Counter-Dawah Project

A new counter-dawah project is seeking individuals interested in working with it or supporting it. Dawah (calling to Islam) is a huge industry which sometimes uses misinformed or misleading arguments that largely go unchallenged. When the U.K.-based dawah charity iERA tried to argue for the Qur’anic revelation of embryology, it said that converts left Islam after examining the counter-arguments, and the claims proved “intellectually embarrassing” for iERA. This was due to the successful rebuttals of ex-Muslims, Muslims and atheists. Groups like iERA benefit from dawah by getting their followers to make donations to their missions, especially during the month of Ramadan.

The counter-dawah project aims to provide an organized, informative and engaging platform, both online and offline, for counter-dawah work that challenges misleading or misinformed claims relating to science and reasoning, among others. It will give individuals the opportunity to make informed decisions about dawah claims.

If interested, please contact Rula Spring at Please tell us why you’re interested and how you’d like to contribute.

Women’s Liberation from Religion, Bread and Roses TV

Women’s Liberation from Religion
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
October 6, 2015
Interview with Annie Laurie Gaylor, Founder of Freedom from Religion Foundation on religion and women and
UK and Saudi Government secret deal
Men taking to social media in Iran in defence of women’s equality
Soheil Arabi’s death sentence for allegedly insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, commuted to reading 13 religious books and studying theology for two years. Also serving a separate seven-and-a-half-year sentence for allegedly insulting the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Fatwa on “Jilboobs” from Indonesia
Khebez Dowla or State Bread, a rock band and their concert during flight from Syria ruled by war criminals where music has died.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad Basham



رهایی زنان از مذهب
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با آنی لاری گیلور، بنیانگذار بنیاد آزادى از مذهب
همچنين معامله مخفی دول انگلستان و عربستان سعودی
مردان در ایران در دفاع از برابری زنان
تغيير حکم اعدام سهیل عربی
فتوا در مورد حجاب و سينه
و گروه راک از سوريه و کنسرت آنان در حين فرار
كارگرادان: رضا مرادى
ترجمه: محمد باشم
قسمت اول:

قسمت دوم:

Reality of Universe, Bread and Roses TV

We should be amazed by reality of universe, Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
29 September 2015
Interview with Physicist Lawrence Krauss
Also Saudi Arabia’s heading of UN Human Rights Council, Warwick University barring of Maryam Namazie, Fatwa against sports analysts, and kiss without borders.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad Basham

واقعیت جهان شگفت انگیز است، برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۳۰ سپتامبر
مصاحبه با فیزیکدان لارنس کراس
همچنین انتصاب عربستان سعودی به شورای حقوق بشر سازمان ملل، دانشگاه وارویک و نقض آزادى بيان مریم نمازی ، فتوا علیه تحلیلگران ورزشی، و بوسه بدون مرز.
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
ترجمه : محمد باشام


Feminism in London is delighted to count Maryam Namazie, a political activist, campaigner and blogger, among the 150 speakers at its conference on October 24-25.

Namazie was barred from speaking (but later reinstated) at another recent event amid fears that her views might spark controversy and tension.

She is a spokesperson for groups including Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, Equal Rights NowOne Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

At Feminism in London, Namazie will speak on a panel titled Unlikely Allies: Religious fundamentalism and the British State.

This session will overturn many long held perceptions about the British state. In its fight against extremism too many institutions have got into bed with fundamentalists and actively promote their narratives. A growing coalition of  secular, left and minority women’s organisations has successfully challenged them. Two cases to be discussed are successful campaigns against Universities UK policies permitting gender segregation and the Law Society’s attempt to promote ‘sharia -compliant wills’. These campaigns are part of a global solidarity movement to defend free speech against fundamentalists of all stripes and are seldom reported in the left and liberal press. This session is your chance to hear the left, feminist case for a solidarity movement against fundamentalism and for secularism.  Organised by One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters and the Centre for Secular Space.

Namazie will be joined by Pragna Patel, founding member of Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism; Gita Saghal executive director of the Centre for Secular Space and Houzan Mahmoud, a Kurdish women’s rights campaigner and writer.

If you would like to interview any of the speakers on this topic, or if you would like a press pass to the event, please

Warwick Student Union grants permission for Maryam to speak at Warwick University

BREAKING NEWS 27 September 2015: Warwick Student Union has now approved the Warwick Atheists’ request to have me speak there  and Isaac Leigh, President and Jacqui Clements, Chief Executive of the Warwick Student Union have issued a gracious apology that is very appreciated. The event will go ahead as planned. I am really excited that I will be able to speak to students there and am grateful for all the brilliant support from Warwick Atheists and from so many wonderful people listed below but also on social media.

There are still some questions, like the articles that were referred to as “flags”, but I think we can and should move on.


Here’s a statement in support of academic freedom for the Chancellor of Warwick University. The letter was written by Marieme Helie Lucas and is posted on Secularism is a Women’s Issue website.

We, the undersigned:

Express concern regarding the University Student Union’s barring of Maryam Namazie from speaking at Warwick University on October 28, 2015. Ms Namazie had been invited by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society.

Note with equal concern the growing number of similar incidents in UK universities, in which religious groups are granted the right to disseminate their ideas within universities ( and their practices, including when those break both the law of the land and university rules on gender equality) regardless of the potential ‘risks’ of generating incidents, while other groups are discriminated against, as is the case now.

