A female earthquake by “stealth”

Editorial-Facebook-Stealthy-Freedoms-Sign says Maintaining Hijab and Islamic rules are compulsory

The poster reads: Maintaining hijab and Islamic norms is compulsory

My editorial in May issue of Fitnah’s “Unveiled”

(Full Issue available here)

Tehranˈs Interim Friday Prayers Leader Hojjatoeslam Kazem Sedighi recently said: “In certain towns and cities, some have been seen to have removed their headscarves. This lack of hijab has infiltrated homes via internet and satellite TV…”

Hadi Sharifi, a “media activist” interviewed by Tasnim, a state-run news agency in Iran controlled and operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, has said when a man forces himself onto a woman because she is “showing off her beauty”, this should not be considered rape because it is natural and instinctual for a man to be drawn to the beauty of a woman and seek sex with her. Since men have not granted women permission to show off their beauty, then men who become aroused by the “nakedness” of women do not need the permission of women to pursue their sexual urges…

Recently, too, thousands held a protest in Tehran, urging the Islamic regime to confront what they say is the increasing flouting of the Islamic dress code.

Clearly, the Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, where women in Iran are posting unveiled photos of themselves despite the compulsory veiling law has hit a nerve with the regime and its apologists. And rightly so. The veil is an important symbol of the regime. One of the first things Islamists did after expropriating the Iranian revolution was to impose compulsory veiling. The slogan of their thugs attacking women protesters was “either veil or a smack” (ya rusary ya tusary).

Throughout its 35 year rule, women have challenged the regime’s compulsory veiling law by transgressing them; improper or “bad” veiling has always been a form of resistance to the regime despite the morality police’s constant harassment, and risks of fines or imprisonment.

The unveiling of women, however, in broad daylight, for all the world to see is an even more fundamental challenge to the regime and its rule.

The unveiled woman is the beginning of the end of the regime. A female revolution has long been in the making and it is this movement that will bring the regime to its knees. And not a day too soon.

Fitnah Unveiled (May): Secularism is a Human Right

fitnah-UNVEILED8-may14-A4_Page_01A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation

May 2014

Volume 2, Issue 5

Editor: Maryam Namazie

Design: Kiran Opal

VIEW PDF FILE OF THIS MONTH’S ISSUE HERE

 

Secularism is a Human Right
Interview with AC Grayling

The below is a Bread and Roses TV  interview broadcast via New Channel TV on 20 May 2014:

Maryam Namazie: What is secularism and what is the value of secularism for both believers and non-believers?

AC Grayling: Firstly let me say it’s a great pleasure to be with you as I’m a big admirer of what you do.  Secularism has to be distinguished from atheism and from other isms, like for example, humanism, which are naturally associated with it.

Most people who are atheists are probably likely to be secularists, but there are religious secularists as well, because secularism is a view about the place of religion – the religious voice, the religious organisations – in the public square, as this impacts for example, public policy matters. And the idea behind secularism is that the public square of society should be neutral with respect to all the different belief systems or to no belief systems. That what people believe in their private lives and in their religious commitments is not relevant to the public debate other than as a special interest point of view.

I think it is a very important point that religious organisations and movements should recognise themselves as interest groups, lobby groups: they have a point of view, of course they want to put their point of view in public debate, but they should take their turn in the queue with everybody else – other NGOs, political parties, pressure groups, lobby groups – whereas of course for historical reasons, in many societies, religion has a massively inflated presence in the public square. It is given charitable status, it is given a seat at the top table, and is heard first by people in positions of temporal power and that, I think, is where things have gone so wrong in our world.

Maryam Namazie: On the issues of neutrality, some might say that the very fact that a secularist state demands that religion stays out of the public space, means that it is not really neutral, because it’s giving a sort of negative viewpoint on religion.  That it’s not a good thing to be in the public space.

AC Grayling: It certainly is a view which has been of course developed from the enlightenment thinking, about how individuals living together in a society can best flourish. So in that sense it is a positive view about allowing all sorts of different viewpoints, all sorts of different beliefs, and no beliefs, to coexist peacefully side by side. Not privileging any one of them, and not therefore coercing others, either to believe or not believe.  So in that sense it is a positive view. But the heart of it, the essence of it is neutrality with respect to these different viewpoints.  That is, you allow people to have a belief and to practice that belief, providing it does not impact negatively on other people. But also, and very, very importantly, it allows people who have no religious commitment – who are atheists, who are agnostics, who don’t belong to a church or a religious movement – to live without the coercion or pressure, or a social ‘bad odour’, that used to be the case, and in some societies remains the case.

Maryam Namazie: You mention the fact that there can be believers who are secularists but can religion, can Islam, be compatible with secularism?

