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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Conference examines apostasy and sharia

The campaigning group One Law for All marked Human Rights Day (11 December 2010) with a conference on Apostasy, Sharia law and Human Rights at London’s Conway Hall.

The speakers included Mina Ahadi and NSS Honorary Associates Maryam Namazie and Joan Smith and Mina Ahadi. Maryam was the organiser. Mina has played a leading role in the campaign to free Sakineh Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to stoning in Iran on trumped up charges. Joan Smith chaired a panel on Multiculturalism and multi-faithism versus universal human rights. Drawing on his experience at the United Nations, Roy Brown argued in his speech that Islamism is primarily a political movement and could not be considered exempt from criticism on religious grounds. The NSS’s Keith Porteous Wood spoke about his political lobbying on Sharia and disturbing trends about extensive support in many Muslim countries for hard line sharia. He was pleased about the clear consensus among delegates that the resistance to Sharia and apostasy needs to be focussed more on secularism. Rather than focussing on — for example — atheism, political ideologies or on one particular country, secularism needs to be the uniting call and alliances need to be built with women’s rights and gay rights organisations and the wider Human Rights movement.

An informative booklet on apostasy edited by Maryam Namazie is here

One Law for All’s booklet on Sharia is available from here either in print or as a download.

Published Fri, 17 Dec 2010