Biography (Short Edited Version)
Emir Onur Cilek Romano;
1983, Istanbul, Turkey.
High school: Boarding international schools in the UK; Austria and the USA
University: Political Science in St. Thomas Uni., Government and International Politics in George Mason Uni., International Relations in Istanbul Bilgi Uni.
Enrolls MA Global Leadership – Royal Roads Uni.
A life changing Epoch:
In 2003, (aged 20) I was living in Miami Florida when a false rape allegation was made against me by a Kurdish/Turkish woman.
Click for the details of this curious case.
2003: Lead for the Florida Turkish-American Association Youth Committee
2012-2015: involved in the creation of Ateistler Meclisi (Congress of Atheists), Ateist Dergi (Atheist Magazine), Ateizm Dernegi (Association of Atheism) in Turkey. It is the first and only legally recognized atheist NGO in Turkey and among all 'Muslim-majority' countries.
2015-2017: President of Atheist Alliance International which has Special Consultative Status in EU and UN.
2015-present: Member, branch manager, and director at Centre for Inquiry Canada.
I am an activist who has been working with five countries in the Middle East region (Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Northern and Southern Cyprus). My goal is to improve the human rights of nonbelievers in developing countries of the Middle East region where atheism is not punishable by death.
Turkey is a Muslim dominated country where blasphemy (the act of speaking sacrilegiously about God or religion) remains a crime. My human rights advocacy in Turkey began in 2008 with a focus on secularism. Even with this focus, I was targeted by both media and government. I was harassed by the Turkish justice system periodically. More details about those incidents are can be found in my Extended Biography.
In 2013, I participated as a coordinator in the biggest secular resistance movement of Turkish history, Taksim Gezi Protests. Eight (8) protesters were killed. As a this bad experience, I shifted from secular political activism to militant atheist activism.
After I had beaten the criminal charges I was accused of, this time the Pro-Islamic Turkish government brought blasphemy, and a variety of other political charges. In 2015, the headquarters of Ateizm Dernegi was raided by the police looking for me. I was wanted on a number of political and blasphemy charges due to my interviews and social media posts promoting the NGO. My lawyers recommended that I leave, as I was likely to be detained for a significant time if I was arrested, in order to set an example. That's when I decided to move to Canada.
In 2017, I applied for political asylum to Canada. However, the immigration law in Canada dictates that if the sentence for a crime in an applicant's home country, is greater than 10 years, then Immigration Division will not review the case. Plus, the law says that the Immigration Division cannot look beyond the conviction. So, I am ineligible to make an asylum claim to Canada. Inadmissible. The Refugee Board has never heard my case. And issued an an order for my deportation in 2018. I have applied for Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, and sitting on my hands since then.