It takes a nation to protect the nation
A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Volume 1, Issue 1
PDF Version of the Publication: Unveiled_Oct2013_Final1
Editor: Maryam Namazie
Design: Maha Kamal
In this issue:
Exclusive Interview: The rise of Fitnah: ready to cause affliction
Editorial: Rouhani's fake smile; the war on women continues
News Flash: Crimes against women
Campaign: Against legal paedophilia in Iran
Arts: Voices of women against Islamism
Condemn legalised paedophilia and child rape in the Islamic Republic of Iran
On 22 September 2013, one day before the start of the school year in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Majlis or parliament passed a law permitting a stepfather to marry his adopted child.
In defence of the law, one Member of Parliament said: "According to Islam, every child who is accepted as an adopted child is not considered a real child. Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia law allow the guardian of the child to marry and have sex with his step-child.”
This shocking law will encourage child ’marriages’ and is nothing more than legalised paedophilia and child rape. It will further endanger the welfare of the child and violate her basic rights. It will deny the child any sense of security and safety in the home.
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Children First Now unequivocally condemn this inhuman law. On 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, we call on the public and rights organisations to condemn this legalised paedophilia and child rape. This law, like many other laws in the Islamic regime of Iran, violates the dignity and rights of children. And it must be stopped.
Here are five things you can do on 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child, to condemn legalised paedophilia and child rape, and demanding dignity, security and rights for all girls and children in Iran and beyond:
1. Tweet against the law: #Iran #No2LegalPaedophilia
2. Sign our petition and forward it to 10 friends or acquaintances.
3. Write to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Leader, email@example.com, Twitter: @khamenei_ir or to Hassan Rouhani, President, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @hassanrouhani demanding an end to child rape and paedophilia.
4. Publicise the campaign on social media including by changing your Facebook profile change to our campaign poster.
5. Do an act of solidarity on the internet, in your city square, at work, at your university... in support of children’s rights and against the law.
The Rise of Fitnah Targets Islamism; 'Ready to Cause Affliction'
Women’s eNews Interview with Maryam Namazie
The below interview was published on Women’s eNews.
Women’s eNews: Why did you label the campaign 'Fitnah'? In the email received yesterday, you say "women are seen to be the source of fitnah or affliction", could you please elaborate?
Maryam Namazie: In Islam, women are seen to be the source of fithah or affliction. In one hadith, Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, said: “I have left behind no fitnah more harmful to men, than women.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]. This is a recurring theme in all major religions. There is a Jewish prayer that says: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler the universe who has not created me a woman”. In the Bible, there is one verse that says: “Her filthiness is in her skirts”. [Lam.1:8-9] There are of course many examples of religion’s misogynist perception of women.
In practice, this translates into an obsession with the control and restriction of women in order to maintain everything from family honour to societal order. This is most visibly experienced for women living under Islamic laws because of Islam’s access to political and state power via Islamism or political Islam.
To the extent that Islamism has power, veiling is enforced by morality police and women are imprisoned for escaping forced marriages or stoned to death for adultery.
The extent of hatred towards women runs deep. Recently in Marivan, Iran, a judge ordered a young man to be dressed in women’s clothing and a hejab and paraded around the city by security forces in order to humiliate him. Being a woman is considered the greatest of humiliations.
Whilst the term fitnah is perceived to be a negative one if one looks at it from the perspective of religion and Islamism, it represents something very different when looked at from another viewpoint. It is always the woman who transgresses norms that is deemed to be “fitnah”. It is the woman who refuses to submit, the one who resists and is disobedient. In that sense, the women’s liberation movement is a source of fitnah for those who insist on women’s oppression.
Our movement is Islamism’s worst fitnah...
Women’s eNews: What sparked this campaign? - Is it a campaign against religion? men? religious men? a state? Who are you specifically targeting with this campaign?
Maryam Namazie: Finah represents a new movement for a new era. The brutal era of unbridled Islamism, US-led militarism and free market reign is over. Today is an era of the 99% movement and revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – many of them female-led. Whilst it may still be hard to see given the perceived “gains” by Islamists in the region (in fact as counter-revolutionary forces aimed at suppressing the revolutions), the change of era is palpable.
Fitnah is a movement of women and men defending freedom, equality and secularism and calling for an end to misogynist cultural, religious and moral laws and customs, compulsory veiling, sex apartheid, sex trafficking, and violence against women.
Whilst our focus is on Iran in particular, and the Middle East and North Africa in general, it’s an international movement. We don’t see women’s rights as being western. As women’s rights campaigners opposing compulsory veiling in Iran said during a mass demonstration in 1979: “women’s rights are not eastern or western but universal”.
We also don’t see rights as culturally relative. Rights have been fought for by the working class and progressive social movements and belong to all humanity. The right to vote is not considered western even though the first country to have the right to vote was in the west. This idea of rights being western and culturally relative is stressed in particular when it comes to women rights and freedoms.
Also, whilst all religions are anti-woman, our focus is on Islam and political Islam given its impact on our region and the world.
US suffragette and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton said “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman's emancipation”. This is true in particular with regards Islam and Islamism today.
Of course when speaking of Islam or any religion, we are not referring to religion as a personal belief. Everyone has a right to religion and atheism but Islam today is not a personal matter but an industry.
Fitnah represents our era - our time to shine. It is we who are now on the offensive. Fitnah is a warning to Islamists: it will be our women’s liberation movement that will bring it to its knees.
Women’s eNews: Do you consider 'Islamism' as a form of 'Radicalism'?
Maryam Namazie: Radicalism means going back to one’s roots. Whilst Islamism sees Islam as a tool for the far-Right restructuring of power structures, the movement is not fundamentally about going back to Islam as an ideology but about political Islam (gaining power and ruling via Sharia law). That is why different states and groups impose different rules and norms depending on their access to power and in an effort to maintain power. Some see these differences as evidence that this movement has nothing to do with Islam but this is because of political expediency rather than ideology. Also, depending on the strength of the women’s liberation and secular movement in the specific geography they operate, their version may seem more ‘moderate’ though they are all fundamentally the same.
