April 20, 1985 |
|Known for||Central Committee for Ex-Muslims|
|Political party||PvdA, Independent member (Fractie Jami), PVV|
Ehsan Jami (born April 20, 1985) is a Dutch politician. From March 7, 2006 until November 6, 2007 he was member of the city council of Leidschendam-Voorburg on behalf of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). From that date until 2010 he continued to be a member of the city council as independent member 'fraction Jami' . In 2007 he was one of the two founders of the former Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.
Jami was born on April 20, 1985 in Mashhad, Iran and was raised there. His father is a doctor. His mother converted, later in her life, to Christianity. As son of a doctor, Jami enjoyed substantial privileges in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In an interview, Jami stated: "My grandparents were Muslim, but my father was non-religious." Yet in a different interview, he described his father as Muslim. Political engagement by Jami's father forced the family to leave the country. Together with his parents and his older sister, the then nine-year-old Jami arrived in the Netherlands in 1994, later obtaining Dutch nationality.
Jami studied Management Science for one and a half year in the Netherlands and joined the Labour party as member in 2003. He was elected to the city council of Leidschendam-Voorburg in the local elections of March 2006.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Jami started reading the Qur'an and Hadith, after which he decided he didn't identify with either. Jami criticized Islamic prophet Muhammad, describing him as a "criminal". Together with Loubna Berrada (founder of the Advisory Committee for Integration, part of the right-wing Liberal party), Jami founded the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims in 2007. The organisation, supported by Afshin Ellian, aims to support apostates of Islam. Berrada left the committee shortly after it was founded because she felt Jami challenged Islam itself too much, saying: "I don't wish to confront Islam itself. I only want to spread the message that Muslims should be allowed to leave Islam behind without being threatened"
On 4 August 2007, Jami was attacked in his hometown Voorburg by three men. The attack is widely believed to be linked to his activities for the committee. The national anti-terrorism coordinator's office, the public prosecution department and the police decided during a meeting on 6 August that "additional measures" were necessary for the protection of Jami who has subsequently received extra security.
In September 2007, he penned an op-ed together with PVV politician Geert Wilders for the Dutch daily Volkskrant, likening the threat of Islam to the rise of Adolf Hitler's National Socialism in the 1930s. It was a response to National Antiterrorism Coordinator Tjibbe Joustra's remarks in Algemeen Dagblad, who criticized the tone used by some people in the discussion about Islam.
On October 4, 2007, Jami announced that he was working on a film project due to be released in February 2008 which he felt could be comparable in terms of controversy to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. On 31 March 2008 he cancelled this project after being urged to do so by Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin and threats from Iran.
However, after months of deliberation, Jami again decided to release the film. The short film was released on 9 December 2008. The announcement was followed by calls from European Islamic organizations for boycott of Dutch products. Dutch Premier Jan Peter Balkenende issued an apology for Jami's film.
After expressing strong opinions against Islam, strong criticism of the PvdA, and comparing the Islamic Prophet Muhammad with Adolf Hitler, he was asked to give up his council membership as part of the PvdA. By refusing to resign and continuing as an independent member, he lost his membership of PvdA.
Co-founder Berrada quit the committee in June 2007 because she felt Jami acts too aggressively towards the entire religion of Islam, stating: "I don't wish to confront Islam itself. I only want to spread the message that Muslims should be allowed to leave Islam behind without being threatened" 
- Charter, David (2007-09-11). "Young Muslims begin dangerous fight for the right to abandon faith". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- (Dutch) Ehsan Jami: “I'm a social democrat to the bone”, De Rode Reiger, 2004.
- (Dutch) "I don't want evolution, I want revolution", Dagblad Trouw, 2007.
- (Dutch) Wie is Ehsan?. www.pvda.nl. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
- (Dutch) Labour party Ex-Muslim: "Muhammad was a criminal" Elsevier, 23 June 2007.
- (Dutch) Ehsan Jami fights for freedom of religion, Sp!ts, 6 May 2007.
- (Dutch) Founder leaves committee, De Pers, 12 June 2007.
- Extra security for Ehsan Jami, Expatica.com, 7 August 2007.
- "Jami writes opinion piece with Wilders". Expatica. 2007-09-27.
- "Concern about anti-Islam comments". Expatica. 2007-09-27.
- "Yoeri Albrecht en Joost Eerdmans in een spraakmakend gesprek met Ehsan Jami" (in Dutch). Het Gesprek. 2007-10-04.
-  (in Dutch)
- "'Boycot Nederlandse producten om film Jami'" (in Dutch). de Verdieping Trouw. 2008-11-26.. Translated by Islam in Europe
- Ex-Muslim Jami asked to quit council seat