Free Happy Iranians

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

چرا با رقصيدن در خيابانها از آنها حمايت نکنيم؟

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

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

#FreeHappyIranians

 

Iranians dancing to Pharrell’s Happy have been arrested.

#FreeHappyIranians now!

Why not support them by dancing in the streets?

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

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

Bread and Roses: Secularism as a basic right

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

Director: Reza Moradi; Assistant Director: Poone Ravi

Enjoy!

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

Dear friend

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

Sudan apostasy case

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

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

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

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

Sign the petition defending Mariam here.

Ex-Muslims Internationally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New office space

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

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

11-12 October 2014 Conference

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

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

Keep Supporting Us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Urgent Action: Mariam Yahya Ibrahim must be freed immediately

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also sign a petition here to defend Mariam.

First legal atheist organisation formed in Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

Support Bread and Roses: We need your help

Dear friend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for any support.

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

The Problem with Sharia

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

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

Iran: jailed labour activist moved to interrogation unit of prison

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

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

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

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

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
[email protected]
[email protected]

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

ol4a2Dear Friend

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

Law Society Protest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gender segregation

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

One Law for All is currently working on a survey and report on the issue. If you have information on gender segregation at universities in the UK, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

Islamism in Schools

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

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

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

One Law for All opposes new Sharia Watch campaign

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

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

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

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

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

11-12 October 2014 Conference

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

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

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

New Office

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

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

Keep Supporting Us!

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

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

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

Warmest wishes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

[email protected]
[email protected]

Bread and Roses TV: On Nude Protest

Bread and Roses first programme in English on Nude Protest is ready!
Hosts are Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, and Bahram Soroush.
We have a wonderful interview in it with Amina Sboui and Aliaa Magda Elmahdy.

You can view the programme here. It’s also embedded below:

It took much longer than expected because we didn’t have the equipment needed.

We are therefore initiating a new fundraising campaign asking for more help.

Please help distribute links to the TV programme and the fundraising campaign!

Bread and Roses is a taboo-breaking, freethinking Political and Social Magazine – much needed in Iran, the Middle East and N Africa. It will be broadcast to the region via New Channel satellite TV.

Thanks for your patience and support!

اولين برنامه نان و گل سرخ در مورد اعتراض عريان به زبان انگليسى آماده شده است
با شرکت مريم نمازى. فريبرز پويا و بهرام سروش. در اين برنامه مصاحبه اى با آليا مجده المهدى و آمينه السبوعى صورت گرفته.
برنامه انگليسى را مى توانيد اينجا ببينيد

هنوز مشکلات فنى زيادى داريم و به همين دليل برنامه فارسى آماده نيست اما حتما تا چند روز ديگر آماده خواهد شد
جهت اطلاع براى اينکه بتوانيم مشکلات فنى مان را حل کنيم کمپين مالى ديگرى را امروز شروع کرديم

ممنون از اينکه جوياى برنامه بوديد. اميدواريم هر چه زودتر مشکلات حل شوند!

Iran: Two prominent trade union leaders arrested ahead of May Day

103Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Free Union of Workers in Iran (Ettehadiye Azad e Kargaran e Iran) has reported that two of its Executive Committee members have been arrested.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi were arrested during a raid on their homes in the capital Tehran at 1am this morning.

The police also raided the home of another leader of the Union, Parvin Mohammadi, breaking the door and forcibly entering the house. However, Ms Mohammadi was away from her home at the time, and was not arrested.

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

The arrests and intimidations are the authorities’ usual ploy each year to pre-empt protests and rallies by workers on May Day. This year’s arrests come ahead of a call by the Union for a rally outside the Labour Ministry in Tehran on May Day. The police have refused to authorise the event.

On Tuesday the police summoned five other Executive Committee members of the Free Union of Workers to the Ministry of Intelligence in the city of Sanandaj, questioning them and warning them against participation in May Day rallies. Previously, seven other labour activists, all members of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Form Free Labour Organisations, were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj for questioning.

Earlier this month, anti-riot guards carried out a ferocious attack on political prisoners in Ward 350 of Evin Prison in Tehran, in the course of which many prisoners were injured, some seriously, and forcibly moved to a solitary ward of the Prison.

