In Deeyah Khan’s film, Islam’s Non Believers, Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), justifies the discrimination and ostracisation against ex-Muslims in Britain and portrays Islam’s nonbelievers are ‘outside the human norms’:
Here is a quote from the film:
Omer El-Hamdoon: The Muslim community is a community that is based on religion. So if a person chooses to stop being a Muslim they can’t really expect that the Muslim community is still gonna say to them you are part of our community
Deeyah: Why not?
Omer El-Hamdoon: Because you left Islam, you’ve left the religion. Families do need to try to resolve their issues by sitting together, talking together about matters, but I do understand that you know, if a family holds religion very deep to their heart, that when they see one of their family members has left religion, they feel a sense of betrayal. And obviously a lot of people will just say, look I can’t deal with this, so I just shun that member out, because he’s betrayed me.
Islam does put a big emphasis on faith, sometimes somebody might have to reject something or a certain person because of their attitude towards faith, that can happen.
Deeyah: Would you do that? Do you have children?
Omer El-Hamdoon: Yes, I have children.
Deeyah: Would you reject your children?
Omer El-Hamdoon: I wouldn’t reject my child, my approach would be to sit with them and discuss with them, no I wouldn’t shun them off but I suppose they would expect that things aren’t the same, if a child goes against your say general plan, expectation. If they go against you, you might feel, ok you are still my son, daughter, but I wasn’t expecting that off you.
El Hamdoon: That’s normal perspective, in the eyes of religion you have done something wrong, because religion expects you to stay religious and you’re saying I don’t want to be religious, so of course they are going to say to you, you are no longer favourable in our eyes. Doesn’t mean we discriminate against you, doesn’t mean we treat you badly or incite hatred or violence or whatever, or abduct you or force marry you or whatever,
Deeyah: People do that.
El Hamdoon: They do that and that’s wrong, we have to reject that. How we treat people is the same, we don’t discriminate but our love cannot be the same, it’s just human behaviour. Islam is a pragmatic religion, it doesn’t expect people to behave outside the human norms.’
Whilst clearly defending discrimination against ex-Muslims, El Hamdoon says no-one is compelled to be a Muslim and that people can leave of their own free will and shouldn’t be punished.
When asked on Twitter whether he supported the death penalty for apostasy in an ideal Islamic state, he refused to give a straight answer (see below).
Brief abstract: This is the first English translation (by Hassan Radwan) of the book, “My Ordeal with the Quran Complete Full Version.” By Abbas Abdul Noor. The book has been in available Arabic on the internet for about ten years in PDF form. The first page identifies the text as a draft copy, indicating that it was not finalised for printing and it appears the book was refused publication in Egypt and other Arab countries, which is not unexpected given the difficulty of publishing critical commentary on the Qurʾān in such regions. Beneath the words “Draft Copy,” it says: “Damanhur, Arab Republic of Egypt, 2004.” Apart from the biographical details given by the book itself, little is known about its author. The text identifies the author by the name “Abbas Abdul Noor.” However it seems likely that this name is an alias used to conceal the author’s identity due to fear of repercussions from publishing such a forthright analysis.
In 2016, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain will continue to highlight the cases of those languishing in prisons or on death row for apostasy or blasphemy, including:
Abdulaziz Dauda, also known as Abdul Inyass, an Islamic scholar sentenced to death in Nigeria for blasphemy for a lecture which was deemed to be blasphemous against Islam’s prophet. He was also jailed for 3 years for inciting public disturbance.
Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist who lives in Saudi Arabia, has been sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ for his poetry which the regime claims has questioned religion and spread atheism.
Hesameddin Farzizadeh, 23 year old writer and student who has been sentenced to 7 years in prison, 74 lashes and the death penalty for apostasy in Iran for his book examining the history and questioning facets of Shi’a Islam.
Islam Behery, Egyptian TV host was sentenced to prison for “contempt of religion.”
Mohamed Cheikh Ould, Mauritanian activist and blogger sentenced to death for apostasy for an article he wrote, which the court found was critical of Islam and Islam’s prophet.
Raif Badawi, Saudi secular blogger and founder of a liberal website sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for apostasy for raising questions about religion and politics.
27 Sudanese Muslims from the Qurani sect, charged with apostasy and disturbing the public peace according to article 126, section 2 of the Sudanese criminal law for considering the Quran holy but believing that the Hadith, sayings and actions of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, are not authentic.
