Yes I am a whore

Throughout the ages, dissenting women have always been called whores. I know I have many times.

My response? “Yes, yes, I am a whore…”

Read below Taslima Nasrin’s poem called “You go Girl”, which she read out during her speech at Atheist Ireland’s Dublin conference “Empowering Women Through Secularism” (and which by the way made me sob uncontrollably…)

You Go Girl!
Taslima Nasrin

They said—take it easy…
Said—calm down…
Said—stop talkin’…
Said—shut up….
They said—sit down….
Said—bow your head…
Said—keep on cryin’, let the tears roll…

What should you do in response?

You should stand up now
Should stand right up
Hold your back straight
Hold your head high…
You should speak
Speak your mind
Speak it loudly
Scream!

You should scream so loud that they must run for cover.
They will say—’You are shameless!’
When you hear that, just laugh…

They will say— ‘You have a loose character!’
When you hear that, just laugh louder…

They will say—’You are rotten!’
So just laugh, laugh even louder…

Hearing you laugh, they will shout,
‘You are a whore!’

When they say that,
just put your hands on your hips,
stand firm and say,
“Yes, yes, I am a whore!”

They will be shocked.
They will stare in disbelief.
They will wait for you to say more, much more…

The men amongst them will turn red and sweat.
The women amongst them will dream to be a whore like you.

Labour activist Afshin Osanlou dies in prison in Iran

afshin

SIGN PETITION CONDEMNING OSANLOU’S DEATH

The regime in Iran is responsible for his death

Afshin Osanlou, an inter-city bus driver, prominent labour activist and brother of bus workers’ union leader Mansoor Osanlou, died of cardiac arrest in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Iran on Friday 21st June. He was only 42. According to his family, Afshin had no history of heart disease. He was arrested in the autumn of 2010, tortured and given a five-year sentence for his labour activities. According to his sister, Afshin died before reaching hospital. All indications are that Afshin Osanlou has been murdered by the regime. This is not the first time that a dissident activist dies in prison in Iran. The following are some of the activists and political dissidents who in recent years have died in Iran’s prisons:

*Sattar Beheshti *Hodi Saaber *Zahra Bani Yaghoub *Mohsen Dogmechi *Mansoor Raadpoor *Zahra Kazemi *Omid Reza Mirsiafi *Heshmat Saaran *Alborz Ghasemi *Akbar Mohammadi and *Ali Akbar Saeedi Sirjani.

Harassment and torture of political prisoners and the inhuman prison conditions are behind many of the physical and psychological ailments affecting political prisoners in Iran, and which the judicial authorities stop from being treated. The death of Afshin Osanlou is a warning about the threats facing political prisoners in Iran.

By its persecution of activists, by its physical and psychological tortures, by its inhuman prison conditions, by its denial of medical care for prisoners suffering from ill health, the regime in Iran is responsible for the deaths of jailed labour activists and political prisoners. [Read more...]

Dublin and Paris

I’ll be away the next two weekends in Dublin and Paris. Maybe I’ll see some of you?

 

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

 

Saturday 6 July 2013, 14.00-17.00 hours
Paris, France
Launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France.
Join us for the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France. Speakers include Palestinian blogger Waleed Al-Husseini, Tunisian Filmmaker Nadia El-Fani, Secularism is a Women’s Issue Coordinator Marieme Helie Lucas, and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Maryam Namazie.
Place:
MAISON DES ENSEMBLES
3-5 rue d’Aligre
75012 PARIS
SALLE DU 1ER ETAGE (à coté des locaux de Femmes Solidaires et Clara Magazine).

Even one man makes a difference

130618093133-turkey-standing-man-story-topHave you heard of Turkey’s standing man?

Erdem Gunduz stood silently for hours after the disgusting Turkish authorities evicted protesters from Taksim Square.

There are many, many young people on the streets,” he said. “I’m nothing… The idea is important: why people resist the government…”

His silent vigil inspired hundreds to follow suit.

Erdem and the ongoing and magnificent resistance of the people of Turkey in defence of secularism and against authoritarianism and Islamism inspires us all.

 

Two new reports by One Law for All

Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left

A new report by One Law for All entitled “Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left” exposes Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism and individuals such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway and their agenda and methods.

