$50 – $250

Losing Your Religion

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Bayview on the Park

52 Queens Road

Melbourne, VIC 3004


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Refunds up to 30 days before event

Event description


Losing Your Religion: Ex-Muslims Speak Out

A conference, film screening and discussion panel on the plight of ex-Muslims, their persecution and their human rights.

Losing your religion can be hard, but for some, it can be fatal. For a Muslim, punishments for abandoning the faith range from ostracism and rejection by the family, to fines, imprisonment, flogging, and in 13 countries, death.

Even in Australia, renouncing Islam can plunge the individual into a limbo of fear, rejection and harassment. In some communities, repudiating religion is seen as the worst of crimes.

This conference aims to highlight the plight of ex-Muslims, challenge the punitive attitudes that plague them and take a stand for reason, secularism and human rights. It also aims to take a strong stand against bigotry and xenophobia and for refugee rights.

Speakers are Maryam Namazie, Hessam Shiralizadeh, Arash Ahmadi, John Perkins and other speakers, to be announced.

A Film by Deeyah Khan - Islam's Non-Believers

DEEYAH KHANPicture of Deeyah KahnDeeyah is a critically acclaimed music producer and Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director. She was born in Norway to immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi ancestry. "Islam's Non-Believers" is her third film. Screen shot of filmThe film portrays the dangers and difficulties faced by people who have renounced Islam. Interviewees, several of whom appear incognito, talk about the risks of suicide and self-harm, and the experiences of physical and psychological abuse from family members. Many are terrified of being shunned or abused if their beliefs were to become known to their families and communities. The film shows that many young British ex-Muslims hide their true beliefs, running huge risks if they ‘come out’ as atheists within their communities.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Speakers and panelists


Picture of Maryam Namazie

Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All

Maryam Namazie is Co-Spokesperson for One Law for All, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah. She hosts a weekly television programme called Bread and Roses. She is on the International Advisory Board of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom; National Secular Society Honorary Associate; a Patron of London Black Atheists and Pink Triangle Trust; International Advisory Board Member of Feminist Dissent and a columnist for The Freethinker. She was awarded the 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize from the Comité Laïcité République and was honoured by the National Secular Society for her campaigning work defending free speech at universities (2016) despite attempts at barring her by Student Unions or Islamic Society efforts to intimidate and cancel her talks. She was also awarded Atheist of the Year by Kazimierz Lyszczynski (2014); Journalist of the Year at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards (2013); selected one of the top 45 women of the year by Elle magazine Quebec (2007); one of 2006′s most intriguing people by DNA, awarded the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award (2005), amongst others.


Picture of Hessam

Organizer of Melbourne Ex-Muslims meetup

Hessam is originally from Iran and is an engineer and webologist. He is the founder of the Melbourne Ex-Muslim Meetup Group. The group was founded in July 2017 and now has about 30 members. Hessam left Islam as a teenager. After doing research into the texts he found that the religion did not make sense.


Picture of Arash

Persian Atheist Community Founder

Arash is a 33 Yo Feyli Kurd from Iran. He was a comedy blogger and also an IT engineer. He became an atheist in his twenties. Now he's an Australian and founder of the Persian Atheist Community.


Picture of Ishma

Woman, feminist, brown, mother, psychologist and ex-Muslim

Ishma Alvi identifies as a Brown feminist and Ex-Muslim. The ‘ex-’ prefix in the ex-Muslim part of her identity is strongly linked with her belief in gender equality and that she feels none of the organized religions, particularly the Abrahamic faiths, recognize women as equal.
She has written about her personal journey through the spaces where her feminists beliefs and religious ideology collide, in the chapter ‘Ishma’s Relationship with Islam’ from the book ‘Islamic Republic of Australia’ by Sami Shah. She has also talked about the collision between Islam and feminism in a podcast series of the same name, in an episode titled ‘Hijab-splaining’.
Ishma continues to write about feminism- viewed through the lenses of politics, society, religion and race. She can be found on the feminist blog https://feminaust.org/ and on https://medium.com/@ishmaalvi.
She recently debuted her first art exhibition, entitled The Female Face.


picture of John

Secular Party of Australia President

John is a humanist, secularist and atheist with a background in economics and econometrics. He has recently conducted a review on the literature regarding the early origins of Islam, particularly focussing on the works of INÂRAH, the Institute for Research on Early Islamic History and the Koran, based in Saarbrücken, Germany. While others offer limited critiques, insofar as they dare, the diligent research of these erudite German scholars remains largely unrecognised and ignored. This should no longer be the case. The evidence of ancient coins and inscriptions is reliably based. What it shows is utterly astounding: the traditional story regarding the Koran and the Prophet represents historical fabrication on the grandest of scales. While not everyone, of course, will find the evidence convincing, the doubt raised is more than sufficient to suggest that the traditional Islamic scriptures should not be taken literally. This is an important step, not just in supporting the position taken by ex-Muslims, but helping all others to move in the direction of enlightenment and secularism. John will provide a synopsis of the groundbreaking INÂRAH findings.

More speakers to be announced

Conference aims and outcomes

To raise consciousness about the plight of ex-Muslims and of the courageous work that ex-Muslim leaders do, and to and stand against bigotry of all forms, and for reason and secularism. This is the first time any such event has been held in Austraia.

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Date and Time


Bayview on the Park

52 Queens Road

Melbourne, VIC 3004


Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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