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Thursday, April 29, 2010

'Boobquake' was an important act of human solidarity

A message to Jennifer McCreight, founder of 'boobquake'

Dear Jennifer

We wanted to write and congratulate you on 'boobquake.' As signatories to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran and Iran Solidarity, we felt strongly that it was an important act in defence of women's rights and human dignity. This is particularly so given the silence of so many feminists who seem to have succumbed to the racist concept of cultural relativism that implies that women choose to live the way they are forced to. Clearly though, women everywhere want to live lives worthy of the 21st century and not under medievalism and religious rules. That is why you have received so much support from people in Iran for this action. This support is a reflection of a strong women's liberation movement, which is leading many of the ongoing protests there.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi's views are not merely those of a madman but of the state, the judicial system and the educational system. Under Sharia law, for example, a women's testimony is worth half that of a man's, women are still being stoned to death for sex outside of marriage (with the law even specifying the size of the stone to be used), women and girls are denied access to certain fields of study (they can't be judges for example as they are deemed to be too 'emotional'), and they have no right to travel or even work without the permission of their male guardians. Like racial apartheid in the former South Africa, sexual apartheid demands that women and girls be veiled, sit at the back of buses, and enter via separate government building entrances. Yet despite 31 years of this brutality, women continue to refuse and resist, including by unveiling or 'improper' veiling, even though they are arrested, fined and harassed daily. This resistance is why every now and then leading clerics like Sedighi feel the need to intervene and blame women for some calamity or another. Acts of real human solidarity like yours helps to mobilise opposition to this misogyny whilst strengthening and encouraging the women's liberation movement in Iran.

We look forward to working closely with you from now on and know you will continue to support our efforts.

Please feel free to publicise and sign on to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran and Iran Solidarity.

Warmest regards
Mina Ahadi, International Committee Against Executions and Stoning
Mahin Alipour, Equal Rights Now - Organisation Against Women's Discrimination in Iran
Shahla Daneshfar, Equal Rights Now - Organisation Against Women's Discrimination in Iran
Maryam Namazie, Iran Solidarity

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The fight for a secular society in Iran is intrinsically linked to the fight for a secular one in Britain

I received the following letter from 'a group of students from Tehran University the other day. They wrote: 'We are a group of Iranian students at Tehran University. We found about your group activity two years ago when you held an event on 10th of October 2008 (International day against the Death Penalty). We all were very interested in your group since most of us inside Iran hate any religion ruling us, we are all born in Muslim families but hate Islam more than any other religion so we are also ex Muslims. But we were very disappointed when we realized that you use our cause and suffering inside Iran to achieve your goals such as one law for all in Britain. For example this year you are planning to use Neda’s anniversary to rally against sharia law. Neda, Ashkan, Sohrab and those of our friends who died in Iran and those who are in prison, are paying a price for the freedom of Iran. Don’t mix things; don’t use our suffering to achieve your objectives. You can have separate rallies for your problems in Britain, and if you care about Iran (which I am sure you care) have a rally for Iran but with all the respect to England, we don’t like you to use the name of our dearest Neda, the symbol of freedom in Iran, to achieve your goals in Britain. We would like to concentrate our effort to free ourselves. We were very very disappointed that the communist ideas of your group are more important to you than freedom of Iran. We want freedom and democracy and None of us know what happens to us in our next demonstration on days of June 2010, some of us may die or end up in prison but we are happy to pay the price for it. We don’t want any religion or communist ideas to come and rule us. We are tired of being used. In a free Iran, we do not want atheists mullahs and communists to come and rule us with different form of fundamentalism.'

My response follows:

Thanks very much for your email. I appreciate receiving your comments. I would like, however, to make the following points:

* Neda's murder has affected all of us deeply - not just those of us living in Iran or exiled but ordinary people everywhere. I think this is mainly because her cold-blooded murder was seen by many across the world in a way that countless murders by the Islamic regime over thirty years have not been. How could anyone not be moved? But also I think it is because her demand for freedom against all odds - her desire to live a life worthy of the 21st century - is really a demand for people all over - irrespective of where they were born.

So I think it is actually quite apt for us to remember Neda in our battle for equal rights in Britain or wherever we happen to live and whether we are Iranian or not. It is not 'using' her but holding her dear and not allowing the world to forget her in the fight that still lies ahead. I mean were civil rights activists in America 'using' Stephen Biko (killed by the apartheid regime of South Africa) when promoting equal rights there?

Rather, showing solidarity - mobilising towards it - across borders - means being able to show the real links between people in Iran and those living in Britain and elsewhere.

Reducing the protests and resistance of Neda and people in Iran (and those of us in exile who have fled because of our activities, lost many a loved one and continue to be threatened with death and have our families in Iran harassed by the regime because of our activities abroad) into a national sort of suffering that only those still in Iran are privy to misses the point.

* Moreover, Neda is linked to the issue of Sharia law in more ways than one. Sharia law is not 'Britain's personal problem' and Neda is not 'Iran's problem.' They are both the result of the rise of the political Islamic movement of which the Islamic regime is a cornerstone. In fact Sharia law in this country came into being in the late 80s after the establishment of the Islamic regime of Iran. The fight for a different and secular society in Iran is intrinsically linked to the fight for a different and secular one in Britain.

* You say you hate Islam more than any other religion but in my opinion religions are all alike. If given political power they will do what Islam has done and have in the past. A ‘kinder’ religion is only one that has been pushed in a corner and out of the public space. Islam only seems worse today because we are living through an Islamic inquisition. And this Islamic inquisition like the Christian one in centuries past must be pushed back by a new enlightenment that is being shaped in my opinion in Iran.

