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Humanism and Secularism in Benin

Aug 9th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

Being an address delivered by Leo Igwe at a seminar on Secularism in Benin (Laicite au Benin) at Codiam, Cotonou, Republic of Benin on July 26 2011

Thank you friends and the good people of Benin. I bring you all greetings from IHEU, its member groups and individual supporters. I thank you for creating time to be here. I call you friends because I believe we are together in this struggle to realize a secular country and a secular continent and a secular world. A secular Africa is long over due. But as you know we cannot have a secular Africa without a secular Benin. So we need to make secularism happen in our life or at least commence the … Read the rest

Leaving Religion and Living without Religion in Nigeria

Jul 26th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

Nigeria is often described as a deeply religious society where most – if not all – persons profess religious beliefs without qualification. Nigeria is often portrayed as a country where the religious demography is static – everybody is religious, everybody belongs to one faith or the other. Everybody professes religion, nobody renounces religion. Nobody is critical or skeptical about religious dogmas. Non-religious and freethinking Nigerians are purportedly so insignificant. For me this is a misrepresentation of the religious demography and dynamics in the country, and the time has come for us to rectify this misrepresentation.

No doubt, most Nigerians profess belief in God and identify themselves with one of the three main faiths – Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam. There … Read the rest

Atheist Presses Obama on Faith-Based Policies During Live Town Hall Meeting

Jul 22nd, 2011 | By Mike Meno

CONTACT: Mike Meno, SCA communications manager: 202-299-1091, 443-927-6400 or mike@secular.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a live-televised town hall meeting in College Park, Maryland, today, President Barack Obama gave the first question opportunity to Amanda Knief of the Secular Coalition for America, who asked the president why he has still not fulfilled the campaign promise he made three years ago to end the Bush-era policies that allow federally funded religious organizations to discriminate in hiring and employment on the basis of belief.

Knief, an atheist and the government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America, pressed the president on a campaign promise he made in Zanesville, Ohio, on July 1, 2008, when he pledged to ensure that federal grant recipients … Read the rest

Spitting, Prayers and the Spread of Diseases

Jul 16th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

Spitting is believed by some people to be a way parents, elders and diviners pray and bless children, relations and followers. So, to some people, spitting is a sacred practice and spittle is revered as a purveyor and conveyor of divine benediction. In some cultures, anyone being prayed for by an elder or a diviner looks forward to being spit upon as a mark of benediction. I don’t know how human beings came about this dirty, unhygenic and medically unhealthy prayer habit, but I guess it must have been one of those faith based exploitative devices invented by diviners centuries ago. I am really shocked to know that this primitive and useless ritual persists among Africans even in this 21st … Read the rest

Living Under an Islamic Inquisition

Jul 15th, 2011 | By Maryam Namazie

Dear friends

I wanted to thank you for your support of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. As you know we were in desperate need of financial help and are grateful for the donations of many generous individuals and groups.

What we do – breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and challenging a movement that sentences apostates to death – is considered ‘controversial’ to say the least and makes it almost impossible to get support from mainstream funders. Also, we haven’t been able to secure charity status.

In its refusal letter the Charity Commission says: “Under English law the advancement of religion is a recognised charitable purpose and charities are afforded certain fiscal privileges by the state. The … Read the rest

Statements and actions in Support of International Day against Stoning

Jul 10th, 2011 | By Maryam Namazie and many others



Statement from Russell Blackford, author and philosopher, Australia: It is unacceptable that the barbaric punishment of death by stoning continue in the twenty-first century. I join with many others throughout the world in calling for an end to the practice of death by stoning, condemnation of any government that uses or condones the practice, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and others currently sentenced to death by stoning.


Ann Brusseel of the Flemish parliament: will issue a resolution for 21 July (Belgian National Day) urging the Federal government to take action on violations of human rights and crimes against humanity of the … Read the rest

Canadian Public Schools Must Remain Secular

Jul 10th, 2011 | By Homa Arjomand

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is promoting segregation by adopting a policy that allows religious influence within the school system. TDSB recently permitted students at Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Blvd to have prayer services in the cafeteria. This is another attempt of political Islam to recruit youth. It will not take long before other religious leaders push for their own space in schools.

