This Program Protects Persecuted Atheists Around the World January 18, 2018

This Program Protects Persecuted Atheists Around the World

British journalist David Robson has a must-read story at The Atlantic about Secular Rescue, the Center For Inquiry-backed project that serves as an “underground railroad” for atheists living in countries where openly questioning God’s existence could be a death sentence.

They’ve helped atheists get out of those countries and get to places where their lives aren’t in danger.


Secular Rescue does not just face challenges abroad in militantly religious countries; due to some unnervingly resilient biases, implicit prejudice against atheists is still prevalent in ostensibly secular Western countries, making it difficult to raise the necessary diplomatic support there for people like [Lubna] Yaseen.

Even in states that ostensibly protect religious rights, atheists may have to fear repercussions from vigilante groups. In Iraq, for instance, the right to freedom of conscience is enshrined in the constitution, yet Yaseen faced regular death threats from fundamentalists and got little support from the police. “There is a mob mentality that sanctions violence against people who don’t conform on religious grounds,” [CFI President and CEO Robyn] Blumner said.

This is such an important program, because there are countless people like Yaseen who are determined to speak out against faith-based injustice and for women’s rights, but who understand that being vocal also paints a target on their backs. You can donate to Secular Rescue right here if you’d like to help CFI protect more people like her.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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