India makes 'liking' blasphemous content illegal

According to engadget, India's previously criticized Facebook for not censoring material that was critical of its government, so let's agree that the country has something of a strained relationship with social media. 

Now, however, the south-west state of 
Karnataka has announced that even clicking 'like' on a post could land you in jail for 90 days before you even get to see a magistrate.

In June this year Mumbai Police had issued a similar warning to citizens directing them to not ‘like’ objectionable posts on Facebook. Mumbai Police told that the people would be booked under section 66A of the IT Act and section 295A of Indian Penal Code, which deals with ‘hurting religious sentiments’, in such cases.

Because India has no blasphemy laws, any material that could offend someone's religious beliefs is prosecuted as hate speech, and that includes uploading, forwarding, sharing, liking and retweeting something. We hate to be cynical, but we can't imagine it'll be long before the first dissenting voice gets thrown in jail to protect the feelings of the general population.








Saudi Businesswoman Condemned To Prison & 50 Lashes For Insulting Morality Police

According to Reuters, a Saudi Arabian judge has upheld a barbaric sentence against a business woman for exercising free speech. Her crime, as reported by The Arabic-Language Daily, was “cursing the morality police” and calling them “liars”. Her punishment is one month in prison and 50 lashes. The sentence was officially passed by a district court in Jeddah and has now been upheld by an appeals court in Mecca.

Members of the morality police entered the business woman’s cafe to ensure “…there were no breaches of morality or other laws in the conservative Muslim kingdom, and that some of her employees had then run away because they were breaking immigration rules.” It was at this point the woman cursed members of the morality police and called them liars.

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Syed Tabish could be deported to Pakistan in September

According to Atheism UK, on 12th August the Home Office refused the fresh asylum claim of Syed Mohammad Tabish. 

Atheism UK, Ex-Muslims of Britain and FaithFreedom provided evidence for his new asylum claim. 

However the Home Office rejected his asylum claim asserting that none of the evidence provided amounted to fresh new evidence. 

Syed Tabish faces being deported to Pakistan in mid September. The Taliban and his family have threatened to kill him on his return to Pakistan. 

Minister Approves Proposal to Fight and “Cure” Atheism in Egypt

According to Prime Magazine, minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Goma’a, approved a proposal prepared by a group of Awqaf scholars and experts in psychiatry and sociology to oppose atheism through forming an alliance between the Ministry of Awqaf and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The plan aims to confront the atheistic “phenomenon” by making the youth aware of the danger it poses for religion, morality, and patriotism. Part of the plan also consists of “curing” atheists psychologically, religiously, and socially.

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The Rise Of Europe’s Religious Right

By J. Lester Feder

For too long a time in Europe, pro-life people did not really say clearly and directly what they believe.” After years on the margins of European politics, social conservatives are learning to fight back.

We believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement,” declared Bannon, who took over the American conservative new media empire after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012. Speaking via Skype to a conference on Catholic responses to poverty, he said, “You’re seeing a global reaction to centralized government, whether that government is in Beijing or that government is in Washington, D.C., or that government is in Brussels… On the social conservative side, we’re the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement.”

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Court topples Uganda’s anti-gay law

By Emma Margolin

According to msnbc, Uganda’s Constitutional Court has nullified a draconian anti-gay law that carried, among other penalties, life-long prison sentences for so-called “aggravated homosexuality.”

In a decision Friday from a panel of five judges, the court found Uganda’s recently-enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act “null and void” because it was passed without a quorum of the necessary one-third members of parliament present. Ugandan officials have not yet announced a decision on whether they’ll appeal the ruling to the nation’s Supreme Court.

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Anger over school prayer group ban

By 

According to The Age, Lunchtime prayer and bible study groups run by teachers or volunteers have been banned at state schools in Victoria under a ministerial directive.

The new policy has angered Christian groups who say it could be in breach of human rights and religious freedom.

The ban, which has taken many by surprise, came into effect on July 14, as part of changes to the controversial special religious instruction requirements.

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Egypt campaigns against atheism

According to Al-Monitor, the Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowment), in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Youth in Egypt, has begun a national campaign to fight the presumed spread of atheism among youth.

Thus, those state departments decided to break into the world of atheists without having the slightest information that would allow them to control this phenomenon in any possible way.

Both Sheikh Ahmad Turk, director of mosques at the Ministry of Awqaf and in charge of the campaign against atheism, and Nuamat Sati, who is in charge of the campaign at the Ministry of Youth, told Al-Monitor that the spread of the phenomenon of atheism, specifically among youth, is what pushed the ministries to undertake this campaign today.

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Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

The Huffington Post  | By Shadee Ashtari

Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.

Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories -- religious, fantastical and realistic –- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.

The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.

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Foley beheading video shocks the world, Obama says

According to BBC, US President Barack Obama has said the beheading of US journalist James Foley is "an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world".

