Tuesday, February 14, 2012


It is very difficult for socialists to argue a scientific case against bigots but in some parts of the world it is even more difficult. A defiant declaration of atheism by an Indonesian civil servant has inflamed passions in the world's most populous Muslim nation, pitting non-believers and believers against each other. The trouble began when civil servant Alexander Aan posted a message on the Facebook page of Atheist Minang, a group of Indonesians with godless beliefs. "It read: "God doesn't exist". The post so enraged residents in Aan's hometown of Pulau Punjung in West Sumatra province that an angry mob of dozens stormed his office and beat up the 30-year-old. To add insult to injury police then arrested him and now want to press blasphemy charges that could see him locked up for five years. Muslim extremists have called for Aan to be beheaded but fellow atheists have rallied round, and urged him to stand by his convictions despite the pressure. " (Al Arabiya News, 2 February) And we thought we had a difficult time in arguing the case for world socialism - but at least so far no one has called for us to be beheaded. RD

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