Thursday, 18 April 2013

International Day of Protest In Support of Bangladeshi Atheists - April 25!

Over the past few months, human rights groups like Human Rights Watch have been calling attention to the increasingly dire situation for atheist bloggers (and by extension atheists in general) in Bangladesh: Crackdown on Bloggers, Editors Escalates.

Atheist bloggers have been hunted down, rounded up and thrown into jail.  There have been  beaten, maimed and killed by mobs as the government stands by.  Tens of thousands of people, motivated by fundamentalist Muslim interests (likely with their own political aspirations), have protested in the streets demanding that these freethinkers be put to death.  Their only crime is speaking their minds and exercising their fundamental human right of freedom of speech.

Well now it's time for you to speak your mind and join the CFI in a united voice against the forceful silencing and suppression of Bangladeshis by their own government at the whim of fundamentalist Muslim clerics.

Several CFI groups have pulled together across the globe to hold protests on April 25th in solidarity with atheist bloggers to send a clear message to their governments and those who seek to forcefully silence them.  Here is the CFI press release.
On April 25, an international coalition of atheist and humanist organizations led by
the Center for Inquiry, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and American
Atheists will protest the arrest and persecution of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh with
demonstrations scheduled in London, New York, Washington, Ottawa and Calgary.
Bangladesh has recently been at the centre of a human rights crisis as authorities have
detained several prominent bloggers for “hurting religious sentiments” and have arrested
two more young people for making “derogatory remarks” about Islam on Facebook.
Tens of thousands of protestors, led by the Islamist group Islami Andolan Bangladesh, have rallied in Dhaka, the country’s capital, to demand more arrests. 
Centre for Inquiry is leading protests in Canada and has made appeals to the newly
founded Office of Religious Freedom to urge the government to issue a public statement
condemning the arrests and reaffirming its commitment to freedom of expression.
Protest events are confirmed for the following Canadian cities on April 25, 2013: 
Ottawa: High Commission for Bangladesh
Constitution Square Centre
340 Albert St, K1R 7Y6 @ 4:30 pm ET
Calgary: Consulate of Bangladesh
633 6th Avenue South West T2P 2Y6 @ 4:30 pm MT
For media inquiries:
Michael Payton, National Director, CFI Canada,
Phone: (647) 244-5483
Up-to-date information on protest events can be found at 
For my Canadian readers, let us use this opportunity to urge the Canadian government - more precisely the new Office of Religious Freedom - to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of all human rights in the face of persecution. On April 14th, the CFI released this call to Andrew Bennett, ambassador of the newly minted office:
We would like the Office of Religious Freedom, in keeping with its commitment to Human Rights, to act swiftly and send a formal protest to the Bangladeshi government referencing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 18 and 19, which guarantee every individual the right to freedom of belief, religion, and expression.
Let's send Andrew Bennett and the ORF a clear message that they need to take action now in support of these bloggers in Bangladesh!  Let's make sure they cannot forget.

Remember also to use the hashtag #defenddissent to spread the word! You can also use the scarlet-B below.

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