Facing political Islam

Maryam Namazie's passionate speech

Very interesting! "Maryam Namazie is a rights activist, commentator and broadcaster on Iran, the Middle East, women's rights, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, Islam and political Islam." >>> //www.maryamnamazie.com


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Mian maah man ta mahe gardoon

by Dareedeh (not verified) on

Tafavot az zamin ta aseman ast;

I'm hoping that Maryam will take "humaniterian" out of her propaganda by watching this clip:



Islam is good and bad

by Adam Barfi (not verified) on

Islam is good for those who like to be human;
Islam is bad for those who like to be sharlatan;

There is human-ness and sharlatan-ness in every one of us to some degree.

There are billion+ mulims on earth and lot of them are HAPPY in life. When you generalize, you loose!

If you respect Islam, it will respect you. It's a mutual relation. We are bound to fall down if we jump off the cliff!



by Abarmard on

Takes the culture and acts base on its surrounding. Take it away and the acts show themselves under a different platform. It's too simplistic to blame what you see as the most obvious. If countries did not intervene with the natural growth of societies, perhaps many of these issues would not need to exist!

This is a complicated topic and should never be demoted to low level of singularity. The Advance societies are religious, the primitive societies are also religious, same religion but different outcome. Islam is not similar in Iran as it is in Indonesia as it is in India or Pakistan or China. Russian Muslim are also different!

As we are speaking, how many lives have been destroyed in Iraq? How many social movements have been stopped? Why? By who? Reactionary is the problem now? Submission is the norm?

One does not need to justify but one does not need to forget that in any situation there is an equation.


Majid Jaan...

by Khar on

Shoma Sarvari my friend!


You give me hope that humanity is still alive

by Happy Ex-Moslem (not verified) on

In this time of greed, ignorance and Islamic violence, she seems to be a lonely voice. You give me a reason to hope again that humanity is not all dead.


She is a fascist

by For Freedom (not verified) on

And so are the ones who support her. Full stop. Her solution to the enormous injustices that religious fascist have brought to others, such as preventing of other people freely expressing their opinions, is to be fascist religiously and prevent such people from expressing their religion publicly whatever it may be.

This is due to her weakness, truly a weak person in intellect and a weak person in discipline, to borrow, khar's words.

Never should action be based on someone else's opinions, faith, or ideas. It is always in response to their actions.

Such fascist thinking will only increase the misery people have brought upon themselves.

People of any religion, including those that you find the most vile, must be free to express and promote their religion publicly or privately as much as they like, and practice their religion as much as they like, the only limitation is that, any specific practice should be firmly confronted and halted if in exercising such a practice, the person demonstrably takes the freedom of others away even more.

This by the way is the one and only religion from God ever.


Oh, you perfect ones

by Sera (not verified) on

There are many true and valid points in what she says. I give her credit for fighting, in her own way, for what she believes in. It takes substance and courage to put your life on stake in order to defend what you believe is right.
As far as her past, swinging to left and right in order to find conviction or a suitable approach is an indication of a dynamic soul who refuses to rot in passiveness. It might be helpful, for those of us who are quick in judging others, to remember the saying: " One who does NOTHING, does not make a mistake either". For those of us who are perfectly flawless, that's because we do NOTHING. She should not justify or apologise for her past and I hope that she will not even bother to explain it to anyone. I wish the best for her.


she has a blog too!

by fanofmaryam (not verified) on

Only a movement that puts people first can stop political Islam

There are those who tell us that Sharia law is misunderstood and that women actually fare better under it than men; that the veil is liberating; that segregating children in Islamic schools is good for social cohesion; that defending political Islam is anti-racist even.

Catch words, in my opinion, for western consumption so that the political Islamic movement can go about its business as usual. In Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia (often with western government complicity) this movement has no time for such niceties. It hangs the likes of sweet sixteen Atefeh Rajabi for acts incompatible with chastity, burns down girls’ schools, and kills apostates and opponents indiscriminately.

Let’s be frank. While Islamic organisations here talk in PR speak, they, their courts, their schools, their leaders are nothing but extensions of Islamic states.

Now the European rightwing will have us believe that this is particular to Islam; but fundamentally it is not. Any religion with political power has done and will do the same. If Christianity today seems more tolerable, it is only because it has been reigned in by an enlightenment.

They will have us believe that it is secularism and atheism that is the cause of the rise of political Islam because they say we are undermining Europe’s Judeo-Christian traditions. In reality, progressive social values today is the result of hard fought battles –often against the very religious traditions they hold near and dear. They will have us believe that we must withstand the teeming hordes of Muslims Islamicising Europe. They want us to believe that Muslims or those deemed as such are one and the same with Islamists and the political Islamic movement. In fact, many of the millions fleeing are the first victims and the first line of resistance against this movement. They will have us believe that we are battling for western values when all along it is universal ones. Go anywhere in Iran and you will find values of a home-grown enlightenment that is beyond your wildest imagination. They will have us believe that the solution to Islamism is a military one even though their ‘interventions’ in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan have only helped strengthen this movement.