This section of the Left uses accusations of racism and Islamophobia and a conflation of Muslim with Islamist in order to defend Islamism and Islam rather than out of any real concern for prejudice against Muslims or their rights, particularly since Muslims or those labelled as such are the first victims of Islamism and on the frontlines of resisting it.

The report has been written as a companion volume to “Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right”. Like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the pro-Islamist Left also uses multiculturalism to side with the oppressor by viewing the ‘Muslim community’ and ‘Muslim world’ as homogeneous entities thereby ignoring and silencing dissenters.

This politics of betrayal sides with the Islamic far-Right and the oppressor. Challenging this perspective is especially important given its wide acceptance as ‘progressive’ in mainstream society.

Any principled point of view must oppose all forms of fascism, including Islamic fascism, and instead side with the countless people, including Muslims, who are fighting and challenging Islamism here in Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa and the world.

Multiculturalism and Child Protection in Britain: Sharia Law and Other Failures

Another new report by One Law for All entitled “Multiculturalism and Child Protection in Britain: Sharia Law and Other Failures” reveals how a multicultural approach, adopted by local authorities and other public authorities, to child protection is placing children in danger and creating parallel societies. [Read more...]

Free political prisoners in Iran

Following the so-called 2013 Islamic regime’s presidential election and announcing Hassan Rowhani as the president, there was a demand, which was imposed on him by people, that stood up against all others: the release of all political prisoners.

Rowhani announced that he will release political prisoners and will give freedom to the press. During the last 34 years, regime and its leaders, including Rowhani, have been telling the world that Iran has no political prisoners!! Now, under the pressure from people in Iran, the regime and its presidential candidate have been forced to mention this in their election campaigns. This is the first time that the Islamic regime has admitted there are political prisoners in Iran.

20june2013koodakanThe 2013 sham election was neither free nor fair by any international standards. The promise by Rowhani is a perfect example of people’s power in Iran. Prior to the “election”, Khamenei begged people, even those who are against the regime, to vote. This showed how weak and desperate the regime is.

Rowhani is part of the establishment and will not release political prisoners and will not allow any freedom for people or the press. The freedom of all political prisoners is tied to the struggle of people in Iran as well as the work of international campaigns such as CFFPI.

On 20 June 2013, the International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran, we call on all concerned individuals and organisations to join CFPPI and show their support and solidarity with political prisoners in Iran. [Read more...]

Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left

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A new report by One Law for All entitled “Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left” exposes Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism and individuals such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway and their agenda and methods. This section of the Left uses accusations of racism and Islamophobia and a conflation of Muslim with Islamist in order to defend Islamism and Islam rather than out of any real concern for prejudice against Muslims or their rights, particularly since Muslims or those labelled as such are the first victims of Islamism and on the frontlines of resisting it.

The report has been written as a companion volume to “Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right”. Like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the pro-Islamist Left also uses multiculturalism to side with the oppressor by viewing the ‘Muslim community’ and ‘Muslim world’ as homogeneous entities thereby ignoring and silencing dissenters. This politics of betrayal sides with the Islamic far-Right and the oppressor. Challenging this perspective is especially important given its wide acceptance as ‘progressive’ in mainstream society.

Any principled point of view must oppose all forms of fascism, including Islamic fascism, and instead side with the countless people, including Muslims, who are fighting and challenging Islamism here in Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa and the world.
The below is my postscript to One Law for All’s new publication Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left. It is a companion volume to Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right. You can read full report here.

The politics of the pro-Islamist Left is a politics of betrayal.

It’s a betrayal of the dissenters and victims of Islamism but also of the very principles that the Left has historically defended (from social justice, egalitarianism, secularism, universalism, and human liberation, including from religion).

This Left uses multiculturalism, charges of racism and Islamophobia, and anti-imperialism, amongst others to defend the far-Right political Islamic movement.

Multiculturalism and Cultural Relativism

The Pro-Islamist Left relies on multiculturalism (not as a positive lived experience but as a social policy and political point of view) to deny the existence of dissent by pigeonholing innumerable individuals with innumerable characteristics into one imagined homogeneous grouping: ‘the Muslim community’ or ‘the Muslim world’. And 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’.

