Secular Conference 2014 rallies in support of Kobane and against religious-Right

Press Release
15 October 2014

PosterA3The two-day International Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights held in London during 11-12 October 2014 was a rousing success.

A broad coalition of secularists, including believers, free-thinkers, agnostics and atheists assembled from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diaspora at the unprecedented and historic gathering to discuss resistance against the repression and violence of ISIS and other manifestations of the religious-Right, including in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Israel, Libya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Tunisia and Yemen. They also discussed the urgent need to defend secularism, universal values and citizenship rights.

The 250 delegates made an unequivocal stand with the brave women and men of Kobane saying: “Their struggle is ours. Their fight is a fight for us all. We are all, today, Kobane.”

The conference, which was convened by Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas and Iranian-born Campaigner Maryam Namazie, adopted a Manifesto for Secularism which criticised neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism, communalism and cultural relativism and affirmed the complete separation of religion from the state and public policy, freedom of religion and atheism and freedom to criticise religions as well as equality between women and men and citizenship rights for all. It also called for the abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes and an end to discrimination against and persecution of LGBT, religious minorities, women, freethinkers, ex-Muslims, and others.

The conference highlighted the voices of the many persecuted and exiled, the long standing resistance against the religious-Right and the depth and strength of the demand for secularism all over the world despite grave risks. It also set the stage for the development of a broad international front for secularism to challenge the religious-Right, racism and all forms of bigotry.

The Conference called on people everywhere to join the International Front for Secularism and strengthen a human alternative to the religious-Right.

Speakers at the conference included philosopher AC Grayling; Aliyah Saleem who spent 6 years in an Islamic school in Britain; Tunisian University of Manouba Professor Amel Grami; social and political analyst and commentator Bahram Soroush; French writer Caroline Fourest; secular student activist Chris Moos; Senior Researcher at the International Center for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka Chulani Kodikara; Indian labour historian Dilip Simeon; Yemeni writer and activist Elham Manea; Co-Founder of Muslim Women Research and Action Front from Sri Lanka Faizun Zackariya; founder of the Iranian Secular Society Fariborz Pooya; Senegalese International Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws Fatou Sow; Director of Centre for Secular Space Gita Sahgal; Leader of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran Hamid Taqvaee; One Secular School System in Ontario Campaigner Homa Arjomand; Director of the Afghanistan Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium Horia Mosadiq; FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko; co-founder of Justice for Women Julie Bindel; author Karima Bennoune; writer Kenan Malik; Pakistani-born human rights activist Kiran Opal; Iranian writer-journalist and documentary filmmaker Lila Ghobady; Ex-Muslim Maha Kamal; Libyan president of Hakki Magdulien Abaida; Tunisian filmmaker Nadia El Fani; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud; Vice President of the Atheist Coalition in Poland Nina Sankari; Founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism Nira Davis-Yuval; Pakistani nuclear physicist and social activist Pervez Hoodbhoy; Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; Southall Black Sisters Director Pragna Patel; founder of the Ex-Muslims of Scotland Ramin Forghani; author Rumy Hassan; Turkish MP Safak Pavey; journalist Salil Tripathi; Iranian/German writer Siba Shakib; Founder of Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laïcité Soad Baba Aïssa; co-founder of Survivors Voice Europe Sue Cox; Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra in Bangladesh Sultana Kamal; Director of Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford Taj Hargey; Bangladeshi-born writer Taslima Nasrin; President of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson and women’s rights campaigner Yasmin Rehman.

Acclaimed pianist and composer Anne Lovett; comedians Daphna Baram (AKA MissD), Kate Smurthwaite and Sameena Zehra as well as LCP dance company and singer/songwriter Shelley Segal provided entertainment.

The Indonesian band SIMPONI was announced winner of One Law for All’s Sounds of Freedom award with their entry “Sister in Danger”, a tribute to Indonesian victims of sexual violence.

The Conference was endorsed by Atheist Alliance International; Bread and Roses TV; Children First Now; Center for Inquiry; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation; International Committee against Stoning; International Committee against Execution; International Federation of Iranian Refugees; Iran Solidarity; National Secular Society; One Law for All; Pink Triangle Trust; Secularism is a Women’s Issue; The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK; and Women Living Under Muslim Laws amongst others.

END

Notes

1. Videos of the Conference will be posted on the Bread and Roses TV Youtube Channel shortly.

2. Photos of the Conference will be made available soon.

3. Press coverage on the conference includes:

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force, Terry Sanderson, NSS Blog, 15 October 2014

We are all Kobane: Rallying Cry of Resistants against Fundamentalism, Caroline Fourest, Huffington Post, 14 October 2014

Nous sommes tous Kobané: le cri de résistants à l’intégrisme, Caroline Fourest, Huffington Post, 14 October 2014

Guess what?: SIMPONI wins int’l competition, Jakarta Post, 14 October 2014

Secularism at risk in Sub-Saharan secular states: the challenges for Senegal and Mali, Fatou Sow, Open Democracy, 10 October 2014

Secular conference to discuss rise of religious-Right, The Guardian, 9 October 2014

Conquering Fear with Hope, Gita Sahgal, Open Democracy, 9 October 2014

L’urgenza della laicità, Riforma, 9 October 2014

Event on Rise of Religious Extremism to be Hosted in London, Prensa Latina, 9 October 2014

Promoting the global secular alternative in the ISIS era, Karima Bennoune’s interview with Marieme Helie Lucas and Maryam Namazie. Open Democracy, 4 October 2014

4. For more information, contact Maryam Namazie at maryamnamazie@gmail.com.

Just some more Islamist threats – but it won’t stop us

It seems be an Islamist, you must not only have a thing for murder but you have to be downright stupid as well.

Here’s an email circulated amongst the “brothers” on 10 October Friday before the 11-12 October conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London trying to mobilise their herds to stop our event by frightening the hotel where our event was taking place. The threats the hotel received were so serious that the police became involved and more stringent security measures were put in place.

Assalamalykum

Please do not ignore this message.

This weekend the council of ex muslims led by maryam namazi are holding a conference at the tower Guoman hotel. This event is full of hate preachers who’s intention is only to provoke Muslims and offend.

We need to make a stand against this event. We need you all to message and call the hotel today and demand that they do not allow the event to go ahead. Or at least ban Maryam namazi to be at the event…

A bit about Maryam Namazi

She has led a crusade against Muslims and islam and got many islamic events banned in the UK. She did a protest against the hijaab and by stripping nude in public and using the Iranians flag to cover her self. She cut out the part where it says Allah and put her private part there and then says this is better.

Make a stand for your Deen by getting her banned. Email and call the hotel now. And forward this message.
beconvinced.com

It is absurd when those preaching hate and defending murder call those resisting them “hate preachers”.

On Saturday, a few Islamists tried to get into the conference and were stopped by security. One of them even said he was a friend. Err, I don’t have any fascist friends, sorry.

One also texted me at the conference telling me he was waiting for me in reception: Ameenur Rasheed (07939 847723). One waited all day long right in front of the entrance maybe because he thought we would be intimidated?

Err, I don’t think so.

Also, both the websites of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All were down for several days due to sustained attacks.

Even so, our conference went ahead and 250 delegates from all over, particularly from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diapora, exposed Islamism and the religious-Right and defended secularism and citizenship rights.

The conference culminated in a Manifesto for Secularism – supported by believers and none – as an important step in creating an international front to challenge the fascists of our era.

Hope and humanity in the face of the religious-Right…

Islamists – you fail again!

 

We are all Kobane

Resolution in support of the people of Kobane
Adopted at 11-12 October Secular Conference 2014

We, the participants of the International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights unequivocally stand with the brave women and men of Kobane.

Their struggle is ours.

Their fight is a fight for us all.

We are all, today, Kobane.

