Upcoming Events

Here are a few upcoming events that are either organised by the Council of Ex-Muslims and One Law for All or are by others in which I am speaking. More details can be found here.

16 March 2015, central London by Kings Cross station, 19:00-21:00 hours
International Women’s Day CEMB and One Law for All evening drinks with Pragna Patel from Southall Black Sisters.
£3 entry (waged); £1 entry (unwaged). E-mail exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com to register.

19 March 2015
NE Humanists Event, Newcastle
Maryam Namazie will be speaking in Newcastle.

23 March 2015, Trinity College Dublin
Maryam will be speaking on Apostasy and the Rise of Islamism.

27-31 March 2015
Marea Feminist Review Anniversary, Italy
Maryam Namazie will be speaking at the anniversary celebrations of a feminist review in Genoa, Torino and Imola, Italy with Inna Shevchenko, Nadia El Fani, Marieme Helie Lucas and others. [Read more…]

And still I rise

FARSI AND FRENCH BELOW

Maryam1b copy

Maryam2

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Commemorating 8 March, International Women’s Day
Maryam Namazie

Islam, like all religions, despises women.

Islamism and its Sharia laws are obsessed with controlling and restricting women.

Under their rule, the “perfect” woman knows “her place”: veiled, segregated, erased from the public space. She is the “disappeared”. Bound and gagged. Not seen or heard.

For the Islamists, being a free woman is the greatest crime.

So yes I am a free woman. I am a Kafir. Je Suis Charlie, Neda, Avijit, Salwa, Sadiq, Sameera, Rafiq, Monir, Katia*… the innumerable slaughtered over many decades in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

But still I rise.

I am, we are, Islamism’s greatest threat – a women’s liberation movement that will bring them – from ISIS to the Saudi and Iranian regimes – to their knees.

*****
* In January 2015, Islamists attacked Left satirical publication Charlie Hebdo for their caricatures of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, killing 17 in Paris, including at a Kosher supermarket.
* In June 2009, Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot dead by the Islamic regime of Iran at a mass demonstration in Tehran and became an icon of the protest movement.
* In February 2015, atheist Avijit Roy, 42, was hacked to death in Bangladesh because of writings critical of Islam.
* In June 2014, Libyan rights activist Salwa Bugaighis, 51, was shot dead in Benghazi for opposing the Islamists.
* In September 1992, Sadiq Abdul-Karim Malallah was publicly beheaded in al-Qatif for apostasy and blasphemy.
* In September 2014, women’s rights activist Samira Salih al-Nuaimi, 54, was seized from her home by ISIS after her messages on Facebook criticising the destruction of religious sites in Mosul and publicly executed for apostasy.
* In November 2011, Azerbaijani writer and journalist Rafiq Tagi, 61, was assassinated by Islamists in Baku. He had a death fatwa against him for his writings deemed critical of Islam and Mohammad, Islam’s prophet.
* In August 1983, Monir Hashemi, 29, a communist political activist, was executed in Iran along with her husband, Javad Ghaedi and her brother-in-law Sadegh Ghaedi.
* In February 1994, Islamists ambushed and killed Katia Bengana, 17, as she left school in Algeria. She had been warned to wear the hijab and had refused.

Photos and bodypainting by Victoria Gugenheim.

در گراميداشت ۸ مارس٬ روز جهانى زن
مريم نمازى

اسلام٬ مانند تمام مذاهب٬ از زن متنفر است.

كنترل زن مركز ثقل اسلام سياسى و قوانين شريعه است.

تحت حاکميت اسلاميون٬ زن ايده آل زنى است محجبه٬ مطيع٬ فرمانبردار. محو از ملا عام. “ناپديد” شده. اسير و خاموش.

براى اسلاميون٬ زن آزاد بودن٬ بزرگترين جرم است.

بنابراين، آرى من زن آزادم. کافرم. من چارلى٬ ندا٬ آويجيت٬ سلوى٬ صادق٬ سميرا٬ رافق٬ منير٬ کاتيا*… هستم – قتل عام شدگان بيشمار طى دهه ها در خاورميانه٬ آفريقاى شمالى و آسيا.

اما هنوز بر خيزم.

من و ما٬ بزرگترين تهديد عليه اسلاميون ميباشيم . جنبش رهائى بخش زنان آنان را – از داعش تا جمهورى اسلامى ايران تا رژيم عربستان سعودى – به زانو خواهد آورد.

