Ramadan 2014: We Can Deport Anyone Who Eats, Drinks or Smokes, Saudi Arabia Tells Non-Muslims

Ramadan 2014

Saudi Arabia has threatened to deport any non-Muslim foreigners who don’t respect the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan by eating, drinking or smoking in public.

An interior ministry statement on the official SPA state news agency urges non-Muslim expatriates in the kingdom to “respect the sentiments of Muslims by not eating, drinking or smoking during Ramadan’s daylight hours in public places, including roads and workplaces.”

Those who violate the regulations will be deported or sacked, according to the statement.

“They are not excused for being non-Muslim,” it said, adding that “anyone living in this country should follow the laws of the Kingdom, including respecting religious sentiments”.

The statement also asked companies to transmit the instructions to their employees.

Millions of Muslims from around the globe are preparing to observe Ramadan, the religious month of fasting.

For 30 days, they will not eat or drink from sunrise and sundown and refrain from sexual intercourse, smoking or profanity in a bid to become closer to Allah.

They are also encouraged to give back to the community and take part in charitable deeds.

Saudi Arabia applies a strict version of sharia law and it hosts more than nine million foreigners.

via Ramadan 2014: We Can Deport Anyone Who Eats, Drinks or Smokes, Saudi Arabia Tells Non-Muslims.

Rape and India’s “Untouchable” Caste

crime scene of rape & murder of dalit girls

Members of the Dalit caste, which number 200 million, have long been mistreated in India. Yet the sheer brutality of the crime, which came roughly a year and a half after another chilling rape in Delhi, has cast a spotlight on sexual assaults against Dalits and the status of these “untouchables” in Indian society.

The statistics are harrowing: India’s National Crime Records Bureau has found that more than four Dalit women are raped every day across the country. Dalit Media Watch, a group that reports on crimes against India’s lowest caste, has reported that two Dalits are assaulted, murdered and have their homes torched every hour.

India’s caste system is officially banned, but discrimination lingers, especially for Dalits.

But the reality may be far worse than the statistics show: “The national figures are grossly under reported since many cases of rape of Dalit women are not even registered,” says Pratap Kumar, a Dalit rights activist in Lucknow, the capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. “Conviction is a distant dream for many,”

India’s caste system is thousands of years old and based on birth, not color. Traditionally Dalits did menial jobs such as sweeping the street and cleaning toilets and sewers. Though discrimination based on caste was officially banned in 1950, when India adopted its constitution, it continues today, especially against Dalits.

For years, it remained so prevalent that in 1989, the government passed a law banning what was once common treatment for these “untouchables”: Parading them naked through the streets, forcing them to eat feces, taking away their land, poisoning their water, interfering with their right to vote and burning down their homes. Since then, the violence has only gotten worse, analysts say, largely as Dalits have begun to move up the economic ladder, thanks in part to government programs designed to help them.

The scene of the crime. India’s National Crime Records Bureau says that more than four Dalit women are raped every day across the country.

Two years ago, seven men from a dominant caste raped a teenage Dalit girl for three hours in Hisar district of Haryana state in northern India. The perpetrators then filmed the incident with their mobile phones. Nine days later, the girl’s father committed suicide after he discovered what had happened to his daughter. Police only arrested the suspected rapists after mass protests rocked the district.

“Some people say that caste does not matter in India,” says Vrinda Grover, a lawyer and human rights activist in New Delhi. “[But] look at the routine sexual violence experienced by Dalit girls and women. We all should be ashamed.”

via Rape and India’s “Untouchable” Caste | Vocativ.

Parent Left ‘Speechless’ After Reading the ‘Field Day’ Flyer Reportedly Sent Home by Daughter’s School

North Hills Elementary flyer exerpt

Parents of students at North Hill Elementary in Rochester Hills, Michigan, have reportedly been informed that all students are “winners,” therefore the “competitive ‘urge to win’ will be kept to a minimum” at the school’s annual field day.

The flyer, flagged by Progressives Today, reads in part:

“The purpose of the day is for our school to get together for an enjoyable two hours of activities and provide an opportunity for students, teachers and parents to interact cooperatively. Since we believe that all of our children are winners, the need for athletic ability and the competitive “urge to win” will be kept to a minimum. The real reward will be the enjoyment and good feelings of participation.”

via Parent Left ‘Speechless’ After Reading the ‘Field Day’ Flyer Reportedly Sent Home by Daughter’s School | TheBlaze.com.

DC Schools: $29,349 Per Pupil, 83% Not Proficient in Reading

total spending per pupil in 2010-2011

The public schools in Washington, D.C., spent $29,349 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the latest data from National Center for Education Statistics, but in 2013 fully 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not “proficient” in reading and 81 percent were not “proficient” in math.

These are the government schools in our nation’s capital city — where for decades politicians of both parties have obstreperously pushed for more federal involvement in education and more federal spending on education.

Government has manifestly failed the families who must send their children to these schools, and the children who must attend them.

Under the auspices of the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal government periodically tests elementary and high school students in various subjects, including reading and math. These National Assessment of Educational Progress tests are scored on a scale of 500, and student achievement levels are rated as “basic,” “proficient” and “advanced.”

In 2013, students nationwide took NAEP reading and math tests. When the NCES listed the scores of public-school eighth graders in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, D.C. came in last in both subjects.

D.C. eighth graders scored an average of 248 out of 500 in reading, and Mississippi finished next to last with an average of 253.

Only 17 percent of D.C. 8th graders rated “proficient” or better in reading. In Mississippi, it was 20 percent.

In math, D.C. public-school eighth graders scored an average of 265 out of 500, and only 19 percent were rated “proficient” or better. Alabama placed next to last with an average math score of 269, with 20 percent rated “proficient” or better.

