Women’s Liberation from Religion, Bread and Roses TV

Women’s Liberation from Religion
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Interview with Annie Laurie Gaylor, Founder of Freedom from Religion Foundation on religion and women and
UK and Saudi Government secret deal
Men taking to social media in Iran in defence of women’s equality
Soheil Arabi’s death sentence for allegedly insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, commuted to reading 13 religious books and studying theology for two years. Also serving a separate seven-and-a-half-year sentence for allegedly insulting the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Fatwa on “Jilboobs” from Indonesia
Khebez Dowla or State Bread, a rock band and their concert during flight from Syria ruled by war criminals where music has died.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad Basham



Warwick Student Union and the Islamist Narrative

Warwick Student Union (SU) has officially responded to the uproar surrounding their decision to refuse the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society (WASH) request to have me as a speaker in October.  They deceptively imply that the uproar over their denial is premature as a “final” decision has not been made.

And so the white wash begins.

The Warwick Atheists Society has published an excellent rebuttal, including correspondence from the SU, which confirms what was said from the outset: “..we are going to have to decline authorisation for her attendance on campus” citing “flags” and unnamed articles “written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus.”

You can see the screenshots below:



Also as stated from the outset, WASH has appealed the decision and has been waiting for a response ever since.



I have already briefly addressed the SU’s initial decision: the Islamists incite hatred, not us. But there is a serious question that remains unanswered: which articles, written by myself and “others”, have so concerned the SU? These need to be published in full – for the sake of transparency – and so we can all judge for ourselves.

The SU cannot accuse me of potentially inciting hatred – a prosecutable offence – and then deny me the evidence to defend myself. Needless to say, I am also very interested to learn of the “others” they have relied on.

I insist that these be made available without delay.

The issues for me are very clear.

“Incitement to hatred” is against people not ideas or the extreme religious-Right. You can dislike or even hate an idea like religion and a far-Right political movement like the KKK, Britain First or Islamism and not incite hate against people who are believers or members of political groups.

I think religion should come with a health warning – like cigarettes – it kills. I also think Islamism is a far-Right movement – the fascism of our era – but that is not same as inciting hatred against people. Don’t forget, even though I am an ex-Muslim, my loved ones, like my parents, are Muslims. My grandmother wore the hejab; my grandfather was an Islamic scholar.

This is not hard to understand. There might be members on the SU who are atheist, who think Christianity is superstition and who dislike and even hate the pope, the Christian Right, the EDL, and the BNP but don’t hate “Christians”. Also, they should be able to see that not all “Christians” are the same. Many are Christian in name only. And even though Britain has an established church and bishops in the House of Lords, they understand that the society is not Christian nor are many who are labelled as such. This is common sense. They just can’t seem to see it when it comes to the “other”. Then any criticism is seen to be “discrimination” against and “intimidation” of “Muslim students”. Isaac Leigh, president of Warwick Student Union, says as much in the Independent: “The initial decision was made for the right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their university campus… rather than in the interest of suppressing free speech.”

Why does Leigh think that my criticism of Islam and Islamism is an attack on “Muslim students”? Which Muslim students? All of them? Why did he not think that “Christian students” would be discriminated against and intimidated by the wonderful Philosopher AC Grayling and his talk on Atheism and Humanism?

It’s a racism of lower expectations – “Muslim students” must be protected from hearing any criticism of Islam or Islamism as if there are no dissenters and even closet ex-Muslims amongst them.

Clearly, the SU has bought into the Islamist worldview (and also that of identity politics/multiculturalism pursued by successive British governments) that “Muslims” are a homogeneous community that need to be managed by parasitical and reactionary imams, sharia courts and Islamist organisations rather than viewed as equal citizens and as students (with more than one characteristic that defines them). They cannot see that even “Muslim students” have the right to dissent and to hear dissenting voices.

If dissenters cannot speak, what does the SU suggest we do? I don’t want to be a Muslim. I was “born” Muslim out of no choice of my own – a lottery of birth. I want to be able to shout my atheism from every rooftop without looking over my shoulder. I abhor the veil and gender apartheid. I want to be equal to men. I don’t want my rights to be culturally relative. I want to, I need to, speak out against the Islamic regime of Iran and ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Members of the SU speak as they choose but we cannot?

Says who?

Those in power restrict and limit free expression and determine what is acceptable to the status quo and what is not.

In Iran and Saudi Arabia and the Caliphate, they label it blasphemy, apostasy and heresy and call you kafir and murtad and immoral and kill and imprison and flog you and throw acid in your face. Here, they and their apologists call it Islamophobia to silence critics who are somewhat out of their reach.

The SU’s infringement of the right to criticise religion and that which is deemed sacred and taboo limits the free expression of those who need it most. Saying Islam and Islamism are off limits means first and foremost that the victims and survivors of Islamism are not allowed to do one of the only things at their disposal in order to resist. It is telling people they cannot oppose theocracies and religious laws and call for secularism in the Middle East and North Africa. It is telling people they cannot oppose sharia and call for universal rights for all. It’s telling women they do not have the right to be equal. It’s telling ex-Muslims they don’t have a right to live if they want to reveal that they are atheists. It’s telling people who need free expression most that they must remain silent and accept their lot in life.

But this is more than a question of placing limitations on the free expression and attempts at silencing dissenters. It’s buying into the Islamist narrative that blames the victims. The Bangladeshi government blames the bloggers, the Saudi government blames Raif for his lashes and equates atheists with terrorists, the Islamic regime in Iran blames Atena Farghadani’s cartoon for her 12 years in prison…

The blame, however, lies squarely on the shoulders of those who threaten, kill and actually incite hatred, not those of us who refuse and resist.

