My blog moving to my website

I just wanted to give a heads up to readers that I have moved my blog to my website, which now houses all my work, videos, press coverage, photos and more.

Many thanks to the wonderful Helen O’Shea for her tireless work in getting my website up and running. She’s been amazing. Also thanks to Ray and Kevin for initial development of the site and Michael Nugent and Atheist Ireland for putting me in touch with Helen and being so supportive!

I’ll be blogging on my own site from now on.

Hope to see some of you there and best wishes for everyone remaining on FreeThoughtBlogs.

Every day should be International Women’s Day

Every day should be International Women’s Day
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
8 March 2016
Interview with Bangladeshi Author and Journalist Tasneem Khalil
Also: A review of the Iranian “elections”
Filmmaker Hossein Rajabian and musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi face imminent arrest in Iran
Women’s Protection Act in Pakistan deemed un-Islamic
Hasidic Jews and gender segregation
Alison Bevege’s win against Hizb ut-Tahrir’s gender segregation in Australia
ISIS and its use of “clippers” against “improperly” veiled women
The unveiling movement in Iran
Footage from 1979 mass march against law imposing compulsory veiling in Iran
Fatwa against findings of survey on Muslim women’s demands regarding Sharia law
Women bicycling in Gaza
Editing: Fariborz Pooya
Translation: Mohammad Basham
Subtitles: Bahram M
Producer: Maryam Namazie

هر روز٬ روز زن است
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با تسنيم خليل٬ نويسنده بنگلادشى
همچنین “انتخابات” ايران؛ قانون جديد دفاع از زنان در پاكستان؛ جدا سازى در هواپيما و استراليا؛ داعش و حمله به زنان “بد حجاب”؛ جنبش بى حجابى در ايران؛ تظاهرات با شكوه عليه حجاب اجبارى؛ فتوا عليه تحقيق در مورد خواست زنان و دوچرخه سوارى در غزه
اديت: فریبرز پویا
ترجمه : محمد باشام
زیرنویس: بهرام م
تهيه كننده : مریم نمازی

Hijab is sexism not anti-racism

4.Aliaa_Elmahdy.Hijab.16.Aliaa_Elmahdy.Hijab.Hijabis.1Aliaa Elmahdy, the human rights activist under received death threats for being “the naked blogger” from the Arab spring in Egypt, who since then got asylum in Sweden and who made several discussed Femen actions, today announced her topless message at the hijab-event in Fiitja.

HIJAB IS SEXISM, NOT ANTI-RACISM

Aliaa Elmahdy

When I saw the event titled “Hijab som politiskt motstånd” (Hijab as political resistance) and read its description, I realized the importance of demonstrating in front of the place where it would be held so that other voices from Muslim majority countries are heard, and the propaganda presented in the event is not the only information about the subject.
The event has been held on the 6th of March, two days before International Women’s Day, in Mångkulturellt centrum (Multi-cultural center) in Fittja. It presents hijab as feminist and anti-racist. I think marketing hijab as such is harmful to women from Muslim families, to the status of women in general and to non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries.

Hijab is marketed in a different way in Muslim majority countries, than it is in the West. Women are compared to objects to be consumed and owned by men. They are compared to wrapped candy or precious hidden diamonds, while men are questioned on how they can cover their cars, but let their women go uncovered. But women are people not objects. Women are ordered to cover up not to arouse men, get themselves raped and corrupt society. The more the sexist ideology behind hijab spreads, the less safe it becomes for all women living in the same society, because women and their bodies, unlike men who are viewed as “users of women”, are viewed as sexual objects, and the more they cover up, the more they are blamed for being abused, and are required to give up their rights.

When I talk about hijab, I don’t talk about a piece of cloth, but about a complete set of rules for how women should behave, hide and withdraw. A veiled woman wouldn’t for example have freedom of movement or sexual freedom.

Since women are viewed as properties and honor of men, women’s families, relatives, husbands and families of husbands interfere in how women dress. Women are even treated as public properties, so if a woman’s direct family failed to control her, strangers would step in to correct her appearance and behavior, with sexual violence.

I met countless women who were forced or pressured to wear hijab, who wanted to take it off but feared incarceration, beatings and/or social rejection. My best friend was locked up and tortured in a mental institution after she took off the hijab she was coerced to wear as a child, and was only considered sane enough to be let out when she wore it again against her will. I also know a woman who was locked up at her parent’s home and jumped from the second floor to escape the threat of being murdered by her family after she took off the hijab. And countless other women who were locked up, beaten, had ”virginity”-tests, had their hairs cut and had their books torn up, for resisting the obligation to veil. Some women only wear hijab in front of their families, while others only wear it while taking public transportation. In a society where veiling is the norm, non-veiled women cannot dare to deviate much from that norm without taking a risk. Adding to that being brainwashed since childhood that they must wear hijab or they will hang in hell by their hairs – how much choice do women living in Muslim majority countries or with Muslim families in the West have?

Most people tend to adapt to social norms, and know their places in a social order. That’s why there are women defending sexism, and why there were black people defending slavery or at least living by humiliating rules which took away their dignity. It’s especially true for women to accept sexism, since a society of only women never existed, and most people would rather be accepted in a group than stand up for themselves. That some women defend oppression doesn’t mean it’s fair or that it doesn’t hurt women. The fact that more women defend it than oppose it, especially in public, is also associated with the risk of doing the later. Women who take off hijab, or reject living under the control of their countrymen in any other way, such as living alone, not with a male guardian, end up living in shelters or protected addresses, and are threatened and harassed both by family members and strangers. Those who chose to speak out and help others are at even greater risk. I receive messages from women who complain to me about the oppression they live under daily, but most of them are too scared or considerate about what people would say, to change their lives or speak out themselves.

Hijab is an extreme and strict version of the sexist culture Western feminists are fighting, but many of these feminists make an exception for hijab and even view it as feminist. Women who demand the same rights for all women are considered to adapt a “Western feminism”, but I don’t think such division in feminism is necessary. Instead of focusing on current issues for non Western women such as ”virginity”-tests, the so called “Islamic feminists” focus on issues that are not specific to women, such as racism, which is an important issue, but it shouldn’t be prioritized over women’s rights. They argue for preserving some forms of discrimination against non Western women, since according to them they don’t need the same rights as their Western sisters. Feminism is a movement for change, but why then are they more conservative than progressive?

When Egypt was colonized by Britain, same women who fought British occupation began to defy the rules to veil, and started a feminist movement, just as Western women who began to demand their rights during the industrial revolution. Yet the event in Fittja presents veiling as anti-colonial. Such arguments lead to that people who are fighting for women’s rights, or who have divergent beliefs in Muslim majority countries, are labeled as traitors. This makes it harder for these societies to develop. But not only Western societies should have rights to continous development.

While Western racists attack Islam and hijab out of rejection of other groups, although they share similar sexist views with those they are attacking, other people including people from Muslim majority countries, attack the same things out of caring about the rights of women and individuals in conservative societies and communities. Individuals inside groups from other countries shouldn’t be trumped over in an effort to understand or accept these groups. Some people may think they are then accepting diversity in Western societies, while in reality they are standing against those who are fighting to make conservative societies more diverse and individualistic.

 

Sheffield ASH doesn’t like my anti-Islamist stance

Updated at bottom of post

A student at Sheffield University messaged the University’s Atheists, Secularists and Humanists Society suggesting that they invite me to speak there.

The message the student received is below.

Let me just say that I didn’t realise one could be too “hard” on the Islamist movement. Far be it for me to upset the Islamic Circle and interfaith wheeling and dealings. It can’t be easy having to listen to ex-Muslims talk about their right to apostasy. I wonder if the Sheffield ASH realises that it was the Goldsmiths ISOC brothers who tried to disrupt and intimidate my talk and not the other way around?

Moreover, I didn’t realise opposing Sam Harris’ views on profiling of Muslims as well as defending open borders for those fleeing persecution (including of course many Muslims) does a pariah make.

But live and learn.

sheffieldSheffield2sheffield3

After having written to the Student Group – here is their further response and mine:

Slide1

Slide1

IN SOLIDARITY WITH JNU STUDENTS AND TEACHERS OF NEW DELHI UNIVERSITY, INDIA

10314005_10156577164210481_4955545869477244152_nThe Hindu-Right government of India identifies the nation with its Hindu majority and imposes the domination of Hinduism over all citizens of other denominations and “lower” castes.

Over the past few years, the Hindu-Right has curtailed free speech at universities, banned books, and falsified history.

Students protesting against the oppression of non-Hindu citizens and “lower” castes have been fiercely repressed and police has been called within the premises of the university in Delhi.

In protest, university teachers now organize lectures in the open to freely discuss nation, nationalism, and the politics of the Hindu-Right.

A protest march to the Parliament in New Delhi is being organized on March 2, and on this occasion Delhi students call for international solidarity.

We the undersigned, fully aware of the dangers of all fundamentalist extreme-Rights, wholeheartedly support the protest movement of students and teachers at Delhi University and protestors against the Hindu-Right government in India.

Signed

Alice Cherki, psychiatre, psychanalyste, auteur
Amel Grami, professor at the University of Manouba, Tunisia
Anne Saada, Historienne CNRS, Paris
Ariane Brunet, Centre for Secular Space
Barry Finger, New Politics editorial board member
Catherine Deudon, photographe, Paris
Christine Jedwab, psychologue retraitée, Marseille
Chulani Kodikara, Research Associate at the International Center for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Elizabeth Cox, independent feminist activist and former UN Women regional director
Faizun Zackariya, Citizens’ Voice for Justice and Peace, Sri Lanka
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
Fatiha Boudjahlat, enseignante, Toulouse
Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space
Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of the International Campaign against Sharia Court in Canada and One Secular School System for All
Imad Iddine Habib, Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco/Britain
Inna Schevchenko, FEMEN Leader
Jeanne Favret Saada, Directeur de recherche CNRS
Jérôme Maucourant, Professeur d’économie politique, Université de Lyon
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Lalia, Ducos, WICUR Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Laurent Loty, chercheur CNRS, Paris
Lila Ghobady, Writer & Documentarymaker
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Producer of Bread and Roses TV
Meredith Tax, Chair, Centre for Secular Space
Mikael Böök, Blogger
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Nina Sankari, Polish Feminist and Secularist
Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani nuclear physicist, mathematician and academic
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Rayhana Sultan, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Rina Nissim, Espace Femmes International
Rumy Hasan, Academic
Sabine Prokhoris, psychanalyste, écrivain, Paris
Siba Shakib, Writer
Simon Hecquet, danseur, écrivain, Paris
Sophie Bessis, historienne, Paris
Sultana Kamal, Bangladeshi Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Zazi Sadou, Porte-parole du rassemblement Algérien des Femmes Démocrates

There is an atheist in every Arab family

There is an atheist in every Arab family
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
1 March 2016
Interview with Palestinian Atheist Waleed Al Husseini
Also on the renewed bounty against writer Salman Rushdie
Recent protests against animal cruelty in Iran
Refugees in Bavaria having to give up their valuables
A village in Iran were the entire male population has been executed
An insane fatwa against the necktie
and a song by an Afghan woman who throws off her burqa and sings against violence against women
Editing: Fariborz Pooya
Translation: Mohammad Basham
Subtitles: Bahram M
Producer: Maryam Namazie

هر خانواده عرب يك بی خدا دارد
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با والد الحسينى؛ بى خداى فلسطينى
همچنین افزايش جايزه براى فتوا عليه سلمان رشدی
تظاهرات عليه آزار حیوانات در ایران
پناهندگان در بایرن
روستایی در ایران از کل جمعیت مردان اعدام شده است
فتوای احمقانه در مورد کراوات
و آهنگى عليه خشونت علیه زنان
اديت: فریبرز پویا
ترجمه : محمد باشام
زیرنویس: بهرام م
تهيه كننده : مریم نمازی

Secularism is the way to defend women’s rights

My opening remarks on Women in Islam in a discussion with Tehmina Kazi of British Muslims for Secular Democracy at AHS University Of Birmingham conference on Religion in 21 Century.

Women in Islam have no rights. It’s the same in any religion. Even if was “progressive” for its time – which I don’t buy – it’s not enough for 21 Century women.

I know religious texts can be interpreted to be more “women-friendly” but I have yet to see interpretations that are good enough for me at least.

And anyway I think it’s dangerous to leave women’s rights to the mercy of interpretations – especially since it is those in power – very often Islamists – that determine women’s place in society.

For me, “Islamic feminism” is an oxymoron like “Islamic human rights;” they are antithetical to each other. If there are better laws for women in some countries where Islam plays a role, it is not because of Islam but because of secular movements calling for the separation of religion from the state and law.

If we want to have an impact on women’s rights, however, this is not the key conversation to be had. After all, it is hard to reconcile my views – as an atheist who has left Islam- with the view of one who believes in the tenets of Islam.

The more important conversation in my opinion is where there can be and are points of agreement between many atheists and believers, amongst others and that is that whatever one’s views on religion and Islam, religion in the state and law is detrimental for women and her rights.

In fact, Islam in the state and the law is the end of women’s rights.

To have this discussion, we must first separate the conflation between Islam (an idea), Islamism (a far-Right political movement) and Muslims (people with as many different points of view as any other). The three are often seen to be one and the same – incidentally both by the far-Right and the post-modernist Left. The far-Right uses criticism of Islam and Islamism to attack Muslims; the post-modernist Left uses it to defend Islam and Islamism under the guise of defending Muslims.

When we conflate real live human beings with religion and the religious-right wing we not only fail to see the humanity of the “other,” but also the immense dissent and resistance. We therefore cannot see the commonalities in our struggle for women’s rights and equality. The conflation of Islam, Islamism and Muslims homogenises Muslims and sees the authentic Muslims as an Islamist. It fails to see that many issues – often seen as “people’s right to religion” are highly contested/challenged by those deemed “Muslims” and that they are in fact Islamism’s “right” to oppress and control women – whether in the areas of gender segregation, Sharia laws or the veil.

There are countless examples of this huge political fight against the Islamists by those deemed to be of “Muslim heritage” and how these contestations are ignored in Europe with only Islamism’s narrative given credence.

In Iran, for example, women are fighting hard to enter sports stadiums where they are banned due to gender segregation rules. In Britain, however, gender segregation is actively promoted. One good example of this is when in December 2013, Universities UK, a regulatory body, endorsed gender segregation in its guidelines on external speakers, saying: “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.” (The familiar separate but equal arguments we heard during racial apartheid in South Africa.)

UUK was eventually forced to withdraw its guidance after women’s rights campaigners and secularists protested the guidelines; as a result of our campaigning efforts, the Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled against it saying: “Gender segregation is not permitted in any academic meetings or at events, lectures or meetings provided for students, or at events attended by members of the public or employees of the university or the students’ union.”

Sharia family codes are another area where women’s rights campaigners have fought hard to oppose discriminatory laws. Under Sharia’s civil code a women’s testimony is half that of a man’s, women have limited right to divorce whereas men have unilateral right to divorce, child custody is given to the father at a pre-set age irrespective of the welfare of the child and marriage contracts are entered into between the man and the woman’s male guardian.

The Islamic Sharia court in Britain explains why a woman’s testimony is half that of a man’s: ‘If one forgets, the other can remind her.’ It’s the difference between a man and a woman’s brains.’ ‘A woman’s character is not so good for a case where testimony requires attention and concentration.’ It goes on to say it is not ‘derogatory’ but ‘the secret of women’s nature.’

According to human rights campaigner Gita Sahgal, “there is active support for sharia laws precisely because it is limited to denying women rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there can’t be a problem …”

But this is an area of fightback for many years.

In Algeria, women’s rights activists singing for change label 20 years of Sharia in the family code as 20 years of madness.  They sing:

“I am telling you a story

Of what the powerful have done

Of rules, a code of despair

A code obsessed with women…”

“This law must be undone…!”

In Iran, after the establishment of Sharia law there, the Iranian Lawyers’ Association came out in full force against the new religious codes only to be met with arrest and exile; some opponents were even charged with apostasy, which is a “crime” punishable by death…

But here, the British government has so far failed to defend women’s rights and equality and even groups like the British Humanist Association state that Sharia courts are people’s “right to religion;” its Chief Executive has stated after visiting a Beth Din and the Islamic Sharia Council that he was “left without a single secularist reason to say that they should not be allowed to operate as they do.”

Also, despite its discriminatory nature, the Law Society in Britain issued a practice note for solicitors on how to draw up ‘Sharia-compliant’ wills, stating that:

“… illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs … The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir … Non-Muslims may not inherit at all … a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir…”

The note was withdrawn only after the protests of women’s rights campaigners and secularists.

It’s the same with regards the veil, burqa and niqab, which are highly contested.

In Iran, for example, there is an unveiling movement though improper veiling and unveiling is punishable by a fine, arrest, and up to two months in prison.

