Even if I were a devout Muslim, I would dump Islam out of sheer embarrassment that it needs this calibre of defence.
Even if I were a devout Muslim, I would dump Islam out of sheer embarrassment that it needs this calibre of defence.
Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. …Religion is …the fantastic realisation of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
These are the words of Karl Marx, written between December 1843 and January 1844, and published in February 1844. They are often quoted out of context and often misunderstood, as indeed, is the fate of their author. How poignant these words have once again become. The fight against religion is just beginning in one part of the world, when it has to be taken up all over again in another. It seems there is no better time than the present to rescue this profound insight from its vulgar sound bite, “Religion is the opium of the people.”
In my view, the most important line of this quotation is not the last one, but the first, for it contains all that follows: “Religion is …the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again, [my emph.].” How prescient that final clause, for we find ourselves in a world of free people who dare not be free, of unchained people who fight their way back into chains, of people who vocally silence themselves, and of people who say unto God, “Rest, oh Lord, for we are the oppressed creatures who oppress ourselves; we, the heartless, are the heart of the world; and we, the soulless, will shepherd the souls. Our ways are the opium of the people.” I cannot shake from my mind this haunting image:
It stands as a testament to how oppressed, how heartless and how soulless free people have again become. I shudder at recollecting a rabid sexist leading a women’s march. We live in a time when racist black youths can attack an old white man (an old white man who was single-handedly calling out an entire population for their complacency in the face of the steady erosion of their freedom), those youths then claiming the moral high ground for their conduct and getting it. When racism is hailed as a virtue, when a movement terrorising the world is embraced as peaceful, then the “inverted world” that Marx talks about is back. It is an inverted world in which God, the ideal human, is captured in a racially-composed photograph (right down to a religion masquerading as a race), and in which its context — oppressed, heartless, soulless reality — is purveyed as “intersectionality”. How bankrupt we have become.
When the free have abandoned freedom and taken on the role of God in oppressing themselves, in silencing themselves and in imposing conformity upon themselves, it falls to those still enslaved under God to free not only themselves from God, but also the free from themselves. The new religion of the free, multiculturalism, with its dogma of political correctness, finds its place very easily in the great fake war with the alt-right. Meanwhile, in the real world, the nightmare continues.
There is nothing “Eurocentric” about the Enlightenment, and it is only Western to the extent that it first occurred in that particular locality. It is also not a product of “our Judaeo-Christian heritage,” as is sometimes claimed. The Enlightenment, both in its conception and in its actions, espoused that ideal human that religion outsources to a supernatural being. Not only did it posit the ideal human, free of want, free of fear and in pursuit of happiness, it posited the ideal human in terms that transcended all difference, without sublating difference.
The formulation, “All men are equal,” (in the archaic wording then current), recognises that we are all human, above whatever else we may be, and presumes itself applicable to us all. Recognition of equality at any level below that of human must necessarily entail the erosion of equality. As soon as we confine ourselves to the equality of races, the equality of sexes, the equality of cultures, etc., as opposed to the equality of all human beings as human beings, we are on a slippery slope that leads inexorably to the philosophy of despair that is identity politics, political correctness, interfaith dialogue, diversity training, intersectionality, and all the other icons of the perplexed. It is a recipe for infinite fracturing as all must continually differentiate themselves from all in a struggle for resources that becomes increasingly attainable only through sectional identity and the greater claim on pathos. In this inverted world, the preservation of racism becomes more important to black people than even to white racists. The preservation of sexism becomes more important to women than to misogynists. When “Black Lives Matter” perceives “All Lives Matter” as an existential threat, we have reached the pit of despair. When feminists dare not raise as much as a peep against the horror that is the lives of women under Islam, then we are in the pit of despair.
The Enlightenment recognised that the formulation “All men are equal” was also a battle cry. It expressed an ideal that has to be fought for. Indeed, it arose out of the eighteen million lives lost in the 125 years of war to the subjugate Christianity to humanity. Like all wars, it is one with many setbacks, many retreats and many regroupings. And now, beset as it is by a fifth column of free people bent on destroying their own freedom, humanity arrives at the gates of Mecca. It does so, however, from within, struggling to break out. It is to be hoped that it succeeds in time to save the free people from themselves.
