ISIS is the banner of this era’s fascism.
We are all anti-Fascists; we are all anti-ISIS.
I’ll be away in Oxford this weekend.
On 9 August 2014, I’ll be speaking on a panel “Is there something about Islam? at the World Humanist Congress with Alom Shaha, Maajid Nawaz, Kenan Malik and Jim Al-Khalili chairing.
You can find out more about the congress here.
See 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
جهان به رسوایی کشيده شده است
در مورد حمله دولت اسرائیل به غزه
مصاحبه با نيرا يوال ديويس٬ شبکه تحقيقاتى در مورد زنان در مناطق جنگى
‘The World Stands Disgraced’, On the Israeli offensive in Gaza
5 August 2014
Interview with Nira Yuval Davis, Israeli dissident
Pakistani ex-Muslim atheists Sher Shah Jogzei, Syed Muhammad Tabish and Muhammad Shamoon are currently detained in Harmondsworth IRC, which is a Cat B prison. Their crime? They have left Islam and want to live a life free from threats and intimidations prevalent in Pakistan.
Jogezai’s date for deportation has been set for 5th August 2014. Tabish’s deportation on 5th August has been cancelled and he has been granted 5 days to prepare for a fresh asylum trial.
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Case Manager Tanjir Sugar visited the three men at the detention to find out more about their cases and offer support. One of the men, Sher Shah was harassed by some of his fellow Muslim detainees. Rather than being given protection, he has been taken into isolation.
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain knows only too well the dangers involved for those who renounce Islam and become atheists in countries where Sharia rules apply. Pakistan is officially an Islamic Republic. The government often uses its blasphemy law to prosecute atheists and those who allegedly hurt religious sentiments or defame Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
The above three men face great risk of persecution for openly and publicly leaving Islam and for being critical of Islam if they are returned. They have also been ostracised from their families and have no safe place to return to.
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain calls on the Home Office to immediately release Pakistani ex-Muslim atheists Sher Shah Jogzei, Syed Muhammad Tabish and Muhammad Shamoon from detention and grant them asylum.
To support the cases of these men, please Tweet the Home Office: @ukhomeoffice or write to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for their right to asylum at 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF or via email: email@example.com.
The individuals and organizations undersigned note with concern the increasing violence against the women’s peace organisation Women in Black -Belgrade, and in particular against its founder, Stasa Zajovic, who has been targetted repeatedly in the past few months by extreme-right political groups and individuals, as well as harrassed by the police and justice system in her country.
We will remain alert and closely monitor Serbian authorities’ actions to ensure Stasa Zajovic’s safety.
First Signatories :
Marieme Helie Lucas, International Co-ordinator Secularism Is A Women’s Issue
Karima Bennoune, Professor of Law and Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, University of California-Davis School of Law, Former Legal Advisor, Amnesty International.
Lynn Freedman, Professor, Columbia University, New York
Nira Yuval Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London; founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism, founder member of the international research network on women in militarized conflict zone
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.
Jennifer Green , Associate Professor, Director of Human Rights Clinic, University of Minnesota Law School
Virginia Vargas, Articulacion Feminista Marcosur, Peru
Anissa Helie, Professor of History, John Jay College, New York
Lalia Ducos, President, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen’s Web
Soad Baba Aïssa, AMEL Association pour la Mixité, l’Egalité et la Laïcité
Georgina Ashworth, founder of CHANGE International Women’s Reports
Indai Lourdes Sajor Gender and Women, Peace and Security Adviser/Consultant
Fatou Sow, International Director Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Charlotte Bunch, Founding Director Center for Women’s Global Leadership, distinguished professor Department of Women and Gender Studies Rutgers University
Cynthia Rothschild, human rights consultant and activist
Edmée Ollagnier, docteur en psychologie – Genève
Rina Nissim, naturopathe et auteure – Genève
Malika Zouba, journalist
Ariane Brunet, human rights activist
Laura McLeod, Lecturer in International Politics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
Mimouna Hadjam, association AFRICA
Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company (Vahed), has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in forming the bus workers’ union.
