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August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

A poster for observing Apostasy day
By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”
Pointing out that it is “a criminal offence in many more Muslim-majority countries”, the coalition said, “In Pakistan, a disbelief in God is punishable with the death penalty under a blasphemy law”, adding, “In Saudi Arabia, atheism is equated with terrorism.”
In a statement ahead of the worldwide call, the coalition claimed, “In some countries without the death penalty, Islamists kill those deemed apostates, including in Bangladesh and Muslim-minority India”, adding, “In many countries, such as in Europe and North America, apostates can face threats, shunning and honour-based violence, including from their families.”
Further claiming that “individuals from orthodox Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other backgrounds can also face shunning and violence for apostasy”, the statement said, August 22 “is being chosen as Apostasy Day because it is the UN Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.” Hundreds of signatures for joining the call have been collected.
“Moreover”, it added, “Late August marks the start of a second wave of mass executions of apostates in Iran in 1988 after brief “trials”. Thousands who responded negatively to questions such as ‘Are you a Muslim?', 'Do you believe in Allah?', 'Is the Holy Qur'an the Word of Allah?', 'Do you accept the Holy Muhammad to be the Seal of the Prophets?', 'Do you fast during Ramadan?', 'Do you pray and read the Holy Qur'an?' were summarily executed.”
The Apostasy Day, the statement said, would be observed by commemorating the victims of apostasy laws; seeking an an end to the criminalisation and the death penalty for apostasy in countries under Islamic laws; an end to shunning, threats and honour-related violence from families of apostates; and affirmation of freedom of thought, conscience and belief as well as opinion and expression in compliance with the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 18 & 19).

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