My Blog has Moved to freethoughtblogs.com since 1 November 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If you're an apostate, you might get underwear...

I'm shaking in my boots. I just found out that I will be receiving underwear for calling for financial support for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. I hope at least that they are clean.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Arab Spring is not a 'Black' Spring: Open Letter to Ayaan Hirsi Ali from Mina Ahadi and Maryam Namazie

Your article in the summer 2011 edition of ‘Emma’ entitled ‘A Black Spring’ expresses concern about the possibility of a Muslim Brotherhood dominated government in Egypt in the future after the transition period. You conclude that the easiest aspect of the fight is with the violent jihadists; and whilst Bin laden is dead, the doctrine of jihad lives on. In another article you say: “...the gradualist approach is far more likely to win the prize of state power. All that Khomeini did before he came to power in Iran was to preach the merits of a society based on Islamic law. He did not engage in terrorism. Yet he and his followers took over Iran – a feat far greater than bin Laden ever achieved. In Iran the violence came later.”

In reality, however, ‘doctrine’ alone was not the reason behind the brutal Islamic movement’s rise to political power. In Iran, for example, the rise of Islamism was aided by the US-led foreign policy of creating a green or Islamic belt around the then Soviet Union during the Cold War. At a conference in Guadeloupe, Western powers decided to back Islamism at the expense of a left-leaning revolution that was crushed in order for the Islamic Republic of Iran to establish itself. In fact, to secure power, the regime slaughtered an entire generation. As a result, we have witnessed the rise of the political Islamic movement for several decades.

At the same time, though, today, there are more fundamental political realities working against Islamism which must also be recognised. Calling it a ‘Black Spring’ does a great disservice to the revolutionary people of Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya... who have risen against dictatorship – many of them US-backed. These immense human developments have had a positive effect on many things. Firstly, it has shown how it is still possible for people under the boot of dictatorship, Islamism and US-led militarism to come out on the streets and revolt and that in fact revolution is the most civilised form of resistance against oppression and violence. The Arab Spring has proven the anti-revolution and pro-status quo theoreticians and manufacturers of public opinion wrong. You can’t call it a Black Spring when youth have played a role in their future and people have freed themselves from captivity and put dictators on the run.

Those of us who have battled against Islamism for decades know full well the role of Western foreign policy in encouraging this regressive movement and bringing it to centre stage. And we have also seen the many years of appeasement and cooperation with the Islamists at the expense of the people in the region. Western governments continue to remain silent in the face of human rights catastrophes and to defend dialogue and cooperation with criminals.

Another one of the obstacles in our struggle against Islamism has been the racist social policy of cultural relativism or multi-culturalism. According to this policy, the people are homogeneous, are all Muslims and therefore pro-Islamist; they only deserve the rule of the Talibans and Ahmadinejads since ‘their culture’ is different from ‘ours,’ making it easy for governments to invest and make profits whilst ignoring the terrorism and heinous crimes against the people of the region (as long as it doesn’t go outside its sphere of influence). With the advent of the Arab Spring, multiculturalism and cultural relativism are dead. Today its proponents can no longer sell the lie that the youth and people in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Iran want Islam’s intervention in their lives. This is an important strike against Islamism.

We wholeheartedly welcome this Spring. After all it proves what we have been saying all along. Islamism and dictatorship are not people’s culture and demands. It shows that the people in the region want to live 21st century lives and are willing to pour out onto the streets at great risk to themselves to fight for a new dawn.

Whilst we must clearly stand vigilant against the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamism, rather than dooming the revolutionary movements to failure, we must recognise and unequivocally defend them, help them expand and gain depth, and instead emphasise their modern and human dimensions which are diametrically opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamism. We must help mobilise support and solidarity for a secular, modern and human Middle East and North Africa.

This is our historical task.

Mina Ahadi
Maryam Namazie
26 July 2011

Mina Ahadi, minaahadi@aol.com; +49 1775692413
Maryam Namazie, maryamnamazie@gmail.com; +44 7719 166731

Faith no more

Maryam Namazie joins other atheists including Philip Pullman, Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Kenan Malik, Daniel Dennett and AC Grayling in New Statesman magazine to explain why they are atheists.

To see it on the New Statesman site, click here.

To see a pdf the piece, click here.

On the Norwegian tragedy, the far-right and multiculturalism

I just did an interview on Radio Farda in Persian on the Norwegian tragedy, the far-right and multiculturalism, which will be broadcast a number of times from 330pm onwards in case you can tune in.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Farsi TV Interviews on Islamism and Women's Rights

I was interviewed from 1230-230am this morning live on Andisheh TV. The two hour interview on women's status and rights in Persian will be broadcast again on Monday from 10:00-12:00pm (London time ) and Thursday 28 July 14:00-16:00 PM ( London time )  and can be seen on its website.

Also, my interview with Mersedeh Ghaedi on New Channel TV has been transcribed for International. You can read the Persian interview here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Norwegian tragedy confirms our call to fight the far-Right of any version

Our hearts go out to the nearly 100 people, many of them youth, killed by the far-right gunman, Anders Behring Breivik.

It is said he will 'explain' why he did what he did on Monday.

But there can be no explanation or justification for mass murder.

For those who constantly 'advise' me and us to work with all sorts against Sharia law and Islamism, this tragedy is a confirmation of why we must stand resolutely against both.

You cannot fight Islamism, a far-right regressive movement, without also fighting the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and fascist European far-Right.

They are two sides of the same coin.

They represent everything our world must not become...

Maryam Namazie in Secular World

See lite version of Secular World, the quarterly magazine and ezine jointly published by the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and the Atheist Alliance of America (AAA). It covers the Dublin World Atheist Conference and has also published my speech on the 'Islamic Inquisition'. The full magazine is only available to individual members of AAI and the primary contacts of our organisation contacts.  

