20 June a huge success against Sharia and religious laws

20 June a huge success against Sharia and religious laws

Several hundred people joined One Law for All on 20 June at Downing Street to show their opposition to Sharia and religious-based laws in Britain and elsewhere and to demand universal rights and secularism.

A new report “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights” was published on the day to coincide with the rally. Human rights activist Gita Sahgal said of the report: “I think it is highly significant that in Britain there has been silence where there should have been condemnation. There is active support for ‘Sharia laws’ precisely because it is limited to denying women rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there can’t be a problem. Unfortunately for us, senior law officers will find that human rights expert bodies often have a similar attitude. They have done little research on the impact of family laws and the denial of justice caused by parallel systems of justice. That is why the findings of this report are so important. It is such dedicated work that changes the thinking of the experts.”

She went on to say: “This campaign stands at the heart of a debate over the future of Britain. It also stands at the heart of global attempts to destroy the most basic rights, to invade liberty and to crush equality and to do this in the name of upholding and promoting human rights. We stand here today facing down forces of racism and fundamentalism as we struggle for secularism.”

The pro-Sharia Al-Muhajiroun organised a counter-demonstration to the One Law for All rally. One of their members said: “We find many of these people who call for human rights and one law. They come and they say that they want equality. But what equality do you get when one man legislates over another?” In response, One Law for All Spokesperson, Maryam Namazie, said: “The fight against Sharia law is a fight against Islamism not Muslims, immigrants and people living under Sharia here or elsewhere. So it is very apt for the Islamists to hold a counter-demonstration against our rally. This is where the real battleground lies. With a few members of the far Right English Defence League also there to showcase their bigotry, it became abundantly clear to everyone why our Campaign is fast becoming the banner carrier for universal rights, equality, and one secular law for all in this country and beyond.”

MC Fariborz Pooya of the Iranian Secular Society said: “The One Law for All Campaign has brought to centre stage an important debate about the kind of society we want to live in whilst defending the rights of everyone irrespective of religion, race, nationality…; this Campaign is truly the voice of the voiceless.”

Women’s rights campaigner Yasmin Rehman said: “We Muslims have been a part of the UK for many, many years but the generations before me did not feel the need for or call for segregation in the way that is being demanded now. At the beginning of my career as a women’s rights advocate there was no need to apply for a certificate of Khula in divorce cases. Muslim women are now being told that divorces under the English legal system are not valued or recognised without a certificate of Khula – and should they remarry without this they will be committing Zina – a ‘crime’ punishable by death in many Muslim countries. This is not a view shared by all Islamic scholars but a view that is being pushed through the Islamic councils and tribunals across the UK.”

Sue Robson of the Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association said: “This is a human rights issue. Here in the UK, it’s an egalitarian issue; it’s a feminist issue. Elsewhere in our world, the issue is life – and death.”

Gerard Phillips of the National Secular Society said that Sharia Law was “nothing less than an attack on human rights and on equality.” He went on to say: “It undermines our democracy. It must be opposed.”

The rally also heard from others including Naomi Phillips of the British Humanist Association, poets from the Anti-Injustice Movement and singer Adam Barnett.

Protestors then joined a march organised by Iran Solidarity to the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran. Patty Debonitas of Iran Solidarity UK said: “By coming today you are showing your solidarity with the people here who are victimised under Sharia law and people in Iran who are being victimised under the state power of Sharia.” The rally was held on 20 June to mark the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan at a protest in Tehran last year and link the fight against Sharia here with that in Iran and elsewhere.

On the day, Maryam Namazie was interviewed on BBC 1 TV’s Breakfast Programme, and some other media outlets. They will be posted on the media coverage section of the website.

Notes:

1. The new One Law for All report “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights” can be downloaded free of charge or a paperback copy purchased from One Law for All for £5.00 plus £2.00 Shipping and Handling. To purchase the book or donate to the work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque to our address below or pay via Paypal. One Law for All wants to send the report to MPs, the Archbishop of Canterbury and others. It would be very helpful if you could buy extra copies for us to send on to others free of charge.

2. Full speeches of speakers will be available on the website soon as will video footage of the day. Photos of the day are below.

3. The One Law for All Campaign was launched on 10 December 2008, International Human Rights Day, to call on the UK Government to recognise that Sharia and religious courts are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular and that citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.