The other point that is important to make when discussing Islamism is that this movement is a contemporary one and resulted from abandoned modernisation efforts and the decline of the secular-left. Islamism, however, would have remained marginal had it not been an integral part of US foreign policy during the Cold War, i.e. to create a “green” Islamic belt around the then Soviet Union. Of course Islamism’s coming to power in Iran via the suppression of a Left-leaning revolution helped to strengthen this movement and make it into a global power source.
Women’s eNews: Some Muslim women would not be against the fact of having their rights within the framework of Islam if the religious law was properly interpreted. What is your take on this point?
Islamic “feminists” like Shirin Ebadi will say that women have full rights under Islam and if they don’t it is because of the practice and interpretation of states. There are several problems with this position. Firstly, the Koran and Hadith (which are the saying and actions of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet) upon which Sharia law is based are full of anti-women rules and regulations (even if you choose to leave Islamic jurisprudence to one side). Stoning to death for adultery, for example, is in the hadith whilst wife-beating is in the Koran. Secondly, often when there is a discussion about women having full rights, you must ask what is meant by “rights”. Even Islamists will say women have full rights under their rule but that is because to them women and men are not equal but complementary thereby justifying difference in “rights”.
Also, the problem with interpretation is that yours too is just one of many. Even if you have a “good” interpretation, it is usually a regressive imam or Sharia judge deciding for you. But more importantly I question whether a “good” interpretation is possible. If you follow the arguments made by the “good” interpretations you will soon realise the absurdity of this line of defence. Take Sura al-Nisa (the Women) in the Koran 4:34 where it says: “As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly)...” You have Islamic feminists saying that men are only meant to beat their wives with thin sticks or feathers. For Sharia judges (at least in the UK where domestic violence is a crime), as long as it is not on the face and genitals and leaves no mark, this does not constitute violence. The point is though that no woman should be beaten. Full Stop.
Clearly, one cannot leave women’s rights and lives at the mercy of religious rules and forms of interpretation. Religion is a personal matter. When it comes to religion in the state and law and educational system, then it becomes a matter of political power and control.
The separation of religion from the state and law is an important step in improving the status and rights of women. Looking at things on a large social scale, a majority, even if they are Muslim would prefer to live under secular rules. The conflation between Islamism and Muslim in order to enable Islamists to feign representation has meant that Islamist demands are seen to be the demands of those living in the Middle East and North Africa. But this is not the case. None of the revolutions in the region had Islamist demands, which are compulsory veiling, sharia law and Islamic states. In reality, people who have lived under Sharia law or its threats are its most ardent opponents. Finally if people really wanted to live under medievalism, if it was really people’s culture, Islamists would not need to impose their rules with such sheer brutality. The fact that they must control the streets and arrest and fine people for what they wear and what they think is evidence enough that their rule is an imposition.
Of course there might be those who prefer Sharia law to secular law as there might be people who prefer to bring back slavery or racial apartheid but that is irrelevant here. Sharia law and Islamic states are oppressive. There is no “right” to oppress.
Women’s eNews: What are you planning on doing?
Maryam Namazie: Our movement plans to bring an end to Islamism. Whilst misogyny will not end with Islamism, the situation of women will improve greatly across the world as one of the leading proponents of feminicide is brought to its end.
There has been a marked increase in CCTV cameras being installed in girls’ schools, particularly private ones causing concern for girls and their parents.
The Islamic Assembly or Majlis in Iran passed a bill allowing a male guardian to marry his adopted child upon court approval. Children’s rights advocates denounced the bill saying it would endanger the welfare of the child, violate her rights, and is nothing more than legalised paedophilia. According to Children First, one Majlis representative said that sexual relations with adopted children is permissible under Sharia under marriage as they are not considered real children. According to one report, officials in Iran have tried to play down the sexual part of such marriages, saying it is in the bill to solve the issue of hijab complications when a child is adopted. An adopted daughter is expected to wear the hijab in front of her father, and a mother should wear it in front of her adopted son if he is old enough. As many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married in 2010, according to the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were wed in Tehran alone.
Iran stoning case, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, wrote an open letter asking the media and public to ask Rouhani why he doesn’t release her. She says: “I want to hold my children in my arms. Please help me! For three years I have been consumed by longing for liberty and the chance to breathe freely. They told me that if I collaborated on a film for Press TV, I would be released. Press TV made its film and went on its way and there was no more talk of my freedom. They say that my case is in Tehran and must be decided there. I entreat you to ask President Rouhani, a resident of Tehran, whether he has any news of my case. Doesn’t he want to free me so that I might finally travel with my son and embrace freedom once more?”
According to the International Committee Against Execution, since the election of Hassan Rouhani, at least 213 prisoners have been executed, including a number of women.
Per official figures, there are 600 women judges in Iran, most of who work in family courts. They are however not allowed to sign their decisions; a male judge must do so on their behalves.
Ali Jannati, a senior cleric in Iran urged tougher restrictions on women in streets, universities and state institutions. He said the hijab of female students should be checked at university gates and students graded based on their covering. He said: "why is it that female students who want to study take off their Islamic dress after they enter the university and taint themselves? Student wants a good grade and will do anything for it." "If her veiling is bad, don’t let her into the university and let her feel it in her grade. This is not troublesome. Start here! If you put someone at the university gate and tells students that if they don’t observe proper veiling it would affect their grades, they would certainly pay heed."
According to one report, over seventy Allameh Tabatabaei University students who had been thrown out of their faculties or suspended from their departments gathered outside the dean’s office and demanded that he allow them to return to their courses. Also, a group of women’s rights activists and student activists filed an official complaint with the Iranian Supreme Court of Justice. They were objecting to a new plan which regards women as ‘unfit’ for certain courses, and prohibits some of the major universities from enrolling them. The protestors made three demands to the Science Ministry and the Department of Higher Educational Assessment, namely the withdrawal of the scheme, the restoration of rights to students affected by it, and a ban on similar schemes in the future.
