Who is responsible for Paris and Copenhagen

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya is on who is responsible for the terrorist attacks on Paris and Copenhagen. FARSI BELOW.

Following Paris and Copenhagen, the reasons behind the terrorist attacks have debated. Those on the far-Right and bigoted Right will say it is because of Muslim immigration whilst the anti-imperialist Left will blame US militarism and racism in Europe as the cause for terrorism. In fact, Islamism, the far-Right fascist movement is directly responsible for the attacks.
We show Maryam Namazie’s tribute to Charlie and others at the 2015 Secular Conference
Shocking News of the Week: Saman Nasim
Insane Fatwa: Khamenei
Good News: Mahin Alipour gets awarded as “hero of the day” by Swedish magazine

کى مقصر است براى حملات تروريستى در پاريس و کپنهاگ
۲۵ فوريه ۲۰۱۵
سخنرانى مريم نمازى در کنفرانس ۷ فوريه لندن در مورد حق و نياز انتقاد از اسلام: براى چارلى هبدو و چارى ها
در مورد برنامه: بدنبال حملات تروريستي در پاريس و كپنهاگ ، بررسي علل اين حملات به موضوع بحث و گفتگوي داغ تبديل شده است. راست افراطي و متعصب ، علت اين حملات را مهاجرت مسلمانان به اروپا ميداند. از جانب ديگر، چپ پست مدرنيست و ضد امپرياليستي، ميليتاريسم امريكا و راسيسم در اروپا را باعث و باني تروريسم اسلامي مي دانند. در واقع اسلام سياسي بعنوان يك جنبش فاشيستي و دست راستي مقصر است.
اخبار تکاندهنده: سامان نسيم
فتواى احمقانه: از خامنه اى
خبر خوب: جايزه قهرمان روز مهين علىپور

Two Brothers, Ali and Habib Afshari were executed on the same day!

See statement of International Committee against Execution below:

On Friday, February 20th the Afshari family was informed that these two political prisoners, Ali Afshari and Habibollah Afshari were hanged on Thursday morning.

ICAE News Agency: Within the past two days, six political prisoners who were on death row were transferred to an unknown location and the news of execution of two of them was confirmed this morning.

The agents of the Ministry of Information instructed the Afshari family to conduct the memorial services quietly so that it does not attract any attention.

This is happening while there is no news of Saman Nasim’s conditions. In conversation with ICAE News Agency, the attorney and family of Saman Nasim announced that they still have no knowledge of his conditions. There is unconfirmed news that saman Nasim has been executed.

It should be mentioned that there is also no news of the conditions of three other prisoners, named Younes Aghayat, Sirvan Najavi and Ebrahim Shapoori who on Wednesday February 18th were transferred to an unknown location together with Saman Nasim, Ali Afshari and Habib Afshari.

Born in 1980, Ali Afshari and his brother Habibollah Afshari who was born in 1987 were from the village of Googajloo Habilbeh, outside the city of Mahabad. They were arrested in early 2011, by the Revolutionary Guards and the agents of the Ministry of Information in the cities of Bookan and Mahabad. [Read more…]

Stop executing “apostates” and “blasphemers” and release them now!

Press Release of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain reproduced below:

On 22 February 2015, a Saudi court sentenced a man in his twenties to death by beheading for apostasy.  The identity of the man has not been made public but, according to Al-Shabaka, he was arrested last year and is charged with becoming an atheist and insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, on social media.

This heinous ruling comes against the backdrop of the recent attacks on freedom of expression in Paris and Copenhagen.  Whilst the Saudi government hypocritically condemned the Paris massacre as a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”, it condemned a man to death for similar “crimes” only a matter of weeks later. This ruling follows the recent case of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment for a website promoting public discussion of religion and politics which has been deemed “insulting to Islam”.

Apostasy and blasphemy are punishable with death in Saudi Arabia and also in a number of other countries, including Iran and Mauritania.

In Iran, 30 year old blogger Soheil Arabi, has been sentenced to execution for “insulting the prophet” on Facebook.

In December 2014, a 28 year old Mauritanian journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet”.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged at these death sentences. “Apostates” and “blasphemers” have not committed any crime and should be immediately released. The real crime is imprisoning and executing people for their beliefs and expression.

Clearly, there is no place in the 21st century for such medieval laws. Apostasy and blasphemy laws must end. And they must end now.

