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.
The Associated Press has reported that the "relics" of Pope John Paul II have arrived in Mexico to begin a four-month tour through 100 Mexican cities.
For non-Catholics, this sounds almost quaint. Many of us think of "relics" as family heirlooms and trinkets kept by our grandmother in an old chest with mothballs. But that's not what "relics" means to the Catholic Church. For the Church, "relics" are the REMAINS of the actual dead relative!
Per the AP report: "Worshippers applauded, cried and prayed Thursday morning as a vial of
the ex-pontiff's blood and a wax figure of the pope donning a papal robe
arrived at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe."
It is almost a year since the Al Shabab militia penetrated the Kenyan borders and caused havoc to
international aid organizations. Aside from planting grenades in Eastliegh, they dropped grenades on to
children’s playing fields, and many explosions were witnessed in Kenya around this time in 2010. Incidences pile up on the ‘yet to be investigated’ as the government assures its citizens,
whereas nothing much is done on that front.
The Al Shabab incidence in Mogadishu consumed four of my relatives and left a huge gap in my family life. I lost
people who contributed to my purpose of living. My wife founded and ran the Abu-Bakr Foundation, an organization
that was permitted to distribute medical Aid in Somalia and Sudan, and apparently she was blasted in the name of Allah.
Sad memories. But I just recently met some refugees and some of these were Somalis who had benefited in great
length from the hand of the Foundation. They were expecting me to have
transformed into joining their religious ideologues, leaving the path of those
who are astray, for my son had a Muslim name. Mostly so, they expected the
magnitude of loss to have influenced my practice into softer relenting. Either
I was destined to become a Rasta or some religious icon. But the JAF Festival
disappointed many to a great length, and in my inbox, I started receiving
questions related to my atheism. For example, where did mankind originate? And
my understanding of the phrase, from dust we came and to dust we shall return.
They were bothered by my theorem of no afterlife and no day of judgment, and
astonishingly warned me thoroughly of misfortunes that could be planted in my
path, for I am a disgrace to the African race.
One year and a half has passed since the foundation of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil, LiHS, the owner of this debuting blog. So many things have happened since then that I am caught in the vertigo of loads of long term memory yet to be consolidated. (And my routine as a rebel sleeper has most certainly something to do with that.)
I remember vividly my dream of taking Brazil and more of Latin America to the global secularist community, especially reaching IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union). Well, we did it! And it happened last week, when our international relations director Daniel Martin traveled from France to Norway (yes, to Oslo, the site of that conservative Christian terrorist attack) to attend the General Assembly in the World Humanist Congress, where we were approved as members of IHEU. Also, before that, LiHS joined the Atheist Alliance International.
An increasing number of Nigeria's 70 million Christians are followers of the prosperity teachings - the belief that prosperity is a sign of spiritual blessing. Services are held in megachurches that hold thousands, with millionaire pastors preaching the word.
A lady scrolls down the screen of her tablet PC as she reads the Bible along with the rest of the congregation, a huge diamond-encrusted ring shining on her finger.
Hanging from the ceiling of the Household of God Church are several chandeliers, lighting up a plush 5,000-seat auditorium.
A water fountain hisses in the distance, though it is only heard when the dazzling character on stage singing passionately and occasionally speaking in tongues falls into silence.
This is the Reverend Chris Okotie, a former pop star turned pastor, businessman and politician.
A recent Forbes rich list included him among Nigeria's five wealthiest pastors, with assets of anywhere between $3m and $10m. But is he truly this rich?
"Possibly," he replies, with his giant multi-coloured Jacob & Co brand wristwatch shining from the end of his sleeve.
This article was published on richarddawkins.net here.
“Religion provides support and comfort to people.” You’ve heard this one before. It’s a common refrain when the damage and suffering caused by religion is highlighted. It’s a common refrain even from people who aren’t particularly religious, which is a tribute to the effectiveness of religious marketing.
Atheism doesn’t offer a similar emotional support network. Accepting that the universe is uninterested in your well-being is not necessarily a source of comfort when things go wrong. While there are many (and, happily, a growing number of) atheist/freethought/humanist/rationalist/skeptic/etc. groups around the world, they are unlikely to have the infrastructure and funding of religious groups any time soon. The amorphous mass of individuals that is sometimes referred to as the “atheist (etc.) community” can be hard to rally for a specific issue.
