CEMB second Annual General Meeting held on December 13

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain held its second Annual General Meeting on 13 December 2009 in London.

The AGM unanimously adopted a statement expressing the organisation’s concern over the Swiss vote to ban minarets. The statement said:

‘Far-right proposals to ban minarets are divisive, reactionary and in line with the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ agenda, which hands over ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such to the political Islamic movement and denies the universality of the demand to live a life worthy of the 21st century.

‘Believing in Islam or any religion for that matter is not a crime. Neither is it a crime to have minarets in mosques. What are crimes, however, are groups or individuals using religion to threaten people to death, intimidate them, violate their rights, and discriminate against them. Society has to address these crimes and prosecute those who threaten or terrorise people – not ban minarets!

‘Political Islam is a political phenomenon that demands a political response. This response must include targeting the discrimination, abuse and criminal acts that take place against children in Islamic schools, against citizens in Sharia councils and tribunals, against apostates and freethinkers, gays and women who are killed in the name of honour…’

‘The Enlightenment didn’t ban church towers in order to successfully push Christianity into the private sphere. The same must be done with political Islam.’

The AGM unanimously adopted several motions calling for:

* ‘the immediate release of all those imprisoned for ‘apostasy'; a cancellation of laws wherever they exist that punish the right and freedom to renounce or criticise Islam; and an abolition of the death penalty,’

* ‘the unconditional right to asylum for apostates given that apostasy is punishable by death under Sharia law,’ and

* ‘an end to the use and implementation of Sharia law in Britain and everywhere and the promotion of universal rights and secularism.’

Moreover, the AGM reiterated its support of the One Law for All Campaign and the newly founded International Bureau for Laïcite’s Charter for Secularism.

The AGM also adopted the organisation’s constitution and annual and financial reports. Furthermore, it thanked Maryam Namazie for her work as Spokesperson of the organisation.

At the meeting, eleven people were elected to the CEMB’s Management Committee: Asad Abbas, Syed Jahiz, Jalil Jalili, Rony Miah, Reza Moradi, Fariborz Pooya, Hassan Radwan, Faranak Rezaie, Kamran Sheikh, Hypatia Theon, and Zia Zaffar. Fariborz Pooya was elected Chair; Asad Abbas, Secretary and Zia Zaffar, Treasurer.

To view the CEMB’s annual report, background information on Management Committee Members or our full statement on the Swiss vote to ban minarets, click here.

Notes:

To support the important work of the Council for the next year, please post a cheque made payable to CEMB to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Worldpay.

You can also help our organisation by buying £45 tickets to a three-course fundraising dinner on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 7:00pm at one of London’s finest gastro-pubs. The dinner’s keynote speaker will be AC Grayling, the renowned philosopher, author, writer, reviewer, and broadcaster. Once payment has been received, we will send you your ticket(s), along with details of the venue and a menu to choose from.

For more information, contact Maryam Namazie at +44 (0) 7719166731 or exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com.

CEMB statement on Swiss vote to ban minarets

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is extremely concerned over the Swiss vote to ban minarets.

Far-right proposals to ban minarets are divisive, reactionary and in line with the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ agenda, which hands over ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such to the political Islamic movement and denies the universality of the demand to live a life worthy of the 21st century.

Believing in Islam or any religion for that matter is not a crime. Neither is it a crime to have minarets in mosques. What are crimes, however, are groups or individuals using religion to threaten people to death, intimidate them, violate their rights, and discriminate against them. Society has to address these crimes and prosecute those who threaten or terrorise people – not ban minarets!

Political Islam is a political phenomenon that demands a political response. This response must include targeting the discrimination, abuse and criminal acts that take place against children in Islamic schools, against citizens in Sharia councils and tribunals, against apostates and freethinkers, gays and women who are killed in the name of honour…

This response must demand a banning of Sharia law and Islamic schools, along with all faith-based laws and schools.

It must exert pressure on governments to stop appeasing Islamic states and demand that such states be politically isolated.

It must demand the prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.

It must support those who are at the forefront of fighting the political Islamic movement.

It must demand an end to the promotion of cultural relativism.

It must demand that religion be a private matter.

It must call for secularism – the complete separation of religion from the state, education and legal system – as a minimum precondition for the respect of rights and freedoms in society.

It must defend rather than restrict universal rights.

