Kazakhstan: Religious freedom means “one nation – one religion”

The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarba...

Kazakh President Nazarbaev. Image via Wikipedia

Of course, this means there is actually no religion in the country:

For Kazakhstan’s new Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA), religious freedom means “one nation – one religion”. In fact, Kazakh authorities have announced new measures to increase controls on religious groups, including legal penalties.

On 22 July, Kazakh President Nazarbaev said, “It is necessary to strictly suppress the spread of elements of extremist religious ideology in the country, especially, open actions which are aimed at undermining the constitutional system and which pose a threat to citizens’ lives and health“.

At a meeting of the country’s Security Council, the president said that local governments “should step up educational and preventive measures, as well as keep a close watch on religious associations’ strict compliance with the existing legal norms.”

This set off alarm bells among religious minorities. In April, Nazarbaev had already called for greater controls against an unspecified “extremist religious ideology”, which was followed by a police crackdown against religious minorities and a hostile campaign against them in state media.

In fact, in the absence of any clear definition of “religious extremism”, ARA has gone on an offensive against all Muslim groups that do not adhere to what it considers mainstream moderate Islam.

via KAZAKHSTAN Religious freedom in Kazakhstan means “one nation – one religion” – Asia News.

Really dangerous move: would Ahmadis be considered “mainstream moderate Islam”? I guess not.

When a Govt wants to forbid something, the 1st rule of all consists in stating very clearly what are the actions which are no longer allowed. And has anyone an idea of what is a “mainstream moderate Islam”? Because defining that into a law, would be really hard to do… 😯

Nobel Peace Prize ceremony boycott grows due to Chinese pressure

Free Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for 11 years due to his participation in the document called Chapter 08, in which several people supported democracy and the end to the “one-party”

… China and 18 other countries have decided not to be represented “for various reasons.” It noted that number has tripled from six weeks ago.

The countries joining China in its boycott include Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and the Philippines.

The 58 countries who have embassies in Oslo were invited to attend.

China strongly objected to Liu’s win last October and levelled more criticism Tuesday, calling members of the Nobel committee “clowns” who are “interfering in China’s judicial affairs.”

The 54-year-old writer and academic was jailed in December 2009 to serve an 11-year term for subversion. He was detained just days before the publication of what has turned out to be an explosive political document, Charter 8, which he co-wrote.

Charter 08 calls for an end to one-party rule and the introduction of democratic reforms in China. It was signed, via the internet, by thousands of people, some of them Communist Party officials.

via CBC News – World – Nobel Peace Prize ceremony boycott grows.

UN: Iran Loses Vote for Board Seat of Women’s Agency

Iran was defeated today in its bid for a seat on the board of a new United Nations body to promote women’s rights after what an Iranian envoy called a “politically motivated” campaign by the U.S.

The UN’s 54-member Economic and Social Council elected 41 members to the board of the agency, to be known as UN Women, which officially begins its work Jan. 1. The UN General Assembly voted in July to create the agency by merging four existing bodies.

These policies by the U.S. to put pressure on others to not vote for Iran is very sad for the UN,” Eshagh Al Habib, Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said in an interview. “It is a very politically motivated position. It is not constructive.” Al Habib said Iran was “progressing very fast in the field” of women’s rights.

The U.S. and rights groups including London-based Amnesty International and New York-based Human Rights Watch opposed Iran’s candidacy for one of the 10 board seats designated for Asian nations. There were only 10 candidates, which would have virtually guaranteed Iran’s election, until East Timor sought a seat this week.

East Timor, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Pakistan were elected to the Asian board seats.

via Iran Loses Vote for Board Seat of UN Women’s Agency – BusinessWeek.

Good news. Although some of those elected countries are not beacons of the protection of Human Rights either… 😥

Background: Iranian Mullahcracy to “protect” women’s rights?

