Support Amina!

555131_562483327107367_155145990_nDear friends,

Amina is asking for support! She is preparing to escape from Tunisia for her own safety. Please join the campaign to support Amina by donating here.

As has been previously reported, Amina was kidnapped by her family after posting a topless photo of herself for Femen Tunisia. On April 12, Amina managed to escape. She was able to get her papers. But they are outdated, and are being renewed. She is now safe. Thanks to all those who mobilised on her behalf. [More information can be found here.]

We now need her to look ahead with regards her safety. Applications for a scholarship for her have been made, and will be in place in September. In the meantime, we need 4,000 Euros ($5,200) to pay for travel and accommodation, food and security until September. If we raise more, we can meet Amina’s security needs beyond September.

The practicality of the call for donations will be managed by the organisation, Prochoix.

Upon receipt of the donations by Prochoix via the crowdfunding platform, Filmmaker Nadia El Fani who is in daily contact with Amina will be responsible for ensuring Amina’s needs are met.

Collectif Free Amina
Fiammetta Venner (Prochoix)
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker

Update from One Law for All

Update from One Law for All

Dear Friend,

Thank you as always for your support of One Law for All.  As you might know, sharia is being increasingly discussed in the media quite regularly, including an undercover report by the BBC’s Panorama programme.  We write today to give a review of that programme, and to tell you a little about our upcoming plans.

Panorama

This week’s BBC Panorama programme “Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils” confirms why One Law for All has been campaigning against the discriminatory parallel legal system running counter to British law for nearly five years.

As has been repeatedly stated, women are being held to ransom, told to remain in violent situations, blamed for the violence they face, refused divorces over many years, and placed under undue pressure including with regards child access and welfare. The programme confirms this.

Whilst Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Northwest, Nazir Afzal, asserts that “most of them are absolutely fine but there are some clearly, like this one, who are putting women at risk”, One Law for All believes that all Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals put women at risk. This is because the problem lies not with rogue councils or judges disrespecting the tenets of Sharia but is the result of a strict adherence to the Sharia.

Both the previous Government (which allowed them to evade investigation) and the current one, which asserts that existing legislation is sufficient to address this matter have shown nothing but moral cowardice and betrayed a large segment of British society. It is enough now.

The British government must put the rights and equality of all citizens over and above any religious laws and put an end to this human rights scandal once and for all. You can read the full text of our press release on the programme here.

We urge you to continue to exert pressure on the Government. Clearly our message is getting through. We must keep fighting till we win.

Please also sign One Law for All’s petition against Sharia law, which has over 29000 signatories.

Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill

One Law for All continues to work with Caroline Cox in the promotion of her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill which aims to place criminal sanctions upon religious councils and tribunals that mislead women.  The Bill will also place a legal obligation on public sector agencies to advise women (correctly) of their rights under English law, and aims to bring private tribunals in to line with equality and human rights laws in the UK.  The Bill has received strong support from women’s rights organisations as Inspire, as well as by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, the Henna Foundation, Karma Nirvana and British Muslims for Secular Democracy.  Last year, it passed its second reading in the House of Lords.  Whilst the Bill has stalled due to the Government’s refusal to support it, the Bill will be re-introduced following the state opening of Parliament in May and we will update you on its progress.  You can read more here.

Please support Baroness Cox Equalities Bill, which was inspired by One Law for All here. [Read more...]

While we remember the dead, let us also remember those fighting to live

bangladeshibloggersToday 25 April has been declared a day of mourning in Bangladesh for the victims of the nation’s worst factory disaster. The death toll of the collapsed garment factory has risen to 160; more than a 1000 have been injured. Rescuers continue to hunt for survivors.

Those who died in the building collapse did not need to die. Workers saw cracks in the building the day before but were ignored.

Today is also the International Day to Defend Bangladesh’s Bloggers, four of whom are imprisoned, and more than 80 others who face death threats by Islamists. Here too their safety and lives have been ignored by the Government.

In both these cases, the Government has failed to defend fundamental rights. Unfortunately, it is too late for the many garment factory workers. But there is still time to save Bangladesh’s bloggers. The Government must act before it is too late.

On 25 April, whist we remember the dead, we must also remember those who are fighting to live.

Upload your actions and protests on social media sites. Join the day’s Facebook Page. Contact the Bangladeshi embassy in your country of residence and sign the petition now.  Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers and more.