Why ISIS today?

See the latest Bread and Roses programme. This is a not-to-be-missed interview on the rise of ISIS and the need for secularism.

Why ISIS, today?
07 October 2014
Interview with Hamid Taqvaee, Secretary of the
Central Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

چرا داعش امروز؟
۸ اکتبر ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با حميد تقوايى. ليدر حزب کمونيست کارگرى ايران

Manifesto for Secularism

Our era is marked by the rise of the religious-Right – not because of a “religious revival” but rather due to the rise of far-Right political movements and states using religion for political supremacy. This rise is a direct consequence of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and the social policies of communalism and cultural relativism. Universalism, secularism and citizenship rights have been abandoned and segregation of societies and “communities” based on ethnicity, religion and culture have become the norm.

The Islamic State (formerly ISIS), the Saudi regime, Hindutva (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in India, the Christian-Right in the US and Europe, Bodu Bala Sena in Sri Lanka, Haredim in Israel, AQMI and MUJAO in Mali, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria are examples of this.

For many decades now, people in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diaspora have been the first victims but also on the frontlines of resistance against the religious-Right (whether religious states, organisations and movements) and in defence of secularism and universal rights, often at great risk to their lives.

We call on people everywhere to stand with us to establish an international front against the religious-Right and for secularism. We demand:

  1. Complete separation of religion from the state. Secularism is a fundamental right.
  2. Separation of religion from public policy, including the educational system, health care and scientific research.
  3. Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes. An end to discrimination against and persecution of LGBT, religious minorities, women, freethinkers, ex-Muslims, and others.
  4. Freedom of religion and atheism and freedom to criticise religions. Belief as a private affair.
  5. Equality between women and men and citizenship rights for all.

Signatories

  1. AC Grayling, Philosopher
  2. Aliyah Saleem, Secular Education Campaigner
  3. Amel Grami, Professor at the Tunisian University of Manouba
  4. Bahram Soroush, Social and Political Analyst
  5. Ben Baz Aziz is a Presenter at Arab Atheist broadcasting
  6. Caroline Fourest, French Writer and Editor
  7. Chris Moos, LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
  8. Chulani Kodikara, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka
  9. Daphna Baram, Israeli-born human rights lawyer, journalist and comedian
  10. Elham Manea, Yemeni Writer and Human Rights Activist
  11. Faizun Zackariya, Citizens for Justice, Sri Lanka
  12. Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
  13. Fatou Sow, International Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
  14. Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space
  15. Hamid Taqvaee, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran
  16. Horia Mosadiq, Human Rights and Women’s Rights Activist from Afghanistan
  17. Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
  18. Inna Shevchenko, Leader of FEMEN
  19. Julie Bindel, Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize and Justice for Women
  20. Kacem El Ghazzali, Moroccan secularist writer and blogger
  21. Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
  22. Kiran Opal, Writer, LGBTQ/Human Rights Campaigner, Co-founder Ex-Muslims of North America
  23. Lila Ghobady, Iranian writer-journalist and documentary filmmaker
  24. Magdulien Abaida, Libyan Activist and President of Hakki (My Right) Organization for Women Rights
  25. Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
  26. Maryam Namazie, Iranian Spokesperson for One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah
  27. Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
  28. Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
  29. Nina Sankari, Vice-President of the Atheist Coalition, Poland
  30. Nira Yuval-Davis, a founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the International Research Network on Women in Militarized Conflict Zone
  31. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani Nuclear Physicist and Social Activist
  32. Peter Tatchell, Director of Peter Tatchell Foundation
  33. Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
  34. Ramin Forghani, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland
  35. Rumy Hassan, Senior Lecturer at University of Sussex and author
  36. Sameena Zehra, comedian and blues singer
  37. Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International
  38. Soad Baba Aissa, Founder of the Association for Mixing, Equality and Secularism
  39. Sue Cox, Founder of Survivors Voice Europe
  40. Sultana Kamal is a lawyer, human rights activist and Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra in Bangladesh
  41. Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society
  42. Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Activist

