Make Canada a safe haven for persecuted Bangladeshi Humanists

Update: Click here or keep reading for the latest.

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Following the latest attacks on Humanist and atheist writers, bloggers and intellectuals in Bangladesh, the BC Humanist Association is calling on Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau to make Canada a "safe haven" for those facing persecution for their views.

This weekend, religious fanatics murdered Humanist Faisal Arefin Dipon and sent three more Humanist bloggers to hospital in Bangladesh. Dipon published freethought and pro-secular books, including some by Avijit Roy who was murdered in a separate attack earlier this year in Dhaka.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union has more details on this latest assault on free expression.

Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is reporting that Tareq Rahim, one of the bloggers injured in the attacks, is married to a Canadian citizen, Monika Mistry. CFIC is calling on the Government of Canada to provide refuge for Rahim and other politically and religiously targeted members of Bangladesh’s intellectual, secularist community.

Here is the letter the BC Humanist Association sent to the Prime Minister today:

Dear Prime Minister:

On October 31, 2015, in coordinated attacks, religious fanatics in Bangladesh murdered a Humanist publisher and injured three Humanist bloggers. Tareq Rahim, who was injured in the attack, is the spouse of a Canadian citizen. We urge the Government of Canada to assist him and his wife Monika Mistry to expedite their immigration process to ensure Rahim can recover from this brutal attack with his family.

This is just the latest in a series of attacks on Humanist writers in Bangladesh. In 2013, Islamic fundamentalist released a “hit list” of 84 atheist, Humanist and secular bloggers, writers and intellectuals in Bangladesh and called for their arrest and execution for “insulting religion.” Since then a growing number of people on that list have been attacked with machetes in the streets, their places of work and even in their homes. Yet the Bangladeshi government refuses to act and continues to criminalize free speech and acquiesce to religious fundamentalists. These attacks threaten free expression, tolerance and secularism in Bangladesh.

Canadians are privileged to enjoy a peaceful, tolerant and multicultural society and we are proud of our country’s history in accepting people of all faiths and none who are fleeing persecution. It is up to us to stand up for these values around the world.

We implore you to continue to stand up for these values and to make Canada a safe haven for those facing persecution for their views. Help us to reunite Tareq Rahim with his wife while he recovers from this brutal assault of faith-based terrorism.

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Bushfield
Executive Director

The BC Humanist Association will continue to work with our partners in the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws to call for the repeal of blasphemy laws and protection for religious criticism.

Update

November 10, 2015 - The BC Humanist Association today wrote to John McCallum, the newly appointed Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, again calling for Tareq Rahim to be brought to his wife in Canada.

Please write your own letter to John McCallum, the Prime Minister and leaders of the opposition parties, urging them to act. Here are their email addresses. Feel free to use our letter to craft your own.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister - justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship - john.mccallum@parl.gc.ca
Rona Ambrose, Interim Leader, Conservative Party of Canada - rona.ambrose@parl.gc.ca
Tom Mulcair, Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada - thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada - elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

The BC Humanist Association letter to John McCallum.

Dear Minister:

Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. We applaud your promise to act quickly to respond with compassion and leadership to the pressing Syrian refugee crisis. We want to draw your attention also to the Humanist writers and academics in Bangladesh who are facing escalating violence.

On October 31, 2015, in coordinated attacks, religious fanatics in Bangladesh murdered a Humanist publisher and injured three Humanist bloggers. Tareq Rahim, who was injured in the attack, is the spouse of a Canadian citizen. We urge you to assist him and his wife Monika Mistry to expedite the immigration process to ensure Rahim can recover from this brutal attack in Canada with his family.

This is just the latest in a series of attacks on Humanist writers in Bangladesh. In 2013, Islamic extremists released a “hit list” of 84 atheist, Humanist and secular bloggers, writers and intellectuals in Bangladesh. The extremists called for their arrest and execution for “insulting religion.” Since then a growing number of people on that list have been attacked with machetes in the streets, their places of work and even in their homes. Yet the Bangladeshi government refuses to act and continues to criminalize free speech in acquiescence to the religious fundamentalists. These attacks threaten free expression, tolerance and secularism in Bangladesh.

Canadians are privileged to enjoy a peaceful, tolerant and multicultural society. We are proud of our country’s history in accepting people of all faiths and none who are fleeing persecution. It is up to us to stand up for these values around the world.

We made this call last week to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and now we put it before you: Will you stand up for these values and make Canada a safe haven for those facing persecution for their views?

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Bushfield
Executive Director

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