Saturday, April 28, 2007

Moral Police

Taken: 27 April 2007 Location: tehran, Islamic Republic of IranA girl is being taken away by police for, probably, having un-islamic dress and showing her hair in public

via The Spirit of Man

Detention of a woman in Tehran
Uploaded by winston80

Friday, April 27, 2007

IHEU opposes proposed ban on blasphemy in UN Human Rights Council charter

An action alert from the International Humanist and Ethical Union,

IHEU has called on its member organisations to oppose the proposed ban on blasphemy in UN Human Rights Council charter. Together with other NGOs represented at the UN, it has issued the following statement:

Last week, during the negotiations to establish a new Human Rights Council to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of the Islamic Conference tabled an amendment that would extend to the global level the prohibition against blasphemy that already exists in certain countries.

The amendment calls on the new human rights body to "prevent instances of intolerance, discrimination, incitement of hatred and violence arising from any actions against religions, prophets and beliefs which threaten the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

This initiative, undertaken by the 56 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at the UN, has grave consequences and should be firmly rejected by the European Union, the United States and all countries that cherish freedom of expression, liberty and democratic values. Defense of religion should not be used as a smokescreen behind which to introduce a false equation between matters of religious conviction and those of international human rights.

The amendment by the OIC should be completely rejected for the following reasons:

The mandate of the Human Rights Council, once established, will be to promote human rights, including vital ones of freedoms of expression, the press, religion and belief. By contrast, the principal effect of the OIC proposal would be an increase in censorship of those cartoons, books, articles, works of art, or other manifestations of thought that are considered offensive to any religion, and the erosion of the freedom to dissent from a religion.

One of the primary results of the OIC proposal would be to establish a justification for the violence and threats of violence that have occurred in recent days over the Danish cartoon depictions of Mohammed. In the past, artists, writers, editors and dissidents have also been threatened with death for depicting religions and religious figures in a light deemed unacceptable by certain groups. The OIC proposal seeks a UN and international imprimatur to whitewash this violence as merely acts of "excessive self-defense" against purportedly illegitimate provocations. The result of this proposal would be to increase threats and violence against all those who hold and express contrary religious views.

Next week, the President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, will present a draft resolution on the establishment of the new Human Rights Council. We urge the European Union, the United States and all democratic countries strongly to oppose the inclusion of this proposal, which would taint the Council from birth. If the price to pay for the establishment of the new Human Rights Council is curtailing freedom of expression and religion, and appeasing violence and threats of violence, it is not worth paying.

Matteo Mecacci
UN Representative
Transnational Radical Party

Hillel Neuer
Executive Director
UN Watch

Jennifer Windsor
Executive Director
Freedom House

Yevgeniy Zhovitis
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law

Pilar Checa
Fundacion "8 de Marzo"

Gianfranco Rossi
Representative to the UN in Geneva
International Religious Liberty Association

Panayote Dimitras
Greek Helsinki Monitor

Nafsika Papanikolatos
Minority Rights Group

Roy W Brown
International Humanist and Ethical Union

Maryam Namimze posts this on the tabling of the resolution,
The Council delegate from Pakistan, who also represented the Organization of the Islamic Conference, declared: “The resolution is tabled in the expectation that it will compel the international community to acknowledge and address the disturbing phenomena of the defamation of religions, especially Islam.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Turkish Christians Tortured Before Murder

From Little Green Footballs,
The three victims murdered at a Christian publishing house in Turkey were apparently tortured for hours before being slaughtered: Slain evangelists were tortured, says Turkish doctor.

Real torture. Not Andrew Sullivan-style torture.
Three Protestants murdered at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, Turkey, were tortured for three hours before their assailants slit their throats, a press report said Friday, quoting one of the doctors involved in the grisly case.
So much for giving today's Turks a pass on the word Genocide.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

RIP Najim Abd-Jasem

Harry Barnes writes
Exactly a year ago today I sat near the centre of a long and crowded table at a meeting in Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Sitting almost opposite to me was Najim Abd-Jasem, the General Secretary of the Mechanics, Printers and Metalworkers Union in Baghdad.

I have just discovered that Najem was kidnapped last Tuesday, brutally tortured and then murdered because of his non-sectarian Trade Union work. His body was found on Monday. It is a sad and shattering anniversary of what had been one of the most telling meetings I have ever attended.
xp Bill Baar's West Side

Congregations Come First blog

Boy in the Band finds a link to a UU Blog with this mission,
The Congregations Come First (CCF) Team was formed by the Unitarian Universalist Association Moderator to find ways to remove organizational obstacles to congregational health and vitality. The Team's goal is to recommend actions that will ensure equitable allocation of resources for service and support of our congregations and their missions. The Team welcomes your input as they gather information and formulate recommendations to report to the UUA Board in January of 2008.
The lad in the Band writes,
If there’s a task the common Unitarian Universalist blogosphere can hold — and something that would benefit every constituency and interest group – is applying continual pressure about Unitarian Universalist internal politics and asking for clarification.
Ok, so what's this CCF blog all about and why aren't they blogging more about it?

I'm baffled.