To demand the release of the unnamed atheist facing execution, please contact the Saudi embassy in your country of residence or Tweet @SaudiEmbassyUK.

Sign the petition in support of Raif Badawi here.

Join Facebook page to defend Sohail Arabi here or tweet @khamenei_ir.

Sign a petition in support of Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir here.

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

Saman Nasim must not be executed tomorrow

150213033051_nasim_624x351_n_nocredit

19 February Update: Saman Nasim’s brother says his brother has not been executed according to officials. We must keep the pressure on. Listen to interview with Hesam Yousefi of International Committee against Execution here.

Saman Nasim is an alleged juvenile offender who was arrested when he was 17 years old. The Kurdish political prisoner has been transferred to solitary today raising fears that he will be executed tomorrow. He has been charged with moharabeh or waging against god (or enmity against god) for opposing regime.

You can find out more information about him here.

More information in Persian about him here.

There is not much time so please tweet @ and @ to save Saman Nasim or contact Iranian embassy nearest you.

Please do it now.

Here’s a photo of his parents hoping that the world will intervene on his behalf:

10995340_1025171720844683_7647670834980908401_n

Iranian youth and their challenge to Islamic state

Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Director: Reza Moradi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
و فريبرز پويا با مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
مترجم: خسرو قريب٬ فريبرز پويا

جوانان ايران و چالش آنان به جمهورى اسلامى
۱۸ فوريه ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با کيان آذر. رئيس سازمان جوانان کمونيست
٧٠ درصد إز جمعيت ايران زير ٣٠ سال ميباشد. با وجود مشكلات اجتماعي و اقتصادي و محدوديت هايي كه حكومت مذهبي به جامعه ايران تحميل كرده است، گزارشهاي بسياري منتشرة إز جانب حكومت إسلامي نشان ميدهد كه بخش جوان جامعه ايران إسلامي نشده است! جوانان بخش مهي إز جنبش هاي سياسي هستند كه ضوابط و نرم هاي إسلامي و بنيادي ان را به چالش كشيده اند و خواهان جامعه بهتر، مدرن و سكولار ميباشد.
اخبار تکاندهنده: دليل اينکه زنان در عربستان سعودى نمى توانند رانندگى کنند
فتواى احمقانه: از داعش

Iranian youth and their challenge to the Islamic regime of Iran
17 February 2015
Interview with Kian Azar, head of Communist Youth Organisation
70% of the population in Iran are under 30. Despite the difficult socio-economic conditions and restrictions imposed by a theocratic regime, it’s a segment of society that has not been “Islamicised” according to countless government reports and statements. The youth are an important part of a politicised movement which challenges Islamic norms to its core and demands a better, modern and secular society.
Shocking news: Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive because there is concern they will be raped!
Insane fatwa: ISIS fatwa defending immolation of a Jordanian pilot

Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, India

teesta19 February 2015 UPDATE: In today’s hearing, the Supreme Court of India decided against Teesta and Javed being arrested for interrogation. “This is a huge relief. Had they been arrested and sent to Gujarat, anything could have happened”, according to Marieme Helie Lucas. She adds: “Now the struggle will continue…”

Teesta Setalvad, the co-editor of Communalism Combat and India’s prominent crusader for justice for victims of the 2002 Gujarat massacre and her husband face trumped up charges for pursuing accountability of Hindu-Right organisations for the massacre.

Find out more about why Teesta is being targeted here. It is clearly because of her tireless work in securing justice for Muslims killed during the Gujrat 2002 communal violence . She has secured the conviction of over hundred perpetrators, and the case she is now working on, can see India’s prime minister Modhi brought to trial for his role in the violence. Thanks to all the friends who helped support Teesta and Javed. We need to keep a close watch and keep the pressure on to ensure that those involved in the massacre are held to account and that Teesta and Javed can continue their work without threats and intimidation.

We will continue to stand with Teesta and Javed. Unconditionally.

Find out more about the work Teesta has been doing here.

***

18 February 2015

Below is a statement that has been issued prior to a hearing on their case on 19 February 2015.

As international networks and organisations concerned with equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in India.

We note with great concern that this is not the first allegation made against them over the past few years, in the vain hope, it seems, to stop them from asking the right questions of the government after the 2002 Gujarat massacre, pursuing accountability of Hindu-right organizations and persons for communal violence and religious-ethnic cleansing, and standing for the victims and survivors. Teesta Setalvad has filed 68 court cases on behalf of victims.

