Read More Atheist Republic Roe Vs. Wade Overturned: Mixed Reactions from Religious Leaders
On June 24th, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark legislation holding back anti-abortion laws on the state level. Since the decision, the nation has been divided within the ranks of religious organizations. Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, stated that the ruling is a “violation of both Jewish law and tradition and American religious liberty.” Nadiah Mohajir of the Heart Women and Girls said most Muslim Americans support access to abortion. On the other hand, the more politically powerful religious camps celebrated the court’s decision as the completion of their spiritual journey. Tanya Britton, a Catholic and the president of Pro-Life Mississippi, has spent decades traveling around the country pushing her anti-abortion agenda and saw the overturning of Roe as the cumulation of her work to prevent other women from committing “murder” as she had herself done as a teenager. Despite being a life-long Catholic, President Joe Biden vowed to fight the court’s ruling through legislation. Global reproductive and women’s rights groups have condemned the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations, warned that “overturning of the constitutional right to abortion will have far-reaching effects around the globe.”
Hindu Beheaded For Defending “Blasphemous” Remarks Against Prophet Mohammad
On June 28th, a Hindu shop owner named Kanhaiya Lal was brutally murdered in the city of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan by two Muslim men over an alleged social media post. There is video footage capturing the two assailants entering the tailor shop posing as customers moments before they murdered the shopkeeper by slitting his throat. The attackers filmed the entirety of the violent crime and shared it on social media. After the attack, the accused shared a video admitting to the murder and declaring that they committed the action due to the shop owner’s social media post that allegedly supported the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Last month, Sharma made controversial statements about the Prophet Muhammad on TV, entangling India in a diplomatic crisis. The two accused men were caught and arrested in a neighboring district on the night of the incident. The videos of the murder and those posted by the perpetrators circulated on social media, increasing inter-communal tensions and prompting authorities to suspend internet services temporarily. As a result of the escalating tensions and protests, the Rajasthan government imposed a curfew. High-level security and police forces were deployed to maintain public order across the state.
Indian Journalist Arrested For Hurting Hindu “Religious Sentiments”
Recently, Mohammed Zubair, a journalist and co-founder of India’s leading fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested and charged by police for hurting religious sentiments. Zubair, 39, was charged after calling some far-right Hindu monks who called for the ethnic cleansing of Indian Muslims “hatemongers.” Other news sites report that Zubair was cited for a 2018 tweet that showed an image of a hotel sign displaying the name “Honeymoon Hotel,” which was then repainted to “Hanuman Hotel,” referencing the Hindu monkey god. It was quickly pointed out that these images were actually stills from a 1983 comedy movie. These charges fall under the Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Notably, Zubair was one of the first to share a video of the notorious televised debate involving the now-former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma commenting on the prophet’s child-wife, Ayesha. Since then, he has been targeted by members of the BJP and right-wing Hindu groups, and many see his arrest as a blatant act of retaliation. In a moment of ultimate irony, on the same day as Zubair’s arrest, India, alongside 12 other countries, signed the “2022 Resilient Democracies Statement,” a declaration that calls for “guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors” and “protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline.”
2 Dead & Over 20 Injured In Islamist Shooting at Norwegian Gay Bar
On June 25th, two people were killed and 21 were injured by a lone gunman in a shooting incident at a gay nightclub in central Oslo, Norway. The authorities suspects the shooting to be an act of Islamist terrorism. A 43-year-old man, Zaniar Matapour, a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, has been arrested for the attacks and charged with murder, attempted murder, and acts of terrorism. Jonas Gahr Store, Prime Minister of Norway, called the cruel act of terror a “deeply shocking attack on innocent people.” Oslo district court declared Zaniar Matapour responsible for the murderous attack and is held in pre-trial detention for the next four weeks. According to a report, Matapour suffers from mental illness and is a fundamentalist Islamist. The police found out that the suspect had previously partaken in extremist Islamic groups. They first became aware of the suspect in 2015 on suspicion of being a radical Islamist.
Turkish LGBT Activists Arrested for Defying Ban on Pride Marches
On June 26th, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, to demonstrate for the rights of LGBTQ+ community, despite the Turkish government banning the Pride parade since 2015. The Turkish authorities attacked and arrested many before the rally began. On the day of the event, protesters gathered with rainbow flags in the streets around Taksim Square, a location specifically known for being the epicenter of protests against the regime. The crowd raised the slogans, “The future is queer,” and “We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere.” The Turkish police arrested 373 participants at the Pride march. According to several eye-witnesses, the police tried to prevent the press from filming the conflict. Bulent Kilic, a veteran award-winning AFP photojournalist, was arrested at the scene. Amnesty International Turkey campaigner Milena Buyum said, “All those detained solely for their participation in Pride must be released immediately and unconditionally.” Even though homosexuality has been decriminalized in Turkey since 1858, the LGBTQ community has faced increasing hostility from religious fundamentalists since the Islamic-conservative government led by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came into power.
