Even pregnant women are immoral

The absurdity continues.

In Turkey, an Islamist or “Muslim thinker” as they are often called has said that pregnant women should stay home as “it’s disgraceful”, it’s “immorality”.

The country’s highest religious body has said that whilst motherhood is a gift, pregnant women should dress more “modestly”.

The misogynist comments have sparked protests, including by partners of pregnant women with pillows stuffed in their clothing as a show of solidarity.

We should all do the same.

As my act of solidarity, I am posting a photo of myself when I was pregnant and had the cheek to walk around in public whilst ready to pop nearly 8 years ago. Oh, the immorality of it… #direnhamile – #pregnant resist

P1010006

 

Many problems can be solved with sex slaves

If only someone had thought of it sooner. But better late than never I guess… (This is from 2011 by the way but too good to pass up on)

A female Kuwaiti politician has called for the legalization of sex slavery, saying it would protect decent, devout and virile Kuwaiti men from adultery.

And all along we thought the veil, burka, sex segregation… was going to be enough.

Plus according to this humanitarian, the sex slaves would be women prisoners from war-torn countries who would be saved from starvation as a result.

It’s a real win-win situation for all.

Seriously though you can’t make this stuff up even if you tried.

Guardian’s all excited again

The Guardian is all excited about the “election” of Hassan Rowhani in Iran. They think (and there is some truth in it) that we are afflicted with (even recent) historical amnesia. They did the same song and dance for Rafsanjani and Khatami and now Rowhani.

Whilst the regime has stepped up its executions in order to stifle dissent and the exploding anti-Islamic backlash, the Guardian-ites celebrate Rowhani who by the way just introduced his cabinet – which wait for it – includes Ali Younesi – who was head of intelligence for another “reformer” Khatami and who was involved in the executions of 1362 (1980s). A group of international judges has found the regime guilty of crimes against humanity during that period.

Of course Rowhani and his cabinet reads like a most wanted list but what does the Guardian care? “Reformer” is all they want to hear though reform is meant to have real meaning in the real world. Maybe they can write an article about the reforms we can expect. Same old, same old doesn’t reform make.

As I’ve said before, call them “reformers”, call them “conservatives”, call them anything you want. It doesn’t change the facts.

65975_600-irancartoon

They – all of them – shouldn’t be “elected” or celebrated but prosecuted.

And in time, they will be….

 

 

Time to say goodbye to executions

poster2I have not been able to blog for the past ten days and have much to write about.

Most urgently I must tell you about the International Committee against Execution’s call for a two week campaign against executions in Iran during 22 July – 5 August 2013.

You can see Mina Ahadi’s report on the successful first week of the campaign in Persian here.

Execution in all instances, anywhere, is unacceptable. When the state kills it becomes a serial killer, committing premeditated murder on behalf of all society, which makes it the worst kind.

There are those who say that people who kill should be killed. However, most people on death row haven’t killed. And justice is not about retribution. Should rapists by raped and the houses of arsonists burnt to the ground with their families in them?

More importantly what this argument ignores is that the death penalty is a form of state control and intimidation. It’s meant to put people in their places and instil fear. That is as true for the regime in Iran as in China or the states that carry out the death penalty in the USA.

The regime in Iran has survived for more than 30 years by murdering citizens – young and old, men and women, and for more than 130 offences including homosexuality, enmity against god, apostasy and adultery.

Join the International Committee against Executions in saying goodbye to executions.

Tweet #NoMoreExecutions, Upload your acts of outrage and opposition to executions in Iran on social media, Email your actions to minnaahadi@gmail.com.

My schedule for August

I will be in Edinburgh, Marseilles and Boston in August in case any of you can make the below. Here are more details:

11 August 2013
Edinburgh, Scotland
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at: The Jam House, 5 Queen Street, EH2 1JE
Maryam will be speaking at Skeptics on the Fringe Festival on “Secularism is my right; freedom my culture”. More details here.

22-24 August 2013
Marseilles, France
Maryam Namazie will be speaking on Arab revolutions and Feminism panel organised by the Green Party’s Feminism Group. More information can be found here.

30 August – 2 September 2013
Boston, USA
Maryam Namazie will be speaking at Atheist Alliance of America Conference. For more information, click here.

No one wants them

Here’s a good report on the opposition to Asad but also the Islamists in Syria. It says:

“The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria detained the media activist Mohammad Nour Matar on Tuesday evening outside its base… after he stood alongside a woman who tried to stage a sit-in,” Matar’s brother Amer told AFP.

