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
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
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Chair, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, UK
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
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, Pakistan
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support the coalition, please send your donations to One Law for All or the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain earmarked for the coalition.