Seminar today on Sharia Law and the Children Act

One Law for All will host a seminar to explore the terms of the Children Act and whether these are compatible with the tenets and practice of sharia law. It will look at the protections provided to children by the provisions of the Children Act and ask if children in Britain, by virtue of their parents’ religion or culture, are at risk of being denied these protections. [Read more...]

Simplicity is killing us…

In September 2011, I spoke at a meeting on Sharia law in Copenhagen, Denmark organised by the Danish atheists. The discussion was on sharia law but as in most talks on the issue, I also dealt extensively with the far-Right, the racist scapegoating and blaming of immigrants and Muslims for the crimes of Islamism and also the pathetic excuse of a pro-Islamist left who sides with Islamism at the expense of the population at large… [Read more...]

UAF: We are waiting for your response!

We sent this letter off to United Against Fascism on July 8. You think they could have responded by now?

Dear Sir/Madam

The One Law for All Campaign was launched on 10 December 2008, International Human Rights Day, to call on the UK Government to recognise that Sharia and religious courts are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular and that citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable. The Campaign aims to end Sharia and all religious courts on the basis that they work against, and not for, equality and human rights.

As you may be aware, on Sunday 20th June 2010 One Law For All held a Rally opposite Downing Street opposing Sharia law and religious laws in favour of all citizens being treated equally, and secular separation of religion and state (the best proven guarantee of religious pluralism). A counter demonstration was organised by a group calling themselves Muslims Against Crusades (MAC), who declared that one day Britain would be governed wholly by Sharia law.

Some members of the English Defence League (EDL) attempted to hold their own rally in response to the presence of MAC, but were arrested for not having permission to assemble.

During the rally, a large group of teenage boys carrying Unite Against Fascism (UAF) placards marched past Downing Street escorted by the police. We understand they marched from the UAF event in Whitechapel. When they reached the MAC they joined the chants of ‘Allahu Akbar!’.

I’m writing to invite you to clarify Unite Against Fascism’s position on Sharia law.

I look forward to a response.

Adam Barnett
Research Coordinator
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

The fight for a secular society in Iran is intrinsically linked to the fight for a secular one in Britain

I received the following letter from ‘a group of students from Tehran University the other day. They wrote: ‘We are a group of Iranian students at Tehran University. We found about your group activity two years ago when you held an event on 10th of October 2008 (International day against the Death Penalty). We all were very interested in your group since most of us inside Iran hate any religion ruling us, we are all born in Muslim families but hate Islam more than any other religion so we are also ex Muslims. But we were very disappointed when we realized that you use our cause and suffering inside Iran to achieve your goals such as one law for all in Britain. For example this year you are planning to use Neda’s anniversary to rally against sharia law. Neda, Ashkan, Sohrab and those of our friends who died in Iran and those who are in prison, are paying a price for the freedom of Iran. Don’t mix things; don’t use our suffering to achieve your objectives. You can have separate rallies for your problems in Britain, and if you care about Iran (which I am sure you care) have a rally for Iran but with all the respect to England, we don’t like you to use the name of our dearest Neda, the symbol of freedom in Iran, to achieve your goals in Britain. We would like to concentrate our effort to free ourselves. We were very very disappointed that the communist ideas of your group are more important to you than freedom of Iran. We want freedom and democracy and None of us know what happens to us in our next demonstration on days of June 2010, some of us may die or end up in prison but we are happy to pay the price for it. We don’t want any religion or communist ideas to come and rule us. We are tired of being used. In a free Iran, we do not want atheists mullahs and communists to come and rule us with different form of fundamentalism.’

My response follows:

Thanks very much for your email. I appreciate receiving your comments. I would like, however, to make the following points:

* Neda’s murder has affected all of us deeply – not just those of us living in Iran or exiled but ordinary people everywhere. I think this is mainly because her cold-blooded murder was seen by many across the world in a way that countless murders by the Islamic regime over thirty years have not been. How could anyone not be moved? But also I think it is because her demand for freedom against all odds – her desire to live a life worthy of the 21st century – is really a demand for people all over – irrespective of where they were born.

So I think it is actually quite apt for us to remember Neda in our battle for equal rights in Britain or wherever we happen to live and whether we are Iranian or not. It is not ‘using’ her but holding her dear and not allowing the world to forget her in the fight that still lies ahead. I mean were civil rights activists in America ‘using’ Stephen Biko (killed by the apartheid regime of South Africa) when promoting equal rights there?

Rather, showing solidarity – mobilising towards it – across borders – means being able to show the real links between people in Iran and those living in Britain and elsewhere.

Reducing the protests and resistance of Neda and people in Iran (and those of us in exile who have fled because of our activities, lost many a loved one and continue to be threatened with death and have our families in Iran harassed by the regime because of our activities abroad) into a national sort of suffering that only those still in Iran are privy to misses the point.