AC Grayling: Well this is a very interesting question about Islam because it would seem to be in the very nature of Islam that a secular society is impossible because Islam pervades every aspect of life.  It is not just a religion; it is a social end and is in many ways a political philosophy as well.  Of course nowadays people use the term Islamism to mean political Islam.  But Islam is so all embracing.   It permeates the lives and thoughts of people from the very earliest memories of their lives, all the way up through their education, and the presence of the religion’s demand on, or offer to, people is there every few hours when the muezzin cries from the mosque.  So it’s very hard even to imagine a translation of the English word ‘secularism’ into Farsi or Arabic, which doesn’t have a negative connotation. [Read more...]

Bread and Roses: On Apostasy

See this week’s Bread and Roses TV programme in English on the issue of apostasy and the execution sentence of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim in Sudan. In this week’s programme, I speak with Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

The Persian programme will be broadcast via New Channel TV tomorrow and will be available then.

Next week’s programme is on Stealthy Freedoms and women unveiling in Iran. What does this movement represent to you? Send us any questions and comments or even 30 second videos to broadcast on our programme to the below:

Bread and Roses
نان و گل سرخ
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: nanogolesorkh@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NanoGoleSorkh
Twitter: @NanoGoleSorkh
Youtube: youtube.com/breadandrosesTV
Telephone: +44 20 3287 6128

By the way, we have managed to raise £2000 of the £15,000 we need for a video mixer, computer, microphones and lighting for the programme. There’s only 20 days left so please help if you can. See our fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. Right now, we have to manually edit footage from 4 separate cameras on a computer that keeps shutting down. It takes too long to produce each programme, which makes it impractical over the long-term. A video mixer and computer will make things easier!

Thanks for any support for our free-thinking, taboo-breaking work.. We’ll owe you one.

On iERA: Let me say what no one is saying clearly enough

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s (CEMB) has a new report “Evangelising Hate” on the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA). It has received quite a bit of media coverage (though of course not from the Guardian) particularly since its publication coincides with a Charity Commission investigation into the iERA. CEMB is calling for iERA to be considered a hate group and not a charity.

But there is more.

Let me say what others are avoiding or not saying clearly enough.

As we have mentioned in our report, iERA is not a “religious group” but rather a “soft” Islamist group, normalising and justifying the Islamist agenda, including by perpetrating hatred against gays, Jews, women, ex-Muslims, a majority of Muslims who don’t abide by their values… But there is more to this story and that is that “soft” Islamists are often linked with violent Islamists or jihadis.

At least one iERA dawah activist, Iftekhar Jaman, has been killed in Syria whilst fighting for the brutal Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which even Al Qaeda has broken ties with.

ISIS executed a secular Syrian activist for “apostasy” and has taken up crucifiction. Moreover, Iftekhar was friends with Mashudur Choudhury, the first Briton to be convicted of terrorism charges for travelling to Syria to train for jihad…

Clearly, groups like iERA are responsible for more than normalising the Islamist agenda like gender segregation at universities, Sharia-compliant wills, and the imposition of burkas and Sharia courts. They have links to and are – let’s just be frank – even cultivating British jihadis.

This should not be surprising given the freedom they have been given to organise around their hate-speech, including on university campuses.

Britons now make up most of the foreign members in Syria’s most violent terror group. UK Islamists are involved in activities including beheadings, crucifixions and ill-treatment of women – many of them not unlike iERA’s teachings.

The iERA’s charitable status is the least of our worries… Someone with the access needed to investigate these links needs to get on it – and fast.

***

I am annoyed to no end at reports that worry about what will happen when the British jihadis come home. What about what they are doing right now to the people of Syria? And what about the climate of threats and intimidation they are creating right here in Britain for dissenters – Muslim and ex-Muslim?

iERA: Islamic far-Right and Hate Group not Charity

The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) has responded to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s (CEMB) new report “Evangelising Hate”.

Rather than address the numerous documented facts of hate speech by those associated with the organisation against ex-Muslims, Jews, gays, women, Muslims and others who don’t agree with their values the iERA uses predictable and standard responses in order to circumvent the main issue at hand: that it is a hate group which should have its charitable status revoked.

The iERA’s tactics include the usual deception, obfuscation, irrelevant arguments about context, false accusations of bigotry and denial in order to evade scrutiny.

Context

The iERA says the CEMB report is “filled with spin and statements deliberately taken out of context”. It is unclear how exact quotes, including from video footage, justifying everything from domestic violence, stoning to death, execution for apostates, hatred against Jews, non Muslims, and Muslims who oppose iERA’s views, to FGM and jihad can be taken out of context. How can the below quote by Abdurraheem Green, a founding member and chairman of iERA, for example, be taken in any way other than it is intended? He says:

“We want to create an environment where it is encouraging people to be good, otherwise what is the point in the hudood? [Hudood laws are the bounds of acceptable behaviour and the punishments for serious crimes.] What is the hudood? Why you chop the hand off the thief? Why you stone the adulterer and the adulteress to death? Why do you chop the hand and the leg of the one who commits highway robbery and leave them to bleed to death or crucify them? All of this is to deter the people from being evil and committing evil. Why is the person who drinks alcohol, who is a drunk, whipped eighty times in public? All of this is to deter the people from being evil”.

