www.independent.co.uk

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Uganda government, President Yoweri Museveni and Minister Simon Lokodo #homophobia independent.co.uk

Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals.

The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks.

The government said the legislation would curb a rise in “unnatural sex” in the east African nation.

“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that,” the country’s ethics and integrity minister, Simon Lokodo, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”

Mr Lokodo said the bill, which has the support of the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, will be reintroduced in parliament in the coming weeks.

He said it was expected to be voted on before the end of the year.

The minister was optimistic the bill would pass with the necessary two-thirds of members present, he said, as the government had lobbied legislators ahead of its reintroduction.

Uganda’s constitutional court overturned the law – formerly known as the “Kill the Gays” bill because it includes the death penalty – on a technicality in 2014.

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Stephan Balliet #wingnut #racist #sexist #psycho #conspiracy independent.co.uk

The neo-Nazi who murdered two people in a marauding shooting attack in Germany has been named as Stephan Balliet.

The 27-year-old German man is suspected of storming a synagogue in Halle on Wednesday and shooting a female passerby, before attacking a nearby Turkish kebab shop where a man died.

Balliet broadcast a live video of the attack on the Twitch streaming platform and published an antisemitic and racist “manifesto” online, echoing the Christchurch terrorist and other recent far-right attackers.

He repeatedly called himself a “loser” in the footage for failing to break into the synagogue or kill more people, after his homemade gun repeatedly jammed.

The livestream stopped after Balliet dumped the helmet-mounted camera and his car while fleeing Halle, before hijacking a taxi and being arrested following a crash around 10 miles south of the city.

[...]

A source told Reuters that Balliet had done military service, which was compulsory in Germany at the time, but received no special training.

Balliet’s livestream and online documents seen by The Independent suggest he was deeply embedded in online forums, gaming culture and had a fascination with Japan.

He called himself a “weeb”, denoting an obsession with Japanese culture, and an “anon” – the term used to describe users of 4chan, 8chan and other imageboards that were used by previous mass shooters to share manifestos.

One of three documents Balliet posted online before the attack was entitled “manifesto” in Japanese and included an image of a sexualised anime “cat-girl”.

The tongue-in-cheek message said that readers could get a free cat-girl or “waifu” if they “kill at least one Jew”.

The document, written in English, called for “discontent white men” to murder Jews, non-whites, communists and “traitors”.

[...]

The document said he aimed to inspire attacks by “other suppressed whites” by livestreaming his attack, kill as many “anti-whites” as possible, and that he would wear protective clothing and aimed not to die.

It included a score sheet of “achievements” for the attack, including numbers of kills and methods, but few were met.

The documents appear to have been originally posed on the Kohlchan website, which is a predominantly German-language “chan” imageboard whose name translates as “cabbage chan” or “nonsense chan”.

Balliet said he had “originally planned to storm a mosque or an antifa ‘culture’ centre” which he thought would be less secure than the synagogue targeted.

But he claimed his ultimate target was Jews, after declaring his belief in conspiracies including the “Zionist-occupied government” theory.

Speaking in English at the start of his livestream, Balliet said he was a Holocaust denier and said he believed feminism was ”the cause of declining birth rates in the west”.

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David Parnham #psycho #racist independent.co.uk

A white supremacist behind the “Punish a Muslim Day” campaign has been jailed for 12 and a half years.

David Parnham, who called himself “Muslim Slayer” and sent packages containing fake anthrax, is to serve his sentence in hospital until he is well enough to be transferred to prison.

The Old Bailey heard the 36-year-old had launched several waves of malicious letters targeting mosques, the Queen and politicians including David Cameron and Theresa May.

He admitted offences including soliciting murder, encouraging crime, bomb and noxious substance hoaxes and sending letters with intent to cause distress.

In early 2018, a series of typed “Punish A Muslim Day” letters were sent out to encourage violence on the date of an American white supremacist’s birthday.

The letters claimed Europe and North America was being “overrun” by Muslims and contained a makeshift scorecard for attacks ranging from pulling off women’s headscarves to acid attacks, torture, bombing a mosque and “butchering” Muslims with guns, knives and vehicles.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC said Parnham had been suffering from an autistic spectrum disorder but rejected the suggestion he was psychotic at the time of the offences.

“You have yet to appreciate the seriousness of what you have done and seem to want to return to the community at the earliest opportunity to live with your parents,” he told the court on Tuesday.

Parnham’s failure to appreciate the harm he caused to the Muslim and wider community meant the risk of reoffending was greater, the judge said.

The court heard that although no violence was linked to the campaign, it sparked widespread fear in Muslim communities across the UK after being received by politicians including the then home secretary, Sajid Javid.

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Marco Bonifazi, Marie Bonifazi, Massimiliano Mecozzi #quack independent.co.uk

The parents of a seven-year-old boy who died from an earache after they treated it only with homeopathic medicine have been found guilty of his manslaughter.

Marco and Marie Bonifazi failed to give antibiotics to their son Francesco when he was diagnosed with a common infection in the central Italian town of Cagli.

Instead, the pair saw a homeopath who “underestimated” the seriousness of the illness, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

The youngster fell into a coma and died from encephalitis on 27 May 2017 – three days after his original diagnosis.

His parents were given a three-month suspended sentence.

Massimiliano Mecozzi, the homeopathic doctor who consulted on the case, will go on trial in September.

Prosecutors accuse him of negligence, inexperience and "having underestimated the typical clinical picture of a highly serious local infection, prescribing a therapy based on homeopathic medicines in spite of the recrudescence of symptoms”.

They also say he failed "to prepare any diagnostic analysis and avoided prescribing the necessary antibiotic therapies suitable for the treatment of the pathology".

Speaking after the parents' hearing, Francesco’s maternal grandfather said that the couple did not have a problem with conventional medicine but had resorted to homeopathy because they feared their child had been taking too many antibiotics after a series of illnesses.

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Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah #fundie independent.co.uk

Brunei bans Christmas: Sultan warns those celebrating could face up to five years in jail

Anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison, according to a reported declaration by the Sultan of the tiny oil-rich state.

Brunei introduced its ban on Christmas last year over fears that celebrating it "excessively and openly" could lead its Muslim population astray.

Christians and others can celebrate Christmas, but must do so in private and have to first alert the authorities.


Local Islamic religious leaders have promoted the ban, warning that adopting the trappings of Christmas is tantamount to imitation of another faith, prohibited in some interpretations of Islam.

Officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs have also reportedly visited local businesses to ensure they are not displaying Christmas decorations, including Santa hats and banners with Christmas greetings.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has ruled the former British colony for nearly 50 years, introduced the ban on Christmas in 2014, the same year Brunei adopted a stricter penal code, based on Islamic sharia and including punishments such as stoning and amputation.

The Christmas ban is justified under the new laws - the punishment for celebrating Christmas is a fine of $20,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.

The ban has encountered some resistance - the social media campaign #MyTreedom, which encourages Christians and other in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran to post images of themselves celebrating Christmas, includes several contributions from Brunei residents.

At least 65 per cent of Brunei's 420,000-strong population are Muslims.

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Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah #fundie independent.co.uk

LGBT+ people to be stoned or whipped to death in Brunei under new sex law

Amnesty International condemn ‘heinous’ rules introduced as part of Sharia reforms in tiny kingdom

Brunei is set to permit the stoning and whipping to death of LGBT+ people under a series of reforms to its penal code that are attracting international condemnation.

New laws due to come into effect next Wednesday will see the tiny kingdom become the first nation in southeast Asia to impose the death penalty for those found engaging in same-sex intercourse.

Homosexuality was already illegal and carried a long jail sentence in Brunei. However, the country is in the process of introducing a Sharia Law-style system for criminal punishment.

Human rights groups have denounced the move, including Amnesty International, which described the new punishments as “heinous” and “inhumane”.

It said same-sex relations would become a capital offence that could be carried out by whipping or stoning.

Amnesty warned other new laws would permit amputation as a punishment for robbery or theft – a sentence that would also be carried out on children.

“Some of the potential ‘offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher for the organisation.

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations.

“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who rules Brunei by absolute monarchy, first introduced measures under the Sharia Penal Code in 2014, imposing fines or jail terms for offences such as pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays.

However, laws targeting LGBT+ people were shelved following international protests, including a boycott of the Sultan’s exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel in California.

But it appears the monarch will now implement the legislation, which he has in the past said should be regarded as “special guidance” from god.

Around two thirds of the oil-rich nation’s 417,000 inhabitants are Muslim, while it is also home to significant Christian and Buddhist communities.

There has been no vocal opposition to the new rules in Brunei, where public criticism of the Sultan and his policies are extremely rare.

The country has long been known for conservative policies such as banning the sale of alcohol and it already issues caning as a punishment under secular laws for several crimes including immigration offences.

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Menon #racist independent.co.uk

Re: India only has enough ammunition to supply troops for ten days

I just read the trash written by one Maria Abi-Habib an obvious falistini in love with Pakistan. Maybe even an ISI agent. Who knows!! In any case an india hater. I would like to tell that uneducated uncultured woman (I am told she lives in India and enjoys Indian hospitality but love her uncultured terrorist cousins of Pakistan and hates India) a few facts
1. She need not worry about Indian armed forces’ capabilities but should worry about the possible dismantlement of her terrorist friends across the border and how many minutes’ammunition her brothers have got.
2. She does not realise that there was ongoing asymmetric warfare going against India by a failed nation of terrorists (her brothers) for decades thanks to the bastardy of Britain.
3. Because of our culture, (unlike her and her ilk), we tried to reason with pkistan and did all we can without success.
4. Pakis thought it was a weakness and continued and India now has said thus far and no further. We bombed the hell out of a terrorist camp. There were 300 phones active there before the attack and now none.
5. The Paks tried to retaliate and were sent off by IAF. The MIG-21 shot down an F-16. Poor woman does not seem to have understood its impact. As for “vintage” nature of MIG-21 these are the aircraft that achieved 5-1 kill against American F-16s at Cope India.
6. I also suggest that you speak to REAL lawmakers and not to idiots who got a seat because of progeniosis. I am sure, being what she is, she will have neither the wherewith all or ability to get into a debate.

this whole paper is aligned with discrediting India

This is just a british rag that is still upset that they can no longer loot India and is offering aid to UK because it is now worse than a third world Country so they have Arab slaves and Arab women with no intelligence ranting against India. Ask her a simple question "how many minutes’ fuel and ammunition her terrorist brothers have"?

India is playing a double game with America.India is still very close to Russia.It buys most of its arms from Russia.India is breaking American sanctions on Iran by trading in local currencies.India is also buying oil from Venezuela where America.

The handle itself show that this is a fake ID in all probability that of a Pakistani. There is no free game like what Pakistan is used to play. We have told America that we will not be cutting our defence ties with Russia and America is also welcome to trade with us. Similarly we have told the United States of America that we are not going to cut of the Irani and supply of oil. These were our conditions and it was accepted by the United States of America. We are not, unlike Pakistan, going with a begging bowl to anybody and everybody and then cheating them. Where are you next going to go to beg for money? Within a week Baluchistan will rise up. Iran will attack the terrorist facilities. Afghanistan will lay claim to North West Frontier province now called Khyber Paktunwa. MQM will rise up in Karachi. India will take over POK and Khyber Paktunwa. Then what will remain of Pakistan? Think.

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James Greene #fundie independent.co.uk

A Donald Trump supporter reportedly armed with a gun barged into a Texas library in an attempt to stop a drag queen reading books to children.

James Greene was arrested on suspicion of trespassing after refusing to leave Houston’s Freed-Montrose Library, but claimed he was detained for being a "white Christian" and accused staff of satanism.

He had entered the building to protest against Drag Queen Storytime, a programme of events in which performers read children’s stories to families.

The conservative radio host has previously been banned from the library for filming children during similar demonstrations.

Footage filmed by Mr Greene and posted on YouTube shows him remonstrating with police officers as they ask him to leave the building. Another clip shows him being handcuffed in the libary’s car park.

“We have a bunch of homosexuals that are molesting children,” he is heard telling officers. “They are doing it with your help.”

Outsmart, a Houston LGBTQ magazine, reported that officers took a concealed firearm off Mr Greene as they detained him.

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Islamic CPC officials #fundie independent.co.uk

China passes law to ‘make Islam more compatible with socialism’ amid outcry over Muslim abuse

Beijing unveils plans aimed at ‘sinicisation’ of religion within four years, fuelling concerns over crackdown on Uighur minority

China has announced plans to make Islam “more compatible with socialism”, amid growing fears about a crackdown on the country’s Muslims.

Beijing is to introduce measures aimed at “the sinicisation” of the religion within four years, state media reported.

The move is likely to fuel concerns about re-education camps in China’s Xinjiang region, where a million or more Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to be held.

On Monday, Beijing said it would allow United Nations officials into the far western region if they followed proper procedures. UN officials should also “avoid interfering in domestic matters” and adopt an objective and neutral attitude, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

The UN’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said last month her office was seeking access to verify “worrying reports” of centres that Amnesty International has said are being run like “wartime concentration camps”.

China, which denied the existence of the camps until October last year, has claimed it is detaining people guilty of minor crimes and that inmates are “grateful” to have been sent to the “vocational education centres”.

But former internees have alleged torture and said they were forced to learn Chinese Communist Party propaganda, swear loyalty to the party, and denounce Islam. There have also been reports of detainees being made to eat pork and drink alcohol, acts forbidden by their religion.

In a sign the crackdown on Muslims could spread to other regions, Beijing announced on Sunday that Islamic organisations in eight provinces had “agreed to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to sinicise the religion”.

Muslim groups from Beijing, Shanghai, Hunan, Yunnan and Qinghai had discussed a five-year plan for the “sinicisation of Islam” at a seminar in the Chinese capital, according to the state-run Global Times.

The plan was “not about changing the beliefs, habits or ideology of Islam but to make them compatible with socialist society”, Gao Zhanfu, vice-dean of the Beijing-based China Islamic Institute, told the newspaper.

But the World Uyghur Congress, an exile organisation, said Beijing was using sinicisation to erase Islam from China.

It added: “Practising Islam has been forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab … facing the threat of arrest.

“As we have seen in the camps and in China’s treatment of Uighurs, ‘sinification’ is total assimilation and religious persecution.”

In August, a UN human rights panel said it had received credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities were being held in what resembled a “massive internment camp” in Xinjiang.