But the nationalist-European Left is no better. They are always ready to act as prefect when rights under Islamic laws are concerned. They are an anti-colonial movement whose perspective coincides with that of the ruling classes in the so-called Third World. They are on the side of the ‘colonies’ no matter what goes on there. And their understanding of the ‘colonies’ is Eurocentric, patronising and racist. They will have us believe that the people in these countries are one and the same with the regimes they are struggling against. Even their anti-imperialism is half-baked; they will not scratch beneath the surface to see how political Islam is an integral part of the new world order.

It is no wonder that so many people across the globe are turning to see what we secularists and humanists have to say.

It is no wonder that this conference and the movement it represents have captured people’s imagination in a way that is quite unique.

In the end, political Islam matters to people because it affects their lives, their rights, their freedoms.

And that’s why only a movement that puts people first can mobilise the force needed to stop apostasy laws, Sharia laws, the death penalty, and political Islam.

And it must – it will – be stopped.

The above was Maryam Namazie’s opening speech at the October 10, 2008 Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s conference on Political Islam, Sharia Law and Civil Society. To see the speech and other panellists and discussions including by Richard Dawkins, Johann Hari, AC Grayling and Joan Smith, click here.




Richard Marx

by Immortal Guard! (not verified) on

She is a fan of that singer Richard Marx!

Iranian Reader

I know her from New York too.

by Iranian Reader on

Maryam is definitely an interesting person. One of her organizations, CHAIR, certainly did do some good work with a pittance of financial backing. And this critique of her here is certainly valid. I think it is very important to recognize religion for what it historically has been -- any religion. I think it is good to remember the great contributions of Renaissance and Englightenment in Europe, and the long tradition of secularism in Iran. I have no argument with Maryam here.

What is puzzling to me is that someone of her level of intelligence and learning should let herself be so trapped inside an adolescent ideology and group such as the hezb-e komonist kargari. I remember when her hechmen groupies would come to various meetings and conferences and disrupt things. They would bring boom boxes and play loud music while people were talking -- that sort of thing. They had utter disdain for everybody else because everyone else was "bourgeois." Childish stuff. Inevitably one wonders if she is forever caught up in an adolescent rebellion against her rich and powerful family. The Namazie family certainly has politically dubious oppportunist people in it but also some very decent people who have a history of good philanthropy in Shiraz. For her own sake I hope Maryam comes to terms with the complexities of her own life instead of spending so much of her life beating on imaginary dummies. She knows there are far more relevant demons to fight.


The Prisons of the Arab/islamists Mind

by mindprison (not verified) on

by Tarek Heggy

The insight into the contemporary Arab/islamist mindset that I was able to develop from all these perspectives, in addition to my consuming interest in and close follow-up of the phenomenon over the last four decades, led me to reach the conclusions laid out in my latest book, Arab Culture Enchained, soon to be published by Cambridge University Press. In the book, I describe the Arab mindset as a prisoner held captive within three prisons or shackled with three chains. The first chain is a regressive, dogmatic interpretation of religion that is totally at odds with the realities of the age, with science and civilization. The second is a culture that is not only totally divorced from science and progress as a result of Arab history and the geopolitics of the Arabian peninsula, but, more important, has produced educational institutions and programmes that, rather than foster the values of progress and humanity, actively promote a xenophobic rejection of these values. The third chain holding the Arab mindset back from embracing the spirit of the age is a philosophical dilemma which renders it unable to develop a proper understanding of progress and modernity, and drives it to reject such notions as an invasion of its cultural specificity and civilizational legacy.
The first chain weighing the Arab mindset down and preventing it from joining the march of human progress which, according to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, is moving towards the attainment of transcendental idealism, is the regressive, medieval, Bedouin understanding of religion. A large number of modern-day Muslims have never been presented with an interpretation of religion other than the one propagated by the enemies of reason and free thinking, from Ibn Hanbal in the tenth century to the founder of the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance in the Arabian Peninsula in 1744 (Mohamed ibn-Abdul Wahab, the spiritual father of Wahhabism, whose message was merged after his death with the ideas of Abul 'Alaa Al-Mawdoody) to the ideas of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. More recently, an Islamic state established three quarters of a century ago (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) took it upon itself not only to stand as the embodiment of this brand of Islam but to export its understanding and spread its message to every corner of the world. In that version of Islam there is no room for the Other (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or otherwise); there can be no equality between men and women nor peaceful coexistence with others, no possibility of allowing the human mind to explore new horizons, no scope for creativity or imaginative thinking. So firmly entrenched in the past is this harsh and uncompromising brand of Islam that it does not allow for the proper interpretation of the word jihad as meaning the use of force only in self-defense against outside aggression but continues to use the interpretation adopted by Bedouin tribes in the Middle Ages, which is the imposition of their religious beliefs on the whole of humanity by force of arms.
Nine centuries ago, the world of Islam was the scene of a battle of ideas between two trends. One trend, which upheld the primacy of reason, began with the Mu'tazalites and was taken to new Aristotelian heights by Ibn Rushd, who lived in Andalusia just over eight centuries ago. The other opposed the use of reason in the interpretation of holy texts, upholding orthodoxy and tradition and spurning deductive reasoning altogether. This latter trend had many prominent adherents, including Ahmed ibn-Hanbal, one of the four Sunni imams, and Abu Hamed Al-Ghazzali, the noted Islamic jurist. Unfortunately for Muslims, the school which favoured unquestioning adherence to tradition over the use of critical faculties prevailed. The defeat of the school of reason was symbolically represented in the burning of Ibn Rushd's works by the authorities, who elevated the stature of Al-Ghazzali to towering heights by bestowing on him the name "Hujat al Islam" (the authority on Islam). Exalting a man who did not believe the human mind capable of grasping the Truth as ordained by God set into motion a process that continues to this day with devastating effects on the Arab mindset, which has become insular, regressive and unreceptive to new ideas.
The second chain shackling the Arab mindset is a cultural climate which has encouraged the spread of tribal values, including such negative values as individualism (instead of tolerance) and insularity (instead of open-mindedness). As a result, Arab societies were unable to receive and assimilate the values of pluralism, acceptance of the Other, a belief in the universality of knowledge and science, acceptance of the human rights movement and the movement for women's rights – not to mention an institutional rejection of the most important achievement of human civilization, democracy. Educational systems in Arab societies reflect the prevailing cultural climate, which stands as a barrier between the Arab mindset and the march of human progress. One need only look at the educational systems in force in a country like Saudi Arabia to realize that they are creating generations totally unequipped to deal with the realities of the age. Indeed, it is enough to see the opinion leaders of that society to realize how strong the organic link between the cultural/educational climate and the insular, backward-looking ethos in some Arab societies.
Finally, the religious, educational, cultural and media institutions in Arabic-speaking societies have created a mindset that considers the call for progress and modernity a call to accept a cultural invasion and the loss of cultural specificity.
The problem of Arabic-speaking societies as well as of some non-Arab Muslim societies will not be solved by military confrontations, security measures or economic rewards and/or punishments. None of these measures address the core issue, which is essentially one of culture and knowledge. Accordingly, the most effective way of dealing with the problem is by adopting a level-headed approach based on a thorough understanding of the reasons behind the distinctive characteristics displayed by the contemporary Arab mindset.


She is one bright lady. I

by sickofiri (not verified) on

She is one bright lady. I might not agree with her communist past but she is spot on political Islam.


Way to go Girl

by masoudA on

I don't care what she has done in the past - she must get due credit for what she is doing today.   We have many Iranians who are sitting on their asses doing NOTHING today at times when it's crucial for all of us to act.   Regardless of their glorious past records, if you are an Iranian and are doing nothing - you are at fault.

Dear New Yorker - what are you doing these days ?  other than keeping records of people past mistakes ?  I hope you are doing your part.  Believe me what Lady Namazi is doing takes courage and she must be acknowledged. 


Leftist transform into neo-cons

by New Yorker (not verified) on

I've known Maryam for years, from when she used to be in NY in the 90s and used to attack anyone who hadn't done exactly what she had done and left Iran after the revolution. Essentially, 60 million people living in Iran were all in one way or another traitors. She and one or two of her flunkies would come to public event and try to shout down cultural figures (like Mahmoud Dowlatabadi) who they thought were regimis for not living in exile. She struck me as two things -- a) full of misdirected anger and b) a self-aggrandizing self-promoter. The second is evident in her bio, posted by another commentator - most of the "organizations" listed there are essentially just herself giving herself a new name. She left the US for Europe where she's apparently making common cause with the fringe right anti-Muslim movements as a kind of "native informant" and is probably finding a little of more of the attention and backing that she did not receive while she was in the US. S



by Majid on

If that's  the  case  I'll be  proud to be a Khar like him !     


Here is my resume - I'm the Islam exterminator

by Business as usual (not verified) on

This is so interesting....the following is the so-called bio of Maryam. It actually looks more like a resume to me. With lots of mumbo jumbo organizations that may be low profile.

Amazing how some people live. There is no words about her family background and what revolution did to them. I nominate her as the next preisdent of the united states of Iran in exile!