Some might argue it is unfair to compare, Washington, D.C., a single city, with an entire state. However, D.C. also does not compete well against other big cities.

via DC Schools: $29,349 Per Pupil, 83% Not Proficient in Reading | CNS News.

Saudi Arabia orders 1,000 lashes and ten-year sentence for editor of website that discussed religion

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced the editor of a website that discussed religion in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

Raif Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was arrested in June 2012 and charged with cyber-crime and disobeying his father – a crime in the Arab state, local media has reported.

His website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti and allegedly insulted Islam and religious authorities, according to Human Rights Watch.

Prosecutors had demanded Badawi be tried for apostasy, a charge which carries the death penalty, but this was dismissed by the judge.

Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial – which then earned him a more severe sentence.

His punishment comes shortly after Saudi Arabia criticised Norway’s human rights record and accused it of not doing enough to counter criticism of the prophet Mohammed.

The gulf state also demanded all criticism of religion and of the Prophet Mohammed be made illegal in Norway.

Badawi’s lawyer, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, will not be able to represent him in an appeal because he has also been jailed and is currently awaiting trial on criminal charges that include “breaking allegiance with the king,” and “making international organisations hostile to the kingdom”.

His retrial led the judge to impose a harsher punishment and fine him one million riyals (£157,000).

In April, the Kingdom introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to HRW.

via Saudi Arabia orders 1,000 lashes and ten-year sentence for editor of website that discussed religion – Middle East – World – The Independent.

Christians in Pakistan sentenced to death over a text

man texting

A Christian couple in Pakistan have become the latest to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, after they were accused of sending a text message deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, from the eastern town of Gojra, were sentenced after what the couple’s lawyer said was a case motivated by a personal grudge.

Maulvi Mohammed Hussain, a Muslim leader from a mosque in Gojra, lodged the complaint last year, claiming that Mr Emmanuel had used his wife’s mobile phone to send the offending message. Nadeem Hassan, the couple’s lawyer, said that the couple denied the offence and that the text message originated from a mobile phone that had been lost beforehand.

Mr Hassan said a “bogus SIM card” was presented as evidence. “The complainant was involved in a dispute with the pair and had made a threat with the full knowledge that they would face the death penalty,” he said. An appeal against the sentencing will be presented to the High Court in Lahore today.

Gojra, in Punjab province, has been the scene of religious strife in the past. In 2009 a mob attacked a Christian neighbourhood there, killing seven people and destroying dozens of houses after rumours emerged that a copy of the Koran had been desecrated.

via Christians in Pakistan sentenced to death over a text – Telegraph.

Plan for ‘Sharia-compliant’ student loans to get more Muslims into university

David Willetts, Universities Minister

A new system of “Sharia-compliant” student loans is to be launched to allow more Muslim students to go to university, it has been announced.

David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said an alternative financial model was being created to satisfy Islamic law that forbids Muslims taking out loans that make interest.

Under the system, students would apply for taxpayer-backed loans but repay them into a mutual-style fund that would be ring-fenced to provide future finance to other students with the same religious beliefs.

The move will raise concerns over a two-tier system in which Muslim students pay less than other undergraduates.

But the Government insisted it would be set up in a way that ensured repayments were made at the same rate as students who take out traditional student loans.

 

It comes just weeks after it emerged that Sharia law was to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under new guidelines for solicitors for Islamic wills.

Around 115,000 Muslim students currently attend universities in the UK but it is claimed that many have been put off a degree by the Coalition’s new loans system – introduced in 2012 – that carry a real rate of interest above inflation. It coincided with a near tripling of the cap on tuition fees to almost £9,000.

Omar Ali, president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, told the Telegraph: “We know of many students who finished college but decided not to go to university because of the way the new system was set up. We welcome this proposal.”

via Plan for ‘Sharia-compliant’ student loans to get more Muslims into university – Telegraph.

Brazilians say women who wear revealing clothes deserve to be raped, survey shows

Carnival

A majority of Brazilians believe a woman who wears revealing clothing deserves to be raped, a shocking new survey has revealed.

About 65 percent of the 3,810 respondents justified raping women who wear “clothing that shows off the body,” according to the government’s Institute of Applied Economic Research survey released this week, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Women have been urged to cease posting these kinds of photos on social media.

And 58.5 percent of respondents also agreed that “if women knew how to behave, there would be fewer rapes.”

Women made up 66.5 percent of the poll’s respondents.

President Dilma Rousseff said the results show that “Brazilian society still has a long way to go.”

“It also shows that the government and society must work together to tackle violence against women inside and outside the home,” she tweeted Friday.

via Brazilians say women who wear revealing clothes deserve to be raped, survey shows – Washington Times.

Noah film should be banned says Egypt’s top Islamic body

Noah

Egypt’s top Islamic body said on Thursday the big budget Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” starring Russell Crowe was irreligious and should not be screened in the country.

Al-Azhar institute, one of the region’s main Sunni Muslim authorities, said the film, slated to open in Egypt on March 26, violated Islam by portraying a prophet.

The film has already angered some Christian institutions in the United States, with Crowe’s reportedly unconventional portrayal of Noah.

Al-Azhar can play an advisory role on censoring movies and books in Egypt, but does not have the final say.

Portraying a prophet “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers … and antagonises the faithful,” the institution said in a statement.

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Egypt’s censorship board must approve any movie before it is shown, but it was not immediately clear whether it has approved “Noah” yet.

The Paramount Pictures website said the film would be released on March 26 in Egypt, and a day later in other Middle Eastern countries.

Egypt has censored other films in the past, including the blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” after protests from the Orthodox Coptic Church.

But it did allow the screening of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ”, which depicts Jesus being crucified.

Noah film should be banned says Egypt’s top Islamic body – Telegraph