Tag: atheist

First Online Protest to Save the Life of Soheil Arabi

A three-hour online protest took place on 4 April reaching out to thousands on social media to highlight the urgent plight of Soheil Arabi in prison in Iran since 2013. Arabi was initially sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet.” He was eventually acquitted of this charge and his sentence reduced on appeal to seven and a half years in prison, a two-year travel ban and two years of religious study to evaluate his repentance upon his release. He was then sentenced to lashes, an additional 3 years prison and a fine for “insulting Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic” and “propaganda against the regime.” Arabi has been seriously tortured and in need of urgent medical attention. This urgent action took place while he is currently on hunger strike to protest the injustice of his case, the denial of medical attention and leave due to Coronavirus, the torture and mistreatment of political prisoners and prison conditions, amongst others. You can read more about his case here.

The protest was hosted by Veedu Vidz, Shahin Mohamadi and Maryam Namazie and was the first online protest of its kind  in both Persian and English.

You can watch the online protest here:

Those joining the online protest included Activist Abbas Mohamadpour, Activist Armin Enayati, Activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Cemal Knudsen Yucel of Ex-Muslims of Norway, Actress Elika Ashoori, Activist Faryad Ostovar, Youtuber Fay Rahman, Poet Halima Salat, Council of Ex-Muslims of Scandinavia’s Hamed Jamali and Milad Resaeimanesh, Lawyer Iman Soleymani Amiri, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Jimmy Bangash, Artist Mahshad Afshar, Iran Tribunal London Spokesperson Mersedeh Ghaedi, Activist Mohsen Safarelahi, Marea Review Editor Monica Lanfranco, Activist Peyman Partovi, Rishvin Ismath of Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka, Poet Rock N Roll Sailor, Activist Samaneh Nateghi, Council of Ex-Muslims of Netherlands Savalan Ghodsi who also did a performance for Soheil, Activist Shabnam Shajarizadeh, Activist Shakila Salimi, Women’s Rights Activist Shaparak Shajarizadeh and Zara Kay of Faithless Hijabi.

Many sent messages or acts of solidarity, including Our House Founder Arash Hampay, Codou Bop – Human Rights Defender from Senegal, Filmmaker Deeyah Khan, Freethought Lebanon, Spokesperson of One Law for All Gita Sahgal, Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation Founder Halaleh Taheri, Harris Sultan, Australian ex-Muslim atheist of Pakistani descent, Ibtissame Betty Lachgar of MALI, Founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue Marieme Helie Lucas,  Atheist Ireland’s Michael Nugent, Youtuber Mimzy Vidz, Activist Mina AhadiMuslimish, Nada Perat Radfrau of Centre for Civil Courage, Human Rights Activist Nazanin Afshin Jam, Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell, Pragna Patel – Director of Southall Black Sisters, Writer and Activist Rahila Gupta, Founder of Atheist Refugee Relief Rana Ahmad, Robyn E. Blumner – President and CEO, Center for Inquiry and Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, Saadiq Samad – Coordinator, Ex-Muslims of Tamil Nadu, India, Shuddhashar, Former Charlie Hebdo Journalist Zineb El Rhazoui

See some of the MESSAGES OF SOLIDARITY can be seen below:

Our House Founder Arash Hampay

Codou Bop, Human Rights Defender from Senegal: I am a woman human right defender from Senegal in West Africa. I would be very grateful to you if you could send my strong support to Soheil Arabi for his struggle for his right for freedom of faith and being whatever he wants to be. Please tell him that I feel very sad about his situation and I hope that with the support from people who believe that it is his right to be atheist, he will very soon regain his freedom.

Filmmaker Deeyah Khan: This message goes to Soheil and all the other brave people campaigning for freedom of belief and expression from me and all at Fuuse. Soheil, we support you. We deplore the violence perpetrated against you. We admire your courage and your determination against the Iranian regime. We will not let your struggle go unnoticed. We will not allow your message to be silenced. We call on everyone to join us in the campaign for Freedom for Soheil! In solidarity

Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation Founder Halaleh Taheri

Gita Sahgal, Spokesperson of One Law for All: I’m sending a picture of rosemary for remembrance. For atheists and all political prisoners in Iran. Soheil, we remember you. We call for your freedom. We stand with you and the people of Iran protesting against a cruel government which has put their lives at risk. We look forward to the day when you are free.

