Iran: Death Sentence for Facebook Posts

79

Soheil Arabi with his 5-year-old daughter, Rojan.

 

By Human Rights Watch

Iran’s judiciary should vacate the death sentence of a 30-year-old man who faces imminent execution for Facebook posts linked to his account. On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to hang. The court transferred his file to the judiciary’s implementation unit, opening the way for his execution.

A Tehran criminal court had convicted him in August ofsabb al-nabbi, or “insulting the prophet,” referring to the Prophet Muhammad, which carries the death penalty. Arabi’s legal team has asked the judiciary to suspend the death sentence and review the case.

“It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalize peaceful free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.”

Nastaran Naimi, Arabi’s wife, told Human Rights Watch that intelligence agents linked with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested her and her husband at their home in Tehran in November 2013. They soon released her but transferred her husband to a special section of Evin prison that the Revolutionary Guards control, where they kept him in solitary confinement for two months, subjected him to long interrogation sessions, and prevented him from meeting his lawyer, she said. They later transferred Arabi to Ward 350 of Evin prison.

Vahid Moshkhani, Arabi’s lawyer, told Human Rights Watch that instead of upholding or overruling the lower court verdict, the Supreme Court unlawfully added the charge of efsad-e fel arz, or “sowing corruption of earth,” to Arabi’s case. In addition to carrying a possible death sentence, the charge also forecloses the possibility of amnesty, he said.


 

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79 COMMENTS

  1. One word: “savages”. I hope someone in the administration there comes to his (it will have to be “his”) senses before this young girl’s father is executed. It may be a fool’s hope.

    Steve

  2. “It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting,”

    In place of shocking insert barbaric.

  3. From the stories I have heard, Mohammed was a very personable guy. People would have insulted him all the time during his lifetime. He would have taken it in good humour. But now that he is dead, and cannot be upset
    by insults, Muslims up the ante to protect his delicate feelings.

    The real crime is failing to pretend publicly to believe in the literal truth of the Qur’an. There are gangs going around killing people who cannot quote the Qur’an. To protect yourself in that eventuality, here is verse you can memorise his verse:
    If He so pleased, He
    Could blot you out
    And bring in
    A New Creation.
    Nor is that (at all)
    ficult for Allah.

    ~ The Qur’an (born: 610 AD age: 1404) : Surah Fatir (3:16-17)

  4. From the stories I have heard, Mohammed was a very personable guy. People would have insulted him all the time during his lifetime. He would have taken it in good humour. But now that he is dead, and cannot be upset by insults, Muslims up the ante to protect his delicate feelings.

    The real crime is failing to pretend publicly to believe in the literal truth of the Qur’an. The crime is defying the social order. Your actual beliefs are irrelevant.

    There are gangs going around killing people who cannot quote the Qur’an. To protect yourself in that eventuality, here is a verse you can memorise:
    If He so pleased, He
    Could blot you out
    And bring in
    A New Creation.
    Nor is that (at all)
    difficult for Allah.

    ~ The Qur’an (born: 610 AD age: 1404) : Surah Fatir (3:16-17)

  5. What is NOT ridiculous about this regime and its leaders’ belief system?!

    Most of the people here don’t care, already got out of religions (are even anti-religion), or are at least moderate muslims who ‘sorta’ try to keep remaining civil when facing arguments that contradict with their beliefs. But the few extremists that have the most power and wealth, make the rules and added these such laws into the constitution ~3 decades ago.

  6. You all need to read the whole article again and replace “Religion” with “Anti terrorist laws” to really see what is going on. The whole world needs to take their fingers off the trigger and take a deep breath before something big happens.

  7. Bravo! I can tell you exactly what we librarians think of the Patriot Act and any federal agent or cop who comes and tried to strong-arm, sweet talk, or trick us into giving out patron information, including any books that any patron has checked out:
    middle finger
    That’s what we think.
    BTW, in library school we played a trivia game and I was so versed in the Bill of Rights that I won the “First Amendment Award,” which was two quarters (to call a lawyer) taped to a note card on which was written the address and phone for the ACLU. 🙂
    Do you know what’s scary? Iran and the United States share a lot of similarities. The Iranians, at least, recognize this, and that’s partly why Iran was the only Muslim country to hold candlelight vigils for September 11. The Iranian concept of martyrdom and the American concept of self-sacrifice – very similar. You have to know about the two cultures to see it. So, your analogy is quite apt!

  8. You all need to read the whole article again and replace “Religion” with “Anti terrorist laws” to really see what is going on.

    Ok, let’s do that. I did a search on the entire article and found the word “religion” is used in this one sentence only:

    Human Rights Watch previously expressed concern regarding the broad definition of “sowing corruption on earth” in the revised penal code, under which authorities can prosecute, convict, and sentence political dissidents and others exercising their basic rights to freedom of speech, assembly, association, and religion.

    Now let’s replace the word religion by “anti-terrorist laws” and see what we get:

    Human Rights Watch previously expressed concern regarding the broad definition of “sowing corruption on earth” in the revised penal code, under which authorities can prosecute, convict, and sentence political dissidents and others exercising their basic rights to freedom of speech, assembly, association, and anti-terrorist laws.

    Ahh… now that makes much more sense right? And here I was thinking that Mr. Arabi was being persecuted by the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian (ahem!) justice system. But that’s all smoke and mirrors right?… It’s really the American anti-terrorist laws and the patriot act who are responsible for Mr. Arabi’s ordeal. Thanks for setting us all straight on that one.

    The whole world needs to take their fingers off the trigger and take a deep breath before something big happens.

    And I think the world need to keep a close eye on what Iran is up to, especially in the dept. of Uranium enrichment.

  9. Kristine

    Do you know what’s scary? Iran and the United States share a lot of similarities. The Iranians, at least, recognize this, and that’s partly why Iran was the only Muslim country to hold candlelight vigils for September 11. The Iranian concept of martyrdom and the American concept of self-sacrifice – very similar.

    Hi Kristine, I think the most influential reason Iranian’s held vigils for the deaths of 9/11 is that opposed to their crazy, fundamentalist leaders, the average Iranian population is very young and receptive to western ideals. I really admire the Iranian population. Even in a country with a state run media, many of them seem to be able to separate the US government from the US population in a way we can’t seem to do in regards to Iran here. I think their mourning for the deaths of thousands of people is much more noble then some shared bloodlust with the US.

