Tag: Ex-Muslim

“On The Side Of Those Who Fight For Freedom”

The below was first published on Centre for Women’s Justice website written by Maryam Namazie, joint prize winner of the Emma Humphrey’s Memorial Prize 2019.

I started Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All more than a decade ago to publicly mobilise dissent against religious laws. An expression of “not in my name” and a challenge to the Quran, Islam and Islamism as the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of the emancipation of women, freethinkers and others (if I may “paraphrase” US Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton)*.

Having fled the Islamic regime in Iran – where there is a deep-seated anti-Islamic backlash and women’s liberation movement – I found it astonishing how Sharia courts, apostasy laws and women’s subservient status were legitimised as a defence of “minority rights” in Britain and the west.

How Machiavellian to promote a defence of fundamentalists as a defence of a presumed homogenous minority “community”! How patronising to assume that those of us from minority backgrounds are so “different” from everyone else that we can only be expected to live within the confines of predefined patriarchal structures.

In any religious or tribal court, the odds are stacked against women who are viewed as the property and honour of the men in charge and not as individual citizens with rights.

The fact of the matter is that Sharia law violates women’s rights, including here in Britain. As do Ecclesiastic courts, the Beth Din or Loya Jirgas. In any religious or tribal court, the odds are stacked against women who are viewed as the property and honour of the men in charge and not as individual citizens with rights.

Sharia courts legitimise and encourage violence against women whether by considering a women’s testimony as worth half that of a man’s, normalising polygamy and child “marriage” or considering marital rape as the prerogative of the husband, amongst others. Sharia court jurisprudence and practice violate every article of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), including by promoting the concept of “zina” which criminalises sex outside of marriage.

Sharia law also violates the rights of religious minorities, freethinkers, ex-Muslims, atheists, apostates, blasphemers and LGBT… In more than a dozen countries under Sharia, apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality is punishable with the death penalty. In Britain, too, Sharia judges have made statements justifying the killing of apostates; the apostate label alone carries with it the grave risk of shunning and honour-related violence and death.

The establishment of CEMB and One Law for All were efforts to be heard and to be seen and to insist on our equal citizenship and individual rights and freedoms in the face of a cultural relativism that erases any dissent and only recognises “group” and “community” rights. Given that it is those in power that determine the “rights” of an in-group, a defence of an essentialised “Muslim community” ends up becoming an exercise in defending the fundamentalists and blaming the victims. Make no mistake. Defending Sharia courts or for that matter the veiling of children and sex segregation at schools or opposition to the “No Outsiders” programme is a defence of the Islamist project to control women, dissent and doubt and has nothing to do with promoting religious freedom or combatting bigotry.

A brief look at the founding organisations of the oldest Sharia court in Britain, the Islamic Sharia Council, for example, clearly shows the transnational Islamist links. The organisations include:

  • London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center (whose Trustees include officials from the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brunei, Qatar, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan – many of which punish apostasy with the death penalty and have discriminatory family laws).

  • Muslim World League (which propagates Saudi Wahabbism, the Muslim Brotherhood played a role in its founding).

  • Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith (involved in promoting sectarianism and jihad in the Indian sub-continent).

  • UK Islamic Mission (inspired by Jamaat e Islami and Syed Abul Ala Maududi and shares the same ideology as Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood).

  • Dawatul Islam, UK (UK branch of the Bangladeshi Jamaat e Islami. In 1971, some of the Jamaat e Islami were implicated in running death squads and organising lynchings against people demanding independence).

  • Jamia Mosque & Islamic Center, Birmingham (where protestors marched from the mosque after Friday prayers to the Bangladesh High Commission in Birmingham after the execution of a Bangladeshi Islamist convicted of atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan following the country’s war crimes tribunal).

  • Muslim Welfare House, London (was founded by Kamal Helbawy of the Muslim Brotherhood who has praised Osama Bin Laden. They have fatwas defending polygamy and prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men as well as campaigned to stop the selling of alcohol).