Having closely followed their work for a long time, even prior to the 2002 massacres, we know their personal integrity and have no doubt that as previous false allegations made against them, the present allegation will also been discarded as fabricated in the court of law.

However, we note the swiftness with which the police came to arrest them, as soon as they saw a legal opportunity to do so. We are therefore concerned with their safety. Attempting to arrest them for interrogation – on accusations of misuse of funds(!) – simply amounts to harassment and intimidation of these rights defenders.

Moreover, their accounts have been frozen for more than 8 months, making their human rights work on behalf of the Gujarat victims and survivors more and more difficult to sustain, as well as their own legal defense. This seems like a deliberate attempt by the BJP government of Gujarat to silence these defenders.

We will be making sure that the case is being watched internationally. Several international networks have been alerted, and the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs are being approached to ensure their security as human rights defenders.

In solidarity
Signed:

Secularism Is a Women’s Issue-SIAWI
Women Living Under Muslim Laws-WLUML
One Law For All
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain-CEMB
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Bread and Roses TV
Southall Black Sisters
Center for Secular Space
VP Atheist Coalition Poland
Europejska Feministyczna Inicjatywa
Association for Women’s Rights in development -AWID
Association for Progressive Communications

{Individuals}:

Marieme Helie Lucas, Algeria/France
Fatou Sow, Sénégal
Maryam Namazie,Iran/UK
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, UK
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Chris Moos, Secularist activist and researcher, UK
Prof.Nira Yuval Davis, UK
Gita Sahgal, Director Center for Secular Space India/UK
Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nina Sankari, Poland
Codou Bop, Sénégal
Ariane Brunet, women’s rights activist, Quebec
Anissa Helie, Algeria/USA
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender, Bangladesh
Elham Manea, Yemeni Academic and Human Rights Activist
Prof.Charlotte Bunch USA

On Paris and Copenhagen: Islam and the “culture of offence”: missing the point

I6HTgAfter the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, dissent and criticism of religion is a life and death necessity. It has been–and remains–key for human progress. See the full article here.

Dissent and criticism of religion has always been a crucial aspect of free expression. Historically, it has been intrinsically linked with anti-clericalism and the dismantling of that which is deemed taboo, sacred and untouchable by the gatekeepers of power.

Such criticism has been key for human progress and is still needed. In the age of ISIS, this criticism is a life and death necessity for those living under Islamism’s boot.

So yes, I am Charlie – no ifs and buts.

Those who condemn the massacre in Paris but blame Charlie for “offending Muslim sensibilities” (implying that they somehow got what they deserved) have bought into the Islamist narrative that “Muslims” are more offended by cartoons than mass murder.

This is validated by multiculturalism as a social policy and cultural relativism, which sees Muslim “communities” and “societies” as homogeneous and one and the same with the religious-Right.

So even though there is a rich historical and artistic tradition of depicting Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, over many centuries, it’s deemed offensive today.

And despite many Muslims or those labelled as such have sided with Charlie, it is the terrorists/fascists who are deemed to be the “authentic” Muslims.

The homogenised “culture of offence” discounts the many believing secularists, feminists, freethinkers, and atheists and socialists amongst those deemed “Muslim”.

It ignores the widespread dissent and resistance, which can also be seen in response to Charlie.

An Algerian copy editor Mustapha Ourad was gunned down in Charlie’s hallway.

Many “Muslims” joined rallies and held up “Je Suis Charlie” signs or pens.

A French Muslim cafe owner was threatened for putting up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign in his East London cafe.

Lassana Bathily, the Malian-born Muslim employee hid customers at the Paris kosher supermarket saving lives.

Even in Iran – a theocracy where blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, enmity against god, and another 130 offences are punishable by death – Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer showed her solidarity whilst journalists trying to rally in support of Charlie were attacked and prevented from protesting by security agents wielding clubs and chains.

An Iranian newspaper was shut down for publishing a photo showing solidarity with Charlie. In Turkey, two columnists from a daily are facing an investigation for ‘religious defamation’ after featuring the Charlie cover.

Cartoonists across the Arab world – from Egypt to Lebanon to Qatar and Jordan took a stand with Charlie and against the terrorists.

And still we are told that Charlie offended “Muslims” and must be held to account! [Read more…]

Press Release: Much needed 7 February Conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism

PRESS RELEASE
6 FEBRUARY 2015

Secularists will be gathering on 7 February 2015 in London for a day conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism. The event follows an historic conference in October 2014 on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights.