In Idlib province in the northwest, whose borders with Turkey have allowed foreign jihadists to join the fighting in numbers, dozens of mainstream rebels were killed in a battle with ISIS last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The fighting broke out after rebels protested against the detention by the jihadists of a 12-year-old boy accused of uttering a blasphemous phrase.

“The chief of the [Free Syrian Army-affiliated] Hamzah Assadullah Brigade and his brother were both killed” in the fighting, the Britain-based watchdog said.

“We haven’t seen many such battles, but it is clear the anger against the Islamic State and other jihadists is on the rise across Syria,” its director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The case echoed that of a 14-year-old boy executed by ISIS fighters in the main northern city of Aleppo who accused him of blasphemy for using a colloquial phrase.

Rahman said mainstream rebels appeared set for a new confrontation with their jihadist rivals in Idlib after ISIS demanded that all other groups surrender their weapons.

Nizar, an activist from the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, said: “Time is running out for all these [jihadist] groups.”

“They use violence and religion to try control us and, although people are afraid to openly express their dissent, no one wants them.”

Yes, indeed, no one wants them…

***

With no end in sight to the worsening situation in Syria, the number of refugees outside the country at almost 2 million and millions more internally displaced, help is urgently needed. Save the Children are doing crucial work, providing food, shelter, protection, education and counselling to children caught up in the violence and instability – but as always are in desperate need of funds to keep going. An activist of the Council of Ex-Muslims, Chris Roche and another are living in tents for a month until 8 August so as to raise money to support Syrian children. Help support them here.

Channel 4 – Report on this!

I wrote earlier about Channel 4’s daily call to prayer for Ramadan as much of the same old same old pandering to identity politics.

In my previous post I mentioned how Channel 4 should report on the many who refuse to fast and who are threatened into fasting and still refuse.

Here’s a great example of what I was talking about:

After an Islamist threatened that his “Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform” group (very moderate indeed!)  would “photograph and stigmatise” anyone who failed to fast, many Tunisians took to publishing photos of themselves eating during Ramadan.

Despite the Minister of Religious Affairs also saying that cafes and restaurants should be closed, the Tunisian president’s advisor had to intervene given the uproar it has caused saying:

“This is not a surprise if it stems from his position that Tunisia is a Muslim country, but Khademi [Minister of Religious Affairs] should be aware that observant Muslims have the right to practice their faith during the month of Ramadan, yet there are a large number of non-observant Muslims and non-Muslims who reside in Tunisia”.

Hear that Channel 4. Why not report on this too?

Of course I won’t be holding my breath.

Plea of the families of 26 activists who have been sentenced to death!

Also below see Khaled Hardani’s family’s appeal to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

To Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
Secretary General of the United Nations,

Receive the painful letter of these families whose children have been in exile, jail, and away from family and home, have been deprived of their legal rights, and have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time. They either have not had a defense attorney, or their attorneys have not had the permission to speak, or they have faced baseless charges of “moharebeh” (war against God or state), for which there are 4 kinds of punishments: execution, cutting hand and leg in opposite directions, exile, and prison. These prisoners are given jail terms, execution sentences, and exile at the same time. Some of these prisoners have been wounded by bullets and have lost some parts of their body.

The names of these 26 people are as follows:
Hamed Ahmadi, Jamshid Dehqani, Jahangir Dehqani, Kamal Mollaii, Seddiq Mohammadi, Hadi Hoseini, Loqman Moradi, Zanyar Moradi, Shahram Ahmadi (whose brother, Bahram Ahmadi, has been executed 27.12.2012, while he was under 18 at the time of arrest), Mohammad Yavar Rahimi (whose brother, Asqar Rahimi, was executed 27.12.2012), Mukhtar Rahimi, Bahman Rahimi, Poorya Mohammadi, Mohammad Qaribi, Farzad Shah Nazari, Poorya Qaderifard, Jamal Seyed Moosavi, and Loqman Amini.
[Read more...]

Iraqi Labour Unions Protest

Press release: by the Iraqi Labor Unions regarding the Interventions and Violations Carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

Violations to the freedoms of organization of unions is continuing and have been repeated in many procedures and practices of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which inhibits the right of freedom of organization to unions and its diversity.

The correspondence of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, which stipulates the prevention to deal with labor unions and syndicates, and coerces to deal exclusively with a government union founded by the government itself, is a flagrant violation of freedom of association and protection of the right to organize.

