ISIS is the banner of this era’s fascism.
We are all anti-Fascists; we are all anti-ISIS.
See this week’s Bread and Roses TV – A Political Social Magazine on New Channel TV with Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, and Bahram Soroush. Director: Reza Moradi; Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi
برنامه نان و گل سرخ مجله ای سیاسی – اجتماعی در کانال جديد
با فريبرز پويا٬ بهرام سروش و مريم نمازى
کارگردان: رضا مرادى٬ مشاور برنامه: پونه راوى
جهان به رسوایی کشيده شده است
در مورد حمله دولت اسرائیل به غزه
مصاحبه با نيرا يوال ديويس٬ شبکه تحقيقاتى در مورد زنان در مناطق جنگى
‘The World Stands Disgraced’, On the Israeli offensive in Gaza
5 August 2014
Interview with Nira Yuval Davis, Israeli dissident
Since 8 July, the Israeli military has killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians, a majority of whom have been civilians. It has wounded 8000 people. 3 Israeli civilians have been killed along with 56 Israeli soldiers during this time. At least 15 women and children have been killed when the Israeli state hit a UN-run school and another 19 when it hit a crowded market on 30 July.
Mass killings in the name of protecting one’s ‘own people’ can never be justified nor can the aerial bombardment of such a densely-populated area like Gaza, which is the biggest “prison camp” in the world. The murder of civilians cannot be explained away as military “achievements”.
In this human tragedy, the number of civilian dead and wounded – many of them children – increase several-fold every day in Gaza, leaving the world stunned. On the other hand, the Right-wing anti-Semitic Hamas continues firing towards Israel, forcibly preventing Palestinians attempting to flee their homes to seek shelter and demanding the destruction of Israel.
War and continuation of war now for both of the reactionary sides seems to be the means as well as the objective. They both benefit from this war; ceasefire for them is only to prepare for another round of killing and destruction of the other side.
Humanity’s voice is not represented by either the Israeli government or the anti-Semitic Hamas. In the continuation of the carnage, these two reactionary forces feed off each other and prevent peace and a two-state solution for their own interests and in order to legitimise their rule. The Israeli government continues to prevent the formation of a legitimate and independent Palestinian state whilst Hamas sees the formation of a Palestinian state as its own downfall.
International bodies and Western governments also rely on empty rhetoric to deflect the growing popular and public opinion against this murder of innocent and defenceless civilians in Gaza.
This war is criminal and must end immediately and unconditionally. The voice of humanity must clearly side with neither of the two poles of reaction: the Israeli state and its Western government backers on the one-hand and the reactionary right-wing Islamic Hamas backed by and the Islamic regime of Iran and Hezbollah of Lebanon on the other.
The third camp, the camp of humanity, must defend the people of Gaza against this criminal bombardment of civilians and side with the people of Israel and Palestine who deserve nothing less than peace and this could only be achieved through a two-state solution.
Worker-communist Party of Iran – Organization Abroad
1 August 2014
Join notable free-thinkers, atheists and secularists from around the world for a weekend of discussions and debates on the religious-Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity. The exciting two-day conference will discuss the Arab Spring, Sharia and religious laws, the limits of religion’s role in society, free expression, honour killings, apostasy and blasphemy laws, faith schools, women’s rights, secular values and much more.
The conference will be held at the Tower Hotel with spectacular views of the River Thames and the Tower of London. On the evening of 11 October, participants will enjoy cocktails followed by a delicious three-course meal and entertainment in the company of our speakers.
Distinguished speakers and acts:
An International Secular Manifesto and the establishment of a united front of secularists to meet future challenges will be the final outcome of the Conference. Conference contributions will also be published in a book.
The conference is endorsed by Atheist Alliance International; Children First Now; Center for Inquiry; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation; International Committee against Stoning; International Committee against Execution; International Federation of Iranian Refugees; Iran Solidarity; One Law for All; Secularism is a Women’s Issue; The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK; and Women Living Under Muslim Laws amongst others.
Below is an email I just received from iERA – the organisation we recently exposed as a hate group (not charity) in our report entitled Evangelising Hate.