The Enlightenment didn’t ban church towers in order to successfully push Christianity into the private sphere. The same must be done with political Islam.

And that is what civilised humanity intends to do.

Stop execution of Mosleh Zamani

The Islamic Republic of Iran intends to execute a young man who 6 years ago was imprisoned for having had a sexual relationship with his lover. The execution is to be carried out soon.

Mosleh Zamani was only 17 when he was arrested for having had sex with his girlfriend. Both he and his girlfriend were arrested by police and later sentenced to death by a court in Sanandaj. This sentence has been approved by the Supreme court of the Islamic Republic.

In 2007 the wave of protests from the people of Sanandaj and international Human rights organisations managed to halt the execution. However, the Kurdistan Province authorities have moved Mosleh to Dizel Abad Prison in Kemanshah, in order to be able to execute him away from the public protest.

Mosleh became paralysed once the news was broken to him when they took him to solitary confinement where those on death row are kept before being killed. The state of Kermanshah has unashamedly announced its intention to execute him and some others before Friday 18th December and use him as a deterrent to others.

The world should not remain silent when such gross abuse of human rights occur. Let us not forget that Mosleh was imprisoned in the first place for being in a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. This barbaric act of the Islamic Republic should outrage everyone.

To pressure the Islamic Republic to abandon these barbaric acts, it is the duty of each one of us to raise our voices and join forces to prevent Mosleh’s execution.

Please join us in our struggle for humanity. Write to the regime and let them know you demand an end to his execution.

And most importantly act quickly. Time is running out.

Please inform us of your actions.

International Committee Against Executions (ICAE)
December 16th, 2009

Contact: farshad Hoseini 0031633602627
farshadhoseini@yahoo.com

or Mina Ahadi 00491775692413
MinaAhadi@aol.com
___________________________
With great thanks to Sara Banoo for translation

Act Now: Houri-olein Ghanavati and her 7 months old child face deportation to Iran

Urgent Action Appeal

Houri-olyn Ghanavati
Date of Birth: 1981-11- 25

Ms. Houri-olein Ghanavati and her 7 months old child are at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran by Netherlands authorities

December 13, 2009

Possible forcible return / Fear of torture or ill-treatment
Netherlands Immigration Authorities and UNHCR in Netherlands
Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati UNHCR and her seven months old child, Iranian asylum seekers

IFIR learned that Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati and her child are in imminent danger of being forcibly returned to Iran by Netherlands authorities. She would be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture or ill treatment in Iran.

Background information on Hour-olein Ghanevati:
Houri-olyn Ghanevati and her seven months old child are victims of a violent regime toward the women in Iran. Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati flee Iran with her child with false documents and reach Netherlands in hope to seek asylum. When they arrived in Netherlands, the authenticity of their documents was questioned. Before Ms. Hour-olein Ghanevati make asylum claim the Netherlands’ police arrested her. The Netherlands police separated mother and the child.
The Netherlands authorities want to send Hour-olyn and her child back to Iran.Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati has committed no crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes.

Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati would face a serious threat to her life and liberty should be deported to Iran. Being a woman in Iran and seeking asylum place her and her child’s lives in danger by the Iranian Islamic government. They warrant recognition as refugees and merit the protection foreseen by the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Their lives and freedom would be in danger if they were refouled to Iran.

IFIR believes that Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati fulfils the criteria for refugee recognition detailed in relevant international guidelines. Therefore IFIR strongly urges the Netherlands and UNHCR authorities to visit her case and grant her refugee recognition based on her well-founded fear of future persecution and imprisonment.

The deportation of Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati from Netherlands to Iran would violate the most fundamental principle of international refugee law, the principle of -non-refoulement, which prohibits the forcible return of a person to a country where there is a risk of grave human rights abuses.

