Bread and Roses: On Apostasy

See this week’s Bread and Roses TV programme in English on the issue of apostasy and the execution sentence of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim in Sudan. In this week’s programme, I speak with Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

The Persian programme will be broadcast via New Channel TV tomorrow and will be available then.

Next week’s programme is on Stealthy Freedoms and women unveiling in Iran. What does this movement represent to you? Send us any questions and comments or even 30 second videos to broadcast on our programme to the below:

Bread and Roses
نان و گل سرخ
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: nanogolesorkh@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NanoGoleSorkh
Twitter: @NanoGoleSorkh
Youtube: youtube.com/breadandrosesTV
Telephone: +44 20 3287 6128

By the way, we have managed to raise £2000 of the £15,000 we need for a video mixer, computer, microphones and lighting for the programme. There’s only 20 days left so please help if you can. See our fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. Right now, we have to manually edit footage from 4 separate cameras on a computer that keeps shutting down. It takes too long to produce each programme, which makes it impractical over the long-term. A video mixer and computer will make things easier!

Thanks for any support for our free-thinking, taboo-breaking work.. We’ll owe you one.

Lib Dems: Wrong Answer, Again!

Nahla Mahmoud MCUNahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, was threatened after speaking out against Sharia law including by Salah al Bandar (or Salah al Bander) who has until recently been a Liberal Democrat Councillor and is currently an esteemed member. Details of his threats can be found here as can information on his dubious background here.

Spencer Hagard, Chair of the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats, initiated an investigation when the threats were first made public in English and found them “groundless”. Instead, he said the inquiry “increased [his] previously high esteem for” al Bandar.

When he was further pressed, he commissioned an “independent translation” and reached the very same conclusion, which says:

1.  Nahla Mahmoud’s allegations against Dr Al Bander are very serious, in their nature, and in the scale and persistence of their dissemination.
2.  The allegations are based on Dr Al Bander’s posts on ‘SudaneseOnline’.  We have had these independently translated into English.
3. None of the independent translations supports the allegations made in Nahla Mahmoud’s articles of 2 August 2013, 2 September 2013, 4 September 2013, and 28 September 2013. By a combination of of mistranslation, omission of key phrases, and highly selective and partial quotation, she has created serious distortions of the meaning of Dr Al Bander’s posts.

4. Our conclusion is that Dr Al Bander has no case to answer in respect of the allegations by Nahla Mahmoud.

5. We are therefore satisfied that there is nothing in Dr Salah Al Bander’s behaviour which conflicts with his continuing membership of the Liberal Democrat Party.

When asked for a copy of the “independent translation”  by Janet Wright who lives in Cambridgeshire, Hagard refused. Janet wrote to him saying:

You say “You will see that the matter has been thoroughly investigated”. But that is exactly what I cannot see, because you have not shown me the evidence. As an academic, you know that repeating an assertion is not the same as providing evidence.

Would you please be kind enough to send me the independent translation you commissioned, with some information about who did the translation? Then I hope I will be able to see that Mr Al Bander is completely innocent of the charges made against him. Many thanks.

I very much wish to be reassured about the principles upheld by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats. But the more you tell me you have evidence exonerating Mr Al Bander but you will not show it to me, the more worried I become.

Hagard wrote back: [Read more...]

Statement on the takfir campaign against activist Nahla Mahmoud

Nahla Mahmoud MCU

Below is a statement by several Sudanese rights activists against Salah Al Bandar’s takfir campaign against Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud. Takfir is an originally Arabic word that literally means pronouncement of unbelief against someone; it is similar to the ecclesiastical concept of ‘excommunication’. Takfir in Islam is a justification for capital punishment.

Drawing on our belief  of and responsibility towards defending all rights and freedoms, and based on our principled position towards supporting the freedoms of expression and belief, as two basic rights for every human being and  as well as our stance on supporting the fundamental right to life and personal security, we, the undersigned, would like to  declare our solidarity with Nahla Mahmoud in the face of the takfir/death threats and intimidation campaign being orchestrated by Mr. Salah Al Bandar against her. We also call on the British authorities to protect Nahla and put an end to the violation by Mr. Al Bandar of her right to life and personal security as well as her rights of belief and freedom of expression, and to obligate him to stop intimidating her and her family in Sudan.

[Read more...]

Update on the threats against Nahla Mahmoud

nahlaAs you know, following an interview on Channel 4 on Sharia law, Islamists 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”. One of those making the threats was Salah al Bandar (or Salah al Bander) who has until recently been a Liberal Democrat Councillor.

Spencer Hagard, Chair of the Cambridge Liberal Democrats, initiated an investigation into the allegations against al Bandar and found them “groundless”. Instead, he said the inquiry “increased [his] previously high esteem for” al Bandar. This despite the fact that an independent translation was not carried out by the Lib Dems to verify the threats made nor was any of the documented threats made against Nahla Mahmoud addressed other than to say that the quotes were a “gross distortion”, and “utterly misrepresented”. See article on this here.

Kafir(a) and Murtad(a) are well known derogatory terms meaning infidel and apostate; moreover, fitnah is another derogatory term against disobedient women who are seen to be the source of chaos or affliction in society. Given that apostasy is punishable by death in ten countries including Sudan, and a prosecutable offence in many more, the terms can hardly be considered positive and open to distortion.

Rather than addressing the specific threats made against Nahla Mahmoud, al Bandar mentions his “dedicat[ion] to individual human rights”, including with organisations like Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT).

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain finds this wholly unacceptable and calls on the Lib Dems to provide a detailed response with regards the complaint against al Bandar. His questionable “human rights” record is irrelevant and can hardly be used in his defence.

SOAT, the group al Bandar cites as proof of his commitment to human rights, has in fact had problems with him. Founding members of the organisation wrote a letter in September 2008 saying that the board of trustees headed by al Bandar was acting “opposite to its vision and values.” They went on to say: “we have serious concerns and doubts about the constituency and legitimacy of the current board of trustees of the organisation. We believe that the election procedure of the board was inappropriate, lacked transparency and equal opportunities to participate. In fact it has been manipulated. As a result, we have explained and informed the UK Charity Commission of the current situation.” The letter can be seen here. [Read more...]

No place for Sharia

Sudanese atheist and ex-Muslim, Nahla Mahmoud, speaks her mind against Sharia law on channel 4Thought TV and says that Sharia has no place in Britain or the world and that there must be one secular law for all.

The only other sane voice amongst the seven interviewed on “what Sharia can offer Britain” is that of gay Muslim Omar Kuddus. [The third opponent is a Christian evangelist but we'll ignore his as I am only speaking of sane voices here.]

The other 4 are pro-Sharia and completely insane.

Abu Usamah says Islam will dominate the world and that we need to appreciate Sharia and go beyond stoning of adulterers and cutting off of hands…

Ali-Ridha Jaffer adds that whilst people might say Sharia is barbaric, it works (!)

Amra Bone, the only female member of the Sharia Council (who can’t even make a decision on her own without male Sharia judges), says it protects women.

And there is the fourth proponent who likes the fact that under Sharia the family can decide on retribution in murder cases or get blood money…

Err, long live 21st century values?

You can see all the interviews here.