In early June 2014 Shahabi began a hunger strike in protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr Prison and demanded to be admitted to hospital for urgent medical care and treatment. After 43 days hunger strike and a global campaign in support of Reza, he was transferred to hospital and the prison authorities have agreed to his demands.
Shahrokh Zamani, another leading worker activist in Iran is under constant threat and pressure in Rajaee Shahr prison, have written a letter to protest their imprisonment.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities. Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Labour Organisations in Iran and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration.
We call on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world and all those appalled by the horrific human rights abuse in Iran to support Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Shahrokh Zamani and all jailed workers in Iran. All jailed trade unionists and political prisoners must be freed immediately and unconditionally!
Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
Since 8 July, the Israeli military has killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians, a majority of whom have been civilians. It has wounded 8000 people. 3 Israeli civilians have been killed along with 56 Israeli soldiers during this time. At least 15 women and children have been killed when the Israeli state hit a UN-run school and another 19 when it hit a crowded market on 30 July.
Mass killings in the name of protecting one’s ‘own people’ can never be justified nor can the aerial bombardment of such a densely-populated area like Gaza, which is the biggest “prison camp” in the world. The murder of civilians cannot be explained away as military “achievements”.
In this human tragedy, the number of civilian dead and wounded – many of them children – increase several-fold every day in Gaza, leaving the world stunned. On the other hand, the Right-wing anti-Semitic Hamas continues firing towards Israel, forcibly preventing Palestinians attempting to flee their homes to seek shelter and demanding the destruction of Israel.
War and continuation of war now for both of the reactionary sides seems to be the means as well as the objective. They both benefit from this war; ceasefire for them is only to prepare for another round of killing and destruction of the other side.
Humanity’s voice is not represented by either the Israeli government or the anti-Semitic Hamas. In the continuation of the carnage, these two reactionary forces feed off each other and prevent peace and a two-state solution for their own interests and in order to legitimise their rule. The Israeli government continues to prevent the formation of a legitimate and independent Palestinian state whilst Hamas sees the formation of a Palestinian state as its own downfall.
International bodies and Western governments also rely on empty rhetoric to deflect the growing popular and public opinion against this murder of innocent and defenceless civilians in Gaza.
This war is criminal and must end immediately and unconditionally. The voice of humanity must clearly side with neither of the two poles of reaction: the Israeli state and its Western government backers on the one-hand and the reactionary right-wing Islamic Hamas backed by and the Islamic regime of Iran and Hezbollah of Lebanon on the other.
The third camp, the camp of humanity, must defend the people of Gaza against this criminal bombardment of civilians and side with the people of Israel and Palestine who deserve nothing less than peace and this could only be achieved through a two-state solution.
Worker-communist Party of Iran – Organization Abroad
1 August 2014
One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, the Centre for Secular Space, and the LSESU Atheist Secularist Society have welcomed the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) ruling against gender segregation in universities and students’ unions.
On 17 July, the EHRC published its guidance on gender segregation, stating that: “Gender segregation is not permitted in any academic meetings or at events, lectures or meetings provided for students, or at events attended by members of the public or employees of the university or the students’ union.”
The EHRC’s ruling came after a campaign of a broad coalition of women’s rights and secular activists who have opposed Universities UK’s guidelines on external speakers in universities, which said that: “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.”
The campaign saw a petition signed by almost 10,000, an open letter co-signed by renowned human rights activists and secularists like AC Grayling, Peter Tatchell, Polly Toynbee, Fatou Sow, Richard Dawkins and Yasmin Rehman as well as support from political leaders like Labour shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna MP and Stewart Maxwell SMP. It culminated in a letter sent to UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights Farida Shaheed, and a protest attended by more than 100 activists in front of the office of Universities UK, which received media coverage from major national and international news outlets. As a result, the UUK withdrew its guidance.
Maryam Namazie, one of the main organisers of the campaign, commented: “The EHRC ruling is good news indeed. Finally common sense has prevailed with equality trumping religious beliefs and the religious-Right, which is really what the demand for gender segregation is. It’s an Islamist demand to gain access and institutionalise its values whilst limiting civil rights and equality under the guise of the ‘right to religion’. A victory here is a triumph for equality between women and men but also against Islamism.”
