Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year.
P.S. I will begin blogging again the week of January 8.
By: The International Committee against Stoning
Stoning is a brutal and medieval weapon for the political Islamic movement in order to create terror in society and maintain power.
The Islamic regime of Iran has stoned the most number of people in the past two decades.
Hundreds of men and women have been killed in this torturous manner because of the regime’s intervention in people’s private lives and their sexual relations.
Only one of the many cases of stoning is enough to try these criminals in international courts and prosecute them for these unimaginable crimes.
Last week, the lives of 5 people were saved from stoning. Parisa Akbari and Najaf Akbari, were saved from stoning. The Islamic government sentenced them to 99 lashes and 5 years of exile for Najaf Akbari. These decrees of lashing and exile should also be met with public protest. We must do something so the Islamic regime does not dare to flog people either.
It was also announced, last week, that the stoning decrees for Soghra Molayi, Azam Khanjari and Zahra Rezayi had been cancelled.
Right now, 8 people are languishing in Iranian prisons awaiting stoning to death. The spokesperson of the Islamic regime, however, claims that stoning is not practiced in Iran. THis only proves one thing. The Islamic Republic of Iran is under intense pressure due to the outrage against this Islamic brutality.
The International Committee against Stoning will not allow this regime to take any more victims. We will not allow them to stone anybody to death in Iran. The heads of the Islamic government of Iran should be prosecuted and tried for their crimes against humanity.
Stoning is a crime against humanity and it should be immediately banned in Iran and everywhere. The brutal law of stoning should be banned everywhere.
International Committee against Stoning
November 28th, 2006
Translated by: Arash Sorx
I was interviewed on 7 December by Beryl Wajsman on his radio show, The Last Angry Man, on 940AM Radio Montreal on the Iraq Study Group Report, its recommendations to engage the Islamic regime of Iran, the New World Order and Secularism. To Listen, click here.
TV International interview with Hamid Taqvaee
Maryam Namazie: Some have said that secular Iranians who might have been opposed to the Islamic regime of Iran having nuclear weapons in the past, are now supportive of it because they believe it is needed defensively vis-à-vis the US’ reckless imperialism.
Hamid Taqvaee: I don’t think that is the case. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Iranians are against the Islamic regime of Iran. They know very well that nuclear weapons in the hands of the regime will be a tool for it maintenance in Iran and the Middle East. Political Islam will clearly benefit from the regime’s securing of nuclear weapons. I think, in general, people are against the Islamic regime having nuclear weapons as they are opposed to any government having it. This is the principled position.
Maryam Namazie: When it comes to the ‘third world’, you often see the people living there being given the same opinion as the government of that country whereas that wouldn’t be the case in the west. For example, if the British government has nuclear weapons, it doesn’t automatically mean that it has a right to them or that the British people agree with its having such weapons. Why does that happen, especially when it comes to political Islamic groups or the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Hamid Taqvaee: The problem is that public opinion in western countries or to be exact the media and the government in western countries, categorise people in the ‘Third World’ in this way. They want to make people believe that whatever happens there and whatever the regimes do there are what people there want. And automatically this implies that governments in the Middle East or in Third World countries are representing their own people. Add to this cultural relativism and you can see what is going on. As a result, they say that Iran is an Islamic country; whatever the Islamic Republic says is what people think and so automatically they conclude that the people of Iran support the Islamic Republic’s securing of nuclear weapons. But the real situation in this case and almost every political issue is the exact opposite. The people of Iran automatically oppose what the Islamic regime says and wants because the people of Iran despise this government. Their position on the nuclear issue is opposite of what the government says.
Maryam Namazie: You also hear about the ‘right’ to nuclear technology, nuclear weapon and so on and so forth and again that’s another interesting thing because it is really a negative ‘right’. Isn’t it? It is like saying the right to honour killings or the right to domestic violence.
Hamid Taqvaee: It is not about rights; it is about right or wrong. Is it beneficial to the people if a government has nuclear weapons? Is it a good thing for the people of the world everywhere? Or is a negative factor which is against humanity? That’s the question. It is not a legal question.
