Read More Atheist Republic Uprising in Iran: At Least 83 Killed & Over 1,200 Arrested
Since the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Zhina Amini at the hands of the “morality police” on September 16th, widespread protests have continued throughout Iran, despite an internet shutdown. Tehran legislator Mahmoud Nabavian called the demonstrations “riots” and stated that the women that take off the mandatory headscarves as an act of civil disobedience are out to “prostitute themselves.” As of September 29th, according to Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO), 83 deaths have been confirmed throughout sixteen provinces. More than a thousand protesters have been arrested, and many have been subjected to torture and forced confessions on state-affiliated Telegram channels. 20-year-old Hadis Najafi was shot in the abdomen, neck, heart, and hand by the Security forces on September 21st. Najafi died four days later. On the same day, 16-year-old Mehdi Mousavi died in the street after being shot five times and beaten with batons. His family says they were warned to stay quiet or else other family members might “disappear.” Many journalists were also arrested, including Elahe Mohammadi, who reported on the funeral of Mahsa Amini. The protests have turned decidedly anti-regime, as women continue to burn hijabs and publicly cut their hair. Slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “Death to Khamenei” are shouted in the streets and from windows and rooftops. Iran Foreign Minister Amir Hosseinabdollahian said in an interview with New York City’s Morning Edition, “There is not a big deal going on in Iran. There is no regime change in Iran.” He claims that outside elements have encouraged people to turn violent through satellite channels and websites.
Christians Will Be Minority in America by 2070: New Study
A recent Pew study shows that Christians are likely to become a religious minority in America. The trend of snowballing religious disaffiliation has been noticed by Pew since the 1990s and is described as “reshaping the U.S. religious landscape.” The study, titled, Modeling the Future of Religion in America, identified the “switching rates” of more than 15,000 American adults surveyed starting in 2019. The participants of the study were asked, “In what religion, if any, were you raised?” and “What is your present religion if any?” The resulting difference in the response was then weighted against another research conducted in 2020. The study simulated four scenarios, such as, “Switching,” “No Switching,” “Steady Switching,” “Rising Disaffiliation with Limits,” and “Rising Disaffiliation without Limits.” According to Pew, regardless if the “switching” trend slows down or hastens up, it will roughly be the same. “The projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.” However, the study clarified that the projections are not predictions, and they might also be affected by unknown events like war, economic depression, climate crisis, changing immigration patterns, or religious innovations.
Anti-Hijab Iranian Activist Sentenced to Over Three Years Imprisonment
Melika Qaragozlu, a twenty-two-year-old Iranian women’s rights activist, was handed down a verdict of three years and eight months by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran for protesting against the mandatory hijab rules of Iran. Alongside the sentence, Melika has been fined 8 million tomans (US$ 246.59). On July 12th, Melika posted a clip of herself on a social media platform declaring her participation in a nationwide anti-hijab civil-disobedience campaign in opposition to the regime’s “National Day of Hijab and Chastity.” She was arrested the following day. On September 19th, her lawyer, Mohammad Ali Kamfiruzi, posted on Twitter about her sentence. He also added, “My client has numerous medical records, and although the forensic doctor confirmed that she must be under the supervision of a specialist psychiatrist, that was not taken into account in issuing the verdict.” The verdict for Qaragozlu comes as Iran encounters widespread protests after the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested for wearing a hijab “improperly.” These unprecedented protests have thoroughly broken the “hijab taboo,” causing many within the government to question the viability of continuing to enforce the compulsory hijab law.
Islamists Oppose Anti-Child Abuse Law, Says Kids will “Leave Religion”
On September 19th, a new children’s rights bill passed in the lower house of Jordan’s parliament. The parliament is still divided over the bill. Since 2015, The National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) has been negotiating with the parliament to draft a national law. The bill addresses children’s rights for healthcare, education, and entertainment and protections from forced labor, beggary, and addiction. The Law for Children’s Rights was first drafted and scrapped in 1998. Despite signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 and ratifying it in 2006, Jordan lacks specific child protection laws. According to the National Study on Violence Against Children in Jordan, released in 2019 by UNICEF, 74.6% of children aged 8-17 had experienced at least one form of physical violence. Opponents of the bill consider it to be an attempt by western NGOs to “degrade the Jordanian family unit.” Dr. Eyad Qunaibi, a prominent preacher, claims the rights bill will encourage children to leave their religion and their families and live “in a society of sexual deviants.” Further, he claims that the legislation is an UN-backed initiative to take Jordanian children away to be given to European families. General Secretary Mogdadi rejects the claims that the proposed law is “too western” and “subverts Islam.”
Egypt Adds Sex Education Into Curriculum to “Stop Homosexuality”
On September 15th, the Ministry of Education in Egypt sent a letter to educational directorates all over the country with the order to integrate sexual education and anti-sexual violence and harassment campaigns into the primary education curriculum. Although, on the surface, this may seem highly progressive for the middle-eastern country, its main aim is to stop the spread of “homosexuality.” Homosexuality is widely deemed immoral, scandalous, or offensive throughout Egypt. According to Sada El Balad, an Egyptian news site and satellite television channel, this decision was taken due to the increasing public concern that children might imitate “deviant” sexual behaviors, including homosexuality, by watching content through online streaming platforms. Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) has banned many films containing homosexual references. It also recently implemented new regulations on online streaming platforms, such as Disney and Netflix, to make sure that the content shown follows the “societal norms and values.” The Egyptian LGBTQ community often faces charges of “immorality” or “debauchery,” which could result in a sentence of up to 17 years of imprisonment.
