The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain stands with Hidayah, Andrew Moffat, Anderton Park School and all LGBT of Muslim heritage

CEMB supports the recent legal injunction prohibiting homophobic protests outside of Anderton Park School in Birmingham for the use of LGBT inclusive educational material.

The presence of Muslim parents and others holding homophobic banners calling for the erasure of the LGBT community in educational material and the resignation of the head teacher are unacceptable.

The climate of fear and intimidation around a primary school is nothing short of abhorrent and reminiscent of the abuse faced by African American children during attempts to desegregate schools in Little Rock in 1957 or children running a gauntlet of abuse in Belfast in the early 2000s to get to Holy Cross school. These hate-filled protests, led by the religious-Right, are no different. They will only make the situation for LGBT of Muslim heritage significantly worse and further normalise Islamic homophobia, including via the consistent fundamentalist teachings against LGBT in Muslim homes and mosques, the use of Islamic Hadith and Quranic justifications for the execution of homosexuals in 14 countries under Sharia, and the shunning, intimidation and honour-based violence faced by LGBT from Muslim backgrounds across the country.

The protests will also spread if LGBT rights are not defended. Just last month, MEA Central Secondary School was asked to apologise to parents for having Hidayah, a Muslim LGBT group, speak to children in Years 7 and 8 about how it is acceptable to be Muslim and gay.

With 52% of British Muslims polled stating that homosexuality should be criminalised, it is imperative that a counter narrative to this homophobia be developed early on in schools. Children of Muslim parents, some of whom WILL grow up to be gay, must be presented with the teaching that it is acceptable to be gay, that LGBT are part of society and that it is not shameful, haram or perverse. As ex-Muslims, we understand more than most, the effects of this hatred on the lives and rights of children and the young in particular.

Whilst believers clearly have a right to their beliefs however abhorrent, freedom of conscience and expression do not include the right to incite violence, discrimination or persecution.

CEMB stands with Hidayah, Andrew Moffat, Anderton Park School, amongst others, as well as all LGBT of Muslim heritage. A secular education is key to normalising respect for the human rights of all despite differences, including in opinions and beliefs, race, sexuality, sex and so on. Respecting people’s rights, though, is not the same as respecting opinions that incite discrimination and persecution of minorities within minorities.

If the homophobes win, the LGBT of Muslim heritage will continue to learn that their existence is a sin that warrants execution abroad or honour-related violence, shunning and worse here at home.

The Government must take immediate action in all such cases to put the welfare of children above and beyond the demands of parents and the religious-Right and to defend the No Outsiders Programme and the Equalities Act.


For more information, please contact:

Jimmy Bangash


Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain



Supporting The Campaign Against The Death Penalty For Gay Sex In Brunei

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Protested The Death Penalty For Gay Sex In Brunei

Many of the Council of Ex-Muslim’s of Britain’s supporters and volunteers showed their outrage at the introduction of the death penalty for gay sex in Brunei by protesting outside The Dorchester Hotel in London.

On 6th April 2019, many volunteers and supporters of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain joined the Peter Tatchell Foundation and nearly 400 protesters to condemn the brutal introduction of the death penalty by stoning for gay sex and public whipping as a punishment for lesbian sex in the country of Brunei. The law has been introduced by the Sultan of Brunei, the country’s absolute monarch, as part of a new penal code based on Sharia law and the Hudud punishments, which will also punish apostates from Islam, blasphemers and people who have had sexual relations outside of marriage with death by stoning. As a result, sexual minorities, vulnerable women, religious minorities and freethinkers will be persecuted.

The protest took place outside The Dorchester Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan. Speaking on behalf of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell urged the public to boycott the Sultan’s businesses including his collection of luxury hotels and Royal Brunei Airlines. He also urged other businesses such as travel booking sites to cut off ties with these businesses. As well as “hitting him in his pocket” the protest also urged the UK to turn Brunei into a pariah state over its actions, cutting off all ties with the regime and suspending the country from the commonwealth, until this new penal code has been dropped.

As freethinkers and advocates for universal human rights we fully support the protest, which gained national and international media coverage. It is also important to note that 14 states around the world, including Brunei, and all Islamic, have a death penalty for homosexuality, based on Sharia law and the hudud punishments. Most of these countries also have similar penalties for apostasy and blasphemy. Unfortunately, the wider world does little to hold these countries accountable. The UAE is a popular holiday destination, whilst the Conservative Party of Britain has strong ties with regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. What’s more, 35 countries in The Commonwealth have anti LGBT+ laws of one form or another. These laws were mostly introduced during colonial times, but since these countries have gained independence, they have done little to nothing to take any steps forward to repeal these laws. The situation is made worse by Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, as well as other forms of religious fundamentalism. This is of course, unacceptable and we hope the protests like this, draw attention to inhumane laws and practices still happening in our world, which will in turn inspire political action against them.