You can also join protest actions taking place in the following places:

UK

  • London:  Trafalgar Square. 2-3pm.

USA

  • Washington, DC: Embassy of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. 4:30 pm ET. Details here.
  • New York City: Office of the Consulate General of Bangladesh, 211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017. 4:30 pm ET
    Will begin at Grand Central Station, move to the consulate, and then the United Nations building. Details here.
  • Columbia, MO: Speakers’ Circle, Columbia, MO. 12 pm CT. Hosted by MU SASHA (Skeptics, Atheist, Secular Humanist, and Agnostics). Details here.

BBC Panorama Programme on Sharia: It is enough now

One Law for All
Press Release

This week’s BBC Panorama programme “Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils” confirms why One Law for All has been campaigning against the discriminatory parallel legal system running counter to British law for nearly five years.

As has been repeatedly stated, including in “Sharia Courts in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights”, women are being held to ransom, told to remain in violent situations, blamed for the violence they face, refused divorces over many years, and placed under undue pressure including with regards child access and welfare.

The programme confirms this. The undercover reporter is told not to contact police when she asks a senior cleric Suhaib Hasan (who has advocated stoning and amputation) whether she should report the violence she has suffered at the hands of her husband.  Mr Hasan also wrongly tells her that if she were to report the violence to the police, she “will have to leave the house”.  This is entirely untrue.  In fact, an abused spouse may apply to the Court for an Occupation Order, which can remove a violent spouse from the home – or a defined area surrounding the home – and can impose criminal sanctions if the order is not obeyed.  Mr Hasan’s advice is misleading and deliberately aimed at frightening women in to adhering to the Sharia Council’s authority.  Hasan also repeats the Sharia position that a man has the right to hit his wife provided he leaves no marks. He asks if her husband beats her “severely”.  When she questioned what was meant by “severely”, Hasan asks “it leaves some bruises on your body?”.

Mr Hasan goes on to advise the undercover reporter to question herself as to what she had done to provoke this violence.  He suggests she ask her husband “is it because of my cooking?”, “is it because I see my friends?”.

Women’s rights organisations have for many years been working to end this disgraceful victim-blaming when women are abused, and great strides have been made.  These strides, however, do not seem to apply to Muslim women.

Whilst Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Northwest, Nazir Afzal, asserts that “most of them are absolutely fine but there are some clearly, like this one, who are putting women at risk”, One Law for All believes that all Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals put women at risk. This is because the problem lies not with rogue councils or judges disrespecting the tenets of Sharia but is the result of a strict adherence to the Sharia. [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins and Mehdi Hasan

Andrew Brown of the Guardian accuses Richard Dawkins of “anti-Muslim tweets” for criticising the absurd beliefs of journalist Mehdi Hasan.

Now I know the likes of Andrew Brown and Mehdi Hasan have made playing the victim card into a business wherever Islam or Islamism are concerned but in the real world, a criticism of one’s religious beliefs are not bigotry. Full stop. If they were, then Brown’s criticism of Dawkins would be deemed bigotry against atheists. What applies to everyone else also applies to Mehdi Hasan.

Brown and Hasan conveniently forget the distinction between having the right to a belief (however absurd) and the expectation that others respect your beliefs.

In response to Dawkins, Mehdi Hasan tweeted:

@RichardDawkins thanks Richard. Now, can you pls clarify, should NS stop publishing me because of my Islamic religious beliefs? Yes or no?

Of course Dawkins made it very clear that he was not saying that religious journalists should not be allowed to publish but that is besides the point. The shrill cries of Islamophobia and further attempts at scaremongering people into silence continue unabated.

Now whilst Dawkins says Mehdi Hasan’s views should not prevent him from publishing in the New Statesman, I am not so forgiving.  Not because Hasan is a “Muslim” but because he is a proponent of Islamism – a far-Right movement.

I know he comes across all innocent as many Islamists do but here is more information on Mehdi Hasan for those who have been duped into thinking he is a “Muslim journalist”.
Mehdi Hasan has said:

The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.

On another occasion he has said:

Once we lose the moral high-ground we are no different from the rest of the non-Muslims; from the rest of those human beings who live their lives as animals, bending any rule to fulfil any desire.