In Iran, billboards will compare unveiled women to  unwrapped sweets – free for the taking. Here in Europe, pressures include calling improperly veiled women “hoejabis.” Despite this, “progressives” often defend the hijab as a “right” and a “choice” when, socially speaking, it has been imposed by brute force. Defenders of the veil here in Europe forget that there is a corresponding right to unveil and for unveiled women not to be perceived as whores and sources of fitnah.

What I want to say is that in areas where there is a huge fight taking place, like against Sharia law, the veil or gender segregation, rather than siding with those defending women’s rights and equality, there is often a defence of the Islamists under the guide of defending “Muslims.”

How to change things? We need to move beyond regressive identity politics and begin to side with those who defend women’s rights and equality – whether they are believers or atheists.

Moreover, secularism is a minimum precondition for women’s rights.

 

I am still Charlie

Remarks at Oxford Union debate with Tariq Ramadan on 29 February 2016

I was Charlie 6 years ago; today Je Suis Charlie and I will always be Charlie.

Saying one is Charlie has never meant approving of everything it has said and done, though I must admit that I do approve of much of its Leftwing, anti-racist and anti-clerical satire.

I think poking fun at religion and blasphemy – in the age of ISIS – when one can be killed for it is an historical task and necessity.

That is one of the main reasons why I helped found the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain – to break the taboo that comes with questioning and leaving Islam and to challenge the Islamists who strive to deny us the right to think and speak freely, including in secular societies.

You don’t have to like Charlie or any other acts of blasphemy to defend the right to blaspheme and free expression. That is what Je Suis Charlie means.

Think about this for a moment. The Charlie cartoonists were killed in broad daylight, in cold blood, merely for their cartoons.

Those who refuse to stand with them, imply that they got what they deserved. They should not have been killed BUT what did they expect?

The “culture of offence” and accusations of Islamophobia are smokescreens. They serve to legitimise Islamist terror and violence and blame the victims.

They miss the point.

Islamism is an international far-right movement that has murdered innumerable Charlie Hebdos over several decades across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, including many “Muslims,” who have dared to speak or mock or just live 21 century lives prohibited by the brothers.

Being a woman, a freethinker, being gay, being unveiled, improperly veiled, an atheist, going to school, driving a car, having sex, falling in love, laughing out loud, dancing…  “offends” them. And violence to all this is the usual Islamist response.

Calling for civility, censorship, silence or “respect” for the “offended” is merely heeding the Islamist demand for blasphemy laws at the expense of dissenters.

So, yes, I am Charlie as I am also the many Muslims, ex-Muslims and none who criticise and question Islam and Islamism across the globe day in an day out at great risks to their lives.

Mr Ramadan says he is not Charlie or Paris. Instead he says he is perquisitionnable or “under investigation.”

ramadan

 

That I show solidarity with the cartoonists murdered for blasphemy and he shows solidarity with those “under investigation” is telling enough.

As Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas says: in all of this ‘terror’ itself is being ‘disappeared’ from the discourse, it loses reality, it becomes just an illusion… It is conjured away and all we are left with is blaming the victims.

“…The refusal to be intimidated is the greatest challenge faced by today’s generation, a generation which is globalized, hyperconnected, confronted by instantaneous and worldwide exchanges of ideas between internet users of different religions and temporalities,” says writer Caroline Fourest. She goes on to say: “The rules we are at present putting in place will determine whether we want to live in a world of violence and terror or a world of emancipation. It must be clear to all: the “yes, but…” will lead to a society where religion will once more be taboo, where believers will be more privileged than non-believers, where majority religions will take precedence over minority religions, where intimidation and violence will have won.”

Those, however, who state “I don’t agree with you but shall fight for your right to say it,” will according to Fourest “create a world where people are able to engage in dialogue despite their disagreements, where believers and non-believers are equal, where all religions are considered equal, where we can laugh at our fears and stand united against those who promote violence. There is no other alternative. We either stand firm or back down. Those who think that by backing down they will avoid war are making a serious mistake. The war has already begun. Only courage will restore peace.”

For those who want more information on Tariq Ramadan’s “double-speak,” read Caroline Fourest’s book Brother Tariq.

Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoon was not Islamophobic


charlie_hebdo_cover1My opening remarks at Oxford Union debate with Tariq Ramadan on 29 February 2016

Criticism of religion – however offensive – is not racism against believers.

Islamophobia is in fact used to conflate blasphemy with bigotry in order to impose Islamist norms on the wider society.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Mohammad are no more “bigotry” against Muslims than its covers poking fun at the Christian or Jewish god, clerics/ rabbis, and prophets are “bigotry” against Christians and Jews.

In Iran, Saudi Arabia or IS, critics of religion are faced with accusations of blasphemy and apostasy; here they are accused of “Islamophobia.”

Accusations of Islamophobia are used to scaremonger people into silence rather than out of any patronising “concern for minorities” – as if “minorities” do not need or have the right to criticise religion and the religious-Rightwing.

In fact no one needs the right to criticise religion more than those who have fled or are living under the boot of the religious-Right.

Essentialising and homogenising Muslims and equating them with Islamists reduces masses of people to fanatics more concerned with cartoons than murder.

It’s like equating Christians with the KKK or Pegida.

Calling Charlie Islamophobic sees dissent and blasphemy through Islamists eyes – an offence that must be either censored or punished by death – whether by Sharia law or the Kalashnikov.

Charlie Hebdo belongs to a satirical anti-clerical tradition that is not the sole domain of the West.

For example, Azerbaijani weekly magazine Molla Nasreddin founded in 1906 similarly poked fun at religion. Mohammad was also depicted in the weekly. Mullahs in what was called Persia at the time issued a fatwa calling for the death of its editor Mirza Jalil.

The anti-religion Iranian writer Sadegh Hedayat who died in 1951 is another example. He said: “Heaven is the best excuse to make the world into hell.”

This conflation of entire “communities” and societies with Islamism refuses to acknowledge that there are many within those who are considered “Muslims” (which by the way include ex-Muslims, atheists, free thinkers, reformers and secularists) who also criticise Islam and Islamism at great risks to their lives.

People like:

Raif Badawi, sentenced to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Bangladeshi bloggers, like Avijit Roy, hacked to death for criticising Islam

Hesameddin Farzizadeh, 23 year old writer and student who has been sentenced to 7 years in prison, 74 lashes and the death penalty in Iran for a book examining the history and questioning facets of Shi’a Islam

Abdulaziz Dauda, also known as Abdul  Inyass, an Islamic scholar sentenced to death in Nigeria for a lecture which was deemed to be blasphemous against Islam’s prophet.

Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist who lives in Saudi Arabia, who has been sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ for his poetry.

Or Egyptian poet Fatima Naoot given a 3-year sentence for insulting Islam because she criticised Islamic animal slaughter”…

Saying Charlie is “Islamophobic” is as absurd as saying Raif Badawi or Fatima Naoot are bigots.

Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas says this “distorting Eurocentric vision” sees “Muslims” only as victims and oppressed minorities when “just crossing a few borders” could allow one to “appreciate” the nature of the Islamist  political programme, whether with regards women’s right or free thought.

As a Women Living Under Muslim Laws statement says, this movement’s ‘main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do…’

What is really being said when Charlie is accused of Islamophobia is that criticism of Islam and Islamism are forbidden, blasphemy laws are required to protect “Muslim” or rather Islamist “sensibilities” and that, therefore, threats and actual murder of critics is perfectly legitimate – whether in Paris or beyond.

 

Read Caroline Fourest’s book “In Praise of Blasphemy: Why Charlie Hebdo is not Islamophobic” in French and in English.

Confronting Islamism with Secularism, Free Expression and Citizenship Rights

The below is my speech prepared for European Parliament meeting on 23 February 2016.

Today, I would like to focus on the importance of defending secularism, universalism, free expression, and citizenship rights in confronting Islamism.

To begin with, let me clarify the distinctions between Islam (an idea), Muslims (people) and Islamism (the religious-Right). The three are often conflated to the advantage of the Islamists and to the disadvantage of dissenters and freethinkers.

Let me explain.

Islamism is a political movement with state power. Whilst it relies on religion as well as terror and violence, it is firmly rooted in political equations for the extreme-Rightwing restructuring of society.

All religious-Right movements – whether it’s the Hindu-Right, Christian-Right, Jewish or Buddhist-Right are fundamentally comparable, albeit with differences as in any phenomenon and depending on their power and influence.

The fight for secularism and universal values is first and foremost a fight against the religious-Right in general and Islamism in particular – whether in Europe or globally.

