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New research highlights social stigma faced by apostates from Islam

Simon Cottee of the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, has written a ground-breaking new book which suggests that Muslims leaving Islam in western societies face psychological trauma from social stigma as opposed to physical intimidation.

The book, entitled “The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam”, represents the first in-depth research study into the social dynamics of Islamic apostasy in the West.

Based on in-depth life-history interviews with ex-Muslims from the UK and Canada, including members of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s forum, Cottee explains the process by which Muslims leave Islam and become irreligious – and how this transformation impacts upon their lives.

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Stop executing “apostates” and “blasphemers” and release them now!

On 22 February 2015, a Saudi court sentenced a man in his twenties to death by beheading for apostasy. The identity of the man has not been made public but, according to Al-Shabaka, he was arrested last year and is charged with becoming an atheist and insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, on social media.

This heinous ruling comes against the backdrop of the recent attacks on freedom of expression in Paris and Copenhagen. Whilst the Saudi government hypocritically condemned the Paris massacre as a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”, it condemned a man to death for similar “crimes” only a matter of weeks later. This ruling follows the recent case of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment for a website promoting public discussion of religion and politics which has been deemed “insulting to Islam”.
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COMPETITION: A POSTER AGAINST HATE

poster_competition_bannerThe Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is pleased to announce the 2015 Poster Against Hate Competition.

We believe that everyone should be free to speak up about their ideas. Freedom of expression includes the right to offend and to criticize, and even mock what is considered taboo and sacred. This can include religion and Islam. However, free expression is very different from hate speech against minorities, immigrants, Muslims and ex-Muslims. Everyone must be free to express themselves, without fear, threats, social pressure or coercion. For many, though, criticism of religion and Islam is met with threats and intimidation. Accusations of “infidel”, “kafir”, “murtad” are examples of hate speech against ex-Muslims and should be recognised as such. The Poster Competition aims to aid our campaign in support of free expression whilst also exposing hate speech, which threatens those who dare to speak up and also creates a climate of censorship and silence.

Designers are welcome to also send in designs of posters in support of one law for all, against Sharia courts and the religious-Right and for secularism.

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Press Release: Much needed 7 February Conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism

PRESS RELEASE
6 FEBRUARY 2015

Secularists will be gathering on 7 February 2015 in London for a day conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism. The event follows an historic conference in October 2014 on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights.

Speakers at tomorrow’s sold-out conference will discuss freedom of expression, apostasy and blasphemy laws, Islamism and the religious-Right, as well as Sharia in the law, educational system and public policy. They will also highlight the successful campaigns against the Law Society and Universities UK and pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo and the many Muslims, ex-Muslims and others who have been killed or persecuted for their dissent.

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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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After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those Fighting the Religious-Right

1908487_10205228738736122_6331463129153098_nAfter the massacre in Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, expressing indignation, as so many are doing, is not enough.

A quick look at the English-speaking media shows that whilst many condemn the violence itself, they also assert that Charlie Hebdo courted (and maybe deserved?) a strong response from “Muslims”. Charlie’s regular cartoonists did not spare Islam, any other religion, nor fanatics and bigots.

This trend in the media requires our attention. Apparently secularists, agnostics and atheists must keep silent and do not deserve the kind of respect that believers are entitled to; nor can they enjoy free speech to the same degree.

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Charlie Hebdo: Rage and Solidarity

la-nouvelle-une-de-charlie-hebdo-sorti-ceI6HTgMy message to Charlie Hebdo’s editor in chief, Gerard Biard:

Dear Gerard

I spoke on a panel with you in November last year at the International Feminist and Secular Network in Paris.

I am writing to express my outrage at the cold-blooded murder of freethinkers at Charlie Hebdo today and to give my unequivocal support.

Freedom of expression and the criticism of religion and Islam are basic rights. Clearly, free expression without the right to criticise religion is meaningless. Throughout history, criticism of religion (that which is deemed sacred or taboo) has been intrinsic to human progress.

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Support Council of Ex-Muslims in 2015

We’ve had a brilliant year, thanks to your support. In 2015, we aim to continue supporting ex-Muslims and challenging apostasy laws whilst exposing hate speech like “kafir” and “murtad” and raising awareness on the special plight of ex-Muslim women.

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DON’T MISS: Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism Conference, London

On 7 February 2015 join Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism Day-Conference near London Kings Cross. 9:30am registration. From 10:30am-5:30pm.

The conference will include panel discussions and speeches on the situation of ex-Muslims in Britain and internationally, Islamism and the religious-Right, Sharia in the law, educational system and public policy, as well as the veil and burqa.

Speakers will pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo, discuss the successful campaigns against the Law Society and Universities UK and how the fight for equal rights and an end to discrimination against ex-Muslims are integral to the urgent fight against Islamism and the religious-Right and for a secular society.
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