I was interviewed by the Atheists Republic Cape Town on their ‘Meet the Atheists’ segment. Below is the full clip on their You Tube channel. Enjoy!
On May 12, 2022, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a 200 level Home Economics student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was lynched by her fellow students on allegation of committing Blasphemy.
Deborah was dragged out of the security room where she was hiding, by a mob. She was mercilessly beaten, tires thrown around her neck and set ablaze by her colleagues, young Islamic fanatics.
Each time I tried to write about this case, I usually freeze, unable to manage more than a few words. I just stop because I feel a hopeless sadness pierce at my heart. A total confusion and perplexed at the sanity of the perpetrators and of those who still hold religious beliefs so dearly that they would harm others or even kill for their God or religious beliefs.
Deborah Yakubu was accused of committing Blasphemy against Islam/ Prophet Mohammed on a WhatsApp group. It is not very clear exactly what she said that her murderers considered blasphemous and worth lynching her over. Some have said Deborah, as a Christian, credited Jesus for helping her pass her exams. Some said she allegedly made a comment on WhatsApp, criticizing the religion-related posts that Muslim classmates discussed in the study group she believed should have been reserved for academic purposes. Whatever it was, it was allegedly deemed to be blasphemous, especially as Sokoto State, where the college of Education is located, is an Islamic state, although it is still part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is a Federal State and constitutionally a secular State, although the culture and behaviours suggest otherwise.
Nigeria has 32 States that make up the Federation. The North is largely Muslim while the South is largely Christian.
There has been public outcry in many parts of Nigeria following this dastardly act, with many calling for Justice.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Amnesty International (AI), the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) all condemned the dastardly act. You can read the many statements from different organisations in this Guardian report.
Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, called for the prosecution of the killers of Deborah. She tweeted, “I condemn the murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto, and urge the police and relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators of this horrific act are made to face justice in line with the law.”
The Nigerian Bar Association announced that its conference that was scheduled to hold in Sokoto State from Sunday, May 22 to 26, 2022, has been cancelled because of the murder.
In a statement, signed by NBA President, Olumide Akpata, he said ” The NBA is deeply worried not just by the chilling news of the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, but also by the sudden and sad turn of events and the deteriorating security situation in Sokoto State.”
Akpata also expressed NBA’s concerns regarding the charges preferred against suspects that have been arraigned for the gruesome murder of the student.
“We are, however, worried by yet-to-be-confirmed reports reaching us that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace in an episode that cut short Deborah’s life in her prime,” he said adding that the NBA is opposed to a “banalisation of the situation.”
Breach of peace? Really? A gruesome murder was committed in public, and they are charging the suspects with “breach of peace”? Words fail me.
Humans have been perpetrating unfathomable evils since they started creating Gods in their own image. The evils committed in the name of religion since time immemorial are just incomprehensibly evil, abominable and unfortunately still celebrated in the two precious holy books of Christians and Muslims.
I never met another Atheist before I became an Atheist. As a young teenager enthusiastic about her Christianity and about winning Bible quizzes, I simply read the Bible in all its entirety and knew there and then that my morality is far superior to that of the God portrayed in the fictional but gruesome holy book. I could not in all consciousness continue to worship or celebrate a sadistic God that was portrayed as responsible for the murders, genocide and jealous killings of even children.
Is it any wonder that some people who worship this God want to be just like him? I mean, what would God do in this circumstance if he were in that WhatsApp Group? Most probably get jealous, angry, throw a tantrum, and set the alleged blasphemer ablaze himself.
Well, it wouldn’t be a first, no matter what the religious believers say, be they Christians or Muslims. The Abrahamic God is not exactly known for His even temper and kind heartedness towards those who have any other God besides Him. Afterall, believers gleefully inform us that their God is busy preparing an everlasting burning fire where unbelevers like myself will burn in hell forever. How are sane people with empathy even capable of loving anyone, be it God or man, who is capable of thinking such evil deed, let alone carry it out? I say, show me your God and I will tell you who you are.
Deborah was an ardent Christians. I have seen some wonder why her God, the Christiaan God, did not step in and prevent her murder, smite the Islamic fanatics and show himself as the true God.