We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to protest against the detention of trade union leaders Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
[email protected]
[email protected]

Press Release: Wills without bigotry – protest against the Law Society

1398734961-protest-staged-against-law-societys-decision-to-recognize-sharia-law_4591701 (1)About 70 protesters rallied outside the office of the Law Society to condemn their endorsement of discriminatory sharia law on April 28 2014.

The protest was organised by anti-racist, feminist and human rights groups, namely One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space, and London School of Economics SU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society.

Chris Moos was the master of ceremonies of the rally.

At the protest, Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters called upon the Law Society to withdraw its guidance:

Our message to you is this: Wake up: You are the Law Society and not a body advising on the compatibility of the law with religious principles! You have no business in normalising discriminatory religious principles in the legal culture and practice of this country. Your business is to ensure that the law is human rights complaint and not anti-rights compliant. Your business is to tear up the guidance. Your business is to stand with us on this side of the fence and on this side of history.

Maryam Namazie, founder of One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation argued:

There is no place for Sharia in Britain’s legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere. Sharia – like all religious laws – is based on a dogmatic and regressive philosophy and a warped understanding of the concepts of equality and justice. It is primitive and patriarchal and based on inequality, retribution and religious [im]morality. It is not a rule for equals and has no place in a modern state or system of law. Law Society listen up: you must immediately withdraw your shameful guidance. Now! In the words of Algerian women singing for change: “We aren’t asking for favours. History speaks for us”.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

The Law Society is violating its own equality policies by providing guidance on Sharia-compliant wills and offering training courses in Sharia law for high street lawyers. It is colluding with Sharia law principles that discriminate against women, non-Muslims and children who are adopted or born to unmarried parents. This is a direct attack on the equal rights of many Muslims, especially women. The Law Society is supposed to uphold the equality values of British law. Instead, it is undermining them. The Law Society would never provide guidance to facilitate racist or homophobic-compliant wills. Why the double standards?

Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, appealed to the Law Society:

Religious bigots are highly skilled at trampling on the rights of women, children and non-believers. They don’t need The Law Society to help them. The value of daughters is THE SAME as the value of sons. All marriages, religious, non-religious, gay or straight are marriages. And every child is legitimate. Faced with bigotry it is the job of all of us – including the Law Society – to challenge it. The protestors today did exactly that. When will The Law Society follow suit and rip up this ‘guide to discrimination’?

Abhishek Phadnis, president of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society, added:

I come from a country which has seen this divisive trend being taken to its logical conclusion – where a woman’s rights to, among other things, alimony and inheritance, depend entirely on her religion, there being different laws for each community. The resulting discrimination has visited appalling suffering upon Muslim women in particular. I have no wish to see it replicated here. A man may choose to be as spiteful and chauvinistic as he wishes, but it is not something our public institutions should encourage or condone. I hope the Law Society will withdraw this Note before it causes any further damage.

James Bloodworth, the Editor of Left Foot Forward, said: [Read more...]

Sharia law is madness

maryam-namazie-photo by Mallorie Nassrallah-smallThe below is Maryam Namazie’s editorial published in the April 2014 issue of Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

Sharia law is highly contested and vehemently opposed in many places across the globe.

In Algeria, women’s rights activists singing for change label 20 years of Sharia in the family code as 20 years of madness.  They sing:

“I am telling you a story
Of what the powerful have done
Of rules, a code of despair
A code obsessed with women…”
“This law must be undone…!”

In Iran, after the establishment of Sharia law there, the Iranian Lawyers’ Association came out in full force against the new religious codes only to be met with arrest and exile; some opponents were even charged with apostasy, which is a “crime” punishable by death…

How tragically ironic, then, that the British Law Society, has decided to side with the Islamists and issue Sharia-complaint guidance which matter-of-factly endorses discrimination against females, non-Muslims and “illegitimate” children.

Rather than being at the forefront of defending equality before the law, they legitimise inequality and bring back patriarchal and archaic concepts of “justice” that deny rights to women merely because of their gender and children merely for being born out of wedlock! A recent film called “Bastards” shows single mother Rabha El Haimer, an illiterate child bride, in her fight to secure a future for her “illegitimate” child in Morocco.

Thanks to the Law Society, this will be the fate of British children and women too!

