Category: Featured

Outrage at #ChristchurchMosqueAttack

We are outraged at the far-Right terrorist attacks on mosques in New Zealand. Those killed could have been our beloved; our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of these heinous attacks.

We recognise the xenophobic, anti-migrant and anti-Muslim, white nationalists in the Islamists. Both are far-Right movements that rely on religion, violence, hate, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism… and both use terrorism to sow fear and division. We will continue to fight both and defend universal values, the right to live and think as one chooses, and our common humanity.

Whatever our differences, we are one race: Human.

We stand with Muslims everywhere who face discrimination, violence and terror.

#OneRace_HumanRace

#ChristchurchMosqueAttack

SIGNATORIES

SIGNATORIES
Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan
Atheist Refugee Relief
Atheist Republic
Black Ducks Channel
Bread and Roses TV
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)
Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka
Dutch Freethinkers Association De Vrije Gedachte
Ex-Muslims of Jordan
Ex-Muslims of North America
Ex-Muslims of Norway
Ex Muslims Of Scandinavia
Faithless Hijabi
One Law for All
Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles – Maroc
Tunisian Freethinkers

Solidarity with Parkfield School Birmingham – No to Religious Homophobia

In 2016 Parkfield community school in Saltley, Birmingham was awarded Outstanding by Ofsted in every single area of inspection, Effectiveness of leadership and management, Quality of teaching, learning and assessment, Personal development, behaviour and welfare, Outcomes for pupils and Early years provision. Furthermore, the Ofsted report stated that the school fully delivers on its aim that ‘Together we can make a huge difference’.

Many parents would be grateful for their children to be sent to a high performing school, that ensures, as the report states, their students and staff, “are made to feel valued”.

Parkfield delivers a program called no the No Outsiders program, which teaches some of the basic characteristic of the Equalities Act 2010:
• age
• disability
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy or maternity
• race
• religion or belief
• sex
• sexual orientation.
The program is intended to explain to children that diversity exists and that regardless of such diversity, everyone has the right to be treated and respected equally. That regardless of differences, you have the capacity to be friends.

Recently the school became the target of the religious fundamentalist parents. Muslim Parents of some of the pupils protested outside the school with signs reading, “say no to promoting of homosexuality and LGBT ways of life to our children”, “stop exploiting children’s innocence”, and “education not indoctrination”. One could argue that they were making the case against themselves, that they should not be indoctrinating their own children.

The parents are right in one sense alone, education is not about indoctrination, it is about preparing children for their futures, and opening their minds to the diversity within society.

Let’s call this what it is, it is religiously charged, homophobia. When the issue of religious homophobia cropped up, some of the mothers leading the charge, stated that it was nothing to do with their homophobia or religion, that they simply feel that their children are too young and that the contents of the lessons are inappropriate and leading their children to feeling confused.
This is a convenient excuse for parents to cover up their religiously charged homophobia. Unfortunately, due to the space allowed to these Muslim fundamentalist parents, Christian and far right homophobic fundamentalists have also crawled out of the woodworks to join in solidarity with these bigoted parents.

Regrettably, the actions of these parents worst effect those young Muslims that are LGBT in the community, instilling within them self-loathing, shame and embarrassment, which is further encouraged by the likes of Labour MP, Shabana Mahmood, who fully supports and condones the homophobia of their parents.

If the No Outsiders program is scrapped and parents are permitted to have their way, how long before other elements of the Equalities Act are attacked and undermined? Tomorrow, far right groups might start campaigning outside schools, shouting that they don’t want their children being exposed to Islamic or Jewish ideas, as it “confuses their children”. This is a very slippery road that we are on, if we bend the law for one group, others will demand the same. That was exactly what the Equalities Act was created to prevent.

