How nice of them!

Abdul Rahman, the convert to Christianity, who had been deemed an apostate and faced execution in ‘liberated’ Afghanistan, has been granted fast-track asylum, and spirited to Italy. We are told he will eventually be able to decide whether he will remain in Italy or move to Germany!

Ahh, how nice of them.

They are letting him choose.

Umm, hadn’t Abdul Rahman already reached the relative safety (or so he thought) of Germany some while back, lived there for nine years and was forced to return after having been deemed a ‘failed’ asylum seeker.

Not ‘genuine’ – like most of those fleeing Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan – until today…

Well, better late than never I suppose. At least for Abdul Rahman who managed to evade death.

Now what about the rest?

On Reza Moradi

Thanks to all those who have asked about Reza Moradi and how they can help. We are now in the process of finding a solicitor and organising a campaign in his defence. We’ll need loads of help then.

If you want to know a little bit more about what happened, see the upcoming TV International English programme (broadcast Sunday) where I interview him and also show my speech at the March 25 demo for free expression.

We’ll keep everyone posted on any new developments as soon as possible.

In defence of the Iranian asylum seekers participating in a sit-in at the British parliament right now

People fleeing political Islam must be given asylum, full stop.

You may think that this statement is outrageous. Aren’t most of them ‘failed’, ‘illegals’, ‘scroungers’? Isn’t only a handful ‘genuine’?

No, they all are genuine. And for the very simple reason that medieval Islamic laws are antithetical to 21st century lives and values.

Let me explain. I say this not just because of outrages like sweet 16 Atefeh Rajabi, hung from a city square for ‘acts incompatible with chastity’ or Maryam Ayoobi, stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage, or Abdul Rahman, facing execution in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity… I say this not even because of the brutal attack and arrest of women at a March 8 rally in Tehran or the arrest of Tehran bus workers, including some of their wives and children, for demanding basic labour rights.

I say this for the everyday, more ‘subtle’ things – if you can call them that. For the teacher threatened in Afghanistan, for doctors being beaten in Iraq for treating female patients, for the students prevented from studying because they did not pass the Islamic ideological test in Iran, for the very fact that you cannot even give your child a non-Muslim name, for the limited rights to divorce, for the reason that you cannot hold your lover’s hands and walk down the street…

The law, government agencies, army, baseej and militias, just won’t let you be. They just won’t let you live your life even if you have no intention of being politically active. They dictate your dress, your sexual relationships, even the music you listen to.

And so we see that even though the British government is jubilant that the asylum numbers are at a 13 year low in the UK, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans are still in the top ten ranking of asylum seekers coming here and seeking refuge. Because they have to keep on coming and it’s not for the incentives the UK government keeps deceptively insisting. Does having more shelters give women the incentive to be beaten or those with homes to become homeless?

They have no choice but to come, thanks in large part to this government’s own policies in the region. But also thanks to cultural relativism which deems that people deserve to live the way they are forced to. Peace is at hand then – but according to Afghan standards; and Iranian prisons are satisfactory then – for third world standards! It also has to do with the close relations between governments and mostly because if they did grant asylum, it would reflect most badly on them; after all Iraq is their swamp; Afghanistan is not fit to live in…

Saying that all those who do get here from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan deserve the right to asylum is not so farfetched. It is like saying all those who fled the racial apartheid of South Africa had a right to asylum; or all those who fled Nazi Germany had a right to asylum.

So too people fleeing political Islam have a right to asylum. Full stop.

To see pictures of the sit-in, click here.

To read more about the bogus UK asylum policy, click here.

To support the sit-in and the International Federation of Iranian Refugees’ campaign, click here.

Support Iranian asylum seekers’ sit-in
Three days sit-in in London in protest to the Home Office’s asylum laws
(27-29 March in front of parliament)

Thousands of asylum seekers who have fled the Islamic regime of Iran and have come to Britain are faced with appalling and inhumane conditions. Many have either been refused asylum and issued removal orders or are in the precarious situation of waiting. An illegal, unsafe and unprotected life has been imposed on many of them.

According to reports published by the Home Office, in 2005 alone more than 600 Iranian asylum seekers were deported back to the Islamic regime of Iran and many more are at risk of being deported in the future. Deporting Iranian asylum seekers to an Islamic dictatorship is taking place despite the fact that any opposition is violently crushed, dissidents suppressed, executions have increased, unfair trials are norms, freedom of speech and press is denied, and human rights are violated with impunity.

In recent months, several political activists have been executed; a number of young, teenaged gay boys have been hung publicly in Mashhad; hundreds of opponents in different cities and towns have been arrested and imprisoned and the Islamic government is intending to execute some of them. Also some labour activists have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned.