How very shameful!

“Muslim feminists” tell us that the Law Society has accepted de facto an Islamist interpretation of Sharia law – which is true. It is always those in power who determine the laws and rules, and when it comes to Islam, due to the power and influence of Islamism, it is their brutal version that affects innumerable lives.

“Muslim feminists” also tell us that there are more women-friendly interpretations out there, which the Law Society has ignored. That may well be the case (though I have never seen one that is favourable or fair enough). In my opinion, no religious law can ever give 21st century women and men the full equality they deserve.

In any case, a focus on interpretations misses the point: which is that religion is a private matter open to as many interpretations as there are believers. Once it becomes part of the state or law, it becomes a matter of repressive political power and control with women and girls as its first victims.

The real point is that religion – be it Islam or Judaism or Christianity or what have you – must be kept separate from the state and law if women and everyone else are to be protected and considered equal.

Clearly, there is no place for Sharia in Britain’s legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere.

The fight against the Law Society is part and parcel of the fight against Sharia and religious laws everywhere. And don’t be mistaken. This is not just about opposing institutionalised discrimination. It is about 21st century humanity rejecting a code of law that belongs to the Middle Ages, that sees women as sub-human, that deems sexuality, sex and women’s bodies as illegal whilst legalising child marriages, stonings and misogyny.

Sharia – like all religious laws – is based on a 1400 year old dogmatic and regressive philosophy and its warped understanding of the concepts of equality and justice. Where Islamists have control over the state, Sharia law terrorises the population to submit by showing the damnable nature of dissent.  It is a primitive and patriarchal system based on inequality, retribution and religious [im]morality. It is not a rule for equals and has no place in a modern state or system of law.

Only a few days ago, a representative of Khamenei , Iran’s “Supreme Spiritual leader” (absurd titles that only come with religious rule) said: “Sadly, over the past three decades we have seen many working to establish a secular state [in Iran] which will undermine people’s Islamic values and culture”. Of course we have. No one opposes Sharia law more than those who have lived under, fled, or resisted it.

I am sure the Islamists are very grateful to the Law Society for upholding their values at the expense of the many others who demand equality and secularism.

Law Society listen up: you must immediately withdraw your shameful guidance. Withdraw it now!

In the words of Algerian women singing for change:

“We aren’t asking for favours.
“History speaks for us.”

Equality before the law is not just an empty phrase

Pragna-Patel-InterviewThe below is an interview with Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters published in the April 2014 issue of Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation:

On the Law Society’s Discriminatory Guidance on Sharia-Compliant Inheritance and Wills

Interview with Pragna Patel

Maryam Namazie: British law already allows people to leave their estates to whomever they choose so why does a statement signed by a number of groups and individuals label the Law Society’s guidance on Sharia-compliant inheritance and wills discriminatory?

Pragna Patel:  The practice note (guidelines) issued by the Law Society is extremely problematic because what it seeks to do is to institutionalise a profoundly discriminatory approach to the question of property settlements, disputes and trusts concerning women and children in minority communities. It is at best a misguided response but nevertheless dangerous, because it is yet another way of reflecting the growing view that civil matters and disputes in minority communities are to be addressed within a religious framework.

The practice notes states: ‘This is the first time guidance has been published for solicitors to assist them with the intricacies of Sharia succession rules, which is the code of law derived from the Quran and from the teachings and examples of Mohammed’.

The immediate question that needs to be asked is why does the Law Society not leave it to clerics to clarify the ‘intricacies’ of ‘Sharia’ rules outside the law for those who want it? How can it possibly think that its role is to guide on religious matters? More importantly, why does the Law Society feel that it needs to support and be seen to publicly support the drawing up of discriminatory wills? Quite apart from the fact that it cannot possibly know what is and isn’t ‘Sharia compliant’ given the many contested interpretations of so called ‘Sharia’ law, it actually wades into religious territory and gives succour to the view that religious and secular laws can operate in parallel with the former applying to minorities and the latter to the white majority society.

