We sent the Freedom Pledge to Bedier and 46 other Florida Muslim leaders. In return we received no response: “overwhelming silence” on a critical human rights issue.Mr. Bedier and Florida Muslim leaders need to demonstrate their credibility by signing the FMU Freedom Pledge to protect the lives of those who leave Islam by personal choice.

The Iconoclast, March 11, 2010

The following statement by Jerry Gordon, a Member of the Board of Former Muslims United (FMU), highlights the importance of the FMU Freedom Pledge sent to Florida Muslim leaders requesting them to abjure Sharia law death threats to those who leave Islam by personal choice. It became an important issue for human rights activists organized by the Florida Security Council (FSC) opposing Muslim Capitol Day in Tallahassee, Florida on March 11th.

See the Former Muslim United power point presentation given by FMU Executive director Nonie Darwish at the America On Guard Against Muslim Florida Capitol Day FSC briefing here.______________________________________________________

Ahmed Bedier and his United Voices for America (UVA) are here in Tallahassee today promoting the charade of civil rights for disadvantaged minorities and immigrants. Their agenda is more sinister. As Bedier said last April, following the first Muslim Day in Florida’s State Capitol, “they wanted to put fear in the minds of our elected state officials.” Fear that Islamic Sharia law might replace Judeo Christian values embedded in the US and Florida constitutions that guarantee liberty and religious freedom. Former Muslims in America know how important these US Constitutional guarantees are for Sharia law imposes death on those who leave Islam.

Last fall a group of apostates from Islam decided that enough was enough and founded Former Muslims United (FMU) to protect and defend the human and civil rights of apostates from Islam. The founders of Former Muslims United were motivated by the following values:

• A religion must be a personal choice.
• No religion should kill those who leave it.
• A religion must never order the killing and subjugation of those who do not choose to be its members.
• A religion must abide by basic human rights.

One of the first acts of FMU was to create and send Freedom Pledges to Muslim leaders both nationally and here in Florida, requesting that they abjure threats of violence to apostates under Islamic law. The results of those requests illustrate that tolerance of former Muslims by Muslims is very much in doubt.

The Freedom Pledge requested that Bedier and other Florida Muslim leaders agree to:

…..renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal punishment, of apostates from Islam, in whatever way that punishment may be determined or carried out by any Muslim including the family of the apostate, community, Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.

We sent the Freedom Pledge to Bedier and 46 other Florida Muslim leaders. In return we received no response: “overwhelming silence” on a critical human rights issue. Nationally, we sent 111 letters to Muslim leaders representing 50 groups. We received only two responses: one from Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser of the American Forum for Islam and Democracy and another from Dr. Ali Ayami of the Washington-based, Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Saudi Arabia.

State legislators and the media who meet with Bedier and other Muslim visitors today, should ask them why they didn’t sign the Freedom Pledge. The answers to that question may expose the real agenda of Bedier and other Florida Muslim leaders, the ultimate goal being the imposition of Sharia law on all Floridians.

Last summer, Floridians and the national media were riveted by the story of Rifqa Bary, a teenage Christian convert who fled her Muslim parents’ home in Columbus, Ohio only to end up in a custody and dependency battle with the Muslim Brotherhood front, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in juvenile courts in two states. While the matter of her dependency in Ohio may finally be settled, there still remains the question of her status as an undocumented alien. She faces the prospect of the carrying out of death threats, should she be sent back to her native Sri Lanka. The Florida Security Council traced those threats to Rifqa Bary to an area in Colombo not far from the Mosque her family attended in Sri Lanka. We trust that her immigration status will be resolved in her favor and she will be able to remain in this country as an adult upon reaching her age of majority in August. That is the hope.

Bary’s plight is typical of former Muslims who for personal reasons have decided to leave Islam. Here in the United States, that right to change belief is guaranteed under our First Amendment, the bulwark of legal protection for religious freedom. Thus, it is disturbing to note that former Muslims are subject to extrajudicial punishment by Muslims who regard them as literal traitors to Islam. It is reflected in Bary’s predicament, and unfortunately and sorrowfully in the honor killings of young Muslim women in the United States by fathers, siblings and husbands. Thus the events over the past few years of a Pakistani father who murdered his daughter in Atlanta, the murders of two daughters by an Egyptian born taxi cab driver in Texas, an Iraqi-born father who ran down and killed his own daughter in Arizona and the husband and founder of the Muslim Bridges cable TV network in upstate New York who murdered his wife.

Yesterday, we heard witness testimony about the plight of former Muslims from FMU executive Nonie Darwish, author of They Call me Infidel and Cruel and Usual Punishment about death threats and denial of basic human rights to prominent apostates from Islam in her native Egypt. Shaheryar Gill, associate counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit group defending religious liberties, told of his defense in cases of Christians and apostates in his native Pakistan under Blasphemy laws. Laws that mete out mandatory death sentences for criticism of the Prophet Mohammed, life sentences for criticizing the Quran and several years imprisonment for criticizing other Muslim prophets. He spoke about extra judicial killings of apostates outside of Pakistani courtrooms and the dramatic flight of one such individual to asylum in Holland where the bullets he received from a raging Muslim mob were removed. A young American woman and former Muslim told about her successful defense by the ACLJ against a fraudulent arranged Islamic marriage by her Pakistani born father. Her story lent dramatic corroboration to Rifqa Bary’s accounts of her treatment as a daughter of a Muslim family here in America.

Mr. Bedier and Florida Muslim leaders need to demonstrate their credibility by signing the FMU Freedom Pledge to protect the lives of those who leave Islam by personal choice.