In a rare move, a group of 15 western ambassadors in Beijing, spearheaded by Canada, have sought a meeting with the top official in the region, Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo, for an explanation of alleged rights abuses.

Beijing has launched an increasingly active publicity campaign to defend its actions in Xinjiang in the face of an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and UN rights experts.

In the past two weeks, the Chinese government has arranged for diplomats from 12 non-western countries to visit the region, as well as organising a trip for a small group of reporters, including to three re-education camps.

In the centres, Uighur students were seen learning in Mandarin about the dangers of extremist thought. They also sang and danced for reporters, including a rendition in English of “If You’re Happy and You Know it, Clap Your Hands”.

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Some cultists #fundie independent.co.uk

Naked family who kidnapped neighbours ‘to save them from Armageddon’ avoid jail

Group whipped into shared hysteria believed they needed to take drastic actions because the apocalypse had arrived

A naked family who kidnapped their neighbours thinking they were saving them from the end of the world have walked free from court after a judge attributed the incident to a bizarre shared psychotic episode.

Judge Jacqueline Schaffter said the three offenders did not mean to cause their victims harm when they forced them into their car before driving off at break-neck speed during an incident November last year.

The court heard the group had whipped each other into hysteria taking part in marathon sessions of applied kinesiology, an alternative medicine claimed to diagnose various illnesses by testing the strength of muscles at a home in Alberta, Canada.

Following several days in which they barely ate and repeatedly engaged in muscle testing, the two women, a man and two teenagers, who all cannot be named for legal reasons, became convinced the apocalypse was imminent.

“It will always remain difficult for us to fully understand,” Ms Schaffter told a courtroom in the small city of Leduc on Thursday, the Toronto-based Globe and Mail reported.

“The accused all believed on the day in question that Armageddon had arrived.”

The family, who were all Jehovah’s Witnesses, began to see and hear demons after several days locked together the house, the court was told.

They eventually came to the conclusion the end of the world was taking place and decided to act to save their neighbours with such haste, four of the group did not bother putting clothes on before rushing out of the house.

Completely naked, the family then drove their SUV through their garage door before crashing it through the gate at a neighbour’s property.

They grabbed the victims – a man, his adult daughter and her six-week-old son – forcing the man into the boot of the car and putting the woman and her child in the back passenger seat.

As the car sped through red lights on the way to a nearby town, the group forced their captives to chant “Jehovah” repeatedly, the court heard.

The neighbours were able to escape the car as it slowed before jump into a passing truck. However, the family rammed the vehicle, causing their SUV to swerve into a ditch.

Everyone involved in the incident escaped unharmed, but when members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police attended, the family refused to leave their vehicle, continuing to chant.

Officers said the group displayed extreme strength and all three adults had to be shocked with a Taser several times before they could be detained.

The court heard the incident had been out of character for the family, who had no prior record of offending.

The judge accepted a joint recommendation from defence and prosecution lawyers in the case and handed the group a one-year, non-custodial sentence followed by two years of probation.

They were ordered to refrain from muscle testing in the future and receive counselling.

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Unknown CPC officials #fundie independent.co.uk

One million Chinese people 'move into Muslim homes to report on Islamic or unpatriotic beliefs'

'Had a Uighur host just greeted a neighbour in Arabic with the words ‘Assalamu Alaykum’? That would need to go in the notebook," says Dr Darren Byler

Uninvited, more than one million Han Chinese people have reportedly moved into the homes of Uighur Muslim families to report on whether they display Islamic or unpatriotic beliefs.

Sent to homes in Xinjiang province by the Chinese government, American anthropologist Darren Byler said they were tasked with watching for signs that their hosts’ attachment to Islam might be “extreme”.

The informants, who describe themselves as "relatives" of the families they are staying with, are said to have received specific instructions on how to get them to let their guard down.

As devout Muslims would refuse cigarettes and alcohol. this is seen as one way of finding out whether they were extreme.

“Had a Uighur host just greeted a neighbour in Arabic with the words ‘Assalamu Alaykum’? That would need to go in the notebook,” said Dr Byler, in research published by Asia Society's Centre on US-China Relations. “Was that a copy of the Quran in the home? Was anyone praying on Friday or fasting during Ramadan? Was a little sister’s dress too long or a little brother’s beard irregular?”

As many as a million Uighurs are thought to have been rounded up and placed in "re-education’ centres", in what China claims is a clampdown on religious extremism.

Those who have spent time in them, have however claimed that they were forced to undergo an intensive indoctrination programme, urged to renounce Islam and instead heap praise on the Chinese Communist Party.

One former inmate claimed Muslim inmates were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.

Dr Byler said more than a million Chinese civilians, who refer to themselves as "relatives", were assigned to the homes of Muslims for a series of week-long stays in 2017.

His claim appeared to be confirmed in the Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, which reported that more than 1.1 million people paired up with 1.69 million ethnic minority citizens in China by the end of September this year.

They often focus on families of those who have been detained in the "re-education" centres.

China was also said to be trying to prevent people from fasting during Ramadan in Xinjiang last year.

According to the World Uighur Congress (WUC), officials in the region ordered all restaurants to remain open and a series of measures were put in place seemingly designed to prevent people observing the holy month.

Chinese authorities have also been accused of putting Uighur children and those from other ethnic minority groups into state-run orphanages across the western Xinjiang region, even if their parents were not dead, as some one million adults in their families were sent to internment camps.

Dilxat Raxit, of the exile World Uighur Congress, has also claimed officials in Xinjiang warned them that they must surrender religious items such as the Quran or face “harsh punishments”.

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Labour Party members #racist independent.co.uk

The Metropolitan Police is to investigate a number of Labour members over potential antisemitic hate crimes.

Specialist officers will look into whether party members broke the law when making a series of offensive comments about Jews.

Cressida Dick, the Met Police commissioner, said she would ask hate crime experts to investigate after being presented with evidence of Labour members appearing to call for Jews to be murdered.

She told LBC: "We take hate crime very seriously.

"If somebody makes an allegation to us, absolutely we will take it seriously, we will scope it, we will see if a crime has taken place.

"I will pass this to my experts to deal with. We'll see if a crime has been committed."

It comes after the radio station was handed a dossier of antisemitism cases that were considered by Labour's disciplinary Disputes Panel.

They show people thought to be Labour members making a series of highly offensive comments about Jews.

In one post, a member wrote: "We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on us all."

Referring to Jewish people as "devils" and suggesting the Red Sea would be an "ideal destination" for them, they added: "No need for gas chambers anyway as gas is so expensive and we need it in England."

Another person called for a Jewish MP to "get a good kicking".

A third wrote: "One cannot understand the state of the world without understanding Jewish power, and one cannot understand the nature of Jewish power until one understands the nature of Jewish thinking."

And a sitting Labour councillor was accused of inflicting "ten years of hell" on a child, including calling him "Jew boy".

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Khaled Al-Saqaby #fundie independent.co.uk

Allah's blessing upon you. Welcome to our show, which will deal with wife beating. I am aware that this issue is a thorny one, which contains many hazards, but Allah willing we will cross this bridge safely.

I believe that the problem arises when husbands do not understand how to deal with disobedience. Some women disobey their husbands and make mistakes with them, and their husbands think this is due to inadequate discipline. Allah said "As for those on whose part you fear disobedience - advise them." This is the first step in disciplining one's wife.

First, remind her of your rights and her duties, according to Allah.

Then comes the second stage - forsaking her. Here, too, some husbands make mistakes, which might exacerbate the problem even further. For example, if the husband leaves his bed and goes to another house, everybody knows that there is a problem. The point of forsaking her in bed is to discipline the wife, and now to wear your dirty laundry in public. Allah said "Forsake them in bed," which means you should stay in bed with her, but turn your back to her, or else sleep in a separate bed in the same room. By the way, as a woman once told me, this is the most ingenious way to discipline a wife. If the husband leaves the room, it is easier for her than if he remains with her but if he turns his back, or he sleeps on the floor while she sleeps in the bed, or vice versa.

Then comes the third stage - the issue of beating. We have to understand that the aim is to discipline, not to vent one's anger. The necessary Islamic conditions for beating must be met. The beating must not be performed with a rod such as this one [3' x 1" stick]. Nor should it be with a headband, which some husbands use, or with a sharp object, which, I'm sad to say, some husbands use. It should be done with something like the sewak tooth-cleaning twig. Ibn Abbas said that she should be beaten with a sewak like this one or with a hankerchief, because the goal is merely to make the wife feel that she was wrong in the way she treated her husband.

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Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari #fundie independent.co.uk

A 10-month old girl died of malnutrition and dehydration after her Christian parents allegedly refused to seek medical help for religious reasons, fear of child services and a lack of trust in medical services.

Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari, both 27, have been charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of their daughter, Mary.

Welch called the emergency services last week and the child was not breathing when deputies arrived at their home in Michigan's Solon Township, which sits to the north of Grand Rapids, the Kent County sheriff’s office said.

The child was found with sunken eyes and cheeks and a lack of pulse, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy ruled the cause of death was malnutrition and dehydration due to neglect by adult caregivers.

The couple admitted their daughter had been skinny and underweight for at least a month, an affidavit alleged.

They did not seek medical help for religious reasons, fear of having Child Protective Services called and a lack of trust in medical services,” according to court records.

Footage taken in Kent County Court shows their shocked reaction as the judge tells them they could face life in prison without parole, if convicted of felony murder.

Welch’s jaw fell open and Fusari sobs as the judge reads out the charges.

The pair, have two older children together, aged two and four, are being held without bond and court records do not list lawyers who can speak on their behalf.

Child Protective Services have filed a neglect case against the parents involving their two eldest children.

Welch has posted about Child Protective Services, a distrust of doctors and religious beliefs on Facebook. He called doctors “priesthoods of the medical cult” and spoke in one video post about refusing to get his children vaccinated.

“The righteous shall live by faith. It’s God who is sovereign over disease and those sorts of things and, of course, ultimately deaths,” he said.

The couple return to court on 20 August and could face life in prison without parole if convicted of felony murder.

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Gholam Ridha Jalali #conspiracy independent.co.uk

Iranian general blames water shortages on Israel 'stealing rain from clouds’

[...]

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has accused Israel of exacerbating the Islamic republic’s water shortage problems by “stealing the rain” from clouds that pass over the Mediterranean Sea.

The negative impacts of climate change were the “unnatural result of foreign influence”, civil defence organisation head Brigadier General Gholam Ridha Jalali told an audience at an agricultural conference in Tehran, citing unnamed Iranian scientific research centres.

Israel and an unnamed other country were cooperating to extract moisture from weather systems as they moved over the Mediterranean, he said, thus making clouds “barren” by “stealing the rain and snow” which is not reaching Iran’s highlands as it should.

The comments were picked up by semi-official Iranian news agency Isna and Tasnim News, as well as Israeli media.

The commander’s remarks were quickly disputed by the director general of Iran’s official meteorological organisation, however, who told the Iranian Students' News Agency it was impossible for any country to steal rain or clouds.

[...]

Jalali's theory has been voiced in the past by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who in a 2012 speech also linked Iran’s environmental problems to colonisation and “the enemy destroying the clouds moving towards our country”.

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TinmanofTN #conspiracy independent.co.uk

You Brits could never understand Trump or his supporters because we are free men. You are but slaves to your communist overlords and their mu$lim foot soldiers. We are proud of our nation and our God. We will restore western civilization, we will free our loyal and brave cousins from their miserable bondage.

Q-anon is real, the independent however is a fake news propaganda out let. Those of you cowards who have betrayed your own people and handed them into the hands of our ancient enemy's will pay the ultimate price. I will see to it personally.

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Tamara Pletnyova #racist independent.co.uk

World Cup 2018: Russian politician urges citizens not to 'fornicate' with foreign football fans

The chariman of a Russian parliamentary committee has urged Russians to abstain from sex with foreign fans arriving for the World Cup.

Tamara Pletnyova, who heads the Family, Women and Children Affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, told the Govorit Moskva radio station that such behaviour was likely to lead to single parent families.

“There will be girls who meet men, and then they will give birth. Maybe they will get married, maybe they won’t. But the kids will suffer, just like they suffered [after the 1980 Mosco Olympics].”

Ms Pletnyova claimed her comments were not motivated by nationalism, but suggested it was better if children were born from parents of the same race.

“It is one thing if the parents are of the same race; quite another if they are of different races,” she said. “We should give birth to our own children.”

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Frances Naggs and other Jeremy Corbyn supporters #conspiracy independent.co.uk

More than 2,000 supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have backed an open letter suggesting a Jewish-organised protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party was the work of a “very powerful special interest group”.

The open letter, posted to Mr Corbyn, claimed the organisers of Monday’s demonstration had used their “immense strength” to “employ the full might of the BBC” in order to launch an “onslaught” against the Labour leader.

The event was organised by Jewish community groups the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.

The letter claims the organisers had sought to use their “history” and ”influence” to “dictate who the rest of us can vote for or how we vote”.

It comes as Mr Corbyn battles to respond to allegations he has failed to adequately address antisemitism among his supporters.

The letter was posted on the “We Support Jeremy Corbyn” Facebook group and was “liked” by more than 2,000 of the group’s followers. Almost 1,000 commented asking for their names to be added to the text.

Coming the day after Monday’s protest, it states: “Yesterday we witnessed the full onslaught of a very powerful special interest group mobilising its apparent, immense strength against you.

“It is clear this group can employ the full might of the BBC to make sure its voice is heard very loudly and clearly. It is a shame not every special interest group can get the same coverage.”

It adds: “But, and it is a very big BUT, we live in a democracy, a one member one vote democracy and no special interest group, regardless of their history or influence, can be allowed to dictate who the rest of us can vote for or how we vote.”

It was posted by a user named Frances Naggs, who said they were a Labour Party member in the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency. The Independent has approached the leader's office for a comment.

The news came as an ally of Mr Corbyn was forced to resign as chair of a key Labour disciplinary panel after a leaked email revealed she had argued that a council candidate who claimed the Holocaust was a “hoax” should not be suspended from the party.

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‘Mad’ Mike Hughes #fundie independent.co.uk

Flat-earther blasts off in homemade rocket in bid to reassure himself world is shaped 'like a Frisbee'

'I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket'

A self-taught rocket man who believes the earth is flat blasted himself 1,875 feet into the air, in an effort to reach orbit and reassure himself the world is shaped "like a Frisbee".

‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, who has been likened to cartoon character Wile E Coyote, propelled himself off the ground in a homemade rocket on Saturday before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert.

