Muslim girl expelled from French high school for maxiskirt


This video from Uganda says about itself:

14 April 2014

Kilifi county assembly speaker Jimmy Kahindi has dismissed a motion set to be tabled at the county assembly that seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts in the county. The motion has elicited mixed reactions among religious leaders and the general public. The mover of the motion, Marafa ward representative Renson Kambi has come out to defend his bill which seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts among women and sagging of trousers, by men.

After the banning miniskirts in Hungary and elsewhere … it might look like a safe option to wear a maxiskirt? Forget it. Long or short, repressive authorities will always find stupid ways to punish women for their clothes.

By Anthony Torres in France:

Muslim girl expelled from French high school for wearing long skirt

4 May 2015

A high school girl from northeastern France was expelled for wearing a skirt that school authorities considered too long and an ostentatious sign of her religious beliefs. The affair points to the anti-Muslim atmosphere that now predominates in official circles in France.

The teenager was expelled from her high school for nine days by the principal. The ministry of education defended the decision: “In this case, it was considered that the student was carrying out religious propaganda. It is not an expulsion that was put in place, but a dialogue that has been opened up with her family. And it is noteworthy that her mother made a statement to ask for the situation to be handled calmly.”

The absurd and reactionary treatment meted out to the student reflects the sharp rightward evolution of the French political establishment over the last decade. The school expelled the student based on the 2004 law outlawing all “ostentatious” religious symbols, even though the young woman was not wearing any visible religious sign.

The high school student’s case is not isolated. Last year, 130 similar cases took place and 20 this year, according to the Collective against Islamophobia in France. The number of anti-Muslim actions has sharply risen this year, moreover, since the Kouachi brothers’ terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The goal of such Islamophobic laws is to divide the working class, attack democratic rights, encourage racist and anti-immigrant sentiment, and to push through unpopular policies of austerity and war in France and across Europe. The young high school student is the victim of a sharp turn to the right that has developed over decades in Europe.

The 2004 law was voted amid rising social anger with the anti-working class policies of French President Jacques Chirac. It was part of a strategy to divert working class opposition to the social crisis and a governmental agenda of cutting pensions, attacking social services, and intensifying police repression. The law was initially put forward as teachers were on strike to defend their pensions and public education spending more broadly.

This attack against Muslims in France encouraged a series of Islamophobic attacks across Europe. Several years ago, a law was voted in Switzerland to ban the construction of minarets. Over the last year in Germany, marches were organized over several weeks by the far-right Pegida movement to oppose Islam in Europe.

For years, the ruling elite in France has encouraged collective hysteria against Islam in order to attack the working class.

In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a debate on “national identity” and a law against wearing the burqa. This law was part of Sarkozy’s strategy of appealing to neo-fascist voters who had voted for Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential elections.

The law against the burqa and the “national identity” debate provided political cover for the French ruling elite to legitimize the neo-fascist National Front over the ensuing years, as well as an escalating series of imperialist wars against Muslim countries. The anti-burqa law in particular encouraged hostility to resistance to NATO’s imperialist occupation of Afghanistan, which was cynically presented as a struggle to defend women’s rights.

The entire political establishment bears responsibility for Islamophobic laws in France. The law against the burqa obtained the support of Manuel Valls, the current Socialist Party (PS) prime minister …

By supporting laws targeting Muslims, these parties of the affluent middle class demonstrate their hostility to democratic rights and to the struggle to unify the working class.

The 2004 law against the veil has encouraged employers to victimize Muslim workers, such as when a Muslim worker was fired for wearing a veil at the Baby-Loup day care center.

As for the 2009 anti-burqa law, it has escalated social tensions and police repression in immigrant suburbs across France. A riot broke out in Trappes in 2013, after police violently arrested a woman wearing the veil and then beat and insulted her husband.

It is in this atrocious political atmosphere that a high school student can be expelled for no other reason than claims that her skirt is too long.

United States religious fundamentalist abuses Nepal disaster for bigotry


This video says about itself:

Nepal earthquake 2015 worst ever in 81 years

25 April 2015

A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.9 on Richter scale and a series of aftershocks struck Nepal on Saturday. The quakes also jolted parts of North and Northeast India. Widespread damage has been reported from Nepal.

