Read More Atheist Republic Woman Stabs Date to “Avenge” Iranian General Killed by US Drone Strike
On March 5th, Nika Nikoubin, was accused of stabbing her date in a Nevada hotel room. According to court documents submitted by the police, the 21-year old wanted revenge for the killing of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani who died by an American drone strike in 2020. Soleimani was the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “Quds force” and was responsible for Iran’s foreign military operations. According to Henderson police, the two met online and decided to meet at a hotel. The two eventually started having sex when Nikoubin blindfolded the victim and turned the lights off. A few minutes later, the victim “felt a pain on the side of his neck.” The victim was able to push Nikoubin away and then ran outside to call 911. Nikoubin also ran out of the room and confessed to a hotel employee that she stabbed her date. Nikoubin told investigators that she did it “for revenge against U.S. troops for killing Qasem Soleimani in 2020.” Nikoubin will be charged with attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon, and burglary. The condition of the victim is unavailable at this moment.
Hijab Row: Indian Court Rules that Hijab Can Be Banned in Classrooms
On March 15th, a high court in southwest India ruled in support of allowing the banning of the hijab in government-run colleges and high schools. According to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, Ritu Raj Awasthi, “wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice.” Al Jazeera reported that he stated that the government has the “power to prescribe uniform guidelines.” The hijab ban, ordered by the Karnataka government last month, sparked protests throughout the state in which Muslim students & parents expressed their outrage at what they say as an infringement of their fundamental rights, while many others counter-protested in support of the ban. Students who petitioned the initial order argued that their right to wear hijab is guaranteed under the Indian constitution. They also claimed that wearing a hijab is a fundamental and obligatory practice for Muslim women. Anas Tanwir, the lawyer who represented the students, called the ruling “disappointing and erroneous.” The Students Islamic Organisation of India, an organization representing thousands of Muslim students, are concerned that this ruling could signal other states to follow suit. The ruling has been appealed and the matter will be heard before the Supreme Court of India.
Secular Activist Raif Badawi Banned from Leaving Saudi Arabia for 10 years
Location: Saudi Arabia
On March 12th, the Saudi Arabia court confirmed a 10-year travel ban for the human rights activist and blogger Raif Badawi. Badawi was arrested in 2012 and jailed for ten years for charges of “insulting Islam.” He was also known for his bravery in openly criticizing religious institutions in Saudi Arabia, accusing them of confining the people in a “circle of faith and fear.” He was released from prison after 10 years on March 11th. A Saudi ministry official explained that the travel ban is an extension of Badawi’s sentence and will not be lifted “unless a (royal) pardon is issued.” Amnesty International declared that they will “actively work to have any conditions lifted.” Raif’s wife and children are currently residing in Canada eagerly waiting to be reunited. The province of Quebec has put Badawi on a “priority list of potential immigrants for humanitarian reasons.” On top of a ten-year travel ban, Badawi was also fined one million Saudi riyals (over a quarter million USD). A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help cover the cost of the penalty fine and to bring Badawi and his family closer to “live together again, in freedom and safety.”
United Nations Names March 15th as “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”
On March 15th, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. The resolution was introduced by Pakistan’s representative, marking the anniversary of the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand in 2019. The resolution was sponsored by 55 predominantly Muslim member states and passed consensus with all 193 states in support. Nicolas de Riviere, France’s representative to the U.N., acknowledged that “Islamophobia has no agreed definition in international law.” This resolution that named March 15th as a commemorative day to fight against Islamophobia, failed to explore the nature and scope of the concept. Numerous outspoken Ex-Muslims take issue with the word “Islamophobia,” as many find that the word is used to silence their criticism of their former faith. Muhammad Syed, executive director of Ex-Muslims of North America, has been quoted as saying that the word Islamophobia has been “weaponized to conflate criticism of Islam as a belief system with discrimination against Muslims as people.”
Saudi Arabia Executes 81 in One Day, Breaking Record in Modern History
Location: Saudi Arabia
On March 12th, Saudi Arabia executed 81 men, including Yemeni, Syrian, and Saudi nationals on a variety of charges including terrorism and holding “deviant beliefs.” A majority of these men belonged to the minority Shia Muslim community. The massive execution breaks the previous records of those executed in a single day; when Saudi Arabia killed 47 people in 2016, and behead 37 prisoners in 2019. Amnesty International called the execution an “appalling escalation in Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty,” and stated in a report that Saudi Arabia had killed 92 individuals in the first quarter of 2022. Lynn Maalouf, the Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International, said that most trials rely on forced confessions “extracted under torture or other ill-treatment.” Saudi Arabia denies all the accusations, claiming that it protects its country according to its laws.