Speakers at tomorrow’s sold-out conference will discuss freedom of expression, apostasy and blasphemy laws, Islamism and the religious-Right, as well as Sharia in the law, educational system and public policy. They will also highlight the successful campaigns against the Law Society and Universities UK and pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo and the many Muslims, ex-Muslims and others who have been killed or persecuted for their dissent.

Conference speaker, Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters says: “This is a much needed conference because it allows us the space to mourn the deaths of the journalists at Charlie Hebdo and thousands around the world who have died at the hands of religious terrorists. Above all, it allows us to show solidarity to those who continue to bravely challenge deadly religious far-right movements whose end game is to shut down secular democratic spaces and to terrorise us into silence. The time has come to renew our thinking of what it means to be human and to reject the politics of hatred whether emanating from the racist far-right or the religious far-right. The time has come to speak up while we still have the space.”

Conference organiser, Maryam Namazie, says: “Despite all evidence that Muslims are not a homogeneous group and that resistance against Islamism is very much part and parcel of daily life everywhere, the Islamist narrative is still the order of the day. No matter how many ‘Muslims’ side with Charlie from Iran to Egypt to Turkey, it is the terrorists/fascists who are deemed to be the ‘authentic’ Muslims. The ‘culture of offence’ heeds Islamist demands for submission at the expense of dissenters – whether it be Charlie in Paris, Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia or Roya Nobakht in Iran. As Rosa Luxemburg has said though, ‘Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters’.”

Another speaker Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space, says: “In 1989, we stood for Rushdie and our right to doubt and dissent. Today we stand with Charlie Hebdo and for comic liberty. In this important conference we will look at how the war against apostates and artists is central to the justification for ‘defensive jihad’ and genocide. Long before the emergence of Daesh and Boko Haram, the massacre of minorities, the rape of women and the killing of intellectuals defined Muslim fundamentalist movements. The Conference represents those who stand against them.” [Read more…]

We are being slaughtered by your secondary enemy!

OPEN LETTER TO THE LEFT AND FAR LEFT

While you focus on US imperialism (no other) and on capitalism that exploits the masses in Muslim-majority countries and in the diaspora, children are being murdered in schools in Pakistan, just as they were assassinated in Algeria in the nineties, and just as journalists, intellectuals, artists, activists from our left movements (not those from the right) are being decimated throughout North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

People in our countries are not diplomats representing our corrupt and undemocratic governments. Why are they attacked?

We are sick and tired of your ‘main enemy’ justifications of the crimes committed by a far-right movement that masquerades as a religious one.You seem unable to identify this movement in political terms. It targets ordinary people and the left at large in our countries as well as in the world, rather than big interests or far right or xenophobic organisations; with ‘god on its side’ it pretends to represent the superior creed; it therefore creates categories of second class citizens who can and should be physically eliminated; it suppresses all freedoms and civil rights; it organizes autodafé of books; it puts women ‘in their place’ and it never ever really challenges capitalism.

Does this remind you of Nazism? Will you again play your Pontius Pilate Munich game – at our expense?

Do you think for one second that abandoning the progressive forces in our countries and supporting our fundamentalist far-right will enhance the struggle against world capitalism? How did it work in Spain in 1936?

Initial Signatories:
(To sign on to Marieme Helie Lucas’ letter email her at: mahl@wanadoo.fr. Signatories will be updated on SIAWI website.)

Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism Is A Women’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born Political Activist
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Fatou Sow, Director Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Elham Manea, writer, human rights defender and academic
Ramin Forghani, Founder of ex-Muslims, Scotland
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Chris Moos, secularist activist and researcher
Rafiq Mahmood – One of a growing number of ex-Muslims and infidels in Indonesia
Monica Lanfranco, feminist journalist, MAREA
Dr Martyn Hudson, Newcastle university
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Eric Mueller, Marxist-Leninist
Professor Alan Johnson, editorial board member, Dissent Magazine
Faizun Zackariya – Citizens for Justice and Peace

Charlie Hebdo: There is no “culture of offence”

mohammed-cartoons-charlie-hebdo-muhammed-cartoons-2012-2Below are my opening remarks at a 29 January panel discussion organised by UCL Atheist Society entitled “Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence”.

