Global persecution of humanists, atheists and the non-religious has risen over the past year, a new, systematic report published today has found. The 2015 Freedom of Thought Report is the fourth edition of the annual publication, produced by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) with input from the British Humanist Association (BHA). Cases such as the ongoing barbarity of Islamic State and the murders of humanist bloggers in Bangladesh are highlighted, along with lesser known cases such as Ashraf Fayadh in Saudi Arabia and Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir in Mauritania, both sentenced to death for apostasy.
Developments over the past year that are highlighted include:
As last year, the United Kingdom is given a rating of systemic discrimination, as a result of discrimination by, for example, state-funded religious schools.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson, who is also the President of IHEU, commented, ‘Last year we recorded a rise in hate speech and rhetoric: Presidents saying “humanism” and “liberalism” were a threat to the state, laws branding atheism as “terrorism”, and so on. This year we’ve seen that rhetoric bubble over into truly malicious acts of persecution.
‘Our ongoing concern is that with jihadist extremism setting the bar very high for brutality, it is creating a space for this deepening, noxious hatred against the non-religious in a growing number of countries, primarily Islamic states. It’s almost as if there’s this false need to create an equal, imaginary threat from the opposite end of the belief spectrum, as a kind of false balance to the likes of ISIS. In fact this strategy is sometimes almost completely explicit, as in Egypt’s “war on atheism” for example. This entirely misplaced reaction against the non-religious is turning to increasing violence by non-state actors, and ever harsher, transparently unjust sentences from state authorities.’
For further comment or information contact BHA Chief Executive and IHEU President Andrew Copson on email@example.com or 07534 248596
Read the Freedom of Thought Report: freethoughtreport.com
Visit the International Humanist and Ethical Union website: iheu.org
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world umbrella group bringing together more than 100 Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist, and freethought organizations from 40 countries.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.