Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Warning: Islamic Sharia law incompatible and destructive to non-Muslim civilizations

Sharia has no place in a civilised society. Ban Islamic tribunals and let everyone in this country abide by a single code of laws

By Denis MacEoin

There are many reasons to find problems with sharia law. In its full form, it contains numerous provisions that are barbaric and irreconcilable with any advanced society: stoning married adulterers, flogging the unmarried, throwing homosexuals from roofs or steep hills, amputating limbs for theft, and much more.

But sharia is much wider than that. It moves seamlessly from the public to the private realm, and it is in the latter that we find demands that a measure of sharia be introduced to this country. Such demands have been made, not just by Muslims, but even by an astonishingly naïve Archbishop of Canterbury. Sharia is only marginally about how a believer prays, fasts, pays the alms tax, or performs the pilgrimage. For the individual it carries obligations and penalties that cut deep into personal life. Here is a very simple example. If a Muslim man in a fit of temper uses the triple divorce formula, even if his wife is not present, the law considers the couple divorced. But if he comes to his senses, he cannot simply resume relations with his wife. In order to remarry, she must wait three months to determine that she is not pregnant. Thereupon, she is obliged to marry another man and to have sex with him, and this man must then divorce her (or not, if he decides to keep her). She must then wait another three months, after which her first husband may remarry her – see also Ask Imam). This revolting practice, known as halala, demeans the woman. In British law, it would be considered a form of coercion into unwanted sexual relations. Is this what the archbishop wants?

But sharia has already entered the UK through a back door....[Denis' story continued here]
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Islam, Iranian Style

By Melody Moezzi
author and attorney

Not long ago, I got a call from a reporter asking for my thoughts on the Islamic New Year. I immediately broke out laughing. "I'm Iranian," I told her, "We don't celebrate the Islamic New Year much. Our real new year is the first day of spring. So if you call back in March, I'll have something much more intelligent to say."

The Iranian New Year, Nowrooz, is just one of many old Zoroastrian traditions that Iranians have kept, often adding their own twist of Shi'a Islam. In most Iranian homes, the standard Nowrooz place setting (sofreh) includes a Qur'an. Our celebration of Nowrooz is just one of many examples of mixing Islamic, Zoroastrian and culturally Persian traditions.

Thus, while the Iranian brand of Islam is a very Shi'a one, it is also a very Zoroastrian and Persian one. This unique strain of Islam is perhaps one of the greatest assets that the current Iranian opposition holds in its battle against an increasingly brutal Iranian regime. Thus, this opposition is not purely an Islamic one. Iranians of other faiths are also invested in its success. This includes Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, and Baha'is. All of us will benefit from the fall of the Islamic republic, but perhaps none more than Iranian Muslims.

The so-called Islamic Republic of Iran is a disgrace to the religion it claims to enforce. By persecuting minorities (religious or otherwise), the government has failed to follow the basic Islamic principles of diversity, justice and equality.

The "Islamic" Republic's most un-Islamic policy by far has been its use of coercion with respect to religious practices. The greatest holy book of Islam, the Qur'an, clearly teaches that there should be no compulsion in religion, that forcing religion on anyone is a grave sin.

Not only has the government dishonored Islam in its practices, it has turned many Iranians, especially youth, away from Islam entirely by convincing them that the regime's misrepresentations of the faith are accurate.

The growing drug and prostitution problems in Iran are no coincidence. Many have accepted that if the government's twisted version of Islam is correct, then they want no part of it. And as a result distrust, disillusionment and dismay have followed.

There is a miracle behind the current uprising in Iran. The youth have finally recognized the biggest and most damaging lie that the allegedly Islamic Republic has been spreading over the past 30 years like a drug-resistant air-borne virus: that the mullahs and ayatollahs are necessarily speaking Islam, when they are often speaking nothing but power and politics...

[Melody's beautifully written article about Iranian Shi'ih Islam's potential, is continued here on the Washington Post]


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Islamic Society convention lands appearance from Rick Warren

The Indiana-based
Islamic Society of North America will be holding its annual convention -- the largest yearly gathering of Muslims on the continent -- in Washington, D.C. over the Fourth of July weekend.

And while convention leaders are holding out hope that President Barack Obama might make the convention his latest stop in his outreach to the Muslim world, the convention has landed another pretty big fish as a featured speaker.

Purpose-Driven pastor Rick Warren has agreed to appear at the convention and be part of its main session discussing the convention's theme -- "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Joining Warren for the session is ISNA President Ingrid Mattson and noted Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf. [Story continued here]


Friday, June 26, 2009

I Lieutenant Daniel Choi needs our help


As many of you know, on Tuesday June 30th the Army National Guard will make their decision to fire (discharge) me based solely on my honest statement (“I am gay”). I have chosen to stand trial to fight to stay in the service. (Location: Thompson Rd. Armory, Syracuse NY… 8am)

The army has appointed me an attorney, and he is awesome. He says we can win. Our case (and future appeals if I do get fired) requires testimony from people who can attest to my character/abilities. ANYONE who believes I should be retained (for whatever reason) or feels the army is better off keeping me can write a statement.

Will you please consider writing, signing and scanning a letter? (I have an example below. It can be of any length)

It will be included in the official archive for my future cases as well. Will you ask all your friends to do the same? You an send your letters to dan.choi@knightsout.org. Please make sure I receive them by the 29th.


June ___, 2009

To Members of the Board:

My name is ______ and I urge you not to discharge 1st LT Daniel Choi from the Army National Guard because he is a capable soldier and leader who can continue to play a vital role in a time of war. His dedication to West Point and Army Values brings credit to the military. His fighting spirit is inspiring.

[Add your observations about me here:]

[You can say things like, "He is a West Point Graduate who speaks Arabic, and Korean, and has studied Farsi: skills the military needs;" “I have seen him on TV and he is well spoken;” “He lives up to the army values and represents these values as he refuses to lie about his identity;” “He continues to live by West Point’s honor code;” “He can be a bridge to the Middle-East,” etc.]

[If you've worked with me before, please comment about it.]

[If you want to share your personal credentials please do! “I served in the navy.,” “I am a CEO.,” “I am a city council member.," “I am a mother of three.,” “I teach an ethics class.,” “I am a pastor.,” “I am his cousin.,” “I am gay and KnightsOut gives us hope.,” “I am straight and I support honesty.,” etc.]

I am available for further comment if necessary, my email is _______.


Ms. Jane Doe

To send a quick online letter of support for Dan, click here:


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking for their Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University and the author of, among other books, “Iran: A People Interrupted.”

From the New York Times

Though the violent events of the past week have jolted me, many aspects of the current crisis in Iran are not surprising at all. That the ruling apparatus of the Islamic Republic is out of touch with the ideals and aspirations of a new generation of Iranians has been evident at least since the presidential election of 1997 that brought the icon of the reformist movement Mohammad Khatami to power.

"I thought my generation had courage to fight against tyranny. Now I tremble with shame in the face of the bravery I see today."

The student-led uprising in the summer of 1999 further showed a sea change in the demographics of the Islamic Republic, with upward of 70 percent of its population under the age of 30. The upsurge of youthful euphoria changed during the second presidential campaign of Mr. Khatami in 2001 when he had obviously failed to deliver on his prior campaign promises.

If you were to follow youth culture in Iran at the turn of the century — from the rise of a fascinating underground music (particularly rap) to a globally celebrated cinema, an astonishing panorama of contemporary art, video installations, photography, etc. — you would have noted the oscillation of this generation between apathy and anger, frustration and hope, disillusion and euphoria. In their minds and souls, as in their blogs and chat rooms, they were wired to the globalized world, and yet in their growing bodies and narrowing social restrictions trapped inside an Islamic version of Calvinist Geneva.

To me this was a post-ideological generation, evidently cured of the most traumatic memories of its parental generation, from the C.I.A.-sponsored coup of 1953 to the Islamic revolution of 1979. The dominant political parameters of third world socialism, anticolonial nationalism, and militant Islamism that divided my generation of Iranians seem to me to have lost all validity in this generation. I see the moment we are witnessing as a civil rights movement rather than a push to topple the regime. If Rosa Parks was the American “mother of the civil rights movement,” the young woman who was killed point blank in the course of a demonstration, Neda Agha-Soltan, might very well emerge as its Iranian granddaughter.

If I am correct in this reading, we should not expect an imminent collapse of the regime. These young Iranians are not out in the streets seeking to topple the regime for they lack any military wherewithal to do so, and they are alien to any militant ideology that may push them in that direction.

It seems to me that these brave young men and women have picked up their hand-held cameras to shoot those shaky shots, looking in their streets and alleys for their Martin Luther King. They are well aware of Mir Hossein Moussavi’s flaws, past and present. But like the color of green, the very figure of Moussavi has become, it seems to me, a collective construction of their desires for a peaceful, nonviolent attainment of civil and women’s rights. They are facing an army of firearms and fanaticism with chanting poetry and waving their green bandannas. I thought my generation had courage to take up arms against tyranny. Now I tremble with shame in the face of their bravery.

Read the New York Times' full story, as Iranian-American scholars share their views about Iran's social upheaval.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Neda: An Angel of Freedom

By Amil Imani

I am so restless, I cannot cease thinking! It seems like the world we live in reveals to us incessantly, at certain moments or in certain circumstances, just how little we are and how vast the universe is. This world of ours is a very complex world. The world we live in is a world of many brutal voices. It is a world of heavy blows and delirious trances, but it is the only world that we know.