“Systematic Massacre;”Jihadists Kill 132 civilians in Mali
On June 10, 132 civilians in Mali were murdered by members of Macina Kabita, an extremist rebel group affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The group is led by the Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa. “They have also been burning huts, houses, and stealing cattle… it’s really a free-for-all,” said an official who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. Nouhoum Togo, leader of a party in the nearby town of Bankass, stated that the clashes with the Jihadists broke out during army operations in the area two weeks prior. The armed extremists then returned on motorcycles as payback. According to him, the attacks happened on June 10. He also said that the death toll was higher than what was reported by the government. According to the UN, the terrorists and the Malian army are responsible for the attacks against civilians. There has been an Islamist uprising in Mali since 2012.
Moral Panic: Teens Arrested in Iran After “Hijab-less” Skating Event
On June 21st, the police arrested several teenage girls in Shiraz, Iran, for not wearing a hijab at a “Skateboarding Day” event. Five organizers of the event were also arrested. A video of the “Go Skateboarding Day” event went viral on Iran’s social media sites causing massive outrage among religious fanatics. In the video, numerous teens can be seen hanging out at a skatepark, with girls and boys freely intermingling and several girls openly showing their hair. The Governor of Shiraz, Lotfollah Sheybani, claimed that the event was “held with the intention of breaking social, religious and national rules and norms.” A religious march will occur in Shiraz on July 15th after the Friday prayers for the “supporters of the sanctity of modesty, zeal, and hijab.” Wearing the hijab is compulsory for all women and teenage girls in the theocratic country of Iran. Not wearing the hijab in a public place is a criminal offense and may result in being arrested, fined, or even lashed.
SCOTUS Decision Deals Major Blow to Religious Freedom in Public Schools
Recently, the US Supreme Court sided in favor of high school coach Joe Kennedy in that his firing from the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights. At the crux of the matter was the school district’s refusal to let Kennedy pray on the football field immediately after games. The case pitched the religious freedoms of the coach, who holds a level of power over the student players, against the same rights of the students who didn’t want to feel pressured to participate. One aspect of the case that played in Kennedy’s favor was that the SCOTUS found that he didn’t directly force any student to join in his prayers. President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rachel Laser, reacted to the decision, stating; “Today, the court continued its assault on church-state separation, by falsely describing coercive prayer as ‘personal’ and stopping public schools from protecting their students’ religious freedom… This decision represents the greatest loss of religious freedom in our country in generations.”
Islamic Leader Banned by UK Dept of Education for Homophobia & Misogyny
Recently, the United Kingdom’s Department of Education decided to prohibit a Salafi activist, Abu Khadeejah, from spreading his hateful rhetoric via officiating school teachings. Abu Khadeejah (real name Waheed Alam) once managed school instruction at the Islamic Redstone Educational Academy in Birmingham, UK. Alam produced several sermons and writings between 2015 and 2019 that showed his aversion to the LGBTQ population and distaste for women’s rights. For example, he is known for preaching that women who have adopted the ways of Western society are worse “even than the beasts.” As publicly declared by the Department of Education, Alam was banned from officiating school teachings or engaging in conduct “aimed at undermining the fundamental value of individual liberty.” A 2019 Ofsted inspection revealed that Redstone Educational Academy “has a history of failing to meet standards since 2014.” Megan Manson, head of campaigns at the National Secular Society, stated, “It’s not hard to see why this school has a substantial history of failure – particularly regarding discrimination against female pupils. Ofsted must continue to take action to protect the rights and welfare of the children at the school. If the school cannot prioritize pupils’ educational needs above archaic and fundamentalist religious dogma, it must be closed down.”
BANNED for Sikh Blasphemy?! Indian Gov Orders Hosting Service to Block BlasphemousArt.com
On June 26th, Atheist Republic discovered that one of our websites, BlasphemousArt.com, was suddenly down. We contacted our website hosting service to see what was wrong. We received a reply that said, in part [edited for clarity], “After checking from my end, I see that your domain blasphemousart.com is suspended due to an abuse report. The report states that you display content that is affecting the Sikhs community’s religious feelings, and the same is offendable under relevant sections of law in India, violating our Terms of Service. Do keep in mind that the decision of unsuspension remains unchanged in this case. We are rooting for safe internet, so as we received a report from higher authorities, we can’t unsuspend your domain name.” This message is referring to an artwork Atheist Republic created of a Sikh woman rubbing her feet on the Guru Granth Sahib in a sexy way. So, according to this message, they received a complaint from the Indian government regarding this content. Instead of blocking this domain solely in the Indian market (as has happened to Athiest Republic many times by now), they globally banned us. This is outrageous on many levels:
We are not Indian citizens, nor within the country, and therefore not subject to Indian jurisdiction.
They took this action against us without prior notification or attempt to have us voluntarily remove the content, resulting in a total global ban.
They are enforcing blasphemy laws beyond India’s borders.
The loss of this domain is a big hit to Atheist Republic, as it was our most important way of directing people to support our organization via Patreon. Please consider supporting our work on Patreon, which you can do for as little as $1 a month.
Read More Atheist Republic Roe Vs. Wade Overturned: Mixed Reactions from Religious Leaders