Tag: FBU

Letter to FBU asking for their official position on CEMB

Dear Mr Wrack, FBU General Secretary,

It has been drawn to our attention that Ms Lucy Masoud, treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union in London, has written a blog on The FBU website stating that the presence of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) at Pride was “hate on display” and that the group is “islamophobic”.  CEMB has responded to the post and would like to know whether this is the FBU’s official position.

As we have mentioned in our response to Ms Masoud, there is a clear distinction between criticism of religion and the religious-Right versus bigotry against people. Charges of islamophobia erroneously conflate the two. In fact, CEMB’s presence at Pride aimed to combat the hate perpetrated against ex-Muslims and LGBT and to defend the right to reject and criticise religion without fear. This was political protest at its best. Had the FBU not recently backed calls to reclaim Pride as political protest?

Given that apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality are punishable by death in many countries under Islamic rule, our being at Pride was an important moment for our members, many of whom are refugees. It would be unfortunate if the FBU officially defended the vilification of a minority within a minority providing further justification for our persecution by implying that “offence” is more important than murder.

We look forward to hearing from you on your union’s position.

Thank you for your response in advance. We attach a copy of a photo with FBU members and two of ours taken at Pride.

Maryam Namazie, CEMB Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

FBU: We are combating hate not promoting it

Lucy Masoud, treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union in London, has written a blog on The FBU website saying the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)‘s presence at Pride was “hate on display” and that the group is “Islamophobic” and “carried offensive signs such as ‘F**K Islam’ and ‘East London Mosque Incites Murder of Homosexuals’”. She added that members were “offended” by CEMB, that CEMB was “sinister” and that when she confronted our group, “they admitted they had never been Muslim”. Masoud added: “Pride is meant to be about acceptance and love, not hate. Most LGBT people have experienced hate and prejudice towards them at some point, so any group that has nothing to say but hate, has no place at Pride.”
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, established nearly ten years ago, defends the right to conscience and expression, which are meaningless without the right to reject and criticise religion. Given that apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality are punishable by death in countries under Islamic rule (countries, by the way, from which many of the refugees in our group have fled from), these rights are a matter of life and death for many of us. Which is why it was a very proud moment for us to be out, loud and proud at Pride.
As anyone going to Pride knows, signs with “God is Gay” or “Jesus has two fathers” is evident every year as are signs critical of Christianity and the Christian-Right. Our signs are no different. All our signs were critical of the homophobia in Islam and the hate perpetrated by the Islamist movement against not just ex-Muslims but Muslims and others too. We also had signs against racism, including “Protest Bigotry, Defend Blasphemy”, “Homophobes, Islamists, Racists, Fuck Off”, and “CEMB, LGBT, Refugee and Proud”. (See here.)
That Ms Masoud takes our presence personally as an attack on her says more about her politics than ours – a politics that feeds into the Islamist narrative, that normalises blasphemy and apostasy laws, that demands silence from critics of Islam and that gives the green light for Islamists to continue to murder us using the excuse of “offence”.
Wittingly or unwittingly, charges of “Islamophobia” conflate criticism of Islam with bigotry and hate against people. In fact, we are merely countering the hate against ex-Muslims and LGBT by Islamic states and movements.
Ms Masoud: Criticising mosques that call for our death, criticising Islamic states that murder us and our loved ones, criticising Islam, like criticism of any religion or belief, is not hate but combating hate against real live human beings. If “progressives” like you were more concerned with murder than offence, what a different world this would be.
Until we are allowed to think, live and love as we choose without the imposition of religion via the state, the law, the “community”, or via any always offended sensitive soul like yourself, we will continue to shout our blasphemy from every rooftop.
One question to the FBU: Labelling a minority within a minority who face threats and intimidation on a daily basis as a hate group places us at further risk and is victim blaming at its finest. Is this the official FBU position and if so, we will be taking this matter further.

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