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14 March 2012: International Day of Action to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates

Just a reminder that today is the International Day of Action to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates.

As I said before, I will be marking the day by speaking at Queen Mary College on Sharia and Human Rights, which had been cancelled earlier due to Islamist threats.

What will you be doing to mark this day?

Post your actions and support here or on the Facebook page below.

Here is more information on the day and contact details where you can send your protests:

Countless individuals face threats, imprisonment, and execution because of their criticism of religion and religious authorities. Blasphemy and Apostasy laws as well as uncodified rules imposed by both state and non-state actors aim primarily to restrict thought and expression and limit the rights of Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Such rules exist in a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.

On 14 March 2012, we, the undersigned, are calling for simultaneous events and actions in defence of the critics of religion in order to highlight medieval laws and exert pressure to save the lives of the women and men facing execution, imprisonment or threats.

Whilst there are countless people awaiting punishment under these rules and regulations, we are highlighting ten such cases, namely:

Hamza Kashgari, Saudi Arabia: 23 year old Muslim, charged with blasphemy for tweeting about Mohammad and women’s status (Petition here)

Alex Aan, Indonesia: 30 year old atheist, charged with blasphemy for saying there is no god on Facebook

Asia Bibi, Pakistan: 45 year old mother of five, sentenced to death for blasphemy for ‘insulting Mohammad’

Yousef Nadarkhani, Iran: 34 year old sentenced to death for apostasy for converting to Christianity

Nabil Karoui, Tunisia: charged with ‘violating sacred values’ for showing the film Persepolis

Saeed Malekpour, Iran: sentenced to death for ‘insulting and desecrating Islam’

Muhammad Samiullah, Pakistan: 17 year old, charged with blasphemy, for ‘derogatory remarks’ about Mohammad on his exams

Adel Imam, Egypt: comic actor jailed for three months for ‘insulting Islam’

Sarwar Penjweni, Iraqi Kurdistan: threatened for researching Islam and Quranic texts.

Lanja Abdulla, Iraqi Kurdistan: Director of Warvin Foundation for Women Issues threatened at a public meeting for challenging religious authority

The success of this international day and the very lives of those it hopes to save depend on the intervention of each and every one of us.

We call on groups and individuals to take action on this day by organising a protest or vigil, setting up a table in a city centre, writing a letter, signing a petition, drawing a picture, taking a photo, making a video – anything at all – to highlight these medieval laws and rules, defend free expression and the women and men whose lives are at stake.

Your support, events and actions can be uploaded on our Facebook Page or in the comments section below.

You can also register your protests here below:

Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs E-mail

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs E-mail

Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kurdistan Regional Government-Kurdistan-Iraq

Egypt-Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tunisia- Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Initial signatories:
Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK
Evelyne Accad, Professor Emeritus University of Illinois and Lebanese American University, USA
Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Sargul Ahmad, Women Organization in Iraq, Canada
Mahin Alipour, Director, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
Evan Darraji, Writer and Artist, Iraq
Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
Deeyah, Music Producer, Norway/USA
Jani Diylan, Journalist, USA
Tarek Fatah, Muslim Canadian Council, Canada
Tahir Gora, Editor and Publisher, Canada
Laura Guidetti, Feminist Activist (Marea), Italy
Maria Hagberg, Chairperson of the Network against Honour Related Violence, Sweden/Iraq
Asos Hardi, Director of Awene newspaper, Kurdistan-Iraq
Farzaneh Hassan, Writer, Canada
Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism is a Women’s Issue, France
Sundas Hoorain, Pakistani Human Rights Lawyer, UK
Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Iraq
Monica Lanfranco, Journalist (Marea), Italy
Nahla Mahmoud, Director, Sudan: Non-Religious out loud, Sudanese Humanists Group, UK
against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK
Hassan Radwan, Management Committee, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, UK
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space, UK
Nina Sankari, European Feminist Initiative, Poland
Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Issam Shukri, Defence of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Canada
Fatou Sow, Women Living Under Muslims Laws, UK

Comments

    • ako khalilzada says

      God does not exist, this is my thought and believe so I have right to think as I want, I respect all religion from anyone, so You should have respect my thought then we can live together.

