Archive for February, 2015
February 28, 2015
One of our own was assassinated yesterday. Prominent author, blogger, atheist and outspoken critic of fundamentalist terrorism Avijit Roy was hacked to death on the streets of Dacca, Bangladesh by thugs of the Islamic right.
He and his wife were attacked as they made their way home from a speaking engagement at a book fair, by at least two men wielding machetes. Avijit Roy died at the scene and his wife is currently in hospital in critical condition.
Roy, the founder of the website Mukto-Mona, received a barrage of death threats after the publication of his most recent book, ‘The Virus of Faith’.
Another secular blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was hacked to death outside his home in Bangladesh in February 2013 by Islamist militants with machetes.
The offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris were attacked on January 7 of this year by Islamist militants. This barbaric act, which killed 14 and wounded 11, brought the magazine to world attention. Its circulation rose quickly from 60,000 to over 3,000,000 per week, perhaps not the outcome the terrorists had hoped for.
We mourn the loss of Avijit Roy and wish his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonnaa, a full and speedy recovery.
Our message to religious extremists of all denominations throughout the world is simply this –
Fuck you. We will not be silenced.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Police today arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman, a “fundamentalist blogger” at a bus stop in Dhaka for the murder of Avijit Roy. Rahman made many threats in the past months to kill Roy.
January 20, 2015
Rabbi Frederick “Ephraim” Karp is the spiritual living director at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood near Cleveland, Ohio and the president of the Association of Jewish Chaplains. He is the focus of a criminal child sex abuse probe in Maryland and was arrested January 15 in JFK International Airport in New York, apparently as he tried to flee.
Rabbi Fredrick Martin “Ephraim” Karp’s bail is no longer set at $5 million dollars, the Baltimore Sun reported tonight. At a hearing today, Towson, Maryland District Court Judge Leo Ryan Jr. reduced Karp’s bail to $500,000 and ordered that he turn in his passport.
Prosecutor Lisa Dever had asked that Karp be held with no bail, saying he was a flight risk and that her office has “a strong case” against him.
Karp’s lawyer Marc Zayon told the court that Karp is not a flight risk – something the judge may not agree with, especially because Karp was arrested January in JFK International Airport in New York City as he was waiting to board a flight to Israel. However, Zayon gave the court invoices that he said show Karp and his wife had been planning the “rabbinical trip” to Israel since September.
“He had no idea that an arrest warrant was pending. He wasn’t running from these charges,” Zaydon said.
Police had interviewed Karp in Cleveland about the alleged abuse only days before he left for Israel. When they returned to arrest him, he was gone. The convention of Jewish chaplains Karp was going to Israel to attend wasn’t scheduled to start for more than a week after Karp’s flight.
Karp, who lives and works in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, allegedly repeatedly sexually abused a girl, who now 12-years-old, since she was seven. Karp was reportedly a friend of the girl’s parents and would visit them occasionally in Maryland and while there, would allegedly sexually abuse the girl.
Karp reportedly appeared at the bail review hearing today via video hookup from the Baltimore County Detention Center wearing an orange jumpsuit. He reportedly kept his head bowed for most of the proceeding.
Karp has been suspended from his job at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Menorah Park spokeswoman Beth Silver told the Baltimore Sun. He was president of Neshama, the national organization of Jewish chaplains whose convention in Jerusalem Karp was on his way to when he was arrested. A new president was elected at that convention, the Cleveland Jewish News reported today.
February 19, 2015
Chicago-area imam charged with sexually abusing Islamic school worker, also faces civil suit
CHICAGO (AP) — The longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman who worked there, and a civil suit filed Tuesday accuses him of abusing that employee and three teenage students. The legal actions shed light on an issue that even many Muslims say is too often pushed into the shadows within their communities.
Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, 75 — who founded the Institute of Islamic Education and is regarded as a leading Islamic scholar, or imam, in the United States — is charged with felony criminal sexual abuse. Prosecutors said he abused the 23-year-old woman, an administrative assistant at the Elgin school, in a series of escalating incidents over months.
The civil suit accuses Saleem of abusing that employee, as well as three female students at the school as far back as the 1980s. The lawyer in that case, Steven Denny, said Saleem took advantage of both the trust accorded to him as a religious leader and of the tendency of Muslims to remain silent on matters of sex and sexual abuse.
“This place was ripe for abuse,” Denny told a news conference.
It took special courage, he added, for his clients to come forward within a culture that discourages even casual contact — never mind explicit sexual contact.
The suit says a fifth person was abused when he was 11 by a male staffer at the school, not Saleem. It accuses the school of failing to protect children, many of whom lived on campus. It asks for more than $1.5 million in compensation, saying the victims are psychologically scarred.
