WPI statement on Iran nuclear deal

Finally, after protracted talks between the Islamic regime of Iran and the P5+1, and following the framework accord agreed in Lausanne in April, the parties have signed a deal, which will come into force after ratification by the UN’s Security Council. The Islamic Republic has conceded wide-ranging restrictions on its nuclear programme: the level of uranium enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the reconfiguration of Arak heavy water production facility and signing up to the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), allowing more extensive inspections. In return, the West’s economic sanctions against Iran will be removed over a defined period of time. The arms embargo will remain in force for up to five years, and the ban on import of ballistic missiles for up to eight. Thus, with the Iranian regime’s capitulation to the US and European states, its nuclear efforts, which pursued military objectives, while inflicting severe hardships on the people and subjecting the society to a climate of insecurity, will be limited for at least a number of years.

There is no doubt that this deal is not tantamount to an improvement in the relations of the Islamic Republic with the West and its integration in the world economy. The conflict with the West will continue on several fronts. For the regime’s factions, too, the deal will provide another basis for the intensification of their infightings.

From the viewpoint of the overwhelming majority of the people of Iran, who wanted an end to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear efforts and the economic sanctions, this deal is a victory for them, and at the same time a huge political defeat for the Islamic Republic, paving the way for an escalation in mass struggles for ‘welfare and dignity’.

Factions within the regime and their supporters, including the so-called reformists, claim that this deal will result in an economic opening and a political relaxation, and demagogically try to persuade people to support Rouhani and await his government’s supposed miracles. However, the nuclear deal will not of itself lead to an improvement in the economic condition of the people. The regime will try to push ahead with the austerity programmes and cuts in living standards in the name of ‘economic reconstruction’ and ‘encouraging foreign investment’. So any improvement in the economic condition of the people and any political and cultural opening can only come about as a result of an escalation in strikes and people’s protests. The workers, women and the youth must unify their ranks even more to drive back the regime and enforce their demands on the parasitical rulers.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on workers, women, the youth and the masses of the people to turn this development into a stepping-stone in the fight for their demands and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
14 July 2015

Support Ex-Muslim Women’s Project


Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was founded in 2007 to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam, challenge Islamism and apostasy laws, highlight the plight of ex-Muslims, and provide support and a network.

Apostasy is punishable by death in 13 countries and pressures and intimidation make it hard to leave Islam even in more secular societies. There are many ex-Muslims right here in the west who lead double lives as “closet atheists”.

Whilst a lot has changed for the better since CEMB was formed, women are generally invisible in much of the public space even though many outspoken ex-Muslims are women. This is because the persecution is considered “private”. Violence and discrimination against women are considered “people’s culture”, thereby making it more “respectable” and tolerated.

As a leading ex-Muslim organisation, CEMB aims to raise awareness, provide a network, support and assistance, and further open the space for women to play a more actively public role in opposing Islamism and defending equality, freedom from religion, and secularism.

The Challenge

While the experience of women varies around the world and within countries, hundreds of millions of women are subject to honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and domestic violence. They may be denied educational and career opportunities, shamed, and taught that they are worth less than a man, being forced to wear a veil and having their movements controlled. For those who wish to leave Islam, the challenges can seem insurmountable, especially since women are seen to be the gate-keepers of “honour”.

Those who wish to leave, will often have to lead double lives. If found out, they can be ostracised or worse. It can be very lonely without support from those who have already experienced leaving Islam and living a life without religion. [Read more…]

Yousef Muhammad Ali faces trial for criticising Islam

UPDATE: Yousef Muhammad Ali’s trial has been delayed to 14 September 2015 to give the judge time to receive further documentation on his case.

Yousef Muhammad Ali, born in 1987, faces trial on 13 July in Iraqi Kurdistan for criticising Islam. Please take urgent action right away and write to the Kurdish regional authorities to drop charges and to arrest those who have threatened him instead.


Yousef Muhammad Ali who spent many years studying Islam and Sharia law made a presentation in school on the Big Bang Theory. Islamists in his class instigated a fatwa against him. Also he faced threats when he criticised Islam on Facebook. Upon receiving a number of death threats, he contacted the police and filed a grievance against a perpetrator. His case was sent to a public tribunal in Darbandikhan, which rather than address the threats to Yousef Muhammad Ali’s life, had him arrested. He was then transferred to Sulaymaniyah jail. On 15th December 2014, his sentence was renewed until the 22nd December 2014. After campaigning by rights activists and journalists in Kurdistan and abroad he was released on bail on 17 December 2014. His hearing date is on 13 July 2015.


You can write to the below:

Kurdistan Parliament Email & Contact number:

Ministry of Justice Email & Contact number:

Kurdistan Regional Government Email:

Please also copy me in the emails so I can forward it to his solicitor: maryamnamazie@gmail.com.

