RESOURCE: COUNCIL OF EX-MUSLIMS OF BRITAIN
One of the important resources, and among the first, is the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB). It was, as far as I know, mainly founded by the intelligent, ethical, and influential activism ex-Muslim woman, Maryam Namazie. The CEMB started on June 22, 2007 is based out of London in the United Kingdom.
Other founders include Imad Iddine Habib, Nahla Mahmoud, Rayhana Sultan. The UK seems to be one of the hubs of activity for the Ex-Muslim community, as a public fora set and for activism around the world, as well as the United States of America with other organizations
The CEMB does have a manifesto. It works to demarcate ordinary Muslims as allies by implication of not wanting — the CEMB — to be represented by the Islamic organizations and some Muslim community leaders with regressive aspects.
The basic premise is equality of the ex-Muslims with Muslims, for secularism or separation of Mosque and state, and “reason.” They also argue for freedom of expression, especially as this applies to the critique of religion and its ideas.
One common conflation is the critique of religious ideas as attacks on individual people. It is a difficult issue to separate because, at times, there is genuine confusion and other times deliberate obfuscation for the explicit purpose of muddying the waters to prevent criticism of Islam by individuals who believe they have divine mandate to trample on the rights of others and even on others.
The CEMB makes an argument akin to the child abuse argument from Dr. Richard Dawkins with the protection of children from parents who wish to thrust, and often do, their own beliefs about the world onto them. It is an important point.
No one argues for a communist or Republican child; however, we accept implicitly the argument for a Muslim and a Christian child. The former is more benign as this is something with only voting power at the age of adulthood or consent; while, the latter, it is something that takes the entire life of a youth and an adult well prior to the age of consent or adulthood — larger domain of life and longer period of time.
The CEMB, along with a number of other organizations around the world, have been at the forefront for activism for human rights in order to attack the theocratic idea of the apostasy, and blasphemy, and the variety of punishments — censorship, imprisonment, torture, death penalty threat, death, and so on — for what many, especially in the CEMB and other associated organizations, see as imaginary crimes.
These prescriptions for the punishments of the non-believers, unbelievers, and others, come explicitly from injunctions issued by the fundamentalist religious groups and believers of the world through their own attribution to selective literalist pickings of their hole texts.
Namazie, as is deserved, worked hard and earned the Secularist of the Year award from 2005 (a lot of this information is available on a decent Wikipedia page for the CEMB). She, and others, have been facing death threats for a long, long time, continue to get them, and assiduously work against the onslaught of fundamentalist and literalist violence in spite of the real potential for political and religious violence against a freedom of expression believing, articulate, ethically consistent — very important, and intelligent ex-Muslim, especially so for a woman.
Many ex-Muslims, insofar as I have interviewed them, have been subject to a variety of threats against their livelihoods because of the simple nature of one or two things, or both. They do not believe in Islam. Or they do no believe in Islam and openly state it. They express freedom of religion and freedom of expression, as stated in a variety of international rights documents spinning the rights ball back to December 10, 1948, or 70 years ago with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the United Nations.
However, these countries appear to claim divine status over rights status. It is, in this sense, where I see the battleground for the first quarter of the 21st century with the fight for either transcendental traditional religious moral law claims and international secular human rights claims for the basis of ethics. The former only permits itself. The latter the provides a space for the religious and the non-religious.
I state this because the freedom of religion to believe in Islam and the freedom of expression to the concerns of the Muslim community, or individual Muslims of all stripes and sects, and to the perceived veracity of the Islamic claims remain valid. However, these individuals who want to kill those who do not believe add additional sub-clauses, implicit, to these rights that simply do not exist.
You have, to them — by what many of them have said and, indeed, have done, the right to freedom of religion, except if you stop believing in Islam, and the freedom of expression, except if you speak out against the tenets of Islam or Muslims.
This violates a fundamental principle, a superordinate ethical precept inherent in the Golden Rule and implied through the human rights instantiated throughout much of the world, which is universality of human rights. The freedom of religion implies a universality extending to freedom from religion and for freedom of expression to mean freedom to express against the dictates and beliefs of Islam.
