My name is Mohamed Aly, I am a member of Oxford Humanists and an Ex-Muslim atheist from Egypt. It is extremely dangerous for people like me in my country and other Muslim majority countries. Many end up attacked or in prison on trumped up blasphemy charges or worse. I applied for asylum in April 2016 and, although they accepted that I was a genuine Ex-Muslim atheist, they advised me to go back to Egypt and “live discreetly”. This would be extremely dangerous for me and is tantamount to being against my human rights. It would be living in oppression, always afraid of being found out.
There are many useful resources around online to help anyone who wants to strengthen their arguments about atheism, humanism, and secularism and we try to maintain links to the best of these on our website Resources page. YouTube, for example, provides a useful collection of videos, produced by organisations or individuals on a variety of topics, and Oxford Humanists have set up playlists to collect the best, or most engaging, of these on subjects of interest to Humanists. These provide a quick and easy way to watch some great thinkers discussing or debating with apologists, or to see erudite speakers presenting an interesting perspective on
Some people may think it is a bit precious to have a Solstice party rather than a Christmas party particularly when the dates, December 21st and December 25 are so close, but as humanists we need to acknowledge that the Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world and goes way back before Christianity. Ancient people were hunters and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The
Fortunate to visit New York this summer, one morning we set off through Central Park to visit the memorial to John Lennon known as Strawberry Fields. As we climbed the path to the spot its first manifestation came in the form of a lady selling John Lennon and Beatles badges, with a slew of anti-Trump badges on the side. ‘Have you got any pro-Trump ones?’ our friend teased, receiving a good-natured but firmly negative response. Then, round the corner, we came across the actual roundel, made by Italian craftsmen from Naples in the style of a Roman mosaic, with the word IMAGINE at its centre.
Two months ago we launched a building appeal, marking the 10th Anniversary of Uganda Humanist Schools Trust, with the aim of raising £150,000 to complete the infrastructure of the two Humanist High Schools we support, Isaac Newton and Mustard Seed Schools. (See UHST appeal leaflet http://oxfordhumanists.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Leaflet2018-2.pdf, here). The money will be used to build Library & Information Centres, Multi-purpose School Halls, Boarding Hostels and Science Laboratories. These facilities are needed to cope with the growing numbers of students being attracted by the high educational and welfare standards in the Humanist Schools. For many years the schools struggled with fewer than 100 students, but they are
“Humanists pay tribute to all those who have died in war. Some were inspired by a belief that they were fighting for a just cause. Others simply accepted their duty to their country. We honour them all for their bravery and self-sacrifice. Many of these men and women had no expectation of any reward in an afterlife; they were sufficiently inspired by the rights and needs of their fellow human beings. We look forward to a time when there is greater personal acceptance of our shared responsibility for all human beings – and when international warfare becomes a thing of the past!” We hope many
I was born into Wesleyan Methodism. On my mother’s side there were Methodist ministers going back for generations, one was President of the Conference which is the Methodist equivalent to the Archbishop of Canterbury. My maternal grandmother was a formidable and gifted woman who when quite young would preach outside factory gates warning the workers about the evils of drink. When she came to stay my parents hid the sherry! For complicated reasons my grandmother and I, just 3 years old, went to Canada at the outbreak of war to live with relatives in Montreal. We always attended C of E church on a Sunday but
John and his wife Viv had been active humanists since university days so it wasn’t surprising that they joined Oxford Humanists in 2004 when they moved into the area. I joined about that time too and I remember being disappointed to find it was such a small group. Then in 2006 John was elected to the Chair and things began to change. .Our membership and the attendance at meetings grew, largely through John’s assiduous use of email to keep in touch. At the same time, he gave unstinting support to the student Atheist, Secularist and Humanist organisations which were active in Oxford’s two universities for