Defend 4 facing death and imprisonment for homosexuality in Iran

The International Committee against Execution in Iran calls on gay rights organisations to initiate a widespread, international campaign to defend the rights of LGBT in countries under Islamic rule, including Iran.

Based on recent news reports, two individuals in Sirjan and Bandar Abbas have been sentenced to 25 years in prison charged with homosexuality. 27 year-old Mojtaba Mohilpour was sentenced in the criminal court of Sirjan presided by Judge Tohidi. Hassan Hayati was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in branch 1 of the criminal court of Hormozgan Province, presided by Judge Ab-roshan. Hassan Hayati was first arrested and imprisoned at age 16. He was again arrested later for homosexuality and has now been in prison for seven years.

These are only examples of the brutal and inhuman treatment of LGBT. Hossein Shool and Alireza Firooz-Abadi have been sentenced to death for homosexuality.

The lives of LGBT are in danger in countries where Islamists such as ISIS have a presence and power. In 2015, ISIS brutally murdered several homosexuals and threw a number of them off of cliffs in Iraq and Syria.

At a time when there are gay pride events across Europe and North America, and gay marriages recognised, the situation of LGBT in countries under Islamic rule cannot be ignored.

The International Committee Against Execution is initiating an international campaign in defence of LGBT, and invites all to assist us in saving the lives of those facing execution, imprisonment and persecution for their sexuality.

The Secretariat of the International Committee Against Execution
July 11, 2015

کمیته بین المللی علیه اعدام
International Committee against Execution (ICAE)
Web: www.icae-iran.com

Broadcast the news of executions in Iran too!

An open letter from the International Committee against Execution to Walter Steinmeier, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Germany

Dear Mr. Steinmeier, please broadcast this news as well!

In the German news media and many news programs of major networks, there is a lot of talk about the negotiations of the “Five plus One” group with the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and minute by minute reports of these negotiations are shared with the public. On behalf of the International Committee against Execution we request that you occasionally cover other stories as well. Among them is a letter we have recently received from a prison in Iran, called the Central Prison of Karaj:

“Wednesday, July 8, 2015 – At Karaj Central Prison, where up till now there was the capacity to execute four people (i.e. there were four gallows for execution), a week ago they started increasing the number of gallows to eight. Once the month of Ramadan is over, there will probably be many executions. The unit in charge of executing sentences at Shahreh-Rey Court has announced that there will be many executions after Ramadan. All the prisoners and death-row inmates are scared. Can something be done to prevent these murders? We are scared.”

The month of Ramadan will be over in a few days and it appears that the Islamic Government of Iran will increase the widespread, barbaric group executions of prisoners, particularly those convicted of drug related offenses.

In Iran, one person is executed every two hours. The number of executions has considerably increased, particularly during the nuclear negotiations and the Lausanne agreement. Now, with a nuclear agreement in sight, the Islamic Government of Iran is going to kill more people and increase the number of gallows in prisons to show its might to the masses and to silence those who struggle with poverty, oppression and suppression, and those who witness the Regime backing out of its important ideological slogan, meaning its war with the great Satan. If you are still interested in these “boring” news, please cover this letter from the prisoners and death-row inmates and their fears, in your future reports.

Mina Ahadi
The International Committee against Execution
July 11, 2015


We seldom realise we are apes

Watch today’s Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya broadcast via New Channel TV.
14 July 2015
Interview with Colin Goldner who coordinates the Great Ape Project plus
* Trials of Yousef Muhammad Ali in Iraqi Kurdistan for criticising Islam and Moroccan women for wearing skirts
* Khaleel al-Dakhi who has rescued more than 500 women and girls from ISIS territory
* Where is Saeed? who disappeared when regime in Iran attacked student protests in July 1999
* Also women waxing hurts god’s work, didn’t you know and Ramadan and brothels
Background: Great apes, including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans are our closest living relatives. They are intelligent. can reason, are self-aware and share a range of human emotions. They have a similar lifespan to humans and form strong family bonds which they maintain for life. According to Richard Dawkins, “We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes.” The Great Ape Project advocates a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes that would confer basic legal rights on non-human great apes.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translator: Khosro Gharib