4. For further information contact:
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

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You can download speeches here:
Naomi Phillips (British Humanist Association)
Yasmin Rehman Speech
Gita Sahgal speech
Gerard Phillips – speech
Patty Debonitas speech

By | 2014-05-20T18:32:20+00:00 June 20th, 2010|Events, Past Events|42 Comments

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42 Comments

  1. Behzad June 21, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Big thanks to all of you for organizing such an important protest. Here is a link to some photos

    http://www.demotix.com/news/362175/one-law-all

    • Will June 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Behzad,

      I write a weekly roundup of the news and blog posts regarding ‘skeptic issues’ (incidentally, anyone keen on this kind of campaign might like to check it out at skeptic.org.uk/news). Anyway, plug over with, I was hoping I could get your permission to include one of your images in this week’s. It goes out on Friday mornings so I hope you get this in time. Sorry for the short notice. Let me know.

      Thanks.

      Will

  2. Zebra June 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

    It was very important to be there and one of the most interesting experience in my life!
    I didn’t know how meaningful can be this kind of really.
    Best wishes for people who organized this really.

  3. Amy June 21, 2010 at 9:35 am

    “But what equality do you get when one man legislates over another?”

    So… forcing the law of your religion on everyone else isn’t legislating over them? *headdesk*

  4. Sally Hughes June 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I was at the rally but couldn’t do the march.

    I went to Trafalgar Square afterwards and while I waited for my bus I witnessed the Hare Krishna festival.

    Like the supporters of “one law for all” their good humour and tolerance were in stark contrast with the Islamists and the EDL who seem to be two sides of the same intolerance and bigotry.

    I am so glad I could find a group that will stand up for people of all races and beliefs without compromising our freedoms.

    Thank you

    • MaryamNamazie June 22, 2010 at 7:30 am

      Thanks to all you wonderful people who showed up on 20 June. You do help us to carry on with the campaign knowing that there is all that support out there and that we are not shouting in the wilderness.

      As expected, the British media hardly covered the rally. If it wasn’t for citizen journalism and the internet, I wonder where we would be.

  5. Barry Evans June 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Here’s a link to my video of the protest:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpnslztTVGY

  6. AK47 June 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Major respect to all of you who stood up for secularism, human rights, and freedom in the face of two factions of the far right (Islamic Supremacists and White Supremacists) and one faction of the so called far left(Unite Against Fascism), who don’t see the irony in supporting the far right within Islam.

    One Law For All, Iranian Solidarity and The Anti-Injustice Movement and other groups involved in the fight against Sharia (excluding the nationalists) were the only forces there to push back all the elements of fascism. Despite being unable to attend with my AIM family due to illness I was 100% behind you all. Unfortunately during the rally I received a death threat here at AIM HQ so it shows how low these fascists will stoop to spread their discriminatory religious laws. However we must never stop struggling for freedom, secularism and human rights despite their threats.

    The Anti-Injustice Movement offers it’s full support to One Law For All and Iranian Solidarity and we would definitely like to arrange a similar event in November after our Five Elements event which Maryam Namazie has agreed to give a speech at. I want to thank Maryam for being a great inspiration and role model to me. As she said at a previous rally we have to win this because we have no choice.

    In Strength & Solidarity,
    ~AK47~
    ~President of The Anti-Injustice Movement~

    “Fighting with words instead of weapons.”
    (THE AIM)

    • MaryamNamazie June 22, 2010 at 7:27 am

      We missed you but not to worry – AIM was well represented. Take care and hope to see you at our next event.

  7. Yasmin Rehman June 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Can we get copies of the poems read out by AIM and others at the protest on the One Law for All website – they were fantastic.

    • MaryamNamazie June 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      I’ve asked them to send it to us. Thanks for coming Yasmin. It was brilliant to have you there.

    • AK47 June 30, 2010 at 3:57 am

      Thanks Yasmin. I’ll tell Lilith and Brent you enjoyed them. I was meant to be there performing too but unfortunately I got sick.

      Lilith has an amazing new poem on video at our website which deals with Sharia Law and cultural relativism. If you want to check it out you’ll find it in the Street Poetry section at http://www.antiinjusticemovement.com

      Peace,
      ~AK47~

  8. beverly June 23, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Its about time that people in this part of the world should realize that Islam is invading in their foremost rights. Wake up and be vigilant because one day you will wake that Europe will be under the rule and tyranny of muslims. Block all agenda that gives them power, dissociate with them and condemn their world terroristic activities.