The role of the Law Society is to promote legal professional standards so that the law is upheld in a fair and non-discriminatory way. The phrase ‘equality before the law’ is not just an empty phrase. Justice must not only be done but seen to be done. The law is symbolic and aspirational at the same time; it is an important means by which just and democratic societal norms are established. The Law Society has no business in normalising ‘Sharia’ principles in British legal culture. The Law Society also has no business in endorsing and promoting discriminatory religious norms and values for minorities because in doing so, it enhances profoundly patriarchal and unequal social arrangements in minority communities.

Maryam Namazie: If it’s not binding, how can it seriously undermine the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all?

Pragna Patel:  Those who argue that it is ‘not binding’ and that it is ‘all a fuss about nothing’, miss the point entirely.  The guidance signals the view that no matter how discriminatory and abhorrent certain aspects of minority cultures may be, they must be tolerated and even supported! We cannot underestimate the ways in which religion is creeping into the very fabric of legal structures in our society and it is minority women and other vulnerable sub groups who pay the price. By issuing such guidance, the Law Society is helping to create a context that is conducive to the practice of patriarchal oppression and to the legitimisation of anti-human rights religious norms. Religious norms dictate strict gender roles and codes of conduct for women – codes that deny their right to freedom and equality in the family in a range of matters such as marriage, divorce, children and inheritance.

I have noted that the religious-Right (who have been in the ascendency in our communities since the 90s) have been quietly going about trying to create a parallel legal system in the UK. By engaging in a pincer-like manoeuvre, they have on the one hand, obtained official endorsement for the establishment and operation of alternative religious forums for dispute resolutions on family matters, such as Sharia councils and tribunals, and on the other hand, they have influenced the legal system from the inside by demanding ‘Sharia compliant’ approaches to civil and especially family matters. The Law Society’s response is an example of the latter category.

The guidelines remind solicitors that under ‘Sharia’ ‘…as a general rule, a male heir will inherit twice the amount that a female heir will receive, Illegitimate children are not heirs’. This is really extraordinary since it accepts without question, the inherent discrimination that exists in Islam (as indeed in other religions) against women and children born outside marriage.  What happened to the ideals of justice, equality and fairness embodied in the law? Far from promoting equality and justice, by its action, the Law Society is helping to arrest the development of justice born out of struggles for equality by women in minority communities. It is one thing to recognise that discrimination exists in all societies, but quite another for the Law Society to be associated with and be seen to promote relativism to questions of equality and justice. The demand for recognition of separate religious or ‘personal’ laws to address family matters are gaining momentum, but it has serious and even life threatening implications for minority women and children and other minority sub-groups. [Read more...]

Fitnah Unveiled: On Sharia Law

fitnah-UNVEILED28-apr14-A4_Page_01Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
April 2014, Volume 2, Issue 4

Editor: Maryam Namazie. Design: Kiran Opal. Layout: Jim Sharples.

PDF VERSION OF FITNAH UNVEILED APRIL ISSUE: fitnah-UNVEILED28-apr14-A4

Editorial
Sharia law is madness
Maryam Namazie

Sharia law is highly contested and vehemently opposed in many places across the globe.

In Algeria, women’s rights activists singing for change label 20 years of Sharia in the family code as 20 years of madness.  They sing:

“I am telling you a story
Of what the powerful have done
Of rules, a code of despair
A code obsessed with women…”
“This law must be undone…!”

In Iran, after the establishment of Sharia law there, the Iranian Lawyers’ Association came out in full force against the new religious codes only to be met with arrest and exile; some opponents were even charged with apostasy, which is a “crime” punishable by death…

How tragically ironic, then, that the British Law Society, has decided to side with the Islamists and issue Sharia-complaint guidance which matter-of-factly endorses discrimination against females, non-Muslims and “illegitimate” children.

Rather than being at the forefront of defending equality before the law, they legitimise inequality and bring back patriarchal and archaic concepts of “justice” that deny rights to women merely because of their gender and children merely for being born out of wedlock! A recent film called “Bastards” shows single mother Rabha El Haimer, an illiterate child bride, in her fight to secure a future for her “illegitimate” child in Morocco.

Thanks to the Law Society, this will be the fate of British children and women too!

How very shameful!

“Muslim feminists” tell us that the Law Society has accepted de facto an Islamist interpretation of Sharia law – which is true. It is always those in power who determine the laws and rules, and when it comes to Islam, due to the power and influence of Islamism, it is their brutal version that affects innumerable lives.

