Indonesian atheist Alex Aan has been sentenced to two and a half years


You may have heard that Indonesian atheist Alex Aan has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for saying ‘There is no god’ on Facebook. The Council of Ex-Muslims condemns the sentence and demands that Alex be immediately and unconditionally released. He has done nothing wrong. Help us oppose his prison sentence and call for his release by writing letters of protest to the Indonesian authorities.

Alex is one of many.

Just recently, Maldivian blogger Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed was brutally attacked because of his writings and Iranian-German rapper Shahin Najafi was given a death fatwa for rapping about Islam.

For the past 5 years, the Council of Ex-Muslims has played an important role in defending the right to free expression, including the right to criticise religion, whilst supporting ex-Muslims and challenging Islamism and apostasy laws. We’ve also defended the rights of Muslims and others to equality and citizenship rights via the One Law for All campaign we kick started in 2008. 

A report by the Islamic regime of Iran confirms our significance by ‘exposing’ founder Maryam Namazie as being ‘noticeable’ for her ‘widespread activities against Islam and the Islamic Republic and in areas such as the defence of women’s rights and refugee rights’, and for being ‘in charge’ of those ‘who are effectively apostates’.

Clearly, the CEMB is an organisation that must be defended.

You can help support us by celebrating our fifth anniversary. Send messages to mark our fifth birthday to See other messages, including from Taslima Nasrin, Richard Dawkins and Mina Ahadi, here. Donate to help further our work and/or attend our luncheon at an Italian restaurant in London next Saturday 23 June 2012 from 13.00-16.00 hours. Book a place now and join renowned philosopher AC Grayling, writer Gita Sahgal, comedian Kate Smurthwaite, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, DV8 Physical Theatre Director Lloyd Newson, CEMB founder Maryam Namazie, magician Neil Edwards, singer and songwriter Shelley Segal and others. Once you’ve booked a place, you’ll receive further details.

To donate or purchase tickets, send a cheque made payable to CEMB to BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Paypal or Worldpay. Donations will help ensure the attendance of CEMB volunteers at the 23 June luncheon and help us continue our important work.

Written By: Maryam Namazie
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  1. Seems to me allah does not help his people, he requires them to help him just as a con man helps himself. 

  2. Well, this sentence is absurd for posting a comment on the internet but he really is lucky it is so low and  the mob hasn’t killed him already.

    In other islamic hellholes he would have been executed.

  3.  Here is the list of countries with a death penalty for apostasy/blasphemy:

    Saudi Arabia

  4. Seems to be a hangover from an abortive coup in 1965, alledgedly by the Communist Party of Indonesia. Apparently, around 1/2 million were killed in an anti-communist purge.The incident, prompted the New Order government to suppress
    the supporters of PKI, by introducing a mandatory policy that everyone must choose a
    religion, since PKI supporters were mostly atheists. Agnosticism and atheism were therefore unrecognised and illegal, so as a consequence, every Indonesian citizen was required to carry personal identification cards indicating their religion. A list of acceptable and recognised legal religions was drawn up, and  this had the effect of inducing a large numbers of conversions into other religions. What a total shambles!

  5. The following was posted on the excellent by Hotrats in resonse to a comment of mine there. It seems he wasn’t sent down for saing there is no god.

    It is interesting to see how this story has been spun: you would think from many of the reports in the humanist blogs that Alexander Aan was convicted of being an atheist, or for writing ‘There is no God’. Although he was charged with blasphemy and proselytising atheism, these charges were dropped.
    He was convicted of ‘deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity’ after he shared comic strips from http://www.prophetmuhammadillu… of the prophet having sex with his servant, and an article describing the prophet being attracted to his daughter-in-law, on his Facebook page.
    Although the cartoons in question are just literal depictions of stories in the Koran, backed up with chapter and verse, they deal unshrinkingly with the Prophet’s philandering and the revelations he claimed absolved him of guilt. Of course all depictions of the Prophet are blasphemous to Muslims, and these focussing on his sex life are particularly irreverent.
    It does seem that he was taking an unnecessary risk by creating an online presence where he could not make his case without incriminating himself. He could easily have classed himself as Buddhist, Confucian or Hindu, all of which have established atheistic strands, and pursued his case by appeal to these traditions and their divergence from the constitutional ‘One God’ of Indonesian law, which all public servants must swear belief in.
    Although the six allowed religions have equal legal status, the courts are effectively the enforcement arm of the Wahabi Moslem sect, against Christians and Ahmadi Moslems. The Saudis have in theory made a major investment in ‘education’ in Indonesia, in practice funding fundamentalist indoctrination centres and campaigns against other faiths.
    In the 1980s and 1990s a flood of Saudi and Kuwaiti anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-Shi’a, anti-Ahmadi and anti-liberal tracts flooded the cheap book market in Indonesia. The Saudi Embassy attempted to intervene in Indonesian religious debates, and graduates from Saudi ‘universities’ have had an increasing impact on public debate.
    The courts’ lenient treatment of harrassment, vandalism and physical attacks on Ahmadi and Christian congregations is a reflection of Saudi affront and impatience with Indonesia’s multi-faith status, and an obvious agenda of turning it into an exclusively Muslim state, even though Bali is 95% Hindu, and nearly all the inhabitants of Java follow unrecognised traditional ‘minority’ religions.
    In this atmosphere of constant provocation to intolerance, and no tradition of, or legal support for, free speech, it does seem that Alexander Aan would have done better to find a way to campaign against the law without explicitly breaking it. This would be difficult – the issues are constitutional and there is no appetite for change from the legislators, and no mechanism for individuals to challenge constitutional issues – but at least he wouldn’t be banged up.

  6. I think it is totally abnormal, especially nowadays, to get a man into prison for his opinion only! I think it is ethically wrong and evil to sentence him to prison. That is impossible for “civilized century”.

  7. In truth, I can put up with the wackiness of Christians and Jews al lot better than the outfight danger to society of Islam.  A religion of peace, Islam is not even close, for their peace comes only if a person completely submits to their so-caled religion.

  8. I remember seeing this on al jazeera with my parents.  I asked them what they thought about this, and they said that he should have been killed if he did not recant. I couldnt believe how people that seem moderate, who emigrated to a secular country could think like this.  I tried to reason that it says in the Quran that people shouldnt be forced into religion.  Well that lead them to saying that this only applies to non-muslims to begin with.  I argued that he did not have a choice since he was probably born into Islam and born into a ultra concervative state.  When he was able to think freely, Islam punishes him for it!  Smdh

  9. I don’t mean to be the dick but I made this account just to post. The thing is, I don’t think writing letters is going to do shit in this situation. A country filled with Islamic fundamentalist, let’s write them nice letters about how he should be released, that’ll work. Maybe we should of wrote letters to Hitler and have him stop his ways. The only thing that can be done in this situation is political influence, someone needs to grease these figurative jews and get him out of the country because letters don’t do a damn thing. Someone pay off whoever they need to and get the influence needed. His life is never going to be the same and at this point he’d be better off in the UK somewhere. Really bad situation.

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