***

* در ژانویه سال ۲۰۱۵، اسلاميون به نشريه چپ شارلی ابدو جمله کردند و ۱۷ نفر را در پاريس ترور کردند.
* در ماه ژوئن سال ۲۰۰۹، ندا آقا سلطان توسط عوامل رژیم اسلامی ایران در یک تظاهرات توده ای در تهران به ضرب گلوله کشته شد و به یک مظهر جنبش اعتراضی تبدیل شد.
* در فوريه ۲۰۱۵ اسلاميون آويجيت راى را به خاطر نوشته هاى انتقادي اش ازاسلام در بنگلادش به قتل رساندند.
* در ژوين ۲۰۱۴ فعال حقوق بشر سلوى بوقعيقيص را اسلاميون در ليبى ترور کردند.
* صادق عبد کریم مال‌الله در سال ۱۹۹۲ در عربستان سعودى بخاطر ارتداد و توهین به مقدسات اعدام شد.
اعدام شد. * در سپتامبر ۲۰۱۴ سمیرا صالح النعیمی فعال حقوق بشر بعد از انتقاد به داعش براى تخریب اماکن مذهبی در موصل در فیس بوک بشر
* در نوامبر ۲۰۱۱، نویسنده آذربایجانى رافق تقی توسط اسلاميون در باکو ترور شد.
* در سال ۱۹۸۳، منیر هاشمی، یک فعال سیاسی کمونیست، در ایران به همراه همسرش، جواد قائدی و برادر همسرش صادق قائدی اعدام شد.
* در سال ۱۹۹۴ کاتىا بنگانا شاگرد ۱۷ ساله به خاطر رد کردن حجاب در الجزاير ترور شد.

عکسها و نقاشى بدن: ويکتوريا گوگنهايم.

French, thanks to FEMEN France

“L’islam, comme toutes les religions, méprise les femmes.

L’islamisme et ses lois de la charia sont obsédés par le contrôle et la restriction des femmes.

Sous leur domination, la femme “parfaite” connait “sa place”: voilée, victime de ségrégation, effacée de l’espace public. Elle est absente : ligotée et bâillonnée . Ni vue ni entendue.

Selon les islamistes, être une femme libre est le plus grand des crimes.

Alors oui, je suis une femme libre. Je suis un kafir. Je Suis Charlie, Neda, Avijit, Salwa, Sadiq, Sameera, Rafiq, Monir, Katia * … les innombrables abattus sur plusieurs décennies au Moyen-Orient, Afrique du Nord et en Asie.

Mais encore une fois, je me lève.

Je suis, nous sommes, la plus grande menace pour l’islamisme – le mouvement de libération des femmes qui le fera tomber”.

This is how you blast Islamists at your university

If you want to know how one should deal with the Islamists entering British Universities under every cover other than promotion of the Caliphate, watch Reza Moradi. This is the way to do it!

Here’s what Reza says: The University and College Union (@UCU) invited Mohammed Kozbar (Muslim Association of Britain Vice President) to speak at @Londonmentuni in a panel on immigration! Diane Abbott (Labour MP) and Sally Hunt (UCU General Secretary) sat very comfortably with the MAB representative,despite the MAB’s links with the Muslim Brotherhood, its defence of death by stoning for adultery and support for the death penalty for apostates such as me. MAB is what is known as a “soft” Islamist organisation, normalising and justifying terrorism, the Caliphate and Sharia rules.

I am outraged that my union would share a panel with, and promote, an Islamist organisation in this way. This is not standing with immigrants and refugees – many of whom have fled the brutality of Islamists in our own countries, including myself and of course many Muslims.

The Unions’s job is to address the many issues we face in our workplace and to help people work for a more just and humane society. They have no reason or excuse for allying with the religious-Right anywhere in this remit. This relationship is very shameful for my union and for all those who welcome groups like the MAB as friends onto panels like these. Islamism is our fascism and the union should stand against all forms of fascism without any exceptions.

Given this collusion and legitimisation of Islamism within this dominant strand of the postmodernist Left, it is unsurprising to see the Islamist influence at our universities. These so called left wing groups need to understand that the Muslim Association of Britain is not the representatives of Muslims or refugees and immigrants any more than the EDL or BNP are representatives of the British students in the university. It represents a political far-Right movement that should be opposed by academics and students alike. The University should not become a welcoming space for fascists of any stripes.

Here’s an article on Reza blasting the pro-stoning speaker.

And if you don’t know about the disgusting Muslim Association of Britain, read One Law for All’s report on them here.

UNHCR India: Marzieh and Javed need to reach safety

If you would like to support Marzieh and Javed, please sign in the comments section of this post and your name will be added to the list before being forward to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in India. Thank you.

URGENT ACTION

Marzieh Hosseinpoor (case number 513-05C00255) and Javed Riazi Ahmad Saraei (case number 513-00074683) have been granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in India. Marzieh registered in 2005, making it nearly ten years since applying for protection.

Marzieh is an apostate from Islam having converted to Christianity. Apostasy is punishable by death in Iran.

Moreover, during her stay in India, she has been raped and assaulted and faced threats by what she believes were agents of the Islamic regime of Iran. As a result, she has been depressed and suicidal.

Her husband whom she met in India is living in pain with arthritis which he requires physiotherapy for.

After ten years of a life in limbo, we, the undersigned, call on the UNHCR to expedite their resettlement to a safe third country. Clearly, given Marzieh’s horrendous experiences, it is crucial that she be able to live in a safer and more stable environment.

Signatories:
Aliyah Saleem, Activist for a Secular Education
Chris Moos, Secularist Activist and Researcher
Dilip Simeon, Labour Historian
Fariborz Pooya, Head of Federation of Iranian Refugees UK and Host of Bread and Roses TV
Gita Sahgal, Executive Director of Centre for Secular Space
Hoshiar Soroush, Activist
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian
Lila Ghobady, Filmmaker
Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Mehran Mahbobi , Children Rights Activist
Nadia El Fani, Filmmaker
Nina Sankari, Vice President of Atheist Coalition Poland
Pascal Descamps, Activist
Paul V. Dudman, Archivist for Refugee Research Council Archive, University of East London, UK
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Rumana Hashem, Post-doctoral Associate at Centre for Research on Migration, Refugee and Belonging, University of East London
Safwan Mason, Council of Ex-Muslims of New Zealand
Shelley Segal, Singer/Songwriter
Sultana Kamal, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist

Bread and Roses TV: Syriza, Avijit, men in miniskirts and fatwa proving earth doesn’t spin

Watch this week’s Bread and Roses TV with Fariborz Pooya and Maryam Namazie

Syriza’s victory in Greece
3 March 2015
Interview with James Bloodworth, editor of Left Foot Forward
Background: Syriza’s victory in Greece is a triumph against austerity measures that has brought with it great hardship, including 26 per cent unemployment. The bailout of Greek banks by the Troika (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) in 2010 meant that the Greek government was granted €240bn on the condition it implemented a brutal austerity programme.
Shocking New of the week: the hacking to death of Avijit Roy in Bangladesh
Insane Fatwa of the week: Saudi cleric “proves” earth does not spin
Good News of the week: Men wear miniskirts to defend women’s rights
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Khosro Gharib

موفقيت سيريزا در يونان
برنامه نان و گل سرخ
۴ مارس ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با جيمز بلادورت؛ سردبير نشريه چپ
پيروزي حزب سريزا در يونان در مخالفت با سياست رياضت اقتصادي، سياستي كه نتيجه ان بوجود آوردن فلاكت وسيع اجتماعي از جمله بيكاري بيش از ٢٦٪ بود. كمك هاي مالي بانك جهاني ، اتحاديه اروپا و صندوق مركزي اروپا به بانكهاي يونان تنها به شرط اجراي سياست خشن رياضت اقتصادي و تحميل ان به جامعه يونان مورد موافقت قرار گرفته بود.
اخبار تکاندهنده: کشتن آويجيت راى در بنگلادش
فتواى اخمقانه: از عربستان سعودى و “ثابت” شدن اينکه زمين نمى چرخد!
اخبار خوب: تطاهراتها در دفاع از حقوق زن از سوى مردان با دامن کوتاه در ترکيه
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
مترجم: خسرو قريب

Greece at a historical crossroads

I am posting this article on Greece by Hamid Taqvaee, which has now been translated into English.

The election of an anti-austerity government in Greece is a political milestone for the working class; a moment in the process of a struggle, which, though rooted in the urban revolts of 2008, specifically began with the May 2010 protests against welfare cuts. This struggle not only hasn’t ended yet, but with the election of Syriza, has entered a new and critical stage. Austerity – the issue at the heart of this struggle – is directly related to the conflict between labour and capital, not only in Greece, but throughout the world. This conflict will ultimately become polarised around the question of the very survival of capitalism as an economic system. However, at the beginning, and as long as the question of political power, from a class point of view, has not been resolved, this conflict will retain a political character. The question is: the perspective and politics of which class will ultimately prevail and be established as the general expectation and perception of the mode and structure of political power and the state?

The governmental crisis of the bourgeoisie

The bourgeoisie lacks a viable model of governance. The deadend of the traditional governments and parties in Greece, notwithstanding the active support of the EU and all the major international institutions, resulting in their defeat from a party they call ‘extreme left’ and ‘destabilising’, is the clearest proof of the bourgeoisie’s lack of a governmental alternative. However, the governmental crisis of the bourgeoisie is not limited to Greece. The bourgeoisie’s strategic institutions, think tanks and advisers, such as the World Bank, the IMF, the Economist, etc., ever since the collapse of Wall Street in the winter of 2008, have been talking about the impossibility of continuing the status quo, about a ‘crisis of democracy’, people’s desertion of the mainstream parties and a general mistrust towards the established system of government, specifically in the United States and Europe. They accurately show that not only is there no prospect for improving the present conditions, but the situation is increasingly getting worse.

In a briefing to the World Economic Forum at Davos last year, Oxfam reported that the minority economic elite, in collaboration with the political elite, had driven the world to a state where “the bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world”. Also, a survey by Oxfam conducted in Brazil, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA, showed that “a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich”, and that opposition to monopolisation of power in the hands of a privileged wealthy minority is growing. [Read more…]

Support ‘immoral’ and ‘corrupt’ Bread and Roses

Support Bread & Roses TV or NanoGoleSorkh, a taboo-breaking, free-thinking weekly programme broadcast in Iran via New Channel TV and available on Youtube, which the Islamic regime of Iran has labelled “corrupt” & “immoral”. You know you want to. Here is how you can do so.

