Our mission is threefold, with a focus on local NZ issues:
Muslims themselves are a tiny minority in NZ - currently numbering almost 45,000 from a total population of 4.5 million (1.0%). Ex-Muslims are an even smaller minority and are currently unknown to each other. The prospect of ideological and possibly physical isolation when leaving Islam and the various types of coercion applied by Muslims to punish those who do so, will lead many to either unwillingly go through the motions and pretend all is well, or depending on their level of self-confidence, to go it alone - possibly without any support.
The process of rejecting what you were brought up to believe, can be intellectually and emotionally traumatic, for all parties. Families and communities tend to see it as a rejection of them, their values and the 'truth'. They usually see it as their duty to bring the apostate back to Islam by any means necessary.
For the individual, the scars are 'baggage' that takes time to relinquish - hence we tend to identify ourselves as 'ex-Muslims'. Without a complete physical, emotional and intellectual separation from our family, friends and associates it is difficult or impossible to 'move on' and forget the past. Those in a similar position will understand that burden we carry; others
will find it difficult to understand this. Refer to 'who are we' for more details.
Islam is an all-encompassing way of life, with rules for minutiae such as which days of the week to cut your nails; what to eat; how to manage your money; right through to state foreign policy. To break the analysis into convenient chunks; the issues that concern us fall broadly into three groups, then within each group we will discuss some of the relevant issues that directly affect Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims.
The audience for this information falls into two major groups.
However, if you were to widen this to all faiths, you would find that the average Muslim has a much stronger 'faith' (belief in things for with there is no evidence) than the average Christian. The Pew Forum has published an excellent international study of Muslim faith. Unfortunately fundamentalists always tend to be vocal and actively suppress any open dissent in the ranks. New Zealand Muslims (because they are a small minority) very much tend to be moderates and seek to live in peaceful coexistence with their fellow countrymen and women, nevertheless, liberality, free-thinking or apostasy from within their own community is not welcome. CEMNZ and this website is here to publicise that there are alternatives; there can be life outside Islam. Until now, there has been no support for these individuals.
In the more populous Islamic nations around the world there are atrocities committed every day in the name of Islam. Frequently this is violence between sects of believers, but it is very often the State itself that commits or sanctions atrocities against those identified as unbelievers. We have a social responsibility to condemn these actions and to exert pressure on these States to allow greater personal freedoms to their citizens. We also have the responsibility to directly support those who are brave enough to stand up against the State and/or public opinion and express their own beliefs.
It should be noted that these Islamist states do not represent the views of all their citizens. There are often very significant sectors of the community who are more liberally-minded and a minority who reject it entirely.
Our primary mission is to support by any
means within our power, those Muslims who choose to open their minds a little and step
outside the confines of the Islamic belief system - firstly in NZ and then worldwide.