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Victory for free expression and end-year celebrations

Our spokesperson Maryam Namazie finally spoke at Warwick University and Trinity College Dublin this month after her talk was barred by the Student Union at Warwick and cancelled by the student group at TCD due to “concerns.” You can read and watch her speech on “Apostasy, Blasphemy and Free Expression in the Age of ISIS” here.

A huge thank you to all the wonderful people who protested the initial decisions and defended free expression. You can see some of the widespread support, including from the National Secular Society, Ben Goldacre, Brian Cox, Gita Sahgal, Julie Bindel, Kate Smurthwaite, Maajid Nawaz, Marieme Helie Lucas, Pragna Patel, Richard Dawkins and Salman Rushdie here.

There’s a comprehensive 30 minute BBC Radio Scotland interview with Maryam on the Warwick University affair, Islam, Islamism and Muslims as well as free expression and the Left for further background on the issues.
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Covering your Internet Tracks Leaflet

Updated 18 June 2015

These suggestions are primarily aimed at a British audience. However the majority apply to people across the globe that find themselves in need of greater security, privacy and anonymity for their electronic communications. They assume that your computer is running a version of Microsoft Windows, but again the suggestions can apply to other operating systems that have similar software.

There is no such thing as a 100% secure communication over an electronic medium such as the global internet or telephony network. Many of the suggestions here do provide varying levels of security, privacy and anonymity (SPA). When these tools are implemented properly and used in conjunction with each other, you will greatly improve your personal SPA. By covering your tracks, you can reduce your chances of being on the receiving end of any unpleasantness. Needless to say, great care must be taken in your communications. Even with all the security in place, your SPA can still be compromised by the use of weak passphrases, the opening of attachments from unknown senders and careless revelations of identifiable details. The user (ie. you) is often the weakest link. Do stay safe by practising safe computing.

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Counter-Dawah Project

A new counter-dawah project is seeking individuals interested in working with it or supporting it. Dawah (calling to Islam) is a huge industry which sometimes uses misinformed or misleading arguments that largely go unchallenged. When the U.K.-based dawah charity iERA
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Important events and updates

Hello I hope you are well. UPCOMING EVENTS We wanted to write and remind you about our upcoming events and speaking engagements. In the coming weeks, we will be speaking at Everybody Reading Festival in Leicester, Trinity College Dublin (after
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On Salah al Bander’s hate campaign against Nahla Mahmoud: Police and Lib Dems must act

nahlaThe Liberal Democrats member and the former councillor, Salah al Bander, who led the Takfir/Hate campaign against Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud last year is now back with other death threats.

In last week’s ‘A View Point’ which al Bander hosts (episode No 109 also available on his Facebook page), he discusses ‘Extremism and ISIS’ within the Sudanese Diaspora in the UK and says that Nahla Mahmoud is an extremist as dangerous as ISIS.

The show is in Arabic as was his previous Takfir/Hate campaign.  He is still using “double-speak” – saying one thing in English to dupe his English speaking audience and another in Arabic. His speech in Arabic clearly incites hatred against Nahla who has merely expressed her views, promoted freethought and secularism and lived a life of her choosing. Al-Bander shamefully compares her to ISIS, which kills people like Nahla every day, whilst he himself promotes Islamist ideas of hate, misogyny and the targeting of apostates not very different from that of ISIS.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged at the callous disregard for the safety and well being of one of our activists and calls on the Lib Dems to investigate this incident of hate speech  – properly for a change.

We are also fed up of the police’s inaction when it comes to threats against apostates and call on them to investigate and reopen Nahla’s case against al Bander. This is the third incident reported to the police against al Bander without any action taken.

Calling someone Murtad/ Kafir/Zindeeq, claiming they have “insulted Islam” and targeting them within a context where Islamists and Islamic states kill and threaten freethinkers is a direct threat and a form of hate speech.

CEMB calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of those who are deemed apostates. People, including Muslims, must have the right to express dissent and leave Islam without threats, and fear of their lives.
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The Netherlands: Asylum for Fauzia Ilyas

Ms Fauzia Ilyas, who founded Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan (AAAP) affiliated to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, has been forced to flee to the Netherlands after a Lahore court initiated criminal proceedings under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and issued an arrest warrant. Her ex-husband has custody of her 8 year old daughter because she had left Islam.

Fauzia’s colleague, A. Gilani, who is the current spokesperson for AAAP, is also in hiding in Pakistan.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain urges the Dutch government to grant Fauzia protection. Her life and freedom are at risk if she were to be returned to Pakistan.

Moreover, the Pakistani government must end the persecution of those exercising their freedom of expression and belief. There is no place for blasphemy laws in this day and age.
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In defence of Bangladeshi Bloggers

Here’s a joint letter in defence of Bangladeshi Bloggers signed by Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and affiliates. You can see updated signatories here.

To Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Abdul Hamid,

We, concerned members of the blogging and activist community of Bangladesh and internationally, along with representatives of human rights organisations and other civil society organisations and supporters, wish to protest in the strongest possible terms the institutional attack on Bangladeshi citizens who profess humanist, atheist or secularist views.

In the last two years, five bloggers (variously identifying as humanist, rationalist, atheist, and variously writing about science, humanist values, against Islamist extremism, or in favour of human rights and justice) have been murdered, hacked to death by assailants acting for fundamentalist militant groups (according to their own claims of responsibility). These victims are: Ahmed Rajib Haider, the science author Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das, and Niladri Chatterjee (pen name Niloy Neel). Four of these murders have occurred since February this year. In other cases, individuals like Jafar Munshi and Anjali Devi have been killed for alleged or perceived acts of ‘defamation of religion’, such as refusing to enforce hijab on students. And since 2013, supporters of the Shahbag movement and the war crimes justice process (the accused being Islamist leaders) have also been brutally murdered by similar Islamist entities. The victims include: Ashraful Alam, Arif Raihan Deep, Nurul Islam Faruki, Jagat Jyoti Talukder, Jakaria Babu.

The murderers and their ideological supporters are of course to be condemned and must be brought to justice.
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CEMB Official Meet-Ups, Coffee Mornings and Events

2014 Conference: Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
Date: Saturday-Sunday 11-12 October 2014
Venue: The Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LD

Don’t miss 2014’s historic conference. Register now to get the special early bird rates. Purchase your tickets today!

Join notable secularists for a two-day international conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights during 11-12 October 2014 at the Tower Hotel in London.

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