Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
“Enemies of Humanity” Says Pakistan Interior Minister.
Radio Pakistan ‘reports’:
NISAR VOWS TO BLOCK BLASPHEMOUS CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Interior Minister asks Facebook administration to cooperate in removal and blocking of the blasphemous contents.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan says those responsible for blasphemy will be dealt with an iron hand.
Talking to media after inaugurating citizen facilitation center in Islamabad on Thursday, he said the culprits of blasphemy are enemies of humanity.He said that we have asked Facebook administration to cooperate in removal and blocking of the blasphemous contents.The Interior Minister said that government is making all out efforts to block blasphemous material on social media. He said eleven people who commented on such posts are being interrogated.
He urged all Muslims countries to practice unity against sordid conspiracies against Islam as the matter of blasphemy hurts feelings of all Muslims.
He said the government will take strict action against blasphemous contents and will avail all the possible options.
The Minister said that cooperation from the US Administration is also being sought through US embassy in Pakistan in this regard.
He urged the international community to have immense consultations on the issue of blasphemy as it has become a critical matter for the world.
He said ridiculing a religion in the name of freedom of expression will not be allowed
Al Jazeera reports,
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistani authorities have contacted social media website Facebook for help in investigating the posting of “blasphemous content” on the platform by Pakistanis, according to a statement.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan. Insulting the Prophet Muhammad carries a judicial death sentence and, increasingly commonly, the threat of extrajudicial murder by right-wing vigilantes.
At least 68 people have been killed in connection with blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to a tally maintained by Al Jazeera.
“There have been positive developments in the matter of the Pakistani government’s contact with Facebook’s management regarding the blocking of blasphemous content,” an interior ministry spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.
Facebook would be sending a representative to visit Pakistan with regard to the matter, the statement said, and the government has appointed an official to liaise directly with the social networking website regarding the censoring of certain content.
In a statement quoted by the AP news agency, Facebook said it viewed government requests with care keeping in mind “the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users”.
The move comes after Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, ordered a ban on all online content deemed to be “blasphemous” on Tuesday.
“Ridiculing a religion in the name of freedom of expression should not be allowed,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s interior minister, said on Thursday.
11 People under Threat.
Khan is spearheading the government’s efforts to have the material blocked.
Eleven people have been identified as having posted “blasphemous” comments or material on Facebook and will be acted against, the minister said. The identities of the 11 people in question were not immediately clear.
The authorities’ move comes after a senior judge at the Islamabad High Court called upon the government to block all blasphemous content online, “even at the cost of blocking entire social media”.
The petition at the High Court accuses five rights activists who were abducted in early January of running Facebook pages that had posted content deemed to be blasphemous.
No evidence has been shared directly linking the five activists to the Facebook pages in question, but during their three-week disappearance the men were the subject of a vast social media campaign accusing them of blasphemy.
“There is overwhelming evidence that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws violate human rights and encourage people to take the law into their own hands.
Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.”
Demolish the Sacré-Cœur?
French citizen proposes demolishing the “Sacré-Cœur”, a “Versailles verruca that insults the memory of the Paris Commune”. (une verrue versaillaise qui insulte la mémoire de la Commune de Paris). He his project consists of the complete demolition of the basilica during a great popular fête. Le projet consiste en la démolition totale de la basilique lors d’une grande fête populaire.»
un habitant du quartier ne l’apprécie visiblement pas. Ce dernier a soumis, samedi 11, un projet au budget participatif de la Ville de Paris (qui propose aux citoyens de décider de l’investissement de 5% du budget municipal) pour la raser sans autre forme de procès. “Le Sacré-Cœur est une verrue versaillaise qui insulte la mémoire de la Commune de Paris. Le projet consiste en la démolition totale de la basilique lors d’une grande fête populaire“, peut-on lire à titre de justification.
In case people think this is off the wall the reason why the Basilica was built is well known (I lived in the same quartier des Grandes-Carrières …)
Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the defeat of France in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the socialist Paris Commune of 1871[crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ.
The inspiration for Sacré Cœur’s design originated on September 4, 1870, the day of the proclamation of the Third Republic, with a speech by Bishop Fournier attributing the defeat of French troops during the Franco-Prussian War to a divine punishment after “a century of moral decline” since the French Revolution, in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following that revolution, between devout Catholics and legitimist royalists on one side, and democrats, secularists, socialists and radicals on the other. This schism in the French social order became particularly pronounced after the 1870 withdrawal of the French military garrison protecting the Vatican in Rome to the front of the Franco-Prussian War by Napoleon III, the secular uprising of the Paris Commune of 1870-1871, and the subsequent 1871 defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War.
