Rights within Islamic context? Thanks but no thanks

Here is my speech on Secularism as a right and historical task at Atheist Ireland’s Empowering Women through Secularism in Dublin:

“The rest of us must live under sharia law – even in Europe – and be grateful for the veil as a ‘right’ and ‘choice’. We are only allowed freedom and rights within the confines of Islam. Thanks but no thanks.” See the speech here:

At the same conference, I speak about the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and nude and topless activism as important forms of campaigning against Islamism:

Apostasy and Islam: Support Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Dear friend

For the past six years, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has been a “beacon of hope” for many.

As the first organisation of its kind, the CEMB has been established to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam; highlight the problems ex-Muslims face; provide a network for support; raise awareness; and campaign for freedom of belief and expression, atheism and secularism and against apostasy and Sharia laws. According to Elle Quebec magazine, the launch of the ex-Muslim movement was ‘a real revolution.’

Our activities include assisting ex-Muslims (several thousand over the past 6 years) with their apostate asylum cases, finding safe houses and refuges for those fearful for their lives, as well as assisting against child abduction, honour crimes, forced marriages and more from countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and UAE.

We have produced several educational materials, such as the ‘Guidelines for Ex-Muslims and Frontline Practitioners’ and ‘Apostasy and Asylum in the United Kingdom.’ The CEMB is currently working on an anthology on and by ex-Muslims and a report on the status of apostates internationally.

Our active web forum with over 3,000 members is particularly important in supporting ex-Muslims. It represents a safe space where ex-Muslims can come together to discuss their problems and help each other. The forum includes sections on health and wellbeing and gender and sexuality, a parents’ corner, a resource centre and more. It is known for exposing Islamists and Islamic laws, and publishes articles and videos debunking Islamic myths and claims, including “science in the Quran”.

CEMB is part of an international network of ex-Muslim organisations, including Muslimish in the USA, a Council in Morocco – the first in a country with Islam as its state religion, new groups in France and New Zealand, amongst others.

Help us to continue our important work: volunteer your skills; ‘Like’ our Facebook page; follow our Twitter account @CEMB_forum; join our events; and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Please donate if you can. No amount is too small and every bit helps.

As you well know, the issue of apostasy without a focus on Islam is irrelevant in this era as it is only Islam that kills its apostates due to Islamism’s access and influence. The CEMB is an important challenge to this regressive movement.

Support us today.

Thank you.

Maryam Namazie
Nahla Mahmoud
Spokespersons

NOTES:

1. Launch of Council of Ex-Muslims of France

Join us for the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France on Saturday 6 July 2013, 14.00-17.00 hours, Paris, France. Speakers include Palestinian blogger Waleed Al-Husseini, Tunisian Filmmaker Nadia El-Fani, Secularism is a Women’s Issue Coordinator Marieme Helie Lucas, and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Maryam Namazie.

PLEASE NOTE: You must register for the event at cafem1310@live.fr. If you are not registered, you will not be permitted entry. Space is limited.

2. Anthology of and by Ex-Muslims

Be part of the very first anthology of and by ex-Muslims. Share your story with the world. Help others like you. Tell the world you exist! 31 July 2013 is the deadline for submissions. Find out more here.

3. Report on 6th anniversary lunch of CEMB

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) held a successful 6th anniversary celebration luncheon in London on 15 June 2013. Guests heard from writer Kenan Malik, Centre for Secular Space Director Gita Sahgal, comedian Kate Smurthwaite, and CEMB co-Spokesperson Maryam Namazie. Magician Neil Edwards also performed. CEMB co-Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud was Master of Ceremonies. Special guests present included Richard Dawkins. See videos of the event here.

4. For more information, contact:

Maryam Namazie
Nahla Mahmoud
Spokespersons
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

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

BBC Panorama Programme on Sharia: It is enough now

One Law for All
Press Release

This week’s BBC Panorama programme “Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils” confirms why One Law for All has been campaigning against the discriminatory parallel legal system running counter to British law for nearly five years.