All governments have the ‘right’ to have nuclear weapons. Apparently governments have the right to many things! They have the right to have jails. In many countries they have the right to execute people; they have the right to have police; they have the right to go to war and kill civilians! Israel has a ‘right’, everybody says, to raid Lebanon and kill more than 1,000 people. It is ridiculous to talk about rights. As if we are in a court! This is not the case. In politics, you must examine and judge politics by the criteria of whether it is beneficial to the population at large. Do people benefit from it or is it against people? That is the question. If you gauge it by that criteria, you can see that nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranian government and any government in the world is against humanity, is against peace, is against people and so we have to be against it.
Maryam Namazie: Another issue that comes up all the time is the issue of double standard and again it is referred to in a negative sense; they don’t talk of double standards of the status of women but of nuclear weapons!
Hamid Taqvaee: Yes I agree. But then it should mean that no government in the world should have nuclear weapons. That is the way that we can solve double standards not the other way round. If all the people who commit murder are not prosecuted, then one who is can say there are double standards and therefore they should not be prosecuted and anyone who wants can kill!
We need to put aside these assertions which are not the main issue. The main issue is that having nuclear weapons in any country in the world is wrong. It is a nightmare for our world that someday, somebody can push a red button and destroy the world. It is everybody’s nightmare. If that is the truth, which is the truth of our era unfortunately, then we must come to the conclusion that no government in the world should have the ‘right’ to use or develop or have nuclear weapons. If that’s everyone’s position, then we can talk about double standards, the ‘rights’ of the governments and so on. Even if they don’t use it, it is there; it is always there. It is a nightmare for everybody in the world.
Maryam Namazie: What would you say to those who say opposing Iran’s ‘right’ to nuclear technology is giving the US administration ammunition to isolate and possibly attack Iran?
Hamid Taqvaee: We are against attacking Iran and against US policies as a whole in the Middle East and especially in Iran. Also, we are not only saying that the Iranian regime has no right to nuclear weapons, we also are saying that the US has no right to attack Iran, or to impose economic sanctions. So I don’t buy that logic. If you attack a regime, it does not mean you automatically have the same position as everybody else who attacks that regime. That is not the case. We are against political Islam so does that mean we are supporting the USA; we are also against US policies in the Middle East and everywhere in the world, so does that mean we are supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran?! We are against both. You can’t just look at an aspect of our position on issues and then come to the erroneous conclusion that we are ‘with this or that camp in the world’. That’s not the case.
Maryam Namazie: One last question. Some say that the Islamic regime has a right to nuclear technology under the nuclear proliferation treaty (NPT) and that is what they want not weapons.
Hamid Taqvaee: The first thing is that nobody trusts that the Islamic Republic of Iran will use nuclear technology for peaceful means. But even if we do that is not the issue. We are against using nuclear energy in any industry, for any purposes because the technology in itself is very dangerous. Nuclear technology should be abandoned everywhere in the world because it is against the environment, it is against the people, it is , especially in hands of governments like very dangerous, especially in places with low standards and controls.
Transcribed by Arash Sorx.
Ayatollah Lankarani, an Iranian cleric, has issued a fatwa for the death of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo. We should resolutely protest this fatwa that has been issued by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s authorities against writers and critics of religion in the Azerbaijan Republic.
On November 15, 2006, Rafigh Taghi who is a journalist and columnist of San-at newspaper wrote an article entitled ‘Europe and Us’. In his article, he quoted Mohamed and the Koran, calling Mohamed an aggressor and concluding: ‘This religion is the religion of aggression against humanity.’ Islamic gangs of Hezbollah were immediately organised to protest in the streets of Tabriz and Ardebil in Iran. As a result, Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo, the editor of the journal, were immediately imprisoned in Baku. The Islamic regime’s officials even asked the government of Azerbaijan to apologise for ‘insulting Moslems!’
On November 29, 2006, Lankarani, shamelessly issued the fatwa against the two individuals.
This is an example of how political Islam treats religion’s critics and opponents. The Islamic Republic of Iran has officially and openly ordered Islamic terror gangs to assassinate these two individuals, wherever they spot them.
