Showing posts with label africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label africa. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Preacher Selling 'Anointed Pens' to Pass Examinations

I vaguely recall having read about the House of Grace International Church at Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield, Zimbabwe back in September. At that time, a woman was being possessed by demons who were undermining her sexual attraction to her husband.
"I have a problem that is threatening my marriage. I cannot have sex with my husband because whenever he touches me, I sweat and faint. I won't even want anything to do with him during that moment," she said.

The troubled woman added that her husband has been acting strange since the problem started and is telling her to put her 'house' in order.
You see the trouble caused by demons? Apparently this was all because some traditional healer dude told her she could make all kinds of money if she did some rituals at a river, or something. However, it didn't have the intended effect and instead she decided to cheat on her husband and then she became a sex fiend.
Sheila added that she decided to cheat on her husband after the problem persisted to see if it would trail her and she was successful. She also confessed that she is very sex starved as well.

"It is difficult to live without sex. I then decided to cheat on my husband to see whether I would encounter the same problem but thing happened. I think the spirit only doesn't want me to have sex with my husband. The sangoma didn't tell me this. I would have turnd down the deal had I known," she said.
Luckily, Sheila met Prophet Sham Hungwe who went to her apartment and destroyed all her witch stuff and sprinkled some water on her. She's much better now. Halleluja!

Well now Sham is trying to reach out a helping hand to students! We're not talking about water here, we're talking about magic pens! These pens have been anointed or something and so they'll help you pass your exam! Although ballpoint pens can usually be gotten in bulk for a few cents each, I'm guessing that the anointing process must add additional overhead.
The pens which cost at least 15 cents were being sold for different amounts ranging between US$1 and US$20 depending on what you can afford.

Prophet Sham said those who are sitting for their exams only needed faith and the anointed pen to pass. “It is anointed and I declare passes when your children sit for exams; when you sit for your exams ,” he said.
His congregants, who can be seen regularly puking into buckets on the church's Facebook page, apparently scrambled to snatch up all the pens!
“They (pens) are said to work for anyone who is sitting for any test. My son is not very bright and I think this will help him. With the knowledge he has acquired and this pen from the man of God, I think it is going to work.”
It all sounds like a Sham to me.

(Image source)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

South Africans Against Satanic Stikeez Toys!

Today, Hemant Mehta brought us this report about how a South African school is calling in exorcists to deal with kids playing around with the Charlie Charlie game.

Well, the people over at the South African news site Times Live are reporting about a Facebook page created against the children's collectible toy Stikeez, which they claim are Satanic.
According to the page, which even if it is a parody it is at least a funny one, they consulted a 'renowned demonisticologist' who proclaimed that they were disgusting.
You will find the whole post here.
"These things are disgusting!" So says a renowned demonisticologist we approached, who prefers to stay anonymous due to his reasonable fear of the all-powerful Pick n Pay management.

"These 'Stickeez' are clearly miniature demons," he continues. "There can be absolutely no doubt these are not harmless toys but satanistic fetishes, designed to soften up our children for subsequent satanic penetration."

Why is Pick n Pay trying to get our children involved in the occult? Are they also behind the recent emergence of the Mozambican demon game "Charlie Charlie" in our schools? The answers to these #important questions remain unclear.
The Facebook page, South Africans Against Dagga and Satan, is clearly a joke.

Jesus please save us from these #stikeez
Posted by South Africans Against Dagga and Satan on Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Nice to see a joke site about this sort of thing coming from the country that had such a problem with Charlie Charlie. You can see how they treat it here.

Please note we are receiving reports about children summoning a #Mozambican demon called Charlie in our schools!Parents, please talk to your children about demons and Mozambican witchcraft!#CHARLIECHARLIE
Posted by South Africans Against Dagga and Satan on Saturday, 5 September 2015

So much goodness. The Times Live report also includes this gem!

(Image source)

Monday, 3 August 2015

Bleached Part of Bathroom Wall Cannot Be Pee! It's a Sign From God! Duh!

There's this white mark on the wall of a bathroom in Mali and some genius(!!!!!!) has managed to convince people it's actually a mystical picture of a praying man - a message from God.
Thousands of people in Mali's capital, Bamako, are flocking to see what it believed to a religious sign on a wall that suddenly appeared last weekend.

Many believe the white image on the outside wall of a toilet shows a man praying, interpreting it as a message from God.

Riot police have been deployed to keep an eye on the crowd as people queue day and night to see the mark.
That's right, riot police. Politicians and dignitaries along with pilgrims from neighboring countries have all paid visits to this holy shrine.
The BBC's Alex Duval Smith in Bamako says people do not have to pay to see the mark but are leaving money in a bucket, which the Traore family say they will give to the local mosque.

Naturally, a naysayer like me would look at the position of the spot - say, relative to the guy pointing at it on the right - and wonder if someone's just been peeing on the wall.
The trick to using urine for bleaching is allowing it to stand, encouraging the development of ammonia by allowing the urine to react to the air. The resulting ammonia is the cleaning agent, rather than the urine itself. Once ammonia has developed, garments can be dipped in the urine, or small amounts of the liquid can be used to treat spots and stains. To full wool, people traditionally poured stale urine over wool in a large vat, and people walked on the wool, agitating it and allowing the urine to penetrate to clean it.
What would I know though? It's obviously a message from God. The supreme creator of the entire universe is communicating with mankind via a spot on a bathroom wall in Mali.

I suppose it's better than the usual public washroom communications I run into...

This is, of course, both hilarious and deeply tragic. The fact that people are so willing to see a miracle in a spot on the loo wall points out just how desperate many in Mali must be. Skeptic Leo Igwe points this out in a piece he wrote over at the Malawian Maravi Post.
Obviously the conflict in Mali has worsened living conditions in the country deepening situations of poverty and misery. Many people across Mali are in dire situation and are desperately looking out for signs of Allah's presence or at least some covert intervention. Under such circumstances, patches of paint or cement can easily translate into 'true signs' of Allah's manifestation and protection.

I mean, Skeptics in Mali, where are you?
In the piece, he also asks how this stain could possibly be seen as a religious sign and why it must be an Islamic one rather than a Christian one.

Why indeed.

These are things to contemplate on the loo.

(Top image source)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Declaring Christianity Liberia's National Religion Risks Destabilizing Entire Country

There's a fascinating piece over at Think Progress about the perilous situation Liberia finds itself in as some local Christian groups there are fighting to have the country declared a Christian Nation.
In April, lawmakers successfully proposed a constitutional amendment that, if approved, would reinstate Christianity as the official state religion. This attempt follows Christian leaders’ fruitless efforts in 2013 to submit a similar petition to lawmakers in the Liberian House and Senate.
Christian groups - and apparently the vast majority of Liberians - seem to want this to happen. However, minority religious groups in the country are calling for secularism and no state endorsement of any religion.
Now that it’s in President Sirleaf’s hands, the proposal could appear on a national referendum next year — a possibility that troubles Liberian followers of Islam who are concerned about the advent of state-sanctioned persecution and marginalization.