    • MaryamNamazie June 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      It is not Islam that is invading rights but Islamism. Islam is a religion like all others. Any religion that is part of the public space, law, state will do and has done the same (E.g. the inquistion). Also it is not Muslims that we need to target – do you not listen to anything that is being said by this campaign!? It is Muslims or those living under Sharia here or elsewhere that are the principal victims of Islamism and at the forefront of the struggle against Islamism and Sharia law.

      • Dave June 23, 2010 at 5:03 pm

        But “Islamism” comes from Islam. The more we allow and promote the spread of islam, the more Islamism and extremists we will get. We need to get to the root cause of the problem, not just attempt to treat the symptoms.

        I must say I am a bit confused by your campaign given your comments as Sharia Law is an integral part of islam.

        • Brigitte June 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm

          Like Dave, I am puzzled.

          Islam is not a religion like all others. It has no concept of humanity; instead, it divides it into muslims and kuffars. The global application of sharia is its ultimate goal, as clearly stated in its three foundational books, quran, hadiths and sunna. That’s islam, not islamism, and will be so until a reformation takes place, although the quran’s main premise (perfect, unchangeable, eternal words of allah) makes it somehow difficult.

          As far as I know, the majority of Muslims living in the West DO HAVE a concept of humanity. So far, they have been able to accommodate democratic principles with their religious practice. They have done so by adhering to the more benign Meccan quranic verses and rituals while treating most of mohammed’s later teachings as background noise- thus flouting the islamic abrogation principle. Brilliant, diversity makes life that much richer & interesting.

          Unfortunately, as extremists grow more vocal, as civil society accommodates more and more of their demands, and as terrorist plots and attacks increase, a purer ‘interpretation’ of (or to call a spade a spade, understanding and adherence to) the islamic doctrine is undeniably on the rise. It may be a passing fad, but the evidence (from elsewhere, and historical) suggests otherwise.

          Additionally, while ‘moderate’ and former muslims are without a doubt sharia law’s first victims, how, for example, must non-muslim women and homosexuals feel after decades of struggle to gain equal rights, about their country allowing sharia tribunals? And how far will it go?

          It is a global issue affecting and threatening everyone of us, and it cannot be understood and tackled without studying the islamic doctrine due to the increasing numbers and determination of those who closely embrace it. If the problem was the rise of christian fundamentalism or marxist fanaticism, the writings they use to inspire and justify their actions would be scrutinised and challenged just the same, even if it made moderate adherents of these beliefs systems uncomfortable.

          Sorry for the lengthy post 🙁

          • Brigitte June 25, 2010 at 7:52 pm

            Mistake: when i wrote ‘sunna’, i meant ‘sira’.

      • Kinana June 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm

        Like Dave and Brigitte i too am confused. Could you please clarify and answer particularly Dave’s points?

        My (short)take on Islam is that the life of Mohammed, the teachings of the Qur’an and the hadith, plus 1400 years of practice, testify to the political nature of Islam. The so-called spiritual is political. Allah demands obedience to certain behavior from all individuals so that the umma remain strong enough to defend itself and expand its control over all the world so that all non-Muslims are made to feel and, in all aspects of their lives, are in fact ‘subdued’ i.e. under the control of Muslims. [Qur’an 9:29] Can it be otherwise? If so can you supply the textual basis of Islam that is devoid of social or political implications I would most grateful.

        thanks

        • AK47 June 30, 2010 at 3:54 am

          As a person who has a Master’s in Religious Terrorism/Islamic Theology I agree with your interpretation of Islam. However Muslims, like liberal Christians, should modify their religion to fit a modern context. It is cherry picking but it is preferable to the standard interpretation of Islam which includes Islamic Crusades, Jihad and Sharia Law. Atheism or agnosticism is ofcourse preferable in my view.

      • kinana June 30, 2010 at 10:06 pm

        AK47

        Thanks for your reply and general agreement (first sentence). As to your next sentence I also agree that Muslims ‘should’ remove the bits of their religion which offend or are not compatible with the ‘modern context.’ This seems to bring us back to my point and the point being made by Dave and Brigitte. Is Islam okay and Islamism not?

        Islam is not what we want it to be or even what so-called moderate Muslims want it to be. It is what you and I have agreed it actually is. Given this starting point it behooves us and the OLFA campaign to not soft-pedal the truly difficult task of confronting Islam in reality and avoid ambiguous terms like ‘Islamism.’ The teachings and texts of Islam simply do not allow for the umma to change Islam, to ‘cherry pick’ the teachings. The foundational texts do not allow it, nor do the ‘rightly guided Caliphs’, nor do the 4 major schools of the 11th – 13th centuries.