  10. Like others I share a hope that the ordinary folk of Iran, an educated, cultured people who want to get on with their lives find a way of de-fusing this unstable, unexploded bomb right at the heart of their country. The mad irrationality of religious fundementalism with its tight skim of “civility” hiding an inhuman loyalty and a consequently demented morality, can go off in their faces at any time. With rich lives to lead most will want to tiptoe around this terror. Heads down and eyes averted most will want to play a waiting came, hoping its toxic core will simply dissipate, one drop of reason at a time.

    But events like this demand more.

    It must be finely judged, though by those nearby. President Hassan Rouhani is the bomb disposal expert, with a number of clear statements desiring to make Iran a fully modernised and decent country. He was elected in a landslide victory. But he is surrounded on all side with the judiciary firmly in the hands of the fundementalists. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, is deeply conservative and exerts influence at all levels of government with an extensive network of “commissars”, mostly thwarting change by favouring competeing factions in turn.

    Rouhani must tread carefully here and not blow his chances. Outside support must be vociferous, but pro Iranian, understanding “Iran” to be the Iran that most decent folk have democratically signalled they wish for.

    US opposition is fatally (sic) flawed, alas, still sickeningly pro-capital punishment and harbouring a little religious nuke of its own in its bosom.

  11. This is just another example of religious dogma being utilized as a front for fascism.

    Crimes against humanity being given a veneer of piety; and, of course, love.

    Pity the children.

  12. I think you need to re-read what I wrote as well. I did not say to replace the word but the concept. Religion is being used to hide behind their fear of the west corrupting their way of life. In the west we use anti terrorist laws to do the same thing. I did not say the west was responsible for their doing this directly but are responsible for the paranoia, the same for our reasons. It is quite easy to be single minded and only think from this side of the world but I am more interested in the reality of the situation. If we also hide behind our hate of religion then nothing is real and nothing can be solved. To think of these people as just religious nuts and not the conniving political entities they really are is not only naive but dangerous.

    And I think the world need to keep a close eye on what Iran is up to,
    especially in the dept. of Uranium enrichment.

    And I think Iran needs to keep a close eye on what the US is up to, especially in the dept. of uranium enrichment. (Did you see what I did there) 😉

  13. Outside support must be vociferous, but pro Iranian, understanding
    “Iran” to be the Iran that most decent folk have democratically
    signalled they wish for.

    US opposition is fatally (sic) flawed, alas, still sickeningly
    pro-capital punishment and harbouring a little religious nuke of its
    own in its bosom.

    A little trust goes a long long way.

  14. This is just another example of religious dogma being utilized as a
    front for fascism.

    Can we not for one minute think that as much as we need our anti terrorist laws they need theirs. Two wrongs etc….but still a reality given the man made circumstances we find on this planet. Once realised, it no longer becomes “get rid of religion and its all going to be fine” but a realistic attempt at equality and peace. Religion has nowhere to go then and could quite probably fizzle its last spark and die.

  15. No, don’t understand what you did there at all. The USA has had nuclear weapons since WW II. Everyone has known it. There is nothing secret going on here. The Iranians have lied and lied and lied that they are only pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy program, not nuclear weapons. That is why everyone is keeping a close eye on them. The “moral equivalence” argument really went out with the Soviet Empire. You should give it a rest.

  16. You wouldn’t if you took it literally but hey ho.

    What would you do if you were Iranian? Or if that is beyond your capability then reverse the situation and stay who you are but Iran ruled the world. I am not trying to excuse anything Iran are doing but neither will I excuse what we are doing. I feel shame for both our wrongs. It seems some can only do that a hundred years after the event as in the first world war. Shame.

  17. Can we not for one minute think that as much as we need our anti terrorist laws they need theirs.

    No. This is a simple moral question. The quagmire belongs to all of you who proscribe speech too easily and those who don’t agonise over our inevitable failure to maximally free it.

  18. No, don’t understand what you did there at all. The USA has had nuclear weapons since WW II. Everyone has known it. There is nothing secret going on here.

    What about Israel, a nation state of America believed to be in possession of its own secret nuclear arsenal; are those guys worth keeping an eye on?

    I’m not sure the argument that because the U. S. acknowledges it has atom bombs we can trust it stands up. If a robber walks into a bank, does it matter if he brandishes his sawn-off shotgun the moment he enters or conceals it within the folds of his coat until he reaches the teller?

    The “moral equivalence” argument really went out with the Soviet Empire. You should give it a rest.

    So things can’t be morally equivalent anymore? I must admit I didn’t get that memo.

  19. I agonise over free speech as much as I agonise over responsibility. If all things were equal then all things would be possible. It is a complex world, still developing and I don’t understand how we can hope to go around the world and dress everyone the same expecting a thank you each and every time. I am tired of people acting like tourists.

  20. “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” — Ayatollah Khomeini

  21. I don’t understand how we can hope to go around the world and dress everyone the same expecting a thank you each and every time.

    Diversity is what I want to see, many different cultural “experiments”. There is no right answer. No-one has it right. I get slagged off for picking holes in Danish culture. But there are always holes to be picked. There are already many wrong answers. And the wrong answers are manifest and the Iranians have voted on it. Rouhani champions Iranian access to the internet and free expression.

    “In today’s world, having access to information and the right of free dialogue and the right to think freely is the right of all people, including the people of Iran,” Rouhani said.

    This was in September ’13 and sadly his efforts have been mostly thwarted since then, but his is the Iran people voted for.

  22. I agonise over free speech as much as I agonise over responsibility.

    Again, regarding responsibility I think this might be a back to front mode of thinking. The obligations as I said before are first from the parent and not the child. They asked for none of this.

    So with a requirement for responsibility. Mere obedience is endlessly inferior to a positive engagement, the achievement of which should flow from the parent, the teacher, the state. Positive engagement with responsibilty will lead you to a positive engagement with free speech. If, as a state, you fail to engage your populace in the need for individual responsibility, you must expect to have to listen to their complaints.