A recent study found school books to be predominately male-oriented with very few female photos, characters and writers. Also the males were shown to be smarter, stronger, more worthy than the females in the texts.
In a new law on families, temporary marriages do not need to be registered any longer. Temporary marriage is a fixed or short term marriage permissible in Shia Islam for which the duration and compensation is decided in advance.
During the election campaign, Rouhani said that he would strive to ensure that women feel secure on the streets from patrol harassing women who they deem to be improperly or badly veiled. He said: “Girls must maintain their own chastity and hijab.” He also said the youth “should obey religious norms.” After the election, harassment of women and youth has been stepped up.
Mohammad Shahroudi Hosseini, the Kurdistan representative of the supreme leader Khamenei has said: “The best way for women to achieve happiness is to see less of men and for men to see less of women.”
Women wearing leggings called “supports” are being put under pressure. Some officials have said leggings lead to a “violation of the mental and physiological peace” of Iran’s youth and are urging their arrest. Niloofar, a student in Tehran says: “If more than ten women do something in this country, it suddenly becomes an offence and they start looking for ways to stop it.”
The Iranian regime has freed 11 political prisoners, including human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and 7 other women. Many political prisoners remain in jail.
A bill being debated in Iran’s Majlis aims to limit employment opportunities for single girls and childless married women. Many see it is as yet one more state ploy to keep women in the home.
Gholam Reza Hassanpour Ashkezari who is in charge of the National Merchants Guild has called on merchants to refuse to sell to badly veiled women and to post religious teachings in shops to advise badly veiled women to properly veil.
There has been an increase in Iran’s morality police detaining women who they deem are improperly veiled. Mehr news agency quoted the Iranian Police Chief Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam as saying that the moral security plan has not been halted and a new phase has begun.
Elham Asghari was denied a swimming record because her Islamic bathing suit was deemed too revealing and showed her feminine features. “I'm not going to submit to bullying, and I ask you not to submit either,” she said. “I ask you to give your utmost effort to achieve your goals. I won’t give up! I beg you not to give up in the face of their lies. Swimming is not exclusively for men. We ladies can do well, too!
During Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration, women journalists sat on the floor whilst men were seated.
Official organs of the Islamic regime, including an organisation representing the Supreme Leader in Iranian Universities, have refuted claims of rape prior to execution for the first time. In a recently published book and documentary, Justice for Iran demonstrate once more the rape of virgin girls who were executed for their political activities during the 1980s through the means of temporary marriage in at least a few cities as part of an organised process carried out with the knowledge of senior officials.
A new campaign urging Saudi Arabian women to hold a “day of defiance” against the country’s driving ban is underway. An online petition entitled “Oct 26th, driving for women”, had, at time of press, amassed more than 11,000 signatures in just two days. A Saudi sheikh has recently said women’s driving will affect the pelvis and ovaries resulting in children born with “clinical disorders.” In the past the highest religious council said women driving would mean no more virgins and an increase in homosexuality.
When attorney for a raped Saudi Arabian woman appealed a Sharia Court decision of 90-lashes for being raped and beaten by 7 men, the court doubled the punishment. The court also said that the "charges were proven" against the woman for having been in a car with a strange male, and repeated criticism of her lawyer for talking "defiantly" about the judicial system, saying "it has shown ignorance."
KA Malaysian Municipal Council ordered hair salon operators to take down posters of women with uncovered hair or risk having their operation licences revoked.
Afghan experts and advocates say the number of women and girls fleeing intolerable domestic conditions has skyrocketed, keeping the handful of urban shelters constantly full. In addition, according to Afghan human rights groups, the number of girls and women charged with moral crimes (usually some variation of zina, or sex outside marriage) has increased 50 percent in the past several years. Nearly 400 are imprisoned for moral crimes.
Sushmita Banerjee, an Indian woman, who wrote a popular memoir about her escape from the Taliban, has been shot dead in Afghanistan by Islamists. She was working as a health worker and had been filming the lives of local women as part of her work. Police said Taliban militants arrived at her home in the provincial capital, Kharana, tied up her husband and other members of the family, took Ms Banerjee out and shot her. They dumped her body near a religious school.
The Tunisian interior minister has called for a stop to young Tunisian women leaving for Syria on “sexual jihad.” The Arabic term (jihad al-nikah) describes a phenomenon of women traveling to the battlefield to provide comfort—and sexual favors—which Islamists consider the practice a legitimate complement to Holy War. “After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah,’ they come home pregnant.”The minister did not say how many women have traveled to Syria, though local media reports have suggested hundreds of women have done so. He added that the government has prevented some 6,000 Tunisians from traveling to Syria.
Amira Osman Hamed says: faces trial in the Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab and will be flogged if convicted. She says she’s prepared to be flogged to defend the right to leave her hair uncovered in defiance of a “Taliban”-like law. She says: I’m Sudanese. I’m Muslim, and I’m not going to cover my head.
The Supreme Religious Court in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is considering legal amendments allowing women to divorce their husbands when they can show proof that their married life cannot go on.
An eight year old child bride died in Yemen on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries due to sexual trauma. Human rights organisations are calling for the arrest of her husband who was five times her age.
A 15-year-old girl who was sentenced to 100 lashes after being raped by her step-father has had her punishment overturned by a Maldives court after international outrage.
A plan to make female high school students undergo mandatory virginity tests has been met with outrage from activists, who argue that it discriminates against women and violates their human rights. Education chief Muhammad Rasyid, of Prabumulih district in south Sumatra put forward the idea, describing it as "an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex". "This is for their own good," Rasyid said. "Every woman has the right to virginity … we expect students not to commit negative acts." The test would require female senior school students aged 16 to 19 to have their hymen examined every year until graduation. Boys, however, would undergo no investigation into whether they had had sex.