This is ugly face of the criminal Political Islam. They have come to power with murder, fatwas, stoning and execution, and maintain themselves with these crimes. This is a movement that cannot even tolerate a caricature or any criticism and immediately orders bloodshed. This movement should be dealt with maximum international aversion and protest, and be condemned worldwide.
We, the citizens of the world, must not allow a bunch of reactionaries in Iran or anywhere else to issue such rulings and bloodshed. Freedom of speech must be protected; secularism and the separation of religion from political power must be defended as must the right of criticism and unconditional right of freedom of expression.
Political Islam is a dark movement against humanity and against women. This movement is trying to spread its dark shadow over the entire world. This situation cannot be tolerated. One should not be submissive vis-à-vis such a Medieval and inhuman movement. Together, we must defend humanity’s achievements.
Saving the lives of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo is our task and the duty of an international front against political Islam.
Some Azerbaijani journalists have announced that they are abandoning Islam in protest to the fatwa ruling against the two. According to Journal Express published in Baku, Aghsheen Dada-of, a journalist and writer has said: We have thought a lot about this decision in the past, but after the arrest of Rafegh Taghi, we have made up our minds and are announcing this decision to the public… We abandon Islam, with the goal of reversing the fatwa and of stopping the religious practice of execution rulings against those who have freely expressed their thoughts. The writer of the article “Europe and us” in San-at journal, Rafegh Taghi, has the right to express his opinion about negative and positive aspects of the prophet Mohammed. Rafegh Taghi has expressed his opinion in an original and comprehensive way and did not intend to insult the prophet!’
This action is considered an important move in the campaign to save the lives of Rafegh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo. We are inviting everyone to sign the petition and by doing so defend the two writers and freedom of speech. The international front against political Islam must rise against the fatwa of killing and assassination.
Defend the following:
1- Unconditional freedom of speech is the right of any human being.
2- The fatwa against these two writers is condemned.
3- Ayatollah Lankarani should be arrested and tried for issuing the fatwa and encouraging the killing of these two writers.
4- The government of Azerbaijan should be condemned for violating of the freedom of speech and for arresting these writers.
5- Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo must be freed immediately.
6- The Islamic Republic of Iran is the founder and centre of propagation of such practices, and has in the past issued the same kind of fatwa against Salman Rushdie. This government should be isolated and condemned for its criminal acts.
To sign the petition, click here.
Following a day of protest on December 6, which was led by the left wing socialist students in many universities in Iran, Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic regime attempted to speak at the Tehran Amir Kabir Technical College of Tehran University. The audience had been selected from the security forces, however the students of the university gate crashed the meeting and disrupted his meeting by shouting ‘Down with the Dictator’ and ‘Liar get lost!’ A picture of Ahmadinejad was set alight.
This is not the first protest against him as the media deceptively claims; there have been many such protests against him, Khatami, other heads of the regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In this month’s issue:
* Freedom and Equality was the call of Students’ Day in Iran
* Nationwide student protests! A declaration from the Communist Youth Organisation
* There is no ‘right’ to nuclear weapons, TV International interview with Hamid Taqvaee
* Should Saddam Hussein be executed? Soheila Sharifi
* Religion’s role in the expansion of AIDS, Arash Sorx
* Campaign to save the lives of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo, Mina Ahadi
* Iran: Third bus union activist released; Ossanlou still in detention
* Ahmadinejad booed at Tehran University
* Maryam Namazie’s interviews and media coverage in the past weeks
* TV International will not be broadcast again until 16 January 2007
Maryam Namazie appeared on BBC World Service Generation Next on Heart and Soul to respond to questions of several youth on Islam, religion and secularism. The programme is broadcast throughout the world on Sunday 10 December. The programme can also be heard for the entire week by clicking here.
See pictures of protests on Students’ Day in Iran by clicking here.
The left-leaning plackards says: Freedom and Equality; Socialism or Barbarism; Free Political Prisoners; Students and Workers Unite; the University is not a military base and so on.
More on this in next week’s TV International Programme.
