Charter Re-Released On World Day Against Death Penalty Calls on the Final 11 Countries Who Continue to Sanction the Death Penalty for Apostasy and Blasphemy to Repeal Such Laws

10th October 2022 Washington DC | “Prevention is better than cure” – which is why over 90 individuals and organisations have signed a Charter calling on countries which continue mandate the death penalty for non-violent conduct, including apostasy and blasphemy, to repeal such laws. Apostasy and blasphemy laws violate core tenets of freedom of religion and belief and expression.

Apostasy and blasphemy laws not only have a chilling effect on a plethora of human rights but place individuals accused under threat of torture from state and non-state actors. This was brought up during the Human Rights Council in a statement delivered by Yemeni Christian convert – Musheer – the first oral statement from a Christian Yemeni. Yemen is one of the 11 countries where leaving the state interpretation of Islam can lead to the death penalty.  The UN experts on torture and extrajudicial killings released a statement on the link between the death penalty and torture. 

The total number of countries with the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy has reduced since the Monash University released its report Killing in the Name of God: State-Sanctioned Violations of Religious Freedom on year ago. Since the Charter was signed on, the United Arab Emirates, dropped the death penalty for apostasy, bringing the at least 12 countries which maintain the death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy down to 11.

The Charter in addition to condemning the continued sanction of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy, also calls on states to take a concrete action and support specific language calling for the repeal of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy in two respective resolutions the moratorium on the death penalty and extrajudicial executions. 

The initial release of the Charter on 22 August 2022, International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, was followed up by the a multi-faith and multi-disciplinary delegation of members of the International Religious Freedom Summit Global Campaign to Repeal Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws visiting UN Permanent Missions in New York in mid-September. The coalition included lawyer Kola Alapinni from Nigeria who serves as the legal counsel for Yahaya Sharif-Aminu – a Sufi singer Nigerian authorities sentenced to death. They are now calling on the remaining states which are mostly Muslim-majority to: ” separate the punitive Islamic Laws from Islam,” Soraya M. Deen MA.



  1. Coptic Solidarity
  2. Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
  3. Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka
  4. Eglise Protestante d’Algérie
  5. Eleos Justice
  6. European Office Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights
  7. Ex-Muslims of India
  8. Ex-Muslims of North America
  9. Ex-Muslims of Toronto
  10. Faithless Hijabi
  11. Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe
  12. Foundation for Religious Freedom
  13. Fundacion para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad
  14. Genocide Watch
  15. Humanists Association of Sri Lanka
  16. Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust
  17. International Christian Concern
  18. International Human Rights Committee
  19. International Institute for Religious Freedom
  20. International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief Steering Group
  21. International Religious Liberty Association
  22. Jubilee Campaign Netherlands
  23. Jubilee Campaign USA
  24. LEAH Foundation
  25. Lumières Sans Frontières
  26. M.A.L.I. Morocco
  27. Minority Concern
  28. Muslims for Progressive Values
  29. Muslim Women Speakers
  30. Parity
  31. Prayer Pioneers
  32. Rumi Forum
  33. Secular Coalition for America
  34. Set My People Free
  35. Society for Humanistic Judaism
  36. Tahrir Alnisa Foundation
  37. The Clergy Project
  38. Voice for Justice
  39. Widows and Orphans
  40. World Evangelical Alliance

Selection of Individual Signatures


  1. Dr. Muhammad Khalid Masud – Former Director General, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad; Former Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan; Former Academic Director, International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World; Current Ad Hoc Member, Shariat Appellate Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan
  2. Paul Marshall – Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom, Baylor University
  3. Dr. Ewelina Ochab – Human Rights Advocate
  4. Hari Parekh – Author, “Apostates as a Hidden Population of Abuse Victims”
  5. Dr. Ahmed Shaheed – Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Essex; Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
  6. Hajj Warraq – Sudanese Journalist


  1. Baroness Caroline Cox – Founder, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust; Independent Member, United Kingdom House of Lords
  2. Ján Figel – Former European Union Commissioner; Former European Union Freedom of Religion or Belief Special Envoy; Member, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance Council of Experts
  3. Farahnaz Ispahani – Former Pakistan Parliamentarian; Senior Fellow, Religious Freedom Institute
  4. Abid Raja – Member of Parliament, Norway
  5. Joël Voordewind – Former Member, House of Representatives of the Netherlands


  1. Ann Buwalda – Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign USA
  2. Kola Alapinni – Barrister & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Nigeria; General Counsel and Director of Operations, Foundation for Religious Freedom
  3. Soraya Deen – Founder, Muslim Women Speakers
  4. Paul Diamond – UK Barrister
  5. M.T. Hengst, LL.M.
  6. Lauren Homer – President, Law and Liberty Trust
  7. Felix Ukaegbu – Principal Counsel


  1. Ahmed Hassan Aliyu – Shepherd Care Family Health and Education Initiative
  2. Father John Anderson – President, Saint Nicholas Freedom Group
  3. Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Executive Director Parity
  4. Jenny Noyes – Executive Director – New Wineskins Missionary Network
  5. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher – Archbishop, Secretary General, World Evangelical Alliance
  6. Rev. Susan Taylor – Church of Scientology National Affairs Office


  1. Ibrahim Anli – Executive Director, Rumi Forum
  2. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir – Blogger/Jouralist, Mauritanian survivor of sentencing for apostasy
  3. Soraya Deen – Founder, Muslim Women Speakers
  4. Kamal Fahmi – Founder, Set My People Free
  5. Greg Mitchell – Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable; Founder, The Mitchell Firm; Founder, International Religious Freedom SecretariatJohn Ghanim – Ex-Muslim Yemeni Christian
  6. Scott Morgan – President, Red Eagle Enterprises
  7. Kareem Muhssin – Spokesperson, Alliance of Former Muslims (Ireland) Hassan Nuhu
  8. Bruan Nerren – President, Asian Children’s Education Fellowship
  9. Reverend Youssef Ourahmane – Vice President, Eglise protestante d’Algérie
  10. Patrice Pederson – President, First Freedom Foundation
  11. Ivan Arjona Pelado – President, European Office Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights
  12. Dennis Petri – International Director, International Institute for Religious Freedom
  13. Dr. Gloria Samdi Puldu – President, LEAH Foundation
  14. Aaron Rhodes – President, Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe
  15. Nayla Tabbara – President, Adyan Foundation
  16. Victoria Sheahan – Chaplain Reverend, CaoDai Today
  17. Scott Stearman – UN Representative, Baptist World Alliance
  18. Harris Sultan – Activist
  19. Fred Williams – Nigerian Peace Activist & Film Producer

In addition to these signatures, Ex-Muslims of North America has a public petition which has collected over 500 signatures of individuals also calling on the UN member states to ensure the complete abolishment of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy: