Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry was the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a now-dormant site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He was the Editor-in-Chief of two Manhattan-based magazines until he decided to give up commercial publishing for professional photography... with a lot of blogging on the side. These days, he lives in an old seaside farmhouse in Maine with his wife, three kids, and two big dogs.
Last summer, Rimsha Masih, a young teenager who is the daughter of a Pakistani Christian couple, was arrested and jailed on charges of blasphemy. Her accuser was a mullah, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti (a.k.a. Khalid Jadoon) who said he’d caught the girl with charred pages from the Koran. Something was fishy about the case from the get-go. For one thing, Rimsha (pictured below, left) was widely reported to be of limited mental capacity (some sources say she has Down Syndrome); even if she had really done what Chishti (right) accused her of, her culpability was in question. Also, Chishti is a known agitator against Christians, … even appearing on a popular national television show to complain that the noise made by Christian worshippers had disturbed Muslim residents. Which is an observation lacking in the self-awareness department if you’ve ever heard the racket a muezzin blares from atop his minaret five times a day. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Sunday’s massive protests in Egypt were unprecedented, of a scale not even seen during 2011’s Arab Spring. The protesters aimed to show by sheer numbers that the country has irrevocably turned against [President Mohamed] Morsi, a year to the day after he was inaugurated as Egypt’s first freely elected president. But throughout the day and even up to midnight at the main rallying sites, fears of rampant violence did not materialize. Instead the mood was largely festive. [Click headline for more…] Read more
So this happened in Sweden on Saturday: At 11 o’clock on Saturday, [they came] into the Stockholm mosque [in] Södermalm, threw [their] clothes [away, and,] with clenched fists in the air, they shouted in English:… “No to Sharia! No to oppression! Free women!” Skip the first twelve seconds of the following video unless you speak Swedish. The rest is in English. (Please do not click play if women’s breasts offend you.) [Click headline for more…] Read more
“I’m important. I’m somebody… I’m the real deal.” If that sounds like a rapper boast, you haven’t been to Pastor Jim Standridge’s church in Skiatook, Oklahoma. That’s how he talks. But when Standridge gets mad, he utters a whole lot more than expressions of comically inflated self-regard. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Tomorrow, at 1:00p (Central Time), a new chapter opens in the long, sordid tale of Catholic clergy raping children. That’s the hour when the Milwaukee diocese, which has found itself in bankruptcy proceedings since early 2011, will make thousands of pages of incriminating records available, including personnel files and secret depositions by the highest Catholic Church authorities in Wisconsin. Both the archdiocese’s site and a website run by victims’ lawyers will publish the documents. There is speculation that the disclosure may be a body blow to New York’s Timothy Dolan (pictured below), the most powerful Cardinal in the United States. Though Dolan denies he did anything wrong, critics say that when he learned the Chapter 11 filing in Milwaukee was inevitable, he had millions of dollars funneled into special trusts, out of reach of abuse victims and their lawyers. [Click headline for more…] Read more