The two other panellists debating the issue reminded me of Caroline Fourest’s saying: “Racism must not excuse fundamentalism and fundamentalism must not excuse racism”. Peter Bradley, director of Speakers’ Corner Trust and Charlie Klendjian of the Lawyers’ Secular Society did just that. Bradley was of the opinion that if one was going to offend, they should be held accountable(!?) whilst Klendjian trivialised racism and prejudice and conflated Islam, Islamism and Muslims. (As an aside, I wish the debate had been filmed as it would have been the end of the Lawyers’ Secular Society or at least Charlie Klendjian. Having worked with the LSS in the past (but no longer doing so), I do hope someone will save the organisation from Klendjian who – along with his cohorts at Sharia Watch and UKIP – are taking the LSS down the path of xenophobia and bigotry.)

Anyway, here are my initial remarks:

If I was to make only one point on the Charlie Hebdo massacre it would be that the main issue is not “the culture of offence” because in reality we are all offended all the time whatever our beliefs – Muslim or atheist, Christian, Jewish… I’m offended right now – the fact that I must have this debate in the 21 century offends me.

Offence is subjective and what offends one is funny or completely insignificant to another – even when it comes to that which is deemed sacred and taboo by the gatekeepers of power.

Take the image of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet. There is a rich historical and artistic tradition of depicting Mohammad over many centuries but it’s not allowed today. Why?

“The culture of offence” is just the packaging which blames the victims and provides legitimacy to the Islamists and their unbridled violence and terrorism. You will often hear – especially in the British press – that the Charlie massacre is to be condemned BUT the cartoonists did offend “Muslims” thereby implying that they deserved what they got.

What the “culture of offence” packaging conveniently ignores is that not all “Muslims” are offended by the cartoons. Muslims are no more a homogeneous group than Christians, Jews or the French or British. Also, many are not practising Muslims; there are atheists and agnostics amongst them. And many are believers who are also secularists and feminists and anti-Islamists and gay and unveiled who eat bacon and don’t feel offended by the cartoon Peppa pig.

This is obvious. Even in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a Muslim policeman, Ahmed Merabet was killed whilst an Algerian copy editor Mustapha Ourad was gunned down in Charlie’s hallway. Many Muslims (or those of “Muslim heritage”) joined rallies and held up “Je Suis Charlie” banners. You have heard of the East London French Muslim cafe owner who was threatened for putting up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign in his cafe. There’s Lassana Bathily, the Malian-born Muslim employee who hid customers at the Paris kosher supermarket and saved lives. And it’s not just people in Europe who supported Charlie. In Iran – a theocracy where blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, enmity against god… and another 130 offences are punishable by death – a rally of journalists in support of Charlie Hebdo was attacked and broken up by security agents wielding clubs and chains. A newspaper was shut down for publishing a photo showing solidarity with the publication. Over 180 journalists who condemned the attack are facing threats from the regime. In Turkey, two columnists from a daily are under investigation for ‘religious defamation’ for featuring the Charlie cover…

So there is no homogeneous “culture of offence”. Some are offended, some are not and most of those who are offended will not go on to kill for it.

The “culture of offence” is a smokescreen. It doesn’t exist. What is packaged as the “culture of offence” is really Islamism’s imposition of blasphemy rules and theocracy under the guise of “Muslim” culture. This is validated by multiculturalism as a social policy and cultural relativism, which sees “communities” and societies as homogeneous and one and the same with the Islamic states and far-Right political movements imposing their rules via force and intimidation.

In Europe, Islamists hide behind a “culture of offence” and also terms like Islamophobia to impose their rules and silence and terrorise dissenters. In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, they have no time for such niceties. There, the “offenders” are called apostates and blasphemers and legally murdered in broad daylight in the same way Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists were “executed”. If you don’t see this, you miss the bigger picture. You need to see Islamism for the international fascist movement that it is and you also need to see the many Charlie Hebdos in Iran, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia – across the globe (including many “Muslims”), who speak and mock that which is deemed sacred by the religious-Right at great risks to their lives.

Whilst many hold the cartoonists responsible for provoking the violence, in reality the cartoons are an excuse. What did Saudi freethinker Raif Badawi do to provoke a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes? Or Soheil Arabi sentenced to death in Iran? Or the schoolchildren in Peshawar? Or the girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria? What about the gay men thrown off a building by ISIS? What did they do to “provoke” the threats and abductions and massacres?