Urge University authorities to ensure that freedom of speech and academic freedom applies to all, and are not being curbed selectively.

Marieme Helie Lucas, Sociology Department, Algiers University, Algeria ( retired faculty member)
Dr Fatou Sow, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University Paris Diderot, France (retired).
Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, School of Social Sciences, University of East London, UK
Dr. Neshat Quaiser, Associate Professor Department of Sociology Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, New Delhi, India
Harsh Kapoor, founder, South Asia Citizens Web (
Dr Anissa Helie, Associate Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA
Ensaf Haidar, President Of Raif Badawi Foundation, Canada
Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, Iraqi founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement
Prof Lynn Freedman, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, USA
Dipak Dholakia, People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism, India
Prof. Charlotte Bunch, Board of Governors, Distinguished Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers, New Jersey, USA
Mukul Mangalik, Associate Professor of History, Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India
Prakash Upadhyaya, research scholar, University Grants Commission, India
Dilip Simeon, Historian and Writer, Delhi, India
Ansar Ahmed Ullah, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh, UK
Edip Yuksel, J.D. Author, co-founder of Muslims for Peace, Justice and Progress, US
Dr. Elham Manea, Associate Professor, Zurich University, Switzerland
Hasan Mahmud, Member of Advisory Board, World Muslim Congress and General Secretary, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Canada
Kenan Malik, Writer, UK
Lisa-Marie Taylor, Chair, Feminism in London, UK
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society, UK
Taslima Nasrin, Author
Sultana Kamal, Bangladeshi Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Bangladesh
Sukhwant Dhaliwal, University of Bedfordshire and Author, UK
Sue Cox, Survivors Voice Europe, UK
Shahla Daneshfar, Coordinator of Workers Solidarity Network of the Middle East and North Africa, UK
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses, UK
Shaheen Hashmat, Writer, UK
Sara Khan, Director of Inspire, UK
Sara Hossain, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Sanal Edamaruku, Author and Founder of Rationalist International, Finland
Dr Rumy Hasan, SPRU, University of Sussex, UK
Dr Rumana Hashem, School of Social Sciences, University of East London, UK
Roy Brown, International Representative, IHEU, UK
Robyn E. Blumner, President & CEO, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, US
Richard Dawkins, Scientist and Author, UK
Rahila Gupta, Writer and Journalist, UK
Raheel Raza, President, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Canada
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, UK
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Mathematics Forman Christian College-University Lahore, Pakistan
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker, France
Maggie Hall, Chair of Brighton Secular Humanists, UK
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Harvard University, US
Katha Pollitt, Writer, USA
Dilara Gürcü, Feminst Activist from Turkey and Founder of Erktolia, France
Ophelia Benson, Blogger and Writer, US
Reza Moradi, Lecturer, UK
Aisha K. Gill, Professor of Criminology, Department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton, UK
George Broadhead, Secretary, Pink Triangle Trust, UK
Women in Black, London, UK
Dr. Cynthia Cockburn, Visiting Professor, Department of Sociology,The City University London and Honorary Professor, Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Warwick, UK
Sikivu Hutchinson, Author, US
Dilara Gürcü, Feminst activist from Turkey and Founder of Erktolia, France

Warwick Student Union and the Islamist Narrative

Warwick Student Union (SU) has officially responded to the uproar surrounding their decision to refuse the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society (WASH) request to have me as a speaker in October.  They deceptively imply that the uproar over their denial is premature as a “final” decision has not been made.

And so the white wash begins.

The Warwick Atheists Society has published an excellent rebuttal, including correspondence from the SU, which confirms what was said from the outset: “..we are going to have to decline authorisation for her attendance on campus” citing “flags” and unnamed articles “written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus.”

You can see the screenshots below:



Also as stated from the outset, WASH has appealed the decision and has been waiting for a response ever since.



I have already briefly addressed the SU’s initial decision: the Islamists incite hatred, not us. But there is a serious question that remains unanswered: which articles, written by myself and “others”, have so concerned the SU? These need to be published in full – for the sake of transparency – and so we can all judge for ourselves.

The SU cannot accuse me of potentially inciting hatred – a prosecutable offence – and then deny me the evidence to defend myself. Needless to say, I am also very interested to learn of the “others” they have relied on.

I insist that these be made available without delay.

The issues for me are very clear.

“Incitement to hatred” is against people not ideas or the extreme religious-Right. You can dislike or even hate an idea like religion and a far-Right political movement like the KKK, Britain First or Islamism and not incite hate against people who are believers or members of political groups.

I think religion should come with a health warning – like cigarettes – it kills. I also think Islamism is a far-Right movement – the fascism of our era – but that is not same as inciting hatred against people. Don’t forget, even though I am an ex-Muslim, my loved ones, like my parents, are Muslims. My grandmother wore the hejab; my grandfather was an Islamic scholar.

This is not hard to understand. There might be members on the SU who are atheist, who think Christianity is superstition and who dislike and even hate the pope, the Christian Right, the EDL, and the BNP but don’t hate “Christians”. Also, they should be able to see that not all “Christians” are the same. Many are Christian in name only. And even though Britain has an established church and bishops in the House of Lords, they understand that the society is not Christian nor are many who are labelled as such. This is common sense. They just can’t seem to see it when it comes to the “other”. Then any criticism is seen to be “discrimination” against and “intimidation” of “Muslim students”. Isaac Leigh, president of Warwick Student Union, says as much in the Independent: “The initial decision was made for the right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their university campus… rather than in the interest of suppressing free speech.”