The flagrant violations of human rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran have concerned many human rights organisations and even some western governments! They have condemned state violence against the population at large. It is interesting to note that the British government is amongst those countries condemning the Islamic regime of Iran for violating human rights but the truth is that its condemnations are nothing more than politicking for its own political benefits not anything else!

The British government is not concerned that people in Iran are stoned to death, executed, imprisoned, tortured and faced with sexual apartheid. All it wants is to stop asylum seekers from coming here at any cost. The fact that people, who flee persecution, are directly or indirectly victims of British or western government’s policies, is not of any concern to them.

The current policy of the British government towards asylum seekers is totally arbitrary, irresponsible and inhumane Following our “life without fear” campaign and in protest against these inhuman policies, the International Federation of Iranian Refugees in the UK is organising a three day sit-in protest on Monday- Wednesday 27- 29 March in London in front of Parliament.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) in the UK and the participants of this sit-in demand the following:

1- Iran under the Islamic Republic is not a safe country. No Iranian asylum seeker should be deported to Iran;
2- There should be an immediate stop to all detentions of Iranian asylum seekers. All those currently in detention in British prisons for the ‘crime’ of seeking asylum should be freed;
3- Given the present suppressive nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the British government must change its policy towards the asylum seekers and grant them refuge.

We urge all humanitarian organisations and individuals, trade unions, and all freedom lovers to support our campaign for “a life without fear” and our three day sit-in.

For more information, please contact Siamak Amjadi, the Secretary of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, UK Branch.

Tel: 07946 75 25 34 or 07931 866 985
ifiruk@yahoo.com
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX

Err, secularism is not a religion

Today, I took part in the Heaven and Earth TV Programme on BBC with Stephen Green of Christian Voice infamy. The bible-thumper (he had actually brought his bible with him) kept equating his religious belief with my demand for secularism and said basically that if one is to be imposed why not his ‘world view’ from the middle ages…

Err, because secularism isn’t a religion. Secularism is a basic minimum for society and says you have a right to belief or superstitious mumbo jumbo as long as it is kept apart from the state and educational system. This benefits the religious as well as the non-religious though of course not the likes of him but they aren’t happy unless there is a stoning taking place.

Now, this isn’t rocket science. Even if someone is a Christian, she or he doesn’t necessarily want to live under the system Green has in mind (now that’s an understatement). Also, there are a lot of other people in society with other religions and with no religion who won’t survive a second under Green’s heaven on earth.

And of course there is that one small problem; even if there is historical amnesia about Christianity’s inquisitions and witch burnings – there are ample current examples of religion in power – none of them very pretty I might add – to turn anyone off.

Freedom of Expression: No ifs and buts


* In Iran, Tehran bus workers demanding their rights have been arrested, including their wives and children, and some tortured.
* In Afghanistan, teachers defending the right of girls to an education are threatened with death.
* In Iraq, women’s rights activists are threatened for demanding equality and freedom.
* In Iran, journalists who published a satirical article comparing the advent of Khomeini to AIDS are languishing in prison…
* In Yemen, Mohammad Al Asadi, an editor, is facing execution for recounting how Mohammad approved of the killing of a woman who had insulted him.

The list is endless…

Too many more nameless, faceless human beings across the globe are maimed, threatened, killed, bound and gagged for speaking out and expressing themselves.

And it’s not just ‘over there’, but right here…

* A website in Sweden publishing the Mohammad caricatures is shut down.
* Editors are fired in France.
* The Behzti play is shut down after Sikhs are offended by it.
* A Scottish cancer charity is intimidated into not accepting money raised by Jerry Springer the Opera.
* Writers living and writing here, including myself, are threatened with death on threads of umma.net.
* People are arrested and summoned to court for carrying placards or flyers with the Mohammad caricatures on them [in fact Reza Moradi was told he will be summoned to court for ‘offending’ someone because he carried a placard with the Mohammad caricatures at the March 25 free speech rally – more on this later].

Clearly, free speech and expression are not luxuries or western values. They are essential for people everywhere.

And what more and more people are standing up and saying after government upon government and organisation upon organisation demanded apologies for the Mohammad caricatures and gave them on all our behalves is that they are not up for sale.

We know better.

Any limits on free speech & expression are really attempts by those in power or vying for power to limit our rights and the rights of the population at large.

Don’t be duped into thinking otherwise.