In fact, ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such include secularists, ex-Muslims, atheists, free thinkers, women’s rights activists, LGBT campaigners and socialists.

Conflating Islamism with Muslim is a narrative peddled by Islamists in an attempt to feign representation.

Contrary to how it’s viewed, regressive Islamists are given authority as ‘community leaders’ not because they actually represent the ‘Muslim Community’ but because of their access to the state, political power and their links with the political Islamic movement. Multiculturalism is a cheap way for the state to outsource social control.

Clearly, the ‘Muslim community’ is not synonymous with Islamism any more than English is synonymous with the English Defence League or Christian with the Christian-Right.

Ironically, like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the post-modernist Left also uses multiculturalism to defend cultural and moral relativism and side with the oppressor.

To accept the Islamist narrative that Muslim equates Islamist is to hand over countless individuals to the political Islamic movement and to ignore the dissent, political, social and civil struggles and class politics.

This conflation means that those who challenge Islamism are accused of cultural imperialism and orientalism because the pro-Islamist Left has bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and 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 opposition to the veil or Sharia law as ‘foreign’ and ‘culturally inappropriate’ are only considering Islamism’s sensibilities and values, not that of the many who resist.

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.

In fact, this politics doesn’t merely ignore dissent, in many ways it forbids it. The likes of StWC, Socialist Workers Party, Unite against Fascism, Islamophobia Watch, and Respect Party or Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are there as prefects to silence dissenters and defend Islamism as a defence of ‘Muslims’. There are many examples to show that they equate Muslim with Islamist.

In responding to those opposing its alliance with the Muslim Association of Britain (which is understood to be a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), the StWC’s leadership Andrew Murray and Lindsey German have written:

Anyone remotely acquainted with the British trade union movement will be aware that neither sexism nor homophobia are uncommon in its ranks. […] woman can be subjected to more crude sexist behaviour than they might be likely to encounter within the Muslim Association of Britain. No one would suggest that an anti-war movement should have no truck with trade unionism until its ranks are 100 percent cleansed of such behaviour. Yet this is good enough as a stick to beat Muslims. Such attitudes indicate a form of racism, a desire to hold their organisations at arm’s length for the flaws which are, in some measure, tolerable in ours.

The comparison is absurd. The difference of course is that the ethos of the trade union is not anti-woman, its ethos does not say that apostates should be killed or as the head of the MAB said recently at a debate with One Law for All that women should be stoned to death. StWC’s alliance with the MAB is akin to aligning with the EDL and then saying that racism exists in the ranks of the trade unions too so why single out the English!?

Racism and Islamophobia

This pro-Islamist Left deems any criticism of Islam or Islamism as racism or Islamophobia. However, criticising a religion, ideology or political movement – far-Right or otherwise – has nothing to do with racism. In fact, Islamophobia is a political term used to scaremonger people into silence. [Read more...]

On the 2013 elections in Iran

The so-called Iranian presidential election farce is over. Hassan Rowhani, a long-time military and security figure of the regime, has come out of the polls. Khamanei called the elections “a political epic”; Rafsanjani called it “infallible democracy”; the BBC celebrated it as the “victory of rationalism over idealism”; the pro-regime “opposition” found it “hopeful” and saw it as the “narrowing of the gap between the regime and the people”. But if there was anything serious in this farce, it was above all another indication of the hatred of the people towards the Islamic Republic and their struggle against it.

The regime’s absurd claim that the election was a “political epic” should be understood as a last attempt towards “engineering the elections”. Regardless of the real number of those who voted, it is clear that the millions who did not take part in this farce, and wherever they could voiced their protest, and those who despite the regime’s clampdown turned it into an opportunity to raise their demands, and those who used their vote to deepen the rifts inside the regime, all showed the will of the whole people to get rid of the Islamic Republic, along with its factions.

The 2013 elections betrayed more than ever the fakeness of elections under the Islamic Republic. The whole world saw how these elections are just a show in which only the very few most obedient lackeys of the system pass through the filter of its Council of Guardians. Not only political parties and organisations of the opposition, atheists and those who don’t believe in their religion and their superstitions are not counted at all, not only women, simply because they are women, are excluded from running, but arch murderers and founders of the Islamic Republic, such as Rafsanjani, are also disqualified. [Read more...]