Surveillance of Muslim MPs Advocated for by VP of Greek Parliament
A Muslim Member of the Greek Parliment now faces a threat of thorough surveillance for national security reasons. New Democracy deputy parliament speaker MP Charalambos Athanasiou said, “If a Muslim MP might give information to [Turkey], from where migrants can enter the country, why should he not be checked [surveilled]? Here national security takes precedence.” The uproar happened at a time when the relationship between Turkey and Greece has soured. The illegal crossing of refugees has caused many worries for the Greeks, and many believe Turkey uses this as leverage. As an additional backdrop, a vast political scandal resulted after the Greek National Intelligence Agency tapped the phone and other communications of opposition leader Nikos Androulakis when he was running for party leader of PASOK-KINAL. The Left-wing SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance has demanded the dismissal of Athanasiou for the “unacceptable statements.” SYRIZA said in a statement, “Mr. Athanassiou ought to know that ‘national security relates to the intervention of a third country in Greece’s domestic politics or involvement in criminal activities.” SYRIZA added, “It does not relate and may not relate to the religion of Greek citizens or deputies. Essentially, Mr. Athanassiou claims that whoever is not a Christian Orthodox is a national threat.”
Libyan Ex-Muslim Christian Sentenced to Death for Apostasy
A young Ex-Muslim man who converted to Christianity was sentenced to death on September 4 under an “anti-apostasy” law by the Misrata Court of Appeal in Libya. The accused has been identified as Dhiaa al-Din Ahmed Miftah Balao, an information technology graduate who was previously a faithful Muslim man and was said to have memorized the entire Quran. It is unknown why he decided to convert to Christianity and how the authorities learned about this occurrence. According to the Middle East Concern (MEC), the man who converted to Christianity four years ago, has been detained by armed militias multiple times in the last few years. During the proceedings, the Libyan convert was not permitted to have a lawyer for his legal representation in court. The young believer was pressured to abandon his faith in Christianity, which he refused. He then was forced to pay the expenses for publishing the verdict in a local newspaper, on a local radio station, and to display it outside his home and the court.
Over 75% of Evangelical Republicans Want to Make US a Christian Nation
A new study finds that more than 60% of the Republicans in the United States support declaring America a Christian nation. The study titled, The American Public Attitudes on Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, was published by the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll. The study, conducted between May 6th to 16th, 2022, and involved 2,091 respondents, asked two polarizing questions regarding religiosity and the constitution. The first question asked the participants if they “think the U.S. Constitution would or would not allow the U.S. government to declare the United States a Christian nation.” 70% of the respondents answered that they think that the U.S. Constitution will not allow the declaration of the U.S. as a Christian nation. The remaining 30%, who think otherwise, were mostly Republicans at 43%, Independents at 28%, and only Democrats at 19%. The second question asked if they favor or oppose a declaration of the U.S. as a Christian nation, to which 61% of the Republican respondents said they would favor it. The study also identified “white grievance” as a highly related factor to Republicans supporting Christian Nationalism. “White respondents who say that members of their race have faced more discrimination than others are most likely to embrace a Christian America,” the study added.
Polish Pop Star WINS Blasphemy Case!
In mid-September, The European Court of Human Rights ordered Polish authorities to pay pop star Dorota Rabczewska, known as “Doda,” damages in the amount of $9,300 for a ruling they overturned. The case goes back to a 2009 television interview where Doda said that she was more convinced by dinosaurs than the Bible, adding that “it’s hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked weed.” Chairman of a Polish Christian organization, Ryszard Nowak, responded by insisting she committed blasphemy per the country’s article 196 of the penal code. Doda was formally charged in 2012, and a Warsaw District Court imposed a fine of roughly $985. The European Court of Human Rights disagreed with the Warsaw court’s ruling and decided there was no reason to think her comments would incite violence or promote hate. The court insisted that Doda’s right to free speech was violated. The amount of the fine imposed by the Human Rights Court on authorities was nine times that of the original penalty imposed on Doda.
Atheist Republic Mourns the Loss of “Confused Heathen”
Atheist Republic is saddened to learn of the recent passing of an important member within the international Atheist Republic community, the Egyptian Ex-Muslim that was known to us as “Confused Heathen,” “Confused Hamlet,” and “Labby” to close friends. Confused Heathen was an active member of the Atheist Republic YouTube live chats and Discord community and became the founding creator and moderator of the Atheist Republic Subreddit. Confused Heathen also founded the subreddit ExEgypt, which he created to bolster community and connections for Ex-Muslims and Ex-Christians, and its sister Discord community. The ExEgypt community has already grown to nearly 10,000 members within the span of less than 2 years, no small feat. Many friends and supporters shared their memories of “Confused Heathen” in reaction to the heart-wrenching news. One Reddit user stated, “Heathen was the reason thousands of Egyptian ExMuslims found a place to call home, and the reason so many deep friendships and relationships formed and hundreds of people here owe her for changing their lives.” You can read more dedications to Confused Heathen, and add your own, here.
Read More Atheist Republic Uprising in Iran: At Least 83 Killed & Over 1,200 Arrested