Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims Britain

A British branch of a new Europe-wide phenomenon is to be launched on Thursday 21 June in London. The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain is building on the stunning success of other branches already operating in Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The British Humanist Association and National Secular Society are sponsoring the launch and support the new organisation.

The Council will provide a voice for those labelled Muslim but who have renounced religion and do not want to be identified by religion.

Rights activist Maryam Namazie will be the voice of the organisation in this country. She said: “We are establishing the alternative to the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain because we don’t think people should be pigeonholed as Muslims or deemed to be represented by regressive organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain. Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism. We are quite certain we represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.”

Mina Ahadi who initiated the original Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany will be attending the launch. She spoke about the aims of the organisation in an interview to Der Spiegel.

Mina Ahadi, Mahin Alipour (spokesperson of the Scandinavian organisation), Maryam Namazie and others will be available for interviews at the launch.

Ends

The launch will be at 11am (until midday), Thursday 21 June
Wilson Room
Portcullis House
Westminster SW1A 2LW

A manifesto explaining the aims of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain follows.

For more information please contact:
Maryam Namazie
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX, UK
e-mail: ex-muslimcouncil@ukonline.co.uk
telephone: 07719166731


Manifesto of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

We, non-believers, atheists, and ex-Muslims, are establishing or joining the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain to insist that no one be pigeonholed as Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by regressive Islamic organisations and 'Muslim community leaders'.

Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law.

By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism.

Whilst religion or the lack thereof is a private affair, the increasing intervention of and devastation caused by religion and particularly Islam in contemporary society has necessitated our public renunciation and declaration. We represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.

Taking the lead from the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, we demand:

1. Universal rights and equal citizenship for all. We are opposed to cultural relativism and the tolerance of inhuman beliefs, discrimination and abuse in the name of respecting religion or culture.
2. Freedom to criticise religion. Prohibition of restrictions on unconditional freedom of criticism and expression using so-called religious 'sanctities'.
3. Freedom of religion and atheism.
4. Separation of religion from the state and legal and educational system.
5. Prohibition of religious customs, rules, ceremonies or activities that are incompatible with or infringe people's rights and freedoms.
6. Abolition of all restrictive and repressive cultural and religious customs which hinder and contradict woman's independence, free will and equality. Prohibition of segregation of sexes.
7. Prohibition of interference by any authority, family members or relatives, or official authorities in the private lives of women and men and their personal, emotional and sexual relationships and sexuality.
8. Protection of children from manipulation and abuse by religion and religious institutions.
9. Prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.
10. Prohibition of all forms of religious intimidation and threats.
Maryam Namazie

37 comments:

Southpawpunch said...

It's an interesting initiative. It's very noticeable that a forced religious indentity has been forced on some.

Someone emigrating from say East Bengal in 1945 to the UK will have variously have been described by the UK government as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, coloured, black, Asian and now most probably will be called a Muslim - despite any views they may have about the faith of their fathers.

No-one calls me, or anyone else white a 'Christian' unless we chose to identify ourselves as such.

Graeme said...

Very good, and needed.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Oh dear, this is fraught with danger in the current political climate; it looks like denouncing via renouncing.

CB said...

Unreformed Islam is anachronistic and incompatible with modern, pluralistic, representative government. Religion, per se, however, isn't hostile to this notion.

Aayan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji are the most salient former and current Muslim voices respectively, I have encountered on the subject of unreformed Islam. Maryam is throwing the baby (religion) out with the bath water (Islam) is part of a broader agenda, I suspect. Aayan Hirsi Ali points out, for example, it isn't the Jews in Israel or Christians who distribute the Protocols of the Elders of Zion from madrassas in Europe and America. Nevertheless, it is a courageous stance to take given the proclivity toward violence against all acts of heresy, real or perceived, by the "faithful."

Puppeteer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Puppeteer said...

As an apostate ex-Muslim ex-Christian currently out-loud proclaimed atheist living and BEING RESPECTED in a Muslim majority country, I find this thing outrageously childish.

berty said...

I applaud the bravery of these authentic voices of dissent.

Liberal White Boy said...

Is this just for ex-Muslims or can the rest of us rational human beings i.e. ex-Christians, ex-Jews, ex-Hindus etc. join in also? Sounds like the beginning of an international constitution.

Reidski said...

Sounds fucking ace - good on 'em. And so horrible to have to say ... brave of them also! Anyone who critices such an organisation is an idiot.