Artist Mahshad Afshar

Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue: Repression of free thought is something that belongs to the dark ages. The Iranian regime is cynically using religion to impose itself upon people. Neither sincere believers in Islam, nor secularists, agnostics and atheists can condone the eradication of our most fundamental human rights: freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. Mollahs! you don’t speak for the people as street demonstrations have made clear in the past few months! and you don’t even speak for believers as you pretend! I salute the courage and persistence of Soheil Arabi in defending our right to blasphemy, which is what is left to us when our freedom from religion is taken away from us. Free Soheil Arabi! Long live free thought!

Atheist Ireland’s Michael Nugent:

Human Rights Activist Nazanin Afshin Jam: During this time of isolation and just having passed Easter weekend I can’t help but reflect on how blessed I feel to be able to practice my faith in freedom. I am thinking about prisoners of conscience like Soheil Arabi who have received death sentences in Iran simply for being an atheist and questioning Islam and the supreme leader of Iran ayatollah Khamenei. Freedom of religion includes the choice not to believe in a higher power is a fundamental human right. And expressing this is freedom of expression, also a fundamental human right. It is not a crime and certainly cannot be used by a state to condemn someone to death by hanging. The United Nations and freedom loving people worldwide must do everything in their power to save the life of Soheil and other prisoners of conscience in Iran. Not only are they suffering grave human rights abuses in jail and heavy sentences and fines but now their lives are in jeopardy in their crowded jail cells with the threat of the spread of coronavirus. I stand with Soheil Arabi.

Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters: Dear Soheil, I do not know you but you know all of us because you are fighting for all of us. For our freedoms, our dignity and for our humanity. Today I am thinking of you and all the political prisoners of conscience in Iran and around the world. Thank you for your bravery and courage. Thank you for standing up for all of us. Thank you for standing up for freedom of expression and conscience. I know that in your prison cell, surrounded by the forces of torture and inhumanity, a mere ‘thank you’ is not enough. But I hope that by registering my voice of protest, I will join the voices of the many in resistance in the hope that our voices will grow so loud and strong that even the brutal Iranian regime will no longer be able to ignore us. Martin Luther Kind once said ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. My friend, I stand with you in solidarity in your fight to be free from injustice.

Writer and Activist Rahila Gupta:

Activist Rana Ahmad:

Robyn E. Blumner, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry and Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science: The Center for Inquiry stands for reason, science, and secular values around the world. We support Soheil Arabi’s right to speak out on behalf of atheism and against theocracy and religious dogma. We support his quest for freedom of conscience, his right to question and criticize religion, and we find his continued confinement and mistreatment for simply exercising that freedom to be an outrage that the world is rightly judging.

Saadiq Samad, Coordinator, Ex-Muslims of Tamil Nadu, India: We have experienced the cruelty of Islam in 2017 and after the murder of Farook, most of us here are not ready to come to public. So we can send only this message. We can understand the pain of Sohail Arabi and his family. Ex-Muslims of Tamil Nadu, India supports the protest.

PLEASE SIGN PETITIONS HERE AND HERE and continue to fight for the freedom of Soheil Arabi, all other political prisoners in Iran and those across the world being held because of their conscience and expression.

#SaveSoheil #FreeSoheil #Iran

Egypt Let Ahmed Harkan Travel Now

Ahmad Harken is an Egyptian 36-year-old Ex-Muslim/atheist, youtuber and free thinker who practices his right of expression.

Since 2016 the Egyptian National Security has imposed a travel ban on Harken for no reason.

Harkan has not violated any law of the state nor caused harm to any individual. There is no court order against him nor any order from the Attorney general. Although he is free to roam the country, he is imprisoned within the compounds of his country for no apparent reason.

Harkan attempted to travel outside Egypt and was banned three times since 2016. The last time Ahmed wanted to travel was on October 21st when he got a Tunisian visa in order to marry his Tunisian fiancée.

On 21st October 2019, Harkan tried to leave Egypt to meet up with his fiancé in her country, Tunisia, where their wedding ceremony was supposed to take place, yet the National Security banned him from traveling, even though the reason for his travel were clear. At the airport, he was told to go back home with no explanation.

Harkan has now been on Hunger Strike for over 20 days, resulting in his hospitalisation. At the hospital, he was threatened that if he keeps going on the hunger strike, they will put him in prison. Harkan says, “I either get my right to travel like anyone else, or die”.

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile,”

Harkan has committed no crime, he has the right to travel wherever he pleases.

We at the Council of Ex Muslims of Britain urge the Egyptian authorities to permit Ahmed Harkan to travel with immediate effect!

