Atheists in London are Braver Than American Ones

by baldilocks

Filling in for Fausta.

When we last talked about public atheist Richard Dawkins, he was being ‘de-platformed’ by Pacifica Radio’s KPFA.

In contrast, Dawkins spoke last week at the International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London, where he received a standing ovation and an award.

This conference’s purpose is

[to] discuss censorship and blasphemy laws, freedom of and from religion, apostasy, the limits of religion’s role in society, LGBT and women’s rights, atheism, secular values and more.

Speakers from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Ireland, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, UK, Ukraine, US and Yemen will gather in London to defend freedom of conscience and expression and argue that freedoms are not western but universal.

It’s innocuous internationalism and atheism, with one significant difference: these people support and offer a platform for ex-Muslims.

When ex-Muslim Bonya Ahmed reached out her hand to accept an award in London on Sunday, it was missing her thumb.

Islamists hacked it off in Bangladesh, 2015.

(…)

The ceremony that recognised this brave woman had to be held in a secret location because London is no longer safe for ex-Muslims, atheists or even secular Muslim believers who dare to say that Islam should not be implemented as a system of laws.

Let that sink in: these people had to gather in an undisclosed location.. Not in Bangladesh, but in Britain.

The next time you hear or read about American atheists whining about eyeball oppression from the sight of crosses and Ten Commandment monuments, point out the state of things in the UK. I know I will.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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