Thursday, April 08, 2004

Apostasy, Human Rights, Religion and Belief: New Threats to Freedom of Opinion and Expression 

April 6, 2004


Apostasy, Human Rights, Religion and Belief: New Threats to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva

GENEVA: The Association of World Citizens, the Association for World Education and the International Humanist and Ethical Union will sponsor a discussion on “Apostasy, Human Rights, Religion and Belief,� at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Palais des Nations, Gate 40, Room XXI, on Wed, April 7, from 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. A 3:30 p.m. press conference at the UN Press Room 2 will follow.

Speakers will include Ibn Warraq, a secularist Muslim intellectual; Younas Sheikh, a Pakistani doctor, human rights and peace activist; Shafique Keshavjee, a Swiss pastor and author; and Paul Cook, a representative of the Barnabas Fund (UK).

Ibn Warraq is among the most prominent and outspoken Muslim apostates alive today. His book, Why I am not a Muslim (1996), is “an impassioned polemic against almost 1,400 years of Muslim dogma and its effect on the Islamic World,� says the Boston Globe. Warraq is also editor of: The Quest for the Historical Muhammad (2000), The Origins of the Koran (2001), What the Koran Really Says (2002), and Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out (2003).

Dr. Younas Sheikh was falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death in Pakistan. Following two appeals and a retrial, he was acquitted after two years in solitary confinement on death row.

Shafique Kashavjee is author of The King, the Wise and the Jester (1998), a fable about the major religions of the world that has been translated into 15 languages. He encourages ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in Switzerland.

Paul Cook is advocacy manager for the Barnabas Fund (UK), a charity which supports persecuted Christians in Africa and Asia.


Roy Brown
President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union
Phone: (41-79) 212 5603

David G. Littman
Representative to the UN (Geneva), Association for World Education
Phone: (41-79) 460 7185

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