You can see the lite version here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How sexual apartheid works with children - in photos

Here are three consecutive photos of the Parsian Children's Ensemble. The first photo was rejected because the girls are unveiled. I assume that the reason they are unveiled is that they are too young for compulsory veiling, which is the age of nine, when incidentally girls can also be 'married' off and you know the rest.

In the second one, though the girls are now veiled, the photo was still rejected because their veils were insufficient and their arms were showing; the genders were also mixed (shock, horror!) .

The third photo finally satisfied the censors - it was perfect. Girls nicely covered up and in the back where they belong...






Seriously though, to read the most brilliant piece against child veiling and in the defence of the child, read Mansoor Hemat. Start reading a few paragraphs down. Here's a quote from it:
'The child has no religion, tradition and prejudices. She has not joined any religious sect. She is a new human being who, by accident and irrespective of her will has been born into a family with specific religion, tradition, and prejudices. It is indeed the task of society to neutralise the negative effects of this blind lottery. Society is duty-bound to provide fair and equal living conditions for children, their growth and development, and their active participation in social life. Anybody who should try to block the normal social life of a child, exactly like those who would want to physically violate a child according to their own culture, religion, or personal or collective complexes, should be confronted with the firm barrier of the law and the serious reaction of society. No nine year old girl chooses to be married, sexually mutilated, serve as house maid and cook for the male members of the family, and be deprived of exercise, education, and play. The child grows up in the family and in society according to established customs, traditions, and regulations, and automatically learns to accept these ideas and customs as the norms of life. To speak of the choice of the Islamic veil by the child herself is a ridiculous joke. Anyone who presents the mechanism of the veiling of a kindergarten-age girl as her own 'democratic choice' either comes from outer space, or is a hypocrite who does not deserve to participate in the discussion about children's rights and the fight against discrimination. The condition for defending any form of the freedom of the child to experience life, the condition for defending the child's right to choose, is first and foremost, to prevent these automatic and common impositions. Anyone who thinks that in the matter of the veil there is 'no difference' between the child and the adult, should, before becoming a member of any editorial board or any Scandinavian Committee of any organisation, urgently do something about her own backwardness and ignorance about the basics of the issue under discussion. '

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sharia Law is a code of despair; a code obsessed with women

The below was Maryam Namazie’s speech at the 28 June 2011 debate on Sharia law atthe House of Commons.

Sharia law should have no place in Britain or anywhere else for that matter because it is fundamentally discriminatory and misogynist at best (as are all religious laws). Just because the Sharia courts in Britain and Europe are dealing primarily (but not exclusively) with implementing Sharia’s civil or family code rather than its penal code, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

As campaigner Gita Sahgal says: ‘It is supported precisely because it is limited to denying women’s rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there’s no problem...’[1]

In fact, Sharia’s family code is a pillar of women’s oppression in countries under Islamic laws. And it often exists even when the penal code no longer applies.

Whilst there are differences in application as in any phenomenon, all the courts agree on the basics. After all, Sharia law is based on the Koran, the hadith (sayings and actions of the prophet Mohammad), and Islamic jurisprudence. They all agree that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s, a women can’t sign her own marriage contract, men have the unilateral right to divorce whereas a women have limited rights to divorce; child custody goes to the father at a preset age; girls get half of the inheritance boys do and so on.

The Islamic Sharia Council explains why this is so: With regards to women’s testimony, ‘If one forgets, the other can remind her.’ It’s the difference between a man and a woman’s brains.’ ‘A woman’s character is not so good for a case where testimony requires attention and concentration.’ And this also applies to divorce. ‘Women are governed by emotion; men by their minds so he will think twice before uttering talaq [divorce].’ It goes on to say it is not ‘derogatory’ but ‘the secret of women’s nature.’ [2]

Sharia lawyer Aina Khan and others have said Baroness Cox’s Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill[3], which aims to curb Sharia law in Britain is ‘assuming that some sort of misogyny and discrimination goes on.’ After all, ‘eighty per cent of its users are women.’[4] But this defence is illogical in my opinion. Men don’t need to go to the Sharia courts because they have the unilateral right to divorce; women don’t.  With this type of logic one would have come to the erroneous conclusion that passbooks which were compulsory for black people under racial apartheid in South Africa were pro-black since 100% of those who carried them were black people!

Also, proponents defend Sharia law in Britain by saying there is no evidence that it is discriminatory.[5] Of course there is ample evidence, including on the Islamic Sharia Council website and via statements made by various Sharia judges but also via a number of studies and reports on Sharia courts. Some are included in One Law for All’s report: ‘Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights.’[6] Here’s one of many example: according to the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, which interviewed 90 Muslims in London, the West Midlands, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, many felt they did not get a fair hearing under Sharia law. The CIP uncovered the case of thirty-year-old from West Yorkshire, who was 13 when her father arranged her marriage. She went to three different imams who all ruled she was legally married according to the Sharia. ‘I told them I had been forced but they said that did not change anything.’ She eventually secured her divorce because her husband finally agreed to it.[7]

And there is evidence that Sharia courts are also dealing with criminal matters. Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayed, a Sharia judge, (and a war criminal[8]) has said marital rape is ‘not aggression because when they got married, sexual intercourse was part of the marriage.’ In fact, he says, ‘calling it rape is a major aggression.’[9] The Muslim Arbitration Tribunals has been dealing with domestic violence cases, which is a criminal matter here.[10] In Spain, a Sharia court in Valls (Catalonia) even sentenced a woman to death by stoning.[11]

Whilst evidence is ample, in reality, there is no need for it because the law itself is discriminatory– not just its interpretation or implementation. It’s like apartheid in South Africa. Even if no black person came forward with evidence that racial apartheid was discriminatory, one would know it was so by looking at the law itself. The same applies to Sharia law. The fact that there’s never enough evidence for proponents of Sharia speaks volumes about their real intentions and their lack of regard for women’s and children’s rights and equality.

