Search Results for: hirsi ali

American Atheists Offers 2015-2016 Scholarships

Cranford, NJ—American Atheists announced Friday that it is offering seven scholarships totalling $4,000 to undergraduate and graduate atheist students. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2015, and winners will be announced at the American Atheists 2015 National Convention April 2-5, in Memphis, Tennessee. The seven scholarships offered are the $1,000 O’Hair Scholarship and four $500 President’s Scholarships, which recognize student activism that advances the mission of American Atheists in fighting for separation of religion and government, raising awareness and destigmatizing atheism, fighting discrimination against atheists, and providing a place of community for atheists, and the two $500 Chinn Scholarships that recognize outstanding activism advancing the rights of LGBTQ atheists. “The generation of Americans in college right now is the most atheistic demographic in American history,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “These students know that they don’t have to wait until they graduate to make real changes in the world—they can, and are, making America a better place for atheists and the free practice of religion, and that’s exactly what we want to recognize and reward.” Interested students can learn more about the scholarships and apply online at https://atheists.org/scholarship. AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. The American Atheists 2015 National Convention will take place April 2-5 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Peabody Hotel. The convention will feature keynote speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a costume party, an art show, a “Cards Against Humanity” charity tournament, workshops, talks by more than 20 of the atheist community’s greatest speakers, and more. American Atheists, Inc. P.O. Box 158 Cranford, NJ 07016 Tel: (908) 276-7300 Fax: (908) 276-7402 For More Information Contact: David Silverman, President 908-276-7300 x5, [email protected] Dave Muscato, Public Relations Director 908-276-7300 x7, [email protected] ###

Read more

North Carolina High School Agrees to Review Policies After American Atheists Calls Out Religious Assembly

Cranford, NJ—Principal J. Wayne Shepherd of the West Wilkes High School in Wilkes, North Carolina, has agreed to review the restrictions about religious activities at the public high school and the policy of distribution of non-school sponsored literature to students after American Atheists sent a letter of concern about a religious assembly held on October 15 at the school. Many students were forced to attend the assembly instead of their regular classes. American Atheists, headquartered in New Jersey, is a national atheist civil rights organization that advocates for the constitutional principle of the separation of religion and government. The nonprofit has six affiliate groups in North Carolina, including one in nearby Hickory. The assembly featured Otis Duhart, a former Florida State Seminoles football player and evangelist, who spoke to the students about his father’s alcoholism and his mother’s suicide, and called all of the students “sinners.” The 30-plus minute sermon included Duhart raising his voice loudly at the students and telling them to accept the salvation of Christ. At the end of the sermon, Duhart led the students in prayer. Duhart then distributed flyers to the students inviting them to a religious youth rally at a local church on October 18. “Mr. Duhart’s presentation amounted to a church service during class time,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ managing director and in-house counsel. “He evangelized to a captive audience and there was no educational purpose for the presentation other than to promote Christianity. It was a clear violation of the Establishment Clause for the school to sponsor Mr. Duhart’s presentation.” American Atheists’ letter of concern cited numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases that have explicity forbidden public schools from interfering with the constitutional rights of students’ rights of conscience regarding religion. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said, “Religion is a contentious issue in this country. But one thing that should not be controversial is that religious indoctrination of any kind has no place in our public schools.” American Atheists will be following up with the school to ensure that after the policies are reviewed they will protect all students’ constitutional rights. AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. The American Atheists 2015 National Convention will take place April 2-5 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Peabody Hotel. The convention will feature keynote speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a costume party, an art show, a “Cards Against Humanity” charity tournament, workshops, talks by more than 20 of the atheist community’s greatest speakers, and more. American Atheists, Inc. P.O. Box 158 Cranford, NJ 07016 Tel: (908) 276-7300 Fax: (908) 276-7402 For More Information Contact: David Silverman, President 908-276-7300 x5, [email protected] Dave Muscato, Public Relations Director 908-276-7300 x7, [email protected] ###

Read more

American Atheists Tackles Bible Belt for 2015 Convention

Cranford, NJ—On Tuesday, American Atheists announced the opening of online registration and early bird pricing for its 2015 National Convention to be held in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Peabody Hotel, April 2-5. The group also announced two new speakers: Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin and Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple. The keynote speaker, announced in late July, will be the ex-Muslim and women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. “Two ex-Muslims and a Satanist walk into an atheist convention,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s coming true next Easter weekend in the South—an area of the country where atheists are under great pressure to conform to religious traditions that don’t apply to them. We expect more than 1,000 atheists to gather to be part of a celebration of rational thought.” The group plans to reveal 20 more speakers in the coming weeks, and the convention will also feature a “Cards Against Humanity” charity tournament, a costume party and dinner, an art show, a comedy show, a bookstore, a game room, a trivia party with free food, “Dinner with the Stars,” a movie screening, panel discussions, workshops, and an exhibitor and vendor room. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born ex-Muslim atheist and victim of ritual female genital mutilation, escaped an arranged marriage and later became a member of Parliament in the Netherlands. Today she is a U.S. citizen, a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and an outspoken activist against religious abuses, particularly those of Islam. On Monday, September 15, Hirsi Ali spoke at Yale University, where she faced criticism from the Yale Muslim Students Association (MSA) and other student organizations because of her criticism of Islam. Asif Mohiuddin, a 30-year-old activist, is from Bangladesh, which is home to about one-tenth of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. He is one of the most widely read Bengali-language atheist bloggers worldwide and in 2013, he was attacked and stabbed by three men for his activism. He was later arrested for insulting Islam online, a crime in Bangladesh. Following his arrest, riots broke out in the capital city of Dhaka, with Muslim extremists calling for his execution and a restoration of the country’s blasphemy laws as a capital crime, threatening to use “suicide squads” if their demands were not met. In the U.S., American Atheists organized rallies in New York City at the Consulate General of Bangladesh and the UN calling for his immediate release. Mohiuddin is currently free on bail and living in Germany, but the charges against him are still pending, and he speaks out against religion at great personal risk. Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson of The Satanic Temple, will speak about non-theistic Satanism, separation of church and state, and the Temple’s widely publicized recent push to place a crowdfunded 7-foot cast bronze statue of the goat-headed idol Baphomet at the Oklahoma Capitol. The statue, if approved, will sit alongside a monument of the Ten Commandments placed there in November 2012. Attendees may register for the convention at early bird pricing at https://atheists.org/convention2015/register American Atheists is soliciting sponsors for […]

Read more