As a Humanist, Hamza bin Walayat fled Pakistan for the UK fearing that he could face execution or vigilante attacks for his "apostasy."
The UK Home Office recently denied Walayat's asylum application, however, as they claim he couldn't identify Plato and Aristotle as Greek Humanist philosophers and that he contradicted himself by saying Humanism both is and isn't a religion.
The case is frankly baffling. While Greek philosophers laid the groundwork for Humanism in Europe, it's hardly the only path to freethought. Similarly, whether Humanism should be considered a "religion" or not is a philosophical and semantic question; it's not a sensible basis to reject a refugee application. There's more information about the case at the International Humanist & Ethical Union and Humanists UK.
What this story highlights is the ever present threat faced by atheists and Humanists in theocratic states around the world. It also shows the importance of programs to support refugees fleeing those situations.
In 2016 we started a process to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Canada. That application is still working its way through the bureaucracy. We're hopeful that we can welcome those people to Vancouver later this year.
But we're just one small organization with neither the resources nor the capacity to meet the demand. Luckily, we're not alone and this recent feature in The Atlantic discusses some of the other important work being done.
New on our website
Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 05:00 PM
- Dinner and a Movie at Novo Pizzeria, Vancouver
Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 09:30 AM
- Joel Kositsky - Science and pseudoscience at Quality Foods meeting room, Courtenay
Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM
- Sunday Meeting: Sonmin Bong - Women Against Violence Against Women at Oakridge Seniors Centre, Vancouver
Sunday, February 04, 2018 at 10:00 AM
- Sunday Meeting: Dr Kristin Laurin - Why do we believe in Gods? at Oakridge Seniors Centre, Vancouver
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 07:00 PM
- Book club: The Atheist Muslim by Ali Rizvi at Goldis' home, Vancouver
Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM
- Group sorting at Greater Vancouver Food Bank Warehouse, Vancouver