Following an interview on Channel 4 on Sharia law, Islamists have threatened Sudanese secular campaigner and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud with death, calling her a ‘Kafira’ and ‘Murtada’ who has offended Islam and brought “fitnah”. The threats have been reported to the police who have closed the case and advised that nothing could be done.
We the undersigned are extremely concerned about the safety of Nahla and that of her family in Sudan. We ask the authorities to investigate the threats made particularly by Mr Salah Al Bandar.
Nahla writes: “I am most concerned with the harassment by Mr. Salah Al Bandar. Not only is he endangering my health and sense of safety and security in the UK, but he is also organising against me back in Sudan in ways that are potentially very dangerous for both myself and my family. As a consequence, my younger brother has been physically attacked in Sudan, my mother has been seriously threatened and I continue to get threats and have had to endure a number of cyber stalking episodes by Mr Al Bandar or his associates.”
Mr Al Bandar claims to be a “democratic, liberal Muslim” who has been politically active and until recently a councillor with the Lib-Dem Party in Cambridgeshire; he is a director at the Sudan Civic Foundation in the UK. He has attempted to silence Nahla with his threats which include the following:
On 22nd January, Mr Al Bander posted an article in Arabic on the Sudanese Online Website (one of the most widely read websites in Sudan and throughout the Sudanese diaspora) entitled “A Sudanese woman announces that she is a ‘Kafira” on British TV”. In some parts of this article he says:
“I will not forgive anyone who wants to start a battle against Islam and the beliefs of the people…”, “Be aware of this ‘fitna’ and I know who is behind it and I will never have any mercy on her here…”, “I will have no tolerance for anyone here who talks about freedom of belief or freedom of thought or any of the other clichés…”
On the 25th of January 2013 he posted a new piece saying: “infidel Mohamed Mahmoud Kassalawi is the one who organised this scandal from A to Z. He is looking for someone like Nahla to pass his scandalous agenda. ….I am against those who use her to offend people’s sanctities….” [Dr. Mohamed Mahmoud is an academic and director of the Critical Centre for Religious Studies in the UK.]
On 29th January 2013, Mr Al Bander added an article featuring Nahla with Maryam Namazie and Mohamed Mahmoud ‘photoshopped’ together with a background of a Facebook page he made up and named ‘Sudanese Atheists’ Page’. He also discussed the relationship of the three in a post on 8 February. The article is full of fabrications, including that Maryam Namazie “trained” Nahla in “public activities against Islam” and that Mohamed Mahmoud “created this idol Nahla and presented her as a champion of freedom of expression”. Also, he posted a screen shot of Nahla’s article published in ‘Left Foot Forward’ about ‘Sharia implementations in the UK and elsewhere’ after adding a main headline into the article to read “Freedom of practicing ‘Luat’ and promoting it” (“ Luat” is a derogatory term for homosexuality).
On the 10th of February he posted “I forbid anyone from trying to change Nahla’s scandal to a case worthy of support… It will all get back to them… Be cautioned! Be cautioned!… No excuses for those who have been warned! ”
On the 22nd of February he added a new post entitled “She sold her faith for a legal status… The second episode of Nahla Elgaali’s series” where he said: “January 2013 is an unusual month for the Sudanese diaspora in the UK. For the first time a Sudanese young woman goes public provoking the feelings of those in and outside the country. Not publicising her own beliefs, but joining a group which promotes atheism among the Sudanese diaspora”. He continues: “the topic is now being discussed outside this website. It has spread to include in-country platforms. A ‘Khartoum newspaper has done an interview with Mrs. Huda Mohamed el-Khair, Nahla’s mother, exploring the background of Nahla’s complicated journey.”
His posts against Nahla and his labelling her ‘Kafira’, ‘Murtadda’ and ‘Zindiga’ has resulted in governmental and official bodies such as the ‘General Administration of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ , Blue Nile Channel , and the official Sudanese governmental newspaper, ‘Elentibaha’ speaking against “the infidel woman in Britain who offends Islam and promotes nudity”. These include: al ‘Khartoum’, ‘el- Sudani’, ‘el-Ayam‘ , and ‘el-Ray el Aam’, ‘el watan’ , ‘Hurriyat’ and a number of other local newspapers. A number of online platforms also considered it their headline news over a few weeks, including Sudan Motion, Sudan.Net, ‘el-Nilain’, Sudanile, Sudanforall, ‘el-Rakoba’, Sudaress, Mugren Net and others. A few Middle Eastern websites also reported the incident such as ‘el-hiwar el-mutamdn’, ‘Kitabk’ and Alhurra TV.
We the undersigned call on the authorities to investigate Salah Albandar’s bullying, harassment and threats against Nahla Mahmoud, prosecute him and guarantee Nahla’s safety and security.
Anne Marie Waters, Spokesperson, One Law for All
Christopher Roche, President, Bath Atheists, Humanists and Secularists
Clive Aruede, Lola Efuntade-Tinubu and David Walters, Organising Committee, London Black Atheists
Deeyah, Music Producer and Filmmaker
Gita Sahgal, Executive Director, Centre for Secular Space
Hala Ahmed, Sudanese Non-Religious Out Loud Campaign
Ibn Warraq, Writer
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Lloyd Newson, OBE, Artistic Director, DV8 Physical Theatre
Marcin Lysuniec, Chairman, Polish Atheist Association
Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder, Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Mohamed A. Mahmoud, Director, Centre for Critical Studies of Religion
Nadia El-Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nina Sankari, European Feminist Initiative in Poland
Salah Sid Ahmed, Sudanese Humanists Group
Stephen Khan-Evans, Founder, Council of Ex-Muslims of New Zealand
Tarek Fatah, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society
Waleed Al-Husseini, Founder, Council of Ex-Muslims of France
To support Nahla Mahmoud, please add your signature in the comments section on the website of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain here.