Saturday, November 17, 2007
Religious Fundamentalists - Islamic and Christian
Our Friends, the Saudis
"An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped."
The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack.
When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them. The attackers' sentences - originally of up to five years - were doubled.But the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia's laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.
Fundos Ascendant in Egypt
- Rights groups have criticised Egypt for forcing converts from Islam and members of some minority faiths to lie about their true beliefs in official papers.
- Egyptians over 16 must carry ID cards showing religious affiliation. Muslim, Christian and Jew are the only choices.
In Iran, the Mullahs Ban a Garcia Marquez Novel
The latest novel by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez has been banned in Iran - but only after censors noticed its title had been sanitised.
The book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, was published in Farsi as Memories of My Melancholy Sweethearts.
The first edition of 5,000 had sold out before the authorities realised.
The novel tells the story of a man who wants to mark his 90th birthday by sleeping with a 14-year-old virgin in a brothel and ends up falling in love.
Iran's culture ministry said a "bureaucratic error" had led to permission being granted for the book's publication, the Fars news agency reported. The official responsible had been sacked, Fars said.
The book sold out within three weeks of arriving in Iranian bookshops.
But the book angered religious conservatives who drew the authorities' attention to its original title and content.
"Bigotry is the sacred disease."