A female earthquake by “stealth”

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

The poster reads: Maintaining hijab and Islamic norms is compulsory

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

(Full Issue available here)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should not abandon secularism

fitnah-UNVEILED3-dec13-c_Page_01WE SHOULD NOT ABANDON SECULARISM
Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
December 2013, Volume 1, Issue 3
Editor: Maryam Namazie. Design: Kiran Opal

The publication is available here.

PDF version available for download.

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
Maryam Namazie
“…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…”

Also see Maryam Namazie’s Channel 4Thought.tv interview on banning the niqab.

Previous issues:

Fitnah Unveiled number 2 on the burqa and veil

Fitnah Unveiled number 1 on the rise of fitnah

Contact Unveiled Editor:
Maryam Namazie
+44 (0) 7719166731
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: fitnah.movement@gmail.com
Blog: http://fitnahmovement.blogspot.co.uk
Site: www.fitnah.org

Unveiled: Neither Veil nor Submission

fitnah-UNVEILED-nov13_Page_01Fitnah’s November issue of Unveiled (Volume 1, Issue 2) has now been published and can be found here: fitnah-UNVEILED-nov13.

editor: Maryam Namazie
design by: Kiran Opal

Content includes:

The veil is nothing but the flag of the Muslim far-right, An interview with Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas. In this must-read interview, Marieme Helie Lucas says:

“If we do agree that this sudden rise of specific veils worldwide passing off as THE ‘Islamic’ veil is neither cultural nor religious but a political flag that fundamentalists use in order to increase their political visibility at the expense of women, then we must also admit that wearing this form of veil – now – in Europe and North America has a political purpose; the women who wear it, whether they are aware of it or not, are wearing the flag of a far-right political party. Hence I could hardly agree with the formulation: ‘a woman choosing how to dress.’ This veil is definitely not to be equated to wearing high heels versus flat shoes, or miniskirts versus trousers. It is not a fashion; it is a political marker. If one decides one is going to wear a swastika as a brooch, one cannot ignore its political meaning; one cannot pretend one does not care for the fact that it was the ’flag’ of Nazi Germany. One cannot pretend one just likes its shape. It is a political statement.”

Neither Veil nor Submission, Editorial by Maryam Namazie on the niqab ban. In it, she writes:

“The niqab and burqa in particular are the visible signs of Islamism’s war on women and the society at large. It also represents sex apartheid and Sharia law and all that follows. In Madani School, burqa-wearing girls must sit in the back of the classroom. On school trips, they must give way to boys and male teachers who cut in front of them in queues. Music is banned… The call for a ban has nothing to do with a clash of civilisations. It has everything to do with a global struggle between secularists, including many Muslims, on the one hand and theocrats and the religious-Right on the other.”

Newsflash provides updates on women’s rights and issues in a number of countries worldwide.

In the Art Corner, one can find information on an Afghan rap singer and censored packaging in Iran.

Recent highlighted campaigns, include End Stoning Now and End Legalised Paedophilia in Iran

Full issue can be found here: fitnah-UNVEILED-nov13.

You just don’t get it!

A group of women have set up a Facebook page called Muslim women against FEMEN…. Muslimah Pride Day.

They just don’t get it (or obviously choose not to).

On a day that has been set aside to defend a 19 year old woman who has been threatened by an Islamist with death by stoning, detained, drugged and restricted from communicating with her friends and FEMEN all for merely for expressing herself, they choose to mark the day by calling on women to oppose FEMEN and to veil.

As I have said before, nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Also it is clear that you cannot defend women’s rights and defend Islam and Islamism at the same time. You have to choose. FEMEN and we have chosen to side with women’s rights and equality; they have chose to side with the veil, Islam and Islamism no matter what it does to those who do not submit.

Long Live Amina!

Cover your damn eyes

Did you hear the report about the mullah who told a girl to  cover herself properly whilst on his way to the mosque in a VILLAGE(!) in Iran?

Veiling is compulsory there and ‘bad-hejabi’ a form of dissent and resistance.

The girl told him  to cover his eyes, insulted him and beat him so bad he had to be hospitalised.

This in the anti-Islamic backlash I often speak of in my talks.

