We must support ‘Esha’

I recently blogged about ‘Esha’, a young woman facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan.

Some of you have been asking questions about the case so here is more information from rights activist and journalist Rahila Gupta who is raising money for her case. Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain supports ‘Esha’s’ case and has donated money to her legal fund. Please help if you can – even if it’s not very much. Every little bit helps:

Over a year ago, a friend of mine, a British Pakistani actor got in touch with me after his annual visit home to Lahore.  He was very troubled by a blasphemy case that he had come across which appeared to have blighted the lives of two young people who had neither contacts nor money without which it is impossible to get out of a sticky situation in countries like Pakistan. He knew I was a long term member of Southall Black Sisters and wondered if I could help. But our funding covers services to women facing domestic violence in this country and only stretches to the Asian sub-continent if British Asian women have been abducted there in order to be forced into a marriage or abandoned there so that British Asian men may marry again. The fate of a young Pakistani woman languishing in a prison on false charges of blasphemy lay outside our remit, although not outside the bounds of our sympathy and solidarity. As I listened to the story and then spoke to ‘Mo’ and read the legal papers, I was very moved by their plight and decided I would do what I could to support them as an individual but with the support of all the contacts that SBS had forged in its 35 years of existence, including Maryam Namazie and the Council for Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB).

‘Esha’ was arrested in March 2012 for having torn up the pages of the Qu’ran. Although I disagree with the whole notion of blasphemy and find it ridiculous that a legal case should be fought on the basis of whether she did or she didn’t, what is worse is that she didn’t even do it. She had an argument with a friend of hers who then shopped her to the authorities. It is a common way of settling scores in countries like Pakistan. I have provided some of the statistics in another article. Her friend is prepared to drop the case if Esha pays her £20,000 and gets her a job in Dubai – none of which is within Esha’s reach.

Since her arrest in 2012, Esha has lost every single bail application (four times so far). At one hearing of her case, she was attacked by some extremists so all future hearings take place in prison for her protection! This means that Mo does not get to see her at all. He is not allowed to visit her in prison because he is not related to her.  Before he went into hiding, they would meet in court. They have been unable to hire the best lawyers and Esha has been represented by people who appear to be just going through the motions.

The one bit of luck they have had so far is that Mo was put in touch with an influential Reuters journalist who knows one of the most well-known human rights lawyers in Pakistan, Asma Jahangir, who has agreed to represent Esha in her bail hearings for free. This is a turning point because the treatment that Esha is getting in prison has affected her mental health and she has already attempted suicide twice. Asma has agreed to take it all the way up to the Supreme Court, if necessary, where she believes Esha will be successful. This process should take till September 2015.

Meanwhile there is the question of her actual trial. She has found an extremely good lawyer, at long last. He has agreed to take on her case for an extremely reasonable fee. In a country where lawyers and other supporters of ‘apostates’ have been killed, many charge the high fees to pay for protection. However, the case has to make its way up again from the lower courts where the judges are too afraid for their lives and it is bound to fail. In the last three years of legal proceedings, there have been five judges and the decision is still pending.

However, even reasonable fees are beyond the reach of Esha and Mo. Esha has no family support. Her father married again and her stepmother has ensured that her father has cut off all contacts. In any case, anybody supporting someone like Esha is branded a kaffir and attracts the wrath of the extremists. Mo is in hiding and cannot work. His family have cut him off because they feel that he’s wasting his life.

When I first started supporting the case, I was inspired by the case of the Sudanese woman, Meriam Ibrahim who was released from prison where she was held on charges of apostasy after a worldwide blitz of publicity and American pressure. We thought that publicity would help Esha and Mo too. However, the advice I received subsequently from human rights organisations was that Mo’s life would be in even greater danger. After all, Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman in prison in Pakistan since 2009, received massive publicity and look where that got her. She is still in prison and is sentenced to die by hanging. Her husband has fled the country because of threats to his life. So Esha and Mo are pseudonyms but their stories are real.

Of course, the whole system needs to be demolished. But every individual that escapes the clutches of this system hopefully helps to weaken it. This is why I have started a fundraising drive. This is why Maryam Namazie and CEMB are supporting this case.  All of us have campaigned against religious fundamentalism as we have seen the impact of it on the vulnerable sections of our communities: women, LGBT communities and other religious minorities.

I hope you will be able to contribute something, however small, to this fundraising drive. Please go to this link if you can support Esha’s case.

