Alexander Aan and a Voice in the Wilderness

 Atheists rally for persecuted unbeliever in Indonesia

The atheist community has embraced the cause of an Indonesian man, Alexander Aan, who was beaten and jailed after denying God’s existence on Facebook and posting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Your beliefs may not have hurt anyone, but definitely bunched up a whoooooole lot of panties.

The Center for Inquiry, a Washington-based humanist organization, launched a petition Tuesday (July 17) on behalf of Alexander Aan, a 30-year-old Indonesian civil servant currently serving a 30-month jail sentence for “deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity,” according to the judge who sentenced him.

Yeah.  Poor Muslims.  They have to deal with the occasional person telling them that their religion doesn’t make any sense.  The obvious response is to beat the crap out of them and have them arrested.  It’s the only moral thing to do, after all.  It must be considering the extent to which people in some parts of the world use this approach to anyone who they think disrespects Islam.

The petition asks the Obama administration to pressure the Indonesian government for Aan’s release and for better protection of religious freedom in that country, the most populous Muslim nation in the world.

“We are hoping that this petition will promote Aan’s cause and put it in the public consciousness so we can build a better coalition to get him out of jail,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s director of public policy. “It should matter to all human beings any time another human being is being denied basic human rights.”

I’m going over there to sign my name, and I encourage you all to do the same.  The link is above in the block quote.  Sign in, and then sign the petition.  As of late Thursday, they have quite a long way to go.  I honestly hope that this is only because it hasn’t been spread enough, and not because of any kind of indifference to an atheist being subject to persecution by believers.

I also don’t have a great deal of optimism that this petition will do anything.  I’ll be glad to eat my words on this, but what possible gain would Indonesia have by changing their policy on giving non-believers the right to free speech, especially if things appear to be working perfectly fine for the majority the way they are?  There is some glimmer of hope:

Aan was arrested in January after posting “God doesn’t exist” and cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to the page of a Facebook group he started dedicated to atheism. The group had 1,200 members.

Even in a strict Muslim country, there are enough people who are brave enough to sign up and identify as nonbelievers where such a thing is punishable by imprisonment …  and (it bears repeating) an angry mob completely losing touch with reality and beating the crap out of you because you “offended” them and their religion.

This entry was posted in Freedom from Religion, Profiles in Atheism, Profiles in Fundamentalism, Religion and Public Life, Religion in the News, Society Marches On and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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