Archive for Human Rights

Jailed Iranian Pastor Decries “Insulting Words” Against Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Pastor Youcef Naderkhani

Unfortunately, Pastor Youcef Naderkhani remains jailed in Iran, despite international pressure to secure his release. In March, we published the story of his plight, Message to Iran: Free Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani:

Youcef Nadarkhani should be released from Iranian jail immediately. In fact, he should have never been jailed in the first place.

Nadarkhani faces possible execution in Iran for the “crime” of apostasy and Christian evangelism. In the face of mounting international pressure, the Iranian regime has said Nadarkhani was actually charged with more serious crimes unrelated to religion, but barring new evidence to the contrary, this appears to be a face-saving lie.

The regime in the so-called “Islamic” Republic of Iran urgently needs to reread the Qur’an, including Chapter 109, Surat Al-Kafirun -The Disbelievers, and (among others) verses 2:625:69, and 2:256.

Since that time, the Iranian regime has made the situation worse by arresting his defense attorney. Yet despite the hardship he has faced at the hands of the regime in Iran, Pastor Naderkhani does not blame Islam or Muslims for his ordeal. In a letter he wrote from prison, he thanked his many supporters and spoke out against those who use his cause to bash Islam.

Jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani writes thank you letter to supporters from prison

By , Fox News

The Christian pastor on death row in Iran has reportedly written a letter thanking his supporters and blasting those who he said use “insulting words” against Islam in what he considers a misguided effort to help his cause.

Washington-based human rights group American Center for Law and Justice released what it says is a letter written by Youcef Nadarkhani earlier this week from a prison in the Lakan Province of Iran, where he is currently being held  for charges of practicing Christianity and renouncing Islam. If the letter is real, it is the first time Nadarkhani has been heard from in a year.

“First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit,” begins the letter, which is addressed to “All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.”

“From time to time I am informed about the news, which is spreading in the media, about my current situation…or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me.” Another passage from the pastor’s letter reads, “I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting the human rights in a right way can bring forth great results in this.”

Nadarkhani also mentions those who have used his cause to attack Islam, saying “burning and insulting” is not “reverent” behavior. He did not specifically mention controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who claims to have burned Korans in April to show solidarity with Nadarkhani.

The letter was obtained by evangelic ministry Present Truth, which operates missions in Iran. The group also had the letter translated into English from the pastor’s native language of Farsi.

“Present Truth Ministries received the letter from its sources inside Iran. We believe the sources providing this letter have proven to be credible throughout this case and, therefore, we believe that Pastor Youcef is the author,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, told FoxNews.com.

Nadarkhani has been jailed since being arrested in 2009 after he went to his son’s school to complain about them starting mandatory Koran classes.

He was then charged with apostasy from Islam. He was found guilty by the Iranian Supreme Court and sentenced to death and has been imprisoned ever since.

His attorney in Iran was recently arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison. He has also been barred from practicing or teaching law for ten years.

Israeli Officials: Starve Iranians to Stop Nukes

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Where’s the humanity in saying you want to “starve” a whole group of people?

(H/T: Saladin)

Israeli officials: Starve Iranians to stop nukes

by Attila Somfalvi (YNetNews)

Iran’s citizens should be starved in order to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington.

“North Korea is halting its nuclear program in order to receive aid in food, and this is what should be done with Iran as well,” one unnamed official said.

“Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food,” the source said. “This would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile, while the Persian people have nothing to eat and may rise up as was the case in Syria, Tunisia and other Arab states.”

“The Western world led by the United States must implement stifling sanctions at this time already, rather than wait or hesitate,” the official said. “In order to suffocate Iran economically and diplomatically and lead the regime there to a hopeless situation, this must be done now, without delay.”

‘Iran has hidden capabilities’

Earlier Wednesday, North Korea said that it has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and adopt a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday the North has also agreed to allow International Atomic Energy inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

On Tuesday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the Islamic Republic has yet to reveal all of its military capabilities, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has many hidden capabilities which are kept for rainy days,” Vahidi said, adding, “We have not yet revealed all our capabilities.”

Addressing Israeli strike threats, the Iranian minister said Washington objects to statements on an Iran strike as the US is aware of Iran’s power and realizes that anyone who becomes embroiled in a conflict with Tehran will be defeated.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Lockup Everyone

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by loonwatch

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Lockup Everyone 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-3-2012/lockup-everyone

The last thing Barack Obama did in 2011 was sign a bill that eliminates due process for anyone suspected of terrorism in America.

Gay Africans Flee Persecution

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee  (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)

Can you imagine if they were fleeing because of the insidious and all encompassing horror of Sharia’? It would be international news and the Islamophobes would be all over it, their silence on the matter is quite telling. (Hat tip: Daniel Bartholomew)

Gay Africans flee persecution

by NAOMI ABRAHAM

As Uganda revives anti-gay legislation, gays seek haven in other countries

I first met Fred at a prayer service for gay men in an industrial part of Nairobi where even on a Sunday morning, the noise was deafening. The service was part biblical study and part support group. The other men who were worshipping with Fred in the dingy and cavernous room that day were Kenyans, but he was not.

