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Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom Should Protect Arrested Indonesian Atheist

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Feb. 1, 2012)

The Canadian Secular Alliance (CSA) – a thinktank advancing government neutrality in matters of religion – calls on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government’s Office of Religious Freedom to demand the immediate release of an Indonesian Atheist facing five years in jail for blasphemy.

After posting “God doesn’t exist” on Facebook, a man going by the name “Alexander” was savagely attacked by a mob at the government office where he worked, then handed over to police. While Indonesia recognizes six official religions, atheism is illegal.

“The mandate of Canada’s soon to be opened Office of Religious Freedom must be widened to protect freedom of belief and conscience of all types, including the rights of atheists and agnostics worldwide,” said CSA’s Spokesperson Justin Trottier.

Reported incidents of discrimination against atheists are likely greatly underestimated. It is illegal to declare unbelief in many countries and those found guilty of apostasy may be sentenced to death in a number of Muslim nations.
The CSA also calls on the Canadian government to repeal Canada’s blasphemy law. “Though essentially never used, keeping a victimless crime like blasphemy part of the Criminal Code is inconsistent with Canada’s mandate to promote freedom of religion around the globe,” said Trottier. “Additionally, our own law may be called upon by states like Indonesia as justification for their human rights abuses.”

Contact Information
Canadian Secular Alliance
Justin Trottier
416-402-8856
justin.trottier@gmail.com