Defense attorney Thomas Glasgow said he talked to his client about the Elgin charges and that Saleem “categorically denies the allegations.” He hadn’t had a chance to speak to him about the lawsuit. No one answered the phone Tuesday at the school, which has students from grades six through 12 and is 25 miles northwest of Chicago.
Saleem, of Gilberts, was arrested Sunday, Elgin police said. Authorities started investigating after the woman contacted them in December.
During a Tuesday bond hearing, prosecutors alleged that a month after the woman started working at the school in 2012, Saleem started removing the religious veil from her face and came into her office to hug her. Over several months, prosecutors said, he would hug her and squeeze her buttocks and breasts over her clothes.
Last April, prosecutors say Saleem locked the door of the woman’s office, lifted her dress, forced her to sit on top of him, massaged her and held her down when she tried to get up. Prosecutors say they collected evidence.
The lawsuit says that when one female student told a teacher Saleem touched her inappropriately, she was told, “Saleem is an old man and old people do things like that — so just forget it.”
Saleem’s bond was set at $250,000 and he was ordered to have no contact with the accuser, her family or anyone under age 18. Glasgow said he expected Saleem to post bond later Tuesday. Saleem, who also had to surrender his passport, is due in court again March 10.
At Denny’s news conference, a statement from the 23-year-old woman called on Muslims to speak up about sexual abuse. She said, “I will no longer stay silent.”
The chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, to which the school does not belong, says he examined the facility’s bylaws and found they granted Saleem almost absolute decision-making power. In light of Saleem’s arrest, Mohammed Kaiseruddin said Islamic schools nationwide should rework their bylaws to allow greater oversight.
Nadiah Mohajir, director of HEART Women and Girls, which raises awareness about sexual abuse in the Muslim community, called Saleem’s arrest “a wake-up call” that presented an opportunity to address a topic that’s been taboo for too long.
“The shame and stigma surrounding sexual abuse is even higher in Muslim communities, with its emphasis on purity and modesty,” she said.
Kaiseruddin said the matter illustrated that Muslims were not immune to a problem that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church.
“We found out that Muslims are burdened by the same (issue) other faiths are burdened with,” he said.
Associated Press reporter Don Babwin contributed to this report.
Going against a thousand years of infallible Catholic teaching, Pope Francis proclaimed that atheists go to heaven. Not long ago, Pope Paul VI shocked the Catholic world by declaring that dogs go to heaven (see our post Descriptions Of Heaven ).
May 30, 2013
Francis explained himself, “The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Yep, that settles it. The previous 265 infallible popes were wrong.
February 26, 2014
Ugandan Reverend Simon Lokodo, the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity says child rape is better than homosexuality, provided it’s the right kind of child rape – men raping little girls, which is natural.
Lokodo, who is the current State Minister for Ethics and Integrity in Uganda and claims to have several degrees in theology*, considers himself a good Christian who defends his country from the threat of homosexuality.
* We would describe these as several degrees below zero.
He expressed his controversial views during an interview with English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist, Stephen Fry, who is himself gay.
When asked whether homosexuality was worse than heterosexual child rape, Lokodo responded: “Let them do it… as long as it is in the right way.”
” I actually got a Ugandan Minister to say on camera- he’s the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, it’s the only such ministry in the world. I said to him… there’s so much more to worry about in your country than the odd gay person going to bed with the other gay person. For example, you have almost an epidemic of child rape in this country, which is just frightening.
And he said ‘Ah, but it is the right kind of child rape.’
I said ‘That was on camera. Do you know that was on camera?’
He said ‘Yes.’
I said ‘Can you just explain what you meant?’
‘Well, it is men raping girls. Which is natural.’
Lokodo also said in an interview with CNN that homosexual behavior is “repugnant to the lives of the people of Uganda”.
“If you want to do your thing, do it yourself,” Lokodo said. “But please, don’t embarrass, don’t involve, don’t bring any Ugandan to this activity, because it’s not acceptable.”
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni recently signed a controversial anti-gay bill that sees life imprisonment for homosexual offences.
US President Barack Obama said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed” with the law and that it will be a “step backward for all Ugandans (who have been stepping backwards for five hundred years).”
“If Barack Obama likes to help Ugandans,” Lokodo said, “let him help without strings attached, imposing … a behavior and a culture that is non-African, non-Ugandan.”
“We had better die poor than lose our dignity,” Lokodo concluded.
We here at FuckThePope.com think in the unlikely event that Mr. Lokodo ever had any dignity, he has by now lost it completely.
