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Manifesto for Secularism

Tuesday 7 October 2014, by siawi3

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

Source: Organizing Committee for the Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil rights
(The conference will take place in London on October 11-12)

0ctober 7, 2014

Manifesto for Secularism

Our era is marked by the rise of the religious-Right – not because of a “religious revival†but rather due to the rise of far-Right political movements and states using religion for political supremacy. This rise is a direct consequence of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and the social policies of communalism and cultural relativism. Universalism, secularism and citizenship rights have been abandoned and segregation of societies and “communities†based on ethnicity, religion and culture have become the norm.

The Islamic State (formerly ISIS), the Saudi regime, Hindutva (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in India, the Christian-Right in the US and Europe, Bodu Bala Sena in Sri Lanka, Haredim in Israel, AQMI and MUJAO in Mali, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria are examples of this.

For many decades now, people in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diaspora have been the first victims but also on the frontlines of resistance against the religious-Right (whether religious states, organisations and movements) and in defence of secularism and universal rights, often at great risk to their lives.

We call on people everywhere to stand with us to establish an international front against the religious-Right and for secularism. We demand:

1. Complete separation of religion from the state. Secularism is a fundamental right.
2. Separation of religion from public policy, including the educational system, health care and scientific research.
3. Abolition of religious laws in the family, civil and criminal codes. An end to discrimination against and persecution of LGBT, religious minorities, women, freethinkers, ex-Muslims, and others.
4. Freedom of religion and atheism and freedom to criticise religions. Belief as a private affair.
5. Equality between women and men and citizenship rights for all.


1. AC Grayling, Philosopher
2. Aliyah Saleem, Secular Education Campaigner
3. Amel Grami, Professor at the Tunisian University of Manouba
4. Bahram Soroush, Social and Political Analyst
5. Ben Baz Aziz is a Presenter at Arab Atheist broadcasting
6. Caroline Fourest, French Writer and Editor
7. Chris Moos, LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
8. Chulani Kodikara, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka
9. Daphna Baram, Israeli-born human rights lawyer, journalist and comedian
10. Elham Manea, Yemeni Writer and Human Rights Activist
11. Faizun Zackariya, Citizens for Justice, Sri Lanka
12. Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
13. Fatou Sow, International Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
14. Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space
15. Hamid Taqvaee, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran
16. Horia Mosadiq, Human Rights and Women’s Rights Activist from Afghanistan
17. Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
18. Inna Shevchenko, Leader of FEMEN
19. Julie Bindel, Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize and Justice for Women
20. Kacem El Ghazzali, Moroccan secularist writer and blogger
21. Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
22. Kiran Opal, Writer, LGBTQ/Human Rights Campaigner, Co-founder Ex-Muslims of North America
23. Lila Ghobady, Iranian writer-journalist and documentary filmmaker
24. Magdulien Abaida, Libyan Activist and President of Hakki (My Right) Organization for Women Rights
25. Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
26. Maryam Namazie, Iranian Spokesperson for One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah
27. Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
28. Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
29. Nina Sankari, Vice-President of the Atheist Coalition, Poland
30. Nira Yuval-Davis, a founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the International Research Network on Women in Militarized Conflict Zone
31. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani Nuclear Physicist and Social Activist
32. Peter Tatchell, Director of Peter Tatchell Foundation
33. Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
34. Ramin Forghani, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland
35. Rumy Hassan, Senior Lecturer at University of Sussex and author
36. Sameena Zehra, comedian and blues singer
37. Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International
38. Soad Baba Aissa, Founder of the Association for Mixing, Equality and Secularism
39. Sue Cox, Founder of Survivors Voice Europe
40. Sultana Kamal is a lawyer, human rights activist and Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra in Bangladesh
41. Taslima Nasrin, Bangladeshi Writer and Activist
42. Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society
43. Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Activist