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Month: November 2011

Support ex-Muslim and atheist Khalid Saeed

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain fully supports Khalid Saeed’s application for asylum in Sweden. We are astonished to hear he has been refused asylum and urge the Swedish authorities to reconsider and grant him protection. Mr Saeed is a member of our organisation. We are an organisation made up of people who have publicly renounced Islam in order to break the taboo that comes with doing so. Although, we in the west are free to make such decisions, notwithstanding the threats and intimidation, in other countries, specifically in this case Pakistan.

Given the high exposure of our organisation as well as the well-founded fear of persecution he faces, we believe his life would be in danger if he were to be returned to his country of origin. Mr Saeed has already been attacked for his views on Islam in Pakistan and fears for his safety and life if he is forcibly returned.

To support Mr Khalid’s right to refuge, sign the petition here.

Screams against Islamism

‘I will be celebrating my 27th birthday in a few days and as I enter into a new year of my life, I think it is time to renounce religion openly…The CEMB is doing a great job by providing a forum for Ex-Muslims and taking a stand against the brutality of this religion.’ – Hassan

‘After 20 yrs of Islam, I finally gave up the prison for my freedom. My main issue with Islam is the awful injustice against women and as a woman myself I could not stand for a religion which belittles me…well done CEMB for creating this unified voice for ex-Muslims!’ – Pariah

Dear friends

These are just two of the many testimonies of ex-Muslims on the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s (CEMB) website and forum.

Clearly, an organisation like ours is essential in this day and age – breaking taboos, defending free expression and rights, and challenging Islamism head on. As you well know, it’s not easy and people who do so deserve our full support, including those in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere.

20 year old atheist Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy is one such person. She has recently posted nude photos of herself as ‘screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy’. She must be unequivocally defended!

You can find out more about the work the CEMB is doing on our newly designed website and via links below.

Thank you for all your support over the past year; we couldn’t have done it without you.

Please do continue to support the CEMB in any way you can. Given the ‘controversial’ work that we do, our only support comes from freethinkers and secularists like you. Every little bit helps go a long way in the fight that lies ahead. If you’d like to donate to our work, please either send a cheque made payable to CEMB to BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK or give via Worldpay.

Thanks again.

Warmest wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

UPDATES ON OUR WORK

1. Visit CEMB’s new website designed by volunteer Ciaran Frain.

2. We also have a CEMB Youtube page with many videos by and about people who have left Islam.

3. Maryam Namazie also has a blog on freethoughtblogs where she comments daily on a number of issues including Islam and Islamism.

4. See CEMB’s statement in support of Charlie Hebdo, the French publication firebombed for its criticism of Islam.

5. Watch Maryam Namazie on the Jinn and Tonic show this Saturday 19 November.

6. Support a free and secular Middle East and North Africa by signing our Manifesto.

7. See an updated list of members here.

8. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was launched in June 2007. The launch video has been seen by nearly 200,000 people.

9. For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX
telephone: +44(0)7719166731
e-mail: ex-muslimcouncil@googlemail.com
website: www.ex-muslim.org.uk

Support Egyptian atheist blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy!

From Maryam Namazie’s Blog

For update on her situation, click here.

Student, atheist and blogger, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, 20, posted naked pictures of herself on her blog to show her “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy”. Showing her body particularly at a time when Islamists in Egypt are trying to secure power is the ultimate act of rebellion. Don’t forget Islamists despise nothing more than a woman’s body. In case you didn’t know, women are the source of corruption and chaos and must be covered up at all times and not seen and not heard.

Continue reading

In support of Charlie Hebdo, French Publication firebombed in Paris

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s office but the attack does bear the hallmarks of the political Islamic movement as – for them – this is business as usual and all in a day’s work. They bomb offices, threaten anyone who criticises Islam and Islamism, and where they have political power they slaughter those who speak their minds in cold blood and in broad daylight.

Those who condemn the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s office whilst also criticising the publication for mocking Islam’s prophet Mohammad are (at best) missing the point (and more likely apologists for the Islamists).

Saying that certain types of expression offend is a tool for suppressing society and is an attempt to limit rights. And it’s linked to the undermining of freedoms, rights, and social welfare world-wide. After all what is the point of free expression if you cannot criticise that which is deemed to be taboo?

Saying Charlie Hebdo shouldn’t criticise Islam is basically saying that Islam is off limits. It’s saying that the victims and survivors of Islamism are not allowed to resist the inquisition of our era, particularly since free expression, including the right to mock, is often all we have to fight back.

If you’re not angry, you’re just not paying attention.

Maryam Namazie is Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran.

Support Manifesto for a free and secular Middle East and North Africa

Statement
For Immediate Release
27 October 2011

76 secularists and human rights campaigners, including Mina Ahadi, Nawal El Sadaawi, Marieme Helie Lucas, Hameeda Hussein, Ayesha Imam, Maryam Jamil, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasrin, Farida Shaheed, Fatou Sow, and Stasa Zajovic have signed on to a Manifesto for a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa.

In light of the recent pronouncements of the unelected Libyan Transitional Council for ‘Sharia laws’, the signatories of the manifesto vehemently oppose the hijacking of the protests by Islamism or US-led militarism and unequivocally support the call for freedom and secularism made by citizens and particularly women in the region.

Secularism is a minimum precondition for a free and secular Middle East and for the recognition of women’s rights and equality.

We call on world citizens to support this important campaign by signing on to our petition.

We also ask that supporters click ‘like’ on our Facebook page to support this important campaign and Tweet: #freesecularMENA in support of a free and secular Middle East and North Africa.

VERSION FRANÇAISE CI DESSOUS
FRENCH, ARABIC AND PERSIAN VERSIONS BELOW

Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa

The 2009 protests in Iran followed by the Arab Spring have the potential to herald a new dawn for the people of the region and the world. The protests have clearly shown that people in the region, like people everywhere, want to live 21st century lives.

We, the undersigned, emphasise their modern and human dimension and wholeheartedly welcome this immense and historical development. We are vehemently opposed to their hijacking by Islamism or US-led militarism and support the call for a free and secular Middle East and North Africa made by citizens and particularly women in the region.

Secularism is a minimum precondition for the freedom and equality of all citizens and includes:
1. Complete separation of religion from the state.
2. Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes.
3. Separation of religion from the educational system.
4. Freedom of religion and atheism as private beliefs.
5. Prohibition of sex apartheid and compulsory veiling.

SIGNATORIES

1. Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committees against Stoning and Execution, Iran/Germany
2. Marieme Helie Lucas, Sociologist, Founder and former international coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and founder of Secularism Is A Women’s Issue, Algeria/France
3. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/UK
4. Shahla Abghari, University Professor, Iran/USA
5. Siavash Abghari, Esmail Khoi Foundation, Iran/USA
6. Ahlam Akram, Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Writer and Campaigner, Palestine/UK
7. Sargul Ahmad, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
8. Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/Sweden
9. Reza Alkrami, Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
10. Farideh Arman, Coordinator, Committee to Defend Women’s Rights, Iran/Sweden
11. Sultana Begum, Human Rights Activist, Bangladesh
12. Djemila Benhabib, Writer, Algeria/Canada
13. Codou Bop, Journalist and Director of GREFELS, Dakar, Senegal
14. Ariane Brunet, co-founder Urgent Action Fund, Québec, Canada
15. Micheline Carrier, Sisyphe, Québec, Canada
16. Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
17. Denise Deliège Femmes En Noir, Belgium
18. Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
19. Fanny Filosof, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
20. Mersedeh Ghaedi, New Channel TV Programme host, Iran/Norway
21. Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois, Dakar, Senegal
22. Laura Guidetti, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
23. Zeinabou Hadari, Centre Reines Daura, Niger
24. Anissa Hélie, Historian, Algeria/France/USA
25. Rohini Henssman, Human Rights Activist, India
26. Hameeda Hossein, Chairperson Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh
27. Khayal Ibrahim, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
28. Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
29. Ayesha Imam, Women’s Human Rights and Democracy Activist, Nigeria/Senegal
30. International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
31. International Committee against Execution, Germany
32. International Committee against Stoning, Germany
33. Iran Solidarity, Iran/UK
34. Maryam Jamil, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq
35. Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra and Chairperson Transparency International, Bangladesh
36. Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq
37. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web, India
38. Akbar Karimian, Human Rights Activist, Iran/UK
39. Cherifa Kheddar, President of Djazairouna, Algeria
40. Monica Lanfranco, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
41. Houzan Mahmoud, Representative of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq/UK
42. Nahla Elgaali Mahmoud, Biologist, Sudan/UK
43. Anwar Mir Sattari, Human rights Activist, Iran/Belgium
44. Amena Mohsin, Professor, Dept. International Relations Dhaka University, Bangladesh
45. Khawar Mumtaz, Director Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
46. Taslima Nasrin, Writer and Activist, Bangladesh
47. U. M. Habibun Nessa, President, Naripokkho, Bangladesh
48. Partow Nooriala, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
49. Asghar Nosrati, Human Rights Activist, Iran/Sweden
50. One Law for All, UK
51. Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK
52. Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, Iran/UK
53. Protagora, Zagreb, Croatia
54. Hassan Radwan, Activist, Egypt/UK
55. Mary Jane Real, Women’s Human Rights Coalition, Manila, The Philippines
56. Edith Rubinstein, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
57. Nawal El Sadaawi, Writer, Egypt
58. Fahimeh Sadeghi, Coordinator, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Iran/Canada
59. Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space, UK
60. Nina Sankari, Secularist and Feminist, Poland
61. Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (International Network)
62. Aisha Lee Shaheed, London, UK
63. Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
64. Siba Shakib, Filmmaker, Writer and Activist, Iran/USA
65. Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Iran/UK
66. Issam Shukri, Head, Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
67. Southall Black Sisters, UK
68. Fatou Sow, Sociologist CNRS, Dakar, Senegal
69. Afsaneh Vahdat, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iran, Iran/Sweden
70. Lino Veljak, Professor of Philosophy, Zagreb University, Croatia
71. Fauzia Viqar, Director Advocacy and Communications, Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan
72. Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All, UK
73. Vivienne Wee, anthropologist, feminist and human rights activist, Singapore and Hong Kong, China
74. Women In Black, Belgrade, Serbia
75. Sara Zaker, Theatre Director, Bangladesh
76. Stasa Zajovic, spokesperson Women in Black, Belgrade, Serbia

