Discrimination faced by non-religious at alarming levels worldwide, new report shows
People who leave a religion, criticise a religion or god, or who are simply non-religious, have this last year experienced serious persecution in many countries, including several where they face the death penalty, according to a new report released today.
The Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), highlights the discrimination and persecution faced by the non-religious including humanists, atheists, and agnostics.
Humanists UK has welcomed the report saying it highlights the extreme persecution that non-religious people face worldwide and reinforces the need for urgent global action.
For the first time, the report also singles out the top 10 worst countries to be non-religious. The five worst countries to be non-religious are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Maldives and Pakistan. United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Malaysia, Sudan and Brunei Darussalam round off the worst 10.
In 13 countries blasphemy or apostasy is punishable by death.
IHEU president Andrew Copson said: ‘This report paints a dark picture, with significant discrimination faced by our non-religious friends and colleagues around the world. At a time of growing nationalism, we continue to see those who are brave enough to criticise and critique conservative religious leaders demonized as “unpatriotic” and “subversive”.’
Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson added: ‘In too many countries around the world, the situation is going backwards for humanists and other non-religious people. We will be working with the UK Government and other partners here in the UK to help combat this increasing discrimination.’
Countries are measured against a list of criteria under four key categories: constitution and government; education and children’s rights; family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals; and freedom of expression, advocacy of humanists values. Then the countries are ranked by severity from ‘free and equal’, ‘mostly satisfactory’, ‘systemic discrimination’, ‘severe discrimination’ and ‘grave violations’.
Steve McQueen Read ‘Widows’ Reviews and Detected a Racism Problem
Steve McQueen Read ‘Widows’ Reviews and Detected a Racism Problem
Steve McQueen is once again earning acclaim from film critics, this time for his Viola Davis-starring heist drama “Widows.”
The film currently boasts an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes from over 130 reviews.
And it turns out McQueen has been reading what critics have to say about his latest directorial offering.
The director recently told BuzzFeed that in paying close attention to “Widows” reviews he’s noticed film criticism has a problem with inherent racism and sexism.
“Through the critique of this movie, I’ve seen sexism in a way and racism in a way, which is interesting, even if it’s a positive review,” McQueen said.
“People don’t even notice that, but when you’ve got 90% of the critics are white males, that’s what happens.”
How to beat hate crime in London
With anti-Semitism making headlines and hate crime on the rise, Sophie Wilkinson investigates how the capital is responding.
We often talk about the need to learn from history, but increasingly the present is echoing the worst of the past,’ said Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the UK’s most powerful Muslim, at a vigil for the 11 Jews murdered in Pittsburgh two days before.
In a heartening display of unity, he stood alongside London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Jewish religious and community leaders and Londoners of all faiths, including US Ambassador, Woody Johnson.
The victims of the shooting, congregants of the Tree of Life synagogue, were murdered by a suspect who cried out ‘All Jews must die’. Their loved ones’ torment has since reverberated with Jews and their allies across the world, including London, where anti-Semitic crime has risen in recent years (2.6 times higher in the 12 months to July 2018 than the 12 months to March 2011). Meanwhile, last week Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dickannounced her officers have launched a criminal inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitic hate crimes within the Labour Party.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity providing security advice and assistance for British Jews, records 100 incidents of anti-Semitism every month. Until 2016, ‘you could identify one trigger event, usually it’s if Israel has a war,’ says Dave Rich, head of policy at the CST. He cites 2014’s Gaza conflict, after which incidents of anti-Semitic abuse recorded by the Met Police rose 178 per cent. ‘But for the past two years, it’s just month after month, the same daily grind of anti-Semitic incidents on the streets.’ These incidents tend to be, Rich explains, ‘old-fashioned bigotry towards Jewish people’, unleashed by men, mostly young, shouting ‘stuff about the Holocaust, the Nazis, Israel’.
The typical victim is a man, perhaps because Jewish men — like Muslim women — are more likely to be identifiable by their religious dress. And if he’s ‘unlucky’, Rich says, ‘Someone might throw something at him, or try to beat him up.’ Against a backdrop of a rise in all hate crime post-Brexit, an anti-Semitic incident can be in response to something as innocuous as taking too long to park a car. Jemma Levene, deputy director of Hope Not Hate, an advocacy group campaigning against racism and fascism, tells me, ‘In north-west London, children in Jewish school uniform are being abused on buses.’
New York man hit with hate crime charges in the serial theft of LGBT rainbow flags from church
A 21-year-old New York man was arrested on hate crime charges tied to the repeated theft of LGBT rainbow flags from in front of a church, a series of crimes that the openly gay pastor called “unnerving” for him and his congregation.
The suspected thief, Ronald Tyler Witt, was arrested around 8:05 p.m. Tuesday at his home in Sayville, New York, less than four blocks from the Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.
Witt was arrested on suspicion of six counts of petit larceny as a hate crime and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the First District Court in Central Islip, on New York’s Long Island, police said.
It was not immediately clear if Witt had hired an attorney.
Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, the openly gay pastor of the Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ, said the first theft occurred in July and that he contacted police when subsequent flags were stolen.
“Amazon has me on speed order for rainbow flags. I just kept ordering them and putting them up,” Bagnuolo told ABC News on Wednesday. “It wasn’t for any reason other than you can’t let people stop.”
Suffolk police said the rainbow flags, measuring 12 by 18 inches, were stolen on July 29, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Oct. 15, Oct. 20 and on the Tuesday just before Witt was arrested.
“I’m happy they found out who he is and that it can stop because it was unnerving,” Bagnuolo said. “These types of things are meant often to send a message. Sometimes there just a dumb thing that people do, but repeated over and over it begins to feel like there’s a targeting going on here and there’s a message.”
He said the stolen flags were displayed on the church lawn next to an American flag and a prisoner of war flag, which were not touched.
The pastor said that after the second flag was stolen, he put up a sign in front of the church reading, “You destroyed our welcoming Rainbow Flag twice. It WAS an act of fear. It IS an act of hate. Do you realize that? IT WAS NOT KIND. IT IS HURTFUL. Instead of doing it again, talk with us. We will talk with you. You, too, are welcome here.”
Stop hate speech, Obi tells El-Rufai
The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Peter Obi, on Saturday urged Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to stop making inflammatory statements capable of inciting hate among Nigerians.
Obi was reacting to a statement credited to El-Rufai in his (El Rufai’s) twitter handle, where he called Obi ‘a tribal bigot.’
The governor tweeted that Obi stopped him from moving around Anambra State during the governorship election in the state in 2010.
But Obi while speaking with journalists on the matter at a youth programme in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Saturday, said he was shocked to read such an outburst of hate from El-Rufai, especially when ‘the statement came unprovoked.’
He said, “This is suggesting that it was what he sat down to think of rather than thinking about how to solve the many problems plaguing the country.
“What Governor Nasir El-Rufai said about me has been brought to my attention. I believe that as we grow older and are saddled with more responsibilities, we are expected to become circumspect in our thinking and avoid recklessness in our speeches and utterances.
“How does the circumstance he referred to relate to bigotry to warrant such a label? All I do for people like El Rufai is to pray for them and encourage them to concentrate on doing those things that will better Nigerians rather than engage in hate speeches that will divide and destroy the country.’’
“What Governor Nasir El-Rufai said about me has been brought to my attention. I believe that as we grow older and are saddled with more responsibilities, we are expected to become circumspect in our thinking and avoid recklessness in our speeches and utterances.“How does the circumstance he referred to relate to bigotry to warrant such a label?
Everyone believes they know evil.
Everyone is wrong.
Evil is not a top hat-wearing, mustachioed man binding a damsel to a train track. Nor is it a chuckling, one-eyed monster baring sharp teeth. Evil is attractive. Evil is an alluring beauty disguised in trustworthiness. Bull Connor wore a badge. Satan was an angel.
No, evil is not some existential element. It is as real as water and dirt. It is a quantifiable, tangible thing that actually exists. Regardless of intent, evil is the result of choosing between one’s own interests and the welfare of others. In a nutshell, evil is selfishness.
Racism is evil.
Racism has nothing to do with intent, hate or how anyone feels in the deep recesses of their heart. If the result of a policy or action disproportionately affects the people of one race, the intent does not matter. Furthermore, if “a political or social system” is founded on, or exhibits those principles, it — by definition — is racist.
And it works.
Racism was on the ballot this week.
To be fair, the choices were not explicitly spelled out on the screens of voting machines or on paper tickets at the polling places, nor was it as simple as Republican versus Democrat. But it was not subtle. Everyone knew.
And still, America chose evil.
72 percent of nonwhite voters in Tuesday’s election voted for Democratic candidates while 73 percent of white voters voted Republican. And it wasn’t just white men. The majority of white women (sorry, National Review, for using that “derogatory term”) voters supported Ted Cruz, Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp.
And no, all Republicans are not evil or racist. But there were some…
Days before the recent midterm elections, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) endorsed a white supremacist running for mayor of Toronto. King had previously railed against interracial marriage, stating that he’d “like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same,” and asked, on live television, what nonwhite “subgroups” had ever done for civilization.
This summer, King met with a group founded by an original recipe Nazi (yes, an actual SS officer) to get a “second opinion” on the Jewish Holocaust.
INEC warns against hate speech during campaigns
The Independent National Electoral Commission has warned it will not spare political parties and their candidates who heat up the polity through provocative speeches during campaigns.
The Public Relations Officer of INEC in Gombe State, Mr Emmanuel Morett, gave the warning at a two-day training for election observers held at the American Corner in Bauchi.
The training was organised by Leadtots and Human Development Services for youth and civil society organisations drawn from Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi and Taraba states, as well as the media and other stakeholders.
Morett stated that INEC would not fold its arms and watch politicians heat up the polity unnecessarily, stating that there were laws guiding campaigns and political parties and their candidates must adhere strictly to them.
He decried vote-buying in the electoral process, saying that the commission was collaborating with security agencies to stem the rising tide.
“There is so much monetisation of the electoral process. INEC is very worried about the use of money at the polling units. We are collaborating with the EFCC and the ICPC to tackle vote buying.
“It is an offence and the INEC frowns on it. We will not hesitate to call security agencies where we know there are incidents of vote- buying.”
The INEC spokesman further called on Nigerians to come out in 2019 and determine the legitimacy of the government that would represent them.
He said, “The law is clear on campaigns; there shouldn’t be hate or inflammatory speeches because they heat up the polity. Politicians are expected to maintain decorum as they seek for votes in accordance with the laws of the country.”
The Suffragists Got Women The Right To Vote Almost 100 Years Ago
Women have historically either been forgotten or written out of history, but let’s not forget that it was the suffragists who got us the right to vote nearly 100 years ago. It’s so important we exercise that right and make our voices heard today on Election Day.
2018 is being called “The Year of the Woman,” thanks to a record number of women running for the Senate, House of Representatives, governorships and other offices across the country. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go: Women make up only 20% of Congress, 25% of state legislators, 12% of governors and 22% of mayors, according to Ignite. We need to flip the equation and push for equal representation.
In honor of the women who came before, I asked women’s rights scholar and editor of the upcoming intersectional anthology The Women’s Suffrage Movement, Sally Roesch Wagner, to highlight some monumental moments and untold stories from history that paved the way for women to hit the polls.
Women voted before the United States was formed. The suffragists saw what equality looked like and what was possible by looking to their Native American counterparts. “The women of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy have had political voice since the founding of their confederacy 1,000 years ago,” says Roesch Wagner. “Suffragists like Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the lesser-known-but-equally-important Matilda Joslyn Gage knew these women, and Stanton and Gage wrote about the position of these women as far superior to their own.”
Native women’s rights also affected the law. Fighting for the right to vote was one of a myriad of basic rights being fought for during this time. “Mississippi passed the first Married Women’s Property Act in 1839, based on Chickasaw Nation law,” says Roesch Wagner. “A Chickasaw woman, Betsy Love, brought a lawsuit to keep her own property after marriage and the court respected the Chickasaw law and she kept her property.”
First two Muslim women elected to US Congress
US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on Tuesday, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported.
Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nominee, will secure their respective seats in strongly Democratic districts following primary victories earlier this year that effectively decided their races.
The electoral milestone is in stark contrast to the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment around the country.
Burning Grenfell on Guy Fawkes Night shows how profoundly racist Britain can be
It may be, in its own way, as sickening as any of those 9/11 videos; the ones capturing the moments of impact as terrorists fly into skyscrapers.
No, nobody dies in this utterly sickening video of an effigy of a tower in flames. This Grenfell Tower is just cardboard. The screaming figures in the windows are just felt tip pen and paper.
But the goons who burned this effigy atop a brazier and recorded themselves laughing about people dying and “not paying the rent” are real enough, and they walk amongst us in number.
What they represent is a very real evil lurking within our society, and increasingly brazen with it. They, and those like them, are part of a stirring force of Far Right thinking that should terrify us all.
They may not always make the mistake of exposing themselves as directly as these idiots, but they are a permanent and endemic part of British society.
Evil as they are, they don’t exist in isolation. They are represented at the height of our establishment – from newspaper editors to parliamentarians, their sickness is given validity on a daily basis.
It’s there, writ large on the front pages of some of our best-selling tabloids, broadcast shamelessly under the guise of “telling all sides of the debate”, and splashed across billboards warning of the perils of immigration.
Sickening as it is, this video is not anomalous. Britain is, was, and will continue to be for quite some time, a profoundly racist, intolerant society.
Growing up in Merseyside, I lived through the surreal sight of an entire district of my city being reduced to something like a warzone. I say surreal, because for me – a lucky little closeted 12-year-old white boy, living in a pleasant dormitory town on the outskirts, the idea that an entire city could be racist was beyond my understanding.
But Liverpool was a racist city. Like Brixton, and Chapeltown and Handsworth, Toxteth was the explosion of decades of mistreatment, abuse and denigration of black people in a city that would tell you with a straight face it was one of the most cosmopolitan in the world.