And that is why the defence of free speech and expression are so intrinsically linked to the defence of other rights. You cannot defend one without the others. You cannot defend one without also defending the right to asylum, the right to strike and organisation, labour rights, women’s and children’s rights, the right to live in a secular society, the right to equality and freedom, universal rights, the right to religion and atheism and belief as a private matter, the right to live lives worthy of 21st century humanity and of course vice versa. You cannot defend humanity without defending its right to speak and express itself…

For this, nothing can be deemed sacred except the human being.

Defining certain expressions and speech as sacred is merely a tool for the suppression of society; saying speech and expression offends is in fact an attempt to restrict it.

And of course what is held most sacred and deemed to offend the most especially in this New World Order is criticism and ridiculing of religion and its representatives of earth.

Why do it if it offends? Because it must be done.

Because ridiculing is a form of criticism, is a form of resistance, is a serious form of opposing reaction!

Whilst we may all be sometimes offended by some things, it is religion and the religious that are offended all of the time. They alone seem to have a monopoly on being offended, saying their beliefs are a no go area, and silencing all those who offend.

And don’t think this reactionary rightwing political Islamic movement is only offended by a criticism of Islam or Mohammad. [I am focusing on this because it is a movement in power.] It is offended if you hold hands on the streets, have sex outside of marriage; it is offended if you are unveiled or improperly veiled; it is offended if you listen to certain music or if you teach evolution and science or if you dare to teach girls; it is offended if you are gay; if you are a woman; – many of which are by the way punishable by death or at the very least flogging and imprisonment in many countries under the rule of Islam….

It is interesting how the political Islamic movement kills, it maims, it humiliates – with Islam as its banner – and we are not even allowed to ridicule and criticise it.

Religion considers a woman as worth half a man, gays as perversions, sex outside of marriage as sinful, and so on and so forth but it is a few caricatures that are offensive!

Offensive or not, sacred or not – religion and superstition – Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Scientology and so on – must be open to all forms of criticism and ridicule.

It must be first and foremost because religion is not something from eras past but because it is as a political movement wreaking havoc across the world. Not a second passes without some atrocity being committed by it. It hangs people from cranes and lamp posts, it stones people to death – in the 21 century – with the law even specifying the size of the stone to be used, it amputates and decapitates.

It must be criticised and ridiculed because that is how throughout history reaction was pushed back.

That is how throughout history society has managed to advance and progress.

Why this should be seen as an attack on Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or Scientologists per se is beyond me. Is an attack on the belief and practice of Female Genital Mutilation an attack on girls who have been mutilated? Is the criticism of Israeli state terrorism an attack on Jews? Is an attack on the BNP that promotes Christian culture or the Christian Council of Britain it has recently established, or the ridiculing of Jesus racism against Christians? No of course not. And the same applies to the Muslim Council of Britain, Hamas, the Islamic Regime in Iran and the Mohammad caricatures.

Islamophobia – and now by the way the Church has asked that Christianity-phobia also be included in UN rights terminology – none are racism because criticisms of a religion, idea, a belief and even the practices that result from beliefs – even a phobia and hatred against beliefs have nothing to do with racism against real live human beings.

Saying it is so is merely part of the effort to make it such in order to silence criticism of religion and the political movement that holds it up as its banner.

The world is today threatened and taken hostage by two poles of terrorism. The state terrorism led by the United States on the one hand and the political Islamic movement on the other share a lot more than they let on. After all they were former friends and many of them still are. Both use religion to attack the gains made by humanity in centuries past. Both defend religion and use it.

Freedom of speech and expression are one of the few means at the disposal of many to resist this terrorism and its attack on universal values and norms.

We must defend it unconditionally. There can be no ifs and buts.

The above was Maryam Namazie’s speech at a free speech march in Trafalgar Square in London on March 25, 2006.

Sad but true

There has been much talk about my participation and that of others in the March for Free Expression which was held on March 25 in Trafalgar Square. Though much of it is quite absurd, some need commenting nonetheless.

Let me first say that I find the criticism of being allied(!) with or even in coalition with the rightwing because some loathsome rightwing organisations also had speakers at the event quite astounding. The march wasn’t organised by the rightwing, had a very sensible statement of purpose, and many other good speakers. With this logic, I would be allying myself with Stephen Green of Christian Voice notoriety for debating the notion of religion and the public sphere on BBC TV’s Heaven and Earth programme the day after. And maybe also allying with the BBC – known for its manufacturing of consent… Follow this logic and I would have allied myself with the political Islamic movement had I spoken at an antiwar rally (which I would have if I had been allowed).

This unfortunate stance only helps maintain this Left’s irrelevance by giving it the excuse it needs to turn its back on the power struggles taking place on crucial issues over the fate of society.

