Category: Press Releases

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is organising a screening of the film, Islam’s Non-Believers, by award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan on 14th June, from 6:00-9:00pm, as part of London Pride Festival to raise awareness amongst those who are unfamiliar with CEMB & the ex-Muslim movement.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A on LGBT Rights, Apostasy and Blasphemy. Imaan, Mend, East London Mosque, Pride and Pink News have been invited to join the discussion.

Confirmed Speakers:

Jimmy Bangash, LGBT Activist

Matthew Mahmood-Ogston, Founder & Trustee of Naz and Matt Foundation

Sadia Hameed, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Syed Haider, Chair of Hidayah, an LGBTQI+ organisation looking to support LGBT+ Muslims

Syed Isteak Hossain Shawon, LGBT activist from Bangladesh and Editor of Boys Love World

The panel discussion will be chaired by Gita Sahgal, Chair of Centre for Secular Space.

The format of the evening is as follows:

6:00pm – Welcoming guests

6:30pm – Screening of Islam’s Non-belivers

7:15pm – Break for drinks

7:30pm – Panel Discussion

9:00pm – Finish

The venue location will be given to ticket holders closer to the date of the event. Please note that tickets cannot be bought at the door and must be purchased prior to the event.

For more information, please contact Daniel Fitzgerald and Sadia Hameed,


Deeyah Khan is a critically acclaimed music producer and Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director. She was born in Norway to immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi ancestry. Her 2012 multi-award winning documentary “Banaz: A Love Story” chronicles the “honour killing” of a young British Kurdish woman killed in 2006 in London. Deeyah’s second film the Bafta-nominated “Jihad” involved two years of interviews and filming with Islamic extremists, convicted terrorists and former jihadis. Her third film is on ex-Muslims, called “Islam’s Non Believers”. She has also received several awards for her work supporting freedom of expression, human rights and peace, including the Ossietzky prize by Norwegian PEN and the University of Oslo’s Human Rights Award. She received the 2016 Peer Gynt Prize from the Parliament of Norway. Deeyah is also the CEO of Fuuse. One of the most recent Fuuse initiatives is “sister-hood”, a digital magazine and a series of live events spotlighting the voices of women of Muslim heritage.

Gita Sahgal is a writer, journalist, film-maker and rights activist. She is currently Founder and Director of Centre for Secular Space. She was formerly Head of the Gender Unit at Amnesty International; she was suspended in 2010 after she was quoted criticising Amnesty for its high-profile associations with the Islamist Moazzam Begg, the director of a group called Cageprisoners. For many years she served on the board of Southall Black Sisters and was a founder of Women Against Fundamentalism and Awaaz: South Asia Watch. With Nira Yival Davis, she edited “Refusing Holy Orders: Women and Fundamentalism in Britain” ( London, 1992). Among her articles are “Legislating Utopia? Violence Against Women, Identities and Interventions” in “The Situated Politics of Belonging”. During the 1980s, she worked for a Black current affairs programme called “Bandung File” on Channel 4 TV. She made two films about the Rushdie affair, “Hullaballoo Over Satanic Verses” and “Struggle or Submission”. She has also made two programmes for Dispatches Channel 4, “The Provoked Wife” on the case of Kiranjit Ahluwalia and “The War Crimes File” an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by members of the Jamaat i Islami in Bangladesh in 1971.

Jimmy Bangash is a gay British ex-Muslim Pakistani living in the UK. He grew up in a traditional Pashtun family in London where he struggled with both the homophobia and ardent misogyny within his community. He has written poems and prose about these experiences; many of which have been published on Sedaa. As an LGBT ex-Muslim activist, he is committed to unbridling the reins of patriarchy on gays and women of Muslim heritage. As a coach, he seeks to empower those individuals liberated from problematic ideologies to live a life of authenticity, self-assurance and self-expression.

