Monday, July 20, 2009

[Real World Atheism] Atheists urge "measured" response to Muslim extremists

For more information, please contact:
Ed Buckner, President 908-499-9200 (cell) or 770-803-5353 (office/fax)
Dave Silverman, Communications Director 732-648-9333

An atheist public policy group today urged secularists and religious
groups alike -- including moderate Muslims -- to speak out against the
violent and authoritarian agenda voiced by extremists meeting Sunday in

Hizb ut Tahrir -- a Sunni organization with reported ties to 9/11
terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- held a conference
Sunday, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam." The group
denied that it preaches violence, but critics say that it advocates
theocracy and jihad. A video promoting the conference linked the West
to a range of ills including militarism, drug use and even divorce. It
showed a Muslim rally with a banner declaring "Freedom of Speech is an
Attack on Islam."

Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, urged religious and
non-religious groups to denounce the Hizb ut Tahrir agenda for violence
and intolerance.

"The 'enemy' they cite is free markets, free ideas, and freedom from
imposed religion," said Buckner. "We know that is not what most
Americans want, including, we hope and think, the vast majority of
Muslims who, while religious, accept the values embodied in the
Constitution, including free expression."

Buckner added that he opposes calls by some religious and social
conservatives who want to ban meetings and other peaceful activities by
Hizb ut Tahrir. "If we start banning speech and public meetings, the
jihadists have won. The best antidote to hateful and ill-informed
speech, as Jefferson reputedly said, is more speech, not censorship."

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that
if Hizb ut Tahrir "does not cross the line into violence and terrorism,
they deserve the same Constitutional protections as anyone else in America."

"The fact that they were able to hold this conference shows how weak
their intellectual position is, and how robust a free, secular society
can be," said Silverman. "We encourage everyone, including the vast
majority of American Muslims, to use that First Amendment freedom and
speak out against the theocratic agendas of Hizb ut Tahrir and, yes,
the American religious right as well."
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for
Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and
addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.
American Atheists, Inc.
PO BOX 158
Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel.: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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