Thank you, John Mueller
Supporters demonstrate in January for the release of Saeed Malekpour in Montreal, Quebec.
(CNN) — A computer programmer from Canada faces imminent execution in Iran for the actions of another person, which he had no control over, a human rights group says.
Saeed Malekpour wrote a program to upload photos to the Internet, an accomplishment that could cost him his life, Amnesty International reported Friday. Authorities in the Islamic Republic claimed his program was used by someone else to upload pornography and charged him with “insulting and desecrating Islam.”
Malekpour, who is a Toronto resident, was arrested in October 2008 while visiting relatives in Iran. He was convicted in a short trial and was sentenced to death in October 2011, according to Amnesty International.
Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed the sentence on January 17. Malekpour’s lawyers have been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of his court files since Tuesday and fear this could be an indicator that an executioner could carry out the sentence soon, Amnesty said. A court official suggested to the lawyers that the file had been sent to the Office for the Implementation of Sentences, according to Amnesty.
Malekpour sent a letter from prison detailing beatings and other mistreatment at the hands of Iranian prison officials to obtain a confession, said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated,” the letter says.
Malekpour’s supporters have created Facebook pages and websites in his support dating to at least 2009.
Amnesty International has requested on its website that concerned individuals write Iranian authorities inside and outside the country to demand that Malekpour not be executed.
Active Advisory: Tornado Warning, Tornado Watch, Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Flash Flood Warning, Areal Flood Watch, Wind Advisory (US Severe Weather)
It’s been rainy and dark the entire day, and I know what I need – I need to go to Five Sisters. We had planned to go to the huge Pensacola Mardi Gras Parade, but as the rain came down, my spirits were also dampened. There was a time – and I could see in AdventureMan’s eyes, he was hoping this wasn’t one of those times – when I would have said “We HAVE to go, even if it is raining!”
He has a little cold and I drift in and out of allergies, and standing a couple hours out in the rain and hollering and catching beads is probably not what mature people like us should be doing. (A part of me is greatly depressed at being so ‘mature’.)
But I know just the thing. Five Sisters. As we drive up, a parking space becomes available, always a good omen, and as we walk to the door, we are greeted with divine fragrances of smoke and grilling meat and we are starting to feel better already.
On the menu board, one of the specials of the day is BBQ Shrimp. Ummmm, ummmmmm, doesn’t that sound good on a rainy day. I order the BBQ Shrimp with cheese grits and a salad, AdventureMan orders the Seafood Platter. Bluesy music, some old hits from the 60′s and 70′s, and our food comes.
My BBQ Shrimp was AWESOME. Today it was tangy, vinegar-y and Tabasco sauce, the essence of Louisiana. It came sizzling hot, but the shrimp still had the shells on, which AdventureMan tells me is the way it comes when it is BBQ Shrimp in the South. Oh well, it is a good thing that the shells are on and I have to work to get them off before I can eat each one, if I didn’t have to get those tails and shells off I would probably gobble them down in no time at all! As it was, I was able to bring about half of the shrimp home to savor later.
AdventureMan said on the way home “Oysters sure are rich, aren’t they?” I just laughed, I like oysters cooked, but mostly I like them steamed, and even then, they are so rich I can’t eat many of them. If you deep fry them, you just add rich on rich. His dish was fish, shrimp and oysters, deep fried, and some of 5 Sisters fabulous fries, which he didn’t eat, and didn’t need because there was so much seafood on the Seafood Platter:
As we left, it was still raining, one of those days that went from dark to dark grey to not-quite-so-dark grey to a couple moments of light grey and then back to dark grey and now it is almost dark once again. We don’t often have a day with no sunshine in Pensacola, and it is very very sad when that one day is the day of the Pensacola Mardi Gras Parade and it pours down rain just as the parade is starting. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But Five Sisters puts a smile back on our faces every time.
“Have you tried Bangkok Garden?” our friends asked. “They used to be down on Navy Boulevard, but got blown out by one of the Hurricanes and weren’t around for a while, then one day we saw them open again over on Fairchild.”
No, we hadn’t noticed, or if we had, we hadn’t thought it might be a really good place. The next day it was my turn to choose where we would go for lunch, and AdventureMan pretended to be enthusiastic, but Thai food isn’t his favorite. He doesn’t not like it, he just doesn’t like it the way I do. Or at least he didn’t, until we had lunch at Bangkok Garden.
I wish I had thought to take a photo of the lunch menu. They had a very good selection to choose from, and the prices were $5.95 – $7.95 for a small soup, Thai spring roll, and main dish with rice.
It is family run, and they work hard. Bangkok Garden was full of working people at lunch, from delivery men to attorneys and officials. The food was served hot and fresh, and it was delicious.
