Why bother to be rational, when intimidation works just as well? Continue reading
Category Archives: Celebrations
One person has died in clashes at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral after funeral prayers for four Christians during which angry Copts chanted against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. Continue reading
Hundreds of thousands of members of a hardline Muslim group have rallied in Bangladesh’s capital to demand anti-blasphemy laws to punish people who insult Islam. Continue reading
Sydney University’s Wesley College is investigating reports of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment during Orientation Week, after two undercover magazine reporters snuck in to a number of on-campus parties posing as students. Continue reading
The UN has been forced to cancel its annual marathon in the Gaza Strip after the ruling Islamist movement Hamas insisted that women be banned from the race. Continue reading
At least 45 people have been killed by a bomb explosion in the Pakistani city of Karachi, police say. Continue reading
…still aren’t silly enough to believe in God.
Britain’s first atheist church held its inaugural meeting on Sunday, gathering at a former church in North London to sing songs and celebrate life – just with no mention of the man upstairs. Continue reading
Hyderabad, the venue for Australia’s second Test against India starting next week, has been hit by bombings that killed at least a dozen people and left more than 50 injured.
At least two separate blasts occurred in a crowded area outside a movie theatre and a bus station in the southern city’s suburb of Dilsukh Nagar, police said at the scene. Indian television reported that other cities had subsequently been placed on “high alert”. It was the first major bombing in India since September 2011.
Islam? We don’t know yet. But what are the odds?
A SUICIDE bomber has targeted a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in northwest Pakistan, killing 24 people and wounding up to 55 as worshippers poured out of weekly prayers, officials say. Continue reading
Malian musicians have become household names in the West, from the late Ali Farka Toure to the bravely experimental Rokia Traore, currently appearing at the Sydney Festival, to Tinariwen, which has performed with the Rolling Stones. There is the passionate social commentary of Oumou Sangare and the rousing, commercially successful African pop of Amadou & Mariam.
And yet the Islamic rebel groups are trying to wipe out this ancient culture – and in the process have forced Malian musicians to examine the role they should now play.
What’s it to be, Mali? Music or a vile, restrictive, misogynistic religion without a shred of supporting evidence?
(Bob Dylan helped a little with the music)
You must leave now, don’t take any more, you’ve had enough.
In fact, before you go, we’d better check your stuff.
Are you surprised we feel the way we feel,
When you make ‘heroes’ out of men who steal?
But the lies they’ve told are going to take their toll.
It’s all over now, Warmist Wal.
Your Climate Summit Conferences are shrinking fast,
The snow and ice are back — you said they’d never last.
The sceptic scientists you refused to meet,
Are finding other reasons for the heat.
Your policies are losing every poll.
And it’s all over now, Warmist Wal.
Al Gore has got his payoff and abandoned you.
It’s time for some Supreme Court writs to land on you.
Your models are completely out of whack
Since stable global temperatures came back.
Pick up the dice and try another roll…
It’s all over now, Warmist Wal.
The Tropospheric Hotspot never showed for you.
You can’t even trust the programmers who code for you.
Your acid seas distraction quickly failed,
You’re two-faced, but your tests are not two-tailed.
Your lobbyists are queuing for the dole,
And it’s all over now, Warmist Wal.
We’ll be much better off when we’re bereft of you.
But now a small shrill rump is all that’s left of you.
Reduced to pointing at each passing storm,
And screaming: “That just happened ‘cos it’s warm!”
Give back the Nobel, crawl into your hole.
For it’s all over now, Warmist Wal.
Satanists from all over Florida are scheduled to gather on the steps of the Governor’s Office at the intersection of S. Monroe and Apalachee Pkwy 1:00pm Friday January 25, 2013 in a show of solidarity for governor Rick Scott who has shown unwavering fortitude and progressive resolve in his defense of religious liberty, particularly in his recent approval of Senate Bill 98 [SB 98] authorizing “a district school board to adopt a policy that allows an inspirational message to be delivered by students at a student assembly; providing policy requirements; providing purpose, etc.”
Neil Bricke of the Satanic Temple will deliver a speech to the assembled crowd.