Of course there is a lot more but I do not have the stomach to find them for you. He has defended the vile Islamic regime of Iran and attempted to normalise Islamism as the intervention of “Muslims” in the public space – so as to conflate Islamist with Muslim in order to cry racism and Islamophobia any time anyone confronts him and his beloved movement.
Well, sorry no can do.

For for those who don’t know the difference between a Muslim and Islamist, read this.

Of course Andrew Brown and Mehdi Hasan know this already. They are just hoping you don’t.

Leaving Islam is not a crime

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Press Release

CEM-moroccoMorocco’s High Council of Ulemas (the highest government religious institution headed by the King) has issued a fatwa decreeing the death penalty for Moroccans who leave Islam. Currently, under Morocco’s penal code, those who impede or prevent worship face imprisonment and fines.

An attack on apostates is clearly a response to the establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco – the first public atheist organisation in a country with Islam as the state religion.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain reminds the government of Morocco that the right to religion has a corresponding right to be free from religion.

Leaving Islam is not a crime; issuing death fatwas against people, however, is.

We call on the Moroccan government to cancel the fatwa, guarantee the security of apostates and freethinkers and prosecute those who threaten citizens with death.

We call on the public to defend the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco and the right to atheism and renouncing Islam.

You can support the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco here.

Defending bloggers, defends us all

bangladeshibloggers25 April is the International Day to Defend Bangladeshi Bloggers.

Islamists want 84 bloggers dead for speaking their minds. Rather than arrest and prosecute the Islamists, the Bangladeshi government has arrested 4 bloggers and promises to arrest more!

And so the fight continues between Islamists and their appeasers on the one hand and freethinkers, secularists, atheists, socialists and humanists on the other. This fight is global and is taking place as we speak in every corner of the globe…

Defending Bangladesh’s bloggers, defends us all. Any harm that befalls them, harms us all.

On 25 April, come out in full force to stand with and defend them.

Upload your actions and protests on social media sites. Join the day’s Facebook Page. Contact the Bangladeshi embassy in your country of residence and sign the petition now.  Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers and more.

You can also join protest actions taking place in the following places:

UK

  • London:  Trafalgar Square. More details to follow.

USA

  • Washington, DC: Embassy of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. 4:30 pm ET. Details here.
  • New York City: Office of the Consulate General of Bangladesh, 211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017. 4:30 pm ET
    Will begin at Grand Central Station, move to the consulate, and then the United Nations building. Details here.
  • Columbia, MO: Peace Park, Columbia, MO. 12 pm CT. Hosted by MU SASHA (Skeptics, Atheist, Secular Humanist, and Agnostics). Details here.

Onwards towards a successful day of outrage and action.

Free the bloggers now and hands off our freethinkers.

My Right, Woman’s Right

From Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Here is some interesting footage of women in Iran at a football stadium. The regime’s female security is warning women to behave via loudspeakers and telling them to stop dancing and shouting slogans.

As is the case in Iran, even attending a football match becomes political.

Women continue shouting slogans, including:

My Right, Woman’s Right: Half of Freedom
(Hagh e Man, Haghe Zan: Neemy az Azadi)

Entry to a Stadium is our Inalienable Right
(Vurud be Stadium, Hagh e Mosalam e Mast)

At the end of the footage, one woman says: “They keep telling us don’t behave this way, don’t give slogans, don’t do this and don’t do that.  Men can do what they want… their rules and restrictions are for women only.”

Support “red-clothed” women of Marivan

Fitna – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Press Release

marivan

On Monday 15 April 2013, the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces paraded a man dressed in women’s clothing and a hejab on the streets of Marivan, Iranian Kurdistan in order to punish and humiliate him. A judge had sentenced three men from two feuding families to be “humiliated” by wearing women’s clothing in public.

You can see a video of it here.

The regime’s anti-women laws mean that women are seen to be the source of fitnah, corruption and harm; the greatest humiliation that can be bestowed on a man is to have him dressed as a woman!

Zanan_MariwanOn Tuesday, red-clothed women started a protest and called on others to join. 400 men and women joined in a march throughout the city. The police arrested some of the protesters; all of whom were subsequently released.

On Friday 19 April, there was another public protest, in which there were banners saying:

“Being a woman is not a source of humiliation or punishment”.

Many of the protesting women are wearing red. The protests are gaining prominence in Iran and elsewhere.

