THE recently formed Council of Ex-Muslims have issued a manifesto saying that “no one should be pigeonholed as Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by regressive Islamic organisations and â€˜Muslim community leaders.'”
The manifesto adds: “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 â€˜apostates’ – punishable by death in countries under Islamic law.
“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 â€˜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.
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.”
The Council deserves all the support we can give them.