Two months ago, Arifa Bibi, a young mother of two, was stoned to death by her relatives on the order of a tribal court in Pakistan for having a mobile phone. She was buried in a desert far from her village.
Your Fatwa does not apply here
Karima Bennoune has just published her first book: “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.” Inspired by her father Mahfoud Bennoune’s work in Algeria, it tells the stories of progressive people (journalists, artists, women’s rights activists…) who have risked everything to stand up to extremism and terror – stories rarely heard in the West. She interviewed nearly 300 people of Muslim heritage from almost 30 countries – from Afghanistan to Mali – for her book.
This is Who I am
Aryana, one of the judges of an Afghan singing competition The Voice, has received threats for appearing on TV unveiled. In an interview she says: “Being a woman, the problem is… whatever she does in Afghanistan is a problem.”
Here’s her song about the plight of Afghan women. It ends with:
I am the subject of stoning by the nation
I am a dishonour to culture and tradition
I am a black mark on faith and religion
I am the Lady of the Land of Fire!
Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
The Tower Hotel, London, UK
11 -12 October 2014
Fitnah and One Law for All are holding a two–day international conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights during 11-12 October 2014 at the Tower Hotel in London. Notable speakers from around the world will be joining us for a weekend of discussions and debates on the Religious Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity. The Arab uprisings, Sharia and religious laws, the burka and conspicuous religious symbols, freedom of expression and Islamophobia, faith schools and religious education, reproductive rights and secular values will be amongst the topics discussed.
On the night of 11 October, participants can enjoy a delicious three-course meal in the company of our celebrity speakers preceded by a full evening entertainment package. The conference will be held at the Tower Hotel with spectacular views of the River Thames and the Tower of London.
Admission to the two-day conference, including lunches, a cocktail reception and a Saturday evening dinner and entertainment is as follows:
Special Early Bird Price: unwaged £150, waged £160, organisations £170
Price after 1 May 2014: unwaged £155, waged £170, organisations £180
Separate tickets can be purchased for the following:
Saturday or Saturday day-delegate rate (including lunch)
Special Early Bird Price: unwaged £50, waged £60, organisations £70
Price after 1 May 2014: unwaged £55, waged £70, organisations £80
Saturday Dinner and Entertainment:
Special Early Bird Price: unwaged £50, waged £60, organisations £70
Price after 1 May 2014: unwaged £55, waged £70, organisations £80
Registration fees are non-refundable after 1 May 2014.
A number of rooms have been reserved for attendees at a discounted rate. Attendees can make their own reservations by calling the hotel on 0207 680 6912or 0871 977 0218 and using the code ONEL080314 to ensure they receive the discounted rate. Single occupancy bedrooms are £130.00 and double occupancy rooms are £140.00 (both inclusive of VAT and breakfast). A list of more reasonable hotels in the surrounding area will be made available soon.
Conference sponsors include The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Secularism is a Woman’s Issue and Atheist Alliance International.
Whilst Rouhani Smiles Abroad, Attacks Continue Unabated
Hassan Rouhani, the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been hailed as a moderate and reformer. Whilst he smiles abroad, however, the attack on women and girls in Iran continues unabated.
Rouhani is not a reformer in any sense of the word. Reform in the real world means real changes in the laws and people’s lives. Whilst Rouhani’s rhetoric and style are clearly different from his predecessor Ahmadinejad, in substance they are fundamentally the same.
Everyone knows that anyone who has the opportunity to run for the office of president must be vetted by the Supreme Spiritual Leader and the Guardian Council. They must be a stalwart of the regime and Rouhani has proven his loyalties since its establishment. He was part of Ayatollah Khomeini’s entourage when Khomeini returned from exile in 1979; deputy leader of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s; a Member of the Islamic Assembly or Parliament for 20 years; Chairman of the Supreme National Security Council for 16 years; and Iran’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator for 2 years.
When looking at the workings of a repressive state like Iran, one has to be able to read between the lines in order to see the realities at play. It is not Rouhani who wants or must be credited for any calls for change and an end to religion’s intervention in people’s lives. It is what the people of Iran want. Credit must be given where credit is due. When the head of a theocracy that has maintained itself by slaughtering an entire generation begins to speak of rights and freedoms, it is because he and his regime have been forced to do so by the sheer might of people’s dissent and resistance.
Remember this. It is not Rouhani that must be hailed but the people of Iran, and especially its women’s liberation movement.
Finally, saying Rouhani is more of the same old same old is not in any way a support of US-led militarism or a call for the continuation of the back-breaking economic sanctions that are adversely affecting the public. Threats of war and economic sanctions are the other side of the coin of the regime and its oppression of the people of Iran. They have to end.
Other Recent Campaigns
We are Human too; Half of Iran and the World
During the 14 June 2013 presidential “election”, when asked about the women registering for Iran’s upcoming presidential election, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member
Fitnah's November issue of Unveiled (Volume 1, Issue 2) has now been published and can be found here:fitnah-UNVEILED-nov13.
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.
Whilst this article is not from OLFA, it seems we should have an area where we collect discussions about sharia law, particularly the applications of sharia law in Britain.
By LSS member Sadikur Rahman
It was with incredulity that I saw this practice note issued by the Law Society last week.
Lawyers will know that practice notes issued by the Law Society are guidance on best practice for specific topics or areas of law.
This practice note provides guidance to lawyers specialising in areas such as wills, succession and inheritance, and in particular how to accommodate the wishes of clients who want to ensure their assets are distributed according to ‘sharia law principles’ on their death.
I’m not a wills lawyer, but according to memory in the UK unless you draw up a will, on death your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. I’m sure most lawyers will also say that clients can do whatever they want with their assets, and it has always been the case that a lawyer must follow the client’s instructions on such issues.
But what this guidance does is legitimise discrimination towards women and “illegitimate children” – if that term still has any meaning in English law. In an astonishing few paragraphs the guidance states (at Section 3.6):
“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.
