Atheist Sean McGuire and I were pleased to co-sign a Centre for Inquiry (Canada) fundraising email:
If you’re like many people who care about secularism and the free-thought movement, you read blogs from around the world. You may even have read Canadian Atheist or My Secret Atheist Blog. If so, you know that bloggers and organizations like Centre For Inquiry Canada speak out on the issues that matter to you.
Here in Canada, expressing our opinions is a right we enjoy every day. Unfortunately, it’s not the same everywhere. There are still many places where speaking out carries the threat and reality of torture and death. Centre for Inquiry Canada is taking a hard look at this issue and exploring what may be done to assist individuals who think and speak freely and as a result must seek asylum to avoid persecution for their opinions.
CFI Canada is embarking on a two-year project to research current legislation dealing with asylum seekers and refugee claimants of different sexuality, religious/non-religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds.
The goals are to
- question the rationality, and the fairness, of current legislation in the way it treats asylum seekers who are at the highest risk of having their cases denied because of an immigration prosecutor’s personal bias, instead of the facts
- educate Canadians about the facts of free-thought and free speech as life-threatening acts
- mobilize the Canadian free-thinking community to provide support and information for individuals who are desperate for their lives.
If you’d like to keep informed, we’ve recently posted (and will continue to update ) a detailed article on our website: http://centreforinquiry.ca/atheist-bloggers-risking-their-lives/
If you agree that people who put their lives at risk for free-thought should have the support of the secular community when they reach Canada, then we need your participation and assistance!
Our financial target for this program is $200,000 over two years to cover staffing, research and legal costs as well as materials and equipment. We also want to be in a position to provide material support and assistance to atheists and bloggers who are successful in reaching Canada.
We currently need $30,000 to launch our efforts: if every person who receives this message gives only $10, we can start immediately.
If you are able to help, please Visit our Website to get involved.
In the past six months, correspondence to CFI Canada about asylum speaks to the fear atheists and LGBTQ individuals have for their personal safety if they are deported.
“I am atheist for about a year in secret because I live under Islamic domination. I am planning to apply for asylum in Canada do to threat of death in case of exposed. I wonder if your organization offers support for cases like my case or guidance,” April 10, 2014.
Another case, from May 27, 2014, involves a Canadian citizen, reaching out to CFI Canada on behalf of a friend who lives in Tunisia.
“He is an outcast from his family and community. He has, and continues to, suffer abuse at the hands of his parents. At twenty years of age the Tunisian constitution says he is free to make his own decisions. That is not the practice in reality,
Is there anything that can be done to rescue this young man from this desperate situation? From what I have read of the Canadian immigration process, he wouldn’t stand a chance of qualifying for entry into Canada, Is there a chance he might qualify as a refugee on the grounds of ‘religious’ prosecution? Is there someone within the Canadian system that might help me?”
This concerned Canadian described repeated incidents of his Tunisian friend being arrested at the whim of his parents, and receiving injuries while in custody such as broken fingers, a broken jaw and a partially amputated ear.
Besides research into refugee legislation, CFI Canada has plans to start awareness campaigns to educate authorities (such as Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom)and the general public on the scope of the issues facing asylum seekers, to make sure all are treated equally.
Let’s focus on the changes we can make together.
Veronica Abbass and Sean McGuire
Canadians, atheists, free-thinking bloggers
Please see Sean McGuire’s post, “Help CFI Canada Help Atheists at Risk!” for more detailed information on CFI’s email and on atheists who need our help.