What’s all the fuss about the veil?

Maryam Namazie

Bahar a young woman living in Germany wrote: When you see me on the street I am veiled but do not think I am a Muslim. I have been forced to veil by my father and brothers; they will kill me if I don’t. Before I felt alone, but now I know I am not. This is a message she sent to Mina Ahadi, founder of the central council of ex-Muslims in Germany.

Of course, Bahar is not alone. There are innumerable women and girls in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa to right here in the heart of Europe who know from personal experience what it means to be female under Islam – hidden from view, bound, gagged, mutilated, murdered, without rights, and threatened and intimidated day in and day out for transgressing Islamic mores.

The veil, more than anything else, symbolises this bleak reality.

In my opinion, it is therefore impossible to address the status of women under Islamic laws and defend women’s rights without addressing and denouncing the veil.

And this is why the veil is the first thing that Islamists impose when they have any access to power.

And also why improper veiling, its removal and its burning at demonstrations and gatherings – as often seen in Iran for example – or its removal when one leaves the home – in places where it is not the law of the land but that of self-appointed imams and family members – has become a symbol of resistance.

I know our opponents often argue that there are many more pressing matters with regards to women’s status. Why all the fuss they ask?

To me, it is like asking what all the fuss was about racial apartheid – or segregation of the races – in apartheid South Africa. After all there were so many pressing issues faced by Blacks in that country. I suppose that is why the then South African government kept asserting that separate does not mean unequal (which incidentally is an argument Islamists make all the time). We know otherwise.

And we know – at least in hindsight – why the physical act of segregation was crucial and symbolic of what it meant to be Black under apartheid.

Similarly, the veil is a symbol of sexual apartheid and the segregation of the sexes. In countries where Islam rules, like in Iran, the separate entrances for women in certain government offices; separate areas for women’s seating on buses for example; the banning of women from certain public arenas like sport stadiums; a curtain dividing the Caspian sea for segregated swimming and so on is what it means in practice to be a female under Islam. That people transgress these rules daily is a testimony to their humanity and not the laws or state that imposes it by force.

When we talk about the situation in Iran, some of these apologists will concede that compulsory veiling must be opposed (though I have yet to hear them oppose it other than in their argument’s in defence of the veil) but if it is a choice freely made than one must defend the ‘right’ to veil.

I wholeheartedly disagree. Adult women may have the ‘right’ to veil though that right is in no way absolute as many rights aren’t and a completely different matter for children – which I will come to later. But having the right to do something is very different from defending the ‘freely chosen’ veil or the ‘right to veil’. There may be women who ‘freely choose’ to genitally mutilate their daughters or immolate themselves on their husband’s funeral pyre but that does not mean that we must then defend the right of women to do so or defend the practice of Suttee or FGM. The defence of rights is not about making everyone agree as you will always find people who will defend and commit the indefensible – and that is what religion is in my opinion. It is about protecting human beings sometimes even from themselves.

The usage of the term choice in this context is extremely deceptive. First off in many places like Iran it is the law of the land. You are fined, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and even killed for transgressing the veil and Islamic mores.

In others where it is not the law, it is effectively so because of pressure and intimidation from the parasitical self-appointed so-called community and Islamic leaders, and family members.

One example of this is the joint statement about the veil from ‘Muslim groups, scholars and leaders’ in Britain which has stated that the veil ‘is not open to debate’. The statement goes so far as to ‘advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution in this issue since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief’ and to urge them to ‘keep this debate within the realm of scholarly discussion amongst the people of knowledge and authority in the Muslim community.’

A recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme recorded a mullah in Green Lane mosque in Birmingham saying ‘Allah has created the woman deficient’ and a satellite broadcast from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, beamed into the mosque suggesting that children should be hit if they don’t pray and if they don’t wear the hijab.

You’ve also all heard Australia’s senior Islamic cleric, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali comparing unveiled women to ‘uncovered meat’ implying that they invite rape and sexual assault. ‘If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside … without cover, and the cats come to eat it … whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.’
Whilst misogynist sermons are the norm in mosques across the world, and across religions, these are a few examples of how a climate of intimidation and fear makes many a woman ‘choose’ the veil even in places where veiling is not compulsory.

Remove these, and I would even go so far as to say, that there will be few who will ‘choose’ to live in a mobile prison – other than those who want to show their allegiance to the rising political Islamic movement.