“This means you should amend or delete some standard will clauses. For example, you should consider excluding the provisions of s33 of the Wills Act 1837 because these operate to pass a gift to the children of a deceased ‘descendent’. Under Sharia rules, the children of a deceased heir have no entitlement, although they can benefit from the freely disposable third.
“Similarly, you should amend clauses which define the term ‘children’ or ‘issue’ to exclude those who are illegitimate or adopted.”
Now, of course a person has always been able to distribute their assets in any way they wish and a Muslim may completely legally have distributed their assets according to sharia principles, without letting the lawyer know the basis of the instructions. The difference now is that a solicitor could offer this service to a Muslim client and the Muslim client can say they want to distribute their assets in a certain way because of their religious requirement.
This guidance essentially provides legitimacy to use a system of law that is discriminatory towards women, particularly in the area of inheritance provisions. There seems no recognition of the fact that solicitors are being asked to use and accommodate instructions which in any other circumstances would be socially unacceptable or at which a solicitor may balk. Suppose a client instructed that their assets should not go to a relative because they happened to be of a different colour?
This raises serious questions about professional ethics and the role of the Law Society. The guidance seems not to recognise that there is a serious potential conflict between the Code of Conduct for solicitors and the guidance. Here is what the Code of Conduct – which all solicitors must abide by – says about equality and diversity (at Chapter 2):
“This chapter is about encouraging equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, and preventing unlawful discrimination, in your relationship with your clients and others. The requirements apply in relation to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
“Everyone needs to contribute to compliance with these requirements, for example by treating each other, and clients, fairly and with respect, by embedding such values in the workplace and by challenging inappropriate behaviour and processes. Your role in embedding these values will vary depending on your role.
“As a matter of general law you must comply with requirements set out in legislation – including the Equality Act 2010 – as well as the conduct duties contained in this chapter.”
The Code of Conduct makes it clear that solicitors cannot discriminate, yet this guidance is encouraging us to facilitate discrimination in advising Muslim clients on their wills. Even accepting that testators have the right to act in a discriminatory fashion with their assets if they choose to, this guidance encourages solicitors to adopt a different approach to clients who are deemed “different” – in this case clients who are Muslim. It creates a damaging assumption that Muslims on their death will want to distribute their assets in accordance with sharia law – with all the discrimination that comes with that. This is the “racism of lower expectations”. Furthermore, the Law Society has set the scene for further disharmony: the guidance states at Section 1.2 that “There are specific differences between Sunni and Shia rules on succession. These differences are not covered in this practice note…” In time will the Law Society publish different guidance notes for different branches of Islam? Should it be the role of a secular organisation such as the Law Society – an organisation which occupies precious ground in our democracy – to take a view on theological matters?
The language in the guidance is innocuous and very technical, suggesting somehow that it is nothing unusual and just another area of legitimate expertise for solicitors. It is nothing of the sort. It is a dangerous precedent: legitimising a discriminatory practice, which without this guidance clients may have been embarrassed to ask about. But now that the Law Society has said it’s perfectly fine for lawyers to draft wills in this manner, I’m afraid it will become increasingly prevalent in England. It also sows the seeds for more sharia law in other areas.
The guidance should be withdrawn. Solicitors are still officers of the Court and have a duty as clearly stated in the Code of Conduct to abide by the Equality Act. How solicitors can do this and still draft “sharia compliant” wills is beyond me.
Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
March 2014, Volume 2, Issue 3
Editor: Maryam Namazie; Design: Kiran Opal
PDF Version of Publication: freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/files/2014/04/fitnah-UNVEILED6-m...
This is my body; I will do whatever I want with it, Interview with Amina Sboui and Aliaa Magda Elmahdy
Maryam Namazie: Why did you do the nude action in Egypt? Aliaa Magda Elmahdy: In Egypt, a woman is like a lifeless body, a corpse. This body is owned by other people. They think if she doesn’t follow the rules, it is okay to beat her, to harass her; it is okay to kill her. So the best way to say no to all of that is to say “This is my body and I will do whatever I want with it.”
Maryam Namazie; Is that how you felt too Amina? Amina Sboui: It’s mostly not just in Egypt, not just in Tunisia. It’s in the Arab world that women are treated like that. I guess we have the same reasons why we did it. Actually we did it to show the world how we are treated and mostly to try to change things. Hopefully we will be able to change things – at least a little. Read rest of interview here: fitnah.org/fitnah_articles_english/interview_%20with_Amina_and_Alia...
I will be nude, I will protest, and I will challenge you to your core!
All religions have a disturbing view of the female and her body. Islam is no different. Given that Islamism – a regressive political movement with state power and political influence in many places – is using Islam as its banner, however, women’s sexuality and bodies are policed and criminalised and misogyny is encouraged and imposed by the state.
The idealised woman is obedient, properly veiled, submissive, and accepting of her assigned “place” in society. The rest of us are whores, often compared to unwrapped sweets – covered in flies and free for the taking. We are the source of fitnah in society and blamed for every calamity and natural disaster, as well as the disintegration of the family and society, and deserving of punishment in order to maintain national and Islamic values, pride and honour.
Islamism’s obsession with women’s bodies and its insistence that women be veiled and hidden from view means that nudity becomes an important form of public resistance. Islamists want us bound in body bags, not seen and not heard. We refuse to comply.