They rather scurry off and leave the scene to be dominated by the right – even when no such hegemony exists!

My dear friends, the strike-breaking, reactionary rightwing is incapable of defending free speech and expression as those freedoms cannot be defended in a vacuum.

Rather than stepping in to unequivocally defend these freedoms, you scurry off and vacate the scene, call on others to do so as well and label all who speak or attend as allying with the right! Please do not give away the efforts of others to the rightwing to excuse your own inaction!

I on the other hand believe it my duty to fight at the forefront of the political scene and confront other tendencies and perspectives where I can.

Of course, let me add that I am addressing those who can still be called Left.

For those who deem any defence of universal rights, freedoms and norms, racism against Muslims I can say only this: Allying with the right is something you actually seem to know a lot more about so please do tell – what do you think the political Islamic movement you defend is?

Not another Iraq!

On the anniversary of the war on Iraq, we watch on our TV screens with complete disbelief and horror at the abyss that was once a country albeit a dictatorship. Though we always said this would happen, it is still so hard to believe that things can actually always get so much worse than we had allowed ourselves to imagine.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that terrorists in Iraq are attempting to stoke sectarian tension and spark civil war. What else did he really expect when all they have done is divide and compartmentalise the country into ethnic and religious blocks via their own form of state terrorism?

The current situation is a direct result of the USA’s war and policies on Iraq. Of course Islamic terrorists are taking advantage of the situation to gain access to power – though some have already been mainstreamed into the Iraqi government, thanks to the USA. They too have turned Iraq into their killing fields.

As every day goes by, it becomes painfully clear for all that neither the Islamist herds, nor the ethnocentric gangs and thugs let loose on society, nor the US-led ‘liberators’ can bring about a humane and 21st century solution to this swamp that was once called Iraq. They are in fact themselves the problem.

And in all this tragedy and chaos, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he wants to help the Iranian people have a freer and more prosperous future – that the Iranian people deserve better! Isn’t that what they said about the people of Iraq and Afghanistan! And we have seen the prosperity they have brought for them!

To Jack Straw and Donald Rumsfeld: Please, if anyone is going to and can bring freedom, equality and prosperity, it is not you but the revolutionary movement fighting for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Your alternative is no alternative at all but more of the same.

Stand back and let us show you how it’s done.

Public Meeting on 21 March – the Islamic regime of Iran, political Islam and the right to asylum

“Life without Fear”
Public Meeting
Islamic regime of Iran, political Islam and the right to asylum

Tuesday 21st March 2006
6:00pm-9:00pm
Conway Hall
Lion Square
London
WC1R 4RL

Speaker: Maryam Namazie

Campaign for the rights of Iranian asylum seekers in the UK

We urge you all to support and join “Life Without Fear” Campaign. Together we can make a difference!
http://www.hambastegi.org/ifiruk/eng-page.htm

For more information, please contact:
Siamak Amjadi
Secretary of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, UK Branch.
Tel: 079 4675 2534 or 079 3186 6985
ifiruk@yahoo.com

It was important to sign the manifesto

Here’s an interview with the Persian Javanan Weekly on the Manifesto for your information.

Javanan: You are one of the signatories to the Manifesto against Islamism; were you involved in drafting it?

Maryam Namazie: I wasn’t involved in drafting the manifesto. I had initially refused to sign the manifesto because it mentioned the ‘excesses of communism’ as an example of past totalitarianisms and put it on par with Nazism and fascism. I was then told that it was a mistranslation – since the original was written in French – and that it was in fact ‘Stalinism’. I then decided to sign on to it. Of course I would have written the manifesto differently had I been involved in its drafting but I believed it to be too important to pass up on.

Javanan: How widely has this manifesto been published?

Maryam Namazie: The manifesto has been widely received and publicised in the media. It has been published in newspapers across Europe. In France it has been published in Charlie Hebdo, Agence France Presse, L’Express, RTL, Proche-orient info, RMC, France Info, France 2.fr, Europe 1, RFI, TOC. In Denmark it has been published in Jyllands-Posten, the paper where the Mohammad caricatures were first published (there is also an interview with me on the issue), Politiken, Berlingske Tidende, and Kristeligt Dagblad, In Switzerland, Radio Suisse Romande, Le Temps; in Belgium BELGIQUE RTL, De Morgen, The Brussels Journal; in Germany, DIE WELT; in Italy, Sky news, Libero; in Canada, Radio Canada and the Toronto Star. The Middle East Times, Al Jazeera, BBC and some Iranian sites like rowzane have also published it.

