Atheist Republic News Summary: Texas Lt. Governor: Racism Won’t Stop Until…

1. Texas Lieutenant Governor: “Racism Won’t Stop Until We ‘Accept Jesus Christ’”
Location: Texas, USA

2. Uighur Muslims Convicted in Sham Trials in Chinese Re-Education Camps
Location: Xinjiang, China

3. Indonesian Couple Each Whipped 100 times for Premarital Sex
Location: Indonesia

4. Turkish Atheists Association Files Charges Against Islamist Newspaper For Defamation
Location: Turkey

5. Iran Executes ‘High Number’ of Gays, says German Intelligence
Location: Hamburg, Germany

6. Saudi Cleric Says “It is prohibited to protest in Islam”
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

7. Man Beaten to Death for Relationship with Upper Caste Girl
Location: Pune, India

8. US Supreme Court Rejects Church Wish for COVID Shutdown Exceptions
Location: United States of America

9. Egyptian Father Tricked Daughters into Female Genital Mutilation
Location: Egypt

10. Greek Orthodox Church Rules Yoga is 'Incompatible' with Christianity
Location: Greece

Video Descriptions:

1. Speaking on FOX News after more than a week of demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tried to pin the nation’s racial problems on people not being religious enough. Patrick also said laws can’t fix racism, only Jesus and God can: “You cannot change the culture of a country until you change the character of mankind. And you can’t change that unless you change the heart, and for billions of us on the planet, we believe you can’t do that unless you accept Jesus Christ or unless you accept God. God has been left out of this equation through all of this and we need tremendous healing. We cannot heal through commissions and blue-ribbon panels and more laws.”

2. German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle recently spoke to four Uighur former detainees from Xinjiang, a remote region in northwestern China whose mostly Muslim population has long faced repression by the Chinese authorities, including internment in re-education camps. After months of imprisonment, the detainees had to retroactively choose the crimes for which they had been incarcerated. All four recalled when they were handed a piece of paper containing over 70 acts and forced to confess their crimes. Most of the so-called crimes were religious acts, such as praying or wearing a headscarf. The fact that most acts deemed illegal were of a religious nature is a further indication that the Chinese authorities are targeting the religion and cultural practices of its Muslim minorities in an attempt to eradicate them, as activists have long claimed.

3. Two Indonesians caught having premarital sex were flogged a hundred times each in the conservative Aceh province. The couple had their temperatures checked and wore face masks as they were lashed with a rattan cane outside a mosque on the western tip of Sumatra. Aceh is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia to impose Islamic law, which allows whipping for charges including gambling, adultery, drinking alcohol, and gay sex.

4. The Turkish Atheists Association filed a criminal complaint against pro-government Islamist Yeni Akit newspaper for insulting atheists for an article published in the newspaper in February. The news article claimed atheists evolved through several stages, transforming from a general respect for everyone, to narcissism, hedonism and, finally, anarchism. The Yeni Akit report violates the Article 216 of the Turkish Criminal Code, the association's team of lawyers said, which imposes penalties for inciting “groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another,” by means that include the denigration of religious values.

5. A newly released domestic intelligence report from Hamburg revealed that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s execution spree targeting gays and lesbians continues unabated. According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks document, Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000-6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. The new German intelligence data establishes the high rate of executions among gays and lesbians since 2008. Hamburg’s intelligence service appears to be the first domestic security agency to cite the Iranian regime's destruction of its LGBTQ community.

6. A prominent Saudi cleric, Shaikh Assim Al-Hakeem, has received criticism over his response to a question posed to him on Twitter regarding the permissibility of protesting in Islam, specifically in light of the on-going demonstrations in the US over the murder of an unarmed black suspect, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police officers. He tweeted simply, “It is not permissble to protest in Islam.” One user countered with the widely known prophetic narration, “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith”. However, there were also many users who shared Al-Hakeem’s interpretation.

7. On June 7th, a Dalit youth was lynched over an alleged relationship with a girl from the 'upper caste' community. According to a report to the police, six people chased down the victim, Viraj Vilas Jagtap, while he was motorbiking, throwing him from the vehicle. The perpetrators beat Jagtap with an iron road while another bludgeoned him with a rock. Then, the four accused held him while the father of the girl hurled casteist slurs and spat on the victim for having a relationship with his daughter. Later, the accused abandoned him on the road, where he was discovered and taken to hospital. He succumbed to his injuries during the treatment. Police have arrested four accused including the father of the girl and two other minors.

8. In a 5-4 decision on May 29, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal by a California church seeking to block enforcement of the state’s stay-at-home orders. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, CA had sued Gov. Gavin Newsom, accusing him of illegally depriving them of their religious freedom under the U.S. Constitution because the lockdown orders that prohibited communal services. Chief Justice Roberts cogently pointed out: “Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings...where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time.”

9. A man in Egypt who allegedly had female genital mutilation (FGM) carried out on his three daughters, under the age of 18, after tricking them, has been charged along with the doctor who performed the procedure. The doctor went to the girls' house after their father told them they would receive a coronavirus vaccination. "They lost consciousness and when they woke up they were shocked to find their legs bound together and a sensation of pain in their genitals," the prosecutor said in a statement. In Egypt, FGM was made illegal in 2008, and a criminal act in 2016, but the practice remains prevalent.

10. Yoga has no place "in the life of Christians," the governing body of the Greek Orthodox Church has ruled. "[Yoga] is a fundamental chapter in Hindu religion... it is not a 'kind of physical exercise'," the Holy Synod said in its statement on Wednesday. It said it intervened after Greek media recommended yoga as a way to combat stress during coronavirus quarantine. The Orthodox Church is an influential organisation in Greece, and 90% of Greeks identify as Orthodox, according to a 2017 Pew Research Centre report.

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