When an atheist takes a stand on a religious/secular issue they often do so not knowing what the personal consequences will be or what, if any, support they will receive. They just know that the opposition will have a lot of support.
Understanding the importance of the protection of the
life and safety of all citizens of Russia, including that of the religious
leaders in our country, the Good Sense (Zdravomislie) Public Fund has met the
news of the upcoming amendments to our secular law with alarm.
The Public Fund Good Sense learned that the government
of Russia initiated an amendment in the state Duma of the Russian Federation in
the form of bill № 5861785, containing a clause to expand the list of individuals
being protected by government, with taxpayers money, to include an unspecified
number of people that do not have any relation to government service or the
functioning of the state. Among those listed in the expanded list was the head
of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This bill was apparently created in order to legalize the
state security which has been provided for the church Patriarch for many years
now without any legal basis.
In relation to this, the Good Sense Foundation
addresses an open letter to the President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, in which
we ask him to answer two questions:
1) Will somebody be held accountable for the violation
of legal principles that have been going on for a number of years?
2) How does the government’s initiative to support
just one out of many religious organizations registered in Russia
correspond with the secular nature of our state, as indicated in our national constitution?
The Fund is also addressing a letter to the head of
the dedicated Security Committee in the State Duma, Vasiliev V.A, with a
request to act out of a sense for public consent in terms of ethnic and
religious cross-relations when discussing the bill. We also ask that the Duma
keep the secular basis of our national constitution in mind when determining
what private Russian citizens should be eligible to receive government-paid
I represented Atheist Alliance International at the launch of the International Association of Freethought (IAFT) in Oslo on 10 August. It was a good opportunity to meet others who are active in the international atheist and freethought community and hear about their campaigns and issues. The IAFT has identified separation of church and state, the use of public money to fund religion and exposure and denunciation of the crimes committed by religions against humans as their areas of focus, and Atheist Alliance International looks forward to working with the IAFT on campaigns of common interest.
My speech from the launch is below.
Atheism in the 21st Century
To sum up atheism
in the 21st century in one word – atheism is “active”. We are active because we need to be. We are active because the modern world has
given us the tools we need.
idea of atheists being active is sometimes questioned. People compare atheists to those who don’t
collect stamps and say “well, non-stamp collectors don’t need groups or
conventions”.Michael Nugent of Atheist
Ireland gave a fantastic response to this point at the Dublin Convention this
year. If you haven’t seen it – you can look
it up on YouTube.
paraphrase Michael.....if we lived in a world where most people collected
stamps, where people thought that the post office created the universe, where
people consulted their stamp collections before creating laws – then there would be groups of non-stamp collectors (the aphilatelists) and
there would be conventions about not collecting stamps.
The link between money and religion is a grey area, fraught with conspiracy and scandal. Some of the wealthiest organisations on the planet are religions or religious movements - some ancient, some modern - yet the followers of religion and the countries in which they are practised are often the poorest.
Late last month, the UN issued a new statement on the extent of
freedom of speech under international law. It says that laws restricting
blasphemy as such are incompatible with universal human rights
The statement came from the Human Rights Committee, the body of
eighteen “independent experts” mandated to monitor compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or ICCPR, the 1966
human rights treaty that provides for freedom of opinion and expression
and other fundamental rights. The Committee’s general comments
represent authoritative interpretations of the provisions of the ICCPR.
Unlike the highly-publicized resolutions produced by the Human Rights
Council and the General Assembly, the provisions of the ICCPR are
legally binding to its more than 165 parties.
The Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society will hold its first convention in Manila. We will be discussing PATAS' future goals and will be talking about Atheism/Agnosticism, Secularism and Humanism. We are selecting speakers for this convention from different personalities from the US and the Philippines.
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2012 · 6:00am - 8:00pm
Place: Bayview Parks and Hotels, United Nations Avenue, Manila Philippines
Apparently there is a passage on Deuteronomy (22:5) which forbids women from wearing men’s clothes and vice-versa. Again, yes really, and this is the basis of her lawsuit claiming religious discrimination.
There is only one place for this waste of a tribunal’s time, the surgical waste bin!
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.