Moreover, this is not a new phenomenon where evidence is lacking. It is renowned for its barbarism and misogyny. It stones people to death in the 21st century and hang apostates and gay people from city centres. Sharia law is now the most widely implemented law worldwide. Not because Muslims or those labelled as such have become more pious and are demanding sharia courts when they didn’t 35 years ago, but because of the rise of Islamism. Anyone who has ever worked with women living under Islamic laws or lived under Islamic rule like I have knows full well the uphill battle and the human tragedy and catastrophe for women trying to gain their most basic rights to marriage, child custody, divorce and freedom from domestic violence. And the same is happening to women in Britain and Europe.

Women here didn’t have to go to these courts before; why do they have to go to them now? This is not because they are demanding it but because Islamism is demanding it from them. Sharia law is Islamism’s demand to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens.

Despite the discrimination, proponents of Sharia law argue that adult women have a right to choose Sharia courts. But the use of the terms choice and rights are highly deceptive. Firstly, many are pressured into going to these courts. In one study, a staggering four out of ten women attending the Sharia court were party to civil injunctions issued against their husbands on the grounds of violence and threatening behaviour. They were not even meant to be in the same vicinity with them - let alone be, as they were, in a Sharia Council mediating civil matters. ‘In this way, these privatised legal processes were ignoring not only state law intervention and due process but providing little protection and safety for the women in question. Furthermore the interviews and observation data revealed that husbands used this opportunity to negotiate reconciliation, financial settlements for divorce, and in many cases access to children.’[12]

Also there is very little choice when living under what I call an Islamic inquisition.[13] Islamists don’t let you pick and choose but will threaten or intimidate anyone who transgresses their medieval norms. They say it openly. An Islamic Sharia judge has said, ‘In the Sharia, there is no exception; you have to accept it.’[14] They’ve also said very clearly, ‘belittling [Sharia law] or calling [it] out-of-date constitutes disbelief as Allah says’[15] and we know what the penalty for disbelief is.

Using terms such as rights and choice are merely public relations ploys by Islamists and their supporters. It’s absurd when Islamists talk of choice. There is no choice when they are in power.  And it’s deceptive. One can justify anything by saying it’s a ‘choice.’ The hadith on stoning comes to mind. It is said that a woman begged the prophet Mohammad thrice before he reluctantly agreed to stone her to death.[16] Scholars of the Institute for Oriental Studies in India have reported that out of 40 eyewitness accounts, only two women ‘involuntarily’ threw themselves on the burning pyres of their dead husbands in order to legitimise suttee. The rest, they say, made a ‘voluntary choice.’[17] They go on to justify suttee by saying that suicide is also not illegal in the west and that euthanasia is acceptable as if they are one and the same. 

These are not choices. To say it is so is to say that ‘Muslim’ women are subhuman. They don’t want custody of their children; they want to remain in violent situations and face marital rape or unhappy marriages, they want their testimony to be half that of a man’s... By using the terminology of choice, proponents hope to dupe the public into ignoring the institutionalised violence and misogyny. Clearly, there can be no choice under such pressure. But even if it was a choice, it’s a bad one for people, society and the world at large. After all, just because people, for example, choose to mutilate their children, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to do so.

Whilst proponents justify and apologise for Sharia law, a code of despair, I’d like to end with a song sung by Algerian women against the introduction of Sharia law in their family code. ‘Singing for Change’ speaks on behalf of many of us fighting against Sharia law and Islamism. Sharia law is not ‘our’ culture. It is Islamism’s culture. It commits the unspeakable and will not be endured...

video

Here are the lyrics:
Women, words are no longer enough
We must cross the river because justice is discredited when the scales are weighted.
Oh people of Algeria, the truth is hidden
Women let me tell you of 20 years of madness.
In the congress of deceit of the year 1984
They got together and voted a law of oppression.
They stole women’s rights and parted; their minds at rest
They did as they pleased and took us for fools
What came over you judge, why are you afraid of me?
I weather all the storms, my words contain no venom.
Our marriage is decided by men.
We are forbidden to work and doors are closed to us.
With the family code, our wings are clipped.
We aren't asking for any favours; history speaks for us.
We are not asking for charity, we are entitled to justice.
What came over you judge, why are you afraid of me?
I weather all the storms, my words contain no venom.
Our voices rise today, for here a woman has no rights.
I’m telling you the story of what the powerful have done.
Of rules, a code of despair, a code obsessed with women.
Women come out of the dark; out of 20 years of trouble.
I brought up my children, they are now adults.
With one word, he repudiated me and sent me from the house.
Everything concerning my children is in the hand of the traitor.
My opinion is not taken into account, plus the pain and torment.
Judge, stop pursuing an unfounded fear.
Write that I want to experience my dignity now.
Family code committing the unspeakable.
Guardians pull the strings behind the weddings of the gazelle.
Oh my sister always under age
You’re called to order
Listen to this song, its tune will never change.
May the word spread, this law must be undone.
And never done again.
To those listening to this story, this situation can no longer be endured.
Today, as yesterday, it’s impossible.
Men, one hand cannot applaud; with you, the sun shines again and forever.
What came over you judge, why are you afraid of me?
I weather all the storms, my words contain no venom.


