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Human Rights campaigners oppose Libyan Transitional Council's Sharia laws

Iran Solidarity
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:
We also ask that supporters click ‘like’ on our Facebook page to support this important campaign:!/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.
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.
  1. Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson, International Committees against Stoning and Execution, Iran/Germany
  2. 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
  3. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/UK
  4. Shahla Abghari, University Professor, Iran/USA
  5. Siavash Abghari, Esmail Khoi Foundation, Iran/USA
  6. Ahlam Akram, Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Writer and Campaigner, Palestine/UK
  7. Sargul Ahmad, Women's Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
  8. Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/Sweden
  9. Reza Alkrami, Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
  10. Farideh Arman, Coordinator, Committee to Defend Women’s Rights, Iran/Sweden
  11. Sultana Begum, Regional Gender Adviser, Diakonia Asia, Bangladesh
  12. Djemila Benhabib, Writer, Algeria/Canada
  13. Codou Bop, Journalist and Director of GREFELS, Dakar, Senegal
  14. Ariane Brunet, co-founder Urgent Action Fund, Québec, Canada
  15. Micheline Carrier, Sisyphe, Québec, Canada
  16. Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
  17. Denise Deliège Femmes En Noir, Belgium
  18. Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
  19. Fanny Filosof, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
  20. Mersedeh Ghaedi, New Channel TV Programme host, Iran/Norway
  21. Groupe de recherche sur les femmes et les lois, Dakar, Senegal
  22. Laura Guidetti, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
  23. Zeinabou Hadari, Centre Reines Daura, Niger
  24. Anissa Hélie, Historian, Algeria/France/USA
  25. Rohini Henssman, Human Rights Activist, India
  26. Hameeda Hossein, Chairperson Ain o Salish Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  27. Khayal Ibrahim, Women's Liberation in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
  28. Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
  29. Ayesha Imam, Women's Human Rights and Democracy Activist, Nigeria/Senegal
  30. International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
  31. International Committee against Execution, Germany
  32. International Committee against Stoning, Germany
  33. Iran Solidarity, Iran/UK
  34. Maryam Jamil, Women's Liberation in Iraq, Iraq
  35. Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra and Chairperson Transparency International, Bangladesh
  36. Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq
  37. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web, India
  38. Akbar Karimian, Human Rights Activist, Iran/UK
  39. Cherifa Kheddar, President of Djazairouna, Algeria
  40. Monica Lanfranco, Marea Feminist Magazine, Italy
  41. Houzan Mahmoud, Representative of Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq, Iraq/UK
  42. Nahla Elgaali Mahmoud, Biologist, Sudan/UK
  43. Anwar Mir Sattari, Human rights Activist, Iran/Belgium
  44. Amena Mohsin, Professor, Dept. International Relations Dhaka University, Bangladesh
  45. Khawar Mumtaz, Director Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
  46. Taslima Nasrin, Writer and Activist, Bangladesh
  47. U. M. Habibun Nessa, President, Naripokkho, Bangladesh
  48. Partow Nooriala, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Activist, Iran/USA
  49. Asghar Nosrati, Human Rights Activist, Iran/Sweden
  50. One Law for All, UK
  51. Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK
  52. Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, Iran/UK
  53. Protagora, Zagreb, Croatia
  54. Hassan Radwan, Activist, Egypt/UK
  55. Mary Jane Real, Women’s Human Rights Coalition, Manila, The Philippines
  56. Edith Rubinstein, Femmes en Noir, Belgium
  57. Nawal El Sadaawi, Writer, Egypt
  58. Fahimeh Sadeghi, Coordinator, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Iran/Canada
  59. Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space, UK
  60. Nina Sankari, Secularist and Feminist, Poland
  61. Secularism Is A Women's Issue (International Network)
  62. Aisha Lee Shaheed, London, UK
  63. Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah, Lahore, Pakistan
  64. Siba Shakib, Filmmaker, Writer and Activist, Iran/USA
  65. Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Iran/UK
  66. Issam Shukri, Head, Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Iraq/Canada
  67. Southall Black Sisters, UK
  68. Fatou Sow, Sociologist CNRS, Dakar, Senegal
  69. Afsaneh Vahdat, Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iran, Iran/Sweden
  70. Lino Veljak, Professor of Philosophy, Zagreb University, Croatia
  71. Fauzia Viqar, Director Advocacy and Communications, Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan
  72. Anne Marie Waters, One Law for All, UK
  73. Vivienne Wee, anthropologist, feminist and human rights activist, Singapore and Hong Kong, China
  74. Women In Black, Belgrade, Serbia
  75. Sara Zaker, Theatre Director, Bangladesh
  76. Stasa Zajovic, spokesperson Women in Black, Belgrade, Serbia
For more information, contact:
Marieme Helie Lucas
Maryam Namazie
Telephone: +44 (0) 7719166731
For a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
October 27, 2011

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Maryam Namazie
By Maryam Namazie

Coordinator, Iran Solidarity, Based in London, UK.

Read the other articles by Maryam Namazie
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