Aftershocks hinder rescue efforts as Nepal quake death toll passes 2,500: here.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The death toll from Nepal’s earthquake rose to 3,218 on Monday, two days after the massive quake ripped across this Himalayan nation, leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in streets: here.

OVER 3,700 DEAD IN NEPAL EARTHQUAKE The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers attempt to reach secluded mountain villages after the devastating 7.8 earthquake Saturday. Check out these maps of the damage, as well as photos of Nepal’s landmarks before and after the earthquake. Footage was captured of the horrific avalanche that swept through a Mount Everest base camp after the quake, and dozens are still trapped on the mountain. [AP]

NEPAL DEATH TOLL COULD SURPASS 10,000 The death toll currently stands at 4,349. Take a look at this map of the horrific damage. [Reuters]

RESCUERS dug with their bare hands yesterday and bodies piled up in Nepal after an earthquake devastated the Kathmandu Valley on Saturday: here.

Nepal was made vulnerable by more than its violent geology, by Shaheen Chughtai. The country is crippled by poverty and poor infrastructure – when the long-feared earthquake hit, devastation was inevitable. The challenge of providing aid will be huge: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their ‘pagan shrines’

Self-styled US pastor has previously been accused of homphobia

Andrew Buncombe, New York

Sunday 26 April 2015

A former Los Angeles police officer and self-styled preacher, has sparked outcry by suggesting that Nepalis should not rebuild their “pagan shrines” and instead convert to Christianity.

Tony Miano, an outspoken conservative who has previously been accused of homophobia, triggered angry responses when he posted a series of messages on social media, expressing sympathy for the people struck by devastation in Nepal, but suggesting God was angry.

Tony Miano

Praying 4 the lost souls in Nepal. Praying not a single destroyed pagan temple will b rebuilt & the people will repent/receive Christ.

Santa Clarita, CA

Mr Miano, who is based in California, describes himself as an open air preacher. His website says he established the Cross Encounters Ministries to provide a platform for his preaching and evangelism.

Nepal, which has a population of around 28m people, is around 85 per cent Hindu. There is a significant population of Buddhists, followed by several other minority communities, including Muslim and Christian.

United States child abuse cover-up bishop resigns


This video from the USA says about itself:

Catholics in Kansas City urge Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn

17 February 2014

James McConnell and Jeanne Christensen, Sisters of Mercy Justice Advocate for Human Trafficking, spoke about petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph during a press conference outside the Catholic Center, 20 East 9th Street in Kansas City.

From Associated Press:

Pope Francis accepts resignation of KC Bishop Robert Finn

04/21/2015 7:12 AM

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2012. Ever since, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been removed for covering up for guilty clergy.

Finn remains the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations. The Vatican’s failure to sanction or remove him had fueled victims’ complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the “zero tolerance” pledge of Francis.

Even Francis’ top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had said publicly that Francis needs to “urgently” address Finn’s case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process and must be spared “crowd-based condemnations.”

The Vatican last fall sent a Canadian archbishop to Finn’s diocese as part of his an investigation of his leadership. But until Tuesday, there had been no word about what the pope would do.

Finn’s resignation comes as Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, amid an unprecedented outcry over his longtime affiliation with Chile’s most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Karadima’s victims say Barros witnessed their abuse decades ago. He has denied knowing anything until he read news reports of Karadima’s crimes in 2010. The Vatican has defended the appointment. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Earlier this month, members of the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission came to Rome in an unscheduled session to voice their concern about Barros.

O’Malley subsequently told the pope that the Vatican must come up with “appropriate procedures and modalities to evaluate and adjudicate cases of ‘abuse of office’ ” when bishops fail to protect children.

Marriage equality in Ireland


This video says about itself:

Marriage Equality: Bring Your Family With You

15 April 2015

Irish LGBT youth and parents coalition call for a Yes vote in the forthcoming marriage equality referendum. The BeLonG To lead coalition call on everyone to talk to their family and friends about why marriage equality is so important and to work for a Yes vote

The coalition includes: Barnardos, Headstrong, Youth Work Ireland, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, EPIC – Empowering Young People in Care, Children’s Rights Alliance, Childline – ISPCC, Foróige, Loving Our Out Kids, Yes Equality

By Timothy McGrath:

This video will make you wish you could vote for gay marriage in Ireland

April 16, 2015 @ 5:00 PM

In the mood for a feel-good cry? We’ve got your back.

