Join March 7 events against Sharia and Religious-based Tribunals in Britain and elsewhere

In commemoration of International Women’s Day join the One Law for All organised rally, public meeting and art competition award ceremony on Saturday, March 7, 2009 in London.

This is your chance to voice your opposition to Sharia law and all religious-based tribunals in Britain and elsewhere, demand one secular law and full citizenship rights, demand an end to cultural relativism and racism, and defend universal rights.

On the 7th, meet at North Terrace, Trafalgar Square, 3:30-4:30pm for a symbolic demonstration followed by a march towards Conway Hall from 4:30-5:30pm.

Then join a public meeting entitled Sharia Law, Sexual Apartheid and Women’s Rights from 6:00-8:00pm at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Speakers include: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Journalist and British Muslims for Secular Democracy Chair), Naser Khader (Democratic Muslims Founder), Gina Khan (One Law for All Spokesperson), Kenan Malik (Writer and Broadcaster), Maryam Namazie (One Law for All Spokesperson), Fariborz Pooya (Iranian Secular Society and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Chair), and Carla Revere (Lawyers’ Secular Society Chair).

Prizes for our Art Competition will be awarded at the March 7 public meeting. You can participate in the competition by submitting a painting, drawing, photograph, animation or short video in digital format no later than February 27, 2009. The goal of the art competition is to expose the discriminatory nature of Sharia and religious-based tribunals and/or promote equal rights for all citizens, as embodied by the campaign’s emblematic phrase: One Law for All. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of prominent judges, namely, AC Grayling (Philosopher), Deeyah (Singer), Johann Hari (Journalist and Playwright) and Polly Toynbee (Writer and Columnist).

Also, don’t forget to donate to our organisation if you can. Any amount will help. The March 7 event, and our future plans for a legal and informational campaign, a speaking tour across the country, a mass rally in November and more all cost money. If everyone who supports our work and/or who has signed our petition (7500 so far since December 10) gave even a £1, we would have the money needed to move this campaign forward.

We know we have a huge fight ahead and can only win if we do this together. We have no choice but to mobilise a mass anti-racist movement that defends people’s rights and lives and gives them precedence over culture and religion.

For more information, to download a leaflet or a booking form, to sign the petition, visit our website or contact us via BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK; Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731 or email.

Every three hours, one child is killed in Gaza

Today, my toddler woke up; wanted tummy; ate cereal; watched Go Diego Go; played with his cars; ran all around the house to avoid being dressed and washed; dodged his hairbrush; ran out of the house and straight up the tree in front; climbed down reluctantly; took his Mr Men umbrella and began walking towards the high street; returned home a few minutes later to get his buggy; put a leaf in it and ran back with it down the street; backed up and went over every single puddle on his way pretending he was a tractor; ate part of his salmon sandwich; went to a playgroup; shouted ‘I’m here’ upon entry; sang nursery rhymes at the top of his lungs; played some more – with cars of course; ate 4 biscuits and drank squash; finished the rest of his salmon sandwich; demanded chocolate when passing a cafe; waved at passing cars; ran all the way back home singing little red tractor…

In the three hours that I watched him, kissed and hugged him, and savoured every moment, one child – beloved just like him – died in Gaza as a result of the Israeli assault.

And in the next three hours whilst he painted; drilled the walls with his toy drill; drove his scooter up and down the living room; watched some Fireman Sam; ate some more; and had an afternoon nap, yet another child died.

And then another.

And another.

One every three hours.

And they dare to say it is not a war crime.

March 7 in London: A day against Sharia Law and Religious-based courts

Thought me and my friends were the only ones until you came on 5Live the other day. Never thought my generation would ever come with such a creative group. So long as you are not anti-Muslim, I’m with you.

Standing up against faith based “justice” is brave and necessary. Thank you for your campaign.

You have to win this for our children.

These are only some of the thousands of messages we have received from people in Britain and across the world in support of One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain since our launch at the House of Lords on December 10, 2008 – International Human Rights Day. In less than a month, the campaign has mobilised the support of many well known personalities and organisations and gathered over 5,000 signatures.

Since then, we have been busy organising for International Women’s Day. On Saturday, March 7, 2009 we plan to hold a symbolic demonstration from 3:30 to 4:30pm in the Northern Terrace of Trafalgar Square (we will be organising for a mass demonstration in November), then march from 4:30 to 5:30pm from there to Conway Hall and end with a public meeting entitled ‘Sharia Law, Sexual Apartheid and Women’s Rights’ from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Conway Hall is at 25 Red Lion Square WC1R 4RL (nearest underground Holborn).

This is your chance to voice your opposition to Sharia law and all religious-based tribunals in Britain and elsewhere, demand one secular law and full citizenship rights for all, demand an end to cultural relativism and racism, and defend universal rights.

From now until March 7, we are looking to you to help towards the March 7 event by pledging to come yourself if you can, mobilising others to do so, fundraising or donating towards the activities we have planned (you can send a cheque or go through paypal via our website), by volunteering to help – including by organising public meetings in your area so we can come and speak, or by mentioning our campaign in the media.

At the public meeting, we also hope to award the best entries in our art competition (including film, animation and photography) defending one law for all and opposing Sharia and religious-based tribunals with prizes so if you know of any artists or art students who may be interested please pass this information on. You can find out more on all of these on our website, which will be updated regularly. We will also keep you informed of the legal or legislative changes we aim to bring at the upcoming public meeting.

We know we have a huge fight ahead and can only win if we do this together. We have no choice but to mobilise a mass anti-racist movement that defends people’s rights and lives and gives them precedence over culture and religion. As one of our supporters said, we have to win this for our children.

To find out more information, volunteer, donate or register for the public meeting visit our website, call me at 07719166731 or email us. You can also download the booking form from our site or ask for one via email.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes for the New Year

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All Campaign against Sharia law in Britain

TV INTL: Israeli attack on Gaza, Ahmadinejad’s address on Channel 4, Press TV and more

To see my January 8, 2009 TV International English programme, click here.

In this programme I speak to Fariborz Pooya and Hamid Taqvaee on the Israeli attack on Gaza, Ahmadinejad’s New Year address on Channel 4, imprisoned students and a letter from Farzad Kamangar on death row in Iran, and the Islamic regime of Iran’s Press TV. I respond to some of the comments on my blog on these issues too.

Let my heart keep beating!

Farzad Kamangar is a 33-year-old teacher, human rights activist and journalist. He was a teacher in rural areas of Iranian Kurdistan. Prior to his arrest in August 2006, he taught in the town of Kamyaran, Kurdistan. He has been subjected to the most brutal physical and emotional tortures since his arrest. Farzad Kamangar has been accused of “endangering national security” and “belligerence against God”, prefabricated charges the Islamic regime in Iran brings wholesale against almost all rights activists. So far, sixteen members of the Kamangar’s extended family have been executed by the regime for their political activities. Farzad Kamangar was sentenced to death by hanging on 25 February 2008 after a sham trial. The following is his letter from death row to the clergyman, Qolaam-Hosyn Ezhei, Islamic regime’s Minister of Intelligence. It has been translated and distributed by International Committee Against Executions, January 5, 2009:

I have been in prison for many months now. Prison was supposed to crush my will, my love and my humanity. It was supposed to tame me. I have been detained in a ward with walls as tall as history, continuing to eternity itself. They were supposed to separate me from my beloved people, from the children of my land. But I travelled through the tiny window of my cell to far away places everyday and felt myself amongst them and like them. They, in turn, would see the reflection of their grievances imprisoned in me; prison thus deepened our bonds. The darkness of prison was supposed to erase the very meaning of the sun and light from my mind, but I have witnessed the growth of pansies in the darkness and silence. Prison was supposed to force my mind to consign time and its value to oblivion. I have, however, relived the moments outside prison, and given birth to a new “me” in order to choose a new path.

I have also, like prisoners before me, wholeheartedly embraced every degradation, insult and cruelty that came my way, hoping to be the last person of a tormented generation who has had to endure the darkness of imprisonment in the fervent hope of seeing a new dawn.

