November 2012: My body is not obscene; veiling it is

November 2012 is here. The photo for this month’s Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar is mine!

You can read why I did it in support of Egyptian atheist and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy by reading my interview with Now Lebanon  entitled ‘Stripping for Iran’. As I said:

When you are faced with an Islamic movement that considers you to be worth half of what a man is worth and demands that you be bound, gagged, veiled and segregated, then nudity becomes an important form of resistance and dissent as well as solidarity.

Nudity is the antithesis of veiling. It is a very modern way of challenging Islamism and the veil. Islamists want us covered up, hidden, not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply.

In many places – from Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq to even Islamist strongholds in Britain and the West – it is a crime to be an unveiled or improperly veiled woman. In such a situation, nudity is an important way of saying: “Enough! No More!”

By the way, here is my censored photo for Facebook since it doesn’t allow nudity…

You can download the calendar or purchase it here and join the scream on Facebook or Tweet #NudePhotoRevolutionary Calendar.

To see extensive media coverage on the Nude Calendar, click here.

Join the Scream!

Censored works shown for the first time in London

One Law for All’s 4th Passion for Freedom London Festival 2012 presents artists who dare to take action

The fourth annual festival will take place at the Unit24 Gallery in London’s South Bank. Artists from 30 countries around the world have entered their work into the competition this year. During the festival the works of 36 artists will be shown from countries spanning the globe including Afghanistan, Cuba, China, Italy, Iran, Pakistan, Poland, UK, and USA.

“Artists using mediums such as video, installation, painting and sculpture openly debate issues that are usually ‘swept under the carpet.’ It is important to remember that our society takes freedom for granted. Being interested in ‘the next big thing’ we forget that what we have was fought for and has to be protected,” says Agnieszka Kolek, KM Curator.

The exhibition’s message comes across strongly with Sarah Maple’s work “Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction”. Invited to be a Special Guest Artist, Sarah decided to confront the viewer with their own reflection. ‘It is like everyone can be an activist in their everyday lives through small acts,’ says Sarah.

“Real change comes about by challenging and dissenting not by appeasement and silence. It comes about by breaking taboos and pushing aside that which is deemed sacred and art is such an important way of doing this. As Ai Wei Wei says, if we don’t push, nothing changes.” says Maryam Namazie, One Law for All’s Spokesperson. [Read more...]

If not now, then when?

Someone always has some statistics about the West’s failings whenever I speak of Iran or Islam or sharia and wants to know what I’m doing about it…

Next time I meet someone protesting against the welfare cuts in Britain, I’ll be sure to ask what s/he is doing about the Iranian regime’s cut in subsidies or the brutal economic sanctions!? (Not.)

And this happens to me all the time and it’s usually from people who do – well – nothing.

Just recently, after my talk at the National Secular Society’s Secularism conference, someone came up to specifically advise me not to focus on  Sharia law as it is discriminatory to do so (I guess they were sleeping during my speech). I asked the ‘well-meaning’ chap whether he would then go up to the brilliant Sue Cox at the adjoining Survivors Voice – Europe stall to ‘advise’ her to focus on something other than paedophilia and child rape in the church because it was so very discriminatory against Christianity. My point was that this is a demand solely made of us dissenters of Islam.

It never seems to be the right time or place to raise our issues…

I am now reminded of this because again today some dimwit, biasedfreethoughts, has spewed off statistics on US executions in a comment on my piece on the current killing spree by the Islamic regime of Iran and asked what I am doing against executions in the US!

That I am a long-term anti-death penalty campaigner or that this demand is never made of anti-DP campaigners in the US are side issues.

What angers me most about this sort of comparison (apart from being patronising) is that the reason behind it is not a real concern about the death penalty. Rather it is an attempt to promote a hierarchy of rights and wrongs – with the US always in the lead, thereby trivialising and dehumanising the lives of ‘the other’ and also their forms of resistance. If it’s not somehow holding the US culpable for everything, then it’s not the time and place.