        Campaigns like this one which refuses to place the problem squarely with Islam and instead blame something called ‘Islamism’ do a disservice to the wider public who are looking to understand events like 9/11 and 7/7.

        I feel that a more accurate approach would be to say that each Muslim has their own understanding of Islam which may or may not be compatible within the modern context, but that Islam per se, as we agreed, is not compatible. I too look forward to the day that Islam is actually reformed and updated, and this new Islam is actually believed in by ALL Muslims forever after.

        Until then: One Law for All and no Sharia!

        Thanks

        • MaryamNamazie July 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

          The issue is not whether Islam is okay and Islamism is not. Islam like all religions must be open to criticism and ridicule. I myself am an atheist and personally think that we need to go further than the secularisation of society and call for de-religionisation of society – separating it from the public space and a citizen’s identity and ensuring that it is truly a private affair. That’s not the case even in many secular societies today and especially not in Britain. Religious groups still get charity status and tax exemptions and are allowed exemptions from for example the sexual orientation regulations in order to discriminate based on their beliefs! Whilst people have the right to religion and belief, that doesn’t mean that we cannot challenge or criticise their beliefs. It becomes particularly important to do so when a political movement like Islamism holds religion as its banner. These are all things I have campaigned on for many years. I think particularly freedom of expression is most important and needed when criticising that which is taboo and sacred – and that means first and foremost religion. You can see my argument on this here: http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2008/06/freedom-of-expression-and-political.html.

          Having said all this, though, the distinction between Islamism and Islam is not a cop-out as you seem to imply. If you fail to see the distinction, you fail to understand where the problem lies and cannot resist it properly. If you believe the problem is first and foremost Islam (and not religion in general, which is the far Right’s attitude to this), then you begin to come up with nonsensical, inhuman and racist recommendations like calling for the banning of the Koran, saying Islam is not a religion, scapegoating Muslims and calling for an end to ‘Muslim immigration’ whatever that means. Some of the speakers at our 20 June rally said it well. Muslims have been here for many years (as has Islam for that matter) – it is only recently that there is pressure on women to go to Sharia courts – it wasn’t required of them thirty years ago. The difference today from thirty years ago is Islamism. Islam as a religion hasn’t changed – its influence has. The same applies to your examples of 9/11 or 7/7. That is why I compare it to the Christian inquisition or crusades. The Bible has not changed today – or it wasn’t banned in order to push it back; Christianity only seems cuddlier today because it has been pushed back by the enlightenment. In my opinion, a ‘reformed religion’ is one that has been pushed out of the public space and backed into a corner.

          Whilst Islamism is holding a sword over people’s heads, you don’t seem to understand that it is not so easy for Muslims to pick and choose, leave Islam, think freely, and so on. And when they do – as many still do – it entails great risks. Just as risky as it was for apostates and free thinkers during the Christian inquisition. Of course Islam is not compatible with modern society but neither is any religion – the reason why you think Christianity is compatible is thanks to the enlightenment and not because Christianity is any better than Islam. You can pick and choose today because you don’t live under the inquisition. Of course to each his own belief. That’s one of the problems with religion isn’t it – your religion is always better than the others. Fine – not a problem if the religion in question has no political power. Then it is just an opinion. It’s the difference between the bigot who thinks gays are perverts and a state that will hang gays for their sexuality. That is the difference between Islam and Islamism. If we want to win – and defend humanity at the same time – we must target Islamism. Full Stop. I have explained this further here: http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2008/06/islam-matters-because-of-political.html.

  9. Rafiq Mahmood June 23, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Here in Indonesia we can see the danger of creeping sharia-isation with one Province (Aceh) under sharia rule with their own religious police and with local authorities in other parts of the country adopting sharia bye-laws. You are absolutely right to draw the attention of people in Britain to the danger.

    From the photos it seems that the counter-demonstrators were making your point with even greater force – showing clearly that this is no matter of mild cultural accommodation but something which threatens the fundamental values the British people have fought for over the centuries. Islamism is both a devastating and virulent mental and social disease and the same fascism our fathers and grandfathers laid down their lives to defeat.