They are now threatening the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) and myself with legal action unless we remove one paragraph on my blog (though they are also “taking legal advice on the whole report”).
Really iERA? Just one teeny tiny little paragraph though we have over 40 pages of the organisation’s hate speech documented in our report?
In the letter, the hate group says they have never called for anyone’s death. Well, we beg to differ and we think the facts speak for themselves.
And to prove our point, after the report was published, a number of iERA supporters/activists have called me a “murtad” and “munafiq”, which are clear death threats for anyone who knows the Islamist movement. There have been death threats against me on their Facebook page (which have now been deleted). Plus one of their speakers we exposed in our report, Adnan Rashid, has been calling me Janazie (which means a corpse)…
— Adnan Rashid (@MrAdnanRashid) June 8, 2014
iERA: If anyone should face legal action it is you lot.
And no we will not be removing anything.
Here’s their letter, which if looked at carefully just exposes them even more…
I am writing to you in relation to your “Evangelising Hate” report against iERA as well as further comments made by Maryam Namazie on the website entitled FreeThoughtBlogs (http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2014/05/31/what-happens-to-iera-t-shirts-in-my-hands/) where she wrote:
“The iERA has sent the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) two T-shirts. You know, the yellow ones which their dawah teams wear on the streets of Britain to hate-preach misogyny and death to apostates, gays, Jews, unveiled women, Muslims who don’t agree with them….”
We are taking legal advice on the report as a whole because we believe there are some blatant untruths and twisting of many matters. As for the paragraph above, this contains outright falsehood as iERA has never called for the death of anyone. In fact, iERA does not know of any mainstream organisation in the West who has called for the death to unveiled women or Muslims who don’t agree with them. We advise you to take down this paragraph as this puts Ms. Namazie and your organisation at considerable risk of legal action.
I look forward to your confirmation of taking down this quote.
Abdurrahman bin Jaseem
The iERA has sent the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) two T-shirts. You know, the yellow ones which their dawah teams wear on the streets of Britain to hate-preach misogyny and death to apostates, gays, Jews, unveiled women, Muslims who don’t agree with them….
They have sent the T-shirts to prove that anyone can wear them. This is in response to the CEMB’s recent report on the group called Evangelising Hate where we show Ifthekar Jaman in one of their T-shirts doing Dawah.
IIn case you don’t know, Jaman is from Portsmouth and was killed in Syria whilst fighting for a Jihadi group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which has engaged in brutal terrorist violence. It seeks to set up an Islamic caliphate in territory that it controls, and its members have engaged in beheadings, amputations and public executions. Shias and Christians have been persecuted by them. ISIS executed a secular Syrian activist for “apostasy”.
Nine months before being killed in Syria, Jaman was participating in an iERA dawah event in Portsmouth city centre.
In a picture posted on his Twitter account on 14 April, Jaman is standing in a group of men, wearing a yellow iERA T-shirt with the slogan ‘Is Life Just a Game?’ He comments under the picture “Us Portsmouth Dawah group & brothers from Newham dawah joined today. Alhamdullilah for shahadahs! Allahu Akbar”.
In their pathetic response to our report, iERA tried to deceptively dissociate themselves from Jaman by saying that anyone could wear their T-shirts, including me.
But sending the T-Shirts to CEMB has once again proven them wrong and confirmed my position that only Islamists, terrorists, and their apologists would wear their T-Shirts. When I get my hands on them, something else happens. Here’s some before and after photos:
iERA T-Shirt before I get my hands on them
iERA T-Shirt after I get my hands on them:
I will leave the intentions of a group preaching the death of apostates (by beheading no less as it is “painless”) sending unmarked post to those it wishes dead to the readers of this post. Needless to say, as I have written earlier, the iERA’s charity status is the least of our worries.
Revoking its charitable status should be a first step in further investigation of this organisation and its links to terrorism.
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.
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.
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales under company number 8059509.