Warwick SU, publish the articles you refer to; give evidence for your serious accusation against me and if not, withdraw the accusation. Mostly, show some courage and decency and rectify your mistake so that I can come as planned and speak at your university without delay.

For me, it is not a question of if I will speak but when.

Yousef Muhammad Ali faces trial for criticising Islam

UPDATE: Yousef Muhammad Ali’s trial has been delayed to 14 September 2015 to give the judge time to receive further documentation on his case.

Yousef Muhammad Ali, born in 1987, faces trial on 13 July in Iraqi Kurdistan for criticising Islam. Please take urgent action right away and write to the Kurdish regional authorities to drop charges and to arrest those who have threatened him instead.


Yousef Muhammad Ali who spent many years studying Islam and Sharia law made a presentation in school on the Big Bang Theory. Islamists in his class instigated a fatwa against him. Also he faced threats when he criticised Islam on Facebook. Upon receiving a number of death threats, he contacted the police and filed a grievance against a perpetrator. His case was sent to a public tribunal in Darbandikhan, which rather than address the threats to Yousef Muhammad Ali’s life, had him arrested. He was then transferred to Sulaymaniyah jail. On 15th December 2014, his sentence was renewed until the 22nd December 2014. After campaigning by rights activists and journalists in Kurdistan and abroad he was released on bail on 17 December 2014. His hearing date is on 13 July 2015.


You can write to the below:

Kurdistan Parliament Email & Contact number:

Ministry of Justice Email & Contact number:

Kurdistan Regional Government Email:

Please also copy me in the emails so I can forward it to his solicitor: maryamnamazie@gmail.com.

We seldom realise we are apes

Watch today’s Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya broadcast via New Channel TV.
14 July 2015
Interview with Colin Goldner who coordinates the Great Ape Project plus
* Trials of Yousef Muhammad Ali in Iraqi Kurdistan for criticising Islam and Moroccan women for wearing skirts
* Khaleel al-Dakhi who has rescued more than 500 women and girls from ISIS territory
* Where is Saeed? who disappeared when regime in Iran attacked student protests in July 1999
* Also women waxing hurts god’s work, didn’t you know and Ramadan and brothels
Background: Great apes, including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans are our closest living relatives. They are intelligent. can reason, are self-aware and share a range of human emotions. They have a similar lifespan to humans and form strong family bonds which they maintain for life. According to Richard Dawkins, “We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes.” The Great Ape Project advocates a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes that would confer basic legal rights on non-human great apes.
Director: Reza Moradi
Translator: Khosro Gharib

۱۵ ژوئیه
مصاحبه با کالین گلدنر؛ مسئول پروژه كپي كبير و
ودر بازار محاکمه یوسف محمد علی در کردستان عراق بخاطر انتقاد از اسلام و زنان مراکشی برای پوشیدن دامن
نجات بیش از ۵۰۰ زن و دختر از داعش
سعید کجا است؟ و ۱۸ تير
رمضان و تنفروشى و اپيلاسيون زنان
در مورد مصاحبه
خانواده كپي كبير، شامل شامپانزهها، بونوبوها، گوريل ها و اورانگوتانها ، نزديكترين فاميل ما در دنياي موجودات هستند.
آنها داراي هوش و منطق، خود آگاهي و يك سلسله احساسات انساني مشترك با ما ميباشند.
دوره هاي زندگي آنها شبيه انسانها است . انها داراي روابط خانوادگي بلند مدت و براي تمام طول زندگي خود ميباشند .
به گفته ريچارد داوكينز “ما ميپزيريم كه مانند كپي كبير هستيم ، ولي هيچ گاه نمي پزيربم كه خود ما كپي كبير هستيم “.
پروژه كپيكبير خواهان برسميت شناختن بيانيه حقوق پايه اي كپي كبير از جانب سازمان ملل ميباشد
فقط در ٤١ كشور دنيا منع خشونت عليه كودكان به قانون تبديل شده است
ما شديدا به دنياي امن تري براي كودكان نياز داريم
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
مترجم: خسرو قریب

The Islamic regime in Iran is result of crime against humanity

Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya on the June 20, 1981 anniversary of the slaughter of political prisoners.
16 June 2015
Interview with rights activist Yasaman Bayani.
Background: From 20 June 1981 the Islamic regime of Iran attacked and executed hundreds of people a day; they closed down newspapers and crushed the opposition. This was the point of the Islamic Republic’s establishment not 1979 Iranian revolution… Many do not remember it but it is an important moment in the formation of the Islamic Republic. We must remind today’s generation that the Islamic Republic is the result of a massive crime against humanity during the 1980s. This must be remembered, recorded, stated, exposed and not forgotten, especially since many of those who organised the murders and killings still run the country.
We show the trailer of a film called “The ones who said No” by Nima Sarvestani
Shocking news of the week is the curfew for women in Aceh Province, Indonesia after 11pm.
Insane fatwa of the week is against going to Mars.
Good new of the week is: Syrian women pulling off their burqas to show they are free from ISIS
Question of the week: From Mehdi asking us to respect people’s beliefs
Director: Reza Moradi

SUPPORT BREAD AND ROSES WITH AS LITTLE AS $1 A WEEK:به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته

Atheism Association of Turkey is fighting for a better Turkey

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV
With Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya

Atheism Association of Turkey is fighting for a better Turkey
Interview with Morgan Elizabeth Romano and Zehra Pala  of the Atheism Association of Turkey
Background: The Atheism Association in Turkey is second public atheist organisation formed in what is known as a Muslim-majority country, the first being Morocco. In less than a year of its founding, its website was blocked by a Turkish court citing Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Law, which forbids “provoking the people for hate and enmity or degrading them.” Meanwhile, the Association has had to install a panic button in their office due to death threats.
Shocking new: Rise of child ‘marriages’ in Iran
Insane fatwa: Fatwa against discount coupons
Good news: Legislation in France barring supermarkets from wasting unsold food
Director: Reza Moradi
Translation: Mohammad B

برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
با مريم نماۯى و فريبرۯ پويا
سازمان آتئیسم در ترکیه براى تركيه بهترى مى جنگد
مصاحبه با مرگان رمانو و زهرا پلا از انجمن بى خدايان ٺركيه
سازمان اته ايستهاي تركيه بعد از مراكش دومين سازمان علني اته در كشورهاي با اصطلاح اسلامي است
دو كمتر از دو سال بعد از بنيان گذاري اين سازمان سايت اينترنتي ان بوسيله دادگاه جنايي تركيه تحت عنوان و با رجوع به قوانين عدم تحريك مردم و اشاعه نفرت و دشمني با مردم بلوكه شد
در حقيقت اين سازمان براي يك تركيه بهتر ميجنگد
اخبار تکان دهنده جدید: افزايش ‘ازدواج’ کودکان در ایران
فتوای احمقانه: فتوا بر علیه کوپن های تخفیف
خبر خوب: قانون در فرانسه عليه اتلاف مواد غذایی به فروش نرفته
کارگردان: رضا مرادى
ترجمه: محمد ب


به برنامه نان و گل سرخ کمک مالى هفتگى کنيد براى فقط ىک دلار در هفته


Promoting Secularism in the Age of ISIS

140624160439-lv-isis-tshirt-for-sale-online-00001526-story-topThis is my speech at the 5th Imagine No Religion conference in Vancouver, Canada during 5-7 June 2015.

The global rise of Islamism in particular and the religious-Right in general has turned the demand for secularism into an urgent task and necessity.

There are those in academia who theorise about a ‘post-secular’ world and insist that secularism lacks relevance, particularly for ‘non-Westerners.’  In the age of ISIS, though, you don’t have to look far to see that secularism is not only still relevant but that it’s a matter of life and death for countless people across the globe. In fact, no-one understands the need for secularism better than ‘non-westerners’ living under the boot of the religious-Right.

The post-secularists tell us that the rise of Islamism and the religious Right is linked to a religious revival. But this is not true. Of course with its rise, there are political pressures to keep up religious appearances, homogenise religious identity, and define religion as the only characteristic of entire societies, communities and people but this is very often enforced by violence.

‘Any classification and labelling has a purpose behind it,’ says the late Iranian Marxist Mansoor Hekmat. ‘Islam has been around in Iran for one thousand four hundred years and has obviously left its mark on certain things. But this is only one element in portraying this society – the same way that oppression, monarchy, police state, industrial backwardness, ethnicity, language, script, political history, pre-Islamic way of life, people’s physical characteristics, international relations, geography and weather, diet, size of country, population concentration, economic relations, level of urbanisation, architecture, etc. are. All of these express real characteristics of the society. Now if out of the hundreds of factors that create differences between Iran and Pakistan, France and Japan, someone insists on pointing to the presence of Islam in some aspects of life in this society and brands all of us with this label – from anti-religious individuals like Dashty, Hedayat and you and I to the great majority who do not see themselves as believers and are not concerned about Islam and the clergy – then they must have a specific agenda. Iran is not an Islamic society; the government is Islamic. Islam is an imposed phenomenon in Iran, not only today but also during the monarchy, and has remained in power by oppression and murder.’

The labelling of entire people, societies and communities as Muslim or Islamic is part and parcel of the Islamist agenda to feign representation and gain power and control.

And let’s be clear, it is more about power and control than religion. This distinction between religion and the religious-Right (a political movement) is clearer if you look at other religious-Right movements like the Buddhist-Right in Burma or Sri Lanka and their progroms against Muslims, the Hindu-Right’s massacre of Muslims in Gujrat, the Christian-Right’s bombing of abortion clinics or the Jewish-Right’s assault on women or as settlers in the Palestinian territories. Like the Islamists, they use religion to justify violence (or discrimination – depending on their influence) but you cannot explain these movements by religion alone.

Islamists, for example, are not all doctrinaire, literalist or fundamentalist and include a wide range of groups from ISIS, to the pragmatic and conservative factions of the Islamic regime of Iran to ‘soft’ Islamists (they don’t want to kill you just yet via terrorism) and even ‘Islamic Protestants or reformers’ like Abdolkarim Soorosh. Islam is the banner for their extreme-rightwing restructuring of society. But their movement is firmly rooted in political equations to gain power – primarily through violence and terror.

As Algerian sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue Marieme Helie Lucas says, this movement ‘is by no means a tool of the poor against the rich, of the Third World against the West, of people against capitalism. It is not a legitimate response that can be supported by the progressive forces of the world. Its main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans -, among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place’, which as we know from experience ends up being a straight jacket…’

In fact, it’s this internal opposition that makes the Islamists so brutal. They would not need to use such unrelenting violence if it were people’s culture and religion… if everyone submitted. The hijab, for example, which is the first imposition by Islamists when they gain influence is not a personal choice for a vast majority of women today though it is touted as such. It is highly contested and challenged as in the women’s unveiling movement in Iran and is one of the main areas of fight-back as is ‘Sharia law.’ Of course countless liberals here in the west – groups like the British Humanist Association – defend the burqa as people’s right to dress and Sharia courts as people’s right to religion.

We are often made to believe that this is clash of civilisations or an antagonism between a ‘secular West’ and a ‘religious East’ but it’s not. It’s a global struggle between secularists, including many Muslims and believers on the one hand, and theocrats and the religious-Right on the other taking place within and across borders around the globe.