Earlier this year, protesters converged on the site of a constitutional conference to demand the constitution remain unchanged. “Liberia is not for Christians. Liberia is not for Muslims. Liberia is for everybody. We don’t want Liberia to be for only one group of people,” protest leader Hajah Swaray told the Anadolu news agency. “It would not be fair to see one group marginalized. We have 16 tribes in Liberia. Some people are Muslims, while others are Bahai or embrace traditional religions. Let’s just live as we are.”
The article goes on to point out that increased tribal and ethnic tension - presumably also religious conflict - has preceded both gruesome civil wars in the country.

It's a fascinating read and shows how secularism is something which ought to be sought after by not only atheists, but the religious as well.

(Image source)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Five Moroccans Arrested For Buying Juice During Ramadan

Moroccan soup for Ramadan (source)
Ramadan is done today, which means people - including non Muslims and atheists - in many Muslim majority countries are now free to eat during the day in public -- without risk of jail.

In 2013, I reported about Algerians who were protesting against enforced fasting laws. This was in response to police harassment of three youth who were eating during the day in a closed cafeteria.

Last year around this time, we saw how some Moroccan atheists cope with Ramadan.

Well, it turns out that in Morocco five people were arrested earlier this month for doing what comes perfectly naturally - eating when they're hungry. A group of travellers were arrested by a rather Orwellian sounding religious police force called the Marrakech Tourism Brigade.
Arbib said that the young men could not bear the rising temperatures in Marrakech and therefore bought a glass of juice from the orange juice vendors in Jamaa El Fna.
They were also found to have some weed in their possession. I'm sure this is also not legal. However, it seems like their primary offence was breaking their fast -- as far as the article goes at least. They bought the juice.
Article 222 of Morocco’s penal code states that anyone “breaking the fast in a public place during Ramadan, without a reason accepted” in Islam, can be imprisoned for up to six months and fined.
The article doesn't mention anyone in the group not being Muslim, so I assume they all were. I honestly wonder what value at all, symbolically speaking, fasting has if it's enforced by the state. Surely any god would know this. Who do they think they're fooling?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

South African Congregation Stripping, Eating Frogs & Hair Weaves

A girl eats another congregant's hair weave. 
So there's this church in South Africa which appears to be full of people suffering from pica - or at least suffering from an extreme religion-induced disconnection from reality.

Penuel Mnguni, self-described prophet, ministers to End Times Disciples Ministries and appears to get thrills from convincing his flock to do all kinds of crazy things -- and he's apparently young and charismatic enough to pull this off.

Back in May, he convinced everyone to pray... and strip.
Penuel said people condemn him because only the wicked see the naked part of a person. He said there is no shame in nakedness if one really believes in the living God.

“At first it seemed as if the people could handle it,” said a member of the church.

“But as the preacher spoke the heat increased until it was burning hot and they took off their clothes.”

The source said as men and women were stripping down, the church prophet kept telling them: “God is with us, and to God be the glory!”
More recently, he convinced his followers to cut a hair weave right off one woman's head and chow down on it -- without any seasoning at all!
In the pictures we obtained from the church's Facebook page, you can see the pastor Prophet Penuel Mnguni of the End Times Disciples Ministries laying his hands on the woman and some women holding the hair in their hands and shoving some in their mouths.

The pictures carry the caption "Man of God held the head of woman of God Thapelo from Mabopane and her hair turned into food for the sons and daughters of God to eat. Everything depends on what we say because we carry life in our tongue."
You can see them eating what appear to be small pieces of cloth, small frogs and what appear to be lizards (and perhaps a snake too) over at their Facebook album.

If this reminds you of another African pastor (Pastor Daniel), who convinced his flock to eat grass, gasolineand then flowers, it's because Mnguni considers that man his spiritual father. So if this ministry spreads across the region, expect even more bizarre stuff.

This is all quite sickening. If you view the images, it really does seem like there is some element of sick fascination the pastor has with eating bizarre things. However, this unique shtick of his could also be a result of a fascination with something else as well.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

BiZoHa Orphanage - 'With Science We Can Progress!'

The Andrea Vogt Roadside Stand will allow the school to sell homegrown produce alongside a busy highway.
This is a guest post by Chris de Brabander documenting some of the absolutely astounding progress being made at the BiZoHa orphanage in Uganda!

The project to build and operate a secular orphanage in Uganda was launched at the end of February, and in just a little over four months time has made remarkable progress. 

Donations have steadily streamed in, and under the capable management of Project Director Bwambale Robert, already five buildings are completed including the hostel, classroom, kitchen, latrine, and a roadside stand for earning income from sale of snacks, drinks and crafts on the local road frequented by travelers. Construction has also started and is progressing very quickly on a health clinic at the site. 

The BiZoHa Clinic will serve the local communities as well as the orphanage and school. While it will not be able to handle all the medical needs of the area, it will be a great relief. Currently there is only one small government-run clinic serving the six local communities, and most essential drugs are not always available at that health unit. 

BiZoHa Clinic will have a trained medic with a small science lab for examining specimens and dispensing medications for common problems such as malaria and parasites. They will also provide health and hygiene education to the community.

Future plans for the site include adding a museum, which will feature exhibits about the culture of the Rwenzori People and way of living. It will serve as a tourist attraction and an educational tool for research students. Plans to erect more hostels to serve orphans plus students to enroll in the future school and some guest houses to shelter volunteers and guests will come in the course of time. These will offer alternate sources to sustainability.

Water has been piped in to BiZoHa from the mountains. In addition, Bwambale has plans to install rainwater harvesting tanks to supplement the piped water, especially as sometimes the pipes break or get washed away. Tank water can be used for washing clothes, bathing and in the latrine toilets.

BiZoHa plants crops in order to be self-sustaining, and irrigation is needed during the dry season for the crops to thrive. Also, Bwambale is exploring whether further water purification mechanisms might be put in place at point of use for drinking water, to replace boiling.

One solar panel has been installed, and a second has been funded and will be installed very soon. These solar panels and others (funding welcomed!) will make the site self-sustaining with electricity.

The intention is to enclose the hostels, classrooms, dining area, kitchen and toilets in one walled area for security reasons, with the clinic just outside the walls. 

The local community has been very welcoming. Local construction businesses have been busily engaged in getting the site ready quickly for the arriving orphans. A matron has been hired to look after the children in the hostel, and there will also be employment for a cook, teachers, medic, and perhaps other positions as BiZoHa becomes increasingly established. The site will welcome sixteen orphans in late August, and Bwambale has been visiting the local communities to identify children for this pioneer group. 