  23. When the normal Iranian Joe is sitting contemplating what he wants, I doubt very much if it is any different to anyone anywhere in the world. (I know you know all this already Phil but I will say it anyway) When you actually try to attain these things and see the distrust and intent of others, up go the defence system and things get messy. No one wants civil war. No one wants to send their child to fight. There is not a single country in this world that fully trusts another. You can call it what you like, tribal etc, but you cannot ignore it. The Iranian Joe has provisos and they are being met so caution is the order of the day. That is the mindset of us all and I wonder if we will ever get to empathise enough to find a way out.

    The Israelis are facing the threat of bombs every day in their travels to and from work. They are both right and wrong to try and segregate themselves from the Palestinians.

  24. The lower court verdict, which Human Rights Watch has reviewed, relied on Arabi’s confessions and “available images and printouts” attributed to his Facebook page, and concluded that his actions “constitute clear proof” that he insulted the Prophet Muhammad and should be sentenced to death.

    So if the average Iranian Joe thinks this “insult” a direct threat to his state but Rouhani’s pro-free-expression stance is not then he is simply paranoid beyond all reason. I personally don’t believe the majority of voters think this at all.

    For a good account of the problems in how the west deals with these issues, this article following is worth a read.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/08/iran-human-rights-ghoncheh-ghavami-imprisonment

  25. This is not about the US. I wonder if you’re capable of imaging that the US does not exist,
    that there is only Iran, and you are an important intellectual who’s been asked to give an opinion
    on the court’s decision. The people want to know if you think the court has been fair or if they have
    made a mistake.

    What do you say?

  26. I will read the article Phil but am pushed for time right now. Will get back to you on that one.

    But a quick response to the insult. That is clearly not the problem to the average Joe. You are going to give us freedom but can we have it without all the western shit that goes with it please. I don’t want to see my daughter pissed out of her head laying in the gutter and I don’t want my son maimed in a drunken fight, drugs etc….Other than that, bring it on. Thats the way I think and many people I know think. How do we balance this. If the answer is “You can’t” then, I’ll think about it and get back to you.

    Sorry thats a bit rushed but hope it makes sense.

  27. Another quick reply sorry,

    Its WRONG…….

    Taking the US and the rest of the west and indeed Russia out of the equation is also WRONG!!!

  28. When you have more time I hope you’ll explain why the court has made a mistake.

    –//–

    We can continue to leave the rest of the world out of it, unless you’re prepared to show their relevance to the prosecution’s case against this man.

  29. You are going to give us freedom but can we have it without all the western shit that goes with it please. I don’t want to see my daughter pissed out of her head laying in the gutter

    I am delighted with the calm, free and responsible lives my kids are carving out for themselves. Though not without problems, Northern European countries built on Enlightenment values get closest to the least harmful environments I can see, with the lowest teen pregnancies, alcoholism and criminality. I chose against the US in ’87 and though the UK is teetering on a similar ugly edge, again, thanks to regressive conservative forces I can see it being brought round once more.

    Reversal of the traditional obligations of child to parent, for me, would solve the parenting defecit better than a return to “Victorian Values” and decidedly better than the strict religion of say the Amish, whose dereliction of duty to their teenage children in the face of a dangerous larger society is criminal.

  30. You are going to give us freedom.

    The BLEEP I am! And nor are you. Iranians are doing for themselves. They could just use the help of some honest friends to get the antique theocracy to listen more to their democratic demands.

  31. . I chose against the US in ’87 and though the UK is teetering on a similar ugly edge, again, thanks to regressive conservative forces I can see it being brought round once more.

    Ack! That could read really wrongly. It is teetering on the ugly brink because of conservative forces. It will be rescued by reason and pragma not conservative dogma.

  32. I met a young Iranian at a party in the early 1990s. He told me that his generation was sick of the sadistic mullahs and their arbitrary rules, and cynical about the “Death to America” crap that was obligatory in every parade and procession. He said that, like young Americans, most Iranians were religious but wanted a more moderate Islam. This was before the first wave of protests, in the late 1990s.

    Of course, after the Revolution, two things happened: the regime pressured women to have kids, and encouraged everyone to read the Quar’an. What resulted was a country with a lot of young people without a lot of jobs for them to have, and a generation literate enough to know that the mullahs are full of BS about some of the rules that they enforce, which are arbitrary.

    (Unfortunately, there are also rules in Islam that are in the Quar’an/Hadith, that are quite unpleasant and discriminatory as well.)

    Iran had a thriving biomedical industry before the religious hard-liners got it defunded, making even more young professionals lose their jobs.

  33. OK. Lets leave out the rest of the world. As an atheist, I can only see it as wrong and far beyond excessive to murder the man for it. Yes, it was Mr. Religion, in the study, with the candle stick. I can’t say more than that and a few “That darn religion” rants. Of course we can then start to take religion apart but whats the use of that? I am already atheist I don’t need to destroy something I don’t believe in and isn’t there.

    Now, going back to reality on the ground. We know there is tension between the middle east and the west. We can talk all day long as to why it exists but one doesn’t trust the other and many have backers from two side who are much more powerful. Two powerful sides who are at odds also. You have seen the chaos that this conflict has caused in many countries and not only religion has been used but political differences as well as race. That is of course if you accept our hand in these “Civil wars” if not then don’t bother to read on. Theres a lot more of that to come. So when Iran is trying keep its country together and is suspicious not only of its enemy but also of its ally, as is the case in political circles, then when an example is needed to show your people you are serious and the courts can be corrupted, we get a situation like this. It makes everyone sit up and listen.

    My original posts was a response to just blaming religion and simple rants. The justification at the top, in Iran, is political and religion the tool. This does not let religion of the hook because I am sure there are some that only rely on religious law to justify it as there are here who do the opposite same. I thought it was scientific to take ALL known facts to come to a conclusion and not filter out those that make your case only. I can’t do that. I like to know how things work and that is what happens in my brain the moment I read something.

    The author gives us an example;

    Human Rights Watch previously expressed concern regarding the broad
    definition of “sowing corruption on earth” in the revised penal code,
    under which authorities can prosecute, convict, and sentence political
    dissidents and others exercising their basic rights to freedom of
    speech, assembly, association, and religion.

    Now that doesn’t sound much different than the “Anti Terrorist Law” that I am always aware of in the UK and as far as I know in the US, Guantanamo the oft quoted case, so I made reference to it.

    So there is no case against the man except if I accept that the law in Iran is so and leave out the fact that I don’t agree with the law. I am not justifying anything here and hope that common sense will prevail or at least those at the top will think the message has been received and spare this poor man his life.

