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Atheist Alliance International strongly condemns violence in Afghanistan after Quran burning
Atheist Alliance International strongly condemns
the violent protests in Afghanistan, which erupted after copies of the
Quran were burnt in error at a US base. It has been reported that more
than 30 people have died, including protesters and US troops.
Tanya Smith, President of Atheist Alliance International said "We oppose the
burning of the Quran. Burning books - regardless of their content - is
an affront to freedom of expression, and a particularly insensitive
action in this case. The mistake was quickly acknowledged and
apologised for, as it should have been. However, the response to the
burning of the Quran has been far worse than the burning itself - real
people have died and Afghanistan has been destabilised further. Those
who protest violently and commit murder deserve far stronger condemnation than those who accidentally burn a book, no matter how sacred some people consider that book to be."
Indonesian authorities must support freedom of speech and conscience
Atheist Alliance International launches appeal to support Alexander Aan
Atheist Alliance International (AAI)
demands that the Indonesian government support freedom of speech and
freedom of conscience by immediately releasing Alexander Aan from
custody and dropping all charges against him, pursuing the perpetrators
of the physical attack against Aan and repealing the country’s
oppressive anti-blasphemy legislation.
simply expressed his view that there is no god. In contrast, his
attackers assaulted a real person and must be brought to justice,” said
AAI President Tanya Smith.
“Indonesia’s anti-blasphemy laws are
an appalling relic from the country’s period of dictatorship. They
should be repealed as an essential step towards the freedom of
Indonesia's people and the country's participation in the modern world,”
Karl Karnadi, an Indonesian atheist
associated with AAI said "Any religious person would say that gods of
other religions do not exist. Why should Alex be arrested for
effectively saying the same? Just because he is an atheist doesn't mean
that he should be jailed. Religious and non-religious people are going
to disagree and that may offend some, but that's a natural outcome from
people having different views. Such an absurd law should not exist in
Indonesia or in any other place."
Police in Dharmasraya, western
Sumatra, on Friday (20 January) said that Aan had been charged with
blasphemy for postings he made on a 1,200-member Facebook group.
Aan had initially been taken into
‘protective custody’ after he was beaten by a mob of religious zealots.
There have been no indications that his assailants will face
prosecution. Aan, a civil servant, has also been threatened with the
loss of his job.
Indonesia officially recognizes only six faith traditions: Islam,
protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and
Confucianism. Citizens are forced to choose from one of these traditions
when applying for identification cards.
Alliance International has launched an appeal for donations to help pay
for Aan's legal costs and to support the Aan family's living expenses
while he is in jail, at www.atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate (Legal/Support Fund for Alex Aan).
UPDATE: Please sign the petition to support Alexander Aan here.
UPDATE: Please contact the Indonesian authorities
to call for Alex Aan's release and express your concern about
Indonesia's blasphemy laws.