Political Islam’s and misogyny’s hands off the people of Libya!

Chairperson of The National Transitional Council of Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, in a celebration of the “liberation of Libya”, held on October 23rd, said Libya would take Sharia law as its basic source of legislation. Laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified and restrictions on the number of wives Libyan men could take would be lifted.

As we declared before, the people of Libya did not revolt against the dictatorship of Gadhafi to enslave themselves to the misogynous dictatorship of Political Islam! The recent statements from the chairperson of the NTC reveals the reactionary nature of this institution more than ever, and emphasises that the people of Libya have to continue the revolution until they get rid of all reactionary forces and establish the direct rule organs of all citizens based on secularism, freedom, and equality. Furthermore, the Western governments must be held accountable and attacked by public opinion for supporting the NTC. It seems as if one must remind them that Political Islam, whether “benign” or anti-Western, is a reactionary, misogynous, and anti-freedom current.
[Read more...]

5 November 2011: International Day of Solidarity with Iranian Workers

5 November 2011

International Day of Solidarity with Iranian Workers
Join us on this day of action

Currently in prison:
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to 6 years in prison
Reza Shahabi in prison since June 2010
Ebrahim Madadi, in prison since December 2008, sentenced to a 3.5 year prison
Rasoul Bodaghi sentenced to 6 years in prison
Ayat Niyaafar was arrested on Monday 17 Oct.

Their “crimes”
Fighting for workers rights including rights to union activities without fear of being persecuted
Demanding to be paid their wage for the work they have done
Demanding the right to strike and freedom of expression
Organising May Day
Establishing labour organisations

The attack on labour activists must be stopped!

We demand:
• the immediate and unconditional release of all jailed workers in Iran
• the expulsion of delegates of the Islamic regime of Iran from International Labour Organisation (ILO)

We call on all trade unions, concerned organisations and individuals to join us in this campaign. We need to show our solidarity with these jailed workers and their families.

Sweden

To see a list of countries and cities where protests are taking place, click here.

FOR A FREE AND SECULAR MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Statement
For Immediate Release
27 October 2011

76 secularists and human rights campaigners, including Mina Ahadi, Nawal El Sadaawi, Marieme Helie Lucas, Hameeda Hussein, Ayesha Imam, Maryam Jamil, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasrin, Farida Shaheed, Fatou Sow, and Stasa Zajovic have signed on to a Manifesto for a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa.

In light of the recent pronouncements of the unelected Libyan Transitional Council for ‘Sharia laws’, the signatories of the manifesto vehemently oppose the hijacking of the protests by Islamism or US-led militarism and unequivocally support the call for freedom and secularism made by citizens and particularly women in the region.

Secularism is a minimum precondition for a free and secular Middle East and for the recognition of women’s rights and equality.

We call on world citizens to support this important campaign by signing on to our petition.

We also ask that supporters click ‘like’ on our Facebook page to support this important campaign and Tweet: #freesecularMENA in support of a free and secular Middle East and North Africa.

VERSION FRANÇAISE CI DESSOUS
FRENCH, ARABIC AND PERSIAN VERSIONS BELOW

Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa

The 2009 protests in Iran followed by the Arab Spring have the potential to herald a new dawn for the people of the region and the world. The protests have clearly shown that people in the region, like people everywhere, want to live 21st century lives.

We, the undersigned, emphasise their modern and human dimension and wholeheartedly welcome this immense and historical development. We are vehemently opposed to their hijacking by Islamism or US-led militarism and support the call for a free and secular Middle East and North Africa made by citizens and particularly women in the region.

Secularism is a minimum precondition for the freedom and equality of all citizens and includes:
1. Complete separation of religion from the state.
2. Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes.
3. Separation of religion from the educational system.
4. Freedom of religion and atheism as private beliefs.
5. Prohibition of sex apartheid and compulsory veiling.