In addition BiZoHa’s school will accept students on a tuition basis from the nearby communities. Education will be secular humanist, based on science and using reason and free thought as the foundation for knowledge. Instruction will be in English to establish the footing for success in life for the children. The motto of the school will be “With Science, We Can Progress” which is painted on buildings along with the “Happy Humanist” logo. 

Opportunities to sponsor room, board and tuition for the resident orphans ($250 per year) and needy local students who live at home ($125 per year for tuition only, and/or $90 for meals at school) are available. Information on some orphans is already listed and ready to accept donations. Sponsors will receive communications about the child’s progress in school. 

In addition to scholarships, donations to the building and outfitting of the site are very much needed and each one is so very appreciated. These monies will go to such things as security, a microscope for the lab, medications and supplies, educational items for the school, furnishings, uniforms for the children, play equipment, partial sponsorships, food, etc.  To support this project financially, any coin counts and will be spent on what it’s meant for! 

Donations can be made easily at 

For inquiries on large donations to sponsor upcoming construction needs (building dedications), or any donation where a tax receipt is desired, please visit the Brighter Brains website and donate via that channel and use the email provided there to indicate that the donation is for BiZoHa and whether there is any particular need you want your donation to go toward.  [Note that due to summer vacations, tax receipts will be processed after August 18 and email responses will be delayed.]

We look forward to hearing from you. With science, we can progress!

Monday, 29 June 2015

9 Muslims Sentenced to Death in Nigeria for Blaspheming

Back in 1966, John Lennon got into some trouble for saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus amongst the youth, among other things.
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
 That didn't get him killed, but it looks like doing something similar with Muhammed will get you dead real quick in northern Nigeria.
An Islamic court has sentenced nine people to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

The accused, who were all Muslims, had pleaded guilty, the head of Kano's religious police, Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, told the BBC.
 They did the same thing Lennon did.
The alleged offence was committed last month at a religious gathering in honour of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa.

The nine, eight man and a woman, were reported to have said that "Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad", triggering unrest.
This causes hundreds of people to freak out and burn down the court house!
Hundreds of youths ran through the streets of the northern Nigerian city of Kano shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) on Friday to protest against a Muslim cleric accused of blasphemy, and set fire to a Sharia court, police said.

The young men took to the streets around 10am to demonstrate against Abdul Nyass, from the Tijani Muslim sect, who was due to appear in the Islamic court accused of comparing the leader of his group to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
So this court has sentenced these nine Muslims - 8 men and 1 woman - to death quickly before the mob goes and burns something else down. Lovely.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Egyptian Cleric Is Okay With Atheists Getting Human Rights - Just Not In Egypt

This Khaled Al-Gindi looks like a pretty okay guy. He just says some awful things sometimes. I mean, he basically called Shakira a whore a few years back, but we can't be fun all the time, right?
Last year Egypt cleric Khaled al-Gindi decried a performance by hip-shaking sensation Shakira and likened her profession to prostitution but stressed he was sure she was a "nice person."
Now he's getting more flak because he went on television and said some stuff... energetically... well, sort of like someone targeting a specific a-religious minority. You know, it sort of sounded a little bit like a direct call to suppression of and/or violence towards a minority. I guess you might actually call it hate speech, if you're into that sort of thing.

Al-Gindi is totally cool with atheists living and thinking and believing things! He's chill and completely down with that! He just doesn't want them to talk about them or express them in any way in public in their own country. Just for the sake of argument, let's call that freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

I'm sure Al-Gindi doesn't mean to impose his religious views on society or anything. He just wants atheists to shut the fuck up, that's all. If atheists cannot stop themselves from exercising their human rights, he helpfully suggests their exile as a possible cure to his own discomfort with their theological position.

He doesn't think he should leave the country -- it's just better if they get the fuck out.
It was unfortunate that (atheists) were allowed to appear in the media. They say: "God does not exist. The Prophet is like ISIS" and other baseless, nauseating things, that we, unfortunately, heard. What we need are not polite sheiks, but someone to knock some sense into them.

Polite sheiks are the ones who brought this calamity upon us. That's not what we need. These people need a guy who would be tough with them.

If you want to say that the Prophet is like ISIS and that God does not exist, say it when you are abroad, far away from us.

We are a people of believers, whether Christian or Muslim. We have an age-old belief in God. We are the most ancient believing people in history. It's in our DNA.

If you (atheists) don't like the fact we are believers, go find yourself another nation. Stay away from us. Such blatant atheism constitutes an attack on the fundamentals of society. It is an afront to the beliefs of society and to its symbols. The eagle on the Egyptian flag is a symbol. If you harm this eagle, you might go to prison, but if you harm the god of all eagles, you won't?!? If you harm the eagle, a piece of cloth, you might go to prison, but if you affront our god and the Prophet Muhammed, you won't?!? You are punished if you attack the symbols of this country, but not if you affront our God and Prophet Muhammed?!?

We must not allow any affront to religion. It is absolutely forbidden to declare such things out loud. Islam says: "There should be no compulsion in religion" and "Whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve." This means you are free in your beliefs.  But don't go beating a drum in Tahrir Square, proclaiming: "I am an apostate!" What are you trying to achieve? They created a (Facebook) page and a political party for apostates. This is a provocation.
He finds all this atheist talk pretty nauseating and he's 100% certain that his god is also totally disgusted and offended by atheists flapping their mouths and sharing their opinions on the media and banging on drums all over the place all the time. Don't even think for a moment he's defending the sensibilities of a mere nonexistent projection of himself -- an extension of his own persona into the idea of a divinity. That's totally wrong!

I mean, who's going to go to court and lay defamation charges against all those non patriots on behalf of the eagle on the flag -- which he's pretty sure is absolutely crushed by hypothetical people theoretically injuring it! Poor eagle. That's nothing compared to God, who gets really down when people don't have faith in him or call him bad things. Who's going to be tough on the atheists when they poo poo Him?

From what I've seen, atheists aren't exactly beating their drums. They already seem concerned about being thrown into jail. I wonder if Al-Gindi has that problem? No, I guess he doesn't! I wonder if his god has that problem? Nope! I suppose that's not an issue for Him either.