It is futile asking this type of question. It reminds me of the age-old question of Epicurus
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
It has been three weeks since the gruesome lynching and it seems Nigerians have already moved on to the next story on social media, the suicide of a successful single middle-aged woman. Another sad incident I shall write about in my next blog.
Until then, please try not to lose your humanity in this often inhuman world and definitely do not lose hope in humanity even though this seems to be the most difficult thing for me right now.
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Deborah Samuel Yakubu.
8 students burnt to death for Blasphemy against Islam
Not everyone can have a happy holiday.
It has been an especially sad year for some, with many young lives lost as the holidays approached. So many grieving mothers, grieving fathers, grieving children, grieving lovers, it is sad.
If you are grieving, I wish you the fortitude to bear the loss and a very splendid support system with people that won’t judge you, will hold your hands, listen to you moan and offer you tissues to wipe your tears.
We all cannot be merry this Xmas, please do not feel forced to join in the hilarity if you do not feel up to it. Be strong, for this too shall pass and you shall be happy again.
Pain and pleasures are life’s twin fountains, with our pains; we appreciate more our pleasures when it comes, as it surely will.
Happy Holidays to everyone who is up to it and don’t forget to put a smile on someone’s face today!
Neil deGrasse Tyson and the sexual misconduct allegations is a sad reminder of why I hardly have heroes, especially men as heroes. Even when I have men who I would otherwise classify as heroes, it is difficult not to wonder how they have treated women, especially vulnerable women in their lives, and how they are treating the women, especially vulnerable women in their lives.
I have worked and interacted too long in male dominated workplaces with powerful men who are revered and idolised by the society, but who leave me wanting to puke with the way they talk about women or the way they treat women in their personal and professional lives, for me to have any illusions left about men in power. Male privilege and male toxicity are very real, these did not just come about when we started using terms like male privileges, or male toxicity or when hashtags like #METOO started trending.
Sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination have been happening before we found the names to define them, they are still happening long after we put a name on them, and they will continue to happen as long as male privilege exists. These dastardly acts will exist as long as we continue to hero-worship blindly and think just like the way we created Gods, our earth idols can do no wrong. However, we can start putting a stop to this normalised abnormality when we start believing the victims of these sexual predators. We will make progress when we stop blaming women for men behaving badly.
As a woman, a black woman, a bisexual woman, I refused to be held responsible for the state of anyone’s arousal or the state of any man’s dick. It is not my duty to quench your lust or thirst for my body or give you hugs that you intend for your sexual satisfaction. Women’s careers and lives should never have to be defined by what we allow or not allow a sexual predator to do to us, unfortunately in many cases, this is the case. Our lives, our stories our #MeToos are all defined by what men wanted from us and what men took from us and how we are still healing from the traumas of what was taken from us without our consent.
We try to come to terms with what was taken from us because we understood the unwritten code that if we do not give it, we would be out of a much-sought career that we are qualified for and have given our best to. We understand that the unwritten codes say that even if we are the best qualified, we still must meet the qualification, i.e. the willingness to give our body unquestionably to the boss who holds the power and knows powerful people who could ruin our careers just with a snap of their fingers if we do not cooperate. For many, this could mean not just a repercussion for themselves alone, but also for the people they care for and about, it means homelessness, not able to feed their loved ones or their children getting kicked out of schools.
When you sit on your judgemental throne and asked, “but why didn’t she just say No and go look for another job?”, just remember, the person who wears the shoes knows where it pinches, and one size does not fit all. Do not put the blame on the victim, for once, stop with the ‘but’, and lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with the abuser.
When I first read about the sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, I felt so saddened because I really admired him. This is not surprising as he is one of the very few visible black astrophysicists in the world. I loved his Cosmos documentaries and I held him in very high esteem. A part of me seriously wished the accusations were not true but as a woman, I know from experience that such allegations should never be taken lightly. Men in power do things to women under their control that just should not be excused, the higher they grow in their career, the more entitled they feel to every woman’s body. They childishly reason like a spoilt brat that they have the power, the money and in some very few cases, the looks too, so why the heck can’t they have any woman they want?