FRENCH

Manifeste pour la laicité au Moyen Orient et en Afrique du Nord

Les protestations de 2009 en Iran et le Printemps Arabe qui a suivi pourrait faire se lever une nouvelle aurore pour le peuple de la région et du monde. Les manifestations ont clairement montré que le peuple dans la région, comme partout, veut vivre au XXI° siècle.

Nous sous signés, soulignons leur dimension moderne et humaine et soutenons de tout coeur cet immense tournant historique. Nous nous opposons avec véhemence à ce qu’il soit détourné par l’islamisme ou par la militarisation sous l’égide des Etats Unis et reitérons l’appel pour un Moyen Orient et une Afrique du Nord libres et laiques, lancé par les citoyens et particulièrelent les femmes de la région.

La laicité est le pré-requis minimum pour assurer la liberté et l’égalité de tous les citoyens, et cela inclue:
1. la totale separation de la religion et de l’état.
2. l’abolition des lois religieuses en matière familiale et dans le code penal.
3. la séparation de la religion et du système d’éducation.
4. la liberté de religion et d’athéisme, définis comme croyances personnelles.
5. l’interdiction de l’apartheid sexuel et du voile obligatoire.

ARABIC
بيان من أجل شرق اوسط وشمال افريقيا علمانية
إن احتجاجات إيران عام 2009 والربيع العربي الذي أعقبها تحمل أملاً بفجر جديد لشعوب المنطقة وللعالم. لقد أظهرت الاحتجاجات بشكل واضح أن شعوب المنطقة، كغيرها من شعوب العالم، تسعي لحياه تواكب متطلبات القرن الحادي والعشرين.
نحن، الموقعون أدناه، نؤكد على البعد الحديث والإنساني لهذه الثورات ونرحب ترحيبا حارا بهذا التطور التاريخي الكبير. ونحن نعارض بشدّة سلب مكتسبات هذه الثورات سواء كان ذلك على يد الحركات الإسلامية أو السياسات العسكريتارية بقيادة امريكا، ونؤيد الدعوة لقيام شرق أوسط وشمال إفريقيا علمانية بارادة المواطنين في المنطقة وخاصة النساء.
إن العلمانية تمثّل الحد الأدنى من أجل تحقيق حرية ومساواة كل المواطنين، ويشمل ذلك:
1. فصل الدين عن الدولة فصلاً تاما.
2. إلغاء التشريعات الدينية الخاصة بالأسرة والتشريعات المدنية والجنائية.
3. فصل الدين عن النظام التعليمي.
4. حرية الدين والإلحاد كمعتقدات شخصية.
5. منع سياسة التمييز الجنسي والحجاب الإجباري.

PERSIAN
مانیفست برای خاورمیانه- شمال آفریفای سکولار

مبارزات سال 88 (2009 میلادی) در ایران و در پی آن “بهار عربی” این ظرفیت را دارد که طلوعی تازه را به مردم منطقه و جهان نوید دهد. اعتراضات به روشنی میدهد که مردم این منطقه، نظیر مردم هر جای دیگر، خواهان یک زندگی قرن بیست و یکمی هستند.

ما امضاء کنندگان زیر بر ابعاد انسانی و مدرن این مبارزات تاکید میگذاریم و با تمام وجود از این تحول عظیم تاریخی استقبال میکنیم. ما قاطعانه مخالفت خود را با مصادره این انقلابات و مبارزات توسط اسلام گرایی و یا میلیتاریسم (دولتی) تحت رهبری آمریکا اعلام میداریم و از فراخوان “یک خاورمیانه و شمال آفریقای آزاد و سکولار” حمایت میکنیم که توسط شهروندان این منطقه بویژه زنان مطرح شده است.

سکولاریسم پیش شرط حداقل برای آزادی و برابری همه شهروندان و دربرگیرنده این مفاد است:
١- جدائی کامل مذهب از دولت.
٢- الغای قوانین مذهبی در قوانین خانواده، مدنی و جنایی.
٣- جدائی مذهب از سیستم آموزش و پرورش.
٤- آزادی مذهب و بی مذهبی بعنوان اعتقادات شخصی.
٥- ممنوعیت آپارتاید جنسی و حجاب اجباری.

For more information, contact:
Marieme Helie Lucas
Maryam Namazie
Telephone: +44 (0) 7719166731
For a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa
Email: secularMENA@gmail.com
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK

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