We’re also told this is about racism and discrimination against minority communities or societies in the South, but it’s not. It’s a defence of people and universal rights against the religious-Right.

After all no society or community is homogeneous. There is dissent and political and social movements and class politics at play.

Take the example of 27 year old Farkhunda accused by a mullah of being an ‘infidel’ who burnt verses of the Koran. She was attacked by a mob in Kabul, lynched, stoned, run over, burnt and her body thrown in a river whilst onlookers and police stood by.

What could she expect when she goes against ‘Muslim sensibilities’ tweeted one of this absurd liberal Left do-gooders who only seem to do good for religion and not women? But wasn’t Farkhunda Muslim too? Actually she was very devout and had gone to the local mullah to tell him to stop selling amulets to women.

What became very obvious after her murder was that not all Afghans or Muslims or Muslim men have the same ‘sensibilities.’ Women carried her body– going against Islamic customs – to her gravesite and with her family’s permission encircled by a chain of men to protect them. They surrounded her coffin right until the end, gave her the respect she deserved, and chanted: ‘we are all Farkhunda.’ And when a mullah who had justified Farkhunda’s killing, tried to join them, they refused, created a circle around her gravesite, and forced him to leave.

Azaryun, a youth activist says, ‘That is what Farkhunda teaches me: together we can change the narrative that others write about women. We stood up against the most respected mullah. We carried the coffin and buried her.’ Neayish, a medical student, said: ‘I was just crying.’ ‘It was a long trek… but all my energy was focused on giving Farkhunda a respectable burial. It was the first time I realized my real power and told myself that I’m breaking the boundaries of tradition.’

So ‘the people’ of Afghanistan do not all agree. ‘Muslims’ are not all the same. And I place Muslims in quotes since not everyone living in Afghanistan or Iran are Muslims or Islamists just like not everyone is Canada or Britain is Christian or fundamentalist.

Everywhere, from Iran to Afghanistan and Algeria, there are women and men who break taboos and change narratives and stand against religion’s encroachment in people’s lives and against Islamism. To accept the label of Islamic and the homogenisation of entire populations is to accept Islamism’s narrative and not that of the many who resist.

In Bangladesh, for example, there are Islamists killing and threatening beloved atheist bloggers like Avijit Roy but there is also a deeply secular movement against them, including 24 villages that have become known as Jamaat free villages – or terrorist free villages.

Religion is not the only marker for our societies nor is it the most important. [Read more…]

Bread and Roses: Gay marriage vote in Ireland a gain for humanity

Gay marriage vote in Ireland a gain for humanity
Bread and Roses with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
Interview with Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland
Background: In a referendum, 62% voted in favour of changing the Irish constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The landmark decision was celebrated across the world. A senior Vatican official, though, said it was a “defeat for humanity”. In fact, it as a defeat for homophobic religious values and a gain for humanity and 21st century human values.
Shocking news of the week: mass graves of migrants in Malaysia
Insane fatwa of the week: Masturbation leads to pregnant hands In afterlife
Good news: Vote for gay marriage in Ireland
Director: Reza Moradi
Translator: Mohammad B

رای ازدواج همجنس گرايان در ایرلند دست آوردى برای بشریت
نان و گل سرخ با مریم نمازی و فریبرز پویا
مصاحبه با مایکل نوجنت، رئیس ساۯمان آٺئيسٺهاى ایرلند
در يك رفراندم سراسري در جمهوري ايرلند ٦٢٪ از شركت كنندگان راي مثبت به تغيير قانون اساسي جهت برسميت شناختن ازدواج همجنس گرايان در آن كشور دادند
نتيجه اين انتخاب مهم مورد استقبال جهاني قرار گرفت
البته يك مقام بالاي واتيكان ان را “شكستي براي بشريت” ناميد
در واقع اين شكستي براي ارزشهاي مذهبي و ضد همجنس گرايان ولي دستاوردي براي بشريت و ارزشهاي انساني قرن بيست و يكم ميباشد
اخبار تکان دهنده از هفته: گورهای دسته جمعی مهاجران در مالزی
فتوای احمقانه هفته: ارۯاى جنسى مردان منجر به دست باردار در زندگی پس از مرگ
خبر خوب: رای برای ازدواج همجنس گرايان در ایرلند
کارگردان: رضا مرادی
مترجم: محمد ب

Council of Ex-Muslims: We need to do more with your support

Dear friend

As you know, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was established in 2007 to break the taboo that comes with leaving Islam and religion. We have done this by challenging apostasy and blasphemy laws and facilitating a public renunciation of Islam and a rise in atheism. We have also been there for many ex-Muslims facing persecution by Islamists or family members – around 300 a year – including one-on-one support. Our web-forum has given thousands a network to rely on, including threads in Arabic and Urdu. The ex-Muslim movement has grown tremendously since our establishment with affiliated councils in a number of countries such as France, Turkey and Morocco.

The CEMB’s campaigning work (with One Law for All and other allies) is also finally paying off. Atheism has been recognised in Britain as a grounds for asylum with legal decisions no longer guided by whether the apostasy can be kept private. Also, the Law Society has withdrawn its discriminatory Guidance on Sharia wills and Universities UK has taken back its guidance endorsing gender segregation. Sharia courts are now being scrutinised after many years of silence and appeasement.

Thanks to your support, the CEMB has made a huge difference in the lives of countless people and society at large. But we have a lot more work ahead.
In the coming year, we aim to further focus on women ex-Muslims, organise a tribunal against Sharia, produce a report and video on women apostates, organise a secular film festival, set up the International Front for Secularism as well as exposing Islamist “hate speech” against ex-Muslims and Muslims who dissent with others.

