Petition for a Free & Secular Middle East & N. Africa & Recognition of Women’s Rights & Equality Print E-mail
 Wednesday 26 October 2011

Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa

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 HERE:

We also ask that supporters click ‘like’ on our Facebook page to support this important campaign HERE

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

Manifesto for a Secular Middle East and North Africa

ENGLISH

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 and PERSIAN versions by scrolling down HERE

We call on world citizens to support this important campaign by signing on to our petition HERE: