Fitnah Unveiled: On Sharia Law

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

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

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

Editorial
Sharia law is madness
Maryam Namazie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How very shameful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the words of Algerian women singing for change:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iranian cultural figures and artists outside Iran stand united against the execution of Rayhaneh Jabbari

Let us band together to save someone from capital punishment. Let us not stand by and watch as a precious life is snuffed out.

Rayhaneh Jabbari is 26 years old. At age 19 she was charged with the murder of Morteza Sarbandi, a doctor and a former employee of the Ministry of Intelligence and Surveillance of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She was spent the last seven years in prison. Rayhaneh is the daughter of our beloved colleague, Teacher and theater actress, Sholeh Pakravan.

Rayhaneh was a set designer and to that end, Morteza asks her to a meeting in his office, in order to discuss an interior design project. Rayhaneh arrives at the meeting but after a few moments she realizes that the location has no resemblance to an office. Morteza then offers her some fruit juice (forensic tests conducted by the police during the investigation proved that the juice contained a form of Date Rape Drugs or Rufis) and after locking the door, he attacks Rayhaneh who out of fear, tried to defend herself by stabbing him in the shoulder blade. She then flees the premises. Morteza dies, following which Rayhaneh is tracked down and arrested.

An examination of the text messages exchanged between Rayhaneh Jabbari and Morteza Sarbandi proves Rayhaneh’s account which specified that prior to this incident, they had no relationship or connection and that Morteza had been in touch with her on work and business related matters.

Rayhaneh has spent long stretches in solitary confinement and has undergone brutal interrogations, endured physical abuse and has been pressured by her jailers to falsely confess to having murdered Morteza for political purposes. But she has stood her ground and has continued to maintain that she acted in self-defense.

Should Rayhaneh confess to a preconceived political murder?! When all the documents clearly prove that she did in fact act in self-defense, how then, based on all this evidence can this young girl be executed?

Based on Rayhaneh’s defense attorney and the ‘victim’s’ family, the case is filled with ambiguities. Hence, how and based on what, is it logical or rational for a judge to hand down a sentence of execution as a form of retribution?

Friends,

The court has perceived Rayhaneh’s self-defense as murder with malice aforethought and has sentenced her to execution by hanging. We the below signatories of this statement, demand the immediate annulment of Rayhaneh’s execution and call for her case to be re-opened and re-examined by a fair and proper court of law. We stand shoulder to shoulder and steadfast with Rayhaneh and her family and lend our voices to a member of our cultural and artistic community; one of our own, who is enduring a crisis has our undying support. [Read more...]

Ghesas and Execution are the same

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights recently said: “The problem lies in that the west does not understand that Ghesas code [retribution] is different from execution. A verdict of Ghesas belongs to the aggrieved who can either pardon the condemned or impose the sentence”.

Mohammad Javad Larijani said: “We are not embarrassed by any of our Islamic codes and stand behind them”.

Aside from the bitter irony of the secretary-general of the Iranian regime’s “Human Rights” Council defending rights violations, Larijani merely does what all regimes that kill do – provide legitimacy for it.

Governments that still execute today (including the USA and China), or have executed until relatively recently have always professed to have done so on behalf of and for the protection of society. What Islamic codes do is further “personalise” this by professing to “thoughtfully” murder human beings on behalf of the aggrieved.

Irrespective of the justifications, though, the death penalty and Ghesas are instruments of power aimed at controlling and suppressing society, re-establishing authority after every heinous act and constantly re-creating a climate of fear. By placing the responsibility of the execution on the aggrieved, the regime wants to normalise its brutality and evade accountability. But this is not possible. After all the aggrieved have not written the Islamic codes of [in]justice, nor have they tortured the accused, condemned them in unfair trials or set up the gallows in public squares and hired executioners to do the dirty deed… This is all the regime’s doing; it has nothing to do with murder and everything to do with putting people in their place.