Té la mà Maria said...

we continue visiting your blog
greetings from Catalonia

John Brown said...

Thanks again for your regular Islamophobic rant, Maryam.

Good to see that you can stay on message.

Thankfully you have the time to vilify Islam even while your beloved Union Jack slaughters babies in Iraq and Afghanistan and sucks off Apartheid Israel.

How pathetic that this drivel passes for serious conversation on the left, Ren, while the White Judeo-Christian world enslaves, massacres, and genocides the entire planet.

How about a post on the the massive boycott throughout England of all goods produced in Apartheid Israel, Ren? That's a hell of a lot more newsworthy than a bunch of reactionary Zionists spinning this silly fake-campaign out of whole cloth.

CB said...

John,

I'm certainly happy to see that your Judeo-Christian task masters controlled by their apartheid loving, kosher diet eating, Sabbath keeping, yamulke wearing, blood of Arab children drinking overlords allowed you time out of your shackles to enter your contribution to this thread...I'm sure it was just a pause on their way to kill more Iraqi children and oppress some more Palestinians and keep them from expressing their religion of peace, just before beheading an infidel. Allahu Akbar

Liberal White Boy said...

cb

"controlled by their apartheid loving, kosher diet eating, Sabbath keeping, yamulke wearing, blood of Arab children drinking overlords"

Yes this is good cb, spit out that nasty zionist worm thats been eating at your intestines. Come join the human race. Stay at it brother, you are almost there.

CB said...

Yes LWB,

I must genitally mutilate the women, force them to wear the hijab and stone them if they are caught in the presence of a man not their husband or son.

As for those other sons of Abraham, from the line of Issac, "the chosen of God," how dare they suggest that the Prophet Mohammed, Peace be upon him, was a child molestor because he married a 14 year old girl. I will "choose" them, but I am too valuable to go myself, I will send my 12 year old son strapped with bombs to bring the infidels to their knees, just after I find reguge in my shelter...Allahu Akbar

John Brown said...

Given all the pedophiles and rapist politicians running Apartheid Israel (their recently deposed President, for example), you don't have to go back to Muhammed if it's demented sexual perversion you're after, do you CB?

All you need to do is look at the Zionist fake state... right here and right now.

Liberal White Boy said...

I will not be sucked into the fraud CB, that is your department.

Renegade Eye said...

Southpaw: It's about time you commented at my blog. I've been starting to think the UK left hates me.

Craig: Leaving Islam is harder than quitting your church or synagogue. There is a reason for her group.

John Brown: Maryam is not one of the clash of civilizations group. She is a leader of a communist group with comrades in Iraq and Iran. Her group is playing an active role against mullahs in Iran, and opposing imperialist intervention. My blog doesn't have reactionary writers.

I will post soon on the Israeli boycott. My position is different than you'd expect.

Maryam: I'm not against the group or the program. I question you leading it. The question is for me, is what does this mean as a socialist? How do you fight for democratic rights from a class perspective?

reidski: Nice surprise you commented.

Puppeteer said...

Renegade,

I don't agree with you. Quiting Islam is as easy as anything. One only need to be convinced. I am happy when hearing that our (atheist) number is increasing, that means also a bigger chance for humanity turning to more rational thinking.
What I don't understand is this defying ostentacious way they express their Islamophobia. In my book, they're not much different than those raging defying raving mullahs they pretend to be fighting.
And the other thing is the way ex-Muslim sounds, or is being used. I don't know, but they make it sounds like some shameful disease, like as if they're saying "I'm an ex-syfilis" or ex-leper.

sonia said...

Puppeteer,

ex-Muslim (...) I don't know, but they make it sounds like some shameful disease, like as if they're saying "I'm an ex-syfilis" or ex-leper.

Good observation. Now ask yourself WHY they are saying that. Maybe, just maybe, there is a good reason for it...

Ren,

I question you leading it (...) what does this mean as a socialist? How do you fight for democratic rights from a class perspective?

You sound like a Communist Party ideologue-in-chief... Don't tell me Mikhail Suslov got reincarnated...

CB said...

Ren,

I acknowledged the difficulty they face leaving Islam, which is not permitted by their "faith," puppet's derision notwithstanding.'

Your question to Maryam sort of gets at the cross purposes I see in her statement (albeit we have a different take). It don't think it serves her well to at once rail against religion in general because of her experience with Islam, because that experience doesn't address religion, it addresses the strain that is Islam.