I have also been interviewed by several Danish papers, including the Jyllands-Posten, and most recently by Danish TV. Many of them reprinted the entire Manifesto but of course not in the UK, which is a strong centre of political Islam in Europe.

The response by the public too has been overwhelming. Many feel such a manifesto is extremely timely whilst of course there is the usual hate mail from Islamists.

Javanan: You are the only one to give a party affiliation – usually writers don’t do that. Is this a break with this sort of tradition?

Maryam Namazie: I was asked to write my own introduction as were others. I was the only one who gave a party affiliation (though I signed on to it personally and not on behalf of the party) – because I cannot introduce myself without mentioning the Worker-communist Party of Iran – given that the party and movement and of course Mansoor Hekmat have been so instrumental in giving me the tools and analysis to confront political Islam and also because I really believe that it is worker-communism that has and can respond to the vile political Islamic movement and much more.

Furthermore, it is part of our political culture in this movement to be radical and popular at the same time. The email I received from a Dane after he watched the interview and read some of my blogs says it all: ‘People like you will one day be a principal cause of freedom and justice for all people in the world no matter their gender, sexual preference, religious or political conviction.’ I believe he is referring to worker-communism.

Javanan: Some of the text is really very good and it has an overall positive effect but in my opinion some parts of it uses Cold War expressions; what do you think?

Maryam Namazie: I think much of the content is brilliant and is what we have been saying for many years – on universal values and rights, on cultural relativism, on Islamophobia, on freedom of expression, and the need for an age of enlightenment. What I found interesting about this Manifesto is that our stance is evident throughout and reveals our influence and impact. But as I said before, if I had written it I would definitely do some things differently. The role of western governments in creating and supporting totalitarian states is absent. Whilst I agree that Stalin’s regime was totalitarian, mentioning his rule and not the many western backed totalitarian regimes conjures up images of the Cold War and gives an incomplete picture. What about the US backed Shah’s regime or many of the US backed totalitarian governments in Latin America? Also, the West’s role in encouraging political Islam vis-à-vis the Eastern bloc and their current power struggle is absent. Nonetheless, though, I felt it important to sign on to this manifesto as I mentioned before.

The above was from an interview in Persian in the weekly publication of the Young Communists’ Organisation.

We need to stand up to it!

Here’s the transcript of my interview with Danish TV. Thanks to Arash Sorx for transcribing it.

Martin Breum: Welcome Maryam Namazie. We are in the middle of this cartoon crisis and then your manifesto calls for hard resistance against Islamism, why is that?

Maryam Namazie: The reality is that Islamism is one of the great dangers in the world today and the reaction we have been witnessing around the cartoons is just the tip of the iceberg. The people of the Middle East have been faced with this reactionary movement for over two decades now. It decapitates people, it still stones women to death in the 21st century, and it imposes sexual apartheid wherever it has power and is ruling. The cartoon crisis is just another wake-up call really for the people of Europe about the situation and the need to stand up firmly to this movement.

Martin Breum: But your manifesto talks of preachers of hate, forming battalions and it goes on to tell us how they want to impose themselves on the entire world. Is that really a fair description of all Islamist movements?

Maryam Namazie: I think we have to recognise the fact that the political Islam movement is a reactionary right-wing movement; it is vying for political power. There is also another pole of terrorism in the world today, which is US state terrorism – an example of which can be seen by looking at the situation in Iraq. These two poles are vying for a larger share of power. With regards to the political Islamic pole – its track record is very clear. If anybody knows what it has done in Iran for example, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, there is no question that it is trying to impose the will of god, the rule of god on earth itself and that anywhere it has been able to do this it is very clear that it has meant nothing but destruction and death and misery for millions of people.

Martin Breum: You personally have reprinted some of the cartoons from the Danish newspaper on your website. This strategy of confrontation, how can it be constructive?

Maryam Namazie: Well it’s not a strategy of confrontation in that sense. It’s very constructive. What is important to realise is the fact that this movement is dangerous for civilised humanity and we should not be appeasing it, we should not be excusing it, we should not be justifying it, we should not be supporting it and encouraging it in any way, shape or form, which a lot of western governments are doing. We need to stand up to it and confront it because that’s how, throughout history, reactionary movements that were dangerous to humanity had to be confronted in order to be pushed back.

What we are saying is that this movement does not need any form of provocation. What provocation, for example, did Maryam Ayoobi, who was stoned to death by the Islamic Republic of Iran give the Islamic regime of Iran to do that? What provocation did Atefeh Rajabi, a 16 year old girl who was hung in a city square for ‘acts incompatible with chastity’ give?

