No One is Safe

Maryam Namazie from her own blog with her latest thoughts on Islamism.

They will believe anything

2nd October 2012

Did you hear the one about Fars News Agency (a state-affiliated media outlet of the Islamic regime of Iran) publishing a satirical piece from The Onion as fact?

And that’s not even the funny bit.

The piece they published practically verbatim was about a Gallup Poll finding that rural white Americans prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama: "Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama".


I guess if you believe the al-Mahdi is coming soon, you will believe anything…

Women are always expendable

2nd October 2012

Did you hear that Ikea had airbrushed all women out of their Saudi Arabian catalogue?

Ikea released a statement expressing regret over the issue: “We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.”

Starbucks it seems also removed the long-haired woman from its logo, keeping only her crown, when it opened a store in Saudi.

It seems women are easily expendable when it comes to profits. Oh and also for ‘religious tolerance’, ‘respect’, and ‘not causing offence’ and in order to ‘stop discrimination’, ‘end racism’, and of course ‘prevent Islamophobia’ and what not…

No-one is safe, not even 14 year olds.

10th October 2012

Yesterday, the Taliban critically wounded Malala Yousafzai, the lovely and brave 14 year old Pakistani girl, on her way home from school.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said they targeted Yousafzai because she generated ‘negative propaganda’ and was the ’symbol of the infidels and obscenity’. If she survived, Ihsan said, the Taliban would try to kill her again.

Sounds familiar?

After all, she dared to  defend the right of girls to an education, particularly offensive to the Taliban which had banned them from attending school, amongst many other things.

When religion is in power, any challenge to it – even something as simple as a girl wanting to go to school – can be deemed offensive, obscene and blasphemous.

And this is exactly why no-one – not even a 14 year old – is safe.

In light of this stark reality, calls for blasphemy laws and censorship is nothing short of a defence of the Taliban herds and their vile Sharia rules because it denies people their thoughts, their words, their expressions, and their resistance and dissent.

All at the expense of sweet Malala and the innumerable like her – challenging Islamism day in and day out by demanding to live  21st century lives.

Today is for her and them.


  1. Again a powerful post Maryam I for one would believe that gallup poll after all Ahmadinejad may be an A-rab but at least he is not Black!
    Could you forward your piece ;
    No One Is Safe Not Even 14 Year Olds to our Nuala. ...its exactly what I have been saying.

  2. Women are always expendable-

    There was a former woman from co down who was killed by an Afgan patriot in Afganistan yesterday-she was expendable-

  3. 'Challenging Islamism'

    Surely it is challenging discriminatory and criminal laws and practises that are carried out in the name of religion?

    The woman killed yesterday in Afghanistan was expendable Michael Henry, sacrificed by her own country to go fight an illegal war, just like her male colleague - another soldier of the crown.

  4. Belfast Bookworm

    Surely it is challenging discriminatory and criminal laws and practises that are carried out in the name of religion?

    I wonder what the difference is. I guess religion is what religion does, much like any other ideology.

  5. This wretched woman and her hysterical islamaphobia [propounded through her position on the central committee of the barking far left sect - the Workers Communist Party of Iran-WPI] needs to understand that each time she condemns Islam, she feeds fuel to the real perpetrators of the greatest abominations and crimes of our time, namely Israel. Every major war instigated in the last 100 years, has the fingerprint of a jewish banker or a zionist criminal upon it- and she would be wise to comprehend the ways in which this cabal of gangsters will manipulate her words, to advance their so called 'war on terror'.

  6. Anthony, I believe that all these despicable crimes we hear about, most against women, are being labelled as religious crimes to criminalise the religion and detract from the real issues that are being discussed in other threads.

    In other words, it's Islamaphobia. Bad religion = bad people.

  7. Belfast Bookworm,

    again I fail to see any meaningful difference. If clerical power is repressing people then it looks like religion to me.

    I think Islamophobia exists much as anti semitism does and anti gay sentiment. I have written about Islamophobia particularly in the context of US politics. But I also think it is used as a muffler to silence discussion, in the same way that racism is used. My own experience is that the Left are the worst offenders in this regard. They often can be found shouting 'racism' and 'islamophobia' to prevent discussion.

  8. Fuck them all! religions that is,if we are going to slaughter each other lets do it over something important like not buying a round!

  9. I see a very obvious difference. Many clerics do repress and do repress in the name of their respective religions, manipulating their various holy books to justify their repression but I don't believe it's the religion that represses, I believe it's the people who contort the religion to suit their needs that do.

    Condemning the whole religion, in this case Islam, is wrong.