According to Museveni, homosexuality is caused by either “random breeding” or mercenary reasons, while lesbians are the consequence of “sexual starvation”.
Moderator’s note: For those unfamiliar with Uganda, it is a cesspool of bigotry, corruption and insanity.
Click on this link to see how the ‘Jesus Brand’ made it to the big leagues with 1one Productions.
February 26, 2015
From CNN –
To his legions of fans, Bikram Choudhury has an almost other-world quality. The yoga guru inspires as he promises to heal body and mind.
But to his critics, Choudhury is something else. They say he manipulates and preys on the young and vulnerable. Now he faces six separate civil lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual assault or rape.
“The one common thread to all their complaints is the betrayal of trust,” said attorney Mary Shea, who represents the women.
“It’s human nature. People are always looking for spiritual leaders. When you have traditional churches failing and people are looking for spiritual guidance, it is not surprising that people go to other arenas,” Shea told CNN. “He told them he is on the same level as Buddha and Jesus Christ.”
‘Ashamed, and embarrassed’
Choudhury is the founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India. He’s featured prominently on its website, which details his system of performing 26 unique yoga poses while in a very hot room.
The organization offers teacher trainings, which is where Choudhury allegedly met and groomed several victims.
The latest lawsuit was filed this month by a woman identified as Jill Lawler. In the suit, she’s described as a bright, driven woman who fell in love with Bikram Yoga almost from her first class.
She begged her parents to let her borrow money from her college fund to attend a grueling nine-week teacher training, which cost $10,000 at the time.
She started the course in April 2010. The alleged abuse started very soon after.
According to the lawsuit, it began with the married Choudhury trying to put his hand inside Lawler’s pants, eventually escalating to rape, which continued for years.
“She was ashamed, and embarrassed. She did not think that anyone would believe her, and she was afraid that if Defendant Bikram Choudhury heard that she had told, that he would kick her out of training and she would have lost both the $10,000 from her college fund, and her ability to work as a yoga instructor in order to pay for college,” the suit reads.
It accuses Choudhury of rape at that training, and at a variety of other locations, including India, where he visited Lawler in 2013.
The suit says Lawler feared speaking out earlier because she needed her Bikram Yoga certification to support herself. She was also physically afraid of Choudhury.
‘Too powerful … to go against’
Larissa Anderson started practicing Bikram Yoga when she was 22. According to her civil suit, she came to yoga from a history of sexual trauma and felt that it allowed her to reconnect and reclaim her body.
Anderson went to Los Angeles in 2006 where, the suit says, Choudhury raped her at his home with his wife and children upstairs.
“Larissa was broken and traumatized. She felt sick to her stomach but too scared of Bikram to say anything. He was too powerful for her to go against,” the lawsuit reads.
It alleges she was assaulted again in 2011. That time, Anderson refused Choudhury’s advances but, as a result, was retaliated against in her business, the suit says.
“There have been women, suffering in silence, who now feel that there is security in numbers,” said Shea, adding that she wouldn’t be surprised if more victims step forward.
“We are moving in the right direction. We are confident, and we believe in our clients, and I believe in the justice system,” she said. “Truth will prevail.”
CNN’s Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.
Aug 20, 2014
New Delhi: Police have arrested a priest for having allegedly raping an eight-year-old girl within the premises of a temple in Satbiri area of south Delhi on the occasion on Janmashtami.
According to the police, the incident took place last night when the girl was playing in the temple yard with a few children on the occasion of Janmashtami.
“The accused, identified as Vishvender, a 60-year-old priest took the girl to a separate room made in the temple and raped her,” said a senior police official.
The priest was later arrested from the temple after the girl narrated the incident to her parents who then approached police.
The medical report of the victim has confirmed rape and the accused also confessed to having committed the crime, police said.
Pretoria priest arrested for kidnapping, raping teen
30 October, 2014
The 25-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday around 1am after allegedly kidnapping the girl at the weekend and repeatedly raping her, Sergeant Ann Poortman said.
The teenager’s sister sent her to a tuck shop around 11.30am on Saturday. While she was there she saw the priest who told her to go to a certain shack in the area.
The girl’s family attended the man’s church and he was believed to be close friends with the girl’s father, Poortman said.
When the girl walked to the shack the priest allegedly followed her, raped her, and locked her inside.
When her father returned home and noticed she was not home yet her family opened a missing persons case at the police station.
“The man [priest] assisted the family to search for her and later went back to the shack and repeatedly raped her,” Poortman said.
On Monday around 9pm he told her he would release her on condition that she go to a particular woman’s home.
Upon her arrival at the woman’s home she would tell her that she had gone to her friend’s house in Mamelodi and needed someone to accompany her back home safely.
