Secularism is our right: Freedom is our culture

A session at Skeptics on the Fringe 2013

Sunday 11th August, 2013

3:30pm to 4:30pm (GMT)

Maryam Namazie will be speaking about Islam, Islamism and women’s rights. She will reject the culturally relativist notion that Islamism speaks for all “Muslims”, or that criticism of Islam and Islamism is racism or cultural imperialism. Instead she will show that Islamism is not people’s culture, that no community or society is homogeneous and that freedom – and not Islamism – is the culture of many dissidents and protesters. A resolute defence of secularism and solidarity with the revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa – very often women-led – are an important task of secularists.

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. Her early activism focused on human rights and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in the Sudan, the US, Turkey and Holland.

Maryam Namazie campaigns for secularism and the de-religionisation of society not only in Iran but in Britain and elsewhere.

She has worked on campaigns 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, and opposing the incitement to religious hatred bill in the UK. Her successes include the campaign against the Sharia court in Canada.

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 her writings are gaining a mainstream audience.

(Biographical notes adapted from 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’s website is here: http://maryamnamazie.com

Mayram blogs here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/mary...

About the speaker

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Maryam Namazie

Commentator, broadcaster and campaigner for secularism

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Time 3:30pm4:30pm GMT

Date Sun 11th August 2013

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