On Monday 21 April, there was a gathering in Iraqi Kurdistan is support of this move. Petitions are being circulated in towns and villages in Iran in support of the “red-clothed” women.

menmarivan

Also, over the past few days, men from the region and abroad have begun to publish photos of themselves wearing women’s clothing as a form of protest and declaring that being a woman is not shameful.

As Maryam, one of the campaigners from Marivan, Iran says:

“Our protest is against misogyny and the humiliation of women but also against parading men in this way and the humiliation of human dignity. We ask the people of the world to support and defend us”.

Fitnah-Movement for Women’s Liberation wholeheartedly defends this protest, has initiated a campaign in their defence, and is calling for 27 April 2013 to be an international day to defend the “red-clothed” women of Marivan.

For more information, contact:
Mina Ahadi, +49 (0) 1775692413
Keyvan Javid: +44 (0) 7861476869
Maryam Namazie: +44 (0) 7719166731
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: fitnah.movement@gmail.com
Blog: http://fitnahmovement.blogspot.co.uk

Fitnah! Movement for Women’s Liberation

Fitnah LogoToday, we establish Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

Fitnah is a protest movement demanding freedom, equality, and secularism and calling for an end to misogynist cultural, religious and moral laws and customs, compulsory veiling, sex apartheid, sex trafficking, and violence against women.

We remind the Islamic regime of Iran and Islamists everywhere that the women’s liberation movement is a source of fitnah for their rule alone.

We are Islamism’s worst fitnah!

To join Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, visit here.

Click ‘like’ on our Facebook page.

Signed

Abdol Golparian, Labour Activist, Finland
Adam Lee, Blogger, Daylight Atheism, USA
Afsaneh Vahdat, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
Amanda Brown, We are Atheism, Atheism Resource and Atheists Giving Aid, USA
Amina Tyler, FEMEN Tunisia, Tunisia
Amir Ilkhanzadeh, Communist Youth Organization, Iran
Annie Sugier, President, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, France
Armin Navabi, Founder, Atheist Republic, Canada
August Berkshire, Atheist Speaker and Activist, Past Vice President of Atheist Alliance International, USA
Avijit Roy, Founding Moderator, Mukto-Mona, Science Writer and Activist, Bangladesh [Read more...]

فتنه

Fitnah Logoبیانیه اعلام موجودیت

از نظر همه مذاهب، اسلام وحكومت های اسلامی زنان منبع فتنه تلقی میشوند.

امروز و به این وسیله ما آغاز به فعالیت “فتنه – جنبش برای رهائی زن” را اعلام می كنیم.

فتنه یک حرکت اعتراضی است در دفاع از آزادی، برابری و سكولاریسم و علیه:

- قوانین و سنتهای ضد زن در همه جوامع

 –  زن ستیزی مذهبی و بویژه قوانین شریعه و تعرض نیروهای اسلامی به حقوق و حرمت زن

 - خشونت نسبت به زنان

-  تابوها و تعصبات فکری و فرهنگی و اخلاقی و مذهبی علیه زنان

- بردگی جنسی زن.تجارت زنان و دختران توسط باند ها و مافیای سكس

- حجاب اجباری و آپارتاید جنسی

جنبش برای رهائی زن بویژه “فتنه” ای است علیه حکومت اسلامی ضد زن در ایران و علیه همه جریانات اسلامی در همه جا!

ما همه مبارزین برای آزادی و رهائی  زن را به حمایت فعال از این حرکت فرا میخوانیم!

برای امضای این بیانیه و پیوستن به این جنبش می توانید به لینك زیر مراجعه كنید

امضاها:

۱- آدام له وبلاگ نویس ٬ آتیسم در روز روشن٬ آمریکا

۲- آماندا براون٬ ما آتیسم هستیم٬ منافع و حمایتهای آتئیسم٬ آمریکا

۳- آمینا تایلر٬ فمن – تونس

۴- آنی سوگیر٬ مسئول نهاد بین المللی حقوق زنان– فرانسه

۵- آرمین نوابی ٬ موسس جمهوری آتیستی – کانادا

۶- آگوستو برکشیر سخنگو و فعال آتیسم ٬ معاون قبلی رئیس جبهه انترناسیونال آتئیستی – امریکا

[Read more...]

Hands off our freethinkers!

fazilsayCelebrated Turkish pianist and atheist Fazil Say has been given a 10-month suspended sentence for Twitter comments “insulting Islam”. He will face imprisonment if he “re-offends” and has shut down his Twitter account.

