A day to honor our right to disagree

We don’t have to worry about it much in the West, but there are dozens of countries where criticizing religion, or even just saying that there is no God, is a hazardous affair that can land you in jail — or worse. If you’re an atheist and you sometimes feel under siege from the majority of theists in the U.S. or Europe, imagine what life is like for the folks listed below.

Today, March 14, is an international day of action to defend apostates and blasphemers worldwide. The organizers wish to highlight ten specific cases.

• Alex Aan, Indonesia: 30-year-old atheist, said on Facebook there is no god. Imprisoned.

• Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al-Baz (also known as Ben Baz), Kuwait: Blogger and atheist, jailed, charged with blasphemy (that’s him in the picture).


• Turki Al Hamad, Saudi Arabia: Novelist, in prison for tweets critical of Islam and Islamism.

• Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia: Charged with apostasy for setting up a website that “harms the public order and violates Islamic values”.

• Asia Bibi, Pakistan: 45-year-old Christian mother of five, sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet Mohammad.”

• Hamza Kashgari, Saudi Arabia: 23-year-old Muslim, charged with blasphemy for Tweeting about Mohammad and women’s rights.

• Saeed Malekpour, Iran: Sentenced to death for “insulting and desecrating Islam.”

• Shahin Najafi, Germany: Lives under an Iranian death fatwa for writing a song critical of an imam.

• Ahmad Rajib, Bangladesh: Atheist blogger, killed last month in a machete attack by angry Muslims.

• Alber Saber, Egypt: Atheist blogger, sentenced to three years in prison for blasphemy.

Please, support them by going here and following the links. Thanks!

[image via Laughing in Purgatory]

About Rogier:
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.
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