Islam on the other hand is a religion like all others and can and must be open to criticism, even mockery and blasphemy. When you can be killed for leaving Islam, the celebration and normalisation of blasphemy and apostasy  are important forms of resistance.

This is increasingly difficult, not just in countries under Islamic law, but here in Europe too where much-needed criticism is often equated with bigotry and discrimination against the “Muslim minority.” Accusations of Islamophobia are often used to scaremonger people into silence rather than out of any patronising “concern for minorities” – as if “minorities” do not need or have the right to criticise religion and the religious-Right.

This homogenisation of entire “communities” and societies refuses to acknowledge that there are many within those who are considered “Muslims” who oppose Islamism or disagree or dislike some or all of the tenets of Islam just like there are those who oppose the Christian-Right and disagree with or dislike tenets of Christianity. Equating criticism of Islam with bigotry aids the Islamists in their imposition of “secular” blasphemy laws using rights language to censor and limit the right to free expression. Freedom of expression without the right to criticise religion is meaningless. Such criticism has been key for social progress. In the age of ISIS, it is also crucial for the defence of rights and equality.  It helps to dismantle and subvert the sacred and its political role and open the space for dissent where none is permissible or acceptable by those in power.

When masses of people are homogenised and seen to be one and the same with the Islamists, the right to free expression is reduced to a western demand rather than a universal one. But no one needs free expression more than those challenging or living under the boot of the religious-Right – where criticism of religion is often seen to be analogous with criticism of the state with serious consequences.

This gives added importance to the free expression of those of us who live here in Europe. Our criticism can help push open the space for dissent particularly for those who are unable to do so or who are paying with their lives.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is an excellent example of this. When CEMB was formed nearly 9 years ago to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam and to challenge apostasy laws, there were hardly any ex-Muslims willing to speak publicly. Today there are many who do so, asserting their right to atheism, including in countries where it is a prosecutable offence – primarily via social media.

In December 2015, for example, the CEMB initiated #ExMuslimBecause; within 24 hours it had trended on Twitter with 120,000 Tweets from 65 countries. This despite the fact that atheism is seen as a serious challenge to Islamic states. Saudi Arabia, for example, introduced a law in 2014 that defines “atheism as terrorism.” And 14 states impose the death penalty for atheists: Afghanistan, Iran, Islamic State, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Even in Europe, many ex-Muslims remain in the closet and fear upsetting their families, facing ostracisation or placing themselves in danger. Ex-Muslims are often seen though Islamist eyes with labels of Islamophobic, “native informants,” and “coconuts” and are accused of “inciting hatred and discrimination” against Muslims.

Nonetheless, the right to religion has a corresponding right to be free from religion, including for those labelled “Muslims.”

Though dissent is often portrayed as a betrayal or an attack on the “Muslim community,” it is in fact very much part of everyday life as I mentioned before. Everything from the veil, Sharia Law to gender segregation… are highly contested and challenged. Yet because of the homogenisation of “Muslims” and their conflation with Islamists, there is this absurd perception that there is no dissent. It’s as if we don’t have any atheists, secularists, free thinkers, women’s rights campaigners, socialists, democrats… amongst those labelled Muslims. From this point of view, the default and “authentic” Muslim is always the Islamist.

Identity politics and multiculturalism (not as a lived experience but as a segregationist social policy) including the Iraq-isation of the world has so essentialised “Muslims” that solidarity with or opposing bigotry against “Muslims” usually means that the postmodernist Left end up in siding with Islam and Islamism rather than with dissenters and political and social movements and ideals.

This is why, for example, the Feminist Society and LGBTQ+ Society at Goldsmiths University absurdly issued a statement of solidarity with the Islamic Society whose “brothers” attempted to disrupt and intimidate my talk on “Apostasy, Blasphemy and Free Expression in the Age of ISIS,” rather than with me.

“What is most upsetting” in all this, says Marieme Helie Lucas “is the implication that oppressed people can only turn out as fascists, never revolutionaries. Is this really what the left in Europe now believes?” She adds: “Can the left accept that citizens are assigned a ‘minority’ identity against their will, on the basis of their name, or their geographical origin, or that of their families? Can the left accept that this communal identity supersedes their civil rights? This was done to the Jews under Nazism. Will the left accept that it be done to Muslims, and those presumed to be Muslims, regardless of their personal religious beliefs? If the left is serious about supporting oppressed minorities, it should realise that those who speak in the name of the community do not necessarily have the legitimacy to do so. By supporting fundamentalists, they simply chose one camp in a political struggle, without acknowledging it.”

This has also been the position of successive British governments whereby multiculturalism and multi-faithism has been promoted as social policies to defend religion’s role in the public space, impose religious identity as the only marker to define citizens, and hand large sections of citizens to be managed and controlled by regressive Islamist organisations and imams.

There are no more citizens but segregated communities with their own faith schools, faith-based services and even faith-based courts: Separate and Unequal.

But you cannot be a 21 century human being and live under Islamic rules – whether in Europe or elsewhere – and not clash with it. It’s impossible. You don’t need to draw a cartoon of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, to do this.

Just celebrate Valentine’s Day and see what happens. From Indonesia, to Pakistan, to Iran, there are edicts and directives trying to stop people from celebrating it – without success. Last year in Saudi Arabia, five Saudi men were arrested by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and sentenced to 32 years in prison and 4,500 lashes for holding a Valentine’s Day party with “unrelated women, drinking and dancing.” In Islamic schools here in Europe, Valentine’s Day is frowned upon as un-Islamic.

Take any other aspect of people’s lives and this clash is evident. Take music.

ISIS recently beheaded a 15 year old boy for listening to western music on his CD player at his dad’s shop.

In Iran, a metal band called Confess face the death penalty for blasphemy; “advertising against the system”; forming and running an illegal band and record label in the “satanic ‘metal & rock’ music style”; writing anti-religious, atheist, political and anarchist lyrics.

In Mali, the Islamists have banned music. Aliou Toure, the lead singer of Mali’s Songhoy Blues says: “We had no idea that one day we could be forbidden from playing music, because music is universal… It’s like being forbidden to see the woman you love. Music for us is like a woman we love.”

In Britain, too, groups like the Muslim Council of Britain advise that children of Muslim parents should avoid “harmful” music.

As I said, people’s daily lives clash with Islamic rules. If it didn’t – if it was people’s culture and religion, there would be no need for absurdly titled “Commissions for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” or the “morality police. “Islamists would not need to impose their laws with such indiscriminate violence and repression.

In fact, the terrorism we have witnessed in Paris and London but mainly mosques and markets and schools in many cities across the “Islamic” world is just the tip of the iceberg. Sharia law controls and restricts every aspect of people’s lives making clashes inevitable, particularly since a large majority of the populations in the Middle East are under 30.  And of course this does not even begin to include those who risk their very lives by criticising Islam directly. People like:

Raif Badawi, sentenced to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Bangladeshi bloggers, like Avijit Roy, hacked to death for criticising Islam

Hesameddin Farzizadeh, 23 year old writer and student who has been sentenced to 7 years in prison, 74 lashes and the death penalty for apostasy in Iran for a book examining the history and questioning facets of Shi’a Islam

Abdulaziz Dauda, also known as Abdul  Inyass, an Islamic scholar sentenced to death in Nigeria for blasphemy for a lecture which was deemed to be blasphemous against Islam’s prophet

Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet and artist who lives in Saudi Arabia, who has been sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ for his poetry which the regime claims has questioned religion and spread atheism

27 Sudanese Muslims from the Qurani sect, charged with apostasy and disturbing the public peace for considering the Quran holy but believing that the Hadith are not authentic

Or Egyptian poet Fatima Naoot given a 3-year sentence for insulting Islam Eid Al-Adha’s tradition of slaughtering sheep as the “greatest massacre committed by human beings”…

The list is endless.

It makes me laugh to hear Sam Harris say “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.” Or the far-Right like Pegida  saying that they are the only ones “critical of Islam,” crying crocodile tears for the victims of Islamism whilst dehumanising and vilifying its victims and survivors, including by equating refugees with ISIS – all in order to defend what is fundamentally a “white, Christian Europe” against what they perceive to be the Muslim/migrant “savage hordes.”

The defence of the clash of civilisations theses ignores the fact that “Secularism and fundamentalism are not ideas stitched into people’s DNA,” according to writer Kenan Malik. In reality, there is a clash between theocrats on the one hand and secularists, including many “Muslims” on the other.