 

Harkan’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/904859109535632/posts/2898155153539341/

Harkan’s Webpage: https://ahmedharqan.com/

ex-muslims council of britain, atheist, secular, atheism, humanism, Patreon, Patron, refuge, refugee, asylum, laws, apostate, blasphemer, accommodation, emergency accommodation, emergency, Islam, human rights, equality, freedom, freedom of speech, honour based violence, corrective rape, forced marriage, domestic abuse, mental health, suicide, hope, Patreon

Become a Council of Ex Muslims of Britain Patron

You can now become a Council of Ex Muslims of Britain Patron which allows you to see behind the scenes during our campaigns along with other benefits depending on your chosen tier.

We are s fundraising for safe emergency accommodation for our clients.

CEMB is a support service for individuals who have left Islam (otherwise known as apostates and ex-Muslims). We also campaign against blasphemy and apostasy laws, rather we campaign for secularism and universal human rights.

A 2017 report by U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that Blasphemy laws were found in 71 countries from all regions of the world. However, even today the only countries in the world to punish blasphemy with a death sentence are Islamic countries. Furthermore, their report found that a majority of laws in countries that have blasphemy laws do not fully respect international standards of freedom of opinion and expression.

In 2018, World Alas reported that 23 Muslim majority countries still have apostasy laws, furthermore, 13 of those 13 countries have a death penalty for leaving Islam.

Leaving, criticising or even questioning Islam is a dangerous business indeed. We at CEMB support those brave individuals that dare to do as such.

In the last two years, CEMB’s caseload has doubled from supporting 300 ex-Muslims a month to 600 a month. CEMB supports individuals from over 70 countries around the world.

Becoming an ex Muslim can have the following consequences:
– Death
– Imprisonment (this could be in a state prison, but could also be families imprisoning Ex Muslims within their homes).
– Mob Lynching
– Forced Marriage
– Honour based abuse/domestic abuse
– Emotional abuse
– Psychological abuse
– Financial abuse
– Physical abuse
– Sexual abuse
– Honour killings
– Corrective rapes
– Coercive control
– Mental health issues
– Self-harm
– Suicidal thoughts/feelings/attempts, in some cases successful suicides
– Disownment/ostracization

In order to escape the risk of the above list, many ex Muslims leave home, some fleeing oppressive countries, others fleeing others fleeing oppressive families.

Leaving Islam for many results in the loss of everything and everyone that is familiar. In some cases, the families are the very ones to forcefully remove their loved ones from their homes and lives, leaving them with nothing.

This is where CEMB steps in to offer them to help and support them. In many cases that has also meant providing emergency accommodation in hotels for those that have been forced out of their families and communities, however this is not a sustainable long term solution, so we have decided to start fundraising for a dedicated refuge that would not only provide emergency housing, but would provide hands on support for the Ex Muslims we house.

We need to raise £300,000 in order to secure a property for this project, please help us with this goal.

Become a Patron Here: https://www.patreon.com/CEMB

 

Atheist Ireland

Free lesson plans about atheism for children aged 8 and up from Atheist Ireland

Atheist Ireland has today published a set of free lesson plans about atheism for children aged 8 and up.

Schools and teachers can use the lesson plans during the school year, at whatever class level they feel is best.

Parents can also use the lesson plans directly. They can discuss them one-to-one with their child, or let their child use them at school if they have opted them out of religion class.

We do not want children to believe anything in these lessons, or in the book, simply because we say so. Like anybody else, we might be mistaken about some things.

Instead, we want children to use the lessons and the book to start off their own personal investigations into the topics we cover.

Full lesson plans can be downloaded via this link: https://www.teachdontpreach.ie/lesson-plans/

Successful 1st International Atheist Day

VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF THE EVENT ARE BELOW.

March 23rd, International Atheist Day, was observed for the first time across the world, providing a space for non believers to come out in public, defend freethought and show solidarity with those who risk their lives and freedom because they are atheists.

The day was initiated by an international ex-Muslim coalition, namely Arab Atheists, Ateizm Derneği, Atheist Agnostic Alliance of Pakistan, Atheist Republic, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), Council of Ex-Muslims of France, Council of Ex-Muslims of Jordan, Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco, Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka, Ex-Muslims of North America, Ex-Muslims of Norway, Freethought Lebanon, Muslimish and The Black Ducks and was celebrated by atheists across the world, even trending on Twitter.