Fred, a lanky Ugandan, became a refugee in December 2009 after he was brutally assaulted by a mob in Kampala for being gay.

Fred, who asked that his last name not be used, bought a one-way ticket to Nairobi days after the assault with the intention of never returning. “It’s OK to kill me,” he said. “People would be happy to see me dead, even some of my family.” I asked what he meant by OK, and he explained that no one would ever have to pay a price for his murder.

Within the last decade, rancorous anti-gay rhetoric has infiltrated public discourse in many African  countries. Just last week, the Ugandan parliament revived a proposal to legalize capital punishment for people who engage in homosexual acts. This is new for Africa. In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable.

Fred’s journey from Uganda to Kenya followed the same logic as that of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) African refugees I spoke to. They move to urban centers in neighboring countries not necessarily because these places are any less hostile to homosexuals but for the anonymity that comes with being a newcomer in a densely populated area.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, went on record last May saying that anti-gay hate crimes are increasing around the world and now account for a high percentage of all reported hate crimes.

Homophobia is not necessarily a new attitude for most African societies. Being gay is a crime in 38 of the 54 countries in Africa. Many of these laws have been on the books since colonial times. But it’s a stretch to think, as some have claimed, that homophobia is simply a vestige of colonial times.

However, some pundits believe that the shift to a more sinister form of homophobia in many African countries over the last decade has its root in conservative religious indoctrination. Some reports suggest that U.S. evangelical groups have had a hand in creating the venomous anti-gay attitudes and violence that have swept over the continent and pushed gay Africans out of their countries.

“It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw Africans with the help of American conservative religious groups using this issue (homosexuality) as an organizing tool,” said Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who has studied the U.S. evangelical influence on African societies.

Fred, who looks a decade or so younger than his 48 years, said that for most of his life he had guarded his sexuality with the utmost care for fear of social retribution and becoming estranged from loved ones. He lived his life relatively undisturbed until 2009 when the “Kill the Gays” bill, which sought to legalize capital punishment for homosexuality, was first introduced. Fred says it was during this time that he started to fear for his life.

His neighbors began to suspect he was gay and threatened to turn him in to authorities or to kill him themselves. On the night of his near fatal assault, he says, a large group of people from his neighborhood stood outside his bedroom quietly waiting to get the final proof they needed to confirm their suspicions. When they had heard enough, they broke his window and attacked him and his partner.

“People don’t leave their countries on a lark seeking more gay bars,” says Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.  He adds that in places like Uganda it is because of an overwhelming sense of fear for their lives.

Kaoma says Uganda is unique only in that it has gotten more international attention. Other African countries continue to take steps to criminalize homosexuality. This, he says, will increase the flow of LGBT refugees if the international community doesn’t put pressure on these governments.

Also, because some gay African advocates have chosen to become more visible in their fight for equality, anti-gay factions have become more vehement. Some gay rights advocates have been driven  into hiding.

Larry, a leading Kenyan gay rights advocate who now lives in Texas after being granted political asylum, was forced to relocate to Uganda in 2007 after he appeared on Kenyan national television as an openly gay man. “I left for Uganda because I needed to go undercover since there were multiple threats to my life.” He says he chose Uganda because of its proximity to Kenya and because he had friends there.

Neil Grungas, executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, a San Francisco-based organization assisting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, says that while there is no way of knowing exactly how many LGBT African refugees there are, it is a growing problem. “We know that it’s an enormous issue in Africa because the continent has the most concentrated persecution against gay people,” he said in a phone interview.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. State Department do not track refugees who are displaced because of their sexual orientation. But even if those numbers existed, Duncan Breen, senior associate at Human Rights First, a D.C.- and New York City-based human rights organization, says the numbers would be grossly inaccurate given how many of these refugees might be afraid to reveal their sexuality.

But those working on refugee issues believe that the flow of LGBT refugees is on the rise. They point to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issuing guidelines for working with LGBT refugees and providing sensitivity trainings to its field staff. Also this past summer, the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services funded the very first LGBT resource center, at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, a Chicago-based organization that provides services to immigrants and refugees. Under the grant, the group is to come up with best practices for resettling LGBT refugees in the U.S.

Still, advocates and some U.S. politicians say the U.S. government should do more to expedite the resettlement process for refugees fleeing antigay persecution.  In a February 2010 letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and  Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) urge Clinton to take decisive steps to protect LGBT refugees, who are targets of violence in the countries they have escaped from as well as the ones they’ve escaped to.

Danny Dyson, one of the first African refugees to be resettled in the United States because of the anti-gay persecution he faced in Uganda, went back and forth between Uganda and Kenya before his arrival in San Francisco. “It was a nightmare in Kenya,” he said. “At first I didn’t have any help, and I had to leave the refugee camp I went to because other refugees started harassing me for being gay.”  Dyson finally found help with a U.S. nongovernmental refugee assistance group, which asked that it not be named because they feared recriminations for their work with LGBT refugees.