Christian Persecution and Prayer Alert, Feb 11th

Christians forced from their homes in Laos

A group of 48 Christians were forced from their homes in Katin village, Saravan province, Laos in January by approximately 100 officials and villagers. The believers, who had gathered for Sunday worship, were expelled from their church at gunpoint and brought to an open field. Officials then confiscated personal belongings from 11 Christians’ homes. Six of the homes were later destroyed. A pig, worth the equivalent of six weeks’ salary, was also seized from one of the believers. When the Christians refused to renounce their faith, they were forced to walk six kilometres outside the village and were left at the side of the road. Officials have posted police at the entrance to the village to prevent the Christians from returning home or retrieving their valuables. At last report, the believers were sleeping on the ground in the woods with barely any food or survival supplies.

Continue reading

Real faith does not impose itself, Pope Benedict teaches

Bishops and other clergy from Kazakhstan and Central Asia, a region with few Catholics, met with Pope Benedict this morning at the Vatican. The Holy Father encouraged the prelates to “keep the flame of faith alive among the Christian people” and spoke about the dangers of religious fundamentalism.

Pope Benedict began his remarks by inviting the prelates to give thanks to God that, “despite the severe pressures suffered during the years of the atheist communist regime, the flame of faith remained alight in believers’ hearts thanks to the zealous sacrifice of priests, religious and lay people.”

After encouraging the bishops not to lose heart even though the Catholic community is “a small flock,” Benedict XVI called on them to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit and “to keep the flame of faith alight among Christian people. Conserve and draw vantage from the important pastoral and apostolic experiences of the past,” he told them.

Real faith does not impose itself, Pope Benedict teaches.

He also explained that it’s not possible to fight fundamentalism fighting actual religion.

"'Radical' changes for EU neighbours", China, Somalia, Bin Laden's new hair color, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, homosexual paedophiles sheltering children, Pakistan and the Muslim Cinderella (+)

 Alarming news indeed:

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, on Monday outlined what it called “radical” changes to its relations with the countries that border on the union.

Addressing a conference that included ministers from the 16 neighbour countries and the 27 EU members, European Commission Vice President Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the Commission proposes to open up the European markets to workers, services and goods from the EU’s neighbours.

The Commission’s proposal calls for instance for better legal migration, a tougher approach to illegal immigration. In the area of energy, it tables the idea of regional energy partnership that would eliminate the need for the bilateral pacts currently in place with some countries.

EUX.TV – Brussels Minute: ‘Radical’ changes for EU neighbours h/t Millenium Notes.

So, they are going to open all the borders to mainly our Mediterranean brothers, just in case they were not crossing the Mediterranean fast enough. 😡

This is released about the same time in which a suicide bomber has blown up himself in Algeria, killing at least 22 people. The suicide attack aimed at President Bouteflika. When he saw he has been detected by the people around him, he exploded himself before the scheduled moment. (En español)

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From BBC:

Doctors in China have discovered 26 sewing needles embedded in the body of a 31-year-old woman.

They think they were inserted into Luo Cuifen’s body when she was a baby by grandparents upset she was not a boy.  😯

[…] The needles were discovered only when Ms Luo went to hospital complaining of blood in her urine. She was given a routine X-ray, which revealed the needles. Up until then she had been in good health.

Some of these needles have penetrated vital organs, such as the lungs, liver and kidneys. One has even broken into three pieces in the woman’s brain.

[…] But there is no way to confirm this theory, as the grandparents are now dead.

In many rural areas boys were – and still are – valued more highly than girls. One reason is that they can carry on the family name.

Well, the main reason is not that rubbish about the family name, but the one-child policy which favoured during a lot of time, the boys over the girls. The consequence is that there is a great disproportion between the percentage of women and men in China nowadays.

A problem aggravated with a return to an ancient past within China, when mistresses were normal in the higher circles:

Chinese anti-graft investigators have found that 90 percent of the country’s most senior officials brought down in corruption cases in recent years had kept mistresses, drawing a link between sex and misconduct.

Mistresses and “second wives” are common among government officials and businessmen in China and are often blamed for driving officials to seek money through bribes or other abuses of power.

A report by China’s top prosecutor’s office said that of 16 provincial-level officials punished for “serious” graft in the last five years, most were involved in “trading power for sex”, along with gambling, money-laundering and shady land sales to developers, the Beijing News said on Monday.