The 61-year-old limo driver said he was fine – apart from his aching back – after the launch near Amboy, in California.

“I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket,” he said after being checked out by paramedics.

“I'm tired of that stuff; I manned up and did it.”

Mr Hughes worked on overhauling his rocket in his garage for months before the launch on Saturday, which was given the go-ahead by Albert Okura, who owns Amboy.

He converted a mobile home into a ramp and modified it to launch from a vertical angle so he would not fall back to the ground on public land.

It looked like Saturday might be another in a string of cancellations, given the wind was blowing and his rocket was losing steam.

But some time after 3pm (Pacific Daylight Time), and without a countdown, Mr Hughes’ rocket soared into the sky.

He reached a speed he estimated to be around 350 mph before pulling his parachute.

The limo driver was dropping too fast, though, and had to deploy a second one.

He landed with a thud and the rocket’s nose broke in two places like it was designed to do.

“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” said Mr Hughes, who had an altimeter in his cockpit to measure his altitude.

“Am I glad I did it? Yeah, I guess. I'll feel it in the morning. I won't be able to get out of bed.”

“At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight,” he added.

The launch is said to have lasted three to four minutes, with the rocket landing about 1,500 feet from the ramp.

And it isn’t the first time Mr Hughes has built and launched a rocket: he is reported to have travelled 1,374ft into the air in Arizona in 2014 before collapsing and taking three days to recover.

Some naysayers have posted things like "He'll be fine" with a picture of Wile E Coyote strapped to a rocket.

"I hope he doesn't blow something up," retired Nasa astronaut Jerry Linenger said as Hughes' plans captured widespread attention. Mr Linenger orbited the globe more than 2,000 times during four months in 1997.

"Rocketry, as our private space companies found out, isn't as easy as it looks," he added.

Hughes often sparred with his critics on social media leading up to the launch, through Facebook comments and a 12-minute video addressed to his doubters

"My story really is incredible," he said.

"It's got a bunch of story lines — the garage-built thing. I'm an older guy. It's out in the middle of nowhere, plus the Flat Earth. The problem is it brings out all the nuts also, people questioning everything. It's the downside of all this."

The self-taught rocket man has always maintained that his mission is not to prove that the Earth is flat.

“Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he said. “Do I know for sure? No. That's why I want to go up in space.”

In the future Mr Hughes wants to build a ‘Rockoon’ – a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and lit – which would take him about 68 miles up.

He revealed he also planed to run for governor.

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various commenters #fundie independent.co.uk

Comments RE: Feminists join men-only swim in protest of proposed law to enable people to self-identify as male or female

(annabella77)
The trans movement rides on the back of the gay rights movement, appearing to be progressive whilst actually being totally regressive - it is misogynistic and homophobic to say that if you have feminine traits then you must be a woman, and vice Verda

(minagiller)
It is especially funny to watch the row in the Labour Party about this as ex-men invade women's only short lists.

(Monica Vieira)
Yes, it's so funny isn't it. I hope women see how much fun men are having with all of this. This will radicalize a lot of feminists and in the end women will have the last laugh.

(Johart)
So you're a misandrist. At least admit it rather than hiding behind feminism. Got dumped did you?

(Happytravelling)
Sunday Politics was a joy. Watching Labour representatives try to pretend when Milne and Corbyn tried to pretend Russia were not to blame for the attack in Salisbury they were really saying Russia was to blame.

Then, that women's short lists could contain those who self identified but was a problem. Then one of the panelists gave the helpful suggestion that one solution would be to get rid of the women's own list and choose based on merit.

(Monica Vieira)
If the choice was based on merit, males wouldn't be the majority of representatives, dear.

"one of the panelists gave the helpful suggestion that one solution would be to get rid of the women's own list"

Yes, the end goal of all of this is to destroy everything that women have fought for, like women's shortlists that only exist because of the historical discrimination against women in politics (and society in general).

Good luck with that.

(George__costansa)
we are getting to the point of the circle where feminists are realizing they are different to men. and need different treatment and protection... eventually theyll be demanding to stay at home doing embroidery. ... not that i am saying that would be better.... but they will never be satisfied.

(minagiller)
Feminism and identity politics are disappearing up their own ridiculous rear ends.

Hilarious to observe.

(SJW_Skeptic)
Love the way this is all men’s fault. The feminist lobby has pushed for “transgender” rights past the point of logic and to the point of absurdity. Now the predictable results are happening they don’t like the results. Lucky it isn’t getting gender equality in conscription laws just prior to a major war where the government wants cannon fodder.

(roughgouge)
Have these Self identification nutters ever heard of Perverts?

(busterahmed)
Those that believe in science understand that, apart from cases of genital ambiguity, a very rare condition, most cases of 'trans' are just wish-fulfillment.

(mark anthony)
I totally agree with them but I was not under the impression that it was men driving the law forward . It is transsexuals who want to claim what they see as their rightful pace in society who are demanding a law change and in this day of political correctness who is to deny them

(mynamewhocares)
Strange that they view the law from a purely female point. is that not sexist?

(Monica Vieira)
Men only see things from a male point. Are you complaining about equality? :)

Men are having fun watching women's sports being destroyed by males who claim to be women and females on testosterone who claim to be men but are not allowed to play against men (yes, this is happening too).

Men don't care about anything unless it affects them. What I really want is to see feminists doing stunts that actually harm men.

So if you think that women standing up for themselves is sexist, GREAT. Get used to it.

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various TERFs #fundie independent.co.uk

FEMINISTS JOIN MEN-ONLY SWIM IN PROTEST OF PROPOSED LAW TO ENABLE PEOPLE TO SELF-IDENTIFY AS MALE OR FEMALE

Female activists took a group of male swimmers by surprise on Friday evening when they attended a men-only swim session wearing just swimming trunks and pink swimming caps.

Amy Desir, 30, was one of the two women to gain access to the South London pool session as part of a protest against proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that would enable men and women to choose their own gender.

Both women explained their attendance to staff at Dulwich Leisure Centre by saying they “identified as male” and subsequently had the right to be there.

They also used the male changing rooms before going into the session and were later asked by an elderly man if they realised this was a male-only session.

Their actions form part of a nationwide campaign formed on Mumsnet called #ManFriday which encourages women to “self-identify” as men every Friday in protest of the proposed amendments to gender laws that would enable people to self-identify as men or women.

“The aim of the group is to raise awareness among men of the misogynistic and homophobic pro-self-ID policies that are allowing men to appropriate women’s spaces, services and positions,” Desir told The Independent.

“Most men either aren’t aware of the issue or don’t think it has anything to do with them.”

There are currently 91 women taking part in #ManFriday, revealed the mother-of-two, all of whom self-ID as men every Friday to access men-only spaces.

“We don’t change anything about our appearance, or pretend to be in the process of transitioning, just state that we are men.”

Desir and her fellow campaigners are concerned that the proposed legislation would enable predatory men to abuse women in single sex spaces by self-identifying as female.

“We want to challenge the idea that sex and gender are interchangeable and for organisations to use the lawful exemptions in the Equality Act to protect the rights, safety, dignity and privacy of women,” Desir added.

“We also want women’s organisations to be consulted on proposed changes to the law.”

Desir has launched an online petition calling for these concerns to be considered; it currently has more than 5,700 signatures.

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Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim #fundie independent.co.uk

An atheist has been kicked off a live TV show in Egypt after the host accused him of being “confused and unreliable” and being in need of psychiatric treatment.

Mohammad Hashem was presenting his reasons for being an atheist on Alhadath Alyoum TV when host Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim told him he was being “inappropriate”.

Former deputy sheikh of Al-Azhar, Mahmoud Ashour, who was also on the programme, agreed, telling him: “Look dear Mohammad, you need psychiatric treatment. Many young people today suffer from mental illnesses due to material or mental circumstances.”

Mr Al-Halim then asked Mr Hashem to leave, saying: “We cannot promote such destructive ideas...you set a very bad example for the Egyptian youth.

He added: “I advise you to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital.”

Blasphemy is illegal in Egypt, and arrests are routinely made if people insult or defame Islam under the country’s strict religious laws.

Lawmakers are reportedly considering outlawing atheism altogether.

“The phenomenon [of atheism] is being promoted in society as freedom of belief, when this is totally wrong,” Amro Hamroush, head of Egypt’s Parliament’s committee on religion, said when he introduced the bill in late December

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Ramzan Kadyrov #fundie independent.co.uk

Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov launches new crackdown on drug users

Reports follow on from last year's anti-gay purge that left dozens of young men reported missing, some feared dead

Soon after his arrest, 31-year-old Magomed-Alki Mezhidov was delivered to a police cell in Shali, in the republic of Chechnya. There, detectives put terminals on his fingertips and turned on the current. They said they would torture him until he admitted to possessing drugs. Cries of pain would not stop them. No-one had survived such questioning without eventually admitting their crime, they said.

Allegations of sadist interrogation techniques by Chechen security services are not new. Last year, the world found out about a state-led campaign of torture against gays in the region; a purge that resulted in dozens of young men reported missing, some feared dead.

But these latest details, reported by the independent Russian publication Republic, suggest the region’s erratic and all-powerful chief Ramzan Kadyrov has found himself a new target: drug users.

According to the publication, Mezhidov's arrest was one of dozens, possibly hundreds carried out in recent months, in an almost exact mirror of the anti-gay purge. This time at least, no deaths have been reported. Instead, Republic carries claims of arbitrary arrests, extreme interviewing techniques, and torture.

Mr Kadyrov has long presented himself as a warrior against drugs. His first comments on the issue came in May 2006, where he drew a straight line between drug use, Wahhabism and terrorism.

“It is one and the same thing,” he was reported as saying. “The drug user is no less of a source of evil than the terrorist, because he hooks the youth into dependence, and they are the future of our republic.”

In September 2016, Mr Kadyrov called on his security forces to kill drug users — anyone who “disturbs peace in the Chechen Republic” — on sight.

“Shoot them, to hell with them," he is quoted as saying. "Nothing matters - the law, no law. Shoot them, do you understand. As-salamu Alaykum! That’s law for you!”

Later, officials said his comments had been taken out of context.

According to Tanya Lokshina, chief Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch and expert on the region, the reported crackdown would not be Mr Kadyrov's first violent campaign against drug users.

“His authorities have routinely organised special operations to 'cleanse’ the region of what they consider to be undesirables,” she told The Independent. “Last year, the gay community was one of the targeted groups, but operations against suspected drug users have been going on for some time.”

In interviews given to activists and journalists, survivors of the Chechen gay purge mentioned that drug users and suspected jihadists were frequently detained and tortured in the same secret facilities.

Activists contend that a large number of those detained and tortured are simply critics of the Kadyrov regime. It is unclear how many of last year's 507 drug-related arrests fall under this category. Almost certainly, last week’s arrest of 60-year-old human rights activist Oyub Titiev is one of them. Police say they uncovered 180g of marijuana from his car; he says the drugs were planted and a confession forced out of him.

Mr Titiev is a well-known critic of the region’s irascible leader, and took over running the Chechen office of rights organisation Memorial after the 2009 murder of his colleague, Natalia Estemirova.

Chechen authorities have yet to respond to the allegations contained in the new Republic investigation.

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Beatrix von Storch #fundie independent.co.uk

Beatrix von Storch: German police accuse AfD politician of hate incitement over anti-Muslim tweet
‘What the hell is wrong with this country? Why is the official page of police in NRW tweeting in Arabic? Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?

Ms von Storch, a member of anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, posted the message that was later deleted by Twitter AP

German police have asked prosecutors to investigate a far-right lawmaker for possible incitement to hatred, after she criticised a police force for tweeting in Arabic “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men”.

Police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) posted a New Year’s Eve greeting in Arabic as well as German, English and French.

Cologne, a city where groups of mainly Arab immigrants were accused of sexual assaults at New Year’s Eve celebrations two years ago, is located in the state.

“What the hell is wrong with this country? Why is the official page of police in NRW tweeting in Arabic,” Beatrix von Storch, a member of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, wrote in a Dec. 31 tweet that was later deleted by Twitter after receiving complaints from members of the public.

“Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?” she added.

Twitter suspended her account for some 12 hours after she posted the message, saying it breached the website’s rules that bar users from posting hateful content.

Social media platforms face hefty fines in Germany if they fail to remove hateful posts swiftly, and companies like Facebook and Twitter have hired extra staff to monitor such messages.

The NRW police deployed large numbers of officers to secure New Year’s street parties in large cities this year, and said celebrations were largely peaceful.
Read more

Prosecutors in NRW must first decide whether they should deal with the police complaint against von Storch, or transfer the case to Berlin authorities where her constituency is.

If prosecutors deem there is sufficient grounds to launch an official criminal investigation against von Storch, they would first have to ask parliament to suspend her immunity before proceeding with a case.

Cologne Chief Prosecutor Ulf Willuhn said prosecutors must now decide whether von Storch’s message amounted to “inciting people to commit violence against a certain section of society”.

Twitter also deleted a message by AfD member Alice Weidel, in which she said German authorities wanted Germans to live with criminal mobs of migrants.

The AfD won seats in parliament for the first time in September, riding a wave of discontent against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to more than a million asylum-seeking migrants.

The AfD, which says Islam is incompatible with the German constitution, is the third largest party in parliament. It has upended German politics by stealing voters from Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats, making coalition building more difficult.

AfD leaders reacted angrily to Twitter’s decision to delete the two postings under a new law passed by parliament in June that authorises fines of up to €50m (£44.3m) against social media networks if they don’t promptly remove hateful content.

“The censorship law of Justice Minister Heiko Maas has already showed on the first day of the year its ability to curtail freedom of expression,” said AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland.

“I call on every social media user to take action against such oppression by reposting the deleted comments again and again!”