از برنامه نان و گل سرخ که جمهورى اسلامى فاسد دانسته حمايت کنيد و اسپانسور هفتگى برنامه بشويد از طريق سايت پاتريون
مى دونيد که دلتان مى خواهد

Like Mukto-muna, we are united in our grief and remain undefeated

SIGN BELOW STATEMENT HERE.

We are outraged by the senseless and brutal hacking to death of well known scientist, atheist and writer Avijit Roy and the serious attack on his wife and blogger, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, by Islamists in Bangladesh.

Avijit had received numerous threats over the years for publishing articles critical of Islam, and promoting secular views, science and social issues on the Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind), which he founded. He had travelled to Bangladesh from the US to attend a book fair where his book “The Virus of Faith” was being launched. It was whilst he was returning from the fair, that he was brutally killed.

This is not the first time atheists and secularists have been attacked in Bangladesh. In addition to the well known threats received by writer Taslima Nasrin, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed and Ahmed Rajib killed in 2013. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a secular writer and professor at Dhaka University, was also attacked and later died.

Whilst Islamists have continued to threaten prominent bloggers and called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”, the Bangladeshi government has done little to defend the lives and security of freethinkers. In 2013, the government even arrested bloggers and shut websites down instead of arresting the Islamists involved.

We stand united in our grief for Avijit Roy with Mukto-muna but remain undefeated. We unequivocally condemn the attack on Avijit and his wife and also the many threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to prosecute the Islamists involved, guarantee the safety of dissenters and respect free expression. Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

We are all Avijit.

Initial Signatories [Read more…]

Who is responsible for Paris and Copenhagen

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya is on who is responsible for the terrorist attacks on Paris and Copenhagen. FARSI BELOW.

Following Paris and Copenhagen, the reasons behind the terrorist attacks have debated. Those on the far-Right and bigoted Right will say it is because of Muslim immigration whilst the anti-imperialist Left will blame US militarism and racism in Europe as the cause for terrorism. In fact, Islamism, the far-Right fascist movement is directly responsible for the attacks.
We show Maryam Namazie’s tribute to Charlie and others at the 2015 Secular Conference
Shocking News of the Week: Saman Nasim
Insane Fatwa: Khamenei
Good News: Mahin Alipour gets awarded as “hero of the day” by Swedish magazine

کى مقصر است براى حملات تروريستى در پاريس و کپنهاگ
۲۵ فوريه ۲۰۱۵
سخنرانى مريم نمازى در کنفرانس ۷ فوريه لندن در مورد حق و نياز انتقاد از اسلام: براى چارلى هبدو و چارى ها
در مورد برنامه: بدنبال حملات تروريستي در پاريس و كپنهاگ ، بررسي علل اين حملات به موضوع بحث و گفتگوي داغ تبديل شده است. راست افراطي و متعصب ، علت اين حملات را مهاجرت مسلمانان به اروپا ميداند. از جانب ديگر، چپ پست مدرنيست و ضد امپرياليستي، ميليتاريسم امريكا و راسيسم در اروپا را باعث و باني تروريسم اسلامي مي دانند. در واقع اسلام سياسي بعنوان يك جنبش فاشيستي و دست راستي مقصر است.
اخبار تکاندهنده: سامان نسيم
فتواى احمقانه: از خامنه اى
خبر خوب: جايزه قهرمان روز مهين علىپور

Two Brothers, Ali and Habib Afshari were executed on the same day!

See statement of International Committee against Execution below:

On Friday, February 20th the Afshari family was informed that these two political prisoners, Ali Afshari and Habibollah Afshari were hanged on Thursday morning.

ICAE News Agency: Within the past two days, six political prisoners who were on death row were transferred to an unknown location and the news of execution of two of them was confirmed this morning.

The agents of the Ministry of Information instructed the Afshari family to conduct the memorial services quietly so that it does not attract any attention.

This is happening while there is no news of Saman Nasim’s conditions. In conversation with ICAE News Agency, the attorney and family of Saman Nasim announced that they still have no knowledge of his conditions. There is unconfirmed news that saman Nasim has been executed.

It should be mentioned that there is also no news of the conditions of three other prisoners, named Younes Aghayat, Sirvan Najavi and Ebrahim Shapoori who on Wednesday February 18th were transferred to an unknown location together with Saman Nasim, Ali Afshari and Habib Afshari.

Born in 1980, Ali Afshari and his brother Habibollah Afshari who was born in 1987 were from the village of Googajloo Habilbeh, outside the city of Mahabad. They were arrested in early 2011, by the Revolutionary Guards and the agents of the Ministry of Information in the cities of Bookan and Mahabad. [Read more…]

Stop executing “apostates” and “blasphemers” and release them now!

