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
The trial of Alexander Aan - the Indonesian man attacked and charged with blasphemy after posting 'God does not exist' on Facebook - is underway. As noted by in an article in the Guardian his prospects may be grim.
Freedom of expression is a critical issue for atheists. We are in the minority and it's all too common for religious people to claim they are offended by the statement of our conclusion that there are no gods. Religious people should not be offended by this simple statement, but even if they are, physical assault and imprisonment is a not a reasonable response.
If you would like to state your support for freedom of expression and help Alexander you can contact the Indonesian authorities to call for his release and register your concern about Indonesia's blasphemy laws.
Atheist Alliance International is collecting 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).
(Image: Benjamin Wheelock, Salon.com)
9, 2012, President Obama, who has for years said that his view of marriage
equality is still “evolving,” told ABC
news in an unanticipated move, “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded
that, for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I
think same-sex couples should be able to get married” (video may not stream for
a few days, due to server-overload on their end).
of course, vary.
and the religious right have taken a predictable stance on the issue. Romney’s senior advisor, Ed Gillespie, spoke on MSNBC,
detailing the position of the Romney campaign.
In short, they are still of the opinion that marriage is between “one
man and one woman,” and Romney has gone so far as to threaten a Constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage for all states (which, it should be said, goes
against their stated “states'-rights” agenda, wherein the government is supposed
to not make decisions for individual states…see the short video linked at the
end of this article). Their conservative
base is naturally behind their stance.
Originally published by Sahara Reporters.
Today around the globe too many atrocities are being committed with impunity in the name of god, allah and other constructs, which have over the ages, identified or associated with the so called supreme being. The dream of a secular peaceful world where people of all faiths and none can coexist in harmony- continues to elude many across the region. Millions of people- theists and atheists- continue to suffer and are abused due to superstition, religious fundamentalism and supernaturalism. In this piece I will focus on two of such areas.
The rights of non-believers. I have heard it proclaimed at the UN that the rights of women are human rights. I have also heard it proclaimed that the rights of gay people are human rights. These proclamations changed the way human rights are perceived around the globe. Personally I have yet to hear it proclaimed at UN, or at our regional and national human rights bodies that the rights of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers are human rights. I do not want these rights to be implied or assumed as currently the case in most countries. I want them to be expressly declared as universal human rights.
In spite of the progress the world has made in terms of upholding human rights and liberties, and getting states to honour their obligations under various instruments and mechanisms, equal rights have yet to be extended to religious non-believers in most parts of the world particularly in Africa.
The full article is available here: http://saharareporters.com/article/atheism-and-human-rights-abuses-africa-leo-igwe.