Let me fill you all in on a secret.

The precious lives of the thirteen executed in the past 48 hours  - whatever their ‘crimes’ - is just as important  as the precious lives of those languishing on death row in the US – not more and not less.

And whilst I have often said that US-led militarism is the other side of the coin of Islamism, am I not allowed to focus on the executions in Iran if I so choose without someone telling me what is more important to condemn?

If not now, then when?

If not me, then who?

 

A killing spree

In the past 48 hours, the Islamic regime of Iran executed 13 people (in a report received by Mina Ahadi and the International Committee against Execution).

3 were executed this Sunday on charges of ‘corruption’ and ‘enmity against god’ in Sistan Baluchestan, namely Yahya Charizehi, Abdoljalil Kahrazehi and Abdolbasset Rigi.

10 others, including Saeed Sadighi and a father and son, were executed Monday morning in Tehran’s Evin prison for ‘drug-related’ offences.

Hundreds protested to stop the executions in Tehran. Security forces attacked the protesters and even threatened to shoot at them. This  marks the first time that the families of ordinary (not political) prisoners were involved in public protests against executions.

A ‘killing spree‘, and just another day in the life of this regime…

Per Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou:

The lock clanked open.

The smile on his lips trembled
like the dancing reflection of water on the wall
when the sun is shining.

The lock clanked open.

Outside

magical colors of dawn
were wondering around
like lost notes
trying to find refuge
in the holes of a bamboo flute.

The lock clanked open,
the smile on his lips trembled
like the dancing reflection of water on the wall
when the sun is shining.

The lock
clanked open.

 

Malala’s Lessons

The shooting of the wonderfully brave Malala Yousefzai by the Pakistani Taliban has brought to the fore many of the issues that I have been banging on about for a long time.

Not all Muslims (or those labelled as Muslims) support Islamism and the likes of the Taliban.

Many of them are its first victims and at the frontlines of resistance.

And because of who Malala is and what she represents, this ever-present resistance and dissent is pushing its way into mainstream consciousness and demanding to be seen and heard.

The far-Right keeps asking where the ‘Muslim’ voices of dissent are (and this question has become the question of the day within many circles). Of course, they ask this not because they care but because it implies that Muslims are one and the same with the vile Islamists so that the far-Right can justify its racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda.

Well, here they are…

On another related matter, what I find most ironic in all this is how the Taliban’s propaganda is so close to the nice, lovely, liberals and post-modernist and relativist Left who keep calling for tolerance and respect of the intolerable (as if the Islamist perspective is that of all Muslims).

I personally have lost count of the amount of times I have heard these lovely people tell me that the demand for universal rights is a demand for – shall we just put it in the Taliban’s words as they are one and the same – ‘western culture’ …

Like the far-Right, this lot sees Islamists and Muslims as one and the same but from another ‘progressive’ angle. Defending Sharia law, the Islamic regime of Iran’s right to nuclear technology, the veil, and every other bit of misogyny and barbarity is to them an act of anti-imperialism because they see Islamism as a force of resistance against US-led militarism (when it is in fact the other side of the same coin) and a defence of Muslims from bigotry. I suppose, to justify their inhuman position, they have no choice but to see Islamism as the representative of every single ‘Muslim’ no matter how many bodies pile up in prisons, in city centres, and alleyways across the Middle East, North Africa and right here in Europe.

How shameful. How very sorry I feel for this lot and how angry. Because in this colossal fight against the beast of Islamism, they knowingly or inadvertently have decided to side with the beast and not the likes of Malala.

Hopefully, this can be a turning point for them, though I won’t be holding my breath.

With or without them, the likes of Malala will bring – is bringing – Islamism to its knees.

The fact that the Taliban has to shoot a 14 year old girl who merely wants the right for girls to go to school shows how afraid they are of her and the dissent she represents and how very potent and effective this resistance is. Not bombs, not regime change from above, not economic sanctions but people power and sheer human will and defiance.

