July 25 2014

A country where liberal journalists risk death

rp_blasphemy_law.jpg

According to BBC, the life of a liberal journalist in Pakistan is not an easy one. Write about someone fighting a blasphemy case, or someone whose faith is considered heresy, and you may very soon find yourself in deep trouble.

Shoaib Adil, a 49-year-old magazine editor and publisher in Lahore, has many well-wishers and they all want him to disappear from public life or, even better, leave the country.

Since blasphemy charges were filed against him last month, the police have told him that he can't return home, he can't even be seen in the city where he grew up and worked all his life. It wouldn't be safe.

July 25 2014

Egypt campaigns against atheism

rp_Flag_of_Egypt_variant-copy.jpg

According to Al-Monitor, the Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowment), in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Youth in Egypt, has begun a national campaign to fight the presumed spread of atheism among youth.

Thus, those state departments decided to break into the world of atheists without having the slightest information that would allow them to control this phenomenon in any possible way.

Both Sheikh Ahmad Turk, director of mosques at the Ministry of Awqaf and in charge of the campaign against atheism, and Nuamat Sati, who is in charge of the campaign at the Ministry of Youth, told Al-Monitor that the spread of the phenomenon of atheism, specifically among youth, is what pushed the ministries to undertake this campaign today.

July 24 2014

ACRI Puts Israeli Officials on Free Speech Notice

Critics of Israel receive false accusations. BBSNews 2014-07-24 -- By ACRI. Following a series of public statements by senior government ministers the attacking public demonstrations, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sent a letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein this morning asking him to make clear to Israel's elected officials their responsibility to defend the right to free speech, and to refrain from delegitimizing participating in legal protests. The letter was sent by ACRI Attorney Sharona Eliahu-Chai and ACRI Chief Legal Counsel Dan Yakir. Among other public expressions: Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich was recently quoted in the media as claiming that he supports the prevention of demonstrations during times of war; Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav requested that Israel Police prevent demonstrations from taking place in the city of Haifa claiming that they damage the fabric of the relationship between Jews and Arabs in the city; and Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman called on his Facebook page for Israeli citizens to boycott Arab businesses that take part in a general strike in solidarity with the people of Gaza and against the military operation. Excerpts from within the letter: "Society's commitment to free speech is put to test during times of war, social disputes and national divisions [...] statements of the kind mentioned above, issued by government ministers and city mayors, encourage a public atmosphere of intolerance towards those that utilize their right to free expression and protest, and conveys an unacceptable message that participation in demonstrations on the topic of the conflict is illegitimate. This message is even likely to expose those who choose to attend to additional risks. There is a latent threat contained in the messages that anyone who dares to criticize government police these days, especially military operations, is marked as an "agitator", or even as a supporter of the enemy or a "traitor", and so must be boycotted instead of being treated as a someone who is contributing to legitimate public dialogue. In a reality where participants in public protests are exposed to violence by counter-protesters, as has happened in recent demonstrations [...] the statements detailed above can only cause increased danger." According to ACRI Attorney Sharona Eliahu-Chai: "In a period where silencing tactics, public militancy and and political violence, both verbal and physical, have reached extreme and frightening  proportions, it is important to remind our elected officials that even if their statements against protesters are politically expedient, the implications for democracy are likely to be disastrous.  To read the full letter (in Hebrew), click here. ###
Category: Palestine