* So I do think actually that it is important to 'mix things.' The fight against Sharia in Britain is an important front in the ongoing battle of the people of Iran against the Islamic Republic. Also, Sharia law has been used by the far-right to promote its anti-immigrant and racist agenda. They want no Sharia in Britain but don't mind the Church of England's role here nor care a whit about people struggling elsewhere or even in the ‘Muslim community’ here with similar problems. ‘Mixing’ the two - whilst standing up for people everywhere and showing the humanity of us all - also attacks the cultural relativism and racism that is rampant and excuses gross violations in the name of culture and religion for the 'other.'

* Finally, One Law for All or the Council of Ex-Muslims are not communist organisations but I am a communist. You may not want or like my communist ideas but I do. And I believe strongly that worker-communism is a humane and much-needed movement (that has proven to be so over several decades and been at the forefront of everything from opposing the death penalty, refugee rights, secularism to equality not just in Iran, and also when many such issues were not fashionable in the Left). I have a right - as you do - to promote my ideas and debate them. In a 'free Iran' as you call it - whilst you many not want ‘fundamentalist’ atheists and communists alike, we must have a right to speak and organise and mobilise support as all other political groups and ideologies.

Otherwise it wouldn't be very free would it? And both you and I will have to let people in Iran choose and decide what they want. I believe that in free and fair elections they will choose us but again for that we will have to wait and see...

Let me end by saying that I sincerely wish you all safety and success in your activities.

Warmest wishes


Maryam Namazie

The Revolution is in Need of Working Class’ Power

Hamid Taqvaee’s Message on the Occasion of May Day:

This May Day in Iran is the day for expanding and deepening the revolution, which has been challenging one of the most corrupt and atrocious capitalist states of our time. This revolution, due to objective conditions and to the context of its formation is a worker revolution: this is the revolution “of all victims of oppression”. This is a revolution of a society that has been suppressed and pushed beneath the line of poverty; it is a revolution against poverty, discrimination, oppression, and deprivation; it is a revolution for a humane life. The Iranian society had welcomed the ongoing revolution through its workers’ strikes, its May Days slogans such as “a humane life is our right!” and in Student Day chanting of “Socialism or Barbarism.” This is the revolution of a society that has continuously been challenging sexual apartheid regime through its permanent anti-veil movement; this society welcomed the ongoing revolution through its city uprisings while chanting “we don’t want Islamic rule!” The ongoing revolution aims at toppling the entirety of the anti-human Islamic regime and has expressed this goal through its slogans such as “down with Khamanei” and “down with cleric rule!”

Deepening and expansion of this revolution is possible only if the masses are mobilized around the access of working class humane goals and horizon, that is, socialism. This May Day is a day for taking a first huge step toward this goal. May Day is the day of international working class’ plea against inhumane capitalist system; in Iran this plea has being declared on the streets for almost a year against one of the most atrocious capitalist states.

Working class movement can and should raise this flag in front of the revolutionary masses of people; working class can and should use its own organizations and institutions in order to declare the protests and demands of masses against the Islamic regime of capitalists. Under the existing circumstances, where the atrocities and oppressive measures of the regime alongside the obstructions made by pro-regime and right-wing opposition against the “deconstructive” offensives of the people have suspended street rallies and protests, working class’ entry to the scene of revolutionary struggle has become an essential and determining factor for the advancement of the revolution. This May Day not only can be a new beginning for street rallies and protests, but also can be a turning point in deepening and expansion of the revolution beyond the scopes of street demonstrations.

This May Day is the day to protest poverty and wages that are one third of the poverty line; is the day to plea against massacres and executions, especially those of the last year; is the day to demand immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners; is the day to demand unconditional right to assembly, organization, and strike; is the day to demand unconditional political and social freedoms; it is the day that working class declares solidarity with women’s, students’, and youth movements. This May Day is also another opportunity to acquire the support of the international working class and the entirety of freedom loving people of the world for the ongoing revolution in Iran. Working class movement should realize this task; this depends on how aware working class activists and organizations are of their role. Last May Day, two months prior to the revolutionary outburst of street demonstrations, ten working class organizations welcomed the revolution through the call for May Day meeting in Laleh Park in Tehran. This year everybody expects and hopes that the working class enters the scene but this time in order to play its determining role and push the revolution ahead. The revolution needs the showcase of working class power in order to deepen and advance.

Long Live May Day the International Day of Working Class Solidarity!
Long Live Revolution!
Long Live Socialism!

Hamid Taqvaee
Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
April 22, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010


After a cleric in Iran said immodest women cause earthquakes, Jennifer McCreight initiated a scientific experiment called 'Boobquake,' where she asked women to dress immodestly so she can see if in fact there is a rise in earthquakes on April 26!

What could be a better act of solidarity with the people of Iran!

To join the Facebook page, click here.

To hear an interview with Jennifer, click here or see below:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Support One Law for All

One Law for All held a successful seminar on Sharia Law on Monday 8 March 2010 at Conway Hall in London to mark International Women’s Day. The seminar outlined the problems with Sharia Councils and tribunals and proposed recommendations for prohibiting religious courts and bringing about equal rights for all. A report of the seminar’s findings will be published shortly. Moreover, a working group is to be set up to draft an amendment to the Arbitration Act to prohibit religious arbitration in civil matters. The campaign will also look into proposing a European-wide amendment in the coming months. Video footage of the event can be found here.

One Law for All’s next events include a June 20 rally against Sharia and religious laws in Trafalgar Square, a September 26 fundraising concert, an art competition, amongst other activities.