  10. Rafiq Mahmood June 23, 2010 at 8:24 am

    It is, by the way, heartening to see the Islamists campaigning for human rights in the Nether World:

    http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/pictutre-240-150×150.jpg

    They are one bunch of fellows who seem to know where they are going and want protection from arbitrary inhuman demonic rule before they get there…

  11. will carr June 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

    ‘Democracy is cancer Sharia is the answer’. Anybody who thought up andshouts this slogan has no business living in UK and should be deported to a country where their ideas are supported. These people are as alien to our culture and way of life as if they had just landed from another planet. It is obvious that democracies (in spite of recent problems) are flourishing and creative societies, whereas theocracies are not. They were backward until Western skill and commerce developed the oil and provided the means for their wealth.
    It is noteable that there was a complete absence of women in the Sharia support group, as far as I could see. It is in the main men who want Sharia not women. Admittedly this was a small number of Muslims but they are very vocal and seek to intimidate.

    • MaryamNamazie June 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      You can’t solve problems by deporting people you don’t like – where would you deport BNP and EDL members, seriel killers and so on. Also you assume that people in Iran would welcome them because they live under a theocracy. In fact though they are battling Islamism and Sharia law there too and don’t need any British Islamists to help the repressive regime there.

      Islamism is a political problem that needs a political response. As I have said many times – it is Islamism that demands Sharia law not Muslims. So we need to focus on battling Islamism here or everywhere.

    • Roger June 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      That group are only a handful and by and large just an annoyance. The real problem is groups like the Islamic Forum of Europe and others which are seen as ‘mainstream’ but have an underlying, less vocal agenda for sharia law in the UK. They are very dangerous as they are hiding behind the so called ‘anti racist’ banner with support from others on the left such as UAF etc. They are also getting into politics as seen in the dispatches documentary.

      • MaryamNamazie June 25, 2010 at 9:35 am

        Yes I completely agree – the Islamists we faced at the 20 June rally show the real face of Islamism but there are those that are ‘mainstream’ that are pushing forth the same agenda but using right language and cries of Islamophobia to do so.

  12. R Y Alam June 24, 2010 at 12:31 am

    It has to be said that, no ‘-ism’ demands anything.
    There are no ideas and no ideologies that have a life, until, actual living people, embody by their actions and their interaction, those ideas…. so, to attempt to separate Islamism as a dangerous, delusional and fascistic set of ideas, from the people who are practicing it with sincerity, is an obfuscation of reality.

    I travelled six hours to attend the OneLawforAll rally… and I do not consider it ‘a huge success’, by any stretch of the imagination. The rally, which I took to be about bringing ideas into a public space, to passers by and even to opposers of those ideas… was not a success because firstly, hundreds did not attend!

    There were not many more than a hundred or so people at the One Law for All rally and though the Muslims males with black flags, did not number more than 30 or so, they did have a far far superior sound system and that meant the One Law for All rally was sadly, outshouted and outmanouvered. I do not agree with fostering self-deceptions and thereby becoming divorced from reality, no matter how much I respect the person or how good their intentions might be…

    Therefore it has to be said, it was the Muslims who took over that space with their eye-catching, ear-splitting, attention-arresting, vicerally-affecting Arabic chants and Koranic quotes…

    Then, when some 15 EDL youth came and stood opposite them on the other side of the road, we were quite side-lined and despite the valiant efforts of the 100 or so people present, our chants really were feeble as the amplifier broke … we shouted slogans like ‘women’s rights are human rights’, and ‘shame on you’ but though there was only the distance of the police van between the muslim youth and our rally, I doubt if they heard a word we said. So the rally in truth, degenerated into a shouting match , won by the Muslims.
    And they are the Muslims, demanding Sharia law – not ‘Islamism’!
    A creed cannot demand – only people can! We could say that some Muslims do not agree with applying the literal word of the Koran… but the ‘fundamentalists do’, but that is still not the same as saying as Maryam is in the post above, that ‘Islamism demands sharia law, not Muslims’.

    I must also, in the interests of fair play, question the appropriateness of equating BNP, EDL and serial killers in the same breath !

