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Month: November 2016

In defence of Islam’s Non Believers

We, the undersigned, are appalled at the discrimination, abuse and violence faced by ex-Muslims both in Britain and internationally (as seen in a new film, Islam’s Non-Believers).

Needless to say, it is not an insult to Islam or any religion, if one becomes an atheist – either in public or private. It is exercising a fundamental right to freedom of conscience.

Moreover, criticism of religion, including Islam, is not “Islamophobia” but exercising a fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Those who “punish” or forcibly prevent freedom of conscience and expression are the ones who commit a crime – not those exercising their basic human right.

It is high time that human rights and “progressive” organisations stop legitimising de-facto or de-jure blasphemy and apostasy laws and start defending, not blaming, Islamism’s victims.

A fight on several fronts, including against the religious-Right, racism and xenophobia and in defence of secularism and universal citizenship rights, is the way forward.

SIGNATORIES

Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and Founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Pierre Rousset, Europe solidaire sans frontières
Afsaneh Vahdat, Women’s Rights Activist
Alan Murray
Albert Beale, Pacifist Activist
Alice Carr, President of Progressive Atheists
Aline Ferrieux, Ceramist
Anthony McIntyre, Irish Writer
Arièle Nugon, NPA Marseille
Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger and Secular Activist
Ascari Annie, Professor
Atheist Ireland
Barry Duke, Editor of the Freethinker
Baud Janine, Professeur retraité
Beatrix Campbell, Writer
Behzad Varpushty, Human Rights Activist
Bienvenu Colette
Boyan Dichev
Bread and Roses TV
Brian Jordan, Atheist
Catherine Samary, French and internationalist activist against Islamophobia and integrist currents
Cedetim (France)
Centre for Secular Space
Chiron Hélène
Chris Corbett, Humanist, atheist, secularist
Christian Mahieux, syndicaliste, Union syndicale Solidaires, Réseau syndical international de solidarité et de luttes
Cinzia Sciuto, Editor of MicroMega
Corinne Boyer, Translator
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents of Freedom From Religion Foundation
Daniel Fitzgerald, Activist
Daniel Guerrier, agnostique, pour une laïcité sans frontières
Dario Picciau, Director, Artist, and co-President of EveryOne Group
David Dugdale, Retired Scientist
David Hurlbut, Retired IT Engineer
David Rand, Président of Libres penseurs athées — Atheist Freethinkers
Dean Procter, intellectual, anarchist & secularist
Deirdre Toomey
Delerue Jean-Etienne, retraité
Dilip Simeon, Labour Historian and Chairperson of the Aman Trust
Ditte A.L. Hellemose
Djemila Benhabib, Writer
Eddy Petrisor, Humanist
Elizabeth Cox, Former UN Women Director
Elizabeth Mansfield
Emilia Novo
Enrique Aguirre Fernández de la Reguera, Painter
Equal Rights Now
Europe solidaire sans frontières
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Iraqi Writer and Human Rights Activist
Faizun Zackariya, Co-Founder of Muslim Women’s Research and Action Front
Fatou Sow, Women Living Under Muslims Laws International Director
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Francine Bavay
Françoise Svagelski , Professor of Philosophy
Gérard Gueniffey T Nazaire, militant antiraciste
Gilbert Corniglion
Gilles Lemaire, écologiste altermondialiste
Glenys Robinson, Author and co-President of EveryOne Group
Gona Saed, Overseas Director of Kurdistan Secular Centre
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Hassan Radwan, Agnostic Muslim Khutbahs blog
Houzan Mahmoud, Cofounder of Culture Project
Ibn Warraq, Writer
Iran Solidarity
Jacqueline Heinen, Sociologist
Jaleh Tavakoli, Blogger and Free Iran Denmark
James Booth. Retired Academic specialising in postcolonial literature
Javed Anand, General Secretary of Muslims for Secular Democracy, Founding member of Citizens for Peace and Justice and Co-editor of Communalism Combat
Jean Boucher, NPA France
Jeanne Favret Saada, Director d’Etudes honoraire at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
Jean-Philippe Divès, Editor of l’Anticapitaliste monthly journal (New Anticapitalist Party, NPA, France)
Jesus & Mo Author
Jesús Mª Puente González, Professor
John A Edwards, Solihull, Retired teacher and currently Treasurer of Birmingham Humanists
John Morgan
John Price, Retired English Teacher
Josette Trat, militante féministe et de la gauche radicale
Josu Ugarte Gastaminza, Former Director of Bakeaz
Julie Begum, Chair of Swadhinata Trust
