No place for Sharia

Sudanese atheist and ex-Muslim, Nahla Mahmoud, speaks her mind against Sharia law on channel 4Thought TV and says that Sharia has no place in Britain or the world and that there must be one secular law for all.

The only other sane voice amongst the seven interviewed on “what Sharia can offer Britain” is that of gay Muslim Omar Kuddus. [The third opponent is a Christian evangelist but we’ll ignore his as I am only speaking of sane voices here.]

The other 4 are pro-Sharia and completely insane.

Abu Usamah says Islam will dominate the world and that we need to appreciate Sharia and go beyond stoning of adulterers and cutting off of hands…

Ali-Ridha Jaffer adds that whilst people might say Sharia is barbaric, it works (!)

Amra Bone, the only female member of the Sharia Council (who can’t even make a decision on her own without male Sharia judges), says it protects women.

And there is the fourth proponent who likes the fact that under Sharia the family can decide on retribution in murder cases or get blood money…

Err, long live 21st century values?

You can see all the interviews here.

One Law for All’s ‘Sounds of Freedom’ Song Competition –calling for entries.

One Law for All is inviting musicians and songwriters to create and submit their original material for a song competition.

‘Change comes about by breaking taboos and pushing aside that which is deemed sacred and art is such an important way of doing this’ –Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All

Song entries should be focused on issues that relate to the work ‘One Law for All’ is engaged with, discussing themes like religion, freedom, secularism, Sharia law, equal rights & religious arbitration. [Read more…]

Your Muslim Friend

After every talk, there is always that one person that will challenge what I have said about Sharia courts by – wait for it – saying: “I have a Muslim friend who says Sharia is not at all as you say.” I heard this for the umpteenth time at the two-day symposium on theism in public policy at Rice University in Texas just this past weekend.

And this “argument” usually follows my talk outlining Sharia’s abuses and my criticism of the essentialising of the ‘other’…

Also, it’s usually made by humanists and skeptics who are quick to question religion’s role in the public sphere (if it’s not Islam of course)…

This argument is as silly as someone telling you “I have a Catholic friend who says Catholicism is not as you say” when you have just finished a talk criticising Ireland’s abortion laws and outrageous cases like that of Savita Halappanavar who was refused a termination and died.

In case you haven’t noticed, who your token friends are does not an argument make.

Clearly, the point though is not to make an argument but to use any means necessary to defend Sharia as the “choice” and “rights” of a minority.

Freedom and equality is only good for you lot then is it?

Censored works shown for the first time in London

One Law for All’s 4th Passion for Freedom London Festival 2012 presents artists who dare to take action

The fourth annual festival will take place at the Unit24 Gallery in London’s South Bank. Artists from 30 countries around the world have entered their work into the competition this year. During the festival the works of 36 artists will be shown from countries spanning the globe including Afghanistan, Cuba, China, Italy, Iran, Pakistan, Poland, UK, and USA.

“Artists using mediums such as video, installation, painting and sculpture openly debate issues that are usually ‘swept under the carpet.’ It is important to remember that our society takes freedom for granted. Being interested in ‘the next big thing’ we forget that what we have was fought for and has to be protected,” says Agnieszka Kolek, KM Curator.

The exhibition’s message comes across strongly with Sarah Maple’s work “Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction”. Invited to be a Special Guest Artist, Sarah decided to confront the viewer with their own reflection. ‘It is like everyone can be an activist in their everyday lives through small acts,’ says Sarah.

“Real change comes about by challenging and dissenting not by appeasement and silence. It comes about by breaking taboos and pushing aside that which is deemed sacred and art is such an important way of doing this. As Ai Wei Wei says, if we don’t push, nothing changes.” says Maryam Namazie, One Law for All’s Spokesperson. [Read more…]

This is about politics not religion

Below is my speech at the 22 September National Secular Society conference in London:

Sometimes I really don’t know what more to say.

What else can be said about Sharia law that– at least in your gut – you don’t already know?

It is based on the Koran, the Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence. Its criminal code includes stoning to death for adultery and execution for apostasy and homosexuality. In Iran, for example, there are over 130 offences punishable by death.

Its civil code – which is imposed by Sharia courts in Britain – is discriminatory and unfair particularly against women. Basically it is a code of death and despair.

Not breaking news, is it? After all it is religious law. And that’s what – in my opinion – religion does best. A court based on the Bible and Torah would be similarly discriminatory and barbaric.