“Nearly 90 percent kept mistresses, some keeping several,” the paper said.

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In Somalia, while the insurgents (err, well, Al-Qaeda linked tipes…) and the Government are going to talk, one of the insurgents hideouts has been raided:

Nine people have been killed and 20 others seriously injured in Somalia’s capital during a raid on a house by government forces targeting insurgents.

Explosions and gunfire rocked Bakara market in Mogadishu as security forces battled insurgents defending the house thought to be sheltering their leader.

On Wednesday six people were killed during another raid against insurgents.

Mogadishu has seen a rise in violence since Ethiopian-backed government troops ousted Islamists last December

The UN refugee agency says some 400,000 people have fled the fighting in the capital in the past four months.

The BBC’s Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says most of those injured during the fighting are civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

Transitional government forces have been carrying out operations against insurgents for the past two months, but this was the first time a house was targeted, our correspondent says.

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Bin Laden urges American to convert ( 😆 ). Well, I really feel that he is not cool enough no matters how much henna he uses… I mean, with that look, he is not going to be a masses’ idol:

It appears that a texture effect has been added over the entire image. Perhaps the intent is to hide what appears to me to be a very sickly man. The shoulders are pronouncedly slumped, as if he has lost all muscle tone.  It shows serious wasting which many times occurs in Alzheimer patients. (As if we didn’t already know that he was demented). The flesh of his face is sagging. I think this IS a new picture. In November of 2001 Salon.com  conjectured that Osama might be suffering from Marfan syndrome.

Well, perhaps for some leftists-Chomsky-lovers, and such… he is attractive.

(+) More on Bin Laden’s hairdresser’s work.

Characteristically, no one is picking up on the significance of the dye job. The Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence forbids men and women to dye their hair black “except when the intention is jihad…as a show of strength to unbelievers” (‘Umdat al-Salik e.4.4). Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in his The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, says essentially the same thing: “Some of the early Muslims, including some sahabah [companions of Muhammad] such as Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amr, al-Hassan, al-Hussein, Jarir, and others permitted the use of black dye. Some scholars, on the other hand, do not consider the use of
black dye as permissible except during time of war, when the enemy might be impressed by the fact that all the soldiers of the Muslim army look young.

As I said, I am not impressed by his hairdresser’s work youthness..

What is significant though is that he thinks he is in war… Now, let’s see if the rest also begin realising we are in a war too…

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President Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) revived the possibility of an alphabet switch last fall, requesting that the Ministry of Education and Science examine the experiences of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which have all changed to Latin letters. The ministry’s proposed action plan is based primarily on the model used in Uzbekistan. It calls for a six-step program, outlining cost estimates for retraining the country’s workforce to read Latin script, and changing signs on streets and public buildings. The overall cost of switching is estimated at US$300 million.

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Turkmenistan’s role in energy:

The pipeline expansion, provided it actually comes into being, could deal a substantial blow to western interests in Turkmenistan. In particular, it has the potential to deter a long-held goal of the United States – construction of a Trans-Caspian Pipeline that would carry Central Asian energy to Azerbaijan, where it would be distributed to the West.

As one Pentagon official said prior to the announcement of the Russian-Turkmen pipeline agreement: “If there is a new Great Game being played in Central Asia, the most important part is Turkmenistan.”

Western officials in Turkmenistan, however, deny that they have “lost” anything to Russia. “We don’t see it as a zero-sum game, as Russia and other countries in the region do,” said one Western diplomat.

But the diplomat acknowledges that Russia has an advantage in dealing with Turkmenistan; that Moscow doesn’t make the same demands on human rights and democratization as do Washington and Brussels. “We would love to know the real reason [that Russia was awarded the pipeline deal], but that seems to be the logical explanation,” the diplomat said.

Another Western diplomat said a major factor was connected to the fact that Russia devotes more high level attention to Turkmenistan than does the United States or European countries. “When Berdymukhammedov calls the Kremlin, it’s [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who picks up the phone; when he calls Washington it’s a deputy assistant secretary of state. And the presidential level is where you get things done,” the diplomat said.