Julie Bindel, Writer
Karim Shahmohammadi, Children First Now
Karrar Al Asfoor , Rights Activist and Admin of Humanitarian Dialogue Forum
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Katha Pollitt, Feminist Poet, Essayist and Critic
Keith Ward, FBA, Christ Church, Oxford, Regius Professor Emeritus of Divinity, University of Oxford
Lalia Ducos, présidente of Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Laura Guidetti, President of Marea Italian Feminist Magazine
Lawrence Krauss, American Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist
Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist Movement
Léon Crémieux, NPA France and Retired Aeronautical Technician
Lino Veljak, Head of Philosophy department at Zagreb University
Lisa J Whelan, Writer
Marco DeRossi
Marianne Ligou, NPA Pau France
Marie-Josée Salmon, Collège du Réseau Féministe « Ruptures »
Marina Strinkovsky, Feminist Writer and Campaigner
Marine Benjelloun, NPA
Mark Almond, Activist
Martín Alonso Zarza, Sociologist
Mary Devery, Human Rights Activist
Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All
Michael Gleave
Michael Nugent, Chairperson of Atheist Ireland
Mina Ahadi, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Mohamed Mahmoud, Director of Centre for Critical Studies of Religion
Mohammed Alkhadra, Jordanian Activist
Mohsen Bahadori Birgani, Ex-Muslim Activist
Monica Lanfranco, Journalist
Monique Dental, Collège du Réseau Féministe « Ruptures »
Muriel Seltman, Writer
Muslimish
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian-French Filmmaker
National Secular Society
Nazanin Borumand, Council of Ex-Muslim of Germany
Nina Sankari, Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation
Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at The University of East London
Olivier Zimmermann, Founding member of Réseau laïque romand and President of Coordination laïque genevoise
One Law for All
Onur Romano, President of Atheist Alliance International
Ophelia Benson, Writer
Paolo Flores d’Arcais, Director of MicroMega
Patrick Lescure
Paul Butler, Research Scientist at Bangor University
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Pierre A Renaud, Atheist Freethinkers
Pierre Marchand, Professor
Pierre Thibault, secretary for Atheist Freethinkers, Quebec
Pierre Vandevoorde, NPA Normandy France
Piers Sergei Walker, Retired (previously employed by The Union Of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers)
Porotagora
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Raheel Raza, President of Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and Founding Member of Muslim Reform Movement
Raymond Hename, Secularist
Rebecca Taylor
Rina Nissim, Espace Femmes International
Robert Andrews, Amnesty International Urgent Action Network
Roberto Malini, Poet Laureate and co-President of EveryOne Group
Robin Clarke
Roger Dinsdale, Advocate for secularism and atheism
Rosangela Gramoni, Women’s Rights Activist
Roseline Vachetta, former Member of the European Parliament
Rumana Hashem, Political Sociologist and Founder of Community Women’s Blog
Russell Blackford, University of Newcastle
Russell Webb
Sadia Hameed, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Sally Armstrong, Writer
Samy Johsua, professeur émérite Université Aix-Marseille
Sanal Edamaruku, Founder and President of Rationalist International
Sarah Ager, Curator of Interfaith Ramadan
Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Writer at Conatus News
Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Shelley Segal, Singer/Songwriter
Sonny Azhakesan
Sophie Ozanne, NPA Normandy France
Sophie Thorpe
Southall Black Sisters
Stasa Zajovic, Founder of Women In Black Belgrade
Stephen Cowden, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University
Stephen Evans, Campaigns Director of the National Secular Society
Steven Pinker, Cognitive Scientist, Psychologist, Linguist and Author
Stuart Hartill, Chairman of Isle of Man Freethinkers
Sue Cox, Co-founder of Survivors Voice Europe
Sultana Kamal, Bangladeshi Lawyer, Human Rights Activist and Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra
Suresh
Terri Murray, Author, Educator, blogger and Academic Theologian
Tina Taeri
Victor Dooley
Wissam Charafeddine, Muslimish Executive Board
Women in Black Belgrade
Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Yasmine, Confessions of an ExMuslim
Yolanda Rouiller, Philologist
Zelda Bailey, Secularist, Humanist, Feminist

FRENCH

Déclaration de solidarité avec les ex-musulmans devant les attaques dont ils sont l’objet après la sortie télévisée du documentaire ‘ Les incroyants de l’islam’.

