Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

Fuck everything about this.

Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.

Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena’s family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.

Sharia: illegal but still practiced

Hena’s family hailed from rural Shariatpur, crisscrossed by murky rivers that lend waters to rice paddies and lush vegetable fields.

Hena was the youngest of five children born to Darbesh Khan, a day laborer, and his wife, Aklima Begum. They shared a hut made from corrugated tin and decaying wood and led a simple life that was suddenly marred a year ago with the return of Hena’s cousin Mahbub Khan.

Mahbub Khan came back to Shariatpur from a stint working in Malaysia. His son was Hena’s age and the two were in seventh grade together.

Khan eyed Hena and began harassing her on her way to school and back, said Hena’s father. He complained to the elders who run the village about his nephew, three times Hena’s age.

The elders admonished Mahbub Khan and ordered him to pay $1,000 in fines to Hena’s family. But Mahbub was Darbesh’s older brother’s son and Darbesh was asked to let the matter fade.

Many months later on a winter night, as Hena’s sister Alya told it, Hena was walking from her room to an outdoor toilet when Mahbub Khan gagged her with cloth, forced her behind nearby shrubbery and beat and raped her.

Hena struggled to escape, Alya told CNN. Mahbub Khan’s wife heard Hena’s muffled screams and when she found Hena with her husband, she dragged the teenage girl back to her hut, beat her and trampled her on the floor.

The next day, the village elders met to discuss the case at Mahbub Khan’s house, Alya said. The imam pronounced his fatwa. Khan and Hena were found guilty of an illicit relationship. Her punishment under sharia or Islamic law was 101 lashes; his 201.

Mahbub Khan managed to escape after the first few lashes.

Darbesh Khan and Aklima Begum had no choice but to mind the imam’s order. They watched as the whip broke the skin of their youngest child and she fell unconscious to the ground.

“What happened to Hena is unfortunate and we all have to be ashamed that we couldn’t save her life,” said Sultana Kamal, who heads the rights organization Ain o Shalish Kendro.

Bangladesh is considered a democratic and moderate Muslim country, and national law forbids the practice of sharia. But activist and journalist Shoaib Choudhury, who documents such cases, said sharia is still very much in use in villages and towns aided by the lack of education and strong judicial systems.

The Supreme Court also outlawed fatwas a decade ago, but human rights monitors have documented more than 500 cases of women in those 10 years who were punished through a religious ruling. And few who have issued such rulings have been charged.

Last month, the court asked the government to explain what it had done to stop extrajudicial penalty based on fatwa. It ordered the dissemination of information to all mosques and madrassas, or religious schools, that sharia is illegal in Bangladesh.

“The government needs to enact a specific law to deal with such perpetrators responsible for extrajudicial penalty in the name of Islam,” Kamal told CNN.

The United Nations estimates that almost half of Bangladeshi women suffer from domestic violence and many also commonly endure rape, beatings, acid attacks and even death because of the country’s entrenched patriarchal system.

Hena might have quietly become another one of those statistics had it not been for the outcry and media attention that followed her death on January 31.

‘Not even old enough to be married’

Monday, the doctors responsible for Hena’s first autopsy faced prosecution for what a court called a “false post-mortem report to hide the real cause of Hena’s death.”

Public outrage sparked by that autopsy report prompted the high court to order the exhumation of Hena’s body in February. A second autopsy performed at Dhaka Medical College Hospital revealed Hena had died of internal bleeding and her body bore the marks of severe injuries.

Police are now conducting an investigation and have arrested several people, including Mahbub Khan, in connection with Hena’s death.

“I’ve nothing to demand but justice,” said Darbesh Khan, leading a reporter to the place where his daughter was abducted the night she was raped.

He stood in silence and took a deep breath. She wasn’t even old enough to be married, he said, testament to Hena’s tenderness in a part of the world where many girls are married before adulthood. “She was so small.”

Hena’s mother, Aklima, stared vacantly as she spoke of her daughter’s last hours. She could barely get out her words. “She was innocent,” Aklima said, recalling Hena’s last words.

Police were guarding Hena’s family earlier this month. Darbesh and Aklima feared reprisal for having spoken out against the imam and the village elders.

They had meted out the most severe punishment for their youngest daughter. They could put nothing past them.

If Christianity is True

If Christianity is True

Note: Given the propensity of Christians to continually deceive themselves with this argument, I have decided to bring this back to the front of my site. In case you are wondering, I often prefer to use the informal indicative rather than the more formal subjunctive. – May 2005

IF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE

Wayne Everett Orgar

March 2000

Over the past few years, one of the most frequent comments I have heard from Christians is paraphrased as follows:

If Christianity is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.