When I stumbled on this article from TheAtlantic on a friend’s FB page, I felt ashamed because somehow since I first read about these allegations, I had managed to subconsciously push it out of my mind while at the same time avoiding anything to do with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, it was as if I was afraid to acknowledge it. This article managed to kick me out of my numbness because of the way it focused on the impact of sexual harassment on women’s careers. As a career woman, it reminded me that silence is never the answer. I might not have the answer but at least I will not be numbed into silence and be complicit in further normalising sexual abuse just because well, it happens a lot and we are used to it. No, I do not wish to be used to this normal abnormality!
If you are not familiar with this developing story, below are some quotes from different articles on the story so far-
From TheAtlantic- Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Careers That Weren’t
What the summaries can miss-and what many of the write-ups of the matter, far beyond the blunt demands of the headline, can miss as well-is the fact that the claims in question are not, actually, just about sexual misconduct. The women who have come forward to share stories about Neil deGrasse Tyson have also been talking about a related, but different, indignity: the harm that the alleged misconduct has done to their careers. They are talking, in that, about something Americans haven’t been terribly good at talking about, even in the age of #MeToo: the radiating damage that sexual abuse can inflict on women’s professional lives. The smothered ambitions. The seeded self-doubts. The notion that careers can experience trauma, too.
Today, Amet talks about the ongoing effects the alleged rape has had on her body, on her mind, on her capacity to maintain relationships with other people. But her accusation extends beyond that: Amet also alleges that Tyson’s behavior led her to leave the graduate program she had worked so hard to be admitted to, and thus to stop nurturing aspirations of becoming an astrophysicist, and thus to give up her dream of becoming the first black woman astronaut. This is how Amet, addressing Tyson from the distance of diverged paths, put it in a blog post in 2014: “How does it feel to know that YOU are the reason there is one less black female galactic astronomer on this planet? Yes, YOU.”
Backlash, as well, is Katelyn Allers, who has also come forward with allegations against Tyson-admiring her tattoo of the solar system at a professional gathering, she says, he traced its path up her shoulder and under her dress-deciding not to attend more professional events where Tyson might appear. Backlash is the woman taking herself out of the equation. Backlash is the notion that the world is organized by frail little planets that orbit, inevitably, around a singular sun.
It’s another cliche: The man misbehaves, the woman gets blamed for it. Her reputation is compromised; her career is stymied; she is branded as difficult; he is simply a man being a man. This bind-the sexual offenses becoming professional ones-is a stubborn element of #MeToo. One of the women who accused the former TV host Charlie Rose of misconduct summed things up like this: “I was hunting for a job, and he was hunting for me.”
The stories of those who have lived in Tyson’s orbit have served as reminders that, here on Earth, we remain biased toward the stars.
Vox – The sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, explained
When they were in graduate school together in the 1980s, Tchiya Amet says she looked up to Neil deGrasse Tyson.
They were both black students in the majority-white astronomy department at the University of Texas Austin at the time, and Tyson was “like a big brother” to Amet, she told Vox. “We were comrades.”
That changed, she said, when she was over at his apartment one afternoon in 1984. She said he offered her a drink of water in a cup made of a coconut shell. The next thing she knew, she said, she was naked on his bed, and he was performing oral sex on her. When he saw that she had awoken, she said, he got on top of her and began penetrating her. Then, she said, she passed out again.
Tyson has said in a public Facebook post that the two dated briefly, but that the encounter she describes didn’t happen. Tyson has not responded to multiple requests for comment by Vox. For her part, Amet denies that she and Tyson dated – she says they were just friends.
The next time Amet saw Tyson in the halls of the astronomy department, she says she asked him, “How did this happen? Why did this happen?”
“He said, “Because we’re in this alone, and we’re in this together,”” Amet said, “and then he walked off.”
“I didn’t know what he meant,” she said. Soon after, Amet dropped out of school.
Amet has been speaking publicly about her experience with Tyson, now an astrophysicist, TV host, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, since 2010. She confronted him at a public appearance in San Francisco, she told David G. McAfee at the religion website Patheos. She posted her story on her personal blog in 2014 and on Twitter in 2016, and McAfee wrote about it at Patheos in 2017 and published an interview with Amet in November 2018.
From Patheos – Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct
Watson says she had been working directly under Tyson, who called out Trump in 2016 by saying he would grab him by the crotch when they met, and that they got along well. That all changed, however, when he invited his underling to his apartment at around 10:30 P.M. to “share a bottle of wine” and “unwind for a couple of hours.”
