Read More Atheist Republic Indian Supreme Court Slams Hindu Party Spokeswoman for “Insulting” Islam
On July 1st, Nupur Sharma, the suspended BJP spokesperson, was sharply criticized by the Supreme Court of India for her controversial remarks on the Prophet Muhammad that sparked international outrage and domestic violence. The court refused to accept Sharma’s plea to consolidate all the different police reports (FIRs) lodged against her for “hurting religious sentiments” filed across numerous states in India. According to the Supreme Court, Nupur Sharma is “single-handedly responsible” for exacerbating tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India and even for the murder of a Hindu tailor was beheaded by Islamists for showing support to Sharma. Justice Surya Kant lambasted Sharma for her perceived arrogance, stating, “What if she is the spokesperson of a party? She thinks she has backup power and can make any statement without respect to the law of the land?” When Sharma’s lawyer said she had apologized for her remarks and retracted the statements, the court replied that she should have gone on TV and begged the nation to be forgiven. These statements by the Supreme Court were harshly criticized by many. Some even said that the court was following Islamic Sharia Law.
Another Hindu Goddess Blasphemy Scandal: Kali Smoking Poster Sparks Outrage
On July 2nd, a tweet that showed the Hindu goddess Kali smoking a cigarette and holding a Pride flag sparked rage in India. Leena Manimekalai, an Indian-born Toronto-based director, had tweeted a picture of her film poster for her “performance documentary” that was to be debuted at the Aga Khan Museum. The tweet resulted in #ArrestLeenaManimekalai trending on Twitter in India. Leena was subsequently trolled by tens of thousands of Hindu extremists, facing thousands of graphic threats, and members of her crew were doxxed. Even the High Commission of India at Ottawa issued a condemnation and stated, “We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw all such provocative material.” Both the Aga Khan Museum and Toronto Metropolitan University, through which Leena was pursuing a fellowship, issued statements apologizing for the offense and revoked the film screenings. Speaking to the BBC, Manimekalai explained that her film depicts the goddess Kali as a champion of humanity and embraces diversity. “As a poet and filmmaker, I embody Kali in my own independent vision,” she said.
Another Indian Civilian Murdered for Supporting “Blasphemous” Politician
On June 21st, Umesh Kolhe, a pharmacist, was brutally killed on his way home after shutting his drug store in Maharashtra, India. A few days before his death, Kolhe shared a post in a WhatsApp group supporting Nupur Sharma, the controversial ex-BJP spokesperson who made “blasphemous” comments against the Prophet Muhammad. The authorities suspect that a Muslim member of that WhatsApp group, Dr. Yusuf Khan, a close acquaintance of the victim, forwarded the post on pro-Islamic groups that ultimately led to the murder. According to the police, the suspects monitored Kohle for three days based on the CCTV footage that they had retrieved. On the night of the murder, Kolhe shut down his store around 10 pm and headed home. The attackers ambushed Kolhe, stabbed him in his neck, and fled the scene. Kolhe was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the hospital. On June 23rd, the police arrested seven people in connection with the murder, which included the alleged mastermind, Irfan Khan, a leader of a local Islamic organization.
Indian Man Arrested for Wrapping Chicken In Newspaper Bearing Hindu Gods
On July 3rd, in Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, Talib Hussain, a restaurant owner, was taken into police custody on blasphemy charges. He was accused of hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community by wrapping chicken dishes in old newspapers containing Hindu deities’ images. A police complaint (FIR) was lodged by the senior sub-inspector, Ajay Kumar Tyagi, which stated that Talib Hussain was deliberately trying to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus. It is alleged that when the police reached his restaurant to apprehend him, Talib pulled out a knife and tried to attack the officers with the “intention to kill.” Sub-inspector Tyagi said, “A total of 90 full papers and 116 single sheets of newspapers from April 2nd, 2022, were with Hussain which had images of goddess Mahagauri and Saraswati.” According to police Hussain was warned four days before his arrest to discard newspapers containing pictures of Hindu gods, but he did not bother to comply. Talib’s family denied all the allegations. They also alleged that Sambhal police are conspiring with the Hindu organizations in the area against the Muslim families.
Iranian Teen Girl Honored Killed by Father For “Laughing with Boy at Park”
On June 27th, Ariana Lashkari, a 16-year-old Iranian girl, was murdered for bringing “disgrace” to the family after she was allegedly seen laughing with a boy at a park. Ariana wanted to live without restrictions and fled to her paternal grandmother’s home after a heated argument with her father. The father, Mohammad-Kazem Lashkari, took a shotgun with him and went to his mother’s house to look for Ariana. When he arrived, he became enraged and shot his daughter in the chest. He contended that it was not his intention to kill his daughter. Murders committed by fathers and paternal grandfathers in Iran are not punishable with retributive justice or “Qisas” under the Islamic Penal Code, as Iranian law considers him to be the “owner” of the victim’s blood. If demanded by the family, perpetrators may only be sentenced to three to ten years in prison and pay blood money. Since the pandemic outbreak, honor killings have increased in different regions of Iran. According to the head of Reyhaneh Women’s NGO, about 60 women have been victims of honor killings in Iran over the last two years, including some victims as young as ten years old.
77 Captives Held in Church Basement for “Rapture” by Nigerian Pastor Freed
Recently, the police rescued at least seventy-seven people from inside an evangelical church in the Nigerian state of Ondo. Pastor David Anifowoshe promised the churchgoers that the rapture would occur soon and they would ascend to heaven. He initially promised that the second coming of Jesus would occur in April 2022 but soon changed the arrival date to September 2022. The authorities suspected this was a mass kidnapping or child trafficking incident. The police suspected the church after a report was filed by a mother whose children had disappeared. Many captives resisted when the police arrived at the church to rescue them. They refused to leave the premises and even cursed the concerned parents that came to take their children back home. Of the people freed by the police, 54 were adults, and 23 were children; some were under ten. The president of a local youth club, Famakinwa Lucaskakaki, said that during interrogation, the church members had willingly “walked into the basement themselves.”
Nigerian Court Orders Death by Stoning For Men Convicted of Homosexuality
On June 14th, a 70-year-old man and two other gay men were arrested by the religious police force of Bauchi, Nigeria. The accused were charged and convicted for engaging in acts of homosexuality and sentenced to death by stoning by an Islamic court. According to the Hisbah religious police official, the three men were accused of raping two minor boys after drugging them. The incident happened in the Gwada village in May. The parents of the two boys had complained about the three men. Religious police or the Hisbah arrested them soon after. In Nigeria, having sex with a minor is also an offense punishable by death but has never been enforced. The men were instead charged for engaging in homosexual acts.
GOP Pushes Lie that Biden State Dept. is “Promoting Atheism”
Recently, fifteen House Republicans in the U.S. Congress expressed “grave concern” over President Joe Biden for using tax dollars to “support atheism and radical, progressive orthodoxy across the world.” In 2021, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was released by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL). It announced the availability of grants of up to $500,000 to any organization that is “committed to the practice and spread of atheism and humanism, namely in South/Central Asia and in the Middle East/North Africa.” The grant was aimed to “ensure everyone enjoys religious freedom.” The House Republicans called the DRL’s program “constitutionally dubious.” They also called atheism “an integral part of the belief system of Marxism and communism.” CAIR’s (Council on American-Islamic Relations) National Deputy Director, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, stated that this funding “will contribute to the suspicion held by some people overseas that our government seeks to secularize the Muslim world by supporting foreign organizations and governments hostile to Islam.” In a tweet, Nick Fish, president of the American Atheists, called the letter “mind-numbingly absurd.”
Secularists Launch Probe Into Christian Nationalism In Florida Curriculum
Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis launched a Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative (CLEI), which had Floridian teachers voluntarily attend a three-day training session on how to teach students to be “virtuous citizens.” Teachers were appalled when they participated in these sessions and found that they were heavily influenced by conservative Christian ideology. This training regiment is a part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ $106 million initiative. Upon completion, the teachers will receive a bonus of $3000. DeSantis stated that by the end of the month, about 2,500 teachers would complete the program. The training session focused on clearing up some historical “misconceptions,” claiming that the nation’s founding fathers did not want a strict separation of church and state. It also downplayed the role of the United States in the history of the slave trade and pushed the Originalism judicial theory that requires people to interpret the Constitution as the framers intended it, not as a living, evolving document. Barbara Segal, a teacher, said, “There was a very strong Christian fundamentalist way toward analyzing different quotes and different documents. That was concerning.” An investigation about the initiative has been started by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The investigation aims “to uncover the extent to which the training sessions were developed by the conservative Christian groups.”
Atheist Republic Interviewed About Hindutva by German Humanist Magazine!
Atheist Republic’s CEO, Susanna McIntyre was recently interviewed by Germany’s largest humanist publication, Humanistischer Pressedienst! Susanna spoke with writer Adrian Beck about the rise of the Hindutva ideology in India, issues affecting Ex-Hindu Atheists in India, and how Atheist Republic has felt the brunt of blasphemy outrage and censorship by the Indian government. You can read the full article here! The article is written in German, but the Google auto-translation does a really good job of translating the conversation into English.
Read More Atheist Republic Indian Supreme Court Slams Hindu Party Spokeswoman for “Insulting” Islam