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)
To mark 10 December, International Human Rights Day, and in lieu of our protest rally against Universities UK’s endorsement of sex segregation at British universities, which is being held today from 5-6:30pm in London today, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation announces the official start of sex apartheid busters.
Here’s what you can do:
* Join today’s rally. DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013. TIME: 5:00-6:30pm. Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ (Closest Underground Stations: Euston or Russell Square).
Sign our petition against sex segregation at universities. Let’s get 10,000 signatures by the end of today.
* Contact us if you hear of any segregated events so we can organise against them.
* Become part of a team that will go to segregated events and stop the segregation. Anyone who is opposed to segregation and is pro-equality, women’s rights, and secularism is welcome to join.
From this day on, there will no longer be any segregated meetings at universities or public spaces if we can help it.
Islamists (and your apologists such as Universities UK): You have been warned!
To join Sex Apartheid Busters, contact Maryam Namazie.
Here’s an article by Marieme Helie Lucas in support of the 10 December rally in London against gender apartheid. DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013. TIME: 5:00-6:30pm. AT: Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ (Closest Underground Stations: Euston or Russell Square)
A battle that concerns us all is being waged in the UK right now and has surprisingly very little echo outside Britain: Universities UK- a body that officially represents universities – made public their new guidance, according to which sex segregation could be practised in the universities at the request of guest speakers representing religious groups. (To see the guidance in full: ExternalSpeakersInHigherEducationInstitutions)
While protests flew in and an international petition ‘Rescind endorsement of sex segregation at UK Universities’ was posted on November 23, 2013, UUK published a response that pretended that they were only envisaging a theoretical case, a mere ‘hypothetical case study (p.27) in which an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience is segregated according to gender’.
They also pretended that there were only trying to apply ‘ a wide range of legislation from equalities law through to criminal law and the duty to protect the safety of university staff, students and visitors’, with the aim of ‘accommodating everyone’s views’ and ‘ensur (ing) that no one is unlawfully excluded from the event’.
This was a blatant lie, as a brief search in the media clearly shows. And it was only one among the many lies that were uttered by UUK authorities on the issue of sex segregation, secularism, higher education and the pervasive political importance of religious organisations in the UK.
In short, here are some facts: in March 2013 a Prof made the local news, when he started walking out of a debate in which he was one of the two speakers at University College London, if sex segregation was enforced on the audience, as was the case. A video shows him saying “quit the segregation or I’m out of here” after security staff tried to throw out three men who had gone to sit in the women’s section of the audience. Prof Krauss added “You are in a public arena and not in a mosque, not in a private event.”
Not surprisingly, women were seated at the back of the room: according to a student, ‘females were allocated seats at the back corner of the auditorium to view the debate from a disadvantaged position‘. Dana Sondergaard who attended the event, wrote on her Facebook page: “After having been told the event would NOT be gender segregated, we arrived and were told that women were to sit in the back of the auditorium, while men and couples could file into the front”.
The debate entitled Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense? was organised by the Islamic Education and Research Academy: Prof Krauss, a theoretical physicist and director of the Origins project, was to debate on the question of science vs religion with Mr Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, a lecturer and iERA member.
Interestingly, rumours had been spreading beforehand that sex segregation will be the rule during this debate, and Prof. Krauss had approached the authorities, making it clear that he would not speak to a segregated audience; he was assured in advance that this would not be the case. (Video: Krauss, stating that he had been promised no such segregation would take place.
In the week before the event, word of a segregated seating arrangement began circulating. On Friday, Dr. Krauss posted the following status on Facebook: ‘News update: Have now been informed that the event in London will NOT be gender segregated.’
However, one of the organisers said that the segregation had been agreed with the University and suggested more than once that the men should be refused entry.
Similarly, students alerted their unions and the authorities and were given similar re-assurance. However segregation signs were posted on doors in advance.
In a statement by concerned students, it is made clear that ‘Separate entrances were in place for women and men’, and that ‘A policy of sexual segregation was enforced at an event at University College London on Saturday, with the organisers’ security trying to physically remove members of the audience who would not comply’, and that ‘A policy of segregation was suggested by IERA in a statement before the event’.
This was raised by students with UCL, who gave assurances that no segregation would be allowed. ‘Several attendees approached UCL’s security personnel to alert them to the situation, but found that the staff were unwilling to intervene, and were instructed to comply with the organisers’ policy of segregation’.
Interestingly UUK first denied that enforced segregation took place, then argued that sexes were separated left and right, and not front and bottom, and finally said that, as a last minute arrangement, there was provision for a mixed area for married couples! UUK went on stating that segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.”
Students speaking to different media after the event used strong words to describe the situation and their reactions: ‘shocked’, ‘intimidating’, ‘threatening and divisive’, ‘genuinely fearful of the repercussions’, ‘disgraceful’, ‘insulting’, ‘a scandal’, ‘a violation’, ‘disappointed at UCL (which) did not keep its promise’ …
So much for the ‘hypothetical case study’ that UUK pretends to have addressed in its guidance document. Moreover, UUK lied to Prof Krauss as well as to students about not allowing segregation. It also pretended to ban in future religious groups that would request sex segregation, while they were in fact preparing the infamous guidance document that justifies this very segregation.
On the occasion of this incident, and thanks to Prof Krauss making his dissent public, one learnt with dismay that sex segregation had been enforced for over a year – at least – in many public debates or conferences, at the initiative of vocal Muslim fundamentalist organizations.
In Leicester university in a segregated event entitled Does God Exist?, organized by the same group and with the same guest speaker, Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, a message on the group’s website says: “In all our events, [the society] operate a strict policy of segregated seating between males and females.” The statement was removed after the Guardian contacted the society. A photograph passed to the Guardian shows signs put up in a university building, directing the segregation.
Leicester University denied enforced segregation. But a Leicester student told the Guardian he believed segregation was common practice at the society’s events to avoid offending those with strong religious beliefs.
More recently, in an article written on November 24, the author states that sex segregation openly continues elsewhere: ‘One recent example of an event held by the Islamic Society at the University of Northampton described seating arrangements as “open to both Brothers and Sisters, with segregation adhered-to” ‘.
In a report written by Student Rights on 13 May 2013, entitled ‘Unequal Opportunity – Gender Segregation on UK University Campuses’, one learns that those are far from being isolated incidents. According to the report, ‘180 events logged in the period March 2012 to March 2013 were investigated for evidence of segregation; 46 of these events (25.5%) at 21 separate institutions were found to have either explicitly promoted segregation by gender, or implied that this would be the case, with six of these cancelled before taking place’. The report concludes that ‘As all 21 of these institutions have equality and diversity policies which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender, as well as a legal responsibility to do so under the Equality Act 2010, this briefing uncovers potential failings in these duties’.
Meanwhile, UUK wrote in their guidance document that universities should bear in mind that “concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system” and that if “imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”
If we understand correctly, it creates a hierarchy of rights, in which the rights of religious groups supersede the rights of others?
UUK ‘s choice of partners
Not all Muslims –far from that – nor all people from Muslim descent, nor all faith based Muslim organizations hold that genders should be segregated. In fact two extremely important women’s organisations joined the protest against sex segregation, by signing the on line petition and by additionally writing separate letters to UUK, stating their dismay at and opposition to sex segregation in universities under religious pretexts: those are the international solidarity network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws – a non-confessional organization – and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women – a faith based organization -. Moreover, among the initiators (and among later signatories as well) of the online petition are numerous men and women of Muslim descent.
Who are then the religious groups that UUK see fit to invite to organize their events in the premises of universities – rather than other groups?
