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Month: November 2017

Join us on 10 December for an End-Year celebration

Dear friend

End-Year drinks

We hope you will be able to join Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) for an end-year celebration on Sunday 10 December 2017 from 2-6pm near London Kings Cross.

Speakers will include Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell, CEMB spokespersons Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed, Morrocan Ex-Muslim Council Founder Imad Iddine Habib and Jordanian atheist Mohammed AlKhadra, amongst others. There will be music by DJ Zee Jay, dancing, comedy by Kate Smurthwaite and more. It will be a fun, relaxing afternoon with CEMB friends and activists.

Tickets are £25, including a drink and appetisers. The event is selling out fast so get your ticket today. (Please note: No tickets will be sold at the door. Venue details will be sent to those who have purchased tickets.)

We certainly hope to see you there or if you don’t live in London, at events we will be speaking at, including in Boston, NYC, Stockholm and Melbourne.

Just recently, we returned from the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany in Cologne. A video marking the anniversary can be seen here. See also an interesting interview with ex-Muslim Rana Ahmad about being an atheist in Saudi Arabia filmed at that event.

Also recently, Maryam reviewed a new book by “religious scholar” Reza Aslan in The Freethinker. You can read it here: God: A Human History – a rescue attempt by Reza Aslan.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

To mark 25 November, ex-Muslims from CEMB, Atheist Republic, Ex-Muslims of Jordan, Muslimish and others called for the rejection of verse 4:34 in the Quran which promotes violence against women. Religiously sanctioned violence against women is still violence against women – the Quran is no exception. See video here: Say No to Quran 4:34. #Quran434NoMore.

Support Us

Thank you for your wonderful support over the past year. We hope you will continue to support our work and join us at various actions and events. If you would like to donate to our work, please do so. Any amount helps and no amount is too small. If you would like to volunteer with our organisation, too, please get in touch. We are currently looking for professional graphic designers and also a filmmaker to edit and finalise a short film on ex-Muslim women.

If we don’t see you at our end-year event, have a lovely holiday and New Year and hope to work together in the coming year towards ending blasphemy and apostasy laws and for secularism and free expression.

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

Say No to Quran 4:34 – #Quran434NoMore

To mark 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ex-Muslims from CEMB, Atheist Republic, Ex-Muslims of Jordan, Muslimish and other groups called for the rejection of verse 4:34 in the Quran which promotes violence against women.

There is no place for inciting violence against women even if it is based on religious text. The Quran is no exception.

Religiously sanctioned violence against women is still violence against women.

Say No to Quran 4:34. #Quran434NoMore

Reject this verse.

 

God: A Human History – a rescue attempt by Reza Aslan, The Freethinker, 23 November 2017

God: A Human History – a rescue attempt by Reza Aslan, The Freethinker, 23 November 2017

‘Religion scholar’ Reza Aslan’s new book, God: A Human History, traces the human relationship with gods from the Palaeolithic, Greek, and Egyptian eras to the rise of  Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Aslan’s history highlights the ongoing compulsion to attribute human characteristics to gods over millennia and blames God’s poor image on this “dangerous” humanisation. It’s not God that is jealous or vengeful, he says, but our “nature” and “penchant for violence”.

Luckily for God, Aslan is here to rescue Him.

Gods and religions have caused so much distress that even those who have spent a lifetime apologising for and ignoring the doctrinal foundations of their abuses must make for a rescue attempt.

Historically, as documented by Aslan, gods and religions have been a way of explaining the unexplainable (such as earthquakes or failed hunts). Despite the evidence, however, Aslan says our “brains are hard-wired” for religion and that religion is “inherent” in children. He is a man of faith after all.

But belief in religion or God is not an hard-wired evolutionary trait but more likely a by-product of non-religious functions. Scientist Richard Dawkins uses the example of a moth burning itself on a flame to explain this; the moth does this not because of an evolutionary instinct for suicide but as a by-product of steering via moonlight.

Clearly, God is perceived in the image of man not because of anything inherent in us but because he is man-made.  Children believe in God not because they are born believers but because of indoctrination from the day they are born and ongoing physical and psychological abuse such as faith schools, child veiling and gender segregation deemed acceptable only because of religion’s privileged position in all societies.

That religions and Gods still hold sway in the 21st century despite advances in science is simply because of their continued usefulness in maintaining class, gender and social inequalities and injustices and suppressing our dreams and our hopes for a better life in the here and now.

Religions and Gods persist because they remain the best tools of the powerful to control the uncontrollable, including “disobedient” women and children.  This is the crux of why God still sells books and makes fortunes – even though there is no God (la ilaha …).

Aslan’s book is naturally brief (the footnotes are similar in length to the entire book). It has to be given his inclination to erase the murder and mayhem carried out in God’s name and his sanitisation of religion as mere “language” and a “set of symbols and metaphors”.

And as is always the case with Aslan, Islam gets the easiest of passes. The tiny Islam chapter selectively focuses on Sufi-ism; Mohammed, Islam’s prophet, is unrecognisable as a social justice type rather than a war-mongering misogynist.

Aslan’s book ends with a plea for the “dehumanisation” of God and for Pantheism (meaning All is God and God is All). His plea is labelled “bold” and “provocative” by his publishers though it is just another old and tired way of looking at God that is neither bold nor provocative.

In a world drowning in religions and gods, it is hard-pressed to see how Pantheism will bring “peace amongst religions” and change things for the better as the author promises. Given Aslan’s proclivity for self-promotion, Pantheism will certainly change things for him; he can keep repeating the last lines of his book in a mirror: “You need not fear God. You are God”.

Meanwhile, whilst Aslan re-packages the same old God in order to rescue him, what will rescue us? Well, certainly not more religion or gods but rather laïcité(the separation of religion and the state) and an end to religious indoctrination and abuse of children.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany’s 10th anniversary celebration

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany held a successful 10th anniversary celebration in collaboration with and Giordano Bruno Society on 17 November 2017 in Cologne, Germany. A video commemorating ten years can be seen below as can photos of the event. Speakers included German Council founders Mina Ahadi and Arzu Toker, Michael Schmidt-Salomon of Giordano Bruno Stiftung, CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie, Saudi ex-Muslim Rana Ahmed, contemporary dancer Atoosa Farahmand and Iranian musician Shahin Najafi.

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