Watson, who said she felt pressured to impress her superstar boss, told me she agreed to come in for a glass of wine instead. Upon entering his apartment, Tyson allegedly took off his shoes and shirt, remaining in a tank top undershirt. Unfortunately, the night only got more awkward as Tyson, who is married, reportedly put on romantic music and replayed the most graphic parts.
She says Tyson soon brought out a cutting board and a knife to cut blocks of cheese that he decided they would share. But before slicing the snack, he allegedly gestured toward her with the knife and made a comment about stabbing.
Watson says she took the comment as a bad joke, but it’s important to note that this type of “joke” is exactly what people in power need to keep in mind when dealing with subordinates. And it set the stage for a night filled with subtle intimidation and sexual advances.
“It was definitely a very weird power move,” she said.
Watson says Tyson started talking about how every human being needs certain “releases” in life, including physical releases. He reportedly mentioned how difficult it had been for him to be away from home for several months.
Watson says Tyson asked her if she needed any releases, and she responded with a story about sexual harassment she endured in the past. It was a smart way to diffuse a tense situation, but she says he was unfazed.
“It was like talking to a wall,” Watson said.
She was getting up to leave when Neil allegedly stopped her, saying he wanted to show her a “Native American handshake” he knew. That involved holding hands tightly, making eye contact, and feeling for each other’s pulse, Watson told me.
When she broke off the awkward and incredibly intimate handshake, which he allegedly said represented a “spirit connection,” she attempted to just get up and leave.
Tyson then allegedly put his hands on her shoulders, and said he wanted to hug her, but if he did, he’d “just want more.”
I sincerely hope these cases get investigated, due process followed and everyone concerned get the justice they deserve.
On June 19, 2017, I woke up to the news that there had been a terror attack at Finsbury park Mosque, targeted against Muslims in London. I was shocked and appalled by the barbaric act. I posted on my Facebook wall to condemn the terrorist act. A valued facebook friend from Australia responded with such surprising views that I was really taken aback.
As I have been meaning to write about the Darren Osborne terror attack on Muslims but have not been able to, I thought I should share the exchanges I had with my Australian friend here as the comments basically covered what my thoughts are on the terror act.
I posted on my wall-
Oh no, a counter terror attack in London! This is a dangerous ground to tread, London is too diverse for this appalling act. Londoners are proud of our diversity and tolerance, this is barbaric. I’m just tired of all the bad news. Humans seems to be going downhill.
My Australian FB friend commented-
People can only be murdered for so long before someone stands up and fights back. The English have a history of putting up with shit for so long before taking action. Thankfully someone has chosen to do so.
Needless to say I was appalled by his line of thinking –
That is a very appalling, horrible thing to say. Going around murdering innocent people because you do not like their religion or because a few religious extremists carried out terrorist attacks in the name of that religion is barbaric and very inhumane. There is nothing that can justify murdering innocent people. I have no respect for Islam neither do I have any respect for Christianity nor any other silly religion out there, but I will never advocate for the killing of religious people. Human rights guarantee the right to freedom of Religion. I am appalled by your hateful comment here and I will say NEVER leave such a comment glorifying and justifying the killings of innocent people on my wall.
He refused to put his thinking cap on and responded with –
If these Muslims were not attacking every corner of the globe, every day of the week there would be no reprisals, no trillions spent on security, you would not know they were part of any community. They would be under the radar such as Hindu, Buddhist etc but they are not. They created this situation so they need to suck it up and accept the responsibility for their dogma which has turned the world into chaos.
When some of my British friends tried to set him straight, he was not having it –
Perhaps if you pom’s were as aggressive at actually controlling your social failure with Islam as you are with someone who is please to see someone in your cuntry have the spine to actually stand up and fight instead of hiding behind a keyboard you might not be in decay. After reading all the rubbish you have thrown at me ‘good ridden’s’ to you all.
His fellow Australian who has known him personally for about 10 years also stepped in to talk some sense into him-
hate speech like yours is the very reason why people drive their car through innocent people who are simply participating in the deity of their religious beliefs!
You’re stereotyping all Muslims as being murderous terrorists which is bullshit!!