According to Stand for Peace, they are far from being ordinary religiously minded people; they are fundamentalists and very organized. ‘Tzortzis has previously been associated with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an organization that campaigns for a global Islamist caliphate’. ‘He is on record condemning democratic principles and advocating for a Sharia state and advocating for a Sharia state: “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. We see under the Khilafa (caliphate), when people used to engage in a positive way, this idea of freedom was redundant, it was unnecessary, because the society understood under the education system of the Khilafa state, and under the political framework of Islam, that people must engage with each other in a positive and productive way to produce results, as the Qur’an says, to get to know one another.” Stand for Peace also says that ‘IERA’s staff includes Islamist hate preachers such as Abdurraheem Green, Hamza Tzortzis (the opposing speaker at the debate) and Yusuf Chambers.’ The article goes on to give various examples of such hate speech: ‘Tzortzis wants to criminalize homosexuality.’‘Yusuf Chambers is a founding member of the iERA. In a recorded conversation conducted with Dr. Zakir Naik (who has been banned from entering Britain), Chambers specifically asks what the punishment for homosexuality should be (the answer is “Death”), and then asks Naik to refute suggestions that homosexuality has any natural or genetic origins. In the same interview, Chambers agrees that adulterous women should be stoned to death. [Read more…]
URGENT ACTION: REJECT SEX SEGREGATION
IT’S 2013. LET’S NOT TIME TRAVEL
Universities UK (UUK) guidance to universities on external speakers endorses gender apartheid by saying that segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way!” Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. Join us on International Human Rights Day to unequivocally reject gender apartheid. It’s 2013. Let’s not time travel. DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013; TIME: 5:00-6:30pm; AT: Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ.
WE SHOULD NOT ABANDON SECULARISM
Maryam Namazie’s Interview with Pragna Patel and Gita Sahgal
Pragna Patel responds: “…If we don’t defend secular values and instead embrace religious ones then we will be guilty of developing counter resistance strategies against racism and imperialism that hides other forms of oppression. Religion cannot be embraced as a framework for articulating disaffection and alienation or to address questions of equality and rights since its very foundation is based on recognising some rights but not others. We see this most clearly played out in the clash between the right to manifest religion and the right to be free from religion. Women who want to be free from religious impositions that deny them their autonomy and sexual freedom are constantly excluded. But we need to alert to the ways in which this exclusion is actually articulated. Often demands for the right to manifest religion may seem on the surface to be progressive but in fact hide a highly reactionary agenda. A good example of this is the recent capitulation by Universities UK (UUK), a representative body of universities in the UK, to demands for gender segregation in universities… It would appear that UUK is ignorant of the history and struggles against racial discrimination based on the flawed logic of ‘separate but equal.’ Such logic legitimised racial apartheid in South Africa and now legitimises gender apartheid. There is a disturbing failure to recognise that this stance will allow the right to manifest religion (a qualified right) to trump the right to be free from gender discrimination and subjugation (an absolute right).”
NEWS FLASH: NOVEMBER 2013
“Afghanistan: Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s government is considering bringing back stoning as a punishment for sex outside marriage. The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country’s penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice. It is the latest in a string of encroachments on hard-won rights for women, after parliament quietly cut the number of seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and drew up a criminal code whose provisions will make it almost impossible to convict anyone for domestic violence.
“Iran: A document adopted by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council with president Rouhani’s signature has been forwarded to the education and health ministries to “reduce the unnecessary mixing of males and females.” The section on gender segregation included the expansion of the culture of chastity and the veil…”
ARTS CORNER: BURKA AVENGER
“The Burka Avenger is a mild mannered unveiled teacher who becomes the burka avenger when her school is threatened with being shut down by Islamists, armed with pens and books…”
EDITORIAL: SECULARISM AS A UNIVERSAL RIGHT
“…There are strong secular movements in so-called Muslim-majority countries like Iran, Pakistan, Algeria and Mali, despite the great risks involved. Karima Bennoune has brought to light many such groups and individuals in her recently published book, the title of which is based on a Pakistani play where the devotional singer who is beaten and intimidated for singing deemed ‘un-Islamic’ retorts: ‘Your fatwas do not apply here.’ The uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid in Tunisia; the vast secular protests in Turkey against Islamisation; the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarter in Egypt and the largest demonstration in contemporary history against the Muslim Brotherhood – 33 million people – are all evidence of that. Post-secularism (leaving people at the mercy of ‘their own culture’) and the systematic and theorised failure to defend secularism and people’s, particularly women’s, civil rights in many countries and communities, only aids and abets the religious-Right to the detriment of us all – believers and non. As British philosopher AC Grayling has said: secularism is a fundamental right. Today, given the influence of the religious-Right, it is also a precondition for women’s rights and equality and for rights and freedoms in the society at large. It must be actively defended, promoted, and articulated”…
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: UNDECIDED ABOUT LEGISLATING DRESS
Marieme Helie Lucas Responds for Fitnah
“…Women wearing the burqa in Europe today are instrumentalised by the Muslim extreme-right, whether or not they realise it. They display their ‘difference’ and ‘identity,’ which is exactly what the traditional far-right needs in order to fulfil its xenophobic agenda. Both the traditional xenophobic extreme-right and the Muslim extreme-right want a violent confrontation and need it in order to recruit fresh troops. This is not a reason for shying away from addressing the proliferation of burqas everywhere, but it should be an incentive to not isolate the ‘flag’ from the broader issue of the growing far-rights in Europe, including the Muslim far-right…”
Contact Unveiled Editor:
+44 (0) 7719166731
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Atheist Alliance International have just published a new report on the Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam with the support of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK.
