Read More Atheist Republic Human Sacrifice Incident In Jamaican Church
Reports have recently emerged of a horrific series of events at the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Church that left three people dead, including a human sacrifice victim. On October 17th, the Jamaican police responded to a report of ritualized killing in a resort town church. Pastor Kevin Smith had asked church members to be present at the church on the evening of October 16th and the service continued until 1:00 am the next day. The following day, the pastor spoke of being “God in the flesh” and asked all members to start throwing away certain items. As the members were following the orders, the gruesome act began. Pastor Smith instructed his companion Kevaughn Palmer to cut the throat of whoever was standing in front of a broken wine bottle. The pastor began to tell members that they needed to die to be cleansed and resurrected, and pulled out the tubes of an intubated church member. Another church member had her throat slit without protest, with the pastor remarking “She is a goat, she has to die, she is a sacrifice.” Several of the church members who participated in the murders were killed in confrontations with the police. Pastor Smith and a police escort died in a car crash that happened while being transported in police custody.
Right-Wing Hindu Groups Bar Muslims From Praying
On November 5th, a gathering of right-wing Hindu groups prevented entry to a public ground in the city of Gurugram, at a site typically frequented by Muslims for offering prayers. Large tents were erected directly over the public grounds often used for Muslim’s Friday prayers, and were used to instead celebrate the festival known as Govardhan Puja. The event was held days after the state government of Haryana reversed the permission for Friday congregational prayers across 8 out of 37 different public grounds. The cancellation of permits for prayer congregations is in part the result of a campaign to get rid of Muslim prayer areas by the group known as the Joint Hindu Struggle Committee. The group even issued an ultimatum to the government, saying they would take action if Muslim prayers were not stopped. The local state president of the Joint Hindu Struggle Committee said his group wouldn’t issue another warning, adding, “It will then be the responsibility of the administration to maintain peace, not ours.”
Texas Judge Favors Religious Businesses over LGBTQ rights
Location: Fort Worth, TX
On October 31st, US District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas, ruled that religiously-affiliated businesses are exempt from LGBTQ discrimination liability. Two Texas-based organizations, Braidwood Management and Bear Creek Bible Church, had previously sued the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Stephen Hotze, a conservative physician, operates Braidwood Management and according to court filings, he forbids employees from engaging in “homosexual behavior or gender non-conforming conduct of any sort.” The Bear Creek Church also mandates that its employees live according to biblical standards of gender and sexuality. Justice O’Connor ruled that the two businesses are exempt from LGBTQ-bias protections under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. O’Connor also ruled that religious nonprofits such as Bear Creek Bible Church can deny employment or fire an LGBTQ employee under the religious exemptions in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It is possible that the decision will be appealed and may end up before the US Supreme Court.
Bangladesh Hints at Removing Islam as State Religion
In the wake of anti-Hindu violence and destruction that swept across Bangladesh in October, the Junior Minister for Information Murad Hassan, said he would speak to Parliament to begin plans to revert to the 1972 constitution,referring to the nation’s original firm secularism before the creation of constitutional amendments that marked Islam as the state religion. He added that Bangladesh would not become a haven for religious fundamentalists. This appears to be an attempt to address the continuing violent animosity between the country’s Muslims and the Hindu minority.Hassan expressed his confidence that the Parliament could pass the amendment with little opposition. The likelihood of this happening is another matter. Secular activists with an eye on Bangladesh remain highly skeptical of these measures being successfully passed amidst the current climate of rising Islamism.
Husband of British-Iranian Hostage on Hunger Strike
November 13thmarked the 21st day of Richard Ratcliffe’s hunger strike aimed at pressuring the British government to fight to free his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from her arbitrary detention by Iranian authorities. In 2016, Nazanin was accused of espionage by the Islamic Republic of Iran and sentenced to five years imprisonment after she visited the country to see relatives. Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of several incarcerated Iranian dual-citizens that are essentially held as hostages and used as political bargaining chips by Iran in its fight against western countries. She completed her sentence onMarch 7th, 2021, yet was suspiciously given additional charges and a second prison sentence, making it impossible for her to return to her husband and daughter in the United Kingdom. Ratcliffe is deeply disillusioned by the actions of his government, calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lack of strategy “managed waiting.” Thus far, there have been no firm commitments from the British government to step up their efforts to ensure the return of Nazanin.
