Hundreds will be demonstrating in London on 20 June against Sharia and religious laws

PLEASE NOTE VENUE CHANGE

Hundreds will be demonstrating in London against Sharia and religious laws and in support of secularism and universal rights on Sunday 20 June 2010. The rally organised by the One Law for All Campaign will be held from 1400-1600 hours at Richmond Terrace junction with Whitehall opposite Downing Street (SW1A 2). (Please note venue change from Trafalgar Square made by police; closest underground: Westminster.)

On the day, the Campaign will make public its new report entitled: Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights. In the report One Law for All outlines what Sharia law is, how it is practised in Britain and exposes the way in which Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are circumventing British law and human rights legislation. The report also reveals the gross injustices to women and children in particular and reiterates the need to end Sharia and all religious courts on the basis that they work against, and not for, equality and human rights.

After the One Law for All rally, there will be a march organised by Iran Solidarity from 1600-1700 hours. The march will move from Richmond Terrace Junction to a protest at the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran. According to Spokesperson, Maryam Namazie, “whilst racist and far Right groups like the English Defence League and the British Nationalist Party blame ‘Muslim immigration’ for Sharia law in order to further their inhuman agenda, it is people living under Islamic laws or the many who have fled Sharia and sought refuge here who are the principal victims of Islamism, and in the forefront of the struggle against it. Within this context, the One Law for All Campaign and the fight against Sharia law in Britain is an important front in the ongoing battle of people in Iran and everywhere against Islamism and for freedom, equality and secularism.”

The march will culminate in a protest rally in front of the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran (16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT; closest underground: Knightsbridge). The event will end at 1730 hours.

Notes:

1. Confirmed speakers and performers at the London rally include: AK47 (Street Poet); Asad Abbas (Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain); R Y Alam (Poet); Adam Barnett (Musician); David Fisher (Singer/ Songwriter); Lilith (Street Poet); Lyrical Agent (Emcee); Rony Miah (Lawyers’ Secular Society); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and Iran Solidarity); Gerard Phillips (National Secular Society); Naomi Phillips (British Humanist Association); Fariborz Pooya (Iranian Secular Society); Brent Lee Regan (Emcee); Yasmin Rehman (Women’s Rights Campaigner); Gita Sahgal (Activist); Muriel Seltman (Activist); Sohaila Sharifi (Equal Rights Now); Peter Tatchell (Human Rights Campaigner); and others. We will also screen a segment of a major new film for HBO called For Neda by director Anthony Thomas.

2. June 20 marks the day when 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan was shot dead by the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces at a protest in Tehran. Her demand for freedom in the face of all-out repression has made her a symbol of people everywhere. According to Maryam Namazie, “It is very apt for us to remember Neda in our battle for equal rights in Britain or wherever we happen to live. Neda’s murder and Sharia law in Britain are intrinsically linked; both are the result of the rise of the political Islamic movement of which the Islamic regime of Iran is a cornerstone.”

3. To read responses to Frequently Asked Questions including on the affinity between the far right and the Islamists; Islam matters because of political Islam; Secularism is an important vehicle to protect society; We will have nothing to do with the English Defence League; Criticising Islam is not racist; Laws should safeguard rights not violate them; There’s no place for Sharia law in Britain; The right to asylum is a basic human right; and more, go to: http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/about/faq/

4. To donate to the crucial work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque to our address below or pay via Paypal by visiting: http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/donate/. We need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club at the above link.

5. For more information, contact:
Maryam Namazie
One Law for All and Iran Solidarity
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
iransolidaritynow@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk
www.iransolidarity.org.uk

http://iransolidarity.blogspot.com

In defence of Lars Vilks and freedom of expression

On Monday 7 June 2010 the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Germany and Scandinavia joined Lars Vilks in a press conference in Stockholm to condemn the threats and violent attacks against the Swedish artist who drew a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. In May, Islamist thugs tried to burn down his home after he showed a film about Islam and Homosexuality during a lecture at Uppsala University.