Nous soussigné/es sommes consternés devant la discrimination, les insultes et la violence auxquels font face les ex-musulmans en Grande-Bretagne et internationalement (telles qu’exposées dans le nouveau documentaire ‘Les incroyants de l’Islam’).

Il devrait être inutile de le dire : être ou devenir athée (que cette position soit assumée publiquement ou gardée privée) ne saurait constituer une insulte envers l’Islam ou quelque autre religion que ce soit. C’est l’exercice du droit fondamental qu’est la liberté de conscience.

De plus, critiquer une religion, y compris l’islam, ne saurait être considéré comme de l’« islamophobie », mais comme l’exercice du droit fondamental à la liberté d’expression.

Ce sont ceux qui « punissent » – qui empêchent par la force l’exercice de la liberté de conscience et d’expression – qui commettent un crime ; et non pas ceux qui font usage de leurs droits humains fondamentaux.

Il est grand temps que les organisations des droits humains et de la gauche cessent de légitimer, de fait ou de droit, les lois contre le blasphème et l’apostasie et commencent à défendre – et non pas à blâmer – les victimes de l’islamisme.

La voie à suivre, c’est lutter sur plusieurs fronts, c’est-à-dire à la fois contre la droite religieuse, le racisme et la xénophobie, et pour défendre la laïcité et les droits universels des citoyens.

ALSO SEE LETTER FROM Réseau Féministe « Ruptures » Association nationale

Objet : Soutien au film de Deeyah Khan « Islam Non-Believers »

Le Réseau Féministe « Ruptures » a appris que la diffusion à la télévision britannique du film de Deeyah Khan (Islam non-believers) a provoqué des protestations et des menaces de la part des intégristes musulmans.

En tant que féministes laïques, nous apportons tout notre soutien à toutes les personnes qui ont été à l’origine de la réalisation et de la diffusion de ce documentaire aussi nécessaire que courageux. Il s’agit là, en effet, de l’exercice d’un droit fondamental, reconnu par la loi internationale des droits humains fondamentaux. De plus, face au développement et à la recrudescence des mouvements politico-religieux, il importe de développer une solidarité internationale, raison pour laquelle nous avions signé et fait connaître dans nos publications la pétition : « One law for all » concernant la mise en place de tribunaux islamiques.

Créer un socle commun pour lutter contre tous les intégrismes religieux est un enjeu majeur de notre temps.

Fait à Paris, le 9 novembre 2016.

Marie-Josée SALMON,
Monique DENTAL
Collège du Réseau Féministe « Ruptures »

Spokesperson Maryam Namazie wins 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is pleased to announce that its spokesperson Maryam Namazie was awarded the 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize from the Comité Laïcité République in Paris on 2 November.

You can read and see Maryam’s acceptance speech below.

The French translation, thanks to Marieme Helie Lucas is available here.

سخنرانى به زبان فارسى در پايىن صفحه

Thank you for this wonderful honour. I am so glad to have the support of so many present here, including my husband and son, as well as my Muslim parents.

We live in an age where totalitarianism is masked as divine righteousness, theocrats legitimised, dissent vilified and victims blamed for their own murder.

This is a time where “solidarity” is no longer an act of defending revolutionaries but fascists; where there is always support for Islamist projects like Sharia courts, the burqa, gender segregation, apostasy and blasphemy laws – whether de jure or de facto – but never for those who refuse to be silenced, erased and “disappeared”.

It’s a time when “progressive” all too often means protecting regressive identity politics, which homogenises entire communities and societies, and deems theocrats as the sole legitimate arbiters and gatekeepers of “community” values.

It’s a politics of betrayal – devoid of class struggle and political ideals – which sees any dissent through Islamist eyes and immediately labels it “Islamophobic” and blasphemous.

We are called “aggressive apostates”, “fundamentalist secularists”, “native informants”, “inflammatory”. We are accused of violating the “safe spaces” of Islamists on universities and even “inciting hatred”.

Don’t believe it. That is the Islamist narrative.

In the world today, it is we who are being slaughtered not the other way round.

In their world everyone dies yet we are accused of being “offensive” – as if cartoons and apostasy are worse than murder.

