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.
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.
Atheist Alliance International is grateful to Mary Davis for contributing an excellent reading of Centennial Oration by Robert G. Ingersoll. You can hear a sample of the piece by clicking here. The full version, along with other historical freethought pieces in podcast format, is available to AAI members.
Alexandar Aan, a 30-year-old father and civil servant who was beaten, fired from his government job, and then arrested by local authorities for daring to declare "God doesn't exist" on his personal Facebook page, is now facing calls for his beheading by local Muslims.
The trouble began several weeks ago when civil servant Alexander Aan posted a message on the Facebook page of Atheist Minang, a group of Indonesians with godless beliefs. It read: “God doesn’t exist.” The post so enraged residents in Aan’s hometown of Pulau Punjung in West Sumatra province that an angry mob of dozens stormed his office and beat up the 30-year-old. He was then summarily fired and later picked up by Indonesian authorities as part of an investigation of whether he violated the law by 'Insulting Islam'. If convicted of blasphemy, he could face a five-year jail sentence.
But none of this has been enough for some Muslim extremists, who have now called for his beheading. “He has hurt the feelings of the people in Minang society and damaged the religious structure by his posting,” said the local head of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) Syamsul Bahri Khatib. The Indonesian Council of Ulama is the country's recognized authority on Islamic matters, and the secular government often follows the MUI's recommendations in matters of Islamic law.
Atheist Alliance International has called on the Indonesian authorities to end their persecution of Mr. Aan, as well as contacted several international human rights bodies and governments to put pressure on the Indonesian government. It has also started a legal relief fund for Mr. Aan's assistance. Supporters are encouraged to contribute to allow Mr. Aan the ability to defend himself and his human rights.
Thanks to generous donations from many AAI members and supporters renovations at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda are going very well!
AAI received a report from the school today noting that the kitchen and new toilets have been finished, and renovations are underway on a school dormitory so that children can board at the school - beds have been ordered and fencing of the area is in progress. Also, 20 class desks have been purchased for the new P.7 class.
Ply-woods being fixed as partitions of the rooms. Bwambale Robert, the school Project Director is seen in the photo above supervising the renovations exercise.
All donations to support the Kasese Humanist Primary School are greatly appreciated! You can donate through AAI's Directed Donations option here.
Well, frankly that's up to you!
Far from the grumpy and miserable sentiments sometimes attributed to atheists at this time of year, we see AAI's members happily celebrating with family and friends.
"It's simple, we celebrate Santa Claus!”
"Open presents, eat, visit family -
what humans have been doing for thousands of years to celebrate the
return of longer days!”
Paul [presumably in the northern hemisphere!]
"Isaac Newton, the founder of western
civilization, was born Dec 25, 1642. At our house we celebrate
"Newtonmass" on Dec 25. In the morning we do optics experiments, in the
afternoon we do differentials and integrals, and in the evening we scoff
at alchemy and biblical chronology. It makes for an interesting day."
Whatever you do or don't do to celebrate the holiday season let us know at info [at] atheistalliance [dot] org!