The political and human rights situation in Iran:

Based on information gathered by the International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) first-hand and from well-known international human rights organizations, the Iranian government continues to be a major abuser of human rights with no evidence of improvement. Systematic abuses include extra-judicial killings and summary executions; widespread use of torture and other degrading treatment; arrest and detention; lack of fair trials; and harsh prison conditions.
Ansar-e Hezbollah, an organization of hard-line vigilantes who seek to enforce their vision of appropriate revolutionary comportment upon the society harass, beat, and intimidate the Iranian people with no justifiable reasoning. Those who demonstrate their disapproval of the regime or who do not observe dress codes or other modes of correct revolutionary conduct are the targets of the Hezbollah’s abuses. The women whose clothing does not cover their hair, all parts of the body except their hands and face, or those who wear makeup or nail polish are subjected to abuses. Ansar-e Hezbollah cells are organized throughout the country and linked to individual members of the country’s leadership. Hezbollah has tremendous influence throughout the country. They are the ones who rape the women in the political prisons prior to their executions.
Vigilante violence includes attacking young persons considered too “un-Islamic” in their dress or activities, invading private homes, and abusing couples. Authorities enter homes to remove television satellite dishes, or to disrupt private gatherings in which men and women socialize, or where alcohol, mixed dancing, or other forbidden activities are offered or take place. For example, more than 1,000 satellite dishes were confiscated after the October soccer riots. Enforcement appears to be arbitrary, varying widely with the political climate and the individuals involved. Authorities are encouraging people to bribe them (sexual or monetary).
Social and political activities are forbidden in Islamic Republic of Iran and if social or political activists were identified they would face torture and heavy sentences. The people of Iran face harsh sentences. The Islamic Republic of Iran has institutionalized and brutally enforced sexual discrimination in all sectors of society; women cannot travel or work without the permission of their father or husband, and women has hardly any rights. Women are tortured, imprisoned, raped and executed based on accusations.

Trials in Iran are unfair and proceedings are summary. Hearings often last a few minutes, with defendants having no access to lawyers, no right to call witnesses in their defence and no right to appeal. The court’s arbitrary judgements have been in contravention of internationally recognized standards regarding fair trials.

Forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers:

It is well known that the Islamic Republic of Iran has arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and killed Iranians who were forcibly returned to Iran if they had unlawfully departed from the Islamic Republic of Iran, had stayed abroad without authorization, and/or had applied for asylum in another country.

• A well-known example of persecution upon forcible return to Iran was reported in Amnesty International’s recent report on the forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers from Japan in October 2003. According to Amnesty International’s press release, a 58-year-old Iranian, an undocumented resident who converted to Christianity in Japan, was sent back to Iran in October 2003 and was arrested several days later. Five other Iranian undocumented residents Amnesty had been in contact with have been deported since the start of 2004, but only one has safely returned.
• In other examples from an Australian newspaper The Age (29/04/2002) two Iranian men refused refugee status by Australia after spending two years in detention at Woomera were arrested by security police on their return to Iran and ordered to appear before a revolutionary tribunal.
• Also, Karim Tuzhali, a former asylum seeker recognized as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is another well-known case. The Turkish authorities forcibly returned him to Iran on 20 June 1998. He was sentenced to death on 16 September 1998, in connection with his former membership of the banned armed opposition group, the Kurdistan Democratic party of Iran (KDPI). Karim Tuzhali was reportedly executed on 24 January 2002 at Mahabad prison, western Iran. He had been in detention for three years, allegedly in Orumieh prison, West Azerbaijan province. He had reportedly been tortured while in detention and there was apparently a delay in releasing his body to his family.
• In other cases, 50-year-old Khaled Shoghi, who was forcibly returned from Turkey and arrested in 1997, was tortured in Iran; Kheder Viesi, another returned asylum seeker, was sentenced to death in 1998 as well as Saleh Goudarzi, who was sentenced to death in 1999, and is detained in Sanandaj prison.
• One Iranian asylum seeker Esmail Usefi was killed two weeks after his deportation to Iran. Norwegian Refugee Councils in its pres release reported that Esmail Usefi was deported to Iran in 13 February 2004 and his body with broken head was discovered on 28 February 2004.
• An Iranian woman whose asylum request (Hale Sahba) was rejected by Canada was expelled from the country in December 2004. She was arrested by Iran’s security forces as she entered Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport,
IFIR considers the forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers to be a violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This principle prohibits the forcible return of a person to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. It is a principle of customary international law, which binds all states. Morocco is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals immediately:

To the Netherlands interior ministry:
– Calling on them to immediately recognize Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie as a refugee;

– Stressing that the forcible return of any person to a country where they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement;

To the UNHCR in Netherlands:

– Calling on them to intervene to secure the release of Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie and to uphold their duty to protect those to whom they have granted refugee status.