Why does Leigh think that my criticism of Islam and Islamism is an attack on “Muslim students”? Which Muslim students? All of them? Why did he not think that “Christian students” would be discriminated against and intimidated by the wonderful Philosopher AC Grayling and his talk on Atheism and Humanism?

It’s a racism of lower expectations – “Muslim students” must be protected from hearing any criticism of Islam or Islamism as if there are no dissenters and even closet ex-Muslims amongst them.

Clearly, the SU has bought into the Islamist worldview (and also that of identity politics/multiculturalism pursued by successive British governments) that “Muslims” are a homogeneous community that need to be managed by parasitical and reactionary imams, sharia courts and Islamist organisations rather than viewed as equal citizens and as students (with more than one characteristic that defines them). They cannot see that even “Muslim students” have the right to dissent and to hear dissenting voices.

If dissenters cannot speak, what does the SU suggest we do? I don’t want to be a Muslim. I was “born” Muslim out of no choice of my own – a lottery of birth. I want to be able to shout my atheism from every rooftop without looking over my shoulder. I abhor the veil and gender apartheid. I want to be equal to men. I don’t want my rights to be culturally relative. I want to, I need to, speak out against the Islamic regime of Iran and ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Members of the SU speak as they choose but we cannot?

Says who?

Those in power restrict and limit free expression and determine what is acceptable to the status quo and what is not.

In Iran and Saudi Arabia and the Caliphate, they label it blasphemy, apostasy and heresy and call you kafir and murtad and immoral and kill and imprison and flog you and throw acid in your face. Here, they and their apologists call it Islamophobia to silence critics who are somewhat out of their reach.

The SU’s infringement of the right to criticise religion and that which is deemed sacred and taboo limits the free expression of those who need it most. Saying Islam and Islamism are off limits means first and foremost that the victims and survivors of Islamism are not allowed to do one of the only things at their disposal in order to resist. It is telling people they cannot oppose theocracies and religious laws and call for secularism in the Middle East and North Africa. It is telling people they cannot oppose sharia and call for universal rights for all. It’s telling women they do not have the right to be equal. It’s telling ex-Muslims they don’t have a right to live if they want to reveal that they are atheists. It’s telling people who need free expression most that they must remain silent and accept their lot in life.

But this is more than a question of placing limitations on the free expression and attempts at silencing dissenters. It’s buying into the Islamist narrative that blames the victims. The Bangladeshi government blames the bloggers, the Saudi government blames Raif for his lashes and equates atheists with terrorists, the Islamic regime in Iran blames Atena Farghadani’s cartoon for her 12 years in prison…

The blame, however, lies squarely on the shoulders of those who threaten, kill and actually incite hatred, not those of us who refuse and resist.

Warwick SU, publish the articles you refer to; give evidence for your serious accusation against me and if not, withdraw the accusation. Mostly, show some courage and decency and rectify your mistake so that I can come as planned and speak at your university without delay.

For me, it is not a question of if I will speak but when.

Warwick University Student Union: the Islamists incite hatred, not us

I was invited to speak at Warwick University by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society on 28 October 2015. The University Student Union has declined the request for me to speak saying the following:

This is because after researching both her and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.

There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy:

The President (or equivalent) of the group organising any event is responsible for the activities that take place within their events.  All speakers will be made aware of their responsibility to abide by the law, the University and the Union’s various policies, including that they:

  • must not incite hatred, violence or call for the breaking of the law
  • are not permitted to encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups or organisations that support such acts
  • must not spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony
  • must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups, within a framework of positive debate and challenge
  • are not permitted to raise or gather funds for any external organisation or cause without express permission of the trustees.

In addition to this, there are concerns that if we place conditions on her attendance (such as making it a member only event and having security in attendance, asking for a transcript of what she intends to say, recording the speech) she will refuse to abide by these terms as she did for Trinity College Dublin.

The Atheist group is of course appealing their decision, however, it’s important for me to comment briefly on the Student Union’s position. I will be writing a more detailed letter to the university to formally complain about the Student Union accusations against me after taking legal advice.

For now, though, suffice it to say that criticising religion and the religious-Right is not incitement of hatred against people. If anything, it’s the religious-Right, namely Islamism in this case, which incites hatred against those of us who dare to leave Islam and criticise it.

The Student Union seems to lack an understanding of the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other. Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.

The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist “Left” point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the “Muslim community”, thinks believers are one and the same as the religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters.

It is the “anti-colonialist” perspective which always unsurprisingly coincides with that of the ruling classes in the so-called “Islamic world” or “Muslim communities” – an understanding that is Eurocentric, patronising and racist.

This type of politics denies universalism, sees rights as ‘western,’ justifies the suppression of women’s rights, freedoms and equality under the guise of respect for other ‘cultures’ imputing on innumerable people the most reactionary elements of culture and religion, which is that of the religious-Right. In this type of politics, the oppressor is victim, the oppressed are perpetrators of “hatred”, and any criticism is racist.

These sort of Lefties have one set of progressive politics for themselves – they want gay rights, equality for women and the right to criticise the pope and the Christian-Right, and another for us.

We are not worthy of the same rights and freedoms.

We can only make demands within the confines of religion and Islam. If we dissent, if we demand equality, if we demand to live our lives without the labels of “kafir” or “immoral” – and all that which they imply, then we are inciting hatred…

It’s a topsy turvy world when “progressives” who are meant to be on our side take a stand with our oppressors and try to deny us the only tool we have to resist – our freedom of expression.

Well, it’s not up for sale or subject to the conditions of a Student Union too enamoured with Islamism to take a principled position.

By the way Warwick, in case you’re wondering, I will speak at your university – as I will be soon at Trinity College Dublin despite my initial talk being cancelled by organisers.

Upcoming Events and Important Updates


I hope you are well.


We wanted to write and remind you about our upcoming events and speaking engagements. In the coming weeks, we will be speaking at Everybody Reading Festival in Leicester, Trinity College Dublin (after a previously scheduled talk was cancelled), the London Feminist Conference and at screenings of the film Among Unbelievers in the Netherlands.

One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain are organising several excellent events in central London:
* 28 September 2015, evening drinks with Arif Rahman, Bangladeshi blogger on Islamist hit-lists
* 26 October 2015, evening drinks with Tom Holland, Historian and Author of In the Shadow of the Sword followed by our 3rd Kafir Comedy night with Maha Kamal
* 16 November 2015, evening drinks with Ibrahim Abdallah, New York Organiser of Muslimish

We are also organising a not-to-be-missed end-year celebration with food, music and drinks on 13 December 2015 with Scientist Richard Dawkins, Philosopher AC Grayling, British Iraqi singer Alya Marquardt and many more. To register for our events and/or buy tickets, please visit our site.


Hundreds have signed a joint statement calling for the dismantling of parallel legal systems here in Britain. We plan to hand-in the statement with others at 10 Downing Street to mark 10 December, Human Rights Day. If you and/or your organisation would like to sign the statement, there’s still time. Just email us at so we can add your name to the list.


* CEMB has once again called on the Lib Dems and police to act on a hate campaign against our Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud by former Lib Dem councillor Salah al Bander.

* CEMB is concerned about the safety of Fauzia Ilyas, founder of Atheist and Agnostic Alliance Pakistan affiliated to our organisation. She was forced to flee after being accused of blasphemy.

* A film by Dutch Humanists called Among Unbelievers is now available in English and features some of our activists and affiliated organisations.

* We are very pleased that our spokesperson Maryam Namazie has been invited to join the Advisory Board of the newly established Raif Badawi Foundation for free expression.

* One Law for All has issued a statement on the Passion for Freedom Art Festival, which we are no longer working with.

We’ll be writing soon with more details about our upcoming plans. In the meanwhile, we hope we see you at some of our events and speaking engagements and look forward to your continued support in defence of secularism, equality and citizenship rights.

Warm wishes


Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8122621.

On Jeremy Corbyn and Islamism: You can’t be progressive some of the time

New Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s policies against austerity and university fees and in favour of refugees, amongst others, are welcome. Nonetheless, we at Bread and Roses are concerned about Corbyn’s troubling associations with Islamists and the Islamic regime of Iran.

Corbyn has spoken at the Iranian government’s anniversary of the “Islamic revolution” despite the fact that Islamism in Iran is a counter-revolutionary force, which came to power by suppressing a Left-leaning people’s revolution against the Shah. The regime continues to maintain power by brutally suppressing dissent.

Corbyn has also praised the Islamic Human Rights Commission linked to the Iranian government, saying ‘I like the sense of values surrounding it’. In 2015, IHRC awarded Charlie Hebdo staff who had been murdered ‘Islamophobe of the Year’. IHRC also organises Al-Quds Day rallies initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini, which Corbyn has spoken at. Whilst the rallies are touted as pro-Palestinian rallies, in fact, they are Iranian government rallies to spread an Islamist and anti-Semitic narrative.

Despite the existence of a strong Left and progressive movement in Iran, Corbyn seems to prefer the Islamic state of Iran, renowned for its persecution of the working class and progressive political and social movements.

Corbyn has also come out in support of other Islamist groups like CAGE, which Gita Sahgal exposed years ago for its support of jihad. There was a public outcry only after a CAGE leader Asim Qureshi described Mohammed Emwazi or Jihadi John as a “beautiful young man.”

Until a few days ago, Corbyn was chair of Stop the War Coalition, which has a history of siding with Islamists. Anas al-Tikriti, Vice President of Stop the War Coalition has said, for example: ‘Calls for an Islamic state by some corners should not scare us nor should it bring about a negative reaction. […] In Muslim countries where Islam forms a focal point of history and society, this must not be dismissed as mere political or ideological fanaticism, but rather viewed as a collective aspiration.’

Islamic states and groups are one of the largest producers of refugees and deny basic rights to all those living under their rule. Deeming far-right movements and states as one and the same as the people they suppress ignores class politics and dissent and sides with the oppressors.

Corbyn also praises Islamists who promote the ideas of Sharia and the Islamic state such as Ibrahim Hewitt who he has called ‘a very good friend’ though the latter has compared gays to paedophiles and refused to condemn the stoning to death under Sharia law. In a pamphlet for ‘The Muslim Educational Trust,’ Hewitt says the punishment for apostasy from Islam is death in an ideal Islamic state. Clearly, this is not a theoretical matter, particularly since apostates are persecuted and killed in a number of countries under Islamist rule.