Homa Arjomand proclaims that“schools will become a battle ground between various religious groups. Segregation does not stop here. Soon under the influence of religious leaders with political agendas, there would be a huge confrontation between students of so called one faith with the children of another faith, undermining the enforcement of the secular school … Read the rest

Media and Religious Censorship in Nigeria

Jun 28th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

A free press is critical to the growth and development of any society and to the survival and vibrancy of any democracy. Nigeria is said to have a free and independent media, and this is often interpreted to mean that, in Nigeria, journalists are going about their work without state interference. For me, this is a narrow understanding of freedom of the press, and this one-sided view has caused many to mischaracterize the situation of the media in the country. The government is just one out of many agents or actors that could undermine or muzzle the press. Religious agencies, drug cartels, multinationals and other business interests can hamper freedom of the press in a country.

Today, many people tend … Read the rest

Not So Clean, Not So Dry

Jun 21st, 2011 | By Josh Slocum and Lisa Carlson

If you’re looking for a diversion from fighting fashionable and religious nonsense, but you don’t want to miss your daily dose of sanctimony, look no further than the American funeral business. You’ll seldom find a culture as steeped in faux tradition, self-regard, mythology and jargon as the Dismal Trade. What the typical American endures—and pays for—when a family member dies would strike most readers from other countries as having a through-the-looking-glass quality. It would strike Americans that way, too, if most of us knew what went on behind the formaldehyde curtain.

Well, here’s a little peek for you. The following extract is from my book, co-written with Lisa Carlson, Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. —Josh Slocum… Read the rest

A ‘witch girl’, Esther, rescued for the second time

Jun 16th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe
A ‘witch girl’, Esther, rescued for the second time

Yesterday, I rescued for the second time an 8 year old girl, Esther Obot Moses who was branded a witch and exiled by her family in Nsit Ubium in Akwa Ibom state in Southern Nigeria.

Some weeks ago, I was informed by my local contacts that Esther, who was handed over to the Ministry of Women Affairs of the Akwa Ibom state government for proper care and rehabilitation, had returned to the ‘lunatic’, Okokon, who kidnapped her some time ago.

I met Esther and Okokon wearing pants in the same filthy house where I found them in January this year. Esther looked depressed and traumatized. Okokon, who is believed to have some mental problems, lives alone in a dirty two-room … Read the rest

Humanists to Hold Anniversary Conference in Abuja

Jun 11th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

In September, humanists from across the Federation will  be gathering in Abuja for their national convention. This event, to be held at Vines Hotel Durumi, will be the first of its kind at the nation’s capital. It promises to be the largest gathering of non-religious people in the history of Nigeria. The convention marks the 15th anniversary of the Nigerian Humanist Movment (NHM). Founded in 1996, NHM provides a sense of community to non-religious people who often identify themselves severally as atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, rationalist or brights. In the last 15 years, NHM has worked to ensure that the voice of non-believers is heard and that the humanist perspective is brought to bear on issues of national importance. NHM … Read the rest

Homosexuality – a Survival Advantage for Early Man

Jun 10th, 2011 | By John Hayman
John Hayman is a retired pathologist with experience in the diagnosis of diseases associated with HIV infection. He has looked for a reason as to why same sex sexual orientation, with greatly diminished genetic survival prospects for the one individual, should be present with such high frequency in all human populations. ‘Kin selection’ offers an explanation;  survival prospects as a whole are enhanced in those family groups having one or more members with same sex orientation.  



History of Homosexuality


              Homosexuality is not a recent phenomenon; it is recorded in the earliest human writings and is depicted in petroglyphs. It is well documented in the Greek and Roman civilizations, in the cuneiform writings of the earlier societies along the Tigris Read the rest

‘Baby Farm’ Girls and the Sale of Children in Nigeria

Jun 4th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

The rescue by the Nigeria Police of 32 pregnant girls allegedly held by a human trafficking ring in Aba in south-eastern Nigeria has literally shocked the world. But to anyone acquainted with the ‘culture’ of women and child rights abuses in the country, it should not come as a surprise. The police raid has brought to global attention and knowledge new layers of horrific abuses and exploitation of women and children in the country.

According to the report, these girls, between the ages of 15 and 17 years, were locked up and used to ‘produce’ babies, who were then allegedly sold for ritual witchcraft purposes or adoption. Unicef estimates that at least 10 children are sold daily across Nigeria.