In the meanwhile, our young hero, Malala, has been able to walk with help, and has managed to converse in writing, even asking for her supporters to be thanked.

Islamists – and your cowardly apologists – be afraid, be very afraid…

Vanished into thin air

Avaaz reports that in the past 19 months at least 28,000 – 80,000 Syrians – if not more – have vanished into thin air, ‘disappeared’ by the Syrian government forces and militia as a deliberate strategy to terrorise the population at large. No one is safe – from women and men out food shopping to entire families, including 3 year old children…  You can listen to a harrowing report on the situation here.

Imagine your concern when one child goes missing in your neighbourhood or city. Then multiply that concern and keep on multiplying until you live in a society where everyone knows someone – directly or indirectly – who has disappeared…

In the midst of this colossal human tragedy, there are those despicables who are busy defending the Syrian regime (and the Islamic regime of Iran) and trivialising the deaths and disappearances.

To them I say this: stop for a moment. Don’t concern yourself with the Syrian government/Islamic regime of Iran party line or that of the USA or Britain. Don’t even concern yourself with the Free Syrian Army. Instead think of the mothers, fathers, lovers, children vanished into thin air and the innumerable waiting anxiously for news of them – often without any hope of their return.

The people of Syria have to be supported and the death dealers stopped now. Sign Avaaz’s petition to stop the death dealers now.

In the ‘words’ of Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat whose hands were broken earlier this year by Al-Asaad’s thugs:

 

4th Passion for Freedom Festival

One Law for All’s 4th Passion for Freedom Art Festival will be held during 3-10 November 2012 at UNIT 24 Gallery, 20 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0FD (Closest underground station: Southwark) showcasing the work of 40 artists from 20 countries worldwide. The artists will be addressing crucial issues related to freedom and religious laws.

One Law for All supporters are invited to attend a private viewing on Saturday 3 November from 6:30pm-9:30pm. To RSVP email [email protected]

Shortlisted artists being showcased are Amiri, Hangama (Canada, Afghanistan), Avila, Osailys Milian (Cuba), Bachaus, Maureen (The Netherlands), Beck, Eskild (Denmark), Behroozi, Azadeh (UK), Bennett, Elisabeth (UK), Betts, Gary (UK), Bonafede, John (USA), Breuker, Sarianne Elisabeth (The Netherlands), Burgher, Victoria (UK), Deceuninck, An (Belgium), Dent, Fiona (UK), Dong, van der Johan (The Netherlands), Eikelpoth, Alice (Germany/UK), Farahmandi, Ferri (UK/Iran), Franzolin, Luciana (UK/Italy), Gascoigne, Elisabeth (UK), Gorrill, Helen (UK), Georges, Hala (Syria/UK), Harrison, Paul (UK), Jamali, Haleh (UK/Iran), De Ioanni, Monica (UK/Greece), Johnson, Joy (UK), Lloyd, Matthew (UK), Leigh, Peter (UK), Massaro, Michael (UK), Nelson, Wendy (UK), Niemis, Renato (UK), Cuevas Pacorrosa, Rosa (UK/Spain), Qureshi, Abdullah (UK/Pakistan), Romain, Ricky (England), Saulat, Sausan (USA/Pakistan), Schgor, Francesca (England/France), Strzelecka, Maria (Poland), Taugner, Stephanie (USA), Teleki, Al (Austria), and Tracewska, Matylda (Poland) with special artist guest, Maple, Sarah. [Read more...]

This is how it’s done

When news spread that 14 year old Malala Yousafzai had been shot on her way home from school by the Taliban for being an advocate of  girls’ education, huge numbers of people showed up at the hospital to see if they could give blood or help in any way and held protests in her defence.

Like I said, Muslims (real or implied) are not a homogeneous community  - not in Britain and not in Pakistan or Iran.

Take a good look at Malala and also photos from some protest rallies and relish as I did the face of human resistance and dissent.

Islamists: this is the power that will eventually defeat you.