The out of context argument is a bogus one that aims to portray critics as deceptive in order to move attention away from iERA’s hate speech.

On the issue of “clarification”

The iERA statement says the CEMB report “quotes out of context, outdated or clarified statements from iERA speakers” giving as an example clarifications provided by iERA’s head of research teams and lectures Hamza Tzortzis.  One example will suffice to reveal iERA’s dishonesty. In his supposed clarification, Hamza says with regards gender segregation:

“There have been various newspapers and bloggers that have implied that Hamza Andreas Tzortzis has been involved in public events that have enforced gender segregation or separation. Tzortzis has not been involved in such events or been aware of enforced gender separation. He advocates a tolerant position that all choices should be offered. If some women regardless of religious background wish to sit with women only, that should be accommodated if possible”.

This is clearly untrue since Hamza was himself a speaker at an iERA organised debate entitled “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” at UCL with US scientist Lawrence Krauss on March 9, 2013 where segregation was enforced. Separate entrances were put in place for males and females and audience members were separated into male and female only queues by the organisers’ security staff. Security guards tried to forcibly remove those who refused to comply with segregated seating. The students were only allowed back after Krauss threatened to leave the debate.

Abdurraheem Green, a founding member and chairman of iERA, has made very clear why gender segregation is a necessity:

“Let us also bear in mind that Muslim societies take every precaution to avoid the means that can lead to adultery. Public nudity is forbidden. In fact a strict dress code is observed. This is part of the wisdom behind the hijab. It is an act of social responsibility that helps towards a harmonious society. Also free mixing between sexes is avoided, men and women should not have physical contact and men and women should not even be alone together (unless they are husband and wife, or from close relatives who are permanently forbidden in marriage). Again in this context adultery is inexcusable, and justly punished with severity”. 

Denying links to Jihadis

The iERA states that the CEMB report “unscrupulously” tries “to link other individuals who are not at all connected with the charity”, namely Ifthekar Jaman and Hassan Farooq.

Despite iERA’s supposed lack of affiliation with Hassan Farooq and Ifthekar Jaman, iERA has provided Dawah teams, including theirs, with T-shirts and materials. In one video by Young Dawah, founding member and iERA chairman Abdurraheem Green is seen giving the Dawah group his support. In another Tweet, the Newham Dawah Team says: “Had a call conference meeting with abdur raheem green, the iera team and hundreds of da’ee emirs all over UK, mashAllah the dawah movement is massive, and we have massive plans for 2013, our focus will be on Newham, by the permission of Allah this borough shall change, for those who wish to help us get in contact asap”.

Screen-Shot-2014-01-27-at-11.07.50

The iERA is clearly linked to the dawah teams but makes contrary assertions to aid in deniability when suitable, particularly if jihadis are involved.

Hassan Farooq can be seen in a picture posted on 14 April 2013 participating in a dawah mission with Ifthekar Jaman on Jaman’s Twitter account. In the picture, both are standing in a group of men, wearing yellow iERA T-shirts with the slogan ‘Is Life Just a Game?’ He comments under the picture “Us Portsmouth Dawah group & brothers from Newham dawah joined today. Alhamdullilah for shahadahs! Allahu Akbar”. Several months later, Jaman was killed in Syria whilst fighting for a Jihadi group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in December 2013. ISIS has engaged in beheadings, amputations and public executions, including the execution of a secular Syrian activist for “apostasy”. Iftekhar was also friends with another Portsmouth man Mashudur Choudhury, the first Briton to be convicted of terrorism charges for travelling to Syria to train for jihad…

Accusations of bigotry

The iERA assert that the CEMB has “bigoted views about Islam and mainstream Islamic speakers” and that it espouses “hatred”. Clearly, though, it is not bigotry to expose the bigotry of the Islamic far-Right. It is also not espousing hatred to expose the hate speech propounded by iERA speakers.

More importantly – and despite claims about the CEMB’s deception and misrepresentation – iERA stands by their “mainstream Islamic speakers”. The very use of the term “mainstream” is an attempt to neutralise criticism and portray it as an attack on religion rather than legitimate opposition to Islamism. In this way, the promoters of hatred depict themselves as victims of those who expose their hatred.

As always, despite the mountains of evidence, iERA hopes to carry on doing what they do best: normalising Islamist values and norms as “mainstream” and creating a climate where extremism and hate can flourish.

The iERA has been able to evade scrutiny for so long by using many of the tactics mentioned above. The iERA’s role in propagating Islamism here and even abroad has been largely missing from the public debate on this issue. The iERA’s modus operandi has been to take advantage of multiculturalism (as a social policy that segregates “communities”) and cultural relativism as well as the language of diversity, rights, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue to increase influence and access.

It is high time that they are recognised for what they truly are: the Islamic far-Right and a hate group not a charity.

For more information, contact:
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson
Al Razi, CEMB Forum
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk
 

برنامه امروز نان و گل سرخ در مورد سکولاريسم

برنامه امروز نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد در مورد سکولاريسم را در مى توانيد اينجا ببينيد

با فريبرز پويا٬ بهرام سروش و مريم نمازى. مصاحبه با فيلسوف اى سى گريلينگ.

کارگردان: رضا مرادى

دستيار کارگردان: پونه راوى

روز پخش ۲۱ مه ۲۰۱۴

Free Happy Iranians

.همه کسانی که در نسخه ایرانی موزیک ویدئوی آهنگ خوشحال ساخته فرل ویلیامز در ایران نقش آفرینی کردند، شناسایی و بازداشت شده اند

چرا با رقصيدن در خيابانها از آنها حمايت نکنيم؟

برنامه نان و گل سرخ مى تواند ويديوهاى شما در حين رقص را از طريق کانال جديد پخش کند؛ ويديو کليپهاى کوتاه تان را براى ما بفرستيد

ويديويى که در ايران جرم محسوب مى شود را در پايين صفحه مى بينيد اما ما مى دانيم مجرمين واقعى کى هستتند

#FreeHappyIranians

 

Iranians dancing to Pharrell’s Happy have been arrested.

#FreeHappyIranians now!

Why not support them by dancing in the streets?

Bread and Roses can show some of them and broadcast them in Iran via New Channel TV. Send us short clips right away if you can.

Here’s the video that is considered a “crime” in Iran (but we know who the real criminals are).

Bread and Roses: Secularism as a basic right

Watch Bread and Roses English programme with Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya and Bahram Soroush being broadcast today via New Channel TV on “Secularism as a basic right”. There’s a great interview with philosopher AC Grayling on the issue.

Director: Reza Moradi; Assistant Director: Poone Ravi

Enjoy!

Sudan apostasy case, New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA); ex-Muslims internationally

Dear friend

I am writing to give you an update of the work of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, including a new report on the hate group Islamic Education and Research Academy, and also ask for your help in defending an “apostate” facing death in Sudan.

Sudan apostasy case

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged to learn of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence in Sudan for apostasy. The heavily pregnant Mariam has also been charged with adultery and imprisoned with her toddler.  She and her husband are Christian but the judge insists she is Muslim.

Mariam Yahya’s case represents a great number of similar cases where individuals cannot choose or express their beliefs nor have many inalienable rights because of Sharia law.

CEMB condemns Sharia law and in particular articles 126 and 146 of the Sudanese criminal code which punishes apostasy and adultery. Apostasy and adultery are not crimes; executing human beings, including for their beliefs or their consensual sexual relations should be.

CEMB demands the immediate release of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and calls on all groups and individuals to put pressure on the Sudanese government and help save Mariam’s life.

Sign the petition defending Mariam here.

Ex-Muslims Internationally

CEMB co-Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud and heads of affiliated groups, namely the Ex-Muslims of North America and Ex-Muslims of Scotland recently discussed the Mariam Yahya case on BBC World Service and why it is so hard to be an ex-Muslim. You can listen to the programme here.

Despite the many difficulties, atheism is on the rise in countries where Sharia law has influence or access to political power. Interestingly, the country where Richard Dawkins’ name is most searched is Iran. Recently, co-Spokesperson Maryam Namazie sent a video message to over 60 atheists meeting clandestinely in Jordan to congratulate them on their bold move and to pledge CEMB’s support.  Moreover, the first legal atheist organisation in the Middle East and North Africa has been established in Turkey. You can see their statement here.

New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)

A new CEMB report “Evangelising Hate” exposes the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) as a Hate Group. You can read the full press release and report here.

Whilst iERA purports to be a missionary-like charitable organisation, it is in fact a “soft Islamist” group, which acts as the Islamist movement’s public relations arm by promoting and normalising Islamist values, including inciting hatred against ex-Muslims, gays, Jews, women, non Muslims and a majority of Muslims who do not share their values. In Britain and the west, groups like iERA use multiculturalism (as a social policy that segregates “communities”) and cultural relativism as well as the rights language of diversity, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue to increase influence and access. Any opposition to their theocratic aims are met with accusations of racism and Islamophobia.

This timely report is being published just as the Charity Commission is investigating the group. Clearly, iERA must be classified as a hate group and have their charitable status withdrawn. These will help bring clarity to their agenda and can be a starting point for a wider investigation into the influence of Islamism in modern Britain.

