Created on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 01:16
BY CLEOSLICK EMILY, AAI NEWS TEAM
suspected to be Boko Haram members have attacked and killed dozens of students at the Federal
Government College in Buni Yadi, a town in the Nigerian state of Yobe. Yobe
state Police Commissioner Sanusi A Rufai confirmed that twenty-nine male students were
killed and twenty-four structures including the administration block, student
hostel and staff quarters were burnt down.
Boko Haram is a militant group known for
attacking citizens, government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and
police stations, and kidnapping Western tourists. Former Boko Haram leader,
Mohammed Yusuf stated before his death his belief that the fact of a spherical
Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with
Darwinian evolution. He also stated his belief that the fact of rain
originating from water evaporated by the sun should never be taught in schools.
(Warning: Graphic photo included at end of article)
Created on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 01:04
BY R. CLEVENGER, AAI NEWS TEAM
Alabama House committee, despite majority opposition, without any regard to the
1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, and with complete disregard of McCollum v. Board of
passed a bill that would require public school
teachers to open class every morning with a prayer.
religiously biased politicians in this case have done an end-run to put
enforced prayer into public schools in the guise of teaching congressional
procedure. They are not invoking religious privilege or claiming discrimination
for not being allowed to pray within the confines of the school grounds in this
case, but rather are specifying a 15-minute period at the commencement of the
first class of each day to study the formal procedures of the U.S. Congress,
which must include a verbatim
reading of a prayer from the beginning of the House or Senate meetings.
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 22:42
hostilities are very high and rising within both Israel and the Palestinian
territories. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, social
hostilities involving religion (including mob or sectarian violence,
religion-related terrorism or conflict, organized attempts to dominate
public life with a particular perspective on religion, harassment over
attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation or
abuse) have reached 6-year highs in both areas.
Pew uses a tool called the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) to measure social hostilities by country. The tool measures the presence and intensity of various measures of social hostility on a scale from 0 (no social hostilities) to 10 (all-out civil anarchy). According to the report, Israel reached a high of 9.4 out of 10 on the Pew Social Hostilities Index in regards to religious violence in 2012. The Palestinian Territories reached a high of 9.0 out of 10. This is in comparison to the Middle East & North Africa, which rated at 5.7 out of 10 in 2012; and in comparison to the world, which rated at 2.9 on the Index.
Created on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:34
Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, also known as "Ben Baz," has been released from prison in Kuwait where he was held (but never tried) on charges of blasphemy for over a year.
Albaz, a 27-year-old Egyptian atheist blogger, was arrested in early January 2013 by Kuwaiti authorities. While Albaz had been known for posting on his blog stories of the relationship between religion, the State and secularism. The Constitution of Kuwait makes Islam the state religion, and considers
Sharia a primary source of legislation. The Kuwaiti parliament passed a law in 2012 introducing the death
penalty for Muslims who blaspheme against Islam, while non-Muslims who
blaspheme faced ten years or more in prison. The law provides that any
Muslim(!) citizen may file a complaint against an author if the citizen
believes that the author has defamed Islam, the ruling family, or public
A hearing on Albaz' case had been scheduled for last February 28, but it's unclear what was decided at the hearing or even whether the hearing actually occurred. After a year, Kuwaiti authorities have apparently let him out on his own recognizance - of course, long after he would have lost his job and probably his residence, and without any due process
Created on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 08:00
47% of Quebecers "Completely Support" proposed Charter of Values, 21% Generally Supportive But Would Like Even Stronger Church-State Separation
According to the Candian Broadcasting Company (CBC) news report, a proposed "charter of values" for the province of Quebec proposed by the government has been overwhelmingly positive.
Among other things, the proposed charter of values emphasizes the separation between religion and government in Quebec. For instance, public sector workers would not be permitted to wear overt religious symbols while at work under the proposed charter.
According to a report compiled by the government and released today by Bernard Drainville, the architect of the charter, 68 percent of Quebecers are mostly in favour of it (with 47 percent in complete support), while only 18 per cent were mostly against it.
