Sorry but Islam and Mohammad are not off-limits

Charles Hebdo, the French publication that was firebombed a few days ago for mocking Islam and Islam’s prophet Mohammad is gathering messages of solidarity to publish in its next issue, which will be out this Wednesday in France. Here’s mine:

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s office but the attack does bear the hallmarks of the political Islamic movement as – for them – this is business as usual and all in a day’s work. They bomb offices, threaten anyone who criticises Islam and Islamism, and where they have political power they slaughter those who speak their minds in cold blood and in broad daylight.

Those who condemn the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s office whilst also criticising the publication for mocking Islam’s prophet Mohammad are (at best) missing the point (and more likely apologists for the Islamists). [Read more...]

Join 5 November International Day of Solidarity with Iranian Workers

34 cities in 16 countries there will be various actions in support of Iranian workers. Join them if you can. Here’s more information on the various protests.

The Islamic Republic has recently handed down heavy prison sentences to labour and political activists in Iran. These criminal acts of repression must be met by an international protest. [Read more...]

On the ‘Arab Spring’ and its links with the 99% movement – A must read!

Here’s the edited transcript of a TV International interview I did with Hamid Taqvaee on the Arab Spring, broadcast during October 2011. He’s leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee

Maryam Namazie: Is the Arab Spring linked to the global 99% movement?

Hamid Taqvaee: Of course it is linked! First of all, they are linked because the roots of both movements are the same and that’s the economic situation or crisis worldwide. Some of the main slogans of the revolution in Egypt were about bread, unemployment, and poverty and you see the same thing happening in the West. That’s one thing that connects the two. The other is that the form and method of protest is similar. The whole idea of occupying Wall Street comes from Al-Tahrir Square in Egypt. And it’s not only Egypt and New York of course.  In every other place in the world we had seen the idea of occupying the streets and reclaiming the streets for ourselves. With the idea of occupation, comes the idea of control. We have to take control, we the people, the 99%, have to take everything into our own hands. You can say that the idea is a new one, and it is the basic idea of the Arab Spring, the Middle East revolutions and the protests in the West. It’s not only demonstrations; it’s not about a one day protest and then going home. It’s about taking to the streets, remaining there, and taking control. [Read more...]

When the Hezbollah Came to my School: Why I Became an Atheist

For those of you who don’t know much about my background and why I became an atheist, my piece in 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why we are Atheists may be an interesting read. It’s the first time I have published it on my blog below:

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped being a Muslim. Looking back, it seems to have been a gradual process and a direct result of my personal experiences, though I would like to think (or hope) that I would have eventually become an atheist.

Having been raised in a fairly open-minded family, I had no real encounter with religion that mattered until the Islamic movement took power on the back of a defeated revolution in Iran. I was 12 at the time. [Read more...]

On the 99% movement: It is not just about bankers and greed

I have begun my weekly TV programmes again broadcast via New Channel TV to the Middle East and other countries via satellite after a long hiatus. For my first programme back, I speak with the brilliant Hamid Taqvaee on the 99% movement. Here it is:

A TV International interview with Hamid Taqvaee on the 99% movement broadcast on 20 October 2011.

Maryam Namazie: The world-wide 99% protests have been amazing to see. We keep hearing, though, that it has to do with greed. Will things improve if there is less greed?

Hamid Taqvaee: Greed is what people refer to because that is what they are told. When the financial crisis began, mainstream media and politicians spoke of greed as if there were a bunch of greedy executives, bankers and major stockholders on Wall Street who had created the entire problem. That was the image people were given – that there may be something wrong with the system that needed modification but the real problem was greed and greedy people. Obviously, greed is not the reason behind the situation we find ourselves. I mean, even if you say it is greed, the system needs greed. In reality, the problem we faced has been created not by greedy people but by a greedy system. And if you want the system to work you need greed and that greed is personified in bankers and other capitalists. The problem is the system, however, not some greedy people. [Read more...]

A photo of Mohammad will have to do! (In support of Charlie Hebdo)

I’m reposting this from yesterday’s blog entry at my old site due to its importance:

In 2006, Charlie Hebdo, the French left-wing journal, published a Manifesto against Totalitarianism that I and several others including Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie and Ibn Warraq signed in support of freedom of expression during the Danish Mohammad caricature fiasco. I published the cartoons on my blog at the time too.

Today, the weekly was firebombed for publishing a special edition on the Arab Spring and calling itself Charia (Sharia) Hebdo for the occasion. Mohammad was featured as the ‘guest editor.’ [Read more...]

You really need to sign this

Whilst we are on the subject of campaigning, there’s a really important manifesto that you need to support.

We have to intervene and stop the Arab spring being hijacked by Islamists and US-led militarism and turned into an Arab winter.

Nothing is guaranteed in this world. We have to fight for progressive change and it’s important for freethinkers to support the many in the Middle East and North Africa who want to live 21st century lives.

So please sign this if you can. We want to gather 100,000 signatures soon. It shouldn’t be hard to do – not with your help.

You can sign here. [The link is correct now - sorry about that and thanks for telling me.]

Hi

I am really excited about joining freethought blogs. Can’t wait.

In the next few days, I’ll be migrating my archives here (with lots of help on how to do it of course) so the full blog will be up and running soon.

I will now have to take my blogging more seriously – blogging amongst greats – which is a good thing because it usually gets put off with some campaign or the other. Let’s see how well I manage…