The recent uprisings across the Middle East (often referred to as “the Arab Spring”) are of immense significance. Will the states involved come to embrace progressive, secular (that is to say, religiously neutral), liberal values and democracy, or has the removal of the old political regimes paved the way for religiously conservative and authoritarian movements to gain control? Will we see a flourishing of freedom of speech, or growing religious intimidation and oppression, including an erosion of those rights and freedoms that women have previously enjoyed in countries such as Tunisia?
This is a pivotal moment. The outcome of these uprisings will not only affect the lives of the millions of people living in the countries experiencing revolutionary transformation but also affect relations between East and West for generations to come. It is of utmost importance that fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech and conscience, be recognized and respected by the new regimes. The International Academy of Humanism wishes wholeheartedly to voice its support for, and forge constructive relationships with, those working to promote progressive, secular thought and attitudes across the Middle East.
Announced at the International Academy of Humanism session
At the Council for Secular Humanism/Center for Inquiry conference
“Moving Secularism Forward”
Orlando, Florida USA · March, 2012