On 16.11.2018 the Atheist Refugee Relief e.V. organized a panel discussion entitled “Islam and human rights – different countries, the same problems?” on the occasion of the Secular Week of Human Rights in Berlin. Four guests from four very different countries were invited, but all of them were influenced by Islam. Alia Khannum from Pakistan, Shuruq from Saudi Arabia, Yahya Ekhou from Mauritania, Mahmudul Haque Munshi from Bangladesh told their stories about how they turned away from Islam and how society reacted with incredible violence every time. Moderator Angelika Kalwass confessed that when she became familiar with the topic in preparation for the evening, she felt overwhelmed by the force of what she had heard. In addition, the Islam critic Hamed Abdel Samad was invited, who pointed out that we in Europe must not offer any space to this culture of intolerance and must defend our civil liberties. He said that the European Parliament should make it more difficult to criticise Islam on the pretext of suppressing hate speech. At the end of the event, Mina Ahadi, President of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims, recalled the dangers of a political Islam with regard to her own history.
The occasion of the event was the experience of the Atheist Refugee Relief e.V. with refugees who had left Islam. Although they came from many parts of the world, the reaction of the institutions of their home countries and especially of their personal environment was always very similar. We also had to experience that it was often the family pressure that moved people to flee. Religious ideology penetrates into the last areas of private life and controls individuals, especially women, in every detail of their lives. This is what we wanted to address, because the public debate often does not address the influence of religion and instead the cause is to be found in the respective culture.
+++ UPDATE: The three sisters are now safe! Many thanks to all who helped!!!
The three sisters Manal, Muna and Nauf have left Islam and are now on the run. They are being persecuted by their family and are currently in great danger because apostasy (leaving the religion) is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. It is also a great shame for families there, especially when it comes to daughters, and it is therefore very important for their families to take the girls back to Saudi Arabia and bring them to the punishment.
Therefore we ask for your support. The three sisters must leave their current location as soon as possible, but they have no financial resources. Please donate to GoFundMe so they can go to a safe region.
“The protection of those who fled without faith must also be better ensured in Germany. Because they’re not safe here either from access by family or religious fanatics.” During the discussion at the Humanist Day 2018 in Nuremberg, Stefan Paintner (Atheist Refugee Relief) addressed the special situation of religious-free refugees. The public and politicians are not yet sufficiently aware of the problem – all panel participants agreed on this.
On the topic “Godless and persecuted – reason for atheism”, the Bengali blogger Arnab Goswami, the Iraqi blogger and activist Amed Sherwan and Michael Bauer from HVD Bayern sat on the podium alongside Stefan Paintner.
The two bloggers drew attention to the situation of atheists in Muslim countries. They reported on their own very traumatic experiences, which went as far as torture.
On May 2, Sherif Gaber, a well-known Egyptian blogger, posted the above text. It states that he was in a police station and if nothing more was heard from him in an hour, he was arrested.
Under pressure from the Islamist Al-Nour Party, Egypt has for some time now been increasingly taking action against free thinkers who are critical of Islam. The Al-Nour party has a very fundamentalist attitude towards Islam and received more than a quarter of the votes cast in a radical Islamist alliance in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
Egypt has been home to atheist activists for quite some time, who have also had their say in the official media. But in recent years they have been increasingly persecuted.
Brave people have founded the Council of Ex-Muslims Jordan. It should give a home to all who see themselves as humanists and free thinkers in the Islamic country where criticism of Islam is severely punished. Those who are turned away from religion and are committed to philosophy, science and critical thinking can network here, seek help and inform themselves about various topics.
The establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims Jordan is a sign of the strong increase in critical religious thinking in the Islamic world, which can be observed across all countries.
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.