    Maryam Namazie seems to have made it her life's work to destroy Islam and promote democracy - with a little help from the good old US of A..I just dipped into her blog there. I looked at her bio and couldn't help but be impressed by her long list of credentials; president of this, chairperson of that. All in the name of democracy.

    It reminded me of something i read a time ago and went digging for the quote;

    'Where democracy appears to fit in well with US security and economic interests, the United States promotes democracy,' Carothers concludes. 'Where democracy clashes with other significant interests, it is downplayed or even ignored.'

  10. Apologies; That quote was by Thomas Carothers, director of the Carnegie Endowment programme for law and democracy.

  11. Marty.

    "Fuck them all! religions that is,if we are going to slaughter each other lets do it over something important like not buying a round!".

    You have it in one a cara.

    Belfast Bookworm.

    "Maryam Namazie seems to have made it her life's work to destroy Islam and promote democracy"?.

    I have to disagree with you, she is not trying to destroy Islam, she is standing up for her, and, other womens rights, I wonder if those suppressing the women, would accept a woman doctor to treat them if they were shot and mortally wounded!, But, I am Getting the impression you are a fundamentalist Muslim!, would I be correct?. I support anyone who stands up against anyones rights as a human being.

  12. Belfast Bookworm,

    I don't see the difference as being that significant. Religion as simple faith (a distinction you usefully flagged up) is not something to get too excited about although some atheists do. Religion as the organisation of faith is an institution and that that be more worrying. And it is the religious institution that is responsible for the things we talk about here. Maybe it is a matter of emphasis. Catholicism is not responsible for child abuse but the Catholic religious institution seeems very much responsible. I don't think we can successfully separate the belief from the institution it is embedded in. And out of all living animals the human alone kills for ideas. People kill for religious, political, cultural and other ideas.

    Even were I able to persude myself of a distinction I am not sure of what use it would be in trying to understand these things.

    On top of that religion with political power is a very dangerous combination. This is what Maryam has been highlighting over the years. She and others with a background in Islam are critical of the religion because they find it at root a malign man centred body of thought.

    Maryam Namazie seems to have made it her life's work to destroy Islam and promote democracy

    She strikes me as heavily involved in womens rights and the field of battle she is on is Islamism and what she sees as its anti-woman ethos. Her opposition to the US foreign policy is out there. I was asked by an Indian magazine Galleries to interview her about six years ago and she gave a good account of herself.

  13. A sick act, what happened that young girl. Even more sick is the propaganda being dished out by sky and the bbc. How many young girls injured by british bombs, raped by british soldiers and mutilated by british drones are flown into London for emergency treatment with cameras following their every move?

  14. It'sjustmacker; I assume then you support me since I am standing up for the rights of Muslims who are being tarred and marred, not just by 'their own' who are contorting and corrupting Islam for their own ends, but the rest of the world practically.

    Noam Chomsky argues - and I get it - that if anyone wants to climb in their chosen public career, whether it be politics, major corporations, the media, ambassadors, then they must toe the party line. They must make all the right noises and not utter one word of dissent.

    We know this better than anyone as we've only to look at how dissenters are treated in Ireland; bullied, ridiculed, ostracised, slated.

    Maryam fits this perfectly. She's making all the right noises and has been rewarded with a variety of accolades as I pointed out earlier - chairperson, president etc. Had she not been singing off the same hymn sheet as her US backers she'd never have been allowed the platform she has. She is telling the works what America wants us to hear. She's a great tool for them, sure she's even an ex Muslim! It must be true!

    Remember that the purpose of the media s to misinform, not inform.

    Anthony; you say she's an advocate of women's rights? Is her take on veiling not 'ach those poor women behind the veils, being forced to veil'??

    I can only imagine it is & if so, how patronising is it for those women who choose to veil? Who choose this in defiance of western culture. Who choose this to set themselves apart and let the world know they're Muslim and proud. Even those women who choose to wear it fir practical reasons such as protect themselves from the elements in hot countries.

    She's not advocating their rights. What she's doing is help America and the west tell the world that Islam is bad and must be crushed at all costs.

  15. Itsjustmacker,

    I agree with you that there is much more to Maryam than trying to destroy Islam but you are way off the mark in thinking Belfast Bookworm is a 'fundamentalist Muslim!' BB just sees the matter diffferently from us.