Like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, I am often told not to challenge Sharia or apostasy and blasphemy laws by publicly saying I am an ex-Muslim or not to challenge the Islamists’ hatred of women’s bodies via nude protest. I am told day in and day out to “stop provoking them”. But Islamists need no provocation. All those living 21 century lives are “provocations”. Being a woman, a freethinker, being gay, being unveiled, going to school, driving a car, having sex, falling in love… “provokes” them.

More importantly, though, it is Islamism and the religious-Right, which are the real offence. They are the real provocation and it is they who should be held to account not the many who refuse and resist.

Target the Islamists via mass and political mobilisation and unequivocally without any justification or excuses.

Not Muslims. Not immigrants. [Read more…]

Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence

ucl-ashI’ll be speaking at the below event tonight:

Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence
UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society hosts this highly topical panel discussion with three excellent speakers.
29 January 2015
Chadwick G08, UCL
18:00 hours

In light of the recent events in Paris, we ask: do you have the right not to be offended? And if so, at what cost?

For more information, go to Facebook Page.

Commemorating Fadime and fighting for the lives of many more

Fadimedagarna_riksaffisch_2015I’ll be in Stockholm, Sweden during 17-19 January 2015 to commemorate Fadime Sahindal, killed in the name of honour 13 years ago in Sweden.

On 17 January, I’ll speak at a commemorative Gala, which will pay particular attention to abducted girls and women sold as sex slaves by the IS and Boko Haram in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria.

On 19 January, I’ll be speaking at an International Conference on Förstakammarsalen at the Swedish parliament organised by Never forget Pela and Fadime National organisation- GAPF.

For more detailed information please visit their website.

On Meeting of Women’s Rights Campaigners with Law Society

On Tuesday 13th January, women’s rights groups, including Southall Black Sisters, One Law for All, Nari Diganta and the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), met with Mark Stobbs, the Law Society’s Director of Legal Policy at the SBS office. Our organisations welcomed the Law Society’s decision to withdraw its guidance on ‘Sharia’ compliant wills that endorsed discrimination against women and children. We also thanked the Law Society for making a public apology. The Law Society showed that it had listened to the voices of BME women’s rights campaigners and other secular organisations that had been alarmed by the original decision.

At our meeting, we raised our growing concerns, shared both by ourselves and the Law Society, about the devastating impact of the legal aid cuts on access to justice, which have been particularly detrimental to some of society’s most vulnerable groups, including BME women, many of whom are represented by our organisations. We welcomed the opportunity to work together with the Law Society to address the issue of access to justice. We stressed that any access to justice also means addressing the rise of parallel legal systems and religious-based arbitration and mediation.

We expressed our concern that in the past the Law Society has providing training courses on ‘Sharia’ and family laws and sought assurances that they would not provide further training or guidance in this area. We explained that many of our clients, unable to access the mainstream legal system, due to numerous barriers including legal aid cuts, have found themselves subject to pressure to use community based religious arbitration forums, including Sharia courts and tribunals. These forums seek to establish parallel legal systems, in which women and children are routinely discriminated.

To prevent discrimination and ensure equality before the law, we stressed that religion, which is inherently patriarchal and discriminatory, must be excluded from any mediation and alternative dispute resolution forums in respect of family matters, irrespective of whether they lie within or outside of the formal legal system. We were heartened by the Law Society’s willingness to hold further discussions with us about our concerns on this matter.

We look forward to working with the Law Society in the future to ensure that BME women are not discriminated against in law, mainstream or otherwise and have full and complete access to justice.

For more information, contact
Pragna Patel
Southall Black Sisters
pragna@southallblacksisters.co.uk
020 8571 9595
@SBSisters

Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
maryamnamazie@gmail.com
077 1916 6731
@MaryamNamazie

Latest Issue of Fitnah Unveiled on Sharia law and Law Society, Execution in Iran and more

A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
November/December 2014; Volume 2, Issues 8 and 9
Editor: Maryam Namazie; Design: Kiran Opal
See PDF Version here.

In this Issue:
* Sharia law is incompatible with human rights, Interview with Chris Moos, Pragna Patel and Gita Sahgal on the victory against the Law Society
* Execution is itself the murder of a human being, Interview with Mina Ahadi
* Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed: International Committee against Execution Press Release
*News Flash: October/November 2014 By Emma Robertson
*ArtsCorner
* Editorial: The Answer to Inhumanity is not more inhumanity, Maryam Namazie
* International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights a huge success
* Manifesto for Secularism

Sharia law is incompatible with human rights
Interview with Chris Moos, Pragna Patel and Gita Sahgal on the victory against the Law Society

Maryam Namazie: The Law Society has now withdrawn its Sharia-compliant guidance on wills and issued an apology. Why did you initiate a campaign against it? Was it not a lot of fuss over nothing as some initially said?

