A petition urges the UN to come to
the rescue of non-Muslims and non-believers in Pakistan – who are often the
victims of State Religion – and recognise and celebrate 11 August as the
International Day Against State Religion.
As Pakistan makes history and marks
five years of democracy by successfully upholding general elections, conditions
in Pakistan for non-Muslims and non-believers are far from getting any better.
The 2013 election has been termed the most violent election in the history of
Pakistan. The Taliban carried out their threats and attacked
convoys and rallies of secular
and even Islamist
political parties. Here is
a whole timeline of pre-poll violence in Pakistan. Even on Election Day, the violence
Non-Muslim candidates were largely absent
from the elections, but those who ran were voted for because electors felt they
could offer protection. The Christian residents of Joseph
Colony, a Christian community that was
attacked by a Muslim mob earlier this year, voted for the conservative party
Jamaat-i-Islami's non-Muslim candidate because they wanted to vote
Conditions in Pakistan for
non-Muslims are grim.
and again in 2012 the World Council Of Churches stated that minority
religious communities in Pakistan are living in “fear and terror” of
Islamic fundamentalists amid abductions and forced conversions that the
government is helpless to stop.WCC’s
ruling Central Committee declared that Pakistan’s small Hindu
and Christian communities were increasingly subject to “persecution
and discrimination”. Likewise, Ahmaddiya Muslims
outlawed and at the mercy of Islamists. In light of these and other incidents where non-Muslim and non-believer
Pakistanis have been victims of persecution and intolerance, a petition
has been set up calling on the Secretary General of the United Nations to
recognise an International Day Against State Religion on August 11, 2013 “in
solidarity with victims of the State Religion, namely, non-Muslims and
non-believers of Pakistan”. The
petition says "the life of non-Muslims and non-believers of Pakistan is as
good as hell thanks to the State Religion of Pakistan.” There is now a need for
State Religion to be hit by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
NEW DELHI (AP) -- Worried about its dwindling numbers, the Roman Catholic church in southern India
is exhorting its flock to have more children, with some parishes
offering free schooling, medical care and even cash bonuses for large
families, church officials
The strategy comes as India's population tops 1.2 billion,
making it the second most populous country in the world after China, and
runs counter to a national government policy of limiting family size.
."The Christian community in Kerala is dwindling. We realized that if
the numbers decreased further, it would have a negative impact on the
community," said Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of India in New Delhi. So Kerala's Catholic parishes have launched a variety of programs, from
free education to free medical care, said the Rev. Jose Kottayil of the
Kerala Catholic Bishops Council.
turned to the courts in May after the interior ministry refused to
alter his official religious status from Jewish to "without religion,"
And last week, a Tel Aviv court
sided with his demand, ruling that Israeli law allows citizens to be
officially registered as having no religion.
"Freedom from religion is a freedom derived from the right to human dignity, which is protected by the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom," Haaretz quoted the ruling as saying.
Israel registers its citizens
according to both their religion and their ethnicity, although it does
not include an "Israeli" ethnicity, labelling its Jewish citizens as of
"Jewish" ethnicity. That has raised the ire of secular
groups who have petitioned the interior ministry for years to replace
the Jewish ethnicity label with an Israeli one.
April/May 2012 is is packed with atheist conventions - AAI is involved with four different events on four different continents!
First there's the 2012 Global Atheist Convention A Celebration of Reason hosted by the Atheist Foundation of Australia in Melbourne (13-15 April) - which features "The Four Horsemen", Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and HItchens, and plenty of other fantastic speakers, including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Peter Singer, Eugenie Scott, Lawrence Krauss....and (maybe a little less fantastic) me! It's an honour just to have my name in that list.
After Melbourne I'll be heading to Manila for the 1st Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Convention (21 April). This is the first atheist convention in South East Asia - kudos to PATAS for arranging the event - and it will be great to represent Atheist Alliance International there.
Finally, AAI's 2012 European atheist convention will be in Cologne, Germany on 25-27 May. Perspectives of Atheism - local, regional, national will be hosted by IBKA and features an excellent line-up including PZ Myers, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, Taslima Nasrin and Rebecca Watson.