Join us on June 20 to break that silence and take a stand against Sharia law and Islamism and in defence of universal rights and secularism. Be there to stand in solidarity with people living under and resisting Sharia law everywhere and demand an end to racism and cultural relativism.

June 20 is particularly poignant because it is the first anniversary of Neda Agha-Soltan’s cold-blooded murder in broad daylight by the Islamic regime of Iran at a protest there. All Neda wanted was freedom. You can find out more about the rally in Trafalgar Square here.


Tickets are now available for a two-hour fundraising concert on 26 September 2010 at Conway Hall from 1800pm for 1830pm by top flight international musicians Olivier Pons, violin; Helen Linden, cello; and Folke Graesbeck, piano.

The concert is in aid of the One Law for All Campaign and is a joint venture between the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, the National Secular Society and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Tickets: £15 for the first four rows; £12 for the rest of the downstairs seats; £10 for the gallery; £5 students and unwaged.

To buy tickets, either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All or pay via Paypal on our website. Please specify that the cheque or Paypal payment is for concert tickets. Tickets will be mailed out to you within three weeks of receiving your payment. You can also pay at the door, though it will be £1 more per ticket and tickets may have been sold out by then. For more information on the musicians, click here.


After a successful 2009 art competition, One Law for All is organising a second edition to expose the discriminatory nature of Sharia and religious-based tribunals and/or promote equal rights for all citizens. For more information and terms and conditions, click here.


To sign on to the One Law for All petition, visit our website.

To view the latest media coverage of the campaign including in the Guardian and BBC’s The World, click here.

To donate to the crucial work of our organisation, please either send a cheque or pay via Paypal by clicking here. We need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club at the above link.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the below.
Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Defend Zahra Amir Ebrahimi

Arumugam wrote asking that we publicise the case of Zahra Amir Ebrahimi.

Here is the report that was sent to us:

In 2006, 25 year old actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi became the centre of an Iranian sex tape scandal when a videotape of a woman having sex with a man was leaked to the internet and released on DVD. She subsequently became the subject of an official investigation handled by Tehran's chief prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi.

If found guilty, she will be executed.

The unnamed man on the tape, who is suspected of releasing it, reportedly fled to Armenia but was subsequently returned to Iran and charged with breach of public morality laws.

In an interview with the Guardian, Zahra Amir Ebrahimi denied being the woman in the film and dismissed it as a fake made by a vengeful former fiancé who used studio techniques to form a montage of incriminating images designed to destroy her career.

Rumors of an attempted suicide were also denied by Zahra with a public message: "I just want to tell my country's people I am alive. I am thinking about the strength of Iranian women and will defend the respect of the girls and women of my nation."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Save Bita Ghaedi from deportation tomorrow!

Bita Ghaedi is due to be deported on a booked flight this Tuesday 20th, at 7PM from Heathrow Flight BD 931 Terminal 3

Background (Preamble):

Bita Ghaedi of Whetstone, England is a refugee who has been on hunger strike for nearly two weeks because she is terrified of being tortured and killed if she is forced to return to Iran. She has been refused asylum by the British Government and told she would be deported within a fortnight.

The 34-year-old has endured beatings and mental torture at the hands of her family and could be hunted down and killed by her father, brother and uncle should she return.

Please sign/forward this petition to ensure she is NOT forcibly returned to a violent fascist regime which murders, tortures, rapes + imprisons its own people if they peacefully protest for their rights.

Sign the petition here.

Support Iranian lesbian's right to asylum

By Kiana Firouz

I, Kiana Firouz, an Iranian Lesbian, born in 1983 in Tehran/Iran, have sought asylum in the U.K but my application was turned down by the Home Office, despite accepting the fact that I am a lesbian. I accordingly submitted my appeal which was dismissed incredibly by the adjudicator. According to my solicitor’s point of view there is a little chance to grant a permission to appeal against the adjudicator’s decision. It means that I will face with deportation soon.

Homosexuality in Iran is a sin and offence which is subject to harsh punishment. According to the Islamic law, repeatation of this offence will be punished by death. The punishment for lesbianism involving persons who are mature, of sound mind, and consenting, is 100 lashes. If the act is repeated three times and punishment is enforced each time, the death sentence will apply on the fourth occasion. (Articles 127, 129, 130 penal code) The ways of proving lesbianism in court are the same as for male homosexuality. (Article 128)

I have recently played a role in a feature film called “Cul de Sac” which is mainly based on my real life story. The movie is scheduled to be screened in May 2010. The trailer of the movie had been published on You Tube since December 2009.It was watched by more than ten thousand viewers just in the first four days.

The film’ news was covered by the international Medias world wide specifically by the opposition those are under severe surveillance of the Iranian authority.

The movie contains sexual scenes which itself would be subject to death punishment if I return to Iran.

Now, the only hope remains for me is LGBT’s support.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sign a petition to support her here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

May Day - Day of international solidarity with the revolution of the people of Iran

To world’s workers’ organisations, leaders and activists

May Day 2010

Among the issues dominating May Day 2010 is expected to be solidarity with the people of Iran who have heroically risen up against the Islamic Republic. This magnificent revolution of the people against discrimination and inequality and for freedom has already generated a wave of hope and solidarity throughout the world. And on May Day, naturally, workers will be at the forefront of this unprecedented global solidarity.

