Egyptian Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Admitting on Facebook That He’s an Atheist

According to the international news agency Agence France-Presse, 21-year-old Karim al-Banna was sentenced to three years in prison for the “crime” of saying on Facebook that he was an atheist:

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To Improve Traffic Safety, Russia Says Transgender People No Longer Qualify for Licenses

We’re used to hearing the LGBT community blamed for a lot of things.

An earthquake strikes? Some pious bigot will invoke God’s wrath against homosexuals.

Birds die? A True Believer will clue you into it being gay people wanting marriage rights that did it.

Hurricane Katrina? There’s a homophobe waiting to remind you: gay parade, duh.

Volcanic eruptions? Yeah, still gay people.

Ebola? Also gay people.

9/11? Also, apparently, the fault of LGBT people, according to some bloviating believers.

There are many more examples where those came from. In fact, there’s not much that gets attributed to LGBT folks that surprises me anymore, no matter how absurd. But, I have to admit, Russia managed to find one.

Traffic accidents.

Yeah, for real (I wish I was joking). According to the Russian government, transgender and transsexual people suffer from disorders that contribute to high accident rates.

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Ottawa Imam: I Support Free Speech, but Satire of Religious Leaders Should Be Illegal

You know people truly support free speech when they are willing to defend speech they don’t agree with, even speech that might be considered “blasphemous” to others.

That’s why Muslim imam Imtiaz Ahmed, no matter what he thinks, isn’t a free speech advocate:

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Someone Got Video of Raif Badawi Being Lashed by a Saudi Official

Earlier today, I posted about a crowd gathering to watch Saudi blogger Raif Badawi get the first 50 (of 1,000) lashes yesterday.

Turns out someone got video of the punishment being administered. It’s not necessarily graphic, but there are glimpses of what Badawi had to go through:

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Irish University Lecturer Says He Will Take Legal Action Against Media Types Who Spread Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

There’s a commonly-uttered sentence in the English language that puts me in a state of apprehension in about 0.1 seconds:

“I’m a big believer in freedom of expression.”

Pop quiz: About eight out of ten times, what’s the word that follows?

It’s not “Period.

It’s “But.”

And so it is with Ali Selim, a Muslim lecturer in Ireland who has announced that he’ll go to court to punish or gag Irish journalists who dare spread Islam-mocking Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Selim is also a dignitary with the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland. On an Irish radio show that aired on Wednesday, while the bodies in Paris were still warm, he said:

“I am a great advocate of freedom of expression.”

And immediately, the vacillations and qualifications began.

But I encourage freedom of expression that does not give room for confrontation, that does not turn one person against another. I encourage people to live in harmony and peace and respect each other. If they want to have a good sense of humor, do have it within the boundaries of what people can understand.

Was that the problem with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons? They were just too hard to grasp? Interesting.

It’s not his style to merely appeal to journalists, editors, and bloggers who wish to republish the Charlie cartoons, Selim explained. He wants to sue them into compliance.

When asked by Niall Boylan on 4FM if he (Boylan) retweeted the cartoon would his life be in danger, Dr. Selim – who condemned the shootings – said: “Not your life would be in danger but definitely we will check the Irish law and if there is any legal channel against you, we will take it.”

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