۱۵ ژوئیه
مصاحبه با کالین گلدنر؛ مسئول پروژه كپي كبير و
ودر بازار محاکمه یوسف محمد علی در کردستان عراق بخاطر انتقاد از اسلام و زنان مراکشی برای پوشیدن دامن
نجات بیش از ۵۰۰ زن و دختر از داعش
سعید کجا است؟ و ۱۸ تير
رمضان و تنفروشى و اپيلاسيون زنان
در مورد مصاحبه
خانواده كپي كبير، شامل شامپانزهها، بونوبوها، گوريل ها و اورانگوتانها ، نزديكترين فاميل ما در دنياي موجودات هستند.
آنها داراي هوش و منطق، خود آگاهي و يك سلسله احساسات انساني مشترك با ما ميباشند.
دوره هاي زندگي آنها شبيه انسانها است . انها داراي روابط خانوادگي بلند مدت و براي تمام طول زندگي خود ميباشند .
به گفته ريچارد داوكينز “ما ميپزيريم كه مانند كپي كبير هستيم ، ولي هيچ گاه نمي پزيربم كه خود ما كپي كبير هستيم “.
پروژه كپيكبير خواهان برسميت شناختن بيانيه حقوق پايه اي كپي كبير از جانب سازمان ملل ميباشد
فقط در ٤١ كشور دنيا منع خشونت عليه كودكان به قانون تبديل شده است
ما شديدا به دنياي امن تري براي كودكان نياز داريم
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
مترجم: خسرو قریب

We need a safer world for children

We need a safer world for children
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
7 July 2015
Interview with rights campaigner Farideh Arman
Shocking news: Afghan Court acquittal of instigator of Farkhunda murder
Insane fatwa: Malaysian Mufti calls for modest dress in “respect of Muslims”
Good new: Sohail Arabi’s execution order suspended
Question: Why our programme is called Bread and Roses
Protest time: Children’s rights activist Atena Daemi sentenced to 14 years in prison
Slice of Life: Greece
Plus Ramadan jokes for you
Background: According to Unicef, of every ten children in the world, one lives in a war zone. A child is killed by violence every five minutes in the world with most of those deaths occurring outside war zones. Those living in poverty are more likely to be the victims of violence. Millions feel unsafe in their homes, schools and communities. Children victims of violence have brain activity similar to soldiers exposed to combat and more than 30% are likely to develop long-lasting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Only 41 countries have an explicit ban on violence against children. We need a safer world for children today.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translator: Khosro Gharib

ما شديدا به دنياى امن تري براى كودكان نياز داريم
برنامه نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۸ ژوئیه
مصاحبه با فریده آرمان٬ فعال حقوق انسان
اخبار تکان دهنده: دادگاه مجدد قاتلين فرخنده در افعانستان
فتوای احمقانه: مالزی و لباس زنان
خبر خوب: لغو حکم اعدام سهیل عربی
سئوال: چرا اسم نان و گل سرخ
زمان اعتراض آتنا دائمی به 14 سال زندان محکوم
لحظه اى از زندگی: یونان
به علاوه جوک در مورد ماه رمضان برای شما
در مورد مصاحبه
بنا بر گفته يونيسف، از هر ده كودك در دنيا يكي از انها در منطقه جنگي زندگي ميكند اما هر پنج دقيقه يك كودك در مناطق غير جنگي در نتيجه خشونت كشته ميشود
فقر شرايط خشونت بار زندگي كودكان را محتمل تَر ميكند
مليونها كودك در خانه ، مدرسه و محلهاي زندگي خود احساس امنيت نمي كند
كودكاني كه مورد خشونت قرار ميگيرند همانند سربازانى كه در جبهه جنگ بوده اند ٣٠٪ احتمال بروز درازمدت استرس روحي را دارا ميباشند

فقط در ٤١ كشور دنيا منع خشونت عليه كودكان به قانون تبديل شده است
ما شديدا به دنياي امن تري براي كودكان نياز داريم
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
مترجم: خسرو قریب

Videos of Council of Ex-Muslim of Britain’s 8th anniversary celebration

Here are the videos of the 8th anniversary celebrations of the CEMB. Enjoy!

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s 8th anniversary celebrations, London, 20 June 2015
Masters of Ceremony: Fariborz Pooya and Behzad Sandbad

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain held its 8th anniversary celebrations in London on 20 June 2015. Below are the videos of the event. You can also see some photos here.

CEMB gives inspiration and hope across the world
National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson

It’s people fleeing religious persecution that will stand against Islamism not representatives of “British Islam”
Centre for Secular Space Director Gita Sahgal
[Read more…]

Free expression matters plus ISIS, Fatwas and Fast-Defying

Freedom of expression matters
30 June 2015
Interview with Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder, including on Raif Badawi
Background: Freedom of expression matters. It is not a luxury, a western value and it’s not up for sale. Sometimes – actually more often than not – it is all we have to speak truth to power. In fact, free expression is a demand of those without power vis-a-vis the powers that be. It’s a cornerstone of other rights and freedoms and becomes most significant and finds real meaning when it criticises that which is taboo, forbidden and sacred.
Shocking news of the week: ISIS attacks on Kobane, Kuwait, Tunisia and France
Insane fatwa of the week: Saudi cleric says women should not look at footballers’ thighs
Good new of the week: 30 people on death row in Iran pardoned by families
Question of the week: On the veil and racism
Plus a drink in solidarity with all those being arrested and persecuted for defying fasting rules during Ramadan.
Protest Time: Urgent Action for Atena Farghadani sentenced by Islamic regime of Iran to 14 years and 9 months for a cartoon!

