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London Ex-Muslims Meetup Group a year old

London Exmuslims Meetup group has been running for a year now, had 12 events so far and increased to over 30 members in 12 months. Members are able to get acquainted with likeminded people, make new friends, openly share their views, go to talks & debates, to movies, have drinks & dinner evenings and camping trips. There will be an anniversary party on October 17 to celebrate its first anniversary. To join the meetup, click here. To start a meetup in your area, contact the CEMB.

One Law for All raised at European Parliament

European Commission President Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament, Hans Gert Pőttering hosted a lunch in Brussels on Friday 26 June 2009 with philosophical non-confessional organizations in the Commission’s efforts towards Strengthening European values.

Keith Porteous Wood, supporter of One Law for All and the National Secular Society’s Executive Director was one of the guests. One of the concerns he raised with President Barroso was about the growing pressure on Muslims to use so-called official Muslim Arbitration Tribunals rather than the established justice mechanisms. Mr Porteous Wood said that those using these tribunals often did not know they had alternatives. Women were particularly vulnerable as they are forced to submit to these tribunals and Islamic law treats women less favourably than men. It was essential, he said, that it is One Law for All in every country: and that the law is democratically established and human rights compliant. Sharia demonstrably fails that test.

Mr Porteous Wood pointed approvingly to the experience in Canada where some provinces troubled about these issues had outlawed religious arbitration in recent years. He asked President Barroso to consider similar measures for the EU.

In his concluding address, President Barroso acknowledged these concerns and said that he would give the matter further thought.

Turning to the UK, Mr Porteous Wood commented: the problem of burgeoning Sharia law tribunals, run of course by men, is becoming more acute and the need for action has become urgent. Shamefully, the Government, Parliament or the judiciary are prepared to take on Sharia law for fear of upsetting Islamic leaders. This is a betrayal of those forced to be subject to these laws which have no place in a modern democratic society.”

Join the International Coalition for Women’s Rights

On April 19, 2009, the Somali parliament unanimously endorsed the introduction of Sharia law across the country.

A few days earlier, the imposition of Sharia law in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat region was approved.

Last month, a sweeping law approved by the Afghan parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai required Shi’a women to seek their husband’s permission to leave home, and to submit to their sexual demands. Because of international and national protests the new law is now being reviewed but only to check its compatibility with Sharia law.

Sharia law deems a woman unequal and subordinate to her husband or male guardian. Under Sharia, women’s testimony is worth half that of men’s, women have limited rights to divorce and child custody and women can be executed for apostasy or stoned to death for adultery. It imposes sexual or gender apartheid and the veil and denies women rights, equality and freedom.

The imposition of Sharia law in the legal codes of Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan brings millions more under the yoke of political Islam.

Local and international pressure and opposition are the only ways to stop the rise of this regressive movement and defend women’s universal rights and secularism.

From Iran and Iraq to Britain and Canada, Sharia law is being opposed by a vast majority who choose 21st century universal values over medievalism. We, the undersigned, support this international struggle and call for:

  • the abolition of discriminatory and Sharia laws
  • an end to sexual apartheid
  • secularism and the separation of religion from the state
  • equality between women and men

List of initial signatories:

Boaz Adhengo, Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya, Kenya
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Coordinator, Stop Child Executions Campaign, Canada
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany; Coordinator, International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Chair, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, UK
Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Stockholm, Sweden
British Humanist Association, UK
British Muslims for Secular Democracy, UK
Caroline Brancher, UFAL, France
Nazanin Borumand, Never forget Hatun‚Campaign against Honour Killings, Germany
Clean Break Theatre Company, UK
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, UK
Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany, Germany
Council of Ex-Muslims of Scandinavia, Sweden
Richard Dawkins, Scientist, UK
Patty Debonitas, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights, UK
Deeyah, Singer and Composer, USA
Sonja Eggerickx, President, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Belgium
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden Tarek Fatah, Author, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, Canada
Jacqueline Fichet – Professeure en Retraite, France
Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, UK
AC Grayling, Writer and Philosopher, London, UK
Rahila Gupta, Activist and Writer, UK
Maria Hagberg, Chairperson, Network Against Honour-Related Violence, Sweden
Katie Hickman, Writer, UK
Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya
Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Iranian Secular Society, London, UK
Asqar Karimi, Central Committee Member, Worker-communist Party of Iran, UK
Kenya Association of Humanists in Aid of Women Atheists
Ruth Kithei and Teresia Naomi, Kenya Association of Humanists in Aid of Women Atheists, Kenya
Derek Lennard, Chairperson, Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, UK
Doreen Massey, Peer, House of Lords, London, UK
Caspar Melville, Editor, New Humanist magazine, UK
Reza Moradi, Director, New Channel TV, UK
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, UK
National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, UK
National Secular Society, London, UK
Never Forget Hatun Campaign against Honour Killings, Germany Network Against Honour-Related Violence, Sweden
Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, UK
Lucy Perman, Executive Director, Clean Break, UK
David Pollock, President, the European Humanist Federation, London, UK
Fariborz Pooya, Founder, Iranian Secular Society, London, UK
Pragna Patel, Founding Member, Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism, UK
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society, London, UK
Sohaila Sharifi, Editor, Unveiled Persian, London, UK
Joan Smith, Writer and Activist, London, UK
Southall Black Sisters, UK
Issam Shukri, Head, Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq; Central Committee Secretary, Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq, Iraq
Hanne Stinson, British Humanist Association, UK
Annie Sugier, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, France
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner, UK
Women Against Fundamentalisms, UK
Ibn Warraq, writer

To join the coalition, click here: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ICFWR/petition.html

To help organise a rally in your city on November 21, 2009, please contact coalition coordinator Patty Debonitas +44 (0) 7778804304, ICFWR, BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK, email icwomenrights@googlemail.com.

To support the coalition, please send your donations to One Law for All (http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/donate.html) or the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (http://www.ex-muslim.org.uk/indexDonate.html) earmarked for the coalition.

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