Nader from Iran writes: ‘With all respect, the pressure and fear from Sharia is both on men and women. Every man also has to accept and submit as every woman does. Islam is the only religion today that teaches fear as the first lesson. Rule number 1 is fear for all. As such it is even more dangerous than any disease or drug. Every word I write is stating a fact and in no way discriminating against anyone. I say discriminating is most when you know and do not say anything because of fear.’
Maryam Namazie responds: Thank you for your email. Yes Nader of course you are right. Sharia law affects men, women and children. Today for example 5 people (4 men and 1 woman) were executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many of the minors on death row in Iran are boys. Men are also stoned to death for sex outside of marriage, are harassed for improper dress – for example if they are wearing a T-shirt, tie or have long hair and so on.
But you must accept that women are very often the first line of attack under Sharia and all religious laws. And the attack on them is usually most visible – for example the fact that they must be veiled in public, they must be segregated, they must enter via different entrances into public buildings and so on. Or here in Britain, women are a majority of those attending Sharia courts and councils because men have the unilateral right to divorce under Sharia and they don’t.
But having said that, just because we are highlighting the problems with Sharia by focusing on women or children doesn’t mean we are denying that Sharia is not a problem for men. In fact our demands are gender neutral – we are calling for an end to Sharia and all religious courts and councils (and not just for women). We are using the opportunity of Universal Children’s Day and the International Day against the Elimination of Violence against Women to do so. In the past, we have marked the International Day against the Death Penalty to highlight Sharia and apostasy and will continue to mark internationally known days to bring attention to this issue. I hope this better explains our position.
Just as an aside, given your comment on Islam, let me also add that I think all religions teach fear. Islam seems the most dangerous today because of the political Islamic movement. To read more about this, click on a speech I made on the subject here.
DJM writes: Would have liked to have attended [the November 21 rally] – but am highly aware of the problem that violence against MEN is deemed somehow acceptable – and cannot therefore attend the march. It is a well known fact that violence against men (even in the home environment) is at least as large a problem as domestic violence against women – and yet no organisation speaks out against the feminist propaganda that says that only men are violent. There are no shelters for battered men – indeed – no recourse against female violence against men at all – including the police who do not take these issues seriously. I totally support the elimination of violence – for everybody – but will not attend in support of a female only (the organisation of which is highly anti-male) anti male hate group.
Maryam Namazie responds: I think I have addressed your comments in general in the above response to Nader. But I must say one thing: I think it absurd logic that you find a defence of women’s or children’s rights to be ‘anti-male’ and our organisation an ‘anti-male hate group!’ If I am to be completely frank, I think the problem is not so much that we are - as you say - ‘highly anti-male’ but that you are highly anti-woman.