Sadia Hameed

Ex-Muslim Women Speak Out on 1st International Atheist Day

23 March 2019, 18:00 for 18:30 start until 21:30 to celebrate the first ever International Atheist Day
Holborn, Central London

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain will celebrate the first ever International Atheist Day with a panel discussion of ex-Muslim women speaking out, namely Poet Halima Salat, Activist Ibtissame Betty Lachgar, CEMB Spokespersons Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed, Ex-Muslim YouTuber Mimzy Vidz and Faithless Hijabi Founder Zara Kay. Singer/Songwriter Shelley Segal will perform her new songs and there will be an art exhibition by Samint and CEMB’s 2019 Awards as well Coming Out Ceremonies. Nahla Mahmoud will MC the event.

Tickets for the event at a spectacular venue in central London are only £10 waged and £5 unwaged and includes access to the full event with drinks and appetisers.

SPEAKER BIOS

Halima Salat is an ex-Muslim Kenyan Somali. She defines herself as a free thinker, a rebel and an atheist. She was born Muslim but no longer believes in Islam. She was a closet non-believer for a while until when she came to live in the Netherlands 3 years ago. Halima just recently had her “coming out” declaration in Amsterdam. She has many problems with Islam but the core problem is that she truly believes Islam is against a woman’s individual right to steer her own path. Halima is also a spoken word artist and reads her poetry in the few English spoken word scenes in Amsterdam.

Ibtissame Betty Lachgar is a clinical psychologist specialised in criminology and victimology, particularly violence against women and sexual violence. She is co-founder and Leader of MALI (Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties), which is universalist, feminist and secularist. The civil disobedience movement fights for individual liberties, against discrimination and breaks taboos. Their first action in 2009 was a picnic during the day in Ramadan to protest against the law which condemns those “known as Muslim” who do not fast to 6 months in prison. In 2012, she invited the NGO Women on Waves from the Netherlands (Abortion Boat) to fight for the right to abortion and for the decriminalisation of abortion. She also organised a Kiss-in in 2013 and coloured Rabat’s fountains in red in 2017 in the fight against violence against women. She initiated the first LGBT movement in Morocco in 2012, the IDAHOT. Her work is censored by the majority of organisations in Morocco, even progressive and feminist ones. Ibtissame has been the victim of sexual assault by the police whilst in custody for her protests in Sept 2016. There is a trial in progress against her and she has faced numerous threats as a result of her work.

Maryam Namazie is Co-Spokesperson for One Law for All, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah. She hosts a weekly television programme called Bread and Roses. She is on the International Advisory Board of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom; National Secular Society Honorary Associate; a Patron of London Black Atheists and Pink Triangle Trust; International Advisory Board Member of Feminist Dissent and a columnist for The Freethinker. The Islamic regime of Iran’s media outlets has called Namazie immoral and corrupt and did an ‘exposé’ on her entitled “Meet this anti-religion woman.” Maryam was a character in DV8 Physical Theatre’s Can We Talk About This?, which deals with freedom of speech, censorship and Islam. She was awarded the 2017 Henry H. Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism award; 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize from the Comité Laïcité République and was honoured by the National Secular Society for her campaigning work defending free speech at universities (2016) despite attempts at barring her by Student Unions or Islamic Society efforts to intimidate her and cancel her talks. She was also awarded Atheist of the Year by Kazimierz Lyszczynski (2014); Journalist of the Year at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards (2013); selected one of the top 45 women of the year by Elle magazine Quebec (2007); one of 2006′s most intriguing people by DNA, awarded the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award (2005), amongst others.

Mimzy Vidz (Marwa) is an ex-Muslim Youtuber who discusses issues that Muslims and non Muslims face. She is part of the movement to normalise ex Muslims and put an end to blamsphemy and apostate scrutiny in Muslim communities and raise awareness of these problems. Marwa went to a Muslim school most of her life in London. She was a very religious Muslim and involved in various Muslim organisations and communities before becoming an Atheist 2 years ago.

