Free Inquiry: Ex-Muslim Women Defying Oppression


For Immediate Release: September 25, 2019
Contact: Center for Inquiry
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The latest issue of Free Inquiry magazine features a stirring and defiant essay from Zara Kay, collaborating with Peter Clarke, telling of the crushing oppressiveness of blasphemy and apostasy laws in parts of the Muslim world and how those laws victimize women in particular. Women in these countries, already restricted in how they dress, what they do, and whom they associate with or even marry, also face the threat of such anarchic practices as “honor killings,” which the authors note “occur as a direct result of apostasy laws.”

But none of this has stopped the growing drumbeat of women in Muslim-majority countries demanding equal rights.

“Nothing you can do can stop the rise of ex-Muslim women speaking out and standing up for our fundamental human rights and freedoms,” they write. “Not even apostasy laws, whose violation is punishable by death, can stop us. The desire for freedom remains too powerful an instinct.”

Also in this issue, a debate over a court battle over the formation of a prison humanist group and the classification of secular humanism by the state as a “religion”: humanist inmate, Jon Guy, takes three Center for Inquiry leaders to task for their critique of the ruling, and, in turn, former CFI President Ronald A. Lindsay, Free Inquiry Editor Tom Flynn, and CFI Legal Counsel Nick Little respond, writing, “The issue is that the belief by some that secular humanism is a religion animates repeated attempts to enact regressive legislation and stiffens resistance to church-state separation.”

Plus: Brandon M. Stickney interviews novelist T. C. Boyle (World’s End, The Road to Wellville), who describes, among other things, what it is like to turn seventy years old. “It’s like being one of the walking dead,” says Boyle. “I find myself hungering for human brains. Hot, wet, and raw.”

The October/November 2019 issue of Free Inquiry is available in print and online. Subscribe today.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.