The aftermath of the murder of Avijit Roy sees the authorities acting – but it appears a case of too little, far too late. Turkey blocks the website of the Turkish Atheism Association. An anti-“blasphemy” campaigners in the UK have a slightly sinister message. The fifth of our weekly round-ups of “blasphemy” news.
Earlier this week, three members of our International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws spoke at the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics on an event specifically about freedom of expression and blasphemy laws. Our partners pressed a number of points, including the need to abolish the last remaining “blasphemy” laws and similar restrictions still in force in the European Union.
Now supporting partners the British Humanist Association have launched an online tool to help you do just that, by writing to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP) via: humanism.org.uk/EUblasphemy
Humanist blogger Avijit Roy murdered after he “insulted Islam” by writing about science and secularism in Bangladesh; a death sentence for apostasy over a “blasphemous” video clip in Saudi Arabia; book-burning and statue-smashing in Iraq under ISIS; and in Lebanon it’s “Je Suis Charbel” as satire against ISIS is prosecuted as “insult to Islam”.
News has broken tonight that freethinking writer Avijit Roy has been murdered in a machete attack at the Dhaka international book fair.
Known proudly and affectionately by fellow freethought bloggers as “the Richard Dawkins of Bangladesh”, Roy had been on a visit back to Bangladesh from the United States to launch a new book. He had been repeatedly accused and threatened over claims that his writings on reason, freethought and humanism were “blasphemous” or “defamed religion”.
One of the founding partners in our International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws (ICABL), the European Humanist Federation, was the first invited speaker at the European Parliament Platform on Secularism in Politics (EPPSP) this morning.
It’s been three weeks since we launched the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign, partly as a response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January.
Many of our partner organisations made statements in response to the tragic shootings in Copenhagen at the weekend.
A lone gunman targeted a cafe hosting a seminar on “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”, then the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, leaving two victims dead and five police and security officers injured. He was later killed by police.
Coalition partners Atheist Ireland met on Tuesday with the head of the Irish government, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in a meeting they described as a “breakthrough”.