What is often forgotten in all this talk equating Islam and Islamism with “Muslims” is that Islamism has been build on the mass graves of our dissenters – Muslims, Ex-Muslims, religious minorities, political dissidents, transgressors and others.

In Iran, an entire generation has been slaughtered for this movement to maintain itself in the state. There are similar stories in many places such as in Algeria where the term “green fascists” was coined.

One has to see this immense dissent in order to begin to separate people from the Islamists and to ally with and show solidarity with progressive social and political movements and see the commonalities in our fight for secularism and against Islamism in Europe and across the globe.

Identity politics ignores and negates the plurality and dissent and fails to see the social and political struggles and class politics.

“The result of all this,” says Kenan Malik, “is that solidarity has become increasingly defined not in political terms – as collective action in pursuit of certain political ideals – but in terms of ethnicity or culture.”

This is the story of our lives.

Take the example of 27 year old Farkhunda accused by a mullah of being an “infidel” who burnt verses of the Koran in Afghanistan. She was attacked by a mob in Kabul, lynched, stoned, run over, burnt and her body thrown in a river whilst onlookers and police stood by.

What could she expect when she goes against “Muslim sensibilities” tweeted one of these absurd liberal Left do-gooders who only seem to do good for religion and the religious-Right but never women? But wasn’t Farkhunda Muslim too? Actually she was very devout and had gone to the local mullah to tell him to stop selling amulets to women.

What became very obvious after her murder was that not all Afghans or Muslims or Muslim men have the same “sensibilities.” Women carried her body– going against Islamic customs – to her gravesite and with her family’s permission encircled by a chain of men to protect them. They surrounded her coffin right until the end, gave her the respect she deserved, and chanted: “we are all Farkhunda.” And when a mullah who had justified Farkhunda’s killing, tried to join them, they refused, created a circle around her gravesite, and forced him to leave.

Azaryun, a youth activist says, “That is what Farkhunda teaches me: together we can change the narrative that others write about women. We stood up against the most respected mullah. We carried the coffin and buried her.”

Neayish, a medical student, said: “It was the first time I realized my real power and told myself that I’m breaking the boundaries of tradition.”

So “the people” of Afghanistan do not all agree. “Muslims” are not all the same. And I place Muslims in quotes since not everyone living in Afghanistan or Iran are Muslims or Islamists just like not everyone is Britain is Christian or Pegida.

Everywhere, from Iran to Afghanistan and Algeria and in the heart of Europe there are women and men who break taboos and change narratives and stand against religion’s encroachment in people’s lives and against Islamism.

Islamism’s culture is not the culture of the many who refuse and resist. It’s not ours.

As Women Living Under Muslims Laws says: Islamism’s ” main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans – among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place’, which as we know from experience ends up being a straight jacket…”

Of course with the rise of Islamism, appearances of religiosity increases but much of this is imposed or as a result of pressure and intimidation and state-driven or political “revival.”

In the past several decades, the rise of Islamic states and movements in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe; the constraints on free expression; the imposition of Sharia law, increased veiling and gender segregation are the direct result of a rise of Islamism and not due to people becoming more devout.

Let’s not forget that Islamism was brought to centre stage as a political tool in aid of US foreign policy during the Cold War in an attempt to create a ‘green belt’ around the then Soviet Union. In contemporary history, the rise of Islamism can be linked to the establishment of an Islamic regime in Iran on the back of a suppressed left-leaning revolution. Of course, now, it is a movement that stands on its own two feet and brings misery wherever it rears its ugly head.

Despite this, let’s also remember that the rise of Islamism has seen a corresponding rise in atheism, women’s liberation and secularism in “Muslim” societies and communities – a form of backlash and resistance.

Social media and the internet have had similar effects to the printing press, giving masses of people access to ideas and information normally censored and suppressed by Islamist state controlled media. It’s also given people the opportunity to say the unsayable, break taboos and question the status quo. A quick look at only the Arab atheist pages recently censored by Facebook gives a small idea of what I can the tsunami of atheism.

There are countless examples of this huge political fight against the Islamists by those deemed to be of “Muslim heritage” and how these contestations are ignored in Europe with only Islamism’s narrative given credence.

In Iran, for example, women are fighting hard to enter sports stadiums where they are banned due to gender segregation rules. In Britain, however, gender segregation is actively promoted. One good example of this is when in December 2013, Universities UK, a regulatory body, endorsed gender segregation in its guidelines on external speakers, saying: “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.” (The familiar separate but equal arguments we heard during racial apartheid in South Africa.)

UUK was eventually forced to withdraw its guidance after women’s rights campaigners and secularists protested the guidelines; as a result of our campaigning efforts, the Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled against it saying: “Gender segregation is not permitted in any academic meetings or at events, lectures or meetings provided for students, or at events attended by members of the public or employees of the university or the students’ union.”

Sharia family codes are another area where women’s rights campaigners have fought hard to oppose discriminatory laws. Under Sharia’s civil code a women’s testimony is half that of a man’s, women have limited right to divorce whereas men have unilateral right to divorce, child custody is given to the father at a pre-set age irrespective of the welfare of the child and marriage contracts are entered into between the man and the woman’s male guardian.

The Islamic Sharia court in Britain explains why a woman’s testimony is half that of a man’s: ‘If one forgets, the other can remind her.’ It’s the difference between a man and a woman’s brains.’ ‘A woman’s character is not so good for a case where testimony requires attention and concentration.’ It goes on to say it is not ‘derogatory’ but ‘the secret of women’s nature.’

According to human rights campaigner Gita Sahgal, “there is active support for sharia laws precisely because it is limited to denying women rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there can’t be a problem …”

But this is an area of fightback for many years.

In Algeria, women’s rights activists singing for change label 20 years of Sharia in the family code as 20 years of madness.  They sing:

“I am telling you a story

Of what the powerful have done

Of rules, a code of despair

A code obsessed with women…”

“This law must be undone…!”

In Iran, after the establishment of Sharia law there, the Iranian Lawyers’ Association came out in full force against the new religious codes only to be met with arrest and exile; some opponents were even charged with apostasy, which is a “crime” punishable by death…

But here, the British government has so far failed to defend women’s rights and equality and even groups like the British Humanist Association state that Sharia courts are people’s “right to religion;” its Chief Executive has stated after visiting a Beth Din and the Islamic Sharia Council that he was “left without a single secularist reason to say that they should not be allowed to operate as they do.”

Also, despite its discriminatory nature, the Law Society in Britain issued a practice note for solicitors on how to draw up ‘Sharia-compliant’ wills, stating that:

“… illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs … The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir … Non-Muslims may not inherit at all … a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir…”

The note was withdrawn only after the protests of women’s rights campaigners and secularists.

It’s the same with regards the veil, burqa and niqab, which are highly contested.

In Iran, for example, there is an unveiling movement though improper veiling and unveiling is punishable by a fine, arrest, and up to two months in prison.

In Iran, billboards will compare unveiled women to  unwrapped sweets – free for the taking. Here in Europe, pressures include calling improperly veiled women “hoejabis.” Despite this, “progressives” often defend the hijab as a “right” and a “choice” when, socially speaking, it has been imposed by brute force. Defenders of the veil here in Europe forget that there is a corresponding right to unveil and for unveiled women not to be perceived as whores and sources of fitnah.

What I want to say is that in areas where there is a huge fight taking place, like against Sharia law, the veil or gender segregation, rather than siding with those defending women’s rights and equality, there is often a defence of the Islamists under the guide of defending “Muslims.”

How to change things? We need to go back to basics. It is the human being who has rights, deserves respect and equality, not religions, cultures and beliefs and certainly not the religious-Right.

“Muslims” or those labelled as such – whether citizens of Europe for generations or migrants who arrived today – are individuals not to be collectively blamed or held to account for Islamism’s crimes. Also religion or culture cannot trump human rights. A defence of universal rights in the face of cultural relativism is most needed and urgent.

Key in all this is secularism.

Secularism (the separation of religion from the state) is a precondition for safeguarding individual rights; is not western but universal; and is a fundamental right and necessity for all, particularly for those living outside of the west or in minority communities here in Europe.

In fact, the articulation and defence of secularism is more urgent than ever given the encroachment on civil rights and freedoms by the religious-Right (particularly Islamism) and the urgent need for solidarity with the palpable fight-back in many communities and societies.

Whilst secularism is often portrayed as anti-religion, it in fact guarantees the right to religion and belief.

This is not the case when religion has a role in the state. The death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy, including against believers, is one example of many. In Iran 130 offences are punishable by death, including heresy and enmity against god.