Chris Moos of LSESU ASH said: “This is a great victory for gender equality in the UK. It is great to see that the EHRC has found a clear answer to the claims of the proponents of segregation, specifically that segregation is a ‘religious right’ whose denial amounts to discrimination, that ‘voluntary’ segregation can be reasonably practised in an educational setting and that the provision of a ‘mixed’ seating area makes segregation somehow less discriminatory. Hopefully, universities and students union will now live up to their responsibilities and prevent segregation.” He added: “However, the exemptions that the ruling provides, legitimising gender segregation in religious settings, leave a bitter aftertaste. Equality is a human right that cannot be ‘exempted away’ – it is therefore saddening that British legislation still puts religion above considerations of equality.”
Gita Sahgal, Director of the Centre for Secular Space said: “The Centre for Secular Space would like to congratulate all the students who opposed gender segregation at some risk to themselves. Their stand resulted in a campaign which has lead to the ruling by the EHRC. Universities UK and university authorities should be ashamed of themselves. Rather than stopping gender segregation they endorsed it or did nothing about it.”
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, commented: “We welcome the ruling. Had the UUK guidance endorsing gender segregation gone unchallenged, it would have had a profoundly detrimental impact on black and minority women who already struggle to assert their fundamental rights to education, freedom and independence. The whole sorry affair is symptomatic of a bigger battle waged by the religious-Right (aided and abetted by public bodies like the UUK) to control women’s minds and bodies. We must remain alert to the dangers of religious fundamentalism in all religions because its very goal is to use public spaces to gain power and to destroy the very principles of democracy and the universality of women’s human rights.”
You can read a full analysis of the ruling of the EHRC and its likely impact here.
For further enquiries please contact:
One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
077 1916 6731
Southall Black Sisters
LSE SU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
074 2872 0599
Continuing the campaign for the release of Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and Shahrokh Zamani
* 2 August, Another international day of action in support of jailed workers in Iran
*Call on all worker organisations worldwide
*Reza Shahabi, Behanm Ebrahimzadeh and Shahrokh Zamani need urgent support
*We need an international campaign to save the lives of jailed Iranian worker activists
Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company (Vahed), has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in forming the bus workers’ union.
In early June 2014 Shahabi began a hunger strike in protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr Prison, instead of being admitted to hospital for urgent medical care and treatment. After 43 days hunger strike and a global campaign in support of Reza, he was transferred to hospital. He is still on hunger strike though because he has been handcuffed to his hospital bed and not allowed him to visit with his family. As a result, they have removed his hand cuffs and let him meet his family. Reza continues to protest and insist on his demands. Finally on the fiftieth day of his hunger strike the authorities have agreed with Reza’s sick leave and allowed him medical care. He will be returned to jail when his doctors give the go ahead.
Now Reza and Shahrokh Zamani, another worker activist in Iran who himself is under constant threat and pressure in Rajaee Shahr prison, have written a letter to protest their imprisonment.
Please see an open letter to the leading Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir about her forthcoming talk at the Law Society, which has endorsed sharia-compliant wills.
Dear Asma Jahangir,
We are writing to you regarding your forthcoming conversation at the Law Society on Law, Gender and Religion on the 30th July. We are very pleased you are coming to London but are concerned that you may not have been informed about the Law Society’s issuance of guidance which endorses sharia law in Britain and the campaign against it.
One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space, and LSE Atheist and Humanist Society have led a campaign asking the Law Society to withdraw its discriminatory and dangerous guidance on ‘Sharia Compliant’ wills. Recently, we won an important victory. Southall Black Sisters and One Law for All sought legal advice which resulted in the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority withdrawing its endorsement of the guidance. The Law Society, however, has still not withdrawn the guidance, and instead embarked on an aggressive promotion of Sharia Law using advocates of parallel legal systems such as the legal academic Maliha Malik, the solicitor Aina Khan and Tariq Ramadan.
