Reader Mark of the Cleveland Freethinkers has asked me to try and rally support for Atheist Alliance International’s new scholarship fund for imprisoned Indonesian Alexander Aan who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and a fine equivalent to US $10,600 essentially for denying the existence of god on his Facebook page. The news report says that “Ana [sic] was accused of writing ‘God doesn’t exist,’ and posting links to explicit cartons showing the Prophet Mohammed having sex with a maid, and being sexually attracted to his daughter-in-law.”
The effort is being supported by Cleveland Freethinkers group member Rafiq Mahmood who says that, “He (Alexander) belongs in an academic environment where he can feel comfortable while being intellectually challenged, preferably at a Western university.” The donation page for the AAI legal and scholarship funds can be found here. Maryam Namazie has posted about this case and Rafiq’s meetings with Aan while he was awaiting trial. Rafiq is the one in the blue shirt talking with Aan.
Although Rafiq lives in Indonesia, he has been a frequent participant on the Cleveland group’s forum and has often attended their Roundtable events via Skype. He will be “beamed in” to lead their meeting on Saturday, August 4 at 7pm. He will be joined by AAI president Carlos Diaz who will also be beamed in (via Skype) to talk about the Aan case and much more.
On several of the occasions when I have spoken to the Cleveland Freethinkers Roundtable, Rafiq has joined us from Indonesia and he always has interesting things to say.