In support of 5 October: Day to Save Reyhaneh Jabbari from Execution in Iran

Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Director: Reza Moradi; Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
و فريبرز پويا با مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى٬ مشاور برنامه: پونه راوى

In support of 5 October: Day to Save Reyhaneh Jabbari from Execution in Iran

در دفاع از روز جهانی نجات ریحانه جباری، یکشنبه ۵ اکتبر برنامه

Promoting global secular alternative in the ISIS era

While many of us watch in horror as ISIS advances, and fundamentalist ideas spread across religious traditions around the world, Maryam Namazie and Marieme Hélie-Lucas – secular feminists from Iran and Algeria – told Karima Bennoune why they are convening the International Secular Conference in London next weekend.

Karima Bennoune: Can you explain your own journey to secularism?

Marieme Hélie-Lucas: I have been a secularist throughout my life, someone who believes a democratic state should not take orders from religions. My mother was a mystic, but also a secularist, and was strongly aware of the anti-women stance in all religions. Her feminist teaching on religions always remained within me, especially when I was confronted with the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in Algeria.

Maryam Namazie:  I became a secularist after Islamists expropriated and suppressed the 1979 Iranian revolution and established an Islamic state. I knew instinctively that there was something very wrong with religion in power, as do many people living under the boot of Islamism or the religious right – even if they do not call themselves secularists. My father was raised a strict Muslim (by my grandfather who was an Islamic scholar) but he never made me feel different because I was a girl. I never had to be veiled or felt unequal, until an Islamic state came into being.

Bennoune: Why did you decide to organize the International Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights now?

Namazie: Our era is marked by the rise of the religious right, and in particular Islamism, with its unspeakable brutality. There has been many a slaughtered generation from Iran to Algeria. For every shocking and tragic beheading of a journalist and aid worker by ISIS that makes headlines, there are countless unreported others beheaded, crucified, flogged, segregated and “disappeared” via the veil…

In the fight against these movements, secularism is key, including for many believers. No one better understands the need for the separation of religion and state than those who have lived under the religious right. Secularism  may not be the only challenge, but it is certainly a minimum precondition for freedom in any given society.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

International Day to Save Reyhaneh Jabbari

reyhanehJoin 05 October – the international day to save Reyhaneh Jabbari from execution in Iran.

There will be actions in various cities. In London, the action will be in Trafalgar Square on 5th October 2014 from 1 to 2pm.

The Islamic Regime of Iran has announced that 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, is to executed next week. Reyhaneh is accused of stabbing a man to death in the face of an attempted rape when she was 19. Jabbari who was sentenced to death in a sham trial in 2009 following two years of torture has always claimed that the stabbing to death of an employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, was after she met him in a café to visit his office to discuss an interior design and a business deal. While there, Sarbandi allegedly drugged and attempted to rape Jabbari, who in self-defence grabbed a pocketknife and stabbed him in the shoulder.

The Islamic regime and its judiciary are trying to execute Reyhaneh to cover up a dark secret related to the employees of the Islamic intelligence Ministry of Iran.

Reyhaneh and her mother are now appealing to the world to help save her. Many international organisations have now condemned the treatment of Reyhaneh Jabbari and have demanded her release.

We have only a few days to save Reyhaneh and force the Iranian regime to release her unconditionally. Join us on 5th of October 2014 in London from 1 to 2 p.m. to support the campaign to save Reyhaneh and bring an end to execution in Iran.

For further information please contact: Fariborz Pooya on 07861 740 999 or Sirvan Ghaderi 07446 135857
or by email: icae.london@gmail.com.

Reyhaneh’s Letter From Prison: I do not deserve to die. Death is not for me. Please save me.

reyhaneMy name is Reyhaneh Jabari, I am twenty six (26), Iranian and I have been living in prison where I have been confined for years; having nightmares of being executed at any point in time.