– Urge them to afford Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie protection and grant her recognition as a refugee.

Please send your letters to the UNHCR Netherlands office as well as the UNHCR office in Netherlands. Please remember to send a copy of your letters to our organization as well. A sample letter is provided for your convenience.

SAMPLE LETTER

To Whom It May Concern:

I / My Organization am / are writing to express my strongest concern over the fate of Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie who is in Netherlands perison and is in danger of deportation to Iran.

I / My Organization urge(s) the Netherlands government to immediately grant her refugee status and protection and cancel all her deportation orders. I also urge the UNHCR to grant her refugee recognition. The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) demands that Ms. Hour-olein Ghanevati be granted refugee status.

I am awaiting your immediate intervention in this life-threatening situation. Needless to say, the Netherlands government and UNHCR in Netherlands will be held accountable for Ms. I Houri-olein Ghanevati and her child’s lives and freedom.

Signed
Abdollah Asadi
Secretary of Interational federation of Iranian Refugees.

CC: abe.asadi@glocalnet.net

2009 CEMB AGM Notice

Members are advised that the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is holding its second Annual General Meeting on Sunday 13 December 2009 from 14:00-16:00 hours in London. The AGM is only open to members.

Members are requested to RSVP their attendance by 1 December 2009 and arrive no later than 13:45 hours.

Nomination of Board of Trustees and Motions

Those wishing to submit motions for the meeting, or nominations for Board of Trustee members, should do so in writing. A proposer and seconder are required for both nominations and motions, which must reach the CEMB by 1 December 2009. This date is necessary to enable preparation of the formal notices of the AGM that will be sent out in advance of the meeting.

The Board of Trustees will be elected at the AGM. Nominations of any member must be signed by a proposer and a seconder and must be signed by the person nominated to indicate that they are willing to stand for the Board. All those nominated will provide a statement of the skills they have to offer, their aims for the CEMB, and an indication of the extent to which they are prepared to undertake work as well as attending monthly Trustee meetings held on a weekday evening in London.

Nominations and motions should be sent by email to exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com or via post to CEMB, BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX and arrive no later than 1 December 2009. The names of nominees, proposers and seconders should be written in block capitals, with clearly legible email addresses.

The CEMB’s annual report and financial report will be made available to members at the AGM.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
www.ex-muslim.org.uk

One Law for All a year old today

One Law for All is a year old today

One Law for All Campaign was established a year ago on December 10, 2008 to mark International Human Rights Day.

A year on, it has mobilised considerable support in opposition to Sharia and religious laws and in defence of secularism and universal rights. With nearly 21,000 individuals and groups having signed up to our petition calling for a ban on religious councils and tribunals in Britain, the Campaign has given many the space to challenge religious law from a human rights perspective and to make links and show real solidarity with people living under Islamic rule everywhere.

Some of the Campaign’s achievements over the past year include:
* Providing legal advice, information and a free helpline
* Organising a successful rally and public meeting on Sharia Law, Sexual Apartheid and Women’s Rights on March 7, 2009
* Launching the International Coalition for Women’s Rights against Sharia law in April 2009 * Organising a successful rally on November 21, 2009 in London with acts of solidarity taking place in 23 countries worldwide
* Coordinating an art competition against Sharia and religious laws
* Speaking in cities across Britain and the world to mobilise support for the campaign and raise awareness, including in Canada where Sharia courts in Ontario province were pushed back
* Co-founding with others the International Bureau for Laicite (secularism) on December 9, 2009…

But much more needs to be done to stop religious laws. In the upcoming year, we plan to:
* Conduct a survey of women who have been to Sharia councils or tribunals
* Hold a March 8, 2010 seminar to bring together campaigners, lawyers, experts, and politicians to discuss ways in which Sharia courts can be prohibited in Britain. The seminar will make recommendations and lay out the legislative and legal avenues available to help bring about equal rights for all
* Organise a gallery exhibition on the issue before Spring
* Hold a June 20, 2010 rally against Sharia and religious laws in central London
* Organise a concert in support of One Law for All in the Fall
* Coordinate a December 10, 2010 conference on Sharia Law and Apostasy
* Continue speaking out on the issue and more…

Yes, there is a huge battle ahead – what with another Sharia law court being set up in Wales next month and the rise of the implementation of Sharia law in other countries across the globe. But there is also much resistance taking place – from Iran, Iraq, to Afghanistan and Pakistan to right here in Britain.