  1. says

    As an ex-muslim atheist I couldn’t be happier to see this event. The recent disturbing development of increased harassment, torture, jailing and murdering of ex-muslim atheists to the charges of apostasy and blasphemy against islam in muslim countries reminds me of nothing but a death cult which is slowly depriving us of our basic human rights such as freedom of speech and freedom to reject religious doctrines.

    There is someone who I think is missing from the list. Egyptian Ayman Yusef jailed for insulting Islam on facebook.

    • says

      I know there are too many missing from the list – we wanted to highlight ten though there are many more. We can gather these names and try and make sure they are highlighted too. Can you add the name to the facebook page too pls. thanks

  2. Jalil says

    You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. You have the right not to respect my believes and I have the right not to respect your believes. But I do respect and defend your right to express your believes and I expect you do the same. Believing or not believing in something and expressing your believes should not be criminalized but denying one’s right to express their thoughts should be considered as breach of law. I support International Day of Action to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates.

  3. federicobar says

    To ako khalilzada and jalil:

    Mutual respect would be the (golden) rule everybody should adhere to. But ‘everybody’ includes fundamentalists who, by definition, do not respect other convictions than their own. They refuse to give any serious thoughts to their beliefs. You cannot force a person, only HELP them to set his brain in gear. In other words, only when he really WANTS to start reasoning.

    Maryam: Your blog seems interesting to me, I will certainly visit it more often.

    Regards,

    Federico

  4. mariella says

    I am not against religion, I am against Islam. Islam is not a religion. It is a socio-political imperialist cult using religion as a mask. I support the International Day of Action to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates. Where do i sign?

    • Martyn N Hughes says

      Hi mariella,

      Just for clarification, ALL the Abrahamic religions are what you refer to as ‘socio-political imperialist cult[s]’.

      Or more precisely, political movements.

      Judaism was born to undermine goddess worship paganism of the time.

      When people had had enough of the angry god of the Torah, priests sought to soften the movement by incorporating the friendly Jesus into the arena.

      Jesus, is nothing but a rehashed version of an Egyptian god.

      Islam, is somewhat similar. A movement probably needed at the time of its inception giving the harsh daily realities of the day. In order for people to accept it though, it had to have a devine creator.

      Hence more incorporation of prophets and Jesus etc.

      All political. No devinity.

  5. says

    :More they blaspheme, more they praise God,” said Eckhart.
    Is it possible to blaspheme against Sufi view of God as Unity of Being?
    How can one blaspheme against Life and Sufi tradition identifies Muhammad with the Principle of Manifestation, with Life, Larger, Fuller Life?
    Nothing is reallly profane or merely itself according to poets of the world. All things exude the perfume of the sacred for those whose taste for transcendence has not been obscured. Or are you against politicization of the sacred?
    The fight for justice that lies at the heart of Marx’s project is itself premised on the sacrality of life, of freedom, of higher joys of spirit.
    Why not focus on aesthetic understanding of world that is at the heart of Sufi approach? And that is most respectful of the other and sees it as God’s disguise.
    I wonder how such a beautiful face as that of Maryam can’t be enough proof of life’s deeper meaning or rootedness in the Principle of Beauty. God is beauty. God is love. God is creativity. Muhammad is what unveils life’s secret as an adventure of life and quest for beauty.
    What about a Kashmiri Sufi saying that there is not an iota of difference between atheism and theism or belief and disbelief?
    God as one’s ultimate concern, as the faculty with which eyes see, as one’s own ideality, depth or subjectivity can’t be blasphemed against.
    Blasphemy is impossible. It is spitting on the Sun that my spirit represents.
    None can refuse Muhammad as the symbolic ground of all the finer joys and beauties of life.

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