Now if only the nice liberals and post-modernist Left in Britain and the west could muster up the courage that is so often shown by people in the Middle East and North Africa…

I can hope can’t I?

DIY Blasphemy

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This is final blog for for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

The eighth post is Nothing can appease the Islamists.

The ninth post is two guest posts from Nobel Prize Winner Harry Kroto and Writer Tarek Fatah: Murder of Humans and Animals

Murder of humans and animals

For some reason the final posts for the day did not go live on time. Here they are now…

The guest post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty is from Nobel Prize Winner and Professor of Chemistry, Harry Kroto:

Murder is the most heinous crime one can commit but within this evil there are degrees.  Murder by an individual is evil and the shooting of a small brave girl demanding her right to knowledge yesterday by cowardly men egged on by religious orders in Pakistan fills all decent people with deep revulsion and sorrow for the human race.

However the ultimate evil is murder by the state.  The state draws an arbitrary line based on some dogma or other and that line moves in the 8th Century in Persia it was anyone who remained Zoroastrian, during the Dark Ages the Inquisition was arbitrary in decision-making in Germany in 1940′s it was Jews,  Gypsies  and Homosexuals.  Murder by the State for whatever reason is the most heinous crime of all and must end.

Here is a second guest post from writer Tarek Fatah:

Here is my blasphemy :-)

In two weeks time the Islamic world will erupt into a frenzy of bloodletting which in just one day will cost the lives of millions of goats, cows and camels. They will be slaughtered from Somalia to Surinam; Indonesia to Indiana as a way of Muslims re-enacting the pagan ritual of animal sacrfice to the gods, except Muslims will do it to commemorate the sacrifice patriarch Abraham was willing to offer to God when he put the blade to the neck of his son Ismail.

Kids as young as 5 years of age will be taken to witness this gory spectacle with blood gushing and heads decapitated. The entire day after Hajj this bloody exercise will unfold in the name of religiosity and piety with no Muslim daring to raise their voice and demand a stop to this ritual that has been discard by most of humanity, but has stuck to Islamdom and where little boys get desensitized to the sigh of throat slitting, blood letting and animals writhing in pain, unable to scream for their own rights as creatures of the divine who were here long before us.

Let me be the first to say, end this bloodshed. If you do feel the necessity to sacrifice something precious to God, why don;t you smash your iPhone or your Rolex wristwatch instead of a voiceless animal.

And if it is life that you need to offer to God, then why not your own? Go ahead make my day.

****

I’m blogging every hour on the hour (from 9am-6pm) for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

The eighth post is Nothing can appease the Islamists.

Nothing can appease the Islamists

Thanks to the counter-revolutionary Muslim Brotherhood and president Morsi, the charge of blasphemy is on the rise in Egypt, including against two children aged 8 and 9.

Alber Saber, a 27-year-old computer science graduate, has also recently been charged with blasphemy.

When an angry mob tried to break into their home after neighbours accused Saber of uploading sections of the ridiculously bad film, Innocence of Muslims, his mother called the police who then promptly detained Alber for “his own protection.”

Later, when his mother went to the police station to pick him up, she was surprised to find that charges had been pressed against him rather than the mob that was trying to break into their home.

Yes, quite…

I too am still often surprised by how easily men, women and children are sacrificed to appease the Islamists.

But nothing will appease them. Appeasement will only legitimise and encourage their mob violence and their murder and mayhem.

Instead, we need to stand up to them, defend the right to blaspheme, and real solidarity with those on the frontlines dissenting and resisting day in and day out.

****

I’m blogging every hour on the hour for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

 

Enough!

This is a guest post from the fantastic Sue Cox, Survivors Voice Europe for Day of Agreement to mark International Day against the Death Penalty:

I reckon I would last about  ten minutes in the  morning with my “no dissent” day!

I listened to the radio today and heard  some idiot spouting about the need to “curb” the “hysteria” surrounding the victims of Jimmy Saville. Of course I would forget my resolve and shout at the radio! It is a cause that is close to my heart and I would be unable to control my reactions! If I couldn’t express my feelings , and I know many simply can’t I think I would burst.