As has been repeatedly stated, including in “Sharia Courts in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights”, women are being held to ransom, told to remain in violent situations, blamed for the violence they face, refused divorces over many years, and placed under undue pressure including with regards child access and welfare.

The programme confirms this. The undercover reporter is told not to contact police when she asks a senior cleric Suhaib Hasan (who has advocated stoning and amputation) whether she should report the violence she has suffered at the hands of her husband.  Mr Hasan also wrongly tells her that if she were to report the violence to the police, she “will have to leave the house”.  This is entirely untrue.  In fact, an abused spouse may apply to the Court for an Occupation Order, which can remove a violent spouse from the home – or a defined area surrounding the home – and can impose criminal sanctions if the order is not obeyed.  Mr Hasan’s advice is misleading and deliberately aimed at frightening women in to adhering to the Sharia Council’s authority.  Hasan also repeats the Sharia position that a man has the right to hit his wife provided he leaves no marks. He asks if her husband beats her “severely”.  When she questioned what was meant by “severely”, Hasan asks “it leaves some bruises on your body?”.

Mr Hasan goes on to advise the undercover reporter to question herself as to what she had done to provoke this violence.  He suggests she ask her husband “is it because of my cooking?”, “is it because I see my friends?”.

Women’s rights organisations have for many years been working to end this disgraceful victim-blaming when women are abused, and great strides have been made.  These strides, however, do not seem to apply to Muslim women.

Whilst Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Northwest, Nazir Afzal, asserts that “most of them are absolutely fine but there are some clearly, like this one, who are putting women at risk”, One Law for All believes that all Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals put women at risk. This is because the problem lies not with rogue councils or judges disrespecting the tenets of Sharia but is the result of a strict adherence to the Sharia. [Read more…]

You must use the word Islamist!

The AP has revised its stylebook to no longer include the term Islamist. They explain why:

Islamist” is frequently used as a label for conservative Islamic political movements, particularly Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the group’s Palestinian offshoot. It generally carries a negative connotation.

Has the AP thought that maybe it carries a negative connotation because fascistic movements – religious or otherwise – generally do?

The disgusting Council on American-Islamic Relations which has previously lobbied AP to drop the term because they say it “has become shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like'” and “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context” is elated:

We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims.

Of course Islamists and their lackeys will often interchange and conflate Islam, Muslim and Islamist in order to feign representation and to save Islam and Islamism by equating any criticism as racism and an attack on people. But Islam as a belief and Islamism as a far-Right political movement cannot be off limits to criticism.

Even if the AP drops the term by accepting the Islamist narrative and capitulating to it, we refuse.

As an aside, AP has also dropped using the term “illegal immigrant”, which is a good thing. No human being is illegal. They might be undocumented but they are not illegal. Human beings are more than their immigration status.

AP, see the difference? One is about real live human beings; the other is a far-Right political movement.

If Islamism is so concerned about  negative generalisations, it can start by ending its very indiscriminate murder and mayhem.

(News via Terry Sanderson)

You just don’t get it!

A group of women have set up a Facebook page called Muslim women against FEMEN…. Muslimah Pride Day.

They just don’t get it (or obviously choose not to).

On a day that has been set aside to defend a 19 year old woman who has been threatened by an Islamist with death by stoning, detained, drugged and restricted from communicating with her friends and FEMEN all for merely for expressing herself, they choose to mark the day by calling on women to oppose FEMEN and to veil.

As I have said before, nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Also it is clear that you cannot defend women’s rights and defend Islam and Islamism at the same time. You have to choose. FEMEN and we have chosen to side with women’s rights and equality; they have chose to side with the veil, Islam and Islamism no matter what it does to those who do not submit.

Long Live Amina!

Opposing Censorship

cwtat

Following One Law for All’s statement on Channel 4 and the BBC’s censorship and blasphemy-law-by-stealth of a film adaptation of DV8 Physical Theatre’s “Can We Talk About This?”, they have issued the following statement entitled ‘Opposing Censorship':

Human rights activist Maryam Namazie recently posted a blog about the reluctance from Channel 4 and the BBC to produce a film adaptation of Can We Talk About This?

