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Losing Your Religion

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Bayview on the Park

52 Queens Road

Melbourne, VIC 3004

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Losing Your Religion: Ex-Muslims Speak Out

A conference, film screening and discussion panel on the plight of ex-Muslims, their persecution and their human rights.

Losing your religion can be hard, but for some, it can be fatal. For a Muslim, punishments for abandoning the faith range from ostracism and rejection by the family, to fines, imprisonment, flogging, and in 13 countries, death.

Even in Australia, renouncing Islam can plunge the individual into a limbo of fear, rejection and harassment. In some communities, repudiating religion is seen as the worst of crimes.

This conference aims to highlight the plight of ex-Muslims, challenge the punitive attitudes that plague them and take a stand for reason, secularism and human rights. It also aims to take a strong stand against bigotry and xenophobia and for refugee rights.

Speakers are Sadia Hammeed, Hessam Shiralizadeh, Sabeena Mozaffar, Arash Ahmadi, Nicholaus Crofts, John Perkins and other speakers, to be announced.

A Film by Deeyah Khan - Islam's Non-Believers

DEEYAH KHANPicture of Deeyah KahnDeeyah is a critically acclaimed music producer and Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director. She was born in Norway to immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi ancestry. "Islam's Non-Believers" is her third film. Screen shot of filmThe film portrays the dangers and difficulties faced by people who have renounced Islam. Interviewees, several of whom appear incognito, talk about the risks of suicide and self-harm, and the experiences of physical and psychological abuse from family members. Many are terrified of being shunned or abused if their beliefs were to become known to their families and communities. The film shows that many young British ex-Muslims hide their true beliefs, running huge risks if they ‘come out’ as atheists within their communities.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Speakers and panelists

MARYAM NAMAZIE

Picture of Maryam Namazie

Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All

Maryam Namazie is Co-Spokesperson for One Law for All, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah. She is a leading human rights and secular activist and is the paton of this conference. Unfortunately, due to a sudden illness Maryam is no longer able to attend. However, she will still be featured in the video presentation. Instead, Sadia Hameed will speak at the conference in Maryam's place.

SADIA HAMEED

Picture of Sadia

Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Sadia is a Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and has been featured in a 2016 film, "Islam's Non Believers", by award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan. 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. Sadia organised a hugely successful event titled ‘Let’s Talk Honour’ in October 2016, which was held at Gloucester University. She also launched Critical Sisters. She is Winner of IKWRO Special Recognition: Activist of the Year 2017.

HESSAM SHIRALIZADEH

Picture of Hessam

Organizer of Melbourne Ex-Muslims meetup

Hessam is originally from Iran and is an engineer and webologist. He is the founder of the Melbourne Ex-Muslim Meetup Group. The group was founded in July 2017 and now has about 30 members. Hessam left Islam as a teenager. After doing research into the texts he found that the religion did not make sense.

SABEENA MOZAFFAR

Picture of Sabeena

Executive of UNSW Agnostics Atheists and Humanists (UAAH)

Originally from Pakistan, Sabeena a 23 year old student at the University of New South Wales. She officially left Islam in 2015 and has since attempted to share her views and experiences with regards to the Islamic religion on more public platforms so as to give the wider public a better understanding of the so-called Religion of Peace. She did not leave Islam because of one specific reason: instead a combination of factors including her lack of rights as a woman, her lack of belief in the existence of a god, the lack of rationale within the religious text itself and the hypocrisy with which she feel individuals identify themselves as "Moderate Muslims". Aside from her blog, The Mind of Sheikh, she has discussed her views towards Islam on events organized by the UAAH society as well as made television appearances on SBS Viceland and 7News.

ARASH AHMADI

Picture of Arash

Persian Atheist Community Founder

Arash is a 33 Yo Feyli Kurd from Iran. He was a comedy blogger and also an IT engineer. He became an atheist in his twenties. Now he's an Australian resident and founder of the Persian Atheist Community.


ISHMA ALVI

Picture of Ishma

Woman, feminist, brown, mother, psychologist and ex-Muslim

Ishma Alvi identifies as a Brown feminist and Ex-Muslim. The ‘ex-’ prefix in the ex-Muslim part of her identity is strongly linked with her belief in gender equality and that she feels none of the organized religions, particularly the Abrahamic faiths, recognize women as equal.
She has written about her personal journey through the spaces where her feminists beliefs and religious ideology collide, in the chapter ‘Ishma’s Relationship with Islam’ from the book ‘Islamic Republic of Australia’ by Sami Shah. She has also talked about the collision between Islam and feminism in a podcast series of the same name, in an episode titled ‘Hijab-splaining’.
Ishma continues to write about feminism- viewed through the lenses of politics, society, religion and race. She can be found on the feminist blog https://feminaust.org/ and on https://medium.com/@ishmaalvi.
She recently debuted her first art exhibition, entitled The Female Face.

NIKKI JEAN

Picture of Nicholaus

Ex-Muslim blogger

When Nikki was 3 years old her mother converted to Islam and she was thrown into a world of extremism. Having lived in Somalia for a time and forced to wear a Niqab since she was 13, Nikki has experienced first hand the abuse and cruelty that is deeply rooted in the Islamic Faith. At 19 she escaped from her family and had to learn how to survive outside of the Muslim bubble with no education or life experience. Now Nicholaus runs an online blog under the pseudonym of The Nullifidian where she shines a spotlight on the struggles ExMuslims face.


JOHN PERKINS

picture of John

Secular Party of Australia President

John is a humanist, secularist and atheist with a background in economics and econometrics. He has recently conducted a review on the literature regarding the early origins of Islam, particularly focussing on the works of INÂRAH, the Institute for Research on Early Islamic History and the Koran, based in Saarbrücken, Germany. While others offer limited critiques, insofar as they dare, the diligent research of these erudite German scholars remains largely unrecognised and ignored. This should no longer be the case. The evidence of ancient coins and inscriptions is reliably based. What it shows is utterly astounding: the traditional story regarding the Koran and the Prophet represents historical fabrication on the grandest of scales. While not everyone, of course, will find the evidence convincing, the doubt raised is more than sufficient to suggest that the traditional Islamic scriptures should not be taken literally. This is an important step, not just in supporting the position taken by ex-Muslims, but helping all others to move in the direction of enlightenment and secularism. John will provide a synopsis of the groundbreaking INÂRAH findings.

More speakers to be announced

Conference aims and outcomes

To raise consciousness about the plight of ex-Muslims and of the courageous work that ex-Muslim leaders do, and to and stand against bigotry of all forms, and for reason and secularism. This is the first time any such event has been held in Austraia.

Date and Time

Location

Bayview on the Park

52 Queens Road

Melbourne, VIC 3004

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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