In defence of Alex Aan

I just got the following email:

We are a group of international people, Indonesian as well as other nationalities, including ex-indonesian journalists as well as legal assistants, supporting Alex Aan in regard to his recent arrest and charges under Indonesian law for blasphemy due to his posts on the wall of his Facebook group of which he is one of the admin. Alex Aan exercised his right to free speech in a democratic country, Indonesia, by openly questioning the existence of god and criticizing Islam.

We are please asking for your help in spreading the word about our Facebook group.

We are very concerned about Alex Aan and his family’s safety and hope that international pressure and outrage at this violation of his basic human rights will result in him being freed as soon as possible. Thank you for your help in support of Alex Aan.

Well what are you waiting for? Support Alex now. And the right to blasphemy.

It’s not Islamic

An Iranian mullah who has been insulted says:

…This must be understood in this country. They must in practice pull out their tongues. What reason is there I am walking and they must insult me, a clergyman; why insult the sacred? In an Islamic society at that.

Whilst this brings us back to the importance of free expression particularly for those living under and resisting Islamism, it also raises another issue, which is that Iran isn’t an Islamic society.

As Mansoor Hekmat has said:

…The image of an Islamic society prevalent in the West is one of pious believers of Islam who abide by its rules, pray and fast, and whose opinions are formed by religious texts or sources. In fact, it imagines that a citizen of a society like Iran is a follower of Mr Khomeini, is really offended if someone ventures onto the streets unveiled, does not like Western music, does not drink alcohol nor eat pork, etc. [Read more...]

Celebrate good times, come on

The Islamic regime of Iran’s English language Press TV has had its UK licence revoked by media regulator, Ofcom. It will be removed from Sky on 20 January. Celebrate good times, come on…

Ofcom finally acknowledged that Tehran has editorial oversight on Press TV. No shit.

Of course Press TV has called the decision ‘a clear example of censorship’ but it’s not. As I have said before Press TV is an arm of the regime’s intelligence service – it’s not press in any way shape or form. The press is banned in Iran unless it is run and approved by the state and even then many outlets are banned for transgressing rules.

The evidence against Press TV is damning. In one case, they filmed a Newsweek journalist imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin prison reading a forced ‘confession’ and knew it was forced. Bahari, who was freed after 118 days, was arrested while covering the 2009 protests in Iran and was told he would be executed if he did not confess.

Also Press TV ‘interviewed’ Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani on a number of occassions and a ‘reporter’ was even heard ordering her to confess under duress. They also did a ‘documentary’ on Sakineh’s case where she and her son were kept in their home for three days in order to re-enact the supposed ‘murder’ of Sakineh’s husband with her son acting as his father. The two had been promised to be released if they agreed to do the incriminating documentary. by the way, in the same documentary, they accused Mina Ahadi (coordinator of the save Sakineh campaign) of charges that would be punishable with execution in Iran. [Read more...]

Only after I review evidence for Santa

I recently got this email asking to look at ‘evidence’ that ‘the Quran is supernatural’. I’ll do that after I review ‘evidence’ from my 6 year old that Santa Claus really exists but in case any of you are bored out of your minds, you might want to have a go. If not – gasp, horror – he will note on his website that the ‘ex-muslims declined’. Please, please don’t let it get to that point. Here’s his email:

The reason why I am contacting this exmuslim council is because I would like to get your opinion on our claim that the Quran is supernatural due to the scientific, prophetical and archaeological evidence… which proves that a mere man could not have written it. [Read more...]

Like Brighton Through Rock: a Reply to Robert Spencer

The below is a statement written by Adam Barnett on behalf of One Law for All:

Following the death threats made against One Law for All during Tuesday’s talk at Queen Mary University, (which were extended to members of the audience and caused the meeting to be shut down), ‘Stop Islamization of America’ director Robert Spencer, who also runs the website ‘Jihad Watch’, has initiated an email campaign to try and discredit our work in combating Islamism. He has also published an article on the subject to which this statement is a response.

Mr. Spencer’s ‘points’ can be summarised thus: 1) Maryam Namazie is a communist, 2) she is also an anti-semite, 3) One Law for All have “libelled” and published lies about Mr. Spencer “and others” which we “refuse to retract”, and 4) the death threats we received were made by “one gang of thugs” on “another” as part of a “turf war.”