    So whats the cure? Well thats easy. Lets all get along and trust each other. Easy, until the facts are realised, just as is with this case. I no more want “Anti Terrorist Laws” hanging over my head than this man wants ” Anti Blasphemy Laws” hanging over his but they both result from the details of politics and just as oppressive.

    I repeat; The world needs to take its finger off the trigger, take a deep breath before something big happens.

  34. Anti-terrorist law, my arse (and thats not a pretty sight).

    This is a generally authoritarian catch-all to allow the ultra-conservative forces within the country to terrorise its own population.

    We can’t all just get along. Their are varieties of forces within Iran. I side with its democratically elected President.

  35. But too often there has been little balance in how the west approaches
    Iran’s human rights problem. President Obama, for example, generally
    makes one annual spring rebuke. What we must strive for is
    consistency, including human rights concerns as part of the ongoing
    political approach to Iran so that it becomes a fixed expectation in
    Tehran as well.

    One rebuke for the voters and then quite strategy for the world and possible Iranian relations.

    Phil, I can talk from experience in the lack of trust. Cyprus achieved independence in 1960, the very year of my birth and I was one of the first children to be born a true Cypriot and be master of my own country for the first time in Cypriot history. A partnership of Greek and Turkish Cypriots that lasted only three years. The Greek Cypriots took over the government and have been recognised as the sole government ever since. My people have been under embargoes ever since and though accepted into the EU in 2004 are suspended until an agreement is reached. Where was the human rights of my family when an already poor family who escaped Cyprus in 1976, was collecting clothes to send to the rest of my family back home. People put the western ideals as being the yardstick with which to measure all others but I can’t accept that. The realpolitik is far stronger but alludes.

  36. @ Phil…….Thats what I said?

    Wherever it is used!!

    “We can’t all just get along. Their are varieties of forces within Iran. I side with its democratically elected President.”

    I don’t know what I said that seemed I didn’t?

  37. People put the western ideals as being the yardstick with which to measure all others but I can’t accept that.

    Which people? What ideals? I think “Western ideals” is a deeply damaging strawman here. Ideologies are the very antithesis of of the pragma needed to solve our problems. “Western Ideals” is one of those toxic werdz (well phraze) that I despise. My support of the Northern European experiment in creating more equal, nurturing and productive societies is certainly not a Western Ideal.

    Where is the marketing company out selling Western Ideals? I don’t understand how this works? Did Iraq successfully transition to Western Ideals?

    I apologise for not knowing enough of Cyprus to comment on your story, Olgun. I will go away and read up.

  38. Do you think Rouhani was in full support of this legal addition?

    I have no doubt he despises it.

    I too have no doubt he does but deep state pressures overrule.

  39. When I read stuff like this (weekly it would seem), I think… “Now what is it about Islam that I totally misunderstand (according to Reza Aslan) when I find Islam a barbaric and idiotic and something for which the world will be a better place the sooner it has the same credibility as belief in Quetzalcoatl?”

  40. “It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting,”

    Well it rather depends on what the post says, doesn’t it? Taking the piss out of a dead Arab pedophile is one thing, but, BUT! Our security services have arrested many (assumed) terrorists partly due to their zealously religious threats on social media. Many here might under some circumstances approve of that. Surely the former is a victimless crime, whereas the latter only might be. Dead liars are fair game as far as I’m concerned

  41. These things go in cycles. Until 1979 Iran was an ally of the West, then it went crazy and was ostracised and attacked by our proxy: Iraq, who in turn we attacked and replaced their government with one sympathetic to Iran which now assists the West by joining in the attacks on ISIS. You couldn’t make it up except that George Orwell kind of did in 1984. I wonder where he got the idea from? Ancient Greece perhaps, where Athens and Sparta allied against Persia until it was expedient at various times to ally with Persia against each other.
    Politics – don’t you just love the sheer sincerity of it?

  42. Wow, Olgun. What a ghastly mess. It would seem Makarios was somewhat duplicitous, but Kucuk’s hands are not clean. And looking back at the 1880 to 1915 history of the place the colonial powers of Britain and the Ottoman Empires look typically indifferent to the plight of the islanders. Colonialism scars communities.

    What seems significant to me is that both sides plotted for different ends that brought about a joint catastrophe in the Bloody Christmas, for instance. The desire for union with Greece by the G/Cs and for partition by the T/Cs uprooting their own people from a totally uniform scatter of small communities throughout the island were harmful and destructive both. What followed was a ghastly slow motion train wreck.

    The best single account I can find that is consistent with the known historical events is the account by Dr Ihsan Ali a fascinating precis of which is here.

    What is shocking really is his view that the London Zurich 1960 constitution for an independent Cyprus was overly generous to T/Cs in its apportioning of responibilities deliberately to destabilise the outcomes by generating G/C resentment. By his accounting T/Cs then unwittingly conspired to guarantee the desired outcome.

    The further “colonial” interests of the US and NATO compound matters.

    All I can say is that I am happy that the neighbours Greece and Turkey have come to realise that it is up to them to resolve issues. The necessarily outside interests of the European Community need to take a back seat to this. Yet more impositions from outside will not resolve this best, I suggest.

    Greece’s reversal to favour Turkey’s entrance into the EU is a fantastic way to proceed though it does require Turkey to step up to the plate on meeting the joining criteria (economic, human rights etc.).

    But is this exactly your complaint? I understand about “playing fair”. The colonial powers, none of them, have played fair. But the European Union surely is not playing unfair? Ineffectual, tardy, but not unfair, surely?

  43. Thanks for looking it over Phil but you have only touched the tip of the iceberg and the size and coldness have yet to be realised. I am sure that the Mods will not like the discussion to go to Cyprus and a lot of work will be deleted but hope they will allow me to just ask you to look at this paying great attention to the “Akritas plan” and a Greek Cypriot named ” Bananiot, on the link above, who I respect greatly and ignore ” Piratis”, although you might find him interesting as to why the Cyprob continues, and maybe realise the Greek Orthodox Churches silent part in centuries old call for unifying greek speaking people. This does not excuse Turkey for using the opportunity of Cyprus to maybe gain entry into the EU but it was an opportunity. The word “invasion” by Turkey is controversial as well and we TC’s prefer ” intervention” because without it I would have no greater family to speak of. As for the EU not playing unfair, my right (read TC) in the government, signed sealed and delivered, no matter the consequences, was taken at the point of a gun, and allowing a divided island into the EU is against their laws, then giving me no representation ” until a solution is reached” means I don’t exist. If I have any problems, I am told to sort it out with my government first…….effectively, the Greek Cypriots. How is that fair?