SIGNATORIES

1. Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committees against Stoning and Execution, Iran/Germany
2. Marieme Helie Lucas, Sociologist, Founder and former international coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and founder of Secularism Is A Women’s Issue, Algeria/France
3. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/UK
4. Shahla Abghari, University Professor, Iran/USA
5. Siavash Abghari, Esmail Khoi Foundation, Iran/USA
6. Ahlam Akram, Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Writer and Campaigner, Palestine/UK
7. Sargul Ahmad, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
8. Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/Sweden
9. Reza Alkrami, Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
10. Farideh Arman, Coordinator, Committee to Defend Women’s Rights, Iran/Sweden
11. Sultana Begum, Human Rights Activist, Bangladesh
12. Djemila Benhabib, Writer, Algeria/Canada
13. Codou Bop, Journalist and Director of GREFELS, Dakar, Senegal
14. Ariane Brunet, co-founder Urgent Action Fund, Québec, Canada
15. Micheline Carrier, Sisyphe, Québec, Canada
16. Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
17. Denise Deliège Femmes En Noir, Belgium
18. Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
19. Fanny Filosof, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
20. Mersedeh Ghaedi, New Channel TV Programme host, Iran/Norway
21. Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois, Dakar, Senegal
22. Laura Guidetti, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
23. Zeinabou Hadari, Centre Reines Daura, Niger
24. Anissa Hélie, Historian, Algeria/France/USA
25. Rohini Henssman, Human Rights Activist, India
26. Hameeda Hossein, Chairperson Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh
27. Khayal Ibrahim, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
28. Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
29. Ayesha Imam, Women’s Human Rights and Democracy Activist, Nigeria/Senegal
30. International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
31. International Committee against Execution, Germany
32. International Committee against Stoning, Germany
33. Iran Solidarity, Iran/UK
34. Maryam Jamil, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq
35. Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra and Chairperson Transparency International, Bangladesh
36. Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq
37. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web, India
38. Akbar Karimian, Human Rights Activist, Iran/UK
39. Cherifa Kheddar, President of Djazairouna, Algeria
40. Monica Lanfranco, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
41. Houzan Mahmoud, Representative of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq/UK
42. Nahla Elgaali Mahmoud, Biologist, Sudan/UK
43. Anwar Mir Sattari, Human rights Activist, Iran/Belgium
44. Amena Mohsin, Professor, Dept. International Relations Dhaka University, Bangladesh
45. Khawar Mumtaz, Director Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
46. Taslima Nasrin, Writer and Activist, Bangladesh
47. U. M. Habibun Nessa, President, Naripokkho, Bangladesh
48. Partow Nooriala, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
49. Asghar Nosrati, Human Rights Activist, Iran/Sweden
50. One Law for All, UK
51. Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK
52. Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, Iran/UK
53. Protagora, Zagreb, Croatia
54. Hassan Radwan, Activist, Egypt/UK
55. Mary Jane Real, Women’s Human Rights Coalition, Manila, The Philippines
56. Edith Rubinstein, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
57. Nawal El Sadaawi, Writer, Egypt
58. Fahimeh Sadeghi, Coordinator, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Iran/Canada
59. Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space, UK
60. Nina Sankari, Secularist and Feminist, Poland
61. Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (International Network)
62. Aisha Lee Shaheed, London, UK
63. Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
64. Siba Shakib, Filmmaker, Writer and Activist, Iran/USA
65. Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Iran/UK
66. Issam Shukri, Head, Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
67. Southall Black Sisters, UK
68. Fatou Sow, Sociologist CNRS, Dakar, Senegal
69. Afsaneh Vahdat, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iran, Iran/Sweden
70. Lino Veljak, Professor of Philosophy, Zagreb University, Croatia
71. Fauzia Viqar, Director Advocacy and Communications, Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan
72. Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All, UK
73. Vivienne Wee, anthropologist, feminist and human rights activist, Singapore and Hong Kong, China
74. Women In Black, Belgrade, Serbia
75. Sara Zaker, Theatre Director, Bangladesh
76. Stasa Zajovic, spokesperson Women in Black, Belgrade, Serbia

FRENCH

Manifeste pour la laicité au Moyen Orient et en Afrique du Nord

Les protestations de 2009 en Iran et le Printemps Arabe qui a suivi pourrait faire se lever une nouvelle aurore pour le peuple de la région et du monde. Les manifestations ont clairement montré que le peuple dans la région, comme partout, veut vivre au XXI° siècle.