The CEMB and the brave Namazie remain a part of the international group of increasingly prominent people — earned through hard work and sacrifice — who represent the superordinate ethical interpretation, the proper one or accurate declaration, of human rights, in this universalistic sense — for everyone and not some or none.
The raising of awareness for the concerns and issues of the ex-Muslims of the world is an important piece of the work for greater equality and a more just society and world. If we look at the activists of the world, we can see the concerns of them differing from one another.
However, there are, certainly, a variety of common and consistent concerns for the ex-Muslim population. Also, there remain consistent, long-term activist concerns overlapping with the derivatives or the outcroppings of fundamentalist religion with not only apostasy or blasphemy as purported irreligious crimes.
The issues for the LGBTQ2IA+ community, as some Canadians label it, is manifest and manifold, so plentiful, and the homophobia comes from a large swathe of the fundamentalist religious communities against the more ordinary believers who accept these communities of the sexual orientation and gender identity community.
It is the same for the community of many women. Not all, but a sufficient number of, women undergo restriction within fundamentalist and literalist, and at time moderate or ordinary, Muslim communities and households; where the concern of the CEMB becomes the concern of many of these women, these are human rights or women’s rights issues to be dealt with organizationally centralized from the United Kingdom but distributed activities around the world with other councils and organizations working in unison for the fundamental rights of persons of women and their freedoms too.
One of the intriguing aspects of the work of the CEMB, and Namazie and Fariborz Pooya, is Bread & Roses TV. It is tied to the work of the CEMB. Other media work has been successful, to a degree, with the #ExMuslimBecause social media campaign. Many came out as apostates.
This is all, as far as I can tell, part of the larger activist network work to make apostasy and freedom of expression around taboo topics more common, to make them not as verboten– especially those topics deemed streng verboten. The topics of apostasy, blasphemy, LGBTQ2IA+ concerns, women’s issues, und so weiter.
The hashtag came with a decent count, by the way, at over 100,000 uses within two weeks. The basic premise extends the general notions or sentiments of a fight for human rights and against imposition against those rights being implemented for actualized for everybody — back to universality once more.
Some common responses or claims are that the critiques of the ideas of Islam become Islamophobic rather than restricting the term “Islamophobia” or “Islamophobic” to those with anti-Muslim bigotry, which are not the same thing. One may respect the person and disagree with the ideas.
One who loves their Muslim family members but disagrees with the beliefs and suggested practices in various sects of Islam is anti-Islam and pro-Muslim family members. However, and unfortunately, this conflation of meanings between critiques of ideas and ad hominemattacks on people reflects a confusion via conflation found in the Liberal community more than others.
It comes from a positive notion of wanting to protect the little person, the less powerful, the lost, the in pain, the tortured and imprisoned, those threatened with death and who cannot practice or leave their faith, and so on; but this then extrapolates to an attack on the ideas of some of these individuals, it can lead to protections of murderers, i.e., the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist killers.
The comparison in the thought pattern, but not the magnitude of outcome, is in the incessant conservative protections via obfuscation and even outright lies about the war crimes of American presidents against the Muslim populations of the world, especially as seen in the almost two-decade-long wars seen in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The CEMB has been active with the campaigns against homophobia through Pride marches and so on in London and — I assume — elsewhere. Finally, there have been a sanctuary — not only in the other ways but also — through the argute decision for an annual gathering through a conference.
It helps to bring those the self-confidence and self-esteem against, often, the idea of a punitive, comminatory, and criticaster Theity who intervenes, judges, and is harsh with them as ex-Muslims for questioning the basic belief structure of Islam.
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. (2018). Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Retrieved from https://www.ex-muslim.org.uk/.
Nano Golesorkh. (2018). Nano Golesorkh. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/user/BreadandRosesTV.
Wikipedia. (2018). Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Ex-Muslims_of_Britain.