The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB, an IHEU Member Organization) held its second Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 13 December 2009 in London. The AGM unanimously adopted a statement expressing concern over the Swiss vote to ban minarets. The statement said:
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is extremely concerned over the Swiss vote to ban minarets.
Far-right proposals to ban minarets are divisive, reactionary and in line with the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ agenda, which hands over ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such to the political Islamic movement and denies the universality of the demand to live a life worthy of the 21st century.
Believing in Islam or any religion for that matter is not a crime. Neither is it a crime to have minarets in mosques. What are crimes, however, are groups or individuals using religion to threaten people to death, intimidate them, violate their rights, and discriminate against them. Society has to address these crimes and prosecute those who threaten or terrorise people–not ban minarets!
Political Islam is a political phenomenon that demands a political response. This response must include targeting the discrimination, abuse and criminal acts that take place against children in Islamic schools, against citizens in Sharia councils and tribunals, against apostates and freethinkers, gays and women who are killed in the name of honour.
This response must demand a banning of Sharia law and Islamic schools, along with all faith-based laws and schools.
It must exert pressure on governments to stop appeasing Islamic states and demand that such states be politically isolated.
It must demand the prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.
It must support those who are at the forefront of fighting the political Islamic movement.
It must demand an end to the promotion of cultural relativism.
It must demand that religion be a private matter.
It must call for secularism–the complete separation of religion from the state, education and legal system–as a minimum precondition for the respect of rights and freedoms in society.
It must defend rather than restrict universal rights.
The Enlightenment didn’t ban church towers in order to successfully push Christianity into the private sphere. The same must be done with political Islam.
And that is what civilised humanity intends to do.