“Muslim feminists” also tell us that there are more women-friendly interpretations out there, which the Law Society has ignored. That may well be the case (though I have never seen one that is favourable or fair enough). In my opinion, no religious law can ever give 21st century women and men the full equality they deserve.

In any case, a focus on interpretations misses the point: which is that religion is a private matter open to as many interpretations as there are believers. Once it becomes part of the state or law, it becomes a matter of repressive political power and control with women and girls as its first victims.

The real point is that religion – be it Islam or Judaism or Christianity or what have you – must be kept separate from the state and law if women and everyone else are to be protected and considered equal.

Clearly, there is no place for Sharia in Britain’s legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere.

The fight against the Law Society is part and parcel of the fight against Sharia and religious laws everywhere. And don’t be mistaken. This is not just about opposing institutionalised discrimination. It is about 21st century humanity rejecting a code of law that belongs to the Middle Ages, that sees women as sub-human, that deems sexuality, sex and women’s bodies as illegal whilst legalising child marriages, stonings and misogyny.

Sharia – like all religious laws – is based on a 1400 year old dogmatic and regressive philosophy and its warped understanding of the concepts of equality and justice. Where Islamists have control over the state, Sharia law terrorises the population to submit by showing the damnable nature of dissent.  It is a primitive and patriarchal system based on inequality, retribution and religious [im]morality. It is not a rule for equals and has no place in a modern state or system of law.

Only a few days ago, a representative of Khamenei , Iran’s “Supreme Spiritual leader” (absurd titles that only come with religious rule) said: “Sadly, over the past three decades we have seen many working to establish a secular state [in Iran] which will undermine people’s Islamic values and culture”. Of course we have. No one opposes Sharia law more than those who have lived under, fled, or resisted it.

I am sure the Islamists are very grateful to the Law Society for upholding their values at the expense of the many others who demand equality and secularism.

Law Society listen up: you must immediately withdraw your shameful guidance. Withdraw it now!

In the words of Algerian women singing for change:

“We aren’t asking for favours.
“History speaks for us.”

 ‘Equality before the law’ is not just an empty phrase
On the Law Society’s Discriminatory Guidance on Sharia-Compliant Inheritance and Wills
Interview with Pragna Patel

Maryam Namazie: British law already allows people to leave their estates to whomever they choose so why does a statement signed by a number of groups and individuals label the Law Society’s guidance on Sharia-compliant inheritance and wills discriminatory?

Pragna Patel:  The practice note (guidelines) issued by the Law Society is extremely problematic because what it seeks to do is to institutionalise a profoundly discriminatory approach to the question of property settlements, disputes and trusts concerning women and children in minority communities. It is at best a misguided response but nevertheless dangerous, because it is yet another way of reflecting the growing view that civil matters and disputes in minority communities are to be addressed within a religious framework.

The practice notes states: ‘This is the first time guidance has been published for solicitors to assist them with the intricacies of Sharia succession rules, which is the code of law derived from the Quran and from the teachings and examples of Mohammed’.

The immediate question that needs to be asked is why does the Law Society not leave it to clerics to clarify the ‘intricacies’ of ‘Sharia’ rules outside the law for those who want it? How can it possibly think that its role is to guide on religious matters? More importantly, why does the Law Society feel that it needs to support and be seen to publicly support the drawing up of discriminatory wills? Quite apart from the fact that it cannot possibly know what is and isn’t ‘Sharia compliant’ given the many contested interpretations of so called ‘Sharia’ law, it actually wades into religious territory and gives succour to the view that religious and secular laws can operate in parallel with the former applying to minorities and the latter to the white majority society.

The role of the Law Society is to promote legal professional standards so that the law is upheld in a fair and non-discriminatory way. The phrase ‘equality before the law’ is not just an empty phrase. Justice must not only be done but seen to be done. The law is symbolic and aspirational at the same time; it is an important means by which just and democratic societal norms are established. The Law Society has no business in normalising ‘Sharia’ principles in British legal culture. The Law Society also has no business in endorsing and promoting discriminatory religious norms and values for minorities because in doing so, it enhances profoundly patriarchal and unequal social arrangements in minority communities.