No other class than the working class has as great an interest in the destruction of the Islamic Republic – this head of the political Islamic movement and chief source of world reaction. No other class than the working class is as greatly in need of revolution against the regime of sex apartheid, which has turned total inequality of women into a cornerstone of its regime. No other class than the working class has as great an interest in overthrowing this brutal system of imprisonment, torture, execution, repression and absolute lack of rights and in establishing the widest possible freedoms. No other class than the working class has as great an interest in pulling down this system of savage exploitation, which has driven the livelihood of the great majority to under the poverty line, while fattening up a parasitic few under the cloak of Islam.

The Islamic Republic was set up precisely in order, first, to suppress a working class which had risen up in the 1979 revolution; and, secondly, to make the Islamic holocaust a blueprint, an instrument and a pretext for attacking the people, civil rights and values and struggles for freedom in the Middle East and the world. Now that the people of Iran have risen up in revolution against the Islamic Republic, they should naturally find their most fervent allies amongst the workers of the world.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on all workers’ organisations, leaders and activists, all organisers and participants of this year’s May Day rallies to turn May Day 2010 into a day of international solidarity with the people of Iran. The revolutionary struggle of the people of Iran against one of the most brutal capitalist regimes in the world should feature prominently in this year’s May Day rallies, banners and speeches. The immediate demands of the people of Iran should be adopted as resolutions of the rallies. These demands, which have been raised in mass demonstrations, strikes and workers’ manifestos in Iran, include:

- Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;
- Abolition of the death penalty;
- Prosecution of all those who ordered and those who carried out the recent killings of protesters;
- Unconditional freedom to organise, strike and set up political parties;
- Abolition of compulsory veil and gender apartheid;
- Immediate increase in the minimum wage to one million Tomans ($1,000) per month.

WPI call on all Iranians abroad to join its organisations around the world at the May Day rallies to celebrate May Day and to mobilise the strongest possible international support for the struggle of the people of Iran against the Islamic Republic and for the cause of freedom and equality.

Long live May Day
For workers’ international solidarity
Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran
For a socialist republic

Worker-communist Party of Iran

Thursday, April 15, 2010

May Day 2010: solidarity with the workers and revolution of the people of Iran!

To trade unions around the world

This May Day is approaching at a time when a revolution is in progress in Iran and in which the working class has an important role. This revolution is a blow to political Islam and Islamic terrorism, and will transform people’s lives in Iran and the region, while making the world a safer and better place. Thus it deserves the strongest support of the people globally. As the international day of solidarity of the workers of the world, May Day is a most appropriate day on which to express this solidarity even more resolutely. We wish to highlight the following as the most urgent issues facing the workers in Iran, and around which this solidarity could be expressed in the most effective way:

- The right of workers in Iran to freely organise, strike and assemble; the right to form independent trade unions and any form of workers’ organisations as they see fit; the right to free collective bargaining;
- An end to harassment and persecution of workers in Iran; immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned trade unionists and all political prisoners; those currently in jail include Mansoor Ossanlou and Ebrahim Madadi (from the leadership of Tehran’s bus workers’ union), Ali Nejati (president of Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers’ union), Farzad Kamangar, a teacher and labour activist who is under a sentence of death, and Ali Reza Ghanbari, who was arrested in the 27th December demonstrations and who has also been sentenced to death;
- The Iranian regime to be expelled from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for its persecution of workers, violation of fundamental workers’ rights and barbaric repression against the people in Iran; these include shooting, jailing and raping peaceful protesters during the recent mass demonstrations; numerous routine executions (giving Iran the highest per capita record of executions); stoning women and men to death for sexual relations outside marriage; executing child offenders; executing gays for homosexual relations; for instituting a system of Sexual Apartheid and flagrant legal discrimination again women; etc. As a first step, demand to be made to the ILO Executive for the immediate suspension of the right of the Islamic Republic of Iran to attend the forthcoming International Labour Conference in June 2010 in Geneva;
- Support to be expressed for the Charter of Minimum Demands of Workers in Iran issued jointly by Iran’s four main independent trade unions on the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution, which succinctly outlines the most fundamental and pressing demands of the workers in Iran. A translation of this Charter follows (please see Appendix).

We call on all trade unions around the world to support these demands of the workers in Iran by highlighting them at their May Day rallies, meetings and other events this May Day, and thus help build a powerful international movement of solidarity with the workers and the revolution of the people in Iran.

International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (ILSC-WPI)

14 April 2010


Appendix: Joint declaration by Iran’s four main independent trade unions

Charter of the minimum demands of workers in Iran
On the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution

Thirty one years have passed since the February 1979 revolution. At that time millions of Iranian people, full of hope for a better life, took to the streets in order to break the yoke of despotism and repression. A nationwide strike led by workers at the National Oil Company, the vanguard of the Iranian working class, shut down oil pipelines, ultimately tearing the despotic regime asunder. Masses of people chanted, “Our oil workers! Our resolute leaders!” Power fell to the people.

February 11, 1979, a day that marks an end to despotism, is a day that calls forth unforgettable memories of men and women, young and old, who had grown tired of repression and injustice; people embraced one another in the streets, cried with joy, and, with tears in their eyes, looked forward to a liberated future.

Now, 31 years have passed since those glorious days full of enchantment. Yet, today the feelings of hope and enchantment have been transformed into nothing but misery, destitution, unemployment, sub-poverty line wages, and cuts in subsidies – i.e., unbearable agony for millions of workers and wage earners.

However, life continues. And, the Iranian people still have a burning desire for change. They have not lost their hope for a human, happy, prosperous and free life.

In the past few years workers of Iran bravely fought for their right to life and dignity with their strikes and protests and by setting up their independent organisations. And today many of them sit in jail for attempting to organise and for wanting a human life.