The report examines sources for laws that prohibit apostasy from Islam, reviews legislation and government policies in various countries that persecute apostates and blasphemers, and highlights the cases of some of the many persecuted individuals, with a focus on atheists, secularists and freethinkers.
You can read the report here: Apostasy_Report_Web.
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
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…]
These handful of burka-clad women “respond” to the debate on the burka-ban on behalf of “Muslim women.”
Listen to their vile rhetoric.
They do not represent Muslim women” but Islamism. The burka symbolises everything Islamism wants at the expense of countless human beings, many of them Muslim.
Oh sorry I forgot, it’s a “right” and a “choice” – things that are non-existent when Islamism takes power.
(Thanks to Anne Marie Waters for the link)
The outrage over the attempted assassination of 15 year old Malala Yousefzai shot by the Taliban for defending girls’ education; the mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid and Amina Tyler’s topless activism in Tunisia where she wrote “My body is not the source of your honour” and “fuck your morals”; the protests in Turkey against Islamisation; the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Egypt and the largest protest in Egypt in contemporary history against the Muslim Brotherhood – 33 million people (which was not to begin with a coup; the army only stepped in to take control and stop the revolution, not defend it)…
Even if you’re not looking, you can still see the immense resistance and dissent taking place. It’s a new period of human development after decades of Islamism, US-led militarism, unbridled free market reign, cultural relativism and the retreat of all things universal. Today is an era of the 99% movement and revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – many of them female-led. Whilst it may sometimes be hard to see given the perceived “gains” by Islamists or the army in the region (in fact as counter-revolutionary forces aimed at suppressing the revolutions), the change of era is palpable.
Nonetheless, many post-modernist and culturally relativist Leftists, liberals, and feminists continue to remain firmly on the side of the Islamists.
Any opposition to Sharia law, (which is based on the Koran, Hadith, and Islamic jurisprudence), the veil, and Islamic misogyny are met with charges of racism, Islamophobia, cultural imperialism and more. [Read more…]
Here is my speech on Secularism as a right and historical task at Atheist Ireland’s Empowering Women through Secularism in Dublin:
“The rest of us must live under sharia law – even in Europe – and be grateful for the veil as a ‘right’ and ‘choice’. We are only allowed freedom and rights within the confines of Islam. Thanks but no thanks.” See the speech here:
At the same conference, I speak about the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and nude and topless activism as important forms of campaigning against Islamism:
Majid Nawaaz writes on Facebook: “With mass protests against Islamist rule in Egypt, I hope we finally see the end of regressive-leftists claiming that Islamism is the “indigenous” voice of Muslims in Egypt. In other words, please be quiet you lazy, ignorant, reverse-racist, reductionist subscribers to the poverty of expectations. Egypt doesn’t want Islamism. Get it yet?”
Woo hoo! Long live the revolutionary people of Egypt!