We would like to remind Corbyn that progressive, anti-fascist and anti-war politics without opposition to Islamist far-Right states and movements is self-defeating.

One cannot be progressive in some areas and not in others. One cannot be against some fascists whilst being ‘a very good friend’ to others. This is a politics that betrays the dissenters and victims of Islamism including those deemed “Muslims”, progressive forces and the working class. It is also a betrayal of the very principles that the Left has historically defended (from social justice, egalitarianism, secularism, universalism, and human liberation, including from religion).

While we oppose the attacks of the rightwing press on Corbyn aimed at displacing the legitimate anger and protest of people in Britain against austerity and capitalism, we cannot ignore his utter failure in challenging Islamism and the Islamic regime of Iran and his betrayal of the progressive and secular forces in Britain, the Middle East, Diaspora and the world.

For more information:
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Director: Reza Moradi
نان و گل سرخ
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Twitter: @NanoGoleSorkh
Telephone: +44 20 3287 6128

Passion for Freedom isn’t western but universal

pFFPassion for Freedom Art Festival is in its 7th year this week. The Art Competition was initially begun by One Law for All to promote  secular and universal values, one law for all, and equal rights for all citizens.

For two years now, however, One Law for All is no longer associated with the festival after it took positions that were opposed to that of the organisation’s. In November 2013, organisers introduced Tommy Robinson, former head of the far-Right English Defence League, as a special guest at a panel discussing a film Silent Conquest, which won an award at the festival. The film placed collective blame on Muslims who were deemed to be “conquering” Europe. Our then Spokesperson, Anne Marie Waters, was at the discussion but did not dispute the film nor Robinson’s introduction despite our organisation’s very clear position against the far-Right. Waters was asked to resign that same month.

In 2014, One Law for All Spokesperson, Maryam Namazie, who had spoken at every art festival since its inception did not attend the event and informed organisers that One Law for All would no longer be working with Passion for Freedom. In 2014, the festival, which professed to be non-political, was sponsored by the Israeli embassy, amongst others.

These changes in politics began to take hold after the festival was taken over by volunteers Agnieszka Kolek and Mariana Fox.  Their perspective is similar to the far-Right point of view that sees “Muslims” as a homogeneous community “conquering” western societies. In fact, “Muslims” or those labelled as such include progressive and anti-Islamist believers and non-believers. Those deemed “Muslims” are often the first victims of Islamism and at the frontlines of resistance to it. Moreover, this point of view supports – without question – the Israeli state at the expense of the Israeli and Palestinian people.

In their latest letter sent in September 2015, Passion for Freedom speaks of  “freedom for our Western societies” as if freedom is for the West alone and not a universal concept fought for and defended the world over.

Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters (as Rosa Luxemburg has said) – and those dissenters include many “Muslims” and non-Westerners.  Whilst Passion for Freedom uses films and art by non-Western artists who face great risks, they push a clash of civilisations narrative (in their defence of “our Western societies”) which effectively undermines the very artists being showcased.

One Law for All is outraged that an art competition it started and which was meant to unite humanity via art against the religious-Right is morphing into a tool of the Christian-Right.

For more information:
Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8122621.

On Humanism and children

Humanism and Children, Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
22 September 2015
Interview with Nada Topić Peratović, Center for Civil Courage’s Founder and President on Humanism for Children
Also on the death of labour activist Shahrokh Zamani in prison in Iran, the ban on travel abroad for Nolufar Ardalan, captain of Iranian women’s football team; the fatwa on your couch, and again on the “migrant” crisis.
Translation: Mohammad B
Director: Reza Moradi

اومانیسم و کودکان، برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۲۲ سپتامبر
مصاحبه با نادا پروتاوىچ، از مرکز شجاعت مدنی در مورد اومانيسم و کودکان
همچنین در مورد مرگ فعال کارگری شاهرخ زمانی، ممنوعیت نيلوفر اردلان از سفر به خارج ؛ فتوا عليه مبل ، و بحران پناهندگى است.
ترجمه : محمد B
کارگردان: رضا مرادی

Religion and self-harm

Here’s this week’s programme. Farsi programme below. It’s a new format – hope you like it.

Religion and self-harm
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
15 September 2015
Interview with Armin Navabi, Founder of Atheist Republic as well as Khamenei saying Iran has best elections on the world, Status of women, fatwa against migration by Islamists who say it is a sin, and Aryana Saeed, female singer, singing in stadium where Taliban executed people!
Director: Reza Moradi

If you like the programme and want to support us, you can do so for even $1 a week. Become a Patron!

مذهب و خودآزارى
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۱۶ سپتامبر
مصاحبه با آرمین نوبی، بنیانگذار جمهوری بیخدايان و همچنین خامنه ای و ایران و بهترین انتخابات در جهان، وضعیت زنان، فتوا علیه مهاجرت، و آریانا سعید، خواننده زن در استادیوم که در آن طالبان اعدام كرده است
کارگردان: رضا مرادی

Shahrokh Zamani has died

Well known labour activist Shahrokh Zamani died in RejaieShahr prison in Iran on Sunday under suspicious circumstances. The Iran regime is accountable for his death. He had committed no “crime” other than being a labour rights leader for which he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He continued to speak out whilst in prison. Whilst we mourn the death of a beloved labour activist, we must hold the regime accountable for his death and continue to push for the release of all political prisoners and an end to an Islamic regime. You can read more about this case in the Worker-communist Party of Iran press release below in Persian.

