I had written about the trial of Yousef Muhammad Ali in Iraqi Kurdistan for criticising Islam earlier. His hearing date (originally set for 15 June) was delayed to 14 September 2015 to give the judge time to receive further documentation on his case. Please keep the pressure on. Below is a letter from Yousef about his situation.

My name is Yousef Muhammad Ali. I was born in Iraq in 1987. At a very young age, I started to go to a local mosque to study the Islamic faith with my neighbor who was an imam. I was also attending main stream school.

After a while, I decided to drop off from the school to concentrate on my religion studies ‘Sharia Law’ in the mosque. I did study Sharia Law until 2009. During my study, I realized that respect for human being is not existed in the Islamic law not only for people from other societies but also for people of its society. I discovered that Sharia Law is not based on logic and science. Therefore, I refused to accept Islam any further!

Based on my own experiences, I decided to perform a research in an academic and philosophical way. As a result, I decided to give up my aggressive faith and became an apostate. Apostasy in Islam is punishable by death. I started to find out more about my father’s beliefs.

My father was not a worshipper or follower of any religion. People used to ask him about the reason of not being an Islam while I was a follower of the religion. He replied “I am not responsible of his religious view! He can choose whichever religion he desires.” My parents never argued with me regarding my religious views.

In the Islamic countries, you have no right to choose your belief. You become a part of that country and its religion. There is no way out from that reality .In 2009, I renounce my faith completely. I went back to high school at Darbandikhan, my home city.

One day, I had to perform a presentation in the school. I spoke about the Big Bang Theory! I realized then that most of my classmates has joined the same Islamic group that I was with previously. They turned against me.
The argument became very serious, and it resulted in a fatwa against me. A fatwa means that if someone, according to the religious interpretation, committed a sin or, in my case, apostasy, that person must be given the death penalty! That’s the punishment for it.

I used Facebook to criticize Islam and talk about my own belief to people at my own risk. Some people hated me and thought that I was an infidel. In Islam, the infidel must be killed. On 2nd of December 2014, someone called Halo Salh phoned me and threatened to kill me if I continued with my belief and criticism. He was a member of the security for the Islamic terrorist organization. Immediately, I called the police and told them my situation. They advised me to stay at home until they come. I waited until 4 am for the police to come and save my life but no one came.

The following day, I went to the local police station to report what happened and complaint about him. There, I was attacked by members of the same group, but the police got them away from me. The day after, Halo Salh and I attended the hearing regarding my grievance.

My case was sent to the public tribunal in Darbandikhan. To my surprise, instead of dealing with my case and saving my life, the judge decided to arrest me for 7 days and release Halo Salh because the judge was on the side of the Islamic party. I was put in a single cell. That night they put me in custody and traded me roughly because I criticized Islam.

After that period of time, I transferred to Sulaymaniyah’s jail. On the 15th December 2014, they renewed my jail sentence again until the 22nd December 2014. The Human Rights activists and journalists in Kurdistan and abroad campaigned against the judge’s decision. As a result, they released me on bail on the 17th December 2014 until my hearing date on 13th July 2015 to decide on my case.

I hereby urge you to support my case and put pressure on the Kurdish Government and the Ministry of Justice in Kurdistan to release me without any penalty and to save my life.

You can send your support letters or condemnation letters to the following email addresses:

• Kurdistan Parliament Email & Contact number:
• Ministry of Justice Email & Contact number:
• Kurdistan Regional Government Email:

*Please also send copies of your letters to maryamnamazie@gmail.com so they can be forwarded to Yousef.



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