Remember that calamity, the Egyptian singer and actress, Donia Massoud? She got the beautiful atheist tattoo proclaiming that her heart's at feud with God. I wonder what Al-Gindi's solution to this problem would be? At any rate, a recent tweet of her's answers some of the the controversy the tattoo stirred up.
There really seems to be something going on in Egypt. Atheists are starting to speak their minds and feathers are being ruffled.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Egyptian Teens Make Video Mocking ISIS: Arrests, Incarceration and Riots Ensue

Four teens have been detained for two weeks awaiting trial. They must have done something pretty grave. No! They're just in Egypt!
In the harmless clip showing boys being boys, a group of teens ranging in age between 15 and 16, appear to be mocking ISIS kneeling on the ground hysterically praying and imitating a beheading. The video was taken during a faith-based excursion in February, and supervising the trip was Gad Younan, a 42-year old teacher who allowed the boys to a shoot a video using a mobile phone. Accidentally, the teacher misplaced his phone’s memory card, which ended up in the hands of his Muslim neighbour in Al-Nasriyah village in Upper Egypt. Upon watching the video, a group of Muslims filled a complaint with Police under Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal code which criminalises 'insulting a heavenly religion or a sect following it.' 
This is what happens when  your country has a blasphemy law and you've got nosy and probably vindictive neighbours. You might think: 'this is totally insane. There's no way it could ever get more insane than this.' You're wrong!
Not satisfied with just an arrest, allegedly more than 2,000 Muslims decided to march through Al-Nasriya area attacking Christian homes and business. Citing the Copt-owned Watani newspaper, The Daily Mail claims that Ashraf Salah, a computer repair shop owner, said: "They were chanting slogans against Christians and Christianity. They were chanting: 'With our souls and blood, we will defend you, oh Islam! We will not leave you; we will take revenge for you!' They were pelting Christian homes with stones, pounding threateningly on doors and windows, attacking shops owned by Coptic Christians. They destroyed the door of my shop and they destroyed a photo studio owned by the father of one of the boys. For three days we were living in terror and panic. We stayed in our homes and our children didn't go to their schools.”
Yes, this is three days of violence. Naturally, there must be a great deal of deep seated religious hatred between the local Muslim population and the Christians. Although I'm not finding any clear mention that these boys are Christian, I guess the assumption is that only Christians would make a silly video, lose the memory card and have a rotten neighbour snitch them out?

They were at a religious outing, so presumably they were religious of some persuasion.

During the riots three of the four boys' parents turned the children in to the police. The fourth family wisely decided to flee the area. The boys face up to five years in a youth detention centre and the teacher up to seven years in jail!

However, there seems to be some skepticism even in Egyptian sources that the story is actually true. This may be some sort of hoax -- although by whom, I have no idea.
There is a lot of reason to be skeptical of the story, as it failed to make national headlines, and seemingly has only been covered by biased outlets. However, if all of details prove to be true then there is a lot of unrest in the Al Nasrayah village that needs to be addressed before all members of the community will feel safe. In either case this should come as a concern to all Egyptians.
I would say that based on what I've seen regarding human rights vs religion in Egypt lately, citizens should be concerned regardless of whether this is a hoax. For what it's worth, I've found the story over at Fox NewsDaily Mail and Breitbart. I don't see these as fantastic sources and until a source like Reuter or BBC picks it up, it's possible it's just not true.

Here's the 30 second video:

Friday, 1 May 2015

Egyptian Atheists Collecting Signature to Form Official Secular Party

Cairo (source)
I just wrote about the formation of an atheist television station in Egypt.

Another amazing story coming out of Egypt has to do with the formation of a Secular Party. I've heard that Egypt was once a true bastion of secularism within the Middle East, actually -- then the war in 1967 apparently changed everything.
According to Al-Watan newspaper, Egyptian atheists have launched a campaign on Facebook to collect signatures for a party that they would call the “Egyptian Secular Party," which would include secularists, atheists and liberal thinkers. It would also be committed to defend freedom of belief and atheism, and work on removing Egypt's Islamic identity from the Constitution.
Alber Saber has been pushing for a proper Egyptian constitutional amendment since at least 2011 for the same reasons.
This is not a constitution. I have a problem for example with Article 44 that says prophets and other religious figures cannot be insulted. Who defines insult? Christians do not believe Muhammad is a prophet, is that an insult? If a Christian says that, should they be put on trial? Muslims do not believe Jesus is God, is that an insult?
Atheist Hisham Auf represents the new initiative, which plans to collect at least 5,000 signatures from 10 governorates within Egypt to justify the formation of a new party. (Naturally, there are only 866 atheists in the country. So how is this possible, right?)
“It will explain what secularism really means in order to refute the misleading definition propagated by the Islamists,” he said. “We do not intend to have a majority party, but rather a party of an influential minority.”

He added that the party will call for a modern constitution, based on the principle of citizenship, the abolition of religious parties, reducing the role of Al-Azhar in political life and its guardianship of thought, art and the media, and the right to civil marriage for Muslims and Christians.

He also said the party will also address inheritance and personal status laws, remove religious affiliation from ID Cards, call for abolishing laws penalizing the defamation of religion, and support freedom of creativity and art.
I've already run across some opposition to this new party (original Arabic), but -- predictably -- nobody has given me the actual link to this new party's Facebook page. Can anyone help me with this? I'll add to this post when I find out.

Egyptian Atheists Mobilizing Against Oppression With New TV Station

Free Mind TV is edited and produced in USA, but filmed in Egypt. (source)
It really sucks to be an atheist in Egypt. Alber Saber got thrown into jail and had to flee the country. Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna gets three years in the slammer for saying he's an atheist on Facebook. The police shut down atheist cafes. The government keeps declaring war on atheists and calling it the key challenge to their society. The Egyptian government has even gone so far as to declare there are only 866 atheists in the country!

Well, some of those 866 have formed their own television station to try to dispel some of the ridiculous assertions about secular and non-religious people foisted out into the media in Egypt. It's so dangerous that all production and editing is done in the US -- just the two hosts and some other contributors work in undisclosed locations within Egypt.
Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online TV channel. Free Mind TV defends the right not to believe.

Edited and produced in a studio in the United States, Free Mind TV says it wants to promote nonreligious liberal ideas in the Middle East.
You can actually watch the station LIVE right here -- or watch documentaries -- and it looks pretty slick:

There is also a direct donation page using Paypal.

The two hosts of the primarily news-based information station are the husband-wife team Ahmed Harqan and  Nada Mandour. They are both atheist activists in Egypt who, on at least one occasion, come close to death at the hands of an angry mob and police.
According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife, Nada Mandour (Saly) Harqan, survived an assassination attempt 4 days later - in the evening of October 25, 2014. Harqan managed to flee with his wife after having some injuries and went to the Alhanafie–Alajlany police station to report the incident along with their friend Karim Jimy. Instead of taking action to help Harqan and his wife, the police officers further assaulted them and they were imprisoned charged with blasphemy and "defamation of religion" under article 98 in the Egyptian penal code for asking "What has ISIS done that Muhammad did not do?” on a popular Egyptian television talk show. Harqan's lawyer was humiliated and kicked out of the police station.

Eventually Ahmad and Saly Harqan, and their friend Kareem Jimy were released and charges against them were dropped.
Needless to say, they are under constant threat of danger, which makes what they do all the more extraordinary.
Mandour, also a former Muslim, shoots and directs some Free Mind TV programs.  Since she abandoned religion two years ago, she said, most of her family has abandoned her. Mandour said they hate her for being critical of religion and ultimately declaring herself a nonbeliever.  She no longer sees her parents and is not allowed in the family home.