Waleed Abu Al Khair, Saudi human rights lawyer (including for his brother-in-law Raif Badawi) was found guilty by a special counter-terrorism court of, among other charges, insulting the judiciary, disobeying the ruler, and harming the reputation of the Kingdom. He was offered a reduced sentence of 10 years if he apologized for his “offences”, but when he refused an appeal judge ordered him to serve the full term…
CEMB reiterates its call for the release of apostates and blasphemers across the globe. Apostasy and blasphemy are not crimes but basic human rights as are interpreting, mocking, criticising, and renouncing Islam openly and freely.
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has today published a case study on the Islamic Societies at Trinity College Dublin, Warwick University and Goldsmiths University where attempts were made to restrict or bar our spokesperson Maryam Namazie from speaking in 2015.
The case study shows that the Islamic Societies at the three universities in question are clearly promoting Islamist values through hate preachers who condone Sharia Law, Islamic states, and the death penalty for apostasy.
The recent attempts at censorship on university campuses is nothing new. 2015 saw a rise in censorship with 55% of campuses being an outright hostile environment for free speech.
The case study is only an example of a widespread problem – which is Islamism on university campuses, legitimising, normalising and recruiting for the far-Right Islamist movement. Challenging this movement on university campuses is key as is challenging its manifestations such as gender segregation.
Whilst free speech and expression must be free for all (unless there is an incitement to violence), it’s crucial that apostates and dissenters are given equal access to universities without restrictions in order challenge Islamist norms and values with a progressive counter-narrative.
CEMB calls on universities and Student Unions to unequivocally defend free expression, including by removing policies which restrict and censor expression, such as safe space policies.
A new report from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain “Evangelising Hate” exposes the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) as a Hate Group. You can read the report here.
Whilst iERA purports to be a missionary-like charitable organisation, it is in fact a “soft Islamist” group, which acts as the Islamist movement’s public relations arm by promoting and normalising Islamist values and norms, including inciting hatred against ex-Muslims, gays, Jews, women, non Muslims and a majority of Muslims who do not share their values. In Britain and the west, groups like iERA use multiculturalism (as a social policy that segregates “communities”) and cultural relativism as well as the rights language of diversity, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue to increase influence and access. Any opposition to their theocratic aims are met with accusations of racism and Islamophobia.
This timely report is being published just as the Charity Commission is investigating the group.
“This long-needed report provides a complete picture of the activities of the iERA, its promotion of hatred against women, gays, non-Muslims, ex-Muslims and liberal Muslims, and its affiliation with Islamists who have called for violence or have been involved in violent jihad themselves”, says Chris Moos of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society. He adds: “As a student who has experienced the violent tactics of the iERA myself, I find it unacceptable that this group continues to be the most active organiser of Islamic events on British university campuses, thereby sidelining liberal Muslim student groups. This report should serve as a wake-up call for both university and student representatives, and will hopefully lead to a classification of the iERA as what they are – a fascist hate group on a par with the likes of Hizb-ut Tahrir, BNP and EDL”.
Gita Sahgal of the Centre for Secular Space says: “This excellent report lays out in gruesome and forensic detail the hate agenda of speakers associated with the iERA. They should never be legitimised as a charity or given platforms that treat their views as acceptable”.
The iERA perpetuates a discourse that normalises hatred in religious terms, and sets the climate for “radicalisation”, bigotry and Islamism to flourish. Where groups like iERA have more influence, society is witness to a rise in everything from women and children wearing burkas, increased gender segregation at universities, legitimisation of Sharia-compliant wills and rules, acceptance of Sharia courts for the “Muslim minority” and the Islamisation of schools and mosques.
This report makes clear that iERA must be classified as a hate group and have their charitable status withdrawn. These will help bring clarity to their agenda and can be a starting point for a wider investigation into the influence of Islamism in modern Britain.
It is important to note that the CEMB publishes its report on a day that the far-Right group Britain First (an off-shoot of the British National Party) has targeted yet another mosque to bring its campaign of hate. Like Islamism, Britain First is a far-Right political group that asserts collective blame, incites hatred and dehumanises those deemed ‘other’. Just as Islamists do not represent a majority of Muslims or those considered Muslim, fascist groups like Britain First do not represent a majority of Britons.
Our fight is against the far-Right of all stripes and variations – be it Britain First or iERA – and in defence of the rights of all people, irrespective of their background, race, belief, gender, sexuality… to secularism, universal rights and equality.
For more information on the report, contact:
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.