Like millions of people around the world, the tragic death of Neda has affected me tremendously. I felt a temptation to scream and run to the end of the world and say my prayers with unusual earnestness and a heavy heart. I felt like screaming for the overflowing flood of human blood. I felt like screaming for the weary eyes and innocent moans of the victims of Iranian revolution. I felt apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. And now, as I take up my pen, my hand trembles and my head swims with horror and disbelief at the magnitude of the human devastation.

What’s in a name? Sometimes a name seems void of any meaning and sometimes a name embodies profound meaning, mysterious and even prophetic. Your name, our beloved Neda, the martyr daughter of Iran, literally means Divine Call, or Divine Summons, in Persian.

Dear Neda, when on the blessed day of your birth your parents hugged you joyously and named you Neda, they could hardly envision that you would be slaughtered in the prime of your life by a bullet of savage Islamists as you peacefully marched along with throngs of other Iranians seeking nothing more than what is your God-given right—the right to liberty and dignity.

Dear Neda, on the dreadful day that the bullet of a henchman of tyranny pierced your young heart, you collapsed on the pavement, gasped for air as your crimson blood painted the black asphalt. Your father tried desperately to revive you. He kept frantically telling you not to be afraid, not to be afraid. He was witnessing the death of his little girl and all he could do was to breathe encouragement in a vain hope of keeping you alive.

Our great Zoroaster, the luminous ancient prophet of Persia, spoke of the ongoing battle between the forces of good under Ahuramazda—God, and the forces of evil directed by Ahriman— Satan. Zoroaster warned us not to fall for the enticements or be disheartened by the atrocities of the forces of Ahriman. He further informed us that evil can be recognized by the deeds of its people; people who would oppose the precepts of Ahuramazda. The turbaned murderers cloaked in the robe of religion are wolves in sheep’s attire. They are indeed the agents of death (Ahriman).

But you, dear Neda, are a champion of the work of Ahuramazda. You have been destined for a great mission that required you to wing away from the loving bosom of your family into the eternal embrace of Mother Iran.

Dear Neda—O, Divine Call—O, Divine Summons—we mourn your death, yet we honor your call and summons:

A call and summons to follow in your footsteps with iron resolve.

A call and summons for the complete emancipation of millions of women, as well as men, who are suffering under the yoke of Islamic savagery.

Dear Neda, the meaning and mystery of your name was revealed to us on the dreadful day of your slaughter. You are to shine forever as a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration to all who struggle for justice, equality, and liberty.

Dear Neda, your departure broke our hearts. Yet, by your untimely tragic death, you steeled our resolve to carry on with your mission.

Dear Neda, this is our covenant with you. We will never give up. We will pay any price and make any sacrifice to achieve the mission you have entrusted into our hands.

Dear Neda, as you have joined the rarefied ranks of the immortals, I am moved to share with you a poem composed in the honor of another young Iranian heroine by the name of Mona.

Oh, you earthly angels!
You immigrating birds,
Whose only adornment
Is a bed of white feathers!
The innocent children of Iran,
Are wearing your white glowing robe,
And have left the memories of life,
To others!

I see the poor black swallows,
Flying over the ruins of our city!
I see overflowing pain,
With the hearts of every human being on earth!

My heart stops palpitating!
My breath starts to dry up!
My faith simply fades away,
And my bed falls silent.

Fly, little angel! Fly!
The wake of your wings brings new breath to our people!

Family, friends mourn 'Neda,' Iranian woman who died on video

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European Parliament members and NGOs protest Lithuania's adoption of harmful, anti-homosexual law

Members of the European Parliament's Intergroup on gay and lesbian rights will join today other people and NGOs in a demonstration outside the Lithuanian permanent representation in Brussels to protest against new homophobic and oppressive law in Lithuania.

On 16 June 2009 the Lithuanian parliament adopted an amended Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. According to this law, “propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality” is one of the detrimental affects on the minors and information on homosexuality and bisexuality is banned from schools and any other places where it can be accessed by youth.

"It is my duty as an elected member of the European Parliament to act strongly against grave attempts to diminish human rights of EU citizens", said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “This new law is a spit in the face of the European values. To limit freedom of expression based on homophobia is a clear breach of EU’s fundamental rights and principles.”

"Our recent research, Social exclusion of young LGBT people Europe brought to light the fact that young gays and lesbians experience high levels of physical and psychological violence all over the European Union. We found that the highest levels occurred in schools. Similar surveys from other countries find that suicide rates among young LGBT people are up to 10 times higher than among their heterosexual fellows,” said Simon Maljevac Chairperson of IGLYO (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation). “All this suffering is caused by stigmatisation, intolerance and lack of access to information about homosexuality which young people need, both to understand their identity and to respect others differences. The new Lithuanian law will render even higher levels of suffering. We deplore the adoption of this law. It will harm young people, not protect them.”

