There is growing evidence that young children – some as young at 5 years old – are being “married” to older men in Sharia courts across Britain. This is increasingly being sanctioned by the Islamists who run Britain’s network of Sharia courts, and there is evidence that this practice is growing.
A recent undercover investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls, provided this was carried out in secret. The imams had been approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married, to prevent her from being tempted in to a "western lifestyle".
Earlier this year, it was also reported that at least 30 girls, some as young as 9, were “married” in sharia courts in one London borough alone. Clearly, child “marriages” are an abomination; they are nothing short of religiously-sanctioned child rape and paedophilia.
One important way to tackle this matter is to galvanise support for the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill introduced to the House of Lords last year by crossbench peer, Baroness Caroline Cox. The Bill is due for a second reading in October.
The Government has so far declined to support Cox’s Bill. They do not believe there is a parallel legal system in operation. They also insist that everyone has full right of access to the British courts. This is simply not the case. There are many with little or no English language skills, trapped by community pressure, who believe Sharia courts operate as real courts and who regard their decisions as legally binding. The idea that they can easily instruct a high street solicitor to help them access their full rights under UK law is far from reality.
The Government must be pressured into taking immediate action, including by supporting Cox’s Bill, and shutting down Sharia and religious courts. If child welfare takes precedence then the Government is duty-bound to take action.
Sign our new petition in support of Baroness Cox’s Bill; tell the Government that enough is enough! Please sign it now.
Read the full statement by One Law For All here.
This isn't really a story about a trailer for a movie. It's a story about the use of religion as a violently divisive political tool.
The hate has a direction, and it has a political purpose, grander than a Youtube video.
Late at night on September 11, an apparent riot over a Youtube clip of a movie mocking the Islamic prophet Muhammad turned into a full-scale assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. By the time the night ended, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chrisopher Stevens, lay dead.
It's easy to draft the narrative, 'Dumb Muslims freak out over dumb movie.' But there's a more complex narrative in these protests and all of them. Really, we're seeing a dangerous and all-too-frequent tactic by government and paramilitary groups: using people's most prized cultural beliefs about life and death and good and evil as a control and manipulation tactic. In these cases, hate has been fomented by agitators with distinct political purposes. The tool they used is an old one: religious belief.
Ansar al-Sharia is a militia with ties to former Libyan ruler Muammar Ghadafi. Its goal is to establish a government based in the political application of religious law.
It may have been wishful thinking on the part of the Muslims with whom Chris Stephen of the Guardian spoke, but the people who were there don't remember anything like a typical protest.  What they remember is a deliberate attack. Individuals carrying military-grade weaponry slipped through a mob creating chaos in order to assassinate an ambassador whose career ran parallel to the Libyan revolution to overthrow Ghadafi in 2011.
More information has come to light regarding the arrest of Alber Saber in Egypt, as reported by The Examiner on 16 September 2012, including reports of Saber being abused while in captivity by other prisoners who were incited against him, and also of his mother being further harassed by the mob, which threatened to burn her alive in her own home unless she leaves the neighbourhood. 
There is now a petition to free Alber Saber, which quotes a television interview with Saber’s mother, where she indicated that her son had been tortured for three days in custody, and that no lawyers are prepared to assist them, due to receiving death threats themselves.
Atheist Alliance International encourages all readers to show their support for Albert Saber, and for the freedom of expression, through signing the petition.
 American Humanist Association statement.
In Pakistan, two young women have recently become the target of violence and accusations of blasphemy, as retribution for speaking out about modernisation and education, or for simply belonging to a minority group, highlighting ongoing divisions in the country.
Malala Yousazai , a 15 year old girl, was attacked earlier this month for being an activist for the rights of children and education for girls.  Malala was shot in the head by a member of the Pakistani Taliban, for what a spokesman for the Taliban claimed as ‘obscenity’ and bringing secular and Western ideas to Pakistan. She has since been moved to a military hospital then to the UK, and while there are hopeful signs she remains in a critical condition. This incident has resulted in public outcry within and outside Pakistan, suggesting that violent and unjust acts may not be as acceptable as the perpetrators appear to believe. Avaaz has started a petition to support Malala and the right of Pakistani girls to receive an education.
The attack on Malala follows the 16 August arrest in Mahrabad, Pakistan, of a 14-year-old girl on a charge of blasphemy. Rimsha Masih spent two weeks in remand in an adult prison after her accuser said she had been carrying a bag of refuse which included burnt pages of the Koran. As blasphemy laws in Pakistan decree a life in prison for anyone who defiles the Koran, and require no evidence other than the word of the accuser, there is little hope for most who are accused. 
Brendan Maher launched first ever information stall about secularism, humanism and atheism in Ireland on 6 October 2012 in Dublin's city centre. Brendan says:
"The purpose of this initiative is to furnish information on secularism, humanism and atheism to the person in the street.
This idea began about two and a half years ago when I noticed that there were about two or three street preachers in the vicinity of the GPO. Since then the number has grown to about nine. There are a range of different Christian groups and a few Islamic and Hari Krishna people. I felt that there had to be an alternative view given, a rational, ethical, scientific and realistic view of things.
Although we live in the era of the computer there are still many people who live their lives without reference to the computer. A stall like this and the personal approach can be quite effective. I do not see it as proselytising but as an information exercise to help raise awareness with regards to secularism, humanism and atheism.
Because of the success of this first event I plan to have the stall at the GPO on the first Saturday of each month from 12 to 2 pm. Perhaps this could be done in other cities in the country.
The influential thinker known as the "father of secular humanism", Paul Kurtz, died on 20 October 2012 at age 86. His numerous book, articles and talks substantially contributed to the development of secular, humanist values as an alternative worldview to religion, and encouraged people to think critically about religion and its impact on society. This valuable work will be continued by many organisations that Paul Kurtz helped develop, including the American Humanist Association and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Atheist Alliance International offers its condolences to Paul Kurtz' family, friends and colleagues.
Following consultation with members, AAI is pleased to announce that it has finalised its position statement on government support for religion. This statement is intended to provide a concise reference and coherent argument that members and other atheists may use in situations in their own countries, and refute the common accusation that 'atheists stand for nothing'. Thank you everyone who contributed their views!
“No religious affiliation” raises to over 1/5th of people in the USA; Free birth control cuts abortion rates by 62%; Why liberals and atheists are more intelligent; Proof of heaven; Catholic church to have tax exemptions removed in Italy; Listener mail, and; our interview with Jacques Rousseau, South African skeptic and atheist. Enjoy it all here!