آزادی بیان مهم است، نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
۱ ژوئيه ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با جیمی ولز، بنیانگذار ویکیپدیا، از جمله درمورد رائف بدوي
اخبار تکان دهنده هفته: حملات داعش در كبانى؛ كويت؛ تونس و فرانسه
فتوای اخمقانه هفته: زنان و ران فوتبالیسها
خبر خوب: بخشش ۳۰ نفر در انتظار اعدام در ایران در يك ماه
سوال هفته : حجاب و نژادپرستی
به علاوه شراب در همبستگی با تمام کسانی که بازداشت و مورد آزار و اذیت مى شوند براى روزه خوارى
آتنا فرقدانیا وقت اعتراض:
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
ترجمه: خسرو قریب

Ramadan: the month of torture

Commentary on Ramadan from Yasaman Bayani, Human Rights Activist who we interviewed on Bread and Roses recently.

The month of Ramadan, considered holy by Muslims, has start and we hear of people murdered by the ISIS (the Islamic State) or punished by different governments around the world imposing the religious laws on non-abiding people. For me who had to live under the reign of Islamic laws this brings many memories. During the month of Ramadan, we are deprived of one of our basic human rights: the right to eat in public. Eating, drinking and smoking in public is outlawed from dawn to dusk during this month and in countries like Iran, leads to arrest of the “offender” or sinner. At my university the cafeteria was closed for the whole month of Ramadan. It would only provide dinner after dusk. Most restaurants would also work in limited capacity. Otherwise they face threat and other harsh consequences by the religious authorities.

I have talked to many refugees and immigrants who have come to live in Canada and have asked them about their experiences in the month of Ramadan. Mahtab came to Vancouver as a refugee from Iran (Iran is officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran). She told me her life story of being raised as the first child to a Muslim family in the southern city of Abadan and her experience in the month of Ramadan:

“For me it was the month of torture. My father was a worker and we lived in poverty. I was the first child and my father had decided to raise me as a Muslim woman. He woke me up before the dawn to eat. Then I was forbidden to eat until the dusk. I had no appetite to eat at 4:00 a.m. I hated to wake up that early in the morning. Then I had to go to school and refrain from eating and drinking for the whole day. I always lost a lot of weight during the month of Ramadan. At night, after breaking our fast and eating, my mother would take me to religious gathering that where filled with propaganda in favour of fasting. The mullas (Muslim clergy) who preached us about Ramadan told horror stories of what would happen to us if we refused to fast. We would all go to hell and burn in a ferocious fire. There were also snakes with seven heads that would attack non-fasting sinners and eat them as the mullas preached.

There were times that I was so hungry that I would eat something in hiding- a subversive act of sin. I felt guilty afterwards. I also had the most horrifying nightmares. I dreamt of being in a terribly hot place surrounded by aggressive snakes attempting to capture me. I would wake up with screams and my mother and aunts would spray cold water on me to calm me down. I cried and confessed that I ate while fasting and my mother sympathetically said to me “Dear daughter, why did you eat?”

When I was in grade 8 or 9, I decided that all of these fasting rituals and the Islamic teachings are too oppressive for me. I stopped practicing them.” [Read more…]

Join 200 women’s rights and secular organisations urging British government to stop parallel legal systems

One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space, IKWRO and others plan to deliver the below statement to 10 Downing Street in the near future. If you and your organisation would like to sign on to the letter, please email onelawforall@gmail.com by 30 August 2015. The letter has received coverage in the media, including on Thomas Reuters Foundation and RT.

Signatories Updated 30 June 2015

Women’s rights and secular organisations urge the new government to take concerted measures to stop the development of parallel legal systems and to facilitate full and proper access to justice for all citizens and to one secular law for all.

For decades, successive governments have appeased undemocratic religious power brokers in minority communities who have sought to gain power through multicultural and now multi-faith social policies. These policies have led to the homogenisation of minority communities including the ‘Muslim community’ and have recognised and legitimated ‘non-violent’ Islamists as ‘community representatives’, outsourcing legal justice to what are in effect kangaroo courts that deliver highly discriminatory and second-rate forms of ‘justice.’ Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of ‘Sharia courts’ over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage. [Read more…]

Support the Kurdistan Secular Centre (KSC)

The Kurdistan Secular Centre (KSC) was formally established at a 19 April public meeting in Suleymaniya, Iraqi Kurdistan, attended by hundreds of supporters and by national media. The Centre, created to promote secularism and the separation of religion from the state and governing system, was initiated by a number of prominent intellectuals, academics, trade unionists, human rights and political activists.

The current situation
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Islam is cited in the draft constitution as the main source of legislation. Islam has great influence in the person status law and in the penal code, both of which discriminate against women in numerous ways and form a barrier to the creation of a culture of equality and human rights.