[1] What isn’t wrong with Sharia law, Maryam Namazie, Guardian, 5 July 2010
[2] Islamic Sharia Council, On the Testimony of Women
[5] See articles by apologists Mehdi Hassan and Nesrien Malike and Islamist Musleh Fardahi
[11] A Sharia court tries a woman for adultery in Catalonia, Le Monde, 11 December 2010

12] Islamic Family Arbitration, Justice and Human Rights in Britain, Samia Bano, University of Reading, 6 December 2007
[13] The Islamic Inquisition, Maryam Namazie, June 2011
[14] Divorce, Sharia Style, Channel 4, 4 February 2008. Also see We want to offer Sharia Law, The Telegraph, 20 January 2008
[15] Deeming Sharia Law as Incompetent, Islamic Sharia Council
[16] Is Islam Intolerant, BBC Big Questions
[17] Today’s Women in World Religion, Edited by Arvind Sharma, SUNY Press, November 1993

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why are you so afraid of women?

The despicable Fars News Agency has printed yet another misogynist cartoon against unveiled women. This is part and parcel of the pressures exerted on women and girls in Iran day in and day out. Anti-woman propaganda, coupled with threats, arrests, fines and brute force by the Hezbollah herds of the Islamic regime of Iran are the order of the day. Even though veiling is compulsory in Iran, 'improper' veiling and the removal of the veil are widely used forms of protest.

And every day the regime issues new directives to push women back into the private sphere. (What wishful thinking!) Recently the regime announced that women could no longer enter tea and coffee rooms. Here's a sign posted at one such place:

No matter how much the regime tries to push back the unfolding revolution in Iran, which is very much a female-led one, it just can't manage to do so. This movement is bringing the regime to its knees.
In this wonderful song of Algerian women's protest against Sharia, they ask: Judge, Why are you afraid of me?
The resistance of women in Iran and elsewhere shows exactly why the regime and Islamism are afraid of women...

And the pro-Islamists have the nerve to say the veil and Sharia law is 'our' culture!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is given leave from prison to bid her mother farewell

Press release

In an announcement to the state press, Malek Azhdar Sharifi, the Prosecutor for East Azerbaijan, has said that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been given leave from prison to attend her mother’s funeral. He added that there are no new developments in her case. Malek Azhdar Sharifi said that Sakineh is incarcerated in Tabriz central prison for complicity in her husband’s murder.

Allowing Sakineh to take temporary leave under international pressure is a small concession by the regime, which must continue until Sakineh and her lawyer Houtan Kian are released.

Regarding the charges that the regime has laid against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, different government authorities have said different things. One day they say her stoning sentence is under review, and another day they claim that she was never sentenced to be stoned. One day they say that she is incarcerated for complicity in her husband’s murder, and another they say that her case is undergoing further investigation. Such is the regime’s treatment of most prisoners in Iran. Decisions regarding the life or death of individuals are completely political, and the criminal leaders of the Iranian regime make these decisions dispassionately, based on what message they think a person’s execution by hanging or stoning will convey.

Sakineh remains in limbo. On the one hand, the regime is under intense pressure from public opinion and other governments, and on the other, it does not wish to concede defeat by releasing Sakineh. Therefore, the regime’s injustice system has decided to leave her in limbo.

Regarding Sakineh’s charge of collaborating in her husband’s murder, although she was already tried and sentenced for this by another court, the regime and its “Press TV” television channel, together with the thuggish journalists and interrogators working for this “news” network, forced Sakineh to confess on television to having participated in her husband’s murder. Transcending the boundaries of shamelessness and obscenity, the network forced Sajjad, Sakineh’s son, to play his own father on television, and his mother to act out how she had killed him!

If this happened anywhere else, those responsible would immediately be arrested and tried; but Iran is a playground for a handful of Islamic sadists and criminals who have rendered such behaviour utterly commonplace there.

According to our sources, Sakineh is in bad psychological condition in prison, and has even harmed herself several times. She has two children who until now lived with their grandmother. With the death of Sakineh’s mother, these two youth have effectively been left utterly alone. The International Committee Against Stoning once again calls for pressure to be exerted on the Islamic regime of Iran to release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani as well as her lawyer, Houtan Kian.

International Committee Against Stoning
14 July 2011
http://notonemoreexecution.org
http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/

Friday, July 15, 2011

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is crucial in an Islamic Inquisition

Dear friends

I wanted to thank you for your support of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. As you know we were in desperate need of financial help and are grateful for the donations of many generous individuals and groups.

What we do – breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and challenging a movement that sentences apostates to death – is considered ‘controversial’ to say the least and makes it almost impossible to get support from mainstream funders. Also, we haven’t been able to secure charity status.

In its refusal letter the Charity Commission says: “Under English law the advancement of religion is a recognised charitable purpose and charities are afforded certain fiscal privileges by the state. The prohibition of any such financial privilege as called for in the demand made in [your] Manifesto would require a change in law. Similarly a separation of religion from the state and legal and education system would appear to require both constitutional reform and change to the law.”

There is something fundamentally wrong when the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain can’t get charity status but the Sharia Council legislating misogyny in its sharia courts can. And how absurd that defending secularism is not a charitable object but advancing religion is, particularly in this day and age when we are living under an Islamic Inquisition.

Much of the struggle for change throughout history has included demands for changes in the law and in religion’s role in the public space. And this is something the Council of Ex-Muslims will continue to do with your support.

Again, thank you. Please do continue to support us in any way you can; every little bit helps go a long way in the fight that lies ahead.

Warmest wishes
Maryam
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

1. See Maryam’s speech at the Dublin World Atheist Conference on the Islamic Inquisition here.
Here is the full text of the speech.
2. See our Manifesto here.
3. See an updated list of members here.
4. See the latest media coverage of our activities.
5. To donate to the crucial work of CEMB, please either send a cheque made payable to CEMB to BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Worldpay. We also need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for supporters to commit to giving at least £3 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how here.
6. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was launched in June 2007. The launch video has been seen by over 190,000 people.
7. For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX
telephone: +44(0)7719166731
e-mail: ex-muslimcouncil@googlemail.com
website: www.ex-muslim.org.uk

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mersedeh Ghaedi's interview with Maryam Namazie on New Channel TV on political Islam

Here is my interview with Mersedeh Ghaedi on political Islam broadcast on New Channel TV in Persian. To view it, click here or view below:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Scimitar's Edge: On Islam's 'success'

Here is a video of a discussion on Islam at How the Light Gets in Philosophy and Music Festival 2011 with the Islamic regime of Iran's Press TV 'journalist' and convert Lauren Booth, 'Islam scholar' Iain Edgar and I. Independent columnist Mary Anne Sieghart chairs.