Pragna Patel: It is easy to characterise this campaign as a ‘fuss about nothing’. The same was also said about our campaign against gender segregation in universities. What both incidents have in common is the ways in which so-called Sharia laws and values are normalised in public and institutional life as a ‘way of life’. Education and the law are key sites of control that religious fundamentalists and conservatives target. If we allow these forces to capture these sites, it will become impossible for us to challenge gender discrimination and inequality. The Law Society and its supporters argue that the Practice Note merely reiterates the fundamental principle in law that testators are fee to leave their property to whomsoever they wish. This misses the point entirely that the Law Society does not exist to maintain discriminatory values in society but to challenge them. Our argument all along has been that it is a key legal institution that should be promoting a rights-based culture within the legal profession and the wider society and not a profoundly discriminatory Sharia-compliant culture. [Read more…]

من چارلى هستم

من چارلى هستم

۱۵ ژانويه ۲۰۱۵

مصاحبه با فعال سياسى بهرام سروش

در مورد كشتار ١٢ نَفَر از كاركنان نشربه طنز چارلي هبدو وسبعا در دنيا محكوم شد. اما بعضي اين ترور را نتيجه كاريكاتور هاي تحريك آميز انها نسبت به اسلام ميدانند. واقعيت اين است كه چارلي هبدو همه مذاهب و قدرت ها را نقد مي كرده است. سوْال اين است كه چرا اسلام بايد حق ويژه اى داشته باشد؟ و آيا سكولاريستها و آتئيست ها هم مستحق  إبراز بيان و وجود هستند؟ به نام به احترام به مذهب صحنه را به اسلامى ها  واگذار کردند- امروز بيش از هر زمانى انتقاد به مذهب لازم است-

اخبار تکان دهنده هفته: شلاق رئيف بدوى

فتوای احمقانه هفته – فتوا عليه خال کوبى از ترکيه

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
14 January 2015
The massacre of 12 at French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo by Islamists has been strongly condemned by people everywhere. Some, however, see it as a consequence of Charlie’s provocative cartoons on Islam and Mohammed. In fact, Charlie criticised all religions and all those in positions of power. Why should Islam have special privileges? And do secularists and unbelievers not deserve the same freedom of expression as believers. In the name of “respect” of religions, Islamists and the religious-Right have been given centre stage at the expense of free expression, which without the right to criticise religion is meaningless. In the era of ISIS, this criticism is needed more than ever. #IAmCharlie #JeSuisCharlie
Shocking News of the Week: Raif Badawi flogged 50 of 1000 lashes after Friday prayers in Saudi Arabia
Insane Fatwa of the week: Turkey’s top religious body has issued a fatwa urging Muslims who have tattoos to repent or have them surgically removed.

A defence of Charlie Hebdo must also turn into defence of other blasphemers and apostates

FRENCH: Toute défense de Charlie Hebdo doit également devenir celle d’autres blasphémateurs et apostats

SPANISH – BELOW

Those of us who have openly criticised Islam and Islamism have faced many a threat and intimidation from the far-Right Islamist movement.

I have had phone calls saying I will be decapitated to recorded messages from the Islamic regime of Iran saying my time is near (yes, they have so many threats to make, they need to use recordings!). I’ve been called every derogatory and threatening term you can imagine from kafir, murtad, munafiq to fitnah and janazie (corpse)…

I don’t think there are many atheist, ex-Muslim or secular activists (including Muslims) like myself who have spoken up publicly and not faced some form of threat or intimidation.

So for us, Charlie Hebdo’s refusal to back down when so many have has meant a great deal over these years. Also, though, in addition to the rage one feels at any such tragedy, the massacre is personal for us.

It could really have been any of us. We are truly all Charlie Hebdo.

With the focus now on Charlie Hebdo and the crucial need and right to criticise Islam and religion, though, let us not forget the many across the globe who face execution or imprisonment for “insulting the prophet” and criticising Islam. Below you will find some examples which include Muslims, believers and atheists; the charges aim not to protect “Muslim sensibilities” as we so often hear in the west but to protect the status quo and the political power of Islamists.

