A female earthquake by “stealth”

Editorial-Facebook-Stealthy-Freedoms-Sign says Maintaining Hijab and Islamic rules are compulsory

The poster reads: Maintaining hijab and Islamic norms is compulsory

My editorial in May issue of Fitnah’s “Unveiled”

(Full Issue available here)

Tehranˈs Interim Friday Prayers Leader Hojjatoeslam Kazem Sedighi recently said: “In certain towns and cities, some have been seen to have removed their headscarves. This lack of hijab has infiltrated homes via internet and satellite TV…”

Hadi Sharifi, a “media activist” interviewed by Tasnim, a state-run news agency in Iran controlled and operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, has said when a man forces himself onto a woman because she is “showing off her beauty”, this should not be considered rape because it is natural and instinctual for a man to be drawn to the beauty of a woman and seek sex with her. Since men have not granted women permission to show off their beauty, then men who become aroused by the “nakedness” of women do not need the permission of women to pursue their sexual urges…

Recently, too, thousands held a protest in Tehran, urging the Islamic regime to confront what they say is the increasing flouting of the Islamic dress code.

Clearly, the Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, where women in Iran are posting unveiled photos of themselves despite the compulsory veiling law has hit a nerve with the regime and its apologists. And rightly so. The veil is an important symbol of the regime. One of the first things Islamists did after expropriating the Iranian revolution was to impose compulsory veiling. The slogan of their thugs attacking women protesters was “either veil or a smack” (ya rusary ya tusary).

Throughout its 35 year rule, women have challenged the regime’s compulsory veiling law by transgressing them; improper or “bad” veiling has always been a form of resistance to the regime despite the morality police’s constant harassment, and risks of fines or imprisonment.

The unveiling of women, however, in broad daylight, for all the world to see is an even more fundamental challenge to the regime and its rule.

The unveiled woman is the beginning of the end of the regime. A female revolution has long been in the making and it is this movement that will bring the regime to its knees. And not a day too soon.

Free Happy Iranians

.همه کسانی که در نسخه ایرانی موزیک ویدئوی آهنگ خوشحال ساخته فرل ویلیامز در ایران نقش آفرینی کردند، شناسایی و بازداشت شده اند

چرا با رقصيدن در خيابانها از آنها حمايت نکنيم؟

برنامه نان و گل سرخ مى تواند ويديوهاى شما در حين رقص را از طريق کانال جديد پخش کند؛ ويديو کليپهاى کوتاه تان را براى ما بفرستيد

ويديويى که در ايران جرم محسوب مى شود را در پايين صفحه مى بينيد اما ما مى دانيم مجرمين واقعى کى هستتند

#FreeHappyIranians

 

Iranians dancing to Pharrell’s Happy have been arrested.

#FreeHappyIranians now!

Why not support them by dancing in the streets?

Bread and Roses can show some of them and broadcast them in Iran via New Channel TV. Send us short clips right away if you can.

Here’s the video that is considered a “crime” in Iran (but we know who the real criminals are).

Sudan apostasy case, New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA); ex-Muslims internationally

Dear friend

I am writing to give you an update of the work of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, including a new report on the hate group Islamic Education and Research Academy, and also ask for your help in defending an “apostate” facing death in Sudan.

Sudan apostasy case

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged to learn of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence in Sudan for apostasy. The heavily pregnant Mariam has also been charged with adultery and imprisoned with her toddler.  She and her husband are Christian but the judge insists she is Muslim.

Mariam Yahya’s case represents a great number of similar cases where individuals cannot choose or express their beliefs nor have many inalienable rights because of Sharia law.

CEMB condemns Sharia law and in particular articles 126 and 146 of the Sudanese criminal code which punishes apostasy and adultery. Apostasy and adultery are not crimes; executing human beings, including for their beliefs or their consensual sexual relations should be.

CEMB demands the immediate release of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and calls on all groups and individuals to put pressure on the Sudanese government and help save Mariam’s life.

Sign the petition defending Mariam here.

Ex-Muslims Internationally

CEMB co-Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud and heads of affiliated groups, namely the Ex-Muslims of North America and Ex-Muslims of Scotland recently discussed the Mariam Yahya case on BBC World Service and why it is so hard to be an ex-Muslim. You can listen to the programme here.

Despite the many difficulties, atheism is on the rise in countries where Sharia law has influence or access to political power. Interestingly, the country where Richard Dawkins’ name is most searched is Iran. Recently, co-Spokesperson Maryam Namazie sent a video message to over 60 atheists meeting clandestinely in Jordan to congratulate them on their bold move and to pledge CEMB’s support.  Moreover, the first legal atheist organisation in the Middle East and North Africa has been established in Turkey. You can see their statement here.