A nude woman is the antithesis of the idealised veiled and submissive woman. Whilst nude protest is not the only way to resist Islamism and the veil, it is a very modern, practical and appropriate way of doing so. It also challenges discrimination against women and a system which profits from the commodification and sexualisation of women’s bodies. Read the rest here:fitnah.org/fitnah_articles_english/M-Namazie_Nude_I_will_be_Nude.html
Women’s breasts: a serious threat
Thousands of people have attended breastfeeding protests in support of a Staffordshire mother who was labelled a "tramp" for feeding her baby in public. The breast is a thing of concern for many. To show it or not, to look or not. To breastfeed or not. In public that is because women’s breasts it seems are public property. It’s okay for women to flash their boobs, just ask any newsagent. Our breasts, the naked kind, are good enough to be prominently displayed on many newspapers and magazines in any newsagent you enter. And they sell very well. Read the rest here: fitnah.org/fitnah_articles_english/Patty_Debonitas_Women_Breasts.html
Iranian mother of two, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and later given a 10-year jail term instead due to public outrage has been allowed to leave prison, a judiciary spokesman said. Larijani, head of the judiciary, told Fars News Agency that "Ms. Ashtiani's case was the source of four months of widespread attacks against the regime... this individual was sentenced to death for murder but the international groups began a controversial campaign over it.... we did not pay much attention to those efforts.... we are letting her out simply for good behaviour." Ms. Ashtiani was the subject of one of the largest international campaigns initiated by International Committee Against Executions and International Committee Against Stoning by their founder, Mina Ahadi, who was contacted by Ms. Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh. See news items here:fitnah.org/fitnah_news_english/news_english.html
The Law Society must withdraw its guidance on Sharia-succession rules
We, the undersigned, are appalled to learn that the Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued Sharia-related guidance on wills, succession and inheritance...
...Whilst not binding, the guidance legitimises rules which are highly contested by many Muslims themselves and which discriminates against Muslim women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children. The guidance seriously undermines the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all.
See the rest of the statement and its signatories here:www.onelawforall.org.uk/the-law-society-must-withdraw-its-guidance-...
Sign petition calling for the guidance to be withdrawn here: www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-law-society-law-society-withdraw...
There will be a symbolic protest action on Monday 28 April at 5pm. More details to follow.
Iran: Save Rayhaneh Jabbari from execution by hanging. To sign petition:secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Catherine_Ashton_Ban_Ki_Moon_Ahmad_Sha...
More information on Rayhaneh here: fitnah.org/fitnah_campaign_english/Rayhaneh_Campaign.html
Art Corner: Victoria Guggenheim
Victoria Guggenheim is an award-winning body painter who sees the expression of your sexuality, and the autonomous use of the body as a human right. Censoring the human body is an act of closed mindedness and prudery and is a form of oppression. People confuse it especially when it's on a female body, as porn. The conflation of art with porn, and the idea that a woman's body is obscene is largely due to organised religion's view of the female form. Read the rest here: fitnah.org/fitnah_art_corner.html
Fitnah - Movement for Women's Liberation
OLFA Newsletter of 7 May 2014
I am writing to give you an update of our work.
LAW SOCIETY PROTEST
One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space and LSE SUASH organised a successful 28 April rally at the Law Society to oppose the Society’s legitimisation of discriminatory Sharia-compliant rules. The rally finished with protesters tearing pages from a copy of the Equality Act and pinning them to the fence of the Law Society, symbolising its contravention of the Act. More details can be found here: www.onelawforall.org.uk/wills-without-bigotry-–-protest-against-the-law-society/.
The Law Society has yet to back down and is even organising a new training course to “highlight some basic concepts and requirements of the Islamic Shari’a applicable to” wills and inheritance and family and children! How utterly shameful!
One Law for All will continue to demand the withdrawal of the Law Society guidance, which discriminates against Muslim women, “illegitimate” children and non-Muslims amongst others. The guidance sides with Islamist values at the expense of all others; some of the main references in it are Islamists who defend death by stoning and gender segregation: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/chris-moos/inspired-bigotry-meet-the_b_518....
We urge you to write to the Law Society at the below address calling on them to withdraw!
The Law Society's Hall
113 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1PL
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7242 1222
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7831 0344
You can also contact them via their website: www.lawsociety.org.uk/get-in-touch/.
As I explain in a recent editorial, Sharia law is pure madness and should have no place in a modern legal system: fitnah.org/fitnah_articles_english/M-Namazie_Sharia_Law_is_madness.....
Whilst some groups and individuals insist that the opposition to the Law Society is a whole lot of fuss over nothing, Southall Black Sisters’ Director Pragna Patel explains why ‘equality before the law’ is not just an empty phrase:fitnah.org/fitnah_articles_english/interview_with_Pragna_Patel.html.
GENDER SEGREGATION AT UNIVERSITIES
The Law Society protest is reminiscent of the recent fight against Universities UK’s discriminatory guidance legitimising gender segregation at universities:www.onelawforall.org.uk/we-will-continue-our-fight-against-gender-a.... UUK withdrew its guidance after our protests.
One Law for All is currently working on a survey and report on the issue. If you have information on gender segregation at universities in the UK, please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
ISLAMISM IN SCHOOLS
We recently met with an advisor to Michael Gove at the Department for Education to discuss our concerns over Islamism in schools after the “Trojan Horse” plot came to light. At the meeting, One Law for All reiterated its concern about the increasing influence of Islamists at schools and universities and the adverse implications for children and the society at large. Given the Government’s misguided policies of multi-faithism and religion’s ever expansive role, it is not unsurprising that we are witness to increased segregation, discrimination and extremism.
One Law for All provided DfE with information on Islamism in schools and universities. If you know of any Islamist-influenced schools that should be brought to their attention, please email us the details as soon as possible.
Whilst it is crucial to battle Islamism in our schools, the lasting and effective option would be to end faith schools and ensure that schools (and universities) are secular spaces for all irrespective of the beliefs of parents.
ONE LAW FOR ALL OPPOSES SHARIA WATCH CAMPAIGN
As you all know, Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters resigned in November 2013. What you don’t know is that her resignation followed more recent political disagreements on some key issues, including One Law for All’s refusal to collaborate with the members of racist and far-Right groups and our insistence on the need to distinguish between Muslims/immigrants and Islamists. “Walking a Tightrope: Between a Pro-Islamist Left and the far-Right” was written in response to the disagreements in question: www.onelawforall.org.uk/walking-a-tightrope-between-the-pro-islamis....