It reminds me of the mullah who arrived late to a session of the ‘Islamic Assembly’ and said it was because he could not get a cab in his clerical garbs. He had to go home and wear street clothes before anyone picked him up.

As the late Marxist Mansoor Hekmat said:

Clearly, with the rise of the power of political Islam, pressure to revive religious appearances in society intensifies. This, however, is a political pressure. The people sometimes yield to these pressures. This Islamic ‘renaissance’ is backed by violence and terror, which takes one form in Algeria and another in Iran. In Iran, quite the reverse, the reality is that the rise of political Islam and religious rule has caused a staggering anti-Islamic backlash, in both ideological and personal spheres. The emergence of political Islam in Iran has become the prelude to an anti-Islamic and anti-religious cultural revolution in people’s minds, particularly amongst the young generation, which will stun the world with an immense explosion and will proclaim of the practical end of political Islam in the whole of Middle East.

 

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!

The veil must be opposed

I’m posting this speech of mine on the veil here for the pro-veil lobby. I’ll be sure to respond to comments in detail once the CEMB fundraiser is over.

Bahar a young woman living in Germany wrote: When you see me on the street I am veiled but do not think I am a Muslim. I have been forced to veil by my father and brothers; they will kill me if I don’t. Before I felt alone, but now I know I am not. This is a message she sent to Mina Ahadi, founder of the central council of ex-Muslims in Germany.

Of course, Bahar is not alone. There are innumerable women and girls in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa to right here in the heart of Europe who know from personal experience what it means to be female under Islam – hidden from view, bound, gagged, mutilated, murdered, without rights, and threatened and intimidated day in and day out for transgressing Islamic mores.

The veil, more than anything else, symbolises this bleak reality.

In my opinion, it is therefore impossible to address the status of women under Islamic laws and defend women’s rights without addressing and denouncing the veil.

And this is why the veil is the first thing that Islamists impose when they have any access to power.

And also why improper veiling, its removal and its burning at demonstrations and gatherings – as often seen in Iran for example – or its removal when one leaves the home – in places where it is not the law of the land but that of self-appointed imams and family members – has become a symbol of resistance.

I know our opponents often argue that there are many more pressing matters with regards to women’s status. Why all the fuss they ask?

To me, it is like asking what all the fuss was about racial apartheid – or segregation of the races – in apartheid South Africa. After all there were so many pressing issues faced by Blacks in that country. I suppose that is why the then South African government kept asserting that separate does not mean unequal (which incidentally is an argument Islamists make all the time). We know otherwise.

And we know – at least in hindsight – why the physical act of segregation was crucial and symbolic of what it meant to be Black under apartheid.

Similarly, the veil is a symbol of sexual apartheid and the segregation of the sexes. In countries where Islam rules, like in Iran, the separate entrances for women in certain government offices; separate areas for women’s seating on buses for example; the banning of women from certain public arenas like sport stadiums; a curtain dividing the Caspian sea for segregated swimming and so on is what it means in practice to be a female under Islam. That people transgress these rules daily is a testimony to their humanity and not the laws or state that imposes it by force.

When we talk about the situation in Iran, some of these apologists will concede that compulsory veiling must be opposed (though I have yet to hear them oppose it other than in their argument’s in defence of the veil) but if it is a choice ‘freely’ made than one must defend the ‘right’ to veil.

I wholeheartedly disagree. [Read more…]

I say burn the veil

The wonderful atheist Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy has called on men to veil in solidarity with women. Men in Iran have done this before as well [see featured photo – man’s T-shirt says: down with patriarchy].

The veil’s oppressive; it’s a form of control. Rather than having men wear it too, we need to get rid of it. [Read more…]

Anyone looking for a job?

The women’s basij group (the Islamic regime of Iran’s paramilitary militia) has trained 52,000 ‘experts’ to ‘promote chastity and veiling’ in the society. Maybe some of those ‘progressives’ who so love the hejab can join the women’s basij as they are also looking to create an Institute for chastity and veiling and a group of scholars and experts on – you guessed it – chastity and veiling. [Read more…]

The hijab is not cultural, it’s compulsory!

Have you noticed how they are always able to ‘compromise’ when it comes to women’s rights? Well at least that’s what they call it. According to FIFA, the Football Federation, the hijab is cultural, thereby allowing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s women footballers to participate in the Olympics. [Read more…]