US body against blogger's arrest

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’.

Published : 17 April 2013, 01:04 AM
Updated : 17 April 2013, 01:04 AM

This was 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 situation’.

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 values.

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.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher