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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Join 28 December demonstrations in solidarity with imprisoned students in Iran

More than two weeks ago 43 students and political activists across the cities of Iran were either abducted or were arrested before, during and after the national student day on 7 th December in Iran and all of them were imprisoned.

The arrested students who have not committed any crime but defending freedom and equality; those students who have expressed their opposition to the militarised atmosphere in the universities created by security forces; our comrades who have not committed any crime and only defended humanity and justice; the students who organised the national students day with slogans such as "No War", "University is Not a Militaries Camps", "No Sexual Apartheid", "Long Live Freedom & Equality", "Workers Unity", have been accused of actions against country's security including conspiracy and bombings.

It is a fact that political prisoners in horrible wards 209 and 325 of Evin prison live under difficult conditions. Every day we here news about bad health and worsening of the physical condition of our comrades. According to news we have received our friends are under torture and all physical and psychological pressure. We are gravely concerned about our comrades as their families are banned to visit them. Students' lawyers are not permitted to meet them and they are deprived of their basic human rights.

This treatment of students by the Islamic Republic has been faced with a fierce international protest. The amnesty international has organised a campaign to free students. The head of the EU Parliament has asked for their immediate release. During the last two weeks we have received hundreds of protest letters from across the world and numerous protest actions and demonstrations against the Islamic Republic and for immediate release of the imprisoned students have been organised.

On behalf of all students, we the Freedom and Equality – seeking Students are very proud of these waves of solidarity and thank all who were with and for us in these difficult days. But the fact of the matter is that despite all these efforts, our friends are still in prison.

To release the arrested students an international action is urgently required!

We call all the international organisations and campaigns to join us on 28th December to protest against the Islamic Republic and raise your voice to free the students in Iran. Your solidarity and joint actions all around the world will strengthen our efforts and make the release of our friends and comrades possible.

The movement for freedom and equality urgently needs your support and solidarity and united action.

Long Live Freedom!
Long Live Equality!
Freedom and Equality – seeking Students of Universities in Iran
19 December 2007 / 28th Azar 1386

Friday, December 21, 2007

Never a choice

As I have said on many an occassion, the veil - socially speaking is never a choice.

Lest anyone forget, Hojatolislam Gholam Reza Hassani said: "women who do not respect the hijab and their husbands deserve to die." Hassani, who leads Friday prayers in the city of Urumieh, in Iranian Azerbaijan said "I do not understand how these women who do not respect the hijab, 28 years after the birth of the Islamic Republic, are still alive." He is the representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in eastern Azerbaijan.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Political prisoners in Iran need international solidarity

In a pre-emptive attack on independent student organizations the Islamic regime in Iran arrested dozens of politically active students prior to Student's Day (December 7), practically a day of protest against the status quo during decades of student struggles. However, despite the said arrests, the students celebrated their day by holding protest actions in different forms on a national level. In the course of those actions more students were arrested. At present there are forty-odd student activists from various parts of the country held in detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, as well as in other known and unknown places.

The detained students have been subjected to torture and cruel treatment. The news of torture has gravely alarmed their families and the people at large. The trumped-up charges brought against the students have aggravated the widespread concerns for their lives. Among other things, the Ministry of Intelligence has released a communiqué with regards to the Leftist students claiming that “the troublemakers had already obtained slingshots, collected rocks, and made sonic hand grenades” or “the detainees were found in possession of a considerable amount of alcoholic beverages, immoral literature, heretical books, and leaflets with sacrilegious content.” Also, the state-run Raja-news website has published reports stating “following extensive nation-wide investigations of the universities, the core communist cell, with connections abroad (read: connections with opposition organizations abroad), has been discovered and arrested. The said communist cell plotted to raise riots at universities on December 7th through violent provocations, using incendiary devices such as Molotov cocktails and hand grenades ... etc.”

The fake and fabricated nature of such reports is obvious to all. However, these are heavy accusations used by the regime throughout its 30-year-long existence to line up thousands of freedom-seeking people against its firing squads. Today, it resorts to the same accusations against the students. This has, naturally, caused grave worries for the lives of the detained students among their families and the people at large. We simply have to thwart this conspiracy of the regime and free the imprisoned students by means of our international solidarity.

There is presently a massive protest movement underway for the release of the students at family, university, and town levels in various parts of the country. However, what is needed for a powerful fight for their immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other political prisoners in Iran, is an extended global solidarity. We, therefore, call upon all individuals, institutions and organizations defending human rights to join our international campaign for the release of the recently arrested students and all other political prisoners languishing in the dungeons of the Islamic regime in Iran.

It should also be noted here that besides the detained students a large number of labor activists - among whom the internationally well-known Mahmoud Salehi, Mansour Osaanlou and Ebraahim Madadi - as well as scores of women who have resisted the regime’s current wave of mass intimidation on the pretext implementing its Hijab and other Islamic codes are in jail too.
An immediate demand of the Iranian people is the unconditional release of the recently arrested students, as well as all other political prisoners. Lend them your extensive international support so that they can open the prison gates, release their political prisoners and take their just struggles against the barbaric Islamic regime one step further.
Please send your protest letters to:
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Iran

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran, Iran

Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Iran
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Equal Rights Now; Organization for the Defense of Women’s Rights
International Federation of Iranian Refugees
International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
December 17, 2007

The latest list of detained students, and pictures of some of them
1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ehsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkime Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim Soltan Beygi (Communications faculty, Allameh University) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic University) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbeh Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17- Roozbehan Amiri (Computer Science, Tehran University) 18-Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 19- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Allameh University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari (Rajaee University) 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran (Rajaee University) 27- Amir Aghayi (Rajaee University) 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (Chamran University) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University) 31- Parsa Kermanjian (Kermanshah University) 32-Abed Tavanche 33- Reza Arab (Mazandaran University) 34- Sadra Pirhayaty(Shahed University) 35-Peyman Piran 36- Majid Ashrafnejad (Rajaee University) 37- Shovan Merikhi (Mazandaran University) 38- Sara Khademi (Mazandaran University) 39- Nima Nahvi (Mazandaran University) 40- Mohammad Saleh Ayuman (Tehran University) 41- Sohrab Karimi (Tehran University) 42- Farshad Dustipoor (Tehran University) 43- Javad Alizadeh (Tehran University)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Release imprisoned students now!

To read the timeline of the events leading up to the arrests of students provided by the Communist Youth Organisation, click here.

Help free jailed students in Iran now!

In the last two weeks more than 40 student leaders and activists* have been rounded up by the Ministry of Information of the Islamic regime of Iran. We have been informed that at least 43 of the detainees are being held in the notorious Evin Prison, and the whereabouts of the rest is unknown. These students were arrested on or before 7 December 2007 in anticipation of protests on Student Day**.

Many of you are aware of the brutality and oppressive nature of the Islamic regime of Iran. Many of you would not be surprised by the degree of its savagery. However, what is extremely worrying in these arrests is the fabricated charges that have been announced publicly against them by the regime and state-controlled media. The Ministry of Information has stated: "The rioters had obtained bows and arrows and stones and made sonic hand grenades... The detainees had in their possession a significant amount of alcoholic drinks and illegal and immoral literature containing insults to the sacred". The Rajanews website, linked to president Ahmadinejad, has said: "Following extensive nationwide investigations of the universities by the security organisations, the core of the communists who had connections with aboard has been identified and arrested. The communist cell's plan was to create riots in the universities on 7th December by obtaining incendiary devices such as Molotov Cocktail and hand grenades to cause mayhem and disturbance".

Although references to 'alcohol, banned literature, insulting sanctities, link to opposition groups abroad', etc. only demonstrates the depth of the oppressive nature of this regime, the mention of 'obtaining incendiary devices such as Molotov Cocktail and hand grenades' are dangerous security codes which have been used in the past to execute thousands of dissidents or to impose long-term prison sentences. The news of torture of students is most worrying. The world must react to this atrocity.

The reality is that the Islamic regime, which has been defeated politically in the universities and in the face of students' struggles, aims to intimidate the people and the protest movement which is gathering momentum nationally by brutally suppressing the students.

The protest to free the jailed students is continuing. The families of the detained students have begun to organise protest meetings. It is therefore vital to organise an international solidarity movement to free the students and political prisoners. The Islamic Republic is fragile when faced with international pressure and would not be able to carry out its criminal plans against the students.

We call on all of you to use all in your power to support the detained students and their families and force the Islamic regime to immediately and unconditionally release the prisoners. It should also be noted that many labour activists, women's rights activists and women who have refused to obey the regime's Islamic dress codes are currently in prison. The people of Iran would appreciate the international solidarity with their struggle against the Islamic regime. International pressure would make a difference to the situation of the political prisoners, and would limit the ability of the regime in its repression against student, labour and women rights activists and the people of Iran.

Asqar Karimi
Head of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
12 December 2007

Send your protest letters to:

Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street Tehran, Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran , Iran

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, IranIran

Notes :

* List of detained students
1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ehsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkime Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim Soltan Beygi (Communications faculty, Allameh University) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic University) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbeh Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17- Roozbehan Amiri (Computer Science, Tehran University) 18-Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 19- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Allameh University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari (Rajaee University) 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran (Rajaee University) 27- Amir Aghayi (Rajaee University) 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (Chamran University) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University) 31- Parsa Kermanjian (Kermanshah University) 32-Abed Tavanche 33- Reza Arab (Mazandaran University) 34- Sadra Pirhayaty(Shahed University) 35-Peyman Piran 36- Majid Ashrafnejad (Rajaee University) 37- Shovan Merikhi (Mazandaran University) 38- Sara Khademi (Mazandaran University) 39- Nima Nahvi (Mazandaran University) 40- Mohammad Saleh Ayuman (Tehran Univercity) 41- Sohrab Karimi (Tehran Univercity) 42- Farshad Dustipoor (Tehran Univercity) 43- Javad Alizadeh (Tehran Univercity)
Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakolli and Ehsan Mansoori from the Polytechnic University of Tehran have been in prison and under torture since February 2007, sentenced to 2 to 3 years' prison in unofficial courts.

** Student Day (16th Azar in the Persian Calendar, 7 th December) is an important day in the students' protest movement in Iran. Initially marked in protest at the 1957 killing of three students by the Shah's police during a protest to a visit by the then Vice President Richard Nixon, it has become an annual day of protest by students against the Islamic Republic regime

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The left-leaning protest movement in Iran

If you still don't believe the protest movement in Iran is left leaning, take a look at these pictures of recent student demonstrations in Iran on the blog of the Communist Youth Organisation.

The banners say:
'Socialism or barbarity'
'Freedom, Equality'
'The university is not a military base'
'Student movement unite with the labour movement'...

Women must decide their fate not the state

Women must decide their fate not the state - one of the many slogans at a recent Tehran university demonstration.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Muslim apostate threatened over Christianity

To read a Sunday Telegraph article on Sofia Allam, which quotes the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, click here.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Protest the arrest of students in Iran!

Letter No.2

To Amnesty International and all human rights defending organizations all over the world

In our previous letter on 2nd of December we made you aware that Islamic Republic of Iran has arrested some students on the eve of Student’s Day in Iran and has done so in the most brutal way. Despite the arrest and threatening of activists and organizers of Student’s Day, on 4th of December, students organized the event in Tehran University. 30 people were arrested and now being held in Evin prison and unknown places. All the students have leftist tendencies and Islamic government treats its critics, specially those with leftist tendencies, very brutally and inhumanely and that has worried the families of those arrested, student activists and human rights defenders.

Here you can see a list of those arrested on 4th of December and we hope you, with your quick and definite reaction, be able to stop the Islamic Republic's crimes in relation to these arrested students and all political prisoners.

1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ahsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkim Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim SoltanBeygi (Communications faculty, Alame) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbe Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17-Roozbehan Amiri (Computer sciences, Tehran) 18- Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 10- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Alame University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran 27- Amir Aghayi 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (from Ahvaz) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University).

Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakolli and Ehsan Mansoori are also among those student activists from Polytechnic University of Tehran who are in prison and been tortured since February 2007 and have been condemned to 2 to 3 years of prison in unofficial courts.

Students and youth of Iran are determined to continue their protests until the release of their friend and classmates and they need the widest possible international support to stand against the inhumane Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Republic must be pressured to release them immediately. With your protest letters, protest gatherings and any other initiative demand the release of jailed students and political prisoners.

Communist Youth Organization
6th of December 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In the face of the threat of an attack on Iran, support the people of Iran!

The threat of a US attack and the devastating consequences of economic sanctions are looming over the people of Iran. US’s war with the Islamic Republic is not the war of the people. People of Iran and their interests are not represented in this conflict. They want neither the Islamic Republic, nor a military attack, nor economic sanctions. For years, they have been fighting the Islamic Republic and the unbearable conditions that this ultra-reactionary regime has imposed on society.

Iran is a society where people sing the Internationale anthem in their protest gatherings and chant “One earth, one humanity” and “One race, the human race”. It is a society where the slogan “Freedom, equality, human identity” has adorned the banner of its struggles. A society where the International Day of the Child is celebrated in large gatherings in scores of cities, and where its manifesto in defence of the rights of homeless children and child workers declares: “for children to be free, this inverted world must be changed”. It is a society where prisoners on death row, from deep inside the jails, call on the people of the world to fight for the universal abolition of the death penalty. Iranian people in their numerous demonstrations have repeatedly stated that they want neither war, nor a nuclear programme, nor the Islamic Republic.

People of the world!

To end the threat of a military attack on Iran, support the struggle of the people of Iran! The overthrow of the Islamic Republic by the will and power of the people is the only human and civilised way to end the threat of war and the deadly race that Islamic terrorism and US militarism and state terrorism are waging in Iran, the Middle East and globally. The Islamic Republic does not represent the people of Iran. This regime is their enemy, not their representative! This is a regime that has been able to survive only by executing tens of thousands of people and carrying out the most ghastly medieval tortures and punishments such as stoning to death, flogging and amputating. The Islamic Republic must be rejected and isolated internationally. The world must treat this regime of sexual Apartheid like it treated the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. Demand that the world’s states and international bodies not to recognise the Islamic Republic as the government of Iran. Demand that they cut off their diplomatic ties with this medieval regime.

In the fight against the US government’s warlike, inhuman and brutal policies, the Iranian people are on your side; they are asking you to be on their side in the fight against the Islamic Republic! To defeat the American government’s and its allies’ bullying and militarism, to defeat the reactionary and terrorist political Islamic movement and to overthrow the Islamic Republic, support the struggle of the people of Iran.

Hamid Taqvaee
Secretary of WPI Central Committee
30 November 2007

Makwan Moloudzadeh is executed

Another crime by the fascist Islamic regime in Iran:

The news has just reached us. Makwan was executed last night (local time) in Dizel Abad Prison in the city of Kermanshah. Makwan's family have just collected his body and are on their way to the city of Paveh. Around 200 cars are following in procession the car carrying the body of a youngster murdered in cold blood by a bunch of criminal thugs.

This crime must be recorded in history. Not only that the criminals in power in Iran must be indicted through international courts. Makwan had not committed any crime. He was executed for a sexual relation with a class mate when they were both 13. He was executed for homosexuality.

The International Committee Against Executions, along with several human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, launched a campaign to save Makwan. As a result of these actions, the head of the judiciary, Shahroudi, was forced to call for a review of the case, saying that the death sentence was incorrect.

According to our information, the local authorities in Paveh and Kermanshah were insistent that the death sentence should be carried out. One of the officials is reported to have said the city 'Paveh's youth have become too cheeky; we should execute one so that it may be a lesson to others'.

The Islamic regime executed young Makwan because it wanted to create a climate of fear. The prison authorities even said to the family of Makwan that they had been good enough not to execute him publicly.

Since the announcement of the news of Makwan's execution at the hands of Islamic hangmen, a wave of sympathy and solidarity has swept the city.

The International Committee Against Executions strongly condemns this savage and despicable crime by the Islamic Republic, and calls on the people of Paveh and Kermanshah to extend their sympathies and support to Makwan's family.

Our Committee will pursue this crime through international bodies so that the murderers may be prosecuted.

International Committee Against Executions
5 December 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Students demand Freedom and Equality and No War!

Despite the arrests and repression, students came out in large numbers to demand freedom and equality, and the freedom of political prisoners. they also came out in full force against both war and the Islamic regime of Iran.

To see student protests at Tehran University yesterday, click here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Protest the arrest of students in Iran!

According to the news received by the Communist Youth Organisation of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran today, December 2, the police forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran has raided the residences of Anoushe Azadfar and Elnaz Jamshidi, arrested them, and taken them to an unknown place. Elnaz Jamshidi’s brother, who was inquiring about his sister’s situation, was also arrested. Mehdi Garailou, Ehsan Azadfar, and Nader Ahsani have also been arrested by the police forces. Saeed Habibi, another student activist, has also disappeared and there is no information about his whereabouts. Saeed’s family has not been able to acquire any information about him. Six student activists of Mazandaran University have also been arrested and have been taken to an unknown place. Some other students have been trapped inside the University of Tehran. The police have surrounded the university in order to arrest these students: Behrouz Karimizadeh, Peyman Piran, Bijan Sabbaq, and Behzad Baqeri.

The students have been arrested because of their activities towards the University Student Day on December 7. The main focus of the protests and meetings for this year is the arrest and torture of students and political prisoners and the United States’ military threats. Every year students and other sections of society organise meetings, demonstrations and marches that usually take place around universities.

The Islamic regime in Iran attacks any protest; it intends to oppress any resistance. Despite the regime’s brutality, students are determined to make this year’s December 7 protests and meetings larger and stronger than ever.

The Communist Youth Organisation calls upon Amnesty International and all other human rights organisations and libertarians around the world to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for the arrest of the student activists and to demand the immediate and unconditional release of them and all political prisoners.

Libertarians of the world!
Iranian students and youth are in need of your support to resist the anti-human Islamic regime in Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran should be pressured in every possible way; the regime should be flooded with protesting letters; it should be opposed through demonstrations. The anti-human activities of this regime should be condemned and should be pushed back.

Communist Youth Organisation
December 2, 2007

Free Political Prisoners in Iran

According to news received by the Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Iran today, December 2, the police forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran raided the house of left-wing student activists and arrested a number of students that had gathered there for the preparation of December 7 activities. December 7 is the University Students Day in Iran. Every year alongside university students, all factions of society organise protests and meetings on this day and express their demands. The students had announced that this year the meetings, activities and protests would be held on December 4.

The names of some of the students who have been arrested in the raid today are as follows: Anoushe Azadfar, Mehdi Garailou, Elnaz Jamshidi, Ehsan Azadfar, Nader Ahsani, and Saeed Habibi.

The police forces of the Islamic regime have also surrounded the University of Tehran in order to arrest some other student activists. According to the news that we have received, Behrouz Karimizadeh, Peyman Piran, Bijan Sabbaq, and Behzad Baqeri are among the students that have been trapped inside University of Tehran. As night approaches their arrest becomes more likely. According to the same news two other non-student leftist activists have also been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence.

The Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners calls on all libertarian organisations around the world to react urgently against these arrests and put pressure on the Islamic Republic for the immediate, unconditional release of the arrested students. The Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners demands the immediate release of these students and the formerly arrested student activists, Ahmad Qassaban, Ehsan Mansouri, and Majid Tavakkoli. The Committee also demands the immediate release of worker activists Mahmoud Salehi, Ebrahim Madadi, Mansour Asanlou and all political prisoners.

We call upon all humanitarian and libertarian organisations around the world to protest against the Islamic Republic of Iran in every possible way and to send protesting letters to condemn the attacks of the Islamic regime against the people’s movements in Iran and in support of political prisoners.

The Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Iran
December 2, 2007

Taslima Nasreen's freedom to speak and write must be protected

December 3, 2007
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain statement

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain condemns the attacks by the political Islamic movement on Taslima Nasreen in Kolkata, and calls for the vigorous prosecution of those who led the assault and threatened to kill her. It is in the context of sustained death-threats and a campaign to cancel her visa, that Ms Nasreen has now withdrawn two pages from her book, Shodh.

We further condemn the government in Bengal for responding to the Islamist mob's demands by pressurising her to leave her adopted home in Kolkata, and we call on the Indian government to support her return to Bengal and protect her freedom to speak and write.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gillian Gibbons must be released today

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Statement
December 1, 2007

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain calls on the British government to demand the immediate release of school teacher Gillian Gibbons. Her arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment in Khartoum, Sudan, for insulting Islam because she allowed her class to name a teddy bear ‘Muhammad’ reveals the inhumane nature of Shariah or Islamic Law and its incompatibility with civil rights and 21st century values.

The CEMB notes that Islamic organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain find the events in Sudan ‘embarrassing’ – as indeed all supporters of the Shariah should. But they do so on the grounds that no insult to Islam was intended by Ms Gibbons. This implies that had an insult been perpetrated, it would have been deemed a crime and punishable according to the Shariah, which could have resulted in 40 lashes or worse. Recent death threats against apostates or the case of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad two years ago are some examples of how any criticism is deemed offensive or insulting. Islamists will not hesitate to use Islamic law where possible or other violent means to stifle such criticism. In line with this, they have been aggressively campaigning for a law on incitement to religious hatred in the UK, which will severely curtail freedom of expression.

The CEMB strongly defends freedom of expression, which crucially implies the freedom of criticism of all beliefs and ideologies including religion. Wherever this precious principle is abandoned, the appalling vista of the imprisonment of an innocent teacher, and the baying for her blood by Islamists, becomes a frightening reality.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Leila's story

Sold into prostitution aged 9, then saved from execution at 18, Leila now 22 tells her life story for the first time.

To listen, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

More Islamic [In]justice in Saudi Arabia

The gang rape victim who has become known as the 'girl from Al Qatif' has been sentenced to 200 lashes and a 6-month prison term in Saudi Arabia for being alone with a member of the opposite sex who was not an immediate family member before she was raped.

To find out more about this outrageous case and what you can do to help, visit the website of Women Living Under Muslim Laws.

Monday, November 19, 2007


This Tuesday November 20, 13.00-14.30 Maryam Namazie will be speaking on a panel entitled: ISLAM, REIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND UNIVERSAL RIGHTS IN MULTI ETHNIC DEMOCRACIES in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2005, the British parliament was very close to passing a law against “religious hatred”. In the spring of 2006 the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” and the member states where requested to ban materials that could lead to hostility towards religious groups. Meanwhile, secular grass root organisations like The Council of Ex-Muslims have been founded in several European countries. Must modern democracies limit the diversity of opinions in order to maintain religious diversity? Or is it the other way around; that religion in the public sphere, being the instrument of power that it is, must be allowed to be examined without limitations? Participants: Sadiq J.Al-Azm, emeritus professor of mordern European philosophy at the University of Damascus, Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born women’s rights activist, Anne-Sofie Roald, associate professor at the college of higher learning in Malmö, Suad Mohamed, Sweden's first female iman. Moderator: Arne Ruth.

For more information, click here.

New Council of Ex-Muslims Forum

Thanks to Sahara, Wisehaven, Abuali, Osmanthus and Matt, the Council of Ex-Muslims has a brilliant new forum! Visit it and join up to discuss, debate and chat.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

27 year old Zahra Bani Ameri hangs herself in prison

27 year old Zahra Bani Ameri - a medical student - committed suicide in a Hamedan Province prison two days after she was arrested on November 11 in a park for being there with a man.

Monday, November 12, 2007

All up and running now

Just to tell you that my website is up and running now. It doesn't have all the latest updates but I will do that soon.

Also my old email address is working fine now.

Please resend anything that you sent and bounced back the past few days.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Arrest of Haft Tape sugar factory workers

November 07, 2007
To: Worker organizations and unions all around the world

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has started to arrest striking Haft-Tape workers!
The workers demand international support!

On Monday, November 5th one of the workers of Haft-Tape Sugar Factory naming Qorban (Ramazan) Alipour was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and was taken to an unidentified place. On Wednesday November 7 th at 7.30 a.m. another worker of the same facilities naming Mohammad Haydari Mesr was also arrested. Today (Wednesday) workers stopped working in the morning round to protest the arrests and gathered in front of the main office of the factory. Workers declared that unless their comrades will be released, all 4000 permanent and 2000 temporary workers would go on strike on Thursday November 8 th.

The detained workers are accused of participating in strike for unpaid wages and benefits, circulating petition and collecting 2500 signatures demanding the right to form their union and their regular weekly general assembly. You might have already been informed that Haft-Tape workers went on strike on September 29 th demanding their unpaid wages and other benefits and rights and continued their action until October 9th. They succeeded to get the unpaid wages after 11 days. Nowadays, the Islamic regime tries to terrorize workers in order to prevent them from building their organization by arresting worker leaders.

Haft-Tape Sugar Factory workers have stood united and firm against such conspiracies. However, as the pressures put on them by the Ministry of Intelligence are intensified they need widespread international support. The International Labour Solidarity Committee calls on all worker organizations and unions to support Haft-Tape workers and to condemn the Islamic Republic for its anti-worker activities. Here are some of immediate demands of Haft-Tape workers:

1-Immediate and unconditional release of qorban Alipour and Mohammah Haydari Mesr;
2-Ending arrests of workers and cancellation of their cases;
3-The right to form weekly general assembly of workers on Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m.;
4-The right to form their union;

An international action in objection to arrest of workers such as Mamhmoud Salehi, Mansour Osanlou, and Ebrahim Madadi and urging their release and freedom for all political prisoners; an action similar to that of February 15 and August 9, 2006, can pressure the Islamic regime further and will be an effective step toward the release of detained worker leaders. We look forward to your actions in this regard.


Shahla Daneshfar
Coordinator of the International Labor Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Delaram Ali to Receive Lashings and Serve Prison Term of 2 Years 6 Months

Delaram Ali has been sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison and 10 lashes by the Islamic regime of Iran for her participation in the June 12, 2006 protest in support of women’s rights in Haft Tir Square which was violently attacked by the regime's security forces. She was beaten during the protest, dragged on the ground and her arm broken.

Her arrest, imprisonment and flogging are to be unequivocally condemened. She has to be released immediately.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Funding Islamic organisations support political Islam

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
5 November 2007

It is outrageous that the British Government is to hand out public money to Islamic organisations, and that taxpayers should help train clerics and fund madrassas, which are in effect sectarian schools and recruiting grounds for political Islam.

It is insulting that Hazel Blears sees this as ‘giving communities’ strength and skills – these Islamic organisations, clerics, and other self-appointed ‘community partners’ and self-styled ‘leaders’ do not represent a ‘community’ but rather political Islam.

We strongly believe that rather than being part of any solution, these organisations and individuals are part of the problem. Contrary to its claims, evidence suggests that the Government’s track record is tantamount to one of befriending and supporting Islamic groups. Now, not content with encouraging Islamic organisations and the primacy of religious identity, the Government is using public money to fund these.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain contends that it should not be the business of the Government to support religious belief and to underwrite the control of the ulema over their ‘faith communities’. We think that it would be far more socially beneficial to spend the £70 million on public services in ghettoised areas as well as to encourage a non-sectarian, secular outlook with an emphasis on citizenship and universal rights -free of ‘faith’ labels.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Beyond Belief

To read an article in the Big Issue in the North entitled Beyond Belief, click here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maryam Namazie speaks to Humanist MPs

Maryam Namazie was a guest speaker at a meeting on October 29 with Humanist MPs held at parliament. The meeting was organised by the British Humanist Association.

Maryam spoke about the importance of the Council of Ex-Muslims and the need for a concerted effort against political Islam through the defence of citizenship rights, secularism and humanity without labels.

She noted that the Councils across Europe are representative of a movement in Iran for similar demands, which is bringing political Islam there to its knees. She stressed that a US attack will only further strengthen the Islamic regime of Iran and push back the progressive social movement in that country.

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Trade Unions and Islamic organisations

Today, October 29, the Muslim Council of Britain and London trade unions are holding a conference entitled: 'Recognising Strenghts and Building Partnerships; Trade Unions and Muslim Organisations in London' at City Hall. The conference is supported by the mayor of London. Here is the statement of the Council of Ex-Muslims on the conference and the April 2007 joint seminar by the Trade Union Congress and the Muslim Council of Britain entitled Trade Unions and the Muslim Community:

Few of the ordinary people who are identified in Britain as 'Muslim' are represented by the Muslim Council of Britain; they are in fact secular and want religion and the state to be kept separate.

For British Trade Unions - that have an outstanding record of fighting for justice and fairness, defending free speech, fighting for workers' right and defeating the Far Right - to engage with and give credibility to a right wing organisation such as the Muslim Council of Britain is unfortunate and mistaken. The MCB draws inspiration from the neo-fascist Jammaat-e-Islami. British Trade Unions have pioneered the struggle for equality, diversity and the rights of women and LGBT members. The Muslim Council of Britain has, for example, openly declared that gay and lesbians are unacceptable and harmful and maintained the discrimination against millions of women by the imposition of sexual apartheid and the veil.

For British Trade Unions to link to such right-wing Islamic groups is to betray the memory of Trade Unionists across the world who have died in the struggle against political Islam and the struggle for political and trade union freedoms British workers have fought for over centuries.
British Trade Unions should approach British ‘Muslims' as fellow workers and encourage them to fully participate and integrate with other workers in Britain . It is a mistake to give credence to self-styled and self-appointed leaders of reactionary religious organisations.

We appeal to UNISON, Unite, SERTUC and other Trade Unions in London and the UK to maintain their heritage of secular and progressive thinking and not link to stereotypes of medievalism.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sex Matters

I will be speaking at the Humanist Society of Scotland's annual conference tomorrow on sex, violence and Islam. To find out more about the conference, visit their site.

Mina Ahadi on BBC's Radio 4 and NSS Newsline

To listen to Mina Ahadi's interview on BBC Radio 4 broadcast last night, click here. It is 32 minutes into the programme.

Also, to read the National Secular Society's press release on her, click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Johann Hari: Why do we ignore the plight of ex-Muslims?

Published today on The Independent
25 October 2007

Imagine a woman – let's call her Beth – who has been an unthinking atheist all her life, just because her family and her friends are, too. One day, she decides to convert to Islam. As soon as she dons the hijab, her neighbours start to swear and spit at her in the street. A brick is thrown through her window; while she is sleeping, her car is torched.

When she speaks out publicly, the death threats come. She is a "whore" who will be "raped to death". All the other converts to Islam are receiving the same threats. Some have been beaten. Some are on the run. When they approach the police, they are wary-to-hostile. The officers ask suspiciously: what have you been doing to anger these Muslim-bashers?

If this was happening this way, it would – rightly – be a national scandal. There would be Panorama specials, front-page fury and government inquiries into Islamophobia. But it is happening – only in the reverse direction. All over Europe, there are Muslims who are exercising their right in a free society to change their religion, or to become atheists. And they are regularly being threatened, beaten and burned-out, while the police largely stand by, inert.

Ehsan Jami is an intelligent, softly-spoken 22-year-old council member for the Dutch Labour Party. He believes there should be no compromise, ever, on the rights of women and gay people and novelists and cartoonists. He became sick of hearing self-appointed Islamist organisations claiming to speak for him when they called for the banning of books and the "right" to abuse women. So he set up the Dutch Council of Ex-Muslims. Their manifesto called for secularism – and an end to the polite toleration of Islamist intolerance. As he put it: "We want people to be free to choose who they want to be and what they want to believe in."

Ehsan was immediately threatened with death. He was kicked to the ground outside the supermarket. He was grabbed in a street with a knife put to his throat. He can't afford to be glib about the risk: he remembers the near decapitation of Theo Van Gough on the streets of Amsterdam. Yet instead of rallying to Ehsan, his party condemned him. The Dutch deputy Prime Minister, Wouter Bos, said they disapproved of an organisation that "offends Muslims and their faith".

In Britain, my friend Maryam Namazie recently set up the British Council of Ex-Muslims. She was immediately flooded with calls from frightened people who wanted to join but were too intimidated. Endless phone threats inform her that she will soon be beheaded – but she has learned that the police just aren't interested. "They have never been very helpful," she says. "They act as if it's your fault for 'provoking' these people, when in fact the Islamist movement uses threats and intimidation as a tool to silence their critics."

People raised on the honeyed multicultural platitudes that religions such as Christianity and Islam are all about love and hugging puppies will wonder why these people would take such risks to leave their faith. This week I interviewed Mina Ahadi, the founder of the German branch of the Council of Ex-Muslims, after she was named Secularist of the Year.

Mina is a warm fifty-something woman with a big laugh, and when we meet – in a house in London I can't disclose for safety reasons – she is wearing a big jumper and small, wire-rimmed glasses that make her look like any other German Hausfrau. But she has a very different story, taking me back to her childhood in rural Iran. She tells me: "As a Muslim girl, I was not allowed to do so many things. From the age of 12 onwards I was basically not allowed to leave the house. I couldn't play on the street, I couldn't mix with boys, I couldn't even do the shopping. I hated it. There was terrible violence towards the women in my community, everywhere. One of my cousins, Nahid, went into a man's house unaccompanied, and the men in my family tied her to a tree and whipped her. When I read the Koran for myself I was shocked, because many of these things are actually recommended by the Prophet Mohammed."

She soon realised she was an atheist, a view reinforced by her reading of Charles Darwin. When she went to university, the Islamists began to force a theocracy on the Iranian people. She refused to accept the mass sackings of women and the enforced veiling. She was beaten for speaking out, and had to go into hiding. One day, her husband and four of their friends were taken away. Nine months later, in another hiding place, she read that they had been executed.

She decided to seek refuge in Austria, because she read in a book that women's life expectancy there was higher than men's, "and I thought – that's my kind of country!" But she was amazed to find that even in Europe, Islamist groups were being treated as the respected spokesmen for all Muslims by politicians and journalists. Even here, the extreme wing threatened her with death for forming the International Committee Against Stoning to save women, and the police did little. On her visit to Britain, they offered her no protection at all.

If Christian fundamentalists were doing this – as they used to, and would like to again – none of us would hesitate in erupting in rage. But because Islamic fundamentalists are doing it, we feel awkward, and fall silent. The difference is the colour of their skin. There's a word for this: racism.

Women such as Mina expose a hole in the stale logic of multiculturalism. She shows that secularism is not a "Western" value: she thought of it all by herself, in a rural village in Iran. Yet the attitudes that lead to the persecution of apostates are widespread even within British Islam, because we patronisingly assume it is "their culture" and do not challenge it. Some 36 per cent of British Muslims between the ages of 18 and 24 think apostates should be murdered. The younger British Muslims are, the more they believe it – a bad sign for the future, unless we start arguing back. This isn't just kids sounding off. Some act on it: a Despatches documentary this year, Unholy War, found dozens of cases of apostates having their cars blown up, their kids threatened and even being beaten and left for dead, on British streets.

One way to keep up the pressure for this reform within Islam is to have a thriving movement of ex-Muslims. They demonstrate to ordinary Muslims that if they are appalled by the unreformed bigotry of their faith as it currently stands, there is a rich and rewarding alternative – secular humanism.

If we in Europe do not defend people like Ehsan and Maryam and Mina, who are fighting fundamentalist thugs for the basic human right to believe and say what they want, do we deserve these rights for ourselves?

Congratulations Mina Ahadi!

Maryam Namazie’s congratulatory message to Mina Ahadi on winning the National Secular Society’s 2007 Secularist of the Year award, October 25, 2007

Dear Mina

Your winning the 2007 Secularist of the Year award is a cause for celebration for people across the world. This well-deserved honour reiterates your leading role in the battle for secularism, rights and a world worthy of 21st century humanity.

You and your movement have always been about saving lives and putting people first. Thanks in large part to your efforts, it is this life-affirming politics that is finally gaining the recognition it deserves.

Putting people first is revolutionary in a world where people are dehumanised and deemed to be represented by political Islam or US militarism and labelled by a million characteristics beginning with religion, nationality or ethnicity and never ending in human.

In such a world, millions of often resisting and dissenting people are deemed to be represented by the likes of the misogynist and inhuman Islamic regime of Iran, the Muslim Council of Britain or the Islamic Human Rights Commission. In such a world, opposing the political Islamic movement and defending its victims is deemed to be in aid of US militarism whilst opposing US militarism is deemed to be in support of political Islam. In such a world, people, real live human beings, are absent from the equation.

To bring people back into the equation, to give their dissent and resistance a voice, to defend humanity without labels, is what you and your movement have done. This recognition is a victory for all of us.

I salute you.

Maryam Namazie

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Footage of the NSS Secularist of the Year award ceremony

Thanks to Reza Moradi for the following footage of the National Secular Society's Secularist of the Year Award ceremony:

Part 1

Part 2: This is the bit that the NSS introduces Mina and Mina's speech

Part 3

Monday, October 22, 2007

One law for all

October 22, 2007

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain notes with concern the Islamist campaign to give legal weight to Sharia law within British law. The campaign seeks to influence family and legal practitioners into dealing with particularly children of Muslim parents in accordance with Sharia law.

Universal principles and laws must apply to all, and practitioners must understand that no section of the population should come under the jurisdiction of religious laws under the guise of multiculturalism and legal pluralism. It is discriminatory and unfair to have different and separate standards and norms for ‘different' people. Children in particular must be given full protection, rights, and equality.

Priority must be given to the welfare of children not religion.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On 2007 National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award Winner Mina Ahadi

Congratulations to the brilliant Mina Ahadi who won the 2007 Secularist of the Year award this Saturday October 20! I will pass on any messages of congrats you post here or email me.

Here is what Richard Dawkins said:

I have long felt that the key to solving the worldwide menace of Islamic terrorism and oppression would eventually be the awakening of women, and Mina Ahadi is a charismatic leader working to that end. The brutal suppression of the rights of women in many countries throughout the Islamic world is an obvious outrage. Slightly less obvious, but just as outrageous, is the supine willingness of western liberals to go along with it. It is worse than supine, it is patronising and condescending: "Wife-beating is part of 'their' culture. Who are we to condemn their traditions?" A religion so insecure as to mandate the death penalty for apostasy is not to be trifled with, and ex-Muslims who stand up and fight deserve our huge admiration and gratitude for their courage. Right out in front of this honourable band is Mina Ahadi. I salute her and congratulate her on this well-deserved award as Secularist of the Year.

Here is introduction Keith Porteus Wood, the Executive Director of the National Secular Society's gave on the day:

What can the National Secular Society say about the winner of this year’s Secularist of the Year award – other than to affirm our deepest admiration for Mina Ahadi’s courage and commitment?

Mina Ahadi started her serious political activities when she was 16 and living in Iran. She was at university in 1979 in Tabriz at the time of the Iranian revolution and she began immediately to organise demonstrations and meetings to oppose the compulsory veiling of women. This courageous dissent got her noticed by the Islamic regime’s authorities and soon she had to go underground to avoid retribution.

The end of 1980 her house was raided by the police and her husband and 4 of their comrades arrested. Mina escaped only because she wasn’t at home at the time.

Her husband and the 4 arrested were all executed by firing squad soon after. She lived underground for some time and then fled to Iranian Kurdistan in 1981, where she continued to struggle against the Islamic regime for the next ten years. In 1990 she went to Vienna. She moved to Germany in 1996 and has lived in Europe since then.

In all that time, Mina Ahadi has struggled mightily for the rights of women. She founded the International Committee against Stoning – which now has over 200 branches throughout the world. She also heads the International Committee against Executions and is the spokesperson for the newly formed women’s rights organisation, Equal Rights. She formed the Central Council of ex-Muslims in Germany early this year to help people renounce Islam and religion should they so wish.

This brilliant idea has now been replicated in several other European countries, including in Britain by our own Maryam Namazie.

Undeterred by the inevitable death threats, Mina has pressed on, determined as ever to protect women from the ravages of Islam.

Apostasy, of course, is forbidden in Islam and in some Islamist states it carries the death penalty – including in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania.

She calls such states “Islam-stricken” and her own experience of living and suffering under such regimes has made her ever more determined to rescue others from their clutches.

I cannot tell you how proud the National Secular Society is to honour this wonderful, compassionate, kindly but strong-as-steel woman. Ladies and gentlemen, Mina Ahadi.

Condemn the Attempt to Assassinate a Labour Activist from Sanandaj

On October 18, Majid Mohammadi, one of the worker activists of city of Sanandaj was attacked by masked armed men of the Islamic Republic and got wounded seriously. At the present, he is in Amir Alam Hospital in Tehran.

The worker-communist Party of Iran strongly condemns this criminal act. The Party will use its entire means in Iran and abroad to organize a strong line of protest against this new crime of the Islamic Republic. The WPI calls on all libertarian women and men to protest against this act.

The use of masked terrorists against workers is the continuation of defeated efforts of an exhausted regime in order to terrorize the society and the workers who form the front line of the struggle to topple the Islamic Republic. The widespread wave of public executions and stoning, the attacks against women under the pretext of women’s disobedience from Islamic dress codes, attacks against worker activists, teachers, and student leaders, sentencing worker leaders to lashes and imprisoning and torturing of student activists have fallen short to terrify and pull back the struggle of the people in Iran against the regime. On the contrary, these atrocities have caused widespread international support for the people of Iran. The protests in defence of Mahmood Salehi and Mansoor Asanloo on August 9 that was held in several cities around the world, widespread demonstrations on September 7 and October 10, and the divulgement of the Islamic regime for its atrocities and crimes is the answer that the Islamic Republic received from the international community. The response of the people inside Iran against these atrocities has been even stronger. The protests against Ahmadinejad in Tehran University on October 8, the united march of Haft-tape workers demanding their rights, prevalent meetings and demonstrations in defence of children rights the biggest of which was held in Sanandaj; all these show that despite its barbaric acts the Islamic regime is facing extensive and rising popular protest and resistance. These protests are leaning towards left and are getting more organized every passing day and carry the stamp of the working class. The Islamic Republic has already lost this battle on the political front. The Islamic regime looks for its only way to persist through inventing new types of atrocities and terrorizing the public.

The attempt to murder a worker activist from Sanandaj should be placed within this context. So understood, confronting this criminal act becomes even more important. We should show to the Islamic Republic that use of such means would cause massive international protests. All libertarians of the world, especially those in Sanandaj should protest against this crime and should condemn the Islamic regime; they should embrace Majid Mohammadi’s family in solidarity. The youth and the students should protest the assassination attempt against Majid Mohammadi on a nationwide scale and should demand the arrest and punishment of those responsible. Everybody should go to visit Amir Alam Hospital to show that this crime will be answered by massive waves of protests. Workers all around the country should openly condemn the murder attempt of Majid Mohammadi in their communiqués, pamphlets and in their general assemblies; they should demand immediate and unconditioned release of Mahmood Salehi, Mansoor Asanloo, and all political prisoners. The Islamic Republic should face the fact that an attempt to murder a worker activist will not terrify the public but will cause a wave of massive and extensive protests. This is the only way to confront the dirty means of assassination that is used by the Islamic regime.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran wishes quick recovery for Majid Mohammadi and deeply sympathizes with his family and comrades. The WPI works in order to organize extensive and massive protests against this barbaric act and against the Islamic Republic internationally. The Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on all libertarians, worker unions and progressive organizations all around the world to actively protest the assassination of worker activist, Majid Mohammadi.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Support for the Workers in Iran

Support for the Workers in Iran at the Solidarity Week of the International Transport Workers’ Federation

To: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

Dear Comrades

We have been informed that your federation has decided on a number of actions in defense of Mansoor Asanlou, the chairperson of the Union of Municipal Transportation Workers of Tehran and the Vicinities, during week of solidarity with transport workers of the world between October 15th and October 22nd.

The International Labor Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran appreciates this decision. This is another valuable step following the international campaign to free Mansoor Asanlou and Mahmood Salehi that was called on by your federation and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on August 9.

As you may know, beside Asanlou, the Islamic Republic has also detained Ebrahim Madadi and Mahmoud Salehi. Ebrahim Madadi is a member of executive committee of the Union of Municipal Transportation Workers of Tehran and the Vicinities. He has been arrested on August 9, the day of international support for workers in Iran, and has been in prison since then. Mahmoud Salehi, one the well-known worker leaders of city of Saqez in province of Kurdistan, has been imprisoned by the Islamic Republic for more than seven month despite the malfunction of his only kidney, which threatens his life. Mahmoud Salehi had formerly been detained and imprisoned two more times.

Nevertheless, eleven workers that had been arrested on May Day were sentenced to 90 days of imprisonment and 10 lashes. Their names are Khaled Savari, Eqbal Latifi, Yadollah Moradi, Tayyeb Molayei, Fars Goveyliyan, Sadiq Amjadi, Habibullah Kalkani, Muhiyiddin Rajabi, Tayyeb Chatani, Sadiq Sobhani, and Abbas Andaryari. Two well-known worker leaders in Sanandaj, Sheys Amani and Sadiq Karimi, have been sentenced to 2.5 years of prison. Five other worker activists, Ata Hosseini, Rahim Hosseini, Kamel Hakimi, Khaled Bikhali, and Anwar Hosseiynzadeh, who had been arrested during the demonstration for release of Mahmoud Salehi, have been sentenced to 40 lashes and 91 days of prison.

Ending oppression and threats against Iranian worker activists; unconditional and immediate release of detained worker leaders Mahmoud Salehi, Mansour Asanlou, and Ebrahim Madadi; condemnation and prohibition of lashing worker activists; condemnation of the attacks against workers’ protests are among the urgent demands of the workers in Iran. In the week of solidarity with transport workers of the world these demands should be emphasized as the headlines of international solidarity with the workers in Iran:

1-Unconditional and immediate release of detained worker leaders Mahmoud Salehi, Mansour Asanlou, and Ebrahim Madadi;

2-Abolition of prison and lash sentence against the workers that were detained on May Day in Saqez and Sanandaj, and stopping such sentences against workers;

3-Ending oppressions and threats against the worker leaders and activists in Iran;

4-Condemnation of the attacks of police forces to workers’ protests; a recent example of such atrocity is the attack against the picket lines of Shoushtar Paper Factory and Karoun Sugar Factory workers almost a month ago.

In solidarity;

Shahla Daneshfar
Coordinator of the International Labor Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
October 14, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Against political Islam and US-led militarism and in defence of the people of the Middle East

To see my speech at the counter demonstration against the Islamic regime of Iran's Al Quds Day on October 7 in Piccadilly Circus, London, click here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A healthy society cannot privilege religious belief

Press Release
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

British Universities have a public duty to immediately terminate the studies of any medical students refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases. If a medic is not competent to deal with such diseases then there can be no question of that person ever becoming a doctor; it follows therefore that there is no point in training doctors with such critical gaps in their knowledge.

A healthy society cannot privilege religious belief. We do not allow vegetarian medics to turn their backs on mad-cow disease, or non-smokers on emphysema. This is an Islamist campaign to push boundaries, to undermine civil society and the universal right to health care and to discriminate on the basis of religion. It must be met with zero tolerance.

The General Medical Council and the British Medical Association should make clear that those who put their own personal beliefs before the health of patients and the public have no place in the medical profession.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Capital punishment: the most deplorable form of deliberate murder

In commemoration of the International Day against the Death Penalty on October 10, I refer those who have not yet done so, to read Mansoor Hekmat's piece in opposition to what he calls the most deplorable form of deliberate murder. You can read the interview by clicking here.


I have just read that the US supreme court will soon decide on whether to ban execution by lethal injection if it is deemed to be 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

Of course its cruel and unusual but isn't that what the death penalty is?

A ban on lethal injections is clearly not enough.

It's not enough till the death penalty is banned everywhere.

On October 10, there are demonstrations across the world against this vile and inhuman state murder.

Join them.

End it now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Against Al Quds Day in London

Time for a Counter Demo 12 pm, Sunday 7 October, Piccadilly Circus on the Islamic regime of Iran's Al Quds Day in London.

Join us.

To download the poster, click here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Against the Fatwa, In Defense of Freedom

Communiqué about the Death Threat against Gunter Wallraff

The Islamists have threatened Gunter Wallraff, the German writer and critique, to death. In an Internet site that supports al-Qaeda and exhibits videos about beheadings it is said: “This person (Gunter Wallraff) has launched a new attack against Islam. He wants to recite a part of the Satanic Verses in a mosque in Koln.” Recently Wallraff has announced that he had hidden Salman Rushdie in his house for three months. He has also said that he has read parts of the Satanic Verses to his Muslim friends and they have laughed in response; he also wants to recite the book for Muslims in a mosque. Wallraff has said that dogmatism, threats, and fatwas are made by organized Islamic groups and not by ordinary Muslims. Since being threatened, police has started safeguarding Wallraff.

This is the second fatwa by Islamists within recent weeks. A few weeks ago Al-Bahgdadi, the head of al-Qaeda in Bahgdad, made a fatwa for killing Lars Vilks, the Swede artist and cartoonist, and Ulf Johansson, chief editor of Nerikes Allehanda daily newspaper. Fatwa for killing Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin, and killing Van Gogh in Netherlands are well-known examples of Islamic fatwas in the past. Nevertheless, the real number of fatwas that are practiced on a daily basis by Islamic groups and governments against the people, especially against women, in Islam-ridden countries is extremely higher.

Islamic terrorism has become a nightmare of the people of the world. We should oppose this Islamic gangsterism. The method of opposing political Islamic terrorism is not flirting with its so-called moderate factions. “Moderate” or “fundamentalist”, these are parts of the same movement. Whenever acquiring enough power, this movement starts to oppress, to kill, and to make fatwas. Those who plan to oppose Islamic terrorism through flirting with “moderate” or “conservative” Islam in fact prefer the persistence of political Islam. They need the Islamic atrocity against the left and libertarianism; they justify their own anti-human state terrorism using political Islam. The only way to fight against political Islam is to decipher any kind of flirting with the mafia of religion in general and to sweep away political Islam by popular, secularist, socialist, and libertarian movements.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran strongly condemns the threat to kill Gunter Wallraff and calls upon all libertarians of the world to struggle against Islamist movements and to unconditionally defend freedom of expression. We should appear on the scene massively to push back Islamic groups. The WPI also calls on libertarian people in Germany, Sweden, and all around the world to actively support the libertarian movement of the people of Iran against the Islamic Republic which is the backbone of political Islam. The Party also calls on libertarians to support libertarian, secularist, and socialist movements in Islam-ridden countries.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
September 25, 2007


On Sunday 30 September from 1430-1700, Maryam Namazie will be the keynote speaker at the ANNUAL REUNION OF THE KINDRED HUMANIST SOCIETIES being held at Conway Hall, London.

There will be music by Esther Williams, Piano.

Refreshments will be available.

All members and friends are welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Borders Exist To Be Crossed

A shorter version of the below article was published in issue 20 of Gallerie.

Borders Exist To Be Crossed
Anthony McIntyre

As I write it is the 26th anniversary of the death of IRA hunger striker, Bobby Sands. His tenacity and endurance in the face of ponderous adversity has inspired many souls throughout the globe to make that daunting step into the cauldron of injustice, the heat of which is only ever tempered by the determination of the human psyche to douse it.

It is often tempting to feel that there is nothing that can be done for Bobby Sands other than to remember him. Perhaps cherish the last few seconds of snatched conversation ever shared with him in a freezing and filthy prison cell on the 18th of December 1980; a mere five months before he succumbed on the 65th day of his hunger strike in demand of recognition that he was political prisoner. Yet to leave it at that would be a disservice to one of the modern era’s most iconic symbols against repression. Bobby Sands was an internationalist. Recognising in other activists throughout the globe the sense of purpose that so animated him affords both further meaning and significance to his life and death.

On the 26th anniversary of his prolonged and torturous demise it is fitting to write of the Iranian exile Maryam Namazie whose activism and writing mirror in so many ways the activities of one unbreakable Irishman who in his own words stood trembling but undeterred on the precipice of finality.

What gives people the strength to cope with adversity is a question often posed when the majority would rather sit in silent anonymity and allow others to risk immolation as a consequence of carrying the torch that casts light into dark corners where injustice mushrooms. Maryam Namazie was never content to view the act of sitting as a strategic option. On many occasions she moved lock stock and barrel from one country to another in furtherance of the justice she thinks is lacking in a heartless world. Nor is she any stranger to torch carrying. Frequently she thrusts it into the vampire-like faces of the things of the night that promote religion as a power structure. Her most recent project, promoting the Third Camp as a radical and humane path between US militarism and Islamic fundamentalism, is only the latest in a long line of initiatives which have placed her at the coalface of confrontation armed only with a voice that so audibly speaks truth to power.

In the campaigning crucible for quite some time, she first came to my attention when she lent her name to a manifesto against totalitarianism. The manifesto was drafted in the wake of the racist religious violence directed against the Danes as a means to discourage Danish artists from exploring perceptions of Mohammed. Namazie was uncompromising in her defence of free speech. One of her co-signatories had been a colleague of the late Theo Van Gogh, hacked to death by a religious bigot as he cycled the streets of Amsterdam in November 2004.

I was appalled as many were by his murder. His ideas and beliefs are not relevant here. He was murdered for expressing them. I think his murder brought home to many the dangers of the political Islamic movement – since assassination has been one of their tools for many decades in the Middle East and also Europe, against, for example, Iranian dissidents.

Her determination in facing down such theocrats and their allies in the totalitarian left has been inspirational to those favouring a broader discussion of the matters that shape their daily lives. When she was profiled in the web journal The Blanket a year ago, her views and activism led to many people professing a better understanding of the issues that so concern her. Seemingly, there had been a pervasive belief that political Islam somehow could be reduced to an anti-imperialist impulse, the dominant strand of which was resistance. Maryam Namazie more than any of the 12 manifesto signatories profiled in The Blanket disabused its readers of that notion. It was uplifting to find amongst their number men who had stood shoulder to naked shoulder with Bobby Sands.

It is this fundamental mischaracterisation of political Islam based on Islam’s own depiction of itself as a resistance force or as a voice for the oppressed and voiceless which annoys her most. ‘I understand the concept that one person's terrorist can be another's freedom fighter but there is no freedom for those the Islamists claim to represent.’ Another bugbear is ‘the somewhat fashionable notion that criticizing Islam and the movement is a form of racism - the deceptive concept of Islamophobia.’

Important as her observation is, there is a strong feeling in particular amongst the left that Islamophobia is the racism of our time. Many Muslims claim to be victims of the phenomenon. Namazie remains to be persuaded:

It’s deceptive because opposition to or criticism of, or even 'phobias' of ideologies, religions, cultures or political movements are not racism. It is only in the bizarre world of the New World Order's cultural relativism that Islamophobia has been increasingly given legitimacy as a form of racism. This is an important point and one I have stressed on numerous occasions because I believe the use of the term 'Islamophobia' is in itself an attempt to silence a critique of Islam, political Islam and its oppression by deeming all those who do as racist.

For Namazie it seems Islamophilia, an ailment peculiar to sections of the European left, is the equal and opposite of Islamophobia but it goes unaddressed. Consequently, issues that are in need of public airing go unexplored.

At present, the life of Maryam Namazie strikes observers as pretty packed and hectic. She campaigns against stoning, the veiling of children, Sharia law, executions, sexual apartheid, and women's rights abusers. A prolific writer and social commentator she also serves as the Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations Committee, host to TV International English and has worked in Amnesty International.

Since giving birth to her child a year and a half ago she senses that the volume of her political activity has lessened. Holding down a full time job while bringing up a child that is breast fed means long hours and sleepless nights. Quitting however is not a feature to be sketched into the landscape of Maryam Namazie. When asked by her father would she give up political activism with the birth of her son her response was to tell him that she had more incentive to engage politically because it has become even more important to have a better world for her child.

Although an unalloyed secularist she was brought up in a Muslim household by parents who were not strict on applying the teachings of Islam. As a result being Muslim never figured as part of her identity. This fortified her emotionally for the intellectual challenge involved in viewing Islam through a critical prism, a path she wandered onto as a result of the Islamic regime being established in Tehran where she had been born and raised as a child. With her family she left Iran in 1980 after the installation of the Islamic regime. Since then her odyssey against oppression has seen her domiciled in the US, Sudan, India and Britain where she currently resides. Her departure from Iran was initially considered only a temporary measure:

Since the schools had been shut down in order to Islamicise them, my mother brought me to India (the only place we could get into at the time because of someone my parents knew) to put me in a school and return but then she never did. My dad had to leave with my baby sister and joined us a few months later.

Life in India was not a matter of simply settling down. The family could not gain residency in the country and so after sitting her O-Levels it packed suitcases and moved to Bournemouth in the UK where Maryam began studying for her A levels. But acquiring residency in Britain proved no easier than it had been in India. The family was on the trek once more, crossing an ocean and state borders. The US became ‘the place that gave my family a home and a place to belong.’ A two year interregnum from the US was spent in Sudan where she worked assisting Ethiopian refugees. A newly installed Islamic government, however, threatened her for setting up a human rights body. She fled the country and returned to the US.

The major influences in her politically nomadic life have been ‘the Iranian revolution, my family, worker-communism and Mansoor Hekmat.’ Tragically, the life of Hekmat was to be cut short by cancer in 2004. He was part of the leadership of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran which was surviving in exile in London. This ultimately brought her to the British capital. She first heard of Hekmat in Turkey ten years before he died and was impressed by his humanity. In distilling the influences in her life down it is evident Hekmat was the most important:

The Iranian revolution gave me first hand experience of the power of people to overthrow a dictatorship. Unfortunately, the revolution was expropriated and crushed by the Islamic movement. A revolution gives you hope, reveals the power of human will, and politicizes you. The experience of flight and the seeking of another home as well as starting over for my family and many others we knew was another. So was the reliance on family and loved ones to get through difficult times.Finally, the most important influence on my life was that of worker-communism and Mansoor Hekmat.

When asked to detail the purpose of the Third Camp she is clearheaded in her presentation of the crucial issue, the intellectual cataract that fails to see that by focussing on US militarism alone, the problems of oppression and injustice are not addressed in a holistic fashion.

The third camp is an attempt to provide people with a principled and human way to mobilize against war without falling either for US militarism or Islamic terrorism. Right now, much of the mainstream 'stop the war' coalitions are focused on US militarism alone and are apologetic towards the political Islamic movement. But a vast majority of people across the world are very opposed to political Islam and Islamic terrorism too. On the other hand those who have seen the atrocities of the Islamists and Islamic terrorism sometimes support US militarism. The third camp is the voice of the majority of people who see both as guilty of crimes against humanity and want to defend and represent humanity instead.

It is difficult for many on the left to see an equivalent threat posed by political Islam and US militarism. Some have expressed abhorrence that people claiming to be progressive argue that the greatest threat faced by global civilisation today comes from Islamic totalitarianism. Namazie responds:

Islamic totalitarianism poses such a great threat because it is spearheading a right-wing restructuring of the ruling class in the Middle East which is in essence anti-Left and inhuman.

Like Professor Fred Halliday she is amazed and appalled at the support the ‘anti-imperialist nationalist left’ has given to this phenomenon. She firmly believes that Western governments have been instrumental in developing political Islam and fails utterly to comprehend why the anti-imperialist left would therefore want to support something that was deliberately fostered and nurtured by imperialism as a battering ram against the Soviets in Afghanistan and left movements in countries like Iran. There is now an added dimension:

Since September 11, its reach has moved beyond the Mid East to affect societies across the globe. It has helped pave the way for political religion's revival. Not to forget though that it is a creation of Western governments vis-à-vis the former Soviet Union and has a lot in common with the right wing US administration.

Despite leftist discourse having a long history of opposition to totalitarianism Namazie feels much of it is posturing. Totalitarianism represents a strong current within political Islam.

Sadly, much of the anti-imperialist nationalist left have fallen for this movement and they see the political Islamic movement as a 'third worldist' resistance force to US militarism; quite ridiculous actually when you think about it because the political Islamic movement is a right wing reactionary movement that has state power and or is vying for power in many places and which has a lot in common with the US right wing administration. It is a great threat because of what it means for human beings and their lives. Anywhere it rules or has power, it means nothing but human suffering in its most medieval forms (including stoning and amputations). But it is also a huge threat for universal human values in places where it is not necessarilya state power but is vying for access like in Europe. It is paving the way for an increase in religion and its influence in society at large.

Unlike others who distinguish between Islam and political Islam Namazie makes no such distinction. But does this not make more difficult the task of winning allies within the Islamic world?

I am wary of the term Islamic world as it associates millions of people as being represented by the political Islamic movement. But more to the point, the relation between Islam and political Islam is the same as between nationalism and fascism. One provides the feeding ground for the other. Islam is the banner of political Islam. You cannot fight one without also fighting the other. It's important to do so from a left and anti-racist perspective so that in fact those deemed or labelled Muslims or who consider themselves Muslims are supported and defended. As the right to religion is a private affair, criticizing Islam has nothing to do with attacking Muslims. The Islamic movement wants to portray it as such. It is our task to show that this is not the case.

It was the Islamic regimes in both Iran and Sudan that showed her ‘the true role of religion and in particular the inhumane capacity of Islam to violate the most basic of rights.’ But becoming an ‘ardent atheist and secularist’ was far from being an overnight event. Working for eighteen years with refugees and asylum seekers, whom she terms, the victims of Islam and political Islam, alienated her from any concept of Islam as a spiritual property. It became clear that religion was a material power structure. Complementing her growth as a human being unfettered by spiritual chains was the thinking and activism of Mansoor Hekmat. He provided a generation of activists in Iran with a framework for developing critical thought and a Marxist humanism. One of her co signatories to the manifesto against totalitarianism, Taslima Nasrin, once asked her how come so many Iranians are such ardent and passionate defenders of secularism and rights. ‘I would say Mansoor Hekmat had more to do with it than anything else.’

One of her most burning campaign issues concerned the brutal Islamic murder of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi.

She was a 16 year old girl who was hung in a city square in Iran for 'crimesagainst chastity'. The wasted hopes and dreams and life of a sweet 16 girl.I remember being 16 and what I had to look forward to. I think the victimsof political Islam are so great - that sometimes people don't understand itsscale - otherwise how could they ever excuse it. I think Atefeh for me isthe human representation and personification of what it means for people's lives.

Unmitigating in her defence of women against Islam does she fail to see that there are other women in Britain with origins in the Muslim tradition, who claim to be radical yet who sit on the opposite end of the continuum from herself? The Respect activist Salma Yaqoob, for example, has defended the wearing of the veil. How does Namazie explain this?

I think Yaqoob does so in order to defend the political Islamic movement and justify it. With regards the veil, I couldn't say it better than Salman Rushdie – ‘the veil sucks’. It is a tool for suppression and repression. Defending it is like defending the chastity belt or foot binding. It's an abomination.

Another of her more provocative concepts is her characterisation of cultural relativism as ‘this era's fascism.’ She condemns it on the grounds that it excuses violations of rights and holds culture and religion above the human being.

The idea of difference has always been the fundamental principle of a racistagenda. The defeat of Nazism and its biological theory of difference largelydiscredited racial superiority. The racism behind it, however, found anothermore acceptable form of expression for this era. Instead of expression inracial terms, difference is now portrayed in cultural terms. Culturalrelativism is this era's fascism. Cultural relativists are defenders of thisera's holocausts.

For Maryam Namazie, Western societies are under threat from an insidious political Islam. She strongly advocates that the West defends the rights of all political refugees and that no amount of multicultural positioning should ever allow any group within society to claim special privilege for itself in which it is free to pursue its culture over the human rights of others.

Maryam Namazie is nothing if not someone who pushes and probes at the boundaries of life. In ways her writings resonate deeply of those of the anti-fascist Chilean writer Ariel Dorfmann who also explores the imposition of boundaries. Hers has been one of breaking the mould, leaping the barriers that are sometimes called borders, and which delineate and constrain our identities.

I really feel I have crossed so many of the boundaries - much of them constructed - that restrict people, whether it is that of religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender. I have come to understand that none of them are sacred; none of them matter; only human beings do.

In Europe and U.S., Nonbelievers Are Increasingly Vocal

To see the Washington Post article on nonbelievers and atheists, click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The challenge of the Ex-Muslim Councils to political Islam

Political Islam is this era’s totalitarianism aimed at bringing and maintaining Islamic laws, schools and states where possible.

To the extent and degree it has power - that is the extent and degree to which it controls every single aspect of people lives and society.

And since its rules and system are divinely ordained, they are deemed to be unquestionable.

Which is why apostasy is the highest crime punishable by death in all countries ruled by Islam and why there is absolutely no tolerance for criticism.

While the political Islamic movement sentences apostates to death where it is in power, here is Europe, its tactics are more subtle but just as inhuman and brutal.

You only need to look at threats surrounding the Danish Mohammad caricatures, the assassination of Theo Van Gogh for his and Ayaan Hirsci Ali’s film on Islam’s treatment of women, and the death threats against heads of the Councils of Ex-Muslims have received to see how seriously this movement deals with criticism and particularly apostasy.

From their perspective, apostasy is the unravelling of the entire system from within.

If you question one law, one hadith, one sura in the Koran, you question it all.

If you are allowed to leave, you undermine it all.

Which is why I have received emails saying ‘once a Muslim, always a Muslim - you cannot leave.’

To which, of course, I have said, well watch me, watch us. We have left and we are leaving….

Therein lies the most significant aspect of the Councils of Ex-Muslims that have been established in Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Britain and Holland and its challenge and danger to political Islam.

In a sense, this move in Europe is part of the trend that is bringing Islam in power to its knees in Iran.

People have always left Islam before but an organised movement of this nature paves the way for others to be able to renounce religion and Islam and breaks the most important taboo.

The council movement shows that there are many who want to leave, or at the very least who are opposed to the political Islamic movement and who are challenging it head on especially in light of the fact that Islamists often feign to represent all ‘Muslims’ here and all the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

The council movement also shows that Islamic rule and its savagery are not people’s ‘choice’, their culture and religion as the Islamists often claim but actually the culture and religion of a political movement that imposes it very much by brute force.

The Council movement reiterates that people everywhere want and demand universal rights and values, which as I have said on many occasions, are not western but belong to all humanity.

The council movement unequivocally defends universalism vis-à-vis a climate of cultural relativism. Contrary to its image, cultural relativism does not lead to a more tolerant society but a more intolerant one.

It aids and abets the political Islamic movement by justifying Islamic rule and deflecting criticism of its inhumane nature.

It justifies this era’s holocaust by lowering standards and redefining values to the lowest and most regressive depths and holding all values and beliefs not only equal but equally valid.

Rather than being anti-racist; it is racism pure and simple by implying that people choose to live the way they are forced to.

Within this climate, Islamists have succeeded in blurring the distinction between individuals and beliefs. As a result, concepts such as rights, equality, respect and tolerance, which were initially raised vis-à-vis the individual, are now more and more applicable to culture and religion and often take precedence over real live human beings.

Which is why any criticism and ridiculing of or opposition to beliefs, cultures, religions, gods and prophets are being deemed racism, disrespecting, inciting hatred and even violence against those deemed believers.

Clearly you cannot be racist against an idea or belief or ideology.

Blurring the distinctions between the two and the use of rights and anti-racist language here in the west to do so are devious ways of silencing criticism and opposition – criticism which is particularly crucial given the havoc that political Islam has inflicted in the Middle East and North Africa and more recently here in the west.

Of course the human being is sacred, worthy of the highest respect, equality and rights and so on and so forth but not beliefs, not religions, not cultures.

Another tactic of the political Islamic movement is to limit free expression by deeming expressions against religion as a no go area - again in order to prevent criticism. Its tactics from threats and intimidations to equating criticism against Islam and political Islam as racism has meant that the movement is not being addressed and challenged as it must.

In light of the assault on free expression, the Councils are in fact defending free expression unconditionally and unequivocally as the very act of renouncing religion and Islam is the greatest act of free expression possible.

Such expression and criticism is necessary since this is how throughout history backwardness and reaction have been pushed back.

This is how throughout history society has managed to advance and progress with the aim of improving the lot of humanity.

In the face of political Islam’s onslaught often aided and abetted by government policies of cultural relativism and minoritism and the apologies of so-called European progressives and liberals, it is the councils of ex-Muslims along with other secularists and humanists that are raising the banner of secularism, universalism and values worthy of 21st century humanity here in Europe and across the world.

This movement and its declaration must be supported and defended unequivocally.

The above was Maryam Namazie's opening statement at the press conference in the Hague on 11 September. All existing councils have signed up to the Declaration, which is actually the British Manifesto in full. To read it, click here.