Atheist Republic News Summary: Saudi Judges Face Death Penalty for Being...

  • Saudi Judges Face Death Penalty for Being 'Too Soft' on Feminist Activists

Location: Saudi Arabia

The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is once again under the spotlight as the Democracy for Arab World Now (DAWN) organization warns that Saudi authorities could sentence ten renowned Saudi judges and justices to death on charges of "high treason." This is due to accusations that they were "too lenient" on women's rights activists. Even the judge who notoriously convicted prominent women's rights defender Loujain Al-Hathloul to 20 years imprisonment on baseless "terrorism" charges has been caught up in this crackdown. Shockingly, these judges were denied legal counsel and held incommunicado since they were arrested and detained in 2022. The six arrested judges were replaced by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman's loyalists, who in turn immediately increased the sentences of several cases involving political activists and Twitter commentators. The Crown Prince's purges have become emblematic of the state of the judiciary, making it subservient solely to his wishes. These judges' prosecution is yet another alarming reminder that no one is safe in Saudi Arabia. Even judges who have abused their power in the past are now being punished for not being brutal enough.

  • Two Elderly Men Set on Fire Near UK Mosques

Location: United Kingdom

A shocking incident has occurred in London and Birmingham, where two elderly men were set on fire in separate attacks near mosques. The suspect allegedly sprayed a substance on the victims before setting them on fire, causing severe burns to their faces and arms. The victims, Mohammed Rayaz, 77, and Hashi Odowa, 82, suffered severe burns, and Rayaz's condition was serious but stable after a skin graft operation. The suspect, Mohammed Abbkr, reportedly from Sudan and 28 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder. The police are investigating if the incidents in London and Birmingham are connected and are keeping an open mind as to any potential motivation. During a time when Muslims around the world are preparing for Ramadan, the community is understandably concerned about their safety and the potential for copy-cat attacks.

  • Parents Try to Ban the Bible from School Shelves for "Indecent” Material

Location: United States

Did you hear about the parent in Utah who challenged the Bible as "pornographic" under a state law that bans "pornographic or indecent" material in schools? A parent recently submitted a book challenge to the Davis School District, asking them to remove the Bible from shelves for further review and using House Bill 374 as justification for the challenge. The parent even provided an eight-page list of holy verses that they said were unacceptable under the law. This whole situation was sparked by House Bill 374, which was passed in response to the actions made by Utah Parents United, a conservative group that claims to advocate parental rights in schools. The law requires public K-12 schools to remove books deemed "indecent" or "pornographic," but it's now being used to remove books written by black and LGBT authors from shelves. So, what's going to happen to the Bible? Well, the challenge was given to a committee for further review. It remains to be seen whether the Bible will be deemed "pornographic" under the law, but one thing's for sure - this situation is getting people talking about the hypocrisy of the book ban frenzy! 

  • Palestinian Islamic Scholar: Martyrs Receive "Black-Eyed" Virgins

Location: Palestine

On March 17th, Dr. Nasser Al-Qaram, an Islamic scholar, delivered a fascinating sermon in Ramallah, broadcast on Palestine TV. Dr. Al-Qaram, who is the Head of the Shari'a Court of Appeals in Nablus, explained that when a martyr sheds their first drop of blood, all their sins are forgiven, and they are saved from the torments of the grave and the great horror of Judgment Day. Furthermore, martyrs are married to "black-eyed virgins" in Paradise, and they roam in Paradise as "green birds" and nestle in the chandeliers hanging from Allah's throne. Allah personally asks the martyrs about what they need or wish, to which they reply with the request to return their souls back to their bodies so they can die again for the sake of Allah. However, Allah decreed that they would never return to this world.

  • New Report Finds 36% Increase in Antisemitic Incidents in the US

Location: United States

Disturbing news has emerged in the US, as a report from the international Jewish NGO Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows that incidents of antisemitism have spiked by 36% in 2022. This is the third time in just five years that the tally has been at its highest since data collection began in 1979. The numbers are truly alarming, with 3,697 incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault against Jewish people and communities recorded. The audit also revealed that antisemitic harassment increased by 29%, vandalism by 51%, and assaults by 26%. It's not just Jewish people who are being targeted, as a newly released FBI report also shows that hate crimes rose by 12% in 2021 in general. Schools and synagogues are also becoming targets for hate crimes, with bomb threats against Jewish educational institutions and places of worship spiking from 8 to 91. The ADL argued that politicians, celebrities, and hate-groups have been instrumental in normalizing and spreading antisemitic sentiments and stereotypes.