٢٣شهریور ١٣٩٤، ١٤ سپتامبر ٢٠١٥

روز یکشنبه ٢٢ شهریور شاهرخ زمانی یکی از چهره های شناخته شده و جسور جنبش کارگری در زندان رجائی شهر درگذشت. علت مرگ او سکته مغزی اعلام شده است اما گزارشاتی نیز مبنی بر مشکوک بودن مرگ شاهرخ و آثار ضرب و جرح بر بدن او منتشر شده است. شاهرخ در زندان مورد شکنجه قرار گرفته، بارها به مرگ تهدید شده و نزدیک به پنج سال از حداقل امکانات پزشکی برای معالجه بیماری های خود محروم بوده است و صرفنظر از اینکه بخاطر سکته مغزی درگذشته یا نه، جمهوری اسلامی مسئول مرگ او است. مرگ شاهرخ پرونده سران حکومت اسلامی را سنگین تر کرد.
شاهرخ عضو کمیته پیگیری برای ایجاد تشکلهای کارگری و عضو سندیکای کارگران نقاش بود که از سال ١٣٩٠ در زندان های جمهوری اسلامی بود و به یازده سال زندان محکوم شده بود. دستگیری شاهرخ، شکنجه ها و تهدیدات و محرومیت ها و بیماری های مختلف اما خللی در اراده اش، در مبارزه اش برای آزادی و عدالت و در تلاشش برای افشای چهره جنایتکارانه جمهوری اسلامی وارد نکرد. شجاعانه علیه حکومت حرف زد، نامه نوشت، بیانیه داد و سخنرانی کرد. شاهرخ یک چهره رادیکال جنبش کارگری بود و در مقابل هر نوع بیحقوقی و ستمی، نسبت به بیحقوقی زنان، محرومیت های کودکان، مجازات شنیع اعدام و سایر محرومیت های مردم حساس بود و قاطعانه و بی تخفیف قد علم میکرد. یک عرصه دائم فعالیت شاهرخ تلاش برای آزادی زندانیان سیاسی بود.
مرگ شاهرخ ضایعه بزرگ و تاسف انگیزی برای جنبش کارگری و جنبش آزادیخواهی مردم ایران است. نام شاهرخ زمانی بعنوان یک فعال پیگیر چپ و کمونیست و مدافع حقوق انسانی هرگز فراموش نخواهد شد و چهره دوست داشتنی او هیچگاه از خاطر مردمی که برای رهایی از ستم های سرمایه داری و حکومت اسلامی سرمایه داران مبارزه میکنند نخواهد رفت.
جان باختن شاهرخ را به خانواده اش، به کارگران و مردم آزادیخواه صمیمانه تسلیت میگوییم. مرگ شاهرخ بر مبارزه فعال تر برای آزادی سایر فعالین کارگری و زندانیان سیاسی و ضرورت سرنگونی حکومت آدمکشان جمهوری اسلامی بیش از پیش تاکید میکند.
یاد شاهرخ عزیز همیشه زنده خواهد ماند.
حزب کمونیست کارگری ایران

On Salah al Bander’s hate campaign against Nahla Mahmoud: Police and Lib Dems must act

nahlaThe Liberal Democrats member and the former councillor, Salah al Bander, who led the Takfir/Hate campaign against Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud last year is now back with other death threats.

In last week’s ‘A View Point’ which al Bander hosts (episode No 109 also available on his Facebook page), he discusses ‘Extremism and ISIS’ within the Sudanese Diaspora in the UK and says that Nahla Mahmoud is an extremist as dangerous as ISIS:

“Our youth are faced with two extreme choices, the choice of ISIS which is a savage path, and the choice of Nahla Mahmoud which is a shameful scandalous path, and one which no morals would accept”. He adds that Nahla is “a woman who is deviating the youth, insulting Islam and promoting infidelity”. He calls on people to take action against her and adds: “We will not tolerate what she is advocating: promoting the addiction and drinking of alcohol in public, insulting people’s beliefs, offending Islam and the Sudanese traditions and culture. We believe that her goals of promoting Ridah/Apostasy and encouraging people out of Islam, besides her missionary role to insult people’s beliefs is a dangerous project which should be fought against.” He also says: “This issue needs clear awareness, caution, preparation and serious handling to tackle the extremism we are facing so that our youth are not forced to either path if that was the path of ISIS or the path of Nahla.”

In the programme, he uses – without permission – personal photos from Nahla’s social media accounts, photo-shopped phrases and edited segments from her online articles. He also uses a recording of a phone conversation with Nahla Mahmoud’s mother, edited and recorded without her knowledge or permission.

A number of other activists are attacked, including Maryam Namazie, Founder and Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, who he claims is “a mentor of Nahla” who has “insulted Islam” herself.

The show is in Arabic as was his previous Takfir/Hate campaign.  He is still using “double-speak” – saying one thing in English to dupe his English speaking audience and another in Arabic. His speech in Arabic clearly incites hatred against Nahla who has merely expressed her views, promoted freethought and secularism and lived a life of her choosing. Al-Bander shamefully compares her to ISIS, which kills people like Nahla every day, whilst he himself promotes Islamist ideas of hate, misogyny and the targeting of apostates not very different from that of ISIS.