Press Release of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain reproduced below:

On 22 February 2015, a Saudi court sentenced a man in his twenties to death by beheading for apostasy.  The identity of the man has not been made public but, according to Al-Shabaka, he was arrested last year and is charged with becoming an atheist and insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, on social media.

This heinous ruling comes against the backdrop of the recent attacks on freedom of expression in Paris and Copenhagen.  Whilst the Saudi government hypocritically condemned the Paris massacre as a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”, it condemned a man to death for similar “crimes” only a matter of weeks later. This ruling follows the recent case of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment for a website promoting public discussion of religion and politics which has been deemed “insulting to Islam”.

Apostasy and blasphemy are punishable with death in Saudi Arabia and also in a number of other countries, including Iran and Mauritania.

In Iran, 30 year old blogger Soheil Arabi, has been sentenced to execution for “insulting the prophet” on Facebook.

In December 2014, a 28 year old Mauritanian journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet”.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged at these death sentences. “Apostates” and “blasphemers” have not committed any crime and should be immediately released. The real crime is imprisoning and executing people for their beliefs and expression.

Clearly, there is no place in the 21st century for such medieval laws. Apostasy and blasphemy laws must end. And they must end now.

To demand the release of the unnamed atheist facing execution, please contact the Saudi embassy in your country of residence or Tweet @SaudiEmbassyUK.

Sign the petition in support of Raif Badawi here.

Join Facebook page to defend Sohail Arabi here or tweet @khamenei_ir.

Sign a petition in support of Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir here.

For more information, contact:
CEMB
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Saman Nasim must not be executed tomorrow

150213033051_nasim_624x351_n_nocredit

19 February Update: Saman Nasim’s brother says his brother has not been executed according to officials. We must keep the pressure on. Listen to interview with Hesam Yousefi of International Committee against Execution here.

Saman Nasim is an alleged juvenile offender who was arrested when he was 17 years old. The Kurdish political prisoner has been transferred to solitary today raising fears that he will be executed tomorrow. He has been charged with moharabeh or waging against god (or enmity against god) for opposing regime.

You can find out more information about him here.

More information in Persian about him here.

There is not much time so please tweet @ and @ to save Saman Nasim or contact Iranian embassy nearest you.

Please do it now.

Here’s a photo of his parents hoping that the world will intervene on his behalf:

10995340_1025171720844683_7647670834980908401_n

Iranian youth and their challenge to Islamic state

Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Director: Reza Moradi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
و فريبرز پويا با مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
مترجم: خسرو قريب٬ فريبرز پويا

جوانان ايران و چالش آنان به جمهورى اسلامى
۱۸ فوريه ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با کيان آذر. رئيس سازمان جوانان کمونيست
٧٠ درصد إز جمعيت ايران زير ٣٠ سال ميباشد. با وجود مشكلات اجتماعي و اقتصادي و محدوديت هايي كه حكومت مذهبي به جامعه ايران تحميل كرده است، گزارشهاي بسياري منتشرة إز جانب حكومت إسلامي نشان ميدهد كه بخش جوان جامعه ايران إسلامي نشده است! جوانان بخش مهي إز جنبش هاي سياسي هستند كه ضوابط و نرم هاي إسلامي و بنيادي ان را به چالش كشيده اند و خواهان جامعه بهتر، مدرن و سكولار ميباشد.
اخبار تکاندهنده: دليل اينکه زنان در عربستان سعودى نمى توانند رانندگى کنند
فتواى احمقانه: از داعش

Iranian youth and their challenge to the Islamic regime of Iran
17 February 2015
Interview with Kian Azar, head of Communist Youth Organisation
70% of the population in Iran are under 30. Despite the difficult socio-economic conditions and restrictions imposed by a theocratic regime, it’s a segment of society that has not been “Islamicised” according to countless government reports and statements. The youth are an important part of a politicised movement which challenges Islamic norms to its core and demands a better, modern and secular society.
Shocking news: Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive because there is concern they will be raped!
Insane fatwa: ISIS fatwa defending immolation of a Jordanian pilot

Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, India

teesta19 February 2015 UPDATE: In today’s hearing, the Supreme Court of India decided against Teesta and Javed being arrested for interrogation. “This is a huge relief. Had they been arrested and sent to Gujarat, anything could have happened”, according to Marieme Helie Lucas. She adds: “Now the struggle will continue…”

Teesta Setalvad, the co-editor of Communalism Combat and India’s prominent crusader for justice for victims of the 2002 Gujarat massacre and her husband face trumped up charges for pursuing accountability of Hindu-Right organisations for the massacre.

Find out more about why Teesta is being targeted here. It is clearly because of her tireless work in securing justice for Muslims killed during the Gujrat 2002 communal violence . She has secured the conviction of over hundred perpetrators, and the case she is now working on, can see India’s prime minister Modhi brought to trial for his role in the violence. Thanks to all the friends who helped support Teesta and Javed. We need to keep a close watch and keep the pressure on to ensure that those involved in the massacre are held to account and that Teesta and Javed can continue their work without threats and intimidation.

We will continue to stand with Teesta and Javed. Unconditionally.

Find out more about the work Teesta has been doing here.

***

18 February 2015

Below is a statement that has been issued prior to a hearing on their case on 19 February 2015.

As international networks and organisations concerned with equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in India.

We note with great concern that this is not the first allegation made against them over the past few years, in the vain hope, it seems, to stop them from asking the right questions of the government after the 2002 Gujarat massacre, pursuing accountability of Hindu-right organizations and persons for communal violence and religious-ethnic cleansing, and standing for the victims and survivors. Teesta Setalvad has filed 68 court cases on behalf of victims.

Having closely followed their work for a long time, even prior to the 2002 massacres, we know their personal integrity and have no doubt that as previous false allegations made against them, the present allegation will also been discarded as fabricated in the court of law.

However, we note the swiftness with which the police came to arrest them, as soon as they saw a legal opportunity to do so. We are therefore concerned with their safety. Attempting to arrest them for interrogation – on accusations of misuse of funds(!) – simply amounts to harassment and intimidation of these rights defenders.

Moreover, their accounts have been frozen for more than 8 months, making their human rights work on behalf of the Gujarat victims and survivors more and more difficult to sustain, as well as their own legal defense. This seems like a deliberate attempt by the BJP government of Gujarat to silence these defenders.

We will be making sure that the case is being watched internationally. Several international networks have been alerted, and the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs are being approached to ensure their security as human rights defenders.

In solidarity
Signed:

Secularism Is a Women’s Issue-SIAWI
Women Living Under Muslim Laws-WLUML
One Law For All
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain-CEMB
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran
Bread and Roses TV
Southall Black Sisters
Center for Secular Space
VP Atheist Coalition Poland
Europejska Feministyczna Inicjatywa
Association for Women’s Rights in development -AWID
Association for Progressive Communications

{Individuals}:

Marieme Helie Lucas, Algeria/France
Fatou Sow, Sénégal
Maryam Namazie,Iran/UK
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, UK
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Chris Moos, Secularist activist and researcher, UK
Prof.Nira Yuval Davis, UK
Gita Sahgal, Director Center for Secular Space India/UK
Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nina Sankari, Poland
Codou Bop, Sénégal
Ariane Brunet, women’s rights activist, Quebec
Anissa Helie, Algeria/USA
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender, Bangladesh
Elham Manea, Yemeni Academic and Human Rights Activist
Prof.Charlotte Bunch USA

On Paris and Copenhagen: Islam and the “culture of offence”: missing the point

I6HTgAfter the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, dissent and criticism of religion is a life and death necessity. It has been–and remains–key for human progress. See the full article here.

Dissent and criticism of religion has always been a crucial aspect of free expression. Historically, it has been intrinsically linked with anti-clericalism and the dismantling of that which is deemed taboo, sacred and untouchable by the gatekeepers of power.

Such criticism has been key for human progress and is still needed. In the age of ISIS, this criticism is a life and death necessity for those living under Islamism’s boot.

So yes, I am Charlie – no ifs and buts.

Those who condemn the massacre in Paris but blame Charlie for “offending Muslim sensibilities” (implying that they somehow got what they deserved) have bought into the Islamist narrative that “Muslims” are more offended by cartoons than mass murder.

This is validated by multiculturalism as a social policy and cultural relativism, which sees Muslim “communities” and “societies” as homogeneous and one and the same with the religious-Right.

So even though there is a rich historical and artistic tradition of depicting Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, over many centuries, it’s deemed offensive today.

And despite many Muslims or those labelled as such have sided with Charlie, it is the terrorists/fascists who are deemed to be the “authentic” Muslims.

The homogenised “culture of offence” discounts the many believing secularists, feminists, freethinkers, and atheists and socialists amongst those deemed “Muslim”.

It ignores the widespread dissent and resistance, which can also be seen in response to Charlie.

An Algerian copy editor Mustapha Ourad was gunned down in Charlie’s hallway.

Many “Muslims” joined rallies and held up “Je Suis Charlie” signs or pens.

A French Muslim cafe owner was threatened for putting up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign in his East London cafe.

Lassana Bathily, the Malian-born Muslim employee hid customers at the Paris kosher supermarket saving lives.

Even in Iran – a theocracy where blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, enmity against god, and another 130 offences are punishable by death – Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer showed her solidarity whilst journalists trying to rally in support of Charlie were attacked and prevented from protesting by security agents wielding clubs and chains.

An Iranian newspaper was shut down for publishing a photo showing solidarity with Charlie. In Turkey, two columnists from a daily are facing an investigation for ‘religious defamation’ after featuring the Charlie cover.

Cartoonists across the Arab world – from Egypt to Lebanon to Qatar and Jordan took a stand with Charlie and against the terrorists.