So this movement does need any sort of provocation and I think that’s very clear because its track record is very clear. What we are saying is that we are faced with such an immense danger. We need to stand up against it firmly. We need to push it back for civilised humanity – not just for the people of Europe but for the people of the Middle East who have incidentally been fighting it for years. We need to take particular note of the fight that is going on against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is a pillar of political Islam in the world by the people there…

Martin Breum: I just want to ask you one last question. The manifesto is also very hard on those who do not stand up as firmly as you do? Why is that necessary?

Maryam Namazie: Well because I think that when you see a lot of left and progressive groups apologising for the political Islamic movement and trying to silence any form of criticism of Islam and the political Islamic movement as “racism” or “Islamophobic” – which is not the case – we need to say that they have a duty, that everybody has a duty to stand up to this movement. Civilized humanity demands it and deserves it. The people in the Middle East, just like people in Europe, deserve to live according to universal standards, to the highest standards that have been fought for in the 21st century. They deserve it everywhere.

No Comment Needed – II

Here’s another post that needs mentioning. It’s by Abu Hurairah – ‘The Father of a Kitten’ no less who reminds his brethren that no fatwa is needed to kill those of us who signed on to the manifesto.

He says: ‘Jezak’illah Ukthi, now we have drawn out a hit list of a ‘Who’s Who’ guide to slam into. Take you time but make sure their gone soon- oh and don’t hold out for a fatwah it isn’t really required here.Has anyone got that Christian kaffir ‘Ibn Warraq’s’ real name yet?’
In another post he says: A’lright Sheikh Nasser let us negotiate a compromise- we’ll win as well as kill a few kuffar, that way we’ll keep everyone happy.Well them disbelievers have in effect signed a death wish via this statement so to hell with them, we’ll just provide the help that they so dearly crave.’ Click here to see the link.
Whilst killing and threats to kill are their forte – spelling is obviously another matter…

No Comment Needed

I thought I’d share some of the more interesting emails I have received regarding the caricatures (!?!):

This one is from Bilal Mahmoud, a student in Denmark:

“Salam

Listen, you really must be crazy in re publishing those damned cartoons !
are you really that ignorant ?

okay, maybe Iran has seen some cruel stuff, but why blaim it on ISLAM ? i
bet you dont know what half of ISLAM is about ? i bet you dont know what
the word of ISLAM means…i bet and i bet….

well listen, in order for us to live a secure life, we must cooperate NOT
CHALLENGE EACH OTHER WITH EVIL….
dont play the “cat & mouse” game……its only for stupid people, and i dont
believe you are ! or are you ?

when you watch the world gonig nuts about something like these
cartoons….making demonstrations, burning flags etc….its because they are
PISSED OFF ! so why do you want to increase this FIRE ??

WHY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!???

I bet you lived a harsh life as a young girl in Iran, but dont genrealize !!
ISLAM is growing and will always grow..hehe….you could try to stop, if
you can, but if you want to try that let me give you a hint:

it wont stop it by publishing those cartoons….it will in fact increase
faith… and islam will continue to grow til you die….it is unstoppable,
hamdulillah….

Anyway, you may have your fun now….but if i was you, i would stop this non
sense…and try to be realistic, instead of trying to be somebody you are
not, and trying to get fame from media !

lets see if you even can respond to this email ?

Yes i think that some people do wrong and crazy stuff, but then again
anybody can carry the title “muslim” but are they really? do they really
follow the rules of islam ?

please study islam well before critisizing something you dont know of !

i am a student in Denmark, i am living an amazing life…SOOOOO HAPPY, im a
muslim hamdulillah….i mix with non muslims at school, i am not extremist !
im not crazy….im just a normal muslim, you know, one of the guys you are
not aware of, obviously….haha…

Good luck with whatever you are doing….but trust me you are going in a
circle….haha

Salamoaliokom

yours sincerely;

Bilal
bilalmahmoud@hotmail.com”

And here’s another precious one from Mohammad Yaffa, a proud Muslim – as if we needed any reminding – demanding I be removed from the Canadian Council of Refugees’ list (he doesn’t know I was removed a long time ago – see my article on this issue.)

“Maryam Namazi is remonved from theCCR list. She is insghting hate. I don’t care about your conception of me. My conception of myself is what I know is valid to me. Agian, you are in the same illogical line of mess and insanity with Morhyam BNaomazi. I want to expose you. You are the extremist. You are the illogically afraid and ignorant. And I shall work to see that MAryam Namazi exists not a list where I have access, until she speaks like a sane human being. I am so disgusted by people like you who have no origin or aim other than destroy. You are the one who is scared of Islam. And again, I am so hurt by your insensitivity and the killing of the people of Iraq by Sadam, who is a circularist like you, and by you and your aids who are massacring people today in Iraq and elsewhere. You are directly responsible for all the atrocities in this world. But unfortunately, it doesn’t get into your stupid head. And always remember, without Islam, you Arabs would have been with the camels raiding each other on tribal grounds, marrying everyone, burying your daughters alive. So don’t give me your stupid crap, you copy cat.