Maryam Namazie is a rights activist, commentator and broadcaster on Iran, the Middle East, women's rights, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, Islam and political Islam. She is the Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Spokesperson of Equal Rights Now-Organisation against Women's Discrimination in Iran; National Secular Society's 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and an NSS Honorary Associate; producer of TV International English;Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran; and co-editor of WPI Briefing. She is also involved in the Third Camp against US militarism and Islamic terrorism.

She has spoken at numerous conferences and written many articles on women's rights issues, violence against women, political Islam, and secularism - some of which have been translated into various languages.

Previously, Namazie was the elected Executive Director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugee, a refugee run organisation with 60 branches in 15 countries worldwide; founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees (CHAIR); was the Human Rights Advocates Training Programme Coordinator at Columbia University's Centre for the Study of Human Rights in New York and the NYC Refugee Coordinator/ US National Steering Committee Member of Amnesty International. She also ran a refugee women's leadership training programme in NYC.

Below is the introduction of Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, of Maryam Namazie during the Secularist of the Year award ceremony in October 2005.

Maryam Namazie was born in Tehran, but she left Iran with her family in 1980 after the establishment of the Islamic Republic. She then lived in India, the UK and then settled in the US where she began her university studies at the age of 17.

After graduating, Maryam went to the Sudan in to work with Ethiopian refugees. Half way through her stay, an Islamic government took power. She was threatened by the government for establishing a clandestine human rights organisation and had to be evacuated by her employer for her own safety.

Back in the United States, Maryam worked for various refugee and human rights organisations. She established the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees in 1991. In 1994, she went to Turkey and produced a video documentary on the situation of Iranian refugees there.

Soon after her return to the US, she was elected executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, an international organisation with 60 branches in nearly 20 countries. As director of the refugee-run organisation, she campaigned on behalf of thousands of Iranian asylum seekers and refugees having intervened successfully on many cases preventing. Some successes include preventing the deportation of over 1000 from Holland including having spoken at a parliamentary meeting on the issue; to a successful campaign against the Turkish government to extend the period in which asylum seekers can apply for asylum.

Maryam Namazie has also worked on numerous campaigns, including against stoning, executions, sexual apartheid, and women's rights violations particularly in Islamic societies. Some successes include the Homa Arjomand-led campaign against the Sharia court in Canada. She was a speaker at its first public meeting in Toronto and continued supporting and highlighting the issue and mobilising support.

Other campaigns she has worked on include preventing stonings and executions in Islamist societies, opposing the veiling of children, opposing Sharia or religious laws, defending the banning of religious symbols from schools and public institutions, opposing the incitement to religious hatred bill in the UK and calling for secularism and the de-religionisation of society not only in Iran but in Britain and elsewhere.

Maryam is an inveterate commentator and broadcaster on rights, cultural relativism, secularism, religion, political Islam and many other related topics.

The present revival of Islam has heightened interest in Maryam's work, and at last her writings are gaining a mainstream audience. She has spoken at numerous conferences and written extensively on women's rights issues, particularly violence against women.

More recently, Maryam has been hosting a weekly programme on International TV. This is broadcast via satellite to the Middle East and Europe and can be seen on the Internet. TV International focuses on issues pertaining to the Middle East from a progressive, left-wing perspective. The programme promotes secularism amongst other values and has developed a considerable following amongst people in Iran and the Middle East as well as in Europe and the west.

The issues raised in the programme provoke much correspondence, and she has been roundly criticised by Islamists, the Islamic Republic of Iran and even of Ken Livingstone after his invitation to this country of Yusuf Al Qaradawi.

So she must be doing something right.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are sure you will agree with us that Maryam Namazie is a worthy and noble winner of this first Irwin Prize.



Wow! She wants to make revolution!

by LostIdentity. (not verified) on

She is so charged up, misguided by her dogma. Some people think that by just putting on some nice clothes and some nice words together can sell their ignorance and arrogance. They really believe that suddenly they pinpointed the the root-cause and discovered the solution.

Extremism is bound for failure as it is rooted in arrogance and ignorance.


Extremism meet each other at

by Ali1234 (not verified) on

Extremism meet each other at the end. Maryam Namzie is just another extremist leftist "Komonist Kardari" who is serving the purpose of racist fanatic right-wingers.

And from the sound of the hand claps, it seems like her audience does not exceed 10 people; probably her Komonist Kargari Hekmatist buddies.

This level of arrogance and ignorance she is displaying is just sad.


Who said that?

by Aziz (not verified) on

I think he was a Khar who said that
(No pun intended)


Religion, Mazhab, Deen...

by Khar on

Someone once said; “Human weakness created religion and religion perpetuated human weakness”!