Pascal Descamps of Communisme Ouvrier has been sending in regular updates of the protests in Egypt. You can read them below (it’s summarised translation from French):
The ultimatum of the army will finish in 2 hours an half. Revolution continues. The Al Monofiya governate decided civil disobedience against Morsi’s speech. After the fightings in Giza, “People’s Committees” block the streets and control the cars, looking for Moslem Brotherhood members. Near Cairo’s University, where there were 16 deaths last night after violence organised by Moslem Brotherhood, anti-Morsi people stop a bus of Islamists and put the buses in fire. In front of Ittihadiya Palace, more and more tents and the streets are blocked by the people.
Egypt, July 3, half past 6pm
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate again in Tahrir Square in a party atmosphere. People chant “The people rid of the regime”. People take the streets in Alexandria, Tanta, Damiette, Mahalla, Suez, Luxor, Mansoura… People’s Committee are created again as when Mubarak was overthrown. Half past 4, everyone is in front of the TV to see what the army will say. Giza government is dimissed, 30 senators dismissed. At 5 o’clock, in Tahrir there is a rumor that Morsi has been arrested by the army and the people are shouting with joy. Fighting in different cities.
Egypt, July 3, 8pm
It seems that there is a military coup d’etat inside the revolution, the goal of this coup d’etat is to stop the revolution, to not allow the revolution to go as far as its goals. Army did the same in 2011 with Mubarak, when the army did not support Mubarak the army defends the interest of the ruling class. This 2 years, the protest did not stop and become stronger since December 2012, with more and more social fights. The army can not be with Morsi against the current revolution. Army tried a military coup d’etat in June 2012, but was stopped by people, and they give the power to Muslim Brotherhood (2 millions members in this time). Now, in June 2013, the situation is worst for the army. Muslim Brotherhood lost all its influence and the revolutionary movement is stronger than in January 2011. And the social situation is more tense. The future is social revolution, not just in Egypt, but in Turkey, Brazil…
Egypt, July 3, 9pm
Morsi is no longer in power and a new “technocratic” government is created until creation of provisional government. The Islamic constitution has been suspended and there will be new elections. Huge celebrations; people are singing, shouting, kissing each other in the streets, cafes, underground, buses… People shout “free prisoners”; the revolution continues.
The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is arrested at the Libyan border. Misr 25, the TV of Muslim Brotherhood, stops its programming.
Not sure if I said it yet but LONG LIVE the revolutionary people of Egypt.
Participants joined in an action to defend Amina Tyler, Imad Iddine Habib, Bangladesh’s bloggers and Alex Aan (photo on left).
* The outrage over the attempted assassination of 15 year old Malala Yousefzai shot by the Taliban for defending girls’ education
* The mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid and Amina Tyler’s topless activism in Tunisia – My body is not the source of your honour and fuck your morals
* The anger over the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in broad daylight at a protest in Iran
* The February day of action against sexual terrorism in Egypt, Egyptian atheist Aliaa Magda ElMahdy’s nude scream against misogyny and the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters…
Even if you’re not looking, you can still see the immense resistance and dissent taking place.
It’s a new period of human development after decades of Islamism, US-led militarism, unbridled free market reign, cultural relativism and the retreat of all things universal.
Today is an era of the 99% movement and revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – many of them female-led.
Whilst it may sometimes be hard to see given the perceived “gains” by Islamists in the region (in fact as counter-revolutionary forces aimed at suppressing the revolutions), the change of era is palpable.
Nonetheless, many post-modernist and culturally relativist Leftists, liberals, and feminists remain firmly on the side of the Islamists.
Any opposition to Sharia law, (which is based on the Koran, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence), the veil, and Islamic misogyny are met with charges of racism and Islamophobia, cultural imperialism and more.
Those who say so though have bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and even the “Muslim community” in the west) are homogeneous, “Islamic” and “conservative”. But there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere.
Since it is those in power that determine the dominant culture, this point of view sees Islamist values and sensibilities as that of “authentic Muslims’. [Read more…]
The wonderful Karima Bennoune remembers those killed 40 days after the Boston bombings and calls for condemnation of Islamism. She says:
I would ask anyone who wants to support the rights of people of Muslim heritage in the United States in the wake of the Boston bombings, please do not so by explaining that jihadist terrorism is simply a response to US foreign policy, or a consequence of the alleged difficulties faced by Muslim youth in integrating into American culture, or the result of Russian bombing of Chechnya.
