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Interfaith Dialogue: African Union Should End Discrimination Against Humanists and Atheists 

By Leo Igwe

The African Union (AU) should stop discriminating against humanists, atheists, agnostics, and other belief minorities in the region. This observation has been made following a regional forum  that is holding in Kigali this month. The event officially excludes representatives from the humanist community. The African Union is organizing with the KAICIID dialogue center a general assembly for its Interfaith Dialogue Forum(IFDF). The theme is: Faith in Harvest: Sowing Seeds of Climate Resilience. The program will also feature the election of the AU IFDF steering committee. Unfortunately, humanists will not be participating in this event. Humanists will not be attending because the humanist community has not been invited. 

It is important to note that the AU is the African Union, not a religious union. The regional body exists for all Africans, including Africans from minority faith and belief traditions. So the AU should not discriminate on grounds of religious belief or nonbelief. It should not exclude minority groups in its programs. The AU should endeavor to be inclusive and not demonstrate bias against belief minorities. While many Africans profess religion or faith in God, millions of Africans identify as nonreligious or as religiously unaffiliated. They describe themselves as atheists, humanists, agnostics, or simply as nones. Millions of nonreligious Africans suffer religious oppression and persecution. They are targets of abuse, violence, and conflict. A regional program that fosters interfaith dialogue must include humanists and other minority belief groups.

Leo Igwe is a board member of Humanists International, UK

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