Also, a ‘woman’s right to choose’ must be preceded at the very least by legal and social sexual equality. This is not the case for most. So if you consider the veil on a social scale, it represents neither a right nor a choice and it is a lie to say otherwise.

Of course, women wearing mini-skirts and Jimmy Choos may be under pressure from the fashion industry’s impossible ideals – as we often hear argued in defence of the veil – but it is as ridiculous to compare mini-skirts with the veil, as it is to compare Jimmy Choos with foot binding, which aims at preventing women from ‘wandering’.

The veil is not a piece of cloth or clothing, though it is often compared to miniskirts or other ‘lewd’ forms of clothing the rest of us unveiled women seem to wear. Just as the straight jacket or body bag are not pieces of clothing. Just as the chastity belt was not a piece of clothing. Just as the Star of David pinned on Jews during the holocaust was not just a bit of cloth.

This of course does not mean that only women under Islam or veiled women are oppressed. But it is important to oppose the veil in its own right.

And this has nothing to do with being hate-filled or promoting an attack on Muslims or veiled women though Islamists portray it as such. Interesting coming from a reactionary right wing movement that has turned murder and mayhem into an art form, but as I have said before, opposing FGM does not mean you are attacking those who are mutilated; opposing foot binding or Suttee likewise. In fact, it is an essential to a principled defence of women’s rights.

And this is why the chador, burqa and neqab must be banned – to defend women’s rights. Not because they affects interaction, communication and so on. These are side effects. And certainly not because they may make people like Jack Straw uncomfortable. It has to be banned because sexual apartheid is as unacceptable as racial apartheid. Because it is unacceptable for women to be segregated in the 21 century; and for women to walk around in a mobile prison or body bag because religion deems that they be kept invisible.

Any mention of a ban, though, quickly raises cries of authoritarianism. As an aside, it is interesting how much religion can get away with and that its decree for example that women be veiled is not considered authoritarian. But more importantly, a ban is not necessarily bad. Society bans many things in order to safeguard and protect the people living in it, often due to left and progressive social movements demanding it. For example, child labour is banned, so is FGM, child pornography, rape and so on. A ban in such situations is a good thing; it helps to stop abuses from taking place. The argument that banning will only increase the burqa or neqab is ridiculous when used in other examples pertaining to defending people’s rights but is somehow considered proper discourse when it comes to the veil.

Also calling for a ban does not necessarily mean you want to or will criminalise a segment of the population. For example, there is a rule to wear a helmet when driving a motorbike but I don’t think there are hundreds of Sikhs languishing in British jails for not doing so. Or for that matter people who smoke in non-smoking areas, and size zero models…

Islamists and their apologists demand that we respect people’s religious expressions and beliefs. As I have said many a time, we are duty bound to respect human beings but not every belief or religious expression. Having the right to a belief and religion is not the same as it being a no go area to do as it pleases free of any criticism or condemnation.

Also they say that it is racist to criticise Islam, the veil and political Islam. What rubbish. You cannot be racist against an idea or belief or ideology or its expression. Racism is distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin (albeit constructed) of individuals – of human beings – not their beliefs. Saying it is so is just another attempt at silencing all opposition and criticism.

A ban on the burqa, chador, neqab and its likes is important but it is no where enough. The hijab or any conspicuous religious symbol must be banned from the state and education and relegated to the private sphere. This helps to ensure that government offices and officials from judges, to clerks, to doctors and nurses are not promoting their religious beliefs and are instead doing their jobs. In the same way that a teacher can’t teach creationism instead of evolution and science in the classroom; a pharmacist can’t refuse contraceptive pills to a women because of her beliefs; a male doctor can’t refuse to treat a woman patient or vice versa.

Finally, child veiling must be banned full stop. This is a children’s rights issue. While adults may ‘choose’ veiling or a religion, children by their very nature cannot make such choices; what they do is really what their parents tell them to do. Again the use of the term choice here is deceptive. Children must be protected even if they ‘choose’ to stay with abusive parents, to work to support poor families or to stop attending school.

Children have the absolute right to be children – nothing must be allowed to segregate them or restrict them from accessing information, advances in society and rights, playing, swimming and in general doing things children must do. Whatever their beliefs, parents do not have the right to impose their beliefs, including veiling on children just because they are their own children, just as they can’t deny their children medical assistance or beat and neglect them or marry them off at 9 because it’s part of their beliefs or religion. Child veiling is a form of child abuse and has to be stopped.