Nous sous signés, soulignons leur dimension moderne et humaine et soutenons de tout coeur cet immense tournant historique. Nous nous opposons avec véhemence à ce qu’il soit détourné par l’islamisme ou par la militarisation sous l’égide des Etats Unis et reitérons l’appel pour un Moyen Orient et une Afrique du Nord libres et laiques, lancé par les citoyens et particulièrelent les femmes de la région.

La laicité est le pré-requis minimum pour assurer la liberté et l’égalité de tous les citoyens, et cela inclue:
1. la totale separation de la religion et de l’état.
2. l’abolition des lois religieuses en matière familiale et dans le code penal.
3. la séparation de la religion et du système d’éducation.
4. la liberté de religion et d’athéisme, définis comme croyances personnelles.
5. l’interdiction de l’apartheid sexuel et du voile obligatoire.

ARABIC
بيان من أجل شرق اوسط وشمال افريقيا علمانية
إن احتجاجات إيران عام 2009 والربيع العربي الذي أعقبها تحمل أملاً بفجر جديد لشعوب المنطقة وللعالم. لقد أظهرت الاحتجاجات بشكل واضح أن شعوب المنطقة، كغيرها من شعوب العالم، تسعي لحياه تواكب متطلبات القرن الحادي والعشرين.
نحن، الموقعون أدناه، نؤكد على البعد الحديث والإنساني لهذه الثورات ونرحب ترحيبا حارا بهذا التطور التاريخي الكبير. ونحن نعارض بشدّة سلب مكتسبات هذه الثورات سواء كان ذلك على يد الحركات الإسلامية أو السياسات العسكريتارية بقيادة امريكا، ونؤيد الدعوة لقيام شرق أوسط وشمال إفريقيا علمانية بارادة المواطنين في المنطقة وخاصة النساء.
إن العلمانية تمثّل الحد الأدنى من أجل تحقيق حرية ومساواة كل المواطنين، ويشمل ذلك:
1. فصل الدين عن الدولة فصلاً تاما.
2. إلغاء التشريعات الدينية الخاصة بالأسرة والتشريعات المدنية والجنائية.
3. فصل الدين عن النظام التعليمي.
4. حرية الدين والإلحاد كمعتقدات شخصية.
5. منع سياسة التمييز الجنسي والحجاب الإجباري.

PERSIAN
مانیفست برای خاورمیانه- شمال آفریفای سکولار

مبارزات سال 88 (2009 میلادی) در ایران و در پی آن “بهار عربی” این ظرفیت را دارد که طلوعی تازه را به مردم منطقه و جهان نوید دهد. اعتراضات به روشنی میدهد که مردم این منطقه، نظیر مردم هر جای دیگر، خواهان یک زندگی قرن بیست و یکمی هستند.

ما امضاء کنندگان زیر بر ابعاد انسانی و مدرن این مبارزات تاکید میگذاریم و با تمام وجود از این تحول عظیم تاریخی استقبال میکنیم. ما قاطعانه مخالفت خود را با مصادره این انقلابات و مبارزات توسط اسلام گرایی و یا میلیتاریسم (دولتی) تحت رهبری آمریکا اعلام میداریم و از فراخوان “یک خاورمیانه و شمال آفریقای آزاد و سکولار” حمایت میکنیم که توسط شهروندان این منطقه بویژه زنان مطرح شده است.

