Upcoming June schedule

Updated 2 June

UPCOMING EVENTS

11 June 2013, Talk on Multiculturalism, Child Protection in Britain: Sharia law and other failures, London
Join One Law for All Spokesperson Anne-Marie Waters and Baroness Caroline Cox who will be speaking about One Law for All’s newest report on the state of children’s rights in Britain on 11 June at 18.00 hours at the London School of Economics. The talk is going to be chaired by Professor of Social Policy Eileen Munro. More information can be found here.

13 June 2013, Oxford Union panel on Iran, Oxford
Maryam Namazie will be speaking on Oxford Union panel forum on the topic ‘The election, the Arab Spring and the bomb – what next for modern Iran’? Moderator: Arshin Adib-Moghaddam. Other panellists are Dennis Kucinich, Mohammad Ali Shabani, and Hazhir Teimourian.

15 June 2013, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s 6th Anniversary luncheon, London
Join us to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on 15 June 2013 at 12pm for a 12:30pm start in central London. The keynote speaker will be writer Kenan Malik. Other speakers and acts include Magician Neil Edwards, Centre for Secular Space’s Executive Director Gita Sahgal, comedian Kate Smurthwaite and CEMB Co-Spokesperson Maryam Namazie. CEMB Co-Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud will be the MC for the event. Special guests include scientist Richard Dawkins.

Book your tickets today. More details here.

29-30 June 2013, International Conference on Empowering Women Through Secularism, Dublin
Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters will be speaking at Atheist Ireland’s international conference on Empowering Women Through Secularism during 29-30 June. More information here.

29 June 2013, 12pm, Northern Ex-Muslim Meet-Up Group, Manchester
Northern Ex-Muslim Meet-Up Group is organising a lunch in Manchester on 29 June. To join the event, visit here.

6 July 2013, Launch of Council of Ex-Muslims of France, Paris
Join us for the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France. Speakers include Waleed Al-Husseini, Nadia El-Fani, Caroline Fourest, Marieme Helie Lucas, Maryam Namazie, and many more. More details here.

Secularism is my right; freedom is my culture

481845_10151455888700698_290280215_nBelow is my speech at the May 2013 Women in Secularism conference in Washington DC.

Participants joined in an action to defend Amina Tyler, Imad Iddine Habib, Bangladesh’s bloggers and Alex Aan (photo on left).

 

* The outrage over the attempted assassination of 15 year old Malala Yousefzai shot by the Taliban for defending girls’ education

* The mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid and Amina Tyler’s topless activism in Tunisia – My body is not the source of your honour and fuck your morals

* The anger over the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in broad daylight at a protest in Iran

* The February day of action against sexual terrorism in Egypt, Egyptian atheist Aliaa Magda ElMahdy’s nude scream against misogyny and the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters…

Even if you’re not looking, you can still see the immense resistance and dissent taking place.

It’s a new period of human development after decades of Islamism, US-led militarism, unbridled free market reign, cultural relativism and the retreat of all things universal.
Today is an era of the 99% movement and revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – many of them female-led.

Whilst it may sometimes be hard to see given the perceived “gains” by Islamists in the region (in fact as counter-revolutionary forces aimed at suppressing the revolutions), the change of era is palpable.

Nonetheless, many post-modernist and culturally relativist Leftists, liberals, and feminists remain firmly on the side of the Islamists.

Any opposition to Sharia law, (which is based on the Koran, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence), the veil, and Islamic misogyny are met with charges of racism and Islamophobia, cultural imperialism and more.

Those who say so though 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 homogeneous, “Islamic” and “conservative”. But there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere.

Since it is those in power that determine the dominant culture, this point of view sees Islamist values and sensibilities as that of “authentic Muslims’. [Read more...]

Kiss me

2013525192458643734_20 In response to a public announcement by subway officials for people to “act in accordance with moral rules” after security cameras spotted a couple kissing, 100 protesters converged on an Ankara subway station and kissed!

The kissing protesters also chanted and held signs saying “Free Kisses”.