That Maryam Namazie is now and has long been a member of a communist party, namely the Worker-communist Party of Iran, is common knowledge and is not something she would ever deny, (nor do I think she should be expected to). Someone will have to break it to Mr. Spencer that not all communists want to “enslave people in gulags and shoot them in the back of the head for being ‘enemies of the people’.” He really ought to have got this right by now, especially since he likes to portray himself as a historian. But then given his views on Muslims, it’s clear nuance is not a part of his repertoire. [Here is Maryam's response to Mr. Spencer.]

Spencer’s charge of anti-semitism is based solely, from what I can tell, on the fact that in 2008 Maryam published on her blog a polemical statement by an Iraqi communist party on the Gaza war, which called for an end to the violence there, a ‘two-state solution’, and condemned both Israeli policy and “the barbaric Islamic movement Hamas, which spares no opportunity to fire rockets at Israeli populated neighborhoods.” If Mr. Spencer is going to make accusations of anti-semitism, he had better have more persuasive evidence than this. The idea that Maryam Namazie has a racist attitude towards Jewish people is absurd, as Mr. Spencer knows perfectly well, as is his claim that she supports “the jihad against Israel.” Her record of opposing the forces of Jihad wherever they operate is second-to-none, and includes demonstratingagainst the Khomeinist ‘al-Quds day’ parades of Hamas and Hezbollah. (Mr. Spencer’s comrades were conspicuous by their absence.) [Read more...]

Freedom of expression is not just for Islamists

Adam Walker, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association spokesman, says: ‘The principle is more important than who is being attacked – this time it is Muslims and Christians but in the future it could be atheists themselves’.

But not causing offence is not a principle the last time I looked.

If it were, they would be the first to be censored because every other word that comes out of them, the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence as well as the Bible and Torah… is offensive.

I know the UCL Union, Queen Mary College security, the BBC, and apologists for Islamism are all more concerned with causing offence than they are with free expression.

But dear readers, it is freedom of expression that is the principle and that is something that we will need to teach the ‘moderate’ Ahmadiyyas and the Islamists.

First lesson: Freedom of expression is not just for Islamists and the religious.

We are behind you

The UCL Atheist president has resigned. To those who have resigned and the ones who will take their places: Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. We are behind you and we aim to win…

As an aside, the UCL Union said in a statement: ‘The atheist society has agreed they will take more consideration when drawing up publicity for future events.’ I suggest that the UCL Union take more consideration when censoring free expression and appeasing Islamists. They are not going to get away with it anymore.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION

The president of Queen Mary atheist group has not resigned. She just sent me the following email:

I have not resigned. I want to see the society through this turbulent time at least untill the police investigation has been resolved.

I will then review the situation and decide how to proceed with the society.

I am happy to answer any other questions that you may have, and look forward to rescheduling the talk.

Jennifer

 

 

HOLD THIS DATE – 11 February 2012: A Day to Defend Free Expression

One Law for All is calling for a rally in defence of free expression and the right to criticise religion on 11 February 2012 in central London from 2-4pm.

We are also calling for simultaneous events and acts in defence of free expression on 11 February in countries world-wide.

The call follows an increased number of attacks on free expression in the UK, including a 17 year old being forced to remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon or face expulsion from his Sixth Form College and demands by the UCL Union that the Atheist society remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page. It also follows threats of violence, police being called, and the cancellation of a meeting at Queen Mary College where One Law for All spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to deliver a speech on Sharia. Saying ‘Who gave these kuffar the right to speak?’, an Islamist website called for the disruption of the meeting. Two days later at the same college, though, the Islamic Society held a meeting on traditional Islam with a speaker who has called for the death of apostates, those who mock Islam, and secularist Muslims. [Read more...]

Guess whose meeting wasn’t cancelled?

