Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Campaign to send Alom Shaha's Young Atheist's Handbook to schools

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Considering today's news that the percentage of people in England & Wales identifying as non-religious in the Census has risen 25 per cent, there could be no better time to highlight a new campaign to send a copy of the year's best atheist book to every school in the land. 

The Young Atheist's Handbook by Alom Shaha is a riveting personal account of the author's journey from growing up in a strict Muslim environment on a south-east London council estate, to the teenage realisation that he did not believe in the religion followed by the majority of those within his community. Alongside this moving personal story, Alom offers his thoughts and advice on how to square the big questions of morality and existence with a rejection of theistic explanations.

Having enjoyed the book himself, science teacher and blogger Ian Horswell had the idea of launching a campaign to get the book into schools:
"Despite knowing Alom through his work as a science teacher and writer online, I was amazed by the evocative prose in his book and the challenges he faced moving from nominal believer to outspoken freethinker. It made me realise how fortunate many of us are to be able to take for granted our own freedom to believe, or not, in the faith of our parents. It seemed to me that the very students who needed to read Alom’s book would find it hard to buy for themselves, so instead I wondered if we could place a copy in every secondary school library."
With the support of the British Humanist Association, the campaign is now live, and you can donate via a JustGiving site. The total required to get a copy to every secondary school is £32,000, so if you support the initiative, please give generously if you can!

For a sample of what The Young Atheist's Handbook is all about, read Alom's piece from our May/June issue, in which he tells the story of his journey from Islam to atheism.
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