As Mansoor Hekmat says: “[Capital punishment] has its own history. It is the state’s rights and powers over citizens today as a continuation of the state’s rights and powers in the past. When Agha Mohammad Khan Ghajar blinds and kills residents of an entire town, he is not objecting to a specific crime. When a horse thief in America is hanged or a soldier who has escaped military service is executed, they are not registering a grievance in a judicial sense, but rather they are putting people in their places and forcing them to submit to rules and regulations. They are terrorising people. They are governing. In today’s world, capital punishment is not just a so-called punishment for murder, it is also a punishment for unauthorised sex, hoarding, believing in common ownership, forming opposition parties, mocking of god and prophets, homosexuality, etc. From the beginning of state rule, the killing of inhabitants has always been and is a pillar of forcing people into submission. The history of capital punishment is not found in judicial debates about crime and punishment, but rather in the history of class rule and the state”.

Executions are a pillar of the Islamic regime of Iran. It and only it is wholly responsible for the innumerable dead. Despite Iran being the execution capital of the world, though, Larijani’s efforts at legitimisation allude to another crucial fact that must never be forgotten. You only need to legitimise barbarity when there is resistance. The rising and ever-increasing battle against executions in Iran in particular is testament to the refusal of a people to submit. It is these very people who will bring an end to executions and the regime and drag Iran back into the 21st century.

Until then, the struggle continues.

I am left cursing

Here’s a video of a young man being executed in Iran. He wants to say goodbye to his mother who can be heard screaming in the crowd. He struggles with the regime’s executioners, kicks one of them to cheers in the crowd but is then subdued and hung…

You can then hear the regime’s mercenaries cheering and sending salawat: “Allah, bless Mohammad and the people of Muhammad”. I am left cursing Allah and his Mohammad.

I wouldn’t want anyone to watch an execution scene but in some senses it is important for us all to bear witness. Both to human resistance even at the gallows and the brutality of a regime that has killed too many for too long.

Of course and as usual, there will be those who will list the young man’s crimes. Whatever they were, there is no crime greater than what this regime has done and is doing… Shame on all those who defend it. And long live those who resist. Our day will come.

(Via Mina Ahadi)

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani attempted suicide

sakinehAccording to Mina Ahadi and the International Committee against Stoning, Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani attempted suicide in Tabriz prison and was transferred to hospital on 23 February.

After several days she was transferred back to the prison’s clinic and remains in terrible physical and psychological state.

The Islamic regime of Iran must release Sakineh now.

Ask Rouhani: Why don’t you release Sakineh now!

Will you support a free-thinking, taboo-breaking TV magazine?

I and a group of activists want to start Bread and Roses – a weekly taboo-breaking, freethinking political-social TV magazine in Persian and English broadcast in Iran and the Middle East as well as globally via satellite TV and social media.

The programme will address crucial issues such as Sharia courts, sex segregation, Islamism, religion and Islam, the right to atheism and apostasy, nudity as a form of resistance, freedom of expression, secularism, child marriages as well as social and cultural issues namely how to deal with bullying, the status of women in society, the role of artists and underground musicians and whether one can live moral lives without religion.

Today, via Indiegogo, we are kick-starting a 3 week fundraising campaign to raise money for the initial equipment we need including cameras, a computer, lighting, paint, a rug, lamps, tables and chairs. Here’s our appeal in English:

Please support us if you can.

With your donations you will get a shout-out and thank you on our programme, will be able to decide issues for discussion, receive signed posters or a beautifully designed T-shirt, and even meet the hosts for a lunch on us! Most importantly you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped bring crucial discussions to audiences in Iran, the Middle East and globally.

As you all know, we have been active for many years on issues deemed taboo or controversial. We have consistently defended universal values, equality and civil rights despite the insistence on a racism of lower expectations and standards and a cultural relativism that insists that the “other” has less rights and freedoms depending on the “community” they are deemed to belong to. Things are changing, however, and we hope that Bread and Roses can help further articulate, strengthen and encourage universal values.

Please don’t worry if you can’t support us financially. We know how difficult times are for many people but even if you can’t donate, help get the word out and bring attention to our programme. You can use the Indiegogo share tools!

Please also like or follow our programme:
www.facebook.com/NanoGoleSorkh
@NanoGoleSorkh
Nanogolesorkh
+44 20 3287 6128

Thanks for any and all your support.

By the way, here are some photos of our first get together to discuss our programme:

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Do something useful on valentine’s day

valentin Why not do something useful on valentine’s Day (besides eating chocolate) and support political prisoners in Iran.

Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran is organising protests today asking us all to remember that lack of medical attention in Iranian prisons has put the lives of hundreds of political prisoners in danger. The Islamic régime in Iran is refusing to provide necessary medical attention to them, killing them silently. Conditions for these prisoners are horrific but unfortunately most people are not aware of the situation in Iran’s notorious prisons.

On this Valentine’s Day, please show your support for the campaign called “Don’t let their Heartbeat stop!”

Sign the petition here.

Tweet: Support #PoliticalPrisoners #Iran #Valentine Day Don’t Let #Heartbeats Stop. SIGN: http://chn.ge/1dGEof9 @eu_eeas @HassanRouhani

Find out more about rallies today and the campaign here.

Not an Islamic revolution

The Islamic regime of Iran celebrates the “Islamic revolution” today. But Islamism has only brought untold misery and brutality to the people of Iran (and the world).

Islamism is not a cause for celebration; it only came to power on the back of a suppressed revolution and the slaughter of a generation.

Whilst history is written by the victors, a people’s revolution against the Shah’s dictatorship and for freedom and equality will have that black mark of “Islamic” on it. But not forever.

And despite the truth, there will be those who will do anything to defend and prolong the regime’s rule.

Watch the “celebrations” in Britain. House of Lords Peer Nazir Ahmed and MP Jeremy Corbyn are filmed grotesquely defending the regime.

Whilst the Press TV “reporter” rightly speaks of the impact of Iran’s Islamism across the world (by encouraging reaction and mediaevalism), she forgets that the Iranian revolution and the demand for freedom and equality has also had an impact. The revolution has also left its mark.

Business of course that is yet unfinished. But business that will bring Islamism to its knees in Iran.

As the late Marxist Mansoor Hekmat wrote commemorating the Iranian revolution:

“If history is the story of change, then real history is the history of the undefeated – the history of the movement and people who still want and are struggling for change, the history of those who are not willing to bury their ideals and hopes of a human society, the history of people and movements that are not at liberty of choosing their principles and aims and have no choice but to strive for improvements.”

This change is yet to come in Iran not via Rouhani or any other “reformist”, not via an Islamic regime, not via Islam, not via military attacks or economic sanctions but by a people’s revolution.

The storm is yet to come. And where will the likes of Jeremy Corbyn hide then?

(Via Fariborz Pooya)

Iran: Stop the execution of Zaniar and Loghman Moradi Now

zaniarandloghmanmoradiZaniar and Loghman Moradi are two political prisoners who were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death for ‘enmity against God’ after being accused of murdering the son of a cleric in Marivan, Iranian Kurdistan.

They have written frequent open letters from prison; in one letter to Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights in Iran, they recounted the horrific tortures they faced forcing false confessions.

The death sentences against Zaniar and Loghman Moradi and the massive international campaign organised on their behalf has meant that the two youth are now well known internationally. Following the mass execution of 18 political activists on 26 October and the executions of Habibollah Golparipour and Shirkoo Moarefi, the risk of execution of the two has increased.

Two witnesses, a man and woman in Marivan, have now come forward and announced their readiness to testify on the murder of Marivan clergy’s son. Their testimony may hold clues to the murders committed by Hiwa Dab, a commander of the regime who had a hand in a number of murders and who was executed by the regime as a cover up attempt.

The lawyer of the two men has stated that Zaniar and Loghman were originally arrested for political activities against the regime; after 5 months imprisonment, they were charged with the killing of the clergy’s son. Their forced confessions were made under torture.

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate abolition Zaniar and Loghman Moradi’s execution order and call for their release. The Marivan clergy has been repeatedly asked to refuse to collaborate in this sham but he has given a number of justifications for playing along, including his concern about losing his position and pay.

By signing this petition, please call for the revocation of the sentence.