Given the context of Anne Marie’s resignation, her initiation of “Sharia Watch” and her leaving the Labour Party and joining UKIP as a candidate should be seen as an attempt at organising a “respectable” rightwing response to the issue of Sharia law and the furtherance of a politics that is diametrically at odds with One Law for All’s. As I mentioned in “Walking a Tightrope”, whilst frustration and a sense of betrayal at the Pro-Islamist Left (www.onelawforall.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SidingWithOpressor_Web.pdf) is understandable, finding solace in and partnership with the racist Right and far-Right is not.
Since its establishment last month, Sharia Watch has publicised links like “Muslim Rape Culture” from the ghastly Frontpage Magazine, given updates on the far-Right Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller and the English Defence League (www.onelawforall.org.uk/new-report-enemies-not-allies-the-far-right/), publicised videos like “Sacrificing our Daughters: On the Psychology of Islamic Rape Gangs”, and written a piece on how halal meat funds terrorism!
We want to make very clear that we have no links with Sharia Watch, UKIP or Anne Marie Waters and will oppose their brand of racist hate politics every step of the way.
One Law for All is proud of the broad-based coalition of secular Muslim, ex-Muslim, non-Muslim, atheist... groups and individuals it has helped shape over nearly 6 years of organising and activism. As is very clear from our work, our fight is not just a fight against Sharia; it is first and foremost a fight against Islamism and the religious-Right as well as countering racism and for equality, universal and citizenship rights, international solidarity, and secularism.
11-12 OCTOBER 2014 CONFERENCE
We are busy organising what looks to be a historic two-day conference in London with secular activists from across the world, and particularly the Middle East and North Africa, who are fighting - often on the frontlines - for civil rights and secularism and against Islamism and the religious-Right.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the conference if you can help it. And get your tickets now before it is too late. You can register and pay for your tickets here:www.secularconference.com.
For your information, on 11 October, there will be a banquet dinner and entertainment, including a performance from our Sounds of Freedom Music competition finalists: www.onelawforall.org.uk/sounds-of-freedom/.
Great news! We have moved into a new office space near Kings Cross, thanks to the fantastic support of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK. The office is shared with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation.
We will have an official opening in the near future and will let you know about it when the time comes.
If you like the work we do and want to help or continue helping us, please donate! Your support has been instrumental so far and will further our important work.
A huge thanks to those of you who donate on a monthly basis; it has made a world of difference being able to depend on regular support. We need a lot more help so please do join our small but important group of monthly donors or give us a one off donation if you can. Here’s information on how to donate:www.onelawforall.org.uk/donate/. We also still need more volunteers if you have some time to spare.
We look forward to continuing – together – our fight for secularism, rights and equality and countering racism and cultural relativism in the months and years to come.
One Law for All
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Great news! We have moved into a new office space near Kings Cross, thanks to the fantastic support of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK.
Somebody needs to tell Richard Dawkins what he's getting in to. If he's supporting anyone, it should be Anne Marie Waters.
Also note this. The demo outside the Law Society offices was attended by AMW's Sharia Watch, which is run by lawyers, yes, that is MEMBERS of the Law Society. Surely, if anyone is pivotal to the legitimacy of that demo it is Sharia Watch, yet Namazie deigns to even mention them. Well, we all know the Fascist Left have no morals. Its seems they have no manners either.
Just like Namazie tried to inveigle her way into Femen protests. Notice she only did one? I guess Femen are wise to communist infiltration/co-option tactics, and made that clear to her.
Ex Muslims new Communists.
Swapping one extreme for another. You'd think that after taking the courageous step of becoming an Apostate you would want to be seen to be more moderate. Joining another extreme ideology doesn't seem to make sense.
But then I suppose if you join the Christians, or just enter normal agnostic life you wouldn't have a band of merry extremists around you to make you feel safe and at home.
I hate to be over critical of people, its always good to have people on your side in a fight. But its hard to connect with people who thing it would be great to swap Islam for Communism. Or any extreme political movement, because at the end of the day it won't matter if its a jihadi or the state that kills you you'll still be dead.
But then we have to think what will it take to defeat a extreme ideology, one that has been 1400 years in the making, one that has 1.5 billion followers, because giving into that ideologies every demand doesn't seem to be working.
It will be interesting to hear the tone of Maryam's speech. What will her solution to the Islamic problem sound like. One law for all? what law are we being asked to follow.
History is awash with the blood of those that were forced to follow. I see no reason for those in the future to look back and see this time as any different.
PRESS RELEASE: Campaigners Urge Government to Fully and Impartially Investigate Sharia bodies
4 July 2016
Today, an unprecedented number of women's rights campaigners and organisations from Britain and internationally have submitted a letter to the Home Secretary raising serious concerns about the government's 'independent review' into Sharia courts in Britain. The letter states that the limited scope of inquiry and its inappropriate theological approach will do nothing to address the discriminatory effect and intent of the courts on private and family matters: areas where, arguably, the greatest human rights violations of minority women in the UK take place.
Rather than taking a human rights approach, the government has constituted a panel and terms of reference more suited to a discussion in theology than one which serves the needs of victims whose human rights are violated. By making these religious appointments, the government has lost a vital opportunity to examine the discriminatory nature of not only Sharia bodies but all forms of religious arbitration fora including the Batei Din.
The panel chair, Mona Siddiqui, for example, is herself a theologian. One of the scholars, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, is the joint secretary for Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, which sends delegations to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his sermons, he has supported the death penalty in Islamic states, advised Muslims to go into government “and change the system” and says women dressed in "tight clothing" are "corrupted". Another scholar, Qari Muhammad Asim, speaks of "men retain[ing] their wives in marriage" and sees women in relation to their male guardian: "Each women is someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife". He also trivialises violence against women by saying "women as well as men can be victims of domestic abuse".
