- Another Indian Hate Site “Bulli Bai” Auctions Off Muslim Women
On New Year's Day, an app called Bulli Bai uploaded hundreds of photos of Muslim women in India to be “auctioned off,” in an attempt to degrade and harass them. This app is considered to be a clone of an app called “Sulli Deals” which was available in 2021. According to the BBC, ‘Sulli’ is a derogatory Hindi slang term right-wing Hindu trolls use for Muslim women, and ‘bulli’ is also pejorative. Many of the women featured are prominent journalists, activists, and public critics of the rising Hindutva terrorism in India. Although the Sulli Deals app was taken down last year a week after its launch, no further steps were taken to prosecute the people behind it. On January 6th, the Mumbai Police arrested four individuals behind Bulli Bai. All of them are between the ages of 18 to 21 and three of them are engineering students.
- Taliban Orders the Beheading of Mannequins
On January 2nd, Aziz Rahman, the head of the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the city of Herat, ordered all shopkeepers to cut down the heads of mannequins as idolatry is considered haram, or “forbidden,” according to Sharia law. The initial plan was to remove the mannequins altogether, but many shopkeepers complained that such action would damage their businesses. Ultimately, it was decided to keep the mannequins, but get rid of their heads. Business owner, Abdul Wadood Faiz Zada, stated that the mannequins cost somewhere between $70 and $100. He thought that covering the heads would have been a better solution than cutting them off. The Ministry countered such an idea by stating, “If they just cover the head or hide the entire mannequin, the angel of Allah will not enter their shop or house and bless them.”
- Taliban Pours 3,000 Liters Of Liquor From Raid into Canal
On New Year's Day, a team of Afghan intelligence agents arrested three men and seized 3,000 liters of liquor during a raid in Kabul. The Twitter account for the General Directorate of Intelligence, an intelligence agency controlled by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, posted a video showing the confiscated alcohol being dumped into a canal. In the video, a religious leader said, "Muslims have to seriously abstain from making and delivering alcohol." The sale and consumption of alcohol have long been illegal in Afghanistan, but the recent crackdown has been significantly more strict. It is yet to be announced what will happen to the arrested men, but the punishment will likely be harsh. Even under the previous Afghan government, a man was given 80 lashes in 2012 after he was caught consuming alcohol.
- Hindu Gang Attacks "Untouchable" Christian Family For "Converting Hindus"
On December 29th, a Dalit Christian family in the state of Karnataka, India, was attacked by a group of right-wing Hindu Nationalists in their home under the suspicion of conducting illegal conversions. One of the family members, Akshay Kumar Karaganvi, a pastor, was organizing annual prayers with his family when seven men allegedly entered his house and attacked them. Both Akshay and his nephew were assaulted. The perpetrators accused the female members of the family of being “professional sex workers”. A pot of hot lentil soup was thrown at Akshay’s wife, Kavita, inflicting severe burns. A cousin who was with the family had her saree ripped off while being called a “sex worker.” Before leaving the household, the attackers threatened to “burn them to death” if they tried to convert people again in the future. Recently, the Karnataka legislative body passed an “anti-conversion” law that mandates that all conversions must be preemptively reported to a magistrate just days prior to this attack. At this time, there is no evidence that the family tried to convert people.
- Famed Jordanian Singer Quits Music to Obey Allah's Commands
On December 21st, famous Jordanian-Palestinian singer, Adham Nabulsi, announced his retirement from the music industry in order to “worship God and obey his commands.” The video through which he announced his retirement went viral causing controversy. There has been a long-standing debate in the Islamic community surrounding the notion that music is “haram,” or forbidden. Some might point at certain hadiths (Islamic scripture that contains the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), to justify that listening to music is permissible since the Hadith states that the Prophet asked his wife, Ayesha, to sing with her neighbor. Many say that modern music is definitely haram due to its salacious lyrical contents.
- Polish Archbishop Bans Children From Visiting Priest's Homes Alone
On New Year's Day, Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow, Poland, issued a new decree which would drastically alter the practices of the diocese. Priests and lay people working for the diocese are barred from being alone with a minor in the minor’s home, in the priest’s or church affiliate’s own home, or taking them anywhere by car without the parents’ permission. They are also not allowed to take photos of the minors without the permission of the parents. The decree also emphasizes that any physical contact is prohibited unless medically necessary or part of the church’s ritual practices. A report from Poland's State Commission on Pedophilia from July stated that nearly 1 in 3 cases of child sexual abuse from 2017 to 2020 involved a clergy member. The recent decision of the Archbishop could be related to this report. The churches have 60 days to affirm their familiarity with the new rules.
- Atheist Bloggers Told to Stop Criticizing Religion
Patheos, a multifaith media platform owned by BN Media, has recently made drastic changes that do not allow its nonreligious channels to criticize religion. Fifteen bloggers left the platform at the very end of 2021. Hemant Mehta of the famed Friendly Atheist blog is one of the many bloggers who left. Hemant stated, “The writing on the wall was that, unless you’re prepared to say nice things about religion, you need to find a new outlet.” Adam Lee, the writer of the Daylight Atheism blog for Patheos, said, “Many of us felt this would require an editorial shift to such an extent as to make our blogs unrecognizable.” All the bloggers, along with their manager, Dale McGowen, have started a new platform called OnlySky, where Dale will be their new editor-in-chief. The site will launch sometimein January 2022.
- Iran Vows "Muslims Will Take Revenge" If Trump Is Not Put On Trial
On January 3rd, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that if the former US President Donald Trump does not face trial for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani then “the hand of revenge will come out of the ummah’s [muslim nation’s] sleeve”. Raisi demanded the formation of a “fair court” in which Trump and other American officials are to be sentenced and punished. The assassination of the General occurred during a drone strike in 2020 in response to rocket attacks that killed American military service members and their Iraqi allies. During the second death anniversary of the General, thousands in Baghdad demonstrated, chanting “Death to America.” Even though the US-led coalition against ISIL was announced to cease in December, there are still 2,500 US troops remaining in Iraq. The leader of a pro-Iran coalition group, Hadi al-Ameri, stated, “We will not accept anything less than full withdrawal as revenge for the blood of our martyrs.”
- UK Muslim Man Resorts to Billboards To Be "Saved From An Arranged Marriage"
Location: United Kingdom
On New Year's Day, Muhammed Malik, a 29-year-old British bachelor, had billboard ads put up in Birmingham, Manchester, and London in the search for his soulmate. The billboards read “Save me from an arranged marriage” with a link to Malik’s website, appropriately titled, www.FindMalikAWife.com. His website starts off with a video message from him where he states that he is seeking “a Muslim woman in her 20s, who's striving to better her deen (faith).” Malik added, “I'm open to any ethnicity, but I've got a loud Punjabi family - so you'd need to keep with the bants.” When asked about his approach, he mentioned that the traditional matchmaker method was not working out for him, so he wanted to take business into his own hands. Business is definitely booming because Malik has received offers from over 100 women!
- More Support Against Hindutva!
The Atheist Republic team recently gave an exciting update on our legal fundraiser to defend against Hindutva attacks and judicial harassment! We successfully met our fundraising goal of $2200 and have now raised our goal to $3000, which will help us offset the burden of many upcoming costs. To keep up our fight, we have to be in good legal standing, and that includes keeping in compliance with several annual legal fillings, expensive trademark renewals, as well as paying accountants so that we can be transparent with our community about our funding. Once we have fulfilled the requirements of these responsibilities, we will move forward with our campaign to reach out to the freethinkers in India that the Indian Government tried to block from us! Thank you once again to our many generous donors who have brought us so far in our fundraiser. If you would like to contribute to our fund, you can do so here.