If it is true and I don’t believe, I have eternal punishment.

If it is false and I believe, than I will have only lived a lie.

This is nothing more than Pascal’s wager watered down. Bet on Christianity and you lose nothing.

WRONG! You lose plenty.

First, though, let’s recognize this is only a statement of fear and presents evidence of nothing except the fear of hellfire and brimstone. Supposedly, believing in Christ on faith is the key to salvation. Believing in Christ because it is a safe bet is not faith and disqualifies you from salvation. This is fear, not the courage of one’s conviction.

Consider:

  • This argument provides no evidence for a god or for gods.
  • It presents no evidence of an afterlife.
  • It presents no evidence for the truth of Christianity or the belief that these practices will bring you that eternal life. You still have no guarantee that being a Christian brings eternal life if there was an afterlife.
  • It represents a false dichotomy. The choice is not between Christianity and atheism. It is a choice among atheism, Christianity, and the thousands of other religions that respective believers think will get them eternal life. If eternal life existed, it could belong to only the Hindu.
  • If Christianity was false and you believed, you could lose more than a life of lies. If Shintoism were true instead, you would lose eternal life. You better get out there and believe in Shintoism to hedge your bet.

Consider the underlying reasoning behind the argument and it falls apart.

If religion A is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.

If religion A is true and I don’t believe, than I have eternal punishment.

If religion A is not true and I believe, than I will only have lived a lie.

You could use this to justify believing in any religion. Just substitute Islam for religion A. If you use this reasoning to justify believing in Christianity, the moral principle of fairness requires you to allow other religions to use it with equal justification and hope of salvation. Otherwise, you are being hypocritical and you are deceiving yourself.

You could use it to hold conflicting beliefs and be in total self-contradiction. Why would anyone respect this argument?

Now back to my original point. You have plenty to lose with Christianity

  • You lose a lot of time and money on religious organizations and icons, time and money that could be better spent on real problems.
  • You have to worry about guilt and shame from the imaginary concept of sin. Big brother is watching.
  • You have to stand on your head and do verbal gymnastics to “apologize” for ridiculous Bible stories and verses.
  • You have to worry about the increasing knowledge of the facts of the universe and try to rectify them with the Bible, written by people who knew nothing about their universe.
  • You have to worry about the increasing civil rights of women and other minorities such as homosexuals, atheists, ethnic groups, and other religious groups that are increasing in this country.
  • You have to constantly worry about non-believers watching your behavior as Christians and pointing out that you do not behave any better than non-believers.
  • You have to worry about your friends and family going to hell for an eternity. If you don’t worry about this, you either don’t truly believe or are a very callous individual.
  • You have to worry about breaking arbitrary “rules of men” that were attributed to a supposed deity thousands of years ago.
  • You have to worry about those secular humanists (all 20 of them) that have taken over every school, government body, university, media outlet, and ice cream stand in the country.

I could list more. I found no comfort from Christianity. It is not a sure thing and I certainly would not want to bet my life or well being on it.

February 2006 – The stupidist thing a Christian has ever said to me in regard to this is that non-belief in Christianity has consequences and the above is therefore not true. Other religions have no consequences? Tell that to an Islamic believer who insists that Christians will go to hell!

THE BIBLE: IMMORAL AND IRRATIONAL

THE BIBLE: IMMORAL AND IRRATIONAL

THE BIBLE: IMMORAL AND IRRATIONAL

Wayne Everett Orgar

March 1999

Last year I sent a letter to a church elder that I have been corresponding with. Some excerpts from this letter are as follows:

“I’m not sure why you quote the Bible to me. No other book has caused more confusion and needless suffering among nations. The thinker has to reject the Bible as nonsense if considered in its entirety and in context. Examine the three versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, 34 and Deuteronomy 5). Exodus 34 is very different from the other two. How could a god forget its own commandments? No super-intelligent being would allow such errors in its holy book. Exodus 34 is the only version that says it is the Ten Commandments in text (Exodus 34:28 KJV). Christians don’t quote this version. They probably don’t know it exists and it reads like embarrassing nonsense.***

I remember the story of the devil taking Jesus up on a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world to tempt him (Matthew 4:8-9). No such mountain is possible, given that the earth is a sphere! This would only work on a small, flat Earth. Of course, since Christians believe that Jesus was god, this temptation would be absurd. A god would already own the kingdoms of earth. The devil would obviously know this. Add to this the belief in the supernatural nature of the devil and Jesus and it becomes apparent that it would have been entirely unnecessary to go up on a mountain to see anything on earth. This story is irrational even if you don’t believe it literally.