Both scholars advising the panel are on Imams Online. Khola Hasan, a judge at the Islamic Sharia Council, is a contributing editor to Imam Online. Clearly, Imams and Islamic scholars cannot investigate themselves.
"Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK" by ...documents the harmful and even life threatening consequences for vulnerable minority women in matters pertaining to the family. Testimonials gathered by campaigners highlight some of the emotional, mental and physical effects of the courts on women and children.
The women’s rights campaigners are calling on the Home Secretary to establish a thorough and impartial judge-led human rights investigation, which will fully examine arbitration in family matters and whether violations of human rights are condoned or even promoted by Sharia bodies. Some examples are: women's testimony being worth half that of a man's, marital rape, sexual violence and domestic abuse, the age of consent, guardianship, forced marriage, honour based violence, ritual abuse, child custody and child protection, polygamy, divorce, sexuality, inheritance, inter-religious relationships, female dress codes and abortion. Broader issues such as the treatment of religious minorities including minority sects in Islam and decisions pertaining to apostasy and blasphemy must also be examined to understand the full range of threats faced by people affected by religious laws, and indeed, by the State promoting these laws.
The law and not religion is the key basis for securing justice for all citizens. Campaigners urge the government to do the right thing and ensure that the same principles of human rights, equality before the law, duty of care, due diligence and the rule of law are applicable to all British citizens.
1. On Sharia Council and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
2. Video footage of a 30 April conference on Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice with author Elham Manea and other women's rights campaigners.
4. For more information, please contact:
Southall Black Sisters
I notice they sign this Press Release. Here they are in Harrow, September 11, 2009. They were standing with, it seemed, those who wanted to prevent the EDL's and SIOE's right to protest against the expansion of the mosque there.
So they are against Sharia courts and also (in 2009) against the EDL and SIOE; and in favor of mosque expansion. What gives?! Or maybe they were just there holding their banner to tell the anti-demo demonstrators and the protestors that they exist. But certainly those who wanted to smash (literally) the SIOE and EDL people believed them to be on their side.
International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in the 21st Century
Saturday and Sunday 22-23 July 2017
Central London, UK
NO TICKETS SOLD AT DOOR.
Join notable free-thinkers from around the world at a spectacular venue in central London for a weekend of discussions and debates on freedom of conscience and expression in the 21st century.
The exciting two-day conference will be a follow up to the historic 2014 International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights and will discuss censorship and blasphemy laws, freedom of and from religion, apostasy, the limits of religion’s role in society, LGBT and women's rights, secular values and more.
Confirmed Distinguished Speakers:
A C Grayling, Philosopher
Ali A. Rizvi, Pakistani-Canadian Writer, Physician and Musician
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Egyptian Feminist Activist
Alya Al-Sultani, British-Iraqi Vocalist and Composer
Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
Benjamin David, Editor-in-Chief of Conatus News
Bonya Ahmed, Activist, Writer and Blogger at Muktomona
Cemal Knudsen Yucel, Co-Founder and Chair of Ex-Muslims of Norway
Chris Moos, Secular Activist
Clive Aruede, Co-Founder of London Black Atheists
Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists
Deeyah Khan, Filmmaker
Djemila Benhabib, Author and Activist
Elham Manea, Yemeni-born Author and Human Rights Campaigner
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Iraqi Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement
Fariborz Pooya, Bread and Roses TV Host
Fauzia Ilyas, Founder of Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan
Gina Khan, One Law for All Spokesperson
Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Award-winning Playwright
Halima Begum, Ex-Muslim Feminist Researcher and Blogger
Houzan Mahmoud, Culture Project Co-Founder
Ibrahim Abdullah, Founder of Muslim-ish
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN Leader
Iram Ramzan, Journalist and Founder of Sedaa
Ismail Mohamed, Egyptian Atheist and Founder of Black Ducks Talk Show
Jane Donnelly, Atheist Ireland's Human Rights Officer
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship
Karrar D. Al Asfoor, Co-founder of Atheist Alliance Middle East and North Africa
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian
Kenan Malik, Author and Broadcaster
Kiran Opal, Socialist, Feminist, Ex-Muslim Writer and Activist
Lawrence M Krauss, American Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist
Lola Tinubu , Co-founder of the London Black Atheists
Maajid Nawaz, Founding Chairman of Quilliam Foundation
Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and Founder of Secularism is a Women's Issue
Mario Ramadan, Freethought Lebanon
Maryam Namazie, Iranian/British Rights Campaigner
Michael Nugent, Chairperson of Atheist Ireland
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Sudanese Activist
Nasreen Rehman, Co-Founder and Chair of British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Nina Sankari, Polish Secular Activist
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Rayhana Sultan, Bangladeshi Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Richard Dawkins, Author and Scientist (subject to availability)
Sanal Edamaruku, Founder and President of Rationalist International
Sarah Peace, Nigerian Artist and Director of Fireproof Library
Shelley Segal, Singer/Songwriter
Tasneem Khalil, Swedish-Bangladeshi Journalist and Editor of Independent World Report
Usama al-Binni, Arab Atheists Network Activist
Waleed Al Husseini, Palestinian Writer and Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of France
Yasmin Rehman, Women's Rights Campaigner
Zehra Pala, Activist of Atheism Association of Turkey
Zineb El Rhazoui, Moroccan-born Columnist for Charlie Hebdo
Tickets for the conference cost £230 unwaged; £260 waged; £350 organisations. The cost covers an exciting number of speakers and entertainment, lunch, refreshments and cocktail parties on both days as well as a delicious dinner on Sunday evening in the company of speakers.
Tickets for attending either Saturday or Sunday day conference including lunch, refreshments and a cocktail party costs £85. Tickets for attending the dinner only on Sunday night will be £90. All tickets must be purchased beforehand. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Organisations/vendors can book stalls for the two-day conference for a flat rate of £500.
For more information, contact Maryam Namazie,firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference organisers are One Law for All
Sponsors include Bread and Roses TV