Our experience with many prominent British institutions has been that eminent secular voices such as yourself are often used strategically to be able to claim that they have consulted legal experts who have endorsed their position. Indeed, the Law Society claims that they have consulted ‘sharia law’ experts, although they have refused to name them. The guidance on Sharia-compliant wills mentions as references Islamists which defend death by stoning amongst other things.
We would be very pleased if would use this opportunity as a way of supporting the work that we are doing against the increase of religious fundamentalism and its promotion by British institutions. We would be grateful if you would consider calling on the Law Society to withdraw its guidance and to name the ‘experts’ they have consulted as campaigners have demanded.
The Law Society’s Sharia Compliant guidance is relevant to the subject of your talk, since their partners argue that sharia councils and what they call sharia compliant law are essential to the religious freedom of women. The work of the Law Society and the lawyers and academics we mention usually ignore actually existing family law in Pakistan and elsewhere and all progressive judgements on these issues.
It may well be that you have been asked to speak by members of the Law Society who want to present an alternative view, and felt that someone of your eminence, could help to break the hold of the pro-Islamist lobby; and that is why they want you to speak. We hope that you will be able to find some way of publicly supporting our campaign.
We would be very pleased to provide you with any further information you that you require.
With best wishes
Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All
Chris Moos, Secretary, LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
On July 19th at 7.30pm, the Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties (M.A.L.I.) and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco held a sit-in in front of the parliament in Rabat, Morocco for the International Day to Defy Fasting Rules.
The sit in denounced the violation of freedom of conscience and called on the Moroccan government to repeal Article 222 of the penal code which is incompatible with international Human Rights Conventions signed and ratified by Morocco. Article 222 says “a person commonly known to be Muslim who violates the fast in a public place during Ramadan, without having one of the justifications allowed by Islam [such as travelling or sickness], shall be punished by one to six months in prison,” as well as a fine.
5 minutes into the start of the sit in, 6 non-uniformed police pushed, hit and insulted protesters. They also confiscated three phones and deleted contents of the photos taken as well as photos including that of a Dutch journalist, a laptop and some IDs. This attack in condemned.
On 20 July, International Day to Defy Fasting Rules during Ramadan, join Bread and Roses TV in eating and drinking in public in solidarity with people in Iran, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq… who are beaten, flogged, fined, imprisoned and harassed for contravening compulsory fasting.
To fast or not to fast in a personal choice. The state has no place in imposing religious rules on society.
Join the 20 July international day to defy fasting rules. You can also join Facebook Event.
I and the Bread and Roses team will be in Hyde Park at 1pm across from Serpentine Cafe picnicking. Where will you be? Picnic or eat in public at 1pm to show your solidarity.
Send us photos or videos of your action to be broadcast on our programme.
A media outlet linked to the Islamic regime of Iran has condemned our call for eating in public to challenge compulsory fasting rules. All the more reason to do it…
Join us today.
در ۱۹ ژوئیه در 07:30، جنبش آلترناتيو برای آزادی های فردی و شورای اکس مسلم از مراکش به تحصن در مقابل مجلس در رباط برای روز بین المللی روزه خوارى تحصن کردند و نقض آزادی عقیده را محکوم کردند وخواستار لغو قانون 222 از قانون مجازات که با کنوانسیون های بین المللی حقوق بشر ناسازگار شدند. قانون 222 می گوید: “یک فرد معمولا شناخته شده به عنوان مسلمان که نقض سریع در یک محل عمومی در ماه رمضان، بدون اینکه یکی از توجیهات اسلام [مانند سفر یا بیماری] اجازه، باید به یک به شش ماه زندان، مجازات، “و همچنین جريمه است
پنج دقيقه از آغاز تحصن شش پلیس لباس شخصى آنان را تحت فشار قرار دادند، کتک زدند و به معترضان توهین کردند.
