Peter Tatchell spoke at the “Sharia law, apostasy and secularism” conference in London last Saturday, the one that Maryam organized.
Although Sharia law is not the law of the UK, there have been repeated and on-going attempts by Islamists to apply Sharia principles in law and education, in a bid to make these public institutions Sharia-accommodating. This is a direct threat to human rights; most notably to the human rights of UK Muslims.
Speaker after speaker last Saturday warned of an Islamist agenda of stealthy, creeping, subtle Sharification. This involves sustained attempts by Islamists to pressure public institutions, in the name of religious freedom and multiculturalism, to make special allowances for their reactionary sectarian clerical values.
By Islamists, please note, not Muslims. Most Christians are not Christianists and most British Muslims are not Islamists.
The conference organiser Maryam Namazie made an impassioned plea:
“Islamism is an international far-right movement that has murdered innumerable Charlie Hebdos over several decades across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, including many Muslims who have dared to…live twenty-first century lives (that are) prohibited by the Islamists. Being a woman, a freethinker, being gay, being unveiled, improperly veiled, an atheist, going to school, driving a car, having sex, falling in love, laughing out loud, dancing….’offends’ them. Calling for civility, censorship, silence or ‘respect’ for the ‘offended’ is merely heeding the Islamist demand for submission (to clerical authority) at the expense of dissenters – whether (they) be Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia or Roya Nobakht in Iran.”
Far-right, not far-left. Right-wing, not left-wing.
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, saluted those who continue to “bravely challenge deadly religious far-right movements whose end game is to shut down secular democratic spaces and to terrorise us into silence. The time has come to….reject the politics of hatred, whether emanating from the racist far-right or the religious far-right.”
Another conference speaker, Marieme Helie Lucas, founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue, warned against:
“A growing restriction on our freedoms and civil rights in the name of religious tolerance; an endless abandonment of secular values….(and of) equal rights to all citizens – agnostics, atheists and believers alike. We are heading towards unequal rights and different laws for different categories of citizens – all condoned by ‘democratic’ states. The right to practice according to one’s own belief should not supersede universal rights.”
Hold that thought.