Stories about Raif Badawi

It isn’t hate speech for Yiannopoulos to say “feminism is cancer”, it’s just how he feels

In May of 2016, Ben Shapiro resigned from Breitbart News because it was a “propaganda outlet for Donald Trump”. That same month Shapiro posted a joyous announcement on social media, saying that his wife had given birth to their second child. With infinite gratitude to God, we're overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning! — Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 8, 2016 In response, Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart mainstay Tweeted: “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” The Tweet included a photo of a black infant. ...

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Big Brother is watching

Nowadays recording devices, hidden cameras, satellites, and web giants like Facebook and Google collect all sorts of information on tech-users. But, historically, a state of surveillance has always existed. Long before CCTV cameras, bugging devices, and online data collection became the century’s norm, societies were dealing with purloined letters opened before delivery, spies from foreign lands, and good ol’ fashioned eavesdroppers behind closed doors. Historian David Kahn, writing on human privacy (or the lack thereof), notes how, “…centuries ago, people in England, France and German states fought for the right to send letters without their being opened by the ‘black chambers’ ...

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Should Apple give the FBI access to all our iPhones?

Considering how public opinion can sway important legal matters, there is perhaps nothing more perilous than irresponsible journalism. Unfortunately, in an age where click-bait is the name of the game, reporters unfamiliar with their subject matter often spread misinformation. This, sadly, is especially true for information technology. You may have recently heard from various news sources that Apple previously ‘unlocked’ iPhones for the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) ‘70 times’. Some even claimed that Apple is refusing to do so now as part of a marketing strategy. This has also been gleefully echoed by the FBI itself. Some of the sources ...

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6 things Saudi Arabia and Iran have in common

Saudi Arabia’s long and bitter history with Iran came to a boiling point recently when the Kingdom murdered Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on charges of treason after a farcical trial. For some time, the Saudis had indirectly indicated that Nimr al-Nimr was on Iran’s payroll. The late preacher, a fierce critic of the monarchy, ridiculed these claims. Although Nimr al-Nimr was a Saudi national, Iran strongly condemned the execution. Later, a Saudi embassy in Tehran was vandalised by Persians angrier than the ones defied by 300 Spartans. That Iran reacted so strongly did nothing to disprove any Nimr al-Nimr ...

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Giving Saudi Arabia a vital position on the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank

During my 15 years growing up in Saudi Arabia, there was one tenet I, like most expatriates, strictly abided by. This simple unwritten rule was; minimise your interaction with locals. This is because many, though certainly not all Saudis we encountered, looked upon foreigners as if they were insolent slaves. From interactions in the neighbourhood, workplace, shops, and more, the Saudi disdain for foreigners was pretty clear. With Saudi media towing the Kingdom line, it was only through word of mouth that we learnt of expatriate girls, women, boys, and boyish looking men escaping capture from Saudi groups. These gangs often ...

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Why do Muslims play victims of free-speech but make excuses for apostasy and blasphemy?

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), as reported by The Express Tribune on September 1, 2015, initiated a nationwide campaign to ‘create awareness about the religion (Islam)’ by displaying billboards that, as ICNA spokesman Nadeem Baig stated, hopes to,“raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about the Muslim Americans”. The billboards contain messages such as how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) supports ‘peace, social justice and women’s rights’. Photo: Islamic Circle of North America Facebook page Yahoo News also covered ICNA’s crusade and the comments section got flooded by anti-Muslim vitriol. Such comments demonstrate that Islam has a poor image in ...

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Does Charlie Hebdo really deserve the Freedom of Expression Courage Award?

On August 2nd, 2006, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s front page depicted a sobbing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The caption read, “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes.” (Muhammad (PBUH) surrounded by fundamentalists) The thought bubble added, “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons.” (It’s tough being loved by morons.) The target? Sociopaths who, rather than committing acts of charity in the name of Islam, choose evil and violence. Charlie Hebdo mocked these extremists, yet never condoned or incited violence – the only legitimate limit on speech. In 2011, radicals firebombed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, yet Hebdo continued to publish, culminating in the infamous massacre of January 7th and ...

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Did America make a bigger deal about Michelle Obama being unveiled than Saudi?

International media may have you believe that the Saudis are marching through Jeddah with pitchforks over the sight of Mrs Obama’s undraped head. A closer inspection of social media trends, however, suggests shrewd political theatre. A few days ago, major news networks broke the story of a strong “backlash” in the wake of a friendly visit to Saudi Arabia by the First Lady and her dupatta-less head. Personalities as politically charged as the ‘Leader of the Free World’ and his wife, do not make sartorial gaffes, or obvious cultural faux pas. It may seem almost comical to imagine the White House ...

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King Salman: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

I was sitting at a Washington café when the news of the late Saudi monarch Abdullah’s passing broke. This café is one of the favourite hangout locations of Middle Eastern and Persian origin men and women of letters and those from the corps diplomatique. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been no admirer of the Saudi Kingdom. Other than the fact that for years I’ve personally vociferously raised my voice against the Kingdom’s horrendous human rights record as well as its fallacious policies toward other regional states, both Muslim and otherwise. I hardly ever paid attention to the fact that King Abdullah was ...

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Saudi Arabia: Holy hypocrites

I was born in Saudi Arabia and am very closely accustomed to the grossly odd laws that exist within the nation, namely, and perhaps most famously, that women are not allowed to drive, that women have to don the black abaya when in public and that there is strict segregation between men and women most stringently enforced by the muttawas or religious police.  I distinctly remember a muttawa once giving my mother a religious lecture over how she should contain her eight-year-old daughter and stop her from running around in case she attracted men. A complete absurdity indeed but my mother ...

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