We already know that Bangladesh police have arrested four ‘atheist’ bloggers for allegedly defaming religion (read Islam and the Prophet Mohammed), amid calls from religious fundamentalists for an Internet crackdown. The arrest of the three, who were paraded in handcuffs at a news conference, followed pressure from Islamists who have organized a march from all over the country to the capital to demand the death penalty for atheist bloggers. You can sign the following petitions if you want to get involved in activism for creating pressure on the Bangladeshi government to release them immediately:
This petition is created by famous activist, commentator and broadcaster Maryam Namazie, from London, United Kingdom. The petition titled, ‘Bangladeshi Government: Free and Safeguard Bloggers and Prosecute Islamists ‘, it states:
Bangladeshi Government, Prime Minister’s Office
In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.
Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.
We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.
Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.
The petition is kept in change.org. You can sign it from here.
This petition is created by Chiradip M. from United States of America. The petition titled, ‘Bangladesh Govt.! Release the Writers/Bloggers/Activists‘, it states:
Online activists, writers (bloggers) are getting arrested in Bangladesh just for expressing their view points. Some of them are writing for bringing 1971 war-criminals to justice, some are writing against the ultra-religious elements in the country those are creating many nuances including violence against so called “minority groups” and women – many a times wrongfully under the refuge of a religion. We, the whole democratic and secular world, ask the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh Govt., to release these peaceful activists/bloggers/writers at once. If not done, if not secularity and freedom of speech are not restored, we are going to take action against Bangladesh Govt. legally and we will not leave any stone unturned to quarantine this Govt. from the whole educated world. Sign this petition and help stop Bangladesh Govt. to take atrocious steps against its valuable citizens. — (Sign)
The petition is kept in avaaz.org. You can sign it from here
This petition is created by Saurav Shome from Mumbai, India. Addressing Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minster of Bangladesh, petition states:
We, the people from different nations, were closely watching the recent happenings in Bangladesh. We have seen how people assembled to express their frustration towards the government and expressed their desire to establish a secular country. Shahbag movement restored the hope in the continent’s youth about their capability and potential towards a progressive change.
We are also aware of the repercussions of Shahbag movement. In this context, arresting the four bloggers disappointed our aspirations and expectations from your government (Source: www.globalpost.com ; www.dailystar.com.lb).
We, the signatories of this letter, believe that freedom of expression is of paramount importance for any democratic society. We also believe that religious fundamentalism is a kind of curse to our civilisation. We strongly believe that religious fundamentalism should be separated from the State ideology. State should run only on secular principles.
Today freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognized in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
We urge you to uphold the right to free expression for every citizen of Bangladesh, and allow secular ideas to flourish. We request Government of Bangladesh, lead by you, to release the four arrested bloggers and restore the faith in your just governance.
We request you to set example before humanity that you care people’s democratic values. …. (Sign)
The petition is kept in change.org. You can sign it from here.
This petition is created by Eela Muhaimin from Manchester, United Kingdom. The petition is short but precise. The petition states addressing Sheikh Hasina:
Freedom of speech is one of our basic human rights. It should not be taken away from us no matter what. Release the bloggers. They are innocent. … (Sign)
The petition is kept in change.org. You can sign it from here
There is another petition – The American Humanists have issued an action alert, a petition mainly for US citizens to ask the US ambassador to lodge a formal protest. The petition states:
As an American citizen and member of the American Humanist Association, I was shocked to see recently that three atheist bloggers in Bangladesh were arrested for voicing their opinions on religious belief.
Religious beliefs should be respected, even if they differ drastically from our own. However, religious groups and individuals must remember that they are not immune from having their beliefs questioned, nor do they have the right to imprison others who they feel have insulted their faith.
That is why I am asking you to stand up for religious freedom and freedom of expression by lodging a formal complaint with the Government of Bangladesh over these anti-democratic arrests.
These men do not deserve to sit in jail for being atheists or for challenging religion. With your help, we can help assist them in their quest for freedom and vindication. — (sign)
[The petitions are created voluntarily by various activists who may not be associated with Mukto-Mona. The Mukto-Mona site accepts no liability for the petitions hosted on these web pages. The views expressed in this petition are solely those of the petition’s creator and do not in any way reflect the views of Mukto-Mona].