Apostasy Day is on Aug 22nd and this year we celebrated it with #ApostasyDayDoodles. You can find the video and pictures for Apostasy Day 2023 by searching the #ApostasyDayDoodle.
Apostasy is the abandonment or renunciation of religion. It is punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen and is a criminal offence in many more Muslim-majority countries. In Pakistan, disbelief in God is punishable with the death penalty under a blasphemy law. In Saudi Arabia, atheism is equated with terrorism. In some countries without the death penalty, Islamists kill those deemed apostates, including in Bangladesh and Muslim-minority India. In many countries, such as in Europe and North America, apostates can face threats, shunning, and honour-based violence, including from their families. Individuals from Orthodox Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and other backgrounds can also face shunning and violence for apostasy.
22 August was chosen as Apostasy Day because it was the UN Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. Moreover, late August marks the start of a second wave of mass executions of apostates in Iran in 1988 after brief “trials”.
After 2022’s successful social media campaign “Raise your hands for Apostasy”, this year we decided on “Doodle on Quran” in effort to link apostasy with Blasphemy. As explained above even the countries that do not directly punish apostasy or even recognise it use their draconian blasphemy laws to prosecute and persecute apostates. The idea for this Campaign was conceived by our spoke-person Maryam Namazie, who explains it as follows
“The Quran doodling action was an important way for us to defend the right to criticise and mock the sacred and uphold the right to free conscience and expression. We felt it particularly important given the fact that people are being killed, often legally in Islamic states, for apostasy and blasphemy. As we have said many times before, rights are for people, not ideas. Bad ideas, like religions and Islam, must be open to criticism.”
Multiple short videos were posted on social media by people doodling on the Quran. Our co-spokesperson Ali Malik (@apostateali) doodled on verses of the Quran where Allah calls for Strick measures to be taken against apostates by calling apostates “The enemies of All” while wishing people “Happy Apostasy Day”. That in essence explains what Apostasy Day is all about.
Apostasy day is a day for Apostates to celebrate their ability and strength to have rejected a religion they were born and indoctrinated into at the same time highlighting the oppression people just like them face throughout the Islamic world and pushing back against the calls to protect Islam from Blasphemy even in the West. Blaspheming though “Doodle on Quran” for Apostasy Day had served many purposes effectively.
Other videos for Apostasy Day included, Maryam Namazie highlighting the “inhumanity and misogyny in Quran” while she doodled on it. You can also see an ex-Muslim woman doodling on Quran 4:34 to highlight the fact that that book allows men to hit their wives by a sacred decree. In another video, you’ll find a gay ex-Muslim Zevan highlighting Islam’s homophobia. There are videos by Pakistani and Saudi Arabian ex-Muslims doodling on the Quran while condemning the power of indoctrination it holds.
All in All, the 22nd of August 2023 served an extremely important purpose. It showed that Islam’s apostates cannot be silenced by threats of violence and will highlight the prosecution our kin face every day in the Islamic world.
We, at CEMB, will continue to create more boundary-pushing and inventive campaigns to preserve our right to blaspheme, free speech, and freedom of thought. It is a matter of survival for many of
our friends stuck in Muslim countries.