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Kyle Reyes #fundie independent.co.uk

A US company has introduced a “snowflake test” to weed out overly sensitive, liberal candidates who are too easily offended.
The test includes questions such as “What does America mean to you?” and “When was the last time you cried and why?”. Many questions are designed to assess a candidate’s stance on America, police, and guns.
Someone who’s not proud to be an American is immediately out of the running, as are people who don’t support the Second Amendment right to bear arms, said Kyle Reyes, who created the test.
“A snowflake is somebody who is going to whine and complain and come to the table with nothing but an entitled attitude and an inability to back their perspective.” Mr Reyes told Fox News.
“We use the test to weed out the sort of people who were inundating us with resumés and didn’t even know what we did.”
Mr Reyes said the tactic had been successful - 60 per cent of applicants to his marketing company drop out when they hear about it.
In a YouTube video about his company, Mr Reyes fires guns and speaks to an injured war veteran before turning to the camera to talk directly to “whiny, entitled” millennials.
He warns them: “You’re young, you’re ignorant, you’re brainwashed by liberal professors who didn’t tell you that in the real world, the only “safe space” is in your parents’ basement.”
The company boss said his test has been popular because, “people are sick and tired of having to be so politically correct”. Other firms have contacted him looking to implement similar guards against hiring snowflake candidates, but most are too scared, he added.
Asked about potential discrimination lawsuits, the CEO said: “There’s no discrimination here, this is nothing more than a glorified personality test.”

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Alex Marlow #sexist independent.co.uk

The editor-in-chief of far right site Breitbart News has claimed women have co-opted the term rape to refer to sex which they later regret.

Alex Marlow argued women have exploited the word in the wake of the me too campaign which has seen a steady stream of high profile individuals come forward to allege and denounce sexual assault.

The 31-year-old, whose news website has been branded misogynist, xenophobic and racist, said the definition of rape had been so far broadened it had lost all sense of meaning and this made it difficult to know whether accounts of rape were credible.

“Rape used to have a narrow definition. Rape used to have a definition where it was - it was brutality, it was forced sexual attack and penetration. “Now it’s become, really, any sex that the woman ends up regretting that she had,” Marlow said on SiriusXM Patriot's Breitbart News Daily.

“And that leaves us without a lot of clarity, because when words lose their meaning, then they can be manipulated.”

He added: "Rape used to mean something. We used to all know what it meant. And now we don't know what it means. And then we don't know what's credible and what's not.”

Later on the radio show, Marlow, whose publication has been dismissive of recent sexual assault allegations, said the slew of women who have come forward made it difficult to keep “track of what is a real assault and what is not.”

He said: “We have distorted the definition of the word rape. Now it seems to be the claims are losing some credibility because there are so many of them, which is a shame because there are many legitimate victims of brutal attacks and predatory behaviour by powerful men.”

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Ezekial Mutua #fundie independent.co.uk

Kenyan official says male lions who had sex 'must have seen gay men behaving badly' and should be separated

The country's 'moral policeman' Ezekial Mutua says the animals must have been inspired by seeing gay men and should receive therapy

Two lions spotted in a gay sexual encounter must have seen a homosexual couple "behaving badly" in their park and should be separated and given counselling, an official in Kenya said.

The animals were photographed after one mounted the other in a secluded bush area of the Masai Mara game reserve in the south-west of the African country.

Ezekial Mutua, the chief executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board, said the pair must have been influenced after they viewed a human same sex couple.

He claimed that was the only explanation for their “bizarre” behaviour, on the basis that lions don't watch TV or movies to see such acts there.

But he added it was also possible that they were driven by evil forces, saying that “demons also possess animals”.

Mr Mutua is an infamous figure in Kenya, dubbed the country's "moral policeman" for his controversial and often anti-LGBT public statements. He has in the past banned "pro gay" movies and cartoons – because he believed it “glorifies” such relationships.

He spoke out over the two gay lions after seeing photos of the pair in a rare display of such behaviour captured by wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein.

He told the Nairobi News: “We do not regulate animals, but this is a first and interesting to hear that there are two male lions in love. Some research needs to be done.

"And also I wish I can get the bio to confirm the two lions were actually male, because it is not normal.”

He added: “These animals need counselling, because probably they have been influenced by gays who have gone to the national parks and behaved badly. I don’t know, they must have copied it somewhere or it is demonic. Because these animals do not watch movies.”

Mr Mutua argued that homosexuality was caused by evil spirits and hinted that the gay lions could also have been possessed by the same source.

He said: “The demonic spirits inflicting in humans seems to have now caught up with animals.”

Gay sex between lions is rare but not unheard of and happens elsewhere in the animal kingdom.

Some biologists claim same-sex relations have been spotted in 1,500 different species, and reliably recorded in a third of these cases – or roughly 450 species.

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Camila Castello and Akahi Ricardo #fundie independent.co.uk

Studies have shown the health benefits of brief periods of fasting, but one couple is making the bizarre claim that they have learned to survive largely without food and are instead sustained by “cosmic nourishment”. Camila Castello, 34, and Akahi Ricardo, 36, are what is known as “Breatharians”. They say they eat just three times a week, with each ‘meal’ consisting of just a piece of fruit or some vegetable broth.

Such claims have attracted equal measures of ridicule and alarm in the past. Breatharianism has been linked to the deaths of several people, including Verity Linn, a 49-year-old Australian whose emaciated body was found on a mountain in north-west Scotland in 1999, alongside a diary recounting her 21-day fast and a copy of a book by the founder of Breatharianism, known as Jasmuheen.

Born in Australia as Ellen Greve, Jasmuheen has herself warned of the dangers of life with no or very food.

“If a person is unprepared and not listening to their inner voice there can be many problems with the 21-day process, from extreme weight loss to even loss of their life,” she wrote in one of her books. Jasmuheen took part in a monitored fast for Australia’s 60 Minutes news programme in an attempt to prove her claims, but the show’s doctors cut short her attempt to last seven days after she became dehydrated, lost weight and her speech began to slow.

Nevertheless, Castello and Ricardo, who live between California and Ecuador, say they have forgotten what it feels like to be hungry. They claim they survive on the “energy that exists in the universe and in themselves”. “Humans can easily be without food, as long as they are the connected to the energy that exists in all things and through breathing,” Castello says.

“For three years, Akahi and I didn’t eat anything at all and now we only eat occasionally like if we’re in a social situation or if I simply want to taste a fruit. “With my first child, I practised a Breatharian pregnancy. Hunger was a foreign sensation to me so I fully lived on light and ate nothing.

“My blood tests during all three trimesters were impeccable and I gave birth to a healthy, baby boy.” Dee Dawson, an expert on eating disorders, once gave an insightful explanation as to why some people seem to honestly believe they are do not need food. “Breatharianism is a fraud, but breatharians may be deluded,” she told the Guardian.

She suggested believers tend to overlook some of the food they eat in a similar way to people who are struggling with their weight. "Every obese person who comes into my surgery says, 'Doctor, I can't understand why I'm not losing weight — I haven't eaten all week,” Dawson said.

“Then I say 'What did you have for breakfast?' 'Oh, just three pieces of toast.' 'And lunch?' 'Just one sausage and few chips...' Add it all up and they've eaten 2,000 calories that day.” While Castello says she “ate nothing” during her pregnancy, this is meant as a figure of speech meaning “almost nothing” as she also says she “only ate five times, all of which were in social situations”.

The couple have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, but they don’t impose their Breatharian lifestyle on the children. “Our children are aware of Breatharianism and the energy that exists in the universe and in themselves,” Ricardo says.

“But we would never try to change them and we let them eat whatever they want – whether that be juices, vegetables, pizza or ice-cream! “We want them to explore the different tastes and have a healthy relationship with food as they grow. It would be unfair to impose Breatharianism upon our children now but maybe as they grow, they will get deeper into the practices.”

The couple met in 2005 and first discovered Breatharianism in 2008. They eventually transitioned from vegetarians, to raw vegans, to fruitarians and finally to Breatharians. “There is a freedom that comes with not being attached or dependent on food,” Ricardo says. “Obviously, our living costs are a lot less than most families and that has allowed us to spend our money on things that really matter like travelling and exploring together.

“It’s given us a clear sense of what we want in life ... It’s not about never eating food again, it’s about understanding cosmic nourishment (not just physical nourishment) and living without limits." According to the NHS, “eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health".They recommend a balance of fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, dairy or dairy alternatives, protein, unsaturated fats and plenty of fluids

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Ahmed Bin Saad Al Qarni #sexist independent.co.uk

A Saudi preacher has sparked a backlash on social media for suggesting women are the “cause of harassment and adultery”.

Ahmed Bin Saad Al Qarni started his rant with a video which he claimed showed a woman “provoking” a man, with the caption: 'If he rapes her, she'll come home crying over her dignity”, according to StepFeed.com

“I swear to God, women are the cause of harassment and adultery. Look at the woman in this video, she's the one who stopped the man driving the vehicle, and she's the one who got into the car with him.”

The preacher also said: “A woman who leaves her house wearing make-up and perfume is an adulteress.”

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Alex Jones #conspiracy independent.co.uk

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has said that Donald Trump is being "covertly drugged" with small amounts of sedative in his drinks.

In a video posted to his website Infowars.com, the radio presenter said the US president had been fed tranquilisers for around two months and they were making his speech slur.

Mr Jones cited sources close to the President, but he did not provide any evidence for the claim.

“It's known that most presidents end up getting drugged," he said. "Small dosages of sedatives till they build it up. Trump's such a bull he hasn't fully understood it yet.”

“But I've talked to people, multiple ones, and they believe that they are putting a slow sedative that they're building up that's also addictive in his Diet Cokes and in his iced tea and that the president by six or seven at night is basically slurring his words and is drugged."

He added: "Now I’m risking my life, by the way, tell you all this. I was physically sick before I went on air."

Mr Jones then claimed: "They drug presidents because the power structure wants a puppet". He said that Mr Trump should have his blood tested by a trusted doctor.

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CEOP officers #sexist independent.co.uk

A 12-year-old girl who was pressured into sending a topless photo to a paedophile has reportedly been told she could face a child sex charge.

Child exploitation officers warned the schoolgirl she could end up with a criminal record after her mother learned she was being groomed online and contacted police.

The paedophile who coerced the girl into sending the picture has not yet been found, the The Sunday Mirror reported.

The culprit was said to have using an anonymous Instagram account to bombard the girl with explicit messages and requests for pictures.

She initially refused but later caved in to the pressure and sent an image from her iPad, before ending the conversation as the demands grew more obscene.

Her mother later discovered the messages and contacted the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, part of the National Crime Agency (NCA), which advised her to report them to the police.

Police officers interviewed the girl, who lives in the south of England, and took the iPad for examination.

A CEOP officer later contacted the girl's mother and warned her daughter could face a criminal record.

Creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing so is a young person sending a picture of themselves.

"I couldn’t believe it," she told the The Sunday Mirror. "How can the victim end up with a criminal record? She’s a young, innocent girl who has made a big, big mistake."

She added: "She’s the victim. She was coerced into sending it. There’s a paedophile out there yet they’re talking about criminalising a little girl. She’s scared, upset, worrying about what is going to happen and I’m questioning if I did the right thing in reporting it.

“My child is a victim of grooming but now she might be branded a criminal. If this is happening it could put other parents off reporting abuse. How many people actually knew this was the law?”

The girl is now waiting to learn if she will face charges as the police investigation goes on.

A spokesman for the NCA it always "puts victim care and safeguarding of children and young persons first and foremost."

They added: “In this instance we understand the child sent an image of herself to another person. If a young person is found creating or sharing images, the police must record a crime, in line with Home Office Counting Rules, and investigate.

“They have discretion not to take formal action if it isn’t in the public interest to do so. Police are encouraged to take a common sense approach that does not criminalise children unnecessarily.”

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Pakistani courts #fundie independent.co.uk

A Christian man has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, his lawyer has said.

Nadeem James, 35, was said to have committed blasphemy in a poem he sent to a Muslim friend on the WhatsApp messaging service.

He was arrested in July last year after going on the run following the accusation of blasphemy, which human rights groups say is sometimes used in the country to settle personal scores and target minorities.

Defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told the AFP news agency that in this case there had been a dispute between his client and the friend over a woman.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend, who was annoyed over Mr James’ affair with a Muslim girl.”

The verdict was passed by a court in the town of Gujrat in eastern Pakistan.

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Malo #racist independent.co.uk

The white, heterosexual, conservative male strikes back, and is promptly sacked. Each holocaust documentary, every survivor's tall tale, each statue to the fallen, every visit to Auschwitz, has made the Jews untouchable. Criticise Jews, and your livelihood will be taken away.

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dudemanguy #racist independent.co.uk

I live in the US, where Jews ARE the establishment, and comprise fairly close to half the billionaires in the country, despite making up less than 2 percent of the nation. So cry me a river.

Nearly half of all jews in the US make over 100,000 dollars a year. This at a time most of the nation is struggling and economic inequality is at record highs. Jews have become a pampered elite, completely out of touch with most Americans.

This is bound to result in ill feelings and suspicion.

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Meir Bar-Hen #fundie independent.co.uk

Barcelona's chief rabbi has urged Jews to move to Israel because "Europe is lost" to radical Islam.

Meir Bar-Hen has been encouraging his congregation to flee Spain, which he called a "hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe."

The chief rabbi's warning came after a terror attack in Barcelona left 13 people dead and over 120 wounded and was followed by another attack hours later that killed one person and injured others in the seaside town of Cambrils.

Isis claimed responsibility for both attacks, which authorities believe were the work of a large terrorist cell that had been plotting for some time.

Mr Bar-Hen said: "Jews are not here permanently.

“I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good. And I encourage them to buy property in Israel. This place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.”

He went on to say the attacks had exposed the presence of "radical fringes" within the Muslim community, a problem he said applied to Europe as a whole.

"Europe is lost," he added.

His comments were at odds with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, which said it had "full confidence in security forces who work daily to prevent fanatics and radical Muslims from inflicting pain and chaos on our cities."

Police in Catalonia are searching for Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan suspected of carrying out the attack in Barcelona.

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Rush Limbaugh #conspiracy independent.co.uk

The coverage of Hurricane Irma is a conspiracy to trick people into believing in climate change and buying batteries, according to radio host Rush Limbaugh.

The shock jock claimed that the media are exaggerating the threat from the hurricane – which has wreaked devastation across the Caribbean and is now threatening to destroy parts of Florida – to play into their own agendas.

He said that the media were portraying the hurricane as deadly but that they "are never as strong as they're reported" and news stations use graphics "to make it look like the ocean's having an exorcism, just getting rid of the devil here in the form of this hurricane, this bright red stuff".

That was being done in the hope of tricking people into believing that the storms were the result of climate change, and that as a result people should work to counteract global warming. "You have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hellbent on proving it, they’re hellbent on demonstrating it, they’re hellbent on persuading people of it," he said.

He even suggested that the storms might be directed towards cities to advance that agenda. "Hurricanes are always forecast to hit major population centers because, after all, major population centers is where the major damage will take place and where we can demonstrate that these things are getting bigger and they’re getting more frequent and they’re getting worse — all because of climate change," he said.