Join Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s 6th Anniversary celebrations

The sixth anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is being held tomorrow on 15 June 2013 at 12:00pm for a 12:30pm start at an Italian restaurant 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 present include scientist Richard Dawkins.

There are still a few tickets left if you hurry. Tickets 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, pay via Paypal or Worldpay. Click on the donate button, then email us at [email protected] to confirm so we can send you further details.

Additional donations are welcome to help ensure the attendance of CEMB volunteers at the event.

If you are in London, don’t miss it!

Livestreaming from Taksim Square in Turkey

Watch livestreaming from Taksim Square in Turkey:

Watch live streaming video from revoltistanbul at livestream.com

Erdogan has lost his patience with the protesters. They and we have lost our patience with Erdogan and Islamism. Can you please fuck off to the Middle Ages and leave the revolutionary people of Turkey to live 21st century lives?

Witch Trials in Tunisia

The three young German and French FEMEN activists who protested topless at a Tunisian court in defence of Amina have been sentenced to four months in prison! According to an interview with one of their lawyers:

We knew that the maximum sentence was six months. The court in Tunis has not gone so far but has chosen a very heavy penalty, widely disproportionate to the facts. How to explain it? They probably wanted to condemn freedom of expression. Last week, the hearing was postponed under pressure of fifteen highly virulent conservative and Islamic associations. It is this pressure that may explain the severity of this judgement, which is a form of witchcraft trials, the offence of blasphemy.

Another lawyer said:

Heavy sentences for three European FEMEN activists is a bad sign for Amina. She did nothing, yet she faces up to twelve years in prison.”

Could this be?

It cannot and must not.

We must stand with Pauline, Margarite, Josephine and Amina until they are free.

If there is any justice, the four would be free and the Islamists who threaten and kill with impunity would be in prison.

FEMEN is collecting donations for the legal appeal; to help the parents of the three meet their daughters in jail; a permanent FEMEN observer in Tunis; for clothes and food for the four; a public campaign against Tunisian authorities…

Support the campaign and please donate here.

Amina represents me and us.

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(Also read an interview with Amina’s father. You can use google translate to read it.)

Rim Razek must be granted asylum in the US

Updated: 13 June
Today is the last day of Rim’s campaign. Donate now. Here’s a blog post from “Between a veil and a dark place” on why you should.

****

reemRim Razek writes to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain:

I was born in Egypt. I come from a strictly religious background; most members of my family are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite being brought up by parents who tried to censor art, music, and certain books, I was constantly searching for answers and looking for ways to get around the censorship. By the time I was sixteen, I had read numerous books on philosophy and religion and had come to conclusions that led me to leave Islam, conclusions I knew would make me a social outcast once anyone found out about them. After a period of inner conflict, I decided I wasn’t going to let society dictate what I believe or how I should live my life. I resolved to take off my veil and wrote an article called “Mass Hysteria,” saying that the veil is nothing more than a political and misogynistic tool used by Islamists in order to gain power and control while it provides no reflection of piety or morality as advertised. I also compared the freer attitude of Egyptian women in the sixties with the present.

After I published this article and a picture of myself without the hijab, I was thrown in a mental asylum and subjected to electroshock treatments as a punishment; I have recently blogged about for the first time. This was a traumatic experience. After getting out of the asylum and pretending to conform for a while, I returned to being outspoken. I made a video about how indoctrinating children with religious ideologies is child abuse and my friend Kacem Elghazali posted it on his blog atheistica. I took part in my friend Aliaa Elmahdi’s campaign by posting pictures of myself with and without the veil. [Read more...]

We are Human too; Half of Iran and the World

brand-identity_fitnahWhen asked about the women registering for Iran’s upcoming presidential election, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member of the Guardian Council, which vets all candidates, said:

“It is reminiscent of the person who wasn’t allowed to enter a village but was nonetheless asking to meet the village elder. The law doesn’t allow women to run… The general conditions are specified in Article 115 of the constitution; it says ‘one must be elected from amongst religious-political men’”.

Imagine a society in which half the population is excluded from running for office! Clearly, the “election” is a farce for women – but also men.

After all, Iran is a theocracy. Only those with “a convinced belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion of the country” can run for office.

