Stop persecution of worker activists and political prisoners in Iran. Free them now!

The regime in Iran has again stepped up its persecution of worker activists – from more arrests to harassment of those already in jail and their families. These activists are in prison purely for their trade union activities. They must be freed immediately and unconditionally.

Reza Shahabi is a leader of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company. He has been in prison for the past two and a half years. Shahabi suffers from a number of ailments, and since last week in protest against denial of proper medical care has begun a hunger strike and is also refusing medicines. There are now serious concerns for his health.

Five members of the workers’ organisation the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Set Up Labour Organisations have been arrested in the city of Bokan in the West of Iran. They are: Jamal Mina Shiri, Ebrahim Mostafa Poor, Ghasem Mostafa Poor, Hadi Tanomand and Mohammad Karimi. Their families, who have been protesting outside the Intelligence Ministry, have been told that the detained activists will remain in prison for another week.

Pedram Nassrollahi, a member of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Set Up Labour Organisations, has had a third court hearing where his 19-month sentence has been confirmed. He has also been moved to solitary confinement and is currently incommunicado. [Read more…]

Iran: Worker campaigners start sit-in outside the National Assembly

Workers behind a petition protesting low pay and deterioration of the labour law today started a sit-in outside the National Assembly in the capital Tehran, according to the Free Union of Iranian Workers. The petition, which has been circulating across the industries in Iran since this summer, has so far attracted over 30,000 signatures. Prior to the start of the sit-in at 10am this morning local time, the co-ordinators of the campaign submitted a letter and the last 10,000 batch of the collected signatures to the Labour Ministry. The campaigners have said that if their calls for pay rise and the scrapping of the amendment to the labour law and other welfare demands go unheeded, they will call on other workers to join the sit-in protest.

The full text of the petition is reprinted below. [Read more…]

One Law for All’s ‘Sounds of Freedom’ Song Competition –calling for entries.

One Law for All is inviting musicians and songwriters to create and submit their original material for a song competition.

‘Change comes about by breaking taboos and pushing aside that which is deemed sacred and art is such an important way of doing this’ –Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All

Song entries should be focused on issues that relate to the work ‘One Law for All’ is engaged with, discussing themes like religion, freedom, secularism, Sharia law, equal rights & religious arbitration. [Read more…]

A warning to European Secularists

European Secularists are quick to say Egypt has “turned out exactly as they predicted” even whilst Egyptians continue to battle the Islamists on the streets.

A warning to you:

If you focus only on political Islam, you will not be able to see the resistance and dissent even when it is staring you in the face.

How can you play your role in supporting secularists if you are already conceding defeat on everyone’s behalf?

The battle continues. Where are you in it?

Why I Left Islam Live Show

On December 15th at 9PM GMT/UK time The Jinn And Tonic Show will be discussing the subject “Why I left Islam.” The panel will consist of a small number of atheists and a Muslim, Akber Chaudhry.

This live show will feature calls in from ex-Muslims who are going to talk about why they decided to abandon Islam and their experiences in doing so. A number of ex-Muslims have already agreed to call in and it will also be possible for viewers (of any religious/non-religious position) to call in and ask questions / tell their story on the day via Skype. If you are an ex-Muslim or a Muslim convert and wish to reserve a position in the call-in queue in advance then email and include your SkypeID + what you would like to discuss.

This should be a very interesting show, so don’t miss it!

The show will be broadcast here.

Recordings of previous shows are available here.

Join us for 11 December end-year drinks

This is a reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday 11 December 2012 from 18:30-20:00 Hours, members and supporters of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain are invited to join us for end-year drink in central London. The location will be sent to those who RSVP for the event.

Our Special Guest Speaker for the evening is philosopher A C Grayling who will speak on ‘Secularism as a Human Right’.

Entry: £10 per person; £7 for unwaged (including one drink and canapés).

To RSVP, please email us at; you can pay at the door on the night itself.

For more information:

Maryam Namazie
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain expresses concern at the exclusion of Muslim women from demands for gender equality

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is appalled to learn of the Bristol University Christian Union’s ban on women speaking at its main meetings and events. The sexist policy, which demonstrated a blatant disregard for gender equality, has now been reversed after an ensuing uproar.

Whilst the CEMB congratulates those involved in the successful campaign to uphold basic principles of equality in the face of religiously-inspired misogyny, we remain concerned that the same treatment handed out to women by Islamic societies is routinely ignored, creating a double standard.