Nahla Mahmoud is an environment and human rights activist originally from Sudan. She works with a number of campaigns in the UK, including One Law for All and Secular Middle East and North Africa. She leads the Sudanese Humanists Group and is former Spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

Sadia Hameed is a Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and has been featured in a 2016 film, “Islam’s Non Believers”, by award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan. She is also a human rights activist and Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and FGM Consultant, based in Gloucestershire, working in the sexual violence field, with a focus on Black Minority Ethnic women. Sadia organised a hugely successful event titled ‘Let’s Talk Honour’ in October 2016, which was held at Gloucester University. She also launched Critical Sisters. She is Winner of IKWRO Special Recognition: Activist of the Year 2017.

Samint is a painter and a universalist secularist feminist who uses her art as a weapon against patriarchy. Her goal is to highlight and expose the violence due to male domination, and to condemn the numerous religious precepts imposed on girls and women. Her recent collection, entitled ‘the basics of patriarchy’, denounces the oppression of the islamic veil through works entitled “my hair is mine” and “modest men,” the extremism of islamist group Boko Haram through hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, and against female circumcision and the commodification of women’s bodies.

Shelley Segal is a singer-songwriter involved in secular activism. Her first record, “An Atheist Album” is a passionate response to dogmatic belief, inequality, religious oppression and the idea that only the devout can be grateful and good. The record gives a voice to the often underrepresented views of non-religious people, the fastest growing minority in many countries. It also creates opportunities to discuss issues of secularism with the mainstream media. Her voice has taken her around the world including England, Australia and ten tours of the United States. She has released seven recording projects of her own and runs independent record label True Music where she works with other artists. An award winning songwriter, powerful performer and explicit story-teller, Shelley uses her music not only to express the way she sees the world but to create the world she wants to see.

Zara Kay is a Tanzanian ex-Muslim Atheist Activist, based in Australia. Zara spent most of her childhood in Tanzania and was brought up as a Shia Muslim in the Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Jamaat society. Zara is the founder of Faithless Hijabi, a platform to enable ExMuslim women to share their stories, about their journey from religion to reason. Over time FH expanded to being an advocate for women’s rights, from organising funding to collaborating with teams internationally to ensure women who had left Islam are getting the support they need.

For more information, email m.namazie@ex-muslim.org.uk or visit www.ex-muslim.org.uk.

Women Against Allah: 8 March International Women’s Day Protest

On 8 March International Women’s Day Protest, join

#WomenAgainstAllah
#WomenAgainstGod
#WomenAgainstReligions
#WomenAgainstQuran
#WomenAgainstSharia
#NotHalfAMan
#NoShame

FARSI

زنان_علیه_الله#
زنان_علیه_خدا#
زنان_علیه_مذاهب#
زنان_علیه_قرآن#
زنان_علیه_شریعت#
نیمی_از_مرد_نیستم#
بدون_شرم#

TURKISH

#AllahaKarşıKadınlar
#TanrıyaKarşıKadınlar
#DinlereKarşıKadınlar
#KuranaKarşıKadınlar
#ŞeriataKarşıKadınlar
#ErkeğinYarısıDeğil
#AyıpDeğil

ARABIC

نساء_ضد_الله#
نساء_ضد_الإله#
نساء_ضد_الأديان#
نساء_ضد_القرآن#
نساء_ضد_الشريعة#
لست_نصف_رجل#
لا_عار#

URDU

عورت_اللہ_کے_خلاف#
عورت_خدا_کے_خلاف#
عورت_مذہب_کے_خلاف#
عورت_قرآن_کے_خلاف #
عورت_شر یعت_کے_خلاف#
عورت_آدھی_گوا ہی#
عورت_ہونا_کوئی_شرمندگی_نہیں#

BENGALI

#আল্লাহর_বিপক্ষে_নারী
#ঈশ্বরের_বিপক্ষে_নারী
#ধর্মের_বিপক্ষে_নারী
#কুরআনের_বিপক্ষে_নারী
#শরিয়ার_বিপক্ষে_নারী
#পুরুষের_অর্ধেক_নয়
#কোন_লজ্জা_নয়