It is important to note that the CEMB publishes its report on a day that the far-Right group Britain First (an off-shoot of the British National Party) has targeted yet another mosque in a campaign of hate. Like Islamism, Britain First is a far-Right political group that asserts collective blame, incites hatred and dehumanises those deemed ‘other’. Just as Islamists do not represent a majority of Muslims or those considered Muslim, fascist groups like Britain First do not represent a majority of Britons and those living here.

Our fight is against the far-Right of all stripes and variations – be it Britain First or iERA – and in defence of the rights of all people, irrespective of their background, race, belief, gender, sexuality… to secularism, universal rights and equality.

The new CEMB report has been forwarded to the Home Office, the Charity Commission and the Department for Education, amongst others.

New office space

We have moved into a new office space near Kings Cross, thanks to the fantastic support of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK. The office is shared with One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

We will have an official opening in the near future and will let you know about it when the time comes.

11-12 October 2014 Conference

Please don’t forget to register and buy tickets for a historic two-day conference in London with secular, including ex-Muslim activists from across the world, and particularly the Middle East and North Africa who have been imprisoned and persecuted for their atheism.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the conference if you can help it. You can register and pay for your tickets here.

Keep Supporting Us!

If you like the work we do and want to help or continue helping us, please donate! Your support has been instrumental so far and will further our important work.

A huge thanks to those of you who donate on a monthly basis; it has made a world of difference being able to depend on regular support. We need a lot more help so please do join our small but important group of monthly donors or give us a one off donation if you can. Here’s information on how to donate.  We also still need more volunteers if you have some time to spare.

We look forward to continuing – together – our fight for atheism, secularism, rights and equality and countering the far-Right, racism and cultural relativism in the months and years to come.

Warmest wishes
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.

New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)

EvangelisingHate_Report_Web_Page_01A new report from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain “Evangelising Hate” exposes the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) as a Hate Group. You can read the report here.

Whilst iERA purports to be a missionary-like charitable organisation, it is in fact a “soft Islamist” group, which acts as the Islamist movement’s public relations arm by promoting and normalising Islamist values and norms, including inciting hatred against ex-Muslims, gays, Jews, women, non Muslims and a majority of Muslims who do not share their values. In Britain and the west, groups like iERA use multiculturalism (as a social policy that segregates “communities”) and cultural relativism as well as the rights language of diversity, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue to increase influence and access. Any opposition to their theocratic aims are met with accusations of racism and Islamophobia.

This timely report is being published just as the Charity Commission is investigating the group.

“This long-needed report provides a complete picture of the activities of the iERA, its promotion of hatred against women, gays, non-Muslims, ex-Muslims and liberal Muslims, and its affiliation with Islamists who have called for violence or have been involved in violent jihad themselves”, says Chris Moos of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society. He adds: “As a student who has experienced the violent tactics of the iERA myself, I find it unacceptable that this group continues to be the most active organiser of Islamic events on British university campuses, thereby sidelining liberal Muslim student groups. This report should serve as a wake-up call for both university and student representatives, and will hopefully lead to a classification of the iERA as what they are – a fascist hate group on a par with the likes of Hizb-ut Tahrir, BNP and EDL”.

Gita Sahgal of the Centre for Secular Space says: “This excellent report lays out in gruesome and forensic detail the hate agenda of speakers associated with the iERA. They should never be legitimised as a charity or given platforms that treat their views as acceptable”.

The iERA perpetuates a discourse that normalises hatred in religious terms, and sets the climate for “radicalisation”, bigotry and Islamism to flourish. Where groups like iERA have more influence, society is witness to a rise in everything from women and children wearing burkas, increased gender segregation at universities, legitimisation of Sharia-compliant wills and rules, acceptance of Sharia courts for the “Muslim minority” and the Islamisation of schools and mosques.

This report makes clear that iERA must be classified as a hate group and have their charitable status withdrawn. These will help bring clarity to their agenda and can be a starting point for a wider investigation into the influence of Islamism in modern Britain.

 

It is important to note that the CEMB publishes its report on a day that the far-Right group Britain First (an off-shoot of the British National Party) has targeted yet another mosque to bring its campaign of hate. Like Islamism, Britain First is a far-Right political group that asserts collective blame, incites hatred and dehumanises those deemed ‘other’. Just as Islamists do not represent a majority of Muslims or those considered Muslim, fascist groups like Britain First do not represent a majority of Britons.

Our fight is against the far-Right of all stripes and variations – be it Britain First or iERA – and in defence of the rights of all people, irrespective of their background, race, belief, gender, sexuality… to secularism, universal rights and equality.

For more information on the report, contact:
Al Razi
CEMB
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/
Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.

Urgent Action: Mariam Yahya Ibrahim must be freed immediately

mariamThe Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged to learn of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence in Sudan for apostasy. The heavily pregnant Mariam has also been charged with adultery and imprisoned with her toddler.  She and her husband are Christian but the judge insists she is Muslim.

Mariam is not the first to be charged with apostasy. The case of Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, the Sudanese theologian who was hanged in 1985, remains vivid in the minds of all Sudanese. More recent cases include the 129 people charged with apostasy in South Kartoum/Hay Mayo and forced to repent in order to escape the death penalty.

Adultery cases are also not new. The cases of Intisar Shareef, Sadia Idris Fadul and Amouna Abdallah are amongst those reported.

Mariam Yahya’s case represent a great number of similar cases where individuals cannot choose or express their beliefs nor have many inalienable rights because of Sharia law.

CEMB condemns Sharia law and in particular articles 126 and 146 of the Sudanese criminal code which punishes apostasy and adultery. Apostasy and adultery are not crimes; executing human beings, including for their beliefs or their consensual sexual relations should be.

CEMB demands the immediate release of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim. The right to belief, religion and atheism are basic rights and must be respected.

We ask all groups and individuals to put pressure on the Sudanese government and help save Mariam’s life.

You can also sign a petition here to defend Mariam.

First legal atheist organisation formed in Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey – The first legally recognized Atheist Organization of the Balkans, Middle East and among all Muslim-majority countries, has been founded in Istanbul, Turkey. The organization, titled Ateizm Dernegi, was founded in Istanbul on April 16, 2014. The focus of Ateizm Dernegi is to advocate for human rights, especially the right to irreligion – a right that is viewed as an act of terrorism in many Middle Eastern countries. It is the view of Ateizm Dernegi, that when political leaders including the Prime Minster of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan provide statements – citing Atheists as terrorists, “We opened a boulevard in Ankara on Monday [Feb. 24] despite the [protests of] leftists, despite those atheists. They are terrorists…” something must be done. Ateizm Dernegi aims and purposes to protect irreligious as well as free-thinking persons’ rights in Turkey. The right to be Atheist or irreligious coincides with one’s legal human rights. The founders of Ateizm Dernegi are striving for the day when atheists no longer face any discrimination or prejudice in the workplace, at home or on the street. The founding members of the organization have coined the slogan, “No atheists will be alone anymore, in the courts or in the streets!”

Ateizm Dernegi is open to all branches of irreligion, not limited to Atheism and is in readiness to welcome all free-thinking people, regardless of race and background, and promotes the right to freely express one’s beliefs and ideologies without worry or apprehension in any situation. In Turkey, people are easily pressured into religion, faced with strain from, tradition, work colleagues, family members, and tension from conservative neighbors and neighborhoods. With these systematic and societal pressures, comes, sheer intimidation towards free-thinking people. Free-thinking individuals are often insulted and humiliated due to their philosophical views and in many cases, even face death as a result of fundamentalist attitudes! The organization plans to focus its efforts on education, human rights and to advocate for freedoms that are often denied via religious pressure or influence. The organization does not oppose religion or religious peoples, but stands firm against the dangers that can come in the name of religion taken too far. The group philosophy of Ateizm Dernegi is that morality does not go hand in hand with religion, it is for this reason we demand a world where we are all responsible for our actions toward others and no one is able hide behind religion as a catalyst or provocation for fundamentalism and oppression. As the country becomes increasingly more censured and intolerant, Ateizm Dernegi has a responsibility to the people, to council and protect against injustice, maltreatment and abuse. Ateizm Dernegi hopes is to defend the legal rights of free-thinking people through paid or voluntary lawyers that will be organized via the association, and also to provide counseling for those victimized resulting from these restrictive societies. The organization aims to inform people of their existence and position to defend the most basic rights of the Turkish people.

The intention of Ateizm Dernegi is not to open a debate about religion. Our aim is to advocate against religious prejudice, oppression and fundamentalism, and to promote the basic human and civil right to believe or not believe in a positive, educated and constructive manner. For now we focus our resources on uniting free-thinking individuals, as it is only together that our cries for freedom will be heard. We ask people to think, even those who are Muslim, (or have other religious beliefs) here in Turkey, “How you follow your religion is your choice at this time but stand next to us to advocate for freedom, your freedom could be taken away next. It may not be your problem today, but it could be your problem tomorrow and who will be left to stand next to you when the rest of us have been silenced?”