Support 24 year old Esha in Pakistani prison charged with blasphemy

4135696_1428760585.3251“Esha” a 24 year old woman has been cut off from the world in her prime and is languishing in a Pakistani prison for the last three years on false charges of blasphemy brought against her by her best friend after they had an argument. She stands accused of having torn pages from the Qur’an and having slept on them. Although there have been several hearings, her trial  is still pending  for a complex variety of reasons – one of them being that there have been five different judges, each fearing for his life. You can read more about her here.

She has no family to take an interest in her except for a dedicated young man, “Mo”, whom she met on a visit to court and who, on hearing her story and seeing her isolation, has been trying to support her. Blasphemy is a serious offence in a deeply religious country like Pakistan and punishable by death. Blasphemy laws have been used to persecute minorities like the Christians or to settle personal scores. Several prominent people have been killed  for supporting those accused of blasphemy. Only recently a Christian couple were burnt alive for allegedly desecrating the Qur’an.

“Mo” has gone into hiding after he  received death threats. He is unable to work now and therefore, unable to raise the kind of fees that are charged by lawyers. For this kind of case, the fees are extremely high because of the danger posed to anyone associated with it. This is why we cannot use their real names.

She is being sexually harassed by the superintendent of the prison. As she has rejected his advances, he has withdrawn all basic privileges such as medicines, visitors, even a  mattress to sleep on. She is locked up 24/7 in a cell that is not heated in the winter and not cooled in the summer when temperatures can reach a baking 45c! She has attempted suicide twice and her poor mental health is a cause of real worry. She has stomach ulcers, skin allergies and kidney problems as well.

“Esha” and “Mo” are completely trapped.  ‘Esha’ says ‘I have lost all faith in society. I have been cut off from life, from the world, from education. I have lost the will to live.’

Although it is vital to Esha’s mental health that she leaves  prison, if her bail hearing is successful, neither of them have any money even for rent or food. Mo’s own family feel he’s wasting his life and are threatening to cut him off.  He says, ‘I was 27 when I met Esha. I have spent all my life savings on her. My life is in danger from extremists and I have lost family, friends and peace of mind. Why am I doing this?’

This money will go towards Esha’s legal fees and associated expenses for a lawyer who is highly recommended. “Mo” is desperate to get the legal case on the road before “Esha’s” next attempt on her life.

Please donate as generously as you can.  The money will be used to pay legal fees and welfare costs.

Thank you!

Blasphemy laws give ‘respectability’ to violence

Blasphemy laws give ‘respectability’ to violence
31 March 2015
Interview with Bob Churchill, Head of Communications of the International Humanist and Ethical Union
Blasphemy laws give “respectability” to violence against people and women. Islamists and the religious-Right in particular have placed a false moral equivalency between hurt “sensibilities” and human lives where none exist. A world without blasphemy laws would be a better one.
Shocking news of the week: The museum attack in Tunisia by Islamists
Insane fatwa of the week: Indonesia’s highest Islamic clerical body issues fatwa proposing death penalty for people caught having gay sex
Good news of the week: Protests in Afghanistan led by women against the heinous killing of Farkunda

قوانين منع توهين به مقدسات، وسيله توجيح خشونت عليه مردم است؛ برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مريم نمازى و فريبرز پويا
۱ اوت ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با باب چرچيل؛ از سازمان بين المللى اومانيستها
قوانين منع توهين به مقدسات، وسيله توجيح خشونت عليه مردم است. اسلاميون از جريحه دار شدن احساسات بعنوان اصلي به اهميت و حتي مهم تر از حق زندگي مردم سخن بميان مياورند.
دنيا بدون قوانين منع توهين به مقدسات دنياي بهتري ميباشد.
اخبار شکه آور هفته: حمله اسلامى ها در موزه تونس
فتواى احمقانه: از اندونزى عليه هم جنسگرايان
اخبار خوب: اعتراضات وسيع در افغانستان براى فرخنده
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
ترجمه: خسرو قريب

Like Mukto-muna, we are united in our grief and remain undefeated

SIGN BELOW STATEMENT HERE.

We are outraged by the senseless and brutal hacking to death of well known scientist, atheist and writer Avijit Roy and the serious attack on his wife and blogger, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, by Islamists in Bangladesh.

Avijit had received numerous threats over the years for publishing articles critical of Islam, and promoting secular views, science and social issues on the Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind), which he founded. He had travelled to Bangladesh from the US to attend a book fair where his book “The Virus of Faith” was being launched. It was whilst he was returning from the fair, that he was brutally killed.