Nonbelievers from Christian families in the Middle East face similar dangers, said Ayman Ramsy, a former Christian who appears in the broadcasts.
Watch the Voice of America video report for more details on this compelling story.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Help Dopio and Other Orphans in Uganda's First Atheist Orphanage: BiZoHa

One of the orphans, Dopio Everlyne. Her father died and mum is too sick with epilepsy to properly care for her.
In March, I posted an interview with Bwambale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. With the help of the atheist and Humanist community, Bwambale is opening the first non-religious -- atheist -- orphanage in the world and he's doing it in Kasese, Uganda.

After a successful fundraiser by Hank Pellissier at the Brighter Brains Institute, construction began on the orphanage. You can follow the amazing construction of the new orphanage over at Hank's blog.

In the first 60 days since the initial fundraiser raised $5,830 for the construction of the new orphanage, just take a look at all that's been achieved!:
  • A primary dormitory building was constructed, with glass windows, for 25 orphans and staff.
  • A 30 ft deep latrine was dug.
  • A pipeline to bring fresh water was installed.
  • A substantial portion of the orphanage's 7 acres of land has been seeded with crops for the sake of future self-sustainability.
Here's a photograph of the new crops. The smart white and red building is the dormitory (building 1) of the orphanage.

Crops planted around the new BiZoHa orphanage dormitory building.
Since then, a generous donor, Dr Bruce Chou, anesthesiologist from California, has contributed $1,000, which is going to construct a classroom for the children. Construction has already begun on this new structure.

This is amazing progress for this project, but more funds are required to see it fully to fruition. Now that the buildings are going up, supplies are required to get the orphanage off the ground and functional -- so that children can move in.

Full disclosure, I am an honorary fellow over at Brighter Brains. Here is a list of the items we want to raise funds for.
Items Needed Now for BiZoHa Orphanage: 
  • $1,200 - Kitchen construction, plus pots, pans, utensils, and appliances
  • $500 - Solar panels - for electricity! BiZoHa is on the equator, with daily sunshine
  • $350 - 1/2 year salary for orphan's "Mother" Guardian
  • $350 - 1/2 year salary for orphan's "Father" Guardian
  • $925 - construction of Roadside Stand (where farm produce and beverages will be sold for self-sufficiency) 
This comes to a grand total of $3,325 needed. The goal here is to use this money to kickstart the institution into self-sufficiency.
BiZoHa Orphanage will be economically self-sufficient in 1 year. This goal will be achieved by selling corn, beans, cassava, peanuts, and lettuce grown on its farm, and by selling drinks at a roadside stand, on the adjacent well-traveled road.
Remember Dopio Everlyne, the little girl whose picture is featured on this post along with a previous post in November when Bwambale provided her with a kikoy dress? At that time, her father had died and her mother was too ill with epilepsy to care for her. She was living with her grandmother. She will be one of the first children to be moved to the new orphanage.
Orphans will soon be moved to BiZoHa - from Muhokya, Kahendero (fishing village on Lake George), and Kasese (provincial capital). The orphans - like Dopio (top photo) - are 5-8 years old.

Muhokya is near the Rwenzori mountains and the Congo border.
As mentioned above, this will be more than just a place to take care of children. A classroom is being constructed and the orphanage will be affiliated with the Kasese Humanist Primary School.
BiZoHa will provide its orphans with an excellent education, because they’ll be instructed by the highly-regarded, science-based Kasese Humanist Primary School (KHPS). Many graduates of KHPS advance to secondary schools and universities.

Secular education and atheism in Uganda is supported by Atheist Alliance International , Foundation Beyond Belief  , PZ Myers , and other irreligious groups and individuals in Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, USA, and Canada (the “Godless Poutine ”)
Like the Humanist school, BiZoHa has the humanist logo on the side of its first building, celebrating its humanist pedigree.

In addition to all of this, there are amazing rewards for donations, ranging from a copy of Bwambale's e-book Orphans of Rwenzori: A Humanist Perspective to getting your name or photo on a permanent plaque on one of the buildings.

There will be more updates to this as the weeks go on. For now, I'll invite you to follow developments over at the Orphans at Kasese Humanist Primary School Facebook page. I also encourage you to make a donation to this cause for the sake of secular education in Uganda and to show the world that atheists really do run organizations which help the community.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Egypt Forming 'Special Awareness Groups' to 'Inform' About 'Atheist Threats'

I've been covering Egypt's mission to stamp out atheism for awhile now. Best I can tell, they see atheism as a form of extremism, on one end of a spectrum. You've got extreme (not-good) Islam on the one end (Islamic Brotherhood) and extreme not-Islam on the other (atheism).

Well, just recently, the Orwellian Religious Endowments Ministry has put out a plan to form special anti-atheist, anti-drug, anti-bad-Muslim crack squads -- let's call them special awareness groups -- which, I as far as I can tell, will travel the lands spreading information in mosques. This is sort of like those odd roving bands of motivational speakers and actors that would come to my high school every so often, I think.
During a meeting with his deputies from different governorates on Tuesday, Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Goma’a said those groups will hold small monthly gatherings between the evening prayers in mosques.

“The groups will include one Quran reciter, one chanter and two speakers,” ministry spokesman Mohamed Abdel Razek told Daily News Egypt. “The gatherings aim at spreading awareness on the threats of atheism, Shi’a, Baha’ism expiation, killings, and drug addiction.”
Threats of atheism, indeed. Lovely to be lumped in with killings and drug addiction. The last time atheists were cracked down on was in a cafe. Yes, they were drinking coffee. THREAT! THREAT!

The sole comment on the article had a pretty good point:
What, exactly, is the compelling reason for trying to force people to share your own religion beliefs using force of law? Imagine how you'd feel if atheists took over and criminalized belief in deities. Would that be wrong to do? Yet, the Egyptian government does the same thing, criminalizing a particular religious opinion.
Ah yes, but the atheists are wrong(tm) and the (specific kind of non-government-threatening) Muslims are right(tm)! Well, I'm glad that's cleared up.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Results! Humanist and Atheist Charities Sprouting & Flourishing In Uganda!

First building of the new atheist orphanage in Uganda.
There is something amazing going on in Uganda! People are getting together -- Humanists, atheists and others -- to help Ugandans help themselves! I know, it's not even close to religious charities in terms of size, but it's growing.

Earlier this month, I featured an interview with Bwambale Robert, one of the founders of the first atheist orphanage in Uganda -- and the world.
Like I said, we are breaking the monopoly that religious people alone have no right to own orphanages, people with no belief also care about orphans. I think this will send a signal to religious people that we are not sitting back when we see some injustices committed in the name of religion; we have had of pedophile priests, pastors defiling children, children made to do hard labor, children being molested or abused.
Well, thanks to a successful fundraiser, construction has begun on BiZoHa Orphanage. You'll find several updates on this over at the Brighter Brains blog.

