International Atheist of the Year ceremony held in Poland

International Atheist of the Year ceremony held in Poland April 4, 2017

At the weekend, the International Atheist Award was jointly handed in Warsaw to Michael Nugent, of Atheist Ireland and Fauzia Ilyas, founder of the Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan (AAAP) which is affiliated to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB). They are pictured above with holding their awards.
The ceremony, organised by the Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation, formed part of this year’s Polish Days of Atheism.
Nugent said in this post:

I accepted the award on behalf of all of the work done by everybody in Atheist Ireland.
The Polish Days of Atheism include an international conference on atheism and secularism, and an annual commemoration of the execution for atheism of 17th Century Polish philosopher Kazimierz Lyszczynski. Jane Donnelly and I attended this year, and we spoke on freedom of belief, women’s rights and the right to die.
A jury of atheist activists from different countries decide on the annual award. It is intended to recognise and encourage the promotion of atheism and secularism, as well as international cooperation between atheist and secular organisations.

Nugent added:

It is indeed an honour to be associated with such dedicated and principled activists for atheism, secularism and human rights.

Nugent gave a talk in Warsaw about the campaign in Ireland to support lawful assisted dying.
Maryam Namazie, left, and Fauzia Ilyas participating in the Warsaw event.
Ilyas, according to the CEMB, was forced to flee to the Netherlands in 2015 after a Lahore court initiated criminal proceedings against her under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and issued an arrest warrant. Her ex-husband has custody of her eight-year-old daughter because she had left Islam.
Fauzia’s colleague, A Gilani, who is the current spokesperson for AAAP, which was launched in 2012, is in hiding in Pakistan. Both the AAAP’s official website and its Facebook presence have been obliterated.
When she fled Pakistan, the CEMB urged the Dutch government to grant Ilyas protection, saying:

Her life and freedom are at risk if she were to be returned to Pakistan. Moreover, the Pakistani government must end the persecution of those exercising their freedom of expression and belief. There is no place for blasphemy laws in this day and age.

Meanwhile Pakistan continues to sink even deeper into the sewer of Islamic fundamentalism.
At around the same time that the Polish event was being staged – on April 1 – it was reported here that the Pakistan government is to make Koranic education compulsory in all public and private schools, and a law in this regard is to be enacted “very soon” by parliament, according to State Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Mohammad Baligh-ur-Rehman.
This, to the April fool’s mind, would play a pivotal role in Pakistan’s “future development, solidarity, progress and prosperity”.

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  • remigius

    “Nugent gave a talk in Warsaw about the campaign in Ireland to support lawful assisted dying.”
    Perhaps the Irish could take some pointers from Islam. A number of Middle-Eastern countries actively promote lawfully assisted dying for atheists.

  • Gui

    Is that serious? If so, is how they say here in my country:
    “Pepper in the others’ eyes is refreshment”

  • Prior

    Pakistan … shite country who’s diaspora really don’t want to go back there. And its easy to see why.

  • remigius

    Gui. Yes it’s serious. There are several, I think around 13, Islamic countries that have a legally mandated death sentence for atheism.
    Your phrase reminds me of the English word ‘schadenfreude’. I believe the Germans may have a similar phrase, but I’m not sure what their word for it is.

  • Prior

    Pakistan … a begging bowl country that is making teaching of islam compulsory in schools really does not deserve aid it receives. We are paying to indoctrinate more islamic terrorists.We really must stop aid going from the uk to pakistan. The money mostly gets siphoned off by the notoriously corrupt officials and not to those who might need it. Pakistan is a nasty nasty country truly undeserving of the support it gets.

  • Barry Duke
  • barriejohn

    It’s worth reminding ourselves that these appallingly fascist countries do have liberals amongst their population, just as Nazi Germany did. How they manage to survive I have no idea, and I don’t know how brave I would be in such circumstances.

  • remigius

    “…and I don’t know how brave I would be in such circumstances.”
    Whereas I know exactly how brave I would be in such a situation. As brave as one of Jesus’s Knights of the Round Table – Brave Sir Robin. They still sing of his courage today…
    ♫When danger reared it’s ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Swiftly taking to his feet,
    He beat a very brave retreat.
    Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!♫

  • barriejohn

    Rem: Hahaha, and what about the Vicar of Bray?
    “And this is law, I will maintain
    Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
    That whatsoever King may reign,
    I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!”

  • 1859

    Showing international solidarity like this is so vital. The more isolated and alone atheists feel the less and less chance we have of changing peoples’ minds and the easier it is for bigots to intimidate and bully atheists into submission. So for my part I congratulate all those above who won the award. Each in their own way is a brave soul.
    Sometimes I like to think that this Freethinker website is like a global network that connects atheists – but I dunno, what sort of reach do you think it has?

  • Stephen Mynett

    1859, Good question and very hard to tell but from the small sample of students I taught from repressive countries there were quite a few that wanted to keep in touch with websites from free countries, many were grateful to have been shown the TOR browser and TAILS OS, although a good few already knew about them. There is no totally secure way of using the web but those two help a lot in places where there is censorship and spying.
    Not all the students were atheist but the simple fact they wanted access to free speech was encouraging.

  • Seff – nephew of Bob

    Just a handful of intelectual losers and outsiders marched hand in hand with lifist opposition losers.Remember in Poland churches are still full. They will be foever.