Wake up man!!! What you’re doing is no fucking better than what the terrorist does! An act of terrorism is to incite fear, hate and to terrorise.
I actually know a lot of Muslims and they are wonderful caring beautiful people.
They’re not saying things like your saying. !!!!!
I also thought I should talk more sense into him –
How on earth does attacking and committing terror acts against Muslims solve terrorism? That line of thought is indeed very barbaric, primitive, ignorant and retrogressive.
Were the Muslims killed by this far right English man terrorist the Islamists extremists who are committing terrorists Act?
How is the action of this silly, primitive, barbaric Western terrorist any different from the actions of the Islamist terrorists you loathe?
How is your glorification and justification of this heinous act any different from the jubilation of ISIS and Islamist terrorists after a terror attack?
How is the killing of innocent people targeted solely for their religion any different from killing westerners in the name of Islam?
Today this man targeted Muslims, tomorrow it will be some westerners with extreme far right ideology that will start targeting migrants. And who next, black people living in Europe?
Look, let’s get this straight, there is no justification for hate crimes or any kind of terrorism
Innocent Muslims do not need to convince you or anyone that they have the right to life, live and coexist in any society without fearing for their lives. Muslims should be judged on their individual actions in the society, like every other human being, they should not be collectively held responsible for the heinous crimes of a few others.
***your comments are disgusting, appalling, Muslimphobic, hateful and a danger to humanity. I am more than disappointed that you hold such disgusting views as i really did consider you a friend. This is not a simple matter of difference of opinion, i will not let you use my platform to spread such hate. I will block you the same way i block anyone one who spouts homophobic, biphobic or transphobic nonsense on my wall. Pls, kindly stop ANY kind of justification of this heinous act ON MY WALL. Any further comment hinting at all at justification or encouragement of this hate crime and terrorist action get you blocked immediately.
***I am really disappointed that an intelligent man like *** who I consider a friend would hold such extremist views. So sad. I hope he let go of such hate and understand that as evolved human beings, we have no justification for killing or encouraging the murder of innocent people for the crimes of others simply because they share a religion, skin colour or race. How barbaric!
His Australian friend seemed as confused about his line of reasoning as I was , she wrote-
Yemisi Ilesanmi and yet, yesterday he posted a video of the barbaric treatment of Irish by the English in the early 1800’s!
Now here he is defending this barbaric behaviour!! I just don’t understand his thinking.
I’m very disappointed 😔
However, our mutual friend wasn’t budging on his hate-filled murderous views-
Winge all you want as I really don’t care. Neither of you understand my point of view or respect it. I’m labelled a hater when you are both spitting venom at me, throwing hate speech at me. Yes I did load up a bit of English history but I don’t hate anyone over it. I don’t hate anyone, don’t hate Muslims but I am entitled to a opinion to what you believe is right or perhaps in your case ‘left’..
I had to let his fellow Australian know just how shocked I was by our mutual friend’s views-
*** When I first read ***’s comment, I almost thought his account was hacked! I find his comment so out of character. As an Atheist, I never hide the fact that I loathe religion, all type of religion. I and criticise Islam openly, just as I criticise Christianity which actually harmed me a lot while growing up and still harm me cos of my sexual orientation. However as an adult with a functioning brain, I know it is OK to criticise an ideology without calling for the death of innocent people who have done no harm to the society, just because they share or practise their ideology or religion. *** is sadly misguided.
I tried to call him out on calling his murderous, genocidal, oppressive view just an “Opinion” –
Get it into your head, it is not an OPINION to deny a whole group of people the Right to life because of their religion. That is a gross violation of their human right. You are sick in the head if you think you have the right to debate the right to life of innocent people who have committed no crime just because of their religion. You will not use my platform to spread your hate.
His fellow Australian tried to appeal further to his sense of reasoning-
*** you stated that Muslims created this situation.
Muslims did not create this situation, EXTREMISTS did.
I think you are so full of hate for a minority that you’re now persecuting the majority.
I’m not a believer in Religion but I certainly don’t hate those who are.
Also I want to refresh your somewhat lacking memory here. Not all terrorists are Muslims!!!!!
