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Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: Report

Published on Dec 10, 2012 8:35 AM

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe - sometimes brutal - treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favour the religious and their organisations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, Freedom of Thought 2012, said "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry". Other laws "obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalise their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents".

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