In a study released by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the results showed that atheists face discrimination and persecution.
The study titled ‘Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Nonreligious’ claims that atheists, humanists and other nonreligious people are discriminated against by governments across the world. These ranged from discriminatory laws, denial or revocation of citizenship, to denial of access to state services (such as medical & education).
60 countries are covered in the report which cites cases where ‘non-believers’ were persecuted for their beliefs. Some of the cases the report sites are:
- Every year, British children are turned away from local state-funded schools because of their parents’ religious beliefs.
- In Switzerland, a teacher was fired from his job in 2010 after raising concerns over the state’s promotion of Catholicism in public schools. “[The teacher] was told he was fired for removing the crucifix from the classrooms in the public school at which he taught,” the report said.
- Polish musician Dorota Rabczewska was fined $1,450 for ‘offending religious feelings’ when she said in a 2012 interview that the Bible is full of “unbelievable tales.”
- Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini called in 2010 for “Muslims, Jews and Christians to unite to fight the ‘threat’ that he claims atheism poses to society.”
- Other discriminatory incidents included instances were soldiers in the US Military were forced to attend evangelical Christian events, and when a detention center in South Carolina denied prisoners any reading material except for the Christian Bible.
- The publication of atheist or humanist views is strictly prohibited under blasphemy laws in countries like Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia, the report said.
The report argues that atheists in Islamic countries – such as Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan – face some of the worst discrimination, including capital punishment. The study did not list specific recent executions, but claimed that capital punishment was often shifted into life imprisonment sentences, as in Afghanistan
You can download a copy of the report from http://www.iheu.org/files/IHEU%20Freedom%20of%20Thought%202012.pdf
More information on the RT website