And as you know, all this work costs money even if it is done by over twenty volunteers. And whilst Islamic organisations receive huge funds from Islamic states and also from Western governments in their attempts to appease the political Islamic movement, we must rely solely on the public to support us.

On our anniversary, we’d like to thank you for this support; we couldn’t have done it without you. But we’d also like to ask that you donate to One Law for All if you haven’t already done so this year. No amount is too small or for that matter too big. It all adds up and will help determine the society and world that we want to live in.

Thanks again

Warm wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson

PS If you are in London and can make it, please don’t forget about our Fundraiser dinner on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 7:00pm at one of London’s finest gastro-pubs. We hope you will be able to join us to enjoy an excellent three-course dinner whilst supporting the One Law for All Campaign and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. The dinner’s keynote speaker will be AC Grayling, the renowned philosopher, author, writer, reviewer, and broadcaster. To purchase a ticket(s) for a three-course meal at £45.00 per person, you can either post a cheque made payable to One Law for All or CEMB to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Paypal or Worldpay on those websites. Once payment has been received, we will send you your ticket(s), along with details of the venue and a menu to choose from.

Manifesto of the Iranian Revolution

The revolution that has started since June 2009 is the outburst of the repressed anger of the people against the criminal Islamic regime of Iran. This is a revolution for liberation from a corrupt system, for smashing a machine of murder, plunder, ignorance and lies which has been wrecking the lives of the people for thirty years. This revolution will not stop until it has crushed the entire inhuman system in power.

But this revolution is not just about the liberation of the people of Iran from the Islamic nightmare. It is not even just a source of hope and inspiration for the people in Islam-stricken regions. This revolution speaks from the heart of the people of the world. Fundamentally, it is a revolution against a dark period identified by the offensive of the New Right and the New World Order; September 11 and the rise of political Islam; and the War on Terror and conflagration of the world in the war of terrorists. A period which by the metamorphosis of the human being through religion, ethnicity and nationality, by defining the relations amongst members of humankind as the Clash of Civilisations, and by denying the universal rights of the human being by the notion of Cultural Relativism has in fact imposed a Postmodern Middle Ages on humanity. The Iranian revolution is in fact the voice of the Third Camp against this regression of the bourgeoisie of our age. It is a voice that shouts “Freedom, Equality, Human Identity”. It is for this reason that songs have been written for this revolution from around the world, and Neda has become a hero of the people of the world.

The Iranian revolution is, first and foremost, against religious and Islamic rule. It is deeply secular and opposed to the rule of ignorance, superstition and the clergy. In this respect it is pursuing, in a radical way, the unfinished, or forgotten, tasks of the French Revolution. With the victory of this revolution, not only will religion become completely separate from the state and the educational system, but any privilege, law and tradition giving the religious apparatus the right to interfere in social life will also be abolished. Religion will be pushed to the sphere of voluntary choice and private beliefs of adults. Official religion will be abolished, and the hold of religion on society and social affairs will be ended. Thus, for the first time, genuine freedom to have or not to have a religion will be established. The Iranian revolution has already, in a practical way, delivered its severe censure on the appeasement of political Islam by European and Western governments and the shameless reversal on secularism. The anti-religious revolution in Iran is the beginning of a new Renaissance in human history.

The present revolution in Iran is a “women’s revolution”, not only because it is immediately against sexual apartheid and a misogynist government, and not only because women and girls are at its forefront in fervent demonstrations and street battles, but also because the maxim “women’s freedom is a measure of society’s freedom” is increasingly etched in the consciousness of the masses of the people. The unconditional equality of women is the inviolable decree of the present revolution. This revolution is another step forward in the efforts of modern humanity for liberation from vile gender slavery. From the October 1917 Russian revolution to the women’s liberation movement in the West; from the women’s demonstrations in Iran against the veil in March 1979 to thirty years of women’s resistance and protest against Islamic veil, discrimination and humiliation – these make up the backbone and inspiration of the present revolution in Iran. The victory of the present revolution will not only have a phenomenal impact on the status and struggle of women in Islam-stricken countries, but will also advance the women’s liberation movement in the world as a whole.

