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Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa

Wednesday 26 October 2011, by siawi3

All the versions of this article: [English] [English]

[(Statement

For Immediate Release

27 October 2011

FOR A FREE AND SECULAR MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

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.

For more information, contact:
- Marieme Helie Lucas
- Maryam Namazie
- Telephone: +44 (0) 7719166731
- For a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa
- Email: secularMENA gmail.com
- BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK )]

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.

SIGNATORIES

- 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

FRENCH

Manifeste pour la laicité au Moyen Orient et en Afrique du Nord

Les protestations de 2009 en Iran et le Printemps Arabe qui a suivi pourrait faire se lever une nouvelle aurore pour le peuple de la région et du monde. Les manifestations ont clairement montré que le peuple dans la région, comme partout, veut vivre au XXI° siècle.

Nous sous signés, soulignons leur dimension moderne et humaine et soutenons de tout coeur cet immense tournant historique. Nous nous opposons avec véhemence à ce qu’il soit détourné par l’islamisme ou par la militarisation sous l’égide des Etats Unis et reitérons l’appel pour un Moyen Orient et une Afrique du Nord libres et laiques, lancé par les citoyens et particulièrelent les femmes de la région.

La laicité est le pré-requis minimum pour assurer la liberté et l’égalité de tous les citoyens, et cela inclue:
- 1. la totale separation de la religion et de l’état.
- 2. l’abolition des lois religieuses en matière familiale et dans le code penal.
- 3. la séparation de la religion et du système d’éducation.
- 4. la liberté de religion et d’athéisme, définis comme croyances personnelles.
- 5. l’interdiction de l’apartheid sexuel et du voile obligatoire.

ARABIC

بيان من أجل شرق اوسط وشمال افريقيا علمانية
إن احتجاجات إيران عام 2009 والربيع العربي الذي أعقبها تحمل أملاً بفجر جديد لشعوب المنطقة وللعالم. لقد أظهرت الاحتجاجات بشكل واضح أن شعوب المنطقة، كغيرها من شعوب العالم، تسعي لحياه تواكب متطلبات القرن الحادي والعشرين.
نحن، الموقعون أدناه، نؤكد على البعد الحديث والإنساني لهذه الثورات ونرحب ترحيبا حارا بهذا التطور التاريخي الكبير. ونحن نعارض بشدّة سلب مكتسبات هذه الثورات سواء كان ذلك على يد الحركات الإسلامية أو السياسات العسكريتارية بقيادة امريكا، ونؤيد الدعوة لقيام شرق أوسط وشمال إفريقيا علمانية بارادة المواطنين في المنطقة وخاصة النساء.
إن العلمانية تمثّل الحد الأدنى من أجل تحقيق حرية ومساواة كل المواطنين، ويشمل ذلك:
1. فصل الدين عن الدولة فصلاً تاما.
2. إلغاء التشريعات الدينية الخاصة بالأسرة والتشريعات المدنية والجنائية.
3. فصل الدين عن النظام التعليمي.
4. حرية الدين والإلحاد كمعتقدات شخصية.
5. منع سياسة التمييز الجنسي والحجاب الإجباري.

PERSIAN

مانیفست برای خاورمیانه- شمال آفریفای سکولار

مبارزات سال 88 (2009 میلادی) در ایران و در پی آن "بهار عربی" این ظرفیت را دارد که طلوعی تازه را به مردم منطقه و جهان نوید دهد. اعتراضات به روشنی میدهد که مردم این منطقه، نظیر مردم هر جای دیگر، خواهان یک زندگی قرن بیست و یکمی هستند.

ما امضاء کنندگان زیر بر ابعاد انسانی و مدرن این مبارزات تاکید میگذاریم و با تمام وجود از این تحول عظیم تاریخی استقبال میکنیم. ما قاطعانه مخالفت خود را با مصادره این انقلابات و مبارزات توسط اسلام گرایی و یا میلیتاریسم (دولتی) تحت رهبری آمریکا اعلام میداریم و از فراخوان "یک خاورمیانه و شمال آفریقای آزاد و سکولار" حمایت میکنیم که توسط شهروندان این منطقه بویژه زنان مطرح شده است.

سکولاریسم پیش شرط حداقل برای آزادی و برابری همه شهروندان و دربرگیرنده این مفاد است:
١- جدائی کامل مذهب از دولت.
٢- الغای قوانین مذهبی در قوانین خانواده، مدنی و جنایی.
٣- جدائی مذهب از سیستم آموزش و پرورش.
٤- آزادی مذهب و بی مذهبی بعنوان اعتقادات شخصی.
٥- ممنوعیت آپارتاید جنسی و حجاب اجباری.

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.

For more information, contact:
- Marieme Helie Lucas
- Maryam Namazie
- Telephone: +44 (0) 7719166731
- For a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa
- Email: secularMENA gmail.com
- BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK

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For A Free And Secular Middle East And North Africa [PDF Version]
Press Release; 27 October 2011
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Manifesto for Secularism in the Middle East and North Africa_FINAL
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