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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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Warwick University Atheist Society

BREAKING NEWS 27 September 2015: Warwick Student Union has now approved the Warwick Atheists’ request to have me speak there and Isaac Leigh, President and Jacqui Clements, Chief Executive of the Warwick Student Union have issued a gracious apology that is very appreciated. The event will go ahead as planned. I am really excited that I will be able to speak to students there and am grateful for all the brilliant support from Warwick Atheists and from so many wonderful people listed below but also on social media.


I was invited to speak at Warwick University by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society on 28 October 2015. The University Student Union has declined the request for me to speak.
The Atheist group is of course appealing their decision, however, it’s important for me to comment briefly on the Student Union’s position. I will be writing a more detailed letter to the university to formally complain about the Student Union accusations against me after taking legal advice.

For now, though, suffice it to say that criticising religion and the religious-Right is not incitement of hatred against people. If anything, it’s the religious-Right, namely Islamism in this case, which incites hatred against those of us who dare to leave Islam and criticise it.

The Student Union seems to lack an understanding of the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other. Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.

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8th Anniversary Celebrations of CEMB Videos

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s 8th anniversary celebrations, London, 20 June 2015 Masters of Ceremony: Fariborz Pooya and Behzad Sandbad Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain held its 8th anniversary celebrations in London on 20 June 2015. Below are the videos of
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Nearly 200 signatories call to dismantle parallel legal systems

Nearly 200 signatories call to dismantle parallel legal systems
15 June 2015

Women’s rights and secular organisations urge the new government to take concerted measures to stop the development of parallel legal systems and to facilitate full and proper access to justice for all citizens and to one secular law for all.

For decades, successive governments have appeased undemocratic religious power brokers in minority communities who have sought to gain power through multicultural and now multi-faith social policies. These policies have led to the homogenisation of minority communities including the ‘Muslim community’ and have recognised and legitimated ‘non-violent’ Islamists as ‘community representatives’, outsourcing legal justice to what are in effect kangaroo courts that deliver highly discriminatory and second-rate forms of ‘justice.’ Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of ‘Sharia courts’ over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage.

Any government inquiry into ‘Sharia courts’ must also examine the impact of the draconian cuts in legal aid that have adversely affected access to justice for the most vulnerable. Many abused women from minority backgrounds, for instance, are increasingly forced to either represent themselves in court in what are often complex family legal proceedings or go to ‘Sharia courts’ that operate entirely outside the rule of law. The loss of legal aid contributes to a context that is conducive to the consolidation of privatised and unaccountable forms of justice and ‘Sharia courts’ are amongst the main beneficiaries.
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