Matthew Mahmood-Ogston is Founder & Trustee of Naz and Matt Foundation. In 2001, soon after coming out to himself, Matt met his soulmate Naz in a nightclub in Birmingham. Naz was 21, Matt was 23. They quickly fell in love and ran away to London to be themselves and escape the intense pressures of not being out to family. They had to keep their relationship a secret for fear of what might happen if they were found out. After 13 years together and engaged to be married, Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood) sadly took his own life, just two days after being confronted about his sexuality by his deeply religious family during Eid. It was the first time they had heard that their son was gay, in a long term relationship with another man, in love, and planning to get married. Their solution was to tell Naz that he needed to see a psychiatrist to be ‘cured’ for being gay. For ‘shame’ not to be brought on the family. In memory of Naz, Matt set up “Naz and Matt Foundation”, a registered charity that tackles religious and cultural homophobia. The organisation helps families learn how to accept their LGBTQI+ children for who they really are – for who they were born to be.  The Foundation’s mission is to “Never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children.”

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.

Syed Haider is Head of Academic Subjects at the International Study Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also Chair of Hidayah, an LGBTQI+ organisation looking to support LGBT+ Muslims and work with allies in promoting a more critical understanding of Islam and Islamicate traditions. He has published a number of articles, most recently on the shootings in Orlando (The Shooting in Orlando, Terrorism or Toxic Masculinity (or Both?)) and ‘Shadows on the Wall’ in Gay Times. His research interest lies in culture and the role of cultural products in the transmission of ideas, and his forthcoming monograph is titled Muslim modernities on the Hindi screen published by Routledge.

Syed Isteak Hossain Shawon is an LGBT activist from Bangladesh and Editor of Boys Love World, which has been established in 2011 as an online Magazine for Bangladeshi LGBT Activists. The mission of the Boys Love World is to advocate and defend LGBT community and its members. Bangladeshi LGBT rights activists and bloggers from different country contributes to Boys Love World with their quality writings and engages with the readers. Boys Love World has many readers not only in Bangladesh but around the world. Our main aim is to educate mass people about LGBT community and cultivating a sentiment in favour of equality and diversity to create a safe environment where LGBT people can promote and explore their culture and work in the interests of the public benefit to remove any social exclusion. We achieve our aims and objectives by holding various events, workshops and seminars throughout the year.


Privacy Policy

No doubt you’ll already be aware that on 25 May the new European data privacy laws (GDPR) will come into effect.

CEMB operates a low-traffic announcement list to keep you updated on the latest events, news, and activities we are involved in organising.

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This list generally receives no more than a few emails a year and we would like to keep you subscribed so you can continue to support the work we do.

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On Friday 18 May Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has a fast-defying protest at embassies of countries that punish eating during Ramadan with flogging, beatings and imprisonment. Join our “eat-in” at Saudi, Iranian, Pakistani, Moroccan, Tunisian, Bangladeshi and Egyptian embassies in London or defend the persecuted during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is your Right; Fast-Defying is my Right.
جمعه ۱۸ مه٬ شوراى اكس مسلم بريتانيا اعتراض روزه خوارى دارد جلوى سفارتخانه هاى كشورهايى كه روزه خواران را شلاق مى زنند و زندانى و اذيت و آزار مى كنند منجمله سفارتهاى ايران٬ عربستان سعودى٬ تونس٬ مراكش٬ بنگلادش٬ پاكستان٬ مصر۔۔۔
روزه حق شماست؛ روزه خوارى حق من است۔

Thanks to Mark Hussain for Poster:

Dear friend

We hope you are well.

We wanted to bring your attention to several urgent actions and also give you an update on some of our activities and upcoming events.



You may have heard that Egyptian atheist blogger Sherif Gaber was arrested on 2 May at Cairo airport when attempting to leave the country. Whilst he is reportedly free, ex-Muslim groups are awaiting confirmation that he is safe. There is a pending blasphemy case against him still so please keep the pressure on and sign the petition demanding his safety. More information on his case available here.