  44. > I am sure that the Mods will not like the discussion to go to Cyprus and a lot of work will be deleted

    No, we don't see a problem with it in this instance, Olgun – not so far, at least. It's a thoughtful discussion and not completely unrelated to what has gone before, and it's offering a fresh and interesting perspective. Generally speaking, off-topic is more of an issue when a complete derail threatens, but there doesn't seem to be any risk of that here.

    The mods

  45. Much appreciated, mods. Traffic is low at the moment and I earnestly believe that topics taken as stimulants could restore some of this.

    Olgun, I’ve looked at several accounts of the Akritas plan and set it along side the plan attributed to Kucuk and the Turkish Resistance Organisation.

    There is a theory that the December 1963 incidents were the planned pretext for starting a well set up plan by the Turkish Resistance Organization aimed at partitioning the island after the discovery of documents said to be signed by Fazıl Küçük and Rauf Denktaş as well as documents found in Minister Plumer’s safe.[10] The document found in minister Plumer’s office reads as follows: “When the struggle begins, the Turkish community, which is spread all over the island, will be concentrated by force in one area, which they will be obliged to defend. The choosing of the area will be according to a strategic plan, which will be prepared by specialists. Before the beginning of the struggle, it is necessary that detailed plans are prepared, so to increase the enlisting of the Turkish community, but also with respect to arms, stocks and the supply and reinforcement missions from Turkey”.[11] Turkish Cypriot politician Ihsan Ali, a strong believer of Turkey’s partitioning policy stated: “The Turkish community is a victim of treason by the Turkish government. The Turkish-Cypriots are not victims of the Cypriot government or of the Greek-Cypriots”.[12]

    These are the two plans I was identifying in my first piece on this. I think the interests of the community as a whole and in its halves are served by neither. I don’t believe as stated here that Bloody Christmas was a contrivance, just merely the first opportunity to arise.

    Sadly your link does not work. I would be very interested to read it.

    I am at a loss to understand the realistic choices available to the EU other than excluding Cyprus and losing any traction in the matter. Re-setting history to 1960 when populations were more intermixed and making a go of the favourable terms of the London Zurich constitution would surely have brought untroubled EU integration? It just goes to show how messy these things can rapidly become.

    Do you think the EU allowance of Cyprus entry malicious?

  46. As far as dates go, and it is a chicken and egg thing, the Akritas came first. There have been many attempts and plans to divide the island but my point is that an agreement WAS signed and that is what the EU and the rest of world should be using as to how to treat both sides. What ever I was before that agreement sort of pails into insignificance as I have found over ten years of discussions. Some have taken the argument back to prehistoric times and one guy calls himself a “True” Cypriot and a “Choirokoitian”. That sort of thing prompted Denktas to once state that “The only True Cypriots are the donkeys”.

    I am the first to admit there are many controversies in the Cyprob but the link (hope this one works?) should show that the Akritas came first and mostly the rest was a reaction to, if not the Akritas (Because it was found later), then the constant call for ENOSIS. The “Unfair” Zurich agreement was the only way to stop partition or unification to Greece and therefore war between Greece and Turkey ,so I think it UNFAIR to say it was unfair. It was the best for the time and had the two sides managed to get on then there might have just been just a CYPRIOT nation by now.

    Although it is fair to say the two peoples were intermixed when looking at that map the reality is that they had their own cafes to sit in and drink coffee and the Turks were very much second class in most instances. It is true that there were times when religious festivals happened the villagers would tun up, regardless of faith to help celebrate but I don’t know how that worked, before my time and knowing all the rubbish that has been written misrepresenting the past, I am sceptical.

    We cannot go back in time. The EU were blackmailed by Greece to allow Cyprus into the EU regardless of their “Strict” rules. They got around it by suspending the aquis in the North and reserving two seats for the TCs in Brussels. The entry, from that point of view is malicious but it also gave the GCs some comfort that Turkey would not attack an EU country. Most TCs believe it was another clever move by the Greeks/GCs to gain leverage and since the GCs have been trying to get from UN sponsored talks to EU because we can all have individual human rights under the EU and who is in government doesn’t matter, effectively cutting out any involvement of TCs soon to become Cypriot Muslims. That choice is to be mine and not forced on me. I was once agressivly asked by a representative of the FCO in the UK if I thought if Denktas’s declaration of the TRNC (Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus) was a good thing. I quickly and just as aggressively answered her with a “It helped to preserve my identity”, to which she had no answer as her open mouthed response showed. I got involved in the Cyprob when my children came of an age to know about their father. Having an English mother I thought it was important, so did their mother and they showed a healthy interest. Imagine my surprise when I found that propaganda had nearly erased me from history and apparently it did not matter to my adopted country of the UK.

  47. Many thanks, Olgun. Lots to think on here. What strikes me immediately is that you can take in a lot of poliical facts about complex situations like these, but only by being taken through how it feels from the inside, the motivations and apparent motivations, can you understand the personal significances of it all.

    I would love that we had here also access to ordinary folk on the ground in Iran. In making accounts of the recent past it is entirely possible to completely misapprehend what folk actually feel and wish. Goodness, if we could have anonymised sources from these places to inject reality into our threads, we could be a far more useful discussion shop. Such people must be out their if we could only safely hook up?

  48. What strikes me immediately is that you can take in a lot of poliical
    facts about complex situations like these, but only by being taken
    through how it feels from the inside, the motivations and apparent
    motivations, can you understand the personal significances of it all.

    Exactly what is so frustrating about taking the TCs out of the equation at international level. We need the platform to put our case and not allow EU and UN members to be blackmailed into believing the “legitimate” government are the GCs. It has only served to stretch out any chance of an agreement.

    To link that back to Iran, they should be allowed to voice their grievances as well, not only are they having to climb over walls from their own but the press in the west. It has taken us a lot of work to change some aspects of press behaviour on the Cyprus issue and that is how I know. It is nowhere near perfect though.

    Goodness, if we could have anonymised sources from these places to
    inject reality into our threads, we could be a far more useful
    discussion shop.

