Humanist Perspectives: issue 195, Winter 2015-2016

Issue 195, Winter 2015-2016

cover of issue 195
Humanist Perspectives is a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture and is available at select magazine stores or by online subscription.

Editorial

Blasphemy Laws: An abomination that continues to plague humanity by Madeline Weld
This issue of Humanist Perspectives has a section devoted to blasphemy...The articles in that section are provided by the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) who, along with Humanist Canada, are spearheading a campaign to End Blasphemy Laws in this country...Blasphemy laws may be asleep but not dead in Canada...but they are alive and virulent in other parts of the world...

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Features

Canada’s Blasphemy Law: Sleeping But Not Dead by Cassandra Martino
It may be hard to believe, but blasphemy is still a crime in Canada. Criminal Code Section 296 states: "Every one who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years." ….But wait, what is a "blasphemous libel"? …

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Blasphemy in Bangladesh: Attacks on Secularist Bloggers and Why They Should Matter to Canadians by Rafida Bonya Ahmed and Eric Adriaans
On February 26th of February 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked Rafida Bonya and her husband, Dr. Avijit Roy, as they left the Annual National Book Fair, a nationally renowned event attended by thousands of Bangladeshi citizens. … When we were leaving the well-lit, crowded book fair to get back to our car, Avijit and I were brutally attacked by Islamic fundamentalists. In an area surrounded by police officers, video cameras and thousands of people, we were stabbed repeatedly with machetes. Nobody came to help us. The police stood by.

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Raif Badawi and Blasphemy in Saudi Arabia by Seanna Watson
… One of the most blatant and odious recent examples of violation of basic human rights is the imprisonment and punishment by torture of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia. Raif Badawi is a 31-year-old Saudi writer and founder (in 2008) of the “Free Saudi Liberals,” a website and online forum about politics and religion. He was imprisoned by the Saudi government in 2012, for the crime of “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” He was subsequently accused of “apostasy” – a crime which, under Saudi Arabian law, carries an automatic death sentence….

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The Toxic Elephant by John Erik Meyer
…Many Canadians are aware that Canada’s record of greenhouse gas emission (GHG) increases is among the worst in the world. And if asked where the increase in carbon emissions is coming from, virtually every Canadian would say the oil sands. And they would be wrong. For despite the rapid development of the oil sands and its inherently GHG emissions-intensive nature, they constitute only a fraction of Canada’s emissions increase…. Where is the majority of the increase coming from?

On The Importance of Culture: Spirituality for Secular Humanists by Sophie Dulesh
As defined in 1959 by noted American anthropologist Margaret Mead, culture is “the systematic body of learned behavior which is transmitted from parents to children.”… We are very much aware of how dangerously our air and water can be polluted; does anyone care about our culture?...

How the Grinch Stole Peace or Yes, Gaza Has Suffered Agony – but Muslims Could Have Prevented Most of it by Robert H. Barrigar
This is a highly emotional subject… Discussion of this topic, or set of topics, is legion. Where do we go to find reliable facts? How do we separate fact from fiction?

The Migrant Crisis Isn’t a Crisis – It’s a Trend by John Erik Meyer
Unlike the relatively small pulses of migrants from states experiencing rapid regime change, such as the communist takeovers of Vietnam and Hungary, today's flows of migrants from the Middle East and Africa are vastly larger and increasing….

Book review

Review of Mona Eltahawy's book “Headscarves and Hymens” by Sheila Ayala
All apologists for Islam should read this book. In her candid narrative, Mona Eltahawy exposes the hypocrisy of the purity culture that pervades Islamic thought….

In addition, Humanist Perspectives offers a lively Letters-to-the-Editor section as well as Book Reviews, books available for review and snippets of international news of interest to humanists.

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