Ireland’s voting next month on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, and BeLonG To Youth, an Irish LGBT group, has just released a campaign ad that seems likely sway people on the fence and get marriage equality supporters to the polls — if they can stop sobbing and holding their loved ones.

Things are looking good for the “Yes” camp. A recent poll by the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI found that 74 percent were planning to vote to legalize same-sex marriage, while just 26 percent said they were voting “no.”

The referendum, which takes place on May 22, is likely to be a much tighter contest, the Times warns. Conservatives will ramp up their campaigning in the final weeks, and current poll numbers could be skewed if some opponents of gay marriage have been reluctant to share their true opinion with an unknown pollster.

There’s also the question of demographics. Support for marriage equality in Ireland — like in many Western countries — is strongest among young people and weakest among elders. The same Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI found that 85 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 supported legalization, and only 10 percent said they were against it. The gap narrows as the people surveyed get older and flips once respondents are 65 or older. They plan to vote “no” by a margin of 43 percent to 37 percent, with 14 percent undecided and 5 percent saying they won’t vote at all.

That explains why the theme of BeLonG To Youth’s ad is simple. Young people: Bring your older family members to the polls.

If it works, and the referendum passes in Ireland, it will be the first time in history that a country has legalized same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

That’s a huge deal.

An Irish Pastor has defended making the comparison between homosexuality and rape, as well as adultery. Pastor Craig Ledbetter of the Bible Baptist Church in Ballincollig, in Cork, made the comments to the Irish Examiner in an interview regarding the build-up to the marriage equality referendum taking place on May 22: here.

While liberal Roman Catholic priests and nuns are defying their bishops to urge a yes vote on Friday, religious leaders in the evangelical Christian community are now placing their congregations on the frontline of the battle to persuade Ireland to say no: here.

‘Gay’ ambassador rejected by Vatican?


This 19 June 2012 video is called In Italy, Gay Marriage Efforts Met With Vatican Opposition.

From The Local in France:

Pope ‘rejects’ France’s gay envoy to Vatican

Published: 10 Apr 2015 12:42 GMT+02:00

Pope Francis’ liberal credentials have taken a blow after the Vatican reportedly refused to accept the nomination of the new French ambassador, a close aide of President François Hollande, because he is gay.

Laurent Stefanini, a senior diplomat and French President François Hollande’s chief of protocol, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has yet to accept his credentials, officials in Paris said.

Normally a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted within a month and a half. The Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse an envoy’s credentials, but a prolonged silence after a nomination is interpreted as a rejection.

The Vatican declined to comment when asked by The Local if Stefanini, who is openly gay, was being rejected and if this was due to his sexuality.

Dutch NOS TV, on the other hand, says that Stefanini has never said anything about his sexual orientation. He is not married and does not have children, which makes some people suggest he is gay.

A French presidential aide said that the choice of the 54-year-old to represent France at the Vatican resulted from “a wish by the president and a cabinet decision” and that the president regarded him as “one of our best diplomats.”

French media widely reported that the apparent rejection by the Vatican was because of Stefanini’s homosexuality.

Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the pope himself.”

Libération daily headlined its article on the story with “The Pope tarnishes his image.” …

French media reported that Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris had interceded with the pope to back the nomination of Stefanini, who has previously worked as an official in the French embassy at the Vatican.

La Croix newspaper said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the former Vatican foreign minister who is currently president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, also supports the appointment.

Pope Francis has taken a far less judgemental position on homosexuality than his predecessor Benedict XVI.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said in an interview shortly after he became pontiff two years ago.

He also said that gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society.

But the change in tone does not necessarily signal a change in the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

Francis has criticised gay marriage and is opposed to adoption rights for gay couples, both of which became legal in France in 2013 amid widespread protests from the country’s Catholic community.

by Rory Mulholland

During all the years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union nominated communists as ambasadors to NATO countries. And NATO countries nominated anti-communists as ambassadors to the Soviet Union. There was no moaning about that, as the Vatican seems to do now. Why did the Vatican not complain when Stefanini was a diplomat to the Holy See before?