On 25 April 2013 we stand with Bangladeshi bloggers and activists!


bangladesh_bloggers_arrested_apr2013_demotix_468In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.

Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.

We, the undersigned, call for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. On this day, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers, and sign this petition.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

Signed (organisations mentioned also endorse the day of action):

Aisha Gill, Academic
Amanda Brown, Founder, We are Atheism
Amanda Sebestyen, Writer
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
Anissa Helie, Algerian/French Activist
Anna Bergström, Board Member, Swedish Humanist Association
Annie Sugier, President, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger
Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi Blogger
B B Chaudhuri, Chairperson, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
Bill Ligertwood, Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought
Boris van der Ham, Chairman, Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Association)
Carlos A. Diaz, President, Atheist Alliance International
Caroline Fourest, Writer and Journalist
Cezar Maroti, Romanian Humanist Association will sign the letter.
Charlie Klendjian, Secretary, Lawyers’ Secular Society
Christopher Roche, Bath Atheists, Humanists and Secularists
Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents, Freedom From Religion Foundation
David Nicholls, President, Atheist Foundation of Australia
David Silverman, President, American Atheists
Derek Lennard, Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association
Djemila Benhabib, Journalist and Writer
DPR Jones, The Magic Sandwich Show
Dya Ahmad, Member of Youth Parliament in Iraq and Secretary of Student and Youth organisation in Iraq
Emily Dietle, Blogger
Eric Jayne, President, Minnesota Atheists
Esam Shoukry, Head, Organization for Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq
Fabian van Langevelde, Board Member, Atheïstisch Verbond (Dutch Atheist Alliance)
Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, Iraqi Writer and Human Rights activist, Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society
Farzana Hassan, Writer
Fiammetta Venner, Filmmaker and Writer
Gea Meijers, Founding Member, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation
Ginny Laag and Adrian Rox, London Atheist Activist Group
Giti Thadani, Writer
Greta Christina, Writer and Blogger
Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize Winner
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Helen Palmer, Chair, Central London Humanists Group
Hope Knutsson, President, Sidmennt – The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association
Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson, Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Ibn Warraq, Writer
Imad Iddine Habib, founder, Moroccan Council of Ex-Muslims
Ineke de Vries, Director, Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Association)
Inna Shevchenko, Spokesperson, FEMEN
Jacek Tabisz, President, Polish Rationalist Society
Jacques Rousseau, South African Free Society Institute
John Eade, Centre for Research on Multiculturalism and Migration, University of Roehampton
Joyce Arthur, Women’s Rights Activist
Julie Bindel, Writer
Justin Trottier, Spokesperson, Canadian Secular Alliance
Lalia Ducos, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Lila Ghobady, Filmmaker
Lloyd Newson, Director of DV8 Physical Theatre
Mano Singham, Blogger
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Mark Embleton, President, Atheism UK
Maryam Jamel, Organisation of Women’s Liberation of Iraq
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Maryam Noory, Activist, Organisation of Women’s Liberation of Iraq
Massimo Redaelli, International Representative, Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti
Meredith Doig, President, Rationalist Society of Australia
Michael De Dora, Director, Office of Public Policy, U.N. Representative, Center for Inquiry
Michael Nugent, Chair, Atheist Ireland
Michael Payton, National Director, Centre for Free Inquiry Canada
Michele Lamb, Director, Crucible Centre for Human Rights Research University of Roehampton
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committee against Stoning, International Committee against Execution and Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Mohamed Mahmoud, Sudanese Academic
Nadia El-Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Sudanese Researcher and Human Rights Activist
Nigel Fountain, Journalist
Nina Sankari, President, European Feminist Initiative Poland
Nowrin Tamanna, Lecturer, University of Reading, and blogger at Muktangon blog
Rayhan Rashid, Blogger and member of International Crimes Strategy Forum, and Bangla Community Blog Alliance
Saikat Acharjee, Solicitor, and blogger at Muktangon Blog, and member of Bangla Community Blog Alliance (BCBA)
Sushanta Das Gupta, blogger at Amar Blog , member of Bangla Community Blog Alliance
Ofy Mazy, Leader, Union of Service Workers in Iraq
Patty Debonitas, Spokesperson, Iran Solidarity
Paul Anderson, Blogger
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Raffaele Carcano, Secretary, Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti
Rafiq Mahmoud, Activist
Rahila Gupta, Writer
Rebecca Watson, Blogger
Rein Zunderdorp, President, Humanist Historical Centre and De Vrije Gedachte (Netherlands Freethinkers Association)
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Ronald A. Lindsay, President, Centre for Inquiry
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association
Russell Blackford, Writer
Safia Lebdi, Co-founder, Neither Whores nor Submissives
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Samir Noory, Chair, Committee for Abolishing Capital Punishment in Iraq
Seth Andrews, Host, The Thinking Atheist
Silvana Uhlrich-Knoll, President, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation
Sohaila Sharifi, Iranian Women’s Rights Campaigner
Sonja Eggerick, President, International Humanist and Ethical Union
Stephen Law, Centre for Inquiry UK
Stephen Stuart, President, Humanist Society of Victoria
Steve Chinn, General Secretary, Humanist Society Scotland
Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group and AWAAZ (South Asia Watch)
Syed Anas Pasha, General Secretary, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Professor of Women and Development Studies, University of the Philippines
Taslima Nasrin, Writer
Tauriq Moosa, Writer
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society
Tewfik Allal, Manifeste des libertés
Tom Flynn, Executive Director, Council for Secular Humanism
Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Philosophy
Waleed Al-Husseini, Palestinian blogger and Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of France