Secularism also defends the right to expression of belief even whilst limiting the role of expression in the public space. For example, the Christian-Right calls for laws forbidding reproductive rights for all citizens yet laws granting such rights do not force Catholics to practice either contraception or abortion.

On the flip side, there are sharia law courts in Britain, where women’s rights are discriminated against. Where the law is secular, women have equal rights and access not available to them under religious laws. Restricting these sharia courts would still allow women to give up their rights to alimony or child custody in a civil court if they felt they deserved nothing whilst protecting the many who don’t want to or are coerced into giving up their rights under sharia.

What is often touted as ‘religious rights’ here in Europe is in fact an imposition by the religious-Right and Islamists and aims to implicate the state in the implementation of inequalities in the name of rights. There is, however, no right to oppress and discriminate against.

As author and human rights lawyer, Karima Bennoune says:

“…in applying freedom of religion, both those who believe and those who choose not to believe, as well as those who seek to manifest belief and those who do not wish to be coerced to do so, must be taken into consideration. This is only possible in a framework of secularism…

“…The term secularism here means emphasis on the temporal over the religious in law and an accompanying minimization of the role of religion in the functioning of the state and legal system. The significance of the temporal for human rights is not that it is always morally superior to the religious, [though I would argue it is] but rather that it is contestable. The temporal allows space for dissent which the ‘you cannot argue with God’ paradigm forecloses.”

Those who consider a demand for secularism as ‘culturally inappropriate,’ ‘western,’ or ‘colonialist’ are only considering Islamism’s sensibilities and values, not that of the many who resist. Islamism is a form of colonialism though it is seen as ‘authentic.’ Islamists in Niger or Mali are de-Africanising the “lived Islam” there, for example, and the niqab and burqa were unheard of in many countries just a few decades ago.

Plus even in many western countries the fight for secularism is not over. Britain for example, has an established church. The queen is the head of the Church of England. There are unelected bishops in the House of Lords and daily prayers in Parliament. Even in France, which is renowned for its secularism, judges take Sharia law into account in, for example, the annulment of marriage and have even introduced Sharia’s civil code for some of its citizens of North African descent via bilateral agreements.

Also, what is often forgotten is that believers can be secularists too.  Recent surveys in France show that about 25% of the population in France is atheist, with the same percentage being Christian and also Muslim. 75% of the population, however, are secularists.  Research carried out by Southall Black Sisters in the UK shows that many women, including those who are ‘deeply observant want to be able to traverse different religious spaces for their social and emotional lives and secular spaces for their activism and advice.’

There are strong secular movements in so-called Muslim-majority countries like Iran, Pakistan, Algeria and Mali, despite the great risks involved. Karima Bennoune has brought to light many such groups and individuals in her recently published book, the title of which is based on a Pakistani play where the devotional singer who is beaten and intimidated for singing deemed ‘un-Islamic’ retorts: ‘Your fatwas do not apply here.’

The uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid in Tunisia; the vast secular protests in Turkey against Islamisation; the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarter in Egypt and the largest demonstration in contemporary history against the Muslim Brotherhood – 33 million people – are all evidence of that.

The systematic and theorised failure to defend secularism and people’s, particularly women’s, civil rights in many countries and communities, only aids and abets the religious-Right to the detriment of us all – believers and none.

As British philosopher AC Grayling has said: secularism is a fundamental right. Today, given the influence of the religious-Right, it is also a precondition for women’s rights and equality and for rights and freedoms in the society at large. It must be actively defended, promoted, and articulated.

In Defence of Salman Rushdie

TO SIGN ON TO THIS PETITION, CLICK HERE.

We, the undersigned, are outraged to learn that forty state-run media outlets in Iran have raised $600,000 (£420,000) to add as bounty to Ayatollah Khomeini’s death fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie, because of his novel The Satanic Verses.

We condemn the Iranian regime, its fatwa and the added bounty. We stand with Salman Rushdie and the many Iranian freethinkers and writers languishing in prison, or facing the death penalty, for exercising their right to free expression and thought.

The Iranian regime must face global condemnation for its incitement to murder.

Moreover, democratic and secular governments should unequivocally condemn the regime’s fatwa and bounty, demand their immediate cancellation, prioritise human rights and free expression and side with freethinkers rather than appeasing a theocratic regime.

Signed
AC Grayling, Philosopher
Adil Hussain, Activist
Afsaneh Vahdat, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Albert Beale, Peace Activist
Ali A. Rizvi, Author of The Atheist Muslim
Ali al Razi, CEMB Activist and Writer
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Activist
Alice Carr, President of Progressive Atheists of Australia
Annie Sugier, President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Anthony McIntyre, Writer and Historian
Ariane Brunet, Centre for Secular Space
Asra Q. Nomani, Author, Journalist, critical thinker and cofounder of Muslim Reform Movement
Ateizm Dernegi in Turkey
Author, Jesus & Mo
Awat Farokhi, Political Activist
Bahram Soroush, Activist
Becky Lavelle, President, Hull University Secularist, Atheist, and Humanist Society
Behzad Varpushty, Human Rights Activist
Benjamin David, President of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists
Boris van der Ham, Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Society)
Caroline Fourest, Author
Chris Moos, Secularist Activist
Christine M. Shellska, President of Atheist Alliance International
Claire Kennedy, Curator of TEDxExeter
Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents of Freedom From Religion Foundation
David Silverman, President of American Atheists
David Wearing, Academic
Deeyah Khan, Filmmaker and Human Rights Activist
Dennis Penaluna, President of Nottingham Secular Society
Derek Lennard, Human Rights Campaigner
Dilip Simeon, Labour Historian and Chairperson of the Aman Trust
Djemila Benhabib, Journalist and Writer
Elham Manea, Academic and Human Rights Advocate
Erin Dopp, Activist
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Iraqi Born Writer and Activist
Faramarz Ghorbani, Political Activist
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
Farzana Hassan, Author
Fateh Bahrami, Political Activist
Fauzia Ilyas, Founder of Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan
Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space
Gona Saed, Board of Directors abroad, Kurdistan Secular Centre
Harold Kroto, Former Nobel Prize Winner
Halima Begum, ExMuslim Researcher & Blogger
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Hasan Salehi, Political Activist
Hassan Radwan, Founder of the Agnostic Muslims & Friends Facebook Group
Ibn Warraq, Writer
Ibrahim Abdallah- Muslimish NYC organizer
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN Leader
Iraj Rezaei, Political and Human Rights Activist
Jane Donnelly, Atheist Ireland
Joan Smith, Author
Johann Hari, Writer
John Perkins, Secular Party of Australia
Julie Bindel, Justice for Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
Karrar Al Asfoor, Arab Atheists and Forum for Humanitarian Dialogue
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Keyvan Javid, Director of New Channel TV
Khalil Keyvan, Political Activist, Atheist and ex-Political Prisoner
Kiran Opal, Feminist Writer and Activist
Kojin Mirizayi, President of the Kurdish Society at the University of Kent
Lalia Ducos, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Laura Guidetti, Marea Magazine
Lila Ghobady, Writer & Documentarymaker
Linda Weil-Curiel, Lawyer
Lisa-Marie Taylor, Chair of Feminism in London
Lloyd Newson OBE
Maajid Nawaz, Author and counter-extremism activist
Madhu Mehra, Lawyer and Executive Director of Partners for Law in Development
Maggie Hall, Chair of Brighton Secular Humanists
Magdulien Abaida, Libyan Women’s Rights Campaigner
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson for Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Bread and Roses TV Producer
Masoud Azarnoush, Activist
Mehran Mahbobi, Activist
Mersedeh Ghaedi, London Spokesperson for Iran Tribunal
Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland
Mina Ahadi, Coordinator of Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany and International Committee against Stoning
Mohamed Mahmoud, Director of Centre for Critical Studies of Religion
Monica Lanfranco, Marea Review
Mostafa Saber, Marxist Activist
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Naser Kashkooli, Activist of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Nazanin Boroumand, Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Nina Sankari, Polish Secularist and Feminist
Pete Radcliff, Free Raif UK
Peter Flack, Leicester Social Forum
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Polly Toynbee, Journalist
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Ramin Forghani, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland
Rayhana Sultan, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Roberto Malini, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
Ronald Lindsay, President of Center for Inquiry
Rumana Hashem, Founder of Community Women’s blog and Advisor to Nari Diganta
Rumy Hasan, Academic
Safia Lebdi, President of Insoumis-es and Founder of Free Arab Woman
Safwan Mason, on behalf of the Council of ex-Muslims of New Zealand
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Sam Harris, Neuroscientist and Author
Samir Noory, Chairperson of Committee for Abolishing Death Penalty in Iraq, member of group “No to violence against women in Kirkuk”
Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International
Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library
Shelley Segal, Singer/Songwriter
AC Grayling, Philosopher
Sikivu Hutchinson, Author, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars
Soad Baba Aissa, Association pour la Mixité, l’Égalité et la Laïcité
Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager of National Secular Society
Stephen Law, Philosopher
Sultana Kamal, Bangladeshi Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
Susan Blackmore, Journalist
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society
Tom Holland, Author and Historian
Waleed El Husseini, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of France
Yasmin Rehman, Centre for Secular Space
Zari Asli, Friends of Women in the Middle East Society