Although I have to say, I have wondered why it has taken the disgusting behaviour of some weirdo “celebrity” to cause the communal  outrage, (dreadful though it was)  and yet the thousands upon thousands of  catholic clergy sexual abuse survivors , and the thousands upon thousands of women subjugated by Islam, or living under the threat of Sharia law,with all the horrors that entails,  seems  to have passed everyone by?

But it was ever thus, atrocities go on for years under people’s noses, and suddenly one incident seems to capture their imagination and create a communal scream.

In my experience sometimes it takes a small shift  to open ones eyes to the greater picture, that is why we as activists continue with our “small shifts”.

As you know, my own crusade is against the subjugation of human beings by the catholic church, but  being with you on various rallies, you have opened my eyes too!

I thank you all in One law for all for showing me  the realities of the  suffering of others at the hands of radical Islam.

It is very easy when you are passionate about something to be insular, to imagine that your cause is the one that matters and that somehow you have the monopoly on suffering. But of course, the beast may have  different names, the religion may have another face, but the subjugation of human beings is the same cruel  monster.

I know I will not be capable of “a no dissent” day, and thank you for showing me what that must feel like to someone who has no choice.

I can’t be at the flash mob (and that has pissed me off too !) But every hour on the hour  I  send you heaps of smiles and love and solidarity!

I can only hope that the Saville debacle will allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves as a colluding society and Shout  ENOUGH of these appalling abuses, of subjugation, of denial of women’s rights and gay and lesbian rights, ENOUGH hiding behind Sharia Law and Canon Law, and for that shout each and every one of us is responsible.

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I’m blogging every hour on the hour for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

This is why open mike nights don’t work

 

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I’m blogging every hour on the hour for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

Calling all blasphemers

Blasphemy is an important form of resistance against the Islamic inquisition.

Why not join me in your very own act of blasphemy?

Mine (for now at least) is not so original but it’ll do very well: It’s a pineapple called Mohammad, courtesy of Reading University’s Atheist Group:

Why not post yours or link to your favorite act of blasphemy in the comments section below and I’ll award the best one with a  Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar, which is pretty blasphemous too.

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This is the fifth blog post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty.

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

There is a need for blasphemy

In the recent BBC documentary on The Fatwa: Salman Rushdie’s Story, writer Hanif Kureishi says:

Rushdie speaks in the book for Muslims. This is an extremely important book. He speaks for their doubts. He speaks the bits of them that they actually think and feel sometimes – do I really believe in all this stuff – but can’t say. He, at considerable personal cost, has spoken a truth that millions of other people want to speak and for which he is being punished. If writers are devils it is because they speak in the face of the religious-Right.

In his new memoir, Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie argues that there is a need for blasphemy:

The writers of the French enlightenment had deliberately used blasphemy as a weapon, refusing to accept the power of the Church to set limiting points on thought.

Blasphemy against Islam is our weapon too. It is our refusal to submit, it is our anti-clericalism and the anti- the Islamic inquisition of our era…

***

This is the fourth blog post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty.

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

Honour the dissenters

The below is a guest post from the brilliant Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas, to mark Day of Agreement. It is a must read.

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

In Mali, on a number of occasions, citizens attempted to stop public amputations, stonings and floggings; Malian women also attacked AQMI (Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique) in an attempt to stand up against the imposition of a so-called ‘Islamic dress code’ that is totally alien to their culture ( but have you heard anyone in Europe stand up in defence of their right to preserve their culture, their traditional way of dressing which is NOT the freshly imported so-called ‘Islamic veil’ Saudi style?). In response, fundamentalist armed groups fired at them with sub-machine guns.

In India, in the city of Ahmadabad, two citizens stood their ground facing crowds demonstrating against the anti-Muslim video: The Innocence of Muslims. They held posters saying ‘just don’t watch it!’. They were seriously hurt.