This system of law tolerates, openly or in effect, practices such as female genital mutilation, force marriage, inequality in divorce, child custody and inheritance, punishment of women for “adultery”, denial of abortion rights and allowing a rapist to escape punishment if he agrees to marry the victim. This discrimination facilitates a massive amount of violence against women and girls.

Furthermore religion plays a huge role in our education system, with children taught an ideology that warps their development socially and psychologically. Imams and lecturers mostly belonging to Islamist parties are given great freedom to indoctrinate children and young people. Dozens of religious schools have been established. The government itself has a Ministry of Religion that employs thousands of religious preachers to address hundreds of thousands of people every week, promoting a message that often justifies violence against women and children. This is well documented hundreds of video recordings.

The consequences of power of religion

Because of the power religion is gaining over individuals and over the life of society, freedom in general is limited. Intellectuals, critical thinkers, apostates, writers, poets, journalists, women’s rights activists and other political dissidents are constantly under threat and sometimes physically attacked. We have even seen assassinations by Islamist activists. Meanwhile the state in effect justifies this situation by threatening those who criticise religion with imprisonment. [Read more…]

Support Bangladeshi Free-thinkers and Atheist Bloggers!

We are freelance writers from Bangladesh. Most of us have started our writings through blogging in 2006 and 2007 when a Bengali blog, called, ‘somewhereinblog’, was first founded. Somewhereinblog has appeared as a wonderful opportunity to express and share our experiences, daily diaries, our happiness and sorrows in our own language/terms. Initially we have used the space to read blogs, while some of us were sharing personal diaries, literary works i.e. poetry, short stories, travel blogs etc. At some point we have noticed random posts on Islamic thoughts and inserts from Quran & Hadith, translated by apparently preaching articles from so called Islamic scholars abroad. These were not one off incidents, rather those were regular posts by religious and Islamist writers. In reading those articles, we wondered if religious writers or Islamic authors are able to share their religious speeches, why shouldn’t we? We believed that even if non-believers we should have the right to talk about our thoughts and reasons for unbelieving when the believers and religious authors have the right to preach through social media. Hence we started to express our thoughts and views through blogs. As atheists our blogs contained the non-traditional thoughts, the logic of being skeptical, and the story behind unbelieving. This simultaneously appeared as counter-logic to the believers. Many of us have started to argue that about some Islamic articles which were posted by the blind-believers. Both logic and counter-logic went on in the section for comments. We were soon thrilled by e-meeting and discovering so many supporters, friends, free-thinkers, atheists, non-believers, and agnostics around us. It was totally unexpected yet amazing to come across these many non-believers with us at that time. We could have hardly imagined that so many atheists and free thinkers had existed in the country as ours, from where writers like Taslima Nasrin and Daud Haider were exiled!
[Read more…]

The Islamic regime in Iran is result of crime against humanity

Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya on the June 20, 1981 anniversary of the slaughter of political prisoners.
16 June 2015
Interview with rights activist Yasaman Bayani.
Background: From 20 June 1981 the Islamic regime of Iran attacked and executed hundreds of people a day; they closed down newspapers and crushed the opposition. This was the point of the Islamic Republic’s establishment not 1979 Iranian revolution… Many do not remember it but it is an important moment in the formation of the Islamic Republic. We must remind today’s generation that the Islamic Republic is the result of a massive crime against humanity during the 1980s. This must be remembered, recorded, stated, exposed and not forgotten, especially since many of those who organised the murders and killings still run the country.
We show the trailer of a film called “The ones who said No” by Nima Sarvestani
Shocking news of the week is the curfew for women in Aceh Province, Indonesia after 11pm.
Insane fatwa of the week is against going to Mars.
Good new of the week is: Syrian women pulling off their burqas to show they are free from ISIS
Question of the week: From Mehdi asking us to respect people’s beliefs
Director: Reza Moradi

SUPPORT BREAD AND ROSES WITH AS LITTLE AS $1 A WEEK:به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته

Nearly 200 signatories call to dismantle parallel legal systems

15 June 2015

Women’s rights and secular organisations urge the new government to take concerted measures to stop the development of parallel legal systems and to facilitate full and proper access to justice for all citizens and to one secular law for all.

For decades, successive governments have appeased undemocratic religious power brokers in minority communities who have sought to gain power through multicultural and now multi-faith social policies. These policies have led to the homogenisation of minority communities including the ‘Muslim community’ and have recognised and legitimated ‘non-violent’ Islamists as ‘community representatives’, outsourcing legal justice to what are in effect kangaroo courts that deliver highly discriminatory and second-rate forms of ‘justice.’ Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of ‘Sharia courts’ over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage.

