Urgent Action: Atheist Ex-Muslims Sher Shah Jogzei, Syed Muhammad Tabish and Muhammad Shamoon must be granted asylum by Home Office

Pakistani ex-Muslim atheists Sher Shah Jogzei, Syed Muhammad Tabish and Muhammad Shamoon are currently detained in Harmondsworth IRC, which is a Cat B prison. Their crime? They have left Islam and want to live a life free from threats and intimidations prevalent in Pakistan.

Jogezai’s date for deportation has been set for 5th August 2014. Tabish’s deportation on 5th August has been cancelled and he has been granted 5 days to prepare for a fresh asylum trial.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Case Manager Tanjir Sugar visited the three men at the detention to find out more about their cases and offer support. One of the men, Sher Shah was harassed by some of his fellow Muslim detainees. Rather than being given protection, he has been taken into isolation.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain knows only too well the dangers involved for those who renounce Islam and become atheists in countries where Sharia rules apply. Pakistan is officially an Islamic Republic. The government often uses its blasphemy law to prosecute atheists and those who allegedly hurt religious sentiments or defame Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

The above three men face great risk of persecution for openly and publicly leaving Islam and for being critical of Islam if they are returned. They have also been ostracised from their families and have no safe place to return to.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain calls on the Home Office to immediately release Pakistani ex-Muslim atheists Sher Shah Jogzei, Syed Muhammad Tabish and Muhammad Shamoon from detention and grant them asylum.

To support the cases of these men, please Tweet the Home Office: @ukhomeoffice or write to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for their right to asylum at 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF or via email: [email protected]

Support ex-Muslim atheist Nasir Irshad! He must be granted asylum in the UK

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is pleased that an Afghan atheist recently gained asylum and protection in Britain for his atheism. Whilst this is being hailed as the first case of its kind, the CEMB has worked on countless asylum cases over the past several years with a rising number securing asylum based on their atheism and due to a well-founded fear of persecution for apostasy and leaving Islam.

In light of the abysmal situation for ex-Muslims in many countries under Sharia law, as highlighted in our recent report “Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam”, asylum and protection for apostates and ex-Muslim atheists is a basic right.

Whilst the numbers of those being granted protection are increasing, there are still large numbers of ex-Muslims facing refusals and deportation to countries where they face death at worst and a loss of liberty and rights at best.

One such case is that of Muhammad Nasir Irshad who is currently detained at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre awaiting deportation to Pakistan where he faces a real risk of persecution because of his atheism. His appeal has been refused; he had no legal counsel during his appeal given that legal aid was also refused him and he has been fast-tracked for deportation. The Home Office has refused his claim asserting that ex-Muslim atheists are not in danger in Pakistan.

Nasir Irshad has approached the CEMB to assist with his case. We call on the Home Office to immediately cancel any attempts to deport Nasir and to grant him the protection he deserves and which is his right. Needless to say, the Home Office will be held accountable for Nasir’s life and liberty.

For more information, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Council of Ex- Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: [email protected]
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Free Sherif Gaber Now

Waleed Al-Husseini of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain just informed me that a young Egyptian atheist who posted on his Facebook page has been arrested for his atheism yesterday after his university informed on him to the police.

This is what Sherif published:

Hi, my name is sherif gaber (Yamirasu) from Egypt. I was taught to be a Muslim; for that my dad sent me to some Sheiks, so I memorised the Quran and more than 1000 (Hadith) until I became very religious but then I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth. Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment .. My family hasn’t talked to me for more than 4 months and I lost the majority of the people I thought were my friends and for about a year now half the people on my street don’t talk to me .. I’ve got threats every single day on my phone and my Facebook account… Here in Egypt, a lot of young atheists were sent to jail for 10 sometimes 20 years and if they have evidence that you insulted Islam you will be executed! That’s if the Islamic organisations don’t murder you & your family before that! .. Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!

Finally I would say to every atheist .. Be brave, stay strong .. U r holding the truth .. And of course .. Proud to be an atheist .. Proud to be rationalist.

Clearly Sherif has done nothing wrong and must be released immediately. The right to religion, belief and atheism are absolute rights, which cannot be denied.

Also, Egypt better get used to it. Atheists in Egypt as in the rest of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa are on the rise.

Free him now.

Here is a news report which is apparently about him without mentioning his name.

To support Sherif:

Tweet Free Sherif Gaber. #Atheist #Egypt.