I had the Basil Chicken, which was the way I like it, very Basil-y:
AdventureMan had the Cashew Chicken, which had lots of cashews, not peanuts. We had thought we would share, but the serving dishes are not really conducive to sharing a lot.
We agreed – we will go back soon. Even AdventureMan was happy. It is a real deal, delicious fresh Thai food at a reasonable price.
We have spent many happy hours and days in Syria. We grieve for our Syrian friends, for those living in Homs and Hama, and all those seeking freedom from tyranny.
I LOVE this! Thank you, Hayfa! I love it that it is real Kuwaiti’s; I can’t tell the song, but I think it is one of the National Day songs (National Day and Liberation Day are coming up, February 25 / 26) and oh, what a wonderful, fun way to celebrate.
I especially love the security guard
Everyone is having such a great time!
Those who do not know that there is only one God often think Allah is not the same God we worship. Those who do not know the history of Islam do not understand that all our traditions stem from Abraham, and that Islam springs from Hajar, mother of Ishmael. They do not know that the prayers start with “There is no God but Allah” and I am willing to bet that linguistically, Jahweh and Allah are related, too.
The good news is, too, that this is not an official school activity, and the student has the freedom to sing – or not to sing. My bet is that the student is missing out on an interesting opportunity to sing some very different music.
A Colorado high school student says he quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric “there is no truth except Allah” made it into the repertoire.
James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing “Zikr,” a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials. When the school stood by choir director Marcia Wieland’s selection, Harper said, he quit.
“I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. “This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet … I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth.”
But district spokesman Jeff Kirtland defended the decision to include the song.
“Choral music is often devoted to religious themes. … This is not a case where the school is endorsing or promoting any particular religion or other non-educational agenda. The song was chosen because its rhythms and other qualities would provide an opportunity to exhibit the musical talent and skills of the group in competition, not because of its religious message or lyrics,” Kirtland told FoxNews.com in an email while noting that the choir “is a voluntary, after-school activity.”
“Students are not required to participate, and receive no academic credit for doing so,” he said.
At an upcoming concert, the choir is scheduled to sing an Irish folk song and an Christian song titled “Prayer of the Children,” in addition to the song by Rahman.
“The teacher consulted with students and asked each of them to review an online performance of the selection with their parents before making the decision to perform the piece,” Kirtland said, and members who object to the religious content of musical selections aren’t required to sing them.
Rahman, who has sold hundreds of millions of records and is well-known in his homeland, has said the song is not intended for a worship ceremony. He told FoxNews.com in a written statement that the song, composed for the move “Bose, the Forgotten Hero,” is about “self-healing and spirituality.”
“It is unfortunate that the student in Colorado misinterpreted the intention of the song,” Rahman said. “I have long celebrated the commonalities of humanity and try to share and receive things in this way. While I respect his decision for opting out, this incident is an example of why we need further cultural education through music.”
The song is written in Urdu, but one verse translates to “There is no truth except Allah” and “Allah is the only eternal and immortal.” Although the choir sang the original version, Wieland distributed translated lyrics.
Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo referred questions to Kirtland.
FoxNews.com’s Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this story.
I love this photo. It has the essence of true art; it is immediate and compelling, and pulls you in. Or at least it pulls me in. It reminds me of the Pieta (see end of article)
New York Times photographer Samuel Aranda was announced the winner of the iconic World Press Photo competition on Friday.
The 55th annual jury of the World Press Photo contest selected Aranda’s photograph of a woman consoling an injured male relative in Yemen as 2011′s photo of the year. The woman is covered almost entirely by her burqa, by exception of small parts of her face and arms that seem to sneak out from beneath her robes. Aranda took the photograph in a Sanaa mosque that was being used as a hospital by demonstrators protesting against Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Times’ Lens blog described the winning photograph as having the “feel of a Renaissance painting.” Mr. Aranda told the Times that it was one of the first shots he took during his two months on assignment in Yemen. “The woman is not just crying. It was something more. You can feel that the woman is really strong,” Aranda said of the female subject in his photograph.
The World Press Photo competition is one of the most famous competitions for photojournalists in the world. The award-winning photographs are made into a traveling exhibition, which visits more than 45 countries over the course of the year. Click over to the World Press Photo website to view all the winners and exhibit schedule.
“I’m cramming for my exam” I said to AdventureMan, as he eyed my plate full of vegetables and my WonTon soup broth.
“What exam?” he asked.
“I have a follow up with Dr. Internal Medicine, and I need to get my blood tested in two weeks. In two weeks I can make sure my cholesterol and blood sugar and blood pressure are all in line,” I told him.
My sister, Big Diamond, told me that it only takes two weeks of proper eating to get the numbers right. I did it last time and it worked. Now and then, between exams, I eat something too sweet, or too white, or too high on the glycemic index, but not the two weeks before my blood test! No no no!
Whoda thunk I would reach this ripe, mature age and still have to worry about exams?