Though today the Basilica is asserted to be dedicated in honour of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction, specifies that it is to “expiate the crimes of the Commune“. Montmartre had been the site of the Commune’s first insurrection, and the Communards had executed Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church. His successor Guibert, climbing the Butte Montmartre in October 1872, was reported to have had a vision, as clouds dispersed over the panorama: “It is here, it is here where the martyrs are, it is here that the Sacred Heart must reign so that it can beckon all to come”.
In the moment of inertia following the resignation of the government of Adolphe Thiers, 24 May 1873, François Pie, bishop of Poitiers, expressed the national yearning for spiritual renewal— “the hour of the Church has come”— that would be expressed through the “Government of Moral Order” of the Third Republic, which linked Catholic institutions with secular ones, in “a project of religious and national renewal, the main features of which were the restoration of monarchy and the defense of Rome within a cultural framework of official piety”, of which Sacré-Cœur is the chief lasting triumphalist monument.
The decree voting its construction as a “matter of public utility”, 24 July, followed close on Thiers’ resignation. The project was expressed by the Church as a National Vow (Vœu national) and financial support came from parishes throughout France. The dedicatory inscription records the Basilica as the accomplishment of a vow by Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury, ratified by Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, Archbishop of Paris. The project took many years to complete.
Mehdi Meklat “Voice of the Banlieue.”
Mehdi Meklat (more details here), who has written extensively on Bondy Blog (set up to express “ la diversité ethnique and to be “la voix des quartiers”) who has contributed to France Inter and Arte, is the co-author of the books Burn Out and Minute, has been caught out.
Meklat was promoted by French left outlets such as Les Inrockuptibles and has appeared on his cover with former Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. The magazine presented him as the “voice of youth and the Estates, “a new generation from the banlieue.”
Following his latest promotion on the front cover of Les Inrockuptibles it has become public that he is the author of extreme racist, anti-semitic and homophobic – and just plain violent misogynistic gobshite – on Twitter under the name of his ‘alter ego’, Deschamps (apparently a ‘funny’ play on the conceptual artist , has dominated the French media over the last week. (Affaire des tweets de Mehdi Meklat).
Le Monde devoted an Editorial to the affair (L’affaire Mehdi Meklat, révélatrice de deux sociétés qui ne se rencontrent pas. 22.2.017).
The daily noted the decline of open-minded humanist voices in the banlieue, and the growth of the ‘identitarian extreme-right, both indigenous, around the Front National, and Islamist, in conditions of mass unemployment and social exclusion. In this instance Meklat revealed a swelling tide of “la violence rhétorique”. It deplored the tolerance given in social media to far from “anodyne” verbal violence, which, experience showed, can lead to more dangerous consequences.
More details: Le Monde, Le chroniqueur Mehdi Meklat rattrapé par ses tweets haineux (21.02.17)
(Bring Hitler to kill the Jews. I gob phlegm in the dirty mug of Charb and all the Charlie Hebdo lot.)
AS the re-tweet indicates he has a real problems with women, calling for sodomising them, amongst other vile comments.
The targets, as “Mr Hyde” Deschamps included: « les homos », « les juifs », « Charlie », « les transsexuels », « les Français », « les lesbiennes », « les femmes ».
He, like many racists, homophobes and ‘left’ apologists for Islamism, has a particular hatred of gay secularist Caroline Fourest, whom he has accused of paedophilia.
Those who promoted this individual are having a hard time explaining this activity, which took place from 2011 to 2015, away.
Pakistani Human Rights Protests for Missing Bloggers.
The families of five missing Pakistani activists denounced what they called a “malicious” social media campaign accusing the men of blasphemy, a highly charged allegation that can have deadly consequences in Pakistan.
The five men had stood against religious intolerance and at times criticized Pakistan’s military. They all vanished within days of each other earlier this month.
No group has claimed responsibility for their abduction and security agencies have denied involvement.
Meanwhile, the blasphemy accusations against the activists have been multiplying on Facebook and Twitter, triggering a flood of threats.
Right now the friends of my friends are being ‘disappeared’
Soon it will be my friends’ turn
And then mine …
When I become the file
That my father will bring to court hearings
Or the picture that my son will kiss when asked by a journalist
This sad story has yet to come to a conclusion.
Disappeared: Silencing Pakistan’s activists Al Jazeera.