Yet the numbers of people who continue to defend Sharia courts in Britain as people’s ‘right to religion’ is staggering.

And of course – any excuse – will do. The best I have heard recently has to be ‘I have a Muslim friend who says Sharia is not as you say it is’. End of. Their skepticism seems to apply to everything but Islam. [Read more…]

Child ‘marriages’ and Sharia courts: It must end now

Dear Friend,

We are writing to you today to ask for your urgent and immediate support.

As you may have seen in the papers recently, there is growing evidence that young children – some as young at 5 years old – are being “married” to older men in Sharia courts across Britain. This is increasingly being sanctioned by the Islamists who run Britain’s network of Sharia courts, and there is evidence that this practice is growing.

Recent Investigations

A recent undercover investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls, provided this was carried out in secret. The imams had been approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married, to prevent her from being tempted in to a “western lifestyle”.

Imam Mohammed Kassamali, of the Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough, sanctioned the marriage, but stressed the need for total secrecy. He stated: “I would love the girl to go to her husband’s houses (sic) as soon as possible, the younger the better. Under sharia (Islamic law) there is no problem. It is said she should see her first sign of puberty at the house of her husband. The problem is that we cannot explain such things (the marriage) if the girl went tomorrow (to the authorities).”

Abdul Haque, who officiates at weddings at the Shoreditch mosque, east London agreed to carry out the formalities of the wedding. However, he told the reporter that he should “tell people it is an engagement but it will be a marriage”. He added: “In Islam, once the girl reaches puberty the father has the right, the parents have the right, but under the laws of this country if the girl complains and says her marriage has been arranged and she wasn’t of marriageable age, then the person who performed the marriage will be jailed as well as the mother and father”.

Earlier this year, it was also reported that at least 30 girls, some as young as 9, were “married” in sharia courts in one London borough alone.

Clearly, child “marriages” are an abomination; they are nothing short of religiously-sanctioned child rape and paedophilia.

Sharia proponents deceptively say that forced marriages are unacceptable under Sharia and that both bride and groom must choose to marry as if that is the issue at hand. Islamists have gotten away with years of misogyny against Muslim women under cover of “choice” and are now using similar language with regards children. Nonetheless, child welfare must take precedence irrespective of religious beliefs. This is something we must urgently remind the Government of. Sharia courts are a scandal and must be stopped.

Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill

One important way to tackle this matter is to galvanise support for the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill introduced to the House of Lords last year by crossbench peer, Baroness Caroline Cox. The Bill is due for a second reading in October.

The Government has so far declined to support Cox’s Bill. They do not believe there is a parallel legal system in operation. They also insist that everyone has full right of access to the British courts. This is simply not the case. There are many with little or no English language skills, trapped by community pressure, who believe Sharia courts operate as real courts and who regard their decisions as legally binding. The idea that they can easily instruct a high street solicitor to help them access their full rights under UK law is far from reality.

The Government must be pressured into taking immediate action, including by supporting Cox’s Bill, and shutting down Sharia and religious courts. If child welfare takes precedence then the Government is duty-bound to take action.

Sign our new petition in support of Baroness Cox’s Bill; tell the Government that enough is enough! Please sign it now.

Help Us

Baroness Cox has said in the past that her Bill was inspired by One Law for All. To donate to our important work, please either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. We need regular support and also for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club here.

If you shop online, please do so via the Easy Fundraising’s website. It won’t cost you anything extra but can help raise much needed funds for One Law for All.

We look forward to your immediate intervention in this matter.

Best wishes,

Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters
Spokespersons
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

One Law for All has changed the public debate on Sharia

Dear Supporter,

I wanted to write to give you a quick update on some of the things we’ve been doing recently, as well as some of our plans for the near future. Thank you, as always, for your support.

Meeting with Trevor Phillips

Recently, Maryam and I met with Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We told him of our concerns at the existence of sharia tribunals in Britain and the treatment of women by these bodies. We also discussed the refusal of the Charity Commission to grant charity status to secular organisations such as the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain which was refused status by the Commission for being too political, despite the fact that the Islamic Sharia Council – which runs a system of sharia-based family law and promotes Islamism – is a registered charity. Mr Phillips was very supportive and promised to look in to these issues for us. He also agreed to contact Baroness Cox’s office at the House of Lords to discuss her Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill. [Read more…]

British Police: You did the Islamic morality police proud

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join the FEMEN action against Sharia law and Islamism at the Olympics today as I am really sick and travelling tomorrow for a conference in Montreal (which I would most likely have missed since they were arrested).