“The Satanic Temple embraces the free expression of religion, and Satanists are happy to show their support of Rick Scott who — particularly with SB 98 — has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school.”
The Flying Spaghetti Monster had better watch out!
TEN people, including four children, have died in a stampede during a religious gathering at a sports stadium in Luanda, the Angolan capital.
Angop, the Angolan news agency, cited officials as saying on Tuesday 120 people were also injured.
The incident happened on New Year’s Eve when tens of thousands of people gathered at the stadium and panic ensued.
Faustino Sebastiao, spokesman for the national firefighters department, says those who died were crushed and asphyxiated.
The event in the southern African nation was organised by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, an evangelical group founded in Brazil.
The head imam at Lakemba, Sheikh Yahya Safi, ha[s] told the congregation during prayers that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas…
The fatwa, which has sparked widespread community debate and condemnation, warns that the “disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path”.
Straight to where, exactly?
Update: The fatwa post has been removed.
Over the past few weeks, the authorities have detained more than 90 people across seven provinces for spreading rumours that the world is about to end, laying bare the party’s obsession with social stability and maintaining its tight grip on power.
Many people in China believe in the so-called “Mayan apocalypse” – slated to take place on 21 December, the last day on the Mayan long count calendar – because it was the central premise of the disaster film 2012, a box office sensation in China when it was released three years ago.
A man who slashed 22 schoolchildren last week in Henan province was “psychologically affected” by doomsday rumours, wrote the state news wire Xinhua. Shoppers in Sichuan province have been panic buying candles, convinced that Friday will kick off three consecutive days of darkness.
Authorities in Qinghai province arrested 37 members of a group called the Church of the Almighty God for spreading doomsday rumours last Thursday, according to a provincial government website. The group, which was founded in 1992, believes that a female Jesus has been, or will be, reincarnated in mainland China. It has called for death to the “Big Red Dragon”, its term for the Communist party. Hundreds of its followers have clashed with police in three provinces over the past week…
The rapid rise of subversive, quasi-religious groups in China is not without precedent. The 19th-century Taiping Rebellion, a bloody uprising against the Manchu Qing emperor, was led by a peasant claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ; his army at one point controlled a swath of the country which was home to 30 million people. The persecuted spiritual group Falun Gong – also labelled an evil cult by the authorities – operates an openly anti-communist newspaper and television station from overseas.
“There’s an incentive for politicians to strike back at these groups and their way of thinking, to reassure everyone that everything’s going to be all right,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, senior researcher at the Duihua Foundation in Hong Kong. “The most important thing is that they are sending a message of zero tolerance and trying to keep control.”
It’s hard to combat these beliefs, because the Mayan Calendar has been right so often before. Like when… or the time that…
But at least that’s better than colluding with the apocalysts.
Two suspected Islamic extremists have been arrested after threatening a mosque in Sydney’s south, witnesses say.
Police said two men are in custody after they conducted an operation in Arncliffe in Sydney’s south on Sunday.
They were unable to immediately provide more details or confirm reports on Twitter of a bomb threat.
Jamal Daoud, of the Social Justice Network, said he was contacted by a member of the Muslim community who said two Wahibi extremists had threatened Shia Muslims gathered to observe the day of Ashura at the Masjid Fatima Al Zahrah mosque.
“And the red ones hate the green ones,
And the green ones hate the yellow ones,
And they all live in little boxes,
Little boxes in their minds…”
… out of a hat.
A blindfolded boy selected the new Pope for millions of Coptic Christians in Egypt on Sunday, becoming his mother’s pride and joy in the process.
Nearly 2500 eligible voters, made up of Coptic public officials, MPs, journalists and local councillors, preselected three candidates to succeed Pope Shenouda III, who died in March at the age of 88.
They were Bishop Rafael, 54, a doctor and the assistant bishop for central Cairo; Bishop Tawadros of the Nile Delta province of Beheira, 60; and Father Raphael Ava Mina, the oldest of the five original candidates at 70.
Their names were written on separate pieces of paper and placed in a box on the altar of St Mark’s Cathedral, for God to guide the boy’s hand towards the winner – according to the beliefs of the church and the faithful.