In Iran, a woman beat up a cleric who made comments about her supposedly anti-Islamic outfit. She told him to look the other way, and when he persisted, she beat him up. We can be sure she will pay a dire price for it.

In Libya, on the site of the attack in Benghazi, demonstrators held signs apologising for the murder of the US Ambassador and expressing in various ways a ‘not in our name’ stance that distanced themselves from the killers. It was also citizens who initiated the expulsion of the armed militia from the cities, whilst government troops only came in later.

In Afghanistan, demonstrators physically confronted the authorities when they renamed a university with the name of a religious-Right leader.

In Tunisia, women regularly take to the streets to defend their constitutional rights and to oppose any setbacks on equality under the law between citizens –men and women.

In Pakistan, women’s organisations have been demonstrating for a secular state, with a clear separation of politics from religion, for several years now.

One could give many more examples from other countries.

These citizens are the future of their countries and of humanity. But when have European media properly reported on these events? Where has such news been given front-page attention?

How long will it take for the European Left and human rights organisations to defend the courageous people who stand up to fundamentalists at risk to their lives, rather than their oppressors and killers?

Why is it assumed that fundamentalists, i.e. neo-fascist religious extreme-Right, represent and defend the ‘real Islam’?

Why is it assumed that all those who oppose fundamentalists are anti-Islam renegades – and that therefore, if they get killed, well… they deserve to die?

Why are secularists considered ‘Islamophobic’ when they are anti-fundamentalist?

And why does the Left persistently use the terminology that has been coined by the fundamentalists: ‘sharia law’, ‘Islamophobia’, ‘fatwa’, etc… a terminology that secularists have persistently denounced and deconstructed.

The ten year long resistance to armed fundamentalism in Algeria and its 200,000 victims did not manage to change the views of the Left and human rights organisations vis-a-vis fundamentalism. Nor, it seems, the internal resistance that today, in many countries, is making itself visible.

But something may change their minds: the attempted assassination on a child in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old supporter of education for girls. They shot at her and took responsibility for the attack. They declared that they would attack her again if she survives, and that anyone against the Taliban will be executed. Must it not be clear at long last that a child demanding her right to education is considered a supporter of ‘the West’, an enemy of Islam (since the Taliban claims that they are the only legitimate representatives of Islam), an ‘apostate’, and one that deserves to be physically eliminated? As all us ‘kafirs’ deserve to… [Read more...]

It is possible not to cause offence

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This is my second blog entry for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty.

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

No-one is safe, not even 14 year olds

Yesterday, the Taliban critically wounded Malala Yousafzai, the lovely and brave 14 year old Pakistani girl, on her way home from school.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said they targeted Yousafzai because she generated ‘negative propaganda’ and was the ‘symbol of the infidels and obscenity’. If she survived, Ihsan said, the Taliban would try to kill her again.

Sounds familiar?

After all, she dared to  defend the right of girls to an education, particularly offensive to the Taliban which had banned them from attending school, amongst many other things.

When religion is in power, any challenge to it – even something as simple as a girl wanting to go to school – can be deemed offensive, obscene and blasphemous.

And this is exactly why no-one – not even a 14 year old – is safe.

In light of this stark reality, calls for blasphemy laws and censorship is nothing short of a defence of the Taliban herds and their vile Sharia rules because it denies people their thoughts, their words, their expressions, and their resistance and dissent.

All at the expense of sweet Malala and the innumerable like her – challenging Islamism day in and day out by demanding to live  21st century lives.

Today is for her and them.

***

This is my first blog entry for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty. I will be blogging every hour, on the hour, and will have some guest posts too.

All day blogathon to mark Day of Agreement

I will be blogging every hour on the hour from 9.00am tomorrow morning until 6.00pm in opposition to blasphemy laws, censorship and the crushing of dissent. Join me on the Day of Agreement tomorrow by adding your voice to the innumerable fighting for the right to dissent from, criticise and renounce Islam…