Many of us have criticisms of US foreign policy and that of other countries; integrating may indeed be challenging for those from immigrant backgrounds in many contexts; and Chechens did suffer through the intolerable flattening of their country by the Russian military between 1992 and 2009. (As far as I know the United States never bombed the province.) However, most Muslims, immigrants and Chechens have not become terrorists as a result. These things are no excuse for – or even explanation of – the choice to deliberately murder children and young people at a sporting event. Such a grave international crime has nothing to do with legitimate grievances and everything to do with extremist ideology and movements that indoctrinate and instrumentalize young people. We must defeat those movements which have killed so many civilians, especially in Muslim majority countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq and Pakistan.
I have just wrapped up three years of interviewing hundreds of people of Muslim heritage working against fundamentalism and terrorism around the world, and I learned many lessons from them that are helpful today. For example, Cherifa Kheddar, president of Algeria’s Association of Victims of Islamist Terrorism, or Djazairouna, who wrote right after 15 April to say how terrible the Boston bombings were. She told me that
“We cannot defeat terrorism by an anti-terrorist battle without doing the anti-fundamentalist battle.”
In other words, it is not just the violence of radical jihadis, but the underlying ideology of Islamism that we must confront. That ideology discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims (as evidenced by Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s reported indignation that his Imam mentioned Martin Luther King, a non-Muslim, during a sermon), and between “good” and “bad” Muslims. It justifies egregious violence against women and civilians, or at least creates an environment conducive to them.
Of course, being an Islamist or a jihadist is not same thing as being a devout Muslim, and it is unhelpful when the US media simply describes radicalization as becoming “more religious”. This process is rather the adoption of a dangerous political stance that deploys religion in the service of an extreme agenda. The best way then to take a pro-human rights stance in the face of recent events is to support those people of Muslim heritage who are risking their lives to denounce and defy these movements. Many have raised their voices around the world in places like Afghanistan, but have rarely been heard in the west.
You can read the rest of the piece here.
Anything can be justified – a war on Iraq or bombs on buses and decapitations on the streets of London. But having justifications doesn’t necessarily bring legitimacy or mean that they are true.
Just as the Iraq war was not about the liberation of Iraqi women or weapons of mass destruction, the cold-blooded murder of a soldier in Woolwich is not about retaliation for the war on Iraq or Afghanistan. (Just as the English Defence League’s convergence on Woolwich and attacks on mosques have nothing to do with demands for “justice”.)
The decapitation was an act of terror, pure and simple, and characteristic of Islamism and far-Right politics which uses terrorism as a key tool in instilling fear and for social control. The main target of this terror is usually civilians in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere (and often with the acquiescence and appeasement of western governments via funding for or close relations with Islamic organisations and states, defending Sharia law, and the curtailing of universal and citizenship rights and secularism).
As Women Living Under Muslim Laws says: “Fundamentalist terror 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…”
Islamism is the main reason behind the murder in Woolwich and the slaughter of countless people across the world for the past several decades – not Muslims or those labelled as such who are in fact Islamism’s first victims and on the frontlines of resistance. Also, whilst Islamism sees Islam as a tool for the far-Right restructuring of power structures, the movement is not fundamentally about Islam as an ideology but about political Islam (gaining power and ruling via Sharia law). Ironically, political Islam and far-Right neo-conservatism and militarism are two sides of the same coin – both seek power and control through sheer violence, terrorism and by targeting civilians…
Of course times are changing. The new era of revolutions and uprisings – many of them women-led – is the real challenge to the far-Right, including Islamism, and terrorism. Only a humanity speaking on its own behalf can and will bring this movement to its knees. And whilst that fight has already begun, how it ends will depend on real solidarity with Islamism’s victims and dissenters and an unequivocal defence of universal human values, freedom, equality and secularism.