There are no political freedoms. Political parties opposed to the government are banned. Parties and associations cannot be formed unless they obey the criteria of Islam, and the basis of the Islamic republic.

There is no freedom of expression and press.

Dissidents are routinely tortured, imprisoned and executed for questioning the regime, its leaders, and transgressing Islamic norms.

Over 130 offences are publishable by death, including blasphemy, apostasy, heresy, enmity against God, adultery, and homosexuality.

Women in particular are treated as second class citizens. Women have no right to work or travel without a male guardian’s permission, certain fields of study are closed to women; veiling is compulsory; and a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s, amongst others.

The international media’s portrayal of the “election” circus as legitimate ignores the repressive and misogynist nature of the state and people’s resistance.

Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation reiterates its opposition to the Islamic regime of Iran and the election farce.

Women and men in Iran – like people everywhere – have a fundamental right to democratic politics, equality, freedom and secularism. A precondition for real change is an end to the Islamic regime – not by US-led militarism or economic sanctions – but by the women’s liberation movement and the people of Iran.

On 14 June, join us to oppose the “election” and to show solidarity with the people of Iran.

We are Islamism’s worst fitnah!

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

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: [email protected]
Blog: http://fitnahmovement.blogspot.co.uk/
Website: www.fitnah.org/

Iranian People’s vote is the Overthrow of the Islamic Regime

The Islamic regime in Iran will be holding another round of its so-called presidential election this coming June 14th. Election, under a regime that holds onto power through use of force, oppression, and execution, is a farce. Nothing could be more ridiculous than calling the event of changing the president of such a state the “elections”.

Political parties are not legal in Iran. Freedom of conscience is meaningless; criticizing or protesting the state is met with imprisonment and torture. Women are not only deprived of their right to be elected, but are also continuously persecuted, oppressed and humiliated. No opposition organization or personality has the right to partake in any political activity. The candidacy of the majority of those who registered as candidate for the presidential elections, all of whom held post in the Islamic regime, including the former president, the former head of the parliament, the a former prime minister, and the existing vice-president, have been disapproved. These people have been amongst the high-ranked representatives of the Islamic regime and taken part in all of the regime’s crimes. This reveals the real meaning of any type of elections under the Islamic regime in Iran.

The approach of the Western governments and media such as the BBC and the VOA to this farce is disgusting. Their ultimate criticism toward this so-called election is the disapproval of Rafsanjani or some other minor issue. The people in Iran, however, witness the depth of their deprivation from any human rights. For the majority of the people in Iran the core of the problem is the regime itself. They are fed up with the sexual apartheid, with being deprived of their rights, with imprisonment, oppression, living under the poverty line and the continuous and systematic intervention of religion and religious institutions in their lives and private affairs. The people demand the overthrow of this regime. The people in Iran want a secular state; they want freedom, prosperity and a humane life. [Read more...]

Multiculturalism and Child Protection in the UK: Sharia Law and Other Failures

Today, 11 June 2013, 18.00 hours, at London School of Economics, STC.S75 in St. Clement’s Building, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, Anne-Marie Waters and Baroness Cox will be speaking about One Law for All’s newest report on the state of children’s rights in Britain. The report “Multiculturalism and Child Protection in the UK: Sharia Law and Other Failures” can be read here.

The talk is going to be chaired by Professor Eileen Munro, CBE and review the effects of state multiculturalism on the matter of child protection in Britain.

Anne-Marie Waters and Baroness Cox will show that a multicultural approach, adopted by local authorities and other public authorities, to child protection is placing children in danger and creating parallel societies. Furthermore, the talk is going to topicalise sharia tribunals and their increasing authority in the issue of child custody, questioning the impact this has, and is likely to have, on the equal protection of children regardless of race or ethnicity.

Anne Marie Waters is spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign. She campaigns against Sharia and religious Laws as she believes they represent a sacrifice of the rights of women in the name of legal and cultural relativism. She is a council member and campaigner for the National Secular Society, and campaigns more broadly for gender and race equality. She also writes and speaks on the importance of trade unionism, democracy, and Government and public sector accountability.