You can see the video here or below:

Monday, July 11, 2011

UPDATED! Statements and actions in Support of International Day against Stoning

Click the 'like' button and put your statements, photos, videos, poems, and acts of solidarity against stoning and in support of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and others sentenced to death by stoning on the Facebook page or email them to actionforsakineh@gmail.com. Send letters of protest to the regime in Iran. Also don't forget to tweet on the day (#Sakineh #Iran #IDAS #11July). Support this day and help bring an end to stoning.

See Washington Post, International Day against Stoning on 11 July

LATEST NEWS: The prosecutor of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been banned from Britain. Moussa Khalilollahi is understood to be one of fifty senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran blacklisted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Friday 8 July 2011.


LATEST STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS, Updated 13 July 2011

AUSTRALIA

Statement from Russell Blackford, author and philosopher, Australia: It is unacceptable that the barbaric punishment of death by stoning continue in the twenty-first century. I join with many others throughout the world in calling for an end to the practice of death by stoning, condemnation of any government that uses or condones the practice, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and others currently sentenced to death by stoning.

BELGIUM

Ann Brusseel of the Flemish parliament: will issue a resolution for 21 July (Belgian National Day) urging the Federal government to take action on violations of human rights and crimes against humanity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Statement from Sonja Eggerickx, President, International Humanist and Ethical Union: I write on behalf of the International Humanist and Ethical Union to express our support for the International Day Against Stoning on July 11, 2011. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the global federation of Humanist and atheist organizations, representing more than 100 groups from 40 countries. As the voice for Humanists around the globe, we call on all Humanists and all people of conscience to support the International Day Against Stoning. We also call on all people of conscience to raise their voice to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who remains imprisoned in Iran facing the possibility of death by stoning. We recommend the International Day Against Stoning Website for advice and support in campaigning against stoning in general and for working to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in particular. You can find statement here.

Statement from Women Council of Belgium: Democracy contains the same values everywhere and we must defend it in the same way all over the world. What reasonable person, whether European or from elsewhere, can still be in favor of stoning? Or female genital mutilation? Or hanging homosexuals? Or confining women at home? Women are more than half of humanity! Stoning is among the most the barbaric violence of the 21st century and massacres against women are perpetrated over and over again! In Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen, to name the main countries, death by stoning is still a punishment to which women - mostly - are still subject to… And ironically among these countries some have signed conventions of Human Rights. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has languished for too many years in an Iranian jail. She has already been punished with 99 lashes administered in the presence of one of her two children. How can we speak of "justice"? Stoning in Iran is a political tool in the hands of a, religious, Islamic, archaic and repressive regime decided to oppress the society in one of the hardest ways that exist. In countries experiencing armed conflicts and in countries that have introduced Sharia law, violence against women is organized. Women who cannot defend themselves are the victims of fanatics and Islamic courts. Today the voice of Sakineh reached the world and today Sakineh represents all victims of obscurantism. In Belgium we demand the abolition of stoning, which is a brutal murder that nothing can justify. On the International Day against Stoning in Belgium we say stop stoning now! Viviane Teitelbaum, President CFFB – women council of Belgium

BANGLADESH

Statement from Hameeda Hossain, Chairperson, Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka: It is truly shocking that governments which have ratified CEDAW and committed themselves to prevent violence against women have no hesitation in permitting the practice of medieval penalties such as stoning women on grounds of morality, grounds which do not concern the state. Stoning also an act of torture, which is universally condemned. Some countries have included this in their statutes, while others fail to and do not take action against a community or individual who perpetrates such crimes in the name of customary or religious laws. We should be moving towards a peaceful society, instead we have targetted women. We must call upon the UN to ensure that governments abide by their commitments to violence against women, to gender equality, to freedom from torture.

BOTSWANA

Ferdinand Berkhof (Seheho) sent in a cartoon "worlds apart":














CANADA

Vancouver
Act of Solidarity on corner of Howe and Robson
12.30-15.00 hours
Contact: Zari Asli,zariasli@yahoo.ca



Here are some photos:
















Ottawa
12.00-14.00
Location: in front of Parliament

Statement from Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Philosophy and Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics: I wholeheartedly support your International Day Against Stoning. Stoning constituted a barbaric form of punishment. It is a clear violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The UNDHR stipulates in Article 5: 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' Clearly stoning people to death violates Article 5. This form of punishment must be stopped immediately.

Statement from Farzana Hassan, Author: Islamic law, as interpreted and applied in Muslim countries renders women especially vulnerable with respect to sexuality issues. For women, adultery, or a mere suspicion of adultery, can often land Muslim women in trouble with the law, particularly what passes for law in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Muslim world. The question then is: Why does an act that cannot take place without two parties often result in such dire consequences for women alone? The obvious answer is the relative ease with which guilt can be established for women rather than men. For example, pregnancy is often interpreted as proof of adultery, and rape is often construed as adultery. The fallacy occurs because Islamic law in many parts of the Muslim world makes no fundamental distinction between rape and adultery. Victims of rape often end up being incarcerated for adultery because they are unable to prove their innocence due to unfair religious rulings on women’s testimony. But even if the law established culpability equally to both sexes, one must answer a very basic question about the prescribed Islamic punishment for adultery. A man may marry up to four wives, over and above the concubines with whom he may have sexual relations. Doesn’t that reduce a man’s chances of committing adultery, which would technically be defined as sex outside of marriage? A woman, on the other hand, has no such options. She may express her sexuality only within the bounds of her marriage to one husband. Therefore, even a single encounter with a man not her lawful husband immediately brands her an adulteress. The man may escape the charge of adultery by having several partners and regarding them all as legal. Such inequality of opportunity, which imposes the charge of adultery on a woman much more easily, makes equal punishment utterly unfair. Jurists and other modern exegetes of the Koran have regrettably failed to recognize the injustice. Moreover, the terminology has simply been manipulated to legalize men’s multiple unions and criminalize the same in women.Islamic law, as interpreted and applied in Muslim countries does not take into account the inequality of opportunity between men and women to express their sexuality. What is deemed perfectly legitimate for men is criminalized for women, leaving them vulnerable to sexual offences more often and far more easily. Muslim countries must therefore repeal such laws that discriminate between men and women in this manner. Laws must be based on secular and humanistic principles clearly embodying equality of the sexes.