Bishop Tawadros, an aide to the acting pope, was selected to become Pope Tawadros II, replacing the charismatic Pope Shenouda III who spent 40 years at the helm of the church.
”A lot of families propose the names of children, that’s why we lay down precise criteria and ensure the faithfulness of the family and the child to the church,” said Bishop Pola from Tanta, in the Nile Delta.
The newer, more stringent rules were imposed in 1971 after the death of Pope Davy Crockett.
At least seven people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide bombing during Mass at a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, officials say.
An explosive-laden vehicle drove into the church and detonated its load, ripping a hole in the wall and roof.
The attack happened in Kaduna, which has been targeted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the recent past.
President Goodluck Jonathan promised to “redouble” his government’s efforts to tackle terrorism and violence.
He called the attack part of an “unfortunate and unacceptable trend that threatens the peace and stability of our nation”.
A spokesman for the local governor has called for calm, pleading with people on local radio not to retaliate.
The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency told the BBC that Christian youths attacked a vehicle that had come to rescue survivors after the attack, smashing one of the windows.
Unconfirmed reports said at least two people were killed in reprisal attacks by Christians after the bombing.
No group has said it carried out the bombing.
But I think we can reasonably assume it wasn’t the atheists.
A car bomb, shelling and gun battles marred a tenuous truce that went into effect in Syria on Friday, calling into question whether a four-day holiday ceasefire brokered by the United Nations can endure.
The day started out more calmly than usual, suggesting that both the government and the rebels were making at least some effort to keep their promises to give Syrians a respite from the relentless violence engulfing the country for the duration of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday….
…by nightfall, the reports of violence began piling up, casting doubt on whether either side was serious about observing a ceasefire that might have heralded hope for a political solution.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 70 deaths, a figure lower than the typical daily average of 150 but nonetheless far from encouraging.
Update: Iraqis concur, with 13 dead.
Oh, wait — I already am!
Back in June I posted my worries about Mohamed Morsi (a member of the Muslim Brotherhood) having been elected President of Egypt. I was told by some of my readers to “calm down,” since Morsi was either a moderate or a meaningless figurehead. I don’t think that’s proved to be the case. Check out this video, which implies that he’s not a moderate. Here Morsi joins a cleric in a prayer for the destruction of the Jews and infidels.
My prediction: Egypt is moving slowly towards a state run on Islamic law, along the lines of Iran.
It may turn out that the most important lesson to come from the Arab Spring is that revolution is possible.
An al-Qaeda inspired gang planned to attack Britain with up to eight suicide bombs because the 7/7 terrorists had not done enough damage, a court has heard.
The jihadist group, from Birmingham, wanted to carry out “another 9/11″ and planned to hit crowded public places to cause “mass death” and “carnage in the name of Allah”.
Naseer told one potential recruit that 7/7 had “gone a bit wrong”.
Their attack would have been even more devastating than the London bombings on July 7, 2005, which left 52 innocent people dead, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
A mob of about 30 men has turned “crazy” and groped and robbed a French television journalist near Tahrir Square in Cairo, in the latest case of violence against women at the epicentre of Egypt’s protests.
France 24 news station said in a statement that Sonia Dridi was attacked about 10:30pm on Friday after a live broadcast on a protest at the square and was later rescued by a colleague and other witnesses.
The station said its employees were safe and sound, though “extremely shocked”.
Oh, that’s why.
The puzzle, I repeat, is just why there has been such a universal silence about his faith, which must have been the real source of such a gigantic charitable commitment
… Why no mention that an important part of his life was attending daily Mass? You’d think that an obituarist would want to ask a simple question: where did all that come from? It’s almost as though they couldn’t bear to accept that the answer was his Catholicism: even that Catholicism itself could ever be the source of actual human goodness.
CatholicHerald.co.uk – November 2011
…Eleven months ago, following the death of one of Catholicism’s creepiest kiddie-fiddlers, Dr William Oddie had a prolonged wail over the fact that the media had made no mention whatsoever that the late Sir Jimmy Savile was devout Catholic who attended Mass daily….