Whilst questions are now rightly being asked about the policies of Christian Unions elsewhere in the country, no one has yet dared publicly inquire as to the treatment of women by Student Union Islamic Societies, in Bristol or elsewhere. It appears that the likely findings may prove too awkward for many, fearful that legitimate questioning may be met with unfounded but nevertheless problematic accusations of racism and intolerance. The result is an unequal treatment with regards women under Islam as opposed to Christianity, which undermines the very same principle of universal equality that vocal opponents of the Christian Union policy endeavoured to defend. [Read more…]

Statement on adding ex-Muslim to the LSE Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society name

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) unequivocally supports the London School of Economics Student Union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society’s decision to add ‘ex-Muslim’ to its name.

This is a positive move that will give heightened visibility and a sense of belonging to ex-Muslims who are often not seen and not heard.

Even if some (though not all) ex-Muslims at LSE identify as humanists, secularists and atheists, the public presence of ex-Muslims in a student society helps to acknowledge the dissent within a “Muslim community” that is in no way homogeneous  This is all the more important given the family pressures and Islamist threats many face for renouncing Islam. As is well known, apostasy is still an offence punishable by death in a number of countries under Sharia law.

The students’ union’s professed concern that the “contentious” move could create an unsafe environment for apostates is empty posturing and a disingenuous excuse for its decision to reject the name change. Rather, its decision is an effort to revert back to the status quo and prevent heightened attention to this issue. [Read more…]

Your Muslim Friend

After every talk, there is always that one person that will challenge what I have said about Sharia courts by – wait for it – saying: “I have a Muslim friend who says Sharia is not at all as you say.” I heard this for the umpteenth time at the two-day symposium on theism in public policy at Rice University in Texas just this past weekend.

And this “argument” usually follows my talk outlining Sharia’s abuses and my criticism of the essentialising of the ‘other’…

Also, it’s usually made by humanists and skeptics who are quick to question religion’s role in the public sphere (if it’s not Islam of course)…

This argument is as silly as someone telling you “I have a Catholic friend who says Catholicism is not as you say” when you have just finished a talk criticising Ireland’s abortion laws and outrageous cases like that of Savita Halappanavar who was refused a termination and died.

In case you haven’t noticed, who your token friends are does not an argument make.

Clearly, the point though is not to make an argument but to use any means necessary to defend Sharia as the “choice” and “rights” of a minority.

Freedom and equality is only good for you lot then is it?

Free Expression Day

UPDATE: Anne Marie is going in my place tonight. It should be an excellent meeting so stop by if you can.

I’ll be in Reading tonight with Peter Tatchell – LGBT, human rights, democracy, and global justice activist, Robert Sharp – English PEN and Andrew Copson – British Humanist Association for Free Expression Day.

It’s in support of free expression and the Reading University Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society (RAHS) which was expelled from its student’s union Freshers’ Fayre on the grounds of causing offence – all because they put a label on a pineapple that read “Mohammed”. They are now facing disciplinary charges over the incident. Their statements on this can be found here. [Read more…]

Ex-Muslim Events, Poster Competition, International Apostasy Report and more

Dear friend


The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has a number of events and meetings planned in the next few weeks.

On 11 December 2012 we are having end-year drinks for our members and supporters with philosopher A C Grayling from 18:30-20:00 hours in central London. Email to RSVP. Entry is £10 per person; £7 for unwaged (including one drink and canapés). A C Grayling will be speaking on ‘Secularism as a Human Right’.

On 28 January 2013, there will be an ex-Muslim women’s coffee morning from 11:30-1:00pm and a meet-up for ex-Muslim asylum seekers and refugees 1:30-2:30pm in a central London location. To RSVP, email

A CEMB-affiliated Manchester meet-up group has just been established by Sandbad. To join the group, visit here.

We look forward to seeing you at some of the above events! There is also, as always, the fantastic CEMB forum where you can meet like-minded individuals all day and every day.


We are delighted to invite artists to submit a poster design for entry into our unique international poster competition, which aims to raise awareness on the status of ex-Muslims. The competition is open to everyone across the globe. For details, click here. You can also contact the competition coordinator Sultan Aman at for more information. [Read more…]

December 2012: I carry it with me wherever I go

December 2012 is here. The photo for this month’s Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar is that of Syrian American photographer Mallorie Nasrallah.

Here’s what she says:

Every time the shame some people demand women feel about their bodies is brought to light I quite literally want to scream. I have been working as an erotic photographer for eight years, and I feel an intense camaraderie with the outgoing and amazing women I work with daily. I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to show support for one such courageous woman, and put myself on the other side of the lens.

She adds:

When a tool of oppression can be turned in to an assertion of power, it is a beautiful thing. Nudity when celebrated harms no one, and when made shameful and barbaric harms everyone. This is a venue of celebration, and a statement of self ownership on the part of all involved, why not use something so amazing?

[Read more…]