Throughout history, progress and change have come about not by appeasing, apologizing or excusing reaction, but by standing up to it firmly and unequivocally. This is what has to be against Islam, political Islam and the veil.

We have to state loud and clear that sexual apartheid has no place in the 21st century; enough is enough.

The above is Maryam Namazie’s speech at a March 8 seminar on Women’s Rights, the Veil and Islamic and religious laws in London. Maryam is Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee, 2005 National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award Winner and producer of International TV. Other speakers were Mina Ahadi is founder of Central Council of Ex-Muslims; Sonja Eggerickx: President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Ann Harrison: Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Department of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat; and Taslima Nasrin: Physician, writer, radical feminist, human rights activist and secular humanist.

Stop Labelling us Muslims!

Mina Ahadi

I would like to talk about a campaign that been influential in Germany over the past several weeks. I have lived in Germany for 11 years; I was first interviewed on stoning by national German TV seven years ago. When at home, I watched the interview and saw that they had introduced me as ‘Mina Ahadi, a Muslim woman’. I immediately called to complain. I asked if a German politician or spokesperson was interviewed on your TV programme, would you label her a ‘Christian woman’? Not only myself – but three and a half million people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on, have been given one label – Muslim.

Another time, during the uproar over the Mohammad caricatures, I saw a bearded man saying in an interview that 3 and a half million Muslims in Germany were offended by the caricatures. In Germany, the Islamic organisations see themselves as the representative of 3 and a half million Muslims, of which I am one, and the government recognises them as such too.

I have stood up against the policies of the German government and Islamic organisations and carried out many campaigns; the media and politicians know of us. But after a while I realised that a campaign was needed that would take into consideration all the various issues I have been campaigning for. I went into the centre of society and said: I am not a Muslim. I called on those who wanted to provocatively show their opposition to Islam and the German government’s policies to say ‘I have turned away from religion’ with their photographs. In 1971 there was a campaign of pro abortion rights where women who had had abortions came forward with their pictures and said: I have had an abortion. There are now 300 of us with our photos saying: we have turned away from religion. The news of our coming together exploded in German society. At our press conference, 110 media outlet representatives attended, including Reuters, BBC, CNN and others. At the press conference we said that we are representing another policy. We are against the division of the world into Islamic and non-Islamic countries.

We are against the label that all those who have left Islam-stricken countries are Muslim or that being Muslim is their most important characteristic. At the press conference, I said they have put so many labels on us; I in turn would like to put a label on Islamic organisations – out of date.

Today I have come to say our campaign has received unprecedented support from innumerable people. I receive 250-300 letters daily – most of which congratulate me and calling me brave. 3% say they will kill me with god’s poison. 3 hours after my picture and interview was published In Focus where I said I was born into a Muslim family by accident and that I was 14 when I turned away from Islam, the German police were at the door of my home saying I had to be protected because the Islamists had threatened to kill me. The political Islamic movement is an international movement and assassination is one of the important means they use.

People ask me if I am not afraid to speak out against the Islamists. I say I know this movement very well. We have brought the leaders of this movement in Iran to their knees. 28 years ago I was given an execution sentence by Khomeini and the Islamic regime’s leaders. But today I say if we stay silent, they will stone women in the streets of Germany and England in a few years.
Governments compromise with Islamic groups – the German, British and European governments. They organise conferences with terrorist organisations about how to integrate people like us in society. When they label us as Muslims and put us all in one sack, they make the leaders of Islamic organisations our leaders and leave it up to them to ‘integrate us’.

In politics in Europe you hear only two versions of the veil – either that of the politicians or the Islamic groups. We have risen up and now want to do something so that Maryam Namazie is heard instead. This is another politics. We are for the universality of human rights. We say that religious affiliation is not the main identification of anyone in this century. All have the right to be free, prosperous, love and be loved in the 21 century. We will not allow governments, hand in hand with Islamists, to violate the rights of the children, women and men who have fled Islam-stricken countries.

We represent a new renaissance in Europe. We defend secularism. We defend freedom of expression and speech. In Germany, they cancel a theatre because of its criticism of Islam. In these two weeks I have seen that the vast support we have received is an international movement. Hand in hand with people across the world, we are saying stop. Enough is enough.
Against political Islam, against the policies of tolerance and multi-culturalism of Western governments, against the attempts to portray political Islam and its inhuman policies as people’s culture. We defend the universality of human rights.

I hope that this type of organisation is begun in various countries and that this becomes
international in order to push political Islam back.

Mina Ahadi is founder of Central Council of Ex-Muslims and Political Bureau member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. The above is her speech at a March 8 seminar on Women’s Rights, the Veil and Islamic and religious laws in London. Other speakers were Sonja Eggerickx: President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Ann Harrison: Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Department of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat; Maryam Namazie: Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee, 2005 National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award Winner and producer of International TV; and Taslima Nasrin: Physician, writer, radical feminist, human rights activist and secular humanist.

Condemn Islamic regime’s attacks on teachers and workers in Iran

The representatives of the Islamic regime of Iran are holding a party to celebrate Iranian New Year here at Kensington Great hall in London while their colleagues back in Iran are turning people’s lives into hell. They stop people from having fun, they attack private parties to arrest men and women who dance together or drink, they patrol streets to stop young people getting together and having fun, they arrest and flog girls who are considered to be improperly dressed and they dread any happy music. Right now in Iran they have brought special police forces out in thousands and have created some sort of a military state to stop celebrations and happiness. So how dare they pretend to be civil and hold parties in places like London?

Their New Year gift for majority of Iranian people is poverty, unemployment, misery and tears. Many Iranian parents are not able to buy presents and new clothes and good food for their children, hundreds of unemployed and homeless people and street children are deprived of a warm and cosy environment around these festive times, workers in many factories and towns are on strike and protests because they have not been paid for months.

As they pretend to be human and celebrate New Year in London, hundreds of teachers and workers have to spend their New Year in prisons just for demanding their wages and better work conditions, a great number of families mourn the deaths of their loved ones who have been executed by this cruel and fascist regime.

Many Iranians in London have run away from these people in fear of their lives, many have not been able to see their families for years, so how do they expect Iranians to attend their parties and pretend nothing has happened while their families must endure the pain of passing yet another New Year without their loved ones?

The Worker-communist Party of Iran will not allow this poppet show go on in peace, we will not allow representatives of a criminal and terrorist government wear innocent masks and hold ‘cultural’ events while their colleagues make lives hell for people in Iran. This government must go; its toppling will be the best New Year present for millions of Iranians.

Join us and say no to the regime of sexual apartheid, execution and terrorism. Join our picket and let our voices be heard!

Worker-communist Party of Iran- UK
21/03/07

Iran – Regime change from within?

What are the prospects for regime change from within – by and for the Iranian people?

Over the last year, Iran has seen rising levels of resistance to President Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime. Strikes by bus workers and teachers, women’s rights protests, student occupations and protests by Iran’s suppressed national minorities, especially the Kurds, Baluchis and Ahwazi Arabs. On his weekly TV programme, Talking With Tatchell, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell interviews Maryam Namazie, Iranian broadcaster, feminist and communist. To view the programme, click here.

Zahra Kamalfar and her two kids arrive in Canada today!

Zahra Kamalfar and her two children will arrive in Vancouver, Canada today after being trapped at the transit hall of Moscow international airport for the past 9 months under threat of deportation to Iran.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees that campaigned to save Zahra Kamalfar and her family from deportation congratulates all those who worked on her behalf.

She is a free woman now!

Zahra Kamalfar and her 2 children, Davood and Anna, will be met by IFIR-Vancouver representatives when they arrive today noon.

Once again international solidarity succeeded in saving lives.

Fahimeh Sadeghi
Secretary
International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR)
Vancouver branch
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Courageous Women – Inspirational Seminar

From the National Secular Society’s March 9 Newsline

The NSS co-sponsored seminar on Islam, Women’s Rights and the Veil which was held at the University of London Union on Thursday was packed to the doors by people wanting to hear from a group of exceptionally courageous women who are standing up for their rights against a controlling and often violent religious establishment.

NSS honorary associate Taslima Nasreen started proceedings with a moving account of the persecution she has suffered at the hands of the religious authorities in her native Bangladesh. Because she refused to accept the role as an inferior human being that Islam dictates for women, she was driven from her homeland under threat of death and is now a refugee. She aches to return home, and her dream is that one day that will be possible on her terms and not those of the mullahs who demand that she squander her education and experience by confining her to what would be, in essence, house arrest.

