Why ISIS today?

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

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

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

Manifesto for Secularism

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

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

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

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

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

Signatories

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

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

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

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

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

Promoting global secular alternative in the ISIS era

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the rest of the interview here.