A defence of Charlie Hebdo must also be turned into a defence of the many who refuse and resist.

Most urgent is the case of Raif Badawi who tomorrow on 9 January 2015 faces his flogging sentence. Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” in Saudi Arabia. he is to receive the first 50 torturous lashes tomorrow after Friday prayers.

Columnist Fatma Naoot, accused of insulting Islam, will stand trial on Jan. 28 in Egypt on allegations she criticised Islamic animal sacrifices. [Read more…]

After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those Fighting the Religious-Right

FRENCH: Après le massacre de Charlie Hebdo, Soutenons ceux qui se battent contre la droite religieuse

SPANISH: Below

1908487_10205228738736122_6331463129153098_nAfter the massacre in Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, expressing indignation, as so many are doing, is not enough.

A quick look at the English-speaking media shows that whilst many condemn the violence itself, they also assert that Charlie Hebdo courted (and maybe deserved?) a strong response from “Muslims”. Charlie’s regular cartoonists did not spare Islam, any other religion, nor fanatics and bigots.

This trend in the media requires our attention. Apparently secularists, agnostics and atheists must keep silent and do not deserve the kind of respect that believers are entitled to; nor can they enjoy free speech to the same degree.

In the name of “respect” of religions and of the religious sentiments of believers, it is indeed the fanatical religious-Right that is being supported and given centre stage. Meanwhile, those who are on the forefront of countering armed fundamentalists are left to their own devices. It is high time to give these secularists prominence, to recognise their courage and their political clarity and to stop labelling them “Islamophobic”.

In October 2014, secularists – including atheists, agnostics and believers from many countries, in particular many Muslim-majority countries, met in London to denounce the religious-Right and to demand being seen as its alternative. It is high time to learn from their analysis and lived experiences.

The tragic massacre in Paris will undoubtedly give fuel to the traditional xenophobic far-Right and the immediate danger is an increase in racism, marginalization and exclusion of people of Muslim descent in Europe and further.  We do not want to witness “anti-Muslim witch hunts” nor do we welcome the promotion of “moderate” Islamists by governments as official political partners. What is needed is a straightforward analysis of the political nature of armed Islamists: they are an extreme-Right political force, working under the guise of religion and they aim at political power. They should be combated by political means and mass mobilisation, not by giving extra privileges to any religion.

Their persistent demand for the extension of blasphemy laws around the world is a real danger for all. France has a long – and now growingly endangered – tradition of secularism; which allows dissent from religions and the right to express this dissent. It has had a rich tradition to mock and caricature powers that be – religious or otherwise. Let us keep this hard won right which cost so many lives in history, and, alas, still does – as Charlie Hebdo’s twelve dead and numerous wounded demonstrate.

Signed:
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and Secularism is a Women’s Issue Founder
Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, One Law for All and Fitnah and Co-host of Bread and Roses TV
Karima Bennoune, Professor and Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, University of California, Davis School of Law [Read more…]

For Charlie Hebdo: Rage and Solidarity

la-nouvelle-une-de-charlie-hebdo-sorti-ceI6HTgMy message to Charlie Hebdo’s editor in chief, Gerard Biard:

Dear Gerard

I spoke on a panel with you in November last year at the International Feminist and Secular Network in Paris.

I am writing to express my outrage at the cold-blooded murder of freethinkers at Charlie Hebdo today and to give my unequivocal support.

Freedom of expression and the criticism of religion and Islam are basic rights. Clearly, free expression without the right to criticise religion is meaningless. Throughout history, criticism of religion (that which is deemed sacred or taboo) has been intrinsic to human progress.

In the era of ISIS and the religious-Right, this criticism is a historical necessity and needed more than ever.

The Islamists who killed today said they were “avenging” Islam’s prophet but Mohammed cartoons are merely an excuse. The aim of such acts of terrorism – whether in Paris or Afghanistan – are to defend their theocratic and inhuman values. They must know that we too will defend our human values – secularism, equality, citizenship, the right to religion and to be free from religion, the right to criticise and mock religion… which are not “western” values but universal ones.

Today’s killers are part of the same movement that massacres schoolchildren in Peshawar, throws acid in the faces of “improperly veiled” women in Iran and crucifies secularists in Kobane. They need no excuses to commit murder and mayhem.

The battle to commemorate the lives lost today is an ongoing one. It’s a battle between secularists versus theocrats everywhere. And it is a fight that we have to win. No ifs or buts.

In solidarity

Maryam Namazie