I’ve been a bit quiet over the last two months. This is partly because I’m devoting more time to developing my writing (fiction), and partly because there’s been quite a lot to think about lately.
What I’d like to share at this point is where I turn to when I’m struggling to figure things out. Honesty, humanity and steadfastness are what attracts me to those I turn to for clarity. The two people who, more than any other, provided that clarity over the last few years have been Maryam Namazie and Yifat Susskind. This does not mean that they are my prophetesses or that I hang onto every word they say or praise everything they do. I am still me, not them. But what wonderful mentors! If you’re not familiar with them, let me share a piece by Maryam that is particularly poignant at present: a debate she’d recently had with Sam Harris. Yifat’s organisation MADRE shows that no darkness is too dark for light to penetrate. For me, their significance lies not only in their boundless energy and unflinching commitment, but that they are, first and foremost and above all else, human. Regardless of the particular theatre or issue or beneficiaries of their efforts, those efforts serve the preservation of humanity in the face of the curse of “us versus them” and the prevailing orthodoxy of infinite social fracturing that ultimately pits all against all. I help them both in whatever modest ways I can. Perhaps you’ll see why, and perhaps you’ll do the same.
I’ll be posting a little less frequently for the time being, but please stay connected.
This probably arrives too late for the requested action, but knowledge is power.
In June this year, 628 organisations from 152 countries joined a statement asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a Special Procedure: an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). The mandate was brought into existence by a vote of the 47-member Human Rights Council, and in September Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand was appointed to fill the position.
In November, a group of States tabled a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly 3rd Committee in New York that threatens to undermine the creation of this mandate. This threat is to the integrity of the human rights framework and its impact goes far beyond the SOGI Independent Expert, setting a dangerous precedent for other parts of the human rights system to be undermined.
Eight Latin American States have filed an amendment to the resolution that will safeguard the mandate and protect the human rights system.
Therefore, once again we need to join our voices and call on the 193 member States of the United Nations to protect human rights for all with no distinctions and oppose the resolution being brought by the African Group and support the amendment being brought by the Latin American States. [Read more here]
This arrived just now:
This morning I received a circular from One Law for All, an organisation in the UK campaigning against the Government’s insane practice of allowing the barbaric Shari’a system jurisdiction in the UK in parallel with the Human Rights guided official legal system. It is a sop to Muslim bullying in which the establishment has made a virtue out of submission to Muslim demands. They already “feel themselves subdued”. Watch very carefully for how the next step, the Jizyah, is worked into the capitulation.
Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (Quran 9:29).
An Afghan peace deal (a peace deal in which women are thrown under the bus to clinch the deal) can exist in many forms. Britain’s sop to Shari’a is one of them. For peace with its ever-restive, ever-demanding, ever-bullying, ever-complaining, Muslim activists and spokespersons, the British Government is not only prepared, but eager, to annul part of the Human Rights of a particularly vulnerable section of its own citizens, women who live in Muslim families. They get around this obvious denial of Human Rights by telling themselves (the only ones who buy it) that acceptance of Shari’a on the part of such women is voluntary. The philosopher who can work the concepts of “voluntary” and “Shari’a” into positive association is still to be born. We are talking about Islam here, for crying out loud. Her husband or father will take her “voluntary” decision for her.
“Men are in charge of women” (Qur’an 4:34), “the men are a degree above them” (Qur’an 2:228)
It is not just that Shari’a is “different”; it is illegal. Such women are being denied access to law in which they are equal to everyone else. By allowing the thuggery of Shari’a to prevail over women in Muslim families, the British state is essentially enshrining the long-discredited notion that “domestic affairs” are not the business of the police. They are being discriminated against in that they are being denied the same protection of the laws that other citizens are afforded by right.
I leave you with Maryam Namazie’s message, reproduced here in full:
Hello dear friend
I wanted to write and give you an update of the work of One Law for All.