Rights groups say blasphemy allegations against disappeared activists aim to silent dissent for good.
The issue of enforced disappearances is not new for Pakistan. Rights activists allege that there are thousands of people who have been “disappeared” by the state, with some allegedly killed while in custody. In December, the government’s Commission on Enforced Disappearances reported that the dead bodies of 936 missing persons had been found in Balochistan province alone since 2011.
The government denies any wrongdoing, and, in the case of the five activists currently missing, the interior ministry says it is “making every possible effort for [their] safe recovery”, according to a statement.
Now, however, these activists and citizens, as well as those calling for their release, face an even greater danger: They are being accused of blasphemy – a crime that carries a judicial death sentence and, increasingly commonly, the threat of extrajudicial murder by right-wing vigilantes.
“These [Facebook] pages … are extremely insulting to the Prophet, the Quran, Allah and Islam. They have made a joke out of this,” said Abdullah Cheema, a guest on a popular television news show on January 12. Cheema accused Goraya of running the Facebook pages in question, a charge denied by the activist’s family.
“Speaking in support of such criminals is a crime in itself,” said Cheema, while being encouraged by Orya Maqbool Jan, the show’s host and a well-known newspaper columnist.
“These blasphemers who they have captured, whoever has captured them, may Allah bless those people,” said Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a well-known Muslim leader in a sermon uploaded to YouTube on Jan 13.
“The bloggers’ disappearance is its own issue. They should definitely be produced, but no one should try and hide their crimes, and their crimes are so heinous that no one should … say that they suffered injustice,” said Aamir Liaquat, one of Pakistan’s most well-known talk show hosts on January 16.
Meanwhile, Facebook pages known for posting material in favour of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have also taken up the cry.
“The group of atheists committing blasphemy on Facebook … have been defeated,” said a recent post by Pakistan Defence, a pro-military Facebook page that has 7.5 million likes and is run by anonymous administrators.
Insulting Islam’s prophet carries the death sentence in Pakistan, while defiling the Quran carries a life sentence. Blasphemy accusations have often been used to target minorities and to settle personal scores, rights groups say. Currently, there are 40 people on death row or serving life sentences for the crime in Pakistan, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
More worryingly, at least 68 people linked to blasphemy accusations have been killed by vigilantes or mobs since 1990, according a tally maintained by Al Jazeera. They have included those accused of blasphemy, their lawyers, their relatives, judges hearing their cases and members of their communities (PDF).
“Anyone even accused of blasphemy practically carries a death sentence even if they are [released],” says Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), expressing her organisation’s “alarm” at the accusations being levelled at both the disappeared and those campaigning for their release.
Gul Bukhari, a Lahore-based rights activist, sees the campaign of accusations as aimed at silencing the campaign for the five men to be recovered.
The Pakistani government should urgently investigate the apparent abductions of four activists who campaign for human rights and religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said today. The four men, Salman Haider, a well-known poet and academic, and bloggers Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer, went missing or were taken away from different cities between January 4 and January 7, 2017.
All four men were vocal critics of militant religious groups and Pakistan’s military establishment, and used the internet to disseminate their views. Their near simultaneous disappearance and the government’s shutting down of their websites and blogs raises grave concerns of government involvement. While the Pakistani interior minister, Nisar Ali Khan, directed the police on January 7 to speed up efforts to locate Haider, whom the government says it is not holding, a broader effort is needed to uncover the whereabouts and well-being of all four men.
“The Pakistani government has an immediate obligation to locate the four missing human rights activists and act to ensure their safety,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The nature of these apparent abductions puts the Nawaz Sharif government on notice that it can either be part of the solution or it will be held responsible for its role in the problem.”
PM Defends Right to Speak of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
Much has been made, in the French media, about François Fillon’s (successful) efforts to moblise the Catholic, and more broadly, conservative religious vote behind his Presidential bid.
Where Filly flows, May meanders behind.
CHRISTIANS must be free to speak about their faith and Christmas without fear of repercussions, the Prime Minister has said.
Her comments come as a report from a think tank warns religious freedoms are being eroded after teachers, magistrates and other professionals have been disciplined and sacked for living according to their beliefs.
Reports the journal of record, the Sun.
Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, who sits on the Ecclesiastical Committee, warned that Christians have become “fearful” about mentioning their faith in public in case they encounter a backlash.
She told Prime Minister’s Questions: “Comments this week by the Equalities Commissioner not to be worried about talking about Christmas at work were important because many Christians are now worried, even fearful, about mentioning their faith in public.
“So would the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the recent Lawyers Christian Fellowship report Speak Up, which confirms that in our country today the legal rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech to speak about one’s faith responsibly, respectfully and without fear, are as strong today as ever?”
The Prime Minister fearlessly replied,
Theresa May, the daughter of a vicar, said religious tolerance is a fiercely guarded principle in Britain that must be respected.
She said: “You raise an important issue that matters to both you and me, and I think that the phrase that was used by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship was ‘the jealously guarded principle’ of that ability to speak freely, as you say respectfully and responsibly, about one’s religion.
“I’m happy to welcome the publication of this report and its findings.”
She added, we learn,
Of course we’re now into the season of Advent, and we have a very strong tradition in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech, and our Christian heritage is something we can all be proud of.
I’m sure that we would all want to ensure that people at work do feel able to speak about their faith, and also feel quite able to speak freely about Christmas.”
Snipers comment (Left Foot Forward).
The report itself has to be read in this context. It offers Christians guidelines (which it makes clear are not legal advice) on how to talk about their religion so more people follow it or adopt its ideas.
As Speak Up‘s introduction says:
“As Christians, it’s our responsibility to share the good news …
We know what a difference the gospel has made to our lives, and we should be passionate about seeing as many people as possible know this transforming good news, as well. …
We should grab hold of this opportunity and tell our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues about the life-changing good news we have received.”
In the conclusion, Dr David Landrum, advocacy director for the Evangelical Alliance, writes:
“The lost need the gospel, so we need to be intentional about sharing it. We hope that this resource will inform followers of Christ about the freedoms we have to do this, and encourage confident and fruitful evangelism in every area of public life.“
The report has sections on ‘sharing the gospel at work’, ‘sharing the gospel in public’, and ‘sharing the gospel on social media’. It includes advice on where you can talk about people’s ‘sexual orientation’ and how far you can go.
The report doesn’t appear to call for any rule-bending, and does seem like a good faith (excuse the pun) attempt to inform people about their rights and the law. But it does so in order that they know how best to ‘share the gospel’ as part of a clear political agenda.
How political? A Dispatches investigation in 2008, In the Name of God, found Andrea Williams, then LCF public policy director, called the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill the work of the devil, supported banning abortion, considered homosexuality sinful and was a young earth creationist. Williams no-longer works for the LCF.
But both groups are committed to seeing their views shape public policy, with the help of friendly MPs like Fiona Bruce. How nice for the Prime Minister to give them a boost under the banner of the non-existent ‘Christmas wars’!
With less than 59 per cent of Brits identifying as Christian (most of them Anglican), and at least a quarter ticking ‘no religion’ on the census form, this is a strange move for a PM who wants a society that ‘works for everyone’.
My Advent Card:
Jack and Dinos Chapman: Fucking Hell.
French Far-Right Hesitates between Marine le Pen and François Fillon.
France 24 reports,
By overwhelmingly backing former prime minister François Fillon, voters in the primary held by France’s centre-right on Sunday opted for an economically liberal, socially conservative candidate whose vision for France leaves little ambiguity.
Any hope rival primary candidate Alain Juppé had of springing a surprise in the Les Républicains party run-off vote failed to come to fruition, with Fillon taking some 66.5 percent of the vote. If Fillon’s strong performance in the first round of voting could be in part attributed to voters merely wanting to shut out Nicolas Sarkozy, his landslide victory over Juppé on Sunday left little room for doubt: Fillon’s firmly right-wing platform had won the firm backing of the conservative electorate.
The “fight between one project and another”, as the more moderate, centrist Juppé had called his showdown with Fillon, had been decided. Despite attacks by Juppé between the two rounds of voting that had depicted him as both “ultra conservative” and “ultra liberal” economically, Fillon had clearly prevailed.
The Guardian columnist Angelique Chrisafis comments,
The Front National leader has reason to fear the Republican candidate, whose views overlap with some of her key ideas.
The Front National has reason to fear Fillon. His traditionalist and socially conservative line on family values and “the Christian roots of France”, his emphasis on French national identity, “sovereignty” and “patriotism”, his hard line on immigration and Islam as well as a pro-Putin foreign agenda against “American imperialism” all overlap with some of Le Pen’s key ideas.
This could potentially see Fillon steal some of Le Pen’s most socially conservative voters, particularly rightwing elderly people, who always have a big turnout to vote but remain sceptical about the Front National.