Now that’s how to do things!

It echoes the fine words of Amina Tyler: “Fuck your Morals”.

 

 

 

Hands off our Amina!

Here’s an update from the campaign to defend Amina. FEMEN Tunisia activist Amina has been arrested and faces imprisonment. We must act to support her now. More details to follow. Here’s the letter:

Hello to all of you. Thanks to you, we were able to collect 4730-euro. We collected 5525 USD (less 442 USD of indiegogo expenses and exchange rate) is 3930 €. On this was added 800 € which were sent by several donors to Prochoix. That is 4700 €. Thanks to all.

We will inform you how this money is spent. Because as you know we wanted, at her request, to assure her a plane ticket, to live and to assure her security until September. Several NGO have found how she can continue her studies in France.

But today, Amina risks several months of prison. We are going to do everything to increase the mobilization so that she is released as quickly as possible and can study.

Amina was arrested on Sunday, further to an action against the salafi mob. She was questioned then charged with ridiculous motives including ” desecration of a grave” and “carrying harmful weapons” (mace). The salafis were released for the greater part in spite of the bearing of sabres and knives and the fact of having uttered the threats, she is still in detention.

Amina will be in court on May 30th in Kairouan. It is very important to act in solidarity and show our indignation against this injustice. In Tunisia, as abroad.

A support committee is being formed. Amina’s lawyer, Maitre Souhayb Bahri, has all our gratitude and our confidence.

We shall inform you of all our initiatives.

More information here and also in English here.

By the way, here is an act of solidarity with Amina Tyler, Imad Iddine Habib, Bangladesh’s bloggers and Alex Aan at the May 17-19, 2013 Women In Secularism conference in Washington DC:

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Support those defying Islamism

The wonderful Karima Bennoune remembers those killed 40 days after the Boston bombings and calls for condemnation of Islamism. She says:

I would ask anyone who wants to support the rights of people of Muslim heritage in the United States in the wake of the Boston bombings, please do not so by explaining that jihadist terrorism is simply a response to US foreign policy, or a consequence of the alleged difficulties faced by Muslim youth in integrating into American culture, or the result of Russian bombing of Chechnya.

Many of us have criticisms of US foreign policy and that of other countries; integrating may indeed be challenging for those from immigrant backgrounds in many contexts; and Chechens did suffer through the intolerable flattening of their country by the Russian military between 1992 and 2009. (As far as I know the United States never bombed the province.) However, most Muslims, immigrants and Chechens have not become terrorists as a result. These things are no excuse for – or even explanation of – the choice to deliberately murder children and young people at a sporting event. Such a grave international crime has nothing to do with legitimate grievances and everything to do with extremist ideology and movements that indoctrinate and instrumentalize young people. We must defeat those movements which have killed so many civilians, especially in Muslim majority countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq and Pakistan.

I have just wrapped up three years of interviewing hundreds of people of Muslim heritage working against fundamentalism and terrorism around the world, and I learned many lessons from them that are helpful today. For example, Cherifa Kheddar, president of Algeria’s Association of Victims of Islamist Terrorism, or Djazairouna, who wrote right after 15 April to say how terrible the Boston bombings were. She told me that

“We cannot defeat terrorism by an anti-terrorist battle without doing the anti-fundamentalist battle.”

In other words, it is not just the violence of radical jihadis, but the underlying ideology of Islamism that we must confront. That ideology discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims (as evidenced by Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s reported indignation that his Imam mentioned Martin Luther King, a non-Muslim, during a sermon), and between “good” and “bad” Muslims. It justifies egregious violence against women and civilians, or at least creates an environment conducive to them.

Of course, being an Islamist or a jihadist is not same thing as being a devout Muslim, and it is unhelpful when the US media simply describes radicalization as becoming “more religious”. This process is rather the adoption of a dangerous political stance that deploys religion in the service of an extreme agenda. The best way then to take a pro-human rights stance in the face of recent events is to support those people of Muslim heritage who are risking their lives to denounce and defy these movements. Many have raised their voices around the world in places like Afghanistan, but have rarely been heard in the west.