New Report Shows Antisemitic Propaganda Increased by 27% in 2021
Location: United States
According to an annual report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), White supremacist propaganda “remained at a historic level in 2021.” The report also revealed a dramatic increase in antisemitic activities in 2021. ADL’s Center on Extremism tracked 4,851 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2021. In 2020, a total of 5,125 incidents were documented. The Center on Extremism reported white supremacist propaganda that uses “antisemitic fliers, stickers, banners, and posters, as well as the use of stenciled graffiti.” The ADL reported that at least 38 white supremacists groups operate in different states. The three main perpetrators are Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association, and Folkish Resistance Movement. 91% of the white supremacist incidents documented in 2021 were performed by these groups. In terms of antisemitic propaganda, there has been a 27% increase from 2020 to 2021.
New Survey: 70% of Young Scottish Adults have No Religion
A study sponsored by the Humanist Society of Scotland revealed that among 1002 adult participants only 33% consider themselves Christian. In 2011, the number was 53%. The survey was conducted by YouGov, an international research data and analytics group. 56% of the respondents chose “None” in response to their religious denomination. In 2011, only 42% of the respondents responded “none” to a similar question. Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, stated that the recent findings reveal that the “biggest demographic shift we will see in 2022 will be on religious identity.” Sutherland emphasized the importance of answering religious demographic questions in the national census with honesty and on the basis of current belief, as opposed to cultural affiliation, because the results can be used for to justify policies such as “compulsory Christian religious observance in Scottish schools.”
Undercover Israeli Jews Disguised as Muslims Thwart Al-Aqsa Prayer Ban
Raphael Morris, a self proclaimed Zionist Israeli activist, and his group “Returning to the Mount” frequently dress up as Muslims to circumvent the prayer ban in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, (referred to as the Temple Mount by Jews), in Jerusalem. “There are tens of thousands of Muslims who pass through these gates every day. Our target is to blend in and not get caught,” Morris told Al Jazeera. He and his groups wear “costumes” and even take classes to learn some Arabic words to help them blend in with the crowd and avoid the Israeli guards that are supposed to prevent their religious practice at the site. The group believes they are paving the way for “full Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount and building a Jewish temple over the Dome of the Rock.” Since the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the administration of the mosque and its compound continued to remain under the custodianship of Jordan. The Jewish fundamentalists oppose the custodianship, as the location of the Mosque is considered the holiest site in Judaism. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Morris disclosed that his group has been infiltrating Al-Aqsa Mosque daily. The Al-Aqsa mosque is not just a religious contention; it is also a central flashpoint for strife and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Morris the area where the mosque is located belongs to the Jewish people because such was “promised by God in the Bible.” Hanady Halawani, a Palestinian activist, claims that Morris’s acts are aggression and “terrorizes Muslims praying in the mosque.”
British-Iranian Diplomatic Hostages Freed & Reunited with Families!
On March 16th, British-Iranian nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, after years of politically motivated detention in Iran, were released. Both were arrested and detained for several years following questionable accusations of espionage and charges against Iran’s security. The two have consistently denied any of the allegations. Iran accused Nazanin, a charity worker, of “leading a foreign-linked hostile network.” She was detained in Iran for nearly 6 years. Ashoori, a 67-year old retired civil engineer, was arrested in August 2017 during a family visit to Iran. He was accused of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency despite living in the United Kingdom for 20 years and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, garnered media attention from his multiple lengthy hunger strikes and other high-visibility protests that pressured the British government to force Iran to release his wife. They were finally reunited with their families in the UK on March 17th. The Irainan government has become notorious for arresting individuals with dual-citizenship, like Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori, accusing them of espionage, and using them as political bargaining chips on the international stage in a clear pattern of “hostage diplomacy.”
Atheist Republic YouTube Channel Remonetized!
We have amazing news to share with you! Atheist Republic has recently been approved to be part of the YouTube Partner Program, meaning that our main YouTube channel has regained monetization!This is a huge help to Atheist Republic’s operations, as the revenue that we get from YouTube funds much of our work and helps us pay our team. This also means you can now support the Atheist Republic Channel by becoming a member. Members of the Atheist Republic Youtube Channel will get access to exclusive perks like badges, the use of Atheist Republic themed emojis, getting priority in have your comments and questions highlighted on the live-streams, and even public or private discussions with Atheist Republic’s founder Armin Navabi! Thank you to everyone that supported our work while we were fully demonetized.
Read More Atheist Republic Woman Stabs Date to “Avenge” Iranian General Killed by US Drone Strike