DENMARK

Statement from Helle Merete Brix, Writer: I will participate in an action against stoning, this barbaric punishment that should long ago have been abolished. Thanks to the organisations letting the world know about the women and men in prisons in Iran and elsewhere being condemned to this inhuman punishment.

FRANCE

Paris

Several French organisations sent a press release to the media, a letter to the General Secretary of the UN, letters to ambassadors of the countries where stoning is practised and a special letter to the Iranian authorities. On 11 July, they will go to the Iranian embassy and give them the letter and hold a rally. The NGOs supporting the action are the following: Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, Association créée par Simone de Beauvoir,Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme, Regards de Femmes, Coordination Française du Lobby Européen de Femmes and Femmes contre les intégrismes. Here are some photos:















Postcard from Little Shiva:














Statement from the European Feminist Initiative: IFE-EFI strongly supports the International Campaign against Stoning and will be part of the International Day of protest on the 11th of July. Stoning, flogging, beheading are used on behalf of honour, religion, culture or traditions against women for trying to realize their most basic human rights. All freedom-loving people and the feminist movement across the world are saying NO and struggle to put an end to these inhuman practices. Stoning is still legal in a number of countries. IFE-EFI demands the immediate prohibition of this practice and its recognition as a crime against Humanity. We call upon the United Nations to exercise pressure on the States where stoning is legal in order to get from them the condemnation of this crime. Building States, in which religion is separated from the public sphere; from the political, educational and judicial system is a necessary precondition for preserving women from tyranny and oppression and achieving equality between women and men.

GERMANY

Berlin
Solidarity actions. See photos below:


















Frankfurt
Solidarity action
Hauptwache, 16:00 hours
Here are some photos:












Köln
Solidarity Action
Domplatte, 17:00

Statement frm Hartmut Krauss, HINTERGRUND-Verlag: Das im Iran herrschende staatsislamistische System verkörpert die gegenwärtig wohl perverseste Verknüpfung von mittelalterlich-religiöser Barbarei mit technologischer (atomarer) Modernität. Deshalb ist es eine Schande, dass dieses Regime nicht mit dem gleichen ökonomischen, politischen und kulturellen Boykott sanktioniert wird wie früher das südafrikanische Apartheidregime. Die barbarische Strafpraxis der Steinigung gehört ebenso wie das gesamte islamische „Recht“ und seine Befürworter und Anwender auf den Müllhaufen der Geschichte. Das Schicksal Bin Ladens und die Destabilisierung einer Reihe von arabischen Despotien sind hoffentlich Vorboten einer letztendlich auch im Iran unvermeidbaren säkularen Revolution, in deren Verlauf die religionsfanatischen Steiniger und Missetäter zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden.

INDIA

Statement from M Hasan Jowher, President, Society for Promoting Rationality: Society for Promoting Rationality is dead against all barbaric treatments such as stoning. This is a painful baggage of a part of human history and is best consigned to archives. We offer our total support to all movements for the banishment of all such forms of punishments smacking of cruelty and barbarity...

IRAN


On 11 July, a 1000 flyers in support of the International Day against Stoning were distributed in Saqez, Iran clandestinely.

IRELAND

Statement from Conor Scott: I wish to assert my absolute abhorrence of the practice of stoning. It is a way of torturing people to death. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is NOT guilty of any recognisable crime but yet she risks being stoned to death for adultery (not a crime). She should be immediately released! The death penalty should be abolished in Iran.

INDONESIA

Bogor, West Java

Teacher and activist Rafiq Mahmood sent a letter to the Jakarta Post and Jakarta Globe on stoning: An edited version of the letter was printed in today's Jakarta Post.

ITALY

Turin

Statement by blogger Gianni Verdoliva: Stones are for decorating gardens, not for killing women. Stoning is a barbaric practise that needs to be put in the garbage of history. In 2011 we can't afford to stay silent while women die or risk dying in this horrific way. Stoning MUST be outlawed and the law MUST be enforced everywhere in the word. Together we can do it. By providing aid and support for potential victims, for local activists and their families. In this battle we can't afford to pick and choose other supporters simply because we disagree with them on other issues. Anyone is welcomed. And also I point out that, when stoning is legally sanctioned and/or tolerated the state should be the object of diplomatic and commercial boycott and has to be shamed as a pariah state unless it changes. My support for your battle against stoning is heartfelt. As a feminist, as a humanist and as an independent free-thinker. I admire local on the ground activists and I wish them all the best. In feminist solidarity.

NETHERLANDS

Groningen
Act of Solidarity, 19:30 hours
Contact: Daniëlle Vermanen, via Facebook page

NIGERIA

Statement from Leo Igwe, executive director of the Nigerian Humanist Movement: In today's world, it is shocking to know that there are states like Iran where human beings are facing stoning sentences. And as often the case, this barbaric form of punishment is used against the vulnerable members of the population like Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her associates in Iran. I want to join my voice with those of other friends around world to upon the government of Iran to abolish stoning and execution of human beings. And to free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Now. In solidarity with International Day Against Stoning. P.S. We are holding a humanist convention in Abuja in September 22-25. And there is a session on faith based human rights abuses. Please send a presentation on the international campaign against stoning.

