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Oct 10 2012

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…

We are today’s Jean-François Lefevre de la Barre (September 12, 1745 – July 1, 1766) – the young French man who was atrociously tortured and murdered before his body was burnt on a pyre along with Voltaire’s “Philosophical Dictionary” for refusing to remove his hat while a religious procession passed by.

No one in Europe would dream of justifying such ‘Christian’ atrocities in the name of religion today. But it seems presumed ‘Muslims’ do not deserve an equal access to universal human rights, freedom of thought and freedom of conscience. Presumed ‘Muslims’ are ‘under cultural arrest’; they are bound by customs and religion and should remain so, while the rest of humanity enjoys universal rights.

We are today’s Chevalier de la Barre, demanding our right not to believe in any religion without being tortured and killed.

We are today’s Chevalier de la Barre, demanding our right not to veil, to be educated, to work for wages, to move freely and to enjoy all citizens’ rights.

Jean François de la Barre was 19; Malala is only 14. His legal assassination prompted political changes in France towards secularism. Will hers be the price to pay for our emancipation from state-sanctioned religion and its legal implications on our lives?

***

This guest post is the third 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.

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

 

 

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  1. 1
    Tumbledown Survivor

    The actions of the right wing and their terrorist colleagues make news and sell newspapers. The actions of those that oppose the right wing are mostly carried out in a civilised manner and are not sensational in a way that will generate profits for the media moguls.
    Politicians have jumped onto the anti-Islam band wagon in order to give people what they see as a common enemy. This gives the populace something else to think about and diverts attention away from the difficulties in their homelands which the politicians are unwilling to tackle.
    From an outsiders point of view, it would be beneficial for us to be made aware of the degree of dissent that exists in Islamic countries. Is it widespread? Is it confined mainly to small groups of people? If it is widespread, what can we who do not suffer the oppression of Islamic fundamentalists do to help our fellow human beings to cast off their oppressors?
    Just as young women in Islamic countries wish to be educated, many of us in none Islamic countries need to understand how deep the dissent goes. We need educating too.

  2. 2
    Stan Iller

    Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful site.

  3. 3
    Crab2 Crab

    Joumana Haddad
    Arte, hier soir, après le JT
    28 Minutes, du lundi 4 02 2013, Merci à Joumana Haddad, pour la lucidité dont elle fait preuve dans sa critique fine des monothéismes, autant de religions qui n’ont pas d’autre objet que de sacraliser les patriarcats
    [ bien que ce soit parfois difficile de le dire, notamment quand '' on '' est une femme arabe ( du moins je le suppose ) ], de reconnaître que le sexisme, l’athéophobie, l’homophobie et la xénophobie préexistants dans les autres monothéismes y est plus particulièrement aggravé dans la religion musulmane ou le coran parle ( notamment ) des femmes à la troisième personne
    Merci aussi pour…
    Suite :
    http://laiciteetsociete.hautetfort.com/archive/2013/02/05/joumana-haddad.html

  4. 4
    Crab2 Crab

    Le temps Femen

    Conférence de presse de la ministre française des droits de la femme, madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
    5/3/2013

    Département de l’information • Service des informations et des accréditations • New York

    Extrait :
    « Nous n’accepterons plus aucune forme de relativisme culturel lorsqu’il s’agit de la protection des femmes », a déclaré, ce matin, au cours d’une conférence de presse au Siège de l’ONU à New York, Mme Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Ministre française des droits des femmes

    « Nous voulons mettre l’accent sur l’attachement de la France au caractère universel des droits des femmes, de tous les droits qui s’attachent à la personne humaine », a insisté la Ministre.  « Ce combat que nous menons sur notre territoire doit être mené partout dans le monde sans rien céder aux explications ou justifications culturelles, religieuses et traditionnelles », a tranché la Ministre française

    Suite :
    http://laicite.over-blog.com/article-le-temps-femen-115937236.html

  1. 5
    Scusate, quanto tempo vi serve? « il Blog di Daniele Barbieri & altr*

    [...] Come nota l’iraniana Maryam Namazie: «Quanto ci vorrà alla sinistra europea e alle organizzazioni pro diritti umani per difendere le persone coraggiose che si oppongono ai fondamentalisti a rischio delle loro vite, anziché i loro oppressori e assassini? Perché si dà per scontato che un’estrema destra religiosa e neo-fascista rappresenti il “vero Islam”? Perché si dà per scontato che coloro che si oppongono a essa sono “rinnegati anti-islamici” e perciò, se sono uccisi, meritavano di morire? Perché la sinistra europea continua a usare la terminologia che i fondamentalisti stessi hanno creato: “sharia – legge islamica”, “islamofobia”, “fatwa”… una terminologia che i laici hanno persistentemente denunciato e decostruito? Nemmeno una resistenza al fondamentalismo durata dieci anni, in Algeria, e le sue 200.000 vittime, sono riuscite a cambiare il modo in cui la sinistra e le organizzazioni pro diritti umani vedono il fondamentalismo». (da «Honour the Dissenters» – http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2012/10/10/honour-the-dissenters/). [...]

  2. 6
    La libertà secondo i fondamentalisti « miglieruolo

    [...] Come nota l’iraniana Maryam Namazie: «Quanto ci vorrà alla sinistra europea e alle organizzazioni pro diritti umani per difendere le persone coraggiose che si oppongono ai fondamentalisti a rischio delle loro vite, anziché i loro oppressori e assassini? Perché si dà per scontato che un’estrema destra religiosa e neo-fascista rappresenti il “vero Islam”? Perché si dà per scontato che coloro che si oppongono a essa sono “rinnegati anti-islamici” e perciò, se sono uccisi, meritavano di morire? Perché la sinistra europea continua a usare la terminologia che i fondamentalisti stessi hanno creato: “sharia – legge islamica”, “islamofobia”, “fatwa”… una terminologia che i laici hanno persistentemente denunciato e decostruito? Nemmeno una resistenza al fondamentalismo durata dieci anni, in Algeria, e le sue 200.000 vittime, sono riuscite a cambiare il modo in cui la sinistra e le organizzazioni pro diritti umani vedono il fondamentalismo». (da «Honour the Dissenters» – http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2012/10/10/honour-the-dissenters/). [...]

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