Atheist Alliance International (AAI) has launched a scholarship fund for imprisoned atheist Alexander Aan to support his intention to study outside Indonesia after his eventual release. Aan was attacked and arrested in January 2012 after posting 'God does not exist' and articles and cartoons about Islam on Facebook. He was convicted by an Indonesian court on 14 June 2012, sentenced to two years and six months jail and fined Rp100 million (c.US$10,600).
“Alexander is a prisoner of conscience who has lost his job and been taken away from his friends and family simply for stating his views.” said AAI President Carlos A. Diaz. “Through thisscholarship fund, we wish to support Alexander's quest to broaden his mind, in an environment that values freedom of thought and expression. We call on the Indonesian government to promptly free Alexander and ensure that freedom of expression and freedom of religion - including the freedom to be non-religious - are supported in Indonesia.”
Indonesia currently requires that all citizens identify themselves as belonging to one of six state-recognized religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In addition to prosecuting Aan, the government has cracked down on minority sects and on religions seen as ‘apostates’ of Islam.
Atheist Alliance International is continuing its appeal for funds to assist with Alexander Aan's legal expenses and support his family while he is in jail. Donations for the legal defense fundand scholarship fund can be made at http://www.atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate.
Atheist Alliance International (AAI) has launched the 'God Does Not Exist' campaign to draw attention to the case of Alexander Aan, the Indonesian atheist attacked and arrested in January 2012 after posting 'God does not exist' and articles and cartoons about Islam on Facebook. Aan was convicted by an Indonesian court on 14 June 2012, sentenced to two years and six months jail and fined Rp100 million (c.US$10,600).
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Atheist Alliance International condemns the verdict against Alexander Aan, the Indonesian atheist who was attacked and arrested after posting 'God does not exist' on Facebook. Alexander Aan was today jailed for two years and six months for blasphemy under Indonesia's criminal code. He was also fined Rp 100 million (c. US$10,600).
Carlos A. Diaz, President of Atheist Alliance International, said "Alex simply stated his personal view on the topic of religion, yet he now faces years in jail. This judgement is an affront to the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Indonesia's blasphemy laws are archaic, an embarrassment to a country that appears to be striving to join the developed world and should be repealed immediately."
TAKE ACTION: Please contact the Indonesian authorities to condemn Alex Aan's jail sentence and to call for the immediate repeal of Indonesia's blasphemy laws.
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Globally, atheists are more organised and active then ever before - and the movement toward a secular world, based on reason and evidence, continues to gather momentum. World-class speakers, atheists, freethinkers, humanists and secularists will gather at the 2012 European Atheist Convention The Atheist Perspective & Our Future - national, regional, global, to be held 25 - 27 May 2012 in Cologne, Germany.
Hosted by the International League of Non-Religious and Atheists (IBKA) and Atheist Alliance International (AAI) in cooperation with the Giordano Bruno Foundation (GBS), speakers at the convention include PZ Myers, biologist and Pharyngula blogger, Carsten Frerk, author of the German Humanist Press Service, Taslima Nasrin, international human rights activist, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Founder and Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, former evangelical preacher and Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Michael Schmidt-Salomon from GBS and Skepchick's Rebecca Watson.
René Hartmann, Chairman of IBKA said "There are many situations where religion has unwarranted privilege in Germany and across Europe - including in relation to tax status, exemption from employment laws and influence on social issues. Atheists and secularists must cooperate within their own countries and across borders to make their voices heard and promote critical thinking about religion and its influence. The Atheist Perspective & Our Future is an excellent opportunity to listen to insightful talks, meet other secular-oriented people and consider the next steps to promote a fairer, more rational Europe."
“It's fantastic to see the worldwide movement represented strongly in Europe" said AAI President Tanya Smith. "The Atheist Perspective & Our Future adds to previous European conventions in Denmark (2010) and Ireland (2011) and in 2012 there has already been the success of the Global Atheist Convention in Australia, the first Southeast Asian atheist convention - in the Philippines - and Imagine No Religion 2 in Canada. Atheists are out and proud as we should be - we advocate critical thinking about religion and public policy based on reason and evidence - a religion-neutral approach that is fair for all."
Further details on the 2012 European Atheist Convention can be found at www.ibka.org/en/convention2012
The global movement toward a secular world, governed by reason and evidence, continues to gather momentum. Imagine No Religion 2, which has sold out weeks in advance, will bring together world-class speakers, thinkers and activists at an atheist convention to be held 18 - 20 May 2012 in Kamloops, British Columbia.