Impossible not to see

01-8marsFrankfurt (2)Below is my speech at the wonderful International Women’s Day event in Frankfurt.

• 15 year old Malala Yousefzai shot by the Taliban for defending girls’ education.
• Egyptian atheist Aliaa Magda ElMahdy’s nude scream against misogyny and hypocrisy.
• The outrage over the assassination of socialist leader Chokri Belaid in Tunisia.
• The “Harlem Shake” in Egypt in front of the Muslim brotherhood headquarters.

Even if you’re not looking, it is becoming impossible not to see the immense and modern resistance and dissent taking place day in and day out – even in the darkest corners of the globe.

It’s a new period of human development after decades of Islamic terrorism, US-led militarism, unbridled free market reign, cultural relativism and the retreat of all things universal.

Much of it is based on the actual occupation of public spaces – citizens taking back control. Content-wise, its demands are deeply rooted in a criticism of the current economic crisis, capitalism, inequality, mass unemployment, and poverty as well as dictatorship and Islamism.

The high visibility and presence of women in the resistance is a hallmark of this era. A “female” revolution which contradicts and finally brings to an end the racist cultural relativism and multi-culturalism where people are boxed into imagined homogenous ‘communities’ and where dictatorship and Islamism are forever deemed to be part of people’s ‘culture’.

Labelling the Arab spring a winter does a disservice to this resistance, denies its very existence by only focusing on Islamism and oppressive forces, and hinders the expression of solidarity and support that is crucial in any fight of this nature.

The foot soldiers of the revolutions have been workers, the unemployed, youth, women, the poor… Islamists didn’t spearhead the revolutions nor have they been instrumental in them. They were nowhere to be seen. And the revolutions’ demands were not Islamist ones.

After all, Islamism has certain characteristics – such as the demand for Sharia law or veiling, which were not people’s demands when they took to the streets.

Any gain for Islamism in this period is a gain for the establishment and for the counter-revolutionary forces and must be seen as such.

I worry whether secularists and women’s rights campaigners outside the region are ready for this new era to show real solidarity and support… [Read more…]

Sexual Harassment of Women is State Sponsored Say Egyptian Women

Today was a day of action against sexual terrorism in Egypt.

One Islamic cleric gave a fatwa justifying the sexual assaults saying women were going to the protests to get raped.

Nonetheless he and his Muslim Brothers have received their response by women on the streets of Egypt.

See the magnificent protest below:

Here are what some of them have said:

HAFIZ: Rights groups and activists are convinced the systematic attacks are products of state-sponsored repression.

LODNA DARWISH, ORGANIZER, OPANTISH: This is not the first time that the government uses sexual violence to intimidate men and women, especially women. We’ve been seeing, since Mubarak years until now, the government paying thugs—and it’s proven—to come and sexually harass women. They would come to the protest and not beat up women, just sexually harass them, undress them, drag them undressed—and everybody probably saw the video of the blue-bra girl who was stripped of her clothes and dragged on the streets. This was the army. And then there was the virginity test, the so-called virginity test, which was like a rape incident of the army again, forcing 18 women to go through virginity tests. So it’s a continuous pattern of sexual humiliation… [Read more…]

Women are always expendable

Did you hear that Ikea had airbrushed all women out of their Saudi Arabian catalogue?

Ikea released a statement expressing regret over the issue: “We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.”

Starbucks it seems also removed the long-haired woman from its logo, keeping only her crown, when it opened a store in Saudi.

It seems women are easily expendable when it comes to profits. Oh and also for ‘religious tolerance’, ‘respect’, and ‘not causing offence’ and in order to ‘stop discrimination’, ‘end racism’, and of course ‘prevent Islamophobia’ and what not…

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.

 

Ex-Muslim Women Coffee Morning

Ex-Muslim Women’s Coffee Morning

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is organising a second meet-up for ex-Muslim women after the summer term to provide a safe space for meeting like-minded friends and discussing concerns. The second meet-up will be held on Friday 7 September from 11:30am-1pm in central London.

If you would like to join us, email Maryam Namazie at exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com or call 07719166731 for further details.

Unveiled women are like buses

This is my final blog for Secular Student Alliance blogathon. I can’t believe I managed to post a blog every half an hour from 9am-3pm GMT! But all for a good cause.

I leave you with some pearls of wisdom – not mine of course – but of an Islamic ‘scholar’ and Friday prayers leader.

He says:

“An unveiled woman is like a bus – everyone gets to ride her.

“A woman who is not wearing a full-chador (all encompassing covering) but wearing a head-scarf and manteau (overcoat type covering) is like a taxi – a limited number get to ride her.

“But a woman wearing a chador, like my wife, is like a donkey – only one person gets to ride her.”

 

 

 

Ahh bless, now I wonder how the defenders of religious education are going to explain this one. Oh let’s just stick to the mantra of golden rules and all religions preach love and peace (albeit only for those who agree with them).

Now if this has been useful to you – or more likely not – then go and donate to the SSA.

It’s  the best revenge.

Here’s a link to the official SSA Week page, which has lots of information about the SSA as well as an easy-to-find donation widget.

Here’s a list of quotations collected by Greta on why the SSA is worth supporting.

(Clipping via Afsaneh Vahdat)

 

We need nudity: In support of Golshifteh Farahani

Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani has posed nude for a Madame Le Figaro magazine photoshoot in a move that is seen to defend freedom of speech and oppose the strictures against women.

I unequivocally support Golshifteh Farahani.

We need nudity now more than ever to break the hold of Islam and Islamism in our lives particularly since Islam hates a woman’s body like nothing else…

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By the way, don’t forget that I am still collecting submissions for the Nude Revolutionaries Calendar in homage to Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy. This is an important initiative that must be supported.

Scientific proof that women cannot talk and remember at the same time

Sharia law is the same everywhere. Iran, Britain, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia – that is if it’s Sharia.

And under Sharia law a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s so you always need two women for every man, not just in financial transactions – as its proponents deceptively say (as if that’s not bad enough) – but in any matter of importance. We are told it’s because women are too ’emotional’, menstrual, or so that if one errs the other can remind her. It’s about the nature of women. But for those ‘heretics, communists, and other atheists’ who ridicule this, finally here’s the scientific proof that women cannot talk and remember at the same time:

Oh well, that settles that then.

It’s his culture; he can’t shake your hand

‘It’s his culture; he can’t shake hands with women.’ That’s what the student from the Ahmadiyya Youth Association came to say to me before last week’s debate on Sharia law negating human rights at the UCL. ‘It isn’t personal’ I was told but Ayazz Mahmood of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim University of Theology and Languages would get all dirty if he touched my hand.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘it’s my culture to shake hands with men and be treated as an equal’ and that is what I did.

If only poor old Ayazz Mahmood knew that this apostate who shook his hand was menstruating at the time as well. [Just in case you don’t know, menstruating women aren’t allowed to pray, or enter Sharia courts or mosques and most probably shouldn’t be debating Sharia law’s negation of human rights.] [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…]

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…]

Calling All Nude Photo Revolutionaries

Remember Calendar Girls when a group of women posed nude to raise money for charity? As a follow up to the photo of Israeli women who stripped in solidarity with Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, why not make a calendar of Nude Photo Revolutionaries in homage to Aliaa and also to raise awareness on free expression and women’s rights and against misogyny and Islamism. [Read more…]