Month: April 2019

CROWDFUNDING: Celebrating Sexuality & Apostasy for LGBT Month

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has fought hard to take part in Gay Pride after the East London Mosque and Mend (Islamist bodies) filed official complaints in 2017 with Pride for our ‘Islamophobic’ placards. It took Pride 8 months to finally allow us to march again in 2018 after we stressed the importance of normalising blasphemy when one can be killed for it.

Since our first participation in Pride, we have worked hard to explain the difference between apostasy/blasphemy and bigotry, to show how minorities within minorities have the right to think and live differently, highlight how homophobia is a pillar of the Islamist movement and that LGBT rights are intrinsically linked to the rights of other minorities, like ex-Muslims and women. We have also tried to reach out to Muslim LGBT groups.

We understand very well the similarities between LGBT Muslims and LGBT ex-Muslims. Both face the same backlash from family and community. LGBT Muslims are ostracised due to their sexuality and LGBT ex-Muslims are disowned for both the sexuality and their apostasy.

Also, CEMB works with a large number of refugees and asylum seekers, all of whom are apostates and some of whom are LGBT. Pride is particularly important to our members as one of the few public spaces where ex-Muslim and gay members can openly assert themselves without fear.

Our work is particularly important given the recent religious justification of homophobia at the Parkfield school in Birmingham and the new stoning sentence for homosexual in Brunei. CEMB is the only group that is critical of Islamic homophobia, focuses on the death penalty in Islamic states, and attempts to normalise and celebrate LGBT rights as well as apostasy and blasphemy.

This year, in July 2019, CEMB will hold a panel discussion bringing together both Muslim and Ex-Muslim speakers to talk about LGBT rights, apostasy and blasphemy. It will be an evening of film, poetry and raise important questions that are matters of life and death for many of us.

We will also be marching again in Gay Pride.

Both the evening event and Pride march will help us highlight the existence of both Muslim and apostate LGBT and will assert the human right to live as we choose, without threats, shunning or persecution.

The funds raise via this crowdfunding page will go towards the organising of the evening LGBT event, including a panel discussion, film screening and poetry. Costs include venue costs, travel and accommodation of speakers and security costs. The funds will also help us establish an exhibition of our iconic actions in defence of gay rights and apostasy, which will be shown at the event.

The funds will also enable us to take part in the London Pride parade and funds raised will be put towards the cost of the application to take part in the parade, placards and banners, props and outfits for those taking part and more.

Our work for LGBT month will help to further the rights of ex-Muslims and LGBT, build bridges between Muslims and ex-Muslims and normalising blasphemy and apostasy.

Thank you so much for those of you who are able to donate; without you we will not be able to carry out our important work, which makes such a difference to the lives of those forced to suffer in silence or forced to live in the closet – be that the LGBT closet, or the apostasy closet.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is both a support service and a campaigning group for the right of individuals that have left Islam.  We exist because apostates from Islam, blasphemers and atheists are executed in a large number of Islamic states. Their only crime being to think for themselves. The very same states, and more – 15 to be exact – also punish homosexuality with the death penalty. Brunei’s new law punishes homosexuality with death by stoning. This, along with protests by fundamentalists in the UK to shun and vilify LGBT and ex-Muslims stresses the importance of our continued defence of the rights of LGBT and ex-Muslims whose lives and rights are intrinsically linked.

Our demand is simple. Equality for all. Individuals ahead of ideas.

Supporting The Campaign Against The Death Penalty For Gay Sex In Brunei

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Protested The Death Penalty For Gay Sex In Brunei

Many of the Council of Ex-Muslim’s of Britain’s supporters and volunteers showed their outrage at the introduction of the death penalty for gay sex in Brunei by protesting outside The Dorchester Hotel in London.

On 6th April 2019, many volunteers and supporters of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain joined the Peter Tatchell Foundation and nearly 400 protesters to condemn the brutal introduction of the death penalty by stoning for gay sex and public whipping as a punishment for lesbian sex in the country of Brunei. The law has been introduced by the Sultan of Brunei, the country’s absolute monarch, as part of a new penal code based on Sharia law and the Hudud punishments, which will also punish apostates from Islam, blasphemers and people who have had sexual relations outside of marriage with death by stoning. As a result, sexual minorities, vulnerable women, religious minorities and freethinkers will be persecuted.

The protest took place outside The Dorchester Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan. Speaking on behalf of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell urged the public to boycott the Sultan’s businesses including his collection of luxury hotels and Royal Brunei Airlines. He also urged other businesses such as travel booking sites to cut off ties with these businesses. As well as “hitting him in his pocket” the protest also urged the UK to turn Brunei into a pariah state over its actions, cutting off all ties with the regime and suspending the country from the commonwealth, until this new penal code has been dropped.

As freethinkers and advocates for universal human rights we fully support the protest, which gained national and international media coverage. It is also important to note that 14 states around the world, including Brunei, and all Islamic, have a death penalty for homosexuality, based on Sharia law and the hudud punishments. Most of these countries also have similar penalties for apostasy and blasphemy. Unfortunately, the wider world does little to hold these countries accountable. The UAE is a popular holiday destination, whilst the Conservative Party of Britain has strong ties with regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. What’s more, 35 countries in The Commonwealth have anti LGBT+ laws of one form or another. These laws were mostly introduced during colonial times, but since these countries have gained independence, they have done little to nothing to take any steps forward to repeal these laws. The situation is made worse by Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, as well as other forms of religious fundamentalism. This is of course, unacceptable and we hope the protests like this, draw attention to inhumane laws and practices still happening in our world, which will in turn inspire political action against them.

The protest was organised by Benali Hamdache, who is a Green Party candidate for the London Assembly. Further protests and political action is expected and we hope our supporters will take part to make a stand.

Orange Circle with a white silhouette of a woman holding a scarf above her head

Show of respect or insult? Analysts clash on hijab-wearing Western women in Iran (VIDEO)

Are hijab-wearing Westerners in Iran paying respect to local culture or compounding the suffering of local women who dare to protest against compulsory head covering? The newest controversy is hotly debated on RT.

Iran’s women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad sparked a heated debate when she slammed female visitors from the West who choose to wear a hijab in the Islamic Republic out of respect for the local culture. The founder of the White Wednesdays movement, who leads a campaign against compulsory head-covering, elaborated that such a stance confuses culture with a “discriminative law.” She said it is therefore an “insult” to local women who are left “on their own” in their fight.

The RT debate saw sparks fly as guests discussed the controversial comments.
Images of Western women with their heads covered in Iran could nudge local politicians to suppress local women, Sadia Hameed, a spokesperson of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, believes. “They will start to use it as a stick to beat them,” she told RT, adding that Westerners wearing hijabs “are taking away [local women’s] chances.”

Despite being depicted by Western media as a repressive tool, the hijab is something that most women in Iran choose to wear themselves, Maryam Saleh, a journalist and a university lecturer, argued. Very few of them protest against the law, she added.

Watch the full interview here: https://www.rt.com/news/455545-hijab-westerners-iran-debate/

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