To learn more about Ateizm Dernegi, please contact:
Ateizm Dernegi
Osmanağa Mahallesi, Çuhadarağa Sokak

Galerium İş Merkezi, No:23/40, Kat:1
Kadıköy / İSTANBUL
www.ateizmdernegi.org
Email: bilgi@ateizmdernegi.org
Call Center: +09 0 850 840 2337

Support Bread and Roses: We need your help

Dear friend

61 donors have helped us kick-start Bread and Roses, a taboo-breaking, freethinking political-social TV magazine in Persian and English broadcast in Iran and the Middle East as well as globally via satellite and social media. The programme is hosted by Maryam Namazie, an award-winning secularist and atheist blogger and campaigner; Fariborz Pooya, founder of the Iranian Secular Society; Bahram Soroush, a civil rights activist and political commentator and Siavash Modaresi, editor of a cultural publication Pusheh.

You can see an interview by Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist with Maryam on the importance of Bread and Roses here:

The first two programmes have already been broadcast, thanks to an initial £4,000 raised for cameras and tripods. They are on nude protest (including an interview with topless Tunisian and Egyptian activists Amina Sboui and Aliaa Magda Elmahdy) and on Sharia law (including an interview with Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters). See them below. The upcoming programme is on secularism and will include an interview with philosopher AC Grayling.

14 May Programme on Sharia law with an interview with Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters

30 April Programme on Nude Protest with an interview with topless activists Amina Sboui and Aliaa Magda ElMahdy

Despite our progress, we have initiated a new fundraising campaign to help us with equipment we don’t have but desperately need, including a video mixer, lighting, an up-to-date computer and microphones. We have already bought our microphones on credit card (which explains the better quality sound in our second programme). Reaching our fundraising target of £15,000 will help us produce quality and timely programmes that will continue to bring free-thought to Iran and the region as well as the west where it is sorely needed for many years to come!

Support our new fundraising campaign if you can. You can donate here.

No amount is too small (or too large) and we will forever appreciate your help and support. However, if you can’t afford to give anything, don’t worry. Just help publicise our campaign and tell everyone you know about it.

We have only 30+ days to raise the money but with your help we might just be able to do it…

By the way, have a look at another interview with Maryam Seth Andrews produced entitled Fear, Fitnah and Freedom:

Thank you for any support.

Warmest wishes
Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, Bahram Souroush and Siavash Modaresi
Bread and Roses Team
Nan o Gole Sorkh
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: nanogolesorkh@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NanoGoleSorkh
Twitter: @NanoGoleSorkh

The Problem with Sharia

Here’s Bread and Roses second TV programme in English on Sharia Law with Fariborz Pooya, Bahram Soroush and myself. We have already bought good microphones (on credit card) so the sound quality is a lot better than the one before on nude protest.
Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters is interviewed here on the issue of Sharia. We hope you enjoy it!

If you like our programme and want to see more, support our fundraising campaign for a much needed video mixer and computer…

Iran: jailed labour activist moved to interrogation unit of prison

Behnam and Nima EbrahimzadehBehnam Ebrahimzadeh, who has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities, has been moved to Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Ward 209 is the interrogation unit of the prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence, where torture and maltreatment is routinely practised as part of the interrogations.

Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Organisations and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration. Also, during a recent assault on political prisoners in Ward 350, he was among the prisoners who were severely beaten up and injured.

It should also be noted that Mr Ebrahimzadeh’s 15-year old son is ill with leukaemia, a fact that has added to his psychological traumas.

Given the fact that Ebrahimzadeh has now been transferred to the interrogation ward of the prison, there are growing concerns for his wellbeing. We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the continued detention of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
bahram.soroush@gmail.com

Law Society, Gender Segregation, Islamism in Schools, our opposition to Sharia Watch campaign, October 2014 conference and new office space

ol4a2Dear Friend

I am writing to give you an update of our work.

Law Society Protest

One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space and LSE SUASH organised a successful 28 April rally at the Law Society to oppose the Society’s legitimisation of discriminatory Sharia-compliant rules. The rally finished with protesters tearing pages from a copy of the Equality Act and pinning them to the fence of the Law Society, symbolising its contravention of the Act.More details on the rally can be found here.

The Law Society has yet to back down and is even organising a new training course to “highlight some basic concepts and requirements of the Islamic Shari’a applicable to” wills and inheritance and family and children! How utterly shameful!

One Law for All will continue to demand the withdrawal of the Law Society guidance, which discriminates against Muslim women, “illegitimate” children and non-Muslims amongst others. The guidance sides with Islamist values at the expense of all others; some of the main references in the it are Islamists who defend death by stoning and gender segregation.

We urge you to write to the Law Society at the below address calling on them to withdraw!
The Law Society’s Hall
113 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1PL
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7242 1222
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7831 0344
You can also contact them via their website.

As I explain in a recent editorial, Sharia law is pure madness and should have no place in a modern legal system.

Whilst some groups and individuals insist that the opposition to the Law Society is a whole lot of fuss over nothing, Southall Black Sisters’ Director Pragna Patel explains why ‘equality before the law’ is not just an empty phrase.