Maryam Namazie, an NSS Secularist of the Year winner, spoke out passionately not just against the wearing of veils by Muslim women but calling unequivocally for it to be banned. She said that there could be no argument for tolerating the veil, because, “It is not just another piece of cloth, not just another item of clothing”. She likened it instead to a chastity belt or the yellow star that was attached to the Jews by the Nazis, or a body bag. “It isn’t a fashion accessory like a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, it is like footbinding that was used to stop women from wandering.” She said it creates sexual apartheid, and must be as intolerable as racial apartheid. It represents nothing but women’s enslavement. She says if you removed all the threats and intimidations, there will be few who would ‘choose’ to live in a mobile prison – other than those who want to show their allegiance to the rising political Islamic movement.

Mina Ahadi is an Iranian women’s activist now living in Germany. She has been instrumental in saving several people from execution. She is founder of Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany which recently caused a media storm when it was launched in Berlin. Mina said she set up the group to highlight the difficulties of renouncing the Islamic faith, which she said is misogynist and tyrannical. She wants the group to form a counterweight to Islamic organisations that she says get all the media attention and the Government’s ear, but don’t adequately represent Germany’s secular-minded and non-Muslim immigrants. Mina has been subject to endless death threats. Renouncing Islam can carry the death penalty in a number of countries including Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania.

In other countries people who turn their backs on the faith aren’t punished by courts, but they are often ostracised by family and friends. Mina said she wants the new organisation to help women who feel oppressed by the rules of the faith to find a way out. There is no way to modernise Islam, she says, the only way is to leave it and fight it. She encouraged other ex-Muslims to turn away from religion and have their pictures published. There are now over 300 members of the group. Mina says there is an enormous support for secularism amongst those who have fled Islam which is hidden and suppressed, and she is determined to bring that hidden population into public view. She wants the world to understand that even though you might have the label “Muslim” stamped across your forehead, it cannot automatically be assumed that you are religious. This does not please the mullahs, who are anxious to create the impression in the West that all Muslims put religion before anything else. Only in that way can they keep their power and control over the population.

Ann Harrison from Amnesty International gave a summary of the legal situation of women in Iran and the terrible injustices that they have to endure. Sonia Eggerickx, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, also spoke about her own experience.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “This was a superb and exhilarating evening. I cannot say how much admiration I have for these courageous women. They sense that they are at the head of a growing movement and that the women of Iran are aching to be freed from the confines of the ‘medieval rag’ and all it represents.”

To see Taslima Nasreen’s speech, click here.

To see Maryam Namazie’s speech, click here. To see Maryam’s responses to questions, click here.

To see Mina Ahadi’s speech, click here.

Women’s Rights, the Veil and Islamic and Religious Laws

Join us on Thursday 8 March 2007

For a seminar on Women’s Rights, the Veil and Islamic and religious laws

Speakers (see bios below):
* Mina Ahadi, founder of Central Council of Ex-Muslims
* Sonja Eggerickx: President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
* Ann Harrison: Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Department of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat.
* Maryam Namazie: Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee, 2005 National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award Winner and producer of International TV.
* Taslima Nasrin: Physician, writer, radical feminist, human rights activist and secular humanist.

We will also show, for the first time, a short film entitled:

“In the name of honour” by Reza Moradi

At University of London Union
Room 3D, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY
(Nearest underground stations: Russell Square, Goodge Street)
From 6:00 – 10:00pm

The seminar is co-sponsored by the International Campaign in Defense of Women’s Right in Iran- UK, the National Secular Society and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

For more information call: 07719111738
07950924434

Admission is free.
Refreshments will be served.

Speaker Biographies

Mina Ahadi: Mina Ahadi was born in Iran in 1956. She started her political activities by setting up discussion clubs and performances when she was only 14. She was actively involved as a university student in the 1979 Iranian revolution. When the Islamic government gained power and Khomeini issued a fatwa for compulsory Islamic veiling, she organised meetings and demonstrations against the government. Mina is the founder and coordinator of the International Committees against Execution and Stoning. Mina Ahadi has lived in Europe since 1990. Recently she has founded the Central Council of Ex-Muslims to expose Islamic laws and its affects on people. She is currently under police protection for her activities.

Sonja Eggerickx: Sonja Eggerickx was born in 1947 in Brussels. She studied Moral Sciences at the State University in Ghent (Belgium) and was active with the humanist youth, the feminist group and later the humanist union. She has been a teacher of what is called “non-confessional ethics” for 23 years, as well as a school inspector for the same subject. She is President of the Flemish Union of freethinkers/Humanists, co-president of the Belgian umbrella organisation Central Laïque committee and is currently the president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Ann Harrison: Ann Harrison, currently a Researcher on Iran, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, has worked for Amnesty International in the Middle East and North Africa Programme for a total of about 10 years, first in the 1990s and most recently since June 2005. She has worked on a number of countries in the region, beginning with Israel and the Occupied Territories and Jordan, and later Lebanon and Syria. She has worked on human rights issues in Iran for almost four years.

Maryam Namazie: Maryam Namazie is a rights activist, commentator and broadcaster on Iran, the Middle East, women’s rights, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, Islam and political Islam. She is the National Secular Society’s 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and an NSS Honorary Associate; producer of TV International English; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee; co-editor of WPI Briefing and Vice President of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association. She is also involved in the Third Camp against US militarism and Islamic terrorism. She has been threatened by Islamists as a result of her defence of rights and freedoms.

Taslima Nasreen: Taslima Nasreen is a physician, writer, radical feminist, human rights activist and a secular humanist. Her first book of poetry was published in 1986. Her second became a huge success in 1989. Next she started writing about women’s oppression. In 1992 she received the prestigious literary award Ananda from West Bengal in India for her Selected Columns, the first writer from Bangladesh to earn that award. Islamic fundamentalists launched a campaign against her in 1990, staging street demonstrations and processions. In 1993, Soldiers of Islam issued a fatwa against her, a price was set on her head because of her criticism of Islam, and she was confined to her house. Taslima has been living in exile. She has written twenty eight books of poetry, essays, novels, and short stories in her native language of Bengali. Many have been translated into twenty different languages.

The seminar is co-sponsored by the International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Right in Iran- UK, the National Secular Society and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

Women’s rights activists attacked and arrested in Tehran

Today, whilst women’s rights activists were demonstrating in front of a court on behalf of other activists who were to be put on trial by the Islamic regime of Iran, the authorities attacked and demonstrators, beat them and arrested around 40 others.

On Monday, there will be a demonstration at Evin prison in Tehran to demand their release.

The regime’s attempts at suppressing 8 March protests and celebrations in Iran in advance will not succeed. We will see anti-veil and anti-Islamic regime demos despite their many efforts.

Towards a successful 8 March in Iran and across the world!

You cannot make us wear black!

The officials of Alamiyeh Tabatabaie University in Tehran have issued strict guidelines for women entering the university. They have banned colourful veils, make up and jewelry, and have placed guards at the front gate to report anyone transgressing the new regulations to the Islamic regime’s authorities.

In protest, 8-900 women held a sit in outside the university. Plackards at the sit-in said: ‘No to dress controls’, ‘no to reaction’, and ‘you cannot make us wear black’.

Teachers in Iran demonstrated

On March 3, teachers demonstrated in Tehran in front of the Islamic Assembly. Reports say there were around 20,000 teachers there. To see a clip of the demo, click here.

Teachers gave Ahmadinejad of the Islamic regime of Iran an ultimatum – either address our legitimate demands or we will be back in full force!

March against the Veil on International Women’s Day

From Friday 2 March 2007 from Germany via France, Holland and other countries towards the European Commission Building in Brussels

Speakers at the European Commission demonstration:

Mina Ahadi
Mahin Alipour
Maryam Namazie
At Wetstraat 175
Brussels
From 2-5pm
In commemoration of 8 March, International Women’s Day, groups of men and women from towards the European Commission and proclaim that the veil is a manifestation of political Islam and a symbol of the oppression of women.

The march towards Brussels and the European Commission building will begin on Friday 2 March from Germany.

During the march, meetings and speeches will be organised along the way. Once there, they will submit a grievance against the veil to the European Commission.

Our march is against the veil. It is the voice of protest of millions of women against this symbol of slavery. We demand the banning of child veiling as well as the banning of the veil in all work places and social centres.

Join us in Brussels to express your opposition to the veil and anti-women Islamic laws. Show your support for the widespread women’s liberation and equality seeking movement in Iran.

Long live 8 March, International Women’s Day!
Long live Women’s Freedom
Long live socialism

Worker-communist Party of Iran, Organisation Abroad
17 January 2007

For more information, contact:
Germany: Nazanin Boroomand 0049.172.404.4323
Siamak Maki 0049.172.403.7035
Shahnaz Martab 0049.172.971.6227
France: Yadi Koohi 0033624918423
Holland: Bahman Zakeri 0031649906014