Dyson and Fred met in Kenya as refugees. Fred awaits a decision from the U.S. government on his application for resettlement. Having heard about Danny’s successful resettlement in America, he asked me, “Is it true there are lots of us there and I don’t have to hide?”

Naomi Abraham is a multimedia journalist in New York City. She reported from Kenya and Uganda as part of a project sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. The Ford Foundation provided funding for this story. More Naomi Abraham

AlJazeera English: Footage Shows a Dead Muammar Gaddafi

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

When NATO backed rebels entered Tripoli in late August, it spelled the end of the Gadaffi regime. His reported death today marks the symbolic end of the Gadaffi era. There is no shadow of a doubt that Gadaffi was a dictator, that much is clear from numerous human rights and amnesty reports.

Now marks a new beginning for Libya.

Unlike the Egyptian revolution, the Libyan uprising was tainted by Nato’s involvement; it was not a victory purely by the people, of the people and for the people. It is hoped that the forces of self-determination and true democracy will prevail over those trends that are either open to, or already have been co-opted by foreign interests.

Needless to say, the Islamophobes are already instigating the doomsday scenario. Robert Spencer says in a blog post titled, “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Gaddafi has been captured”:

It is likely that the new America-backed regime will compete with the Gaddafi regime in its hatred for America and the West, and become noted for being even more anti-American than he was.

It goes without saying that one should take Spencer’s words with a heavy grain of salt, after all such pessimism on his part is born not out of a true analysis of Libya as it is today but out of a deep seated hatred for Islam and Muslims. For Spencer Muslims can only ever live under dictatorship and oppression.

Footage shows Gaddafi’s bloodied body

Footage obtained by Al Jazeera shows the body of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi following his death in Sirte.

Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, confirmed that the ousted leader had been killed on October 20, 2011 near Sirte.

“We announce to the world that Muammar Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolutionaries,” Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi.

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte after weeks of fighting.

Oxymoron: Robert Spencer Joins Islamophobes on Panel to Celebrate Human Rights

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2010 by loonwatch

Voice of the Copts which for all intents and purposes is an anti-Islam Coptic apologetic website is hosting a “celebration” of human rights on Human Rights day which they completely undermined by inviting a panel consisting of some of the most anti-Freedom, anti-Muslim activists (read opportunists) out there.

The panel will include:

Robert Spencer: anti-Muslim director of David Horowitz’s funded JihadWatch. An ally of Fascists and neo-Nazi groups such as: Geert Wilders (Right-wing Dutch neo-Fascist), EDL (English Defense League), SIOE (Stop the Islamization of Europe), BPE (Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa), Ewald Stadler(Far right Austrian politician), BZO, Sergei Trefkovic (Serbian Nationalist, genocide denier). Spencer has also created anti-Muslim org’s along with Pamela Geller, SIOA and AFDI.

Pamela Geller: All you need to know about Pamela, “Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever.”

Tawfiq Hamid: Oppurtunist of the worst kind, “Tawfiq Hamid: The Shemp of the Three Stooges.”

It is sad that the Voice of the Copts has chosen to give a platform to hatemongers of the worst kind, it undermines a valuable day and hurts any credibility that they may have.

 

Robert Spencer: Teaming up with Euro-Supremacists Again

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer: Teaming up with Euro-Supremacists Again

"Under his wing": Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer
“Under his wing”: Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer, erstwhile ally of neo-Fascists, friend to advocates of genocide, and all around anti-Muslim is once again basking in the light of his own, made up self-importance.

This time it centers around his recent trip to Germany where he gave a speech at a rally in Berlin. Spencer writes,

Today I spoke in Berlin at a rally against antisemitism and Islamization, sponsored by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), the most important German human rights organization, seeking to preserve European values, freedom and democracy (emphasis added).

When ever Robert Spencer makes a claim such as some “organization is the ‘most important’ human rights group” in a particular country it throws up all kinds of red flags for us because such a statement coming from him is usually filled with a load of BS.

Spencer, of course, relies on his American audience’s ignorance about the reality of this “human rights” organization. He gives us a link to a German website that most of his readers will be unable to understand, thereby hoping they will stick to the script he formulates about it being the most important German human rights group.

The truth is that, per his track record, this is just another episode in a long list of episodes where Spencer has teamed up with anti-Muslim, Islam-obsessed haters. Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) is far from being the premier, let alone “most important human rights organization” in Germany, in fact the claim might go down as one of the greatest oxymoron’s in Islamophobia history (on the other hand a group such as Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Völker is one of the most important and “real” human rights groups in Germany).

Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa

Looking at the BPE site reveals that it is just another organization using the title and badge of human rights to add an air of legitimacy to the real intent behind their work: demonization and marginalization of Europe’s Muslims. Continue reading