Any government inquiry into ‘Sharia courts’ must also examine the impact of the draconian cuts in legal aid that have adversely affected access to justice for the most vulnerable. Many abused women from minority backgrounds, for instance, are increasingly forced to either represent themselves in court in what are often complex family legal proceedings or go to ‘Sharia courts’ that operate entirely outside the rule of law. The loss of legal aid contributes to a context that is conducive to the consolidation of privatised and unaccountable forms of justice and ‘Sharia courts’ are amongst the main beneficiaries.

Though the ‘Sharia courts’ have been touted as people’s right to religion, they are in fact, effective tools of the far-Right Islamist movement whose main aim is to restrict and deny rights, particularly those of women and children. ‘Sharia’ laws are highly contested and challenged in many countries, including in Muslim-majority countries across the globe – from Iran to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Pakistan. Those of us in Britain who oppose ‘Sharia courts’ and all other religious forms of arbitration over family matters, are part of the same movement that challenge the religious-Right and defend the principle of one law for all underpinned by the notions of universalism, human rights, secularism and equality.

Opposing ‘Sharia courts’ is not racism or ‘Islamophobic’; it is a defence of the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their beliefs and background to be governed by democratic means under the principle of one law for all. What amounts to racism is the idea that minorities can be denied rights enjoyed by others through the endorsement of religious based ‘justice’ systems which operate according to divine law that is by its very nature immune from state scrutiny.

We have seen recent victories against the accommodation of ‘Sharia’ codes within law and policy in the UK. Using equalities and human rights legislation, we have successfully challenged both the Universities UK for issuing guidance that condones gender segregation in universities and the Law Society for endorsing discriminatory ‘Sharia’ codes in the area of inheritance. As well as challenging draconian state measures that criminalise whole communities and aid and abet xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry and racism, it is vital that we also push back the Islamist narrative and challenge ‘Sharia courts’ since they clearly represent yet another assault on our civil liberties.

We also urge the government to withdraw from its intention to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. Such a move will represent a break from what was the most important social contract to have emerged between European States and citizens, following the Second World War. The agreement to sign up to a simple set of standards that uphold human decency and universal values led to the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to standards that protect and uphold the rights of all people in the face of state and non-state abuses of power. Now more than ever, we need the Human Rights Act to challenge the arbitrary and unaccountable power of ‘Sharia courts.’

We, the undersigned, therefore, call on the new Government to:

1. Reinstate legal aid in all areas of civil and criminal law to ensure equal access to justice for all.
2. Recognise that ‘Sharia’ and other religious courts deliver arbitrary and unaccountable forms of ‘justice’ that discriminate against women and children in particular. Citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.
3. Abolish the use of ‘Sharia courts’ and all other religious arbitration forums, including the Beth Din, in family matters since they undermine the principle of equality, non discrimination and universal human rights that must be enjoyed by all citizens.
4. Reject calls for state regulation of ‘Sharia’ and other religious courts and tribunals. This will only legitimate parallel legal systems in the governance of family matters.
5. Re-affirm the principle of the separation of religion and the law. The law is a key component of securing justice for citizens and one law for all.
6. Desist from repealing the Human Rights Act 1998. This move will strip all vulnerable people of their right to protection and justice.

Signatories [Read more…]


raifActivist and blogger Raif Badawi was first arrested on 17 June 2012. Three years later he remains in prison on charges that are politically motivated. To mark the third anniversary of his arrest we are holding a Day of Action here in London.

Raif Badawi had already spent almost two years in prison before being convicted in May 2014 for ‘insulting Islam’ and founding a liberal website. He received a fine of 1 million riyals (£175,000) and a ten-year prison sentence. In addition, the court in Jeddah sentenced Badawi to 1,000 lashes.

On 9 January 2015, after morning prayers, Badawi was flogged 50 times. This punishment was due to continue every Friday until he had received a total of 1,000 lashes. However, subsequent floggings have not gone ahead, initially because Badawi was deemed not to have recovered sufficiently from the previous punishment. No explanation has been given for the postponement of further floggings. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has now announced its decision to uphold this draconian sentence.

Meanwhile, Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abulkhair, is serving 15 years in prison, for his peaceful activism.

We call for Raif Badawi’s sentence of flogging to be overturned, as well as for his conviction to be quashed.

We demand that the Saudi authorities release Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair immediately.

We urge the UK government to cease providing arms to the Saudi government whilst it continues to abuse human rights.

Join us.

17 June 2015 Day of Action for Raif Badawi

From 1.30pm – Protest Letter Delivery at Downing Street:

Organisations and individuals actively campaigning for Raif Badawi’s release will be holding a rally opposite Downing Street from 1.30pm. At 2pm, comedian Kate Smurthwaite and activist Peter Tatchell will join Jo Glanville (Director, English PEN), Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and International Front for Secularism), Pete Radcliff (Free Raif UK) and Melody Patry (Index on Censorship) to deliver a letter signed by over 600 groups and individuals to the Prime Minister.

