Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Articles, Comments

Religion Is an Industry
 We Need a World Free of Religion

A statement made at the conference on Freedom of Expression and Fundamentalism,
in Paris, April 6, 2006

We are here today to acknowledge the importance of free speech and unconditional freedom of expression. We are here today to say "enough is enough." We will not submit any more. We will fight to safeguard the right to freedom of expression and criticism. We mean it and we will not be intimidated, bullied or blackmailed by any religious groups, sentiments, superstition, or by any terrorist act.

This is important. We should continue this fight and never give up. However, this is not enough. This does not go far enough. In order to succeed in our struggle for securing the unconditional freedom of expression and criticism, we need to widen our scopes. We need to fight for freedom in a wider spectrum.

Right wing aggression on civil liberties and individual rights has been enormous, particularly in recent years. The terrorist attacks by political Islam have inflicted a great blow on our society. As a result of these attacks the world has suffered greatly, both in terms of human lives and the loss of civil liberties and individual rights.

We must stand firmly against religion as an institution. Religion is not only spiritual beliefs, it is an industry, big business, a mafia-like organisation, be it fundamentalist or not. We must fight for de-religionisation of the society while we respect the right of every individual to believe in any religion. To clarify the matter, I like to quote Waffa Sultan: "you can believe in any piece of stone you like, as long as you do not throw it at me." Religion must be a private affair.

If we aspire to make a much freer and more egalitarian world, we must go further than establishing secular principles. We need secularism as a necessary condition for a free society, but in fight against religion we need to be more aggressive, not against believers, but against the religious industry. We need to expose religion as a reactionary ideology, as a weapon to stupefy humanity, as a weapon of exploitation, discrimination and degradation. Throughout history and even today, more human beings have lost their lives under the name of god and religion than any other banner. We must cut religion's hands off state, legislation, education and society. We must organise an orchestrated and dynamic fight against religion to push it back to the private sphere and try to build a world free of religion. And here I mean world in the literal sense of the word. We must think internationally and not allow ourselves to be confined in Eurocentric or Western borders. The whole world needs to be free of religion
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Mansoor Hekmat Foundation