But these jail cells do not mark the end of the road. We millions are the producers of the wealth that exists, and the wheels of production are in hour hands. And we have as our historical support the experience of the united and magnificent strike of the oil workers during the February 1979 revolution. Relying on this experience and the power of our millions and inspired by the humanistic aspirations of the 1979 revolution, today, after thirty one years, we present our minimum demands and call for the immediate and unconditional realisation of them all:

1. Unconditional recognition of independent workers’ organisations, the right to strike, to organise protests, the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of political organisation;

2. Abolition of the death penalty, and the immediate and unconditional release of jailed workers’ and other social activists;

3. Immediate increase in the minimum wage based on workers’ input through their representatives in workers’ general assemblies;

4. And end to the ‘Rationalization of Subsidies Plan’. All unpaid wages should be paid immediately without any excuses;

5. Job security for workers and all wage earners; an end to all temporary and so-called ‘blank signature’ contracts; removal of all government-run organisations in the work place; drafting of a new labour law through direct participation of workers’ representatives elected by their general assemblies;

6. Halt to all firings and layoffs under any circumstances and excuses. Anyone expelled or any unemployed person who has reached the age of employment must benefit from an unemployment benefit at a level that affords a human life with dignity;

7. Abolition of all the discriminatory laws against women; ensuring full and unconditional equality of women and men in all social, economic, political, cultural, and family fields;

8. Ensuring to all the retired a life of welfare, free of economic anxieties; putting an end to all discriminatory payment practices, and enabling them all to benefit from social and medical services;

9. All children, irrespective of their parents’ economic and social status, and of gender, nationality, race and religion, must be granted free and equal educational, welfare, and health care benefits;

10. May Day must be declared a national holiday and included in the official calendar; all legal restrictions on its celebration must be removed.

*Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Workers Union
*Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers Union
*Free Union of Iranian Workers
*Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Association

10 February 2010

[Edited text of an existing translation published on labour solidarity websites.]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free Jamal! Campaign - Call for Financial Support

The below is a campaign being led by member organisation the International Federation of Iranian Refugees:

It has been just over a month since Iranian activist Jamal Saberi (real name Jalal Amanzadeh Nouei) was detained by the immigration authorities in Tokyo with the intention of deporting him to Iran. A few days after his detention the wheels had been put in motion and the Free Jamal! campaign had been launched by the International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR). In the last four weeks we have been able to do a significant amount of work.

We have managed to put political and judicial obstacles in the way of Jamal’s deportation from Japan to Iran.

From Toronto to London, from Berlin to Tokyo, people have come out to protest against the deportation and in support of Jamal’s release from detention. The Japanese government has been made aware of the heavy human and political consequences Jamal’s deportation would have. The danger of imminent deportation has decreased slightly; however, Jamal is still in detention, still in danger of being deported quickly, so there is no rest yet!The Ministry of Justice in Japan can very swiftly pass through to the final stages of deportation; the Japanese government can ignore the human and political consequences of deporting Jamal. The harsh reality that we are facing: Jamal is in a bad physical condition in a detention centre with awful conditions for asylum seekers.

We must keep the pressure up in order to free him and to get him refugee status in Japan or somewhere else safe.

All our efforts, the public outreach work, the demonstrations, the meetings, organising, the legal research and actions, the trip to Japan, the lobbying and the phone calls – all of this needs you financial help! So far we have been able to do our work based on personal resources and voluntary work. But without your immediate help, we cannot go on keeping up the pressure to fight for Jamal’s release. We need to have money in order to go forward, to continue and to be able to not only get Jamal released from detention but to find a safe place for him. You can support Jamal and the Free Jamal! campaign by making a donation to the campaign here.

You can pay online with your credit card via the secure Paypal system of Count Me In – Iran of which IFIR is a member. Please mark your donations with ‘Jamal’. If you are in the UK you can also send us a cheque, please check the above website for details. If you prefer to make a donation in another way, please contact us at: or call +44 (0) 750 797 8745

Thank you!
Patty Debonitas
Free Jamal! campaign
Tel: +44 750 797 8745

Monday, April 12, 2010

It is not anti-Muslim to oppose reaction and defend freedom of speech and belief

In an discussion on Peter Flack's Facebook page, Catriona Grant says the following about me: 'Maryam Namazie has shared platform with fascists on the basis they share her anti - muslim agenda i find her a strange enigma blending ultra leftism with reactionaryism and she gets away with things many people wouldn't on the basis that she is Iranian and a woman. She has set up bogus organisations of "former muslims" that have been funded by the right wing think tanks...' She adds: 'Maryam Namazie was involved in the Right for Free expression rally alongside rather dubious anti left and racist forces, the BNP built for this rally, much to my disappointment was people like Peter Tatchell unprincipledly involving himself and Outrage in this rally.'

There are so many inaccuracies in her comments I am not sure where to begin. Whilst the motives of discrediting me are quite clear, I will clarify a number of issues for other readers:

1. I spoke at a free expression rally in March 2006 as did Peter Tatchell. The rally was not organised by right-wingers. The organisers – two men – invited a lot of others to speak too including from the right. Here is the blog calling for the rally.

I spoke at the rally from my own left perspective on the issue of free speech. Here is my speech. I don’t consider this ‘sharing a platform’ with other speakers there. I have spoken at many events and panel discussions with people with vile opinions like Stephen Green, Anjem Chaudary to Inayat Banglawala. Does that mean I have shared platforms with them? That is clearly not the case. Unlike our friend here, I refuse to leave the playing field open to the far-right and will speak anywhere they speak (as long as they have not organised the meeting) in order to push back their fascist agenda and bring a left and human alternative to the fore.