She's trying too hard and not connecting the dots. It is apparent she is an atheist and socialist and seeks support for that position as one of "reason." But this is as logically inconsistent as Trotsky's statement in Mexico just before his death about being a dialectial materialist and therefore, an atheist - atheism does not logically follow from dialectical materialism, even though that's what Marx chose for himself.

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with what she says except with respect to Islam, but she would help herself and her message by sticking to one thing at a time or at least linking two things that logically follow from one another. She won't leave people scratching their heads like she has even though she's taking what I think is a courageous stand against unreformed Islam.

CB said...

If I am unclear about the logical inconsistency, think of it this way. Charlie Parker was the greatest saxaphonist to ever pick up a horn. He was also a heroine addict. Because of his greatness, a whole generation of jazz artists started popping smack as if that was the reason for Bird's greatness.

The heroine wasn't what contributed to his greatness, it was what caused his premature death. The logical inconsistency for the musicians that Parker=great musician, Parker=heroine addict therefore If I want to be a great musician, I must too be a heroine addict.

This reasoning is what plagues Maryam's approach to Islam, religion and socialism.

Puppeteer said...

For all pundits, swalow this:
Lived in Middle East?
No.
Been to Middle East?
No.
Been to Muslim country?
No.
Know any Arabs?
No.
Know any Muslims?
No.
Got any universty/college degree in political studies/history/Middle freaking East?
My guess: No.

First rule in Diplomacy you so much adore (as long as it's far away and you don't have to resort to it) is talking. Talking, not parroting. First you talk, learn, then judge. Oh, I forgot, your foreign policy is "Nuke them, then ask questions", provide you find their mouths in the nuclear dust.

Renegade Eye said...

See Head To Toe Veils.

Renegade Eye said...

My blog was attacked with racist, pornographic spam. I know the perpetuator will find it hilarious, that I opened the link at a public library, where children could possibly see it.

I won't let my blog go to hell, without taking down an enemy blog.

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Renegade, my blog was attacked by porn spammers in January as well, but survived it. Some people hate us progressive activists to the extent they cant tolerate our progressive ideas.

Now the funny about people indorsing ex-Muslims (I promote secular thoughts) if Jews promote ex-Jews idea, they would be tagged anti-Semite.

John Brown said...

CB makes some good points:

If M's gonna arbitrarily attack Islam, why not attack Christianity, too? After all, she's right there in London; outside of Rome, I can think of no better place for a Crusade against the bloody legacy of Christian Imperialism.

On the pervert front, Ren:
The same guys have hit my blog pretty hard.

The Beak's not directly involved here, I don't think, but he's responsible for plugging BEAMISH's disgusting crap on the website.

Tula 49 said...

I am sorry to hear that the blog has been attacked by spammers. Then again, they will do anything to take progressive sites down. A sign of fear I think.

I think that it is an interesting organization. It isn't really an Islamophobic one. It merely seems to take a stance against reactionary fundamentalist forms.

I do agree with Renegade Eye's question of Maryam leading it, though.

The Pagan Temple said...

Why shouldn't Maryam lead this group? Isn't she an ex-Muslim herself? If so, what better person to lead it? From what I got out of it, she isn't attacking Islam as a faith, she is attacking the more fundamentalist elements of it that oppress their people, especially their women. As well as the shit they lay on their own kids.

What I also got out of it was that she is demanding governments such as Britain not condone their actions, or allow the radical groups to speak for all people of Muslim heritage, whether they want them to or not.

I never read anything that sounded like she was saying "outlaw Islam". Just that the government should respect the rights of those that want to leave the faith to do so and should not protect, promote or endorse the same fundamentalist factions that would attack them for doing so.

If she was once a Muslim I would guess she knows how they are better than most. She certainly has the right to demand that they follow the same laws as everybody else and not be granted special rights and privileges based on their religion, which is something else I got out of her post.

She's a hell of a lot more tolerant than I would be towards them, I'll tell you that. My tolerance is zero with those fucking people.

It's going to take real demonstrable and provable change on their part to convince me to feel otherwise, not the words of whining apologists attacking a woman who is at least TRYING to make a difference.

LeftyHenry said...

sounds like a very progressive initiative to me

Renegade Eye said...

I'm not opposed to the work the organization does, or its goals.