The revolution in Iran is about freedom. The realisation of the most radical and human definition of individual, civil, cultural and political freedom is the immediate task of the ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ generation which has risen up in revolt. It does not accept any restriction on freedom of expression, assembly, strike and organisation or other political freedoms. It does not recognise any boundaries for the freedom to criticise “sanctities”. It does not accept any censorship on culture, art, literature and human creative activity. It is against any interference of the state or any official authority in the private lives – including in the sexual relations and preferences – of members of society. Not only should political prisoners be freed, but the very notion of political prisoner should be abolished. This is a revolution against the death penalty and all brutal or Islamic punishments. It is not only against Kahrizak, but also against Guantanamo and its corresponding political culture – from shock therapy to rape and torture, which have been elevated to official tools of the state. This is a revolution not only for cultural liberation from Islam, dictatorship and any backwardness and recourse to “one’s own culture”, but stands for a global, human and modern culture. In this sense, the nearest counterpart of the Iranian revolution are the 1960s’ and 70s’ civil rights movements in the USA and Western Europe, with the difference that this revolution along with Marx goes further than “civil society”, and aims for a “human society” or “social humanity”.

This revolution is the powerful response of a poverty-stricken society to the ruling parasites. It is a revolution for abolishing poverty, unemployment and the appalling gulf between the life of a billionaire minority and that of the great mass of deprived people living under the poverty line. This is a revolution not only against non-payment of wages of millions of workers, but in essence against the very sale and purchase of human creative power and the rule of blind and brutal market laws on people’s lives. This is a revolution for putting an end to drug addiction, prostitution, the plight of working street children, homelessness, depression, suicide and all that is the result of the poverty running amok in Iranian society. This is a revolution for “livelihood and dignity”, for “bread and roses too”.

Thus the present revolution in Iran is about the liberation of the human being in all political, social, intellectual, cultural and economic dimensions. This is a revolution against all false identities for the human being, be it religious, ethnic or national, and ultimately for putting an end to the division of people into classes. This is a revolution for human dignity, for happiness, freedom, welfare and equality for all in the enjoyment of the material and intellectual riches of social life. It is indeed a revolution for reclaiming the will of the human being, in both individual and social capacities. In one word, as we said from day one, this is “a human revolution for a human rule”. Thus the revolution in Iran links up with great efforts in history – from Spartacus to the Jacobins of the French Revolution, from the Paris Communards to workers of Petrograd, from the councils of the 1979 revolution in Iran to the anti-capitalist movement at the start of the third millennium, stretching from Seattle to Rome. The Iranian revolution is fundamentally against modern wage slavery, whose time has long been up, and which for its survival has needed to resort to religion, superstition, torture, prison, terror, and the nuclear bomb. This slogan of Tehran’s students expresses the foundations of the Iranian revolution: Socialism or barbarism!

The triumph of the revolution of the people of Iran over the Islamic Republic will open up a new chapter in the world and will be a new stepping stone for putting an end to class history and for the start of genuine human history. The Seventh Congress of the Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on the people of the world for a more enthusiastic and resolute support of the Iranian revolution and people. The Congress sends its greetings to women, youth and workers in Iran and calls on them to join the ranks of the Party for the victory of this revolution and realisation of this Manifesto.

Adopted unanimously by the Seventh Congress of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, 5-6 December 2009.

The Formation of an International Bureau for Laicite* Announced

Press Release
For Immediate Release
9 December 2009

A wide number of non governmental organizations and individuals from across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas have signed a common public statement affirming the nefarious role of fundamentalist politics and the need to counter it internationally.

This charter highlights:
– The flawed ideological bogey of clash of civilizations, the role of public policies leading to greater inequality, and the impact of religious fundamentalisms and right wing identity politics in dividing people locally, nationally and internationally.
– Fundamentalist movements benefit from – A retreat of the state from the social domain that leaves the terrain open to the religious-political outfits to flourish. – Public support from certain groups on the left, that consider fundamentalists as allies in the name of fighting imperialism.

In this overall backdrop the signatories propose the formation of an international initiative called International Bureau for Laicite to act as a facilitating body to network, support and amplify the struggles for secularism.

The charter of International Bureau for Laicite has been released in English, French and Spanish on a day that marks the 104th anniversary of the legislation separating state and religion in France.

The full text of the charter is below or available for public consultation and is open for signatures at the newly created website of International Bureau for Laicite.

Considering that:- The so-called theory of ‘clash of civilisations’ between a ‘Christian West’ on the one hand, and a ‘Muslim Orient’ on the other, is gaining ground, in total disregard of all people the world over, who have been fighting in favour of a political model founded on principles of secularism,

– In the name of defending the ‘right to difference’, numerous states are legitimizing differences of rights between citizens depending on their faith, thereby fueling communalisms,

– With the help of religions, governments try to draw people into warlike confrontations

– In addition to fighting against existing disparities between men and women, women have to unceasingly defend their hard won rights, notably equality in the realm of social and professional rights and bodily rights,

– That, in many countries, the rise of different fundamentalisms has come to increase the subordination of women,

– Despite a movement towards secularisation and the decline of religions, globalisation of neoliberal policies (favoured by the Washington consensus) that emerged in the 80’s, stimulated the march towards privatisation and commoditisation of all human activities, and exacerbated inward looking communalism (the disengagement of the state necessitated the recourse to traditional forms of solidarity, substituting national solidarity with the principle of charity),

– The alliance that a communalized Left does not hesitate to make with religious organisations, in the name of fighting ‘western imperialism’, is damaging, as is the neoliberal disinvestment by the State from the social sphere that has allowed religious organisations to occupy that space

-The current economic crisis has accentuated inequalities and poverty,

– However, there has been a convergence of secularist, feminist and social struggles, everywhere in the world;

The organisations and persons listed below have come together to set up the International Bureau for Laïcite, based on the present resolution, in order to promote secularism internationally.

1. We affirm our commitment to secularism. The principle of secularism, notably the strict separation of State and religion, guarantees the non interference of religion in the sphere of state authority; as well as a real independence of religious and faith based organisations of civil society vis-à-vis the state. Secularism guarantees to citizens the absolute freedom of conscience: the right to believe, the right to disbelieve, the right to change faith, as well as the right to freedom of expression. Consequently, the right to criticize religions is not to be put into question and it takes precedence above all moves to institute ‘defamation of religions and their prophets’ as a crime.

2. We affirm our commitment to the principle of equality and the universality of rights. We believe in a republican conception of citizenship, and we reject all systems which, in the name of particularisms, segment the body politic, either by privileging one category of citizens or by excluding it. Therefore we intend to fight against all forms of discriminations, notably those faced by women and the minorities.

3. We refuse the globalized predatory and destructive neoliberal policies which accentuate pauperisation, whose first victims are women and children; state disengagement fosters the retreat of national solidarity in favour of traditional solidarities of ‘communal’ type. In wake of neoliberalism, we call for the internationalisation of struggles.

On the 9th of December 2009**, we call on organisations and individuals who identify with the principles of this statement to support and sign it, and join us.

*After consultation, we finally resolve to use the French concept/word ‘Laicite’ in the name of our platform. The reason for it is that the word ’secularism’ in English conveys the notion of equal tolerance of the state vis-à-vis all religions, rather than the notion of separation between ‘Churches’/religions and the state as well as the total disinvestment of the state regarding religions, which is embedded into the French concept of laicite. Rare scholars have of late started to use the neologism ‘Laicity’, but we feel that it is not known to activists and to public at large.

** On the 9th of December 1905, France voted the Law of Separation of Churches and State

The founders of the BLI
Coalition for a Secular State, Serbia
Collectif citoyen pour l’égalité et la laïcité (CCIEL), Montréal
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Development Alternatives with Women for A New Era (DAWN), international network
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Iran Solidarity
Iranian Secular Society
MAREA, feminist journal, Genova, Italy
Parti pour la Laïcité et la Démocratie (ex MDSL), Algérie
Protagoras, Croatia
One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain
Organization for Women’s Liberation (OWL), Iran
Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (SIAWI), international network
Union des Familles Laïques (UFAL), France
Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights (WICUR) international network
Women in Black – Belgrade (WIB), Serbia
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), international network