Exactly the same as China in Sudan, about HR and democratization… 😡

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Two maids beaten to death in Saudi Arabia, accused of practising “black magic” h/t NMJ:

The brutality of attacks on four Indonesian maids last month in the Saudi town of Aflaj shocked even the most hardened observers in this kingdom, where employers have a long history of mistreating their domestic workers.

Accused of practicing black magic on the son of their Saudi employers, these domestic helpers were beaten over a period of two days beginning Aug. 3. Siti Tarwiyah Slamet and Susmiyati Abdul Fulan were killed. Tari Tarsam and Ruminih Surtim survived, but were taken away by Saudi police from the hospital just days after being admitted once they were deemed well enough to be questioned.

Since then, seven Saudi males from the same family have been arrested and are under investigation. The Saudi government never officially informed the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh of the crime, and only after migrant groups and relatives of the maids held two demonstrations outside the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, did the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia issue a statement saying that authorities in Riyadh needed more time to complete their investigation before they could send the two surviving maids and the remains of the two slain women home.

😯 Speaking of transparency of the Government… And of inaction:

The brutal killings of these Indonesian domestic helpers occurred in an atmosphere of impunity fostered by government inaction,” says Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York. “Not only do the authorities typically fail to investigate or prosecute abusive employers, the criminal justice system also obstructs abused workers from seeking redress.”

Go and read it all: it’s shameful. And this people want to teach others morals and good behaviour??

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Hmm, more cowards. And who pays it? The people who are less strong… in this case the children:

A homo-sex-ual foster couple were left free to sex-ually abuse vulnerable boys in their care because social workers feared being accused of discrimination if they investigated complaints, an inquiry concluded yesterday.

G-ay couple left free to abuse boys – because social workers feared being branded hom-ophobic

… one of the first homo-se-xual couples in the country to be officially approved as foster parents.

With no previous convictions, they came across as respectable men who simply wanted to help boys with a variety of problems.

In reality, they were paed-ophiles, who repeatedly abused the children in their care.

My reaction was of 😯 at first, but after reading it entirely (and once I realize what had happened -af first, I could not believe my eyes) was of 😡

And please, go and see the photos. I have not posted them, because I do not want any reader killed after seeing them…

Not all homosexuals are like this, BUT if someone makes such acts must be stopped before it’s too late. What are going to be the consequences for the poor child, hein?

My Pet Jawa links to other case, as gruesome as this one:

Judge Christopher Critchlow heard last week that Howitt and Rae, lovers for more than 10 years, repeatedly sexually abused the tot over a four-year period – simulating sex acts with him and forcing him to have oral sex while he slept.

Look here, I don’t care the sexuality, the gender or whatever. We are very careful about not upsetting grown-ups, just in case they get offended. And the little boys? What happens with them? They get not offended, but raped. What is a bigger problem, then? ________________________________

In Pakistan:

Suspected Islamic militants in north-western Pakistan have beheaded two women they accused o
f being prostitutes, police say.

The bodies of the two women were found by villagers on the outskirts of the city of Bannu.

A note found on the bodies accused the women of “acts of obscenity”, a term that usually refers to prostitution.

The region is a known base for militants who want to impose their interpretation of Islamic law.

Police said the women were travelling in a three-wheeled vehicle when masked and armed men overpowered them and bundled them into a car.

Senior district police officer Dar Khattak told Reuters news agency it was the first time militants had directly targeted and killed women in the region.

The note read: “We have started doing this to end obscenity in the area.”

First, they even don’t know if the women were actually prostitutes.

But in case they were, prostitutes don’t make “acts of obscenity” alone, but with men (in a 99% of the cases…) and because the men pay for them to do such “acts”. So, if they really want to fight obscenity, just don’t use them. Oohh, yeah, I know, err, yes, well, then don’t blame prostitutes!! You, hypocrites… 😡

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Cinderella, Muslim style h/t Kate: “I’m not going to be able to contradict him. But this is a fairy tale come true” says the bride ( 😯 ). The bridegoom is already married and has five children. He belongs to Dubai Royal House. She is a hotel waitress. Both are Muslims.