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Jun 25 2012

An unnecessary provocation?

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s fifth anniversary celebration was absolutely fantastic. Here’s my speech.

Thank you for joining us on the fifth anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB).

People often ask why ex-Muslim?

Is it not an unnecessary provocation?

Provocation, yes, but unnecessary, no.

Islamists tell us this all the time. Don’t say you are an apostate, don’t invite others to apostasy and there need be no killings.

If anyone believes that – and trust me there are still people who do – then they still don’t know Islamism – this far-Right regressive movement…

They’ll say: don’t provoke. Don’t offend. Don’t criticise the veil, Sharia, Islam… and no one need get hurt.

But Islamists need no excuses.

If you’re a girl going to school in Afghanistan, you will have acid thrown in your face or be poisoned.

If you’re Hamza Kashgari in Saudi Arabia, you may face the death penalty for tweeting about Mohammad.

If you’re Hilath Rasheed in Maldives, you will have your throat cut for questioning Islam.

If you’re Alex Aan in Indonesia, you’ll face several years in prison for saying ‘there is no god’ on Facebook…

And 20 June is the anniversary that marks the slaughter of an entire generation in Iran. Many were killed after one minute ‘trials’ for responding ‘no’ to the question: ‘do you believe in god?’ Families were told to pay for the bullets that killed their loved ones before being given their bodies. Others were buried in mass graves.

Islamists need no excuses.

Of course, in a favourable climate of multiculturalism and cultural relativism – where are all values and beliefs are equal and equally valid – and for western public consumption, Islamists like to blame victims and dissenters for their barbarity.

We are the ‘aggressive atheists’ (compared at times with the Taliban no less) yet we are the ones who are being killed, imprisoned, threatened or forced to flee.

A lot of us can’t even say we are atheists/ex-Muslims, yet we are accused of denying people’s right to religion. Nonsense, we are fighting for a corresponding right to be free from religion. And any way, religion in the state, educational system and the Sharia ‘[in]justice system is not about a personal right to religion but about political power.

And this is a crucial point.

The Council of Ex-Muslims may be many things to many people. It may be a support system, via the Meet-up Group and Forum. It may be a helping hand to secure the right to asylum or find refuge and a safe home. For some it is important for its fight against multiculturalism and a false ‘homogeneous Muslim community’ or in defence of secularism and universal rights…

But first and foremost the CEMB is a challenge to political Islam. It is meant to shock and provoke.

Throughout history that is how barbarity has been pushed back – not by tiptoeing around it, accommodating it, appeasing it, tolerating it but by facing it head on.

Pragmatism never changed the world but we intend to.

Thank you.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin Alexander

    I only wish I could have been to hear you. Well done.

  2. 2
    ...

    We’ve had our blistering differences, but let me say that you do a damn fine job and I respect you and the Council tremendously for that. And if you are ever in trouble, you can count on my solidarity, to the hilt.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Yay. How I wish I could have been there – and hooray that it was fantastic and that it’s five years and for your speech.

    xxxxx

  4. 4
    davidb

    A fine speech.

    If you read, as I often do, the articles linked to on the British National Secular Society media feed, you will often find stories of Christians complaining of persecution because people object to them breaking a dress code at work, because they want to wear a cross that might be an accident hazard or vector for germs, or something of that ilk.

    Often in comments on such media stories one finds atheists commenting on how silly the claims of persecution are – sometimes me among them – and Christians complaining – especially in the Daily Fail and the Torygraph – that the powers that be will take on Christian privilege, though they don’t call it that. And further complain that atheists criticise the Christians, but never take on Islam.

    Sometimes perhaps there is an element of truth in that sort of criticism, and that is one reason of many why I think that both the CEMB and vocal atheist support of it from non Muslims is important.

    As an aside, Maryam, I’ve gained an impression from somewhere that it is very easy for Islamic organisations to gain charitable status, but that the CEMB neither has it nor can get it. And that there are financial implications to this.

    Can I ask you if that is the case, and, if so, to make a post on it at some point.

    I sign with my usual internet handle

    David B

    1. 4.1
      Maryam Namazie

      Yes David, CEMB has been refused charitable status. Here is information on it: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/2011/08/council-of-ex-muslims-of-britain-asks-charities-commission-if-restrictions-are-for-secular-and-atheist-groups-and-not-religious-ones/. Sharia courts on the other hand are charities as promoting religion is a charitable object but promoting secularism is not…

      1. Sarah

        Which Sharia courts? Specifically.

  5. 5
    birgerjohansson

    Congratulations! I was a bit afraid some loons would show up and try to crash the celebration, but apparently I was too pessimistic.
    BTW Sweden is a good place for ex-moslims, or ex-anything.

    1. 5.1
      Kristian from Copenhagen

      Yes Birger, especially Malmø, right?

  6. 6
    Ric

    Just stumbled across your site through a link on Cranmer and am most impressed! You talk a lot of good sense and obviously have done a lot of important work. You may not welcome support from a Jewish Zionist-Revisionist, but you have it from me!
    Do you have a campaign against FGM, which I consider is probably one of the worst evils inflicted on the innocent in the world today?
    Keep up the good work!

  7. 7
    Great American Satan

    CEMB – Still bad-ass. I especially like the line about changing the world. BTW, I came up with a “There is no god” tattoo design after one of your posts, but was worried it wasn’t grammatically correct or that I had mangled the letters. The design used Arabic. Then I had accidentally left my notebook open to that page and an arab fellow I work with confirmed it read perfectly. Hehe. I oughtta be more careful about that.

    -

  8. 8
    geocatherder

    GO, CEMB! There are many of us on the west side of the Pond that are rooting for you, too.

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    [...] estudantes ateus de faculdades de organizar clubes e abertamente assediar moralmente os ateus, e leis de blasfêmia em teocracias que colocam ateus na prisão e até os mesmo executam. Religião é como um castelo de cartas [...]

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    The courage to think | Maryam Namazie

    [...] In her closing address, Maryam Namazie said: Whilst CEMB is many things to many people… it is first and foremost a challenge to political Islam. It is meant to shock and provoke. Throughout history that is how barbarity has been pushed back – not by tiptoeing around it, accommodating it, appeasing it, tolerating it but by facing it head on.’ She went on to say: ’Pragmatism never changed the world but we intend to.’ You can read her full speech here. [...]

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    Report on successful CEMB 5th anniversary celebration | Secular News Daily

    [...] In her closing address, Maryam Namazie said: Whilst CEMB is many things to many people… it is first and foremost a challenge to political Islam. It is meant to shock and provoke. Throughout history that is how barbarity has been pushed back – not by tiptoeing around it, accommodating it, appeasing it, tolerating it but by facing it head on.’ She went on to say: ‘Pragmatism never changed the world but we intend to.’ You can read her full speech here. [...]

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    Why Are Believers Willfully Ignorant About Atheists? | Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] high school students from organizing clubs, and overt bullying and harassment of atheists, and blasphemy laws in theocracies that put atheists in prison and even execute them. Religion is like a house of cards — [...]

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    Not that kind of atheist | Maryam Namazie

    [...] and not principle – is such a large part of mainstream Humanism. As I’ve said in my recent speech at the fifth anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, pragmatism doesn’t change the world – it maintains the status quo. And we so [...]

  9. 19
    It is to shock and provoke | Maryam Namazie

    [...] You can read the speech here. Share this:FacebookRedditPress ThisEmailPrintStumbleUponDigg Posted in religion Tags: Council of Ex-Muslims « There are as many different Muslims as there are unfettered minds You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

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