The Council will provide a voice for those labelled Muslim but who have renounced religion and do not want to be identified by religion.
Rights activist Maryam Namazie will be the voice of the organisation in this country. She said: “We are establishing the alternative to the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain because we don’t think people should be pigeonholed as Muslims or deemed to be represented by regressive organisations like the MCB. Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism. We are quite certain we represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.”
A C Grayling comments at CiF:
One point that has to be kept in mind here, because it illuminates the following document [the Manifesto] with the burning light of urgency, is this: apostasy (abandoning one's religion) by a Muslim is to this day regarded as a crime punishable by death in countries governed by Islamic law (it once likewise invited death in Christianity). This is why the council is the embodiment of courage, and why the principles in its 10 demands are so vital.