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Friday, October 27, 2006
 Support to Secularists and Progressives in the Middle East

Topic: Semi-random Thoughts

You may not realize it, but there are actually many Arabs and Middle Eastern people who support secularism, free thought, and who are even atheists.

One example of this can be seen on the now popular Al-Jazeera newscast linked below:

http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=nul

If this does not work for you also try:

http://www.flurl.com/entry/view/1248618/Dr_Wafa_Sultan

Dr. Wafa Sultan, the woman speaking in the linked video above, does live in America, but this interview was aired on Al-Jazeera. I have yet to see a similar interview aired on American television directed at American religion.

Everyone in the Middle East is not Muslim, and the people in the Middle East that America and "the West" should be dealing with, interviewing, working closely with, and sponsoring, etc., are the secularists and humanists in the Middle East. One major problem that I see in the American media is that our only knowledge of the Middle East and Arab people is of them as religious extremists. They are not all religious extremists, and in America it seems that we are simply tossing the secularists whom we should be supporting to the wolves because we don't even acknowledge that they exist. There are millions of people in the Middle East who are also opposed to religious extremism, and these people exist in every single country in the Middle East. We have to at least be aware of these people in America before any further progress can take place. Hopefully, with increasing awareness, these groups will get increasing recognition, media coverage, and material support.

It is not as though secularism and humanism have been unknown in Middle Eastern history or that Middle Eastern cultures don't know how to approach these issues, indeed many aspects of the European Enlightenment and movement for secularism came from Middle Eastern culture and various texts, both Greek texts and original Arabic works, which had been transmitted to the West in Arabic.

Please, take the time to visit some of the websites below to become familiar with secular and non-religious groups in the Middle East and Arab speaking world. Even just writing to these organizations to show support can be a great help and boost.

Secular Islam Summit

Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

Liberal Demokratic Party of Afghanistan

The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI)

Women Against Violence

Arab Atheists

Network of Secular Arabs

Maryam Namazie (Iranian Humanist)

Tariq Ali

The Center for Inquiry is one American based organization that does work with secularist groups in various countries, including the Middle East.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/


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