Atheist conventions are a huge amount of fun - a chance to hear world-class speakers, discuss global atheist/secular issues and enjoy the company of lots of rational people. Don't miss out!
2012 European Atheist Convention to be held
in Cologne, Germany
Versión en español a continuación
Version française ci-dessous
Atheists from Europe and around the world will meet in
Cologne, Germany on 25 - 27 May for the “2012 European Atheist Convention: Perspectives of Atheism - national,
regional, global”, co-hosted by Internationaler Bund der Konfessionslosen
und Atheisten (IBKA, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists) and
Atheist Alliance International (AAI).
The conference will cover a broad range of topics relevant to
atheists, freethinkers, humanists, rationalists, skeptics, agnostics and
secularists. Attendees will interact
with leading personalities from the worlds of science, activism, literature, entertainment,
philosophy and the media.
Confirmed speakers include:
Carsten Frerk, author
and editor of the German Humanist Press Service
PZ Myers,biologist and
author of the Pharyngula science blog
Annie Laurie Gaylor, Founder
and Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF)
Dan Barker, former
evangelical preacher, author and FFRF Co-President
Michael Schmidt-Salomon, Executive Spokesman of
the Giordano Bruno Foundation
Taslima Nasrin, physician,
author and international human rights activist
Michael Nugent, Chair
of Atheist Ireland
Rebecca Watson, Skepchick blogger and promoter of
critical thinking among women
Sent to AAI from its Affiliate the Nigerian Humanist Movement. Originally published in Sahara Reporters.
Stupendously wealthy Nigerian Pentecostal preachers and clerics have
come under serious attack at the two-day national convention of the
Nigerian Humanist Movement (NHM), which ended Saturday afternoon in
Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The forum brought together students, children, scholars, government
officials, atheists, sceptics, rationalists, agnostics, freethinkers and
professionals from different fields to discuss Humanism as the next
step in Nigeria.
Declaring open the forum which marked the 15th anniversary of the
birth of the NHM, Leo Igwe, the administrative secretary of the Oyo
State –NHM, told participants that many people across Nigeria and
the world were looking up to them. “Meetings like this should spread
message of reason, science and free inquiry, and usher in an era of
positive and progressive change, hope and light,” he charged.
Members of Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics trying to make their presence known and reach out to others sharing similar beliefs
KARACHI - They realise that they belong to a country where apostasy
means inviting the risk of death – even if spared by government
authorities and courts, a fanatic mob would certainly not.
But they have still chosen to tread a perilous path in their attempt to
reach out to other Pakistanis sharing similar beliefs and more
importantly, to let the world know they exist. They are a group of
Pakistani atheists called the Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics (PAA).
They first tried to make their presence known two years back by making a
page about their group on Facebook. On August 14 this year, they
launched their website www.e-paa.org that was literally an instant hit.
It received more than 17,000 hits in just 48 hours after its launch from
95 countries, including Saudi Arabia.
How did the idea to bring together Pakistani atheists on a single
platform come up? “When I became an atheist, I honestly thought there
were no others like me in Pakistan. Through discussions on various
social networking groups and forums, I found a few others like me. So we
decided to make this group to find out how many more were out there,”
says Hazrat NaKhuda, one of the founding members of the group. For
obvious reasons, the PAA members go by pseudonyms to protect their
This Saturday, 17 September 2011, thousands of people will
rally in central London to demand secularism in Europe. Supporters of the rally include British biologist
and author of The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, an American biologist and author of the science
Atheist Alliance International, with its UK Affiliates,
Atheism UK and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, is proud to support the
Secular Europe Campaign and congratulates the event organisers and sponsors.
Tanya Smith, President of Atheist Alliance International
said: “Secularism is the only approach that treats all citizens equally and
fairly, whether they are religious or not. Public policy should be based on reason,
evidence and compassion – and not whichever religion happens to be the
strongest in a certain country at a certain time. Religious privilege affects all of us –
through our taxes and through its influence on issues like end-of-life choices,
women’s reproductive rights and equality for same-sex oriented people. If people want to live in a fair society they
need to stand up and be heard.”