However our mutual friend wasn’t having any of it, logic was lost on him-
I don’t use the word hate as it is a vicious word. Calling me a hater, racist is offensive and wrong. There are 1 billion Muslims so they are not a minority. If they were a minority they are causing way to much death for such a group. If it was a peaceful group the world would not be on terror alert due to Islamic attacks I am aware of this problem, perhaps you are not but back to the original post before I was attacked. Did it actually cross your mind the act of retaliation by a member of the host nation may have been besotted by the grief of someone close to him who was killed, beaten, raped by one of these poor so called minority groups? You are also aware the location of the reprisal was a hub for Islamic haters of Western society?
At this point I was fed up with him –
What nonsense are you spewing, sounds like you’ve totally taken leave of your thinking faculty.
How has the supposedly 1 billion Muslim population you quoted harm you as a person or the society as a whole? How is the killing of innocent Muslims the solution to Islamist terrorism?
I asked you pertinent questions earlier, obviously you have not taken the time to logically ponder these questions or you are just too clouded by your hate and alarming ignorance to logically and honestly answer these questions.
I come from a country of about 120 million people and half of that population are Muslims. Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group who have been terrorising the country have killed more Muslims than Christians or people of other religion. Muslims, who are predominant in the Northern part of Nigeria are integrated into the western, southern and Eastern part of the country.
There are many cases of families where one parent is Christian and the other Muslim. Do we now say because of the atrocities of Boko Haram, we should start killing Muslims in the country? Wouldn’t that lead to another civil war? Of what good are wars? Why advocate for the genocide of innocent people because you loathe their religion?
Your reasoning is very barbaric, ignorant, retrogressive and very inhumane. As *** said, you posted a video yesterday on your wall condemning the Irish genocide by British, now you are advocating for the genocide of Muslims. What a hypocrite you are.
Or is it OK to kill Muslims because you think they are sub-humans? Or you view Muslims as ‘Brown people’ therefore you think they are sub-humans?
You say you know your UK history, are you aware that IRA is classified as a terrorist group that carried out terrorist acts in UK? Was that a good enough reason to murder innocent Irish people? You clearly don’t think so as you condemned the Irish famine as genocide just yesterday. However, the hypocrite Musimphobe and possibly racist that you are is not willing to give Muslims same consideration. You cannot find it in your hate-filled heart to see Muslims in the same way as you see the Irish. I guess the Muslims are too brown for you to deserve basic human right.
You said the location of the terror attack was a hub for Islamic haters of western society. Are you aware that the Mosque in Finsbury Park was the first Mosque to win a National Award in UK? Until a few months ago, I live in North London, just a few stops from Finsbury park, and I can tell you it was a lovely place to live, A hotbed of London diversity.
You are a disappointment. I sincerely hope you will let logic cleanse your beclouded brain and not let hate to consume you so much. What you are advocating is genocide. There is no justification for genocide. I am greatly disappointed in you and disgusted by your comments. Pls, stay away from my wall until you learn how to behave like a decent human being again.
Did he get it? Did he find his brain and conscience again? No, he simply responded with this gem-
What a load of crap. Goodbye
Well, my parting shot was-
Good riddance to bad rubbish, Thanks for unfriending your Muslimphobic, subconsciously racist, ignorant ass from my Facebook page. I don’t need friends that call for genocides. Hate and ignorance fuel violence and you are now obviously a violent man. I hope you get the help you need before you constitute a nuisance to the society. You sound like a terrorist in the making. Goodbye.
Oh well, that was the end of that. Another friend lost to ignorance and hate. Probably many more will be lost as Brexit and Trump embolden people to show their inner racist, sexist and bigoted selves. Hopefully my now ‘ex-friend’ sees the errors of his ways before it is too late.
Below is my video contribution for ‘Secular Voices of Colour‘. As the project coordinator, Sincere Karibo stated–
Secular Voices of Color is a unique opportunity to spread awareness of and focus on the stories minority representation of nonbelievers.
My video contribution is transcribed below. Happy Viewing!
My name is Yemisi Ilesanmi, I am a Nigerian, grew up in Nigeria and now resident in UK. I was born into a Christian family. Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and it is one of the most religious in the world. Growing up I decided if I was going to be a Christian, damn right I was going to be the best Christian ever. My parents attended the spiritual church known more as white garment church. It was always about speaking in tongues, prophesy, exorcism and all that crap that comes with believing in a skydaddy and the existence of evil spirits. [Read more…]
When a friend tagged me in an article in the Guardian titled, ‘My atheism does not make me superior to believers. It’s a leap of faith too”, by Ijeoma Oluo, I knew from the second part of the title not to expect much and as predicted, the article turned out to be arrant nonsense.
For one, it reads like a piece someone just figuring out that there is no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, Tooth Fairy or Bogey Man would write. It is quite surprising that the writer, a self-proclaimed atheist, could not differentiate between faith and knowledge.
For this reason, I wouldn’t take seriously anything the writer has to say about atheism, however, i would endeavour to analyse her article.
I didn’t come to this conclusion because the story of a man waking from the dead made no sense – I wasn’t an overly analytical child. I still enthusiastically believed in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. But when I searched myself for any sense of belief in a higher power, it just wasn’t there. I wanted it to be there – how comforting to have a God. But it wasn’t there, and it isn’t to this day.
This sounds creepily like a gay person wishing they were not gay. Atheism is not a feeling, it is not a sexual orientation or emotional/ sexual attraction, it is not the spooky feeling that some people insist they get that tells them a ghost is in the room. [Read more…]
The gruesome murders of Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, all Muslims, in the gun-toting hand of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, an atheist, is appalling and a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine what the families of these victims must be going through.
According to the law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, Tuesday’s altercation started after Hicks found a car belonging to one of the victims in what he claimed was his parking space. Then Hicks went to the victim’s condo and shot all three people in a confrontation.
Hicks turned himself in to police Tuesday night and is being held in the Durham County Jail without bond. He is cooperating with investigators, police said Wednesday morning.
Mohammad Abu-Salha The father of the female victims feels differently, he believes it is an hate crime. He stated–
We have no doubt that the way they looked and the way they believed had something to do with this
Karen Hicks, the soon to be ex-wife of Craig Stephen Hicks expressed her shock and sympathy, she however stated–
This incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but in fact was related to the longstanding parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors
According to Craig Stephen Hicks’ neighbour, Samantha Maness it was an equal opportunity anger situation.
I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” Samantha Maness, another resident of the Finley Forest development, told the Times. She said that Hicks displayed an “equal opportunity anger” and that he made “everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.
Why are some atheists blaming ‘Extreme Atheism’ for Chapel Hill shootings?
I watched in bewilderment as some atheists assume extreme atheism was to blame for the murders. Some have [Read more…]
There is this unfortunate trend in social media where calling out someone for their sexist, misogynist, and/or inhumane remarks is seen more as an invitation for a fight rather than an opportunity to engage in rational discussion. Many, especially women, are discouraged from calling out sexist, misogynist, or stereotype remarks made by friends on social media like Facebook or Twitter, for fear of being tagged as the “type of feminist that gives feminism a bad name”.
There seems to be a renewed effort to tag outspoken,social justice conscious women as aggressive, judgemental, over-sensitive ‘bitches’ who just want to ruin everyone’s fun. It is particularly sad that this type of silencing technique is becoming even more prevalent in the Humanist/Atheist space.
November 17th-24th is anti-bullying week and I pledged sometime ago not to be a bystander when I witness bullying. Of course, this has somehow earned me a reputation as the “fun ruiner”, especially amongst some of my fb friends. Whenever i post or comment on such issues, it is at the risk of being referred to as the “type of feminist” they don’t like. Therefore, such discussions tend to irritate some ‘friends’ and many do get aggressively defensive when called out. However, i am sure that those who resort to aggressive behaviour when called out on how they treat others do not deserve the space they occupy on my virtual/real friendship list, simples.
I was shocked when I came across the status update below from a somehow close FB friend who identify as humanist and feminist: [Read more…]
In my part of the world, every advice seems to be followed by some supposedly wise sayings. African societies have rich collections of very good proverbs, but those proverbs are being relegated to the background in favour of some suspiciously evangelical ‘wise’ sayings.
These supposedly ‘wise’ sayings do get on my nerves. Some of these sayings are so common that I am beginning to think perhaps people just say those things from force of habit, without actually thinking them through.
In particular, I hate ‘wise’ sayings that attach a reason to why we need to help others. For example:
Do we really need a reason before we extend a helping hand to someone in need? [Read more…]
An enlightening piece titled Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? was recently published on buzzfeed by Mark Oppenheimer. It is a long read that exposes the sexist, misogynistic behaviour of some well-known male Atheists leaders. I guess they are referred to as Atheist leaders because they are well paid to speak at atheists events, coveted by the media and well, some of them have written popular books, but as an atheist and feminist, I wouldn’t think of many of these creeps as ‘leaders’ in any way.
The article particularly focused on the many allegations of sexual harassment surrounding Michael Shermer. It also exposes the indefensible thought process of those in power who have protected and shielded him from the consequences of his questionable actions towards women at Atheist conventions.
James Randy was quoted in the article as saying- [Read more…]
I always thought if I were ever to be attacked by someone I only knew from social media especially Facebook, it would be by a homophobe, biphobe, transphobe or a religious fanatic who didn’t like my LGBT rights advocacy or anti-religion posts. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would experience a physical attack and verbal abuse at an atheist event from a female Facebook friend who identifies as a feminist and an atheist!
Until now, my casual encounters with people who only knew me from Facebook have been positive. From the ones I ran into in London tubes to the ones who excitedly introduced themselves as my fb friends at social events or gave me heartfelt hugs at London pride, it has been positive experience until now. Get ready to hear the full gist, don’t forget to get your popcorn! [Read more…]
Richard Dawkins ill-informed attempt to grade rape triggered discussions and heated debates on the issue of rape. Sure enough, rape apologists and victim blamers used the opportunity to proudly show off their self-inflicted ignorance and bigotry on the issue of Rape. It was also another avenue for hero worship. I did get some very worrisome responses on my Facebook wall to my blogpost RichardDawkins@Confused.Com: No one said you endorsed rape, what you did was grade rape and that is appalling. It also exposes the fact that many are actually happy to blame victims but won’t admit that they are rape apologists.
I plan on making some of these discussions into a blogpost but first I need to get this very misguided, unconscionable comment made by a proudly ignorant person out of the way.
Trigger alert- Contains Trivialisation of Rape. [Read more…]
Watching the downward spiral of Richard Dawkins from a respected scientist and atheist to a cringeworthy tweeter commentator is indeed saddening.
The latest embarrassing and thoughtless tweets of the Professor has generated yet another media storm and a lot of criticism and not forgetting the usual dose of worship from the “Richard Dawkins can do no wrong” worshippers. What I find amusing and of course saddening is how he refuses to acknowledge the constructive criticisms levelled at his tweets but chose instead to spew bigotry and disdain from his high pedestal at his critiques. To boot, he tries to make himself out as a victim of witch hunts!
The Professor and his apologists are going to ridiculous length to ‘clarify’ the intentions behind his tweets. Richard Dawkins wanted us to know he was not endorsing rape, but who the heck said he was endorsing rape? It is like the man wants to direct our attention away from the major blunder he committed by using an obvious defence, only that no one attacked him with that tool, so using that particular defence is basically pointless. We are no children that can be tempted away from the main issues just because he flashed a candy at us.
Below are the Richard Dawkins’ tweets in question, one can see how the tweets spiralled out of the control of Richard Dawkins. RD even went on a tantrum when he couldn’t believe that people were even more stupid than he thought. Sighs. [Read more…]
Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian and an atheist is being held hostage in a psychiatry ward at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria on the orders of his father Bala Mohammed. Mubarak’s father is a prominent weekly columnist who writes a Saturday column for Daily Trust, a National Newspaper. Bala Mohammed committed his son to a psychiatric unit when his son expressed non belief in God and renounced Islam.
I gathered from reliable sources, including sources from within the Daily Trust Newspaper, that the extremism of Mubarak’s father’s was becoming apparent and some staff members were concerned about the appalling way he was treating his son whose public declaration of atheism and renunciation of Islam on social media seems to have attracted attention in Kano.
My source was shocked when a contact that is very close to the Publisher of Daily Trust said they were aware of the case and have been aware of Bala Mohamed’s growing extremism and the appalling way he committed his son to a psychiatry ward for renouncing Islam. However the paper refused to carry the story because of the controversy it would generate and a fear of reprisal. [Read more…]