Reza Moradi was there and filmed their action and the police’s brutal arrest. Interesting how the police were so pre-occupied with covering up their breasts and bodies.

British police: you did your Islamic morality counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan proud!

Talk about an upside down world. Regimes that have killed a generation, impose sex apartheid, and still stone people to death in the 21st century are given red carpet treatments by the Olympics Committee and this is what women’s rights campaigners get.

But not to worry, our day will come.

FEMEN activists arrested

Police were brutal towards the FEMEN activists protesting Sharia law and Islamist states in the Olympics. I got a text today saying that four activists had been arrested at their action today. This report says five.

Shame on the British police. They have arrested the wrong people.

There are plenty of representatives of Islamic states that should be arrested instead of women defending rights and opposing violence against women. But then we already know which side the ruling elite is on.

After all Islamism has merely annihilated an entire generation… But it is topless activists that must be brutalised and arrested!?

Stoning must end now

In commemoration of 11 July, International Day against Stoning, we call on people worldwide to demand an end to the barbaric practice of stoning to death.

11 July has been chosen by the International Committee against Stoning to mark the day that 31 year old mother of two, Maryam Ayoubi, was stoned to death in 2001 under Khatami’s ‘reformist’ presidency. Though she had fainted out of sheer fear, she was nonetheless carried out on a stretcher and stones were thrown at her body until she was dead.

Stoning is a medieval act of barbarity that the Islamic regime in Iran and other Islamic gangs and states use to mete out punishment against women who have sex outside of marriage and in some cases also against men and homosexuals. It is a tool to frighten people into submission.

Even so, there is ample opposition and resistance to stoning in countries where women are stoned to death. In Iran, in particular, where the regime has stoned to death hundreds of people, there is an extensive social movement against stoning. It has become impossible for the regime to stone people in public for a very long time now and the practice of stoning has effectively been suspended, particularly after the campaign to defend Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. [Read more…]

You’re on the wrong side

I was recently criticised for ‘picking on Iran’.

Well, yes if you side with the Iranian regime, or don’t see anything wrong with it, then my opposing it may seem this way to you.

It is all about taking sides really.

The same applies to the discussion we are having here on the veil.

You either have a problem with it because it is a religiously sanctioned tool for women’s repression or you don’t have any problem with it and think it is merely another form of clothing.

You either consider child veiling a form of abuse because of what it represents for the child [it is the sexualisation of a child from a very young age, it is in place to prevent her from causing fitna or chaos in society if she is not covered up. It represents sex apartheid similar to racial apartheid but based on gender. It says she cannot mix with boys, go into certain fields of study, can’t feel the wind in her hair because she is a girl…] or you just don’t.

If you don’t see it, you’re on the wrong side!

Sharia Law and Human Rights: Take Two

Tomorrow is 14 March – International Day to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates.

To mark the day, Anne Marie Waters and I will be speaking on ‘Sharia Law and Human Rights’ at Queen Mary.

Sounds familiar?

Yup; this is a repeat of the meeting that was cancelled by organisers in January after Islamist threats.

Well we’re going back there as there is no way in hell we will be silenced.

If you can join us, please do.

Because of security reasons, if you are not a student or staff at the university, you will need to register here beforehand to be admitted.

The event begins at 7pm in the Skeel Lecture Theatre in Francis Bancroft Building at Queen Mary, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS.

The meeting has been organised by the Queen Mary Atheist Society. For a map, click here.

Hope to see you there.

We must defend free expression to fight Islamism and sharia

As you know, One Law for All has recently been involved in campaigning to defend freedom of expression, both here and abroad. We will continue to do so. Not only is there a moral imperative to defend free expression, but it is precisely this vital right that is under attack by Islamists all over the world as they attempt to frighten people into silence and prevent any discussion of Islam or sharia.

Sharia Law and Human Rights: Take Two at Queen Mary College

In January, my own speech on ‘Sharia law and human rights’ at Queen Mary was cancelled by the organisers following Islamist threats. This was followed by various motions being passed at other universities cracking down on ‘Islamophobic speech’. We are therefore pleased to report that the cancelled Queen Mary talk has been rescheduled and will take place at the Skeel Lecture Theatre, Francis Bancroft Building, Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS. Both Maryam Namazie and I will be speaking from 7pm on Wednesday 14th March. Please note that anyone attending the event who is not a student or staff of QM must register in order to be admitted into the event. [Read more…]

And your point is?