Send appeals to: [Read more...]

Stop threats and murder of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh

The threats, intimidation and murder of atheists in Bangladesh continue, and now Islamists are demanding the state give them a hand with the killing.

Islamists are calling for the death penalty for atheist bloggers for supposedly blasphemous blogs or else face the prospect of Islamist groups descending on the capital, Dhaka. The state’s response? A shut down of blogs, the ordered deletion of posts and the establishment of an intelligence panel looking to censor future material deemed to have “defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed”. Meanwhile “progressives” defend the accused, not by demanding their freedom of conscience and expression, but by pretending they are not atheists at all.

Shame on the Bangladeshi government for siding with the far-right Islamists and shame on the “progressives” who apologise for the free thought of others.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain stands in solidarity with atheists and rationalists who stand for reason, universal human rights and secularism and calls on the public to defend their freedom of expression and rights to life and security.

Hands off atheist bloggers now!

***

Here’s a piece Taslima Nasrin did on the matter in February.

Here a piece I did about killing of atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib.

A few calls for help

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Protest executions in Iran

Kamil Alboshoka, a human geography student at Kingston University has asked that I publicise his campaign to defend 5 Ahwazi Arabs facing execution in Iran, including members of his family and friends.  Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, and teachers Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, and Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) are charged with “enmity against god” and “corruption on earth”.  Here are details of where you can write your protest letters.

 

Write for Ex-Muslim Anthology

The wonderful Allat is putting together an anthology of personal stories of Ex-Muslims. Profits from the anthology will go to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

If you’re interested:

- Write your own story of how you came to leave Islam and what the consequences have been for you. It can be published under a pseudonym. All stories must be factual and based on one’s own life experiences.
- Your piece should be between 800-2000 words long (about 3-8 pages, double spaced).
- Stories of women, LGBTI people, former converts, and those still living Islamic-majority countries are encouraged, though all stories are welcome.
- She can help put together your story if you need help.
- Deadline for submitting your story is 31 May 2013.

If you know other ex-Muslims who would like to be part of this anthology, feel free to send them the text of this post and have them email her at [email protected] to propose their story.

Allat adds:

If you are planning to be part of this anthology, let me know as soon as you can. I will be keeping a tally of who’s going to be in it so I can plan the structure of the book. Please do NOT wait till May to let me know if you’ll be part of it.

This is a great opportunity if you have a story to tell the world about your apostasy and its effects on your life, and you don’t want to have to write your own book. It’s also a great way for all of us to give back to the CEMB as any and all proceeds will be going towards this organization.

One point to remember: this is to include Ex-Muslim ATHEISTS, AGNOSTICS, DEISTS, PANTHEISTS, HUMANISTS etc. I am not looking for Ex-Muslim Christians as there are already some books on the market about them. This book will be promoted within Atheist/Skeptic communities.


Participate in survey on atheists

There is only one week left to participate in a survey unique to atheists and other non-religious people. The survey intends to understand your experiences as an atheist, including your involvement (if any) with secular organizations and your perceptions of discrimination and prejudice (if any) against you as an atheist. To participate in this survey, or to learn more about this study, click here.

Neither Allah nor Master

NadiaElfani

Very often apostasy and blasphemy cases that are highlighted are of men though there are some well known atheist women from the Middle East and North Africa who have courageously challenged Islamism and defended secularism.

Everyone knows a few (very few) of them – like Taslima Nasreen, Mina Ahadi and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

But there are some you may not know but must.

On the International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers I think it apt to mention Tunisian film-maker and activist Nadia El Fani. Her recent film “Ni Allah ni Maître” (Neither Allah nor Master) focuses on secularism in that country.

As a result of the film and her having openly declared her atheism, she has faced horrendous abuse and threats.

You can read more about her here.

There is a petition supporting her against Islamist threats here.

 

When the Hezbollah Came to my School: Why I Became an Atheist

For those of you who don’t know much about my background and why I became an atheist, my piece in 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why we are Atheists may be an interesting read. It’s the first time I have published it on my blog below:

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped being a Muslim. Looking back, it seems to have been a gradual process and a direct result of my personal experiences, though I would like to think (or hope) that I would have eventually become an atheist.

Having been raised in a fairly open-minded family, I had no real encounter with religion that mattered until the Islamic movement took power on the back of a defeated revolution in Iran. I was 12 at the time. [Read more...]