An initiative in Algeria is organising a picnic during Ramadan to stand up to the inquisition and defend freedom of conscience. They are protesting the harassment of those who do not choose to observe fasting during Ramadan. The picnic will be held on August 3, 2013 at 12pm in Algeria.
Many Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Middle Eastern secularists, including Muslims, amongst others, are supporting this initiative by calling for a rally on the same day and same time at the Trocadero in Paris to support the gathering of “de-Jeuneurs Tizi Ouzou”.
I won’t be able to join the Paris initiative but I’ll be doing some very public eating on 3 August at 12pm which will be uploaded on social media. I suggest that you all do the same in solidarity if you can’t get to the rally.
As secularist Soad Baba Aissa of the Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laïcité en Algérie says (translated from French):
“We think it is interesting to support this appeal because it is in line with the struggle for freedom of conscience and opposition to the societal “inquisition” which can be seen in Algeria, as in many other Muslim majority countries.
The initiative is courageous in Algeria, as it was in Morocco. These are pacifist actions that challenge and strike the conscience. This is similar to Amina’s FEMEN Tunisia fight. They are against the current and show national and international opinion that citizens are not fixed in a “pre-supposed” Muslim identity and origin. “The Muslim community” is not a family or a homogeneous group. As in all families, groups, and societies, there are men and women who fight for freedom of conscience, equality, and pluralism. This is the case throughout Algeria, as it is in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.”
You can see a list of signatories, including mine, defending this action here.