You can read the rest of the piece here.
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On Woolwich: Islamism is the problem

Anything can be justified – a war on Iraq or bombs on buses and decapitations on the streets of London. But having justifications doesn’t necessarily bring legitimacy or mean that they are true.

Just as the Iraq war was not about the liberation of Iraqi women or weapons of mass destruction, the cold-blooded murder of a soldier in Woolwich is not about retaliation for the war on Iraq or Afghanistan. (Just as the English Defence League’s convergence on Woolwich and attacks on mosques have nothing to do with demands for “justice”.)

The decapitation was an act of terror, pure and simple, and characteristic of Islamism and far-Right politics which uses terrorism as a key tool in instilling fear and for social control. The main target of this terror is usually civilians in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere (and often with the acquiescence and appeasement of western governments via funding for or close relations with Islamic organisations and states, defending Sharia law, and the curtailing of universal and citizenship rights and secularism).

As Women Living Under Muslim Laws says: “Fundamentalist terror is by no means a tool of the poor against the rich, of the Third World against the West, of people against capitalism. It is not a legitimate response that can be supported by the progressive forces of the world. Its main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans -, among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place’, which as we know from experience ends up being a straight jacket…”

Islamism is the main reason behind the murder in Woolwich and the slaughter of countless people across the world for the past several decades – not Muslims or those labelled as such who are in fact Islamism’s first victims and on the frontlines of resistance. Also, whilst Islamism sees Islam as a tool for the far-Right restructuring of power structures, the movement is not fundamentally about Islam as an ideology but about political Islam (gaining power and ruling via Sharia law). Ironically, political Islam and far-Right neo-conservatism and militarism are two sides of the same coin – both seek power and control through sheer violence, terrorism and by targeting civilians…

Of course times are changing. The new era of revolutions and uprisings – many of them women-led – is the real challenge to the far-Right, including Islamism, and terrorism. Only a humanity speaking on its own behalf can and will bring this movement to its knees. And whilst that fight has already begun, how it ends will depend on real solidarity with Islamism’s victims and dissenters and an unequivocal defence of universal human values, freedom, equality and secularism.

Away until 22 May 2013

I will be away until 22 May attending the 17-19 May 2013 Women in Secularism 2 Conference in DC. More information available here.

I’ll be speaking on “apostasy from Islam” on Saturday morning and then on “Freedom – not Islamism – is my culture” in the afternoon. I’ll also be meeting with Muslimish activists in the DC area.

Can’t wait.

I will most likely not be blogging until I return.

Message from Imad: In Mickey Mouse we Trust

Dear friends

During these hard days of fear, insomnia, and pain, in hiding from authorities as well as fanatics, I have spent many nights expecting to be beaten, killed or caught. I know the real impact of my actions. They are afraid, dear friends; their dogmas and norms are so weak that they cannot stand to be questioned and challenged.

Today, I met two supposed “human rights” activists who advised me to get a medical certificate citing that my mental facilities were too diminished to realize the “impact” of my statements, and to apologize in a video or in a mosque to people who were “offended” or “hurt” by my statements, and to delete all traces of my “crimes” on the internet, by disabling Facebook, and deleting all the videos I have made… They say it is the only way I can have a normal life, with a few clicks everything will be as before, even better than it was as I can be assured that at least I tried to change things. At least, they say, I fought to free people from the enslavement of religion and dogmas, of dictatorship… But I cannot do so.

I don’t feel sorry for anything I have said or for the actions I have taken part in, including the 20th February MASAYMINCH Movement, and the establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco – the first atheist organization in a country with Islam as the state religion.

Dear friends, we have a long way to go to break down those Middle Aged myths and ways of thinking, those oppressive and repressive rites in the name of religion or culture, those violations of human rights in the name of cultural relativism… We have to fight for this long awaited world, where people will live equally regardless of their gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientations, where we will live in harmony with our environment, a world where wars and un-civilisation will only exist in history books.

