Category: Press Releases

On Friday 18 May Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has a fast-defying protest at embassies of countries that punish eating during Ramadan with flogging, beatings and imprisonment. Join our “eat-in” at Saudi, Iranian, Pakistani, Moroccan, Tunisian, Bangladeshi and Egyptian embassies in London or defend the persecuted during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is your Right; Fast-Defying is my Right.
#Ramadan
#Fast_Defying_My_Right
جمعه ۱۸ مه٬ شوراى اكس مسلم بريتانيا اعتراض روزه خوارى دارد جلوى سفارتخانه هاى كشورهايى كه روزه خواران را شلاق مى زنند و زندانى و اذيت و آزار مى كنند منجمله سفارتهاى ايران٬ عربستان سعودى٬ تونس٬ مراكش٬ بنگلادش٬ پاكستان٬ مصر۔۔۔
روزه حق شماست؛ روزه خوارى حق من است۔
#رمضان
#روزه_خوارى_حق_من_است

Thanks to Mark Hussain for Poster: http://markhossain.tumblr.com/

Dear friend

We hope you are well.

We wanted to bring your attention to several urgent actions and also give you an update on some of our activities and upcoming events.

URGENT ACTIONS

#FreeSherifGaber

You may have heard that Egyptian atheist blogger Sherif Gaber was arrested on 2 May at Cairo airport when attempting to leave the country. Whilst he is reportedly free, ex-Muslim groups are awaiting confirmation that he is safe. There is a pending blasphemy case against him still so please keep the pressure on and sign the petition demanding his safety. More information on his case available here.

#NotACrime Campaign

Join our #NotACrime Campaign calling for the decriminalisation of laws that imprison, harass and execute atheists, apostates and blasphemers. The campaign aims to highlight the cases of those who are in prison or on death row for the exercise of their basic right to conscience, which includes the right to criticise and renounce religion. Please join us in defending the likes of Sina Dehghan on death row in Iran for “insulting the prophet”, Ayaz Nizami facing the death penalty on accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan and Ahmad Al-Shamri and Raif Badawi charged with apostasy and blasphemy in Saudi Arabia. More details can be found here.

SOCIAL MEETUPS, SUPPORT GROUPS AND COMING OUT PARTIES

In April, CEMB organised its first “Coming Out Party”; which is one way of seeing people’s coming out as atheists as a cause for celebration rather than vilification. Our monthly meet-ups continue as usual; the next two meet-ups will be on “apostasy and asylum” and “honour and shame”.  We have also begun monthly support groups to give ex-Muslims a space to share issues. So far, the group has discussed shunning, identity and post-apostasy trauma. If you want to join any of the above, please email Sadia at exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com.

You can find out more about our upcoming events, which includes a fast-defying protest in support of those persecuted for eating during Ramadan here.

CONFERENCE ON SHARIA, SEGREGATION AND SECULARISM

Following the historic 22-23 July 2017 international conference to mark the CEMB’s 10th anniversary, which was the largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history, we are now organising a 2018 conference on November 25 on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism with One Law for All and others. For more information and to get your tickets click here. No tickets will be sold at the door.

INTERNATIONAL ATHEIST DAY

Hold 23 March 2019 in your diaries. It will be the first ever International Atheist Day to defend the right to atheism and call for an end to the persecution of atheists worldwide. Contact organisers for more information or to become an organiser in your city.

WE CAN COME TO YOUR UNIVERSITY TO SPEAK

We continue to highlight the situation of ex-Muslims and defend freedom of expression, blasphemy, apostasy and secularism, including at the anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo and for FEMEN’s 10th anniversary  . You can see our past and upcoming engagements here. We will be speaking at the European Parliament this month.

If you would like to organise a screening of Deeyah Khan’s film Islam’s Non Believers and have us come and speak at your university or event, please get in touch.

Some of our latest interviews and speeches:

* Sadia Hameed speaking on Australian TV about being ex-Muslim

* Maryam’s speech at Charlie Hebdo’s anniversary in Paris and on mocking religion shown on French TV, at Charlie Hebdo anniversary event

* Equality, Islam and Human Rights panel discussion at MIT with Ex-Muslims of North America

You can see other media coverage here.

SUPPORT OUR WORK

Thanks to all of you who have been supporting our work, especially via monthly direct debits. If you can, please donate towards our work in the coming year. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated!

We also need more volunteers, particularly video and film directors and graphic designers. Get in touch if you have time to help us out.

Hope to see you at some of our upcoming events and speaking engagements and looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes
Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed
Spokespersons
CEMB, BM Box 1919
London, WC1N 3XX
exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
ex-muslim.org.uk

PS #JusticeForNoura
Please take the time to support Noura Hussein Hammad, a Sudanese victim of child marriage/forced marriage facing execution for defending herself from her violent husband. More information here.

#FreeSherifGaber

Egyptian Atheist and Youtube Vlogger Sherif Gaber was arrested when trying to leave Egypt on Wednesday 2nd May. He sent a message to friends telling them he was stopped and taken to an interrogation room at Cairo airport and his passport confiscated. His last message on Wednesday 2nd May at 11:08 am Cairo time said:

“I am suppose to be traveling to Malaysia at 12:05 Cairo Time, an hour from now. The police took me and made me wait in this room for 2 hours and I’m still waiting> they took my belongings and my passport. If I don’t update you in one hour know that I was arrested.”

On 5 May, Lawyer Gamal Eid who runs the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that the blogger is currently being held in custody pending questioning by the prosecution, without specifying the date of his arrest or the reason for his arrest.

On 7 May, there was a posting supposedly by Gaber saying he had been released, however, many are questioning whether he had made the post himself and were concerned it was a ploy by the Egyptian government to end attention on his case. Until verification that he is free and safe, we will continue to campaign on his behalf.

Gaber is a long time activist who has been harassed and imprisoned for defending the LGBT community, promoting science and atheism, and “insulting Islam”. There is currently a pending blasphemy case against him. Here is his Tweet end March of this year about it:

To support Gaber, please sign the petition calling for his freedom.

We demand Gaber’s release. Atheism, Blasphemy, Apostasy are not crimes. #FreeSherifGaber
#AtheismNotACrime
#BlasphemyNotACrime
#ApostasyNotACrime
#بى_خدايى_جرم_نيست
#توهين_به_مقدسات_جرم_نيست
#ارتداد_جرم_نيست
#الإلحاد_لیس_بجریمة
#إزدراء_الأدیان_لیس_بجریمة
#الردة_لیست_بجریمة
#الحاد_جرم_نہیں
#توہین_رسالت_جرم_نہیں
#کفر_جرم_نہیں
#নাস্তিকতা_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়
#ধর্মেরসমালোচনা_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়
#ধর্মত্যাগ_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়

Join our campaign stating loud and clear that freethought is not a crime!

Islamic states consider atheism a “threat” – seeing it as an existential danger, especially since Islam and state power are intertwined, hence why atheists are persecuted (with many others including religious minorities, women’s rights activists, labour leaders and LGBT).

• Iran as one of the most important bases of atheism in the Middle East, with more than half the population using the Internet regularly, has seen a government ban on more than 160,000 social media accounts and websites for  spreading “atheism and corruption” in one year alone.

• Two government ministries in Egypt have been ordered to produce a national plan to “confront and eliminate” atheism. The Egyptian parliament is looking to criminalise atheism.  Recently, Mohammed Hashem was told to see a psychiatrist and kicked off a television show for not believing in God. A mother has even lost custody of her children because she is an atheist.

• A series of laws in Saudi Arabia define terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion.”

• A Malaysian government minister has said that atheists should be “hunted down” and “re-educated.”

• In Pakistan, a High Court Judge has reiterated that “blasphemers are terrorists” in a case that seeks to ban “derogatory” social media posts against Islam and Muhammad, Islam’s prophet. The Islamabad High Court has directed the government to block web pages containing blasphemous content and put the names of “blasphemers” on the exit control list.

Thirteen countries punish atheism with the death penalty, all Islamic states, namely Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen.

And even in countries without the death penalty, like Bangladesh, Islamists kill atheists whilst the government does little or like Tunisia, where Hatem Al Imam, the President of Tunisian Freethinkers has been brutally attacked. Turkish government-backed Islamists in Afrin address “Kurdish atheists,”telling them to repent or face decapitation …

Clearly, to be an atheist, to question or criticise God, prophets, Islam and any religion or dogma is not a crime though too many are being killed or imprisoned for it. It is high time to stop blaming atheists for their persecution under cover of offence, Islamophobia, hurt sentiments… and instead target the states and movements that are hunting down, imprisoning and murdering people for the mere exercise of their freedom of expression and conscience.

Urgent cases that need our immediate attention include:

Bangladesh: Asad Noor, a 25-year-old atheist blogger is facing up to 14 years in prison because he “hurt religious feelings” with his social media posts “mocking the prophet”.

Iran: 20-year-old Sina Dehghan was sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet”. Deghan’s co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, have also been convicted of posting anti-Islamic content on social media. Nouri was sentenced to death; Eliasi has been sentenced to three years in prison upon appeal. Soheil Arabi was initially sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet” is on hunger strike and in critical condition. Ruhollah Tavana and Saeed Malekpour have also been sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet” and “insulting and desecrating Islam” respectively.

Iraq: In Dhi Qar- Al-Nasiriya, a city in the southern part of  Iraq, atheists have been hunted down; in most recent news, one of four has been arrested for “spreading the culture of the absence of God.”

Pakistan: Ayaz Nizami and Rana Noman face the death penalty for “blasphemy.” After the arrest, #HangAyazNizami trended on Twitter. Taimoor Raza, 30, has also been sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet Muhammad.”

Saudi Arabia: Ahmad Al-Shamri, in his 20s, has been sentenced to death for atheism and blasphemy; Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes for “apostasy” and “insulting Islam”. Poet Ashraf Fayadhhas been sentenced to eight years imprisonment and lashes for poems containing “atheist ideas” reduced from an initial death sentence.