Maryam Namazie: If it’s not binding, how can it seriously undermine the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all?

Pragna Patel:  Those who argue that it is ‘not binding’ and that it is ‘all a fuss about nothing’, miss the point entirely.  The guidance signals the view that no matter how discriminatory and abhorrent certain aspects of minority cultures may be, they must be tolerated and even supported! We cannot underestimate the ways in which religion is creeping into the very fabric of legal structures in our society and it is minority women and other vulnerable sub groups who pay the price. By issuing such guidance, the Law Society is helping to create a context that is conducive to the practice of patriarchal oppression and to the legitimisation of anti-human rights religious norms. Religious norms dictate strict gender roles and codes of conduct for women – codes that deny their right to freedom and equality in the family in a range of matters such as marriage, divorce, children and inheritance. [Read more...]

They kill atheists and we are deemed terrorists!

BlmEbgHCEAA4lmmHere is my opening statement on the International Atheism panel with Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar and Cristina Rad at AACon2014:

Punishing apostates is a long-standing and fundamental feature of all major religions.

Islam is no different except that Islamism – an extreme Right movement with Islam as its banner – is this era’s inquisition and totalitarianism.

To the degree it has power, that is the degree it controls every single aspect of people lives and society via its Sharia laws – from what people wear, who they have sex with, to what they are allowed to think.

Islamists will kill, threaten or intimidate anyone who interprets things differently, dissents, thinks freely or transgresses their norms by living 21st century lives.

One of the characteristics of an Islamic inquisition is the policing of thought. Even for Muslims, a ‘personal’ religion is impossible under an inquisition. You can’t pick and choose as you’d like. You don’t want to wear the veil; acid in your face should teach you a lesson. You want to go to school; maybe they can gun you down on your way there. You want to be an atheist? Being a murtad is the most heinous of crimes. Saudi Arabia just issued a law equating atheism with terrorism.

The bitter irony! They kill us and we are the terrorists.

Apostasy is a prosecutable offence in 30 countries under the influence of Sharia and punishable by death in 11.
Of course there are religious justifications for the execution of apostates in the Koran and Hadith – sayings and actions of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet.

From a religious standpoint, preventing apostasy is crucial to the preservation of Islam as Islamic “scholar” Qaradawi says. I use the term scholar lightly. As Dawkins says, you do need to read more than one book to be considered a scholar. But apostasy laws and the execution of apostates are the ultimate means of political rather than religious control.

It’s used to silence anyone who questions Islamic rule. Most recently, Roya Nobakht in Iran has been charged with apostasy for saying the regime is “too Islamic” and in Bangladesh, two high school students have been arrested for apostasy for questioning the Jamaat Islami.

Challenging apostasy laws therefore is first and foremost a political challenge. Hence the establishment of the Council of Ex-Muslims, an atheist organisation, found now in the UK, Germany, Scandinavian countries, Austria, France, North America and also in Morocco – the first public atheist organisation in a country with Islam as the state religion.

Don’t forget Christianity also used to execute its apostates. It’s not that the tenets, dogma, and principles of Christianity have changed since the days of the inquisition but rather its social and political influence and its relation to the state. A religion that has been reined in by an enlightenment is very different from one that is spearheading an inquisition.

Challenging it means having the courage to think for oneself, as philosopher AC Grayling says of the Council of Ex-Muslims, breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam, and paving the way for others to do so.

It’s mainly though an important aspect of the fightback against Islamism.

Some will ask why we cannot just call ourselves atheists and not ex-Muslims but atheist alone cannot describe the risks and challenges we face.

Others will say our Council is an unnecessary provocation.

It’s a provocation, yes, but unnecessary, no.

Islamists tell us all the time: don’t provoke. Don’t offend. Don’t criticise … and no one need get hurt.

If anyone believes that – and trust me there are still people who do – then they still don’t know this movement.

Islamists need no excuses. Murder and mayhem is part and parcel of their movement.

Throughout history barbarity has always been pushed back – not by tiptoeing around it, accommodating it, appeasing it, tolerating it but by facing it head on.

They say we are not allowed to leave Islam.To them I say: We are not waiting for your permission.

(Photo Evan McHugh)