Political Islam is this era’s totalitarianism aimed at bringing and maintaining Islamic laws, schools and states where possible.
To the extent and degree it has power - that is the extent and degree to which it controls every single aspect of people lives and society.
And since its rules and system are divinely ordained, they are deemed to be unquestionable.
Which is why apostasy is the highest crime punishable by death in all countries ruled by Islam and why there is absolutely no tolerance for criticism.
While the political Islamic movement sentences apostates to death where it is in power, here is Europe, its tactics are more subtle but just as inhuman and brutal.
You only need to look at threats surrounding the Danish Mohammad caricatures, the assassination of Theo Van Gogh for his and Ayaan Hirsci Ali’s film on Islam’s treatment of women, and the death threats against heads of the Councils of Ex-Muslims have received to see how seriously this movement deals with criticism and particularly apostasy.
From their perspective, apostasy is the unravelling of the entire system from within.
If you question one law, one hadith, one sura in the Koran, you question it all.
If you are allowed to leave, you undermine it all.
Which is why I have received emails saying ‘once a Muslim, always a Muslim - you cannot leave.’
To which, of course, I have said, well watch me, watch us. We have left and we are leaving….
Therein lies the most significant aspect of the Councils of Ex-Muslims that have been established in Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Britain and Holland and its challenge and danger to political Islam.
In a sense, this move in Europe is part of the trend that is bringing Islam in power to its knees in Iran.
People have always left Islam before but an organised movement of this nature paves the way for others to be able to renounce religion and Islam and breaks the most important taboo.
The council movement shows that there are many who want to leave, or at the very least who are opposed to the political Islamic movement and who are challenging it head on especially in light of the fact that Islamists often feign to represent all ‘Muslims’ here and all the people of the Middle East and North Africa.
The council movement also shows that Islamic rule and its savagery are not people’s ‘choice’, their culture and religion as the Islamists often claim but actually the culture and religion of a political movement that imposes it very much by brute force.
The Council movement reiterates that people everywhere want and demand universal rights and values, which as I have said on many occasions, are not western but belong to all humanity.
The council movement unequivocally defends universalism vis-à-vis a climate of cultural relativism. Contrary to its image, cultural relativism does not lead to a more tolerant society but a more intolerant one.
It aids and abets the political Islamic movement by justifying Islamic rule and deflecting criticism of its inhumane nature.
It justifies this era’s holocaust by lowering standards and redefining values to the lowest and most regressive depths and holding all values and beliefs not only equal but equally valid.
Rather than being anti-racist; it is racism pure and simple by implying that people choose to live the way they are forced to.
Within this climate, Islamists have succeeded in blurring the distinction between individuals and beliefs. As a result, concepts such as rights, equality, respect and tolerance, which were initially raised vis-à-vis the individual, are now more and more applicable to culture and religion and often take precedence over real live human beings.
Which is why any criticism and ridiculing of or opposition to beliefs, cultures, religions, gods and prophets are being deemed racism, disrespecting, inciting hatred and even violence against those deemed believers.
Clearly you cannot be racist against an idea or belief or ideology.
Blurring the distinctions between the two and the use of rights and anti-racist language here in the west to do so are devious ways of silencing criticism and opposition – criticism which is particularly crucial given the havoc that political Islam has inflicted in the Middle East and North Africa and more recently here in the west.
Of course the human being is sacred, worthy of the highest respect, equality and rights and so on and so forth but not beliefs, not religions, not cultures.
Another tactic of the political Islamic movement is to limit free expression by deeming expressions against religion as a no go area - again in order to prevent criticism. Its tactics from threats and intimidations to equating criticism against Islam and political Islam as racism has meant that the movement is not being addressed and challenged as it must.
In light of the assault on free expression, the Councils are in fact defending free expression unconditionally and unequivocally as the very act of renouncing religion and Islam is the greatest act of free expression possible.
Such expression and criticism is necessary since this is how throughout history backwardness and reaction have been pushed back.
This is how throughout history society has managed to advance and progress with the aim of improving the lot of humanity.
In the face of political Islam’s onslaught often aided and abetted by government policies of cultural relativism and minoritism and the apologies of so-called European progressives and liberals, it is the councils of ex-Muslims along with other secularists and humanists that are raising the banner of secularism, universalism and values worthy of 21st century humanity here in Europe and across the world.
This movement and its declaration must be supported and defended unequivocally.
The above was Maryam Namazie's opening statement at the press conference in the Hague on 11 September. All existing councils have signed up to the Declaration, which is actually the British Manifesto in full. To read it, click here.