SWEDEN

Malmö
Solidarity Action
Gustav Adolfs Torg, 17:00

Here are some photos of event:













Statement by chairpersons Josef Wijk and Maria Hagberg from the Network Against Honour Related Violence: We strongly reject stoning and demand all Human Rights activist, politicians and democratic states to protest against death penalty in general and stoning in particular; on the 11th of July the International Day Against Stoning and in memorial for Maryam Ayoubi stoned to death but also all other victims of stoning all over the world.

UK

London
Flash mob action at 18.30 hours
Trafalgar Square
Contact: Patty Debonitas, iransolidaritynow@gmail.com

See photos of event here.

Statement from Richard Dawkins, Scientist and Author: July 11th is the International Day against Stoning. It is organised by, among others, Maryam Namazie, that admirably courageous fighter on behalf of threatened women in Iran and wherever Islam oppresses them. Please support her on July 11th, wherever you are.

Act of solidarity by Nazanin Mohajer:












Statement from Ahlam Akram, Researcher and Writer: Stoning to death is the world’s oldest form of brutal execution; it is a cruel insane punishment that was derived from Hammurabi’s laws in Iraq thousands of years before the three Abrahamic religions. Later, It was adopted by Judaism... up until Jesus famous anti stoning statement "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’’. But it was re-enforced during the first years of Islam and practiced today in some fundamentalist Muslim States. Although there is no trace for this crime in any verses in the Quran... yet there are several talks about Omer Ben Al Qattab confirming that it was mentioned in some verses of the Quran, and that the prophet practiced it and all his companions followed his action... meaning that the entire community participates in this horrible act which dissolve the barrier of humanity in the community and the individual. And allows for a culture of violence in the society. The procedure is extremely barbaric and bloody, and plants the seeds for a culture of continuous humiliation and demonization of women. I urge all women to stand against it and urge the UN to ban any member state that allows it from gaining its membership. As well as depriving it from international community aid. For a universal culture of peace we need to confirm universality of human rights in particular women's rights.

Statement from Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner: Stoning is a relic of uncivilisation. A barbaric crime against humanity, it is uniquely cruel and sadistic. The people of the world - and the United Nations - must do much more to end to stoning – and all other forms of capital punishment.

Statement from Stephen Law, editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: It is important we stand in solidarity with people who are being intimated and killed by stoning, often on trumped up or absurd religious charges.

Statement from George Broadhead, Vice-President UK Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association, Secretary UK Pink Triangle Trust: I was appalled to learn that stoning is a punishment that is included in the laws in six Islamic countries - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates - and some states in Nigeria. This barbaric punishment amounts to torture before death and should have no place in the laws of any civilised society.

Statement from Ghaffar Hussain, Quilliam Foundation: We all should move to reject ancient and outmoded punishments, such as 'flogging' and 'stoning' as not being consistent with human rights and the modern world. We must recognise that the spirit of religious rulings can be realised away from the influences of the medieval mindset. Furthermore, these punishments were abandoned by the Ottoman Empire during the last 300 hundred years in its imperial life.

Statement from Nick Nakorn: There are some things in the world that are almost too horrible to think about and this issue is one of them - it seems almost impossible that anyone could think that torturing someone to death could ever be a good idea.

From Shreen Ayob in Margate:














Statement from Amnesty International: We did issue this statement today which you are free to quote from, as it is a public document.

Canning Town Students protest over Iran Stoning case

Statement from Abolition UK: We at Abolition UK fully support the International Day Against Stoning and encourage everyone to take part in stopping this cruel, unjust and outdated practice. As a campaigning organisation that works to end the death penalty we are strongly opposed to stoning and all forms of execution. We look towards a day when all countries of the world recognise that legalised violence/murder has no place in a society that strives for peace.

From Jane Felder in Bournemouth:












USA

Statement from Cyrus Nowrasteh, filmmaker, The Stoning of Soraya M: Soraya Manutcheri was stoned to death in the village of Kupayeh, Iran in 1986. She was framed by her husband who wished to avoid support payments in his desire to divorce her. He used a legal system imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran called “Sharia” -- which justifies the torture and suppression of its citizens, especially women. Since Soraya’s case innumerable women have been silenced by a repressive regime. This must stop. I commend the StopStoningNow campaign for bringing attention to the continuing grave injustice of stoning.

Statement from Antony Thomas, Filmmaker, For Neda: I appeal to all those who care about human rights and justice to show their outrage at the treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, as well as the wider issue of stoning as a punishment for those who break the medieval laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although I believe that all civilised people should reject the death penalty in any circumstance, this particular form of killing stands out above all others as the cause of a slow and agonising death. It is not only utterly degrading for the victim, it degrades everyone who participates in this barbaric ritual as well as the regime that permits it.

