Caption: "He was the only one who had not been blacklisted and could speak Italian"...
On the International Day To Defend Apostates and Blasphemers, the Council of Ex-Muslims, an AAI Affiliate, is supporting.
- Alex Aan, Indonesia: 30 year old atheist, in prison for saying there is no god on Facebook. Sign petition here.- Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al-Baz (also known as Ben Baz), Kuwait: Blogger and atheist charged with blasphemy. Support him here.- Turki Al Hamad, Saudi Arabia: Novelist in prison for tweets critical of Islam and Islamism. Write letter here.- Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia: Charged with apostasy for website that “harms the public order and violates Islamic values”. Sign petition.- Asia Bibi, Pakistan: 45 year old mother of five, sentenced to death for ‘insulting Mohammad’. Join save Asia Bibi Facebook Page here.- Hamza Kashgari, Saudi Arabia: 23 year old Muslim charged with blasphemy for tweeting about Mohammad and women’s status. Sign petition here and here.- Saeed Malekpour, Iran: Sentenced to death for ‘insulting and desecrating Islam’. Join Free Saeed Malekpour Facebook Page here.- Shahin Najafi, Iran: A death fatwa for apostasy has been issued for a song critical of an imam. Support Shahin here.- Ahmad Rajib, Bangladesh: The well-known 35 year old atheist blogger had his head hacked apart with a machete one day after attending anti-Islamist protests.- Alber Saber, Egypt: The atheist blogger has been sentenced to three years in prison for blasphemy. Support him here.
In each of these cases Islam was apparently 'offended', providing 'justification' for the crimes against these apostates and blasphemers. Those who claim Islam is a religion of peace need to think further about the behaviour of Islamists and how they justify their actions.
Papal elections are God's Olympics. The splendour, the global publicity, the weeping crowds, the human drama, the race to the finish, all dazzle the senses and beg interpretive meaning. There is none. The conclave is showmanship. Those who believe the pope to be God's minister on Earth must regard his choice as no more than an act of God. Those who believe otherwise see him as leader of a large but declining conservative sect, a genial figurehead but with a mostly baleful influence on the societies over which he claims authority. It is in the latter respect that his election matters.
Catholic theology remains obscure. Was this week's happening in the Sistine Chapel a political manoeuvre, in which cunning cardinals judged the needs of a scandal-ridden 21st-century church? Or was it a celestial Ouija board, in which an all-seeing, almighty God amused himself pushing 115 voting slips this way and that for a couple of days? Were the cardinals free agents, or not?
There are times when Rome would have done well to concede the Albigensian heresy, that the world is a place of good and evil in perpetual contention. By declaring God's omnipotence and, later, the church's infallibility, Catholicism has come to tarnish the Almighty with paedophilia, money laundering and support for dodgy dictatorships, from which no amount of prayer seems able to liberate Him, or it.
Meanwhile on the other side of god's religious punch bags:
Iran and Saudi Arabia would always struggle to avoid collision, but ethnic and sectarian tension certainly doesn’t help. Iran is a majority Persian country that belongs to the Shiite branch of Islam. The vast majority of Saudis are Sunni Arabs, with a Shiite Arab minority (about 10%).
Less than 48 hours into the world's first Latin American papacy, David Cameron took issue in public with Pope Francis on Friday, quipping that the "white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear" and dismissing the pontiff's explicit claims backing Argentinian ownership of the South Atlantic islands.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the new pope had frequently laid claim to Argentinian dominion over the Falklands, describing them as part of Argentina's homeland. He had presided over religious ceremonies commemorating his countrymen's servicemen who died in the 1982 war following the junta's invasion of the islands.
"I don't agree with him, respectfully, obviously," Cameron said when asked about Pope Francis's views on the Falklands.
In a referendum last week in the Falklands a total of three voted not to remain under the British, the tiniest minority among more than 1,500 who said the islands should remain a Crown overseas territory.
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