A New York-based global secular group Center for Inquiry (CFI) has called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to ‘pressure the government of Bangladesh to reverse its policy of arresting atheist bloggers for writing content critical of religion’.
revealed in a press release by Director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy,
Michael De Dora on Apr 11.
“Now is the time for Secretary Kerry to step
in, speak up, and help begin to reverse this tide of persecution and
oppression,” he said.
The press release said there will be further
efforts from CFI on behalf of the Bangladeshi bloggers to mount support for
freedom of belief and expression.
Recalling the crackdown on the
‘atheist’ blogers, the arrest of daily Amar Desh Acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman
and demands of Islamist outfits for tougher blasphemy laws as ‘terrible new
milestone’, the pressnote said: “The criminalisation of atheism and religious
dissent has reached a crisis level globally.”
CFI said it sent a letter
to Secretary Kerry and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
Suzan Johnson Cook ‘to do all they can to raise public awareness of this
CFI says it is a nonprofit educational, advocacy and research
organisation and a home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the
Council for Secular Humanism.
They say their mission is to foster a
secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist
Atheist Alliance International, Free Society Institute of South
Africa, Reporters Without Border, Committee to Protect Journalist, Global Voice
Advocacy and several other bodies have also asked for freeing Bangladeshi
bloggers and appealed to several other foreign authorities to pressurise
Bangladesh on the issue.