Here is a statement from DV8 Physical Theatre:

DV8’s company name stands for both ‘deviate’ and ‘dance and video 8’. From the company’s very beginning we have been committed to recording our work on film. Our very earliest works were recorded on video 8 film. As the company’s reputation grew, our films were commissioned by the major broadcasters and produced professionally. They have been screened worldwide, and are taught as part of the National curriculum of dance, theatre and performance studies. We are aware that much of the company’s reputation is based on these films – their reach is many times more than that of a live touring production. But the films don’t only benefit DV8, they were hugely successful to the commissioning broadcasters, too: jointly the four DV8 films have won 31 international awards including three Prix Italia, an International Emmy, and a Rose d’Or.

Read the rest of their statement here.

We can’t leave Islam? Watch us!

apostasyJANDMOI was at Birmingham University yesterday speaking on apostasy and freedom of conscience for the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society’s Reason Week. We had an excellent discussion. Of course, there had been complaints about my speaking there (yes it is very controversial to defend the rights of apostates not to die!). The Society was even asked to record my speech in case of further complaints. Here’s my speech, just in case they need it in writing too:

Punishing apostates is a long-standing and fundamental feature of all major religions. Repudiating religion is deemed to be the worst of crimes.

And in Islam it’s no different except that Islamism is this era’s inquisition and totalitarianism.

To the degree it has power, that is the degree it controls every single aspect of people lives and society via its Sharia laws – from what people wear, who they have sex with, what music they listen to – even what they are allowed to think.

One of the characteristics of an inquisition is the policing of thought. Freethinking and freedom of conscience are banned. Even for Muslims, a ‘personal’ religion is impossible under an inquisition. You can’t pick and choose as you’d like. You don’t want to wear the veil; acid in your face should teach you a lesson. You want to go to school; maybe we can gun you down on your way there. You want to be an atheist. Off with your head…

Islamists will kill, threaten or intimidate anyone who interprets things differently, dissents, thinks freely or transgresses their norms by living 21st century lives. Of course people resist day in and day out but that is a testament to the human spirit despite Islamism and Sharia.

If you look at the purpose of the Sharia ‘justice’ system, it is there to teach the masses the damnable nature of dissent and free thought. Where it has power, like in Iran, there are 130 offences punishable by death – from heresy, blasphemy, enmity against god, adultery, and homosexuality. But apostasy is the highest and most heinous crime.

Around 19 countries consider apostasy from Islam illegal and a prosecutable offence. Depending on the influence of Islamism and Sharia law, in places like Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan and Oman punishments vary from fines, imprisonment, flogging and exclusion from civil or family rights. In ten countries apostasy is punishable by the death penalty.

And whilst there are religious justifications for the execution of apostates, apostasy laws today under the Islamic inquisition are the ultimate means of political rather than religious control.

Of course, from a religious standpoint, apostasy is the unravelling of the entire system from within by those considered to be “members” of the imagined Muslim community (often out of very little choice of their own). Question one law, one hadith, one sura in the Koran, and you begin to unravel it all. To question and dissent denies the Islamic inquisitor the opportunity to feign representation. And it prevents the submission that they demand. If you are allowed to leave, you undermine it all.

Historically apostasy laws have always been used as a form of control. It’s no different today. Islamists use it as a means of political control. After all they represent god’s rule on earth and any opposition to their rule, is a direct affront to God himself. [Read more…]

A few things about Sharia and Islamism

Haven’t had time to write a blog post today but wanted to bring attention to a few things:

* Several Ahmadi Muslims have been arrested for publishing ‘blasphemous’ books about their faith. This is what happens when Islamist values are seen to be one and the same with Muslim values. Then a large number of Muslims are no longer ‘real Muslims’ and face threats, persecution and intimidation. Religion is a private matter; the sooner we can get rid of Islamism, the sooner people can believe in Islam or not without fear.