    And how! More than its weight in black ink. I complimented the Mods on this site a while back and I meant it. Most discussion sites are useless when it comes to the Mods and I think those here would be the most useful tool if those discussion ever come about because they are likely to be highjacked by paid propaganda merchants if not kept in check.

  49. I think they are savages, but America has lost the Highground. We torture people, we gave chemical weapons to Iraq to use on Iran we, overthrew Iran’s elected leader and put in our pupet.

  50. Hi Olgun,

    For some reason I can’t reply at the appropriate place in this thread.

    OK. Lets leave out the rest of the world. As an atheist, I can only see it as wrong and far beyond excessive to murder the man for it. Yes, it was Mr. Religion, in the study, with the candle stick. I can’t say more than that and a few “That darn religion” rants. Of course we can then start to take religion apart but whats the use of that? I am already atheist I don’t need to destroy something I don’t believe in and isn’t there.

    I think this is a flippant response that also mischaracterizes the other posters’ comments. I see their posts as expressing frustration at injustice and not as anti-religious ranting. I also hoped you would explain why the court was wrong.

    Now, going back to reality on the ground.

    I think it’s fair to say that what you’re really doing is getting back to your hobbyhorse.

    We know there is tension between the middle east and the west. We can talk all day long as to why it exists but one doesn’t trust the other and many have backers from two side who are much more powerful. Two powerful sides who are at odds also. You have seen the chaos that this conflict has caused in many countries and not only religion has been used but political differences as well as race. That is of course if you accept our hand in these “Civil wars” if not then don’t bother to read on.

    I don’t think this is as relevant as you seem to think it is.

    Theres a lot more of that to come. So when Iran is trying keep its country together and is suspicious not only of its enemy but also of its ally, as is the case in political circles, then when an example is needed to show your people you are serious and the courts can be corrupted, we get a situation like this. It makes everyone sit up and listen.

    Ah, so he is being prosecuted to make an example of him to better protect Iran from the influence of its enemies. I must say that I find this to be a remarkable claim. You’ve essentially shrunk Iran to a ridiculous degree; to a single issue in this case. Pity Iran!

    My original posts was a response to just blaming religion and simple rants.

    I think you want to talk about the conflict. But as far as hobbyhorses go I think yours is a good one.

    The justification at the top, in Iran, is political and religion the tool. This does not let religion of the hook because I am sure there are some that only rely on religious law to justify it as there are here who do the opposite same. I thought it was scientific to take ALL known facts to come to a conclusion and not filter out those that make your case only. I can’t do that. I like to know how things work and that is what happens in my brain the moment I read something.

    I asked you to ignore it so that we could focus on why the court’s decision was a mistake which continues to be one regardless of any rationalizations.

    I repeat; The world needs to take its finger off the trigger, take a deep breath before something big happens.

    I don’t blame Iran, and I don’t want to escalate any conflict. I also don’t represent some entity you imagine is the US or The West, I’m just someone who hates injustice. I assume the same is true of others who vented their frustrations here.

  51. When a person is liable to face execution over his allusions to a fake prophet (forgive the tautology there: Islam would not) there is something desperately, heartbreakingly, wrong. It’s the most extreme form of inhumanity in the world today. Religious inhumanity.

  52. On one hand, it is good news that there are people in religious countries who are jumping the fence and seeing the light. On the other hand, the same freethinkers are the first to be assassinated by the religious savages. I hope to see the demise of these humanoid animals in my lifetime. Their destruction my joy as a humanist.

  53. I can see that the India is going through the same cycle. A ruthless PM who is named in crimes based on the religion, is slowly pushing country into hardline Hinduism. Not that India wasn’t a religious country. But, it was tolerant and at least young generation was having hope. That hope is quickly fading. Western countries and USA is busy in praising this PM. He may soon become TIMES magazine person of year. But back home, his agenda seem to be, to create a strong fundamentalist Hindu nation.

  54. Interesting points. I doubt if anyone knows for sure how good or bad the real Mohammed was, so many stories arise about self-styled “prophets” and all people who are worshipped. His marriage to a child is pretty well established, I think and no Muslim that I know has yet been able to satisfactorily assimilate that with their belief in a kind and moral Mohammed. I am just so sick to the back teeth with all brands of fundamentalist religion. They’re a foul pestilence on humanity.

  55. Reading this, thinking, what did he post, was he trolling ~ realize, that doesn’t matter, a death sentence is not warranted … but this is Iran we’re talking about, they don’t have freedom of speech, nor freedom of the press, in any meaningful way we would measure it ~ they’re one of a few nations that actively censors their Internet … so this is what can be expected of such regimes ~ want to change things, the problem is bigger than just one wrongful execution …

  56. Hi Sean,

    For some reason I can’t reply at the appropriate place in this thread.

    When a particular question gets answered there is a long line (one hopes) of answers below that particular question. You have to keep scrolling back up until you find the tree that relates and use the reply button there. Your answer will appear at the very bottom of the tree.

    I think this is a flippant response

    I agree. My apologies.

    mischaracterizes the other posters’ comments. I see their posts as
    expressing frustration at injustice and not as anti-religious ranting.

    I realise its frustration but you cannot deny that it is anti-releligion. I have no problem with the anti-religion but I want to understand my frustration in detail. I also worry about a one dimensional response and how dangerous it can be. I might have done some injustice to the posters in question, I don’t know them, I can only respond to that particular post they made and it wasn’t sufficient in my mind. There are other reasons that involve pack mentality and forum complacency that can also create dangerous consequences but I won’t go too deeply into that for fear of further offence.

    I also hoped you would explain why the court was wrong.

    Not sure what you really want here Sean? You are happy with the first posters showing frustration and if we skip to your final sentences you only express the same and add injustice. I did that too ( the wrong way maybe).

    If we look at the article then we can only echo it , from the outside, by asking that “Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalize peaceful free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.” It has laws. It seems his legal team are trying to get the lower sentence of 74 lashes and the possibility of amnesty so a legal battle IS going on. I don’t agree that it should even be contested but then I don’t agree that some states in the US have the death penalty either. There are always comparisons, to a degree, and my original post made the comparison to draconian anti-terrorist laws that are open to abuse. If we can’t be mature and use existing laws and intelligence to deal with threats, who are we to blame others. (You need to add the rest of my comments to this Sean and not take this out of context).