Comments

  1. says

    The term ‘islamist’ used in the petition might confuse a lot of people, as it hasn’t quite percolated to non-western media yet. Could it be changed to ‘islamic extremist’?

    • says

      Islamist is very well used; even so much so that the Islamists are campaigning to remove it from use – like with the AP – so as to conflate Muslim with Islamist. Petition can’t be changed once people have signed. It doesn’t change the actual message though that we want to defend the Bangladeshi bloggers so please sign! thanks.

      • avijit says

        I want to thank Maryam Namazie for her effort to fight for the unfortunate freethinking bloggers of our country. Her bold outpouring of support for the victims will help to mobilize others. I also thank her for keeping my name in the list, as ‘Bangladeshi Blogger’. You can add ‘Mukto-Mona’ (www.mukto-mona.com) as ‘Signed organisation’ if you want to.

        I have kept your petition with the similar ones in a common thread at Mukto-Mona:


        Petition(s) to sign : Release the arrested bloggers of Bangladesh

        Regards,
        Avijit Roy
        Founding Moderator, Mukto-Mona
        http://www.mukto-mona.com

  2. Shajib says

    I agree with Himu. The term ‘islamists’ in the petition will not be well taken by the muslim world. Can that be changed to ‘islamic extremists’?

  3. Jeuan says

    The right to freedom of religion extends to freedom from religion. There must be no compulsion in religion. No belief system, religious faith or ideology is exempt from criticism nor should any demand or receive special protection. No one should be threatened with death, violence or imprisonment because they challenge the beliefs of others. It is a fundamental human right to dissent and to express dissent without fear of retribution. Free the bloggers and put an end to mob rule.

  4. says

    Unfortunately, governments have a vested interest in ideologies and institutions that help them control their citizens. Anything that can be used to protect those ideologies an institutions, like blasphemy laws, politicians don’t mind.

  5. Josh Kutchinsky says

    I would like to be added to the list of signatories
    Josh Kutchinsky,
    Central London Humanists representative to IHEU and EHF & founder co-ordinator Hummay International Humanist support egroup

  6. Hilmar Lorenz, Ph.D. says

    As a retired Christian Lutheran pastor living in Canada, it saddens me to read about the stabbing and the answer of Bangladeshi authorities. I am befriended with moderate Muslims and have understood that the Koran has a message of liberation, namely, that individual persons find their individual trust in the one God of Jews, Christians and Muslims, so that they surrender to God (“islam”), rather than human authorities. Thus, in the name of our common God, I ask the Bangladeshi authorities to do everything in their power, so that individual persons have the freedom for walking their individual path of liberation God has provided from then for finding their individual trust and “islam” in God, Please do not support people who want to block people on this path through violence or even killing them, because they want to impose on them what the call “islam”, but, in fact, is no surrender to God, but to human authorities. Muslims and Christians are commanded to obey God more than humans. Please protect the freedom of your citizens to find out for themselves the difference between wubmitting to GOd and submitting to human authorities.

  7. Fredrik Bendz says

    This conflict clearly demonstrates the difference between “militant atheists” and militant theists. The former use the pen to argue against the sword. The latter use the sword to ague against the pen.

  8. says

    Do you believe in a grand conspiracy? Do you believe Oswald acted alone?
    Do you believe that government is corrupt? If so, then to what degree?

    That may depend on how willing you are to open your eyes and mind to see.
    Why is it that the more things change, the more they stay the
    same? Why doesn’t society ever seem to grow up? Most people grow up thinking that the world is very big and we believe the world exists the way it does today because this is the direction humanity has taken and chosen.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ett annat sätt vi har det bra på är att vi i Sverige faktiskt har yttrandefrihet. (Men det får man väl inte säga i det här jävla landet.) Till skillnad från t.ex. Bhangladesh, där fyra sekulära aktivister fängslats för att ha förolämpat Islam. Idag genomförs stödaktioner runt om i världen för att visa att detta faktiskt inte är okej (dagens underdrift). Läs mer om saken på Maryam Namazies blogg. […]

  2. […] broadcaster, and 2005’s Secularist of the Year award-winner, Ms. Namazie called for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists.8 Dhaka University students and teachers have also called for a strike on April 25th to press for […]

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