This is not the first time atheists and secularists have been attacked in Bangladesh. In addition to the well known threats received by writer Taslima Nasrin, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed and Ahmed Rajib killed in 2013. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a secular writer and professor at Dhaka University, was also attacked and later died.

Whilst Islamists have continued to threaten prominent bloggers and called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”, the Bangladeshi government has done little to defend the lives and security of freethinkers. In 2013, the government even arrested bloggers and shut websites down instead of arresting the Islamists involved.

We stand united in our grief for Avijit Roy with Mukto-muna but remain undefeated. We unequivocally condemn the attack on Avijit and his wife and also the many threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to prosecute the Islamists involved, guarantee the safety of dissenters and respect free expression. Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

We are all Avijit.

Initial Signatories [Read more…]

Free Al-Baz now!

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged to learn about the arrest of Egyptian blogger and atheist Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al-Baz (also known as Ben Baz) in Kuwait for merely exercising his right to free expression, conscience and belief. He has been arrested since 2 January 2013 and charged with blasphemy. There will be a hearing on his case on 28 February 2013.

Al-Baz is in real danger. In May 2012, the Kuwaiti parliament passed new amendments to allow for cruel and inhuman penalties, including long-term imprisonment and death, for blasphemy. Only recently, a man was sentenced to ten years in prison for Twitter blasphemy.

The CEMB condemns the Kuwaiti government’s imprisonment of Al-Baz and calls on the government to immediately and unconditionally release him and all those being held on blasphemy charges. [Read more…]

Doing the Taliban proud

The bad news is that a Pakistani court has sentenced 25 year old Hazrat Ali Shah to death for blaspheming against Mohammed and the Koran during a quarrel in his village in northern Pakistan in March 2011. Mother of five Asia Bibi also remains in prison whilst appealing her death sentence for ‘derogatory’ comments about Mohammad.

At least Pakistan has dropped blasphemy charges against 14 year old Rimsha for allegedly burning verses of the Koran (most likely only because the imam in question has tampered with the evidence).

Now all that the government needs to do (in this matter) is to rescind the blasphemy legislation altogether and immediately free all those imprisoned on blasphemy charges.

Isn’t it ironic how the Pakistani government tries to give itself a more humane portrayal by defending Malala Yousefzai vis-a-vis the Taliban whilst simultaneously issuing blasphemy rulings that would make the Taliban proud? If the Taliban and their Islamist brethren could, they would easily and LEGALLY sentence Malala to death for blasphemy.

Not that they aren’t trying.

The disgusting Sharia4Pakistan has called for Malala to be put on ‘trial in a Shariah court for the crimes she has been accused of’ – which according to them include insulting and belittling Islam and espionage!

By the way, Al-Mohajiroun – and the British Islamist Anjem Choudhary – are even holding a conference on 30 November to issue their fatwa against Malala and more.

Well it is a fight after all. They want to defend their medieval and barbaric rules in the face of the immense tide of support for Malala with their usual threats and fatwas.

What they haven’t realised is that they have already lost…

DIY Blasphemy

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This is final blog for for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

The eighth post is Nothing can appease the Islamists.

The ninth post is two guest posts from Nobel Prize Winner Harry Kroto and Writer Tarek Fatah: Murder of Humans and Animals

Nothing can appease the Islamists

Thanks to the counter-revolutionary Muslim Brotherhood and president Morsi, the charge of blasphemy is on the rise in Egypt, including against two children aged 8 and 9.

Alber Saber, a 27-year-old computer science graduate, has also recently been charged with blasphemy.

When an angry mob tried to break into their home after neighbours accused Saber of uploading sections of the ridiculously bad film, Innocence of Muslims, his mother called the police who then promptly detained Alber for “his own protection.”

Later, when his mother went to the police station to pick him up, she was surprised to find that charges had been pressed against him rather than the mob that was trying to break into their home.

Yes, quite…

I too am still often surprised by how easily men, women and children are sacrificed to appease the Islamists.

But nothing will appease them. Appeasement will only legitimise and encourage their mob violence and their murder and mayhem.

Instead, we need to stand up to them, defend the right to blaspheme, and real solidarity with those on the frontlines dissenting and resisting day in and day out.

****

I’m blogging every hour on the hour for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

 

Enough!

This is a guest post from the fantastic Sue Cox, Survivors Voice Europe for Day of Agreement to mark International Day against the Death Penalty:

I reckon I would last about  ten minutes in the  morning with my “no dissent” day!

I listened to the radio today and heard  some idiot spouting about the need to “curb” the “hysteria” surrounding the victims of Jimmy Saville. Of course I would forget my resolve and shout at the radio! It is a cause that is close to my heart and I would be unable to control my reactions! If I couldn’t express my feelings , and I know many simply can’t I think I would burst.