The protest was organised by Benali Hamdache, who is a Green Party candidate for the London Assembly. Further protests and political action is expected and we hope our supporters will take part to make a stand.

Photo of silhoutte with Love is not a crime text

Amnesty International and All-Out: Be honest about Sharia

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is horrified to learn that Chechnyan authorities have begun a new wave of attacks on LGBT. At least two people have been tortured to death since December 2018; another 40 are being detained and tortured as we speak.

CEMB marched in Pride 2017 for the first time to highlight the plight of LGBT in countries and territories under Islamist control and in particular the harrowing roundup, detention and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya. At the time, its president Ramzan Kadyrov had expressed the desire to “eliminate” gay people “before the start of Ramadan.” The purge resulted in dozens of gay men being abducted and tortured and others being killed. Like now, much of the persecution is taking place in a camp near Argun, a town about 10 miles east of Grozny, the Chechen capital.

Whilst various LGBT and human rights organisations are rightly calling for urgent action in defence of LGBT in Chechnya, and calling on the Russian government to take action since Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation, they are nonetheless failing to highlight the role of the Islamist state and Sharia in the persecution of LGBT in Chechnya.

When asked by a supporter why Amnesty International wasn’t mentioning Sharia, for example, the AI Supporter Communication Team (see full correspondence below) said:

“To blame Shari’a law is a gross misunderstanding of the complexities and interpretations of Shari’a, Fiqh and Islam. Nowhere in the Quran is it mandated that gay men can be rounded up, put in concentration camps and executed. Blaming Shari’a law also provides an excuse for those perpetrating such gross violations. No religion is to blame for the actions of the Chechen authorities. Their total disregard for life and liberty is to blame instead. We are going to have to agree to disagree on the importance of Shari’a law on this issue.”

All-Out responded similarly:

“Chechnya is a region within the Russian Federation; as far as we know, they do not have a code based on Sharia Law.”

Whilst Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation – Russia also, by the way, discriminates and persecutes LGBT – Putin has empowered local leaders to enforce their interpretation of Sharia. In an interview, Kadyrov himself said there were no homosexuals in Chechnya but added: “And if there is, take them to Canada, praise be to Allah, away from us … to purify the blood.” He called homosexuals shaytan (devils) and said: “They are not people. And damn them for slandering us.”

In fighting for LGBT rights, particularly in countries under Islamist control, it is crucial to note the role that religious law plays in persecution. Last year, the Global Summit on human rights defenders warned “religious fundamentalism and extremist policies are all on the rise.”

Coalitions in which Amnesty International participates have warned that “In its extreme form, fundamentalism sanctions the destruction of the members of the excluded group” and that “Fundamentalist actors attack sexual rights advocates by labeling them as blasphemous or as ‘atheists’; as ‘bad’ Christians/Hindus/Muslims, or refer to their work as ‘Western imports’ or ‘anti-national’ in order to discredit them and undermine the effectiveness of their work.”

Attitudinal change has long been recognised as crucial to human rights work and human rights activists across the world need international organisations to be able to name and investigate the full range of threats against them.   All 14 countries and territories that punish homosexuality with the death penalty, for example, implement Sharia in one form or another: Afghanistan, Brunei, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE and Yemen. Similarly, all the countries that punish apostates and blasphemers with the death penalty likewise implement Sharia. Whist LGBT are discriminated against, face persecution in many other countries too, there is a clearly link between Islamism’s use of Sharia and massive human rights violations that cannot be negated, ignored or explained away.

CEMB calls on human rights groups to honestly address human rights violations where religious rules and laws are applicable and put human rights above the protection of cultures and religions.



From: padraig

Subject: Re: Chechnya

Date: 16 January 2019 at 12:22:47 GMT

To: Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk>

Dear friend

Thank you for your reply. As a gay man and recovering catholic I know the crucial part religious ideology plays in the denial of human rights. To deny that Islam is not a crucial part of the problem in the countries that have the death penalty for gays, when all ten of those countries are Islamic, is called a state of denial.  I’m afraid I can’t help you with that. I will continue to support Amnesty International, having first joined at university in Ireland in 1979 and because you are engaged in vital struggles for the rights and dignity of oppressed people, including my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Thank you sincerely for your efforts and especially for those who operate in dangerous countries and risk their lives and freedom to do so.


On 16 Jan 2019, at 11:48, Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk> wrote:

Dear Padraig,

Thank you for your phone call yesterday, and your subsequent emails. We understand and share your concern and distress with regards to the situation in Chechnya.

We are not skirting crucial facts. The crucial facts are that LGBT people, specifically gay men, are being subjected to horrendous abuses of their human rights in Chechnya.

To blame Shari’a law is a gross misunderstanding of the complexities and interpretations of Shari’a, Fiqh and Islam. Nowhere in the Quran is it mandated that gay men can be rounded up, put in concentration camps and executed. Blaming Shari’a law also provides an excuse for those perpetrating such gross violations. No religion is to blame for the actions of the Chechen authorities. Their total disregard for life and liberty is to blame instead. We are going to have to agree to disagree on the importance of Shari’a law on this issue.

Rest assured that we will continue to work on the horrendous violations occurring in Chechnya and in other countries around the world. We will also continue our work against the death penalty, and other forms of capital punishment.

I am sorry that I cannot be of more help on this one.

Kind regards,

Supporter Communications Team

Amnesty International UK Section

The Human Rights Action Centre, 17 – 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

Email: sct@amnesty.org.uk


—–Original Message—–

From: padraig

Sent: 15 January 2019 10:13

To: Supporter Communications <sct@amnesty.org.uk>

Subject: Chechnya

Dear friend, I am sick to the pit of my stomach about the news out of Chechnya. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to raise awareness and pressurise the authorities. I am however disturbed by the skirting of what I believe to be crucial facts, namely that Chechnya is an Islamic Republic that has a legal system independent of Russia of which it is a nominal part and that their legal system is based on Sharia law. Surely this is not a peripheral fact when we consider that of the ten countries in the world where the death penalty exists for gays, all are Islamic. As a gay man and a recovering catholic I have no love for Christianity or any homophobic religion but the plight of LGBTQ+ in Islam is terrifying as I know from ex-Muslim gay people in the UK and from those on social media.

Why do we not at least acknowledge the truth?

Am I judged harshly for even raising the issue.

Thank you


Date: 16 January 2019 at 16:38:47 GMT

To: All Out Contact <contact@allout.org>

Subject: Re: [Message from Contact us] Torture and murder of LGBTQ in Chechnya

What makes this ‘region’ of Russia different from other regions of Russia? Why are gay people in St Petersburg, where LGBT rights are under constant threat, thankfully not being imprisoned and tortured to death? On the contrary, gay organisations in western Russia are trying to get gays out of Chechnya and to places like St Petersburg ad you of course know very well. It doesn’t take much research to find the big difference, the same reason why ten countries in the world have the death penalty for being gay. There’s no point in ignoring this truth is there?

On 16 Jan 2019, at 15:25, All Out Contact <contact@allout.org> wrote:

Hi Padraig,

Thanks for your message. In our research, this is not true. Chechnya is a region within the Russian Federation; as far as we know, they do not have a code based on Sharia Law.


All Out team

CEMB at London Pride in July 2017


The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is pleased to announce it will be taking part in the Pride in London parade on Saturday 8 July 2017.

CEMB will use the Pride in London Parade to protest Islamism’s violence, including the death penalty, directed towards LGBT people. In particular, CEMB will focus on the harrowing roundup, detention and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya where its president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has expressed the desire to “eliminate” gay people before the start of Ramadan.

CEMB Spokesperson Maryam Namazie says: “All the states which punish apostasy and homosexuality with the death penalty are Islamic states, including Afghanistan, Iran, Islamic State, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, Yemen. Pride in London parade will be an important space for us to highlight the violence and hatred against LGBT and demand that people’s rights and lives trump religion and religious rules”.

CEMB was established in 2007 to oppose apostasy and blasphemy laws, break the taboo that comes with leaving or criticising Islam and religion, defend secularism as well as universal rights, and provide support to ex-Muslims in Britain and internationally. The public renunciation and “coming out of the closet” as protest as well as gestures of “solidarity” and “pride” mirror the LGBT movement.

Like LGBT still do in many parts of the world and until quite recently in Britain, those leaving Islam face violence, threats, discrimination, shunning and ostracisation. Many of our members continue to flee persecution and the death penalty, including for being LGBT and atheists.

By participating in Pride in London, CEMB hopes to highlight the persecution of LGBT under Islamic law, defend LGBT equality, and increase solidarity between ex-Muslims, Muslims and LGBT in defence of basic human rights.



Direct link to CEMB’s Pride in London page.

For more information please contact exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com or visit our website.


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