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Solidarity with atheists of Bangladesh

bangladesh_B

There is an Atheist Association of Bangladesh, which is amazing. The government of Bangladesh is cracking down: atheists are being arrested, and most horribly, Islamist mobs are rioting and murdering atheists (warning: very bloody images at that link). Some atheist blogs are participating in a blackout in protest.

Taslima Nasrin has just published a statement of support from Bengali atheists. John Sargeant has suggested that we bloggers include a scarlet B for the Bangladesh situation, which seems like literally the least we can do. (Oops, this was originally Hemant’s idea.)

I feel helpless in the face of this oppression, unable to do anything for people in a distant country who are being abused by their own government. The American Humanists have issued an action alert, a petition to ask the US ambassador to lodge a formal protest. Sign it!

Comments

  1. thumper1990 says

    Gah! Why is there nothing a UK citizen can sign!? I can’t find one anywhere!

  2. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    I don’t watch a lot of news for a reason. Now I realize why I took a break from coming here. As distressed as this news makes me feel, I don’t have to live it personally. Which makes me feel even more like a shit for being distressed the way I am. I guess it is quite literally the least I can do. And nearly the most I can do.

  3. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Thumper – you should be able to sign that. U.S. “territories” are included, as well as all Canada, specifically, and the last selectable location entry is “other”. So if you live in “other”, you can still have a prod at our ambassador, and please do. (Strange “other” postal codes which don’t conform to standard-stupid US text boxes notwithstanding.)

  4. NitricAcid says

    Signed the petition (changed the “as an American citizien” to something else, since I’m a canuck).

    Any suggestions for something more effective? Writing a letter to Harper wouldn’t help- if he wasn’t busy with his day job, he’d probably join the mob.

  5. says

    I added my own thoughts to the petition and sent it. No one should get away with committing violence to silence people who are just stating (blog writing) their opinions, especially not the kind of violence we see in the blood-soaked pictures from Bangladesh.

    I am appalled. What barbarous behavior.

  6. Gregory Greenwood says

    I must remember to link to this the next time someone claims that atheists are not hated or persecuted at all, and so are undeserving of the freedoms of conscience provided to religious groups, and that it is somehow insulting to the genuine victims of oppression to state that they are.

  7. thumper1990 says

    @F #7

    I’m from the UK, so I think I fall into the “Strange “other” postal codes which don’t conform to standard-stupid US text boxes” category :) I found the details for our guy though, will email him.

  8. Margaret says

    Signed. Had to change the “Religious beliefs should be respected” part though. (And remove “and member of the American Humanist Association”.)

  9. truthspeaker says

    In my email I changed “Religious beliefs should be respected” to “The right to hold religious beliefs should be respected”.

  10. says

    I have been pointing out the similarities between this crackdown on Atheists and the similar crackdowns on atheists, freethinkers and intellectuals by General Zhia . The estimated death toll of that is still unknown but ranged from 300,000 to 3 Million. So many people vanished that no one knows where they all ended up. 10 Million people were made refugees making them one of the biggest refugee conflicts ever. Only the partition had more.

    And this was how it started. Initially you think you are defending your faith, but what you are really defending is your fundamentalists.

  11. great1american1satan says

    Here’s my letter:

    “Dear Ambassador,

    Many letters you are no doubt receiving at this time are the result of a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of the atheist bloggers being persecuted right now in Bangladesh. Add this to that number.

    As an atheist in America, I have to tolerate tiny affronts to my morals and worldview every day. But I am blessed by chance to have been born in a country with secular ideals enshrined in its highest law – so that no one here can be prosecuted or threatened with murder simply for holding different beliefs from the dominant faith.

    Bangladesh has some work to do in this respect, and we would love it if you could exercise your office to show that nonbelievers and religious minorities have the unequivocal support of the United States. We should not remain silent while the foundational principles of our republic are so thoroughly inverted, even when it happens in foreign lands.

    Nonbelief is not a choice. What is a choice is whether to have the courage to express your convictions in the face of death threats and mob justice. These Bengalis are the bravest of my people. Please help them.”

    To clarify, I do feel that atheism is not a choice. Your eyes can open to the truth whether you want it to happen or not. It’s always seemed an abuse of language to me that people say they can “choose to believe.” You can choose to lie to yourself, but whether or not it works is out of your hands.

  12. says

    Correction – not all the blogs that are undergoing black-out are “atheist” blogs. Only this one – http://mukto-mona.com/bangla_blog/ . Mukto-mona(it literally means “free-thinker”) is the first rationalist community in Bengali blogosphere and till now, it’s the biggest and richest of its kind. Mukto-mona has an English blog as well, in case you want to get in touch with Bangladeshi atheists.

    The rest of the blogs are not atheistic per se, but they’re all at one with the freedom to criticize religion. Here’s a list :-

    ১. Amarblog : http://www.amarblog.com
    ২. Sachalayatan: http://www.sachalayatan.com
    ৩. Muktangon: http://nirmaaan.com/blog/
    ৪. Mukto-mona: http://mukto-mona.com/bangla_blog/
    ৫. Nagorik blog: http://www.nagorikblog.com/
    ৬. Amra Bondhu blog: http://www.amrabondhu.com
    ৭. Choturmatrik: http://choturmatrik.net/
    ৮. Cadet college blog:http://cadetcollegeblog.com/
    ৯. Shorob: http://shorob.com/
    ১০. Istishon: http://www.istishon.com/
    ১১. Unmochon: http://www.unmochon.net/
    ১২. Adibashi Bangla blog: http://w4study.com/
    ১৩. Projuktibarta blog: http://projuktibarta.com/
    ১৪. Biggan school blog http://www.bigganschool.org/index.html/
    ১৫. Muktochinta blog http://muktochintablog.com/
    ১৬. Projonmo blog http://projonmoblog.com/
    ১৭. Swadhin Bangla station: http://www.swadhinbanglastation.com/blog/
    ১৮. Shoily blog http://shoily.com/
    ১৯ Shobjanta blog http://shobjanta.com/

    The blackout is being co-ordinated from this Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/MuzzleMeNot?fref=ts

    If you guys want to express solidarity in twitter, please use #MuzzleMeNot hash tag

    Alternatively, you can hold demonstrations in your cities, that should help garner the attention that we desperately need. Contacting your respective embassies and politicians won’t do, the US ambassador Dan Mozzina has made it abundantly clear US authorities do not plan on helping the government in tackling Jamaat-e-Islam Bangladesh, the largest and the main Islamist party of the country.

  13. says

    As a Bangladeshi blogger, I wanna thank PZ Myers for affirming his solidarity with the atheists and the bloggers of Bangladesh.
    However I would like to point out that you’re a little mistaken about one bit of information about the Black Out. As you have mentioned “Some atheist blogs are participating in a blackout in protest” – the fact is not so! Eight of the most progressive and leading community blogs of Bangladesh have started this protest. And then a number of other community blogs and countless other personal blogs have joined this Black Out. These community blogs do not only represent the atheists, but they represent all kinds of people regardless of religious and political opinion. This is a mass-protest from every progressive bloggers of Bangladesh.
    But I am really grateful to you for expressing your solidarity and concern. Thank you.

  14. Eristae says

    I wrote up my own little spiel and sent it off. Hopefully it will do some small measure of good.

  15. avijit says

    First, I want to thank the Dr. Meyers for his solidarity with the Bangladeshi atheists and freethinkers and his strong statement of support for the people of our country. His bold outpouring of support for the victims will help to mobilize the rest.

    We already know that Bangladesh police have arrested four ‘atheist’ bloggers for allegedly defaming religion (read Islam and the Prophet Mohammed), amid calls from religious fundamentalists for an Internet crackdown. The arrest of the three, who were paraded in handcuffs at a news conference, followed pressure from Islamists who have organized a march from all over the country to the capital to demand the death penalty for atheist bloggers. You can sign the petitions if you want to get involved in activism for creating pressure on the Bangladeshi government to release them immediately:

    Petition(s) to sign : Release the arrested bloggers of Bangladesh:
    http://mukto-mona.com/wordpress/?p=1970

    Thanks again, PZ!!!