Queen Mary Islamic Society held a meeting today on ‘Traditional Islam’ with Abu Zabair as its speaker. It was advertised on ummahforum.com where the following call to disrupt [read threaten with violence] the 16 January meeting at which Anne Marie Waters was speaking on behalf of One Law for All on Sharia Law and Human Rights was also posted:

Brothers, the Queen Mary Athiest Society, sister of the shaytaani UCL Athiest Society (which published pictures of Rasoolullah(saw)) are holding an event today at Queen Mary University of London at 7:00 pm on ‘ Is Shariah in violation of human rights’.. We need your presence. Who gave these kuffar the right to speak? Let me ask you – if a bunch of kuffar got together and were given the right to touch your mother up and analyse her, then would you stand by and let it happen? Then what about your deen?!! Remember, these guys hate religion and are not looking to have an unbiased debate. Please be here by 7 pm. to let them know what we think. Back in my day no-one in UNi would dare even look the wrong way at a muslim, because we used to represent our deen and didnt take kindly to it being insulted. It is only when the pacifists ecame numerous that the kuffar dared to raise their heads. @ david sizer lecture theatre- francis bancroft building.

Anyway I digress.

Abu Zubair has said the following as transcribed by Spittoon.org here:

Anybody who mocks Allah or his messenger or anyone or any aspect of religion which is known from the deen [religion], by necessity is a kaffir and a murtad [apostate] and is subject to execution because the prophet said “execute the one who changes his religion”. [Read more...]

We need nudity: In support of Golshifteh Farahani

Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani has posed nude for a Madame Le Figaro magazine photoshoot in a move that is seen to defend freedom of speech and oppose the strictures against women.

I unequivocally support Golshifteh Farahani.

We need nudity now more than ever to break the hold of Islam and Islamism in our lives particularly since Islam hates a woman’s body like nothing else…

***

By the way, don’t forget that I am still collecting submissions for the Nude Revolutionaries Calendar in homage to Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy. This is an important initiative that must be supported.

It’s not just about you or Jesus and Mo

Recently, there have been a number of high profile attacks on free expression by Islamists often supported by educational institutions and others.

What I find most absurd about it all is how the fundamental debate on Islam and free expression has become framed within a context of offence, racism and discrimination.

What has happened here in the west is that the Islamic movement’s inhuman, barbaric and medieval sensibilities and values are portrayed and excused as the offended sensibilities and values of all ‘Muslims’.

Islamist threats, violence and terrorism are tactics and pillars of the political Islamic movement, and have nothing to do with ‘Muslim sensibilities’. Whilst we are all offended at least some of the time (and very often by Islam itself), most of us – religious or not – Muslim or not – never resort to death threats and violence. If they were really people’s own sensibilities and beliefs, Islamic states and movements wouldn’t need to resort to such indiscriminate violence and to Sharia law. [Read more...]

Teacher arrested in Bangladesh for having Taslima Nasreen’s novel

Please send messages of solidarity with the teacher to sultanakamal9@gmail.com.

Press Release

We, the undersigned strongly protest the arrest of Mr. Yunus Ali, the Head Teacher of KC Technical and Business Management College of Pirojpur, on 4 January, 2012. Mr. Ali was arrested for having allegedly kept a copy of writer Taslima Nasreen’s novel “Lajja” (“Shame”) in the college library. This arrest is a clear breach of the right to freedom of speech and shows the presence of a broad range of communal and generally reactionary forces in our society.

We believe that the banning of books clearly violates the right to freedom of thought and expression, which constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic and pluralistic society during the information age of the 21st century and is enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh. Dissenting ideas and opinions should be faced through a healthy debate, not censorship and arrest. A state’s weakness, intolerance and imprudence are revealed when a literary work is banned in this manner. [Read more...]

17 year old forced to remove Jesus and Mo image to evade expulsion

Ophelia Benson and Jen McCreight alerted me to the case of 17 year old UK Student Rhys Morgan who was called into a meeting with his head of year at his sixth form college about the Jesus and Mo image and told that they were considering expelling him if he didn’t take the cartoon down. He reports being harassed at school and being ostracised for posting the cartoon.

I just emailed him to see what we could do to support him. He wrote back saying:

‘Unfortunately, given the extreme situation, I’ve removed the image in question.

‘They thanked me for being “co-operative”, even though the reason I did it was purely selfish – not being expelled.

‘They didn’t actually state whether I was going to be, but based on their wording, it’s obvious that is what they were threatening.’

I know a lot of people are appalled by this and other recent events to stifle free expression by Islamists and their apologists or appeasers.

I say, let’s take to the streets to show we mean business.

Anyone available for a rally on 11 February in the afternoon?

A press release will soon follow.

Why remove One Law for All’s name?

On the cancellation of our talk, New Humanist magazine wrote: Yesterday evening, a talk on “Sharia Law and Human Rights” organised by the Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society at Queen Mary, University London, had to be cancelled after threats of violence. The talk was due to be given by Anne Marie Waters of the One Law For All campaign, which campaigns against the use of Sharia in the UK.

Correction: The British Humanist Association posted a press release on the cancellation as well (it did so first) without any reference to Anne Marie and One Law for All.

An oversight maybe?

More likely it is part of the ongoing effort to ignore the real links between campaigning against Sharia law and attacks on free expression as well as their priority of working with religions rather than keeping religion out of the public sphere.

Mentioned or not, though, we mean business and we will get rid of Sharia law.

You can expect threats if you discuss Sharia

My One Law for All Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to speak at a meeting on Sharia Law and Human Rights at the University of London last night.

It was cancelled by the Queen Mary Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society organisers after police had to be called in due to Islamist threats. One Islamist filmed everyone at the meeting and announced he would hunt down those who said anything negative about Islam’s prophet. Outside the hall, he threatened to kill anyone who defamed the prophet. Reference was made to the Jesus and Mo cartoon saga at UCL.

The University’s security guard – a real gem –arrived first only to blame the speaker and organisers rather than those issuing death threats. He said: ‘If you will have these discussions, what do you expect?’ Err, to speak without being threatened with death maybe?

I ask that organisers re-arrange another meeting on the same topic and invite us back again. This time we urge them to be more prepared so that the meeting can go ahead as planned. This is an important battleground for atheist, secularist and humanists groups and must be taken seriously. We can’t – and won’t – allow the Islamists to have the final word on this.

Again, this is not about lacking cultural sensitivity or discrimination as the pathetic UCL Union thinks. It is not about racism and ‘Islamophobia’. It is not our fault for raising the issues. We are not to blame for ‘provoking’ the Islamists; they need no such provocation…

It’s about being able to criticise and speak out against that which is taboo and the barbarism of our century. Free expression is all we have at our disposal to do so.

Stand up for it and refuse to budge or there will nothing left when they are through with you.

When will we finish with the damn mosques

An engineer in charge of a project to create gardens around a mosque in Abu Dhabi lost his temper during a meeting because the project was progressing slowly. He was reported to the police by his colleagues as saying: ‘When will we finish with the damn mosques?’. The poor man was sentenced to one month in prison and is appealing the decision.

For readers who like Sharia, this will be yet another example of its glory – at least his head wasn’t chopped off.

And for those who insist that mentioning mosques on their own is discriminatory against one religious group, let me add, ‘when will we finish with the damn mosques, churches and synagogues’ if only to protect their tender sensibilities…

(Via Deeyah)

The Guardian’s at it again

The Guardian  is at it again. It has published yet another article by David Shariatmadari on how a ‘leading barrister’ says ‘Sharia is compatible with human rights’. If you read the article though, it hard to find much evidence on how it is compatible other than that this is the barrister’s ‘interpretation’.

So we’re back to the ‘interpretation’ argument and also of course the bogus ‘not in the Koran’ argument.

Listen up Guardian: Sharia law is based on the Koran but also the Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence so whilst ‘not in the Koran’ might be a helpful PR exercise, it’s not very upstanding journalism, now is it?

It’s disturbing that ‘leading’ barristers and newspapers can say Sharia is compatible with human rights whilst it amputates, stones to death, imposes veiling, and kills apostates as we speak.

The best line of the whole puff piece though has to be: ‘only about half a dozen allow for amputations’. Only?!!

David is the Guardian paying you to write this crap or the Islamic regime of Iran? Oh I forgot, same difference…

ACLU: How can you simultaneously defend sharia and rights?

One Law for All co-spokesperson Anne Marie Waters has just sent off a letter to the the ACLU criticising its support or sharia law. In the letter she asks: ‘I am interested to know how the ACLU intends to square the circle on this, and how you can simultaneously support the application of sharia law in US Courts while claiming to stand up for the rights of women and fight against gender-based violence and discrimination.’

Here’s the letter in full. [Read more...]