سکولاریسم پیش شرط حداقل برای آزادی و برابری همه شهروندان و دربرگیرنده این مفاد است:
١- جدائی کامل مذهب از دولت.
٢- الغای قوانین مذهبی در قوانین خانواده، مدنی و جنایی.
٣- جدائی مذهب از سیستم آموزش و پرورش.
٤- آزادی مذهب و بی مذهبی بعنوان اعتقادات شخصی.
٥- ممنوعیت آپارتاید جنسی و حجاب اجباری.

For more information, contact:
Marieme Helie Lucas
Maryam Namazie
Telephone: +44 (0) 7719166731
For a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa
Email: [email protected]
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK

Judge Islamism’s apologists for yourselves

Finally, the British Humanist Association has made available video footage of the panel discussion on Islam in a Secular Europe, which you can see for yourselves below.

If you recall, I blogged about it earlier saying give me an Islamist any day – at least they are more honest!

Now you can see for yourselves whether Humeira Iqtida (author of Secularising Islamists) and Maleiha Malik (professor of law) are really – as I said – textbook cases of apologists for Islamism.

Well at least you can see whether Humeira Iqtida is since – wait for it – Maleiha Malik asked for her interventions to be deleted and of course the BHA kindly obliged! We shouldn’t be too judgmental though, it must have been hard for someone who hides behind academia to see themselves so exposed…

Passion for Freedom and Sharia and Children Act

Passion for Freedom: Breaking the last taboo

The recent murders of Syrian poet and song writer Ibrahim Qashoush and Iraqi playwright and filmmaker Hadi al-Mahdi, as well as the sentence of one year in jail and 90 lashes to actress Marzieh Vafamehr, and the six-year jail sentence and 20-year filmmaking and travel ban against international award-winning Iranian director Jafar Panahi, amongst others, demands serious attention.

In the west, whilst artists are very often free to express themselves, many nonetheless face huge amounts of pressure for addressing matters deemed ‘offensive’. Artists Sooreh Hera in the Netherlands and Lee-Anne Raymond and Demetrios Vakras in Australia come to mind, raising serious questions about tolerance of dissent, particularly when it comes to criticising religion and that which is taboo.

Criticism of religion is not racist. In fact open disagreement and the freedom to criticise tradition, culture and religion are essential for social progress. Turning a blind eye to the wrongs, threats and injustices committed by religion and religious states and laws is unfair to the innumerable people who are wronged, threatened and treated unjustly. No religion should be immune to criticism.

One Law for All unequivocally supports artists’ freedom of expression to address taboo issues wherever they may be and invites the public to our 2011 Passion for Freedom Art Festival showcasing a shortlist of international artists discussing the taboo through painting, drawing, sculpture, film and installation.

To attend the private view on Saturday 29 October 2011, 18.00 – 21.00 hours at UNIT24 Gallery, 24 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0FD (Transport Underground stations: Southwark), RSVP your name and mobile number. For more information on the week-long exhibition, visit here.

Sharia and the Children Act

One Law for All will host a seminar on Sharia Law and the Children Act on 22 November 2011 from 18.30-20.30 hours at Conway Hall to explore the terms of the Children Act and whether these are compatible with the tenets and practice of sharia law. The seminar 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. In addition, One Law for All will provide information on Catholic Canon Law and how this has been used to facilitate the continued abuse of children in Catholic institutions. Speakers include: Sue Cox, Survivors Voice Europe; Anne Marie Hutchinson, Dawson Cornwell Solicitors; Maryam Namazie, One Law for All; Diana Nammi, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation; and Yasmin Rehman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Domestic Violence Intervention Project. The seminar will be chaired by Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All.

For more information or to pre-register for the seminar, visit here.

NOTES

1. To donate to the crucial work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal.

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 here.

2. 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. To join the campaign, sign our petition here.