Baroness (Caroline) Cox was made a Life Peer in 1982 and was a deputy speaker of the House of Lords from 1985 to 2005. She was Founder Chancellor of Bournemouth University; Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University from 2006-2013 and isanHon as well as Vice President of the Royal College of Nursing. She also was a founder Trustee of MERLIN [Medical Emergency Relief International] and is Chief Executive of HART [Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust].

Eileen Munro is currently Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In June 2010, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, asked Professor Munro to conduct an independent review to improve child protection in England. Her final report was published in May 2011 and contained fifteen recommendations, all of which were subsequently accepted by the government. For services to children and families, Professor Munro received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours 2012.

You can find the Facebook Event here.

Who to Blame: Islam or Islamism

Turkey protests

Turkey protests

Much of the debate on Sharia law and its misogyny against women, the brutal murder in Woolwich, terrorism and more comes back to the question of Islam.

Islam we are told is to blame for it all.

After all Sharia law, jihad, misogyny are rooted in the Koran and Hadith (the sayings and action of Islam’s prophet Mohammad) – which is all true.

The link is undeniable (unless you are a cowardly politician). Islam is the banner of Islamism or political Islam.

But Islamism – not Islam – is to blame. Let me explain.

Christianity is the basis of the Christian-Right but fighting the Christian Right in the US is primarily a political fight against a far-Right movement not a fight against the fundamentals of Christianity.

I have said this many times before: if you look at Christianity in Europe today it is different from the days of the inquisition not because its fundamentals have changed but because its political and social status and power have changed. It’s been reined in and pushed back.

It’s the same with Islamism. I am told Sam Harris says “the problem with Islamic fundamentalism is the fundamentals of Islam” but this is about politics not religion. The fundamentals of Christianity remain the same but we are no longer living under the Spanish inquisition…

Of course, in general, we must always fight regressive and inhuman beliefs, including religious ones. Whilst people have a right to their beliefs as private matters, challenging regressive beliefs is an ongoing task. But to challenge and push back Islamism, sharia law, or terrorism, you have to fight it politically.

If you can’t see where the problem lies, you can’t begin to confront it.

A friend writes: “If Islam were sunshine and lollipops, then the political implementation of Islam wouldn’t be a problem. Is it because Islam is what it is that the politicisation of it is a problem?”

Well no. Nationalism is the basis of fascism but every act of flag waving at a football match does not fascism make.

There is of course much more to say on this and I will try to do so soon. However, while we’re on this topic I have to end with another issue that also often comes up in this debate. Not long passes before someone wants to know “where all the Muslims are”? The fact that we are never asked “where all the Christians are” in the fight against the Christian-Right is a good indicator that there is something very wrong with this question.

Most importantly, it’s the religious-Right that organises along the lines of religion. Others organise on the basis of social, political and class politics.Can you really not see the anti-Islamist uprisings in Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Tunisia… Can you not see so many fighting and dying (and long before September 11)? Or do you just not want to?

Amina Akbar

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Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina was brought back to court today in handcuffs and covered in a blanket.

The “secret hearing” under police supervision meant that the decision of the court is unknown, according to FEMEN.

Amina faces up to two years in prison for writing “FEMEN” on a mosque wall and carrying pepper spray for her own protection.

Whilst Islamists are free to roam the streets to kill and intimidate at will, our dissenters are locked up behind bars and threatened with imprisonment.

We must not leave Amina alone. She speaks for all of us.

Also, the three FEMEN activists – Marguerite, Josephine and Pauline – who staged a topless protest at the court in Tunisia at Amina’s first hearing and who are now in jail and face prison terms must be freed immediately. In the courtroom, the activists bags had been put over their heads and they were covered in blankets; the judge banned photos and videos. According to human rights activist Patrick Klugman, who came from Paris to represent the interests of the FEMEN said: “I am horrified. Without giving FEMEN activists permission to speak, the court listened only to Salafi organizations which are not even the defendants in this case! Fair trial did not take place because the accused have not been released from custody, and they were not even heard.” Pre-trial is set for June 12.

Any day the four spend in prison is a day too long. They have done nothing wrong.

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On the eve of the hearing, FEMEN activists held a “prayer” on the road near the Tunisian embassy in Paris chanting “Amina Akbar!”

Amina is great indeed…

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For more information, visit FEMEN’s website.