Gender segregation

The Law Society protest is reminiscent of the recent fight against Universities UK’s discriminatory guidance legitimising gender segregation at universities. UUK withdrew its guidance after our protests.

One Law for All is currently working on a survey and report on the issue. If you have information on gender segregation at universities in the UK, please get in touch with us at onelawforall@gmail.com.

Islamism in Schools

We recently met with an advisor to Michael Gove at the Department for Education to discuss our concerns over Islamism in schools after the “Trojan Horse” plot came to light. At the meeting, One Law for All reiterated its concern about the increasing influence of Islamists at schools and universities and the adverse implications for children and the society at large. Given the Government’s misguided policies of multi-faithism and religion’s ever expansive role, it is not unsurprising that we are witness to increased segregation, discrimination and extremism.

One Law for All provided DfE with information on Islamism in schools and universities. If you know of any Islamist-influenced schools that should be brought to their attention, please email us the details as soon as possible.

Whilst it is crucial to battle Islamism in our schools, the lasting and effective option would be to end faith schools and ensure that schools (and universities) are secular spaces for all irrespective of the beliefs of parents.

One Law for All opposes new Sharia Watch campaign

As you all know, Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters resigned in November 2013. What you don’t know is that her resignation followed more recent political disagreements on some key issues, including One Law for All’s refusal to collaborate with the members of racist and far-Right groups and our insistence on the need to distinguish between Muslims/immigrants and Islamists. “Walking a Tightrope: Between a Pro-Islamist Left and the far-Right” was written in response to the disagreements in question.

Given the context of Anne Marie’s resignation, her initiation of “Sharia Watch” and her leaving the Labour Party and joining UKIP as a candidate should be seen as an attempt at organising a “respectable” rightwing response to the issue of Sharia law and the furtherance of a politics that is diametrically at odds with One Law for All’s. As I mentioned in “Walking a Tightrope”, whilst frustration and a sense of betrayal at the Pro-Islamist Left is understandable, finding solace in and partnership with the racist Right and far-Right is not.

Since its establishment last month, Sharia Watch has publicised links like “Muslim Rape Culture” from the ghastly Frontpage Magazine, given updates on the far-Right Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller and the English Defence League, publicised videos like “Sacrificing our Daughters: On the Psychology of Islamic Rape Gangs”, and written a piece on how halal meat funds terrorism!

We want to make very clear that we have no links with Sharia Watch, UKIP or Anne Marie Waters and will oppose their brand of racist hate politics every step of the way.

One Law for All is proud of the broad-based coalition of secular Muslim, ex-Muslim, non-Muslim, atheist…  groups and individuals it has helped shape over nearly 6 years of organising and activism. As is very clear from our work, our fight is not just a fight against Sharia; it is first and foremost a fight against Islamism and the religious-Right as well as countering racism and for equality, universal and citizenship rights, international solidarity, and secularism.

11-12 October 2014 Conference

We are busy organising what looks to be a historic two-day conference in London with secular activists from across the world, and particularly the Middle East and North Africa, who are fighting – often on the frontlines  – for civil rights and secularism and against Islamism and the religious-Right.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the conference if you can help it. And get your tickets now before it is too late. You can register and pay for your tickets here.

For your information, on 11 October, there will be a banquet dinner and entertainment, including a performance from our Sounds of Freedom Music competition finalists.

New Office

Great news! We have moved into a new office space near Kings Cross, thanks to the fantastic support of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK. The office is shared with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

We will have an official opening in the near future and will let you know about it when the time comes.

Keep Supporting Us!

If you like the work we do and want to help or continue helping us, please donate! Your support has been instrumental so far and will further our important work.

A huge thanks to those of you who donate on a monthly basis; it has made a world of difference being able to depend on regular support. We need a lot more help so please do join our small but important group of monthly donors or give us a one off donation if you can. Here’s information on how to donate. We also still need more volunteers if you have some time to spare.

We look forward to continuing – together – our fight for secularism, rights and equality and countering racism and cultural relativism in the months and years to come.

Warmest wishes

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All
BM Box2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: onelawforall@gmail.com
web: http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8122621.

Iran: Azim Zadeh and Mohammadi moved to the interrogation ward of Evin Prison

103Continued detention of two union leaders
Monday, 5 May 2014

The Free Union of Workers in Iran (Ettehadiye Azad e Kargaran e Iran) has reported about the continued detention of the leader and an Executive Committee member of the Union in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday 30 April, ahead of a rally called by the Union for May Day.

According to the Union, the two activists have been moved to the interrogation ward of the Prison, Ward 209, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. This increases the risk of their subjection to torture and maltreatment, which is the usual practice in this ward during interrogations.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi are among the coordinators for a national pay rise campaign, which has so far attracted 40,000 signatures.

We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the detention of these trade union leaders and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
bahram.soroush@gmail.com