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Celebrating Dissent 2022

Tuesday 23 August 2022, by siawi3


Celebrating Dissent 2022

Organized by “Freethought Lebanon” and the “Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain”, this conference gathered nearly 50 speakers and artists from 30 countries worldwide, to celebrate freethought and dissent through talks, poetry, film, music, and comedy.

Countless atheists, non-believers and ex-Muslims continue to face persecution around the world. These include threats of social exclusion, economic discrimination, physical and emotional abuse, legal oppression, gender-based violence, and even death.

Despite this, every criticism of Islam is considered ‘Islamophobia’ by some on the regressive Left, whilst every refugee or Muslim is portrayed as a threat by the far-Right.

Supporting ex-Muslims, however, is a human rights issue. A defense of freedom of conscience and expression, includes the right to be free from and criticize Islam and the religious-Right. Also, xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry dehumanizes and endangers all those deemed ‘other,’ including ex-Muslims.

More than ever, it is paramount to highlight and strengthen individuals and organizations that protect the rights of Islam’s non-believers, challenge apostasy and blasphemy laws and confront xenophobia. Like the religious-Right, secularists must network and coordinate efforts globally to bring about change.

Purpose of CD2022

Celebrating Dissent 2022 aims to bring ex-Muslim (as well as other) activists together to strategize, gain strength, and increase visibility.

At the core of the conference lies the right of Islam’s non-believers to question, doubt, challenge and celebrate the rights to apostasy and blasphemy.

The conference aims to achieve two goals:

- To strengthen networking efforts among the world’s ex-Muslim and atheist activists and organizations
Coming together and sharing expertise is highly important to foster a sense of solidarity and unity among activists and organizations, especially with regards to campaigning and protection of atheists at risk.
- To raise the voice of ex-Muslims and legitimize the right to apostasy and blasphemy
To this end, we will seek to secure media coverage of this event and we will make use of this unique assembly of international intellectual figures to bring attention to our cause, to amplify our voice, and to win larger public support.



Freethought Lebanon

Freethought Lebanon is an initiative that seeks to empower freethinkers, promote secularism and humanism, and protect freethinkers at risk. It is based in Lebanon but has several senior members in Germany.

Freethought Lebanon is part of the International Coalition of ex- Muslims and an associate member of Humanists International.

In addition to its work in Lebanon, the organization has contributed to the rescue efforts of tens of persecuted atheists in the Arab world over the last few years and participated in several international campaigns.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was established in June 2007 to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam, highlight the plight of ex-Muslims, and challenge apostasy and blasphemy laws. CEMB stands against all forms of bigotry and unequivocally defends reason, freedom of conscience and expression, rights and secularism.

Over the last 15 years, CEMB has provided assistance to thousands of ex-Muslims worldwide, created support groups, solidarity actions and educational materials, including the film Women Leaving Islam and the Woman’s Quran and helped establish Ex-Muslims International.


Previous Editions

Celebrating Dissent 2019
Aug. 30 - Sept. 1 / Amsterdam

People from various countries and backgrounds came together to celebrate freedom through theatre, talks, poetry, film and stand-up comedy.

Celebrating Dissent is a shout-out to everyone who fights for universal rights and freedom of speech.

Glastonbury of Freethinkers 2017
Jul. 22 - 24 / London

The gathering stood out, loud and proud, to remind the world that the freedom of conscience and expression is also for those who reject and criticize religion and that the demand for this freedom is universal.


DAY 1 DAY 2 Exhibitions

DAY 1 — AUG. 20, 2022

09:00 - 10:00
Coffee and registration

10:00 - 10:30
Opening session
Faribroz Pooya
Veedu Vidz
Sami Abdallah
Maryam Namazie
Shelley Segal

10:30 - 11:45
Plenary Panel Blasphemy, Islamophobia and Free Expression
Ibn Warraq
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Ali Rizvi
Halima Salat
Jimmy Bangash
Sami Abdallah
Susanna McIntyre

11:45 - 11:50
Music Music is Haram
Veedu Vidz

11:50 - 13:05
Plenary Panel Atheists and the Human Right to Protection
Yahya Ekhou
Dan Barker
Ana González
Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury
Harris Sultan
Lilith Raza
Nina Sankari

13:05 - 13:15
Music Dan Barker on Piano

13:15 - 14:45
Lunch break

14:00 - 14:40
Workshop Asylum and Apostasy Workshop
Ana González

14:45 - 16:00
Plenary Panel Hijab, Bodily Autonomy and Women’s Rights
Rana Ahmad
Lisa-Marie Taylor
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Fauzia Ilyas
Houzan Mahmoud
Sara Nabil

16:00 - 16:10
Visual Art Bodies in War, My Hair is Free
Sara Nabil

16:10 - 16:30
Campaign Raise Your Hands for Apostates
Victoria Gugenheim

16:30 - 17:15
Coffee break

17:15 - 18:30
Plenary Panel On Gods and Religious Morality
Sohail Ahmad
Mimzy Vidz
Armin Navabi
Cemal Knudsen Yucel
Khadija Khan
Nuriyah Khan
Wissam Charafeddine

18:30 - 19:00
Interview Interview with Richard Dawkins

19:00 - 19:30
Ceremony Freethought Champions Awards


DAY 2 — AUG. 21, 2022

09:00 - 09:50
Coffee and registration

09:50 - 10:00
Opening session
Faribroz Pooya
Veedu Vidz

10:00 - 10:40
Film No Longer Without You (2018)
Nazmiye Oral

10:40 - 11:45
Plenary Panel Terror, Trauma and Survival
Helen Nicholls
Mimzy Vidz
Nazmiye Oral
Savin Bapir-Tardy
Victoria Gugenheim
Milad Resaeimanesh

11:45 - 12:05
Campaign Raif Badawi and Conference Action for #LiftRaifTravelBan

12:05 - 12:10
Dance Chosen Haram

12:10 - 12:30
Plenary Panel Ex-Muslim (discussion in German)
Mina Ahadi
Michael Schmidt-Salomon

12:30 - 14:00
Lunch break

14:00 - 15:15
Plenary Panel Identity Politics, Racism and Fundamentalism
Marieme Helie Lucas
Sohail Ahmad
Pragna Patel
Zara Kay
Mazen Abou Hamdan
Nada Topić Peratović

15:15 - 15:25
Poetry Poetry reading
Halima Salat

15:25 - 16:15
Coffee break

16:15 - 17:45
Plenary Panel Creativity in Challenging Fundamentalism and Defending Secularism
Ibtissame Betty Lachgar
Jenny Wenhammar
Amed Sherwan
Inna Shevchenko
Maryam Namazie
Mohamed Hisham
Nadia El Fani

18:00 - 18:30
Closing session
Sara Nabil
Shelley Segal

Sara Nabil
In her spatial installations and photography, Sara Nabil combines themes of flight, dream and identity and campaigns for the equality of women and girls. The artistic work gives her back the voice that was takenfrom her in her home country.

Atheists in Lebanon
Glimpses of some stories of discrimination, abuse, and human rights violations from atheists, freethinkers and non-religious individuals in Lebanon. The exhibition isbased on the findings of the “Case Studies” section of the multidisciplinary study “Atheists in Lebanon” (2021).

Speakers Lineup
More than 50 speakers and artists from more than 30 countries around the world will be gathering at Celebrating Dissent 2022, to share their ideas and experiences in freethought and dissent, through discussions, poetry, films, and art performances.