Islamists discriminate against, shun, flog, imprison, terrorise, abduct, and slaughter but somehow it is always the victim whose “provocation” is to blame – whether it’s Charlie Hebdo or Avijit Roy…

Laicite is not a theoretical discussion for ivory tower academics and champagne socialists. It’s a matter of life and death for many of us:
• The likes of Asia Bibi in Pakistan facing execution for blasphemy
• Young ex-Muslims (Islam’s Non Believers) in Britain facing a life-time of shunning
• The likes of Afsana Lachaux whose rights violations in a discriminatory Sharia court in the Middle East have been upheld by French courts due to bilateral agreements
• Human Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi given a 16 year prison sentence for opposing executions; Jafar Azimzadeh sentenced to 11 years for labour organising; or dual nationals used as pawns such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff as well as Siamak and Baquer Namazi in Iran
• Blogger Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for writing about religion and politics and on and on and on…

“Secularism is the solution”, is a graffiti Raif Badawi saw scrawled in a Saudi prison lavatory. Yet we are told that secularism is a neo-colonialist demand by so-called “anti-colonialists” whose worldview always coincides with the ruling elite, including in former colonies, and never the dissenters. Those “anti-fascists” who are only anti-some fascists, some of the time. Those who are “anti-racist” as long as we do not venture outside the pigeonholes that we are meant to live and be buried in; (if we dissent, though, they are at the forefront of insisting on racist cultural relativism and “different” rights for “different” people). The so-called progressives who condemn us to living lives within the confines of Islam whilst the sky has no limits for them…

They cannot begin to understand that no one needs Laicite more than those who live, struggle and die under the boot of the religious-Right.

And this includes the innumerable voting with their very feet and dying as we speak to seek refuge in secular societies, including the women, men and children of Calais, who deserve the basic human right to asylum and protection, not vilification and criminalisation.

And it includes believers. The right to religion must have a corresponding right to be free from religion to have any real meaning.

The historical battle that we are faced with today is not a clash of civilisations as the vile far-Right says in order to promote what is fundamentally white and often Christian identity politics. Rather, it’s a clash between theocrats on the one hand and secularists and universalists on the other – across real or imagined communities, borders and boundaries -and including many Muslims and migrants.

Secularism is not French or Western or Eastern; it’s universal.

It must be unequivocally and unashamedly defended against this era’s totalitarianism.

Today more than ever, we need Laicite and we need it now.

Our very lives depend on it.

Thank you.