(Hurricanes including Irma do spend a lot of time over the sea and other non-populated areas, but those parts of the storm tend not to be covered as intently for obvious reasons.)

Authorities including the French government have already said that people's failure to follow advice to leave their homes, presumably because they doubted the power of the hurricane, may have cost their lives. French minister for overseas territories Annick Girardin expressed fear “for a certain number of our compatriots who unfortunately didn’t want to listen to the protection measures and go to more secure sites".

Mr Limbaugh also suggested that the hurricanes were being used to encourage people to go out shopping, buying batteries and other supplies to weather out the hurricane. He said that the media had a "symbiotic" relationship with retailers because people need to buy things to avoid such weather events.

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Ali Milani, Sean O’Neill. and Noorulann Shahid #racist independent.co.uk

The National Union of Students (NUS) is embroiled in a fresh anti-Semitism row after three candidates holding or running for positions on its executive committee were revealed to have made offensive comments.

In online posts seen by The Independent, one current member of the union’s National Executive Council shared a video mocking Jews as having big noses and being tight with money, while another publicly suggested Jewish people are tight-fisted and said he wanted to destroy Israel.

A third, who is seeking a position on the union’s executive in elections being held this week, wrote an offensive Twitter message referring to Jews and using the phrase “Heil Hitler”.

The Independent can also reveal that, during her time as a student at the University of Birmingham, Malia Bouattia, the current NUS president, was involved in hosting a play called “Seven Jewish Children” that has been widely criticised as anti-Semitic.

Ms Bouattia, who is seeking re-election, was last year accused of “outright racism” by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee over comments she made relating to Israel. She had claimed the University of Birmingham was a “Zionist outpost” and criticised “Zionist-led media outlets”.

The revelations come amid mounting concern about levels of anti-Semitism on university campuses. A survey by the NUS last month found a quarter of Jewish students in the UK live in fear of an anti-Semitic attack, while two thirds who had been the victim of crime at their place of study said they were targeted because of their faith.

The NUS annual conference, where it will elect its national officers for the coming year, begins in Brighton on Tuesday. Despite the deepening worries about anti-Semitism, a number of candidates seeking office have a history of making anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli comments.

Ali Milani, who is currently a member of the union’s National Executive and is running to be its Vice President for Union Development, was accused of “deeply anti-Semitic” remarks after tweets emerged from 2012 and 2013 in which he said Israel has “no right to exist” and is “a land built on ethnic cleansing and colonialism”.

Mr Milani, who is also president of Brunel University students’ union, also made a comment about Jews and money, tweeting: “Nah u won’t mate, it’ll cost you a pound #Jew”.

Mr Milani also appeared to defend the terrorist group Hamas firing rockets into Israel, writing: “Oh fuck off! Hamas firing into southern Israel was a retaliation!”

And he threatened violence against supporters of Israel, writing: “Just heard someone say ‘Palestine. It’s what they used to call Israel’. Is a punch in the throat justified?”

Another candidate running for a place on the NUS’ National Executive Council, Sean O’Neill, posted on Twitter in 2012 using the hashtags “heilhitler” and “fuckslutskilljews” – apparently in an attempt at humour.

Meanwhile, another current NUS officer, LGBT+ Officer Noorulann Shahid, who uses the pronouns they/them, posted a link on Twitter to a comedy video that includes a number of anti-Semitic tropes and said they had “laughed out loud” at the clip.

The video, titled “Black and Jewish”, is a parody of rapper Wiz Khalifa’s song “Black and Yellow” and makes jokes about Jews having big noses and being stingy. It features two black women dressing up in traditional Jewish attire and singing lyrics including “my ass and nose, they’re both big” and “don’t spend no money but you know I’m rich”. The tweet dates from 2012.

Mr Milani, Mr O Neill and Shahid, who are all part of a left-wing grouping that includes Ms Bouattia, have apologised for their comments.

But Josh Nagli, campaigns director at the Union of Jewish Students, said he was “appalled by these absolutely disgraceful comments, all of which are extremely offensive to Jewish students.”

“The regularity of anti-Semitic comments being made by candidates is exceptionally worrisome and shows complete disregard for the welfare of Jewish students, as well as for the anti-racist, anti-fascist values that NUS and many of these individuals claim to uphold – particularly when those comments invoke the memory of the Holocaust”, he said.

“These candidates should do the right thing now and step down from their elections.

“These comments should not be seen in isolation; they are reflective of a wider culture of wilful tolerance towards anti-Semitism from members of the far left of the student movement that has been present for a number of years.”

“A year on from her election, Jewish students are still waiting for an adequate apology from the current NUS President. From her and from others in the movement, there is complete disdain shown towards anti-Semitism, with many questioning its very existence on campus and in society, undermining Jewish students’ right to define what they deem anti-Semitic.”

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Ken Livingstone #conspiracy independent.co.uk

Ken Livingstone has given his backing to beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and accused the US of trying to “undermine” the South American country.

The former Mayor of London re-iterated his support for Mr Maduro despite who has been widely criticised in his homeland for an economic crisis and an election which was widely boycotted by his opponents.

Mr Livingstone, who is currently suspended from active involvement in the Labour Party over comments relating to Jews and Hitler, blamed the South American country's “establishment elite” for Venezuela’s problems.

“Hugo Chávez did not execute the establishment elite, he allowed them to continue so they’re still there”, he told The Times. “I think there’s a lot of rumours they’ve been blocking the important food and medicines and things like that because they control a lot of the companies.

He added: “America has got a long record of undermining any left-wing government as well. So I suspect it’s not all just down to the problems of the [Venezuelan] government.”

Asked whether he continued to support Mr Maduro, he replied: “Oh God, yes.”

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Mohammed Haji Saddique #fundie independent.co.uk

An imam who sexually touched four young girls during Quran lessons at a mosque has been jailed for 13 years.

Mohammed Haji Saddique, 81, would call the pupils to sit next to him and read in Arabic from the Muslim holy book.

He sexually touched the girls in front of his class and slapped students repeatedly if they made mistakes during lessons.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Saddique - of Cyncoed, Cardiff - had metal and wooden sticks, which he used to poke the children as they studied.

Saddique, who taught at the Madina Mosque in Cardiff for more than 30 years, was convicted of the offences following a trial.

A jury found him guilty of 14 offences - six indecent assaults and eight sexual assaults - that took place between 1996 and 2006.

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC jailed Saddique for 13 years and ordered him to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

"All four complainants were very brave indeed in overcoming not only personal but cultural barriers which they faced in making formal complaints and giving evidence against you," the judge said.

"There is a darker, deviant side to you which this trial has exposed. This was a gross breach of trust - parents sending their young, female children to be taught the Quran by you."

Saddique, who insisted the allegations were a conspiracy by other members of the mosque, has "no idea" of the harm caused by his actions, the judge said.

The court heard Saddique was born in Hong Kong and moved to Pakistan before coming to the UK in 1967, eventually settling in Cardiff.

He was a member of the Madina Mosque and was involved in running it, including as a treasurer and teaching Q studies to primary school pupils.

Classes took place four times per week after school and pupils referred to the imam as 'Uncle Saddique' as a mark of respect, the court heard.

"You would attempt to maintain discipline and concentration by tapping or slapping the child sitting next to you who didn't read correctly," the judge said.

"Every time one of these small children made a mistake you would slap them until they got it right and slap them for every mistake they made."

Police first launched an investigation in 2006 following complaints by two girls but Saddique denied any wrongdoing.

The investigation was restarted in 2016 after two other girls came forward.

Saddique would touch the girls under their traditional loose-fitting clothing during his lessons, and rub them against his groin and legs.

In victim impact statements read to the court, the girls, now in their 20s, spoke of the lasting impact of Saddique's offending.

Speaking of one, the judge said: "It has put her off religion, she deliberately doesn't own a Quran.

"[For her] the ethos of going to the mosque at any time is that when you are there, God is protecting you.

"Her idea was shattered because you abused her when she was reading from the holy book."

Another victim said giving evidence went against "the culture and ethos of those who follow the Islamic faith" and she feared there would be consequences for Saddique's conviction.

Representing Saddique, Caroline Rees described her client as a "frail and unwell" great-grandfather who was held in high esteem by his family and community.

"This is a man of 81 whose life expectancy is not good given his health and age," she added.

The judge also made Saddique the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Cronick, of South Wales Police, said: "As a result of the verdict and today's sentence I believe there may be members of the community who may now feel confident enough to speak to the police or our support agencies."

He urged anyone affected to call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, or the force on 101 quoting reference number 1600442164.

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Ian Paisley Jr., Jim Wells, Sammy Wilson, Thomas Buchanan and Edwin Poots #fundie independent.co.uk

The Conservatives are preparing to form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), after shock election losses saw Theresa May’s party fall short of a Commons majority.

Tory officials took part in “extensive talks” with Northern Ireland’s largest unionist political party overnight but the deal could come at a high price.

The DUP has regularly courted controversy in its near 50-year history for its views on issues from same sex marriage to climate change.

Here are some of the most controversial positions held by the party:

LGBT rights

Ian Paisley Jr, son of the party’s founder Ian Paisley, has previously called homosexuality “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” and said he was “repulsed” by gays and lesbians.

The party once championed a campaign called “Save Ulster from Sodomy”.

Former DUP health minister Jim Wells told a South Down hustings in 2015: “The gay lobby is insatiable, they don’t know when enough is enough.”

[...]

Climate change

The party once appointed climate change denier Sammy Wilson as its environment minister.

Mr Wilson said it was a “con” to suggest humans had changed weather patterns.

[...]

Evolution and creationism

The party counts a number of creationists among its senior members.

DUP assembly member for West Tyrone, Thomas Buchanan, last year endorsed an event promoting creationism to be “taught in every school”.

The event included presenting “the biblical case for the sound teaching of children” that will “offer helpful practical advice on how to counter evolutionary teaching”.

DUP politician Edwin Poots has expressed his views that the planet is a “young earth” created just 4,000 years ago.

“You’re telling me that cosmic balls of dust gathered and there was an explosion. We’ve had lots of explosions in Northern Ireland and I’ve never seen anything come out of that that was good,” he told the Radio Times.

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The Russian Investigative Committee, Vladimir Shuldyakov and Vladimir Putin #fundie independent.co.uk

Doctors in Russia have reportedly been instructed to perform virginity tests on underage girls.

The Russian Investigative Committee has instructed medical professionals to gain evidence of sexual activity in girls under the age of 16, according to the Mail Online.

The order has sparked public outcry from gynaecologists and politicians alike who believe the checks will dissuade young girls from seeing the doctor when they need to.

However health minister Vladimir Shuldyakov said doctors must follow the order and “inform police about all cases when virginity was lost as well as about cases of pregnancies and abortions involving girls under 16 years old.”

The order instructs doctors to check the “integrity of the hymen” and look for signs of damage.

It comes just months after domestic violence was partially decriminalised in the country, where women's rights remain lacking.

The move to give domestic abusers fewer punishments sparked worldwide anger.

The amendment, signed by President Vladimir Puitn, reduces the assault of a relative from a criminal offence to a civil one, and has sparked fears it will send a signal that abuse is not a serious crime.

Mr Putin was accused of sexism last week when he told an interviewer he never has bad days as he is not a woman.

He told filmmaker Oliver Stone: “I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days. I am not trying to insult anyone. That’s just the nature of things. There are certain natural cycles.”

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Susan King #conspiracy independent.co.uk

A Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate has said she believes “feminising hormones in the water supply” are affecting people’s sexuality.

Susan King was responding to a question about party leader Tim Farron’s past refusals to say whether or not gay sex is a sin.

“I do feel environmental influences are affecting reproduction," she answered during a live webchat with the Shropshire Star. “All the pollution is having an effect on our DNA and our population is changing and evolving.”

Ms King who is standing for the Telford seat, added: “There are a lot of feminising hormones getting into the environment and that has to be taken into consideration. It’s affecting people’s sexuality basically. People are at liberty to interpret how they want to live themselves.”

“Everything that’s getting into the environment is disrupting the way industrialisation has changed our living conditions, residues of all sorts of feminising hormones in the water supply from pharmaceuticals, etc, which is affecting gender of fish stock, etc.”

The landscape specialist who used to work as a director of the National Pure Water Association was then asked if she believed the hormones were affecting people’s sexuality.

“I do,” she replied. “I’ve done a lot of research connected with water quality, and that is where I gained my political and media experience.”

The National Pure Water Association is a non-profit organisation which campaigns for non-fluoridated water, despite broad scientific agreement that fluoride has reduced tooth decay in the general population.

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David Gallacher #racist independent.co.uk

A “shabby racist” who kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach, causing her to lose her baby, has been jailed for more than three years.

As Samsam Haji-Ali shouted “I’m pregnant”, David Gallacher continued his sustained attack on her outside a Co-op in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.

The 34-year-old was left bleeding and rolling on the floor after the assault and miscarried her twins several weeks later.

Her husband Abdullah Sulamain, 40, was also left needing stitches after he was hit with a wine bottle during the attack.

After calling him “a thug and a racist to boot” Judge Francis Sheridan sentenced Gallacher to three years and seven months behind bars.

Prosecutor Christopher Wing had earlier told the the court that Ms Haji-Ali was sitting in her car when Gallacher approached her and said: "You come here with your clown outfit on, you f***ing people, you are the f***ing problem in this place".

When her husband tried to intervene, Gallacher hit him with a wine bottle and a bag of ice, causing a four inch cut which required stitches.

Gallacher then kicked Ms Haji-Ali repeatedly, despite her pleas and also tried to hit her with the wine bottle.

"This lady's pregnancy was absolutely fine before she attended that shop and the defendant kicked her again in the stomach having been told she was pregnant,” said Judge Sheridan.

"There was a racial element to this attack. The defendant is a shabby racist on the language that he used towards this lady."

Judge Sheridan added that he believed "the loss of that baby was a direct result of a kick to the stomach of a pregnant woman".

He said he would leave it to others to decide whether the crown needed medical evidence to prove the link between the attack and the miscarriage, or whether common sense was enough.

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David Irving, Vincent Reynouard, Alison Chabloz, David Shayler, Jeremy Bedford-Turner and others #racist independent.co.uk

Holocaust denier David Irving spoke alongside other anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists at a secret meeting of the “neo-Nazi, white supremacist” London Forum, where it was claimed Auschwitz was “like Disneyland” and that the Holocaust was “gossip”, “propaganda” and a “rumour", The Independent can reveal.