Days pass by and my fear grows on daily basis as I stand being strangled with a rope around my neck. If only I didn’t defend myself, I would have been a victim of rape.  I wish that damned day did not exist in my life; the day that destroyed my life and me.

I wish I was never cheerful and outgoing, and if only…

I was sitting in an ice-cream shop, talking and laughing with my friend via cellphone. Some people where sitting around the place I was sitting and must have overhead me talk decoration with my friend on phone.

When I wanted to leave the ice-cream shop, two persons came towards me and asked if I could redecorate their offices. We agreed and exchanged telephone numbers. I was walking along the way when Morteza on his car stopped in front of me and insisted to give me a ride.

His friend was sitting in the car, too. I got in the car; I wish I never did.

Morterza was a middle-aged man. I was not suspicious of him and anything whatsoever, hence, I got on the car. A Few days after, Morteza’s friend called me to visit his office to change the decoration regarding the contract already agreed upon before. We set an appointment and I appeared on the day.  They picked me up and drove me somewhere I didn’t know.  I got scared.

Mr. Shikhi had told me before that they were security officers, but Morteza was a surgeon, too. Morteza stopped in front of a pharmacy. He bought some stuffs there and came back with a little plastic bag in his hand. I did not know what he bought.

We arrived in an apartment which was on the fourth floor of a building. Inside the building was very dirty as if nobody had lived there for years. Mr. Sheikhi did not come inside. I was terrified to close the door behind me, but Morteza asked me to close the door. He asked me to take off my scarf. I didn’t do it. He approached me and tried to touch me, but I didn’t let him. He put his arms around my waist, I ran away. He got angry and said that I cannot disobey his desire. I had a knife with me. In a second when he turned his head back to me I stabbed him in the back. He was still coming to me more angrily. He grappled me, but I could free myself from his hands.

While I was running through the door, Mr. Sheikhi came in. He got into a fight with Morteza. I did not know what was going on between them. He went to the kitchen table and took some documents from there. I ran away trying to get lost in the city. I went home very late.

At 2.00 O’clock in the morning, the police came and arrested me and since then I am in prison.

I got involved in a terrible incident. I later noticed from evidence that the plastic bag he had at the pharmacy contained condom and aesthetic and drawing inference from the items – juice containing aesthetic and the condoms, all show they wanted to rape me.
I just defended myself.  In all the court sessions, I had claimed that I am innocent and I continue to maintain that position. I did not kill Morteza even though I stabbed him to free myself. I do not know the extent of attack by the other man and what informed his intention; maybe to suppress evidence.

The court accepts neither my claim nor my lawyer’s defence. I have already declared in my last claim that I am an ordinary girl who did not allow violation of her dignity. I am a designer, I work as a designer and in line with my work, I entered into contract with them and they took me to the place where I believed reasonably that I was going to do my professional job; I never had any foreseeable hindsight of their intention as that had never happened to me before. The time for the court’s judgement came and the court’s verdict did not exculpate me and subsequently sentenced to death. Since my conviction five years ago, I am still in the death row.

The family of the deceased, the head of the judiciary and the supreme leader can only save me from death.

I do not deserve to die.

Death is not for me.

Please save me.

 

Reproduced and printed by the International Committee Against Execution – London
For further information Please contact: Fariborz Pooya on 07861 740 999 or Sirvan Ghaderi on 07446 135857 or email  icae.london@gmail.com

 

Are gay rights a possibility in Iran or the Middle East?

Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Director: Reza Moradi; Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
و فريبرز پويا با مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى٬ مشاور برنامه: پونه راوى

Are gay rights a possibility in Iran or the Middle East?
30 September 2014
Interview with Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society

آيا حقوق هم جنسگرايان در ايران و خاور ميانه امکان پذير است؟
۱ اکتبر ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با ترى ساندرسن٬ رئيس سازمان سکولاريستهاى بريتانيا

REGISTER TODAY: 11-12 October International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London

PosterA3Secularists from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diaspora will be gathering at the Tower Hotel in London during 11-12 October 2014 for an historic two-day International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights.