Although I have to say, I have wondered why it has taken the disgusting behaviour of some weirdo “celebrity” to cause the communal  outrage, (dreadful though it was)  and yet the thousands upon thousands of  catholic clergy sexual abuse survivors , and the thousands upon thousands of women subjugated by Islam, or living under the threat of Sharia law,with all the horrors that entails,  seems  to have passed everyone by?

But it was ever thus, atrocities go on for years under people’s noses, and suddenly one incident seems to capture their imagination and create a communal scream.

In my experience sometimes it takes a small shift  to open ones eyes to the greater picture, that is why we as activists continue with our “small shifts”.

As you know, my own crusade is against the subjugation of human beings by the catholic church, but  being with you on various rallies, you have opened my eyes too!

I thank you all in One law for all for showing me  the realities of the  suffering of others at the hands of radical Islam.

It is very easy when you are passionate about something to be insular, to imagine that your cause is the one that matters and that somehow you have the monopoly on suffering. But of course, the beast may have  different names, the religion may have another face, but the subjugation of human beings is the same cruel  monster.

I know I will not be capable of “a no dissent” day, and thank you for showing me what that must feel like to someone who has no choice.

I can’t be at the flash mob (and that has pissed me off too !) But every hour on the hour  I  send you heaps of smiles and love and solidarity!

I can only hope that the Saville debacle will allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves as a colluding society and Shout  ENOUGH of these appalling abuses, of subjugation, of denial of women’s rights and gay and lesbian rights, ENOUGH hiding behind Sharia Law and Canon Law, and for that shout each and every one of us is responsible.

****

I’m blogging every hour on the hour for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

Calling all blasphemers

Blasphemy is an important form of resistance against the Islamic inquisition.

Why not join me in your very own act of blasphemy?

Mine (for now at least) is not so original but it’ll do very well: It’s a pineapple called Mohammad, courtesy of Reading University’s Atheist Group:

Why not post yours or link to your favorite act of blasphemy in the comments section below and I’ll award the best one with a  Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar, which is pretty blasphemous too.

***

This is the fifth blog post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty.

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

There is a need for blasphemy

In the recent BBC documentary on The Fatwa: Salman Rushdie’s Story, writer Hanif Kureishi says:

Rushdie speaks in the book for Muslims. This is an extremely important book. He speaks for their doubts. He speaks the bits of them that they actually think and feel sometimes – do I really believe in all this stuff – but can’t say. He, at considerable personal cost, has spoken a truth that millions of other people want to speak and for which he is being punished. If writers are devils it is because they speak in the face of the religious-Right.

In his new memoir, Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie argues that there is a need for blasphemy:

The writers of the French enlightenment had deliberately used blasphemy as a weapon, refusing to accept the power of the Church to set limiting points on thought.

Blasphemy against Islam is our weapon too. It is our refusal to submit, it is our anti-clericalism and the anti- the Islamic inquisition of our era…

***

This is the fourth blog post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty.

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

Honour the dissenters

The below is a guest post from the brilliant Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas, to mark Day of Agreement. It is a must read.

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

In Mali, on a number of occasions, citizens attempted to stop public amputations, stonings and floggings; Malian women also attacked AQMI (Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique) in an attempt to stand up against the imposition of a so-called ‘Islamic dress code’ that is totally alien to their culture ( but have you heard anyone in Europe stand up in defence of their right to preserve their culture, their traditional way of dressing which is NOT the freshly imported so-called ‘Islamic veil’ Saudi style?). In response, fundamentalist armed groups fired at them with sub-machine guns.

In India, in the city of Ahmadabad, two citizens stood their ground facing crowds demonstrating against the anti-Muslim video: The Innocence of Muslims. They held posters saying ‘just don’t watch it!’. They were seriously hurt.

In Iran, a woman beat up a cleric who made comments about her supposedly anti-Islamic outfit. She told him to look the other way, and when he persisted, she beat him up. We can be sure she will pay a dire price for it.

In Libya, on the site of the attack in Benghazi, demonstrators held signs apologising for the murder of the US Ambassador and expressing in various ways a ‘not in our name’ stance that distanced themselves from the killers. It was also citizens who initiated the expulsion of the armed militia from the cities, whilst government troops only came in later.

In Afghanistan, demonstrators physically confronted the authorities when they renamed a university with the name of a religious-Right leader.