New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)

A new CEMB report “Evangelising Hate” exposes the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) as a Hate Group. You can read the full press release and report here.

Whilst iERA purports to be a missionary-like charitable organisation, it is in fact a “soft Islamist” group, which acts as the Islamist movement’s public relations arm by promoting and normalising Islamist values, including inciting hatred against ex-Muslims, gays, Jews, women, non Muslims and a majority of Muslims who do not share their values. In Britain and the west, groups like iERA use multiculturalism (as a social policy that segregates “communities”) and cultural relativism as well as the rights language of diversity, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue to increase influence and access. Any opposition to their theocratic aims are met with accusations of racism and Islamophobia.

This timely report is being published just as the Charity Commission is investigating the group. Clearly, iERA must be classified as a hate group and have their charitable status withdrawn. These will help bring clarity to their agenda and can be a starting point for a wider investigation into the influence of Islamism in modern Britain.

It is important to note that the CEMB publishes its report on a day that the far-Right group Britain First (an off-shoot of the British National Party) has targeted yet another mosque in a campaign of hate. Like Islamism, Britain First is a far-Right political group that asserts collective blame, incites hatred and dehumanises those deemed ‘other’. Just as Islamists do not represent a majority of Muslims or those considered Muslim, fascist groups like Britain First do not represent a majority of Britons and those living here.

Our fight is against the far-Right of all stripes and variations – be it Britain First or iERA – and in defence of the rights of all people, irrespective of their background, race, belief, gender, sexuality… to secularism, universal rights and equality.

The new CEMB report has been forwarded to the Home Office, the Charity Commission and the Department for Education, amongst others.

New office space

We have moved into a new office space near Kings Cross, thanks to the fantastic support of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK. The office is shared with One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

We will have an official opening in the near future and will let you know about it when the time comes.

11-12 October 2014 Conference

Please don’t forget to register and buy tickets for a historic two-day conference in London with secular, including ex-Muslim activists from across the world, and particularly the Middle East and North Africa who have been imprisoned and persecuted for their atheism.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the conference if you can help it. You can register and pay for your tickets here.

Keep Supporting Us!

If you like the work we do and want to help or continue helping us, please donate! Your support has been instrumental so far and will further our important work.

A huge thanks to those of you who donate on a monthly basis; it has made a world of difference being able to depend on regular support. We need a lot more help so please do join our small but important group of monthly donors or give us a one off donation if you can. Here’s information on how to donate.  We also still need more volunteers if you have some time to spare.

We look forward to continuing – together – our fight for atheism, secularism, rights and equality and countering the far-Right, racism and cultural relativism in the months and years to come.

Warmest wishes
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.

Iran: jailed labour activist moved to interrogation unit of prison

Behnam and Nima EbrahimzadehBehnam Ebrahimzadeh, who has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities, has been moved to Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Ward 209 is the interrogation unit of the prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence, where torture and maltreatment is routinely practised as part of the interrogations.

Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Organisations and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration. Also, during a recent assault on political prisoners in Ward 350, he was among the prisoners who were severely beaten up and injured.

It should also be noted that Mr Ebrahimzadeh’s 15-year old son is ill with leukaemia, a fact that has added to his psychological traumas.

Given the fact that Ebrahimzadeh has now been transferred to the interrogation ward of the prison, there are growing concerns for his wellbeing. We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the continued detention of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
bahram.soroush@gmail.com

Iran: Azim Zadeh and Mohammadi moved to the interrogation ward of Evin Prison

103Continued detention of two union leaders
Monday, 5 May 2014

The Free Union of Workers in Iran (Ettehadiye Azad e Kargaran e Iran) has reported about the continued detention of the leader and an Executive Committee member of the Union in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday 30 April, ahead of a rally called by the Union for May Day.

According to the Union, the two activists have been moved to the interrogation ward of the Prison, Ward 209, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. This increases the risk of their subjection to torture and maltreatment, which is the usual practice in this ward during interrogations.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi are among the coordinators for a national pay rise campaign, which has so far attracted 40,000 signatures.

We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the detention of these trade union leaders and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
bahram.soroush@gmail.com

Sharia law is madness

maryam-namazie-photo by Mallorie Nassrallah-smallThe below is Maryam Namazie’s editorial published in the April 2014 issue of Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.

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.”

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:
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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 exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com.

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
minnaahadi@gmail.com
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, info_leader@leader.ir, Twitter: @khamenei_ir or to Hassan Rouhani, President, media@rouhani.ir, 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, info_leader@leader.ir, Twitter: @khamenei_ir or to Hassan Rouhani, President, media@rouhani.ir, 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...]