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December 11, 2005

Azar Majedi: We need to go forward and to de-religionize society
Message read at 7th December meeting in Paris to celebrate 100 years of secularism

Dear colleagues,

As a veteran campaigner for secularism, for de-religionization of society and for women’s rights I salute all of you who have gathered to celebrate 100 years of secularism in France.

It is important to promote and safeguard secularism as a necessary condition for a free society. Throughout history more people have been killed, maimed and tortured under the name of God and religion than any other cause. Unfortunately, still, many people are killed and tortured under religious laws, by religious states, and religious thugs every day. Separation of church from the state is a significant achievement. This becomes more clear to us, as we are witnessing the inroads religion is making in our present society. It tries to dominate all aspects of our lives and society. We need to fight back; we need to push religion back to the sphere of private life. 

The fact that such a law existed in France made our struggle against religion’s role in public life easier. The recent law to ban carrying all conspicuous religious symbols in public institutions and schools was an important step forward.

We should safeguard this law, but we should keep in mind that this is not sufficient. We need to go further. We need to build stronger barriers to stop religion interfering in society’s affairs. Our historical experience shows that unless we defeat religion we would never be free of the threats this institution imposes on our society. We need to go forward and to de-religionize society. In order to achieve a free society, in order to promote free thinking, we need to push religion back from all sphere of public life.

We should build on our recent achievements in the secular camp, against religion’s role in public life and against political Islam. We need to plan our future action. Two important items on our agenda must be to ban all religious schools and to ban veiling of under-age girls.

Azar Majedi

Chair for Organisation for Women’s Liberation
Host of No to Political Islam & International TV
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