Universities in Iran are an important battleground for people’s fight for emancipation. Student protests are a part of Iranian people’s huge fight for freedom and equality and maintaining a humane society. Every year on Students’ day (December the 7th which is called “16th of Azar” in Iranian Calendar is official Students’ Day in Iran. Students have used this day for left-wing protests in recent years), student upheavals in Iran are at their peak of challenging the Islamic Republic of Iran. This year, students are welcoming Students’ Day while the Islamic regime has strengthened its policy of oppression and intimidation in universities. Resisting students have been suspended or dismissed from university, faced with prison sentences or killed under suspicious circumstances. Universities of Iran, more than a place for education, have become a place for the mobilization of the regime’s security forces and the enforcement of reactionary Islamic regulations to suppress students.
The students’ fight against religious regulations and laws in society and the university has always been met with the repression of the regime’s police forces. So many times student struggles have turn to bloodshed with many losing their lives or facing long-term imprisonment. Despite the policy of oppression and persecution, though, the students’ struggle has not stopped. This year, like others, students are preparing for Students’ Day. They are organising a vast protest against the ruling regime and its reactionary laws and regulations. The freedom of political prisoners, clothing, and speech as well as an end to compulsory veiling, segregation of men and women, and students’ oppression are amongst their demands.
Students need international support!
The university in Iran is a base for the freedom and emancipation of all Iranian people. Therefore, they deserve your utmost support.
As the struggle of Tehran Bus Workers was met with warm international support, so too should the students’ struggles. Just as trade unions and human rights groups are defending the Tehran bus workers, student unions, trade unions, and human rights bodies should support the students.
We must not abandon them!
Don’t abandon the students in their fight against the ruling reactionaries in Iran for freedom and equality. Cover their struggles. Support them by any means possible, including organising solidarity meetings, joining demonstrations, sending letters of protest, signing petitions, etc. in condemnation of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s oppression of student. Demand the release of student prisoners. Demand the prosecution of those who have murdered student protestors. Support the students’ demands for the end to religious law and regulations in university and the policy of segregation of men and women in university campuses and society. Support their demand for pushing out security and oppressive forces from the universities. Support their campaign against compulsory veiling and their demand for an end to Sexual Apartheid!
Victory to Student’s struggle for Freedom and Equality!
Long Live International Solidarity with Iranian students!
Worker-communist Party of Iran – Organisation Abroad
December 3, 2006
* Let’s organise nationwide student protests on 16 Azar!
A declaration from the Communist Youth Organisation
Pressure on the student movement from the Islamic regime of Iran has never succeeded in stopping student protests. But this is not enough; we should make the protests united and nation-wide. We should take an offensive position. The recent protests of students in Amirkabir University, the hunger strike of students in Mazandaran province, the sit-in of Students in Zabol University and recent protests in Tarbiat Moalem University, Karaj are just examples that tell us about the capacity and potential of an offensive against Islamic rule and in breaking the police-like atmosphere of intimidation in universities.
On the eve of 16 Azar (December 7), we should expand the protests and respond to each and every offence of the Islamic Republic. We should protest the decrees of discipline committees, the presence of Basij and military forces and the police-like atmosphere of religious tyranny and inquisition in the universities. We should protest all forms of apartheid and separations between girls and boys. We should protest the lack of welfare facilities and the low quality of lectures. These protests should be united and nation-wide to build a fierce front against the Islamic regime. The widespread support of university protests is the first duty of all students. The students’ demands are the same in all the universities. Dismissal of oppressive security forces from educational centres, dismissal of religious bodies from the scientific atmosphere, and the abolition of sexual apartheid together with an increase in the scientific quality and services according to the highest international standards. These are the demands of all students. We should unite everywhere to secure these demands.
The Communist Youth Organisation calls on all students for coordinated, non-stop, and widespread struggles to reach these demands. The Islamic regime is not in a situation to bear wide protests. This actions and protests will be a base for a 16th of Azar, vaster and more Radical than ever.
The CYO now has an English publication called Iran Student News, which you can read by clicking here.
* Sign a petition in support of students in Iran
We, the undersigned, support the struggle of students in Iran and demand the release of imprisoned students and all other political prisoners in Iran.