One day, I was labeled “belligerent” for having waged war against their “God.” The noose of justice was thus woven, ready to take my life. And since that day I have been unwillingly awaiting my execution. But I have decided, with all my love for my fellow human beings, that if I am to lose my life, let all my organs go to those who may find life receiving them. And let my heart, with all the love and passion in it, be donated to a child. It makes no difference where s/he might be; on the banks of the Kaaroon, slopes of Mount Sabalaan, fringes of the Eastern Sahara; or a child that beholds the sun rise from the Zagros Mountains. All I want is that my rebellious, restive heart may keep beating in the chest of a child who would, more rebelliously than I, reveal his/her childhood wishes to the moon and the stars, and hold them witness so that s/he may not betray them later as an adult. All I want is that my heart may keep beating in the chest of one who loses patience over the children who go to bed hungry; one that would keep the memory of Haamed – my sixteen-year-old student – alive in my heart who wrote, “even my smallest wish won’t come true in this life,” and hanged himself.

Let my heart keep beating in someone’s chest, no matter what language s/he might speak. All I want is for him/her to be the child of a worker with calloused hands whose coarseness would keep the sparks of rage against inequalities alive. Let my heart keep beating in the chest of a child who may be a rural teacher in a not-so-distant future, whom the children would greet every morning with their delightful smiles, and with whom they would share all their joys and games. Then the children might not know the meaning of such words as poverty and hunger; and the terms “prison,” “torture,” “oppression” and “inequality” might be devoid of all meaning in their world. Let my heart keep beating in a tiny corner of your immense world. Only be careful with it, for it is the heart of a person full of untold stories of the people of his land, whose history abounds in pain and suffering. Let my heart keep beating in the chest of a child so that one morning I can cry at the top of my lungs and in my mother tongue [Kurdish]: I want to become a breeze carrying the message of love of all humanity to all corners of this immense world.

Farzad Kamangar
Patient in the Infectious Diseases Ward
Rajaa’i Shahr Prison, Karaj
28 December 2008

Originally written on 22 December 2008
Security Ward 209
Evin Prison
Iran

STOP THE MASSACRE OF INNOCENT PEOPLE IN GAZA!

STOP THIS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!

Since the morning of Saturday, December 27, Israeli forces have been carrying out massive, unprecedented attacks against Hamas strategic points in Gaza City as well as the Palestinian refugee camps. As a result, the lives and livelihoods of many people have been destroyed. During the air raids on Saturday more than fifty targets were hit in Gaza Strip and hundreds of people were killed or injured. Several hundred were killed during Sunday’s attacks. This is yet another scene of the massacre of Palestinian people, especially residents of Gaza, who have been caught in the cross fire of the state terrorism of Israel and its Western allies, on the one hand, and Hamas and Islamic terrorism in general, on the other.

After Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government imposed all-around sanctions on this region – an act that was condemned as “crime against humanity” across the world. Now, following Hamas’s refusal to renew the six-month ceasefire, and under the pretext of retaliating against the recent rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli cities, the Israeli army is carrying out these atrocious attacks on the people of Gaza. The ruling government in Israel aims to increase its chances of winning the upcoming elections through such a murderous showdown.

On the other hand, Hamas continues its terroristic, criminal tactics as a reminder of its obstructive power, hoping to gain some concessions. The victims, on both sides of this equation of crime and bloodshed, are the innocent people living under the domination of criminal, terrorist states, on the one side, and characteristically similar movements, on the other.

Worker-communist Party of Iran, hand in hand with all freedom-loving people of the world, vehemently condemns the current massacre of the innocent people of Palestine by the Israeli government as well as its criminal siege of Gaza Strip, holding the lives of the people of Gaza to ransom. The current attacks must stop and the anti-human blockade must be removed immediately. We once again declare that the inhuman policies of the Israeli government must stop; the Islamist and other reactionary movements must be cut off from the life of the Palestinian people; an independent and equal state of Palestine must be immediately formed and recognized.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
December 28, 2008