3. For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters
Spokespersons
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
[email protected]
www.onelawforall.org.uk

99% Movement is about a lot more than Greed

I’ve started my TV programmes again – yaay. They will be broadcast weekly on Thursday via New Channel TV.

In this week’s programme, I speak to the brilliant Hamid Taqvaee on the 99% movement, on the economic system, parliamentary democracy and socialism.

If you have any comments, post them here or email me so I can address the issues you raise in future programmes.

Next week’s programme is on the Arab Spring.

From Wall Street to Every Street

Revolution against Capitalism is Raging!

The revolution that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East have inspired millions in Europe; In Greece, Italy, Spain, England, France, and in North America; New York, Portland, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, and in Australia in Sydney and in Auckland, New Zealand, and in Tokyo, Japan, and in many others.

The essence of this international uprising is the protest against capitalism. It is the uprising of the deprived humanity against the oppression and greed of capitalism. It is also the uprising against corruption and the complete inability of this system to answer for the needs of the people. This revolutionary uprising will not be delayed by the plots of the owners’ class, neither by its soft talk, nor by its military threats and wars.

The International bourgeoisie has been trying, since the fall of the two pole system some 20 years ago, to regain its balance through creating another terrorist pole, another monster that it had dragged from the dirts of the Middle East, in order to put as a competitor in its military slaughter. But the camp of humanity today has come forward and is currently protesting in many countries around the world, and clearly announces that it does exist in the face of these two monsters. It announces that it can no longer accept the attacks and atrocities of capitalists, not by Islamic nationalist capitalists in North Africa and the Middle East, not by the Liberal, conservatives, and neo-conservatives in Europe, the US, Japan, and elsewhere. It has decided that it stops this brutal force from attacking people’s livelihood and strongly strike back.

In Iraq, the situation is very tense. The rate of unemployment has reached rocket-high levels. People are hungry and deprived of basic services and of any hope in the future. All infra-structure has been destroyed.The Youth are in dismay and have no clear future. The state in Iraq is a state of robbers, looters, gangs of Islamic terrorist thugs who serve the interests of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and of course, the US. The state in Iraq, with the support of Western governments, is intimidating the egalitarian, women, and workers activists, following a policy of kidnap and assassination. The time for these thugs to go has come.

Our party salutes the revolutionary uprisings that sweep the world from Athens and London, to New York and Los Angeles and Toronto, from San’a in Yemen to Tunisia, through Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo and Ben Ghazi, the revolution is gaining momentum. Our party considers itself one of the forces of social revolution for a better world, a freer and more humane world. Our party also salutes the uprising of the people of Iraq for freedom and equality and human dignity and call them to strengthen their ranks to overthrow the gangs imposed by the US after swamping millions in their own blood.

Victory to the Peoples’ Revolution for Freedom, Equality, and Human Dignity!
Down with Capitalism!
Forward for a Better and Socialist World !

The Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq – LWPI
18-10-2011

Issam Shukri

Help save the NHS

Over 400,000 people have signed the petition to save the NHS. This Thursday, 38 Degrees will meet with key Lib Dem members of the House of Lords. They’ll be taking their independent legal experts to discuss the alarming impact the government’s plans could have on the NHS and want to hand in a copy of the Save our NHS petition. They want to collect half million signatures by tomorrow so please sign up here if you haven’t yet.

Secularists must stand up to Islamism!

Below is the text of my speech at the 17 September 2011 rally for a secular Europe in London. You can see video footage of the speech here.

Secularism is an important demand. Secularism is the strict separation of religion from the state. There aren’t 20 definitions of secularism. I know religious groups and their supporters are trying to water down the concept in order to push back secularism but we mustn’t allow them.

We need secularism more today than ever. We need it.

Of course in a secular society people who are religious or not have a right to believe in what they want.

But don’t forget religion in the state, and educational and judicial system has nothing to do with belief; it has to do with political power. And therefore, this fight is first and foremost a battle against religion in political power.