****

فارسى

سكولاريسم ـ زندگى مان به آن وابسته است

من خيلى خيلى خيلى خوشخالم كه اينجا هستم۔ مفتخرم كه در ميان شما عزيزان برجسته اى مى ايستم و بخاطر اينكه اين جايزه را بردم۔ خوشحالم كه دوستانم اينجا هستند٬ پسرم اينجاست و همسرم و براى داشتن حمايت پدر و مادرم كه مسلمان هستند۔
ما در عصرى زندگى ميكنيم كه توتاليتريسم عدالت الهى خوانده مى شود؛ به ديكتاتوريهاى مذهبى مشروعيت داده ميشود، منتقدين تخطعه و قربانيان باعث و بانى قتل خود قلمداد ميشوند۔
اين دوره ايست كه “همبستگى” ديگر نه اقدامى در دفاع از انقلابيون بلكه در دفاع از فاشيستها است. هميشه براى پروژه هاى اسلام سياسى مانند دادگاههاى شريعه، برقه ، جداسازى جنسى، ارتداد و قوانين مخالف توهين به مقدسات ـ چه قانونى و چه بالفعل ـ پشتيبانى هست ولى هرگز اين حمايت براى كسانى كه حاضر به سكوت و حذف و “ناپديد شدن” نيستند موجود نيست۔
اين دوره ايست كه “مترقى” بودن به معناى دفاع از سياست هويت تراشى عقب مانده است كه تمامى جوامع را در يك كيسه مى ريزد و ديكتاتورهاى مذهبى را تنها نماينده و دروازه بانان بر حق ارزشهاى اين جوامع فرض مى گيرد. اين سياستي خائنانه است؛ تهى از هر گونه مبارزات طبقاتى و آرمانهاى سياس كه هر گونه مخالفت را از منظر اسلاميون مينگرد و آن را با مهر اسلام هراسى و توهين به مقدسات محكوم ميكند۔
ما را “مرتدين خشن” و “سكولارهاى بنيادگرا” مى نامند. ما را متهم به بهم زدن “فضاى امن” اسلاميها در دانشگاهها و حتى به “تحريك و گسترش نفرت” محكوم مى كنند۔
اينها را باور نكنيد! اين ها روايت اسلاميون است۔
در دنياى امروز٬ اين ما هستيم كه قتل عام ميشويم نه بر عكس. در دنياى آنها همه مى ميرند اما ما متهم به “توهين” مى شويم۔ كشيدن كارتون بد تر از قتل است۔ گويى ارتداد و
اسلاميون شلاق ميزنند، زندانى ميكنند، ترور ميكنند و سر ميبرند اما قربانيان آنانند كه هميشه مقصراند كه با “تحريكشان” باعث و بانى قتل خود شدند ـ چه چارلى ابدو و يا اويجيت روى در بنگلادش و ۔۔۔
سكولاريسم بحث تئوريك براى روشنفكران برج آج نشين يا سوسياليستهاى شامپاين بدست نيست. براى بسيارى از ما مسئله مرگ و زندگى است. براى افرادى :
مانند آسيه بى بى در پاكستان كه بخاطر توهين به مقدسات به اعدام محكوم شده است ـ
ـ مانند جوانان از اسلام برگشته در بريتانيا كه مادام العمر ترد شده اند
ـ مانند افسانه لچوع كه حقوق پايمال شده او در دادگاه شريعه اسلامى در خاورميانه از سوى دادگاه فرانسه بخاطر قرادادهاى دو جانبه تاييد شد
ـ مانند نرگس محمدى كه بخاطر مخالفت با اعدام به ١٦ سال زندان محكوم شده است؛ جعفر عظيم زاده كه بخاطر سازماندهى كارگرى به ١١ سال زندان محكوم شده است؛
ـ يا دو تابعيتى هايى مانند نازنين زاغرى رادكليف و سيامك و باقر نمازى كه بعنوان گروگان در ايران زندانى هستند
رائوف بداوى كه به ده سال زندان و هزار ضربه شلاق محكوم شده است و و و ـ يا
“سكولاريسم راه حل است” شعارى است كه رائوف بداوى بر در توالت زندان در عربستان سعودى ديده بود اما به ما مى گويند كه سكولاريسم خواست “نئو استعمار” ميباشد. اين ديد “ضد استعمارى است” كه هميشه با منافع طبقه حاكمه منجمله در كشورهاى مستعمره سابق همسو و همگام است و هيچگاه پشتيبان مخالفين و منتقدين نبوده است۔
اين “ضد فاشيستهايى” كه فقط بعضى وقتها ضد بعضى از فاشيست ها هستند۔ اينها “ضد راسيست” هستند تا زمانى كه ما پايمان را از چهارچوبى كه براى ما تعريف كرده اند بيرون نگذاريم. و اگر ما اعتراض كنيم٬ آنها در در صف اول دفاع ازسياست راسيستى نسبيت فرهنگى و حقوق متفاوت براى مردم “متفاوت” هستند۔
اين “مترقيون ” ما را به زندگى در حصار اسلام محكوم مى كنند در حالى كه آسمان آنها بي مرز است. آنها هيچگاه درك نخواهند كرد كه هيچ كس بيش از ما كه زير چكمه هاى جريانات راست مذهبى مانند اسلام سياسى زندگى و مبارزه ميكنيم و مى مي ميريم به سكولاريسم نيازمند نمى باشد. و اين شامل خَيل عظيم مردمى است كه با پاى خود راى ميدهند و با خطر مرگ و زندگى در همين لحضه كه ما صحبت ميكنيم به جوامع سكولار پناهنده ميشوند ـ مانند زنان، مردان و كودكانى كه در كمپ كاله هستند كه حقشان نه فحاشى و تبعيض بلكه حقوق پايه اى انسانى ميباشد ـ
اين شامل معتقدين به مذهب هم هست۔ حق داشتن مذهب اگر قرار است معناى واقعى داشته باشد بايد با حق خلاصى از مذهب همراه باشد۔
نبرد تاريخى كه امروز ما با آن روبرو هستيم؛ بر خلاف آنچه جريانات راست افراطى دون پايه ادعا مى كند تا عمدتا يك هويت سفيد و مسيحى را تقويت كند؛ نبرد بين تمدنها نيست۔ بلكه بيش از هر چيز نبردى است در وسعت جوامع و فرا مرزها ـ چه واقعى يا مفروض ـ بين اسلام سياسى و مذهب سياسى از يكسو و سكولايستهاى جهانشمول از سوى ديگر است ـ و اين خيلى از مهاجرين و مسلمانان را هم شامل مى شود.
سكولاريسم نه فرانسوى، نه غربى و شرقى است٬ بلكه جهانى است. بايد از اين حقيقت بصراحت در مقبل توتاليتريسم اين دوران دفاع كرد۔ امروز بيش از هر زمانى به سكولاريسم ـ همين الان ـ نياز داريم۔
زندگى ما وابسته به آن است۔
با تشكر۔

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