To so do, we are in desperate need for funds, including for an office computer and printer, production costs and expenses related to organising the high profile events.

Any support you can provide will help us make our plans a reality, will be greatly appreciated and will continue to make a huge difference.

If you are able to donate, please make your cheque payable to ‘CEMB’ and send it to BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX. You can also donate via Paypal.

Thanks again for your on-going help and support.

Warmest wishes


Maryam Namazie
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/

Support 24 year old Esha in Pakistani prison charged with blasphemy

4135696_1428760585.3251“Esha” a 24 year old woman has been cut off from the world in her prime and is languishing in a Pakistani prison for the last three years on false charges of blasphemy brought against her by her best friend after they had an argument. She stands accused of having torn pages from the Qur’an and having slept on them. Although there have been several hearings, her trial  is still pending  for a complex variety of reasons – one of them being that there have been five different judges, each fearing for his life. You can read more about her here.

She has no family to take an interest in her except for a dedicated young man, “Mo”, whom she met on a visit to court and who, on hearing her story and seeing her isolation, has been trying to support her. Blasphemy is a serious offence in a deeply religious country like Pakistan and punishable by death. Blasphemy laws have been used to persecute minorities like the Christians or to settle personal scores. Several prominent people have been killed  for supporting those accused of blasphemy. Only recently a Christian couple were burnt alive for allegedly desecrating the Qur’an.

“Mo” has gone into hiding after he  received death threats. He is unable to work now and therefore, unable to raise the kind of fees that are charged by lawyers. For this kind of case, the fees are extremely high because of the danger posed to anyone associated with it. This is why we cannot use their real names.

She is being sexually harassed by the superintendent of the prison. As she has rejected his advances, he has withdrawn all basic privileges such as medicines, visitors, even a  mattress to sleep on. She is locked up 24/7 in a cell that is not heated in the winter and not cooled in the summer when temperatures can reach a baking 45c! She has attempted suicide twice and her poor mental health is a cause of real worry. She has stomach ulcers, skin allergies and kidney problems as well.

“Esha” and “Mo” are completely trapped.  ‘Esha’ says ‘I have lost all faith in society. I have been cut off from life, from the world, from education. I have lost the will to live.’

Although it is vital to Esha’s mental health that she leaves  prison, if her bail hearing is successful, neither of them have any money even for rent or food. Mo’s own family feel he’s wasting his life and are threatening to cut him off.  He says, ‘I was 27 when I met Esha. I have spent all my life savings on her. My life is in danger from extremists and I have lost family, friends and peace of mind. Why am I doing this?’

This money will go towards Esha’s legal fees and associated expenses for a lawyer who is highly recommended. “Mo” is desperate to get the legal case on the road before “Esha’s” next attempt on her life.

Please donate as generously as you can.  The money will be used to pay legal fees and welfare costs.

Thank you!

Original Art is Dangerous

Original Art is dangerous
28 April 2015
Interview with Tunisian Filmmaker Nadia El Fani
Background: According to Salman Rushdie, “original art is never created in the safe middle ground, but always at the edge. Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or… controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.”
Happy International Workers’ Day: May Day support for jailed labour activists in Iran
Shocking News of the week: Rise in executions in Iran and April 25 day against executions in Iran
Insane fatwa of the week: Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs says toilet paper is halal!
Good news: Thousands of Turkish students demand Jedi and Buddhist temples in response to mosque at university

هنر نوآور خطرناک است
۲۹ آوريل ۲۰۱۵
مصاحبه با فیلمساز تونسی نادیا الفنی
به گفته سلمان روشدى “هنر نوآور نه در محيط بى خطر بلكه در لبه پرتگاه بوجود مى آيد
هنر نوين خطرناك است٬ به چالش ميكشد، مورد سوْال قرار ميدهد، فرضيات را واژگون ميكند. كدهاى اخلاقي را به هم مى ريزد، به گاوهاى مقدس بى احترامى ميكند. مى تواند شوكه آور، زشت و يا بحث انگيز باشد
و اگر ما به آزادى اعتقاد داريم، اگر مى خواهيم هوايى را كه استنشاق مى كنيم فراوان و تازه باشد، اين هنر است كه نه تنها بايد از حق وجودش دفاع كنيم بلكه بايد آن را گرامى بدانيم
هنر سرگمى نيست، در عالى ترين شكلش، انقلاب است”
روز جهانی کارگر: حمایت اول ماه مه در دفاع از فعالان کارگری زندانی در ایران
اخبار تکان دهنده هفته: افزايش اعدام ها در ایران و روز 25 ماه آوریل عليه اعدام ها در ایران
فتوای احمقانه هفته: کاغذ توالت حلال
خبر خوب : هزاران نفر از دانش آموزان ترکیه خواهان معابد جداى (از فيلم جنگ ستارگان) در پاسخ به مسجد در دانشگاه

We are all Farkhunda


The below is a shortened version of my speech at Marea Feminist Review and Consulta Torinese per la Laicita public events in Genoa and Turin, Italy during 27-30 March 2015.

Today, we are all Farkhunda.

You know her by now – a 27 year old woman accused by a mullah of being an “infidel” who burnt verses of the Koran. She was attacked by a mob in Kabul, lynched, stoned, run over, burnt and her body thrown in a river whilst onlookers and police stood by. (See full report here.)

