Polish Metal Musician Found Guilty Of ‘Offending Religious Feelings’
The frontman of Behemoth, an extreme metal band in Poland, was found guilty of “offending religious feelings" after he shared an image of himself in September 2019 standing on a photo of the Virgin Mary. The Warsaw court convicted Musician Adam “Nergal” Darski within only a few days of the charges being brought against him. As a result, this conviction has become an ongoing court battle as Nergal expects to receive the due process he was denied. Authorities ordered him to pay court costs of PLN 3,500 (Polish zloty) and the penalty fine of PLN 15,000. The total amounts to roughly $5,000 in US dollars. Nergal has refused to plead guilty and is preparing to contest the ruling.
Iran's Khamenei Issues Fatwa: Female Cartoon Characters Must Wear Hijab
While Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, held a virtual forum on Telegram, a messaging platform, and someone posed a question for him, the Al-Arabiya news outlet reports. Since Iranian women were mandated to wear hijabs after the 1979 Islamic revolution, Khamenei was asked if “characters in animated films” should likewise be required to wear the hijab. Khamenei’s answer was quoted as, “Although wearing hijab in such a hypothetical situation is not required per se, observing hijab in animation is required due to the consequences of not wearing a hijab,” according to the IranWire report. The New Arab stated that it is “unclear” how Khamenei’s order will be enforced, but noted, “Tehran has imposed strict censorship laws on the country’s film agency.” Animations or cartoons depicting female characters not properly covered may be banned from theaters.
Five Sentenced to Death in Bangladesh for Killing Atheist Blogger
In February 2015, a renowned blogger and published author, Avijit Roy, was gruesomely murdered in Dhaka at age 42. Roy was a notable advocate of the free-thought movement in Bangladesh. Roy was a Bangladeshi-American citizen and a critic of religious extremism. He was publicly assaulted by machete-wielding assassins who butchered him to death as he and his wife were leaving a book fair. His wife, Rafida Ahmed, survived, but suffered head injuries and lost a finger. A court in Dhaka sentenced five members of an Islamist group to death on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021, for killing Roy six years ago. According to the prosecutor, another one of the attackers was sentenced to life in prison. The defense attorney for the six men said they will appeal the sentences in a higher court.
Nine Thousand Children Married in Iran in Summer of 2020
On January 31st, 2021, the Statistical Center of Iran reported that approximately 9,058 girls between ages 10 and 14 were married in 2020. State-owned banks provide easy loans to cover wedding expenses, which is causing a surge of child marriages in Iran. In April 2020, Bank Maskan advertised an offer to loan 100 million tomans ($23,720) to couples who marry this year. Since girls (age 13 and younger) and boys (age 15) may legally marry in Iran, they also qualify for the loans. However, the funds are paid to their parents, who are still their legal guardians until they reach 18. These loans create an unprecedented opportunity for poverty-stricken parents to benefit themselves financially.
Iran’s Use Of Electric Shocks On LGBT Children Is “Torture”
On Wednesday, February 10th, the United Nations released a report describing appalling details of electric shock and other means of torture that the Islamic Republic of Iran uses against LGBT children while claiming their intent is to “cure” them. Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Iran, issued a damning report confirming the oppression and systemic torture of LGBT people, and many other minorities. In July 2019, the human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) 6Rang reported that Iran operates an increasing number of “private and semi-governmental psychological and psychiatric clinics” throughout the country engaging in “corrective treatment” or “reparative therapies” on LGBT people. Same-sex consensual sex is forbidden in the Islamic Republic of Iran, punishable by flogging and, in some cases, death. In Iran, the law “does not distinguish between consensual and non-consensual same-sex intercourse.”
Gaza Revises Recent Ruling That Women Need Male Permission to Travel
Location: Gaza Strip
On Sunday, February 14th, a Hamas-run Islamic court ruled that unmarried women in the Gaza Strip now require permission from a male ‘guardian’ to travel, which is usually an older male relative. A married woman would require approval from her husband. Permission to travel without guardianship would have to be authorized by a court. This ruling incited protests and outrage. The Hamas-appointed chairman of the council who initially signed the mandate into law, Hassan Jojo, now agrees it needs to be revised. On Tuesday, February 16th, Jojo’s statement was quoted by Reuters news agency, “We have agreed to redraft this ruling," However, he did not comment on whether the language banning women from traveling would be stricken.
Indonesian Woman Says She Was Impregnated By A “Gust of Wind'
Indonesian authorities are examining the odd details of a woman’s claim that she was impregnated only an hour earlier by a “gust of wind.” The young woman, Siti Zainah (age 25), recently gave birth to a baby girl in Cianjur, a town within Indonesia’s southern province of West Java. She explained to local media that she was resting in her living room when she was mysteriously impregnated. “After afternoon prayer, I was lying face down, and then suddenly I felt a gust of wind enter my vagina,” she said. The young mother said she began experiencing pain in her abdomen only 15 minutes later, as her stomach grew bigger and bigger. She rushed to the community health clinic and gave birth.
New Bill Forbids Sexuality Displays In Public Schools In Anti-LGBT Move
Location: West Virginia, United States of America
West Virginia Legislature introduced House Bill 2157, a controversial bill on February 10th, 2021. This bill proposes eliminating any teachings of sexuality and forbids displays meant to promote understanding among all students related to such instructions in public schools. Although it doesn’t specify any particular group or sexuality in written form, it is widely known as an attempt to ban any mention of the LGBTQ+ community. The bill plans to bar any display of pro-LGBTQ+ subject matter, even if it has nothing to do with actual sex. The bill offers no guidance about what that specifically entails, but it likely applies to rainbow Pride flags, an affirming bulletin board, or “safe space” stickers, for instance.
Rihanna Posts Topless Pic Wearing A Ganesha Necklace, Sparks Controversy
On February 15th, global pop star Rihanna posted on Instagram and Twitter a photo of herself topless and wearing a lavender jade necklace with a Lord Ganesha pendant. The picture was posted to promote her lingerie brand's new spring collection. There was a swift backlash from many Indians on Twitter. Many accused her of cultural appropriation and tried to scold her for using a Hindu God for her aesthetic. Meanwhile, others downright bashed her for being disrespectful to Hinduism and the Indian population across the globe. For example, one commenter said, "This is categorical targeting of the Indian culture & India itself. " A Hindu Nationalist organization spokesman even filed a complaint with the police against Twitter and Instagram to get the photo removed from the social media platforms.
Hilarious Coverage of Atheist Republic’s Facebook Ban in India
Armin and Susanna discuss an article from a Northeast Indian online publication that discusses how Atheist Republic’s (AR) Facebook page was blocked to all users in India. This article has hilarious commentary, including “...derogatory posts and sexualisation of the Hindu spiritual characters were at the centre of Armin’s philosophy of Atheism.” The AR team has a good laugh going through this write-up and discusses how some people were so vicious in their back-lash against AR that they even filed police reports against those who merely shared our blasphemous art!