It’s Been a Horrible Month for Libraries, Thanks Mostly to Widespread Book Burnings by the Islamic State

Self-styled Islamist censors are on a tear again, destroying entire library collections by setting them ablaze or carting them off — except for certain Islamic texts they approve of.

The Associated Press shines a light on Iraq’s version of Fahrenheit 451:

When Islamic State group militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people’s ideas. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books — including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science — into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.

These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah, so they will be burned,” a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.



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Who Cares What Celebrity Atheists Have to Say?… Asks Columnist Who Has Nothing Interesting to Say

In a piece that amounts to nothing more than frustration with popular atheists who offend religious sensibilities, Tim Stanley embarrasses himself in the Telegraph.

It starts by ripping on Richard Dawkins for a sarcastic tweet (which was later deleted) in which he suggested sending erotica to Islamic theocracies, perhaps to shake them up:



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These Parents Oppose Vaccines for Reasons That Should Disturb Us All

In a very disturbing story in the New York Times, we hear the perspectives of several parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids — and put everyone else at risk — for reasons that make no sense or just don’t exist:



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German Parliament Debates Raif Badawi’s “Murder on the Installment Plan,” Unanimously Condemns Saudi Arabia

Members of the German parliament (Bundestag) just did something that we won’t soon see from the U.S. Congress: they put Raif Badawi‘s case on the parliamentary calendar and unanimously stood for his release. Badawi (pictured below, with his kids) is the Saudi blogger who was convicted of blasphemy and ordered to receive a ten-year jail term, plus one thousand lashes meted out in 20 weekly installments.

Tom Koenigs, a member of the Green Party, said the four-and-a-half-month flogging amounted to

… “murder on the installment plan.”

Via Deutsche Welle:

It’s not often that the Bundestag dedicates an entire debate to the human rights situation in a foreign country. But the flogging of the Saudi Arabian Bloggers Raif Badawihas triggered a wave of indignation in parliament, such that the opposition raised the issue on the agenda. The parliamentarians expressed concern and shock about the cruel torture imposed on Badawi, saying that the Internet activist — and his lawyer [human-rights attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair], who was also convicted — should be pardoned and released immediately.



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Watch Matt Dillahunty Explain Morality from an Atheist Perspective

In the next video for his Atheist Debates project, Matt Dillahunty explains the atheist take on morality:



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