Immediately after her brutal murder, some Afghan officials like Senator Zulmai Zabuli and deputy minister of information and culture Simin Hasanzada sought to justify her killing. A mullah of Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, Ayaz Niazi also justified it and said: “At such a situation, there is no need to go and check the girl whether she is sick or okay,” he warned following reports that she had mental health problems. He added: “Be careful O people! It will be a big mistake if they [perpetrators] were sent to the jail. The people will stand against this and then they cannot be controlled” – the usual threats – by religious gatekeepers of power – in support of the perpetrators on behalf of “the people”. Of course we heard justifications here in the west too. Someone Tweeted: “what does she expect if she burns the Koran” as if a book is worth more than a human life. Back in Kabul, her family was advised to leave their home for safety reasons; it was in fact they who had said she had mental health problems in order to safeguard their lives…

So far, this is a story we have heard many times over many years. A woman accused of a crime against religion or religious morality – real or imagined – who is tried and executed either by mob (or Islamist) violence or by the state’s violence in the form of Sharia law on behalf of “the offended sensibilities of the people”.

But “the people” as Mullah Ayaz Niazi learnt well includes many – led by women – who were outraged by Farkhunda’s brutal murder and would not justify it.

The ensuing protests meant that her family did not have to flee their home but could stand their ground. Her mother was able to say “I am proud of my daughter” and her brother, Najibullah, was able to announce that he is changing his second name to Farkhunda in memory of his sister.  It showed that people would respect her and not “the people’s offended sensibilities”. A group of young people renamed the street leading to the area of her attack as Farkhunda’s Street and a tree was planted on the spot where her body was thrown. Also 28 men have been arrested with 13 policemen suspended following the attack. And all because of protests – most important of which included that women carried Farkhunda’s body– going against Islamic customs – to her gravesite and with her family’s permission. They surrounded her coffin right until the end, gave her the respect she deserved, and chanted: “we are all Farkhunda”.

And when Ayaz Niazi, the mullah who had justified Farkhunda’s killing, tried to join them, they refused, created a circle around her gravesite, and forced him to leave.

Azaryun, a youth activist says, “That is what Farkhunda teaches me: together we can change the narrative that others write about women. We stood up against the most respected mullah. We carried the coffin and buried her.”

Neayish, a medical student, said: “I was just crying.” “It was a long trek… but all my energy was focused on giving Farkhunda a respectable burial. It was the first time I realized my real power and told myself that I’m breaking the boundaries of tradition.”

What the protests around Farkhunda’s murder show are that “the people” of Afghanistan do not all agree. That “Muslims” are not all the same. Just like “Christians”, Italians and the Church and pope and Northern League are not one and the same.

In Afghanistan, too, there are women and youth who break taboos and change narratives and there are many men who stand with them against religion’s encroachment in people’s lives and against Islamism – the religious-Right. [Read more…]

I am in Italy for the next few days

I AM FARKHONDEHI am travelling today to Italy to join celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of Marea Feminist Review (yes there are feminists in this world who stand with us against Islamists and the religious-Right rather than excusing them).

I’ll be joined by FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko​, Tunisian Filmmaker Nadia ElFani, and Algerian Sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas. Can’t wait.

At every public meeting I speak, I will say “I am Farkhondeh” till I can speak no more.

Here are the events I will be taking part in for those of you who are near Genoa and Turino:

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

Details of Genoa event can be found here.

Details of Turin event can be found here.

You See Trinity College Dublin, it is possible to hold events without adding last minute restrictions to silence dissenters of Islam and Islamism…

Trinity College Dublin: I was not born yesterday

I wrote a blog post earlier about my refusal to abide by conditions imposed by Trinity College Dublin for my speech on Apostasy and the Rise of Islamism which I am to give this Monday.

Aoife, the chair of the society which had invited me is contesting my version of things so I find it necessary (also for transparency’s sake) to post all correspondence below. There is not much since Aoife only contacted me today (well technically last night as it is 2am now) after things came to a head. Another student organiser has been in touch with me the whole time and been arranging my visit. If there is any miscommunication, it seems to have been promulgated by Aoife to “manage” the situation in the same way that they were hoping to manage me.

Even if it was Aoife who suggested a moderator, it has come about as a result of “pressure”. Also security concerns of my antagonising the “Muslim students” and being “one-sided” which were raised with student organiser have nothing to do with student security no matter how many times Aoife says it does.

Aoife is trying to manage a bad situation by blaming it on miscommunication but you know what folks, I was not born yesterday.

This reminds me of my speaking tour in 2011 Australia where I went to give my speech at the University of Western Sydney on “Sharia law & human rights”. When I got there, it had become a panel due to “pressure” and the audience were forced to listen to another view before I was even allowed to speak…

Anyway, here are the emails. The name of the student organiser has been left out at his/her request.

From: Maryam Namazie [mailto:maryamnamazie@gmail.com]
Sent: 21 March 2015 01:38
To: ‘Society for International Affairs’
Subject: RE: Speaking Engagement at Trinity College Dublin (Monday, 23rd March)

Hi Aoife

I think you are missing the point here. Of course el Mekki is given free access. In my experience there is never any question raised about Islamists as they are seen to be one and the same with “Muslims” which is untrue. It is usually raised with regards my speaking engagements, and this is not a new experience for me.

The security mentioned concerns over one-sidedness and “antagonising Muslim students” with the person who I have been in touch with all along regarding this event. Clearly such concerns are not matters of student security but the usual matter of avoiding “offence” – and it is usually us ex-Muslims that are seen to be antagonistic and not the Islamist speakers who promote our murder.
Your email tonight was the first I had received from you – someone else was organising this for me – so I am more prone to believe that it is your impression that is mistaken and not the other way around.