Mr Irving, whose defeat in a libel trial is dramatised in 2017 blockbuster Denial, began by praising the organisers for ensuring there were “only white faces in the audience”.

Fellow speakers delivered anti-Semitic jokes and coded references to Adolf Hitler to a receptive crowd of around 100 at the meeting, which was attended by an undercover reporter.

One attendee told this reporter the murder of MP Jo Cox was “cheery news”. Another claimed there were Jews controlling “all 193 states” and a third said life for African-Americans was “better before the end of slavery”.

Far-right luminaries appearing alongside Mr Irving included Vincent Reynouard, a Frenchman who like Mr Irving has been imprisoned for Holocaust denial; Alison Chabloz, whose anti-Semitic songs have seen her banned from the Edinburgh Fringe; and David Shayler, an MI5 agent turned 9/11 truther who has claimed he is the Messiah.

Attendees rang a private phone number and were instructed to meet in Green Park, before being shepherded on the Underground to the Swedish Seamen’s Church in Rotherhithe for the meeting in February. The listed building closed to the public in 2012, and has since been sold to developers.

The security measures were put in place after a London Forum event in January this year was shut down by an anti-fascist demonstration. Speaking to The Independent at the time, London Anti-Fascists described the group as a “Neo-Nazi, white supremacist” organisation.

When asked at the time to respond to allegations of anti-Semitism, the London Forum said: “We abhor the criminalisation of opinions and defend the right of anyone to question the conventional narrative concerning any events that took place in any period of history; and we regard the nature of Zionism, the role of Israel in international affairs and the influence of the Jewish Diaspora upon culture and politics as being legitimate subjects for discussion.”

At the recent meeting, shaven-headed security guards stood by the heavy copper doors of the church, and an event organiser claimed a “group of Millwall fans” were waiting in a nearby pub as back-up in case of violence.

As people browsed bookstalls and drank coffee from polystyrene cups, discussion ranged from Jewish plots to take over the Houses of Parliament to defences of slavery and segregation.

One man showed The Independent a copy of the Evening Standard, saying a front-page story describing the rise of the far right was “cheery news”.

“A lot of people talk the talk but don’t actually do anything, but that’s starting to change,” he said. Asked what he meant, he pointed to a story inside the paper discussing the murder of MP Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair.

Alongside Mr Irving’s self-published works, other books on sale included The Biology of the Race Problem, The Rise of Hitler, Epic: The Story of the Waffen SS and SS Man, Be Fruitful – a booklet originally published by the paramilitary fascists who served as Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguards.

The event was compèred by London Forum chief, Jeremy “Jez” Bedford-Turner, Britain’s third-most influential right-wing extremist, according to campaign group Hope not Hate.

Clad in a tweed suit and speaking in a cut-glass upper-class accent, he said: “The West is degenerate, decaying and deracinated. This is the last home of free speech.”

He then pulled out a Donald Trump mask and performed an impersonation of the incumbent US President, sending good wishes to the organisation.

Mr Reynouard, who is wanted in France to serve a second sentence for Holocaust denial, was the first speaker.

He claimed the Allies “orchestrated propaganda in the Soviet style”, that gas chambers at Nazi death camps were in fact used to delouse prisoners, and that the Holocaust was simply “a rumour”.

He ended by telling the crowd that “defence is the best form of attack”, and urged them to block the construction of a planned Holocaust memorial in Westminster.

Next up was David Shayler. The former MI5 man has previously claimed he is the Messiah, and told the London Forum he was on a “divine mission” from God.

“I’ve survived 10 assassination attempts because someone up there likes me,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Irving told The Independent that “Hitler appointed me his biographer,” saying he felt a mystical connection with the Nazi leader and describing himself as “The Messiah".

Mr Shayler said the Holocaust was beneficial to Jews as they could “claim compensation”, and described the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund as “Zionist front organisations”.

He further claimed the 9/11 terror attacks were orchestrated by Zionist agents, and that MI5 embezzled money from drug stings to fund “false flag” terror attacks on British citizens.

Ms Chabloz is currently out on bail, accused of posting a song on YouTube including the lyric: “Did the Holocaust ever happen?”

She used her performance before the London Forum to defend herself, saying she was in trouble “just for writing a few offensive songs about Jews”.

When she suggested the judge hearing her case had Jewish ties, using the euphemistic term “one of our friends”, one audience member called out: “Could you tell by the size of his nose?”

Another shouted “there’s no business like Shoah business”, using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

She described performing at the 88th birthday party of Robert Faurisson, the pre-eminent French holocaust denier.

“An 88th? in Vichy? Come on,” she said, in a reference to the Nazi-collaborating Vichy government and a Neo-Nazi code number signifying Heil Hitler.

To close out her appearance she performed a parody of Edith Piaf’s “I Regret Nothing” on a malfunctioning keyboard, and said she was ready to be sent to jail for her beliefs. As the crowd applauded she performed an anti-Semitic quenelle salute.

Finally, Mr Irving took the stage. His rambling speech focused on his life story and complaints that Denial misrepresented details of the court case.

Discussing negative media coverage of his work, he used the Nazi term “Lügenpresse”, or “lying press”, and when criticising Denial he described the actress Rachel Weisz as “Jewish but good-looking".

Moving on to his hallmark claims that only 300,000 people of all religions died in the entirety of the Holocaust, he described Auschwitz as “small beer” and now “like Disneyland”.

In conclusion, he declared: “I am still standing, the fight goes on, and I will continue writing true history as I find it to be true.”

The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

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Shabudin Yahya #fundie independent.co.uk

Malaysian parliament has passed a new law on child sex crimes, but voted not to amend the Sexual Offences against Children bill to include a ban on child marriages.

The amendment to the bill had been proposed by Kulai-Democratic Action Party (DAP) member Teo Nie Ching.

The law criminalises “grooming” – touching and befriending children as a prelude to abuse. The maximum penalty for possessing, making or distributing child pornography is 30 years in jail and six strokes of the whip, and a special court will be set up to deal with child abuse cases more quickly.

Shabudin Yahaya, a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition said that girls as young as nine are “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.

Mr Yahaya said “They reach puberty at the age of nine or 12. And at that time, their body is already akin to them being 18 years old. So physically and spiritually, it is not a barrier for the girl to marry”.

He also said there was “nothing wrong” with rape victims marrying their rapist as they would not face a “bleak future”.

In a Facebook post on the subject, Malaysian minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan condemned Mr Yahaya’s comments.

He wrote: I just came across an article about the comments of Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahya in Parliament in respect of underage marriages and marriages between victims and rapists with utter shock and disappointment”.

He continued by stating that in accordance with Malaysian Penal Code Section 375 (g) “it is considered statutory rape for a man to have sex with a girl under 16 years of age – with or without her consent”.

Civil law sets the minimum age of marriage at 18, but those above 16 can be married with the permission of their state's chief minister.

Several opposition MPs are calling for Mr Yahaya to resign.

In light of the mounting criticism, he attempted to clarify matters and claimed that his comments were taken out of context, and said that marriage was not a “back door exit to legalise rape”.

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Iran judiciary and Supreme Court #fundie independent.co.uk

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to death by Iranian authorities for “insulting Islam” through messages he sent on an instant messenger app.

Human rights lawyers claim that Sina Dehghan, who was just 19 when he sent the messages, was tricked into signing his own death warrant after being persuaded to confess to the breach of Islamic law with the promise of release if he did so.

But after obtaining a confession, prosecutors dropped the agreement and sentenced Dehghan to death in January this year, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

The content of the messages, said to have been sent using the Line app, is unknown.

A source told CHRI: “During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go.

“Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death.”

His family was allegedly told if they kept quiet about the charges, he was more likely to go free.

Prosecutors asked that Dehghan be sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet' as well as to 16 months in prison for 'insulting the supreme leader'.

The sentence has now been upheld by the country’s Supreme Court, according to the CHRI, although a request for a judicial review has given his family hope that his life could still be spared.

His mother said in a video interview obtained by CHRI: “According to Sina's lawyer, steps have been taken for a judicial review, and with the good news we're hearing from him, God willing this case will come to end positively as soon as possible.”

Co-defendants Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri were also convicted of posting anti-Islamic material on social media.

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Andrew Griffin #conspiracy independent.co.uk

om Delonge is about to reveal an alien conspiracy, Blink-182 singer suggests after receiving UFO award

'I kind of used some of my notoriety to try to do something pretty ambitious, and it worked,' he said in a taped message to the International UFO congress

Andrew Griffin
@_andrew_griffin
Thursday 2 March 2017 13:17 GMT
6 comments

Click to follow
The Independent Online
delonge.jpg
Tom DeLonge has announced his departure from Blink-182 Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Tom Delonge could be about to expose an alien conspiracy, he has suggested.

Receiving an award for being "Researcher Of The Year" from the International UFO Congress, the Blink-182 co-founder suggested that he is about to make an announcement that could be a leap forward in the search for aliens.

Mr Delonge's search for UFOs has been ongoing since he left Blink-182 under disputed circumstances, that may be related to his work, two years ago. The mystery project has been sometimes mocked – but when WikiLeaks revealed hacked emails that suggested he had been consulting with some of the most important people in the US government, some changed their mind about his project.
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The singer has previously suggested that he has met aliens near Area 51, and that he is being hunted by authorities because of the work he has been doing in investigating extraterrestrials and an apparent cover up. He has said before that he has had his phone tapped, for instance, because he has sources in the US government and has spoken to people who knew Nazi scientists.

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Clinton campaign manager consulted with Tom Delonge about aliens

He made reference to that work in the video, during which he also teased a revelation that would be made in the next 60 days. The mainstream press could miss the full significance of that revelation, he said, but he implored those watching the video who are a part of the UFO-hunting community to take "read between the lines" of what is announced.

There’s a lot that I can’t say, but there’s some that I can," he said in the speech. And I’m so appreciative that I’ve been acknowledged for this stuff, but I’m not done.

"I’m just like you guys. I spent 20 years up all night, reading about Roswell, Dulce, Serpo, Churchill, the crashes here, Nazis building craft there, Antarctica, what’s on Mars, what’s on the back of the moon, anomalous structures. I mean, I’ve done it all. I know it all. I read all the same authors as you guys, hundreds of books. I look at all the same sites. I listen to all the Coast To Coast stuff that you guys do. I’m the same.

"But I kind of used some of my notoriety to try to do something pretty ambitious, and it worked," he said, apparently referencing the upcoming announcement.

"I came out and told you guys about a book I was writing called Sekret Machines, and I said a bunch of stuff, that I was working with some people. Well, I think a lot of people doubted it, and they thought it was crazy that this musician would have this kind of access. And then the WikiLeaks thing happened, and you guys saw that I’m into some serious shit, and I’m making really good progress."

Those WikiLeaks emails brought much of Mr Delonge's work to the fore, and showed that he had consulted with Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta on his work. Mr Delonge said in the messages that he had been talking to high-ranking officials in the US government.

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Donald Trump #conspiracy independent.co.uk

Donald Trump has claimed Barack Obama ordered for his offices in New York to be 'wire tapped'.

The allegation - made without showing any evidence - included calling Mr Obama a "bad, or sick, guy".

"Terrible!" the President said. "Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

Soon after he added: "Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A new low!

"I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to election!"

Mr Trump also suggested that Mr Obama was "sick".

The President said: "How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

However, despite the severity of the claim, Mr Trump did not immediately provide evidence that Mr Obama was responsible for surveillance on his property.

Democratic commentators were quick to defend the former President.

Ben Rhodes, a foreign policy adviser to Mr Obama, tweeted: "No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you."

And Representative Eric Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News: "I think this is just the president up early doing his routine tweeting.

"Presidents don't wiretap anyone. These are pursued by the Department of Justice in accordance with the FBI and signed off by a judge."

Congressman Ted Lieu added: "Mr. President: If there was a wiretap at Trump Tower, that means a fed judge found probable cause of crime which means you are in deep s***."

The President has a long history of making unfounded and sometimes bizarre claims and it is not the first time he has used them to attack his predecessor.

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jamie #fundie independent.co.uk

I agree. The electorate really are that stupid. Having been fed a diet of X factor, Britain's Got Talent (a misnomer, if ever there was one) etc, we regard anyone who doesn't look pretty or sound smooth and charming, with suspicion and derision. We have become a nation of spoiled, self serving brats. This country doesn't deserve a politician like Corbyn.

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Jose Ismael Torres and Kayla Rae Norton #racist independent.co.uk

Couple who stormed black child's birthday party with gun and Confederate flags cry as they are jailed

Pair shouted racial slurs, threatened to kill partygoers - including children - waved Confederate flags and even pointed a shotgun, court heard

A couple were sentenced to 35 years in prison between them for storming the birthday party of an eight-year-old black boy and racially abusing the guests while waving Confederate flags.

Jose Ismael Torres, 26, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and will serve 13, and Kayla Rae Norton, 25, received 15 years, serving six.

Torres and Norton, from the state of Georgia, were found guilty of shouting racial slurs and threatening to kill partygoers, including the children, while waving Confederate flags.

Prosecutors told the court Torres even pointed a shotgun at the party.

The pair were convicted under a street gang terrorism law for the abuse, which took place in 2015 in Douglassville, outside Atlanta.

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Arizona GOP #fundie independent.co.uk

Police may be given power to arrest anyone involved in a peaceful demonstration that is merely suspected of turning violent.

Republican senators in Arizona voted for SB1142 this week, which proposes expanding the state’s racketeering laws to also include rioting.

It will permit police to arrest people who are at least involved in planning a protest.

“Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts?” asked former police officer and Senator John Kavanagh during the debate, according to the Capitol Times.

“Do you really want to wait until people are injuring each other, throwing Molotov cocktails, picking up barricades and smashing them through businesses in downtown Phoenix?

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder.

“A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists. But this stuff is all planned.”

Fellow Republican Senator Sylvia Allen added: “I have been heartsick with what’s been going on in our country, what young people are being encouraged to do.”

Americans have recently protested after a Los Angeles police officer fired his gun while surrounded by teenagers.

Police also made arrests when 75 demonstrators refused to leave a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp.

Many of the 230 protesters arrested during Donald Trump’s inauguration last month, some who faced charges of felony rioting, claimed they had done nothing wrong.

Democrats in Arizona accused their rival politicians of trying to stifle First Amendment rights, and pointed out there were already laws criminalising actual rioting.