A copy of this petition will be sent to the Parliament of Europe and the UN and international media.
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, the International Committee against Executions
Amaneh Ghaderi, Mother of Zaniar Moradi
Eqbal Moradi, Father Zaniar Moradi

A few important things for today

Human Rights in Iran

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed will be giving his report on the human rights situation in Iran today, which will be broadcast live. The Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran asks that we tweet Ahmed Shaheed using the following tweet to echo the voice of political prisoners deprived from medical attention:

Iran regime refuses to provide urgent medical assistance to #Iran #Politicalprisoners. @shaheedsr Silent death! http://tinyurl.com/p2vojal

Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Children First Now also ask that you tweet him in condemnation of Iran’s legalised paedophilia:

No to legal paedophilia in #Iran @shaheedsr http://tinyurl.com/iranpaedophilia

Ex-Muslims and Media

A group of ex-Muslims will be meeting the BBC today at 2pm to discuss the plight of ex-Muslims here in Britain. If you can make it at 2pm, text Maryam at 07719166731 so she can tell you where to come. We are also looking for ex-Muslims who have faced threats and also some who live in Ireland for two other media reports. You can email Council of Ex-Muslims at [email protected]

Your fatwa doesn’t apply here

The wonderful Karima Bennoune will be speaking at the LSE tonight at 6pm on her new book: Your Fatwa Doesn’t Apply Here. I’ll be there and so should you if you are in London and can make it. This is a not-to-be-missed event. Hopefully some members of the LSE student union will be there so they can hear first-hand about the many Muslims or those of Muslim heritage who dissent and resist, thereby making it quite clear that Muslims are not a homogeneous group who are unanimously offended by Jesus and Mo. I doubt any of her wisdom can get through but we can hope, can’t we? Either way, they need to learn that Islamist fatwas against free expression don’t apply at the LSE either! Here’s more information.

The Islamic regime of Iran plans to re-execute a man who survived the death penalty

iran_executionThe Islamic regime of Iran plans to re-execute a man who survived his execution under “moderate” Rouhani’s administration.

The International Committee Against Execution calls for worldwide public condemnation and pressure to stop the re-execution of 27 year old Alireza M, a father of two young girls. His daughters’ ask: “Is this world cruel to the extent that it justifies and accepts such an inhumane action? Is our world harsh enough to neglect the necessity of taking an action in order to stop the re-execution of a human being, of a father?”

On 15 October, major Iranian news agencies reported that Alireza M. who was sentenced to death by hanging for possession of a kilo of crystal meth in Bojnourd Prison, was found breathing on Thursday 10 October, coinciding with the International Day against the Death Penalty, and taken to hospital where he is recovering.

Alireza M was left at the gallows for 12 minutes after his execution. He was also examined by the medical team at the scene, who pronounced him dead. He was then sent to morgue. The next morning, a worker preparing the body for its return to his family noticed that Alireza was breathing under the plastic covering. He was immediately sent to Imam Ali hospital in Bojnourd and his health condition began to improve as soon as he received medical care; he has now recovered.

Mohammad Erfan, a judge with Iran’s administrative justice court said: “The sentence issued by the revolutionary court is the death penalty … in such circumstances it should be repeated once again.”

The International Committee Against Execution is appalled that Alireza M. faces a re-execution and calls on all to condemn this inhumane act.

International Committee Against Execution
15 October 2013
Mina Ahadi
0049 (0) 1775692413
[email protected]
minaahadi-iran.blogspot.co.uk
stopstonningnow.com
notonemoreexecution.org

Paedophilia law in Iran confirmed by Guardian Council

Fitnah_CFN_iranped_finalThe Guardian Council has now approved the bill passed by the Islamic regime of Iran’s Majlis or parliament for the “protection” of children and young people, which includes a clause allowing men to marry their adopted daughters with the permission of a court..

The bill had previously been denied and sent back for review because it had originally banned the marriage of step-fathers and their adopted daughters; the Guardian Council found this to be in contradiction with Islamic Sharia law.

The law legalising paedophilia and child rape has sparked outrage in Iran and across the globe though it is touted as an attempt to solve problems related to the hijab or veil in the family. An adopted daughter is expected to wear the veil in the presence of her father and a mother is expected to do so in the presence of her adopted son if he is old enough.

Children First Now and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation unequivocally condemn this inhuman law. Today, on 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, we call on the public and rights organisations to condemn this legalised paedophilia and child rape. This law, like many other laws in the Islamic regime of Iran, violates the dignity and rights of children. And it must be stopped.