Name Email address Town/City Organisation (If applicable)
Send this to: BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three further activists of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company (Sherkat e Vahed) have been arrested today, 3 December, according to reports received from the union.
Seyyed Davoud Razavi and Abdolreza Taraazi, members of the Executive Board, and Gholamreza Gholam-Hosseini, another union activist, were arrested at the bus company’s Khavaran Depot while distributing a leaflet. They have reportedly been taken to the 6th Headquarters of the Security Police in Tehran. No charges have been filed against these worker activists.
They are among the 50 bus workers currently suspended without pay since the January 2006 strike. Mansoor Ossanlou, the head of the bus workers’ union, was re-arrested on 19 November after spending nearly eight months in prison, without any charge or trial.
To protest against these arbitrary detentions, please send your protest letters to the President of the Islamic Republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at email@example.com . Please copy to us for info and further distribution.
Please also sign the protest letter campaign by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) for the immediate release of Mansoor Ossanlou by visiting the ITF website.
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Co-ordinator: Shahla Daneshfar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Public Relations: Bahram Soroush (email@example.com)
EVERYONE IS EQUAL UNDER THE LAW OH, EXCEPT THOSE WHO PREFER SHARIA
The BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action this week claimed that it had uncovered evidence that Islamic sharia law was being practised in Britain in secret courts.
Youth worker Aydarus Yusuf, 29, told how he helped convene an unofficial court which uses a Somalian version of sharia which he claims is “cultural” rather than religious. He said a hearing was held in Woolwich, South-east London, after a group of youths were arrested on suspicion of attacking another Somali teenager. The victim’s family told police the matter would be settled out of court and the suspects were freed on bail. The trial was conducted by community elders who ordered the attackers to pay compensation to the victim. Mr Yusuf said: “The accused men admitted their guilt and apologised. All their uncles and fathers were there. They agreed compensation.”
He insisted he is more bound by the law of his country of birth than British justice, adding: “Somalis, wherever we live in the world, have our own law.” The strength of sharia law was the strict punishments. Assailants were unlikely to re-offend as it would bring shame on their families, he said.
A Scotland Yard source said it was common for the police not to proceed with assault cases if victims did not press charges.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity said: “Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their tradition. The Government has not been straight about this. It has its own sharia advisers and it has already introduced measures that are compliant with sharia law. Muslim communities are creating their own infrastructure based on sharia law. A Muslim community can now function within its own society on every level.”
Dr Mohammed Naseem, chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, said: “Sharia law states that you respect the law of the land and therefore it cannot be enforced in this country.”
Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks, said this type of court had advantages for Muslims. “It operates on a low budget, it operates on very small timescales and the process and the laws of evidence are far more lenient and it’s less awesome an environment than the English courts,” he said. Mr Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.
Some academic lawyers welcome alternative legal systems. Dr Prakesh Shah, law lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Tribunals like the Somali court could be more effective than the formal legal system in maintaining social harmony.”
NSS Honorary Associate Maryam Namazie commented: “Far from being lenient, Sharia law is harsh and inherently unjust. In countries where Sharia is the law of the land like in Iran, people are still being hung from city squares and stoned to death (with the law even specifying the size of the stone). Any increase in the implementation of Sharia law in this country will have a corresponding effect on injustice, threats against and intimidation of the most vulnerable in society. It will leave a large number of people in regressive fragmented ‘minority’ communities with relative rights and at the mercy of self-appointed and parasitical ‘community leaders’ and imams. Clearly, it is discriminatory to have different and separate systems, standards and norms for ‘different’ people and deny them universal and equal rights and standards and the secularism fought for and established by progressive movements over centuries.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Sharia law will not be introduced to the whole or any part of the UK. We are absolutely clear that existing British law applies to everyone.”
The above was published on Newsline, 1 December 2006. To read the rest of the weekly National Secular Society publication, click here.
To read about why Sharia courts have to be opposed, read a speech I gave in Canada against the establishment of a court there. An international campaign was successful in preventing it from happening. If need be, we have to do the same here.