Senator Steve Farley said: “[It] will have a chilling effect on anybody, right or left, who wants to protest something the government has done.”

Republicans voted by 17 to the Democrats' 13 in favour of the bill on Wednesday.

It will now go to the House of Representatives for approval.

The Independent has contacted Arizona GOP chairman Jonathan Lines for further comment.

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Rezzus Abdulla #racist independent.co.uk

A man who spat in a baby’s face and shouted to its mother that “white people shouldn’t breed” has been spared jail after being convicted of racially aggravated assault.

Rezzas Abdulla, 33, spat in the face of a nine-month-old baby while she was in her pushchair last January.

Mother Rebecca Telford, 25, had been walking with her baby Layla-Jean in South Shields when Abdulla spat at her child and shouted “white people shouldn’t breed”.

Ms Telford was helped by a passer-by who gave her a tissue to wipe the spit of Layla-Jean’s face. She then took her daughter to the doctor for tests as a precaution.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Telford told police she was “completely disgusted and distressed that a grown man, regardless of race or religion, would spit on a defenceless baby in a completely unprovoked attack”.

“If he had just walked by I would not have even noticed him, there was no eye contact and no words had been exchanged. I had never seen him before.

“I believe he spat on her purely because we are white, I was a lone female and an easy target,” the Metro reported.

Abdulla was found through CCTV footage. He has twice before been convicted of race-hate attacks made on white women.

He was convicted of racially aggravated common assault and sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. His sentence includes mental health and rehabilitation requirements.

During his sentencing at Newcastle Crown Court, Recorder Darren Preston told Abdulla: “There is something viscerally horrible and disgusting about spitting on someone, particularly in the face and to do so to a baby was particularly disgusting, let alone, to make things even worse, when your motivation for doing so is racial hatred.

“You have a problem, it seems to me, with white women,” Chronicle Live reported.

The judge told the court Abdulla’s deteriorating mental health had contributed to his offence. He received psychiatric treatment after the attack between July and September last year, which has been continued since his release into the community.

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Donald Trump #fundie independent.co.uk

[But remember, it's everyone else who's fake news.]

Donald Trump appeared to invent a terrorist attack in Sweden during a campaign-style rally in Florida.

On an evening during which he attacked the news media and the judges who ruled against his travel ban, Mr Trump used his speech to talk about migration in Europe and linked it to terror attacks in Brussels, Nice and Paris - before inexplicably adding Sweden to the list.

Mr Trump told supporters in Melbourne: "We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden.

"Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what's happening in Brussels. You look at what's happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris."

One of the country's official Twitter accounts, controlled by a different citizen each week, reacted with bafflement.

Its current administrator, a school librarian, said: "Nothing has happened here in Sweden. There has not [been] any terrorist attacks here. At all."

What Mr Trump's remark referred to in unclear, but it came after Fox News aired an interview with filmmaker Ami Horowitz, whose latest documentary examines whether high crime rates in areas of the country is attributable to its previous open-door migration policy.

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demexit #fundie independent.co.uk

(About Lady Gaga's Superbowl performance)

The dancers are carrying devil horns at 6:10 and at 13:33 they all turn into erect penises. @4:37 gaga is holding the 6 sign and her dancers. If you look at the pentagrams there's upside down crosses in them. The first on the stage representing lucifer. There are two upright pentagrams and two upside down pentagrams on the stage. It represents as is above so below. All seeing eye at 9:00 which also formed the sun. The sun represents lucifer bringer of dawn.Two oblisks on stage marking symbols of power marking their political dominance in washington d.c. Inverted crosses on the pentagrams. The white and black checkered floor. The contrast between the black and white squares represents the duality between good and evil. The dancers @7:16 wearing mirrored jackets. The mirror is an important & reoccurring symbol in Monarch programming. The flames on the stage. The lightening bolt phone she used. The lighting bold represent Lucifer in Luke 18:10. This author is ignorant and needs to learn a little about god and lucifer.

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Arkansas Republicans #fundie independent.co.uk

Arkansas just passed a law that will let rapists sue victims who want an abortion

A pregnant woman's husband will have the power to stop her from having an abortion, even in cases of spousal rape, under a new law introduced in the US state of Arkansas.

Most second trimester abortions will also be banned by Act 45 - the Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act - which will make it possible for husbands to sue doctors who carry out abortions for civil damages, or get an injunction to block the termination.

The pro-life law, which was pushed through in just two months by the state's Republican government, prohibits all dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, in which the physician removes the foetus from the womb with surgical tools.

D&E procedures are the safest way for women to end their pregnancies after 14 weeks of gestation, according to the American Medical Association.

But the medical procedure will now become a felony in the southern state, punishable by a $10,000 fine or six years in prison.

This is despite 683 of Arkansas's 3,771 abortions being D&E in 2015, according to the state's health department.

A clause in the legislation also states the husband of a woman seeking an abortion, if he is presumed to be the baby's father, can file a civil lawsuit against the physician for monetary damages or "injunctive relief" ? a court order that would prevent the doctor from going ahead with the procedure.

The woman’s parents or legal guardians can also sue to stop the abortion, if she is a minor.

Although a husband cannot win money in cases of “criminal conduct” against his wife ? namely, spousal rape ? he could still sue to block her from having the abortion.

State Representative Andy Mayberry, who co-sponsored the bill, called D&E a “gruesome, barbaric procedure”, adding that the routine procedure “is one that no civilised society should embrace”.

Mr Mayberry is also the president of Arkansas Right to Life, a subsidiary of America's largest pro-life organisation, the National Right to Life Committee.

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Islamists #fundie independent.co.uk

Al Qaeda, Isis and other jihadi groups are thrilled with US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration targeting Muslim countries, describing it as proof that the US is at war with Islam.

The new legislation signed by Mr Trump on Friday temporarily suspends the US’ refugee programme and bans citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the country on the grounds of national security.

Isis-friendly channels on the Telegram messaging service described the ban as “blessed”, echoing how the US 2003 invasion of Iraq was called a “blessed invasion” for reinvigorating anti-US sentiment in the region.

One user greeted the news of the “Muslim ban” as “the best caller to Islam”, hoping it will draw Muslim Americans to their cause.

Several posts suggested that the prediction of Anwar al-Awlaki – a US-born al Qaeda leader killed in Yemen in 2011 – that “the West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens” was coming true.

Confusion reigned at border control over the weekend over whether green card holders and those with legal work or study visas should be sent back from the US or allowed to re-enter if currently overseas.

“[The ban] plays into this clash of civilisations idea, which is something that global jihadis need as fuel, to claim Americans are against them, that the West is against them,” Dr Renad Mansour, a fellow from the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, told The Independent. “Trump is seen to be validating what they already claimed was happening.”

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G Parameshwara and #fundie independent.co.uk

An Indian minister has sparked outrage by suggesting that a "mass molestation" of women in one of the country's busiest nightlife hubs took place because they dressed "like westerners".

Multiple women were groped during New Year celebrations in Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, according to local and social media reports.

Photographs of distraught women rushing out of crowds and seeking help from police appeared on both.

But Karnataka State Home Minister, G Parameshwara, caused uproar after said the alleged attacks were the result of Western influences.

“They tried to copy the Westerners, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing,” he said. “So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kinds of things do happen.”

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Accelerated Christian Education #fundie independent.co.uk

Teachers at Christian fundamentalist schools in Britain allegedly performed exorcisms on pupils, beat children in religious rituals and “groomed” girls for marriage, according to former students who say they have decided to speak out now after years of suffering in silence.

The former pupils told The Independent such treatment of children was a “terrifying” part of life at schools in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s in an environment where they felt too afraid to complain for fear of retribution from school staff, evangelical parents and their close-knit Baptist faith community.

One former pupil alleged that in the 1990s pupils at school assemblies would start convulsing amid “blood curdling screams” as prayers were said for the holy spirit to rid children of demons. The alleged abuse is said to have taken place many years ago at a number of schools in the UK that follow the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, a form of learning that originated in the southern Baptist states of the US.

The former pupils contacted The Independent after reading our June report revealing that some of these schools still teach children that girls must submit to men, homosexuality is unnatural and that creationism is a fact. They said the article jolted their memories of their own experiences.

More than 1,000 4-18 year olds are currently taught in 30 ACE schools in the UK, all of them registered as private institutions. Although the schools are bound by the same safeguarding and child protection regulations as the state sector, former pupils want assurances that monitoring of these schools is more effective than when they attended.

One told The Independent that during his time at an ACE school in the 1990s: “We were told that we were the children of God and the world was out to get us. So we were isolated and couldn’t speak out. There was nobody checking on us. I just took it.”

Pupils who have traditionally attended the schools tend to come from Christian families who follow a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. Former pupils said many of the children will have limited interaction with mainstream society.

One former pupil, who attended a school in the 1990s and who has asked not to be named, said: “Exorcisms used to happen at school assemblies sometimes. There would be 20 or so children and perhaps five adults. We were told that the holy spirit would come through children. I started convulsing and I couldn’t stop. Even when I went to bed I kept convulsing. I was terrified, I really thought it was the holy spirit.

“We would all begin convulsing. I remember them screaming blood curdling screams and then we’d all pray rigorously to get the demons out. Teachers would physically push us. They’d lay their hands on us when we prayed and they’d push us down. If you didn’t fall it was said that you weren’t really ‘feeling the Lord’. It was a very dark thing. It really was insanity. It got completely out of control.”

Two other former pupils from the 1990s and 2000s alleged they witnessed exorcisms performed on some occasions at other schools, where children were encouraged to “speak in tongues”.

Allegations from ex-pupils include other potential concerns. At some schools, girls were groomed for marriage from a young age, two former students said. They claimed the grooming was done by the church communities that run the schools and by teachers. Methods were said to include controlling girls’ sexuality and isolating them from boys their own age so they might later be married to much older male members of the church groups.

In some schools they were allegedly encouraged to marry soon after they turned 16, as church leaders told them it was “God’s will”.

One woman, who attended a school between the late 1990s and early 2000s, said: “There was one girl I knew who married someone more than 20 years older. The man she married had known her since she was seven years old and he was 30. She’d sit on his knee when she was a child. He’d played with her when she was a child. Now they’re married. It’s just really creepy.

“As a young girl, you were told you were not allowed to talk to boys your own age, you had to stand six inches apart from boys at all times at schools, teachers told you they’d hit you with a wooden paddle if you kiss a boy. So you didn’t get to meet anyone else and then you’re shown sexual interest for the first time and it’s some creepy old man. It was so sexualised, they were sexualising children.”

Another former pupil who attended an ACE school in the 1990s said a girl at her school had married a man at 16, when he was in his 40s, and who she had met when he began teaching at her school.

She said: “You were told from a young age that your role is to support a man and God will lead you to him. The role of women in these religious groups is quite clear. You’re told God has chosen a husband for you and God will lead this man to you. But in reality, pastors and church leaders guide men to you. It’s grooming.”

She added: “When I was 18, I experienced it. From the age of 14, the church had been pushing me towards a man in the church group who was eight years older. I was actively encouraged to work with him. They were very pushy about marriage, it was very intimidating. It’s very closed and isolating.

“As a girl, you’re left feeling redundant if you don’t get married. You’re told it’s God’s will and you’re just wasting time until you get married – it’s your ultimate goal.”

She said that none of the girls married before the legal age of consent, adding: “They are very keen to ensure nothing illegal happened, but the conditioning was around a long time before that.”

Although all the claims made by former pupils for this article relate to historic incidents, textbooks still used by the schools – and seen by The Independent – raise current concerns.

The books suggest pupils are still taught that “the wife is to obey, respect and submit to the leadership of her husband, serving as a helper to him” and “God desires for [women] to submit to husband.”

Other pupils told The Independent there were also historic concerns about corporal punishment, which they say took on a religious characteristic at the ACE schools.

They claimed children were beaten with a wooden paddle and then forced into a ritualised religious quasi-ceremony in which prayers were said for their salvation in the 1980s and 1990s. They said that the church groups believed at the time that corporal punishment was “God’s will” as it stopped children from sinning.

Corporal punishment was outlawed in UK private schools in 1998 and there is no suggestion the ACE schools breached that law.

David Waldock who attended an ACE school between the ages of 11 and 16 prior to 1998 said: “I was beaten with a cane by teachers while a pupil at an ACE school. The school was in the basement of the church. The cane was kept in the vestry. You would be led up to the vestry to a fold down desk, inside was a cardboard case and in that was the cane.

“The teachers explained to you your ‘offence’. You were told to take your trousers down. Then you were bent over a chair with your trousers down and wearing just your underwear. Then you were caned. And then you prayed for forgiveness.

“It was very ritualised. It was a ritual of confession, administration and prayer for forgiveness.”

One former pupil who attended an ACE school in the 1990s said a four-year-old boy at her school had special needs which caused him to urinate and defecate uncontrollably in class. She claims the child would be routinely taken to be beaten by the headmaster with a wooden paddle to punish this “bad behaviour”.

She says knowing corporal punishment was happening to other children was extremely distressing: “I remember feeling sick. I was so frightened I dug my nails into my hands.”

A 1993 copy of the ACE teachers’ training manual, seen by The Independent, appears to instruct teachers in how to administer corporal punishment when children have “sinned” in ritualised religious ceremonies. It says: “Demerits are for procedural violations; the paddle is for moral violations.”

The manual then lists a step by step process for hitting children.

“Using Bible verses, explain to the child the principles he has violated. Make sure he clearly understands what he has done wrong … position the child so he is leaning forward with his hands on a desk or chair and with his feet spread. Keep the paddle, switch, or belt low to avoid hitting the spine.

“Pray with the child following corporal correction. Review the offense and show him Hebrews 13.17. Request that he ask the Lord to forgive him for _____ (name the violation) and help him obey God’s Word and those people God has placed in his life to train him.”

An updated edition of the teacher training manual compiled after 1998 stops advocating corporal punishment by teachers at ACE schools. Christian Education Europe, an organisational body that runs and promotes ACE schools, say stocks of teaching manuals are regularly checked to ensure they are up to date.

A former pupil who attended an ACE school in the 1990s said: “The kind of people who send their children to schools like these believe in it absolutely. The pastor had absolute power and they could do anything.”

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Saudi Arabian Government #fundie independent.co.uk

Saudi Arabia is launching a programme to “inoculate” children against Westernisation, atheism, liberalism and secularism.