In Tunisia, women regularly take to the streets to defend their constitutional rights and to oppose any setbacks on equality under the law between citizens –men and women.

In Pakistan, women’s organisations have been demonstrating for a secular state, with a clear separation of politics from religion, for several years now.

One could give many more examples from other countries.

These citizens are the future of their countries and of humanity. But when have European media properly reported on these events? Where has such news been given front-page attention?

How long will it take for the European Left and human rights organisations to defend the courageous people who stand up to fundamentalists at risk to their lives, rather than their oppressors and killers?

Why is it assumed that fundamentalists, i.e. neo-fascist religious extreme-Right, represent and defend the ‘real Islam’?

Why is it assumed that all those who oppose fundamentalists are anti-Islam renegades – and that therefore, if they get killed, well… they deserve to die?

Why are secularists considered ‘Islamophobic’ when they are anti-fundamentalist?

And why does the Left persistently use the terminology that has been coined by the fundamentalists: ‘sharia law’, ‘Islamophobia’, ‘fatwa’, etc… a terminology that secularists have persistently denounced and deconstructed.

The ten year long resistance to armed fundamentalism in Algeria and its 200,000 victims did not manage to change the views of the Left and human rights organisations vis-a-vis fundamentalism. Nor, it seems, the internal resistance that today, in many countries, is making itself visible.

But something may change their minds: the attempted assassination on a child in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old supporter of education for girls. They shot at her and took responsibility for the attack. They declared that they would attack her again if she survives, and that anyone against the Taliban will be executed. Must it not be clear at long last that a child demanding her right to education is considered a supporter of ‘the West’, an enemy of Islam (since the Taliban claims that they are the only legitimate representatives of Islam), an ‘apostate’, and one that deserves to be physically eliminated? As all us ‘kafirs’ deserve to… [Read more…]

No-one is safe, not even 14 year olds

Yesterday, the Taliban critically wounded Malala Yousafzai, the lovely and brave 14 year old Pakistani girl, on her way home from school.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said they targeted Yousafzai because she generated ‘negative propaganda’ and was the ‘symbol of the infidels and obscenity’. If she survived, Ihsan said, the Taliban would try to kill her again.

Sounds familiar?

After all, she dared to  defend the right of girls to an education, particularly offensive to the Taliban which had banned them from attending school, amongst many other things.

When religion is in power, any challenge to it – even something as simple as a girl wanting to go to school – can be deemed offensive, obscene and blasphemous.

And this is exactly why no-one – not even a 14 year old – is safe.

In light of this stark reality, calls for blasphemy laws and censorship is nothing short of a defence of the Taliban herds and their vile Sharia rules because it denies people their thoughts, their words, their expressions, and their resistance and dissent.

All at the expense of sweet Malala and the innumerable like her – challenging Islamism day in and day out by demanding to live  21st century lives.

Today is for her and them.

***

This is my first blog entry for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty. I will be blogging every hour, on the hour, and will have some guest posts too.

Day of Agreement

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All are calling on everyone to join the Day of Agreement.

It’s quite easy to do.

On 10 October, upload the day’s logo as your avatar on social media, Tweet #dayofagreement or try it with your colleagues, family and friends.

You can also join our five minute flash-mob at 6pm in central London. (Email for more details).

Just remember, you can’t disagree with anyone – your colleagues, spouse, lover(s), mates, neighbours, children, bosses, or even politicians…

You are not allowed to dissent, ‘offend’ or question.

And before anyone gets too excited, they have to remember that they must also agree with everything you say. It’s only fair…

Seems impossible?

But that is what is expected of those of us who question, criticise or choose to leave Islam, including many Muslims and ex-Muslims…

Try it.

And while it all seems a bit of fun – on October 10 International Day against the Death Penalty – don’t forget that there are many living under Sharia law who are daily facing threats, imprisonment and execution for merely expressing themselves.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

Blasphemy is always good

I’ll be speaking at the Blasphemy, religious hatred, and human rights: Who speaks for the sacred? conference today Saturday at Conway Hall in London.

My talk will focus on how accusations of blasphemy, offensive speech and ‘Islamophobia’ censor and restrict free speech, limit citizen rights, and aid and abet Islamism. With all that’s going on, it’s a good time for blasphemy…

I’ll be bringing leaflets for the 11 February London rally for Free Expression to the event in case anyone wants to come and pick some up for distribution. And yes, it’s got Jesus and Mo on its cover…

Other speakers at the conference are Kenan Malik, Andrew Copson, Austin Dacey and Jacob Mchangama. See what they’ll be speaking about below. [Read more…]