The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain held its second Annual General Meeting on 13 December 2009 in London.
The AGM unanimously adopted a statement expressing the organisation’s concern over the Swiss vote to ban minarets. The statement said:
- ‘Far-right proposals to ban minarets are divisive, reactionary and in line with the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ agenda, which hands over ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such to the political Islamic movement and denies the universality of the demand to live a life worthy of the 21st century.
- ‘Believing in Islam or any religion for that matter is not a crime. Neither is it a crime to have minarets in mosques. What are crimes, however, are groups or individuals using religion to threaten people to death, intimidate them, violate their rights, and discriminate against them. Society has to address these crimes and prosecute those who threaten or terrorise people – not ban minarets!
- ‘Political Islam is a political phenomenon that demands a political response. This response must include targeting the discrimination, abuse and criminal acts that take place against children in Islamic schools, against citizens in Sharia councils and tribunals, against apostates and freethinkers, gays and women who are killed in the name of honour…’
- ‘The Enlightenment didn’t ban church towers in order to successfully push Christianity into the private sphere. The same must be done with political Islam.’
The AGM unanimously adopted several motions calling for:
- ‘the immediate release of all those imprisoned for ‘apostasy’; a cancellation of laws wherever they exist that punish the right and freedom to renounce or criticise Islam; and an abolition of the death penalty,’
- ‘the unconditional right to asylum for apostates given that apostasy is punishable by death under Sharia law,’ and
- ‘an end to the use and implementation of Sharia law in Britain and everywhere and the promotion of universal rights and secularism.’
Moreover, the AGM unanimously reiterated its support of the One Law for All Campaign and the newly founded International Bureau for Laïcite’s Charter for Secularism.
The AGM adopted the organisation’s constitution and annual and financial reports. Furthermore, it thanked Maryam Namazie for her work as Spokesperson of the organisation.
At the meeting, eleven people were elected to the CEMB’s Management Committee: Asad Abbas, Syed Jahiz, Jalil Jalili, Rony Miah, Reza Moradi, Fariborz Pooya, Hassan Radwan, Faranak Rezaie, Kamran Sheikh, Hypatia Theon, and Zia Zaffar. Fariborz Pooya was elected Chair; Asad Abbas, Secretary and Zia Zaffar, Treasurer.