Despite al-Bander’s hate campaign, Spencer Hagard, Chair of the Cambridge Liberal Democrats found the former’s threats “groundless” and said that his inquiry into Nahla’s complaint “increased his previously high esteem for al Bandar”.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged at the callous disregard for the safety and well being of one of our activists and calls on the Lib Dems to investigate this incident of hate speech  – properly for a change.

We are also fed up of the police’s inaction when it comes to threats against apostates and call on them to investigate and reopen Nahla’s case against al Bander. This is the third incident reported to the police against al Bander without any action taken.

Calling someone Murtad/ Kafir/Zindeeq, claiming they have “insulted Islam” and targeting them within a context where Islamists and Islamic states kill and threaten freethinkers is a direct threat and a form of hate speech.

CEMB calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of those who are deemed apostates. People, including Muslims, must have the right to express dissent and leave Islam without threats, and fear of their lives.

For more information, please contact:

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Don’t Appease the Iranian Regime, Iranian human rights activists warn

In the past few weeks, some Iranian activists have vocally supported the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, United States and Germany). While we deeply respect the experience and views of these men and women, it is important to hear all perspectives.

We represent another collection of Iranian activists who share the world’s hope for a better future but believe that appeasing the Iranian regime will lead to a more dangerous world.

We have spent our lives advocating for peace, justice and freedom in Iran. We represent a diverse array of Iranians who hope to warn the world of the danger of this regime regardless of how many centrifuges spin in Iran.

This deal will provide up to $150 billion windfall of cash into the bank account of our tyrants and theocrats. This money will not be spent on the Iranian people but rather to enrich a repressive regime.

Sadly, the world has not demanded real improvements in human rights. Thousands of activists continue to languish behind bars (including several Americans) and it is tragic that their release was not included in these discussions.

We are sounding the alarm bells before it is too late. Those who care about peace should help restore focus to the Iranian regime’s brutal human rights records, its support for global terror and role in destabilizing the Middle East. More pressure should be applied to the regime, not less.

One day when the Iranian people are finally free, they will hold an accounting of who stood on their side and who stood on the regime’s. It is not too late to hold the Iranian regime accountable for their continued human rights violations.

Today in Iran, political prisoners are tortured. Bloggers, journalists and teachers remain behind bars. Sexual and religious rights are trampled. Women are treated as second class citizens.

Western apologists and appeasers of Iranian theocracy do no favors to the Iranian people. They distance the likelihood of positive change and undercut the hopes of the Iranian people.

When the Iranian regime no longer fears its people, then the world will no longer have a reason to fear the Iranian regime.

Mahvash Alasvandi (two sons executed)
Bijan Fathi (two sons executed)
Sayeh Saeedi Sirjani (father jailed, died in custody) [Read more…]

No honour in killing

Here is this week’s Bread and Roses TV deemed “immoral” and “corrupt” by Iranian regime. Hope you like it.

No honour in killing, Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
8 September 2015
Interview with Deeyah Khan, Filmmaker, on honour killings
Also the drowning of Aylan, the migrant crisis, revenge rape in India, refugee welcome committees, and a fatwa against roller skating in Mecca.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad B
Background: The UN conservatively estimates that 5,000 women and girls are killed each year by members of their own family, often fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins – and sometimes mothers and other female relatives. ‘Honour killings’ are usually premeditated and intended to restore a family’s ‘honour’ by ‘cleansing the shame’ which a woman or girl is said to have brought. Clearly, there is no honour in killing.

هیچ افتخارى در قتل ناموسى وجود ندارد، برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۹ سپتامبر
مصاحبه با ديا خان، فیلمساز، در مورد قتل ناموسی
همچنین در مورد غرق شدن آيلان، بحران مهاجرتى، تجاوز و انتقام در هند، کمیته خوش آمدگويى پناهندگان و فتوایی علیه رولر اسکیت در مکه.
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
ترجمه : محمد ب
بر مبناي تخمين هاي محافظه كارانه سازمان ملل هر ساله ٥٠٠٠ زن و دختر توسط اعضاي خانواده خود كه اغلب پدر، برادر، عموها و گاها مادران انها هستند كشته ميشوند. قتل ناموسی معمولا با طرح و برنامه ریزی از پيش تعيين شده با هدف بازپس گيري ناموس یک خانواده اجرا ميشود. پاکسازی شرم که ظاهرا یک زن یا دختر براي خانواده به ارمغان آورده است، با از بين بردن وجود او بدست ميايد. واضح است که هیچ افتخاري در قتل وجود دارد .

به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته

The Netherlands: Asylum for Fauzia Ilyas

Ms Fauzia Ilyas, who founded Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan (AAAP) affiliated to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, has been forced to flee to the Netherlands after a Lahore court initiated criminal proceedings under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and issued an arrest warrant. Her ex-husband has custody of her 8 year old daughter because she had left Islam.

Fauzia’s colleague, A. Gilani, who is the current spokesperson for AAAP, is also in hiding in Pakistan.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain urges the Dutch government to grant Fauzia protection. Her life and freedom are at risk if she were to be returned to Pakistan.

Moreover, the Pakistani government must end the persecution of those exercising their freedom of expression and belief. There is no place for blasphemy laws in this day and age.

Religious beliefs are harmful

Here’s this week’s programme. We were away for a month and are really glad to be back on air!


