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Some protests supporting Bangladeshi Atheist bloggers, planned around the world on April 25 by various secular and humanist groups, were postponed until May 2, after a Bangladeshi building collapse which killed several hundred people. The protests are in support of Atheist bloggers in Bangladesh who are facing sometimes violent and state approved persecution. One such Atheist blogger is 29 year old Asif Mohiuddin, who has been physically attacked for the ‘crime’ of writing an Atheist blog and criticising the Koran and Islam. Another blogger has reportedly been hacked to death.
Bangladesh is a mainly Islamic country and, following the pattern of many such countries, although there is sometimes ‘lip service’ acknowledgement given to ‘freedom of expression’, the reality is very different.
This isn’t a new development. Last year, a young Egyptian Atheist was imprisoned for ‘blasphemy and contempt for religion’. He also criticised the Muslim Brotherhood run new Egyptian government.
As a website with a Christian ethos, Through Another Lens fully supports the ideal and practise of freedom of expression, whether religious or atheist or anything else. That is, freedom of such expression except where it is violent or incites violence. Simply writing to criticise oppressive regimes does neither and should be welcomed as an aid to freedom and democracy for all people.
Through Another Lens stands with the various secular humanist atheist groups protesting about the treatment of this Bangladeshi Atheist and other Atheist bloggers. They have committed no crime, because speaking out against oppressive regimes, religious or otherwise, is not in any way a crime but a right which all fair minded people should be able to engage in without fear of persecution or physical harm.
While this is an article defending the right of Bangladeshi Atheists (and anyone else) to blog their views, it is also worth noting that Christians have for many years been persecuted in oppressive Islamic countries, usually for the ‘crime’ of simply ‘being Christian’. Mostly these attacks have been publicised in Christian based media outlets with very little in mainstream media. It is also worth noting that in Egypt, after the Arab Spring had ‘liberated’ the Egyptian people, the incoming government, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, while publicly endorsing freedom of expression via President Mohammed Morsi, have in reality cracked down on those practising religions other than Islam. Many Christians still live in fear in Egypt and have been persecuted with the authorities doing little or nothing to prevent this.
Through Another Lens condemns extremism in any religion or political ideology. Through Another Lens fully supports the right of any bloggers: secular, humanist, atheist or religious, to write freely and to question other views and beliefs.
Protest organisers have called on both religious believers and atheists alike to support those being persecuted for simply expressing their views.
Thanks for reading.