    If we are to be true to our respect and aspiration for living democratically and respecting human rights, that must mean we then do our damnest to resist our conditioning and our prejudices … it means we have to be open to, listen to, those very much on the outside of the bounderies of our own personal experience… Even if we don’t much like them , even if we regard them as our enemies…

    Nelson Mandela survived a vicious, inhuman regime, and the decades in prison, because he treated even his prison guards as human beings to be engaged with, not loftily excluded and denounced as ‘beyond the pale’… I ask Maryam and all those who wish to work to ensure ‘One Law for All’, that we don’t practice segregation, or exclusion or be the cause for increasing alienation…

    Let us avoid making assumptions and using insulting disparaging language such as ‘the EDL were their to showcase their bigotry’. We have to give people the benefit of the doubt… engage with them, not tell them to ‘go back to football hooliganism’. Sorry but that is really not any better than the National Front tormentors of my youth, at school, telling me to ‘go back to the jungle I came from’.

    • MaryamNamazie June 25, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for your comments – A few points. I don’t want to quibble about numbers as there is always someone who says that the numbers are inaccurate. The police said 5-600 people were there; you say less than a hundred. Doesn’t really matter. The point is even if we were 10 people we needed to be there and make a stand against Sharia law and Islamism.

      You may think the rally was unsuccessful but I think otherwise. For me the most important thing was that the main players on this issue were made visible. It was clear that the battle is against Islamism and not against Muslims and immigrants and so on as the far Right claims and that to me is a great success.

      On the point of Muslims not Islamists demanding Sharia law – there is a distinction which is important to be made and one that we are primarily making. It is the distinction between being British and being a member of the British National Party; a difference between being German and a Nazi; the difference between being Christian and a member of the Klu Klux Klan…. It’s an important distinction. Islamism is an organised far Right movement with state power. It is demanding the imposition of Sharia law.

      Also I did not compare the EDL with serial killers. I was making this point to someone who was saying that the Islamists should be deported or go back home. My point was that many of the Islamists are British born. If they are committing a crime, arrest them. Why send them to Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan where people there are already suffering under their rule and resisting it at the same time. I was saying that there is a racism behind this call to deport or send people considered ‘foreign’ back – even if they are British born! No one calls for a white serial killer to be sent home – anyway that is the point I was making.

      Also you have to remember that I am responsible for leading this movement and cannot compromise on principles. This is not about being segregationist or exclusive. Look you can’t have a movement defending Muslims for example which includes people who wants to send all Muslims home and will never consider them British. I was very involved in the anti-apartheid movement – of course everyone of every colour was allowed to join in but not if you were a member of the KKK (but kept saying you weren’t a racist!). My response to those who say they aren’t racist – is leave the ranks of the EDL, BNP and join us – otherwise stay out. Everyone is invited to join but not if your aim is one that is different from ours – our aim puts people before religion and ideology. The Islamists and far Right do the exact opposite.

      Finally being opposed to something doesn’t automatically mean you are exclusive – I am opposed to faith schools because in fact not having them is more inclusive and fairer to children. I am opposed to Sharia law because it is exclusive and not having religious laws ensure equal rights and so on.

      Anyway there is much more that could be said on your comments but I will leave it at that.

      • Roger June 25, 2010 at 10:57 pm

        Maryam you said above: “it is Islamism that demands Sharia law not Muslims” then you say “On the point of Muslims not Islamists demanding Sharia law” and this is different

        I think the correct text is “It is Islamists that demand sharia law” and the battle must be focused on Islamists not all muslims.

        If we can all agree on that point, then a wider debate can be had on islam.

        • AK47 June 30, 2010 at 3:48 am

          Pedantic perhaps? Maybe you should utilize your time more effectively and flame the pages of far right Islamists and white supremacists rather than that of a very intelligent, ethical and well meaning human rights activist who is fighting against right wing extremism in it’s various forms. Just a thought.

    • Roger June 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      What a great post RY Alam.

  13. Barry Evans June 24, 2010 at 9:23 am

    It gives me no pleasure to say that the situation was even worse than RY Alam stated above. Hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of Moslem youth from the anti EDL/Fascist counter march, whom we are to believe are not “radical”, later joined the 30 or so Islamists after One Law For All marched off to the Iranian Embassy. The youths appeared to be seduced by the loud and beguiling calls of the Islamist demonstrators. Their video is posted on YouTube at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY5_Pfg1S1Y&feature=related

  14. Barry Evans June 24, 2010 at 9:54 am

    PS
    You really must beg or buy an improved sound system for your demonstrations. You also need a simple platform for speakers to stand on when addressing the crowd. Buy a ladder or a step or a soap box! I shall put my money where my mouth is and donate £50. I hope you use it towards a demonstration equipment fund. Your voice must be heard and the louder and taller the better.

