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.

Whilst our organisation is opposed to regressive identity politics that divide and segregate, it sees this move as a positive attempt to bring inclusion to an excluded group and to challenge the Islamist/far-Right narrative, something that is much needed on university campuses across Britain.

The CEMB calls on the Student Union to welcome the name change, encourages groups and individuals to give their full support to the Society, and hopes that other university societies will follow suit.

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


  1. Eclectic says

    It doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Certainly many of the society’s members were formerly religious, but is it worth listing each individual religion in the name? Ex-Chrisian, ex-Muslim, ex-Jewish, ex-Hindu, ex-Bahai, ex-Jain, ex-Sikh, …? If not, how do you decide which religions make the cut?

    I think a special named outreach project or subgroup within the society would be a better choice.

    Putting the label on the society as a whole seems like a political mess that would leave other groups feeling bad.

    • davidhart says

      Islam is the last major religion whose commitment to killing those who leave it is more than merely rhetorical. Muslims at this point in history face, on average, far greater risks to their personal safety for leaving their religion than do Christians, Hindus, Bahai, Jains, Sikhs etc.
      So I don’t think it is unreasonable to make an extra effort to be seen to be reaching out to those newly-minted atheists who are most in need of support and solidarity.

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