آنها همچنین سه تلفن را ضبط کرده و عکس های تلفنها را حذف کردند. عکسهاى روزنامه نگار هلندی، لپ تاپ و برخی از شناسنامه ها را هم ضبط کردند. این حمله محکوم است
به بيست ژوئيه روز بين المللى روزه خوارى بپيونديد در همبستگى با تمام کسانى که در ايران٬ مراکش٬ عراق٬ عربستان سعودى و و و به خاطر روزه خوارى اذيت و آزار مى شوند
تيم نان و گل سرخ ساعت يک بعد اظهر در هايد پارک لندن در مقابل کافه سرپنتاين خواهد بود
شما کجا خواهيد بود؟
عکس روزه خوارى خود را براى ما بفرستيد
مطبوعات تعلق به جمهورى اسلامى فراخوان ما را به روزه خوارى محکوم کرده است
چه دليل بهترى براى روزه خوارى امروز
The Bread and Roses team will be at Hyde Park across from Serpentine cafe at 1pm on Sunday 20 July to defy fasting rules during Ramadan in solidarity with the many beaten, harassed, flogged and arrested for eating and drinking during Ramadan in Iran and elsewhere.You can either join our picnic if you are close by or hold you own picnic of fast-defying event. Be sure to send us photos or videos of your day!
A media outlet associated with the Islamic regime of Iran has condemned a Bread and Roses TV programme in which we drink wine and eat bread in solidarity with all the people who are faced with the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces and thugs during Ramadan. Those who violate compulsory fasting rules face criminal offences and are met with harassment, beatings, 10 days to 2 months in prison and 74 lashes. (These restrictions can also be found in many others countries from Saudi Arabia to Morocco.). Read our first statement here.
همکاران نان و گل سرخ در روز ۲۰ ژوئيه ساعت ۱ بعد از ظهر در هايد پارک لندن در مقابل سرپندتاين کافه پيکنيکى در حمايت از مردمى که به خاطر روزه خوارى اذيت و آزار و شلاق و زندانى مى شوند خواهند داشت. شما مى توانيد در اين پيک نيک شرکت کنيد و يا پيکنيک ىا روزه خوارى خودتان را سازمان بدهيد.حتما عکس و ويديوى روزه خوارى خود را براى ما بفرستيد
یکى از سایتهاى وابسته به جمهورى اسلامى برنامه نان و گل سرخ ما را که در همبستگى با تمام مردمى است که در ماه رمضان مورد هجوم دستگاههاى پلیسى و ارازل و اوباش جمهورى اسلامى قرار میگیرند محکوم کرده است. در ایرانِ تحت حکومت اسلام، خوردن غذا و نوشیدن آب در تابستان گرم در ماه رمضان جرم است و هر متخاطى از این قوانین با آزار و اذیت خیابانى و بعلاوه ده روز تا دو ماه زندان و ٧۴ ضربه شلاق روبرو است٬ اينجا مى توانيد آن را بخوانيد
!پيش بسوى جنبش جهانى روزه خوارى
ژوئيه – روز بين اللمللى روزه خوارى 20
در همبستگى با کسانى که براى خوردن در ماه رمضان اذيت و زندانى مى شوند
برنامه نان و گل ۲۰ ژوئيه را روز بين اللمللى روزه خوارى اعلام کرده است
20 July – International Day to Defy Ramadan Fasting Rules
In solidarity with people who are beaten, flogged, harassed for eating and drinking during Ramadan in Iran and elsewhere
داعش نماينده هىچ کس نيست
۱۶ ژوئيه ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با هوزان محمود٬ سخنگوى سازمان آزادى زنان در عراق
ISIS is no-one’s representative
15 July 2014
Interview with Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson of
Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq
You can download the poster of the jailed workers, take a photo of yourself holding the poster and send it to Fariborz Pooya (firstname.lastname@example.org) to publicise on New Channel TV.
Join us. Together we must help save their lives.
Urgent Action: Reza Shahabi is dying and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh needs urgent medical care
Labour activist Reza Shahabi, a member of the Executive Committee of Tehran Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Union has been on hunger strike since June 1st in protest to his being transferred to the notorious Rejai-Shahr prison and the consequent denial of his sick leave to receive medical treatment. Reza Shahabi’s health has been deteriorating with severe weight loss; he has loss of more than 12 kilograms.
Shahrokh Zamani, another labour activist and Union member who is in the same prison ward has called for an international campaign in support of Reza Shahabi.
