Secularism is my right; freedom is my culture

481845_10151455888700698_290280215_nBelow is my speech at the May 2013 Women in Secularism conference in Washington DC.

Participants joined in an action to defend Amina Tyler, Imad Iddine Habib, Bangladesh’s bloggers and Alex Aan (photo on left).

 

* The outrage over the attempted assassination of 15 year old Malala Yousefzai shot by the Taliban for defending girls’ education

* The mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid and Amina Tyler’s topless activism in Tunisia – My body is not the source of your honour and fuck your morals

* The anger over the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in broad daylight at a protest in Iran

* The February day of action against sexual terrorism in Egypt, Egyptian atheist Aliaa Magda ElMahdy’s nude scream against misogyny and the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters…

Even if you’re not looking, you can still see the immense resistance and dissent taking place.

It’s a new period of human development after decades of Islamism, US-led militarism, unbridled free market reign, cultural relativism and the retreat of all things universal.
Today is an era of the 99% movement and revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – many of them female-led.

Whilst it may sometimes be hard to see given the perceived “gains” by Islamists in the region (in fact as counter-revolutionary forces aimed at suppressing the revolutions), the change of era is palpable.

Nonetheless, many post-modernist and culturally relativist Leftists, liberals, and feminists remain firmly on the side of the Islamists.

Any opposition to Sharia law, (which is based on the Koran, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence), the veil, and Islamic misogyny are met with charges of racism and Islamophobia, cultural imperialism and more.

Those who say so though have bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and even the “Muslim community” in the west) are homogeneous, “Islamic” and “conservative”. But there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere.

Since it is those in power that determine the dominant culture, this point of view sees Islamist values and sensibilities as that of “authentic Muslims’. [Read more...]