Atheist Republic News Summary: Schoolgirl Beaten to Death For Refusing t...

  • Schoolgirl Beaten to Death For Refusing to Sing Allegiance to Ayatollah

Location: Iran

Asra Panahi, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, was beaten by Iranian security forces and died on October 14th due to her severe injuries during the attack. Asra and other students refused to sing a propaganda song dedicated to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's "Supreme Leader." According to Iran International, Iranian plainclothes security forces then raided a school in Ardabil. The raid was part of the regime's campaign to force students to participate in pro-regime activities. Ten students were injured during the raid. Asra was one of the first reported casualties of the security force's attack. Officials denied any responsibility for her death, insisting that she died because of congenital heart disease. Yashar Hakkakpour, a human rights activist, reported that two other victims, Aytak Mikaili and Hana Dourdouzani, died due to injuries they received from the same attack, and a third is in critical condition.

  • Salman Rushdie's Injuries After Brutal Attack Revealed

Location: USA

British-Indian author, Salman Rushdie, has lost sight in one eye and lost the use of one as a result of the brutal attack he survived in New York on August 12th. He was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and torso during a literary event as he was about to lecture on artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institution. After the attack, the author was immediately rushed to a hospital. His literary agent said Rushdie suffered from nerve damage in his arm and wounds in his liver, and he will most likely lose an eye. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa and ordered Muslims to assassinate Rushdie over the publication of his novel, The Satanic Verses, in 1988. Iran has denied having any connection with the August attack. The man convicted of stabbing the writer, Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges and is currently held in custody without bail. 

  • Singles Out Hindus;" Professors Sue Over Anti-Caste Discrimination Policy

Location: California

Two Hindu professors, Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha, are suing the California State University (CSU) system over the plan to enact an anti-caste-discrimination policy that they allege is itself discriminatory. The lawsuit plans to prevent CSU from implementing an interim policy that elevates the caste identity into a protected class. According to Kumar, this policy "singles out all Indian origin and Hindu staff and students." He added, "This, by its very definition, is discrimination and a denial of our basic civil rights." Sinha said, "... there are other generally applicable and neutral categories already protected under CSU's non-discrimination policy that can be used to address incidents of alleged caste discrimination." CSU argued that the policy would help combat caste-based discrimination. However, Kumar and Sinha claimed that the policy would formalize the caste system in CSU's policies. They argued that CSU would forcibly assign a caste to an individual to enforce anti-discriminatory policies. "How else will CSU be able to determine if discrimination based on caste occurred unless they ascribe a caste not only to the allegedly discriminating actor but to the alleged victim as well?" Kumar and Sinha argued.

  • New Report on Church of England Reveals 400 More Cases of Abuse

Location: UK

The Church of England recently released a report detailing the findings of a three-year internal review. An extensive look into the church's personnel records uncovered almost 400 new cases of abuse. The review board read some 75,000 files as far back as the 1940s throughout all 42 dioceses and records kept at the archbishops' headquarters. 168 of the cases discovered involved children, 149 involved vulnerable adults, and 27 identified both. 242 perpetrators were clergy, 53 were church officers, and 41 were volunteers who worked with children. Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell, the church leaders, apologized to the victims and their families, adding, "It was not your fault, and you are not to blame." The report noted instances of "misogyny, sexism, and attitudes relating to women in the church, as well as to same-sex relationships." The report focused on the culture of the church, using the term "protectionism" to describe "a culture which allows alleged and convicted perpetrators to work and worship unchecked, failure to listen and act, disbelief and in some cases diverting blame onto the victim of abuse."

  • Indian Man Arrested for "Insulting the Prophet Muhammad"

Location: India

On October 12th, Jay Prakash Mohanty was arrested in Uttarakhand, India, for social media posts insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Mohanty was arrested by Naugaun Police after receiving a written complaint about his Facebook posts. According to the police, “Evidence was found of controversial posts by Mohanty on Facebook slandering not only Prophet Mohammad but Gods of other religions too.” He’s been booked under three sections of the Indian Penal code and the Information Technology Act. According to the Brookings Institute, Islamic countries most notable for violence and arrests for Facebook posts over the last decade include Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan. Russia tops the list of non-Islamic countries that criminalize online blasphemy, followed by India and Myanmar.

