Saturday, June 23, 2007

Good success to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

I like this! There's a newish organisation in the UK called the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Basically they're people who were (as the name suggests) Muslims, and frankly they've had enough of the reactionary near-fascist organisations claiming to represent them. One wonders how long it will take for effigies of them to be burned in some odd place or other.

I am kind of tempted to set up my own little grouping of ex-catholics or ex-christians (but then, i never really believed that kind of fairtytale anyway - I mean, helloooo... a good, omniscient, all-powerful God who kinda doesn't think it's worthwhile interfering with his/her creation's activities like the holocaust in Germany, the genozide in Rwanda and the list goes on and on and on). Surely we are left either with a Leibnizian option of the kind that this is the best of all possible worlds, and things could only be worse if God hadn't created this paradise (Voltaire made rightfully a mockery of this view in his Candide), or we better accept that God (if he/she/it exists at all) is not omniscient and all-powerful, or we concede that may be, just may be God isn't 'good' after all. Either way, secularism seems the most sensible response to it all.

Here's the ex-Muslims' press release:

Manifesto of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain


We, non-believers, atheists, and ex-Muslims, are establishing or joining the
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain to insist that no one be pigeonholed as
Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by
regressive Islamic organisations and 'Muslim community leaders'.

Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent
countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats
faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries
under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with
renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and
values, and secularism.

Whilst religion or the lack thereof is a private affair, the increasing
intervention of and devastation caused by religion, and particularly Islam,
in contemporary society has necessitated our public renunciation and
declaration. We represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and
humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.

Taking the lead from the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, we
demand:

1. Universal rights and equal citizenship for all. We are opposed to
cultural relativism and the tolerance of inhuman beliefs, discrimination and
abuse in the name of respecting religion or culture.

2. Freedom to criticise religion. Prohibition of restrictions on
unconditional freedom of criticism and expression using so-called religious
'sanctities'.

3. Freedom of religion and atheism.

4. Separation of religion from the state and legal and educational system.

5. Prohibition of religious customs, rules, ceremonies or activities that
are incompatible with or infringe people's rights and freedoms.

6. Abolition of all restrictive and repressive cultural and religious
customs which hinder and contradict woman's independence, free will and
equality. Prohibition of segregation of sexes.

7. Prohibition of interference by any authority, family members or
relatives, or official authorities, in the private lives of women and men
and their personal, emotional and sexual relationships and sexuality.

8. Protection of children from manipulation and abuse by religion and
religious institutions.

9. Prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the
state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and
institutions.

10. Prohibition of all forms of religious intimidation and threats.

Here
's a report from the event and a link to a speech given by one of the group's founders.

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