And still we are told that Charlie offended “Muslims” and must be held to account! [Read more…]

Press Release: Much needed 7 February Conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism

PRESS RELEASE
6 FEBRUARY 2015

Secularists will be gathering on 7 February 2015 in London for a day conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism. The event follows an historic conference in October 2014 on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights.

Speakers at tomorrow’s sold-out conference will discuss freedom of expression, apostasy and blasphemy laws, Islamism and the religious-Right, as well as Sharia in the law, educational system and public policy. They will also highlight the successful campaigns against the Law Society and Universities UK and pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo and the many Muslims, ex-Muslims and others who have been killed or persecuted for their dissent.

Conference speaker, Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters says: “This is a much needed conference because it allows us the space to mourn the deaths of the journalists at Charlie Hebdo and thousands around the world who have died at the hands of religious terrorists. Above all, it allows us to show solidarity to those who continue to bravely challenge deadly religious far-right movements whose end game is to shut down secular democratic spaces and to terrorise us into silence. The time has come to renew our thinking of what it means to be human and to reject the politics of hatred whether emanating from the racist far-right or the religious far-right. The time has come to speak up while we still have the space.”

Conference organiser, Maryam Namazie, says: “Despite all evidence that Muslims are not a homogeneous group and that resistance against Islamism is very much part and parcel of daily life everywhere, the Islamist narrative is still the order of the day. No matter how many ‘Muslims’ side with Charlie from Iran to Egypt to Turkey, it is the terrorists/fascists who are deemed to be the ‘authentic’ Muslims. The ‘culture of offence’ heeds Islamist demands for submission at the expense of dissenters – whether it be Charlie in Paris, Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia or Roya Nobakht in Iran. As Rosa Luxemburg has said though, ‘Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters’.”

Another speaker Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space, says: “In 1989, we stood for Rushdie and our right to doubt and dissent. Today we stand with Charlie Hebdo and for comic liberty. In this important conference we will look at how the war against apostates and artists is central to the justification for ‘defensive jihad’ and genocide. Long before the emergence of Daesh and Boko Haram, the massacre of minorities, the rape of women and the killing of intellectuals defined Muslim fundamentalist movements. The Conference represents those who stand against them.” [Read more…]

We are being slaughtered by your secondary enemy!

OPEN LETTER TO THE LEFT AND FAR LEFT

While you focus on US imperialism (no other) and on capitalism that exploits the masses in Muslim-majority countries and in the diaspora, children are being murdered in schools in Pakistan, just as they were assassinated in Algeria in the nineties, and just as journalists, intellectuals, artists, activists from our left movements (not those from the right) are being decimated throughout North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

People in our countries are not diplomats representing our corrupt and undemocratic governments. Why are they attacked?

We are sick and tired of your ‘main enemy’ justifications of the crimes committed by a far-right movement that masquerades as a religious one.You seem unable to identify this movement in political terms. It targets ordinary people and the left at large in our countries as well as in the world, rather than big interests or far right or xenophobic organisations; with ‘god on its side’ it pretends to represent the superior creed; it therefore creates categories of second class citizens who can and should be physically eliminated; it suppresses all freedoms and civil rights; it organizes autodafé of books; it puts women ‘in their place’ and it never ever really challenges capitalism.

Does this remind you of Nazism? Will you again play your Pontius Pilate Munich game – at our expense?

Do you think for one second that abandoning the progressive forces in our countries and supporting our fundamentalist far-right will enhance the struggle against world capitalism? How did it work in Spain in 1936?

Initial Signatories:
(To sign on to Marieme Helie Lucas’ letter email her at: mahl@wanadoo.fr. Signatories will be updated on SIAWI website.)

Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism Is A Women’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born Political Activist
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Fatou Sow, Director Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Elham Manea, writer, human rights defender and academic
Ramin Forghani, Founder of ex-Muslims, Scotland
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Chris Moos, secularist activist and researcher
Rafiq Mahmood – One of a growing number of ex-Muslims and infidels in Indonesia
Monica Lanfranco, feminist journalist, MAREA
Dr Martyn Hudson, Newcastle university
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Eric Mueller, Marxist-Leninist
Professor Alan Johnson, editorial board member, Dissent Magazine
Faizun Zackariya – Citizens for Justice and Peace

Charlie Hebdo: There is no “culture of offence”

mohammed-cartoons-charlie-hebdo-muhammed-cartoons-2012-2Below are my opening remarks at a 29 January panel discussion organised by UCL Atheist Society entitled “Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence”.

The two other panellists debating the issue reminded me of Caroline Fourest’s saying: “Racism must not excuse fundamentalism and fundamentalism must not excuse racism”. Peter Bradley, director of Speakers’ Corner Trust and Charlie Klendjian of the Lawyers’ Secular Society did just that. Bradley was of the opinion that if one was going to offend, they should be held accountable(!?) whilst Klendjian trivialised racism and prejudice and conflated Islam, Islamism and Muslims. (As an aside, I wish the debate had been filmed as it would have been the end of the Lawyers’ Secular Society or at least Charlie Klendjian. Having worked with the LSS in the past (but no longer doing so), I do hope someone will save the organisation from Klendjian who – along with his cohorts at Sharia Watch and UKIP – are taking the LSS down the path of xenophobia and bigotry.)