#AtheismNotACrime
#BlasphemyNotACrime
#ApostasyNotACrime
#بى_خدايى_جرم_نيست
#توهين_به_مقدسات_جرم_نيست
#ارتداد_جرم_نيست
#الإلحاد_لیس_بجریمة
#إزدراء_الأدیان_لیس_بجریمة
#الردة_لیست_بجریمة
#الحاد_جرم_نہیں
#توہین_رسالت_جرم_نہیں
#کفر_جرم_نہیں
#নাস্তিকতা_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়
#ধর্মেরসমালোচনা_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়
#ধর্মত্যাগ_কোন_অপরাধ_নয়

The scientist and author Richard Dawkins is giving away translations of The God Delusion in countries under Islamic rule like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan.

The reason behind the decision is the thirst for atheism in such countries. Whilst 3.3 million copies of the bestseller have been sold since 2006, the unofficial Arabic pdf alone has been downloaded 13 million times.

The rise of atheism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia is something we have been speaking about for some time now. The Iranian Baztab Now website warned of a tsunami of atheism amongst Iranian youth. The #ExMuslimBecause hashtag initiated by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain became viral overnight with over 120,000 Tweets from 65 countries.

The hashtag “#Aik crore Pakistani mulhid” (10 million Pakistani atheists) trended around Darwin Day for two years running. Free Mind, launched by Arab atheists promoting atheism, has recorded more than 1 million visits so far.

The now highly visible and vocal ex-Muslim movement (a new Council has just been established in Jordan), the access to atheism and freethought via social media, the deep-seated opposition to theocratic rule that comes from lived experience, the irrationality of religious doctrine, the authoritarianism of religious rule, scepticism about prophets and contradictory tenets, the unrelenting violence, amongst others, make atheism increasingly enticing for a mostly young population.

Remove Islamism’s threats and apostasy and blasphemy laws from people’s lives and even we ex-Muslims will be stunned at the extent of atheism in countries under Islamic rule.

The powers that be have understood the “threat” atheism poses – seeing it as an existential danger, especially since Islam and state power are intertwined, hence why atheists are persecuted (with many others including religious minorities, women’s rights activists, labour leaders and LGBT).

• Iran as one of the most important bases of atheism in the Middle East, with more than half the population using the Internet regularly, has seen a government ban on more than 160,000 social media accounts and websites for  spreading “atheism and corruption” in one year alone.

• Two government ministries in Egypt have been ordered to produce a national plan to “confront and eliminate” atheism. The Egyptian parliament is looking to criminalise atheism.  Recently, Mohammed Hashem was told to see a psychiatrist and kicked off a television show for not believing in God. A mother has even lost custody of her children because she is an atheist.

• A series of laws in Saudi Arabia define terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion.”

• A Malaysian government minister has said that atheists should be “hunted down” and “re-educated.”

• In Pakistan, a High Court Judge has reiterated that “blasphemers are terrorists” in a case that seeks to ban “derogatory” social media posts against Islam and Muhammad, Islam’s prophet. The Islamabad High Court has directed the government to block web pages containing blasphemous content and put the names of “blasphemers” on the exit control list.

Thirteen countries punish atheism with the death penalty, all Islamic states, namely Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen.

And even in countries without the death penalty, like Bangladesh, Islamists kill atheists whilst the government does little or like Tunisia, where Hatem Al Imam, the President of Tunisian Freethinkers has been brutally attacked. Turkish government-backed Islamists in Afrin address “Kurdish atheists,”telling them to repent or face decapitation …

Clearly, to be an atheist, to question or criticise God, prophets, Islam and any religion or dogma is not a crime though too many are being killed or imprisoned for it. It is high time to stop blaming atheists for their persecution under cover of offence, Islamophobia, hurt sentiments… and instead target the states and movements that are hunting down, imprisoning and murdering people for the mere exercise of their freedom of expression and conscience.

Urgent cases that need our immediate attention include:

Bangladesh: Asad Noor, a 25-year-old atheist blogger is facing up to 14 years in prison because he “hurt religious feelings” with his social media posts “mocking the prophet”.

Iran: 20-year-old Sina Dehghan was sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet”. Deghan’s co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, have also been convicted of posting anti-Islamic content on social media. Nouri was sentenced to death; Eliasi has been sentenced to three years in prison upon appeal. Soheil Arabi was initially sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet” is on hunger strike and in critical condition. Ruhollah Tavana and Saeed Malekpour have also been sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet” and “insulting and desecrating Islam” respectively.

Iraq: In Dhi Qar- Al-Nasiriya, a city in the southern part of  Iraq, atheists have been hunted down; in most recent news, one of four has been arrested for “spreading the culture of the absence of God.”

Pakistan: Ayaz Nizami and Rana Noman face the death penalty for “blasphemy.” After the arrest, #HangAyazNizami trended on Twitter. Taimoor Raza, 30, has also been sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet Muhammad.”

Saudi Arabia: Ahmad Al-Shamri, in his 20s, has been sentenced to death for atheism and blasphemy; Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes for “apostasy” and “insulting Islam”. Poet Ashraf Fayadhhas been sentenced to eight years imprisonment and lashes for poems containing “atheist ideas” reduced from an initial death sentence.

#AtheismNotACrime #EndBlasphemyLaws #EndApostasyLaws

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