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Hejab

Hatred for all things Islamic
Socialism in bed with capitalists

February 4, 2003
The Iranian

While every other socialist organisation in Britain is focusing on pressurizing Mr Blair to own up to the lies upon which we went to war, the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI), whose mouthpiece is Maryam Namazie, remains obsessed with the proposal to ban hejab in French schools, championing it as the best thing for women, children, the whole world and a good source of vitamin C. (See "Unveiling the debate of secularism").

Sanctimonious though she may sound, it's worth paying attention to the organisation she represents so that after any US-led invasion of Iran, we know outside whose office to demand our pay cheques.

The language of WPI's communications mirrors the worst of White House-friendly punditry.

"Racism", Namazie writes, "is the new catchphrase of Islamists and the political Islamic movement along with its supporters [anyone, that is, who disagrees with her] in order to shut people up and hinder opposition, as they know full well that no one wants to be called a racist even if the matter has nothing to do with racism."

On the question of banning headscarves in schools, if you're not with Namazie, you're against her and one of "them": the Taliban, Khamenei and Ziba Mirhosseini.

The innocence with which Namazie claims not to know what Islamophobia is recalls the neo-Nazi party official who, challenged on TV, declares: "Racist? Me?"

Namazie might care to ask the Sikh men who were mistaken for Muslims by deranged Americans in September 2001 what Islamophobia means; or the mini-cab driver who was attacked by racists in London that month.

"Frightened by a wave of violence and harassment, Sikhs across the country are struggling to explain to an uncomprehending public that despite their turbans and beards, they are not followers of the Taliban and not in any way responsible for last week's terror attacks." (New York Times, September 19, 2002)

"A 19-year-old British Muslim woman was battered with a baseball bat in what police believe to be a revenge attack in the wake of the terrorist assaults in America. . . On Sunday, a violent attack in Twickenham on a Muslim minicab driver left him paralysed from the neck down." (Guardian, September 18, 2001)

Namazie claims: "[to chant]'My hejab, my right' is like saying 'My FGM (female genital mutilation), my right.'"

Her comrade Fariborz Pooya, despite the party's insistence that it respects individuals' right to practice religion, agrees: "The Islamic veil is not just a dress; it's a political statement. It indicates belief in a system of sexual apartheid. It declares the domination of a misogynist system of Islamic law." (Book of Secularism, verse III, chapter xii)

Next time you see a veil-clad pushing pram down street, remember she is in fact declaring jihad.

Criticism of the United States and Israel is conspicuously absent from the WPI's invectives. (Apparently, its members sing the socialist Internationale at the start of each meeting and end with the Star-Spangled Banner.)

Instead, Namazie talks in terms of an Islamic "holocaust" and sees the hejab as "comparable to to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide."

Barely able to conceal its hatred for all things Islamic, the WPI is even rumoured to have considered promoting Zionism as the cure to Iran's political ills.

It should be noted, however, that the WPI has shown admirable dedication to defending the rights of refugees internationally as well as campaigning against cases of stoning and other death sentences dished out by the Islamic gangsters in Iran, while consistently highlighting the plight of the country's prisoners of conscience.

This good work, however, risks being undermined by the failure of the WPI to see Khamenei as no less cute than Sharon and Bush.

Were Namazie & Co to direct as much venom at the US and Israel as they do towards what they rightly describe as "brutal" Iran, they might win support among second-generation Iranians in the West and lead the way to a progressive socialist party rather than a reactionary one, happy in bed with capitalist states.

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