2. In FAQs on the One Law for All website, another campaign I have organised, I have clearly stated my position on far-right organisations, such as the British National Party, the English Defence League and so on and so forth. You can read it here.

In one response to a question on the EDL I have written: ‘Political ideologies are not measured by the numbers of ‘ordinary’ working class people who subscribe to them, and anyway have you counted ours versus the BNP’s or the EDL’s to know? Irrespective of numbers, ideologies and movements linked to them have to be judged not by the makeup of their supporters but their impact and effect on the lives of ordinary people everywhere. The nationalism that the EDL, BNP, SOIE and their likes promote is segregationist, divisive, anti- working class and inhumane; it denies universal human identity. In fact, nationalism is by its very nature discriminatory and a reactionary trend and incompatible with human freedom and progress. So it is obvious then that we can’t build links with far-right groups that are antithetical to ours. Just as we can’t forge links with the Islamists. Our job is to criticize both of them, and mobilize people to oppose them and leave their ranks and to join us. That is politics and if people can’t take the heat, well there is always football hooliganism to return to.’

In another I have spoken of the similarities between the far-right and Islamism in a response to Stop Islamisation Of Europe. In it I say: ‘For now, however, suffice it to say that I find it comic how they – and the likes of the English Defence League or the British National Party – don’t see their affinity with the Islamists and the political Islamic movement. Stephen Gash’ statement is a great case in point. The Islamists blame Westerners for Western government policies – no matter how many of them come out and say ‘not in our name.’ For the Islamists, all Israelis are fair game; so is every single man, woman and child in America and so on and so forth. That’s why they target buses and discothèques. They too say that the people in the West elected those governments and therefore must be held accountable. In the world according to them, the people in America elected Bush so they deserved September 11; the people in Britain elected Blair so 7/7 was fair game. And in the world according to the likes of Stephen Gash, the millions languishing under and resisting Sharia law deserve what they get no matter how many are killed, tortured, burnt, stoned and hung from city squares…’

3. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is not funded by right-wing think tanks. This is the first time I have heard such a ridiculous assertion. The CEMB is also not a ‘bogus organisation.’ The CEMB aims to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and religion. This is particularly important given that apostasy is punishable with death for those living under Sharia laws and can be met with threats, intimidation and isolation for those living in Britain. We believe one’s religion or atheism is a private matter but not when one can be killed for it. Then a public renunciation becomes a form of resistance and challenge. This is a new and imaginative way of tackling the issue at hand, very much like gays coming out of the closet as a form of resistance. You can find out more on our website.

4. Opposing Sharia law, Islam, political Islam is not one and the same as promoting an anti-Muslim agenda. This is the perspective of the pathetic excuse of a European Left (of which our friend clearly belongs to), that takes the side of the ‘colonies’ no matter what goes on there, and their understanding of the ‘colonies’ is Eurocentric, patronising and even racist. In the world according to them, the people in Iran are one and the same with the regimes they are struggling against and that goes for their perspective on the ‘Muslim community’ here in Britain. They are one and the same with the Islamists. Here is more information on my perspective on this ‘left’.

8 March Seminar on Sharia Law in Britain a success

One Law for All held a successful seminar on Sharia Law on Monday 8 March 2010 at Conway Hall in London to mark International Women’s Day. The seminar brought together Muslims, ex-Muslims, women’s rights campaigners, lawyers and politicians to outline the problems with Muslim Arbitration Tribunals and Sharia Councils and to propose recommendations for prohibiting religious courts and bringing about equal rights for all.

Speakers at the seminar were: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (British Muslims for Secular Democracy); Yassi Atasheen (One Law for All); Clara Connolly (Women Against Fundamentalism); David Green (Civitas); Denis MacShane (MP); Rony Miah (Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Lawyers’ Secular Society); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All) and Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters).

A report of the seminar’s findings will be published shortly. Moreover, a working group is to be set up to draft an amendment to the Arbitration Act to prohibit religious arbitration in civil matters. The campaign will also look into proposing a European-wide amendment in the coming months.

Video footage of the event can be found here.

Photos of the event can be found here.

One Law for All’s next events include an art competition, a June 20 rally against Sharia and religious laws in Trafalgar Square, a September 26 fundraising concert, amongst other activities.

To sign on to the campaign petition, visit our website.

To view the latest media coverage of the campaign including in the Guardian and BBC’s The World, click here.

To donate to the crucial work of our organisation, please either send a cheque or pay via Paypal. We need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club at the above link.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the below.

Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

11 people executed in three days in Iran

نفر در سه روز در ايران اعدام شدند.
مطهره بهرامي به اعدام محکوم شد و دهها زنداني تحت فشارهاي شديد قرار دارند.
اعتصاب غذا در زندان اروميه

موج جديدي از اعدامها در ايران شروع شده٬ موج جديدي از اعمال فشار به زندانيان٬ انتقال زندانيان به سلولهاي انفرادي٬ تحت فشار گذاشتن زندانيان به اعتراف به جاسوسي و فجايع متعددي در زندانهاي حکومت اسلامي اتفاق مي افتد. جانيان حاکم بر ايران٬ براي ساکت کردن مردم منزجر از حکومت به هر جنايتي دست ميزنند. قتل و شکنجه و تجاوز و جنايات بيشرمانه٬ جان و امنيت زندانيان سياسي بسياري را تهديد ميکند. بسياري از زندانيان بي نام و نشان را حکومت اسلامي تا حد مرگ شکنجه ميکند واين زندانيان در اين شرايط وحشيانه٬ تنها راه اعتراضي را در اعتصاب غذا مي بينند و در ادامه اعتصاب غذا جان تعداد بيشتري به خطر مي افتد. به اين فجايع بايد متحدانه اعتراض کرد. نبايد ناظران ساکت اين فجايع باشيم.