They were listed as threats to “ideological security”, ahead of the danger from extremist groups including Isis and al-Qaeda and sectarianism.

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Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Alexey Pushkov and Frantz Klintsevich #conspiracy independent.co.uk

A senior Russian MP and Putin ally has said Western countries planned the fatal shooting of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.

Andrey Karlov was shot dead at an art gallery in Ankara by a man believed to be Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, an off-duty Turkish police officer.

Altintas reportedly shouted: “We die in Aleppo, you die here”, before shooting the ambassador repeatedly in the back.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed shortly after that Mr Karlov had died from his wounds and called the killing “a terrorist act”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "Today in Ankara as a result of an attack, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov, received a wound from which he died.

“We regard this as a terrorist act."

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who leads the right-wing nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, said the killing was “a false flag operation by the West”.

Mr Zhirinovsky claimed the West orchestrated the shooting to prevent Turkish-Russian rapprochement following a year of tensions, which have gradually eased in recent months.

Other Russian politicians also rushed to link Western governments to the assasination.

Alexey Pushkov, the former head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, claimed the killing was a direct result of media "hysteria" concerning Aleppo, purveyed by "enemies" of Moscow.

Frantz Klintsevich, the deputy chairman of the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament’s defence and security committee, reportedly said the assassination of Mr Karlov was a “true provocation”.

He said: "It was a planned action. Everyone knew that he was going to attend this photo exhibition.

"It can be Isis, or the Kurdish army which tries to hurt Erdogan.

"But may be - and it is highly likely - that representatives of foreign Nato secrets services are behind it.

"What has happened is a true provocation, a challenge. It is a challenge for Russia", he added.

Mr Klintsevich has previously promised a “harsh and unambiguous” response from Russia in response to NATO expansion and said Russia would “aim our weapons, including the nuclear ones” at any countries that seek to join the Western military pact.

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xxyx #fundie independent.co.uk

[On Aleppo]

"to air-drop life-saving aid."

Dropping food into a seige situation is taking sides and prolonging a war. Why do this when all the signs are that those who manage to leave the city are given aid anyway - unless there is a political component to the calls for airdrops?

The official narrative is so one sided it is transparently so. Would someone consider those dropping aid in Mosul to be pro-peace, a humanitarian air-drop or supplying IS?

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xxyx #fundie independent.co.uk

[On Aleppo]

How exactly is airlifting supplies to the besieged a method of stopping a war? Surely that is a method of supplying one side to continue the war?

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Unnamed Islamophobe #fundie independent.co.uk

A knifeman reportedly stabbed a passenger on a train at Forest Hill station before chasing people outside shouting "I want to kill a Muslim".

The attacker allegedly shouted: "Who is a Muslim? I want to kill a Muslim."

A 38-year-old man from London has been arrested on suspicion of GBH following the "serious incident", British Transport Police confirmed.

They said they were treating the incident as a "serious hate crime" but said there was "no suggestion of wider terrorist aspect".

An eyewitness told The Daily Mirror: "The man came running out of the station with a knife and everybody started running and screaming.

"He was shouting 'Whoever is Muslim, I will kill you". He was looking for anybody that was Muslim.

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Rodrigo Duterte #fundie independent.co.uk

The outspoken Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, has vowed to never swear again after he made to a promise to God.

Mr Duterte has become known for his profanity – such as calling Pope Francis a “son of a bitch” and telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” for his criticism of the war on drugs which has seen the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people since June.

The controversial politician made the pledge when he returned to his home city of Davao City in the south of the country after a trip to Japan on Thursday.

He explained that while he was flying home he heard a voice threatening to down the plane if he did not stop swearing.

He said heard the voice say ‘If you don't stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now’.

“And I said, 'Who is this?' So, of course, 'it's God’”, the continued.

“So, I promise God to ... not express slang, cuss words and everything.

“So you guys hear me right always because a promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”

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Elhamy Agina #fundie independent.co.uk

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university, it has been reported.

Parliamentary member Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests, Egyptian Streets reports. He has suggested that university cards could only been issued to female students on completition of a virginity test.

In an interview with local media, he said: “Any girl who enters university, we have to check her medical examination to prove that she is a Miss. Therefore, each girl must present an official document upon being admitted to university stating she’s a Miss.”

The term "Miss" in Egyptian culture is often used to refer euphemistically as to whether a woman is a virgin.

Mr Agina reportedly added: “No one should be upset by this decision. If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”

Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages. They are believed to be particularly common among young couples who may be unable to afford a large wedding ceremony.

Mr Agina has since defended his remarks, reportedly saying they had been misinterpreted and he was merely making a suggestion. He said: “People have been attacking me since yesterday and they’re upset and such. I’ve decided not to deal with the media.

“I did not make a demand, I made a suggestion. There’s a big difference between a demand and a suggestion.”

He added that he made the remarks as part of a discussion as to how urfi marriages could be stopped: “I said, well, it’s not the government’s right to ask a girl or a man whether they’ve had an urfi marriage. But maybe, maybe… just as a suggestion that may or may not be implemented- the government could tell university hospitals to conduct virginity tests. And then the university can tell the student’s parents.”

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PeterCouch #racist independent.co.uk

[Comment on article about whether British Jews feel the Labour Party is soft on antisemitism]

I am pro-Gentile.
I believe that it is judaism which makes the differentiation between jews and Gentiles.
Correct?
Surely PRO-semitism is the same as anti-Gentilism??
(Capitals-or-not deliberate).
And most of the world is labelled as Gentile by judaism.
Why should the vast majority of the world's population be dismissed as Gentile(not jewish) by jews?
Why can't Gentiles dismiss jews as not-Gentile???
Without attracting ugly names.

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Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh #fundie independent.co.uk

Saudi Arabia's top cleric has declared that Iran's leaders are not Muslims and regard Sunni Muslims as their enemy.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh was responding to Iran's supreme leader, who denounced Saudi Arabia's handling of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Grand Mufti said the claims of the Iranian Ayatollah were "not surprising" and accused Iran's leaders of being Zoroastrians, an ancient pre-Islamic Iranian religion.

Saudi Arabia's population is nearly 90 per cent Sunni and has long been at odds with the 95 per cent Shia Iran - two denominations that have been in conflict since the 7th century.

In remarks published on Wednesday, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al ash-Sheikh said: "We must understand these are not Muslims.

"They are the son of the Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one, especially with the People of the Tradition [Sunnis]."

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Satmar Rabbis #fundie independent.co.uk

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have banned women from going to university, The Independent has learned.

The strict Satmar sect issued the decree, seen by The Independent, warning that university education for women is “dangerous”. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns: “It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah.

“We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school. Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls who’ve been to college or have a degree.

"We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built.”

The decree was issued from the sect’s base in New York and will apply to followers of the faith group around the world.

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Unnamed Ugandan political candidates and witchdoctors #fundie independent.co.uk

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Six cases of mutilation and murder of children as "good luck" sacrifices have been reported during the recent Ugandan elections, a children's charity has said.

Shelin Kasozi of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a charity which cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice, said these sorts of cases were common at election time as "some people believe blood sacrifices will bring wealth and power".

She told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the cases had been reported from October to February in the Ssembabule, Mukono, Buikwe and Mubende districts in central Uganda.

Suspects have been arrested but their cases are yet to go to court.

President Yoweri Museveni won a fifth term in power at the election on 18 February in a vote widely criticised by the EU and the US but ordinary Ugandans also voted in municipal and parliamentary elections.

Moses Binoga, the co-ordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, said several children had been reported missing during the election period but did not confirm the KCM's report.

He said the investigation was ongoing.

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Khadim Hussain, Beinazir Lasharie and Vicky Kirby #racist independent.co.uk

Khadim Hussain is a Labour councillor and former Lord Mayor of Bradford Twitter
Labour has suspended a former Lord Mayor of Bradford in the latest row over anti-Semitism to hit Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Khadim Hussain, a Labour councillor, is under investigation for sharing a Facebook post that complained that the deaths of millions of Africans are not taught in schools but “your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler”.

The news came as the Guido Fawkes website alleged that Labour had reinstated Beinazir Lasharie, a Kensington councillor and former Big Brother contestant whose membership was suspended in October after she had posted a Facebook message saying: “Many people know about who was behind 9/11 and also who is behind Isis. I’ve nothing against Jews ... just sharing it!”

She is listed on the Kensington council website as a Labour councillor, but a Labour spokesman denied that she had been reinstated.

Ms Lasharie defended herself on Twitter, saying: “Here come the flood of you bullies who’ve got time to judge me when you don’t know me, very nice of you thank you for your hate!”

Both allegations surfaced in time for David Cameron to taunt the Labour leader during Prime Minister’s Questions – to Jeremy Corbyn’s visible fury.

The opportunity came when the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer – who did not mention the Labour Party – urged that “all organisations, public and private, should root out anti-Semitism, without hesitation”.

Mr Cameron replied: “Anti-Semitism is an absolute cancer in our societies and we should know that when it grows, it is the signal of many even worse things happening to ethnic groups and different groups all over our country.

“I have to say that we do see a growth in support for segregation and indeed for anti-Semitism in part of the Labour party, and I say to its leader that it is his party and he should sort it out.”

His remarks infuriated Mr Corbyn because they were made after the weekly exchange between the two leaders had finished, which meant that Commons rules prevented him from replying. He could be seen pointing at Mr Cameron across the Commons Despatch Box and shouting, “utterly disgraceful!” – until the Speaker John Bercow intervened to warn MPs on the front benches of both sides: “This sort of gesticulation across the Chamber is way below the level and the dignity of senior MPs ... cut it out!”

Earlier in the week, the Labour leader told Sky News: “Seven times since I became leader I have absolutely condemned anti-Semitism, I have condemned Islamophobia, I have condemned any form of racism anywhere within our society.”

Suspicion that anti-Semitism is tolerated with the Labour Party was fuelled by the case of Vicki Kirby, a Labour parliamentary candidate who was suspended from the party for a series of tweets, including one in which she described Jews as having “big noses”.

Earlier this month, Guido Fawkes spotted that she had been reinstated and had been made vice chair of the Woking Labour Party. Last week, her membership was suspended for the second time.

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Fars News Agency and thirty-nine other state-run Iranian media outlets #fundie independent.co.uk

Forty state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly offered a new $600,000 bounty for the death of British Indian author Salman Rushdie, according to the state-run Fars News Agency.

Fars News Agency, which is closely affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was among the largest contributors, donating one billion Rials - nearly $30,000.

The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the fatwa issued the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, the agency said.

[...]

Ayatollah Khomeini, the First Supreme Leader of Iran, issued the fatwa against Rushdie on charges of blasphemy for his novel The Satanic Verses on 15 February, 1989.

The Ayatollah called for the death of the book's author along with anyone "involved in its publication".

[...]

The new bounty is the largest organised effort to assassinate Rushdie since the fatwa was issued.

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Malia Bouattia #fundie independent.co.uk

The National Union of Students has rejected a call to condemn militant group Isis on the grounds that the motion was “islamophobic”, in a move which has promoted campaigners to accuse the body of being in the “stranglehold” of divisive “identity politics”.

The political split in the student body over the conflict in the Middle East erupted after a motion was put forward last month to the NUS National Executive Council, asking students to express “solidarity” with the Kurds in Iraq and Syria who are engaged in a bloody struggle against ISIS militants.

The motion, proposed by Daniel Cooper and Clifford Fleming with international students officer Shreya Paudel, called on British students “to condemn the IS and support Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.”

However the call, which also called for unity among Muslims and has already been passed by the Scottish NUS, was rejected by a members led by black students’ officer Malia Bouattia, according the student website The Tab.

Ms Bouattia is reported to have spoken against the motion. She is reported to have said: “We recognise that condemnation of Isis appears to have become a justification for war and blatant islamophobia. This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”

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Government of Indonesia #fundie independent.co.uk

The authorities this week forced Line, a Japanese-Korean messaging app, to remove same-sex and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) themed stickers from its Indonesian-language store.

Similar bans are expected on Whatsapp, Facebook and Tinder. Companies who fail to comply with the request may be blocked by the ministry’s Negative Content Management Panel.

“Social media must respect the culture and local wisdom of the country where they have [a] large numbers of users,” said Ismail Cawidu, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s ministry of information and communication.

He added: “The ministry is appreciative of Line Indonesia for their understanding and discretion in dealing with matters that could potentially cause public unrest, especially the concerns of mothers for their children in terms of the negative influence the circulation of these LGBT stickers could cause.”

There is no law against homosexuality in most of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, but government officials have made a number of anti-gay rights statements recently.

Indonesia's northernmost province of Aceh, which has adopted Sharia law, made having same-sex relations punishable with 100 lashes. Last month Muhammad Nasir, Indonesia’s minister for technology, research, and higher education, said that the LGBT community should be barred from university campuses, because there are “standards of values and morals to uphold”.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern on Thursday at what it described as a “spate of hateful rhetoric by public officials against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people in Indonesia.

Last year, Apple introduced same-sex emojis for the first time. Russia began legal action, but later opted to drop their lawsuit.

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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow #fundie independent.co.uk

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has partially blamed an increased acceptance of homosexuality for the rise of Isis.

Patriarch Kirill claimed he was not surprised that some Muslims are flocking to Isis' quasi-religious state as a way of escaping the “godless civilization” that celebrates events such as Gay Pride.

In an interview published on the Church’s official website, Kirill said: “[Isis] is creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism.”

“We can have parades for the sexual minorities - that is supported - but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police,” he added.

Kiril said because the “godless civilization is reaching maturity”, it should come as no surprise that those who are opposed to liberal, secular ideas end up joining terror organisations.

“If you call non-traditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison,” he said.

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Jens Müller #fundie independent.co.uk

Residents of a small German town have been left outraged after its mayor suggested young girls “provoke” sexual harassment.

Jens Müller, Mayor of Bad Schlema, Saxony, made the comments at a council meeting last week, after a grandfather raised concerns young girls were being subject to harassment as they walked home from school, German newspaper FreiePresse reports.

The man, who has not been identified, claimed his granddaughter, who he said was under 10 years old, had been a victim of such behaviour.

He said: “The girls have been harassed by the refugee children" as they walked to their physical education classes at school.

He raised further fears the harassment may increase when the girls wear less clothing in the summer months.

In response to the comments Mr Müller said: “That’s easy, just don’t provoke them and don’t walk in these areas.”

“It’s technically not necessary for the girls to walk there,” he added. “There are alternative routes for going to school.”