Atheist Republic News Summary: Charlie Hebdo to Republish Mohammed Cartoons

1. Charlie Hebdo to republish Mohammed cartoons at start of terror trial
Location: Paris, France

2. Far-Right Quran burning sparks violence in Malmo, Sweden
Location: Malmo, Sweden

3. Catholic bishops want to set up ‘gay cure’ clinics in Poland
Location: Poland

4. Lebanon president calls for proclamation of 'secular state'
Location: Lebanon

5. Iranian regime to execute wrestling champion for peaceful protest #SaveNavid
Location: Iran
Video to show:

6. Atheists Persuade Puerto Rico Educators to End Mandatory School Prayers
Location: Puerto Rico

7. Attempted assassination of secular blogger Raif Badawi #FreeRaif
Location: Saudi Arabia

8. 42 Blasphemy Cases Registered In Pakistan In Last 30 Days
Location: Pakistan

9. Indians Violate Communal Harmony In Sydney Over A Social Media Post
Location: Sydney, Australia

10. Nigerian Govenor to sign death warrant for “blaspheming” Muslim
Location: Kano, Nigeria

Video Descriptions:

1. French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the target of a massacre by Islamist gunmen, republished the hugely controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to mark the start of the trial of alleged accomplices to the attack. Twelve people were killed on January 7, 2015, when the 2 shooters went on a rampage at the paper's offices in Paris. "We will never lie down. We will never give up," director Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau wrote in the accompanying editorial. "We have often been asked since January 2015 to print other caricatures of Mohammed," the editorial stated. "We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited... but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate." French President Emmanuel Macron refused to condemn the republishing of the cartoons saying “It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press...”

2. Far-right activists burned a Quran in the Swedish city of Malmo, in turn sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest. The violence followed the burning of a Quran, near a predominantly migrant neighborhood, that was carried out by far-right activists and followers of the Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, and his Hard Line party. Later, three people were arrested on suspicion of inciting hatred against an ethnic group after kicking the Muslim holy book. Rioters set fires and threw objects at police and rescue services, slightly injuring several police officers and leading to the detention of about 15 people.

3. Poland’s Catholic episcopate has adopted an official “position on the question of LGBT+”. While stressing that LGBT people, like all others, deserve respect, the bishops say that this “does not mean accepting their views uncritically”. The detailed, 27-page document rejects a number of postulates associated with the LGBT movement, which the bishops say is aiming to “force moral and cultural transformation by gradually accustoming society to behaviours that until recently were considered morally reprehensible”. They also call for the creation of “clinics to help people who want to regain their…natural sexual orientation”. Such “conversion therapy” has been rejected by the established medical community as unethical and harmful,  and the bishops admit that this idea “stands in clear contradiction to positions regarded as scientific, as well as to so-called ‘political correctness'”.

4. Lebanon's President Michel Aoun for the proclamation of a "secular state" during a televised address to mark the upcoming centenary of the Lebanese state. "I call for the proclamation of Lebanon as a secular state," Aoun said during a speech after an enormous explosion at Beirut's port in early August and months of deepening economic crisis. He said such a state was the only way "of protecting and preserving pluralism" and creating real unity. Aoun stated that he would call for dialogue including religious authorities and political leaders to reach "a formula that is accepted by everyone and that would be embodied in the appropriate constitutional amendments". French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke of the "constraints of a confessional system" in the country's politics and how the system was hampering reforms.

4. The Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of national wrestling champion Navid Afkari for his 2018 protest against the regime in Tehran. Iran’s clerical regime imposed two death sentences, six years and six months in prison, and 74 lashes on Afkari, and similar charges on his two brothers. Reportedly, Navid and Vahid Afkari were severely tortured to give confessions, and the testimony of witnesses about their beatings and torture are even referenced in the case, but the court has ignored it.” Iran’s judiciary charged the brothers with 20 different crimes including “attending illegal gatherings, assembly and conspiracy to commit crimes against national security, and insulting the supreme leader.”

5. The Freedom From Religion Foundation and Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico teamed up to represent the Doe family, whose children attend a public school outside of San Juan. The family matriarch, identified only as Doe 1 in court documents, did not want her minor children taught religious precepts alongside grammar and arithmetic. The school’s prayer events frequently lasted around 50 minutes. The teachers refused to accommodate the family, and the children experienced bullying from classmates. The family eventually filed a suit against the principal and the Secretary of the Department of Education. After mediation, the school said that they would permanently prohibit school-led prayers, and conduct a training for all employees of the school regarding their constitutional obligations.

6. Secular blogger Raif Badawi, who has been in prison in Saudi Arabia for eight years, was the subject of assassination attempt. “My husband, Raif Badawi, was subject of an assassination attempt inside prison by a prisoner who was arrested because of being member of a terrorist group,” says his wife Enaif,  “The case was referred to the Public Prosecution. Raif is on an open hunger strike because he doesn’t feel protected in jail.” "The attempted assassination took place a few weeks ago, I believe, but I don't know exactly when. I don't have many details because the conversation with Raif was very short," she said. According to a tweet posted by his wife on 9/1/2020, Badawi has stopped his hunger strike.

7. At least 42 cases pertaining to blasphemy were registered across Pakistan in a single month, according to data compiled by a social media user. Most of those accused of blasphemy belonged to the Shia community, who have been booked under 295-A and 298 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly ‘insulting the companions of Prophet Muhammad.’  Up to 80 people are known to be imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges, half of whom face life in prison or the death penalty, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

8. A major fight broke in Sydney, that began because of posts on TikTok. The fight allegedly took place between Haryanvi and Punjabi student communities, reflecting a conflict that has historically been part of the Indian psyche. The reason for the fight goes back to the Khalistani movement that began at the time of independence, which demanded a separate sovereign state for Sikh-majorities of Punjab. A 33-year-old male posted pro-Khalistani content on TikTok, which eventually led to a fight involving nearly 40 people. In response to the incident, Gurmeet Tulli, the president of Little India Precinct, has called for the need for the Indian High Commission to take steps to educate Indian students coming to Australia to respect the multicultural integrity of the country.

9. Abdullahi Ganduje, the Governor of  Kano State said the State Government has accepted the death penalty on a Kano-based singer, Yahaya Sharif and the verdict would be signed in 30 days. Sharif was convicted to death by a Kano State Sharia Court for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammed in a song he shared on WhatsApp. “In the event the convict appeals the judgement, we shall wait and follow the case up to the Appeal Court. If he further appeals to the Supreme Court, we shall follow the case there. If the Supreme Court upholds the two lower court judgments, the governor of Kano State will not add one minute to sign the execution order,” Ganduje said. The governor raised alarm on the growing issue of blasphemy adding that the government would ensure that it is curbed in the state.

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