Our new Spokesperson
I’m really pleased to announce that Gina Khan, a long-time women’s rights campaigner, has become a Spokesperson for the organisation. You can hear Gina’s experience with Sharia courts on BBC Radio 4 along with other media coverage on on our concerns: http://onelawforall.org.uk/is-sharia-discriminatory-against-women/.
Boycott of Theresa May Inquiry into Sharia Councils
Following an open letter to the then Home Secretary Theresa May signed by an unprecedented number of women’s rights groups and campaigners, we have called for a boycott of the inquiry with others because of serious concerns, including that the inquiry is set up as a theological investigation rather than one centred on human rights. The letter calling for a boycott can be seen here: http://onelawforall.org.uk/boycott-the-sharia-law-inquiry/.
Home Affairs Committee on Sharia Councils
We have, however, submitted evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on Sharia Councils and will be giving oral evidence. You can see our submission and that of some of our other partners here:
One Law for All:
http://data.parliament.uk /writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/home-affairs-commit tee/sharia-councils/written/35234.html
IKWRO: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedoc ument/home-affairs-committee/sharia-councils/written/35208.html
Southall Black Sisters: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedoc ument/home-affairs-committee/sharia-councils/written/35465.html
British Muslims for Secular Democracy:
http://data.parliament.uk /writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/home-affairs-commit tee/sharia-councils/written/35938.html
http://data.parliament.uk /writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/home-affairs-commit tee/sharia-councils/written/36570.html
We continue to collect shocking testimonies from women whose rights have been violated by Sharia courts: http://onelawforall.org.uk/sharia-testimonials/. If you have personal experience with these courts, please contact us.
In order to continue raising awareness on the detrimental effect of parallel legal systems, One Law for All will be speaking at public meetings in London and Manchester organised by Southall Black Sisters as well as a public meeting at the Houses of Parliament. To find out more about these events and others, see here: http://onelawforall.org.uk/category/events/.
Thanks to all of those who supported the crowdfunding campaign to get Elham Manea’s book on Sharia Law and Women into the hands of MPs: http://onelawforall.org.uk/help-us-get-book-on-women-and-sharia-law-to-ever y-mp/. We raised enough to get 127 books into the hands of key MPs and Ministers. We will write to donors with more details soon.
Please continue supporting us
Please support our work by donating to our organisation: http://onelawforall.org.uk/donate/. No amount is too small and every little helps. A special thanks to those who donate on a regular basis. We can’t tell you what a difference it makes.
In addition to donating, please buy tickets to the 22-23 July 2017 International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression. If you can’t come, please try and donate towards conference costs. That is one important way to help us. It will be a historic conference – one that you can join for as little as £85 a day (including refreshments, lunch, cocktails, and a brilliant line up of speakers and acts). Find out more about the conference here: http://www.secularconference.com/agenda-2017/.
Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you at some of the public events and the 2017 conference.
Thanks again and warmest wishes
One Law for All
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
One Law for all is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8122621.
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My views on Islam derive from scrutiny of Islam. I do not seek support by appeal to authority. So when I share this eyewitness piece, it is neither to harness an authoritative voice to my case, nor to seek security in numbers. I’m sharing this to make the point that while there are many non-Muslims who hate Muslims and know nothing about Islam, and there are non-Muslims who love Islam and are distinctly dishonest about that religion, in general, it is non-Muslims who can be relied upon to be honest about Islam. Here are some of the connections Sister Hatune Dugan refers to:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29)
The Yazidis, alas, are not deemed “People of the Book”, so do not qualify for the privilege of dhimmitude. Therefore,
“O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee” (33:50)
“But enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good” (8:69)
“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion is all for Allah” (8:39)
ISIS did not make this up. These words are in every Muslim’s Qur’an.
While reading Ibn Warraq’s critique of multiculturalism in Why I am not a Muslim, I came across a reference to a 1992 article in the Independent on how multiculturalism interferes with and often frustrates the equal protection of the laws that the UK affords its citizens, in this case in respect of the protection of girls from genital mutilation. That was almost twenty-five years ago, and it made for shocking reading.