Drainville explained that 47 per cent of Quebecers who participated in the consultation said they completely supported the charter, while 21 per cent said they were in favour of the charter, with modifications.
The most popular modification requested by 21 percent of those who "mostly" supported the proposed charter was to remove the crucifix from the national assembly. The second most popular modification was to revoke the rule of exemption. These modifications would strengthen the value of church-state separation already enunciated in the charter.
Over 25,000 comments were received by the Parti Québécois on the charter via email and telephone.
Created on Saturday, 28 December 2013 23:54
On 25 December 2013, a Saudi judge recommended that a liberal activist and blogger Raef Badawi be tried again in a higher court for apostasy - a charge that could carry the death penalty, rights campaigners say.
Raef Badawi was already convicted and sentenced in the ultra-conservative kingdom in July to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for setting up a "liberal" network and for allegedly insulting Islam.
Created on Monday, 25 November 2013 08:00
Christian Zealots within the Republican Party
WRITTEN BY R. CLEVENGER, AAI NEWS
The Christian zealots, who gained control of
many government seats with the Tea Party push back in 2010, are taking stands
and actively impeding progress toward acceptance and tolerance across the U.S.
and replacing it with biblical-based intolerance.
In my home state of Pennsylvania,
there is a bill that has
been brought forth by Rep. Rick Saccone, a republican from Allegheny County,
that would force every public school in the state to display “In God We Trust”
upon a plaque or through the display of student artwork on school property.
This is an obvious attempt to propagate their religious beliefs onto young,
developing minds before they reach the age of reason. Just as churches target
youth and those who are vulnerable and in need, the Republicans are misusing
their offices to further their religious views.
Created on Monday, 18 November 2013 08:00
Circumcision and the
rights of the child
Circumcision has long been a cultural and health related
practice, possibly dating back 15,000 years. Theories as to its origin include
identifying slaves, hygiene, a rite of passage to adulthood and a sign of
membership within a group. In recent times it has been suggested as an aid to
preventing the spread of HIV in adult men, and in Victorian times as a cure for
almost any illness, including epilepsy and insanity. The most widespread reason
for circumcision now is a child or infant’s rite of passage into a religion.
One person who opposes circumcision for children and infants
is Fredrik Malmberg, Sweden’s Ombudsman for Children. According to Malmberg, circumcision
violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, and there
is no sound basis for it to be carried out on children. His argument is based
on the lack of medical justification, the suffering of the child and their
inability to consent.
Created on Thursday, 07 November 2013 04:40
within the Catholic Church
By M.J., AAI NEWS TEAM
Recent activities in and by the Catholic
Church indicate significant challenges for and struggles within its leadership,
as the Church attempts to define a way forward in the modern world, which is often
at odds with many of the traditional messages of the Church. Sexual and
financial scandals have eroded confidence in the Church and contributed to the
tide of people leaving the faith. These and other issues of concern to the
Church will be discussed here in light of recent events.
The Church knows something needs to be
done. Recent meetings held by the Catholic Church in Europe highlight issues of
high concern to the Church in the region, issues which greatly affect the
influence and the future of the Church: Secularization, Youth and Islam.
Europe is largely secular, and as the
Church seeks to maintain a strong influence on politics and society it knows
that is has to learn to deal with that fact. A meeting was held by the Council of
European Bishops (CCEE) in Bratislava, Slovakia to discuss the issue of
secularization, the separation of Church and State, how these threaten the
church, and how the church should move ahead.
are of course of immense importance to society, for they will be the future
leaders, voters, consumers, and in the case of the Church, they will either be
followers, or they won’t. The Church knows full well that if the young do not
accept religious teachings then the church will fail. The meeting in Bratislava
highlighted that evangelizing and winning the youth into the religion is both a
high priority and a significant challenge.