The Telegraph (which must give away a free bottle of water that costs more than the paper with every issue) has a piece on the ‘slave roots’ of Richard Dawkins. This ‘awkward revelation’ is yet another fine piece of journalism.

I suppose since my grandfather led Friday prayers and was an ‘Islamic scholar’, I have an Islamist gene in me that will one day most likely reveal itself when I set up a Sharia court.

And the Telegraph’s point is?

 

Sheffield and Stockholm

I will be speaking in Sheffield on Sharia law today. Details:

1 February 2012 Sheffield: Maryam Namazie will be speaking at a meeting organised by the Sheffield Humanist Society on Wednesday 1st February at The Friends Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield S1 2EW from 6:30 to 8:00pm. The talk will be on “One Law for All, Sharia and Secularism”.

I leave on Friday for a talk in Stockholm on Saturday. Details:

4 February 2012 Stockholm: Sweden Maryam Namazie will be speaking on the ‘Arab Spring and Women’s Rights’ at a public meeting in Stockholm, Sweden at 13.00 hours. ABF huset, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm. For more information, contact: Afsaneh Vahdat, 070-246 84 54

If you are in Sheffield or Stockholm, maybe I’ll see you?

You can expect threats if you discuss Sharia

My One Law for All Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to speak at a meeting on Sharia Law and Human Rights at the University of London last night.

It was cancelled by the Queen Mary Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society organisers after police had to be called in due to Islamist threats. One Islamist filmed everyone at the meeting and announced he would hunt down those who said anything negative about Islam’s prophet. Outside the hall, he threatened to kill anyone who defamed the prophet. Reference was made to the Jesus and Mo cartoon saga at UCL.

The University’s security guard – a real gem –arrived first only to blame the speaker and organisers rather than those issuing death threats. He said: ‘If you will have these discussions, what do you expect?’ Err, to speak without being threatened with death maybe?

I ask that organisers re-arrange another meeting on the same topic and invite us back again. This time we urge them to be more prepared so that the meeting can go ahead as planned. This is an important battleground for atheist, secularist and humanists groups and must be taken seriously. We can’t – and won’t – allow the Islamists to have the final word on this.

Again, this is not about lacking cultural sensitivity or discrimination as the pathetic UCL Union thinks. It is not about racism and ‘Islamophobia’. It is not our fault for raising the issues. We are not to blame for ‘provoking’ the Islamists; they need no such provocation…

It’s about being able to criticise and speak out against that which is taboo and the barbarism of our century. Free expression is all we have at our disposal to do so.

Stand up for it and refuse to budge or there will nothing left when they are through with you.

We intend to step up pace against Sharia law in 2012

Dear Friend,

We want to thank you for your support throughout 2011 and to give you a reminder of the important steps we took throughout the year, none of which would have been possible without you.

One of the most significant events this year was the introduction of the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill which was introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Caroline Cox. Baroness Cox has said that she was inspired by the work of One Law for All. I, along with Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society, have been working closely with Baroness Cox in recent months to assist in her efforts, within Parliament, to shore up support for the Bill. Last week, I addressed a meeting of Peers at the House of Lords and further talks and information sessions will be held in the New Year. The Bill aims to end discriminatory practices, particularly against women, in arbitration and mediation carried out in the UK. This would mean that the sharia practice of giving the testimony of women only half the weight of that of men would be unlawful. The Bill will also create a criminal offence which will prevent people from pretending to have lawful jurisdiction that they do not have. This would carry a five year prison sentence and is aimed at protecting vulnerable women. We will continue to push this incredibly important Bill in 2012, which promotes equal rights for all. [Read more…]

There’s no honour in ‘honour killings’

It’s been reported that honour-related crimes are ‘rapidly rising’ in the UK.

Clearly, there will be a rise of violence against women with the rise of political religion and Sharia law. When Islamic law itself deems that women and girls are the source of chaos and fitna and calls for the punishment of those who ‘dishonour’ or commit ‘crimes against chastity’, a corresponding rise in ‘honour’ killings shouldn’t be surprising. The rapid raise also has to do with the good work of women’s rights groups like IKRWO, which have exposed the matter. The higher numbers are also because crimes are now being recorded as ‘honour-related crimes’ when they weren’t before.

Moreoever, Banaz Mahmoud’s case was instrumental in bringing things to a head here in Britain at least. [Read more…]