* Moreover, Neda is linked to the issue of Sharia law in more ways than one. Sharia law is not ‘Britain’s personal problem’ and Neda is not ‘Iran’s problem.’ They are both the result of the rise of the political Islamic movement of which the Islamic regime is a cornerstone. In fact Sharia law in this country came into being in the late 80s after the establishment of the Islamic regime of Iran. The fight for a different and secular society in Iran is intrinsically linked to the fight for a different and secular one in Britain.

* You say you hate Islam more than any other religion but in my opinion religions are all alike. If given political power they will do what Islam has done and have in the past. A ‘kinder’ religion is only one that has been pushed in a corner and out of the public space. Islam only seems worse today because we are living through an Islamic inquisition. And this Islamic inquisition like the Christian one in centuries past must be pushed back by a new enlightenment that is being shaped in my opinion in Iran.

* So I do think actually that it is important to ‘mix things.’ The fight against Sharia in Britain is an important front in the ongoing battle of the people of Iran against the Islamic Republic. Also, Sharia law has been used by the far-right to promote its anti-immigrant and racist agenda. They want no Sharia in Britain but don’t mind the Church of England’s role here nor care a whit about people struggling elsewhere or even in the ‘Muslim community’ here with similar problems. ‘Mixing’ the two – whilst standing up for people everywhere and showing the humanity of us all – also attacks the cultural relativism and racism that is rampant and excuses gross violations in the name of culture and religion for the ‘other.’

* Finally, One Law for All or the Council of Ex-Muslims are not communist organisations but I am a communist. You may not want or like my communist ideas but I do. And I believe strongly that worker-communism is a humane and much-needed movement (that has proven to be so over several decades and been at the forefront of everything from opposing the death penalty, refugee rights, secularism to equality not just in Iran, and also when many such issues were not fashionable in the Left). I have a right – as you do – to promote my ideas and debate them. In a ‘free Iran’ as you call it – whilst you many not want ‘fundamentalist’ atheists and communists alike, we must have a right to speak and organise and mobilise support as all other political groups and ideologies.

Otherwise it wouldn’t be very free would it? And both you and I will have to let people in Iran choose and decide what they want. I believe that in free and fair elections they will choose us but again for that we will have to wait and see…

Let me end by saying that I sincerely wish you all safety and success in your activities.

Warmest wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie

Support One Law for All

One Law for All held a successful seminar on Sharia Law on Monday 8 March 2010 at Conway Hall in London to mark International Women’s Day. The seminar outlined the problems with Sharia Councils and tribunals and proposed recommendations for prohibiting religious courts and bringing about equal rights for all. A report of the seminar’s findings will be published shortly. Moreover, a working group is to be set up to draft an amendment to the Arbitration Act to prohibit religious arbitration in civil matters. The campaign will also look into proposing a European-wide amendment in the coming months. Video footage of the event can be found here.

One Law for All’s next events include a June 20 rally against Sharia and religious laws in Trafalgar Square, a September 26 fundraising concert, an art competition, amongst other activities.

JUNE 20 RALLY

Join us on June 20 to break that silence and take a stand against Sharia law and Islamism and in defence of universal rights and secularism. Be there to stand in solidarity with people living under and resisting Sharia law everywhere and demand an end to racism and cultural relativism.

June 20 is particularly poignant because it is the first anniversary of Neda Agha-Soltan’s cold-blooded murder in broad daylight by the Islamic regime of Iran at a protest there. All Neda wanted was freedom. You can find out more about the rally in Trafalgar Square here.

26 SEPTEMBER FUNDRAISING CONCERT

Tickets are now available for a two-hour fundraising concert on 26 September 2010 at Conway Hall from 1800pm for 1830pm by top flight international musicians Olivier Pons, violin; Helen Linden, cello; and Folke Graesbeck, piano.

The concert is in aid of the One Law for All Campaign and is a joint venture between the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, the National Secular Society and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Tickets: £15 for the first four rows; £12 for the rest of the downstairs seats; £10 for the gallery; £5 students and unwaged.

To buy tickets, either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All or pay via Paypal on our website. Please specify that the cheque or Paypal payment is for concert tickets. Tickets will be mailed out to you within three weeks of receiving your payment. You can also pay at the door, though it will be £1 more per ticket and tickets may have been sold out by then. For more information on the musicians, click here.

ART COMPETITION

After a successful 2009 art competition, One Law for All is organising a second edition to expose the discriminatory nature of Sharia and religious-based tribunals and/or promote equal rights for all citizens. For more information and terms and conditions, click here.

Notes:

To sign on to the One Law for All petition, visit our website.

To view the latest media coverage of the campaign including in the Guardian and BBC’s The World, click here.

To donate to the crucial work of our organisation, please either send a cheque or pay via Paypal by clicking here. We need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club at the above link.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the below.
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk