Following consultation with members, AAI is pleased to announce that it has finalised its position statement on government support for religion. This statement is intended to provide a concise reference and coherent argument that members and other atheists may use in situations in their own countries, and refute the common accusation that 'atheists stand for nothing'. Thank you everyone who contributed their views!
The influential thinker known as the "father of secular humanism", Paul Kurtz, died on 20 October 2012 at age 86. His numerous book, articles and talks substantially contributed to the development of secular, humanist values as an alternative worldview to religion, and encouraged people to think critically about religion and its impact on society. This valuable work will be continued by many organisations that Paul Kurtz helped develop, including the American Humanist Association and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Atheist Alliance International offers its condolences to Paul Kurtz' family, friends and colleagues.
Attention atheists in Argentina! The Congress of Free Thought of the Americas will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina 16-18 November. Enjoy a full weekend of rational thinking, including a talk by Carlos A. Diaz, President of Atheist Alliance International. For more information: Congress website (English) / Congress website (Español).
Recently, Atheist Alliance International was contacted by an atheist in an Islamic country. He had made a video criticising his government's position on human rights and posted it online. We received this email from him today and publish it with his permission, with identifying information redacted, to illustrate just one more example of the threat to freedom of expression and thought posed by Islamists.
Hi, I have previously contacted you and submitted a video on [redacted] government and its human rights violation. Unfortunately, after much pressure from my family and the prospect of my getting a heart attack because of my Atheism, I have decided to pull the video down. I have to close down all of my email and twitter account and Atheist Nexus account as well. I just wanted to apologize to you because I would have continue leaving the video up but the pressure is so much that I have succumbed. The lesson that I have learn is, Muslims will never tolerate Atheism, Atheist, Apostate even basic human rights - freedom of faith. I guess I really have no choice but to remain hidden and under the radar and just let my rights taken away from me. It is hard, especially when I am feeling all alone and I don't even have any real friends here in [redacted]. My family still hoping that I will repent and become a Muslim again but after our heated debate on human rights and Atheism, I don't think I will ever look at Islam the same way again. I apologize again for the trouble I have caused.
Obviously, it is not this man who should be apologising.
On 30 August, four Brazilian atheists - including AAI Director Alexandre Shimono - met Michael Shermer at the release of his new book "The Believing Brain" in São Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Shermer kindly answered the following question:"What do you think of religious influence in Brazil?". You can see his answer in the video below (Portuguese subtitles).
No dia 30 de Agosto, quatro ateus brasileiros - incluindo o diretor da AAI Alexandre Shimono - compareceram ao lançamento do novo livro de Michael Shermer "Cérebro e Crença" (The Believing Brain) que ocorreu em São Paulo, Brasil. Shermer gentilmente respondeu a seguinte pergunta: "Qual sua opinião sobre a influência religiosa no Brasil?". A resposta pode ser conferida no vídeo abaixo (legendas em português).
Atheist Alliance International thanks everyone who has supported Alex Aan, the Indonesian atheist assaulted and arrested after posting 'God does not exist' and cartoons and articles about Islam on Facebook. In June 2012 Alex was jailed for 2 1/2 years and fined Rp 100 million (c. US$10,600).
A friend of Alex in Indonesia was able to visit Alex in jail in early July and provide him with all the messages of support AAI has received from around the world - including from Russia, Mauritius, Australia, Colombia, the United States of America, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden, Canada, India and the Philippines. Alex greatly appreciates the support he continues to receive, saying in his note "Thanks for support and love, without this I feel alone."
Please support Alex by:
- sending a message of support to Alex - email info [at] atheistalliance [dot] org with "Message for Alex" in the subject line. (Please remember that Alex is not a native English speaker and note that prison authorities will review any materials provided to Alex.)
- sharing this page and posting "God Does Not Exist" on your Facebook wall
- tweeting a message of support with hashtag #goddoesnotexist
- signing this petition to urge US President Obama to call on the Indonesian government to release Alex [update: petition now closed]
- writing to the Indonesian authorities to condemn Alex's jail sentence and calling for a repeal of
- Indonesia's blasphemy laws so this does not happen to anyone else
On 14 June 2012 Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan was sentenced to two years and six months in jail and fined Rp100 million (c. US$10,600).
Why? Alex was attacked and arrested after posting 'God does not exist' and cartoons and articles about Islam on Facebook. He was convicted of 'causing hatred and enmity against individuals and groups based on tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups' based on his Facebook posts.
Alex' sentence is contrary to basic human rights principles and Indonesia's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), particularly Article 18, which protects an individual’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and Article 19, which guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
What should we do? We need to draw attention to Alex's situation and pressure the Indonesian government to release Alex and modernise Indonesia's laws. We need to exercise our freedom of expression to support Alex, to oppose discrimination against atheists and to oppose attempts to suppress criticism and questioning of religion. We need you to tell the world that you support Alex.
As presented by Tanya Smith, AAI President, at the 2012 Annual General Meeting
It’s been a quite a year! Almost exactly one year ago we launched the new AAI at the Dublin convention. At that time we had a newly elected Board, some of the infrastructure from the former AAI and a lot of work ahead of us!
Our activities in the last year have been around a few themes:
- Re-establishing the membership and support base for the new group
- Expanding communications
- Supporting our members and potential new members
- Supporting atheists in developing countries
- Seeking formal status with international bodies
I’ll talk a bit about each of these.
Oh, we can think of a few things! AAI Members can now listen to Robert Ingersoll's What Would You Substitute For the Bible as a Moral Guide? through the Freethought Audio Library, thanks to a recording by David Brocker.
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.
There is a new addition to AAI's Freethought Audio Library! Thank you to Richard Ponce for his recording of Bertrand Russell's What is the soul. 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.