    I don’t think this is as relevant as you seem to think it is.

    I do.

    Ah, so he is being prosecuted to make an example of him to better
    protect Iran from the influence of its enemies. I must say that I find
    this to be a remarkable claim. You’ve essentially shrunk Iran to a
    ridiculous degree; to a single issue in this case. Pity Iran!

    If you take this one comment alone then you are right but as I have pointed out it is more complicated than that and this is just one reaction. The same reasons a computer gaming company will take a few people to court to make an example to scare the rest into not stealing its games. In our neighbouring borough of Waltham Forest, last year they put up posters to announce the new “on the spot” fines for spitting in the streets. Within two weeks the local papers were front paging two men that had been arrested and fined. It is a well known strategy and Iran is using it in bigger scale. If it was their only strategy then I too would pity Iran but it is not.

    I think you want to talk about the conflict. But as far as hobbyhorses
    go I think yours is a good one.

    I want the rounded discussion that this forum deserves.

    I asked you to ignore it so that we could focus on why the court’s
    decision was a mistake which continues to be one regardless of any
    rationalisations.

    The law of the land that we can hope will change ASAP. What can we do but show frustration at the injustice? Well (Warning: a flippant answer aimed at the UN…Produce another resolution condemning the act)(Sorry, had to squeeze that one in)

    I’m just someone who hates injustice. I assume the same is true of
    others who vented their frustrations here.

    I think it safe to assume that of everybody here.

    I also don’t represent some entity you imagine is the US or The West

    And I am not of the Middle East but I hope the world.

    I don’t blame Iran, and I don’t want to escalate any conflict.

    I am not sure that can be said of every one and that is what scares me.

  57. I’m with you on this one! and Some people on here (and they should really know better)…claiming that Israel’s nuclear capability is secret? Eh?
    Western powers with atomic weapons – know that they are virtually useless except as an ultimate deterrent…..mind you the fecking mad mullahs want us all in the non-existent afterlife tomorrow- so the nuked western city is their ultimate goal! coz they know that at that point the escalation would probably lead to a sudden reduction in human populations!!!

  58. Hi Olgun,

    As an atheist, I can only see it as wrong and far beyond excessive to murder the man for it. Yes, it was Mr. Religion, in the study, with the candle stick. I can’t say more than that and a few “That darn religion” rants. Of course we can then start to take religion apart but whats the use of that? I am already atheist I don’t need to destroy something I don’t believe in and isn’t there.

    Let me try to persuade you otherwise. God/Allah isn’t there; as atheists we get that. But religion is still, in the minds of humans, a powerful motivating and morally corrupting influence.
    I cannot dismiss religion so easily. It lurks behind major conflicts, eliding blame from the glib and the wise alike because other suspects like politics and economics take the blame instead. But when you realise the newer animosities may be traced back to the old Jihadi thirst for conquest that has for 1400 years periodically surged across parts of Europe, been repelled by crusaders, surged again, repelled again by crusaders, ad nauseum.
    My point being that Islam in particular still has this inherent mindset; indelibly stamped and sealed in the foundational texts and, more importantly for us, still increasingly acted upon in our world, even now. The Greek/Turk differences in modern Cyprus just one of many manifestations of the same story, as you explain.

  59. There is no need to convince me Inqui. I have not dismissed religion. Not even for a second. What I have said is that it is not the be all and end all of all our problems. I don’t accept your definition that it lurks behind everything though. It lurks behind some and politics behind others and economics behind others still. If one, or both, can be used to bolster the other then they will be. If you are trying to convince me that each oil baron has a secret temple in which he plots with his fellow super rich clad in capes then I have to tell you you are off with the fairies. All those stories in the bible and history books that have death and destruction for millennia don’t seem to mention the muslims. The first and second wars were muslim wars? Maybe you are talking about the Caliphate? Did they invent empires and slaves? As much as people have tried to turn the Cyprob into a religious affair it has not been possible. We might have had a priest as our first president but it was nothing but politics and economics with a little help from religion that caused it all. The fall of communist Greece in between should give us some clue.

  60. “He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
    And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere. ”

    “Every breath you take is a step towards death.”

    “The value of a person is what he does best.”

    “Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you, for they were born for a different time.”

    “There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance”

    If we keep profiling the more numerous (the educated, the family centred) on the behaviours of the less (the illiterate and their parasites) we will fail to see the might bes and the nearly were’s that put our Dark Ages to shame. The military aims of long ago nestled in the cradle of western culture alone kept the light of Democritus and Epicurus alive and had it flourish in Averroes (declaring that personal souls did not exist) and Omar Khayyam celebrating the same thing in a way that speaks directly to us, and all this only a few hundred years after your smoking sulph’rous text.

    Parasite clerics did for it. Not the power of the evil text, handily crafted as that was. Our own parasites held enlightenment back for longer, but so pent up was the grief I suggest we started to lift free of its horrid pull. Islamic enlightenment probably took off a little too soon, got spotted too soon and clamped on ratherly firmly as a result. It will get a second go, so long as people like you let it, work for it, and trust it as a viable process.

    There is no freedom with one mighty bound. It is hard political slog to delouse, not put down.

    Those enlightened quotes are from Ali ibn Abi Thalib, as compassionate a ruler as you would find anywhere at the time. Muhammad’s son-in-law, the first Imam after him and/or the fourth “guided” Caliph, split Sunnis and Shias with their differing interpretations of his role, but became the focus for Sufi veneration, like the compassionate and democratically enlightened Ahmad Shah Massoud, who quoted him often.

    There is cultural treasure here, buried in the long ago and it needs rediscovery and using like Massoud did to quell the parasites.

    As Katy said quoting Fry, “Religion? Shit it.”

    But even religion only goes so deep.

  61. Olgun,

    I didn’t say it lurks behind every problem.

    Apart from that I more or less agree with you. Except that you emphasize secondary causes and promote them above their station; a bit like our friend Robert Pape who thinks similarly.

    As for what secret shenanigans oil barons get up to; I wouldn’t know, but I bow to your greater experience.

    All those stories in the bible and history books that have death and destruction for millennia don’t seem to mention the muslims.

    The bible was written before muslims existed, which might account for it. Unless you subscribe to the view that the bible prophets were themselves muslims. The history books have uncountable numbers of mentions of muslims and the death and destruction they wrought (and still wreak), and genocide, conquest and invasions of the lands of others. What history books are you reading?