Last update on the orphanage Facebook page are some photos of the first building, a hostel or dormitory for the children.

First building of the new atheist orphanage in Uganda is a dormitory for the children.

Here is a extract from Kasese Humanist Primary School Director and BiZoHa founder, Bwambale Robert from a recent update (30 March) on the page:
Here is a brief update on what is going on at BiZoHa Site in Muhokya, Kasese District - Uganda.
  • The hostel has finally been roofed with colored iron sheets.
  • The pit latrine has been roofed and plastered fully, it remains to be shuttered though plus fixing a curtain wall.
  • Tapped water has been brought to the site.
  • The latrine is almost complete as the remaining work is to put on shutters.
  • As it’s a rainy season now, we have cultivated ground nuts, maize and some beans on the Site plantation area.
  • The locals however are insisting that we put in place classrooms so that the very many orphans in this area get chance to attain quality education which still lacks in this area.
  • The constructed hostel will accommodate 16-18 orphans plus one caregiver.
For any kind of assistance to this cause, pass it through the Brighter Brains Institute through their website

Attached are the images of the developments as they unfold. Many thanks indeed for supporting our cause.
In the wake of an extremely harmful anti-LGBT wave of fundamentalist Christianity flooding into Uganda from the United States, there now seems to be a small, building, wave of Secular Humanism and religion-free atheist organizations sprouting up. Although the money is most certainly coming in from well wishers outside of Uganda, these organisations are being founded locally, at the grassroots level with the plan of being self-sustaining.

You've got the Kasese Humanist Primary School, which succeeded in buying land for a permanent home (they are renting their old location). They then built a new campus and are now offering nursery school and primary school services. They also have a small medical and anti-parasite clinic on campus!

Of course, you have this new atheist orphanage under construction, with zero affiliation to any religion whatsoever -- apparently unique for Uganda.

Mario Mouton and Deanie Mouton are doing amazing work with their KidsHeartKids Humanist charity! Just recently, they completed a classroom for Humanist Empowerment of Livelihoods in Uganda (HELU).

If you missed what this is about, I posted about it earlier on this blog.
There’s a brilliant and highly achievable project in Uganda like this. It’s called HELU (Humanist Empowerment of Livelihoods Uganda). In Uganda, single at risk women with children often find themselves trapped in crushing poverty with little chance of escape. HELU welcomes them and teaches trades like vocational skills, farming, sewing and hair styling. HELU even builds them a permanent place to live -- brick hut with thatched roof -- and provides them with start up money to build a business so they can get their lives started!
Here's the classroom now! 

New HELU classroom. (source)
For the cost of a missionary's plane ticket and living expenses to go to Uganda and share one book, you can find locals that care, and local labor that needs the money to build a classroom and fill it with books.
I love it! You can help this project over at their website.

More recently, they have begun work on a chicken coop at the site to increase self sustainability. This is the first boost that the Kasese Humanist Primary School got a few years ago, thanks to this blog and others!

There's a lot going on in Uganda. So much that I don't think I can keep track of it all. This alone is a sign that things have picked up immensely since only a few years ago.

So I suggest you follow the above Facebook pages!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Interview With Humanist School Volunteer and How You Can Help

Maseraka Solomon maintains and augments the computer lab at Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda.
Maseraka Solomon volunteers at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. I've written before about his good work as part of a school staff profile series I did back in April of last year. I also did a post about a letter exchange done with US students which featured a short quote from Maseraka.

Maseraka is a graduate of Information Technology from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda's largest city. Since he has discovered Humanism and atheism, he has found his calling: to volunteer at the school and make a difference for young people in a dogma free environment. Getting children -- many orphans -- in Kasese exposed to computer technology and the Internet is a big step towards functioning in the 21st century workplace and opening their minds to a universe of ideas.

To make this possible, Melissa McAllister, a US ex-pat living in Bavaria, Germany has set up a fundraiser to help fund Maseraka's efforts.

Although Melissa has a disability which prevents her from traveling far from her home. She is now using her networking and crowd-funding skills to raise money to help Masereka do good for children in Uganda.

Awhile back, I set up a banner for the fundraiser on the right side of this blog, but I wanted to do more for him. I thought an interview with Maseraka might also help people know where he comes from and what he wants to do as a Humanist doing good for others in Uganda. You'll find Maseraka's responses to an email interview below. Note that I've corrected some spelling and grammar.

When and where did you grow up? How many brothers and sisters do you have?
I was born in 1989 in a small village called Kakogha Karambi Sub-County in Kasese district western Uganda. I stayed in the village with my mother until the age of five when my father enrolled me in town school where he had his business. My father had many wives and many children of which my mother has two boys and five girls. I am the last born of my mum.
Are your parents religious? Were your once religious?
My father died when I was still young but he was of a different unique faith. My mother is a strong Catholic who thinks everything is from the will of god. Dad was selfless Protestant who later converted to another religion of a man in Uganda who calls himself GOD and claims that Jesus never was. This man is called Ow’ obusobozi Bisaka’ he was a good friend to my dad. 
I therefore can’t say I was that religious because I was exposed to different beliefs. My dad was not strict with any of his children concerning religion. He was free and loving. He was friends with this Ugandan god because perhaps he also questioned the works of religions. He died of high blood pressure and diabetes in early 2000. I think he was a humanist/atheist but never knew how to define himself that because of the community he lived in.
How did you discover Humanism, critical thinking and science?
Sometimes we are made what we are because of the communities we lived in when we were young. Most likely a religious mother and father will bring up a religious child who will later believe the dogmas of her/his parents teach. I grew up in the hands of many parents.

My step mum was a Muslim. I saw how they all prayed. I used to ask my mother why Christians hate Muslims so much. I was never a friend of wasting my time to prayers, my mother knew that since childhood. I used to go to sleep when it was time for prayers.

With my dad it was different. His religion almost had the same Lords’ Prayers but there they are directed to the Ugandan Ugandan God Bisaka.

With all this exposure I was able to discover Humanism, critical thinking and science. I also credit much of the reading material provided by Bwambale Robert who is also a humanist and also my love for reading. I came to Bwambale because he was the only one that easily understand my style of life.
Did you come out as a Humanist or atheist to your parents and friends and family?
Yes, I came out as an atheist to my mother and family members and my friends. It has been hard for both of them to understand how possible it is to live good without GOD. However, I am firm with my atheism and humanism principles when I relate with my family.
Has this affected your relationships with them?
Yes, my relationships have been greatly affected. Some friends have limited their communication with me. I however try my best to explain what I stand for and why. I have also shown them that things are not possible because of god or prayers but because of hard work and doing well to others. I follow no ten biblical commandments, I value the ten principles of a rational world.
Has this jeopardized family support for you?
It has to some extent, but currently they are left amazed because of selfless ideas. I have two sisters who have greatly applauded my activities though they still want me to join them for prayers. I hope one time they will be joining my art of helping people live better lives. I have not distanced myself from my family members. I have worked and helped them in a number of activities. I have also been their best advisor and consultant whenever they have problems not limited to marriage/relationships, sickness, stress, and education. I think my atheism and humanism has positively benefited those around me.
Where are you living now? How are you supporting yourself?
I am currently living in Kasese town and spending most of my time working at Kasese Humanist Primary School Railway Campus. I love the teachers and the children there. We are the only school that has a sense of humanism. We understand our backgrounds and make discussions based on serious positive thinking. We teach just like other schools around but we are open to discuss reason and faith. What is supporting my life here is hard work and use of my skills positively. I think I am doing well to the community and the opposite is true though with a few challenges.

