Thursday, January 17, 2008

Freedom of Speech imperilled in Turkey

During its lifetime Ateizm.org was hacked three times and experienced some serious hosting problems. We survived all of them with flying colors and started over wherever we had left. Last year, however, our web site encountered a different and more ominous kind of problem. In June 2007, without warning, our web site was closed to its Turkish audience with a court order based on a legal action taken by a Turkish creationist named "Adnan Oktar" (now widely known by his pen name "Harun Yahya"). Since ateizm.org was hosted in the US, it remained accessible from abroad, but inaccessible to its main audience in Turkey. If we hired a lawyer and challenged the court order, we probably would have won our case. But we do not want to disclose our identities. This is our biggest weakness. According to our lawyer, there is no way to take a legal action in Turkey and remain anonymous at the same time. Many Turkish intellectuals who were against Islam and outspoken about their views on religion were murdered by Islamic fundamentalists in the past. We do not want to risk our lives...

The ban on ateizm.org in Turkey is yet another example of fundamentalist Islam gaining ground in a country survived as a secular democracy for well over half a century. Today secular forces in Turkey are struggling to protect democracy. Fundamentalist Islam aided by vast local and foreign financial resources is rapidly gaining ground. Therefore in Turkey, forces of "Secularism", "Democracy" and "Freedom of Speech" need all the help they can get.

Read the rest: here

Can this happen in Canada? Can Christians who believe in Creationism submit formal complaints to government agencies about newspaper publishing cartoons that make fun their Creationist beliefs? Will they be able to sue publishers who explain to the readers about the dangers that lurk in pseudo-science to education, open enquiry?

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