But now there’s no one on the planet who does not know that the serial abuser of girls was a devout Catholic, and cynically used his do-gooding religious persona to gain access to vulnerable victims – even in HOSPITALS!…
An even greater irony is that the Catholic Church, exposed time and again as a perfect sanctuary for perverts, is now muttering about stripping Savile of his papal knighthood, awarded to him in 1990.
freethinker.co.uk – October 2012
It’s International Believe Weird Shit Day!
…today, we pledge to agree with what everyone else believes and says, just for one day. We are not allowed to dissent, ‘offend’ or question. Also, to be fair, we ask everyone else to agree with everything that we believe and say. So let’s see how that works out.
Just for today, I agree with the following twenty five beliefs:
I agree with the Greek poet Hesiod that the world began when Gaia emerged out of Chaos, and gave birth to Uranus, who made her pregnant to give birth to the Titans, after which Gaia convinced her son Conus to castrate his father and become King of the Titans.
I agree with the Bible that the creator of the universe came to planet Earth, circling one of a hundred billion stars in one of a hundred billion galaxies, so that he could impregnate a virgin in order to give birth to himself, then be tortured and die and dictate a book about it…..
THE popularity of I Did It My Way as a funeral song shows a ”vulgar egotism” exists in society, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, says…
‘The last words come from friends and family, and their aim seems to be to build up the reputation of the dead person that all will believe how good a person he or she was,” he said. ”All seems designed to avoid the truth that the person is gone, that death is horrible, that bodies turn to dust, that the person has not one chance in hell of avoiding hell based on the quality of their lives.”
There will be a short break after Dr. Jensen’s speech while we wipe the foam off the lectern. But now the good news…
In his last presidential speech before retirement…
The Australian broadcaster Alan Jones was recently excoriated by the public for saying one rude thing about one dead person. Surely Jensen should be hounded out of his job for this level of insensitivity?
‘Beatrice’ is a much nicer name.
The controversial issue of blasphemy and Muhammad has taken one of its more surreal turns as a student atheist group were ejected from their university Freshers Fair for naming a pineapple after the Prophet.
According to a statement by member Tim Rouse, the Reading University Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society (RAHS) were running a stall at the annual event for new students when a representative of the university student union (RUSU) came forward to complain about what was on display:
“Among the material displayed on our stall was a pineapple. We labelled this pineapple ‘Mohammed’, to encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty, as well as to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected, and where it is lawful to call a pineapple by whatever name one chooses…”
The society were “ultimately forced to leave the venue”, and they have now stated that they believe the incident violated their right to free expression within their univeristy (sic)..
The Maldives government has rejected a ban on dancing in public between men and women called by its own Islamic Affairs ministry and pledged that the honeymoon hotspot would remain a beacon of tolerance.
Presidential spokesman Abbas Riza says a circular issued by the ministry prohibiting dancing between men and women is not enforceable as it has no basis in Maldivian law.
”There has not been and never will be a ban on dancing,” Abbas said in an emailed statement.
”Under the constitution, no one could enforce or prohibit any freedom unless under a law.”
”The Maldives will always be a very tolerant society (which is an) example to the world.”
An example of what, though?
Besides, if people don’t do their dancing in public, how are you going to find them and kill them?
Muslim hardliners known as Salafists have attacked a hotel in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid because its bar still served alcohol, reports say.
Dozens of activists smashed bottles and chased away customers at the Horchani hotel, news agencies reported.
There’s your opinions, and then there’s God’s opinions… and somehow they always coincide.
Giles Fraser thinks cutting bits off boys’ penises is like teaching them to talk.
So, I want you to imagine a ridiculous liberal experiment, inspired by the philosophical idea that parents ought not to impose their world-view upon their child. Imagine if some mad parents decided not to teach their child a language.
After all, a language like English is impregnated with a set of values and assumptions. So why not keep the child away from all language and then when they get to adulthood allow them to choose for themselves?
Why is this madness? Because learning a language does not close down options. Rather, learning a language is the very basis upon which choice is made possible. It is a precondition for the possibility of understanding.
I offer this bonkers experiment as a reductio ad absurdum of the sort of thing that is often said about imposing religion on children.
Because baby boys always scream with fear, misery and excruciating pain when you teach them to talk.
On the other hand, nobody actually dies from it.