This … Read the rest

Their Feet Don’t Touch The Ground

Jun 2nd, 2011 | By Bruce Everett

In the middle of May, a report, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010[1], was presented to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by researchers from John Jay College. Circulated more broadly on the 16th of May, the document has (not without reason) been viewed as flawed to the point of being suspect.

Almost predictably from the usual quarters, the way in which the mere laity have viewed the report has been met with a near pre-reformation style of contempt. Apparently the masses need the clergy to spell it out for them!

In Australia, this high-handed misanthropy finds archetypal expression in Scott Stephens’ Catholic sexual abuse Read the rest

A system designed to maim women into submission

May 26th, 2011 | By Lauryn Oates

Last year, at a women’s community centre in Kabul I met Hamida.* A Herati, she was staying with relatives in the teeming capital, after her husband left her destitute when he left to go work in Iran, where she suspected he maintained another family. She had been married to him for seven years before divorcing him three years ago. In her married life, she had experienced extraordinary abuse at the hands of both her husband and her in-laws, with whom she lived. After making the courageous decision to leave her husband, she tried to return to her father’s household but was turned away, hence the reason she was boarding with an aunt and an uncle in Kabul, far away from … Read the rest

Let Us Now Excuse Famous Men: Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn and Male Entitlement

May 23rd, 2011 | By Phil Molé

We recently learned that former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently separated from his wife Maria Shriver, fathered a son thirteen years ago with another woman. Worse, the mother of this child was the family’s trusted housekeeper for 20 years, and Schwarzenegger did not tell Shriver about the infidelity or the child until earlier this year. We also saw the initiation of sexual assault charges this week against French politician, economist and International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. According to police reports, Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom of a New York hotel room naked while a female housekeeper was cleaning the room, chased her through the hotel room, cornered her, and forced her to perform oral sex on … Read the rest

Forceful Evacuation of Children from CRARN Center by Akwa Ibom State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs

May 20th, 2011 | By James Ibor

On May 10, 2011, the Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Accusations and Child Rights Abuses, established by the Government of Akwa Ibom State and led by Hon. Justice Godwin Abraham, concluded its sitting which was initially held at Akwa Ibom State Judiciary headquarters, Uyo, and was later adjourned to Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo and then to Nigeria High Commission, London, United Kingdom.

On May 16, 2011, a mere six days later, Mrs. Eunice Thomas, Akwa Ibom State’s infamous Commissioner for Women Affairs, together with her team, stormed the premises of Child’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), with a centre at Esit Eket, abducted over one hundred of its children, forced them into Akwa Ibom Transport Company … Read the rest

Witchcraft Accusations and Politics in Akwa Ibom State

May 18th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

On Monday April 16, 2011, the government of Akwa Ibom state, through its Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, started taking away children from a local shelter managed by a non governmental organisation, the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) and its partners, to a supposed state-owned shelter.That brings to a head the long running tension between the state government, this local NGO, and other child rights activists in the state. The Akwa Ibom state government had accused CRARN and its local partners of exaggerating the problem of child witch hunting and using it to make money.

The campaign against witchcraft accusations and child rights abuses in Akwa Ibom has been mired in intricate politics. This article takes a … Read the rest

Chomsky, bin Laden and the struggle for a shining future

May 15th, 2011 | By Andrzej Koraszewski

Translation by Małgorzata Koraszewska and Sarah Lawson

On Friday, May 6, a towering figure of the left, Noam Chomsky, published his comments on the tragic death of Osama bin Laden in the magazine Guernica. There the learned linguist expresses great doubt whether bin Laden’s statement about his own responsibility for the attack on the World Trade Center can be taken seriously. According to Chomsky, Obama was lying when he said, after the operation in which an unarmed man was killed, that the United States quickly learned that the attacks on the  WTC were carried out by al Qaeda; after all, even “the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, … Read the rest

Mr. Obama: We, the Real Americans, Demand That You Show Us More Stuff

May 1st, 2011 | By Phil Molé

President Obama (if that is your real name), we are real Americans, the ones who’ve patiently demanded that you release your long-form birth certificate – a demand you have apparently now met thanks to the counterfeiting skills you learned in your true birthplace of Kenya. Your clever forgery may quell the suspicions of some Americans, but not us. We’ve already swapped demands for your long-form birth certificate for demands that you show your college records. But that’s just the beginning. We demand that you show us more stuff, and that you show us now.

Here is a list of what we will need to see, at a minimum, if we are ever going to stop drawing Hitler mustaches on your … Read the rest