I live in exile. I had to leave forever the country I love…..
I was always a politically thinking person who chose the means of art to point out grievances and to change something. So I studied literature (fiction) in Iran and focused on the topic of freedom. I also led a theater troupe of children and young people with disabilities and won several international awards.
I wrote to defend the rights of women and prisoners and was reprimanded many times for this. But I wanted to make her voice against the forced hijab resound loudly in the streets of Tehran and, in protest against the oppression, I publicly took off my headscarf! The consequence was that I was attacked and beaten in the streets.
It is 13 July 2019 when Aida (name changed) calls me and says: “Facebook has blocked my page again. I don’t have access anymore”. It is now already the twentieth time that this happened to her. This time it’s about the accusation of hate speech and nudity. The entire Facebook page is now no longer accessible. Not even for her. Everything is gone. All her work, the critical discussions with the subscribers. Everything lost.
We are excited to announce our collaboration with the Brighter Brains Institute! More and more secular organizations are recognizing the need to make a contribution to the accomplishment of social tasks through humanitarian commitment. Because it is a problem that the emergency in certain regions of the world is used to spread religious dogma.
More and more people in the Islamic world are leaving their religion. Many do this in silence, but some write about it. A particularly fascinating example is the blog of a young woman from Yemen. It takes a lot of courage from this conservative country, which has also been at war for almost four years, to express criticism of Islam.
We have succeeded in making contact with this extraordinarily courageous woman. We were interested in who was behind this Facebook page. However, when we questioned her, we were anxious to preserve her identity and did not ask any personal questions.
Islamist terrorism has dominated the headlines in the European media for many years. The attacks in the Bataclan, in Brussels, at Charlie Hebdo, to name but a few. They show the cruel face of religious extremism. All these attacks were committed by Sunni Muslims, who were incited on the Internet by the ideas of the Islamic State, or in mosques by corresponding sermons. What is forgotten here is that the same extremism also exists on the part of Shiite Muslims. We remember the death fatwa which was pronounced against the British author Salman Rushdie in 1989. Even the well-known musician Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) supported these threats. Rushdie had to go into hiding for many years. After the attack of the USA on Iraq a Shiite militia has formed there, which represents similar extreme views as the Sunni IS. Only the strategy they are pursuing is different.
When Yahya Ekhou began the day in his room in northern Germany on the morning of March 1, he had no idea what wave of hatred had come over him on the Internet. Many people demanded his death. Among them was a representative of parliament.
Unfortunately, religion is a reason for many people to leave their homeland and apply for asylum in Germany. When it comes to religious persecution, most people think of religious minorities threatened by the majority in their countries. In the current refugee crisis, these are mainly Jesids and Christians fleeing from predominantly Islamic countries. But one group is often completely ignored in the media: the atheists. In many religions (e. g. in Islam) apostasy is considered a punishable offence. And even those who do not belong to any religious community from birth are unfortunately all too often persecuted as “infidels”.
Open apostasy is only the tip of the iceberg. In strictly religious societies, self-determination rights are curtailed in many ways. Thus, religious-critical expressions can lead to social ostracism, even if they do not contain any commitment to atheism.
Drastic invasions of privacy are commonplace in many Islamic countries. Although Western criticism of archaic practices such as forced marriage and forced circumcision is often fought off in a culturally relativistic manner with reference to the supposed “equivalence of all cultures”, it is regularly overlooked that there is massive resistance within the various societies to religious virtue terrorism.
Atheistic refugees are a particular group of people looking for shelter. Most of them are very active, politically thinking people who oppose the dogmatic ideology of the dominant religion of their home countries. Since there are supporters of fundamental interpretations of religions worldwide, they are never really safe from persecution – even here, in Germany.
We offer these refugees appropriate care, as many people who have also fled from the religious constraints of their home countries work with us.