The idiots are winning

Here’s a quick round-up of religious repression around the globe.

Firstly, over in Tariq Ramadan’s feminist paradise the Iranian government is locking up journalists. A typical case:

Six of the seven journalists currently in prison in Iran are of Kurdish or Arab origin. The latest reporter to fall foul of Tehran’s information management and repression is the leading Ahwazi Arab journalist Yousef Azizi Bani Torouf. According to Iran Human Rights Voice and Reporters Without Borders, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of ‘acting against national security’, ‘incitement to rebellion’ and ‘relations with foreign officials’. These charges relate to his condemnation of the extreme, often indiscriminate, state violence used to crush the mass protests of the anti-government Ahwazi intifada of April 2005.

Azizi’s lawyer, Saleh Nickbakht states that his trial was unfair and that ‘the alleged charge against him is incompatible with the facts and reality.’

Azizi is a highly acclaimed writer and has had numerous books published in both Arabic and Farsi, with a particular focus on the Arab peoples of Iran’s south-west province of Khuzestan (known by the Arabs as al-Ahwaz). He is a board member of the Iranian Writers Association.

Peter Tatchell’s article on this concludes with a call for protest.

You can help save Iran’s jailed journalists. Email your appeals for their release to:

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Eminence Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei: istiftaa@wilayah.org and info@leader.ir and info@khamenei.ir

The Honourable Chief Justice, His Eminence Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi: Shahroudi@Dadgostary-tehran.ir and ijpr@iranjudiciary.org

Iranian President, His Excellency Dr Mahmood Ahmadinejad: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Via Butterflies and Wheels, a Malaysian blogger has been arrested for ‘posting an article that insulted Islam.’

Raja Petra Kamarudin was held under the majority Muslim country’s controversial Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without trial.

Raja Petra was detained by police at his home near Kuala Lumpur, two weeks after his anti-government website Malaysia Today was closed down.

Interior Minister Syed Hamid Albar said he had been arrested because his writings posed a threat to national security, local media reported.

The blogger went into hiding earlier this week, but told the BBC at the time that he did not fear detention.

‘I just want to make sure that for the next 10 days or so that i am going to be available to help in the dissemination of material that is going to be greatly required,’ he said.

Finally, an Italian comedian is facing five years inside for telling a joke about the Pope.

An Italian comedienne who said that Pope Benedict XVI would go to Hell and be tormented by homosexual demons is facing a prison term of up to five years.

Addressing a Rome rally in July, Sabrina Guzzanti warmed up with a few gags about Silvio Berlusconi — her favourite target for her biting impressions — before moving on to some unrepeatable jokes about Mara Carfagna, the Equal Opportunities Minister and one-time topless model.

But then she got religion, and after warning everyone that within 20 years Italian teachers would be vetted and chosen by the Vatican, she got to the punchline: ‘But then, within 20 years the Pope will be where he ought to be — in Hell, tormented by great big poofter devils, and very active ones, not passive ones.’

The joke may have gone done well with her crowd on the Piazza Navona in Rome, but not with Italian prosecutors. She is facing prosecution for ‘offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person’ of Benedict XVI.

The Christian world may have been dismayed, even outraged, at the Muslim reaction in 2005 to Danish cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammed, but Italian law enforcement appears to have had its own sense of humour failure. Giovanni Ferrara, the Rome prosecutor, is invoking the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Vatican, which stipulates that an insult to the Pope carries the same penalty as an insult to the Italian President. Prosecution requires authorisation from the Ministry of Justice, for which Mr Ferrara has applied.

And they say that mocking Christianity carries no risk!

In David T’s words: ‘Fuck the Pope!’

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