Representatives of European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights:

President: Michael Cashman MEP (UK/PSE)
Vice-President: Lissy Gröner MEP (DE/PSE)
Vice-President: Sophie in 't Veld MEP (ALDE)
Vice-President: Raül Romeva MEP (G/EFA)
Vice-President: Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (EPP-ED)
Chairperson of IGLYO: Simon Maljevac
Executive Director of ILGA-Europe: Dirk De Meirlei

For further information please contact Juris Lavrikovs, ILGA-Europe’s Communications Manager: tel.: + 32 2 609 54 16; mob.: + 32 496 70 83 75, juris @ilga-europe.org

Background information is available on ILGA-Europe website:

Other related news:

+Gay education ban voted in (baltictimes.com)
+Amnesty International's statement on Lithuania (amnesty.org)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint urges pastors and religious leaders to defeat federal Hate Crimes legislation

by Madison Reed

Today, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (PFOX.ORG), a national anti-gay non-profit organization, published a letter, "Hate Crime Legislation Must be Stopped" addressed to "Pastors and Religious Leaders" from U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). His letter was in reaction to the pending Senate version of federal hate crimes legislation, known as *Senate Bill 909, or the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate in order to enact a hate crimes protection law in the United States.

In his letter to America's religious leaders, he accuses the U.S. government of creating policies that "have proved destructive to faith, families, and freedom in America," and adds that nothing from the past will compare to the damage that will be caused by hate crimes legislation.

The most serious aspect of federal hate crimes legislation, according to DeMint, is that "it will lead to the criminalization of biblical truths as 'hate speech.'"

The criminalization of which biblical truth I'd like to ask? Is he serious? Biblical "truth"? So much so-called biblical truth - the truth that DeMint is referring to - is nothing more than a never-ending right-wing Christian fatwa that has always supported violence, discrimination and hatred against minorities. This biblical so-called "truth" was the "social truth" of a primitive 1,500 B.C. Semitic culture - not the eternal, immutable Word of God, and certainly not applicable to 21st Century humans or even people of the 14th Century. The "biblical truth" monster has reared its ugly head over the centuries, and has been used by the ignorant of the Christian church to justify the persecution and murder of Muslims, Witches, Polynesians, Native Americans, Mormons, Africans, Chinese immigrants, poor Indians and Pakistanis, American women, Jews, homosexuals, Japanese, Communists. Homosexuals are the last remaining whipping boy of the right-wing church cult.

I know what Senator DeMint means by "biblical truth" and "hate speech." He means HATRED against homosexual, bisexual and transgendered people.

His letter also says without directly saying it, that the United States is a theocracy where biblical law is the supreme law of the land - not the Constitution - and then he uses that as a justification to Christian religious leaders to call on them to rise up and defeat the pending federal hate crimes legislation.

Has Senator DeMint crossed the line? The last time I checked, an elected federal representative - especially a member of Congress - is required to uphold our federal Constitution and protect all Americans!

The United States was not founded upon Christianity. Its foundation was based upon universal spiritual values that are common to the hearts of all human beings who are free to feel, to think, and to express their own destinies. And the Bible is not the law of the United States, was never intended to be, nor is it the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States of America. It is dangerous for a member of Congress to be using the influence of his office to the detriment of Americans who are different by race, religion or sexual orientation, not to mention that Senator DeMint's activities as an elected official operating in his official capacity, rallying rightwing Christians to defeat federal hate crimes legislation, undermines Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."

Just in case some of you have forgotten the sworn oath that elected officials are required to take before they take public office, here's the oath that Senator DeMint took before he was allowed to become a Senator to represent American people:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
After reading Senator DeMint's signed letter to religious leaders, do you believe Senator DeMint is upholding his sworn oath, guarding the separation of government from religion, and defending the liberty of all Americans when he advocates the protection of the status quo environment of anything-goes-with-acts-of-hate toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans?

And I wonder why Senator DeMint hasn't mentioned his letter religious leaders on his official website or blog? To limit its exposure to the public 's eye, because his letter is written in his capacity as an officer of the United States - while stealthily getting the message to many conservative Christian organizations (potential voters) that he's on the side of the Bible?

Rightwing homophobes like Senator Jim DeMint, David Duke, Alan Keyes, Ted Pike, Devvy Kidd, Fred Phelps, Jeremy Dys, Henry Makow, and Phyliss Schlafly, along with other homophobic organizations such as the Family Policy Council network, are working feverishly to do everything within their power, including the use of lies, fear and coercion to frighten voters, to prevent the passage of this critically needed legislation. They've been urging their supporters to to jam congressional switchboards with demands not to pass Senate bill 909.