Taking control of the narrative is often the first step towards turning a tide. Since The Guardian newspaper launched its Global Media Campaign to end FGM just over a year ago, the practise stands more exposed than ever before. It wasn’t so much that information was needed to educate us that these horrors take place—we’ve known that all along, although most people may have been unaware of some of the grosser details. The shift, as I see it, lies in the sentiments of those who hold FGM to be a virtue.
No longer the proud affirmation of cultural identity, or the brazen announcement of “holidays home” for school-age girls, or the defiant threats of lawsuits against those entrusted with protecting children. Those brought to trial and convicted for such crimes now feel shame, rather than indignation and rage. And, not insignificantly, the defenders of multiculturalism, ever attuned to the shifting of the sands, are quiet. Well done, The Guardian, and thank you!
Certainly, turning a tide is still a far cry from eradication, but changing this narrative also helps to put the UK’s shameful flirtation with Shari’a on notice. Tides tend to do that. If the silence of the cultural relativists is anything to go by, then this can only go one way: towards a stronger humanity.
Some societies practise gender segregation. Those are usually societies in which women are regarded as either defective or deficient in some way. Muslim societies are not the only ones to see their female population as some kind of impediment to the optimal functioning of society. Whichever of those societies it is, gender segregation is only one of a collection of measures aimed at “mitigating” the negative effects of the presence of females amongst them. Other measures include restricted behaviour, prescribed dress, reduced responsibility, etc., supported by disregard and suspicion of, condescension towards, and even contempt for women. This last list of societal and male behaviours towards females, while remaining in evidence in Western societies, is an aberration there, rather than a defining characteristic. It is very much on the defensive as it is neither socially, nor legally tolerated. What is often overlooked is that, on the whole, Western men have learned to both respect women and control their sexual impulse. In other words, they are civilised men.
Men in societies that practise gender segregation can learn neither respect for women, not control of their sexual impulses. In other words, they are uncivilised men. Worse, they make it incumbent on women to control male sexual urges and hold women responsible for those urges being acted upon. In Muslim societies, it is a woman’s failure to conceal from the male gaze any aspect of herself that might inflame any random man’s sexual excitement, that is responsible for that man attempting to have sex with her. She is held responsible not only for her own sexual conduct, but that of all males in the society. In a society such as that, the male conception of women is anything but that of another human being entitled to the rights and respects that all humans are entitled to. If they hadn’t rape a woman or girl, or availed themselves of a sex worker before marriage, then the first woman their are likely ever to get to know intimately, or have the possibility of a proper conversation with, are their wives. I say “possibility”, for that is all it is. It is an exceptional man, indeed, who does not see his relationships to his sisters and his wife or wives as anything other than relationships of control. In a society such as that, a woman’s wearing the hijab, the burqa, the chador, the niqab, or any attire designed to de-sexualise her before the male population as a matter of personal protection, speaks of an uncivilised male population; a male population who are but animals, as far as their own sexuality is concerned.
So what does a woman who insists on wearing the hijab, the burqa, the chador, the niqab, etc., in the West say about Western men? Isn’t she actually saying to all Western men, “If I do not cover up like this, you will rape me”? And why do Western men put up with grossly offensive suggestion, especially after they’ve gone through decades of educating themselves and learning how to relate to women as equals. Western men and women can take pride in the fact that when behaviour that’s generally associated with Middle Eastern males are evident in Western males, both men and women oppose such behaviour. Donald Trump offends (and frightens) not only Western women, but Western men, too, and both are out there working to eliminate the threat that he (and others like him) poses — even disregarding the unhelpful zealotry that some feminists can display. So if Western men have come as far as they have in their relations with women, why are they putting up with being told by certain women in their midst that they are no better than their Middle Eastern and North African counterparts? Are they afraid of being called sexist, or “Islamophobic”? Do they not know that just as we have allies in them, they have allies in us?