Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: report


Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012”, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”

Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”

The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.

Written By: Robert Evans
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  1. Hypothetically speaking, if you will reincarnate at a random location on the planet. Would you’d rather do so as a male atheist, a woman or a gay man?

  2. Assuming those categories are exclusive, I’d choose atheism, since at least then one might have the gumption to lie, rather than meekly going to the flames professing one’s faith.

  3. As an atheist, no question about it. Not because of having the option to ‘lie’, but because the delivery of my ideas could be achieved in many ways that would not be jeopardize by my gender (woman option) or that would require social repression of my inner desires (gay man option)… But this all assuming that the atheist is a “Man”, which is never detailed in the question.

  4. Next step- state the obvious, that religions themselves contravene human rights; most fundamentally (but not limited to) Islam via teachings of the koran, hadith, sunnah. I cannot understand why this is not self-evident and condemned by any society that claims to support human rights for its people. 

  5. I wonder if there is an organization out there that researches humans in terms of why they have such a reaction to beliefs and thoughts.

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