A new report reveals that not only are atheists persecuted and discriminated against for their lack of religious faith around the world, but that they can even be executed in some countries if their beliefs become known. According to the study, “ ‘unbelievers’ in Islamic countries face the most severe—sometimes brutal—treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.”
Countries where religious skeptics can be punished by death include Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
The report, which was conducted by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, also shows that policies in the United States and European nations tend to favor those who practice religion and their organizations over atheists and humanists.
Reuters via The Huffington Post:
The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012”, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”
Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”
The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.