#NotACrime Campaign

Join our #NotACrime Campaign calling for the decriminalisation of laws that imprison, harass and execute atheists, apostates, and blasphemers. The campaign aims to highlight the cases of those who are in prison or on death row for the exercise of their basic right to conscience, which includes the right to criticise and renounce religion. Please join us in defending the likes of Sina Dehghan on death row in Iran for “insulting the prophet”, Ayaz Nizami facing the death penalty on accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan and Ahmad Al-Shamri and Raif Badawi charged with apostasy and blasphemy in Saudi Arabia. More details can be found here.


In April, CEMB organised it’s first “Coming Out Party”; which is one way of seeing people’s coming out as atheists as a cause for celebration rather than vilification. Our monthly meet-ups continue as usual; the next two meet-ups will be on “apostasy and asylum” and “honor and shame”.  We have also begun monthly support groups to give ex-Muslims a space to share issues. So far, the group has discussed shunning, identity and post-apostasy trauma. If you want to join any of the above, please email Sadia at

You can find out more about our upcoming events, which includes a fast-defying protest in support of those persecuted for eating during Ramadan here.


Following the historic 22-23 July 2017 international conference to mark the CEMB’s 10th anniversary, which was the largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history, we are now organising a 2018 conference on November 25 on Sharia, Segregation, and Secularism with One Law for All and others. For more information and to get your tickets click here. No tickets will be sold at the door.


Hold 23 March 2019 in your diaries. It will be the first ever International Atheist Day to defend the right to atheism and call for an end to the persecution of atheists worldwide. Contact organisers for more information or to become an organiser in your city.


We continue to highlight the situation of ex-Muslims and defend freedom of expression, blasphemy, apostasy, and secularism, including at the anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo and for FEMEN’s 10th anniversary. You can see our past and upcoming engagements here. We will be speaking at the European Parliament this month.

If you would like to organise a screening of Deeyah Khan’s film Islam’s Non-Believers and have us come and speak at your university or event, please get in touch.

Some of our latest interviews and speeches:

* Sadia Hameed speaking on Australian TV about being ex-Muslim

* Maryam’s speech at Charlie Hebdo’s anniversary in Paris and on mocking religion shown on French TV, at Charlie Hebdo anniversary event

* Equality, Islam and Human Rights panel discussion at MIT with Ex-Muslims of North America

You can see other media coverage here.


Thanks to all of you who have been supporting our work, especially via monthly direct debits. If you can, please donate towards our work in the coming year. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated!

We also need more volunteers, particularly video and film directors and graphic designers. Get in touch if you have time to help us out.

Hope to see you at some of our upcoming events and speaking engagements and looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes
Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed
CEMB, BM Box 1919
London, WC1N 3XX

PS #JusticeForNoura
Please take the time to support Noura Hussein Hammad, a Sudanese victim of child marriage/forced marriage facing execution for defending herself from her violent husband. More information here.


Egyptian Atheist and Youtube Vlogger Sherif Gaber was arrested when trying to leave Egypt on Wednesday 2nd May. He sent a message to friends telling them he was stopped and taken to an interrogation room at Cairo airport and his passport confiscated. His last message on Wednesday 2nd May at 11:08 am Cairo time said:

“I am suppose to be traveling to Malaysia at 12:05 Cairo Time, an hour from now. The police took me and made me wait in this room for 2 hours and I’m still waiting> they took my belongings and my passport. If I don’t update you in one hour know that I was arrested.”

On 5 May, Lawyer Gamal Eid who runs the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that the blogger is currently being held in custody pending questioning by the prosecution, without specifying the date of his arrest or the reason for his arrest.

On 7 May, there was a posting supposedly by Gaber saying he had been released, however, many are questioning whether he had made the post himself and were concerned it was a ploy by the Egyptian government to end attention on his case. Until verification that he is free and safe, we will continue to campaign on his behalf.

Gaber is a long time activist who has been harassed and imprisoned for defending the LGBT community, promoting science and atheism, and “insulting Islam”. There is currently a pending blasphemy case against him. Here is his Tweet end March of this year about it:

To support Gaber, please sign the petition calling for his freedom.

We demand Gaber’s release. Atheism, Blasphemy, Apostasy are not crimes. #FreeSherifGaber

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