I would like to everyone taking a stand on International Imad Day, everyone who supported me, everyone who cared about me, everyone who helped or tried to help by any means, everyone who spread the word, everyone who thought about me…

Special thanks to Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Norwegian Heathen Society, Atheist Alliance International, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, all the friends who hosted me taking personal risks, everyone who supported and helped me by any means, Ahmed Benchemsi, Maryam Namazie, Daniel Salte, Kacem Al-Ghazali, Marjorie Bloom, Peter Breedveld & his wife, Diana & Roy Brown, and all the members of a so special club trying to change the world.

Keep supporting reason and free thought!

In Mickey Mouse we trust,

Imad Iddine Habib

15 May 2013

See some of the actions taken for International Imad Day here. Many of the actions have been posted on Waleed Al-Husseini’s Facebook Page “I’m Proud to be an Atheist” as Imad has been banned from updating the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco’s Facebook Page.

See list of nearly 400 groups and individuals defending International Imad Day here.

By the way here is a video of atheist Moroccans, including Imad:

I support International Imad Day

imadToday is International Imad Day to stand with 22 year old Imad Iddine Habib who has received threats after his establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco and to exert pressure on the Moroccan government to guarantee his security and respect freedom of expression and thought. Rather than prosecute freethinkers, the government should prosecute those who issue fatwas and death threats against the likes of Imad.

On 15 May, add your name to the list of signatories below; send letters of protest to the Moroccan embassy in your country of residence; Tweet #Imad, #Atheist, #exMuslim; do an act of solidarity, including posting a photo of yourself holding a message like Imad has done (you can also email the photo to exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com as Imad has been banned from updating the Council of Morocco’s Facebook page); click “like” on the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco’s Facebook page and more.]

Below are a few acts of solidarity with Imad;

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Athiest Alliance International President Carlos A. Diaz

Atheist Alliance International President Carlos A. Diaz

 

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Yasmine Vinck from Belgium

Yasmine Vinck from Belgium

Ghulam Mustafa Lakho statement

Jaya

Here’s one from activist Rafiq Mahmood in Indonesia:

rafiqMy name is Rafiq Mahmood and I am an ex-Muslim. I live in Indonesia which claims to be the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

It is not my fault that I am an ex-Muslim. After many years of struggling with doubt I realised that I didn’t believe in Islam any more. I could not say the Kalima because it wasn’t true. I have not done anything wrong. I would be lying if I said I believed when I did not. Why should I be punished, put in prison or threatened by the mob with death? I can’t help it if I don’t believe. I am being honest. I am not convinced. If I am not convinced then I do not believe.

There are many people like me. There are many young people struggling with doubt. Why should they have to hide and run away from the police or angry people if they honestly and truthfully admit that Islam doesn’t convince them any more? It is up to Islam to persuade us, not up to us to persuade ourselves. Belief is not something that can be forced. It comes from inner conviction. If there is no inner conviction then there is no belief.

There is nothing wrong with not believing. Groups like the ex-Muslim Council of Morocco and its predecessors such as the ex-Muslim Council of Britain and Germany exist to give support to people who feel like us, to say, “We are not alone,” and to share our thoughts and hopes for a better world where people can be free to be themselves. The ex-Muslim Councils say that it is possible to leave your religion. A religion based on fear is not something that has a sound foundation at all. It is like trying to sit on a boiling kettle to prevent the lid coming off.

There is also nothing wrong with saying why we are ex-Muslims and what we don’t like about Islam. If Islam is, as we are always being told, the truth, then our arguments can be met with better arguments. Sticks and prison or the beheading sword are not better arguments. They are the admission of defeat, the admission that there are no ideas left and you have to resort to violence.

It is a disgraceful and shameful thing that good, intelligent and caring people like my friend Alexander An is in prison here in Indonesia for merely posting a link on facebook. A gentler and more truly peace-loving person I have yet to meet. Now another brave young man, Imad Iddine Habib, is facing pressure from the authorities in Morocco for daring to offer a support network for those, like us, who no longer buy into Islam.

It is utterly disgraceful that the King, whose duty is to all his people, should permit the High Council of Ulemas, which he chairs, to decree a fatwa of death to those who, like us, leave Islam. It brings his throne and his Kingdom into the gravest disrepute. Such a death penalty is a penalty for being honest, for striving to be normal citizens living in the open and fulfilling their part for the common benefit of all. Ex-Muslims are not bad people. We care deeply for the good of the community and for each other. Why should our contribution to society be denied by throwing us in jail, making us flee to Western countries or cutting us off from life itself?

Ex-Muslims are ordinary people. We are not enemies of the state, although we do want a better, freer state where everyone has equal opportunities to fulfil their potential and serve the community. We do want to see secular states emerge because we feel that secularism gives everyone the best chance of being themselves, whether they are religious or not. There is no shame in being an ex-Muslim. We just want to be open and honest and to be ourselves.

I fully support International Imad Day (15 May) and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco.

Rafiq Mahmood
Bogor
West Java
Indonesia

Evening drinks in London with Gita Sahgal

Tonight, 9 May 2013, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain has organised evening drinks with Gita Sahgal, Executive Director of Centre for Secular Space. 6:30-8:00pm at The George on the Strand, 213 Strand, London WC2R 1AP. Entry is £3; £1 for unwaged, which can be paid at the door. All are welcome.

Author Rumy Hasan who was to give the talk is ill; his talk will be rescheduled.

Hope to see some of you there!

By the way, the next CEMB event is our 6th anniversary luncheon.

Join us to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain 15 June 2013 at 12pm for a 12:30pm start at a central London restaurant. The keynote speaker will be writer Kenan Malik. Other speakers and acts include Centre for Secular Space Executive Director Gita Sahgal, comedian Kate Smurthwaite and CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie. Nahla Mahmoud will be the MC for the event.

Book your tickets today. Ticket(s) for the event, which includes a three-course meal and glass of wine at a wonderful Italian restaurant, are £35.00 per person or £30.00 for students/unwaged.

To purchase tickets, send a cheque made payable to CEMB to BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Paypal or Worldpay. Please make sure to include an email address and/or telephone number so that further details can be provided. Additional donations are welcome to help ensure the attendance of CEMB volunteers at the event.

Today’s Altab Ali Day 2013

stop10_004This year the annual Altab Ali Day will be held today on Saturday 4 May 2013, 5pm to commemorate the murder of Altab Ali, a Bengali clothing worker, in 1978, by a gang of racist thugs. The event will take place on Saturday 4th May, at 5.15pm, At the “Shahid Minar” Altab Ali Park, Adler Street/Whitechapel High Street, London E1.

The annual commemoration of the Altab Ali Day is a very important event in the anti-racist and anti-fascist calendar. It vividly reminds us of the catalogue of racist murders and our struggle against racism and fascism in the UK. This year we are marking the 35th anniversary of the murder of Altab Ali, which gave rise to the resistance movement by the Bengali community in the East End of London and led to the ‘Battle of Brick Lane’ in 1978 defeating the thugs of the then National Front- the far right racist political party.

If you able to gather at Altab Ali Park, please do. You can find out more from Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Organising Secretary, Altab Ali Foundation, philipchand@hotmail.com.

 

Amina: No more moral lessons

Here is the latest photo from Amina Tyler of FEMEN Tunisia. No More Moral Lessons, indeed!

You can donate to support Amina here; I just did.

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Amina continues her protests in Tunisia.

On 1 May, Amina and other activists protested against the representatives of the Congress Party for the Republic Moncef Marzouki, including against the Minister of Women’s Rights Sihem Badi. There were calls for Badi to resign with protesters chanting “Badi get out!” and “Government of terrorism, minister of rape.” You can see a video of Amina protesting here:

Long Live Amina!

International Imad Day

imadSince 22 year old Imad Iddine Habib founded the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco (the first public atheist organisation in a country with Islam as the state religion), he has received numerous threats.