I'm coming from this perspective. Maryam is a leader of an Iranian based Marxist group. Iran is facing possible US/Israeli invasion. Her group has duties to work against the intervention, at the same time overthrow reactionaries at home.

Having a program that puts demands on governments, educates and builds confidence in your political base, is what Marxists do.

John Brown said...

Apparently there's a bunch of people who think they can just shut off their comments and be free of me and my pictures.

But, I'm going to keep posting them, because I fight censorship!

And, because I love all of you, you can join my blog right now!

sonia said...

Ren,

Her group has duties to work against the intervention.

It is not up to an AMERICAN like you, Ren, to tell anybody what their duties are. If Iranian Marxists want to encourage foreign interventions, they certainly have that right. A true German Marxist certainly encourages foreign intervention in 1933-1945. Iraqi arxists supported US removal of Saddam Hussein, for example. When you're drowning, you will even hang on to a open razor...

Overthrow reactionaries at home....

If I remember well, that was the advise that Stalin gave to German Communists when they were fleeing Germany and tried to come to the Soviet Union. He usually deported them back...

Having a program that puts demands on governments, educates and builds confidence in your political base, is what Marxists do.

No. Marxists overthrow repressive governments BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. In case of Iranian Marxists, that might even mean working with the Americans (or the devil himself).

I think you're confusing Marxist ideology with anti-American paranoia. They are not the same thing. Right now, objectively speaking, the West in general is more 'Marxist' than any Third World country (from China to Iran to Zimbabwe). The true reactionaries are Third World dictators. The workers are oppressed more in the Third World than in the West. Marxist revolutions will inevitably come to those countries first.

And if you discourage them from organizing those revolutions because of your paranoid anti-Americanism, then you're not a real Trotskyist.

Mohamed A. H. said...

Ooo yes! the council of ex-muslims! Whatever that might mean. Those folks are in the business of making things seem unlike what they are. The problems of the middle east are everything other than people's inability to leave islam! how does the proclaimed brutality o Islam compare with the 100s of millions killed by western hands in the past century alone?

It is an age old business to take practices of small groups in any community and claim it to be a universal problem and brush the whole group with it! this is how Islam is being fought today..regularly! This whole thing seems childish and utterly rubbish! Another group finding a business opportunity, just Islam bashing and then cashing!

Renegade Eye said...

John Brown2: I'm too much of a tormented soul to sign on to another blog. I did find humor there. I'm not sure if I should be flattered.

Mohamed: I know you are a progressive person. I think if you read more of Maryam's writing, you'd agree with much of what she says.

Sonia: Maryam's group is against outside intervention.

I agree several of the corrupt third world governments, as Zimbabwe's, are ripe for change. I've been looking to add an African writer.

Maryam's group has been doing outstanding work, making public the plight of Iranians, particularly political prisoners, and trade unionists.

I didn't ask her to do anything that wasn't already in her party's program. I was asking how things are tied together by her party, and how the new group fits in as part of the whole?

Nadia A. said...

Sorry, Ren, for missing a lot of the discussion. I've been a bit busy lately.

Southpaw: No-one calls me, or anyone else white a 'Christian' unless we chose to identify ourselves as such.
SP- Actually, I beg to differ here. Being in Fargo, North Dakota, and living my high school years in a small, all-Christian town, people commonly assume that you are Christian all the time. And I'm not even very white, I was the darkest person in school, apart from my brother.

Ren-
I agree that it is hard to leave Islam. If I remember, there is even something in the Qu'ran that alludes to the blame being placed on the father and brothers of a female who denounces Islam or marries an "infidel." Or maybe that is just a Saudi thing...
The effect of someone leaving can lead to extremes of a type of "excommunication" from "the family"(my own male cousin told me how "the family" very is displeased.)

When I was younger, from just trying to argue to my parents about the ideologoly of Islam, I got severely threatened that I was to be sent back to the K.S.A (and even got very close once at age 14, according to an aunt).

Also, Another, total extreme would be an honor killing.

fatima said...

If I remember, there is even something in the Qu'ran that alludes to the blame being placed on the father and brothers of a female who denounces Islam or marries an "infidel." Or maybe that is just a Saudi thing...
---------------
Nadia , i think it is a saudi thing


Quran 10:108 Proclaim: "O people, the truth has come to you herein from your Lord. Whoever is guided is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray, goes astray to his own detriment

Anonymous said...

滿.............................................