The Times reported today the disgusting decision of a Pakistani court to uphold the death sentence of a Christian mother accused of insulting Mohammad after an argument with some Muslim women at work over the use of a drinking cup.
The level of intolerance involved in this case is astonishing. The argument erupted as the other women objected to her use of a cup by a Christian, itself a sign of inherent bigotry. Her family were attacked and beaten before going into hiding and Islamists have been cheering the decision to execute her.
Barbarism. No other word for it.
Last weekend a number of leading secularists assembled (under threat) in London to discuss the need to fight for an alternative to the religious fundamentalist agenda being forced on people across large sections of the world.
This Manifesto is the result and should be supported by all rational thinkers across the political spectrum.
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.
Equality between women and men and citizenship rights for all.
There are 42 initial signatories including AC Grayling (Philosopher), Peter Tatchell (Activist), Inna Shevchenko (FEMEN) and Terry Sanderson (President National Secular Society)
The following video shows Maryam Namazie moving the manifesto at the conference,