Let’s be frank. There is a demand for the separation of religion from the state because it is harmful when it is part of the state. Because as I often say, like cigarettes religion should come with a health warning: Religion Kills. It kills. And Islam is central to this debate on secularism. It is central; please stop tiptoeing around it.

In my opinion we are living under an Islamic inquisition today. This movement is hanging gays in city centres and stoning women to death in the 21st century. This is not a private religious belief; it is an Islamic inquisition.

With regards Christianity today, it is not that its tenets, dogmas or principles have changed since the days of the inquisition. Its social status, its relation to the state, educational and judicial systems has changed as a result of the enlightenment so that today it seems – only seems – cuddlier. We can see from sexual abuse survivor Sue Cox’s testimony and that of others how harmful it still is depending on its influence and access to power.

As I said before, Islam today is not just a personal belief; it is a political movement with state power in many places. Opposing Islamism and Sharia law or the burka is not an attack on minorities. Don’t forget Islamism is a global movement. Moreover it is not an attack on minorities to defend their rights to equality, to non-discrimination and to living as equal citizens under the law.

The pro-Islamist lobby, including some on the Left, humanists, and feminists keep excusing Sharia courts as people’s right to religion. It’s not. In a Sharia court, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s. A sharia judge has said ‘there is no such thing as marital rape; calling it rape is the aggression.’ Domestic violence is seen as the prerogative of the husband. Child custody is given to the father at a preset age irrespective of the welfare of the child. This is Sharia’s family law. Would you accept canon law for people in this country? No. So we cannot and must not accept sharia law or the Beth Din for people either.

They say the burka is a form of clothing; yes if you accept the chastity belt as a form of clothing. Yes, if you accept foot binding as a form of footwear, then yes the burka is a form of clothing. Rather, it is a symbol of the oppression and suppression of women. How can anyone who defends women’s rights support it?

This is not a question of identity: Muslims against everyone else. It’s about politics and choice. There are many Muslims who are more secularist than a large majority of people in Britain. The greatest opponents against Islamism are people living under, suffering under, and resisting Sharia law day in and day out. We need to choose to be on their side and support them.

This is not a question of culture. It is in fact racist to say that people because they were born in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or their grandparents were born there and they are citizens for several generations now don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else. That’s racist. It’s not racist to oppose Sharia law.

There is a far-Right that discriminates against Muslims. We have to stand up to the far-Right. Don’t forget Islamism is our far-Right. They are one and the same; two sides of the same coin. We have to push back both of them.

We have to choose. No more tiptoeing around. There is an anti-Islamic inquisition enlightenment taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Where are the secularists defending them? We need to be vocal. They will bring Islamism over the heads of people who have resisted and opposed Islamism and shown their lives are antithetical to Islamism. Libya for example – as a result of NATO’s intervention, the transitional government has said it will bring sharia law. We secularists have to say no. It’s not about a secular Europe; it’s about a secular world.

It’s not about western versus eastern. Secularism is the demand of many people who have never come to the west. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani facing death by stoning in Iran wants to live; she doesn’t want to be stoned. We must choose. Do we choose to be on the side of Sakineh or the Islamic Republic of Iran that wants to stone her? Do we side with Sharia courts in this country or women who want equality?

Secularists must choose and they must be at the forefront of defending the rights of people everywhere against Islamism – today’s Islamic inquisition.

Iran Solidarity Stall at Frankfurt Book Fair 12-16 October

Iran Solidarity has a stall at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair from 12 – 16 of October!

After Brazil, we are continuing with our Iran Solidarity Tour, this time in Frankfurt, Germany – raising awareness of the situation of people in Iran and protesting the fact that the Islamic regime of Iran will be present at the book fair with a stall of their own.