    The first and second wars were muslim wars? Maybe you are talking about the Caliphate? Did they invent empires and slaves? As much as people have tried to turn the Cyprob into a religious affair it has not been possible.

    Not sure which 1st and 2nd wars you mean. ? I certainly do realize that Muslims did not invent slavery or imperialism, but they certainly were enthusiastic slave owners and slave traders and slave capturers.
    You surely know better than I about the Cyprob. Tell me, how many wars have there been between Greece and Turkey, not counting the Turkish occupations of Cyprus? Do you wonder what happened to the GCs whose lands were stolen from them by the Turks who then occupied their homes? Can there really be no religious enmity? Would there have been so many Greco-Turkish wars since the Ottoman times if they had all shared the same religion? And why the awful massacres on both sides: millions of Greeks and Armenians by Turks; many Turks by Greeks. What part does religion play do you think? Always seems to demarcate the lines of conflict.

  62. My point about the bible and PRE- Muslim history books. Of course there would be no wars with Greeks and Turks if they were both the same religion because there have never been wars within religions. The first and second world wars that should have read. People look for difference to wage war if that is what is in the air. All cypriots in my school came together regardless of religion because we were different to the English. Birds of a feather and all that. Such a complicated world made simple by your predgudices. I put a link on a reply to Phil if you want to discuss the Cyprus issue in depth. Not much about religion being said there.

  63. Olgun, I must endorse your view on this. I did many hours of reading on Cypriot history, because I found it fascinating and maddening. I found virtualy no indictments of the respective religions, only of the overblown nationalisms in play.

  64. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion Olgun.

    I realise its frustration but you cannot deny that it is anti-releligion. I have no problem with the anti-religion but I want to understand my frustration in detail. I also worry about a one dimensional response and how dangerous it can be. I might have done some injustice to the posters in question, I don’t know them, I can only respond to that particular post they made and it wasn’t sufficient in my mind. There are other reasons that involve pack mentality and forum complacency that can also create dangerous consequences but I won’t go too deeply into that for fear of further offence.

    I’m not offended.

    I also hoped you would explain why the court was wrong.

    Not sure what you really want here Sean? You are happy with the first posters showing frustration and if we skip to your final sentences you only express the same and add injustice. I did that too ( the wrong way maybe).

    I wanted to focus on the problem of certain rights being withheld from people because they happen to live in the wrong place. That’s the court’s mistake and it is one they can continue to make regardless of Iran’s foreign relations or national security policies.

    If we look at the article then we can only echo it , from the outside, by asking that “Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalize peaceful free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.” It has laws. It seems his legal team are trying to get the lower sentence of 74 lashes and the possibility of amnesty so a legal battle IS going on. I don’t agree that it should even be contested but then I don’t agree that some states in the US have the death penalty either. There are always comparisons, to a degree, and my original post made the comparison to draconian anti-terrorist laws that are open to abuse. If we can’t be mature and use existing laws and intelligence to deal with threats, who are we to blame others. (You need to add the rest of my comments to this Sean and not take this out of context).

    This is better. But your earlier posts attempted to bring what I think are irrelevant factors into the mix. Like I hinted at above a change in Iran’s relationships with other powers or national security policies will not necessarily lead to less of these sorts of decisions from the courts. Nor are these decisions necessarily the result of current tensions with the rest of the world. -bottom up

  65. That’s the court’s mistake and it is one they can continue to make
    regardless of Iran’s foreign relations or national security policies.

    Like I hinted at above a change in Iran’s relationships with other
    powers or national security policies will not necessarily lead to less
    of these sorts of decisions from the courts. Nor are these decisions
    necessarily the result of current tensions with the rest of the world.

    If you want to get on with a friends then compromise is a key factor. If you think your enemy is trying to mix things up from within you will close your doors and make sure you are in full control of the residents.

    If you look at Turkey, you will see this unfold before your eyes. The investment and, I believe, promises that came from the west, US in particular, saw great reforms in Turkey with more to come. A secular system put in place by Mustafa Kemal with a third entity, the army, to keep the two apart was/is being destroyed. Firstly, as part of the reforms for entry into the EU, the destruction of the army and secondly the ever increase of religious law. The president has always had a religious bent but was kept in check with the possibility of entry into the EU. Those hopes have all but disappeared and although the president is described as being paranoid, all evidence, in my opinion, points to him being right that he has been double crossed for what ever reason. Turkey was seen as the country to help unite and control the region and was needed for gas to come from Israel to europe through a gas pipe. Russia had already stopped the route through Syria by supporting Asad so Turkey is really the only cheapest option. Relations with the west are so bad that Turkey has now agreed a new gas pipe from Russia to Europe cementing Russia’s hold on supply, which I believe is 40% and its pricing. The reforms now look as if they will go into reverse and religion is set to rule as the best method of control within and sends a big message out to the west also. I have read that the Greek shipping industry is now in full swing to transport LNG from the US, through fracking supplies, and Israel and there is even talk of a longer more expensive pipe to greece from israel. Once the ball of further integration with government and religion gets rolling it can only get worse for the people who even seem to be dissident let alone those that actually are. So I am saying that as sanctions are removed and trust is gained then a move towards the middle ground is more probable. Sanctions alone will not work.

  66. The first and second world wars that should have read.

    Apologies Olgun, I should have realised you were talking about the two world wars.
    Your sarcasm about “there have never been wars within religions” is well taken.
    However, my point (again) was that wars are caused by religion. Not that religion is the only cause.

    Such a complicated world made simple by your predgudices.

    No. The complications remain. But I do have a simple prejudice.

    Which is mainly against threats to human rights.

    Against ranting ideologues, such as those who, we all know them, fervently spout false, ruthlessly expansionist, absolutist ideals, with claimed divine backing. Maybe I’m just pissing in the wind here, but that is one thing worth ranting against.

    I put a link on a reply to Phil if you want to discuss the Cyprus issue in depth. Not much about religion being said there.

    I shall take a look at it. Thanks.

  67. Not to mention all the involvement being an ally of the Taliban against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1970’s (I think it was then)

  68. The government of the USA is not perfect, however I would rather live in America than Iran. One has far more freedoms as an American than as an Iranian.

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