Media Kit

Feel free to use the following materials to publicise or report on the historic International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London during 22-24 July 2017. Should you need further information, please get in touch with the Conference Organising Committee.

Background

Atheists and freethinkers are targeted by Islamists and religious-Right movements across the globe. Despite the brutal attacks, blasphemy and apostasy laws are often legitimised. Even where no such laws exist, there is a chorus of voices insisting that freedom of expression and conscience have limits, particularly when it comes to Islam.

Those whose religious sensibilities have been 'hurt' are almost always seen as more important than the very real victimisation, censorship, violence and even murder of those exercising their rights. And victims are blamed whilst perpetrators pose as victims.

One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (marking its tenth anniversary) aim to host the largest gathering of secularists, freethinkers and ex-Muslims as a show of strength and to reaffirm the right to think and live free from the constraints imposed by religion and the religious-Right.

Many of the speakers are on the frontlines of the tsunami of atheism and freethought that has taken hold of societies under Islamist influence with social media doing to Islam what the printing press did to Christianity centuries ago.

When dissenters continue to be threatened, silenced, no platformed, intimidated and even killed for rejecting and criticising Islam, a celebration of apostasy, blasphemy and the free word are historical tasks.

The conference will highlight and honour dissenters such as:

* Bangladeshi bloggers

* Raif Badawi - sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for 'insulting Islam' in Saudi Arabia

* Ahmad Al-Shamri - sentenced to death for 'atheism' in Saudi Arabia

* Ex-Muslim atheist H Farook - 31 year old scrap merchant hacked to death in India for 'anti-islamic writings'

* Sina Dehghan - 21 year old sentenced to death for 'insulting the prophet' in Iran

*Ayaz Nizami and Rana Noman - arrested on allegations of blasphemy in Pakistan

* Mashal Khan - 23 year old university student lynched by a mob at his university in Pakistan for 'blasphemy'…

The conference – dubbed the 'Glastonbury of Freethinkers' – will stand out, loud and proud to remind the world that freedom of conscience includes freedom from religion and freedom of expression includes the right to criticise Islam and Islamism. And that these freedoms are unassailable and universal to all humankind.

For more information:

* Read an interview with Maryam Namazie and Marieme Helie Lucas on the importance of the conference.

*Read Maryam Namazie's piece on the resistance against Islamist terrorism and its ideology.

*Read Maryam Namazie's letter: No Apologies.

Speakers

Key issues such as women’s resistance, the veil, religious morality, religion in the law and state, identity politics, communalism and multiculturalism, Islamophobia, LGBT rights and secularism will be discussed by distinguished atheists and freethinkers primarily from the "Muslim world".

Speakers include:

* Bonya Ahmed, a published author and moderator at the renowned Bangladeshi Mukto-mona blog begun by the murdered blogger Avijit Roy

* Filmmaker Deeyah Khan who recently produced 'Islam's Non Believers'

* Fauzia Ilyas who founded Atheist Agnostic Alliance Pakistan

* Egyptian founder of Black Ducks Ismail Mohamed who was the first Egyptian to publicly announce his atheism on national TV

* Mazen Abou Hamden, co-Founder of Freethought Lebanon

* Mohammed AlKhadra, Founder of Jordanian Atheists Group

* Nadia ElFani, Tunisian Filmmaker accused of blasphemy

* Rana Ahmed who anonymously held an "Atheist" sign in Mecca (Visa Denied)

* Performance artist Shabana Rehman who is known for Mullah-lifting

* Waleed Al Husseini, writer arrested by the Palestinian Authority for blasphemy

* Zehra Pala, President of Atheism Association of Turkey, the first legally recognised Atheist Organisation

* Zineb El Rhazoui, a Morocco-born former columnist for Charlie Hebdo who was away when the publication's office was attacked and many of her colleagues murdered...

 

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