Anyway, here are my initial remarks:

If I was to make only one point on the Charlie Hebdo massacre it would be that the main issue is not “the culture of offence” because in reality we are all offended all the time whatever our beliefs – Muslim or atheist, Christian, Jewish… I’m offended right now – the fact that I must have this debate in the 21 century offends me.

Offence is subjective and what offends one is funny or completely insignificant to another – even when it comes to that which is deemed sacred and taboo by the gatekeepers of power.

Take the image of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet. There is a rich historical and artistic tradition of depicting Mohammad over many centuries but it’s not allowed today. Why?

“The culture of offence” is just the packaging which blames the victims and provides legitimacy to the Islamists and their unbridled violence and terrorism. You will often hear – especially in the British press – that the Charlie massacre is to be condemned BUT the cartoonists did offend “Muslims” thereby implying that they deserved what they got.

What the “culture of offence” packaging conveniently ignores is that not all “Muslims” are offended by the cartoons. Muslims are no more a homogeneous group than Christians, Jews or the French or British. Also, many are not practising Muslims; there are atheists and agnostics amongst them. And many are believers who are also secularists and feminists and anti-Islamists and gay and unveiled who eat bacon and don’t feel offended by the cartoon Peppa pig.

This is obvious. Even in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a Muslim policeman, Ahmed Merabet was killed whilst an Algerian copy editor Mustapha Ourad was gunned down in Charlie’s hallway. Many Muslims (or those of “Muslim heritage”) joined rallies and held up “Je Suis Charlie” banners. You have heard of the East London French Muslim cafe owner who was threatened for putting up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign in his cafe. There’s Lassana Bathily, the Malian-born Muslim employee who hid customers at the Paris kosher supermarket and saved lives. And it’s not just people in Europe who supported Charlie. In Iran – a theocracy where blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, enmity against god… and another 130 offences are punishable by death – a rally of journalists in support of Charlie Hebdo was attacked and broken up by security agents wielding clubs and chains. A newspaper was shut down for publishing a photo showing solidarity with the publication. Over 180 journalists who condemned the attack are facing threats from the regime. In Turkey, two columnists from a daily are under investigation for ‘religious defamation’ for featuring the Charlie cover…

So there is no homogeneous “culture of offence”. Some are offended, some are not and most of those who are offended will not go on to kill for it.

The “culture of offence” is a smokescreen. It doesn’t exist. What is packaged as the “culture of offence” is really Islamism’s imposition of blasphemy rules and theocracy under the guise of “Muslim” culture. This is validated by multiculturalism as a social policy and cultural relativism, which sees “communities” and societies as homogeneous and one and the same with the Islamic states and far-Right political movements imposing their rules via force and intimidation.

In Europe, Islamists hide behind a “culture of offence” and also terms like Islamophobia to impose their rules and silence and terrorise dissenters. In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, they have no time for such niceties. There, the “offenders” are called apostates and blasphemers and legally murdered in broad daylight in the same way Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists were “executed”. If you don’t see this, you miss the bigger picture. You need to see Islamism for the international fascist movement that it is and you also need to see the many Charlie Hebdos in Iran, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia – across the globe (including many “Muslims”), who speak and mock that which is deemed sacred by the religious-Right at great risks to their lives.

Whilst many hold the cartoonists responsible for provoking the violence, in reality the cartoons are an excuse. What did Saudi freethinker Raif Badawi do to provoke a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes? Or Soheil Arabi sentenced to death in Iran? Or the schoolchildren in Peshawar? Or the girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria? What about the gay men thrown off a building by ISIS? What did they do to “provoke” the threats and abductions and massacres?

Like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, I am often told not to challenge Sharia or apostasy and blasphemy laws by publicly saying I am an ex-Muslim or not to challenge the Islamists’ hatred of women’s bodies via nude protest. I am told day in and day out to “stop provoking them”. But Islamists need no provocation. All those living 21 century lives are “provocations”. Being a woman, a freethinker, being gay, being unveiled, going to school, driving a car, having sex, falling in love… “provokes” them.

More importantly, though, it is Islamism and the religious-Right, which are the real offence. They are the real provocation and it is they who should be held to account not the many who refuse and resist.

Target the Islamists via mass and political mobilisation and unequivocally without any justification or excuses.

Not Muslims. Not immigrants. [Read more…]

Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence

ucl-ashI’ll be speaking at the below event tonight:

Living in outrageous times: Charlie Hebdo and the culture of offence
UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society hosts this highly topical panel discussion with three excellent speakers.
29 January 2015
Chadwick G08, UCL
18:00 hours

In light of the recent events in Paris, we ask: do you have the right not to be offended? And if so, at what cost?

For more information, go to Facebook Page.