    PPS: Together with, I guess, 95% of the population, I have no idea what “Cultural Relativism” is without a dictionary with me and I do not carry one to demonstrations. Is it really an appealing banner headline on a march?

    • MaryamNamazie June 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

      We paid nearly £400 to hire our sound system but it broke down – and the company couldn’t fix or replace it. We were luck we had brought our handheld speakers for the march. Please do donate – we intend to buy our own system so we don’t have the problem again.

    • Martin June 25, 2010 at 10:27 am

      Many thanks to the organisers. I’m glad I came, along with many others, and stood up to the theocrats. I Will look forward to the next one.

      I thought the venue was good too; a popular place with many passers by. Shame about the slight sound system glitch, but I too have have put my money where my mouth is and donated £200 to the ‘demonstration equipment fund’.

  15. Jonny Dade June 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    As much as i support this movement, and all that it stands for. And as much as i can’t get my head around the idea that this sort of thing is still a problem in the modern day and age (sigh) i can’t help but feel that the photos of the event are a bit one sided towards the ‘good guys’. I’m pretty sure the islamists present at the event probably were a few bricks short of a wall, but the photos above portray them as raging animals, and show the supporters as saintly, friendly guys. This probably was the case, i wan’t there so i’ll never know, but to an outsider, the photos have a slight element of… cherry picking?

    • MaryamNamazie June 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

      Jonny please search the internet – maybe their own sites – and see if you can find a better picture of the Islamists – we will be sure to put it up!

    • AK47 June 30, 2010 at 3:41 am

      Those were the Muslims that were at the rally. Why is Maryam responsible for editing reality to make you more comfortable? If you have watched the videos you will see that all the protesters from Muslims Against the Crusades were holding these placards and looking like stereotypes of Islamic Supremacists (perhaps because they are Islamic Supremacists). Yes the goodies did look like nice normal people because that is what they are. It’s not an ‘Islamaphobic’ distortion of reality as you seem to be implying. Maybe at the next rally we should all wear balaclavas so as not to misrepresent the right wing factions of Islam. lol Oh My Flying Spaghetti Monster give me strength!

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  17. Tom June 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I just happened to be there visiting London on the day of the protest. I would just like to thank you for the work you are doing. The best part of the country is behind you.

  18. Rafiq Mahmood June 25, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I’m sorry, Maryam, but it does seem that R Y Alam has a point, but only up to a point. Sadly I can only witness the events through your photos and the video so I may have missed the mark slightly. I do think it unnecessary hyperbole to describe the rally as a “huge success”. I have often seen meetings described as successful and wondered what they have to be successful about. Of course the only success that the meeting could have is if sharia quasi judicial proceedings were outlawed and it will be a long haul to achieve that. I do think we need to be a little more careful with our epithets.

    Not being “successful” an a defined, objective sense does not mean that the gathering was not extremely worthwhile and not without significant successes. Perhaps the most noticeable result was the counter-demonstration. It showed what exactly the Islamists’ objective is and anyone with a memory or a smattering of recent European history would have no difficulty in getting the message loud and clear.

    I do not think the Islamists “won”. They gave an excellent, if unwitting, demonstration in support of your cause. It would have been your loss if your sound system had matched theirs. Your arguments were quiet and reasoned, albeit hidden behind a police van. They gave the son et lumiere to back you up.

    Of course a handful of racists wanted to exploit the situation but it seems clear that they were only a handful.

    The group facing you had exactly the same look and feel as similar groups I see in Indonesia – and which most people here reject as being as uncharacteristic of Indonesian society as they are of British. You are right to make a distinction between Muslims and the political exploitation of religious sentiment that Hizbut-Tahrir and their ilk represent. They do want to polarise and create division. The ultra-nationalist and racist parties are their allies.

    This is a battle of minds. Last Sunday helped to expose the danger both in the legal permissiveness of sharia quasi tribunals and in the forces who want to tighten their grip on a section, if the whole of British society. In that it was successful, if not “hugely” so.

    If you want to see what is actually successful in this battle, see where people scream the loudest when hit. The Islamists are most scared of the arts: not physical pain. Comedy, theatre, sculpture, cartoons – they have all been most vehemently attacked because they hit home: they force people to think.

    Damnit – the Islamists think they are scary. Actually they are very, very funny. There is huge mileage to be made out of the images and sounds of last week.

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