People of colour are often silenced when they are being critical of religion. They are blamed for playing into the hands of the alt-right or labeled as Islamophobic. Often it is forgotten that they themselves, and their friends and families, are constantly subjected to racism and discrimination from these very groups.
They are fighting on multiple fronts. On the one hand they are confronted by the religious patriarchy, on the other they are refusing to be claimed by racist extremists. At the same time they have to explain to progressives that they stand for universal rights and not just Western ones. To sum it all up: how do you make sure your voice is neither silenced nor abused?
Halima Salat is an ex-Muslim poet. She defines herself as a free thinker, a rebel and an atheist. She was born Muslim but no longer believes in Islam. She was a closet non-believer for a while until when she came to live in the Netherlands three years ago, where she ‘came out’ because of woman’s individual rights.
Maryam Namazie is a writer and activist. She is the Spokesperson for Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, One Law for All and The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. The Islamic regime of Iran’s media outlets has called Namazie ‘immoral and corrupt’, but this did not stop her from getting multiple awards because of her activism.
Muhammed Syed is a human rights activist, writer, speaker and community organizer. He is the founder and president of Ex-Muslims of North-America, the first Ex-Muslim advocacy and community building organization in North America. Muhammad has been a human rights activist for the past decade, with a focus on efforts to normalize religious dissent and promote acceptance of secularism in Muslim communities.
Sadia Hameed is spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She is also a human rights activist and honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM Consultant, based in Gloucestershire, working in the sexual violence field, with a focus on Black Minority Ethnic women.
Sami Abdallah is Co-founder of Freethought Lebanon and a diligent Lebanese civil society activist. A theoretical physicist by profession, Sami has worked extensively to fight against discrimination and the negative social stereotypes that vilify atheists in Lebanon and the Arab World, and has been closely involved in offering protection to those who have been threatened because of their atheism.
Mohamed Hisham went on live Egyptian television and talked about his atheism, it invoked an aggressive reaction from the talk show host and other guests and ultimately resulted in him being abused, vilified and thrown out of the studio. As a result, he faced threats to his life making his living situation in Egypt risky and dangerous.
Nafiss Nia is an Iranian-Dutch poet, writer, filmmaker, literary translator cultural entrepeneur and diversity expert. She will perform a poem, together with dancer Sarai Maëla
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