Morocco’s High Council of Ulemas (the highest government religious institution headed by the King) 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.

The threats continue to escalate. Recently, Imad’s father has been interrogated by the secret service. He was told to tell Imad to stop his activities and that this would be the “last warning before they react”. Imad’s registered address has also been raided by security forces.

We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about Imad’s safety and life and call on the Moroccan government to guarantee his security and respect freedom of expression and thought. Rather than prosecute freethinkers, the government should prosecute those who issue fatwas and death threats.

On 15 May we call for an International Imad Day in order to stand with and defend Imad.

He is all of us.

[For 15 May, add your name to the list below; send letters of protest to the Moroccan embassy in your country of residence; Tweet #Imad, #Atheist, #exMuslim; do an act of solidarity, including posting a photo of yourself holding a message like Imad has done (you can also email the photo to exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com); click “like” on the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco’s Facebook page and more.]

Signatories: (Add your name, description and or organisation, and country in the comments section below. The list will be updated regularly.) [Read more...]

Abuse of worker rights hallmark of Iranian regime

Bahram Soroush protesting Iranian regime at International Labour Organisation meeting

Bahram Soroush, Shahla Daneshfar and others protesting Iranian regime at International Labour Organisation meeting

From Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran Newsletter, My Voice.
This edition’s contributor: Bahram Soroush, Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Systematic abuse of worker rights has been a hallmark of the regime in Iran since its very inception. At the heart of the attack against workers is subjection of workers to minimum wage levels, which by the government’s own admission, are one third of the official poverty line, and suppression of workers’ attempts to organise and strike.

The name ‘trade union’ is banned under the Islamic Republic, which has relied on its own handmade ‘Islamic councils of labour’ in workplaces to spy on and keep workers’ protests in check. So when, in 2006, the bus workers in the capital Tehran started reviving their trade union and took strike action for the right to organise and for better pay and conditions, over 1,000 were arrested. Only through powerful protests in Iran and through magnificent international support by workers’ and human rights organisations around the world could many of the arrested be eventually freed. However, Union leaders were subjected to years of persecution, including the executive board member Reza Shahabi, who is still serving a four-year sentence in jail, despite serious medical conditions.

The regime is clearly frightened by the ‘threat’ of worker protests, not only in its attempts to protect the rights of the capitalist class that it represents (the regime itself is made up of billionaire Ayatollahs), but in order to pre-empt it from developing into a political protest that can bring down the entire regime. The regime, which has survived only through mass executions, torture and jailing, is despised by virtually all sections of the society, especially workers who have been driven to abject poverty and subjected to brutal persecution. The regime’s dread of workers’ protests tends to reach its height in particular on such days as May Day and International Women’s Day, as workers start to organise and prepare for independent protests and rallies.

So again this year, in the build up to International Women’s Day, worker leaders were arrested and detained on trumped up charges, and as we are nearing May Day, the regime is stepping up its persecution of labour activists. Early April, two trade unionists, Sharif Saed Panah and Mozaffar Saleh Nia, were given six-month jail sentences each. Labour leaders Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, both on temporary medical leave from prison, are due to be returned to prison.

Given the scale of its economic crisis and the widespread poverty following the scrapping of most subsidies and implementation of austerity measures, the regime is clearly frightened by the prospect of mass social protests. The increased persecution of trade union leaders are happening in this context.

Union activists currently in detention (or about to be jailed) include:
• Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a labour and children’s rights activist, who has already served three years of a five-year sentence, while his 14-year old son is in hospital for leukaemia. The extension of his medical leave has been refused
• Mohammad Jarahi, serving a five-year sentence despite a serious medical condition
• Ghaleb Hosseini, detained February 2013
• Rasoul Bodaghi, serving a six-year sentence
• Abdolreza Ghanbari, on death row for taking part in anti-government protests in December 2009
• Shahrokh Zamani, serving an 11-year sentence
[Read more...]