I urge Americans to contact Senator DeMint by email, fax and telephone, and tell him that his letter to Christian religious leaders crosses the line of separation between church and state, and that it is wrong for him, as a member of Congress to advocate the continuation of the status quo of hatred and persecution that he knows is so harmful to LGBT Americans. Remind him that the Constitution, not biblical law, is the supreme law of the United States, and urge him to change his mind and do what's right and support *Senate Bill 909, the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

If you contact Senator DeMint by email, it is more effective if you follow your email with a phone call to his office to lodge you protest. Then, send a hardcopy letter by mail or fax. This gets the best results.

Senator Jim DeMint
United States Senate
340 Russell
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6121
Fax: 202-228-5143
Office Hours: 9am - 6pm (M-F)

*On April 29, the U.S. House of Representatives voted for and passed H. R. 1913 - the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 - the House's version of federal hate crimes legislation. The Senate version, S. 909 - known as the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Prevention Act - is still waiting to come up for a vote in the Senate.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Al-Qaeda threatens to use Pakistan's nuclear weapons against the United States

Al-Qaeda's third-in-command has told Al Jazeera that the group would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons against the US if it gained access to them.Pakistan has been battling the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies in the Swat valley and tribal areas in the northwest since April when fighters took hold of a region just 100km away from the capital, Islamabad.

"By God's will, the Americans will not seize the Muslims' nuclear weapons and we pray that the Muslims will have these weapons and they will be used against the Americans," Mustafa Abul-Yazeed, al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, said in an exclusive interview that aired on Sunday....[Story continued here]


Watch Al-Jazeera's exclusive interview with Mustafa Abul-Yazeed, al-Qaeda's third in command, who gives a rare insight into the group's campaign. Al Jazeera's Shiulie Ghosh discusses the claims with Michael Griffin, an expert on al-Qaeda based in London.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today everyone is an Iranian

Photo: Mt. Damavand

By Amil Imani

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible
will make violent revolution inevitable." John F. Kennedy

Today, all Iranian expatriates are united in solidarity with the Iranian people in Iran. Today, we are all standing tall to let the world hear our continuous aspiration for a free and democratic Iran. Today, we pledge ourselves, under the divine inspiration, to stand beside the Iranians in Iran and echo their voices around the globe. Today, we make history, yet again.

It is critical that freedom-loving people, governments and media, rally behind the Iranian people and end the tyrannical mullahcracy that is a scourge on Iran as well as the world. The Iranian people themselves are fully capable and are determined to remove the cancer of Islamism from their country. The United States and Israel and other democracies have a huge stake in the success of the Iranian people to rid themselves of the Islamic oppression and tyranny.

The situation in Iran is dire indeed. Anyone who believes that sane rational people on both sides are engaged in brinkmanship to secure the best advantage, but would eventually work out a compromise, is deluding himself. In some cases, time works as a healer and even as a solution of thorny problems. Yet, this problem will not go away, and time would only make the cataclysmic clash more likely and deadly. The best chance for resolving the impasse is regime change in Iran.

For the past thirty years, the intrepid Iranians have been paying with their blood for liberty, independence and human dignity while the world looked the other way and did business with the Islamist rulers in Iran. Thirty years ago, a fanatic Shi'a Muslim by the name of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, with the assistance of western governments (with Jimmy Carter on top of the list), succeeded in overthrowing the Shah of Iran during Iran's 1979 revolution.

promised Iranians heaven, but he created hell on earth, turning Iran into a bastion of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Ever since, tens of thousands of political activists have been killed or imprisoned. Tens of thousands of opposition groups, women, ethnic and religious minorities, have been subjected to inhumane treatment and tens of thousands of political prisoners are spending their precious lives, in the medieval barbaric Islamic Republic dungeons.

Since 1979, this illegitimate government of the Islamic Republic has been waging a brutal war against the entire population of Iran who has been fighting for individual and religious freedom. In spite of tens of thousands of political executions, other brutal practices and years of a reign of terror, the Islamists have not succeeded in uprooting the nationwide movement for democracy in Iran....[Amil's story continued here]

Amil Imani is an Iranian—born American citizen and pro—democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website.

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Video of church's exorcism of homosexual demon spirit causes controversy

Photo: Prophets Patricia and Kelvin McKinney

A Connecticut church posted a controversial video on YouTube that raised questions about the treatment of children by a leader of a gay and lesbian teen mentoring group among others.

The video features church elders performing what looks like an exorcism, of what they refer to in the video as "homosexual demons."