Mark Embleton, President of Atheism UK added:
"It is no longer sufficient just to be a passive atheist. Atheists everywhere need to be active in
protesting the growing influence and power that the various religions are
gaining in every corner of Europe. Religious
lobbyists are putting pressure on a weak European Parliament to seek even more
privileges through legislation that, if enacted, will lead to further
restriction of free speech for everyone.”
Hassan Radwan, Management Committee member
of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, also called for action saying: “It's critical to make public our support
for the separation of religion from the state and educational and judicial
systems. The simple act of showing
public dissent to religion that enforces conformity through fear, is the most
empowering thing one can do. It erodes
that fear and emboldens others. This is
what the Islamists dread the most. They
know that when people lose their fear, they gain their reason.”
Atheist Alliance International, Atheism UK and the Council
of Ex-Muslims of Britain encourage all people concerned about the privileged
place of religion in Europe to attend the London rally this Saturday and have
their voices heard in support of secularism.
On Saturday 17 September 2011 there will be a rally in London in support for the Secular Europe Campaign. Secularism is fair - it is an approach that treats all citizens equally and doesn't favour or disadvantage anyone for being religious or not religious. Unfortunately, we don't live in a secular world. Even in comparatively progressive countries like the UK religion still has enormous power - financially (supported by the taxpayers), politically and socially . The only way we're going to have a secular world (or even just get closer to one) is if people show that they care about secularism. So it's time to stand up. Go to the London rally on 17 September 2011.
My video in support of the campaign is on the myseculareurope channel here:
All is now set for the historic convention of the Nigerian Humanist Movement to be held on September 23 to 24 at Vines Hotel Durumi in Abuja. The event will be the first meeting of the county’s growing community of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers,secularists and skeptics at the Federal Capital of Nigeria. Many friends of humanists and supporters of humanism and freethought including university teachers and students will attend. The theme of the convention is HUMANISM AS THE NEXT STEP.
This convention marks the 15th anniversary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement (NHM).
The event is taking place at a crucial time Nigeria is grappling with the problems of religious extremism, superstition and related human rights abuses.
Some years ago Nigeria was polled as one the most religious nation on earth. It may still remain the case today. The fact is that most Nigerians, at least nominally, profess one religion-mainly Christianity or Islam- or the other. Most Nigerians identify with the faith of their families, communities and tribes. Few Nigerians are openly and expressly non religious. All Nigerians are pressured socially and politically to be religious and to remain religious. So most Nigerians who are non religious and who renounce religion remain in the closet. NHM provides a sense of community to all non religious and non theistic Nigerians and strives to bring a humanist perspective to issues of national importance.
Nigeria (AP) — Authorities say at least four people were killed in a
riot in a central Nigerian city that is beset by religious and ethnic
Emergency Management Agency said the fighting began Monday in Jos after
Muslims began praying in a predominantly Christian neighborhood in the
city. Officials with a local Muslim group said the unidentified
attackers used knives, machetes and bows and arrows.
say more than 50 vehicles and 100 motorcycles were set ablaze during
the fighting. Army and police moved into the affected neighborhood late
Jos sits in the
Nigeria's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control
of fertile lands and political and economic power. Nigeria is largely
divided into a Christian south and Muslim north.
Atheist Alliance was established in 1991 as a
democratic network of US-based atheist organizations plus one non-US
organization. Over time Atheist Alliance
expanded to include more non-US members and changed its name to Atheist
Alliance International (AAI) in 2001. In
2010 AAI had 31 US-based affiliates and 18 non-US based affiliates. At this time the board of AAI concluded that
its goals could be achieved more effectively by separating into two
organizations – one focused on US local and national issues and one focused on
providing a supportive global network for atheist and freethought organizations
around the world. In October 2010 the
separation was approved in principle by AAI’s members and in June 2011 AAI effectively
separated into Atheist Alliance International and Atheist Alliance of America.