It is quite unbelievable that a regime that brutally kills off free expression and those who use it, that forbids women to sing in public, a regime that bans and censures books, films and the media in the tradition of the vilest dictatorships will be able to freely spread their views and propaganda at the fair. No doubt this will be done displaying a show of civility that the Islamic regime hardly shows to its own people. In the name of representing ‘Iranian culture’ we will see some well dressed, smiling henchmen of the very regime that has just honoured Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr with 90 lashes and one year in prison for playing in the film ‘My Tehran for sale’ which was first given permission (yes, films need to be approved by the regime) but subsequently banned. Inside Iran, the regime imprisons writers, journalists and directors – abroad it takes part in the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Iranian regime’s only claim to culture is that of a culture of censorship and brutality – and its representatives shall not be allowed to run around and speak freely when the Iranian people as a whole are not.

We are very pleased that we will be there as a voice of information and protest and we will do our utmost to let every single visitor know about the brutality, misogyny and criminal character of the Islamic regime of Iran and the frankly quite outrageous fact that the Islamic regime has been allowed to have their own stall at the book fair.

Please come and say hello!

For more information please contact:
In Germany
Shahnaz Morattab (Deutsch, Farsi)
+49 (0) 15774650186
Email: [email protected]

or
Patty Debonitas (English, Deutsch)
+44 (0) 7435156444
Email: [email protected]

Multiculturalism Conference must oppose all forms of fascism – including Islamism

Press Release
11 October 2011

On Saturday 15 October 2011 a National Conference to Celebrate Diversity and Multiculturalism is being jointly held in London by One Society Many Cultures and Unite Against Fascism. The conference describes its aims as opposing Islamophobia and racism.

One Law for All condemns racism and hatred unequivocally, and rejects the racist and violent politics of groups such as the English Defence League (EDL). We also reject the far-right hatred of Islamist groups such as Hizb ut Tahrir and Muslims Against Crusades and reject attempts to silence criticism of Islamism under the guise of multiculturalism or Islamophobia.

We are concerned that the practice of multiculturalism, as it is being manifested in Britain today, allows a blind eye to be turned to the human rights abuses often perpetrated against people within minority communities; in particular the oppression and mistreatment of women and girls. Sharia law, forced marriages, female genital mutilation and the increased forced veiling of women and girls must be condemned as human rights abuses and not legitimised in the name of culture or pluralism.

One Law for All calls on this conference, and its organisers, to condemn the mistreatment of women and girls irrespective of their cultural, religious or ethnic background. We call on them also to oppose all far-right fascism and hate, including the misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, theocratic and violent rhetoric of Islamist fascists, and to express a full commitment to the advancement of rights, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech of all people.

Notes:

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.

For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters
Spokespersons
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
[email protected]
www.onelawforall.org.uk

October 10: International Day against the Death Penalty

Listen to Hamid Taqvaee’s brief message in Persian to mark the International Day against the Death Penalty.

He says: Capital punishment is the state’s act of pre-medidated murder. They call it justice but it has nothing to do with jutice. The aim of capital publishement is to assert control and instill fear in the population at large.

Unite Against Facism is anti-fascist in name only; we are today’s anti-fascists

I received this email today from Peter Flack:

As a supporter of One Law for all – a colleague and I attended the first demonstration and Maryam attended our union branch in Leicester – I was concerned at a picture circulating on Facebook showing what are clearly EDL supporters standing with One Law for All Placards.

I have attached the picture. It appeared on the page of the local UAF Secretary, making no distinction between OLFA and EDL. Given the readiness of the SWP to join with Muslims against Crusades on the grounds they are ‘victims of Islamophobia’ i think it is important to get a clear repudiation of EDL out, while making it clear that opposition to Sharia Law, Female Genital Mutilation etc is neither racist nor Islamophobic but about the rights of women to be treated equally before the law.

The page it appeared on was that of Tom Mycock, from Leicester.

Here is my response:

We can’t stop people from downloading our materials and using them; we have posters and resources available for download from our website. But have a very clear position on the EDL and the far-Right – see our recent report entitled Enemies not Allies: the Far Right. We attack the far-Right every chance we get. After all, Islamism is our far-Right and we see no fundamental difference between the EDL, Stop Islamisation of Europe and America or the BNP on the one hand and the Islamists on the other.

Islamists also carry UAF placards. I saw it myself when they joined Al-Muhajiroun’s and Muslims against Crusades’ counter-demonstration against us at our rally against Sharia and religious laws and for secularism in June 2010 whilst shouting Allah-o-Akbar.

The difference though is that whilst we have a zero tolerance for the EDL and its likes, the UAF actively supports Islamic fascists against ordinary Muslims and others.

The UAF secretary may make no distinction between One Law for All and the EDL but that is due to political dishonesty. The reality is that the UAF is anti-fascist in name only.

We are today’s real anti-fascists – against the European far-Right and also its Islamist version.

2011 Passion for Freedom Art Festival

One Law for All presents its 2011 Passion for Freedom Art Festival showcasing a shortlist of international artists discussing religion, equality and one secular law for all through painting, drawing, sculpture, film and installation.

Exhibited artists are Sandra Ackermann, Karin Roy Andersson, Eskild Beck, Milena Buljan, Victoria Burgher, Edna Cantoral Acosta, Magdalena Czubak Vlasak, Fiona Dent, ARINA, Heather MCDonald, Roland Okon, Despina Papadopoulou, Polina Pakhomova, Mario Raoli, Steve Rosenthal, Flora Robertson, Axelle Russo, Govinda Sah, Karine Schneider, Fianne Stanford, Paula Stevens-Hoare, Zoe Sua Kay, Valeriya Vygodnaya, Ewa Zasada, and Artur Zarczynski.

Competition judges include Polly Toynbee (Writer and Columnist), Francisco Laranjo (Artist and Head of School of Arts at Porto University) and Deeyah (Singer and Composer).

Private View: Saturday 29 October 2011, 18.00 – 21.00 hours

Gallery: UNIT24 Gallery, 24 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0FD (Transport Underground stations: Southwark)

Exhibition: 29 October – 5 November 2011
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday 8.00 – 18.00 hours; Thursday – Friday 8.00 – 18.30 hours

To RSVP for the private viewing, please email your name and mobile number to [email protected]

For more information, visit Passion for Freedom website.

Passion for Freedom Art Competition, Second Edition, 2010

Passion for Freedom Art Competition, First Edition, 2009

NOTES

To donate to the crucial work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal.

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 here.

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. To join the campaign, sign our petition here.

For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters
Spokespersons
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
[email protected]
www.onelawforall.org.uk

Danish police arrest 14 at a demonstration in front of Iranian embassy!

Today, October 5, 2011 a group of opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran were arrested in Copenhagen, Denmark. Peaceful protesters were only displaying placard in objection to recent arrest of labour activists in Iran when they themselves were arrested.

The police have refused information regarding the whereabouts and charges against the Iranian activists, three of whom are female.

Names of detainees:
1. Kuhestan Mazhari
2. Mehran Majidi
3. Salam Sheykhi
4. Asrin Vaseli
5. Tala Chalambari
6. Saman Rostami
7. Hiva
8. Shayan
9. Soleyman
10. Amir

So far there is no information on the other four.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) condemns the outrageously unjust arrest of Iranian protestors; it is a clear violation of the right to protest. The WPI demands the immediate release of all detainees as they have not committed any crime! They were merely objecting to the crimes of the Islamic regime of Iran in a peaceful action.

Please send protest letters to the Danish police at [email protected] demanding the immediate release of the detainees.

Worker-communist Party of Iran – Organization Abroad
October 5, 2011

For more information about the detainees, and to help, please contact Hasan Salehi on: 0046703171102; [email protected] We welcome legal advice and are determined to organize protests in case there is a delay in their release!