The video shows leaders of the Manifested Glory Ministries in a frenetic scene, screaming, "Right now I command you to leave!"

At the same time a teen writhing on the ground as the adults around him implore so called "homosexual demons" to get out.

The leaders yell at the boy on the ground saying, "Right now in the name of Jesus, I call the homosexuality, right now in the name of Jesus."

For 20 minutes it continues with the boy in a near seizure, even vomiting.

By the looks of it, and the repeated references to his sexual orientation, it appears to be a gay exorcism.

Prophet Patricia McKinney and her husband, church overseer Kelvin McKinney have a weekly radio show. She wasn't much interested in talking, telling Fox 61's Laurie Perez, "Don't be following, I'm telling you no." [Story continued here]

Watch CNN's Ali Velshi recent interview "Prophet" Patricia McKinney

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Urgent appeal to Baha'is worldwide to support the Iranian people

Followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the world,

Today was a dark, sad moment for many courageous, beautiful Iranian people who stood in the face of the ugliest form of oppressive monster, and took bullets into their bodies for the sake of freedom and equality.

I call on each and every one of you to forget about your own difficulties, and do everything within your power to help our Iranian brothers and sisters defeat their enemy! Stop, and actually do something.

Please take a moment and watch a video I obtained today, from Tehran, and listen to the sound of bullets being fired by the police at innocent Iranians.

This is the anti-Christ energy that 'Abdu'l-Baha said was waiting quietly to devour the "Child" of the new revelation. It was responsible for the mutilation of Islam, the murder of the Bab; the heinous killing orgies against the early Babis, the strangulation of Tahireh the Pure, Baha'u'llah's poisoning, and the now the attacks on our Iranian brothers and sisters.

Link up with other organizations and do everything you can to support the Iranian people, individually and through your institutions.

Please follow important updates that I will be providing here on my blog, as well as other important links that I list that will take you to information that will help you more of what is known to be happening on the ground in Iran. If you're on Facebook, link to my Facebook page.
There you will have access to many ideas on how to help the Iranian people.

Blessings and Light,

Madison Reed

Fierce clashes in Tehran....Mousavi: "I am prepared for martyrdom." (huffingtonpost.com)
+Iran's Mousavi says ready for "martyrdom": ally (news.yahoo.com)
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Urgent appeal to the LGBT community and leadership about the crisis in Iran

Dear LGBT family,

We should all temporarily pause our work for our own civil rights, and orient our hearts and activity toward doing everything possible to help the Iranian people who are in dire need of worldwide support. Today, members of our human family are being gunned down in Iranian streets by a monster. We're all one. We are Iranians. They are us. We all face the same monster.

As a group, individually and through our LGBT organizations, we should express publicly our solidarity with the Iranian people, and our outrage at what's happening to them.

Watch this recent video from Tehran that I just obtained a half-hour ago. You can hear the Iranian "Basij" (police) firing their guns, presumably at the demonstrators. It's difficult to watch, but you really need to watch it and listen to it.

Madison Reed

Follow the Iranian crisis at huffingtonpost.com
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Jami: Khamenei has effectively removed himself from the guardianship of the people

"We are standing against radicalism - We, the Green Movement … its time for the people of the World to see what we are standing against…and join.”

By Mehdi Jami

This is the end of Khamenei and the beginning of a new era. He doesn’t hear our voice and doesn’t speak our language…today, Khamenei showed the people that he is not their leader…He sees us as enemies. Elections are not important for him. He only represents a small group of people. The problem is that he wants to suppress other groups so they cannot participate in decision-making. People feel this. They see that power is in the hands of a few. Khamenei even dislikes the old leaders of the revolution. In this regime, there’s no place for anyone with a different opinion.
“Khamenei will be remembered as a leader who split the people, ended his own leadership and became a tribal chief.”
Khamenei resigned from real leadership and was demoted to the leadership of a certain group of his supporters. He easily ignored and threatened this great opposition, which according to his own formal statistics, is composed of 13 million people. His problem is that he wants to ignore the population. His biggest mistake was to say that he is closer to the current president than to the people. According to our constitution, our leader cannot belong to one political party or another. He will be remembered as a leader who split the people, ended his own leadership and became a tribal chief. He created divisions in the society.

Khamenei says there are legal ways to protest. But in such a system, which laws are legitimate? A law on paper is not a law. A law together with its administrators is a law. When the administrators are corrupt, create roadblocks to the implementation of the law and interpret it any way they want, how can one have any hope in the role of law? Based on which law has he arrested hundreds of people? Based on which law has he ignored the complaints of millions of people?

I am certain that opposition by the great people of Iran will continue against this kind of politics and leadership until they find a new leader who is able to think of the people and does not dominate a small group over the larger population.

Mousavi and Karroubi are leaders of an opposition that did not vote for Ahmadinejadism. This is a result of Khamenei’s mistake who has tied his future with Ahmadinejad. This is a great movement by millions. Either Mousavi or Karroubi realize this and take the responsibility to lead it or they will retreat because of threats. But it is clear that this great power [opposition] will not remain without a leader and will not die down. Khamenei’s era is over and new leaders are compelled to emerge.

Mehdi Jami, a well-known Iranian journalist, photographer, filmmaker and writer said on his blog that Khamenei has effectively removed himself from the guardianship of the people by what he said in his speech today.
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General Shalikashvili supports repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

By John M. Shalikashvili

The Supreme Court announced last week that it would not review a lawsuit challenging the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy forbidding homosexuals from serving openly. The Obama administration had asked the court not to take the case as the president considers ending the ban.

News that the president would change the policy had inspired a group of retired flag officers to argue on this page this spring that service by openly gay individuals would harm morale, discipline, cohesion, recruitment and retention in the U.S. military ["Gays and the Military: A Bad Fit," op-ed, April 15]. They wrote as part of a larger effort by more than 1,000 retired officers to keep the ban in place.

According to the generals and admirals, allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly would make parents less willing to allow their sons and daughters to enlist. The argument assumes that anti-gay sentiment is so fierce and widespread that moving to a policy of equal treatment would drive away thousands and could ultimately "break the All-Volunteer Force." Not only is there no evidence to support these conclusions, but research shows conclusively that openly gay service members would not undermine military readiness. [Story continues here]

The writer, a retired Army general, was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997.

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Wolfowitz: Obama must step forward and support Iranian demonstrators

"[...T]he reform the Iranian demonstrators seek is something that we should be supporting. In such a situation, the United States does not have a "no comment" option. Coming from America, silence is itself a comment -- a comment in support of those holding power and against those protesting the status quo." ~Paul Wolfowitz

President Obama's first response to the protests in Iran was silence, followed by a cautious, almost neutral stance designed to avoid "meddling" in Iranian affairs. I am reminded of Ronald Reagan's initially neutral response to the crisis following the Philippine election of 1986, and of George H.W. Bush's initially neutral response to the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. Both Reagan and Bush were able to abandon their mistaken neutrality in time to make a difference. It's not too late for Obama to do the same.

In 1986, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos had called a snap election, calculating that a divided opposition would hand him a clear victory that would undercut pressure from the Reagan administration for broad-based reform. Instead, the opposition parties united behind Corazon Aquino, and only massive fraud could produce a "victory" for Marcos.

On Feb. 11, as the votes were still being counted, Reagan announced a neutral position, reminding Americans that it was a "Philippine election" and praising "the extraordinary enthusiasm of Filipinos for the democratic process." Rather than blame Marcos for the fraud, which he called "disturbing," Reagan said that there may have been fraud "on both sides."

At the time, I was working for Secretary of State George Shultz as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and I shared Shultz's dismay at the president's comments. For more than two years, with the president's support, we had carefully pressed Marcos for reform. Reagan himself once cited Lord Acton's famous dictum, that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," while speaking of Marcos. Nevertheless Reagan's unfortunate comment about fraud on "both sides" threatened to put the United States on the wrong side at a critical moment. [washingtonpost.com story continues here]

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Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile to the People of the World

Statement from documentary filmmakers in Iran, read by Rakhshan Bani Etemad

Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile

Open Letter to the Media Outside of Iran

مردم آزاده جهان

امروز مردم ایران با حضور شجاعانه خود در خیابانها به مقابله به تفکری برخواسته اند که ریشه در فاشیسم و افراطی گری دارد.

تفکری که با نقض گسترده و مداوم حقوق بشر، جان مردم را به لب رسانده و از آن بدتر، با رفتارهای بی خردانه و تحریک آمیز خود، به صورت تهدیدی جدی برای صلح جهانی در آماده است.

ما هنرمندان و نویسندگان ایرانی در تبعید، دولت کودتا را به رسمیت نمیشناسیم. ما سرکوب وحشیانه مردم ایران و کشتار بی رحمانه تظاهر کنندگان را محکوم میکنیم.

آنچه مردم ایران میخواهد جزو ابتداییترین حقوق مدنی است:

خواست مردم برگذاری مجدد انتخابات در شرایطی آزاد و عادلانه و زیر نظر سازمانهای بیطرف بینالمللی است.

ما از تمام مردم آزده جهان میخواهیم ضمن حمایت از مطالبات به حق مردم ایران، اجازه ندهند دولتهایشان این رژیم کودتا را به رسمیت بشناسند.

هنرمندان و نویسندگان ایرانی در تبعید

کاوه یغمایی- بهروز وثوقی-پرتو نوری علا- مرتضی نگاهی- شیرین نشاط- ابراهیم نبوی- محسن نامجو- عباس میلانی- امید معماریان- عباس معروفی- نصیر مشکوری- محسن مخملباف- سهراب محبی -کیوسک(آرش سبحانی، بابک خیاوچی، اردلان پایوار،علی کمالی, شهروز مولایی)-نیک آهنگ کوثر- صمصام کشفی- ساسان قهرمان- رضا قاسمی -فریدون فرح اندوز- ناصر زراعتی-- زیبا شیرازی- امیر شیشه گران- فرهاد شاه حسینی- لونا شاد- پیمان سلیمی- حمید سعیدی-شهرزاد سپانلو- آرش ساسان- فرانک زرین آبادی- رضا دقتی- اسماعیل خویی- مامک خادم- اروین خاچیکیان- ماز جبرانی- مهدی جامی- کورش تقوی- فریبا تقوی- عباس بختیاری- آناهیتا باستانی- فرامرز اصلانی- مهرنوش ارسنجانی- شیلا ارسطوپور- آیدا احدیانی- آبجیز(ملودی صفوی، صفورا صفوی،صوفی صفوی)-شیما کلباسی-شیدا شفیعی

برای اضافه نمودن امضا خود به این نامه لطفا به این آدرس ایمیل بزنید


Open Letter to the Media Outside of Iran

To People of the Free World,

Today Iranians have courageously decided to uproot a radical and fascist mindset that not only routinely infringes upon their basic human rights, but also endangers world peace with its antagonistic attitude towards policy.

We, Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile, condemn the brutal repression of people in Iran and do not recognize a coup d'état government born out of electoral fraud.

We ask people all over the world not to allow their governments to recognize a coup d'état regime by supporting the just desire of Iranians to hold a new and fair election under the observation of impartial international monitors.

Abbas Bakhtiari , Abbas Maroufi , Abbas Milani , Abjeez (Melody Safavi, Safoura Safavi, Sufi Safavi) , Aida Ahadiany , Amir Shishegaran , Anahita Bastani , Arash Sasan , Behrouz Vosoughi , Ebrahim Nabavi , Erwin Khachikian , Esmail Khoi , Faramarz Aslani , Faranak Zarinabadi , Farhad Shah-Hosseini , Fariba Taghavi , Fereidoun Farahandouz , Hamid Saidi , Kaveh Yaghmaei , Kiosk (Arash Sobhani , Babak Khiavchi, Ardalan Payvar, Ali Kamali , Shahrouz Molaei) , Kourosh Taghavi , Luna Shad , Mamak Khadem , Maz Jobrani , Mehdi Jami , Mehrnoush Arsanjani , Mohsen Makhmalbaf , Mohsen Namjoo , Morteza Negahi , Nasser Zerati , Nassir Mashkouri , Nikahang Kowsar , Omid Memarian , Partow Nooriala , Peyman Salimi , Reza Deghati , Reza Ghassemi , Samsum Kashfi , Shahrzad Sepanlou , Sheema Kalbasi , Sheila Arastoopour , Shirin Neshat , Sohrab Mohebi , Soosan Ghahraman , Ziba Shirazi, Sheyda Shafiei,

Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile
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The Light of the Iranian people

What the Iranian people have done for every human being on the planet, who are FINISHED with oppression and manipulation games by politicians, corporate entities and religious institutions, and NO LONGER IMPRESSED OR SATISFIED by childish belief systems that impose their nutty ideologies on us, thinking that we're going to believe that the Creator of the worlds, the universes, beings, realms and dimensions seen and unseen is so primitive and hateful - is incalculable!

Iran is pouring light into the world now, energizing the human population, reminding us and preparing us for what we all must do together as the human family united, so that a new world is born that is free and happy.

~Madison Reed

Photos: Iranian.com

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

China to establish guidelines for sex reassignment surgery

Liu Yifei, 25, reads a book titled Women's Charm and Wealth before undergoing a sex change operation in Shanghai's Changhai Hospital in this 2006 file photo. (Xiang Fei/China Daily)

China is set to issue its first clinical guideline on sex-change surgery, according to a notice put on the website of the Ministry of Health Tuesday.

The ministry is now soliciting public and professional opinions on the draft guideline. The coming guideline aims to regulate and standardize sex reassignment surgery, part of a treatment for gender identity disorder in transsexuals.

Experts estimate nearly 2,000 Chinese have undergone sex-change surgery while 100,000 to 400,000 are still considering it. However, no official number is available.

In the draft, the MOH sets minimum criteria for both surgical candidates and medical institutions. [Story continued here]

Photo: China Daily
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