بايد کاري کرد!

حکومت اسلامي ايران در يک روز درزندانهاي مشهد و تايباد٬ هشت نفر را اعدام کرد. امروز دوشنبه در اصفهان سه نفر را به اتهام نگهداري مواد مخدر کشت. مرتضي ۴۰ ساله٬ قادر ۳۲ ساله و غلامرضا ۳۸ ساله٬ چند ساعت قبل در ايران اعدام شدند.

زينب جلاليان به نقطه نامعلومي منتقل شده و کسي از سرنوشت او مطلع نيست. مطهره بهرامي ۴۱ ساله به اعدام محکوم شد. او در جريان تظاهراتهاي اخير در ايران دستگير شده و بهمراه همسر و پسرش در زندان بود.

در زندان اردبيل بهروز عليزاده ٬ ودود سعادتي و رحيم غلامي به اعتصاب غذا دست زده اند. در زندان اروميه هفده نفر زنداني سياسي به اعتصاب غذا دست زده اند و گفته ميشود زندانيان عادي نيز تمايل دارند به اين اعتصاب غذا بپيوندند.

زهر اسدپور گرجي ۵۱ ساله از روز ۲۲ فروردين به نقطه نامعلومي منتقل شده است....

و ليست اين نوع اخبار طولاني است.

ما بايد در مقابل اين جنايات وقيحانه و بيشرمانه حکومت اسلامي به پا خيزيم و متحدانه اعتراض کنيم. بويژه در خارج از کشور ميتوان کارهاي زيادي انجام داد. برگزاري ميتينگ در مراکز شهرها٬ تماس گرفتن با کميسيونهاي حقوق بشر و پارلمانها٬ تماس گرفتن با اتحاديه اروپا و تحت فشار گذاشتن اين نهادها براي اعتراض به جمهوري اسلامي ايران٬ و ..

بايد بويژه در خارج از کشور به اقدامات اعتراضي گسترده دست زد. ما بايد در دنيا با صداي بلند اعلام کنيم که نبايد گذاشت جمهوري جنايتکار اسلامي بيش از اينها جنايت کند. بايد در همه جا به خيابان آمد و اعتراض کرد.

کميته بين المللي عليه اعدام از سازمانها و نهادهاي مخالف اعدام دعوت ميکند به اين جنايات جمهوري اسلامي بيش از پيش و متحدانه اعتراض کنند.

ما از همگان دعوت ميکنيم که بهر طريق ممکن اخبار اين جنايات را منعکس کرده و براي برگزاري يک اعتراض جهاني عليه اعدامها و عليه تحت فشار گذاشتن زندانيان سياسي آماده شوند.

کميته بين المللي عليه اعدام
۱۲ آپريل ۲۰۱۰
تلفن تماس. ۰۰۴۹۱۷۷۵۶۹۲۴۱۳

Friday, April 09, 2010

A summary of my media and speaking engagements this past year

Maryam Namazie’s activities during 2009-2010:

The below are Maryam Namazie’s speaking engagements and media interviews during 2009-2010:

Maryam Namazie interviewed on Sharia arbitration in Britain on BBC The World, 15 March 2010:

Maryam quoted in an article in the Guardian called Fears over non-Muslim’s use of Islamic law to resolve disputes, The Guardian, 14 March 2010:

On Monday, March 8, 2010, Maryam spoke at a seminar organised by the One Law for All Campaign on Sharia law to mark International Women’s Day. The seminar discussed problems surrounding Sharia and provided recommendations on prohibiting it here in Britain. A working group is to be set up to amend legislation to ban the courts. The seminar took place at Conway Hall in London.

Maryam quoted in article called Scots Lawyers lead way with Sharia advice, Sunday Herald Scotland, 7 March 2010:

On 6 March 2010, Maryam Namazie spoke at an event organised by Iran Solidarity UK in Trafalgar Square, Northern Terrace, London to mark International Women's Day.
Maryam Namazie’s interview on International Women’s Day and situation in Iran on New Jersey USA’s progressive radio on 1 March:
Maryam was interviewed on BBC Oxford on February 25, 2010:
On 25 February 2010, Maryam spoke at Lincoln College in Oxford for ‘Think Week’ on Ethics and Freedom and how Sharia law violates it.

On February 11, 2010 Maryam is interviewed on February protests in Iran:

On 11 February 2010, Maryam spoke at a rally at the Islamic regime of Iran's embassy in London.

On 10 February 2010, Maryam spoke about the situation in Iran at a Human Rights Festival at Kingston University in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Maryam Namazie quoted in article on Sharia law in the Express, 7 February 2010:
Maryam's article on Sharia law was published in the Independent World on February 1, 2010:
Maryam Namazie's debate on banning the burka, Ireland's Newstalk Radio, 31 January 2010:
On January 28, 2010, Maryam spoke at a fundraising dinner for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All. Keynote Speaker at the event was well known humanist AC Grayling.

On 26 January 2010, Maryam debated the conflict between many of the world's most followed religious doctrines, the place of women, and equality in society at the University College Dublin Law Society.

On 25 January, 2010, Maryam spoke at a meeting organised by SW London Humanist Group in Richmond on ‘Sharia versus Human Rights.'

