Blogger Kaveh Mousavi — Now on Patheos — Describes First-Hand What’s It’s Like To Be an Atheist in Iran

Kaveh Mousavi (a pseudonym) is, according to his online bio,

an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies… He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

While he was getting his brand new Patheos blog set up, Kaveh wrote a guest post over at Dan Fincke‘s place, in which he describes what it’s like to be an atheist in Iran. As you can imagine, “picnic” and “walk in the park” aren’t in Kaveh’s lexicon.

It shapes your life maybe more than any other thing about you. If you are not a 12-Imam Shiite, you lose most of the opportunities in life. And if you are not a practicing member of one of the four “official” religions, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, you officially don’t exist. In the forms you have to fill out to get jobs or register for anything, these options are the only four options. According to the Islamic Republic, you have no right to have jobs, study in universities, open a bank account, or live, unless you belong to one of these four religions.



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North Carolina Magistrate Refuses to Perform Gay Wedding Because of His “Religious Beliefs”

Yesterday was the first day of legal gay marriage in North Carolina, which means you knew this was going to happen:

William Locklear and his partner showed up at the county courthouse Monday expecting to get married after 31 years together.

The couple didn’t get the chance.

A magistrate turned them away.

“He said, ‘I won’t be performing your marriage because of my religious beliefs,'” Locklear said.

The article never mentions the faith of the magistrate, but would anyone like to take a wild guess…?

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Catholic Church In Kenya Opposes Tetanus Vaccinations, Suspecting a Secret Plan to Sterilize Women

As we’ve seen, Muslim fundies are often anti-vaxxers. In places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, they’ve gotten it into their heads that polio-fighting programs are really Western-led campaigns to make Muslims infertile. As a result, terrorist groups have waged a long intimidation campaign against medical teams.

Minus the violence, that same mindset has now taken root in Kenya — courtesy of the Catholic Church, which wants Kenyans to stay away from government-led efforts to eradicate tetanus:

The Catholic Church has opposed a tetanus vaccination campaign scheduled to start next week that targets women between the ages of 19-49 years, claiming it is a secret government plan to sterilize women and control population growth.



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The Benefit of Long-Form Conversations

Last night, Sam Harris appeared on CNN to talk about his criticism of Islam with anchor Don Lemon:



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Salman Rushdie, in Speech, Assails “New Age of Religious Mayhem”

Novelist Salman Rushdie picked up another major literary award (the PEN Pinter Prize) the other day and minced no words about the Islamist ideology that has literally threatened his life for the last quarter-century.

It’s pretty brave, if you ask me. The death threats are ongoing, and yet Rushdie appears in public and speaks out.

Rushdie voiced his fears that the language of “jihadi-cool” is seducing young British Muslims, many via Twitter and YouTube, into joining the “decapitating barbarianism” of Isil, the group also referred to as Islamic State or Isis. …

Rushdie defined “jihadi-cool” as “the deformed medievalist language of fanaticism, backed up by modern weaponry,” saying: “It’s hard not to conclude that this hate-filled religious rhetoric, pouring from the mouths of ruthless fanatics into the ears of angry young men, has become the most dangerous new weapon in the world today.”



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