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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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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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17 June Day of Action for Raif Badawi

raifActivist and blogger Raif Badawi was first arrested on 17 June 2012. Three years later he remains in prison on charges that are politically motivated. To mark the third anniversary of his arrest we are holding a Day of Action here in London.

Raif Badawi had already spent almost two years in prison before being convicted in May 2014 for ‘insulting Islam’ and founding a liberal website. He received a fine of 1 million riyals (£175,000) and a ten-year prison sentence. In addition, the court in Jeddah sentenced Badawi to 1,000 lashes.

On 9 January 2015, after morning prayers, Badawi was flogged 50 times. This punishment was due to continue every Friday until he had received a total of 1,000 lashes. However, subsequent floggings have not gone ahead, initially because Badawi was deemed not to have recovered sufficiently from the previous punishment. No explanation has been given for the postponement of further floggings. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has now announced its decision to uphold this draconian sentence.

Meanwhile, Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abulkhair, is serving 15 years in prison, for his peaceful activism.

We call for Raif Badawi’s sentence of flogging to be overturned, as well as for his conviction to be quashed.

We demand that the Saudi authorities release Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair immediately.

We urge the UK government to cease providing arms to the Saudi government whilst it continues to abuse human rights.

Join us.
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Letter from Amal Farah

Dear Maryam and CEMB members, It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I write to tender my resignation with immediate effect from my position as co-spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. The decision is due
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Join us to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the CEMB

Join us for appetisers, drinks, music, speeches and laughs to celebrate the CEMB’s 8th anniversary.

Saturday 20 June 2015, 1500-1800 Hours near London Kings Cross

Speakers and acts include:
Philosopher A C Grayling
Singer Alya Marquardt
Secular activist Aliyah Saleem
Ex-Muslims North Founder Behzad Sandbad
London Black Atheists Clive Aruede and Lola Tinubu
Bread and Roses TV Host Fariborz Pooya
Centre for Secular Space Director Gita Sahgal
Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco Founder Imad Iddine Habib
Comedian Kate Smurthwaite
Women’s Rights Activist Magdulien Abaida
Maajid Nawaz, Founder of Quilliam Foundation
CEMB Spokesperson Maryam Namazie
Master Magician Neil Edwards
Southall Black Sisters Director Pragna Patel
Women’s Rights Activist Rumana Hashem
National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson

Tickets: £18 (waged); £10 (unwaged)

To register, please email your name and mobile number to exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com.

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Council of Ex-Muslims: We need to do more with your support

As you know, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was established in 2007 to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam and religion. We have done this by challenging apostasy and blasphemy laws and facilitating a public renunciation of Islam and a rise in atheism. We have also been there for many ex-Muslims facing persecution by Islamists or family members – around 300 a year – including one-on-one support. Our web-forum has given thousands a network to rely on, including threads in Arabic and Urdu. The ex-Muslim movement has grown tremendously since our establishment with affiliated councils in a number of countries such as France, Turkey and Morocco.

The CEMB’s campaigning work (with One Law for All and other allies) is also finally paying off. Atheism has been recognised in Britain as a grounds for asylum with legal decisions no longer guided by whether the apostasy can be kept private. Also, the Law Society has withdrawn its discriminatory Guidance on Sharia wills and Universities UK has taken back its guidance endorsing gender segregation. Sharia courts are now being scrutinised after many years of silence and appeasement.

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Support 24 year old Esha in Pakistani prison charged with blasphemy

4135696_1428760585.3251“Esha” a 24 year old woman has been cut off from the world in her prime and is languishing in a Pakistani prison for the last three years on false charges of blasphemy brought against her by her best friend after they had an argument. She stands accused of having torn pages from the Qur’an and having slept on them. Although there have been several hearings, her trial is still pending for a complex variety of reasons – one of them being that there have been five different judges, each fearing for his life.

Blasphemy is a serious offence in a deeply religious country like Pakistan and punishable by death. Blasphemy laws have been used to persecute minorities like the Christians or to settle personal scores. Several prominent people have been killed for supporting those accused of blasphemy. Only recently a Christian couple were burnt alive for allegedly desecrating the Qur’an.

Please donate towards a Save Esha Fund as generously as you can. The money will be used to pay legal fees and welfare costs.
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