His Tweets included a verse from a poem by Omar Khayyám in which the 11th-century Persian poet attacks pious hypocrisy: “You say rivers of wine flow in heaven, is heaven a tavern to you? You say two huris [companions] await each believer there, is heaven a brothel to you?” In other Tweets, he made fun of a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds. Say tweeted: “Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?”

Emre Bukagili, a “citizen” (read Islamist) who filed the initial complaint against Say, said that the musician had used “a disrespectful, offensive and impertinent tone toward religious concepts such as heaven and the call to prayer.”

taslimaIn other news, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin who has faced numerous threats to her life has also been dragged into an Indian court and prevented from leaving the country by an Islamist because her Tweet on Muslim women “hurt his religious sentiments”.

Her Tweet?

“Muslim women deserve to have sex with 72 virgin men on the earth as they won’t get these things in heaven.”

And of course everyone knows about the threats of death against atheist, secularist and freethinking Bangladeshi bloggers. Islamists have called for the execution of 84.

Rather than arresting the Islamists, the Bangladeshi government has arrested four bloggers, namely Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob, Rasel Parvez, and Asif Mohiuddin, who was brutally attacked in January. The four are still in detention and their bail applications refused. In the meantime, two more have been arrested from another district, one for ‘liking’ a Facebook page, the other for liking his ‘like’!  There are reports that the government is now planning to arrest 7 or 11 more bloggers, An International Day to Defend Bangladesh’s bloggers has been called in order to stand with and support them.

Of course many Muslims also face attacks from Islamists and their supporters for questioning and challenging the status quo.

niqab

Canadian Muslim art student Sooraya Graham is one such case. She has had to leave her university and city of residence due to threats following an art work on women and the niqab.

As I have said many times, no society is homogeneous. Those who try to muzzle our freethinkers by claiming “offence” forget that we too are offended daily by their medievalism and barbarity. But freedom of expression does not include the right not to be offended.

Rather than being a question of offence, however, such charges and threats are further attempts at silencing criticism of Islam and/or Islamism by the powers that be.

Despite the threats, what is becoming very clear is that nothing will stop this wave of dissent.

Hands off and long live our freethinkers!

Amina: “I will continue the struggle in Tunisia”

Amina’s first talk with FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko after her escape from detention. Amina was kidnapped, denied contact with friends and FEMEN, beaten, taken to a psychiatrist, drugged, forced to read the Koran and taken to imams though she is an atheist, taught “morals”, given a virginity test… all because she posted a topless photo of herself with the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.

Amina says she will not leave Tunisia until she does another topless action; she will continue the struggle…

And we will stand with her.

Here is the wonderful Amina:

Long Live Amina!

***

Congratulations to all those who defended Amina on the International Day to Defend Amina and shame on those who chose to side with Islam and Islamism.

Freedom is my culture.

Defend Bangladeshi Bloggers, Events, Ex-Muslims in Morocco and More

bangladeshibloggersHello

We are writing to give you an update on some important actions and events.

25 APRIL: INTERNATIONAL DAY TO DEFEND BANGLADESHI BLOGGERS

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and others have called for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. Please spread the word, sign this petition today, and stand with and for Bangladeshi freethinkers.

As you may know, in January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”. Rather than prosecute the Islamists, the government has arrested some bloggers and shut down blogs and sites.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

On 25 April, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers and more.

You can find more information here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Please don’t forget about our upcoming events and join us:

On 15 June, we will celebrate the CEMB’s sixth anniversary at a luncheon with keynote speaker Kenan Malik. Other speakers/acts include comedian Kate Smurthwaite and CEMB Spokesperson Maryam Namazie. The luncheon starts at 12pm for 1230pm start at a central London location.

Book your tickets today. [Read more...]

In defence of nude protest: freedom is my culture

600286_500584530000840_728079130_nNews Flash: 15 April 2013: There are reports that Amina has escaped from her detention but is still not fully safe or free. We await the day she is free and safe – hopefully soon. More information here.

13 April 2013: Today, FEMEN activists stormed a conference at which Tunisian president Marzouki was speaking at in Paris shouting “Free Amina”. They also chanted: “Who killed Chokri Belaid?” We continue to demand the freedom and safety of 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina who is being detained by her family after receiving death threats for posting a topless photo of herself. Below is my response to criticism of topless activism in support of Amina:

****

The International day to defend 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina was not “racism”, “colonialism”, or “cultural imperialism” as some have said.