I remain, a proud Muslim,

Mohamed Yaffa
mohamed_yaffa@misa.ns.ca

And how about this one from Em-kay:

“Dear Moryom Mozo,

I read your petition. Thanks for sending the carecatures out. I think you are doing good. It will serve to end the tension and break Islam and it prophet down. Let’s sign the petition and spread the pictures and get more people on the street. You are a fool, for the lack of a better word to discribe your arrogance.

Talking about freedom of speeech, which is the value we must all belive in, I really want to say things to you and make sure they really hurt you personally, just as a way of exercising hatred for you and because you are not sacred to me and my freedom of speech. I can make it very enjoyable. I don’t care if you get hurt, because by caring we give you people ways to stop religion from being practised by those who belive in ithem, in the name of stupid democracy that is destroying lives all over the world. I am thinking about doing it. I am putting it together. I am going to make sure that everyone who reads it really laughs at you, Moryooom MOomozo.

That’s my signature to your stupid petition. And hay!!!! if I call you nasty, which I think you are, I am just expressing my freedom. I know my freedom should end at your nose; this time however, I want it to end at your heart. Thanks. Please sing this too, and forward this to as many people as you know.

Em-kay Waii
mkyaf@hotmail.com

IWD Demonstrators attacked in Iran

Thousands of women and men came out on to the streets or held meetings to commemorate International Women’s Day across Iran. Their slogans included: Down with Reaction, Down with Sexual Apartheid, Long Live Women’s Day, Long Live Women’s Freedom, Long Live March 8, We demand our human rights.

Below are some pictures from the demonstration at Daneshjoo park which was brutally attacked by the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces with numerous women being arrested.




To see a video of the demonstration and its being attacked by security forces, click here.

Moreover, at the end of several March 8 ceremonies in Sanandaj, the following communique was passed:

March 8 is the day to fight for equality and freedom.

It is the day in which equality of all in all aspects of social life is affirmed.

We, the participants in March 8 ceremonies in Sanandaj, reject any kind of sexual, class, or religious discrimination among people. We believe that all discrimination and oppression is rooted in economic inequality. We hereby declare our demands as follows:

1-Human rights in all social, political, and economic realms should be equal.

2-All sexual apartheid laws should be abolished immediately.

3-Healthcare, education, accommodation, and occupation are rights of all and not the advantages of a minority.

4-All death penalties and stoning laws should be abolished.

5-We demand full social care for single mothers and homemakers. Housework should be considered among hard labours.

6-Homeless people (women, men, and children) should receive full protection and welfare of law and the state.

Here is a picture of one of the ceremonies:

On International Women’s Day: For Hatun

On International Women’s Day, we commemorate 23 year old Hatun, murdered in cold blood in Germany by her brothers for ‘dishonouring’ her family, for divorcing a man she was forced to marry at 16, for unveiling, and for dating German men.

Some boys discussing her death put it clearly: ‘She deserved to die; the whore lived like a German.’

To her brothers, Islamists and the political Islamic movement that is all she was.

And that is all Maryam Ayoubi, stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage by the Islamic regime in Iran, was. And all that 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi, hung in a city square in Iran for acts incompatible with chastity, was…

Sometimes it takes a Hatun, Maryam or Atefeh to outrage us and move us into action.

I suppose it is easier to understand one woman – her refusal and resistance, and the barbarity of the Islamic justice meted out against her. Hatun and others like her personify and symbolise the sub-human status of women in Islam-ridden societies like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Islamist communities in Britain and Germany.

Hatun’s death outrages us not because her murder is a rare tragedy but because it is so common. There are millions like her living under sexual apartheid, veiled, gagged, bound, burnt, hacked to death, hung, decapitated, stoned… Million like her refusing and resisting and demanding a life worthy of 21st century humanity. Millions like her demanding to live a life of their own choosing.

How simple it sounds and yet how difficult it has become to do so in this day and age – difficult in a New World Order where universal values and standards are under attack. All we hear over and over – as if a sermon over the corpses of innumerable women – is that it is ‘their culture and religion’. Respect them; tolerate them; do not offend them… Nowadays, religion and beliefs have more rights and demand more respect than human beings are allowed to.

