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August Roundtable w/Rafiq and Carlos

Half a world away, a battle for religious freedom is taking place- that is, a battle for freedom FROM religion and for the most basic of human rights, freedom of thought.

Indonesia is a supposedly "modernized" nation... yet, earlier this year a man named Alexander Aan was arrested for blasphemy, a "crime" that belongs in the year 1572 instead of 2012. Prior to being taken into custody, Alexander was beaten by a mob of angry Islamists. Among Alexander's "crimes" was posting on Facebook that "God does not exist".

In June Alexander was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for "insulting the prophet Mohammed" and "inciting religious hatred" (read: blasphemy).

Join us as group member Rafiq- who was for 40 years a practicing Muslim, and is now a freethinker in a land unfriendly to freethinkers- is "beamed in" from his hometown in Indonesia for some "spirited" discussion! Rafiq visited with Alexander Aan while Aan was awaiting trial at a remote location... he will tell us about that, and much much more. For those who haven't had the pleasure of chatting with Rafiq via Skype, etc., he is a delight!

*UPDATE - Extra-special guest Carlos Diaz, President of Atheist Alliance International, will be joining us as well!

7pm to 7:45pm - eat, drink, hobnob

7:45 to 9:45pm - interactive discussion with Rafiq

10pm to ? - we often continue these meetups a bit further west at Applebees' or similar

See You there :)

Update 12 July 2012 Rafiq writes:

I'm just on my way back from visiting Alex in prison. He is feeling lonely because although he is very popular and much liked by fellow prisoners, he doesn't have anyone he can really talk with in depth, there is no one who really understands him. When he feels really really depressed he finds that pondering mathematical problems helps him to keep balance.

He gave me a note in which he says to his many friends in the "outside world": Thanks for support and love, without this I feel alone.

[masked]         C [ode]

I miss all my brother and sister. I can't move from my mind and always fight infiltration.

I need to clarify that; I always concern in Humanity and Science. Forever.

Thank for support and love, without this i feel alone.

So i hope my code can be documented because I affraid misinformation about who I'm.

My facebook and email was gone, but I still have id; i write about science (my [idea and scheme] of science, mathematic too) at: (with other email).

Happyness for All

(Alexander An)

We are trying to arrange to rent some rooms in Muaro Sijunjung so that his family and I can stay and visit more often. LBH are also arranging for a psychiatric assessment of Alex next week.

I will send a fuller report before the meeting.

This is a view of a live conference starting at 7:30PM

Join or login to comment.

  • Mark T.

    @Rafiq, concerning your review- nonsense! The meat of your presentation, in which you gave us the inside story on Alexander and his trials & tribulations with great insight, was very compelling and quite wonderful. You'll be back to give us an update at a later time, and I hope Carlos will join us again as well! Perhaps we'll try a different method next time- maybe the video will be smoother with Skype or similar, but the audio kept up this time for the most part.

    1 · August 5, 2012

  • Ray V

    My thanks to our guests Rafiq and Carlos, and to everyone who attended. We are doing a lot with a very thin internet pipe, but as Mark said, we a communicating with Freethinkers half way around the world. This is "state of the possible" technology!

    August 5, 2012

  • laura s.

    The topic was fabulous. We all should appreciate our freedom especially given the gent in Indonisia. Wish I could have stayed longer. I did too much prior & my back destroyed me.

    August 5, 2012

  • Sam S.

    Thank you Carlos and Rafiq for updating us on Alex. And thank you to all the people responsible for bring Rafiq and Carlos to us electronically. This was a very important meeting. I was grateful to be part of it.

    August 5, 2012

  • Rafiq M.

    To be honest, I was rather disappointed and embarrassed by my dreadful unpreparedness. Even though the technology was very promising I still don't think it is quite up to the auditory environment of a meeting. I think that the best way forward would be to prepare a YouTube in advance so that all the hitches and glitches of slides and videos can be sorted out beforehand and just show it and be on hand to answer questions later. It was very difficult to hear the questions, so that is something we need to sort out. On the other hand, Carlos was brilliant and clear and it was great that he could join us. My apologies to everyone.

    August 5, 2012

  • Mark T.

    The Google Hangout video conference had a few lags & glitches, which was not surprising since Rafiq was "beamed in" from nearly 10,000 miles away, and Carlos from close to 5,500. But all things considered, the audio kept up to speed very well & it was pretty cool to go "global" :) Many thanks to Rafiq for his details concerning Alexander Aan's case, and to AAI President Carlos for taking the time to spend with us.

    August 5, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It Was a great Meetup! @ Gee 2 guests for the price of one.WOW< Great Job Mark !!

    August 5, 2012

  • Suzy W.

    I thoroughly appreciated seeing and hearing Rafiq & Carlos discuss and update us on this serious, sensitive topic. The glitches were minor when put along side of what was accomplished. It was good seeing everyone and I wish I had had a chance to talk to everyone. We had a good time conversing at AppleBees afterwards, which is always fun.

    August 5, 2012

  • Marni T.

    This meetup was great! We did have some technical difficulties here and there, but when you've got three countries on video at once, that's to be expected. Thanks so much to Rafiq and Carlos for everything that you're doing. Thanks Ray and Mark for bringing the equipment, and thanks to everyone for coming out and learning about this case and what you can do to help.

    August 5, 2012

  • Edward B.

    The hookup was a good idea, and I found the topic very interesting as I learned about a case in Indonesia, but I felt the meeting could have be a little tighter, as I would have appreciated some discussion among the members attending. Also as being a new person, I felt alone, as most of the attendees ignored me leaving me feeling defensive to approach people

    August 5, 2012

  • Rafiq M.

    Be there if you can! Although we can share videos and slides on the hangout THEY ARE NOT STREAMED WITH THE VIDEO. Hopefully we will be able to post-edit the YouTube and splice in the necessary slides and video and add interactive transcripts you will not see them on the live stream.

    August 4, 2012

  • Rafiq M.

    Please note that although I will hope to be in the hangout before the talks begin the hangout will not be streamed to the world until the talks actually start. The Q & A at the end will also be streamed so if you have a question and you don't want to be seen please say.

    August 4, 2012

  • Ray V

    We will be live in a Google Hangout with Rafiq and Carlos A. Diaz
    President, Atheist Alliance International tomorrow. The conversation will be recorded and available on YouTube in case you miss it. The hangout location will be posted here if you wish to join.

    August 3, 2012

    • Mark T.

      The room is elongated, and the TV screen & webcam will be located centrally on one of the long sides. So those seated at the far sides of the room probably won't be visible to the webcam's field of view.

      1 · August 4, 2012

    • Suzy W.

      Good point...those of us who don't mind if we are filmed should seat accordingly, so those more shy can sit more towards the back.

      1 · August 4, 2012

  • Rafiq M.

    If you can't get in, the Roundtable will, hopefully, be streamed to the Cleveland Freethinkers YouYube channel at and will also be available to watch afterwards. This information is liable to change, so watch this space!

    August 2, 2012

  • Mark T.

    A special bonus- the president of Atheist Alliance International, Carlos Diaz, will be joining us via Skype along with Rafiq :)

    1 · July 30, 2012

  • Jebediah F.

    I was going to go to this but something came up and I won't be able to make it. Maybe next time.

    July 26, 2012

  • Ray V

    This sounds great, Rafiq has really put himself on the front line of the battle against religious Fascism. It is sure to be a must-see event!

    June 28, 2012

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