After questioning by her family, the girl told them she had been kidnapped and raped by the priest, Poortman said.
A kidnapping and rape case was opened on Tuesday morning. The man was arrested on Wednesday.
He appeared in court on Thursday. Details of his appearance were not yet known.
Puerto Rico Priest Faces Charges for Sexual Trafficking of Children
In addition to Israel Berrios, local prosecutors are investigating at least 17 other priests
May 14, 2014
U.S. authorities in Puerto Rico on Tuesday arrested a Roman Catholic priest and former school director on charges including sexual trafficking of children in the first federal case of its kind in the U.S. territory.
Israel Berrios, 58, is accused of sexually abusing an altar boy from the time he was about 8 years old until he turned 17, according to Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda.
“All this began with the seduction of material things,” Miranda said, who alleged the boy was given money, a computer, a camera and was taken on a cruise. He said the boy is now a 21-year-old university student.
The arrest is part of a widespread probe into multiple church abuse allegations in the island of 3.6 million people, where more than 70 percent identify themselves as Catholic.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said the boy’s mother had given him permission to take a four-day cruise to the Bahamas in July 2008 with Berrios and a married couple they knew from church.
The boy was raised by his mother and did not have a relationship with his father, which led to the priest becoming like a member of the family, said Angel Melendez, a Puerto Rico-based special agent for Homeland Security Investigations of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“He is the only victim we have interviewed, but we don’t dismiss that there might be others,” Melendez said.
Berrios also had served as director of a Catholic school in the central town of Aibonito that the boy attended.
ICE spokesman Ivan Ortiz said Berrios was a priest in the Diocese of Caguas, south of the capital of San Juan. He said the priest was arrested in the northern town of Naranjito.
Puerto Rico prosecutors filed charges of lewd acts against Berrios, who has been suspended as a priest but not expelled.
Officials at the Diocese of Caguas said the bishop was not immediately available for comment, but Berrios himself told reporters he was at peace in a brief statement as he entered a courthouse.
“Although my hands and feet are handcuffed, there are other people who are imprisoned by their conscience,” he said without elaborating.
Berrios is the first priest to face federal sex charges of this kind in Puerto Rico, though local prosecutors are investigating at least 17 other priests and eight dioceses facing similar allegations.
Prosecutors have already charged one of six defrocked priests from the Diocese of Arecibo with committing lewd acts. Edwin Antonio Mercado Viera is scheduled to appear in court in late May.
The Diocese of Arecibo is fighting a request from Puerto Rico’s justice department to obtain confidential documents related to the sex abuse probe, and the island’s Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case. Officials of the diocese argue they have already provided sufficient information and seek to protect the identity of those who made the allegations.
U.S. and Latin American sex abuse victims accuse pope of ‘good words’ but no action
Latin American and U.S. victims of child abuse by members of the clergy asked the pope Monday that he go further than “good words” with his vow not to tolerate pedophilia in the church, and accused the pontiff of a “contradictory” position on the subject.
In an open letter sent to the Argentine pontiff, victims from countries including Mexico, Chile, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Peru and the United States demanded that his statement to the effect that, “there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors” be turned into effective action.
The pope “is rewarding people who should be in jail,” former seminarian Juan Carlos Cruz told a press conference, referring to his own experience as victim of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, judged guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of sexually abusing minors.
Cruz mentioned the recent elevation to cardinal of the archbishop of Santiago, Chile, Ricardo Ezzati, and the naming of Juan Barros as bishop of the diocese of Osorno, also in Chile, while both of them, according to the ex-seminarian, were covering up the Karadima case.
“We ask the pope that he at least comply with what he is saying,” Cruz said, acknowledging that the Chilean victims felt “tremendously disappointed” in the pope.
“Words and certain actions aren’t enough – even less when they are ambiguous and contradictory – because they not only don’t signify zero tolerance for clerical pedophilia, but only aggravate the harm done to the victims and do not build an institutional path to truth and justice,” the victims said in the letter.
The ex-priest and defender of human rights, Alberto Athie, said that Pope Francis will have to establish “levels of responsibility” among members of the church, both with regard to those who commit abuses and those who cover up what the offenders did.
Athie also mentioned the previous pope, Benedict XVI, saying, “He is implicated, since he knew of thousands of cases of child abuse and only resolved 400.”
Those 400 cases were priests who were suspended in secret and whose identities and whereabouts are still unknown, since the Vatican “has not assumed the responsibility of providing that information” to the authorities or of making it public.
“The church believes it is not accountable to anyone, but it has to learn that it must submit to civil authority,” Athie said.