At this unprecedented conference, prominent women and men from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, UK, USA and Yemen will discuss “Religion in State, Law and Politics”, “Secularism and Education”, “Multifaithism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship” and “Women, Religion and the Religious-Right”, amongst others.

In addition to over 50 speakers, including those of faith and none, there will be comedy, live music, films and dance as well as a dinner with speakers.

The packed agenda can be seen on the conference’s website.

With limited space remaining and only 10 days left to the conference, register for this not-to-be-missed event TODAY.

If you are unable to attend but would like to donate towards bringing secularists from the “South” to the conference, please support our crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo Website.

Secularism, today, now. [Read more...]

Does religion make child abuse inevitable?

See this week’s Bread and Roses TV programme, which ask a question about the role religion plays in child abuse.

Does religion make child abuse inevitable?
23 September 2014
Interview with Sue Cox, Survivors Voice – Europe

آيا مذهب کودک آزارى را اجتناب ناپذیر مى کند؟
۲۴ سپتامبر ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با سو کاکس از صداى بازماندگان اروپا

Law Society failure to withdraw Sharia-compliant Practice Note gross derogation of duty

The below letter was sent to all Law Society Council Members stating that the Law Society’s continued failure to withdraw its Sharia-compliant Practice Note amounts to a gross derogation of duty on both legal and moral grounds.  A copy of our Legal Advice (Law Society Sharia Advice final August 2014) was included.

We write this open letter as a concerned group of organisations and individuals working on issues of gender equality and human rights in the UK and elsewhere.

You may be aware that recently, under threat of legal action in respect of a breach of the Equality Act 2010, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) withdrew its ethics guidance on ‘Drafting and Preparation of Wills’ which purported to endorse the Law Society’s ‘Practice Note on Sharia Succession Rules’. The Practice Note – which was intended to assist solicitors in drafting so called Sharia compliant wills – serves in effect to endorse discrimination against minority women and children on the grounds of their gender, marital and family status and religious backgrounds, in so far as it encourages legal and state welfare services to accommodate highly gender discriminatory religious laws that are being increasingly defined by religious fundamentalists in our society. This is a source of immense concern to those of us who have for so long contested gender discrimination in our communities and fought for the freedom of women and children.

The Practice Note reminds solicitors that:

‘… illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs … The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir … Non-Muslims may not inherit at all … divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir…’ [Read more...]

Secularism. Today. Now: 11-12 October Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights

Dear Friend

“Secularism is probably the one big issue for our century. This century is not, as many still think, marked by a religious or spiritual revival. What we are actually witnessing is the rise of extreme-Right political movements, working under the cover of religion. Everywhere. No one is spared… Secularists are being attacked in many places in the world today: they are jailed, killed, tortured; their very existence is considered an offense to believers in many non-secular states. … There is a need for secularists around the world to come together and examine their situations, to exchange information, to strategize and to join hands,” writes Algerian secularist Marieme Helie Lucas.

This is the impetus behind the 11-12 October 2014 International Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London with speakers from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, UK, USA and Yemen.

Join Us!

Join this historic conference which will establish an international front of secularists against the religious-Right.

Secularism. Today. Now.

Register for the conference today.

See the conference agenda here.

See the biographies of our distinguished speakers here.

See a short Bread and Roses Video on the conference here.

The conference is endorsed by Atheist Alliance International; Bread and Roses TV; Children First Now; Center for Inquiry; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation; International Committee against Stoning; International Committee against Execution; International Federation of Iranian Refugees; Iran Solidarity; National Secular Society; One Law for All; Secularism is a Women’s Issue; The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK; and Women Living Under Muslim Laws amongst others.

Richard Dawkins will be attending the conference.