  • Indian Police Flog Muslims in Public, Condemned by Amnesty International

Location: India

On October 4th, plainclothes police officers in Gujarat, India, publicly flogged nine Muslim men in front of a cheering crowd. The men were tied to a pole one by one to receive public floggings. They were accused of throwing rocks during a Hindu religious event. After the beating, they were made to apologize to the crowd of onlookers and were whisked away in a police van. According to Senior Superintendent of Police Rajesh Gadhiya, during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, Muslims objected to celebrations taking place near a mosque. The Muslims allegedly pelted the Hindu devotees participating in Garba, a traditional dance. He said at least seven Hindus were wounded, two of which were severely injured. BJP General Secretary, Pradipsinh Vaghela, congratulated the police, saying, “The action taken by the police was absolutely right. In the future also, if such a thing happens, then the police should act similarly.” Amnesty International has called the incident a human rights violation that “shows utter disrespect for the law.”

  • Pope Francis Warns Priests & Nuns About Dangers of Pornography

Location: Vatican

On October 26th, during a convention with seminarians in the Vatican, Pope Francis talked about the dangers of digital pornography. He said that watching porn "is a vice that many people have, many laymen, many laywomen, and also priests and nuns." This came after the Pope questioned how the new generation of the clergy could navigate social media to share their happiness as Christians while maintaining their individuality and chastity. He warned about pornography, explaining, "The devil enters from there." The Pope also said that watching porn "weakens" the soul. "The pure heart, the one that Jesus receives every day, cannot receive this pornographic information," said Pope Francis. "The Devil gets in that way. And I'm not just talking about criminal pornography like that involving the abuse of children; that is already degeneration, but pornography that is a little 'normal.'" Pornography is seen as an offense against chastity according to Church teachings. Nuns and priests within the Catholic Church are mandated to live celibate lives.

  • Indian Muslim-Hindu Polarization Permeates American Diaspora

Location: India

Recent violent confrontations between some Hindus and Muslims in the last few months in the United States and the United Kingdom have raised the concern that India's religious and political fight is slowly making its way into the diaspora communities. During an August march commemorating India's independence day, a bulldozer, a symbol of collective punishment and Muslim oppression in India, was seen rolling down Edison, New Jersey's streets. Meanwhile, a verbal clash occurred in Anaheim, CA, between people celebrating Indian Independence and people who showed up to protest against the violence Muslims face in India. According to Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California (USC), which has over 2000 Indian students, Hindu nationalism has divided the Indian diaspora community in the same way the presidency of Donald Trump has polarized the U.S. On the other hand, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Hindus of North America, Pushpita Prasad, said that her group has been counseling youthful Hindu Americans who lost their friends as they refused "to take sides on these battles emanating from India." "If they don't take sides or don't have an opinion, it's automatically assumed that they are Hindu nationalists," said Prasad. "Their country of origin and their religion is held against them." Others, like Zafar Siddiqui, from Minnesota, are trying to build understanding amongst the diaspora using interfaith assemblies. He has put together a group of Minnesotans of Indian origins, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and atheists, who meet for monthly potlucks to foster conversation, connections, and understanding.

  • Brave Gay Activist in Qatar Protests 2022 World Cup

Location: Qatar

Peter Tatchell, a 70-year-old veteran British LGBT activist, stood outside the National Museum of Qatar for just over half an hour holding a placard reading "Qatar arrests, jails, and subjects LGBTs to conversion" with the hashtag #QatarAntiGay. Tatchell, along with many others, is boycotting the 2022 World Cup, which is slated to begin on November 20th in Qatar, citing the poor treatment of migrant workers and the LGBT community as the primary reason. Mr. Tatchell said in a statement that the Qatari police detained him for 49 minutes and interrogated him. The Qatari government later released a statement denying that Peter Tatchell and his colleague were arrested and detained. They claimed he was "cordially and professionally asked to move to the sidewalk." Tatchell staged a similar protest in 2018 when he protested against the poor treatment of LGBT individuals in Russia before the World Cup, where Russian authorities arrested him. Homosexuality for both men and women is illegal in Qatar, and the LGBT community is known to face severe abuse and harassment while held in the country's detention centers.

  • Mahsa Amini Mural Revealed!

Atheist Republic recently revealed the mural results in Vienna, Austria, dedicated to Mahsa Amini and the uprising in Iran! This project was sponsored by Atheist Republic and made possible by generous donations from our amazing international community. The Atheist Republic News team reviewed progress photos from the creation of the mural and a video created to document the process and completion of the painting. This video was even reported on and shared by the notable publication Iran Wire! Thank you once again to those who donated and supported the local Iranian community’s effort to celebrate the life of Mahsa Amini and raise awareness about the ongoing struggle for freedom in Iran.

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