Life in Uganda is not easy unless one understands that Uganda is a developing country which needs to welcome development strategies proposed by different investors and also support human rights basing on reason but not faith. Because Uganda is God fearing state, it’s a big problem to develop positively.
What have been your volunteering duties at the school in the past? What are they now?
My volunteering duties have not been limited to exposing children to computers. It’s been a great deal of volunteering at Kasese Humanist. I have helped pupils write to penpals in other states supported by KidsHeartKids charity, teaching subjects like Social Studies, counselling children when necessary, meeting different people (the teachers) and explaining what humanism is.  Currently I am more than a volunteer at Kasese Humanist. I love the school and hope its quality continues to improve daily.

What do you require the funding for? Projects? Sustenance?
I thank all those who have so far put in a great amount of funds to my fundraiser. I have already paid for the printer and a new laptop, I also have a few plain papers, having enough plain papers, refilling the printer is important in order to keep providing teachers and the pupils with learning materials at Kasese Humanist.

I think humanity can destroy humanity but still humanity has all the power to save humanity regardless of their location, there are a number of problems both students, teachers and parents face as they all to look to have a good life.

Lives need to be improved. Learning environments also need serious improvement so as to have well informed population in future and now. With an informed mass we reduce the suffering and violation of human rights. When we improve our standards, we get life longevity and this is something also important as we fight the death verse. When the populations are having stress factors, they are likely to die young hence aging is disease we can treat by educating and improving or putting a smile on someone’s face.

With the funds, I am sure many pupils and teachers will have a smile and nice moments to remember hence improving their performance in all their activities. A number of projects can be implemented though small but they will mean a lot to the population which will benefit. Pupils face problems not limited to lack of enough exercise books, lack of mathematical sets, dirty uniforms because their parents are so poor that buying a bar of soap is a problem, torn uniforms without even buttons, dirty hair that needs to be clean or cut short, dirty teeth -- they actually miss that basic parental love and they deserve it.

I think helping such a population is perfect and rewarding, funds are wanted not to benefit me alone but they are meant to benefit a good number of children and improving the teaching standards of teachers at Kasese Humanist. Teachers drawing illustrations on chalkboards may be OK but it may also be a waste of time and very inaccurate. With printed illustrations, the pupils will save time and have access to better drawings and understanding improves. Let these pupils and teachers
also have a feel of modernization.
What are your plans for the future? With the school? Outside of the school? Long term career plans
My future plans are positive towards Kasese Humanist. I think following up the old students of Kasese Humanist Elementary School would sound good.

This calls for perhaps a high school with the same aims of exposing what Humanism and living godless lives means. I find it lacking when pupils move out of Kasese Humanist and most of them join high schools that actually consider prayers important for their success. I think my success has been out of good and hard work, you read you pass, you pray you are nothing but a big problem.

We need to bring reason over faith, we need no religious ideas to drive our education systems. I want to implement a number of projects based on the different acts of kindness that you can think of, they are many ways people can bring positive change to their communities.

Directing another secular school in Uganda is part of my plans, I think improving the quality of teaching in schools is key to having responsible and creative people. Ugandans are lacking because of too much religious departments in their schools. This is hard to understand for the Ugandans because even the state house family runs a family church. I am not there to convert people from their religions, I am there to impress Humanism and atheism. I respect no religion but respect science and reason.
Remember, you can  read more about Masereka Solomon and help to support him through a fundraiser being facilitated by Melissa McAllister.

You can read more about the Kasese Humanist Primary School at their website!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Interview With Founder of 'World's First Atheist Orphanage'

Five days ago, Hank Pellissier from the Brighter Brains Institute -- at which I'm an honorary fellow -- sent me information about an ambitious new project he was fundraising for. He is teaming up with Bwambale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School to build the world's First Atheist Orphanage in strongly religious Uganda.

I'll admit that at the time I was too wiped to check it out the piece he included in his email by VICE writer Zoltan Istvan, a futurist transhumanist who is also a fellow at Brighter Brains. (Note that this organization is open to both religious and atheist contributors so there is a fair bit of what many would consider woo. However, they have done excellent work in Uganda.)

You can find the GoFundMe fundraiser page for the new orphanage here.

A few days later, Hemant Mehta picked up the story on his Friendly Atheist blog. Although he was open to the idea of a secular orphanage, there was something about the active promotion of atheist values which rubbed him the wrong way.
"Pellissier, who considers himself open to spirituality, says that orphans who are religious will be welcomed into the orphanage. But the education, culture, and emphasis will be on an atheist and secular experience."

I hope this is just a case of sloppy journalism and that they mean the education and culture the kids receive just won’t be religious in nature… but if they’re crossing the line into actively teaching kids that God doesn’t exist, I’d feel very uncomfortable telling anyone to support them. If Christians did something similar, we’d call it brainwashing. Even though I agree with the Humanists on the God issue, it’s something the children must figure out for themselves.

Teach them how to ask questions. Teach them to respect the scientific method. But don’t teach them to reject God before they’re old enough to fully understand how religion works.

Atheists can help these kids without pressuring them to adopt a non-religious stance themselves.

The crowdfunding campaign page is here if you’re interested. I have no plans to make a donation.
This made for some colourful and energetic exchange on the comments section. I shared some of Hemant's concerns and so contacted Bwambale Robert to ask some follow up questions. You'll find the interview below.

I can see this possibly being a sort of rift issue in the atheist and Humanist community as it grows and increases its ability to provide education, child care and even healthcare to groups in need across the world. How much should we encourage the questioning of religion and normalize or even champion atheism within highly dependant and vulnerable groups?

Is it acceptable if the orphanage founders have as one of their mission goals the reduction of religion -- otherwise known as an increase in atheism? I would say yes, but many might consider this too much like religious orphanages with goals to indoctrinate kids. These people might only see organizations like Doctors Without Borders as being an acceptable model.

Meanwhile, for those who do see religion (read: superstitious belief) as part of the problem, goals to reduce its grip on younger generations may seem noble. It would then boil down to how secularism is actually implemented and how open and free critical thinking and unfettered exploration of ideas is encouraged. Are children with religious beliefs still respected or is atheist dogma forced upon them?

