July 17, 2007

Would that we had a new agenda, a sexually-informed education system that truly empowered teens, that taught open-minded respect for bodies and flesh, pleasure and joy and physical/spiritual awareness. Sure, include STDs and appropriate birth-control information, but not as a deterrent, not as some sort of nasty weapon of fear. Rather, arm your virgin daughters and inept sons with slick and giddy reverence for the joys of the flesh, for its potential to transform and ease tension and make you… Read more

July 16, 2007

THE recently formed Council of Ex-Muslims have issued a manifesto saying that “no one should be pigeonholed as Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by regressive Islamic organisations and ‘Muslim community leaders.'” The manifesto adds: “Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered ‘apostates’ – punishable by death in countries under Islamic law…. Read more

July 15, 2007

A growing number of non-Muslims in the UK are growing more and more concerned that permission will be granted to the Muslim sect Tablighi Jamaat to build a mega-mosque at the site of the London Olympics in the east of the Capital. When the proposal emerged it was envisaged that the first phase of the mosque alone would accommodate 10,000 worshippers. But, the final number, including visitors, could be as many as 70,000. Many experts describe Tablighi Jamaat, whose name… Read more

July 14, 2007

COPENHAGEN: A Muslim group yesterday lost a libel case against the leader of a Danish anti-immigrant party who had accused its members of treason for publicising blasphemous cartoons of the “Holy”Prophet , according to a Reuters report. A court ruled that Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party (DPP), did not libel the Islamic faith community when she accused some of its members of treason for travelling to the Middle East to publicise a Danish newspaper’s publication of the… Read more

July 14, 2007

The second most popular name chosen by parents for children born in the United Kingdom last year was Muhammad, according to a report in the latest issue of The Muslim News. There were 14 variations in the spelling of the prophet’s name given to a total of 5,991 baby boys. The most popular name for British males remains Jack, which has topped the polls for the last 12 years. Read more

July 13, 2007

Malaysian Muslims have called for a ban on the blockbuster movie Evan Almighty, saying it is offensive to their religion, state media reported today (Friday). Malaysia’s influential Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) said the comedy, which tells the story of Noah’s ark and features actor Morgan Freeman as God, was insulting to Islam. “The movie refers to the big flood during the time of Prophet Noah, but this has been turned into a comedy which is insulting to Islam,” Secretary-General Maamor… Read more

July 12, 2007

Tomorrow – Friday the 13th – sees the release of the long-awaited sixth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . Brace yourselves for outpouring of condemnation from the usual suspects: Christians crazies who believe H P is the worst thing to happen to humankind since Adam dropped his figleaf. Among these anti-H P Jesus jockeys is Pope Benedict XVI. In two letters written before he succeeded Pope John Paul II, but just published online, he condemned the… Read more

July 9, 2007

I WAS in the middle of writing a piece today which effectively argues that one cannot engage the unengageable, when this story broke about a Muslim woman who was arrested for listening to music on an MP3 player while on jury duty at a London murder trial. She was wearing headphones under her hijab. The piece I was writing for the August, 2007, Freethinker was a reaction to the feeling among many of our politicians that, in order to steer… Read more

July 5, 2007

  MULTI-TALENTED George Melly – jazz singer, raconteur, writer, expert on surrealism and dedicated humanist – died today aged 80. He had been suffering lung cancer and dementia, but was still performing at various gigs around the UK during the earlier part of this year. I first met George around 30 years ago when he was performing at the famous Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in Soho, and remember asking him to sing George and Ira Gershwin’s It Ain’t Necessarily So… Read more

July 4, 2007

IF IT had been mounted in any city other than Brighton, an exhibition in June featuring the work of artist Dan Baldwin would probably have drawn howling packs of holy-rollers demanding its immediate closure. But the large crowds who descended on the art gallery Ink’d were not there to protest; they were driven instead by their desire to get their hands on the controversial Brighton artist’s work – in particular his piece entitled “Fuck Religion”, which sold out in less… Read more

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