Statement from American Humanist Association Supports International Day Against Stoning, Washington, D.C.: Today, on the International Day Against Stoning, the American Humanist Association is raising awareness of the brutal practice of stoning and demanding the end of stoning as a form of punishment around the world. The American Humanist Association stands beside the International Committee Against Stoning and its effort to eradicate the cruel tradition of stoning, an inhumane method of punishment which affects predominantly women and girls in developing countries. Fundamentalist religious zealots around the world are responsible for enacting laws based on stringent and unforgiving moral codes, sometimes punishable by sentences such as stoning to death. Women are stoned for “offenses” such as giving birth out of wedlock, extramarital affairs, and even in response to false accusations of murder. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been imprisoned along with her lawyer for four years, was sentenced by the courts of the Islamic Republic of Iran for various charges of being an accessory to murder, public indecency (for appearing in court without the traditional Islamic veil) and adultery. International pressure has resulted in a stay of her execution, but she and her lawyer still remain in prison. This pattern of indicting women on false accusations, and on grounds of violating strict religious requirements, places a heavy burden on women to obey laws set in place by the influence of male clergy and lawmakers. The American Humanist Association condemns the act of stoning as brutal and inhumane. Humanists worldwide strive to protect the dignity of all and work to protect those accused of crimes based on fundamentalist restrictions on women. We are proud to support the International Committee Against Stoning and the Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Campaign in their efforts to end this practice.
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association

Statement from Atheist Alliance International: Stoning is a barbaric practice and should be outlawed immediately. It is disgraceful that such a crime is undertaken in the name of "justice". Sadly, stoning is by no means the only disgusting practice supported by Sharia law. It is too late to save Maryam Ayoubi but we can try to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and the many many others like her. Atheist Alliance International condemns stoning and is proud stand in solidarity with its victims and potential victims on 11 July. Tanya Smith, President, Atheist Alliance International

Statement from Fred Edwords, National Director at United Coalition of Reason: Stoning is the very symbol of what it means to be primitive, barbaric, and cruel.

Letter to Islamic Republic of Iran from Anne Slater, Radical Women, United States Section National Organizer: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, falsely accused of murdering her husband, is still languishing in prison. This is despite the fact that another person was convicted of the crime and has completed his sentence. Ashtiani has already suffered the cruel and inhumane torture of 99 lashes – twice – for adultery, which is not recognized as a crime in most civilized countries. Authorities recently said that no final decision had been reached on her stoning sentence and that she must remain in prison. Her lawyer, Sajjad Houtan Kian, also remains in prison for having had the courage to defend her and other women condemned to stoning sentences. He has been given the outrageous sentence of four years imprisonment, been put under a lot of pressure and lost 20 kilos (44 pounds) as a result of his devotion to his profession and his principles. The campaign to Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani continues to speak out in defence of humanity, and against the barbaric punishment of stoning everywhere. It has mobilised immense pressure against and condemnation of the Islamic regime of Iran from millions across the globe. It will continue to do so until you adopt humane punishments and equal laws for men and women. As opponents of the death penalty in the United States, as well as internationally, on 11 July 2011, the International Day Against Stoning, we demand the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, her lawyer Sajjad Houtan Kian, and others facing stoning sentences. We also demand a complete end to the barbaric practice of death by stoning.

Statement from Fred Edwords, National Director at United Coalition of Reason: Stoning is the very symbol of what it means to be primitive, barbaric, and cruel.

Letter to Islamic Republic of Iran from Anne Slater, Radical Women, United States Section National Organizer: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, falsely accused of murdering her husband, is still languishing in prison. This is despite the fact that another person was convicted of the crime and has completed his sentence. Ashtiani has already suffered the cruel and inhumane torture of 99 lashes – twice – for adultery, which is not recognized as a crime in most civilized countries. Authorities recently said that no final decision had been reached on her stoning sentence and that she must remain in prison. Her lawyer, Sajjad Houtan Kian, also remains in prison for having had the courage to defend her and other women condemned to stoning sentences. He has been given the outrageous sentence of four years imprisonment, been put under a lot of pressure and lost 20 kilos (44 pounds) as a result of his devotion to his profession and his principles. The campaign to Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani continues to speak out in defence of humanity, and against the barbaric punishment of stoning everywhere. It has mobilised immense pressure against and condemnation of the Islamic regime of Iran from millions across the globe. It will continue to do so until you adopt humane punishments and equal laws for men and women. As opponents of the death penalty in the United States, as well as internationally, on 11 July 2011, the International Day Against Stoning, we demand the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, her lawyer Sajjad Houtan Kian, and others facing stoning sentences. We also demand a complete end to the barbaric practice of death by stoning.

Statement from Meg Hixson: It deeply saddens me that in today's world, a world that continues to grow and change every day, that there is a need for an international day against stoning. No such day should have ever had to have been brought into existence. This barbaric punishment is an unfathomable concept to most but for those in the Islamic Republic of Iran, among other countries, this is a very dark reality that they face and it must be stopped! For years we have heard the voices of those calling for an end to stoning but their voices have been silenced by the oppressive regimes that continue to enforce this horrific act. We can live in a world where such an inhumane punishment no longer exists. So this year, on this International Day against Stoning our voices must over power the regimes that seek to silence them and we must continue to fight for those who have fallen victim to this brutal act and for those who face it now.

Statement from Ophelia Benson, Editor Butterflies and Wheels: We are often told that religion is all about compassion, yet it is the "devout" regime in the Islamic Republic of Iran that thinks stoning to death is a good, holy, mandated-by-god punishment. Stoning is a monstrous, disgusting cruelty; it should not happen to anyone, anywhere, ever.

Statement from PZ Myers, Scientist: I hope this is something we can all agree on. Today is The International Day against Stoning, a consciousness-raising event organized by Mina Ahadi, Patty Debonitas, and Maryam Namazie to call attention to the fact that some countries still practice public stonings as punishments for petty offenses against propriety. There are people in prison right now, awaiting that day when authorities drag them into the public square and people murder them by battering them with rocks... Make it known that the international community regards these barbarous, vile practices as heinous and contemptible. See link to his full statement here.

Stephen Hughes, posters has created posters for the day:

















UZBEKISTAN

BBC Radio Uzbekistan did a piece on Stoning. See piece here.



For more information, contact Mina Ahadi, International Committee Against Stoning and International Committee Against Executions, minaahadi@aol.com, 0049 1775692413; Maryam Namazie, One Law for All, onelawforall@gmail.com; Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, iransolidaritynow@gmail.com.