Religious beliefs are harmful
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
1 September 2015
Interview with Matt Dillahunty, Host of Atheist Experience
Background: Religious beliefs can be harmful. At best it can hinder your potential; at worst it can cause murder and mayhem. It prevents you from finding the truth and living life to its fullest.
Also, Europe’s refugee crisis, murder of another Bangladeshi blogger, joint fatwa putting religious ban on shedding of Muslims’ blood, protests in Iraq saying “neither Shia nor Sunni but Secularism” and environmental protest for drying of Urumieh Lake.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translator: Mohammad B

اعتقادات مذهبی مضر هستند
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۲ سپتامر
مصاحبه با مت دلانتى، میزبان تجربه بیخدا
همچنین، بحران پناهندگان در اروپا، قتل یکی دیگر از وبلاگ نویس بنگلادشی، فتوای احمقانه؛اعتراضات در عراق: ” نه شیعه و نه سنی، اما سکولاریسم ” و اعتراض های عليه خشک شدن دریاچه ارومیه.
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
مترجم: محمد ب

Paris, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, London, Leicester and Dublin

I’ll be speaking in Paris, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, London, Leicester and Dublin in the next few weeks. Hope to see some of you there.

BTW in Dublin, I’ll be speaking at Trinity College Dublin where my last talk there was cancelled

29 August 2015
Paris, France
Maryam Namazie will join a debate on Women and Gods with FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko, Council of Ex-Muslims of France’s Waleed Al Husseini, Charlie Hebdo’s Zineb El Rhazoui, and Michele Idels of AFD/MLF at a FEMEN International Feminist Training Camp with L’AFD/MLF

10 September 2015
The Netherlands
Maryam Namazie will be speaking at Among Unbelievers events on 10 September in Leeuwarden and 15 September in Rotterdam. More details here.

11-13 September 2015
London, UK
Maryam Namazie will be joining a panel debate (‘Skepticism, Humanism and Religion’) on Friday 11 September from 14.00 – 15.30 in the Stuart Hall Building (formerly the New Academic Building) of Goldsmiths College. More details here.

15 September 2015
The Netherlands
Maryam Namazie will be speaking at Among Unbelievers events on 10 September in Leeuwarden and 15 September in Rotterdam. More details here.

29 September 2015
Leicester, UK
Maryam will be speaking on “Blogging in the Age of Intolerance” at the Everybody’s Reading festival.More details here.

20 October 2015
Dublin, Ireland
Maryam Namazie will be speaking to University Philosophical Society at Trinity College, Dublin on Apostasy and the Rise of Islamism on 20 October 2015. Her speaking engagement follows her last speech being cancelled after she refused restrictions on her talk. For more information, click here.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was sentenced to another seven years, 10 months and fifteen days imprisonment

23-behnamFree Them Now News Release
Behnam must be released immediately

Based on recent news, Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh – one of the well-known and popular labor leaders – was sentenced to another seven years, 10 months and 15 days imprisonment at the Islamic Republic’s appeals court. On December 29, 2014, Judge Salavati – one of the criminal judges of the Islamic Republic – had sentenced Behnam to 9 years and 4 months imprisonment. The sentencing included seven and half years based on unreal charges and manmade accusations such as association and planning for the purpose of committing a crime against national security and relations with the Mujahedin, 17 months for propaganda against the regime, relations with Ahmad Shahid and possession of a satelite system. In a letter, Behnam contested this criminal verdict, denied the charges and any connections with the Mujahedin. Following this contest, the Appeals Court issued the new criminal verdict for Behnam.

Behnam has been in prison since June 12, 2010and has served five years of his original sentence. He is a labor and children rights activist. He has also been the voice of humanity and freedom in prison. That is why they have not released him from prison and have tried and sentenced him again, based on delusional charges. On behalf of Behnam and his family, we should have a worldwide protest against this criminal decision of the Islamic Republic. We should support him and his family any way we can.

Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh is currently in ward 2 of Rajai-Shahr prison, known as Dar-ol-Quran (the home of Quran). This is a ward for prisoners of conscience and also dangerous criminals. Placing him next to common criminals is always a kind of torture and a threat to his life.

Behnam is in very poor physical condition. He suffers from arthritis in the neck area, severe back pain, kidney disease and gum disease. While his health has declined due to the tortures and pressures during his imprisonment, he is deprived of receiving medical care. To receive anything in this ward one must pay. He even has to pay for his dental care and this is an increased pressure on him. When he suffers from pain he gets transferred to the prison clinic, which lacks any proper medical facilities. Despite Behnam’s need for immediate medical attention, the prison officials refuse to transfer him to a hospital outside the prison system.

Despite all these pressures, Behnam has insisted on the legitimacy of his struggle and demands his rights in prison. One of his immediate demands is to be transferred to the ward for political prisoners and a prison furlough to spend time with his family. This last one is particularly significant since (as reported before) his son, Nima is suffering from cancer and his wife and son are also being tortured because of his imprisonment.

Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh is a well-known symbolic figure in prison. He needs the highest form of worldwide support. We expect all humanitarian organizations and labor unions to support him. We expect them to pressure the Islamic Republic and demand a commute of his sentence and his release from prison. These organizations should also demand the release of all labor and political prisoners and demand a stop to threats and summons of all labor activists and leaders. We eagerly await your response and reaction to this request. Please support us in gaining freedom for Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh and labor activists any way you can.

Free Them Now
Shahla Daneshfar,
Mehran Mahbobi,