Zarizana Abul Aziz, lawyer, human rights activist, Malaysia
Samia Allalou, journaliste, Algérie/France
Hakim Arabdiou, militant laïque, France
Soheib Bencheikh, théologien, spécialiste des religions et de la laicité, ancien mufti de Marseille, France
Djemila Benhabib, auteure de « Ma vie à contre-Coran », récipiendaire du Prix des écrivains francophones d’Amérique
Codou Bop, journaliste, Dakar, Sénégal
Caroline Brancher, co-responsable du secteur féminisme et laïcité de l’UFAL, Paris
Ariane Brunet, co-fondatrice de Urgent Action Fund , Montréal
Sonia Correa, co-coordinator of Sexuality Policy Watch and Research Associate at ABIA (Brazilian Interdisciplinary Association for AIDS (Brazil)), Rio De Janeiro.
Yvonne Deutsch, feminist peace activist, Jerusalem
Lalia Ducos, présidente de WICUR, Paris-Alger
Alda Facio, jurist and feminist human rights activist, part of the Campaign for Debaptisation, Costa Rica
Gigi Franscisco, coordinator of the DAWN international network, Manila, The Philippines
Pierre Galand, président du Centre d’action laïque (CAL), Belgique
Nadia Geerts, initiatrice du R.A.P.P.E.L. (le-rappel.be), Belgique
Laura Guidetti, President and co-founder of MAREA, Genova, Italy
Marieme Helie Lucas, fondatrice du WLUML et coordinatrice de SIAWI, Algérie/France
Hameeda Hossein, co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights and Chairperson of Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ayesha Imam, Sociologist, human rights activists, Nigeria
Harsh Kapoor, founder of South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net), France/Inde
Sultana Kamal, lawyer and human rights activist, Executive Director of Ain O’Salish Kendra, Dhakha, Bangladesh,
Cherifa Kheddar, présidente de l’association ” Djazairouna” des Familles Victimes du Terrorisme Islamiste, Algérie
Catherine Kintzler, philosophe de la laïcité, Paris, France
Monica Lanfranco, journalist, co-founder of MAREA, Genova, Italy
Azar Majedi, president of OWL, Iran/U.K
Maryam Namazie, Campaigner, Iran/U.K
Henri Pena Ruiz, philosophe de la laïcité, France
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, Iran/U.K
Venita Popovic, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mary Jane Real, lawyer and human rights activist, Manilla, The Philippines
Rhoda Reddock, feminist historian, Professor at the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Nina Sankari, Présidente de l’Initiative Féministe Européenne (IFE), Pologne
Aisha Shaheed, historian and women’s rights activist,Canada/Pakistan/UK
Mohamed Sifaoui, journaliste, Algérie/France
Fatou Sow, sociologue au CNRS, Dakar, Sénégal
Gila Svirsky, Women In Black, Jerusalem
Lino Veljak, Professor of philosophy, University of Zagreb, founder of PROTAGORAS, Croatia
Vivienne Wee, anthropologist and women’s rights advocate, Singapore and Hong Kong, China
Stasa Zajovic, founder of WIB-Belgrade, coordinator of the Coalition for a Secular State, Serbia

WPI’s Congress

I will be at the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s 7th Congress this weekend.

The congress is open to the public.

For more information on how to attend, contact:
k7.wpiran@gmail.com
0046(0)704227196

Here are some pictures from the Congress.

Here is video footage of the Congress.

The resolutions that were adopted. They are currently being translated into English.

Join fundraiser dinner for One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hello

As a follow up to our successful Nov 21 rally against Sharia law, we are organising a fundraiser dinner on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 7:00pm at one of London’s finest gastro-pubs. We hope you will be able to join us to enjoy an excellent three-course dinner whilst supporting the One Law for All Campaign and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

The dinner’s keynote speaker will be AC Grayling, the renowned philosopher, author, writer, reviewer, and broadcaster.

If you can’t come to the event but would like to and can support us, please send in a donation of £45 to cover the cost of a volunteer(s) to attend. We would also appreciate other donations however small.

If you have any questions about the dinner or would like to reserve tickets, please contact onelawforall@gmail.com. Given that space is limited, we would appreciate receiving payment as soon as possible and no later than January 1, 2010.

We look forward to seeing you at the event and hope this fundraiser and others like it will help us to raise much needed funds for the important work that lies ahead.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All and CEMB

Notes:

To purchase a ticket(s) at £45.00 per person, you can either post a cheque made payable to One Law for All or CEMB to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Paypal or Worldpay.

Please note that it is possible to reserve a table for a group.

Once payment has been received, we will send you your ticket(s), along with details of the venue and a menu to choose from.