I would like to talk about a campaign that been influential in Germany over the past several weeks. I have lived in Germany for 11 years; I was first interviewed on stoning by national German TV seven years ago. When at home, I watched the interview and saw that they had introduced me as ‘Mina Ahadi, a Muslim woman’. I immediately called to complain. I asked if a German politician or spokesperson was interviewed on your TV programme, would you label her a ‘Christian woman’? Not only myself - but three and a half million people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on, have been given one label – Muslim.
Another time, during the uproar over the Mohammad caricatures, I saw a bearded man saying in an interview that 3 and a half million Muslims in Germany were offended by the caricatures. In Germany, the Islamic organisations see themselves as the representative of 3 and a half million Muslims, of which I am one, and the government recognises them as such too.
I have stood up against the policies of the German government and Islamic organisations and carried out many campaigns; the media and politicians know of us. But after a while I realised that a campaign was needed that would take into consideration all the various issues I have been campaigning for. I went into the centre of society and said: I am not a Muslim. I called on those who wanted to provocatively show their opposition to Islam and the German government’s policies to say ‘I have turned away from religion’ with their photographs. In 1971 there was a campaign of pro abortion rights where women who had had abortions came forward with their pictures and said: I have had an abortion. There are now 300 of us with our photos saying: we have turned away from religion. The news of our coming together exploded in German society. At our press conference, 110 media outlet representatives attended, including Reuters, BBC, CNN and others. At the press conference we said that we are representing another policy. We are against the division of the world into Islamic and non-Islamic countries.
We are against the label that all those who have left Islam-stricken countries are Muslim or that being Muslim is their most important characteristic. At the press conference, I said they have put so many labels on us; I in turn would like to put a label on Islamic organisations – out of date.
Today I have come to say our campaign has received unprecedented support from innumerable people. I receive 250-300 letters daily – most of which congratulate me and calling me brave. 3% say they will kill me with god’s poison. 3 hours after my picture and interview was published In Focus where I said I was born into a Muslim family by accident and that I was 14 when I turned away from Islam, the German police were at the door of my home saying I had to be protected because the Islamists had threatened to kill me. The political Islamic movement is an international movement and assassination is one of the important means they use.
People ask me if I am not afraid to speak out against the Islamists. I say I know this movement very well. We have brought the leaders of this movement in Iran to their knees. 28 years ago I was given an execution sentence by Khomeini and the Islamic regime’s leaders. But today I say if we stay silent, they will stone women in the streets of Germany and England in a few years.
Governments compromise with Islamic groups – the German, British and European governments. They organise conferences with terrorist organisations about how to integrate people like us in society. When they label us as Muslims and put us all in one sack, they make the leaders of Islamic organisations our leaders and leave it up to them to ‘integrate us’.
In politics in Europe you hear only two versions of the veil – either that of the politicians or the Islamic groups. We have risen up and now want to do something so that Maryam Namazie is heard instead. This is another politics. We are for the universality of human rights. We say that religious affiliation is not the main identification of anyone in this century. All have the right to be free, prosperous, love and be loved in the 21 century. We will not allow governments, hand in hand with Islamists, to violate the rights of the children, women and men who have fled Islam-stricken countries.
We represent a new renaissance in Europe. We defend secularism. We defend freedom of expression and speech. In Germany, they cancel a theatre because of its criticism of Islam. In these two weeks I have seen that the vast support we have received is an international movement. Hand in hand with people across the world, we are saying stop. Enough is enough.
Against political Islam, against the policies of tolerance and multi-culturalism of Western governments, against the attempts to portray political Islam and its inhuman policies as people’s culture. We defend the universality of human rights.
I hope that this type of organisation is begun in various countries and that this becomes
international in order to push political Islam back.
Mina Ahadi is founder of Central Council of Ex-Muslims and Political Bureau member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. The above is her speech at a March 8 seminar on Women’s Rights, the Veil and Islamic and religious laws in London. Other speakers were Sonja Eggerickx: President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Ann Harrison: Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Department of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat; Maryam Namazie: Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee, 2005 National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award Winner and producer of International TV; and Taslima Nasrin: Physician, writer, radical feminist, human rights activist and secular humanist.