Here are five things you can do on 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, to condemn legalised paedophilia and child rape, and demanding dignity, security and rights for all girls and children in Iran and beyond:

1. Tweet against the law: #Iran #No2LegalPaedophilia

2. Sign our petition and forward it to 10 friends or acquaintances.

3. Write to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Leader, [email protected], Twitter: @khamenei_ir or to Hassan Rouhani, President, [email protected], Twitter: @hassanrouhani demanding an end to child rape and paedophilia.

4. Publicise the campaign on social media including by changing your social media profile to our campaign poster. Join the Event on Facebook.

5. Do an act of solidarity on the internet, in your city square, at work, at your university… in support of children’s rights and against the law.

For more information, contact: [Read more...]

End legalised paedophilia and child rape in Iran

Fitnah_CFN_iranped_finalUrgent Action
End legalised paedophilia in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Join Protest on 11 October 2013

On 22 September 2013, one day before the start of the school year in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Majlis or parliament passed a law permitting a stepfather to marry his adopted child.

In defence of the law, one Member of Parliament said: “According to Islam, every child who is accepted as an adopted child is not considered a real child. Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia law allow the guardian of the child to marry and have sex with his step-child.”

This shocking law will encourage child ’marriages’ and is nothing more than legalised paedophilia and child rape. It will further endanger the welfare of the child and violate her basic rights. It will deny the child any sense of security and safety in the home.

Children First Now and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation unequivocally condemn this inhuman law. On 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, we call on the public and rights organisations to condemn this legalised paedophilia and child rape. This law, like many other laws in the Islamic regime of Iran, violates the dignity and rights of children. And it must be stopped.

Here are five things you can do on 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, to condemn legalised paedophilia and child rape, and demanding dignity, security and rights for all girls and children in Iran and beyond:

1. Tweet against the law: #Iran #No2LegalPaedophilia

2. Sign our petition and forward it to 10 friends or acquaintances.

3. Write to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Leader, [email protected], Twitter: @khamenei_ir or to Hassan Rouhani, President, [email protected], Twitter: @hassanrouhani demanding an end to child rape and paedophilia.

4. Publicise the campaign on social media including by changing your social media profile to our campaign poster. Join the Event on Facebook.

5. Do an act of solidarity on the internet, in your city square, at work, at your university… in support of children’s rights and against the law.

For more information, contact: [Read more...]

The Rise of Fitnah: Ready to Cause Affliction

unveiled_oct2013-final_Page_01Unveiled
A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
October 2013
Volume 1, Issue 1

PDF Version of the Publication: Unveiled_Oct2013_Final1

Editor: Maryam Namazie
Design: Maha Kamal

In this issue:
Exclusive Interview: The rise of Fitnah: ready to cause affliction
Editorial: Rouhani’s fake smile; the war on women continues
News Flash: Crimes against women
Campaign: Against legal paedophilia in Iran
Arts: Voices of women against Islamism

Exclusive Interview
The Rise of Fitnah Targets Islamism; ‘Ready to Cause Affliction’
Women’s eNews Interview with Maryam Namazie

The below interview was published on Women’s eNews.

Women’s eNews: Why did you label the campaign ‘Fitnah’? In the email received yesterday, you say “women are seen to be the source of fitnah or affliction”, could you please elaborate?

Maryam Namazie: In Islam, women are seen to be the source of fithah or affliction. In one hadith, Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, said: “I have left behind no fitnah more harmful to men, than women.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim].  This is a recurring theme in all major religions.  There is a Jewish prayer that says: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler the universe who has not created me a woman”.  In the Bible, there is one verse that says: “Her filthiness is in her skirts”. [Lam.1:8-9] There are of course many examples of religion’s misogynist perception of women.

In practice, this translates into an obsession with the control and restriction of women in order to maintain everything from family honour to societal order. This is most visibly experienced for women living under Islamic laws because of Islam’s access to political and state power via Islamism or political Islam.

To the extent that Islamism has power, veiling is enforced by morality police and women are imprisoned for escaping forced marriages or stoned to death for adultery.

The extent of hatred towards women runs deep. Recently in Marivan, Iran, a judge ordered a young man to be dressed in women’s clothing and a hejab and paraded around the city by security forces in order to humiliate him. Being a woman is considered the greatest of humiliations.

