Waleed Al-Husseini of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain just informed me that a young Egyptian atheist who posted on his Facebook page has been arrested for his atheism yesterday after his university informed on him to the police.
This is what Sherif published:
Hi, my name is sherif gaber (Yamirasu) from Egypt. I was taught to be a Muslim; for that my dad sent me to some Sheiks, so I memorised the Quran and more than 1000 (Hadith) until I became very religious but then I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth. Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment .. My family hasn’t talked to me for more than 4 months and I lost the majority of the people I thought were my friends and for about a year now half the people on my street don’t talk to me .. I’ve got threats every single day on my phone and my Facebook account… Here in Egypt, a lot of young atheists were sent to jail for 10 sometimes 20 years and if they have evidence that you insulted Islam you will be executed! That’s if the Islamic organisations don’t murder you & your family before that! .. Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!
Finally I would say to every atheist .. Be brave, stay strong .. U r holding the truth .. And of course .. Proud to be an atheist .. Proud to be rationalist.
Clearly Sherif has done nothing wrong and must be released immediately. The right to religion, belief and atheism are absolute rights, which cannot be denied.
Also, Egypt better get used to it. Atheists in Egypt as in the rest of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa are on the rise.
Free him now.
Here is a news report which is apparently about him without mentioning his name.
To support Sherif:
Tweet Free Sherif Gaber. #Atheist #Egypt.
Send appeals to:
Adly Mahmoud Mansour
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 391 1441
Minister of Defence
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Ministry of Defense
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 290 6004
Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Supreme Court House, 1 “26 July” Road
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2 577 4716
Also send copies to Egyptian embassies in your country of residence.
Here is more information on Egypt’s atheists.
Earlier this year, Maryam Namazie was approached by the production company making the BBC documentary ‘When Tommy met Mo’, about the interaction between Tommy Robinson and Mo Ansar. They asked if we could put them in touch with any women who had been discriminated against in British sharia courts. We declined to help because framing the issue in this way was severely detrimental to the women in question, who could potentially be portrayed as siding with the leader of the EDL, an organisation responsible for intimidating Muslims and pushing forth a racist agenda of collective guilt.
We discussed this in a letter from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. (Whilst circumstances changed during the filming leading to a different narrative direction, our warning remains relevant to any and all discussions surrounding Islam and Islamism in modern Britain.)
Sharia courts and the issue of Islam and Islamism are important issues of universal rights, secularism and one law for all and of combating misogyny and religious obscurantism – issues that should not be framed within the context of two far-Right extremes of Tommy Robinson on the one hand and the faux-progressive, reactionary apologia of Mo Ansar on the other.
As you well know, Tommy Robinson leads a racist movement that engages in collective guilt against all Muslims… Not only does providing him with publicity by making him engage in a high profile programme like this confer a legitimacy on him, it also allows those who wish to stifle all critical scrutiny of certain precepts of Islam to stigmatise them as being in the realm of a far-Right response. This allows reactionaries to effectively usher in a narrative that conflates a secular rational critique of Islam with the bigoted agenda of the likes of Tommy Robinson. It is just one way of asserting a kind of proxy blasphemy code into the debate around religion in modern Britain, and it is something that ex-Muslims have to deal with already. This is deeply disheartening to us.
Moreover, whilst giving publicity to Tommy Robinson, this documentary will also give publicity to the reactionary Mo Ansar who will use the platform provided by you to position himself as a moderate and progressive when he is actually far from that. Mo Ansar has cultivated a media image of being benign, tolerant and “progressive” in his views, and has used the profile of an opponent of the far-Right EDL to project this image. But many secularists, liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims have been concerned at how easy it is for a social reactionary like him to gain this perception amongst parts of the Left and the media… Moreover, Mo Ansar engages with Islamist organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir and Cordoba Foundation. He also supports the Islamist coalition, Hefazat, that amongst other things seeks to execute vocal atheists in Bangladesh. The many reactionary positions of Mo Ansar has been catalogued here. A man with ties to Islamism who advises a domestic abuse victim to remain with her abuser is in no way merely a “Muslim commentator and interfaith advisor” as you call him.
Relegating important issues such as Islam, Islamism and Sharia courts to two polarising and far-Right figures ignores the complexities and does a disservice to the issues and the many dissenters who oppose both.
Clearly, your “documentary” will empower reactionaries, stifle progressive dissent, and marginalise truly progressive voices at a time when these are the voices that should be heard.
Tommy Robinson has now left the EDL and is working with the group Quilliam. We sincerely hope that he is a changed man and that in the future he will not engage in his former rhetoric or actions, nor will he apologise for or give succour to the kind of marches that were the hallmark of the EDL. We are cautious about his re-invention and must wait for proof of actions and not just words in order to ascertain whether he is indeed a changed man.
A word to the BBC: How much longer will the BBC be fixated with the apologists for Islamism and the far-Right? When will the media subject reactionaries like Ansar to as much critical scrutiny as nationalist reactionaries, and allow the voices of Muslim dissenters, secularists and ex-Muslims to be heard?
Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) Press Release
October 22, 2013
Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) exists to build a community and provide a sense of solidarity for Ex-Muslims: people who used to identify as Muslim, and who no longer do so. We cater exclusively to the needs of Ex-Muslim atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists, and freethinkers.
At present, several communities of Ex-Muslims are being organized in cities across North America and all over the world. EXMNA’s goal is to expand and connect people with each other, so that Ex-Muslims have a place to call their own in every major North American city, and a community they can turn to for networking, support, and solidarity. Many people who leave Islam face the apostasy stigma, and are forced to hide. As Ex-Muslims, we are acutely aware of the need for safety for apostates from Islam. We foster alliances and affiliations with other atheist, skeptic, and humanist groups within and outside North America to fulfill our common goals. We hope to galvanize support from secular and progressive groups, as well as those Muslims who believe in freedom of, and from, religion.
In today’s political climate, Ex-Muslims stand between polarizing discourses of Islam and Muslims, and are often marginalized, dismissed, and silenced by both sides. As people who were raised Muslim or converted to Islam, and then left Islam because we could no longer believe in it, we cater to neither bigots who treat Muslims as a monolith, nor apologists who try to shield Islam from scrutiny. We do not wish to promote hatred of Muslims. We ourselves were Muslim once. Many of our families and friends are Muslim. We understand that Muslims come in all varieties, and we do not partake in erasing diversity among the world’s Muslims.
While we denounce the bigotry of those who promote their racist and xenophobic ideas under the guise of criticizing Muslims, we also denounce the cultural and moral relativism of those who propagate the idea that all criticism of Islam is inherently racist. We work closely with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), a UK-based, internationally recognized organization, founded in 2007, that has been instrumental in starting the movement to create a space for apostates. Ex-Muslims often have first-hand and well-researched knowledge about Islam’s various facets. We are uniquely positioned to use our voices and experiences to help bridge the polarized discussion of Islam. In order to further that goal, we have just launched the Ex-Muslim Blogs Project which broadcasts the voices of a diverse array of Ex-Muslim writers.
EXMNA is largely composed of local groups with a great degree of autonomy, united organizationally under the umbrella of the Ex-Muslims of North America. EXMNA’s humble beginnings were in the Ex-Muslim communities that began in Toronto (2011) and Washington DC (2012). Today, we have member groups operating and growing in regions throughout North America, including Texas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, D.C., Ontario, and Quebec.
Visit our website to learn more about us, to join one of our local groups, or to find out how you can start one in your city.
Website(s): http://www.exmna.org and http://www.exmuslimblogs.com
Phone: 1-855-EXMUSLIM (media department)