And if you cry out and say enough, if you say political Islam is reactionary – it must be pushed back; if you demand universal rights and secularism – you are deemed racist and an ‘Islamophobe’!?

How many more Hatuns, Maryams, Atefehs before we put women and human beings first?

How can we end honour killings and the slaughter of women by the political Islamic movement?

Certainly not by appeasing, encouraging and maintaining it as western states and the so-called nationalist Left groups are doing.

Not by respecting and tolerating it.

Not by promoting separate rights and standards for different people whether they live in Iran, Iraq or in the West.

Not by chipping away at secularism.

And not by giving religion more access and power over the social sphere.

[Imagine appeasing, encouraging, tolerating and respecting fascism and Nazism and promoting different standards and rights for its victims.]

***

Throughout history, reaction has always been pushed back by standing up to it and confronting it head on.

Political Islam deserves nothing less.

(The above is adapted from a speech given at an IWD conference in Germany initiating a campaign against honour killings.)

To see pictures from the conference, click here.

Interview on the Manifesto with Danish TV

To see my interview with the Danish TV programme, Deadline, go to http://www.dr.dk/dr2/deadline2230/lordag.htm and scroll down the screen to the sixth paragraph and click on the following:

Interview med Maryam Namazie, medunderskriver af Salman Rushdies manifest 22:33:20 (7:42)
Midt i krisen over Jyllands-Postens tegniner af profeten Mohammed udsendte Salman Rushdie i ugen der gik sammen med 11 andre forfattere og intellektuelle et flammende manifest…

TV International English begins again

I am back from maternity leave and have begun TV International English programmes again. To view the weekly hour long programme broadcast throughout the Middle East and Europe from New Channel TV via satellite, click here. The programme focuses on issues pertaining to the Middle East from a left and progressive perspective.

In this week’s programme, you can see a one minute animation on child veiling produced by Reza Moradi.I also interview Azar Majedi on 8 March and the status of women in Islam-ridden societies; Hamid Taqvaee on the Iran nuclear issue and USA threat on Iran; and Homa Arjomand on the March 8 conference against honour killings in Germany. You can also see my interview on Danish TV on the Manifesto against Islamism as well as the much talked about caricatures of Mohammad in the programme.

You can send me comments on this programme and suggestions for issues to discuss.

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

Today, the following manifesto will be published in Charlie Hebdo, a French leftwing newspaper that had published the Mohammad caricatures. It has been signed by myself and 11 others, namely Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafiq, Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Irshad Manji, Mehdi Mozaffari, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val and Ibn Warraq. It will then be reprinted in various other media. Please feel free to reprint.

MANIFESTO
Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations or an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia”, an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Presentations for the press

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from Somalian origin, is member of Dutch parliament, member of the liberal party VVD. Writer of the film Submission which caused the assassination of Theo Van Gogh by an Islamism in November 2004; she lives under police protection.

Chahla Chafiq
Chahla Chafiq, writer from Iranian origin, exiled in France is a novelist and an essayist. She’s the author of “Le nouvel homme islamiste, la prison politique en Iran” (2002). She also wrote novels such as “Chemins et brouillard” (2005).

Caroline Fourest
Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist ideologies), author of several reference books on « laicité » and fanatism: Tirs Croisés : la laïcité à l’épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère Tariq: discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She received the National prize of laicité in 2005.

Bernard-Henri Lévy
French philosopher, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism, antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L’Idéologie française, La Pureté dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.

Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-selling author of “The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith” (en francais: “Musulmane Mais Libre”). She speaks out for free expression based on the Koran itself. Née en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa famille musulmane d’origine indienne à l’âge de quatre ans et vit maintenant au Canada, où ses émissions et ses livres connaissent un énorme succès.

Mehdi Mozaffari
Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from Iranian origin and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles and books on Islam and Islamism such as: Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.

Maryam Namazie
Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year award.

Taslima Nasreen
Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her positions defending women and minorities brought her in trouble with a comittee of integrist called « Destroy Taslima» and to be persecuted as « apostate ».

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany’s Author of the Year Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Centre. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

Philippe Val
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing French newspaper who have republished the cartoons on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the Danish citizens targeted by Islamists).

Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq, author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim; Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out; and The Origins of the Koran, is at present Research Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historical research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.

Antoine Sfeir:Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed french nationality to live in an universalist and « laïc » (real secular) country. He is the director of Les cahiers de l’Orient and has published several reference books on Islamism such as Les réseaux d’Allah (2001) et Liberté, égalité, Islam: la République face au communautarisme (2005).