of Bangladesh is arresting citizens who dare to exercise their rights to
freedom of religion, belief, and expression — and the situation has reached a
critical point, as the government is under mounting pressure to crack down even harder.
Last week, the government
arrested several prominent atheist bloggers for “hurting religious sentiments,”
under Section 295A of the Bangladesh Penal Code. Home Minister M.K. Alamgir recently
warned that the government has a list of seven more “atheist bloggers” who will
also soon be targeted. Just today, a newspaper editor was arrested for printing
quotations from the targeted bloggers. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of
protesters belonging to the radical group Islami Andolan Bangladesh have
rallied in the country’s capital, Dhaka, for even tougher blasphemy laws and more arrests. They have threatened
violence if their demands are not met by April 25.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) believes that
no person should face social or legal punishment simply for holding
or expressing their views, and we believe that no topic should be off-limits — especially
religion, which has such an enormous impact on the lives of billions. That’s
why we direct so much of our effort toward work at the United Nations and, more
recently, organizing the Campaign for
CFI has written a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson
Cook. We urged
them to raise public
awareness of the situation in Bangladesh and to pressure the Bangladeshi government to honor its obligations to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, which guarantees every
individual the rights to freedom of belief, religion, and expression.
But we need your help. Join the Center for Inquiry in pushing
Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Cook to press the government of Bangladesh to
repeal its current blasphemy law, reject any new blasphemy laws, and end
proceedings against bloggers for exercising their right to criticize religion.
Take action now!
Speak Out for Free Expression
Dear [Decision Maker],
I write you today as a friend of the Center for Inquiry because I am deeply concerned regarding the current situation in Bangladesh, where the government is cracking down on freedom of religion and expression.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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