From: Society for International Affairs
Sent: 21 March 2015 01:02
To: Maryam Namazie
Subject: Re: Speaking Engagement at Trinity College Dublin (Monday, 23rd March)

Hi Maryam,

The situation is slightly difficult for me to comprehend as I feel we aren’t talking about the same event anymore. I think this has gone completely awry. I don’t know where you got the impression that Security were imposing restrictions on you. If that was communicated to you, I apologise as that would never happen in Trinity, and I would fight to uphold any individual’s right to express themselves freely. I also am upset that you have been given the impression that Trinity authorities are backward, on the contrary: it was never a matter of potentially causing offence, I believe that Kamal el-Mekki’s presence proves that Trinity authorities do not interfere with college society’s activities. College Security have never once asked me about the content of your speech, just who will be attending the event (Trinity students as per society rules and insurance reasons) and numbers for fire and safety reasons. They did not realise it was being facilitated by SOFIA and therefore were nervous about an individual hosting the event. But I personally cleared that and assured them that I had it under control.

I am disappointed that you are not going to be with us on Monday, and I wish you had waited until I had gotten in contact. I was attending a wake service then went for dinner and all I had was my dying mobile phone which I told [the organiser contact] I would be in contact with you tonight.

Sorry this has gone so dramatic.


On 21 March 2015 at 00:19, Maryam Namazie wrote:
Hello Aoife

Thanks for your email. The issues raised by security were clearly not about student safety but about the fear of my causing offence. Raising concerns of one-sidedness and implying my defence of the right to apostasy would be antagonising are political positions not security matters. Regardless of who added a condition of my having a chair to “moderate” me, I find that to be unacceptable. It astounding that an Islamist who defends death for apostates can speak at your college without any such issues being raised, whilst I who am one of their targets, must be “moderated” and have limitations placed on my audience. My conditions are very clear. I have mentioned them here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2015/03/20/tcd/. I will not be coming if there are any restrictions.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Thank you.
All the best

From: Society for International Affairs
Sent: 20 March 2015 22:41
To: maryamnamazie@googlemail.com
Subject: Speaking Engagement at Trinity College Dublin (Monday, 23rd March)

Dear Maryam,

As Chair of the Society for International Affairs (SOFIA) I am delighted to welcome to Trinity College Dublin, on Monday. I apologise for not getting in touch earlier this evening but I was away from my laptop and our first point of contact deserves more than a hasty/shoddy email sent off my phone. [The organiser contact] has done a good job so far in putting things in motion.

Just so we are on the same page, could you inform me of your expectations of your visit to Trinity, and I’ll outline the same. You may have heard earlier today Trinity Security were concerned about the safety of the university students. Due to miscommunication, I was not aware until midday today that [the organiser contact] had not passed on basic SOFIA practice of being reserved for our members to you. As such, I was more than alarmed when Trinity Security contacted me and I was put in an awkward situation where it looked as though I was in breach of Trinity’s commitment to student safety by advertising our event externally. I was not informed that you would be advertising it on your website either.

Not wanting the event to be jeopardised, I suggested that you could be joined by another, an academic Dr Andrew Pierce of the Irish School of Ecumenics in Trinity who is eager to meet you. I have asked him if he would do me the honour of chairing/introducing you. Dr Pierce’s status as member of staff also will be advantageous for SOFIA if a group of individuals log a complaint against our event on Monday as he will be in the position to speak on our behalf when the complaint is reviewed by the College Deans. I can personally vouch for Dr. Pierce’s character as a friendly party. (https://www.tcd.ie/ise/staff/a-pierce.php)

SOFIA is a young society but we pride ourselves on previously hosting speakers with varied views, but that’s what adds to the richness of our members learning.

Before I forget, are there any special requests? Sometimes our guests wish us to respect Chatham House rules and other times there have been strict measures imposed such as extensive background security checks for SOFIA members who wish to attend and metal detector scanning of attendees and their belongings.

SOFIA’s aim is to be a platform for discussion, but in a safe environment where individuals are free to express themselves without fear of being threatened after the discussion. We implement certain measures to ensure that all our guests, are afforded a courteous audience.

Looking forward to meeting you on Monday.

Best wishes,
Aoife Noelle Ngo

Society for International Affairs

I will not accept Trinity College Dublin conditions on my talk

I am to speak at Trinity College Dublin on Monday 23 March 2015 on “Apostasy and the Rise of Islamism”.

I’ve just been informed, however, that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is “one-sided” and would be “antagonising” to “Muslim students”; they threatened to cancel my talk. After further consultation with college management, they have decided to “allow” the event to go ahead with the following conditions:

* All attendants of the event must be 1) Trinity students and 2) members of the society hosting the talk.

* For “balance”, they require that a moderator host the event; Prof. Andrew Pierce of the Irish School of Ecumenics has kindly agreed to do so.

I, however, will not be submitting to any conditions, particularly since such conditions are not usually placed on other speakers.

I intend to speak on Monday as initially planned without any restrictions and conditions and ask that TCD give me immediate assurances that I will be able to do so.

It is crucial that I be able to speak against Islamist fascism and honour our dissenters deemed apostates, blasphemers, heretics… whether ex-Muslims, Muslims or non-Muslims.

I particularly insist on being able to do so in light of the fact that only last month – 25 February – Kamal El Mekki who advocates the death penalty for apostasy was given space to speak at an event hosted by the “Muslim” Student Association. No conditions were placed on his talk and security did not threaten to cancel the event nor inform the Association that the speakers’ position on death for  apostates would “antagonise” ex-Muslim and Muslim students who do not support apostasy laws.

Interestingly, when the college’s Central Societies Committee was informed of El Mekki’s view on apostasy, they could not “see why there can even be a discussion about cancelling the event” and that his video was simply “explanatory and not advocatory”!

The video they were alerted to shows El Mekki advising his audience on how best to explain the death penalty for apostates. He tells them to start with the simplest example so that the need for the death penalty can be easily understood. In the video, he says:

The question is ‘Why is the apostate killed in Islam?’…if someone leaves their allegiance to their country they should be killed, so if they leave their allegiance to Allah nothing happens?