* Roy Brown from the International Humanist and Ethical Union just informed me that somebody tried to kill writer Lars Hedegaard in Denmark today. Roy received this news: “The guy rang his doorbell pretending to be the postman delivering a package. When Lars opened the door he tried to shoot him in his head, but missed. Lars went into a fight with him, managed to get the gun off him, the guy managed to get hold of the gun again and Lars went into a new fight with him while he tried to shoot again, but the gun didn’t go off. After this resistance the guy fled.” You might recall that Lars was previously fined for making insulting remarks about Islam. it is most likely the work of Islamists. Appalling that someone who has made some ‘insulting’ remarks must die but Lama’s father goes free! What an upside down world!

When I spoke in Denmark a while back, Lars and I disagreed on many a thing but one thing is certain: no-one must be threatened, intimidated, or censored for “insulting” Islam or religion… It’s a little thing called free expression.

*  By the way, the brilliant Nahla Mahmoud has written a piece on Sharia law here as a follow up to her Channel 4 piece on Sharia.

* When you get a chance, take a look at a movie on Sharia made by President of Free Muslims Toronto Chapter, Hassan Mahmud, here.

Ana Lama

Update: Sign a petition calling for justice for Lama here.

Cleric sheikh Fayhan Al Ghamdi, a regular on Islamic channels, was absolved and made to pay blood money (only half of what he would have had to pay had he killed a boy) for raping and torturing his five year old daughter Lama last October; he had custody of the child after he divorced from her mother though she begged him for Lama.

The absurdly lenient ruling is based on Saudi law that a father cannot be executed for murdering his children. It is also based on some Hadith sources (sayings and actions of Mohammad).

According to OnIslam:

As for fathers, the matter is different; a father cannot be executed for killing his child. This is because a father is the considered the origin of his child and the child is the branch; and the branch cannot be used to eliminate the origin.

It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No father should be killed (executed) for killing his son.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Having said this, it should be also pointed out that Imam Malik has a different opinion: if a father kills his son definitely on purpose without any doubt, he may be executed.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Three Saudi activists, including Manal al-Sharif from the SaudiWomen2Drive campaign, have raised objections to the ruling. They have started a Twitter campaign hashtag “Ana Lama” which is Arabic for “I am Lama”. The campaign must be unequivocally supported until there is justice for Lama.

Imprisoned Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari did say “No Saudi women will go to hell, because it’s impossible to go there twice”, but I do sometimes wonder whether hell isn’t better.

Please remember Lama next time someone tells you that matters of marriage, divorce, child custody, and females being worth half of males are ‘mundane’ family matters that can be relegated to Kangaroo Sharia courts.

I held my son a little closer when I picked him up from school today and wept for Lama and her mother who speaks below about what happened (in Arabic): [Read more…]

The day the music died

Did you hear about Pragash Band, an all girls rock band from Kashmir, which has had to stop singing after receiving a string of death and rape threats as well as a fatwa against them by the Grand Mufti for being “un-Islamic”, “immoral” and “for spreading obscenity”…

 

Just in case you haven’t quite understood the severity of the matter, the teenagers have had the gall to sing in public.

The Mufti has also called on women to veil and said that the reason sexual assaults are on the rise is because women are performing in public!?

Anyone who has ever lived under such Islamic rule knows it well. You’re not allowed to listen to music, sing in public, dance…

The day medieval Muftis and Islamists decide is the day the music dies.

Regardless, a large number of people, including the Chief minister, have come out in support of the girls.

As must we.

This is about politics not religion

Below is my speech at the 22 September National Secular Society conference in London:

Sometimes I really don’t know what more to say.

What else can be said about Sharia law that– at least in your gut – you don’t already know?

It is based on the Koran, the Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence. Its criminal code includes stoning to death for adultery and execution for apostasy and homosexuality. In Iran, for example, there are over 130 offences punishable by death.

Its civil code – which is imposed by Sharia courts in Britain – is discriminatory and unfair particularly against women. Basically it is a code of death and despair.

Not breaking news, is it? After all it is religious law. And that’s what – in my opinion – religion does best. A court based on the Bible and Torah would be similarly discriminatory and barbaric.

Yet the numbers of people who continue to defend Sharia courts in Britain as people’s ‘right to religion’ is staggering.

And of course – any excuse – will do. The best I have heard recently has to be ‘I have a Muslim friend who says Sharia is not as you say it is’. End of. Their skepticism seems to apply to everything but Islam. [Read more…]

Bravo Charlie Hebdo

In a climate where Islamist murder, violence and intimidation is cowering many into silence and submission,  Charlie Hebdo’s insistence on poking fun at Islam on par with all religions and its refusal to back down despite calls for censorship is one that will be remembered when Islamism is in the dustbins of history.

French professor Marlière writes in the Guardian that the magazine’s aim to reassert its leftwing secular tradition in this climate is more anti-Islamic than anti-clerical.  But anti-Islamism is this era’s anti-clericalism.

He adds that the cartoons are ‘unhelpful’ in a ‘climate of religious and racial prejudice’ but like the Guardian and many a liberal and post-modernist leftist, he misses the point. What is ‘unhelpful’ is Islamism’s murder and mayhem.

Criticising Islam and Islamism is not about prejudice – that is Islamism’s narrative – which has been bought hook, line and sinker by those calling for censorship. In fact, in this day and age, criticism is a historical necessity and legitimate challenge to our era’s inquisition.

Also, what the professor and the Guardian seem to forget is that those most at threat of the Islamist herds are not satirical French publications or even US and French embassies worldwide but the many countless human beings living under Islamism and Sharia law  – a lot of them Muslims – who daily face threats, imprisonment and death for their dissent from and criticism – like Saudi Hamza Kashgari, Indonesian Alex Aan, Egyptian Alber Saber and Pakistani Asia Bibi.

When will the professor and the Guardian side with them?

As the most wonderful Salman Rushdie says: we “need to be braver”.

Yes, clearly we do if we are going to stop this barbarism once and for all…

As an aside, of course Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon is different from the despicable and racist Christian Right film, the Innocence of Muslims. But free expression is not just for those we agree with. And let’s not forget a bad film is just a bad film. The real problem that needs to be addressed head on is Islamism and censorship is the wrong response.

The other film: The Innocence of Muslims

Another film that has hit the headlines – ‘The innocence of Muslims’ – merits comment particularly since it has sparked protests that have resulted in the death of several US officials in Libya.

Have you seen the film? It is absolutely ludicrous.

It’s low budget (though they say they spent $5 million on it), poorly edited, badly acted – I mean just really, really bad. It’s almost impossible to get through the trailer let alone the movie itself.

It’s even worse (if that’s an option) than Geert Wilders’ film, Fitna, which we did a remake on.

Clearly the incompetence of the far-Right is even more astounding than its racism…

Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it:

What I find most ironic out of all of this is how the producers of the film and their supporters – like the crackpot pastor Terry Jones of Stand Up America! – don’t see how they are one and the same with the Islamists.

Like the Islamists, everyone is guilty. No one is innocent, which explains the very pathetic title of their film.

By the way, did you hear that the pastor is holding a trial for Mohammad who will face execution if found guilty? Does he not realise Mohammad isn’t even a real live person? And I also love the whole Christian love (we’re better than Islam) bit that ends with a public execution.

Like I said, two sides of the same coin.

Urgent Action: Islam: The Untold Story must not be cancelled

Dear friend

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain would like to make public its support for Tom Holland’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. We are indignant to learn that due to threats made on Holland, Channel 4 has cancelled a repeat screening of the historical inquiry into the origins of Islam similar to the kind of inquiry that has been applied to other religions and histories in Britain for many years.

The threats and concerted attempt to stigmatise the documentary and its producers by attacking its credibility and even legitimacy as a field of inquiry is nothing less than an attempt to impose a blasphemy taboo by stealth and coercion against programming that scrutinises Islam.

Caving in to the coercive pressure of Islamists will have catastrophic effects on free inquiry and expression where it pertains to Islam. It would not only further silence academic, historical and theological scrutiny of Islam but would also have the chilling effect of exerting added pressure on Muslims and ex-Muslims who wish to dissent from and question Islam.

CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie says:

“Here’s my question to Channel 4: what about the threats on our lives for being apostates, ex-Muslims, atheists, freethinkers, secularists, 21st century human beings?

“What part of our thoughts, lives, and bodies do you recommend we cancel to appease the Islamists?

“If only there was such an ‘easy’ ‘solution’ for those who are languishing under Islam’s rules.

“You may accept censorship and cowardly silence in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation but we cannot afford to do so. And we never will.”

The CEMB urges you to view the documentary (also available on Youtube and on liveleak) and write to Channel 4 and Ofcom (contact information below) calling for a repeat screening.

We look forward to your support. [Read more…]

We never will

I have just posted a statement by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain in support of Tom Holland’s documentary “Islam: The Untold Story”.

Channel 4 has just cancelled a repeat screening due to threats.

Here’s my question to Channel 4: what about the threats on our lives for being apostates, ex-Muslims, atheists, freethinkers, secularists, 21st century human beings?

What part of our thoughts, lives, bodies do you recommend we cancel to appease the Islamists?

If only there was such an  ‘easy’ ‘solution’ for those who are languishing under Islam’s rules – like Afghan actors facing death threats or  the 16 year old girl waiting to be flogged in the Maldives?

You may accept censorship and cowardly silence in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation but we cannot afford to do so.

And we never will.

***

View the documentary here.

 

 

We must be able to scrutinise Islam

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain would like to make public our support for Tom Holland’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. We are indignant to learn that due to threats made on Holland, Channel 4 has cancelled a repeat screening of the historical inquiry into the origins of Islam similar to the kind of inquiry that has been applied to other religions and histories in Britain for many years.

The threats and concerted attempt to stigmatise the documentary and its producers by attacking its credibility and even legitimacy as a field of inquiry is nothing less than an attempt to impose a blasphemy taboo by stealth and coercion against programming that scrutinises Islam.

Caving in to the coercive pressure of Islamists will have catastrophic effects on free inquiry and expression where it pertains to Islam. It would not only further silence academic, historical and theological scrutiny of Islam but would also have the chilling effect of exerting added pressure on Muslims and ex-Muslims who wish to dissent from and question Islam.

The CEMB urges Channel 4 to reconsider its decision and urges the public to view the documentary and write to Channel 4 calling for a repeat screening.

Simple!

In response to my post explaining the ex in ex-Muslim, Mr. A Kundi‏ or @adnzafar says on Twitter:

@MaryamNamazie then don’t say #exmuslims. then there will be no killings. Simple!

Simple for who?

The defenders of Islamism are always on the ready to blame Islam’s victims for its crimes.

All you need to do to stop their killing machine is to stop speaking, stop criticising Sharia or the veil, stop holding hands, stop opposing sex apartheid, stop thinking and breathing…

A Kundi has things the other way around.

Stop Islamism and Islam’s role in the public space, push its back to the wall, send it back to the Middle Ages, then there will be no killings.

Simple!

 

Follow me on Twitter.

Defending Rasheed

Ismail ‘Hilath’ Rasheed, a Maldivian blogger, journalist and free speech advocate, has been brutally attacked near his home on 4 June 2012. His throat was slit through the trachea and he survived only because a vital artery was missed by millimetres. He is recovering. Whilst police are still investigating, it is believed to be the work of Islamists.

Rasheed had previously been attacked and received a number of death threats. On 10 December 2011, his skull was fractured when he attended a rally for religious tolerance, which was attacked by Islamists. On 14 December, he was arrested and held for three weeks after members of the Adhaalath Party accused him of blasphemy. Rasheed reported that he faced mistreatment and degradation whilst in custody. Before his release, his detention was extended twice on the request of investigating officers in order that the Islamic Ministry might provide him with counselling to “bring him back to Islam”.

The Government of the Maldives has made no effort to arrest Rasheed’s attackers despite credible photographic evidence of the attack. Moreover, the Government has blocked his website on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on the grounds that the site contained anti-Islamic material. Rasheed has said he was being censored for expressing his version of Islam, and called for more freedom of interpretation within the faith. [Read more…]