Of course, from an outside observer -- when the rubber hits the pavement -- a properly secularly run orphanage is indistinguishable from an atheist freethinker orphanage, regardless of anyones motives or personal religious beliefs. Religious and non-religious both can do secularism.

Except for one thing. Unlike any other orphanage, when a child or parent asks a caretaker a question in confidence about a god, the answer here will be unique. Those working at this institution will be the first in the country to not be afraid to honestly answer, as atheists, that there is not evidence for a god; that they are atheists and that's Okay -- they are still good people. I wonder how often these words are spoken in a country like Uganda.

Now, without further ado, the interview. This was done informally over email and Bwambale's mother tongue is not English. Aside for a couple of very minor corrections, I left the responses intact.

1) Describe the primary goal of this new orphanage and what sets it apart from other orphanages in the region.
To improve lives of orphaned children in our community through allowing them have access to the basics of life and enjoy a better life like the rest of children.

What sets it apart from other orphanages is that its foundation is secular in nature where we shall allow children to grow freely without any dogma or indoctrination whether Atheism, Humanism or religion.

We shall however expose the children to the scientific method where we shall enlighten them on the usefulness of science in attempting to improve life on this planet. We plan to promote evidence based learning in compliance our government policy of promoting science and technology in combating global challenges.

Children from our orphanage will be well versed with ideas from anything that might come across their minds ranging from religion, religions, our universe and what is beyond. We shall emphasize a lot on promoting critical thinking.

There will be no worshiping of any religion, performing rituals or orphans putting on holy signs as done in religious based orphanages but we shall try as much as we can to respect their religions and if the children so wish will be allowed to practice their beliefs in nearby places of worship but not at the orphanage - On this point, we shall be available to defend ourselves why such practices are not considered important.
2) How old will these children be?
Orphans into the orphanage will not be more than 18 years. Only vulnerable orphans will be considered after thorough screening. We will try as much to keep the numbers low but we shall try help out other orphans outside the orphanage access education or skills training at the orphanage.
3) Will there be religious instruction of any kind? Will there be any discussion of atheism? If so, how will religions and atheism be presented?
There will be No religious instruction of any kind, yes, there will always be a discussion on Atheism, Religion, Humanism, Free thought and Science.

Religion will be analyzed on comparative terms as they are so many and children should have a right to information. The same goes to Atheism, Humanism or Science.

All in all, we shall not be recommending children to take to any side like most religious founded orphanages do but will be up to the orphans to make decisions of their own when they grow up.
4) If a child professes their faith in a God or religion, how would the caretakers react?
If a child professes their belief in a god or gods, we shall not stop him or her. It will be there right to choose what to believe in.
5) If a child asks if God or religion is true, how would the caretakers answer?
If a child asks if God or religion is true, we shall simply say, we don’t know because we have no tangible evidence that proves he or she exists, we are not even sure whether god is male or female or both. Keeping that side, there is existence of multiples of god so far invented and so it might be very hard for one to know which god you are talking about.

On the side of religion, it remains the same story as there exists very many religions, some believing in one god and divided still, while others believe in other gods and each religion claiming to be the most right with a ticket to heaven or eternity. The same explanation applies. It will however be a greater task for us to enlighten children about the different types of religions we have all over the world.
6) Will the orphanage use the word 'atheist' in its name in Uganda? If so, is there any danger incurred to caretakers or children for using this word?
The orphanage name is BiZoHa, its an acronym of 3 personalities who have done commendable work in the world of charity, am actually the one who proposed that name, i decided it as i wanted a neutral orphanage that will welcome people from all walks of life whether you are a believer or non believer. 
7) How does instruction at this orphanage differ than the school?
The Orphanage will be no different from the stand and vision of Kasese Humanist Primary School, as usual no dogma, no indoctrinations with an element of religious tolerance.
8) Now that the fundraising goal has been met, where will the orphanage be situated physically and how close will it be to the school? Has the building been constructed yet?
The orphanage will be situated in Muhokya along Mpondwe - Fort Portal road, a distance of 10 Kilometers from the KHPS Main campus at Railway and 15 Kilometers from the KHPS Permanent home in Rukoki, Kasese District.

Constructions of the orphanage commences on April 15 this year. We are beginning with a dormitory to house 15 orphans and will be supervised by a caregiver with good reputation. Other buildings on the orphanage site will be constructed in the future as funds permit.

At the orphanage, we plan to put some classes for learning to help out orphans there access education but this will be strengthened in the course of the year, we plan also to put in vocational skills training to help out vulnerable youth acquire skills to pave their way to economic self reliance.
9) What are the next steps for moving forward with the orphanage? How can people get more information on this? How can they help?
Next step for moving forward with the orphanage requires full support of this noble project, it does not matter whether you are religious, Atheist, Humanist or Non believer, the concern here is to rescue the orphans so that they get chance to live meaningful decent lives.

More information about the orphanage can be sourced out by following the Brighter Brains Institute website for updates. You can send your donation through their website. People can be of help by donating finances generously to this cause via the Brighter Brains Institute USA.

Spreading the message about the orphanage to friends and families on social networks.
Liaising with us by holding fundraising drives in your respective areas in support of BiZoHa Orphanage.

Choosing to volunteer at the orphanage and get chance to motivate the orphans that they are very important in nation building.
10) are there any other concerns -- specifically from the article at Friendly Atheist and its comments -- you would like to address?
I thank Hemant Mehta of being concerned by making a simple write up on the orphanage on his blog however i was almost turned off when he came out with a title saying that he can’t donate to this orphanage. I guess the word First Atheist Orphanage was the catchment word that turned off most readers, as friends in the struggle for secularism, those were his opinions but i think he rushed to air out that, i know some people in the free thought world are not comfortable with the tag Atheist..... This has to stop.

We all don’t subscribe to fairies, fables or myths and i think we should all unite and support causes of this nature. The plight of Orphans in Uganda needs attention and we as people of no belief, we have a role to play in saving this.

Most of the concerns on the Friendly Atheist Blog were attended to by myself, i realized there was lots of concerns aired out which is good and very important. Your comments were eye openers.

Like I said, we are breaking the monopoly that religious people alone have no right to own orphanages, people with no belief also care about orphans. I think this will send a signal to religious people that we are not sitting back when we see some injustices committed in the name of religion; we have had of pedophile priests, pastors defiling children, children made to do hard labor, children being molested or abused.

At BiZoHa Orphanage, we shall try our level best to protect the orphans from these upheavals, we shall try to expose them to the world view where they will be made to understand better the world around them, how to be morally upright, how to think big and be beneficial to developing ourselves to mention but a few.

On this platform, i thank very much Sean McGuire for being concerned to ask me these questions and will try my best to ensure this orphanage is on track and in line with the mission and goals of Kasese Humanist Primary School.

With Science, we can progress.

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