The fierce opposition highlights how tenuous women’s rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam once kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.
Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.
“Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” Shaheedzada said.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree. It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women’s rights activist, wants to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to satisfy hard-line religious parties.
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans “baad,” the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
Remember radio preacher and doomsday prophet Harold Camping?False prophet Harold Camping
His end of the world predictions set for May 21, 2011 and later October 21, 2011 (as well as a series of earlier dates) all fizzled out, but not before countless of his gullible followers sold or gave away everything they owned.
Camping, whose un-biblical theology marks him as a heretic of Christianity, was able to preach his message throughout the world via his non-profit Family Radio Network.1
Two years later public financial documents and current and former high-level Family Radio employees indicate the broadcasting network may soon be out of business.
Former and current insiders allege the situation may be even worse than it appears, claiming donations have dropped almost 70 percent since the Rapture prediction proved incorrect, leading to numerous layoffs of longtime Family Radio staff members.
Those insiders say the nonprofit mishandled the sales of the stations, reaping far less than they were worth, and is on the hook for millions of dollars to devotees who have loaned them money over the years.
Since the failed prediction, at least two letters have been sent to the California Attorney General’s Office requesting an investigation into the station sales and Family Radio’s handling of donations. The office does not confirm or deny investigations.
The paper quotes Matt Tuter — Camping’s longtime right-hand man, who was fired last year — as saying, “You eliminate those three (FM stations) and, ultimately, the rest of it dies. I believe they are killing it off.”
Not everyone believes the network is headed for its demise. The paper quotes a current board member who claims that, like everyone else, the stations are hurting in the slow-to-rebound economy.
Despite its owners’ record of false teachings and false prophecies the network also still has its devoted listeners who, the paper says, “hope Family Radio will return to its pre-Rapture roots as a more mainstream religious radio network.”
Mayoral candidate ‘endorsed by Jesus Christ’
North Miami voters go to the polls today to elect a mayor. And according to one candidate, the outcome should be clear.
North Miami mayoral candidate Anna Pierre claims to be endorsed by Jesus Christ
Anna Pierre claims to be endorsed by Jesus Christ
Anna Pierre, who previously said someone is using voodoo to keep her out of the mayoral race, has posted a campaign-style flier on her Facebook page in which she claims she is “endorsed by Jesus Christ.”The Miami Herald says
Pierre, a registered nurse who sings the Creole language hit Suk Su Bon Bon (“Sugar on my Cookie”), said Jesus reassured her that she can overcome all obstacles placed in her way.2
Do Poor Career Prospects Radicalize Imams?
In his dissertation Clerics of the Jihad, Rich Nielsen, a doctoral student at Harvard University, concludes that Muslim preachers with poor networks are much more likely to preach extremism.
Jihadi ideology is often perceived to be the result of immutable, irreconcilable conflicts between fundamentalist Islamism and Western society,” he writes. “But my findings suggest that this interpretation, while rhetorically convenient for actors on both sides, is mostly false.”
Though terrorism experts are said to doubt his conclusions, policy makers and other political scientists are paying attention.
If clerics are indeed swayed by professional incentives, the publication notes, governments might find employment opportunities more effective than prison in their efforts to combat radicalism among Muslim clergy.
Harsh Sentence a Warning to Australia’s Youthful Muslim Zealots
Speaking of ‘radicalism,’ Muslims in Australia will have to take note of the fact that criminal behavior is not tolerated in that country.
Part of the worldwide protests that followed the publishing last September on YouTube of anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, the Sept. 15 riot turned Sydney’s central business district into a war zone where Muslim protesters attacked police, destroyed public property and carried placards reading “Behead all those who insult the Prophet.”
Freedom of speech is one thing, but this kind of religious insanity should not be tolerated anywhere in the world. Muslims who behave this way have turned their religion into a hate group that makes a joke of the claims that Islam is a religion of peace.3
TIME reports that a 26-year-old Australian man, plumber Mahmoud Eid, became the first of 12 defendants to be jailed over the affray.
On handing Eid the maximum sentence for kicking a police dog and pushing a female police officer, New South Wales deputy chief magistrate Jane Culver said she would have locked him up for longer if the law allowed it.
The hate criminal was sentenced to four years and one month in prison.
Jediism losing followers
The Force is waning in Canada. New census data released by Statistics Canada shows people identifying themselves as Jedi in the 2011 National Household Survey dwindled from a peak in 2001 of more than 20,000 to a about 9,000 — a figure too small to be statistically relevant.
Also inside: Religion in the Canadian Census; Scientology; Narconon; Santa Muerte; and the Twelve Tribes. In other Religion Briefs: David Bowie; French report on sects; FLDS; Paganism; and Christian hypocrisy…
The Jedi religion started as a joke between friends, but real-life Jedis are serious about their faith explains Maha Vajra, the self-described Grand Master of the Canadian Order of the Jedi in a recent interview.
They see the Star Wars films as inspirational and fantasy parables, in much the same way other religions use fantastic stories to glean morals, Canadian Press writes.
Jediism is the study of the philosophies largely borrowed from Buddhism and Daoism in the Star Wars film series, Vajra said in an interview from St-Raymond, Que.
“What we do is what the masters of Jediism in the movies explain: self-mastery, responsibility, practising virtues like compassion, charity, (and) forgiveness, in everyday actions. This is what Jediism is.”
The religion has followers in other countries as well, where numbers also fluctuate.
Census takers have not always been pleased with Jedi-related pranks. In Australia, Star Wars fans circulated an e-mail saying the government would be forced to recognize Jedi as an official religion if at least 10,000 people named it on the census.
When made aware of the campaign, the statistics agency announced that respondents faced a fine of AUS $1,000 ($540) if they were found to have given false information.
Still, some 70,000 Australians declared themselves to be Jedis, and it appears none of the were fined.
By the way, among the oddest Jedi-related news stories archived at Religion News Blog are these ones from England:
Oh, by way of consolation: Jedis still outnumber Satanists (1,050), and Scientologists (1,745).
Jediism has no founder, no official structure, and no official doctrine.