In this programme, we watch Nadia El Fani’s film and talk about politics, blasphemy and secularism with Fani, Hind Bariaz, Ismail Mohamed, Karrar Al Asfoor, Zara Kay and Wissam Charafeddine.

August 2010: Tunisia is in the middle of Ramadan under Ben Ali’s regime. Despite the weight of censorship, Nadia El Fani films a country which seems open to the principle of freedom of conscience and liberal in its relationship to Islam. 3 months later, the Tunisian Revolution breaks out and Nadia is out in the field. While the Arab World enters an era of radical change, Tunisia, which initiated the wind of revolt, is once again a “laboratory country” for its outlook on religion. And what if, for once, a Muslim-majority country opted for a secular constitution?

 

About the speakers

Nadia El Fani is a filmmaker living in France, who cannot return home because of her film “Neither Allah nor Master”. The film is an account of Tunisian life immediately before and after the fall of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Others films she made include “Ouled Lenine” and “Our Breasts, Our Weapons!”.

Hind Bariaz is a Moroccan rights activist. Besides her job as an English teacher, she holds a hotline to inform callers about a safe abortion. Abortion is illegal in Morocco and therefore Bariaz was forced to do it in secret in an filthy clinic, which was not safe at all. This inspired her to fight for legalized abortion.

Karrar Al Asfoor is the Co-founder of Atheist Alliance Middle East and North Africa. He is also active with Arab Atheists and the Forum for Humanitarian Dialogue, a Facebook discussion group of 44,000 members that promote the right to freedom of belief and expression offering unlimited space for free speech in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Wissam Charafeddine is teacher, with a lot of experience in teaching Islamic Shariah and Islamic studies. He was born in United Arab Emirates from Lebanese parents. In 2008, while doing a research on Islam and Evolution, he found a new understanding of life. In 2012 he co-founded Muslimish, an organization for support and dialogue among ex-Muslims and questioning Muslims in the US.

Zara Kay is a Tanzanian ex-Muslim Atheist Activist, based in Australia. Zara is the founder of Faithless Hijabi, a platform to enable Ex-Muslim women to share their stories, about their journey from religion to reason.