  • Pakistani Man Sentenced to Death for Sharing "Blasphemous" Content

Location: Pakistan

A Pakistani man, Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, has been sentenced to death and 23 years in prison for sharing blasphemous content on a Whatsapp group. The charges were filed against him after he was accused of sharing malicious content against holy figures in Islam. Blasphemy is a sensitive subject in Pakistan, and many human rights organizations are concerned about the growing intolerance and extremism in the country. There have been several incidents of violence against individuals accused of blasphemy, and religious minorities, such as Hindus and Christians, are particularly vulnerable. According to a human rights organization, around 774 Muslims and 760 members of religious minorities in Pakistan have been accused of blasphemy in the past 20 years. Mr. Zeeshan has the right to appeal the conviction order, as the court declared the death sentence would be subject to the decision of an appeal.

  • Powerful Message from a Persecuted Egyptian Atheist

Location: Egypt

Sherif Gaber is one of Egypt's most famous critics of religion, and perhaps the most famous persecuted Ex-Muslim atheist. Gaber's troubles with the government began when he was arrested in 2013 for his Facebook posts critical of the government and religion, leading to a year in prison. He has since gained a large following on YouTube for his critiques of religion, despite being in hiding since his second arrest in 2018. The Egyptian government prohibited him from leaving the country and took away his passport, forcing him to share his story of surviving while on the run in a powerful new video titled "Banned From Leaving - A Message from Sherif Gaber." In the video Sherif shares insight into his internal experience of sadnesses and frustration with his situation: “I see my life passing before my eyes. One year and then another, without being able to do what I want. Or experience life. Or see the things that I want to see. I'm not happy. Because I'm living in an environment that stole and is still stealing the days of my life. And I can't do anything to prevent that.” He also stated that “The second reason behind this video is a message to those who think about giving up on their lives because I don't think there's a better time to say these words. Because I am not saying it from a place of comfort. I'm speaking to you from hell itself. So my words are honest. I want you to notice the position I am in. I am now facing the most difficult problem of my life. However, I will not give up. Because life, no matter how hard it is, is worth living.” By the end of his video, Gaber said that he wouldn't upload any videos on YouTube until he had left Egypt. Still, he reassured his followers by saying he'll continue to update them through his social media accounts.

  • 9-year-old "Untouchable" Boy Beaten by Teacher for Drinking Water

Location: India

Heartbreaking news from India has once again brought the issue of caste discrimination to the forefront. A 9-year-old Dalit (formerly known as "untouchables") boy was brutally beaten by his upper-caste teacher for drinking water from a pond in Uttar Pradesh. The teacher even threatened the boy's mother when she questioned him about his actions. This is not an isolated incident; there have been several similar cases in the recent past, including the killing of a 10-year-old Dalit boy over a property dispute and the brutal thrashing of a 15-year-old boy by his upper-caste teacher for misspelling a single word in a social science class test. 

  • Victory for Democracy: Israel Postpones Controversial Judiciary Reform

Location: Israel 

Let me put it this way: Israel is in turmoil! After weeks of protests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally agreed to delay a plan that would give the Knesset, the national legislature of Israel, control over judicial appointments and let them overrule the Supreme Court's decisions. This proposal has been causing outrage in the country and has been described as a threat to Israel's democracy, with massive protests and even a general strike taking place. The religious right wing's influence on the proposed changes is evident in the makeup of Netanyahu's coalition government, which includes several right-wing and religious parties. However, the protests against the proposed changes, described as the largest in Israel's history, have also been diverse, with people from across the political and religious spectrum speaking out against them. Despite this, Netanyahu has no plans to drop the bill altogether.

  • Pakistan is Mad at Us Again... Again!

Get ready for some hilarious news! We recently received some emails from Twitter, and when it comes to legal emails from Twitter, it's either no big deal or a potential disaster. This time, once again, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has requested that Twitter take action against our account at Atheist Republic for violating Pakistan's laws. What was our offense, you ask? One tweet featured a shirt design with a rainbow Kabba and the phrase "Allah is Gay" and and the second tweet is an AI art that takes a futuristic approach to challenging Islamic norms. What's more, one of tweets was from one week ago, while another was posted way back in 2020! The Pakistani government is digging up old tweets to come after us. We stand by our designs and are unafraid to share them with the world. It’s a bit shocking to think of the PTA for spending tax money on finding old tweets, but at least it gives us an excellent excuse to promote out merchandise! Check out our "Allah is gay" merchandise on our website, and with your support, we will continue to fight for our right to challenges religious norms and taboos.

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