For Immediate Release, 27 October 2011
76 secularists and human rights campaigners, including Mina Ahadi, Nawal El Sadaawi, Marieme Helie Lucas, Hameeda Hussein, Ayesha Imam, Maryam Jamil, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasrin, Farida Shaheed, Fatou Sow, and Stasa Zajovic have signed on to a Manifesto for a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa.
In light of the recent pronouncements of the unelected Libyan Transitional Council for ‘Sharia laws’, the signatories of the manifesto vehemently oppose the hijacking of the protests by Islamism or US-led militarism and unequivocally support the call for freedom and secularism made by citizens and particularly women in the region.
Secularism is a minimum precondition for a free and secular Middle East and for the recognition of women’s rights and equality.
We call on world citizens to support this important campaign by signing on to our petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/world-citizens-defend-a-free-and-secular-middle-east-and-north-africa.
We also ask that supporters click ‘like’ on our Facebook page to support this important campaign: http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Free-and-Secular-Middle-East-and-North-Africa/271164176261820#!/pages/A-Free-and-Secular-Middle-East-and-North-Africa/271164176261820 and Tweet: #freesecularMENA in support of a free and secular Middle East and North Africa.
VERSION FRANÇAISE CI DESSOUS
FRENCH, ARABIC AND PERSIAN VERSIONS BELOW
Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa
The 2009 protests in Iran followed by the Arab Spring have the potential to herald a new dawn for the people of the region and the world. The protests have clearly shown that people in the region, like people everywhere, want to live 21st century lives.
We, the undersigned, emphasise their modern and human dimension and wholeheartedly welcome this immense and historical development. We are vehemently opposed to their hijacking by Islamism or US-led militarism and support the call for a free and secular Middle East and North Africa made by citizens and particularly women in the region.
Secularism is a minimum precondition for the freedom and equality of all citizens and includes:
1. Complete separation of religion from the state.
2. Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes.
3. Separation of religion from the educational system.
4. Freedom of religion and atheism as private beliefs.
5. Prohibition of sex apartheid and compulsory veiling.
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committees against Stoning and Execution, Iran/Germany
Marieme Helie Lucas, Sociologist, Founder and former international coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and founder of Secularism Is A Women’s Issue, Algeria/France
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/UK
Shahla Abghari, University Professor, Iran/USA
Siavash Abghari, Esmail Khoi Foundation, Iran/USA
Ahlam Akram, Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Writer and Campaigner, Palestine/UK
Sargul Ahmad, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/Sweden
Reza Alkrami, Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
Farideh Arman, Coordinator, Committee to Defend Women’s Rights, Iran/Sweden
Sultana Begum, Regional Gender Adviser, Diakonia Asia, Bangladesh
Djemila Benhabib, Writer, Algeria/Canada
Codou Bop, Journalist and Director of GREFELS, Dakar, Senegal
Ariane Brunet, co-founder Urgent Action Fund, Québec, Canada
Micheline Carrier, Sisyphe, Québec, Canada
Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
Denise Deliège Femmes En Noir, Belgium
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
Fanny Filosof, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
Mersedeh Ghaedi, New Channel TV Programme host, Iran/Norway
Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois, Dakar, Senegal
Laura Guidetti, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
Zeinabou Hadari, Centre Reines Daura, Niger
Anissa Hélie, Historian, Algeria/France/USA
Rohini Henssman, Human Rights Activist, India
Hameeda Hossein, Chairperson Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Khayal Ibrahim, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
Ayesha Imam, Women’s Human Rights and Democracy Activist, Nigeria/Senegal
International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
International Committee against Execution, Germany
International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Iran Solidarity, Iran/UK
Maryam Jamil, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Iraq
Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra and Chairperson Transparency International, Bangladesh
Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web, India
Akbar Karimian, Human Rights Activist, Iran/UK
Cherifa Kheddar, President of Djazairouna, Algeria
Monica Lanfranco, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
Houzan Mahmoud, Representative of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq/UK
Nahla Elgaali Mahmoud, Biologist, Sudan/UK
Anwar Mir Sattari, Human rights Activist, Iran/Belgium
Amena Mohsin, Professor, Dept. International Relations Dhaka University, Bangladesh
Khawar Mumtaz, Director Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
Taslima Nasrin, Writer and Activist, Bangladesh
U. M. Habibun Nessa, President, Naripokkho, Bangladesh
Partow Nooriala, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
Asghar Nosrati, Human Rights Activist, Iran/Sweden
One Law for All, UK
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, Iran/UK
Protagora, Zagreb, Croatia
Hassan Radwan, Activist, Egypt/UK
Mary Jane Real, Women’s Human Rights Coalition, Manila, The Philippines
Edith Rubinstein, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
Nawal El Sadaawi, Writer, Egypt
Fahimeh Sadeghi, Coordinator, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Iran/Canada
Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space, UK
Nina Sankari, Secularist and Feminist, Poland
Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (International Network)
Aisha Lee Shaheed, London, UK
Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
Siba Shakib, Filmmaker, Writer and Activist, Iran/USA
Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Iran/UK
Issam Shukri, Head, Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
Southall Black Sisters, UK
Fatou Sow, Sociologist CNRS, Dakar, Senegal
Afsaneh Vahdat, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iran, Iran/Sweden
Lino Veljak, Professor of Philosophy, Zagreb University, Croatia
Fauzia Viqar, Director Advocacy and Communications, Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan
Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All, UK
Vivienne Wee, anthropologist, feminist and human rights activist, Singapore and Hong Kong, China
Women In Black, Belgrade, Serbia
Sara Zaker, Theatre Director, Bangladesh
Stasa Zajovic, spokesperson Women in Black, Belgrade, Serbia