Atheist Republic News Summary: Sexy Demi Lovato Crucifix Poster Banned...

  • Sexy Demi Lovato Crucifix Poster Banned for Offending Christians

Location: United Kingdom

A poster promoting Demi Lovato's latest album, "Holy Fvck," was banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after four complaints were received. The poster in question depicted Demi Lovato wearing a red and black bondage outfit while lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix on a red background. The American singer was also "in a position with her legs bound to one side, which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross,” according to the ASA. The ASA stated that the poster and album title linked sexuality with a sacred religious symbol and was therefore offensive to Christians. The watchdog also received complaints about the posters’ placement, saying they were placed irresponsibly in areas where children could see them. The poster was removed from six locations across London, and ASA warned the record label not to release similar advertisements in the future. Despite the controversy, Lovato's album reached number 7 on the UK's Official Albums Chart Top 100.

  • New Poll Reveals that Americans Have Historically Low "Islamophobic" Views

Location: USA

According to a 2022 poll conducted by the Brookings Institution, favorable views of Muslims in the United States have risen from 58% in May 2016 to 78% in May 2022, with unfavorable views declining from 41% to 22% in that same time period. The poll also found that Americans from both parties are becoming more open to the idea of electing a Muslim president, with the number of Americans who oppose the idea decreasing from 34% in 2020 to 26% in 2022. Additionally, the poll found that Jewish presidential candidates faced the least opposition from the general American public. The Brookings Institution attributes the decline in anti-Muslim sentiment to former President Donald Trump's targeting of Muslims during his campaign and presidency, producing an effect of the public “rallying behind” the group. However, the report also acknowledges that incidents of anti-Semitism and attacks against Muslims have risen in the United States.

  • Iran Shuts Down French Institute Due to Charlie Hebdo's Khamenei Cartoons

Location: Iran

Iran's government has shut down the Tehran-based French Institute of Research in response to cartoons from the latest edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The cartoons were part of a contest where Charlie Hebdo asked participants to draw cartoons mocking Ayatollah Khamenei and the Islamic Republic regime. The magazine did the competition to show their support for the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. One cartoon, featured on the magazine’s front page, depicted a line of Iran’s clerics walking inside a naked woman’s vagina, with a message saying, "Mullahs, go back to where you came from." The Iranian foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the closure was a "first step" to its response against the cartoons and threatened further action if the French government fails to "hold to account the perpetrators and sponsors of such instances of spreading hatred." The statement also said that Iran would consider reviewing cultural ties between Iran and France and French cultural activities in the country. Hezbollah, a Lebanese Islamist militant group backed by Iran, also condemned the cartoons, calling for the French government to take "decisive measures to punish those behind the act for attacking dignitaries of a whole nation."

  • Taliban Ban Women From Using Male Doctors

Location: Afghanistan

The Taliban in the Balkh province of Afghanistan has reportedly implemented a new measure banning women from seeing male doctors. In addition, it plans to create separate working spaces for male and female hospital workers and forbid male doctors from entering rooms with female patients. This move comes after a series of measures by the Taliban to suppress women's rights in Afghanistan since their takeover in 2021 after a US military withdrawal. The ban has received criticism from journalists, activists, and experts. Sahar Fetrat of Human Rights Watch, an expert on women's rights issues and a native of Afghanistan, said that while her organization has not yet confirmed these reports, "it doesn't seem impossible" given "the Taliban's continuous infringement of women's rights and restriction of women's access to basic rights and facilities." Last November, the Taliban said they seek to train more female doctors as part of a broader plan to increase gender segregation in the country. However, this reported effort of the regime contradicts its well-documented efforts to eliminate secondary education for Afghan women.

  • Caste Abuse: Human Feces Found in Water Tank Used by "Untouchables"

Location: India

In a village in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a large amount of human excretion was found in a water tank meant for the Scheduled Caste (Dalit) community. An investigation by district authorities found that untouchability was still practiced and deeply rooted in the village. When the children suddenly began to fall ill, the villagers noticed something was wrong. After the doctors suspected the reason behind the issue might be the drinking water source, some men climbed the tank and peeked inside. The fence covering the tank had been opened in the past few days, but the culprit behind this incident is still at large. A villager said that the smell of the water was different, and large portions of human excretion were found inside the tank, turning the water yellow. Locals of Irayur village claim that untouchability is still practiced in the area, the Dalit community is prohibited from entering the temple, and tea stalls have different sets of glasses for the Dalits. While the investigation is ongoing, authorities have set up an alternative water source for the local Dalit community to use.

  • Jewish Extremists Vandalize Christian Graves in Jerusalem

Location: Israel

Dozens of graves were vandalized in Jerusalem’s cemetery on Mount Zion on January 1st. The perpetrators were shown wearing traditional Jewish attire in a video that emerged a few days later. The cemetery was established in 1848 and has been used to bury British soldiers and Palestinian police officers, some of whose graves were also vandalized. The Protestant Anglican Church manages the cemetery through an affiliated organization. The Church and the United Kingdom condemned the attack. Church leaders in Jerusalem maintain that far-right extremists have been trying to push them out of the area for decades and that extremist Jews have been known to spit on Christians. The authorities say they will investigate the incident, though no arrests have been confirmed.

  • Muslim Group Challenges Religious Conversion Laws in Indian Supreme Court

Location: India

On January 5, the Muslim organization Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court of India to challenge the constitutional validity of the anti-conversion laws of five states, claiming that it invades the privacy of an individual's personal decision to adopt another faith. The legality of the anti-conversion laws of the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh was challenged in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the organization. The laws require individuals to disclose their conversion involuntarily, and the religious leader who would conduct the ceremony has to contact the local District Magistrate for prior permission. The converts are the ones who have to present the burden of proof to prove that their conversion to another faith wasn't fueled by coercion or "allurement." The petition said that "These provisions force a person to disclose his faith and thereby invade into the privacy of a person… The compulsory disclosure of one's religion in any form amounts to violation of their right to manifest his/her beliefs. Therefore, such disclosure is unconstitutional."

  • NGOs Accuse Saudi Gov of Infiltrating Wikipedia to Control Content

Location: Saudi Arabia

Two NGOs, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) and SMEX, have issued a joint statement accusing the Saudi government of infiltrating Wikipedia to control content about the country and apprehend those who contribute critical information about political prisoners. The statement says that the Saudi government infiltrated Wikipedia by recruiting the organization's highest-ranked administrators in the country, Ossama Khalid and Ziyad al-Sofiani, and that the two were arrested by Saudi authorities in September 2020 and sentenced to 32 and 8 years in prison respectively. The NGOs claim they have evidence of the Saudi government’s infiltration from anonymous sources and the imprisoned administrators. Wikipedia parent company Wikimedia denied the allegations, claiming that infiltration by the Saudi government is "unlikely to be the case," however acknowledges that some users "who may have been Saudi" were among those banned from the website.

  • Atheist Republic Returns to Twitter!

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