Whilst the term fitnah is perceived to be a negative one if one looks at it from the perspective of religion and Islamism, it represents something very different when looked at from another viewpoint. It is always the woman who transgresses norms that is deemed to be “fitnah”. It is the woman who refuses to submit, the one who resists and is disobedient. In that sense, the women’s liberation movement is a source of fitnah for those who insist on women’s oppression.

Our movement is Islamism’s worst fitnah…

Women’s eNews: What sparked this campaign? – Is it a campaign against religion? men? religious men? a state? Who are you specifically targeting with this campaign?

Maryam Namazie: Finah represents a new movement for a new era. The brutal era of unbridled Islamism, US-led militarism and free market reign is over. 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 still 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.

Fitnah is a movement of women and men defending freedom, equality and secularism and calling for an end to misogynist cultural, religious and moral laws and customs, compulsory veiling, sex apartheid, sex trafficking, and violence against women.

Whilst our focus is on Iran in particular, and the Middle East and North Africa in general, it’s an international movement. We don’t see women’s rights as being western. As women’s rights campaigners opposing compulsory veiling in Iran said during a mass demonstration in 1979: “women’s rights are not eastern or western but universal”.

We also don’t see rights as culturally relative. Rights have been fought for by the working class and progressive social movements and belong to all humanity.  The right to vote is not considered western even though the first country to have the right to vote was in the west. This idea of rights being western and culturally relative is stressed in particular when it comes to women rights and freedoms.

Also, whilst all religions are anti-woman, our focus is on Islam and political Islam given its impact on our region and the world.

US suffragette and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton said “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman’s emancipation”. This is true in particular with regards Islam and Islamism today.

Of course when speaking of Islam or any religion, we are not referring to religion as a personal belief. Everyone has a right to religion and atheism but Islam today is not a personal matter but an industry. [Read more...]

Don’t let them murder us

“This is my last appeal to you: The prison guards are right behind the door. They have come to take us. Be the voice of our suppressed voice! Don’t let them murder us.” These were the last words Mina Ahadi heard from a prisoner on death row in Rajaaishahr prison. She heard the guards raid the ward and the call was disconnected abruptly.

Mohammad Mardani, Rajaaishahr prison’s warden, called on the ward where the Sunni prisoners sentenced to execution were held on 29 September to let them know a judge had ordered their transfer to solitary cells. Mardani read out the names of twenty prisoners. Six other prisoners had previously been transferred to Ghezelhesaar prison. Mardani also threatened the prisoners that should they not go peacefully, they would be taken forcibly and with broken limbs.

Mina talked to the prisoners awaiting their execution and heard he prison guards about to bust in to take the prisoners. She could hear the prisoners shouting in the midst of a commotion: “we won’t go; we won’t go.” One of them told her: “if we are completely cut off from the outside world, let everyone know that we were forcibly taken to the gallows. Please be the voice of our suppressed voice! Don’t let them murder us!”

Of the 117 Sunni prisoners held in this ward, twenty were on death row. They were taken either to solitary confinement or to Ghezelhesaar prison. The regime apparently intends to execute the 26 together. [Read more...]

Rouhani smiles abroad whilst executions stepped up in Iran

Whilst Rouhani smiles abroad, executions have been stepped up in Iran according to Mina Ahadi and the International Committee against Execution. Since the election at least 213 prisoners have been executed. 27 were executed in the past two weeks. There are plans to execute 26 political prisoners imminently.

Rouhani was quoted saying he wanted to empty the prisons – it seems the regime intends to do so via executions…

Here Shahin Najafi and Majid Kazemi sing against executions as should we all.

Ask Rouhani: why don’t you free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani?

I want to hold my children in my arms. Please help me!

For three years I have been consumed by longing for liberty and the chance to breathe freely. They told me that if I collaborated on a film for Press TV, I would be released. Press TV made its film and went on its way and there was no more talk of my freedom.

They say that my case is in Tehran and must be decided there. I entreat you to ask President Rouhani, a resident of Tehran, whether he has any news of my case. Doesn’t he want to free me so that I might finally travel with my son and embrace freedom once more?

For years and years, every moment of my life has been suffused with pain and suffering and fear and panic and the terror of execution and stoning. I can’t endure such sustained horror and anguish any more.

