For Immediate Release
Contact (Canada): Nas Ishmael
Phone: 1-(855) EXMUSLIM x707E-mail: [email protected]
Contact (US): Muhammad SyedPhone: (703) 942-9416E-mail: [email protected]
In response to Twitter’s compliance with blasphemy laws affecting free speech online in countries like Pakistan, Ex-Muslims of North America along with a coalition of secular organizations today launched a campaign urging Pakistan to end its censorship of social media, and encouraging Twitter to reject censorship requests from Pakistan.
Members of the coalition—which includes the Center for Inquiry (CFI), the Ex-Muslims of North America, AA, AAI, AHA, Black Non-Believers, Camp Quest, RDFRS, SCA, SHJ, SSA and a wide array of freethought groups—have signed on to a letter to Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Masood Khan, and written by CFI’s public policy director, Michael De Dora.
The letter seeks to remind Pakistan of its obligations under Articles 18 and 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provide for freedom of thought, expression, belief, and inquiry, as well as its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed by Pakistan in 2008), which provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom from coercion by the state. Censoring of content on Twitter simply because it may offend religious sensibilities, and persecuting those who publish this content, are clear violations of these principles to which Pakistan has agreed.
The letter makes a plea to Pakistan’s own self-interest, stating: “The ability to think freely, to have doubt, to investigate doubt, and to arrive at new conclusions, advances our shared communities. To survive and flourish, we must learn to civilly discuss important matters, including and especially religion. True political and economic stability depends on openness, and falls quickly in the face of censorship.”
The Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) is a nonprofit educational and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC and Toronto, ON, with branches in over a dozen North American cities. EXMNA hopes to foster dialog, normalize apostasy and build communities of those marginalized for leaving their faith.