Saudi advertising campaign not enough

KKFABUSEAD1 Monica Lanfranco has written an article in Italy’s Il Fatto Quotidiano on the first Saudi campaign against domestic violence here. A poster of the educational campaign can be seen above.

In the article she quotes me saying:

This anti-violence campaign in Saudi Arabia is clearly in response to the public outrage over the death of 5 year old Lama after facing horrendous and unspeakable tortures at the hands of her father, who was effectively let go. Any move to highlight domestic violence is hugely important but the problem is not just a matter of education and raising awareness. Stopping domestic violence has to start with changes in the law that criminalises it and prosecutes abusers. Under Sharia law, however, violence against women and children is often seen to be the prerogative of the male guardian as Lama’s case highlights.

The Saudi Government wants to be seen to be making an effort against violence in the face of public outrage. The first perpetrator of violence in Saudi society though is the regime itself and its medieval laws.

The best way to begin to end violence against women and children is to end the implementation of Sharia law – not  an advertising campaign.

You better not touch him

imadThe last email the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain received from 22 year old Imad Iddine Habib, the founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco (the first atheist organisation in a country with Islam as a state religion), spoke of more threats and a final warning from the Moroccan government.

In the email, he said:

My Father has been interviewed by secret agents at work, they asked him about my activities, my beliefs, my relations and if some foreigners visit me, and they told him that I have to stop, and that I am considered an enemy of the country by showing bad things about it … and [that] it is the last warning before they react.

Since then, he has gone into hiding after security officials raided a home to possibly arrest him.

His latest Facebook post says:

Hey Everyone,

I would like to thank everyone who supported me, asked about me by any mean! Those whom I didn’t reply didn’t add me as a friend, as I am blocked, I couldn’t reply at them! Thank you All, you made me so proud of being part of this big and united family of rational and free thinkers!

Whatever my fate will be in the next hours, the next days, the next weeks; killed, beaten, jailed, or anything else, I am not sorry for what I have done since I became an activist few years ago, I have shared with many people here thoughts and ideas, and so many awesome memories.

Both police and people are looking for me, I have nowhere to go, my life is at high risk… However, I am Happy, because I am not the only one fighting for a better world, I hope I will be the last man persecuted because of Dogmatisms, Religions, or Myths.

Whatever I’ll be, KEEP FIGHTING, I love you all.

PS: There is no god but Minnie Mouse.

– Imad Iddine Habib

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain unequivocally condemns efforts of the Moroccan government to silence Imad. Rather, the government should be prosecuting those who threaten Imad and apostates with death, including members of Morocco’s High Council of Ulemas who recently issued a fatwa decreeing the death penalty for Moroccans leaving Islam.

This is our final warning to the Moroccan Government. Hands off Imad, prosecute those who threaten and incite murder, and respect freedom of expression and thought.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain calls on all to condemn the Moroccan government and defend Imad.

On 15 May join us in defending Imad. He is all of us.

More details will follow.

Sharia: What’s Going On?

One Law For All and the Lawyers’ Secular Society are pleased to announce a student research competition on the subject of sharia law.

Sharia What's Going OnThe competition is sponsored by the National Secular Society and the winner will receive a prize of £300. The winner and the two runners-up will have their essays published in full on the website of all three organisations.

Background

In June 2010 One Law For All produced a report, Sharia Law in Britain.  It was clear from this that Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are operating in violation of UK law, public policy and human rights.

It’s unclear how sharia is being applied elsewhere in Europe, especially as mediation and arbitration – the legal mechanisms under which sharia seeks to operate in the UK – are generally less prevalent in the rest of Europe. There was even evidence in One Law For All’s report of sharia’s application to criminal matters in the UK.

The purpose of the competition is to understand sharia’s reach and influence in Europe, and to highlight any harm or human rights abuses which might be taking place.

What to do

If you would like the chance to win £300 all you need to do is write a well-researched and well-referenced essay, of about 2,500-3,000 words in length, on the subject of sharia law in Europe. [Read more...]