Meanwhile, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a leading workers’ right activist who was kept in solitary confinement in ward 209 of the notorious Evin prison from May 3 to June 29 was allowed to meet his family after pressure; however on the same night, the intelligence services of the Islamic regime of Iran raided his home and interrogated his 15 year old son Nima, who suffers from leukemia and has been under treatment. They furthermore confiscated the child’s PC and other documents. Ebrahimzadeh also suffers from health problems due to tortures inflicted by the regime.
In response to Shahrokh Zamani’s urgent call for action and to protest against the life-threatening situation of Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, we are calling for an international day of action in their support.
We call on all Trade unions and labour organisations, human rights bodies and the public to support this campaign with every means possible.
With this campaign and our support, let us assure Reza Shahabi that we will make sure he is not forgotten and call upon him to end his hunger strike.
Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh must be immediately and unconditionally released and must receive immediate medical treatment. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh must be allowed to be by the side of his ill child.
Here is our Bread and Roses video explaining the situation:
Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and One Law for All welcomes the decision by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA), the regulatory body for solicitors, to remove the Law Society’s controversial practice note(1) on drafting ‘Sharia compliant’ wills (2) from its ethics guidance on wills. The decision clearly demonstrates that the SRA considers it inappropriate to continue to endorse the note.
The SRA decision comes after threatened legal action on gender equality grounds and represents an important step in our campaign against the Law Society. On 13 March 2014, the Law Society issued a practice note for solicitors on drafting ‘Sharia’ compliant wills. The note, which was drafted with reference to conservative if not fundamentalist Muslim ‘experts’ (3) but not minority women’s organisations, said:
… 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…a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir…
This appalling institutional endorsement of direct gender and other forms of discrimination has been the subject of threatened legal action against the Law Society itself. We have demanded that the Law Society withdraw its guidance but it has resolutely refused to do so. In an extraordinary show of defiance, in a letter dated 4 June 1014, the Law Society stated that it had no intention of withdrawing the practice note and that ‘no equality and diversity implications’ arose from the note. Since receiving the SRA’s decision we have now written to the Law Society again demanding a reconsideration of their position. We are also taking further legal advice on the question of whether solicitors acting on the practice note might be themselves acting unlawfully.
Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors acting on our behalf said:
I am surprised that the Law Society considers that it did not have to consult with any women’s organisations or organisations working with Muslim women, despite the fact that there are significant disputes surrounding Sharia succession rules and a wide range of interpretations as to how they should apply. The Law Society should reconsider its position and withdraw the practice note now that the SRA has agreed to remove its own reference to it.
Pragna Patel of SBS said:
It beggars belief that the Law Society can see no wrong in issuing such blatantly discriminatory and offensive guidance. It shows a racist and callous disregard for minority women’s struggles for equality and Justice in the face of encroaching illiberal religious power. The Law Society should be encouraging and legitimising an equality and human rights and not Sharia compliant legal culture. We urge the Law Society to remove its practice note which is contributing to the disturbing creation of a culture of ‘Sharia compliant’ law and policy in the UK.
Maryam Namazie from One Law for All said:
There is no place for Sharia in Britain’s legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere. Sharia – like all religious laws – is based on a dogmatic and regressive philosophy and a warped understanding of the concepts of equality and justice. It is not a rule for equals and has no place in a modern state or system of law. The Law Society must immediately withdraw its shameful guidance.
2. The Reference notesaid: “If you are acting for clients for whom Sharia succession rules may be relevant you will find the Law Society’s practice note on the subject helpful.”
3. See for example: Inheritance – Regulations & Exhortations (2nd edition) by Muhammad Al Jibaly, published by Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution Ltd.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, email@example.com 02085719595.
Louise Whitfield or Sasha Rozansky of Deighton Piece Glynn, LWhitfield@dpglaw.co.uk
Maryam Namazie of One Law for All, firstname.lastname@example.org 077 1916 6731.
Watch Karima Bennoune’s TEDX talk: When People of Muslim Heritage Challenge Fundamentalism. In it she says, In every country where armed jihadis are active, there are unarmed citizens fighting them.
Karima is a speaker at the 11-12 October conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights. You can register for the conference here.