In London, CEMB organised a direct action where atheist women came together to paint slogans around “There is no God” in chalk in Russell Square in various languages. Photographs of women sitting on the floor with legs akimbo were in solidarity with women across the world who are being sexually assaulted for fighting for their rights and told to ‘sit properly’, ‘be decent’ and threatened with rape for claiming the right to their bodies. It was in particular a show of solidarity with women involved in the aurat march in Pakistan.

This action was followed by an emotional evening MCed by Nahla Mahmoud. Maryam Namazie gave a brief opening address on the need for an Atheist Day; this was followed by a panel discussion of ex-Muslim women speaking out including with Ibtisamme Betty Lachgar, Mimzy Vidz and Zara Kay along with Sadia Hameed and Maryam Namazie. Whether coming from secular or fundamentalist families, the women agreed that losing the fear of challenging God was central. In an intimate discussion which ranged from attempts at exorcism by families determined to ‘fix’ their errant children, to the joy of embracing freedom, they agreed they could never look back. Audience members assured them that they had gained a family in the global ‘community’ of ex-Muslims. Panelists condemned bigotry against Muslims while affirming their right to criticise Islam and Islamism.

One speaker, the poet Halima Salat, who is resident in Amsterdam was denied a visa by the British Home Office. She came out for the first time at Maryam Namazie’s Freedom Lecture at De Balie a few months back and there was great disappointment that she couldn’t join the event, showing how the hostile environment is never far away for apostate refugees. Halima performed her poetry on FGM and against Patriarchy via video link and was able to hear the cheers for her passionate work.

In continuation of a tradition established by CEMB, Apostasy or Coming Out Certificates were awarded to a number of people, namely Ezatullah Qoriashi, Kishore Talukder, Md Badrul Alam, Mehrdad Taheri, Sarah Qureshi, Shagota Sarwar and Shahab Khan by Sadia Hameed, Aftab Ahmed and Fasahat Rizvi.

Moreover, CEMB 2019 Awards were presented by Maryam Namazie, Sadia Hameed and Sina Ahadi Pour to those who showed dedicated support to the ex-Muslim movement, namely AC Grayling who has supported the movement since the beginning and Ana Gonzalez of Wilson Solicitors for her immense support for apostate refugee cases and the CEMB; she said that CEMB was the most caring group she had ever worked with. Also awards were given to Asad Abbas for being one of the first and most persistent of CEMB members, Ibtisamme Betty Lachgar for her courageous work in Morocco, Inna Shevchenko of Femen for inspiring CEMB’s topless protests, Mina Ahadi for founding the first Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany and Shelley Segal for being a voice for atheism and ex-Muslims. Awards were also given to two absent friends, the filmmaker Nadia El Fani and Atheist Republic Founder Armin Navabi.

Shelley Segal sang Our Resistance and her new anthem for CEMB and ex-Muslims called ‘Find our Way to Freedom,’ which premiered at the event, after which atheists and ex-Muslims joined her on stage for a sing along.

There was also Sadia Hameed, lightening the mood, with her first ever stand-up comedy act. Her subject was farting and her target God.

An exhibition by SAMINT used art as a weapon against patriarchy and extremism. The evening ended with dancing to tunes by DJ Zee Jay.

The first Atheist Day in London and across the world was a resounding success. Onwards towards #AtheistDay2020!

****

VIDEO FOOTAGE FILMED BY MUPHOVI

#ATHEISTDAY ACTION IN RUSSELL SQUARE PARK
With Ibtissame Betty Lachgar, Inna Shevchenko, Maryam Namazie, Sadia Hameed, SAMINT, Shelley Segal and Zara Kay with new ex-Muslim anthem by Shelley Segal: Find Our Way to Freedom as background music.

OPENING SPEECH BY MARYAM NAMAZIE

PANEL OF EX-MUSLIM WOMEN SPEAKING OUT

With Moroccan Activist Ibtissame Betty Lachgar, CEMB Spokespersons Maryam Namazie and Sadia Hameed, Ex-Muslim YouTuber Mimzy Vidz and Faithless Hijabi Founder Zara Kay.

COMEDY BY SADIA HAMEED

POETRY WITH HALIMA SALAT

COMING OUT CERTIFICATES

CEMB 2019 AWARDS

SHELLEY SEGAL SINGS OUR RESISTANCE AND NEW EX-MUSLIM ANTHEM

ATHEISTS AND EX-MUSLIMS JOIN SHELLEY SEGAL ON STAGE TO SING FIND OUR WAY TO FREEDOM

PHOTOS FROM EVENING EVENT BY POONE RAVI

Athiest Ireland
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