Christianity, witchcraft and child abuse

Christianity, witchcraft and child abuse
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
23 February 2016
Interview with Nigerian Humanist Movement Founder Leo Igwe
Also “elections in Iran
ISIS beheads youth for listening to music, missing Friday prayers and stoning women to death
Campaign against child “marriages” in Lebanon
Expansion of Kindness Walls
Fatwa against Valentine’s Day
Australian doctors defending child asylum seekers
Editing: Fariborz Pooya
Translation: Mohammad Basham
Subtitles: Bahram M
Producer: Maryam Namazie

مسیحیت سحر تقویت و همچنین خود را به عنوان یک راه حل ارائه
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با ليو ايگوه٬ موسس جنبش اومانيست نیجریه
همچنین ” انتخابات” در ایران
وحشى گرى داعش
مبارزه با ” ازدواج ” كودكان در لبنان
گسترش دیوارهاى مهربانی
فتوا علیه روز ولنتاین
پزشکان استرالیا در دفاع پناهجویان کودک
اديت: فریبرز پویا
ترجمه : محمد باشام
زیرنویس: بهرام م
تهيه كننده : مریم نمازی

NUS: Revise Safe Space and No Platform Policies to Facilitate not Restrict Free Expression and Thought

NUSOn 17 March 2016 from 5-6pm, we will be holding a protest at the office of the NUS, Macadam House, 275 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8QB. Join Us. Also Tweet “I call on @nusuk to revise safe space and no platform policies to facilitate not restrict free expression and thought” or email the NUS stating the same at office@nus.org.uk.

NUS: Revise Safe Space and No Platform Policies to Facilitate not Restrict Free Expression and Thought

We are deeply concerned by the increasing attempts by the National Union of Students (NUS) and its affiliated Student Unions to silence dissenters – including feminists, apostates, LGBTI rights campaigners, anti-racists, anti-fascists and anti-Islamists – through its use of No-Platform and Safe Space policies.

We stand against all prejudice and discrimination. We agree that free speech does not mean giving bigots a free pass. A defence of free speech includes the right and moral imperative to challenge, oppose and protest bigoted views.

Educational institutions must be a place for the exchange and criticism of all ideas – even those deemed unpalatable by some – providing they don’t incite violence against peoples or communities. Bigoted ideas are most effectively defeated by open debate, backed up by ethics, reason and evidence.

The student body is not homogeneous; there will be differences of opinion among students. The NUS’s restrictive policies infringe upon the right of students to hear and challenge dissenting and opposing views.

We, therefore, call on the NUS to revise its No-Platform and Safe Space policies to facilitate freedom of expression and thought, rather than restrict it.

Signed:
Updated 5 March 2016

(Students, Activists and Academics are welcome to sign on to the letter, which will be updated regularly. To sign on to the letter, please email below contact persons.)

Alicia McElhill, President City of Leicester NUT
Amanda Jane Brown, Humanist/Secular Activist, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Andrew Browne, University Student
Asher Fainman, President of Goldsmiths ASH society
Author, Jesus & Mo
Becky Lavelle, President, Hull University Secularist, Atheist, and Humanist Society
Benjamin David, President of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists
Bread and Roses TV
Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked
Chichester Humanists
Chris Moos, secularist activist
Christine M. Shellska, President, Atheist Alliance International
Connor Naylor, External Outreach Officer of the LSESU Free Speech Society
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
David Browne, LLM Student in International Human Rights Law
Durham Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Elham Manea, Academic and human Rights advocate
Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
Erin Dopp, Activist
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
Feminism in London
Fireproof Library
Frederick Money, Undergraduate, Merton College Oxford
Gino Ragnoli, Treasurer for the University of Leicester Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space
Gregory Kent, academic and journalist
Gush Bhumbra, President, Leicester Secular Society
Halima Begum, ExMuslim Researcher & Blogger
Helen Chamberlain, President, Durham Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Houzan Mahmoud, Women’s Rights Activist, Kurdistan
Hull University Secularist, Atheist, and Humanist Society
Ian Leaver, Secretary City of Leicester NUT
Imad Iddine Habib, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Index on Censorship
James Burchett, Activist
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship
Josh Crossman, psychology graduate from Aberystwyth University, and a Health Psychology MSc student at Surrey University
Julie Bindel, Justice for Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
Justice for Women
Kameron J. St. Clare, President of the Middle Common Room, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Kenan Malik, Author
Keziah Conroy, UCLU Atheist, Secularity and Humanist society President
Kojin Mirizayi, Law student, President of the Kurdish Society at the University of Kent
Lee Jones, Queen Mary, University of London
Leo Gibbons-Plowright, Blogger
Lisa-Marie Taylor, Chair of Feminism in London
Maajid Nawaz, Author and Counter-extremism Activist
Maggie Hall, Chair, Brighton Secular Humanists
Magi Gibson, Scottish poet and author
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, One Law for All and Host of Bread and Roses TV
Matilda Dow, Fourth Wave Edinburgh Feminist Activist group
Matt Corden, undergraduate at Newcastle University
Miranda Yardley, Writer, Publisher and Activist
Miranda Yardley, Writer, Publisher and Activist
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Nick Cohen, Author
Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London
Ollie Burton, President, Newcastle University Atheists’ & Secular Humanists’ Society
One Law for All
Ophelia Benson, Writer
Peter Flack, Leicester Social Forum
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Rayhan Rashid, Oxford
Rayhana Sultan, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Renas Siti, Student at the University of East Aglia
Rhys Morgan, undergraduate student at Oxford Brookes University
Richard Dawkins, Scientist and Author
Robin Blick, Musician and Artist
Roy Brown, International Representative and former president of IHEU
Rumana Hashem, Founder of Community Women’s Blog and Adviser at Nari Diganta
Rumy Hasan, Senior Lecturer (SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex
Ryan Smith, Student
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library
Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager National Secular Society
Tehmina Kazi, Director of Media, Outreach and Lobbying, British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Tom Holland, Author and Historian
Tym Szala, Third year Student at the British & Irish Modern Music Institute
University of Leicester Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society


For more information, Contact
Maryam Namazie, maryamnamazie@gmail.com
Benjamin David, benjamin.david@hotmail.co.uk

Free Speech: It’s not free unless it’s free for everyone

The below is Maryam Namazie’s opening remarks at Spiked Conference: The New Intolerance on Campus on “No Platform: should hate speech be free speech?”

Freedom of speech in British universities is under heavier assault than ever before in large part due to the proclaimed desire by the National Union of Students (NUS) to maintain student safety by turning university campuses into ‘safe spaces’ where students are apparently shielded from anything they might find offensive or hateful.

With the increasing numbers of people being no-platformed at universities, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that offence and hate are highly contested – which is why even legal codes dealing with them are so varied in different countries.

All too often, too, limits on speech are set by those with the loudest voices or the most political influence, like religious bodies or student unions or the state. Once limits are set, it’s a slippery slope with no end in sight.

In the name of tolerance of all, we end up with intolerance of all.

I know, of course, that hateful speech exists. My 10 year old son asked me recently if his Muslim grandparents (who have worked and lived in NY for over 30 years) will have to leave America if Trump becomes president. As an apostate from Islam and a migrant, I know that hateful speech – whether from Islamists or far-Right groups like Pegida – can be dehumanising and intimidating.

But banning speech deemed hateful doesn’t stop discrimination and of course anyone can be accused of it – even human rights activist Peter Tatchell. Also, it’s those with power that determine what constitutes hate – not to stop discrimination – but very often to regulate socially unacceptable speech and stifle “deviance” and dissent.