From 6.30pm – Public meeting at Portcullis House:

Representatives of campaigning organisations will come together with MPs to discuss and consider how best to secure the release of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair. Speakers include:

• Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party
• Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade
• Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN
• Stewart McDonald, Scottish National Party
• John McDonnell, Labour Party, Hayes and Harlington
• Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All
• Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

The meeting will take place in the Boothroyd Room on the first floor of Portcullis House. The entrance to Portcullis House is on the Victoria Embankment. Please be aware that there will be standard security searches as with many other government buildings.

Social Media Protest

We’re also asking people across the world to join the Day of Action on social media, by lobbying the Saudi authorities and sending messages of support to Raif and his family. Join the call for Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair’s immediate release using the hashtags #FreeRaif and #FreeWaleed

Please consider pledging a tweet or Facebook message to our Thunderclap for Raif Badawi. The message will be sent en masse as part of the Day of Action.

You may also wish to include the following Twitter handles:

Raif Badawi – @raif_badawi
Ensaf Haider – @miss9afi
Waleed Abulkhair – @WaleedAbulkhair

For more information on the campaign and to get involved, visit website.


Atheism Association of Turkey is fighting for a better Turkey

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya

Atheism Association of Turkey is fighting for a better Turkey
Interview with Morgan Elizabeth Romano and Zehra Pala  of the Atheism Association of Turkey
Background: The Atheism Association in Turkey is second public atheist organisation formed in what is known as a Muslim-majority country, the first being Morocco. In less than a year of its founding, its website was blocked by a Turkish court citing Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Law, which forbids “provoking the people for hate and enmity or degrading them.” Meanwhile, the Association has had to install a panic button in their office due to death threats.
Shocking new: Rise of child ‘marriages’ in Iran
Insane fatwa: Fatwa against discount coupons
Good news: Legislation in France barring supermarkets from wasting unsold food
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad B

برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
با مريم نماۯى و فريبرۯ پويا
سازمان آتئیسم در ترکیه براى تركيه بهترى مى جنگد
مصاحبه با مرگان رمانو و زهرا پلا از انجمن بى خدايان ٺركيه
سازمان اته ايستهاي تركيه بعد از مراكش دومين سازمان علني اته در كشورهاي با اصطلاح اسلامي است
دو كمتر از دو سال بعد از بنيان گذاري اين سازمان سايت اينترنتي ان بوسيله دادگاه جنايي تركيه تحت عنوان و با رجوع به قوانين عدم تحريك مردم و اشاعه نفرت و دشمني با مردم بلوكه شد
در حقيقت اين سازمان براي يك تركيه بهتر ميجنگد
اخبار تکان دهنده جدید: افزايش ‘ازدواج’ کودکان در ایران
فتوای احمقانه: فتوا بر علیه کوپن های تخفیف
خبر خوب: قانون در فرانسه عليه اتلاف مواد غذایی به فروش نرفته
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
ترجمه: محمد ب


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


Promoting Secularism in the Age of ISIS

140624160439-lv-isis-tshirt-for-sale-online-00001526-story-topThis is my speech at the 5th Imagine No Religion conference in Vancouver, Canada during 5-7 June 2015.

The global rise of Islamism in particular and the religious-Right in general has turned the demand for secularism into an urgent task and necessity.

There are those in academia who theorise about a ‘post-secular’ world and insist that secularism lacks relevance, particularly for ‘non-Westerners.’  In the age of ISIS, though, you don’t have to look far to see that secularism is not only still relevant but that it’s a matter of life and death for countless people across the globe. In fact, no-one understands the need for secularism better than ‘non-westerners’ living under the boot of the religious-Right.

The post-secularists tell us that the rise of Islamism and the religious Right is linked to a religious revival. But this is not true. Of course with its rise, there are political pressures to keep up religious appearances, homogenise religious identity, and define religion as the only characteristic of entire societies, communities and people but this is very often enforced by violence.

‘Any classification and labelling has a purpose behind it,’ says the late Iranian Marxist Mansoor Hekmat. ‘Islam has been around in Iran for one thousand four hundred years and has obviously left its mark on certain things. But this is only one element in portraying this society – the same way that oppression, monarchy, police state, industrial backwardness, ethnicity, language, script, political history, pre-Islamic way of life, people’s physical characteristics, international relations, geography and weather, diet, size of country, population concentration, economic relations, level of urbanisation, architecture, etc. are. All of these express real characteristics of the society. Now if out of the hundreds of factors that create differences between Iran and Pakistan, France and Japan, someone insists on pointing to the presence of Islam in some aspects of life in this society and brands all of us with this label – from anti-religious individuals like Dashty, Hedayat and you and I to the great majority who do not see themselves as believers and are not concerned about Islam and the clergy – then they must have a specific agenda. Iran is not an Islamic society; the government is Islamic. Islam is an imposed phenomenon in Iran, not only today but also during the monarchy, and has remained in power by oppression and murder.’