For that purpose, the below-noted representatives of Iraqi unions met on Saturday, July 13, 2013 in Baghdad. The following statement has been released to confirm the following points: [Read more...]

We need you to protest

To all caring people around the world!

ali-11

On the left is is a picture of a nice young couple. This is Ali Mahin Torabi and his wife, in Turkey who are looking for a safe place to move to.

Ali had been sentenced to death. In 2001 when he was 15 years old he asked a fellow student at his school why he was late. As they started to fight, Ali’s fellow student got stabbed by a knife and Ali was convicted for it. He called me from prison and said with a childish voice: Dear Mina, tell the people of Germany that they have to prevent Ali from getting executed. People who are sentenced to death penalty have an expectation that everyone who knows about the case shall help them. Since this was broadcast in Iran and across the world a massive protest began and thanks to that Ali is still alive.

The below is a picture of Zaniar Moradi who is in one of Iran’s worst prisons, The Rajaie Shahr in Karaj.

zanyar-11

He and Loghman Moradi were arrested in charge of murder of a religious leader’s son (Marivan). He confessed during the torture. He got a serious back injury from the torture and now he can’t walk. The authorities denied him hospitalization. The prison guardians told him that he will be executed anyway so it was no use for him to go to the doctors. In an interview with Italian reporters which was broadcast live from prison he said: Don’t let me get killed without my wishes getting fulfilled, I want to live. Everyone who saw this in Italy where very touched and cried. A reporter in Italy wrote: The history in Italy got divided into two parts, one before they heard Zaniar’s voice and one after.
Zaniar is one of many political prisoners who are sentenced to death in The Rajaie Shahr. Meanwhile there are approximately 1400 prisoners in the same prison who are convicted to death, possession of drugs and murder. According to recent news from the sixth of July, that we received, the authorities have warned all 1400 prisoners that they will be executed within six months.

The below is a picture of Ibrahim Arnavar who was 20 years old and got executed last Saturday the seventh of July 2013.

ebrahim-11

He was an athlete and at several times he said that he was innocent. Unfortunately we got aware of this case after the execution. He was one of the 102 persons who have been executed the last 20 days in Iran. Hereby I want everyone to realize that when you spread information, help and protest you can save several lives.

The International Committee Against Execution condemns the massive wave of executions after Rowhani’s presidential election and we are urging you to do whatever you can to prevent the killings.

There is not one single day that those on death row don’t call me from prison and ask for help so they don’t get killed. What can we do to help them? We are asking all human being’s to protest against death penalty and the authorities.

Mina Ahadi
The International Committee Against Execution
2013-07-14

Mina Ahadi
0049 (0) 1775692413
minnaahadi@gmail.com
minaahadi-iran.blogspot.co.uk
stopstonningnow.com
notonemoreexecution.org

Rage against stoning

Today is International day against Stoning.

Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson for the International Committee against Stoning, has written a piece in Persian about it here.

Real live human beings are still buried in a ditch and stoned until they are dead in the 21st century. In Iran, stoning someone to death isn’t illegal; it’s perfectly legal under Sharia. What’s illegal is the size of the stone – not to big to end it too quickly and not to small so as to take too long…

As Iran stoning case, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, said once in an open letter: “How can anyone throw stones at my face and hands?”

How indeed.

Rage against stoning and in defence of the men and women facing this medieval and barbaric punishment.

I will not vote any more

Here’s a satire from Mohammad Reza Aly Payam who can be seen performing his “I won’t vote any more” in Iran. It’s too long to translate all of it or to do it well but I’ve paraphrased a few lines so you get the gist of it.

Brilliant!

Even if they lift the ban on my films,
Print my books,
If they put a satellite dish on every rooftop
Organise Googoosh and Daryoush concerts in Kish
Stop giving religious edicts for what’s good or bad
If they say young men and women can come and go as they please
Have parties 8 days a week
If they give free breakfasts
And everyone 20 litres free petrol
I won’t vote any more, do as you please.

If they create different politicians
Destroy the prisons and build toilets in their stead
If they say there is no need for the hejab
Tell people where to stand
Stop searching car boots
and stop saying short sleeves are sinful
I won’t vote any more, do as you please.