For more information, contact:
Amal Farah, Atoosa Khatiri, Eileen McFadden, Gaby Grammeno, Marieme Helie Lucas and Maryam Namazie
Conference Organising Committee
Email: maryamnamazie@gmail.com
Facebook
Twitter
Website

Nuclear weapons are not the “right” of the Islamic regime of Iran

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, and Bahram Soroush
Director: Reza Moradi; Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
با فريبرز پويا٬ بهرام سروش و مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى٬ مشاور برنامه: پونه راوى

سلاح های هسته ای “حق” رژيم اسلامى ايران نيست
۳ سپتامبر ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با اصغر کريمى٬ رئيس هئيت اجرايى حزب کمونيست کارگرى ايران

Nuclear weapons are not the “right” of the Islamic regime of Iran
2 September 2014
Interview with Asqar Karimi, Head of Worker-communist Party of Iran’s Executive Board

11-12 October Conference Schedule NOW AVAILABLE

ConferenceIcon1smallConference of a life-time on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
11-12 October 2014
The Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LD, UK

BACKGROUND

The global rise of the religious-Right, including but not limited to Islamic State (or ISIS), and their efforts to gain political power and control the state apparatus and public institutions has meant that organised religions’ role vis-a-vis the state as well as secularism and the complete separation of religion from the state have become critical political and civil rights matters.

At this unprecedented conference, prominent women and men on the frontlines of opposing the religious-Right and defending secularism, including those of faith and none, will come together to discuss the religious-Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity.

Speakers from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, UK, USA and Yemen will reflect on the struggle for secularism in both regional and thematic ways and will discuss the specific forms that attacks on secularism – and on secularists themselves – take in various parts of the world. They will also discuss how these attacks are linked to the rise of the religious-Right in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East and its confluence in countries of emigration such as Europe and North America.

The conference aims to highlight the voices of the many persecuted and exiled, address the challenges faced by activists, elaborate on the links between equality, democratic politics and secularism, promote secular and rights-based alternatives to the religious-Right, establish priorities for regional and international collective action and influence policy and practice locally, nationally, and internationally.

The conference will result in the establishment of an international front of secularists against the religious-Right.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
(Subject to Change)

Saturday 11 October 2014

8:00-9:30am    Registration
Arrival Tea/Coffee 

9:30-9:40        Welcome and Housekeeping with MCs Amal Farah, Mahal Kamal and Nahla Mahmoud

9:40-9:50        Maryam Namazie: Opening Address
Maryam Namazie will give an overview of the conference aims, the political necessity for such a conference during the rise of the religious-Right and the need for secularism as a minimum precondition.

9:50-10:05      Marieme Helie Lucas: Attacks on Secularism
Marieme Helie Lucas will look at the shifting meaning of ‘secularism'; the political consequences of this shift and how it enhances and legitimises both the rise of fundamentalist theocratic ideologies and the fragmentation of people into ‘communities’ with unequal rights.

10:05-10:10    Ouachdek: 20 Ans Barakat 

10:10-10:30    Film

10:30-12:00      Secularism Panel
This panel will discuss the definition of secularism and whether secularism is a minimum precondition for a democratic society.
Chair: Peter Tatchell
Panellists: Caroline Fourest (“Secularism against Fanaticism”), Faisal Saeed Al-Muttar (“The Need for a Global Secular Humanist Movement, My Journey from Baghdad to Washington D.C.”), Hamid Taqvaee (“Rise and Fall of Secularism”), Pragna Patel and Sue Cox (“The Isolation and Alienation Caused by Clergy and Why Secularism is Important”)
[Read more...]

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دفاع از برقع دفاع از اسلام سياسى است
۲۷ اوت ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با گيتا ساهگل٬ دبير سازمان مکان سکولار

A conference in defence of the separation of religion from the state

Join our conference. It is not to be missed. Hear about some of the fantastic speakers…

A conference in defence of the separation of religion from the state
On religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
11-12 October 2014

در دفاع از جدايى دين از دولت – کنفرانس تاريخى در لندن
در مورد مذهب، سکولاریسم و حقوق مدنی