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Iran executes man for doubting tale of Jonah and the fish

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Iranian authorities executed a 37-year-old man for allegedly “insulting” the prophet Jonah and accused him of committing adultery, the Guardian reported on Monday.

The Guardian quoted an anonymous source’s statement to a U.S. civic advocacy group, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, saying Mohsen Amir-Aslani was originally arrested on orders of intelligence officials nine years ago.

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“He was initially held for making innovations in Islam and providing his own interpretations of the Qur’an but later he was accused of insulting prophet Jonah and also faced accusations of having sex outside marriage,” the source was quoted as saying. “They alleged that he had sexual relationships with a group of the people who participated in his classes.”

According to Amir-Aslani’s wife, Leila, Officials reportedly listed “spreading corruption on earth” and “innovations in the religion” as the reasons for Amir-Aslani’s conviction before adding the accusations of “illicit sexual relationships.” He was executed by hanging last week.

Amir-Aslani also reportedly interpreted the story of the prophet Jonah as being “symbolic.” Jonah appears in Chapter 10 of the Qur’an in a story similar to his appearance in the Hebrew Bible. The Qur’an’s version of the story states that Jonah was swallowed by a fish and imprisoned before he “glorified Allah” and repented for his actions.


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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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