Jordanians Prepare for ‘Day of Refusal’ against the Jordan-Israel Gas Deal

By Tariq Shadid In Jordan, opposition against the Israeli-Jordanian gas deal is growing. While politicians are working out the details, there appears to be widespread criticism of plans by the Jordanian National Electric Power Company to import gas from the Leviathan fields. The fields are located in the Mediterranean waters controlled by Israel, operated by […]

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A Vacuum Waiting for a Leader

By Jeremy Salt “To achieved all that you have the power, ability or strength to do and to be unable to do more.” —  Cambridge Dictionaries Online definition of ‘to shoot your bolt.’ That the US and its allies are ultimately responsible for the rise of the so-called Islamic State is irrefutably true. They destroyed […]

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Repairing Palestine’s political system Cannot Wait Any Longer

By Sam Bahour Today, Palestinian political strategy is being driven in the total absence of a functioning political system. Israel’s forced fragmentation of our geographic reality mixed with internal political party divisions, disgust, despair and incompetence, the status quo tears apart Palestine’s societal fabric. If it remains on its current course, the train of national […]

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Obama’s Admission Not Enough: US Spin on Middle East Violence Must Change

By Ramzy Baroud Truly, US President Barack Obama’s recent call to address the root causes of violence, including that of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) and al-Qaeda was a step in the right direction, but it is still miles away from taking the least responsibility possible for the mayhem that has afflicted the Middle East […]

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Israel’s New Asian Allies

By Jonathan Cook It was another difficult week for Israel. In Britain, 700 artists, including many household names, pledged a cultural boycott of Israel, and a leader of the Board of Deputies, the representative body of UK Jews, quit, saying he could no longer abide by its ban on criticizing Israel. Across the Atlantic, the […]

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A Dragon on the Neighbor’s Land

By Mats Svensson I left Jerusalem early and drove south. Soon I had the wall on my left hand side. The wall is enormous where it confines Palestinians who were born in Bethlehem. As a foreigner, a tourist or diplomat, I can easily go in and out. If you are a Christian or Muslim Palestinian, […]

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Christine Shellska’s UN Speech

We are proud to announce that our president, Christine M. Shellska, has given a speech at the UN’s Commission for Social Development. Prepared and researched by Rustam Singh, the speech brilliantly and succinctly details AAI’s vision and goals for the future. The text of the speech, as well as a link to the video of Ms. Shellska presenting the speech, is provided below. 

Transcript of AAI’s oral statement presented at the Commission for Social Development, Fifty-third Session, 9th meeting, UN Headquarters, New York (Tuesday, February 10, 2015) 

Researched/prepared by: Mr. Rustam Singh, AAI UN Special Consultative Status Project Lead

Delivered by: Christine M. Shellska, President, AAI

Thank you, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to speak, and to the committee for your commendable work and your commitment to sustainable social development.

Atheist Alliance International’s vision is of a secular world, where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence.

AAI encourages nations to follow The Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2, which states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as sex or religion or other opinion, thereby including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals.

AAI also endorses the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled, Discriminatory Laws and Practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the methods suggested therein for international human rights laws that can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

AAI condemns those nations that violate personal freedom and the choices of their citizens on the basis of sexual orientation under the purview of religious laws or other reasons.

 AAI also promotes governments to cooperate at the international level and to enact and enforce legislation protecting girls and young women from genital mutilation, which is religious stigma equivalent to violence against women as defined in the World Programme of Action for Youth.

 AAI offers advisory support to help suggest non-theist implementation of policies to Burkina Faso, where the WHO reports the prevalence of FGM to be at 72.5 percent.

 Endorsing the concept of the worldwide equality for the religious and the non-religious, and of the rights promoted by the World Programme of Action for Youth, AAI encourages:

 

  • State education should be secular.
  • Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status, or grants to run faith-based schools.
  • Children should be educated in critical thinking, and taught about the diversity of religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner.
  • Science should be taught without religious interference.
  • Sex education curriculum should be informed by science, not religious beliefs.
  • There should be a secular state healthcare system where decisions are based on compassion, human rights and the medical needs of patients.
  • Health care and social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds not essential to the job in question.
  • No religious values, activities or environments should be imposed on health and social care recipients who do not share those religious beliefs. 
  • Finally, AAI categorically affirms that there is no right “not to be offended. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and not be enacted.

 It is time to advance toward a secular world based on reason, science and compassion.