Let’s be analytical about the alleged Jesus cursing a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14) because it didn’t bear fruit when he was hungry. Why did he not know that it wasn’t the season for fig trees to bear fruit? He was god, he was supposed to know all things. Why make the tree wither? This would highly irrational behavior for a god or a human.

Take a look at II Kings 2:23-24 (KJV). The context is a story of Elisha (not a parable or an example of what is not appropriate punishment) being teased by 42 children. The god sends two bears to kill (tare/devour) the kids. All kids tease and so do adults. No one deserves death for teasing, no matter how impolite it is. This is not an example of justice and morality. This is not the behavior of a rational, loving god. Why not just ground the kids for a week or make them wash Elisha’s feet for a month?

Flip back to Leviticus 21:16-24 (KJV). The context is god, telling Moses, to tell Aaron who can’t approach the altar in the sanctuary. This is one of the most despicable passages in the Bible. It essentially trashes people with disabilities and disfigurement and says that they are a “profanity”. Maybe I’m sensitive since I have spent a good deal of my life helping people with disabilities. This language is not loving, moral, or rational in any context.”

If these words were written in any other religious book, would you respect that book? Why respect the Bible? I could write much more about the many vulgar, irrational, and immoral passages in the Bible. However, it is up to the believer to read the Bible for himself or herself and discover what this book really says. After all, if you are claiming that this book gives you meaning in life, you’d better know what it really says.

When I was young, I was led around these passages. This is the way that young people are brainwashed. Once they believe, it is almost impossible for them to face the truth in adulthood. It is too difficult emotionally. I have found that when Christians are confronted with such passages, they become angry and attempt save face with weak excuses about the Bible containing good passages also. Nothing excuses the thinking demonstrated in the above passages.

I am still waiting for a response to my letter. What could the elder say to defend such language? What would you say to me?

***HINT, 11/25/2000 – Almost any public library has the information that can explain to you why this glaring contradiction exists. Find a book written in the past 10 to 15 years that summarizes the past 1000 years of Bible scholarship. Read for yourself what we have learned about the many people who wrote the Bible, when they wrote it, and why. Your life will not be the same.

Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Nonlinear dynamics is invoked to explain a wide range of physical phenomena in which a number of factors play a part.

One of the team, Daniel Abrams of Northwestern University, put forth a similar model in 2003 to put a numerical basis behind the decline of lesser-spoken world languages.

At its heart is the competition between speakers of different languages, and the “utility” of speaking one instead of another.

“The idea is pretty simple,” said Richard Wiener of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the University of Arizona.

“It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility.

“For example in languages, there can be greater utility or status in speaking Spanish instead of [the dying language] Quechuan in Peru, and similarly there’s some kind of status or utility in being a member of a religion or not.”

Dr Wiener continued: “In a large number of modern secular democracies, there’s been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%.”

The team then applied their nonlinear dynamics model, adjusting parameters for the relative social and utilitarian merits of membership of the “non-religious” category.

They found, in a study published online, that those parameters were similar across all the countries studied, suggesting that similar behaviour drives the mathematics in all of them.

And in all the countries, the indications were that religion was headed toward extinction.

However, Dr Wiener told the conference that the team was working to update the model with a “network structure” more representative of the one at work in the world.

“Obviously we don’t really believe this is the network structure of a modern society, where each person is influenced equally by all the other people in society,” he said.

However, he told BBC News that he thought it was “a suggestive result”.

“It’s interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going.

“Obviously much more complicated things are going on with any one individual, but maybe a lot of that averages out.”

Texas Goes Full Retard

Texas Bill Would Outlaw Discrimination Against Creationists

Unlike many other states, Texas does not banĀ  workplace discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status. But don’t be alarmed; the Lone Star State is working on that whole civil liberties thing. Last week, Republican State Rep. Bill Zedler introduced HB 2454, a bill that would establish new workplace protections for proponents of intelligent design. Here’s the key part:

An institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member’s or student’s conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.

And you thought Berkeley was crazy. On the upside, maybe the University of Texas will be able to help a few of the folks who are falling through Texas’ fraying social safety net. Out of a job? Come up with an elaborate theory about how a flying spaghetti monster created the universe. A tenured professorship awaits.