Hardline Jews Protest Against Women’s Group Prayer in the Western Wall
On November 5th, hundreds of ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews converged to protest a group of women that held monthly prayers at the famed Western Wall in Jerusalem. For decades the “Women of the Wall” have been campaigning against sexism, discrimination, and segregation at the holiest Jewish site. The predominantly male protesters blew whistles and tried surging towards the women’s group in an attempt to disperse them. The Executive Director of Israel Religious Action Center and the Women of the Wall chairwoman, Anat Hoffman, said they’re “fighting for equality and religious pluralism and justice.” She added, “We cannot read from the Torah in the women’s section in 2021… Why the hell not?”
Pakistan Lifts Ban on Radical Islamist Party
On Monday, November 8th, Pakistan announced that it had lifted the ban on the blasphemy obsessed radical Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan (TLP) after two weeks of violent protests that left at least six police officers and four demonstrators dead. The move to lift the ban came after negotiations between the civil government and the Islamist group, with the later agreeing to halt the mass mobilization on the nation’s capital that demanded the expulsion of the French diplomatic mission and the release of the group’s leader, Saad Hussain Rizvi. Central to this conflict is the belief that France’s defense of blasphemy as protected free speech is an insult to the Prophet Muhammad. The overturning of the ban on the group that was implemented roughly a year ago allows the TLP to once again run in elections as a legitimate political party.
European Diversity Campaign Featuring Hijab Faces Backlash
Recently, ad campaigns by the Council of Europe (CoE), a human rights organization operating across the European Union, aimed at countering discrimination against European Muslim women who chose to wear the hijab have been pulled after online backlash.The CoE developed the campaign through the efforts of Muslim youth organizations in Europe to promote respect for Muslim women amidst growing anti-muslim bigotry. Some posters show veiled women and feature slogans like “Beauty is in diversity, as freedom is in hijab,” “Celebrate diversity & respect hijab,” and “My Headscarf, My Choice.” The most considerable backlash came from France, where full-face coverings have been banned in public places since 2010, and amidst a tense environment as the nation grapples with what many top officials call “Islamist seperatism.” The CoE has removed the campaign while it “reflect[s] on a better presentation of the project.”
Greece Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughterhttps://www.atheistrepublic.com/news/greece-bans-kosher-halal-slaughter
On October 26th, kosher and halal methods of slaughtering livestock were banned by the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece. Both Muslims and Jews alike are religiously obligated to slaughter animals without anesthesia. The decision was taken after the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation demanded the repeal of an exemption in the law that allowed these religious slaughter practices. Greece’s court ruled that the traditional preparations required by Jews and Muslims before consuming meat do not outweigh animal welfare rights. The Greek court’s decision follows a ruling in December 2020 from the European Court of Justice that pushes European Union member states to include stunning animals before slaughter to minimize suffering. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, condemned Greece’s order and stated that Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe.
Hindu-Nationalists HATE these tweets!
As previously covered by Atheist Republic, on Oct. 29th, the Delhi High Court had asked Twitter to remove some of Atheist Republic’s tweets that blaspheme against the Hindu goddess Kali and “hurt religious sentiments.” At the time of reporting, exactly which tweets the concerned justices ruled must be removed from the platform was unknown. Atheist Republic’s legal representation in India obtained the court order once it became publicly available, and the tweets in question have been revealed! In this video, the Atheist Republic team reviews the tweets listed in the court order and gives their thoughts on the content the judges demanded be removed. Some of the reactions may surprise you!
Read More Atheist Republic Human Sacrifice Incident In Jamaican Church