The labelling of entire people, societies and communities as Muslim or Islamic is part and parcel of the Islamist agenda to feign representation and gain power and control.

And let’s be clear, it is more about power and control than religion. This distinction between religion and the religious-Right (a political movement) is clearer if you look at other religious-Right movements like the Buddhist-Right in Burma or Sri Lanka and their progroms against Muslims, the Hindu-Right’s massacre of Muslims in Gujrat, the Christian-Right’s bombing of abortion clinics or the Jewish-Right’s assault on women or as settlers in the Palestinian territories. Like the Islamists, they use religion to justify violence (or discrimination – depending on their influence) but you cannot explain these movements by religion alone.

Islamists, for example, are not all doctrinaire, literalist or fundamentalist and include a wide range of groups from ISIS, to the pragmatic and conservative factions of the Islamic regime of Iran to ‘soft’ Islamists (they don’t want to kill you just yet via terrorism) and even ‘Islamic Protestants or reformers’ like Abdolkarim Soorosh. Islam is the banner for their extreme-rightwing restructuring of society. But their movement is firmly rooted in political equations to gain power – primarily through violence and terror.

As Algerian sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue Marieme Helie Lucas says, this movement ‘is by no means a tool of the poor against the rich, of the Third World against the West, of people against capitalism. It is not a legitimate response that can be supported by the progressive forces of the world. Its main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans -, among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place’, which as we know from experience ends up being a straight jacket…’

In fact, it’s this internal opposition that makes the Islamists so brutal. They would not need to use such unrelenting violence if it were people’s culture and religion… if everyone submitted. The hijab, for example, which is the first imposition by Islamists when they gain influence is not a personal choice for a vast majority of women today though it is touted as such. It is highly contested and challenged as in the women’s unveiling movement in Iran and is one of the main areas of fight-back as is ‘Sharia law.’ Of course countless liberals here in the west – groups like the British Humanist Association – defend the burqa as people’s right to dress and Sharia courts as people’s right to religion.

We are often made to believe that this is clash of civilisations or an antagonism between a ‘secular West’ and a ‘religious East’ but it’s not. It’s a global struggle between secularists, including many Muslims and believers on the one hand, and theocrats and the religious-Right on the other taking place within and across borders around the globe.

We’re also told this is about racism and discrimination against minority communities or societies in the South, but it’s not. It’s a defence of people and universal rights against the religious-Right.

After all no society or community is homogeneous. There is dissent and political and social movements and class politics at play.

Take the example of 27 year old Farkhunda accused by a mullah of being an ‘infidel’ who burnt verses of the Koran. She was attacked by a mob in Kabul, lynched, stoned, run over, burnt and her body thrown in a river whilst onlookers and police stood by.

What could she expect when she goes against ‘Muslim sensibilities’ tweeted one of this absurd liberal Left do-gooders who only seem to do good for religion and not women? But wasn’t Farkhunda Muslim too? Actually she was very devout and had gone to the local mullah to tell him to stop selling amulets to women.

What became very obvious after her murder was that not all Afghans or Muslims or Muslim men have the same ‘sensibilities.’ Women carried her body– going against Islamic customs – to her gravesite and with her family’s permission encircled by a chain of men to protect them. They surrounded her coffin right until the end, gave her the respect she deserved, and chanted: ‘we are all Farkhunda.’ And when a mullah who had justified Farkhunda’s killing, tried to join them, they refused, created a circle around her gravesite, and forced him to leave.

Azaryun, a youth activist says, ‘That is what Farkhunda teaches me: together we can change the narrative that others write about women. We stood up against the most respected mullah. We carried the coffin and buried her.’ Neayish, a medical student, said: ‘I was just crying.’ ‘It was a long trek… but all my energy was focused on giving Farkhunda a respectable burial. It was the first time I realized my real power and told myself that I’m breaking the boundaries of tradition.’

So ‘the people’ of Afghanistan do not all agree. ‘Muslims’ are not all the same. And I place Muslims in quotes since not everyone living in Afghanistan or Iran are Muslims or Islamists just like not everyone is Canada or Britain is Christian or fundamentalist.

Everywhere, from Iran to Afghanistan and Algeria, there are women and men who break taboos and change narratives and stand against religion’s encroachment in people’s lives and against Islamism. To accept the label of Islamic and the homogenisation of entire populations is to accept Islamism’s narrative and not that of the many who resist.

In Bangladesh, for example, there are Islamists killing and threatening beloved atheist bloggers like Avijit Roy but there is also a deeply secular movement against them, including 24 villages that have become known as Jamaat free villages – or terrorist free villages.

Religion is not the only marker for our societies nor is it the most important. [Read more…]