It was just good old fashioned human solidarity – across borders and boundaries (many of them constructed).

Those who say otherwise have bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and even the “Muslim community” in the west) are “Islamic” and “conservative”.

Whilst those in power determine the dominant culture, there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere.

Those who consider nude protest as “foreign” and “culturally inappropriate” are only considering Islamism’s sensibilities and values, not that of the many who resist.

Clearly, in the same way that there are opponents of nude protest and supporters of the veil in the “west”, there are also supporters of nude protest and opponents of the veil in the “east”.

This shouldn’t be surprising. A large young population in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa brings with it challenges to the status quo as does the recent women-led revolutions and the backlash against Islamism. When one is faced with an Islamic movement that considers you to be worth half of a man and demands that you be bound, gagged, veiled, and segregated, then nudity becomes an important form of resistance and dissent as well as solidarity. Islamists want us covered up, hidden, and not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply.

Those who claim outrage at our nudity on behalf of all “Muslim women” are merely attempting to conflate Islamist with “Muslim” (who comprise of innumerable people with countless characteristics). They do it so that Islamism can feign representation, restrict dissent, and prescribe the limits of “acceptable” expression.

But no one speaks for everyone.

Amina speaks for me and us, and for a new women’s liberation movement that is confronting misogyny head on. It’s a movement where nudity is seen to be an important challenge to the veil and Islamism.  And “Islamic feminists” speak for their movement; for the abomination that is Sharia law, gender apartheid, and the veil. They are deafeningly silent on the death fatwa against Amina and countless others. And they are more concerned with defending Islamism and Islam, than defending women’s rights and equality. One such critic of the nude protests, Shohana Khan, who is described as a “London based freelance writer” in the Huffington Post, is in fact the deputy media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir, a far-Right Islamist organisation.  Another “journalist”, Yvonne Ridley, has worked for Press TV, the propaganda arm of the Islamic regime of Iran and is a patron of an Islamist-front organisation called Cage Prisoners.

The nude protest in support of Amina has nothing to do with “cultural imperialists” patronisingly “rescuing Muslim women” anymore than the fight for women’s suffrage was a rescue attempt and a form of cultural imperialism (after all the idea was “foreign” to begin with).

Only those who see their rights and lives as separate and different from those deemed “other” and who have bought into (or are selling) Islamism’s narrative can see solidarity and the demand for equality in this warped way. [Read more...]

On 25 April 2013 we stand with Bangladeshi bloggers and activists!

bangladesh_bloggers_arrested_apr2013_demotix_468In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.

Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.

We, the undersigned, call for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. On this day, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers, and sign this petition.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

Signed (organisations mentioned also endorse the day of action): [Read more...]

You must use the word Islamist!

The AP has revised its stylebook to no longer include the term Islamist. They explain why:

Islamist” is frequently used as a label for conservative Islamic political movements, particularly Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the group’s Palestinian offshoot. It generally carries a negative connotation.

Has the AP thought that maybe it carries a negative connotation because fascistic movements – religious or otherwise – generally do?

The disgusting Council on American-Islamic Relations which has previously lobbied AP to drop the term because they say it “has become shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like'” and “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context” is elated:

We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims.

Of course Islamists and their lackeys will often interchange and conflate Islam, Muslim and Islamist in order to feign representation and to save Islam and Islamism by equating any criticism as racism and an attack on people. But Islam as a belief and Islamism as a far-Right political movement cannot be off limits to criticism.

Even if the AP drops the term by accepting the Islamist narrative and capitulating to it, we refuse.

As an aside, AP has also dropped using the term “illegal immigrant”, which is a good thing. No human being is illegal. They might be undocumented but they are not illegal. Human beings are more than their immigration status.

AP, see the difference? One is about real live human beings; the other is a far-Right political movement.

If Islamism is so concerned about  negative generalisations, it can start by ending its very indiscriminate murder and mayhem.

(News via Terry Sanderson)

Yaay! Saudi Arabia lifts ban on female cyclists

Yaay!

There are reports that Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on female cyclists!

A Saudi daily cited an unnamed official as saying women can now ride bikes in parks and recreational areas but must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation.

So no, not really… Unless of course you want to go out like this:

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(Via Tarek Fatah)