In New York, ask Rouhani: why won’t you free Sakineh? Tell him that if he means what he says about moderation and friendship, then let him prove it – let him show that he is truly a moderate by freeing people like me. My fate, my experiences and those of my children, and the torment that we have had to endure – these represent an example of how our lives have been disintegrating. I ask all the media that have always been supportive of me to ask Rouhani these questions no matter where they might find him. Why don’t you free Sakineh?

Respectfully,
From an Iranian women who has known suffering,
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

The International Committee Against Stoning calls on the international press to make public Sakineh’s words and to join in asking Rouhani this question.

The International Committee Against Stoning
25 September 2013

Sakineh Ashtiani Norway

Lottery indeed

Here is a small Iranian girl giving a sermon in defence of the Quran:

I find the use of children in promoting religion or the labelling of children as having a religion particularly sickening; it’s an insidious form of child abuse.

As Mansoor Hekmat says in his brilliant piece in defence of children’s rights:

The child has no religion, tradition and prejudices. She has not joined any religious sect. She is a new human being who, by accident and irrespective of her will has been born into a family with specific religion, tradition, and prejudices. It is indeed the task of society to neutralise the negative effects of this blind lottery. Society is duty-bound to provide fair and equal living conditions for children, their growth and development, and their active participation in social life. Anybody who should try to block the normal social life of a child, exactly like those who would want to physically violate a child according to their own culture, religion, or personal or collective complexes, should be confronted with the firm barrier of the law and the serious reaction of society. No nine year old girl chooses to be married, sexually mutilated, serve as house maid and cook for the male members of the family, and be deprived of exercise, education, and play. The child grows up in the family and in society according to established customs, traditions, and regulations, and automatically learns to accept these ideas and customs as the norms of life… The condition for defending any form of the freedom of the child to experience life, the condition for defending the child’s right to choose, is first and foremost, to prevent these automatic and common impositions.

Lottery indeed. Think about it, this little girl could have been playing, swimming, dancing… were she born in another family.

Religion – together we can (and must) find the cure:

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(via Afsaneh Vahdat)

Guardian’s all excited again

The Guardian is all excited about the “election” of Hassan Rowhani in Iran. They think (and there is some truth in it) that we are afflicted with (even recent) historical amnesia. They did the same song and dance for Rafsanjani and Khatami and now Rowhani.

Whilst the regime has stepped up its executions in order to stifle dissent and the exploding anti-Islamic backlash, the Guardian-ites celebrate Rowhani who by the way just introduced his cabinet – which wait for it – includes Ali Younesi – who was head of intelligence for another “reformer” Khatami and who was involved in the executions of 1362 (1980s). A group of international judges has found the regime guilty of crimes against humanity during that period.

Of course Rowhani and his cabinet reads like a most wanted list but what does the Guardian care? “Reformer” is all they want to hear though reform is meant to have real meaning in the real world. Maybe they can write an article about the reforms we can expect. Same old, same old doesn’t reform make.

As I’ve said before, call them “reformers”, call them “conservatives”, call them anything you want. It doesn’t change the facts.

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They – all of them – shouldn’t be “elected” or celebrated but prosecuted.

And in time, they will be….

 

 

Time to say goodbye to executions

poster2I have not been able to blog for the past ten days and have much to write about.

Most urgently I must tell you about the International Committee against Execution’s call for a two week campaign against executions in Iran during 22 July – 5 August 2013.

You can see Mina Ahadi’s report on the successful first week of the campaign in Persian here.

Execution in all instances, anywhere, is unacceptable. When the state kills it becomes a serial killer, committing premeditated murder on behalf of all society, which makes it the worst kind.

There are those who say that people who kill should be killed. However, most people on death row haven’t killed. And justice is not about retribution. Should rapists by raped and the houses of arsonists burnt to the ground with their families in them?

More importantly what this argument ignores is that the death penalty is a form of state control and intimidation. It’s meant to put people in their places and instil fear. That is as true for the regime in Iran as in China or the states that carry out the death penalty in the USA.

The regime in Iran has survived for more than 30 years by murdering citizens – young and old, men and women, and for more than 130 offences including homosexuality, enmity against god, apostasy and adultery.

Join the International Committee against Executions in saying goodbye to executions.

Tweet #NoMoreExecutions, Upload your acts of outrage and opposition to executions in Iran on social media, Email your actions to [email protected]