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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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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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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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