…in Islam, of course, you know, it’s a very different system. It’s not like somewhere you heard someone leaves Islam and you just go get him and stuff like that. First of all it’s done by the authorities, there are procedures and steps involved. First of all they talk to him, yeah, about, yanni, the scholars refute any doubt that he has on the issue, they spend days with him refuting and arguing with him, trying to convince him. Then they might even, yaani, threaten him with the sword and tell him ‘You need to repent from this because if you don’t you repent you will be killed.’ And if he insists on being killed that means really, really believing in that. And then, after the procedures take their toll, and then at the end, by the authority of the ruling body, it’s done.

This is beyond outrageous given the social and political reality where apostasy from Islam is punishable by death in 11 countries and especially at a time when it has come to light that British Islamists are executing apostates for ISIS after having been “radicalised” in British universities. Also it does a disservice to the many Muslims who oppose Islamism and apostasy laws by conflating “Muslim” students with Islamism or the religious-Right.

Trinity College Dublin, I am awaiting your response.


For those who want more information on this “beautiful young man”, see here – oh sorry that was Jihadi John who was beautiful according to Cage.

One does get confused when they all (the Islamists) say the same thing…

Happy Nowrooz

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

Happy Nowrooz!

Celebrating Nowruz and remembering the highlights of the past year with Chris Moos, Gita Sahgal, Imad Iddine Habib, Mersedeh Ghaedi, Pragna Patel and Sirvan Ghaderi
17 March 2015
Shocking News: Quran teacher in Turkey telling children who don’t wear hejab, they deserve to be raped
Insane Fatwa: Khamenei and his criticism of existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle turning Iranian women into baby-making machines
Good News: Sweden tore up arms deal with Saudi Arabia due to human rights situation and Raif Badawi’s case
Background Briefing: The Persian New Year called Norooz marks the first day of spring. It is partly rooted in the Zoroastrian tradition, but is an ancient holiday that was celebrated thousands of years ago. When the Islamic regime of Iran first took power, it tried to ban the pagan celebration but couldn’t stop the celebrations. The advent of another year is a good time to reflect on the past and renew hopes for a future that will see positive changes in Iran beginning with an end to the Islamic regime and its brutality.

نوروزتان مبارک
۱۸ مارس ۲۰۱۵
ياد بهترينهاى سال با کريس موس؛ گيتا ساهگل؛ عماد الدين حبيب٬ مرسده قائدى؛ پراگنا پاتل و سيروان قادرى
اخبار تکان دهنده از معلم قران در ترکيه است که به شاگردهاى ۱۳ ساله گفته بود حقشان است تجاوز بشوند چون حجاب نمى پوشند
فتواى احمقانه از خامنه اى در مورد وسايل بيشگيرى
اخبار خوب از سوئد و لغو قراردادهاى اسلحه به خاطر وضعيت حقوق بشر
در مورد تم برنامه
جشن باستانى نوروز٬ پيام آور بهار و سال نو ميباشد؛ ساليان درازى است که مردم اين روز را فرخنده ميدارند؛ مرتجعىن اسلامى از همان روز نخست به قدرت در ايران تلاش ناموفقى را براى منع کردن اين جشن غير اسلامى آغاز کردند. اما تا کنون با شکست روبرو شده اند
آغاز سال نوىن زمان مناسبى براى تامل در مورد سال گذشته و نوين کردن اميد و آرزو براى آينده ميباشد
پايان حکومت اسلامي اولين قدم مثبت را براى آينده اى ايران به ارمغان مياورد

Bread and Roses: Women’s Liberation greatest threat to Islamism

This week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya on Women’s liberation movement as the greatest threat to Islamism
International Women’s Day Special
10 March 2015
Shocking news of the week: “human rights organisation” CAGE justifies the beheadings carried out by British jihadi Mohammad Emwazi.
Insane Fatwa of the week: From ISIS and its directives that women mustn’t slap their thighs!
Good news of the week: Maryam Namazie’s topless action in support of women’s rights and against Islam and Islamism.
Discussion of the week: We show a film made by Femmes Filment on the historic protest against compulsory veiling in 1979 in Iran and discuss it. 8 March International Women’s Day must commemorate the 1979 protests of Iranian women against Khomeini’s compulsory veiling order which captured the imagination of people across the world. The protests were suppressed by brute force and the control of women and their bodies a basis of the regime in Iran. Nonetheless, the women’s liberation movement against the veil and Islamic rule is the greatest threat faced by the regime today.

جنبش رهائى زن بزرگترين تهديد به اسلام سياسى
برمانه ۸ مارس
۱۱ مارس ۲۰۱۵
در اين برنامه فيلمى از تظاهرات سال ۵۷ عليه حجاب اجبارى را نشان مى دهيم و حولش بحث مى کنيم
۸ مارس روز جهاني زن را نمي توان بدون سخن گفتن و يادآوري اعتراضات زنان در سال
عليه فرمان خميني جهت حجاب اجباري گرامي داشت
اين اعتراض توجه جنبش جهاني زمان را به خود جلب كرد
اين اعتراضات با خشونت بي پايان سركوب شد و كنترل زنان و بدن آنها به ستون حكومت اسلامي تبديل شد
البته بعد از ٣٦ سال حكومت اسلامي جنبش زنان عليه حجاب و قوانين اسلامي بزرگترين تهديد است رژيم با ان روبرو ميباشد
اخبار شکه آور اين هفته در مورد سازمان اسلامى در انگليس و توجيهاتش در دفاع از جهادى انگليسى
فتواى احمقانه از داعش
خبر خوب در مورد اعتراض برهنه مريم نمازى براى روز جهانى زن

Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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