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”.
This week the various organizations of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws (ICABL) launched a charter to clearly and concisely define our shared orientation on “blasphemy” laws, the policy that underlies the entire campaign to End Blasphemy Laws and the shared vision that unites us in working together.
In the first week of the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign, there have been “blasphemy”-related mob violence and looting, reportedly resulting in two deaths, an attack on a Christian school ostensibly in response to caricatures in the publication Charlie Hebdo, and a senior Pakistani politician publicly placed a bounty on the life of the owner of that infamous magazine.
Our campaign was launched last Friday, by a brand new International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws.
Initially a merger of two parallel efforts by humanist, atheist and other secular organizations, we’re pleased to announce today that in the first week we’ve been joined by several religious organizations speaking out against “blasphemy” laws; mostly these groups describe themselves as liberal Muslim groups or in similar terms; in addition we welcome various ex-Muslim, human rights, some Christian, and further secular and freethought groups. See our Partners page for the full and growing list of partners in this extraordinary coalition.