Mr Obama said the ideology of Islamic State (IS), the group which made a video of Mr Foley's killing, was "bankrupt" and would ultimately fail.

The group said Mr Foley's killing was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

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China plans its own 'Christian theology'

According to BBC News, China says it may try to create a theology based on Christianity - that integrates the religion with Chinese culture and is compatible with the country's socialist beliefs, it's been reported.

Wang Zuoan, a senior official for religious affairs, says China supports the development of Christianity within the country. But "the construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition,"the state-backed China Daily website reports. His comments came at a conference for Sinicization of Christianity in Shanghai.

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ISIS footsteps in Germany

Around 300 Yazidi took to the streets in the early evening. They were demonstrating against the attacks on members of their faith in Syria and Iraq and a religiously-motivated attack against their community earlier that day, Herford police reported.

According to The Local, the police decided to intervene after a large group of hooded people started attacking passers-by in the town centre, with at least one person injured. The police used pepper spray to control the mob, confiscating tools and one firearm, and took the details of 86 people involved. 

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Film Review: Contradiction

WRITTEN BY MARK KOLSEN, GUEST WRITER FOR AAI NEWS TEAM

In Contradiction, Jeremiah Camara’s intelligent film about religion’s seduction of African-Americans, Lawrence Krauss says “the rise of non-belief is the rise of science.”

Krauss refers of course to natural sciences like cosmology and evolutionary biology, disciplines now giving us empirically based theories for the origin of the universe and man; and to social sciences like sociology and psychology, which are now explaining how the brain generates religious beliefs and behaviors. These new scientific discoveries, Camara recognizes, “are clashing with biblical doctrine,” and exposing the contradiction between truth and African-Americans’ irrationality. In the film – to take just one example – we hear the muddled African-American view that god must have created us, that we could not have evolved from “monkeys” because on earth “we still have monkeys.” This illogic is followed by Richard Dawkins’ concise, scientific explanation of the human family tree. 

Contradiction seamlessly mixes this science with history. Camara traces religion’s stranglehold over African-Americans’ reason (today 76% of all African-Americans say they pray daily) to the institution of slavery, when African-Americans either went to church or faced their masters’ wrath. Slaves adopting Christian beliefs and attending Christian churches received special treatment, even if the ‘beliefs’ were dictated by their masters. And Camara nicely documents the similarities and differences between the roles religious belief and churches have served in African-Americans’ lives.

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An Atheist Elementary School in western Uganda

By Hank Pellissier

Brighter brains institute interviewed the founder of the first atheist school in Uganda, in western Uganda, near Ruwenzori National Park - just 22 miles from the Congo border - there’s a recently established ”atheist” school, called Kasese Humanist Primary School.

Brighter Brains Institute: Are you the founder? When did you get the idea to start the school? How did you get the initial funding?

Bwambale M Robert:Yes, I am the founder of Kasese Humanist Primary School. I first founded Kasese United Humanist Association in the year 2009 with a vision to spread free thought in my area.

Atheist Alliance International was the first organization to send a team of 4 volunteers - they came to a pilot school we opened in Kilembe under the name Kilembe Valley Humanist School. This school was relocated to Kasese a year later (in 2011) to serve a wider semi-urban population. We renamed the school to be Kasese Humanist Primary School.

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A country where liberal journalists risk death

According to BBC, the life of a liberal journalist in Pakistan is not an easy one. Write about someone fighting a blasphemy case, or someone whose faith is considered heresy, and you may very soon find yourself in deep trouble.

Shoaib Adil, a 49-year-old magazine editor and publisher in Lahore, has many well-wishers and they all want him to disappear from public life or, even better, leave the country.

Since blasphemy charges were filed against him last month, the police have told him that he can't return home, he can't even be seen in the city where he grew up and worked all his life. It wouldn't be safe.

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An Iraqi Group Helping Women and Gays Is Receiving Death Threats

By Jacob Siegel

According to The Daily Beast, Religious groups are threatening to kill the members one of the few Iraqi organizations dedicated to helping women and gays.

Dalal Jumaa, member of  the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq said “This morning they called and said if you do not move from this house we will kill you.”

It was the police who phoned the organization Sunday morning, she said. They told her they had heard she harbored gay men and runaway girls. But the threat, which the police were relaying, came from Asaib Ahl al Haq, a powerful and notoriously brutal Shia militia in Baghdad. “I cannot stop Asaib Ahl al Haq,” the policeman told her, “they received this information and will kill you if you don’t leave.”

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Creationist Ken Ham calls to end space program because aliens are going to hell anyway


Creationist Ken Ham has said that the U.S. space program is a waste of money because any alien life that scientists found would be damned to hell.

“I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life,” Ham wrote in the Christian website called Answers in Genesis.

According to The Raw Story, Ham argued that “secularists are desperate to find life in outer space” as a part of their “rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution.”

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