend as far as turning down one concert from her already burgeoning fortune.

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Saudi Sisters Commit Suicide After Reportedly Seeking Asylum

First photos of Saudi sisters found duct-taped together released

We previously discussed the plight of a young teenage girl who fought for asylum rather than return to the medieval laws of Saudi Arabia where women must live without equal rights or opportunities. The case for asylum of woman from our “close ally” is strong given the violence meted out to women who seek to express their own views or pick their own future, let alone their own religion. The stark choice for women was tragically evident this week when a medical examiner confirmed that two young sisters chose to die together rather than return to Saudi Arabia. Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, reportedly wanted asylum but when their credit card ran out of money, they bound themselves together and threw themselves into the Hudson River, according to chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson as said in an official statement.

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Saudi Teenager Involved In Bangkok Standoff Granted Asylum In Canada

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

On Friday our host featured an article depicting the plight of Saudi Arabian National Rahaf al-Qunun who fled to Thailand to escape what she described as religious persecution for apostasy. Ms. al-Qunun renounced Islam and refused to submit to the state’s discriminatory practices toward women.

Her asylum pleading for many seemed a prima facie case, given apostasy is punishable up to and including the death penalty and Canada swiftly approved her petition upon her arrival.

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Five Texans Sue After Being Barred From State Jobs For Refusing To Sign A Required Statements On Israel

I have previously written about the increasing state and federal efforts to impose bans on contractors and employees who refuse to sign agreements not to boycott Israeli products. The agreements raise serious free speech concerns under the First Amendment and contravene a host of constitutional rights from speech to religion to association. Now a speech pathologist in Texas is suing after she was barred from employment with the school district after nine years of work with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas. The lawsuit on her behalf was filed in the Western District of Texas is the latest federal challenge to these laws.

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“Satan Is Sitting Inside Them”: Russian Orthodox Priest Under Review After Violent Baptism

Ilia Semiletov will face a church court and could be struck off after he was seen three times forcing the naked child's head in the font in Yessentuki, south west Russia

I am sorry but it really seems like Father Ilia Semiletov has some issues and it is really not a little Satanic girl. The Russian orthodox priest is under review after the shocking videotape below where he is shown violently pushing a little girl into a baptismal font to remove the Satan within her.

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Egyptian Actress Faces Incarceration Over Wearing Revealing Dress To Film Festival

Egypt is again showing the world that it is regressing into medieval religious orthodoxy under the enforcement of Islamic values through criminal laws. The latest victim of religious orthodoxy is actress Rania Youssef who may go to jail for wearing a revealing dress.  That’s right, she is facing criminal charges for wearing a dress at the Cairo Film Festival.  Just for the record, I hate the dress.  But that is a stylistic matter. The case is an attack on free speech and what is most disturbing is that it is the work of two lawyers who seem to relish being vehicles of repression and intolerance. Continue reading “Egyptian Actress Faces Incarceration Over Wearing Revealing Dress To Film Festival”

Report: Witches Now Outnumber Presbyterians In The United States

While President Donald Trump repeatedly denounces the “witch hunt” in Washington, it may becoming more and more easy to find them.  According to a report from the Christian Post,  the number of witches and wiccans has increased dramatically since the 1990s.  Indeed, the figures is taken from studies from a Trinity College and the Pew Research Cente that found that there are at least 1.5 million witches in the United States,.  That would put them 100,000 over the 1.4 million mainline Presbyterians in the country. Continue reading “Report: Witches Now Outnumber Presbyterians In The United States”

Mosques Demand Twitter Bar Any Tweets By Geert Wilders

Freedom_of_SpeechSome 144 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands are demanding that Twitter bar any tweets from conservative politician Geert Wilders due to what they alleged are hateful and disparaging comments.  As many on this blog know, I hold to a robust view of free speech protections.  I tend to oppose censorship through both governmental and private means.  This is no exception. It has nothing to do with Wilders’ views.  I remain committed to the view that the best way of dealing with bad speech is good speech — not the censorship or criminalization of case. Continue reading “Mosques Demand Twitter Bar Any Tweets By Geert Wilders”

Ireland Votes To Remove Blasphemy As An Offense From It’s Constitution

Ireland has voted to remove blasphemy as a punishable offense from the country’s constitution — a move that could allow the repealing for Ireland’s long-controversial crime for speech deemed offensive to religious sensibilities.  Ireland has held the ignoble distinction as one of the few non-Muslim countries still criminalizing blasphemy.  I have previously criticized the law (here and here and here).  Some 65% of the voters supported the removal of the blasphemy reference in the Constitution. Continue reading “Ireland Votes To Remove Blasphemy As An Offense From It’s Constitution”

European Court Upholds Prosecution Of Woman For Comparing Muhammad’s Marriage To A Six-Year-Old Girl To Pedophilia

A new decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirms the all-out assault on free speech that has taken hold of Europe.  In a chilling decision, the ECHR upheld a fine levied against an Austrian woman who called Muhammad a pedophile for his arranged marriage with a young girl while in his 50s.   The court ruled that such views are not protected by free speech because they violate “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected.” The decision confirms the near complete subjugation of free speech to religious and other views in society.   Continue reading “European Court Upholds Prosecution Of Woman For Comparing Muhammad’s Marriage To A Six-Year-Old Girl To Pedophilia”

Ireland To Hold Referendum On Removing Anti-Blasphemy Offenses From Constitution

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

This October twenty-sixth, voters in Ireland will decide at the polls if the country’s prohibition on blasphemy should be removed from the nation’s constitution. It comes for me as a welcome sign of some progress against what otherwise was a trend in Western Europe toward establishing an international blasphemy standard that many regard as censorship and a vehicle for possible criminal prosecution of speech and expression.

While the Irish government has insisted that no persons have been successfully prosecuted for blasphemy since the 1850s, the existence of any such statute serves as leverage by the state to control what its citizens may say or what behavior it considers objectionable. The time for repeal I believe has arrived.

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Maldives Destroys Famed Art Piece As UnIslamic

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(Maldives Police)

The intolerance of art and free expression in many Islamic countries was particularly and painfully evident in the Maldives last week.  A beautiful and powerful underwater sculpture by British artist Jason DeCaires Taylor was ordered destroyed by the government after objections by Islamic leaders for its depiction of human forms.  Ironically, the art highlighted the dire risk of rising sea levels for the Maldives. Instead, its demise will forever symbolize the risk of rising intolerance of religious orthodoxy.  For some tourists who flock to the Maldives, this outrageous attack on art just might be a deterrent to future vacation plans.

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Le Pen Ordered Into Psychiatric Evaluation For Tweets In France

libertyFar right political leader, Marine Le Pen, has been ordered into psychiatric evaluations after she posted graphic images of bodies of people executed by the Islamic State.  She was accused under the French laws criminalization different forms of speech — laws that I have long criticized as part of a European rollback on core free speech rights.  Posting the pictures was charged as circulating “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and that can be viewed by a minor.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks