- Progressive Americans Are Converting to Islam….
In recent times, a notable shift in the sentiments of young, progressive Americans has been observed, particularly in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict that escalated after the October 7th attacks. This shift is characterized by a growing affinity towards Palestine, as indicated by an NBC News poll revealing that 37% of Americans aged 18-34 hold negative views of Israel. This changing perspective has led to an unexpected phenomenon: an increasing number of these young Americans are exploring Islam, with some even converting. Megan B. Rice, for instance, found resonance with her progressive values in the Quran, describing it as anti-consumerist, anti-oppression, and feminist. This trend extends to social media platforms like TikTok, where the hashtag “quranbookclub” has gained significant traction, highlighting the curiosity and engagement of these young individuals with Islamic teachings. However, this trend also coincides with growing rifts between Muslims and liberals in the West. Zareena Grewal, a Yale associate professor, encapsulates this trend, stating, “Just as racist people are looking for verses to confirm their racial biases, people on the left are looking to this book to confirm progressive messages... Every scripture is complex and invites multiple readings.” This trend is especially concerning considering the experiences of ex-Muslims, many of whom have left Islam after witnessing or enduring abuses justified under its teachings. They view this trend as a misguided romanticization of religion without fully grappling with its complexities and the real-world implications of its doctrines.
- Gen Z Has a Problem: They’re Promoting Osama Bin Laden on TikTok
In a startling turn of events, more than two decades after Osama Bin Laden masterminded one of the most catastrophic terrorist attacks in history, he has resurfaced in the digital age on platforms like TikTok. This resurgence is fueled by Gen Z content creators sharing a 2002 letter written by Bin Laden, originally published by The Guardian. In this letter, Bin Laden rationalized the 9/11 attacks and condemned U.S. support for Israel, among other geopolitical stances. The letter, replete with homophobic and antisemitic rhetoric, has sparked heated discussions among young social media users about U.S. foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas conflict. This phenomenon reflects not only the power of social media to resurrect historical figures but also highlights a critical gap in American education about 9/11 and its aftermath. As one TikTok user put it, “We’ve been lied to our entire lives,” underscoring a profound disconnect between the historical narrative taught in schools and the perspectives gaining traction among younger generations online. This trend raises serious questions about the dissemination of extremist views under the guise of political discourse, especially among youth largely unfamiliar with the immediate impact of Bin Laden's actions.
- Iran 'Secretly Executes' Civilian Protester from the Mahsa Amini Uprising
The recent secret execution of 21-year-old Milad Zohrevand in Iran, a consequence of his involvement in the 2022 protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, has raised significant human rights concerns. Zohrevand was executed on November 23rd in Hamadan without prior notification or a final meeting with his family. His execution, which was not confirmed by the Iranian judiciary, followed his alleged killing of a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during the protests. The Norway-based human rights organization Hengaw reported this incident, highlighting that Zohrevand was denied legal representation throughout his detention and trial. This execution, condemned by Hengaw as a gross violation of human rights, is part of a troubling pattern in Iran, where judicial proceedings lack transparency and due process. This incident underscores the ongoing human rights crisis in Iran, particularly in the handling of protest-related cases.
- “Insult to Prophet Mohammad” Indian Bus Driver Nearly Beheaded in Blasphemy Attack
In a shocking incident in Uttar Pradesh, India, 20-year-old engineering student Lareb Hashmi was arrested after attacking a bus conductor with a cleaver over a fare dispute, claiming the act was in response to alleged blasphemy. The confrontation occurred on November 24th when Hashmi, infuriated over a ticket fare, assaulted 24-year-old conductor Harikesh Vishwakarma, inflicting severe injuries, including to the neck. The altercation escalated when Hashmi attempted to flee, leading to a police encounter where he was shot in the leg and subsequently arrested. In a self-recorded video, Hashmi confessed to the crime, stating his motive was to punish Vishwakarma for "insulting Prophet Muhammad." This violent episode has raised concerns about the dangerous intersections of religious sentiments and public safety in India.
- The Super Creepy AI TikTok Jesus Promising Blessings for Likes
The TikTok account Daily Believer is causing a stir with its AI-generated videos of Jesus Christ, attracting over 810,000 followers and millions of likes. These videos feature various depictions of Jesus urging viewers to like, comment, and share for promised blessings. The most popular video, titled “Welcome Jesus into Your Home”, has garnered over 22.2 million views and 3.5 million likes. It uses a verse from Matthew 10:33, warning, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven,” while promising blessings for those who follow and share the video. This trend of soliciting engagement for spiritual rewards is not new and has parallels in Facebook chain letters. Brandon Dean, a religious studies professor, notes this reflects the "prosperity gospel" within Christianity, which links faith to material rewards. However, Dean also observes, “It seems aimed at those who would already consider themselves Christian and offers little in the way of persuasion or explanation of why someone should be a Christian.” This observation suggests a commercial rather than evangelical motivation, especially considering the potential earnings from TikTok's Creator Fund.
- Armin Navabi on The Dissidents: A Must-Watch Conversation!
We’re thrilled to highlight an insightful podcast appearance by Armin Navabi, our founder at Atheist Republic! Armin recently joined The Dissidents Podcast, hosted by the Institute for Liberal Values. This thought-provoking episode, featuring Armin alongside David Bernstein and Mike Burke, delves into a range of compelling topics. They explore the complex issues of homophobia in the context of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, the concept of "pink washing," the ongoing debate over the two-state solution, and the influence of religion in shaping cultural perceptions of power and weakness. We highly encourage you to watch this engaging interview at “Queers for Palestine” and the Death of Irony and join the conversation by sharing your thoughts and comments. Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of these significant issues!