If politics and religion are separated
Censorship ends
If they give loads of money to everyone
Forget the money, why are there so many mullahs in Iran
Even if they say the Mullahs place will be in Qom or Mashhad
I won’t vote any more, do as you please

If they say people can wear colourful clothes
stop wearing the hijab
Even if they say all the problems are because of the hejab
I won’t vote any more, do as you please…

(Via Reza Moradi)

Riposte Laique and far-Right: We will fight Islamism and you too

Here is my response to Riposte Laique and far-Right-ers who blame Muslims for Islamism’s crimes and try to hijack the legitimate fight against Sharia and Islamism in order to promote their disgusting xenophobia and bigotry.

As I say in my response: “You cannot fight Islamism, a far-Right movement, with another far-Right movement.” “We will fight Islamism and you too.”

I am really forceful here, which I sometimes have to be if Islamists or far-Righters are there in order to take control of the situation and stop people interrupting me.

Watch this fight…

Channel 4’s daily call to prayers for Ramadan same old, same old

Channel 4 is airing the Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan every morning and also broadcasting a series of programmes about Ramadan. It says it is doing so as a deliberate act of “provocation” to challenge viewers who associate Islam with terrorism and extremism.

Far from being provocative, however, it is just more of the same old, same old.

Whilst people have innumerable characteristics that define them, Channel 4 is again promoting a portrayal of Muslims as one dimensional religious beings that always fasts and like to hear the call to prayers.

What about all the Muslims (and ex-Muslims) who can’t stand to hear the call to prayers? or who don’t fast during Ramadan? There is a movement of eating during Ramadan as a way of challenging laws that make it an offence to eat in public. Here’s one example of people being arrested for “inciting public eating during Ramadan” but of course none of these will be shown on Channel 4.

Rather than being provocative, Channel 4 is feeding into the narrative that all Muslims are religious and conservative and fast during Ramadan. Something Islamists insist upon thereby justifying their attacks on those who refuse to fast or transgress their vile norms.

Religion is meant to be a private matter, lived in a myriad of ways. Often religion is not even an integral part of many people’s lives but of course that’s irrelevant for Channel 4.

As an aside, the call to prayers makes the hairs on my neck stand up. It has always been background noise during executions and attacks on the public in Iran.

Channel 4: want to do something really provocative? Show “Muslims” and ex-Muslims living every day lives, eating, laughing, loving, opposing Sharia, leaving Islam, defending secularism and women’s equality or gay rights and living without religion. Show them as 21st century human beings and citizens with countless characteristics like everyone else. Not just as Muslims and a certain type of Muslim at that.

But of course that is too much to ask…

As for me I will be eating extra this month.

Successful launch of Council of Ex-Muslims of France

The Council of Ex-Muslims of France held a successful launch in Paris hosted by Femmes Solidaires on 6 July 2013.

The launch marked the torture and murder of young Frenchman Jean-François Lefevre de la Barre in 1766 for refusing to remove his hat while a religious procession passed by and was a reminder of the countless la Barres facing threats, torture, imprisonment and death for apostasy, blasphemy, heresy, atheism and refusing to comply with Islamist norms.

Speakers at the packed event included founding members of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France Waleed Al-Husseini; Atica Samrah; Mehdi Lamrani; Elias Ben Amer and Soad Baba Aïssa of Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laïcité en Algérie. Other speakers included Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Maryam Namazie, Tunisian film-maker Nadia El-Fani; Secularist Caroline Fourest; Safia Lebdi of Insoumisses; activist Fatou Sou; Mimouna Hadham; and Marieme Helie Lucas of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue.

The speakers welcomed the establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France as an important step in challenging Islamism and apostasy laws and defending free expression, freedom of belief and atheism and secularism. The organisation stressed its opposition to the far-Right, including groups like Riposte Laique, and defended citizenship rights and equality for all, including Muslims and migrants.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of France will join a movement begun by Mina Ahadi in Germany defending the right to apostasy and free expression.

For more information on the CEMF, visit the CEMF’s Facebook page.

Film footage of speeches, photos, and press coverage can be found below. [Read more...]

Rights within Islamic context? Thanks but no thanks

Here is my speech on Secularism as a right and historical task at Atheist Ireland’s Empowering Women through Secularism in Dublin:

“The rest of us must live under sharia law – even in Europe – and be grateful for the veil as a ‘right’ and ‘choice’. We are only allowed freedom and rights within the confines of Islam. Thanks but no thanks.” See the speech here:

At the same conference, I speak about the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and nude and topless activism as important forms of campaigning against Islamism: