As it is the concern of many atheist and
free-thought organizations in other parts of the world, Gambia Secular Assembly
concerns itself with the separation of religion from government.
In The Gambia, religion is so juxtaposed
with government that one finds it hard to distinguish one form the other. This
is manifested in the serious promotion and propagation of particularly of Islam,
the dominant religion.
The Gambian State, largely supposed and
believed by the population to be secular, has condoned the involvement of the
State with religion. This is an unchecked involvement that extends to the State’s
investment in the construction of a mosque on the grounds of a State residence
– State House has an Imam (Islamic religious leader) paid from the government
coffers to head prayers and conduct other religious services, such as the
annual celebration of the birth of the 'prophet' of Islam, Muhammad named Maw lud al nabi in Arabic.
CITY- 23-25 February 2012. The 18thGeneral Assembly of The Pontifical
Academy for Life, a three day conference attended by 200 medical (alleged) professionals
and Church representatives. The theme for this year was the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility.
the agenda; NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology), a system proposed
by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, which is supposed to assist women with infertility
issues to achieve pregnancy more successfully than in-vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF (involving the fertilization of ova
outside the woman’s body and the transfer of the resultant zygote to the
uterus) assists women with blocked, severely damaged or no fallopian tubes,
facilitates the use of a donated ova and can also overcome infertility caused
by endometriosis or issues with sperm.
(alleged) research behind NaPro was done at The Pope Paul VI Institute for the
Study of Human Reproduction, in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. This institute, which provides
a service within the “moral framework” of the Catholic Church, was founded in
1985 by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, who is also its Director.
Thomas Hilgers claims that NaPro’s success rate is two to three times higher
than for IVF. If this claim is true NaPro
would be a major breakthrough in reproductive health technology and welcomed by
doctors and many couples who are unable to conceive naturally. Yet the NaPro website admits there is no peer
reviewed medical or academic literature that supports its approach (in the text
under a heading misleadingly titled Peer-Reviewed and Academic Literature
That Supports NaProTECHNOLOGY).
Originally published by AFP
DHAKA — A Bangladesh court on Wednesday ordered authorities to shut down five Facebook pages and a website for blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed, the Koran and other religious subjects, a lawyer said.
Judges at the high court in Dhaka ordered the telecommunications regulator, home ministry officials and police to block the offending pages immediately.
"These pages contain disparaging remarks and cartoons about Prophet Mohammed, the Muslim holy book of Koran, Jesus, Lord Buddha and Hindu gods," Nawshad Zamir, a lawyer of the petitioner who brought the case, told AFP.
"They mostly targeted the prophet and the Koran. These pages hurt the sentiments of the country's majority Muslim population and the followers of other religions. Some of the cartoons are very close to pornography."
An albino boy was abducted from a church in
Kenya in March 2012. He was taken
while the people in the congregation had their eyes closed as prayers were
The congregation’s suspicions fell on the
pastor who was interrogated and apparently confessed to facilitating the boy’s
passage to Tanzania, a country known for ritual killings of albinos. The pastor is said to have been ordered to
bring back the boy – he left, but returned a few days later without the young
albino boy. Subsequently a mob descended
on the church.
Lawrence Nyagah, a humanist activist and an
albino himself, said”images of an enraged mob burning and tearing the church
into pieces was aired on one of Kenya’s TV stations [which] spoke more than
words could have said about the anger of the crowd, but it further said more:
that by perpetuating superstitions the church as an institution was complicit
in such incidences of human rights abuse.”
The matter is (allegedly) being pursued by the Kenyan police.
Lawrence said he is “attracted to humanism
because of the work humanists are doing to end belief in superstition. Lawrence said he converted from Catholicism to
humanism about two years ago after reading about Leo Igwe and the IHEU, and
expressed Africa’s need of more courageous people committed to the fight
against belief in and practice of superstitions.
Gambia lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons are not
accorded their basic right to simply be who they are.
Monday 10 April 2012 marked a historic day of the unrealistic denial of the
diversity of sexual orientation. Seventeen
young Gambian men - Alieu Sarr, Kebba Ceesay, Abdoulie Bojang, Amadou Jallow,
Amidou Nyang, Ousman Gomez, Sainey Fatty, Lamin Konateh, Lamin Sarr, Buba
Banda, Ebrima Jallow, Lamin Saho, Abdoulie Cham, Lamin Jaiteh, Ousman Dibba,
Adboulie Saidy, and Muhammed Manneh - were remanded at the Mile 2 Central
Prison on grounds of being under police investigation for having engaged
in homosexual activities. An eighteenth accused man, Nigerian
immigrant Ogika Amenechi, was also charged.
The seventeen Gambia nationals and Nigerian were charged with having been
engaged in "indecent practice among themselves in public places" on 5
April 2012 at Serre Kunda and other places in The Gambia.
The seventeen accused, who pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, were
denied bail on Monday on the grounds that they were being investigated. Even
though the Magistrate who presided over the case told the court that the men
were charged with a bailable offence and noted that they had been in detention
since 5 April, the Police prosecutor persisted with his application for bail
The case was adjourned to 19 April 2012 for hearing. The accused were not represented during the
Just when sequestering, shunning and sheltering seemed to be enough to keep the minds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers from exploring anything reasonable or scientific outside themselves, it seems the leaders have learned to embrace modern psychology, well sort of. In a new effort to help "problematic" members fall in line and control their tayvos - desires - leading rabbis in various Hasidic communities in Israel have linked up with morally questionable psychiatrists in order to prescribe drugs intended to kill sex drive and aid in the "struggle against homosexuality."
Some definitions of terms that appear in the articles: Yeshiva- a religious college for boys where only religious scriptures are learned; Rebbe- the head of a Hasidic community, higher ranking than a "rabbi" and seen as an intermediary between the faithful and God; Hasidic Jews- continuation of an 18th century spiritual revival movement in Eastern Europe which is known for stringent observance of Jewish law and isolating themselves from the secular world in regards to media, education and actual contact. The first article is the initial report uncovered by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which is one of the most widespread and internationally recognized Israeli newspapers.
Thank you to Richard Ponce for his recording of Bertrand Russell's Am I an Atheist or Agnostic for AAI's Freethought Audio Library. AAI Members can access this recording by logging into the Members Only section of the AAI website, then finding the Freethought Audio Library under the Resources menu.
The Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi (an AAI Member) has
released a report on the extent of witchcraft in Malawi - and it is
depressing reading. Belief in witchcraft is widespread, the number of
cases is rising and people suspected of witchcraft are often subject to
violence. The report recommends ten initiatives to combat the violence
against those accused of witchcraft.
Atheist Alliance International congratulates the
Association for Secular Humanism for its work to document the extent of
the problems in Malawi and its ongoing campaign against superstitious
and dangerous practices.
Read the full report