- Pakistani Mob Kidnaps Man Accused of Blasphemy From Police & Lynches Him
On February 11th, an angry mob in Pakistan attacked a man at a police station in Punjab province and lynched him. The man was identified as Waris Ali Issa. Waris was imprisoned for reportedly desecrating pages of the Quran, the Islamic holy book. The angry mob, composed of hundreds of Muslims, accused him of witchcraft and charged into the Warburton police station where Waris was in custody. Some protesters used a wooden ladder to climb a wall and open the gate for the mob. According to a senior police officer, by the time police reinforcement could reach the scene, the mob had lynched the man and was about to burn his body. But police foiled their attempt with the help of more rational people in the area. The police also noted that Waris had been previously arrested for a similar blasphemy charge in 2019, found innocent, and released from prison in mid-2022. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the lynching and demanded the Chief of Punjab Police take action against officers who failed to protect Waris while he was in custody.
- The Taliban Hates Office Work, Misses the Days of Jihad
Recently, the Afghanistan Analytics Network (AAN), a non-profit research agency, conducted interviews with five former Taliban mujahideen (guerrilla fighters who "struggle" for Islam) who are now a part of the new government. Sabawoon Samin, a researcher at AAN, asked the Taliban members how they felt about their victory in securing control of the country. According to some members of the Taliban, they are now expressing complaints about the work-life they lead behind a desk after spending their lifetime riding horses in the countryside as jihadists. They find themselves thinking about how to pay rent and are addicted to using social media like Twitter to pass the time. One member said, "I'm happy with my job, but I often miss the time of Jihad. During that time, every minute of our life was counted as worship. We used to live among the people, but many of us have now caged ourselves in our offices and palaces, abandoning that simple life." One former fighter named Mansur also complained about the traffic in Kabul and said he was robbed of his freedom after the Taliban won.
- ‘They Used Our Hijabs to Gag Us’: Systematic Abuse of Iranian Protesters
On February 6th, British news outlet The Guardian released a report detailing the systemic abuse many Iranian protesters faced at the hands of the Islamic Republic security forces amidst ongoing protests that have rocked the country. The newspaper interviewed 11 protesters, men, and women, who suffered torture and sexual violence from regime authorities. They also talked to a nurse who detailed how women who came for treatment were bleeding from their vaginas due to infection, a sign of sexual torture many Iranians have experienced. One of the protesters interviewed by the Guardian, 25-year-old Dorsa, was violently arrested along with her sister and two male friends. The group was forced to sign confessions stating that they were protesting before being separated from one another for interrogation. She was sexually abused by a foreign object before she was released. Sara, a woman in her 40s from Iran’s Kurdistan region, was among the first protesters to be arrested during the first wave of protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini. Like many female protesters, she was beaten and sexually assaulted, and said authorities even used their hijabs to gag their mouths. 30-year-old Kamyar from Mashhad also narrated how Iranian authorities sexually abused him in a police van. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have published detailed reports showing the human rights violations committed by the regime against its citizens.
- Congresswoman Claiming Jewish Heritage Exposed as N*zi Granddaughter
Florida Republican congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna, who claimed to be Jewish, was exposed by journalists as actually the granddaughter of a member of the Nazi armed forces. On February 10th, The Washington Post shed light upon the politician's true origins and called her out for lying about her Jewish heritage in a previous interview in November 2022 with the Jewish Insider. In the interview, Luna said that she was raised as a Messianic Jew by her father and claimed to have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. According to several family members, Luna is the paternal grandchild of Heinrich Mayerhofer, who served Nazi Germany's armed forces back in the 1940s. Moreover, Luna is considered the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress from Florida. However, in the past, she said she was Middle Eastern, Jewish, or Eastern European.
- Muslims Urged by Palestinian Scholar to Prepare for Battle Against Infidels
On February 8th, Palestinian Islamic scholar, Sheikh Yousef Makharzah, claimed that "Islam" and "fighting" are inseparable and called Muslims to go fight infidels "before they come here." He claimed that having a good wife or land would make Muslims a target of the infidels who want "to steal your wives or lands." Makharzah added that "fear" is what keeps the infidels from attacking, and without that, they will "come at you." He then said that for this purpose, Allah told the Holy Prophet to 'Fight for the sake of Allah.' He then went on a rant about America and stated "If you ask them why they kill these poor, wretched people, they tell you that this is a preemptive war because these people are terrorists, and if we do not go to their own turf and strike them in their caves before they grow stronger, they will come after us. America allowed for a preemptive war, using this argument." Following this line of reasoning he went on to say that the history lessons about the Arabs being aggressors and invaders are false. He alleged that the reason why Arabs invaded Spain was the exact same reason why America invaded Afghanistan.
- Woman Strips at Western Wall in Protest of Israeli "Modesty" Bill
On February 12th, an Israeli woman was arrested after conducting a protest where she stripped down to a bathing suit at the Western Wall in response to a bill proposed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party that could criminalize "immodesty" at the holy site. According to reports, the woman removed her clothes after entering the women's section of the Western Wall with only her two-piece swimsuit and sneakers remaining. Police arrested the woman and took her to a nearby station for questioning. If found guilty, the woman could be imprisoned for up to three years for "insult to religion" charges. Although the proposed bill was quickly withdrawn due to fierce criticism, similar proposals would likely appear again as Israel elected its most right-wing government in recent history.
- Wyoming Republicans Want to Kill A Proposed Anti-Child Marriage Law
Wyoming Republicans are planning to stop a proposed bill that seeks to place a minimum age requirement for marriage from being passed into law, despite being sponsored by a Republican lawmaker. The bill plans to set the minimum age for marriage to 18 years old. Exceptions apply to 16 and 17-year-olds as long as they can obtain parental permission. The Wyoming Republican Party argued against the bill and, in a campaign email detailing their grievances, further insisted that the proposal denies "the fundamental purpose of marriage." They also said that since minors can have children even before they are 16 years old, teen parents should be allowed to marry as an option "for the sake of those children," even though Wyoming doesn't have any laws prohibiting teenagers from co-parenting. Anti-child marriage advocacy group Unchained At Last condemned the bill for being too weak and impacting only a small number of victims, especially considering that 97% of child marriages in Wyoming are to girls aged 16 to 17 years old.
- New Survey: Most White Evangelicals are Christian Nationalists/Sympathizers
A new national survey, released on February 8th, by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings Institution reveals that about two-thirds of white evangelicals in the US and most Republicans are sympathetic or adhere to Christian nationalism. The survey was conducted online between November and December in 2022 and had a sample size of 6,212 Americans with a 1.6% margin of error. It shows that 10% of all Americans are avowed Christian nationalists, while 19% sympathize with the core tenets of the ideology. White Evangelicals are more likely to be Christian nationalists than Black or Hispanic Evangelicals. The survey also shows 21% of Republicans are avowed Christian nationalists, while 33% sympathize with the ideology, meaning that most Republicans show some degree of support for the doctrine. Concerning religious practice, Americans who attend religious services at least once a week or more are more likely to support or sympathize with Christian nationalism than those who seldom or never attend religious services.
- Sri Lanka to Decriminalize Homosexuality
Location: Sri Lanka
On February 9th, the Sri Lankan government announced that it would support efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in the country! The announcement came after receiving recommendations from other United Nations member states during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Sri Lanka received seven recommendations from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Norway during the Universal Periodic Review regarding LGBTQIA+ rights. These recommendations include decriminalizing homosexuality, which is currently punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Sri Lanka’s current penal code. Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry said, “The government will support its position of decriminalizing same-sex relationships. We are, however, not legalizing same-sex marriages. But, we would decriminalize it.” The country’s Deputy Solicitor General, Nerin Pulle, also pledged to amend Sri Lanka’s colonial-era penal code.
- Iranian Athiest Boldly Calls Out Islamic Republic Judge
We come to you this week with an update on Soheil Arabai, an ex-Muslim atheist political prisoner in Iran who may be facing charges of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Sources inside Iran have informed us that a judge offered to release him if he wrote a forgiveness letter and promised not to repeat his actions, but Soheil refused, saying that the judge should ask for forgiveness instead. The judge told him to think about it, and “calm down” and respond in a week. Soheil raised his voice and boldly told the court that the only condition for him being calm is for the regime to bring back to life all the young people they have killed, and for the agents of the regime to be put on trial and punished for their crimes. Sources have also reported that when Soheil was transferred from the Greater Tehran Prison to a prison in Karaj, he was denied the medicine he needs for his high blood pressure.
However, we do have some good news! On Feburary 7th, we learned that Soheil Arabi’s mother, Farangis Mazloum was released from prison! Farangis was serving a one-year sentence for "gathering and colluding against national security" and a six-month sentence for "propaganda activities against the state" due to her tireless activism on behalf of her son.