FRENCH

#FemmesContreAllah
#FemmesContreDieu
#FemmesContreLesReligions
#FemmesContreLeCoran
#FemmesContreSharia
#PasunDemiHomme
#PasdeHonte

GERMAN

#FrauenGegenAllah
#FrauenGegenGott
#FrauenGegenReligionen
#FrauenGegenQuran
#FrauenGegenSharia
#NichtHalberMann
#KeineSchande

TAMIL

#அல்லாஹ்வைஎதிர்க்கும்பெண்கள்
#கடவுளைஎதிர்க்கும்பெண்கள்
#மதங்களைஎதிர்க்கும்பெண்கள்
#குர்ஆனைஎதிர்க்கும்பெண்கள்
#ஷரியாவைஎதிர்க்கும்பெண்கள்
#நாம்ஆணில்பாதிஅல்ல
#வெட்கம்தேவையற்றது

Amnesty International and All-Out: Be honest about Sharia

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is horrified to learn that Chechnyan authorities have begun a new wave of attacks on LGBT. At least two people have been tortured to death since December 2018; another 40 are being detained and tortured as we speak.

CEMB marched in Pride 2017 for the first time to highlight the plight of LGBT in countries and territories under Islamist control and in particular the harrowing roundup, detention and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya. At the time, its president Ramzan Kadyrov had expressed the desire to “eliminate” gay people “before the start of Ramadan.” The purge resulted in dozens of gay men being abducted and tortured and others being killed. Like now, much of the persecution is taking place in a camp near Argun, a town about 10 miles east of Grozny, the Chechen capital.

Whilst various LGBT and human rights organisations are rightly calling for urgent action in defence of LGBT in Chechnya, and calling on the Russian government to take action since Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation, they are nonetheless failing to highlight the role of the Islamist state and Sharia in the persecution of LGBT in Chechnya.

When asked by a supporter why Amnesty International wasn’t mentioning Sharia, for example, the AI Supporter Communication Team (see full correspondence below) said:

“To blame Shari’a law is a gross misunderstanding of the complexities and interpretations of Shari’a, Fiqh and Islam. Nowhere in the Quran is it mandated that gay men can be rounded up, put in concentration camps and executed. Blaming Shari’a law also provides an excuse for those perpetrating such gross violations. No religion is to blame for the actions of the Chechen authorities. Their total disregard for life and liberty is to blame instead. We are going to have to agree to disagree on the importance of Shari’a law on this issue.”

All-Out responded similarly:

“Chechnya is a region within the Russian Federation; as far as we know, they do not have a code based on Sharia Law.”

Whilst Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation – Russia also, by the way, discriminates and persecutes LGBT – Putin has empowered local leaders to enforce their interpretation of Sharia. In an interview, Kadyrov himself said there were no homosexuals in Chechnya but added: “And if there is, take them to Canada, praise be to Allah, away from us … to purify the blood.” He called homosexuals shaytan (devils) and said: “They are not people. And damn them for slandering us.”

In fighting for LGBT rights, particularly in countries under Islamist control, it is crucial to note the role that religious law plays in persecution. Last year, the Global Summit on human rights defenders warned “religious fundamentalism and extremist policies are all on the rise.”

Coalitions in which Amnesty International participates have warned that “In its extreme form, fundamentalism sanctions the destruction of the members of the excluded group” and that “Fundamentalist actors attack sexual rights advocates by labeling them as blasphemous or as ‘atheists’; as ‘bad’ Christians/Hindus/Muslims, or refer to their work as ‘Western imports’ or ‘anti-national’ in order to discredit them and undermine the effectiveness of their work.”

Attitudinal change has long been recognised as crucial to human rights work and human rights activists across the world need international organisations to be able to name and investigate the full range of threats against them.   All 14 countries and territories that punish homosexuality with the death penalty, for example, implement Sharia in one form or another: Afghanistan, Brunei, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE and Yemen. Similarly, all the countries that punish apostates and blasphemers with the death penalty likewise implement Sharia. Whist LGBT are discriminated against, face persecution in many other countries too, there is a clearly link between Islamism’s use of Sharia and massive human rights violations that cannot be negated, ignored or explained away.

CEMB calls on human rights groups to honestly address human rights violations where religious rules and laws are applicable and put human rights above the protection of cultures and religions.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AND ALL OUT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

From: padraig

Subject: Re: Chechnya

Date: 16 January 2019 at 12:22:47 GMT

To: Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk>

Dear friend

Thank you for your reply. As a gay man and recovering catholic I know the crucial part religious ideology plays in the denial of human rights. To deny that Islam is not a crucial part of the problem in the countries that have the death penalty for gays, when all ten of those countries are Islamic, is called a state of denial.  I’m afraid I can’t help you with that. I will continue to support Amnesty International, having first joined at university in Ireland in 1979 and because you are engaged in vital struggles for the rights and dignity of oppressed people, including my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Thank you sincerely for your efforts and especially for those who operate in dangerous countries and risk their lives and freedom to do so.

Padraig

On 16 Jan 2019, at 11:48, Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk> wrote:

Dear Padraig,

Thank you for your phone call yesterday, and your subsequent emails. We understand and share your concern and distress with regards to the situation in Chechnya.

We are not skirting crucial facts. The crucial facts are that LGBT people, specifically gay men, are being subjected to horrendous abuses of their human rights in Chechnya.

To blame Shari’a law is a gross misunderstanding of the complexities and interpretations of Shari’a, Fiqh and Islam. Nowhere in the Quran is it mandated that gay men can be rounded up, put in concentration camps and executed. Blaming Shari’a law also provides an excuse for those perpetrating such gross violations. No religion is to blame for the actions of the Chechen authorities. Their total disregard for life and liberty is to blame instead. We are going to have to agree to disagree on the importance of Shari’a law on this issue.

Rest assured that we will continue to work on the horrendous violations occurring in Chechnya and in other countries around the world. We will also continue our work against the death penalty, and other forms of capital punishment.

I am sorry that I cannot be of more help on this one.

Kind regards,

Supporter Communications Team

Amnesty International UK Section

The Human Rights Action Centre, 17 – 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

Email: sct@amnesty.org.uk

www.amnesty.org.uk

—–Original Message—–

From: padraig

Sent: 15 January 2019 10:13

To: Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk>

Subject: Chechnya

Dear friend, I am sick to the pit of my stomach about the news out of Chechnya. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to raise awareness and pressurise the authorities. I am however disturbed by the skirting of what I believe to be crucial facts, namely that Chechnya is an Islamic Republic that has a legal system independent of Russia of which it is a nominal part and that their legal system is based on Sharia law. Surely this is not a peripheral fact when we consider that of the ten countries in the world where the death penalty exists for gays, all are Islamic. As a gay man and a recovering catholic I have no love for Christianity or any homophobic religion but the plight of LGBTQ+ in Islam is terrifying as I know from ex-Muslim gay people in the UK and from those on social media.

Why do we not at least acknowledge the truth?

Am I judged harshly for even raising the issue.

Thank you

ALL OUT

Date: 16 January 2019 at 16:38:47 GMT

To: All Out Contact <contact@allout.org>

Subject: Re: [Message from Contact us] Torture and murder of LGBTQ in Chechnya

What makes this ‘region’ of Russia different from other regions of Russia? Why are gay people in St Petersburg, where LGBT rights are under constant threat, thankfully not being imprisoned and tortured to death? On the contrary, gay organisations in western Russia are trying to get gays out of Chechnya and to places like St Petersburg ad you of course know very well. It doesn’t take much research to find the big difference, the same reason why ten countries in the world have the death penalty for being gay. There’s no point in ignoring this truth is there?

On 16 Jan 2019, at 15:25, All Out Contact <contact@allout.org> wrote:

Hi Padraig,

Thanks for your message. In our research, this is not true. Chechnya is a region within the Russian Federation; as far as we know, they do not have a code based on Sharia Law.

Best,

All Out team

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