Per the NUS, for example, Islamic Societies can invite speakers who promote the death penalty for apostates from Islam yet my progressive counter-narrative is considered “hate” speech. Also, despite a context where apostates from Islam – a minority within a minority – are threatened with death for what is deemed blasphemy/ apostasy, criticism of Islam is seen to be the same as violence against believers even though there is a huge distinction between speech and action.

Moreover, even if we agree that certain speech is hateful – which we don’t – is banning it the best way to challenge it? If that were the case, there would have been no social movements against racial apartheid, for civil rights, for women’s, gay or refugee rights if you could defend people who are the target of hate speech by merely banning speech. Banning speech it is in fact dangerous as it lulls us into a false security and prevents us from doing the more important and difficult work of addressing and challenging hate head on.

It’s a false assumption that one can combat hate by censorship. Also when one considers that it is those in power who can most censor and also normalise discrimination and “hate,” the absurdity of banning hate speech becomes all the more apparent.

By their very nature, universities in particular should be places where orthodoxies are challenged and opinions questioned. Why go to university at all if you feel you have to be ‘protected’ from views you dislike?

Fundamentally, though, the NUS’ “concern” for “student safety” and sensibilities gives “progressive” cover to what is fundamentally a corporate approach to risk management in light of tuition fees. As does multiculturalism, not as a wonderful lived experience but as a social policy, where criticism of Islam and Islamism are erroneously conflated with an attack on Muslims.

Clearly, free expression is vital for any university and society at large. And it is not free unless it is free for everyone, including those whose views are deemed distasteful, “deviant” and even “hateful,” as long as they are not inciting violence.

What we need is not more restrictions on free speech, but the opposite. What we need is a change in NUS policies that stifle expression and dissent on campus.

“Limiting free expression is not just censorship,” as Salman Rushdie says, “but an assault on human nature.”

“Human beings,” he says, “shape their futures by arguing and challenging and saying the unsayable; not by bowing their knee whether to gods or to men.”

You don’t need religion for human values

You don’t need religion for human values
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
15 February 2016
Interview with German/Turkish author Arzu Toker
Also on death toll in Syria and refugee crisis
Greece’s Alexis Tsipras cozying up to Iranian regime
Press TV and sexual harassment of Sheena Shirani
Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police
Outrage as Riyadh video shows religious police ‘abuse’
Iranian Metal Musicians Jailed, Facing Possible Execution; Free Confess
Saudi Arabia “Islamic” police doll arrest
Breast feeding adult men
Woman saying no to compulsory hejab in Iran
Editing: Fariborz Pooya
Translation: Mohammad Basham
Subtitles: Bahram M
Producer: Maryam Namazie

مذهب برای ارزش انسانى لازم نیست
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با نویسنده آرزو توكر
همچنین آمار مرگ و میر در سوریه و بحران پناهندگان
الکسیس سیپراس با جمهورى اسلامى رابطه
پرس تی وی و آزار و اذیت جنسی شینا شیرانی
اپ گرشاد
بازداشت كانفس؛ گروه متال در ايران
بازداشت عروسک
شير دادن به مردان بزرگسال
نه حجاب اجباری در ایران
اديت: فریبرز پویا
ترجمه : محمد باشام
زیرنویس: بهرام م
تهيه كننده : مریم نمازی

SUPPORT BREAD AND ROSES WITH AS LITTLE AS $1 A WEEK:به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته

For ‘Regressive Left’, all Roads End in Supporting Islamism

For ‘Regressive Left’, all Roads End in Supporting Islamism, Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Interview with Nora Mulready, Labour Party Activist
In this week’s programme: Ongoing migrant crisis, Turkish government’s attacks against Kurdish areas, Obama’s mosque visit and gender segregation, another insane fatwa on blasphemy, and defiant joggers turning Baghdad’s road of death into highway of hope.

براي چپ عقب رو همه راه ها به طرفدارى از اسلام سياسى ختم ميشود؛ برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با نورا ملردى؛ فعال حزب كارگر انگليس
در برنامه این هفته: بحران مهاجرت، حملات دولت ترکیه علیه مناطق کردنشین، اوباما و مسجد و جنسیت تبعیض نژادی، یکی دیگر از فتوای دیوانه در توهین به مقدسات، و تبدیل جاده مرگ بغداد به جاده اميد
ترجمه : مچمد باشم
زیرنویس: بهرام م
اديت: فرىبرز پويا
تهيه كننده: مریم نمازی

SUPPORT BREAD AND ROSES WITH AS LITTLE AS $1 A WEEK:به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته

Lose religion; gain a world

Hope you enjoy this week’s Bread and Roses TV
Farsi programme will be broadcast tomorrow.

Lose religion; gain a world
February 2, 2016
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Interview with Clive Aruede, Organiser of London Black Atheists
In this week’s programme: Rouhani’s visit to Italy and France and the covering of nude statues, a boy chopping off his hand for blasphemy, the banning of the word wine in print and refugees against sex assaults on Cologne
Translation: Bahram M
Subtitles: Bahram M
Producer: Maryam Namazie

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به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته
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Thank you!

2016: Onward and Upward!

Screen-Shot-2015-11-20-at-10.12.46-pm-980x509Hello

NEW CASE STUDY: ISLAMISM ON CAMPUS

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has today published a case study on the Islamic Societies at Trinity College Dublin, Warwick University and Goldsmiths University where attempts were made to restrict or bar our spokesperson Maryam Namazie from speaking in 2015.

The case study shows that the Islamic Societies at the three universities in question are clearly promoting Islamist values through hate preachers who condone Sharia Law, Islamic states, and the death penalty for apostasy.

The study is only an example of a widespread problem – which is the normalisation and legitimisation of Islamism on university campuses.

CEMB calls on universities and Student Unions to unequivocally defend free expression, including by removing policies which restrict and censor free expression, such as safe space policies, so that apostates and dissenters can confront Islamism on campuses with a progressive counter-narrative.

You can read the new case study here.

It is important to note that apostasy and blasphemy are not abstract theological debates but a matter of life and death for many across the globe.

END-YEAR CELEBRATION

The Presidents of Warwick and Goldsmiths Universities Atheists Societies who fought hard for free expression were speakers at our end-year event in December 2015 as was Philosopher AC Grayling, Centre for Secular Space’s Gita Sahgal and Kurdish Women’s Rights Campaigner Houzan Mahmoud amongst others. The fantastic event is now online.

FUTURE EVENTS

CEMB is organising or has speaking engagements at a number of upcoming events, including at the European parliament in Brussels, Oxford Union and Reason rally in Washington DC as well as at various universities across the country. You can see the listing of events here.

We are also organising an ex-Muslim “flash mob” to celebrate freedom of expression, blasphemy and apostasy with music and dance for our 9th anniversary in June. If you’re interested in participating in the #ExMuslimBecause flash mob, please contact us. The flash mob will help to further build on the successful #ExMuslimBecause, which saw over 120,000 tweets describing the many reasons for leaving Islam.

SUPPORT US

CEMB fights on numerous fronts to challenge Islamism and apostasy laws and support those who face persecution or intimidation as a result of leaving Islam as well as opposing bigotry against Muslims and defending universal rights and secularism. Unlike Islamist organisations with huge amounts of state and other backing, we must rely on our friends to support our work. A special thanks to all those who donated to our organisation in 2015.

Please continue to support our work if you can by sending a cheque made payable to CEMB or making a donation via Paypal. No amount is too small and all support is hugely appreciated and needed. You can find out more about donating here.

Thanks again and best wishes for 2016.

Onwards and upwards!

Maryam Namazie
Imad Iddine Habib
Nahla Mahmoud
Rayhana Sultan
Spokespersons
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.

Cologne Sex Attacks: Islamist Show of Force against Women’s Place in Public Space

Cologne Sex Attacks: Islamist Show of Force against Women’s Place in Public Space
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Interview with Philosopher AC Grayling on hope and courage for 2016
In this week’s programme: “Elections” in Iran, mass sex assaults on women in Cologne and elsewhere, blasphemous baking pans and a nude protest against sex attacks.

Also see: “Euro centrism as a fig-leaf, and the art of conjuring in politics” by Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas

حملات جنسی در کلن: نمایش قدرت اسلاميون عليه زنان در فضای عمومی
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
سخنرانى اى سى گريلينگ در مورد اميد و شجاعت در ۲۰۱۶
در برنامه این هفته : “انتخابات” در ایران، حملات جنسی عليه زنان در کلن و شهرهاى دیگر، فتواى احمقانه؛ و اعتراض برهنه در برابر حملات جنسی.

SUPPORT BREAD AND ROSES WITH AS LITTLE AS $1 A WEEK:به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته