After the Secular Refugee Relief has been presented to the public at the celebration of “10 Years of Ex-Muslims” on 17 November 2017, numerous requests for help but also many offers of help have reached us.
Since then, the number of tasks and potential has grown enormously.
Asad Noor (25), a well-known blogger from Bangladesh, could face a prison sentence of up to 14 years, as he had criticised Islam on the Internet. He was arrested at Dhaka airport in late December.
In Bangladesh, the situation is very dangerous for atheists or critics of Islam. Dozens of bloggers and activists have already been killed there by Islamic fundamentalists.
With the rise of atheism in Islamic countries, more and more countries are taking tougher action against free critical thinking. After the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has already equated atheists with terrorists, Egypt is now following suit. These reactions can be seen as an indication that the beneficiaries of a reform incapable theocracy see themselves as seriously endangered by the enlightenment and critical thinking.
The two sisters Ashwaq Hamoud, 30, and Areej Hamoud, 28, fled Saudi Arabia because they were subjected to massive abuse by their families. They are now to be forcibly repatriated. In Saudi Arabia, in addition to honour killings or serious abuse by the family, they may also be facing legal threats, as they could serve a prison sentence for not being obedient to their parents.
The Atheist Refugee Relief provides care for some cases of women who have fled Saudi Arabia. From our experience, there can be no repatriation to your home country Saudi Arabia.
Hamesd Rastkerdar from Iran, who has been living in Germany since 2015, unfortunately received a negative decision for his asylum application in August 2017. Since he had a muslim translator in the interview, the essential point that he is an atheist was not recorded in the protocol. Mr. Rastkerdar was active in Iran in a student group that had asked critical questions about Islam and distributed leaflets. When the first of his friends was arrested, Mr. Rastkerdar fled to Germany, because in Iran the death penalty can be imposed on apostasy. In Germany he was also very active in the Council of Ex-Muslims.
If he were deported, it would be probable that he would be executed in Iran because of his open commitment to atheism. This is why the Atheist Refugee Relief is committed to ensuring that he is recognised as an asylum seeker in Germany!
Aydin Babazadeh, one of the men who was part of a demonstration against religion two years ago in Iran, fled to Germany when one of his friends was arrested. He now wants to apply for asylum as an atheist. In Iran apostasy (leaving the religion) has the death penalty.
Anas Zakiri, an young man from the LGBT community who fled Marocco, is stuck in Turkey and needs support. He is an atheist and is looking for a way to live a free life. He’s in financial trouble right now. If you would like to support him, please follow this link:
The Atheist Refugee Relief was presented to the public as part of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims on November 17th, 2017 at the Maritim Hotel in Cologne. Michael Schmidt-Salomon interviewed Rana Ahmad, Mina Ahadi and Stefan Paintner about the beginnings and goals and tasks of the newly founded organization.