This week the Saudi Arabian 'justice' system yet again showed their contempt for human rights, by upholding the May 2014 sentence of 10 tears in prison and 1,000 lashes for Raif Badawi.
Saudi Arabian online activist Raif Badawi crime was creating an online forum to promote public debate.
Badawi co-founded the Saudi Arabian Liberals website and, in May, was ordered to pay one million Saudi riyals (NZD 300,000) and was given a ten-year travel ban by Jeddah's Criminal Court. His appeal was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Jeddah.
The court ordered Badawi must receive the lashes in public outside al-Jafali mosque. It said there would be 50 lashes per session, with no less than a week between each session.
The 'Liberals' website was created in 2006 and was a platform for Saudi Arabians to discuss liberal ideas and different interpretations of Islam.
The court accused Badawi of "setting up a website that undermines general security" and "ridiculing Islamic religious figures".http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/saudi-arabia-court-upholds-raif-badawis-sentence-ten-years-prison-1000-lashes-1463886
“Secularism is probably the one big issue for our century. This century is not, as many still think, marked by a religious or spiritual revival. What we are actually witnessing is the rise of extreme-Right political movements, working under the cover of religion. Everywhere. No one is spared... Secularists are being attacked in many places in the world today: they are jailed, killed, tortured; their very existence is considered an offence to believers in many non-secular states. ... There is a need for secularists around the world to come together and examine their situations, to exchange information, to strategise and to join hands,” writes Algerian secularist Marieme Helie Lucas (www.secularism.org.uk/blog/2014/09/secularism-today-now).
This is the impetus behind the 11-12 October 2014 International Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London with speakers from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, UK, USA and Yemen.
Join this historic conference which will establish an international front of secularists against the religious-Right.
Secularism. Today. Now.
Register for the conference today:
See the conference agenda:
See the biographies of our distinguished speakers:
See a short Bread and Roses Video on the conference:
The conference is endorsed by Atheist Alliance International; Bread and Roses TV; Children First Now; Center for Inquiry; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation; International Committee against Stoning; International Committee against Execution; International Federation of Iranian Refugees; Iran Solidarity; National Secular Society; One Law for All; Secularism is a Women’s Issue; The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK; and Women Living Under Muslim Laws amongst others.
Richard Dawkins will be attending the conference.
For more information, contact:
Amal Farah, Atoosa Khatiri, Eileen McFadden, Gaby Grammeno, Marieme Helie Lucas and Maryam Namazie
Conference Organising Committee
For a number of months now, a team of journalists (including Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, and Bahram Soroush) have been making some hard-hitting yet very rational videos on topics that matter to us, as humans, Muslims and ex-Muslims. These programmes provide some clarity and insight to key issues of morality, ethics, life and death. Highlights for me include why so many British Jihadis in ISIS? and Secularism is a right - with well known philosopher AC Grayling. The programmes are recorded in English and Persian.
This is a dire situation that Amnesty International (and many others) are publicising at the moment. What right have the Pakistani government to define ultimate truth? Especially 'truths' based on some very questionable literature (i.e. Quran and Hadith)
MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH UNDER BLASPHEMY LAW
Mohammad Asghar, a British man suffering from mental illness, has been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Masud Ahmad, another British man charged with blasphemy, has been granted bail but is still at risk of attack from extremists.
In November 2012 Masud Ahmad, aged 72, a member of the Ahmaddiya religious community, was imprisoned in City District Jail in Lahore for reciting a passage from the Qu’ran, a prohibited act for Ahmadis under the country’s blasphemy laws. The Ahmaddiya community are legally barred from calling themselves or their beliefs Muslim. Masud Ahmad was granted bail pending an appeal of his death sentence, but his life remains in danger as several individuals have been attacked and some even killed by other individuals or groups following blasphemy charges.
Okay, so its not exactly breaking news as such ... but thank goodness Al Jazeera is now broadcasting its English language news and current affairs channel free-to-air in New Zealand. The channel was added to Freeview on 1 Nov 2013 (almost 3 months ago now). It totally puts the TVNZ news programming to shame. Kiwis have been kept in the dark for years about what is going on in the rest of the world - living in their own little self-centred fantasy world.
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been in jail for almost one year now for daring to ask questions. In July 2013 he was sentenced to seven years jail and 600 lashes. Now the Saudis want to drag him back to court to face charges of apostasy (changing one's religious affiliation) which carries the death penalty in Saudi.
This exposes Saudi Arabia and Islam to ridicule yet again - and for good reason. Where are the human rights and rationality?
The current Egyptian situation is complex and messy. There have been atrocities of all kinds, and members of all groups seem to have been both victims or perpetrators at some place or time in the last few weeks. The real losers are the people and democracy. There are no winners in this situation. We call on the Interim Government and the army to rein in the violence on all sides, and to restore democratic process.There have been peaceful protests at the Egyptian embassy in Wellington and a candlelight vigil will be held in the Civic Square Wellington, 23 August, 6-7 PM. You can find more details of this here.
Raef Badawi was potentially facing a death sentence, for his actions. The BBC News website says "Raef Badawi, co-founded the Free Saudi Liberals website, an online forum for public debate.
He was arrested last year and convicted on Monday [29 July] of setting up a website that undermined general security.
Amnesty International considers Mr Badawi a political prisoner and has called for his immediate release.
Mr Badawi was originally charged with apostasy, or abandonment of religion, a crime in Saudi Arabia that carries with it the death penalty.
Lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair told the BBC that Mr Badawi, a father of three, had confirmed in court that he was a Muslim but told the judge 'everyone has a choice to believe or not believe.'
He was convicted of the charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and of ridiculing religious figures.
The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.
Mr Alkhair said the charges were over comments the activist posted calling for a relaxation of Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam."
The NZ Prime Minister John Key, is suggesting that NZ is known to host people who have trained in al-Qaeda camps in Yemen and elsewhere. The Islamist threat is being used to support the proposed amendments to legislation supporting the Government Communications Security Bureau (CGSB). Most NZ residents will be aware that these proposals have been somewhat contentious, with recent demonstrations against them around the country. Certainly current levels of Islamist activity in NZ are low, but there is potential for growth in activity over the next few years, and we do need to be in a position to counteract it.