On November 27, 2009 Maryam spoke at a conference entitled: A voice from voiceless women in Malmo, Sweden.
Maryam Namazie on BBC Radio 4 on Sharia Law and 21 November rally, 22 November 2009:
On 21 November 2009, Maryam organised and spoke at a rally in Hyde Park with many other speakers. The rally was against Sharia law and in defence of universal rights and secularism. It was also in solidarity with people living under Islamic rule. Simultaneous acts of solidarity and support for the rally and its aims took place in over 20 countries worldwide, including Australia , Austria , Belgium , Canada , Denmark , France, Germany , Hungary , Israel , Kenya , Nigeria , Serbia and Montenegro and Sweden. Winners of the campaign's first art competition exposing the discriminatory nature of religious law and promoting freedom and equal rights was announced.

Maryam’s interview with the Secular Humanist League of Brazil, November 11, 2009:

Maryam Namazie’s chapter published in a book called 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why we are Atheists:
BBC Our World, Interview with Maryam Namazie on Sharia law, October 2009:
On July 13, 2009 Maryam launched Iran Solidarity at the House of Lords in London. Other speakers included Fariborz Pooya, Peter Tatchell, AC Grayling and Lord Dick Taverne.

On July 15, 2009, Maryam spoke at an event organised by Lancashire Secular Humanists
On the One Law for All campaign.
BBC Woman's Hour interview on the burka with Maryam Namazie, July 2009:
Easy Living Magazine writes about Maryam Namazie and her campaigning work, July 2009:

On June 21, 2009, Maryam spoke about the One Law for All campaign at an event organised by Essex Humanists.

On 21 May 2009, Maryam spoke about One Law for All at Oxford Town Hall at a meeting organised by Oxford Humanists.

On 17 April 2009, Maryam spoke about Islam, Human Rights and Homophobia at a talk sponsored by the Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association.

During April 4-5, 2009, Maryam spoke at the International Conference on Secularism, in Paris, France on a panel on the centrality of the struggle for women's rights.
One law for all activist speaks at UofT, The Strand, Canada March 29, 2009:
On March 14, 2009 Maryam spoke at a panel discussion on Political Islam, Sharia and Women's Rights in Toronto, Canada. Other speakers were Tarek Fatah (Founder of Muslim Canadian Congress and Author of "Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State," Justin Trottier (Executive Director of Center for Inquiry, Ontario) and Issam Shukri (Head of the Organization for the Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq).

On March 24, 2009, Maryam spoke on Political Islam and Women’s Rights at a meeting held at the University of Victoria in Victoria, Canada.

On March 20, 2009, Maryam Namazie gave a presentation on Political Islam, Sharia and Women's Rights at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

On March 16, 2009, Maryam spoke on Freedom of Expression and Political Islam at an event organised by Centre for Inquiry in Toronto, Canada.
One Law for All, National Post, Canada, March 12, 2009:
On sharia law in Britain, French TV, March 11, 2009:
On March 7, 2009, Maryam organised and spoke at a seminar entitled Sharia Law, Sexual Apartheid and Women's Rights at Conway Hall. Other speakers included Sargul Ahmad (International Campaign against Civil Law in Kurdistan Iraq Head), Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Journalist and British Muslims for Secular Democracy Chair), Naser Khader (Democratic Muslims Founder), Gina Khan (One Law for All Spokesperson), Kenan Malik (Writer and Broadcaster), Yasaman Atasheen (One Law for All Legal Coordinator), Fariborz Pooya (Iranian Secular Society Chair), and Carla Revere (Lawyers' Secular Society Chair).

Prior to the seminar she spoke at a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square with others.
Hundreds expected at anti-Sharia demo in London, The Times, March 6, 2009:
Maryam joins debate on whether Islam is intolerant, BBC's Question time, February 2009:
Maryam Namazie gives Another Thought for the Day for February 18, 2009 entitled: We had to flee to escape Sharia on The Guardian’s Comment is Free site:
This is a series of podcasts offering a secular alternative to the BBC Today programme’s Thought for the Day, in association with the Humanist Society of Scotland: You can see the transcript of the podcast here:
Maryam Namazie on One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, BBC Leicester, January 15, 2009:
On January 14, 2009, Maryam spoke at a meeting organised by the National Union of Teachers in opposition to faith schools in Leicester.
Maryam Namazie on One Law for All, Trouw, Netherlands, 11 December 2008:
Maryam Namazie, One Law For All Campaign Organiser for the UK campaign against Sharia law, talking on Women’s Hour on Radio 4, Wednesday 10th December 2008:

Maryam Namazie debating Faizal Aqtab Siddiqi (Hijaz College Islamic University) on BBC 5Live Breakfast Show with Nicky Campbell, Wednesday 10th Dec 2008:

On December 10, 2008 Maryam launched the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain at the House of Lords in London.
Women on Women, The Observer, December 7, 2008:
Novelist Helen Walsh says her living female icon is ‘Iranian activist Maryam Namazie.’.
Q&A: ‘Divinely Ordained Law Makes Abolition More Difficult,’ interview with Maryam Namazie, IPS, 2 December 2008:
On 22 November, 2008, Maryam spoke on Political Islam and Free Expression at a panel discussion in Stockholm, Sweden with Lars Vilks, Mina Ahadi, Rebecca Hybbinette, Jens Ganman, Afsaneh Vadhat, and Ellis Wohlner in Sweden.
Free Speech Threatened, BBC, Maryam mentioned in article, 10 November 2008:
On October 24, 2008 Maryam attended the Emma Humphreys Award Ceremony for which she was one of the nominees.

For more information:
Maryam Namazie
BM Box 6754
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731