It’s where we each stand when rights are violated and fundamentalists appeased that counts.

Contrary to the far-Right arguments that aim to promote anti-Muslim bigotry and xenophobia, this is not about a clash of civilisations but a clash between theocrats and secularists everywhere, with believers and non-believers, including minorities and migrants, on either side. Identities are irrelevant and beside the point though; it’s their politics that matters. It’s where we each stand when rights are violated and fundamentalists appeased that counts. As the refrain from the old labour movement song says: “Which side are you on?” Are we all, as the song continues – “on the side of those who fight for freedom”?

Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born writer and activist and joint winner of the Emma Humphrey’s Memorial Prize 2019. She is the Spokesperson of One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She hosts a weekly television programme broadcast in Iran on Saturday evenings in Persian and English called  Bread and Roses.

For more details on Sharia courts in Britain, see a One Law for All submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

For more details on the work of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, click here.

Get your tickets here for CEMB’s upcoming March 8 event for International Women’s Day on Apostasy, Shunning and Survival.

* US Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton [1850-1902] said: “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women’s emancipation.”

atheist, ex muslim, apostate, egypt, egyptian, freethinker, expression, free expression, travel ban, ban, travel, married, marry, court, crime, non crime, Human rights, UN, united nations, Ahmed Harkan, Ahmed, Harkan, Dissent, Love

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/

Help us establish first ex-Muslim refuge in world

We at Council of Ex Muslims of Britain (CEMB) are raising funds for the first emergency shelter for ex-Muslims in order to provide accommodation and support in the UK to those at serious risk to their lives because of their apostasy from Islam.

Would you be willing and able to help with this life-saving refuge?

As you know, apostasy from Islam can result in the death penalty in a dozen countries in the world causing many to flee. In Britain, ex-Muslims can face honour-based violence, forced marriages, exorcisms, ostracization, shunning, homelessness, self-harming, suicide and more.

Some of the 600 ex-Muslims who are supported by our organisation every month are in need of emergency accommodation after having been made homeless by their families or because they have been forced to escape in order to save their lives. In the cases of young people under the age of 16, even though it may be difficult, CEMB can ensure they are rehoused appropriately. However, in cases where the young person is over the age of 16, they have been left to fend for themselves, with little to no support, particularly in light of severe cuts in public services and refuge spaces.

Until now, CEMB has been forced to provide limited emergency accommodation at hotels, which is neither practical nor cost-effective. With your support, CEMB hopes to provide a long-term and safe solution for those at greatest risk by establishing the first ex-Muslim refuge in the world.

Purchase of a building, as well as maintenance and utilities, will cost £300,000. Whilst we realise this is an insurmountable amount, any money raised in our crowdfunding for a refuge will be used to provide emergency accommodation and support to those at greatest risk with the aim of working towards the first permanent refuge for ex-Muslims.

Please help if you can. Tell friends and family to support this important cause. Hold a fundraiser for us to raise some of the money if you can. It could be anything from cake sales to spaghetti dinners to raise the much-needed funds. You can send your donations to our crowdfunding page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/exmuslimrefuge

Whilst we know this is wishful thinking, if you have a building or apartment you would like to donate – temporarily even – please get in touch with m.namazie@ex-muslim.org.uk.

Thank you for all your support, including in the past. We couldn’t have come this far without you and hope we can continue to provide support and assistance to many more in the years to come.

Warmest wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
www.ex-muslim.org.uk

 

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/

Halima Salat

“A Boy, A Village, A Death” Poem for Gay Pride

Halima SalatHalima Salat recited her poem “A Boy, A Village, A Death” for the first time publicly at Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) Pride in London Festival evening on LGBT Rights, Apostasy and Blasphemy on July 4, 2019. Halima 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. Watch her gut-wrenching performance below.

 

 

Video by @Reason4Freedom

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