Created on Thursday, 27 February 2014 04:04
The Pell tolls for church sex abuse compensation
Atheist Foundation of Australia welcomes the news that George Pell has
been promoted within the Catholic Church to the position of Prefect for
the Economy of the Holy See. A main function of this role is management
and reform of the Vatican's finances.
news continues to flow from the Royal Commission into Institutional
Child Sexual Abuse of the systemic cover ups and stand-over tactics used
by churches to prevent justice for the victims. It’s reasonable to
anticipate that examples of abuse of this type are going to continue to
become public and that the public outrage and compensation claims will
continue to grow.
Created on Friday, 21 February 2014 01:52
BY JO STEPHANIE, AAI NEWS TEAM
In late November 2013 a woman from Kitwe, Zambia’s
second largest city, died from pneumonia after allegedly following the advice
of her pastor to stop taking her medication. Rather than advise the woman in
question to continue taking her medication he recommended that she instead pray
and fast. Faith healing was the solution he suggested, not medicine. The woman
obliged and four days later she was dead.
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 18:21
Religious Prisoner Alexander Aan Released From Indonesian Prison
The Jakarta News reported on 31 January that atheist Alexander Aan had been released early from his prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for "inciting religious hostility" for posting on his personal Facebook page that "there is no god."
According to the article, Aan was released "on license" (probation), which means that he is required to report regularly and frequently to Indonesian authorities for the foreseeable future. He also still remains liable for a Rp 100 million rupiah (US$8,190) fine imposed as part of his sentence.
Created on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 17:49
continued to wield undue influence in world culture and politics, with a number
of seismic shifts felt throughout 2013. Here are the top stories of 2013 noted
by Atheist Alliance International:
Created on Thursday, 28 November 2013 02:08
PRIMATE PRIDE DAY –
With great pleasure we celebrated the Primate Pride Day, as a latinoamerican initiative proposed by the web Sindioses since 2010. 24th of November was chosen as the date in which we remember the 154th anniversary of the official release of “On the Origin of the Species” and the 39th anniversary of the discovery of Lucy, the Australopithecus: two landmarks that not only changed our view of the world but gave way to a thought revolution that continues to our days, both admired and criticized.
The Asociación de Ateos y Agnósticos del Atlántico (and the Fundación Bacanería Planetaria) decided to organize an event this Saturday 23th with a divulgation conference showing the pride we feel about our evolutive origins, looking to share the facts with the general public and state our disagreement with the creacionist explanations that wish to belittle the scientific view, trying to put themselves at the same level.
Our celebration was a pleasant afternoon in which we reflected about our nature and place in society through the talks of Juan Torres Castellar (The evidence of evolution), Luis Felipe Zapata (Homosexuality: A evolutionist and psychobiologic view) and Jorge Senior (Science, Religion and Democracy), to whom we are grateful for sharing their knowledge with us. We also gave away some prizes and ate some bananas at coffee break!
See you again next year!
Created on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 02:30
In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, the largest typhoon on record, barrelling through the Philippines, Atheist Alliance International and our Philippines affiliate, Philippines Atheists and Agnostics Society, have teamed up to provide disaster relief to the typhoon-stricken communities on the islands of Leyta and Cebu.
For more information on the program as well as donating, visit this page.
Created on Thursday, 07 November 2013 04:45
It's that time of the year
again when the streets are bloody and meat is eaten like there's no tomorrow.
It's Eid ul Adha - the Islamic
festival of animal sacrifice.
The ritual has its origin in
the Koran when Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his most beloved son, Ismael.
When Ismael was about 13, God tried to test Abraham's faith. He showed up in
Abraham's dream and commanded him to sacrifice Ismael, who was born after many
years of prayers.
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 03:47
Originally published November 4, 2013 by Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist
Over the weekend, the Convention on the Constitution held meetings in Ireland to discuss changes to the nation’s Constitution and then make recommendations to the government.
Relevant to us is the need to repeal the blasphemy law, which currently states:
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious,
or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance
Atheist Ireland has been fighting for the law’s repeal for a while now and the group’s Chairperson Michael Nugent spoke at this weekend’s convention alongside fellow advocates for the law’s repeal, Professor David Nash of Oxford Brookes University and Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland Jane Donnelly.