“Fillon presents us with a strategy problem, he’s the most dangerous [candidate] for the Front National,” Marion Maréchal Le Pen, the Catholic and socially conservative Front National MP and niece of Marine Le Pen, told journalists this week.
Despite Fillon’s hardline rightwing stances, he is not a populist. “He’s closer to [the former British prime minister] David Cameron than [the Ukip leader] Nigel Farage,” said Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the French far right.
This leaves Le Pen a wide margin in which to go for Fillon’s jugular as she fights a campaign centred on “the people versus the elite”. The Front National has already begun attacking Fillon as a snobbish, political has-been. It argues thatFillon, as Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, was responsible for the failures of the Sarkozy era and cares more about the rich, globalised elite than the working class who have faced decades of mass unemployment.
The battle will largely focus on economic policy. Fillon has promised a “radical shock” for France with free-market reform, major cuts to public sector jobs and reducing public spending. Le Pen claims to represent the “forgotten” French underclass and has an economic line that is essentially leftwing: she is anti-globalisation and favours protectionism and state intervention. Le Pen’s campaign director, David Rachline, has called Fillon’s programme “economically insane” for wanting to slash 500,000 public sector jobs.
Le Pen’s advisers believe Fillon will struggle to appeal to the lower middle class and working class voters who are afraid of losing their jobs. The Front National has slammed Fillon as a symbol of lawless, ultra-free market, globalised capitalism. Fillon, in return, says Le Pen’s economic project is simply “a cut and paste of the extreme left”.
Some on the French far-right are already moving towards backing Fillon (Le conservatisme affiché de François Fillon séduit à l’extrême droite).
Has the French left any chance?
The Socialists continue to hover between indecision and hesitancy.
This weekend the French Communist Party (PCF) voted to back Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Presidential bid (Finalement, les communistes soutiennent… Mélenchon. Libération). They supported his candidacy under the banner of la France insoumise by a slim, at 53,6% for, majority. It is obvious that there was little chance of a the Communists being able to launch their own Presidential challenge. The Party announced its intention of launching their own campaign in support his proposals against austerity. They do not intend to give him ‘carte blanche’ (un blanc-seing).
This follows the decision of the other component of the (now effectively defunct) Front de gauche, Ensemble, to back Mélenchon, Communiqué du Collectif National d’Ensemble des 19 et 20 novembre 2016)
That Mélenchon looks potentially capable of beating a Socialist candidate into fourth place no doubt counts in his favour – although no poll gives him a chance of getting to the run-off.
The reasons for the PCF’s reservations – shared no doubt by many in Ensemble, are not hard to find. Beginning with the personality of the Man of Destiny.
We nevertheless cite a major source of difference which, given the importance of the issue of immigration in the coming contest, will no doubt grow in importance
Philippe Marlière has noted (Guardian),
Despite a steady increase in Euroscepticism in France, the underlying principle of free movement of people across the EU remains broadly undisputed. Apart from in one telling area. There is growing evidence of opposition towards EU migrants and the notion of freedom in what has become known as “social dumping”. This relates to “posted workers”, employees sent by their employer to carry out a service in another EU member state on a temporary basis. Those EU workers do not integrate in the labour market in which they work.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an MEP, a presidential candidate in 2012 and running again in 2017, has singled out posted workers in a speech at the European parliament last July. He declared that “posted workers took the bread out of French workers’ mouths”. Part of the French left was stunned by words that could have easily been uttered by Marine Le Pen.
Meanwhile Jean-Luc Mélenchon has insulted yet another section of the left. He has attacked the journalist and Latin American specialist Paulo Paranagua with a series of allegations about his political past in Argentina. The journalist, the Presidential hopeful raved, had been objectively Muse of the CIA – no doubt the reason he was captured and tortured for his association with armed resistance to the 1970s military regimes of the time. Paranagua was only released from an Argentinian gaol and deported to France after an international campaign in his defence.
A protest at these slanders has been launched: “Nous n’acceptons pas de voir notre passé commun insulté par J.L. Mélenchon“. Signatures include Alain Krivine..
Update, Post Primary Opinion Poll:
None of the left gets more than 13% in opinion polls, Fillon, 26% Marine Le Pen (24%) Emmanuel Macron – Centre (14%) et Jean-Luc Mélenchon (13%), t François Hollande9%, François Bayrou, Centre, à 6%. Ecologists Yannick Jadot and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan 3% Far-left Nathalie Arthaud et Philippe Poutou 1% – poll today l’Express.