The press conference was packed to capacity. It was chaired by Afsaneh Vahdat (Council of Ex-Muslims of Sweden) with Lars Vilks, Mina Ahadi (Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany), and Fariborz Pooya (Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain) all making contributions. Lars Vilks stressed the need to stand firm against the threat and curtailment of the freedom of expression and criticism of religion. Mina Ahadi said that freedom of expression was a result of the Enlightenment and must be safeguarded. Fariborz Pooya said Vilks was not alone in his fight against political Islam and called for “unconditional freedom of expression.” He stressed the importance of distinguishing between Islamic states in their attempt to undermine freedom of expression and limit citizen’s right to free expression and the majority of people who are labeled as Muslims in European countries who are the first victims of this movement.

The press conference was widely covered in the national media in Sweden.

Here are some links:

European former Muslims condemn violent attack on Swedish Muhammad cartoonist, Lars Vilks, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 June 2010

Danish Mohammad Cartoonist retires, AP, 7 June 2010

TV interview in Swedish

Another TV interview in Swedish

ILO Delegates applaud action

7 June 2010

Members of the Worker-communist Party of Iran staged a powerful protest at the opening session of the International Labour Conference last Wednesday in Geneva , calling for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the ILO.

The protest specifically drew attention to the recent brutal execution of dissident teacher and human rights activist Farzad Kamangar and four other political prisoners.

Raising pictures of Farzad Kamangar, which carried the words: ‘Murdered, Iran out of ILO!’, as well as posters of jailed workers Osanloo and Madadi, six WPI protesters climbed onto the main stage at the sounding of the opening bell. The action, which lasted for around two minutes, was greeted by applauds from the delegates. (See footage here) Later, a banner reading ‘A regime which executes trade unionists and political prisoners should not be in the ILO. Iran out of ILO!’ was unfurled by a WPI member from the press gallery. (See footage here)

This was the fourth action of its kind at the ILO’s annual conferences by the Worker-communist Party of Iran in the past few years. This year the ILO had gone to great lengths, with extra security measures, to keep protesters out of the UN compound. It is ironic, and a scandal for the ILO, that meanwhile a regime which murders trade unionists and political prisoners is let in as an official guest with full credentials.

Trade unions from across the world, and specifically the global union Education International, had been campaigning for years for the release of Farzad Kamangar, and vehemently condemned his execution in early May. It was no surprise, therefore, that the delegates should break into loud applause the moment Farzad’s pictures went up on the stage. It is remarkable, and indeed unprecedented, that the participants and protesters at a conference find themselves on the same side, while the organisers are isolated and shamed, along with the group that is the object of the protest.

Later, a rally was held at the nearby Place des Nations in protest at the attendance of the regime of Iran at the conference.

* * *

The campaign for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the ILO continues. Already a number of locals of the French CGT union have taken up the call in the form of a petition that is circulating among the union branches. The disgust and anger felt by the world’s trade unions towards the regime of Iran for its callous murder of Farzad Kamangar and the horrific abuse of human rights should translate into a clear call for the expulsion of this regime from the ILO.

The International Labour Conference in Geneva is in session until 18 June. We urge trade unions from across the world and specifically their delegates participating at the conference to protest against the attendance of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to boycott that regime’s delegation. Above all, we urge them to take up the call and join the campaign for the expulsion of the regime of Iran from the ILO. A UN body purporting to promote global labour rights and welfare is no place for a regime which murders trade unionists and represses a people.

You can find more information here and here.

International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Kick Iran out of the ILO!

The International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran issued the following press release on the Islamic regime of Iran’s presence at the International Labour Organisation on June 2:

What are Farzad Kamangar’s executioners doing in the ILO?

Farzad Kamangar, dissident teacher and human rights activist, was brutally executed in early May by the regime in Iran , along with four other political prisoners. The world’s trade unions had long been campaigning for his release, and have vehemently condemned the executions.

People want to know: What are these executioners doing in the ILO? Why does the ILO keep inviting them to its annual conferences year after year?

It’s time to put a stop to this tacit complicity with the regime in Iran . The ILO conference is no place for executioners! This regime should be thrown out of the ILO and the world community.

Show your solidarity with the workers and people of Iran:

· Boycott the regime of Iran ’s delegation at the ILO conference!
· Help kick this regime out of ILO!

Join the rally outside the conference centre (Place des Nations) on Wednesday 2nd June at 1pm.

The below are some of the coverage of the protest:

Pictures of the Day The Wall Street Journal

India Times

Day Life

US Today