    Belfast Bookworm

    Is her take on veiling not 'ach those poor women behind the veils, being forced to veil'

    I have a problem with that too. I think the right to wear a veil if it is a choice is something that should be respected. I think Maryam’s position is to ask what is the power relationship that underlies such a choice, feeling that there is a serious ideological pressure to conform. She thinks it is never something that is freely made. I disagree with her on this, feeling it is too reductionist an explanation of why some women veil up – including some of the reasons you outline. A woman wearing a veil as a protest against the West is fine, A woman who wears a veil because she fears some cleric throwing acid in her face is something else.

    I would always like to know the sanction for a woman who does not veil up.

    She's not advocating their rights. What she's doing is help America and the west tell the world that Islam is bad and must be crushed at all costs.

    I don’t agree with this. I see nothing where she has said that Islam must be crushed at all costs. The bulk of her critique I believe is waged at political Islam more so than at Islam, although she is very critical of that. I also think that it misrepresents her dissent from Islam: that because she dissents from it she is helping the West. The same type of logic has always been used against those of us who dissented here – tools of the Brits etc. She has to have the freedom to make the critique. Then the critique can be assessed for its strengths and weaknesses.

  16. From the Enlightenment to the present, it took a centuries-long ideological war to overcome Christian totalitarianism in the West. As the current blasphemy law in Ireland shows, there are still battles to be fought in this war.

    The fight for secularism in the Middle East was impeded by the West with its support for brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein and the Shah. I imagine a very long struggle lies ahead before the murdering, mutilating mullahs are driven out of the Middle East forever.

  17. Anthony; im in agreement with you that she has to have the freedom to criticise but I think, reading what little I have of her work, she is playing to the masses and is a tool of the anti Islam propaganda machine. I believe that her interests are even wholly self serving.

    Thank you by the way for setting itsjustmacker straight.. I'm more of a cherry-picking altar rail biter I suppose!

  18. Belfast Bookworm,

    the difficulty here is that 'tool' is always levelled at those who dissent. In my view she is a courageous woman who has stood up to the crimes of political Islam. Many of these groups she attacks were sponsored by the CIA for the purposes of undermining the Soviets.

  19. Standing up to the crimes of any political ideology is admirable and of course any voice is valuable but she doesn't stop at that and that's where my problem lies with so called human rights activist like Maryam.

    They scream from the rooftops how wrong Islam is - tell the world how bad it's is and how everyone is forced to live ths way or that, do something against their will etc. they completely ignore the choice many millions make to practise their faith/religion according to their holy books.

    People like Maryam Namazie will say that these millions only 'think' they've got the choice, but really they're brainwashed. I see her as being one of those intellectual elitist types.. I know what's best for you and I'm gonna make damn sure I tell you.

    I can't imagine how her writing would empower women at all.

    I dipped into her blog there and I have to say I've never seen as much name dropping in my life. 'When I was asked to be guest speaker at this', 'when I was spokesperson for that', 'when I was invited to attend..'

    All very important, high profile causes and events of course. I find her a bit of an ego maniac if I'm perfectly honest.

    And the nudity thing? What's going on there? So what, like? Really trying much too hard to go against the norms and shock.

  20. I think the nudity thing was a calendar put together by women who rebelled against the mullahs - if I remember. It was something I just caught in passing.

  21. Belfast Bookworm,

    You are probably the only person commenting, on this topic, that has seen through this despicable woman who masquerades as a 'human rights' activist and yet serves dutifully the interests of her 'masters' in both the US and Israel.

    She likens the wearing of the veil to an acceptance of 'female genital mutilation', and in so doing, diminishes Islamic women everywhere.
    Music to the ears of jewish controlled Washington, who continue to dispense their mental constructions and media creations, in 'Rumsfeldian' productions that allege terrible things, about other peoples, so that we can go and kill large numbers of them.
    It saddens me to see that so few commentators on this thread have had the perspicuity to see the errors in this foolish womans' ways.

  22. I actually remember reading that in The Blanket and remember thinking she was great, being particularly impressed with her assertion that political Islam is a product of the West.

    Her most recent stuff though is anti Islam. To me, she's muddied the waters between the religion and politics. Undoing generations of misogyny in Arab countries is no easy feat but I don't think criticising the whole religion, tarring all Muslims is the way forward. Palestinians in the Israeli internment camps for example are educating their fellow prisoners in gender equality. But telling them it's wrong is not enough, they're teaching them the history of Islam and the Koran, explaining how Islam states that there should be no compulsion in the religion, that it requires both sexes to dress moderately and how this has become corrupted by men working to their own evil agendas.

    Theyre educating the prisoners in basic biology, undoing all the myths around virgins and the mutilation of female genitalia, enforcing constantly that if their struggle is to succeed then gender equality is a prerequisite. These teachers are Muslim.

    I kind of get insulted on their behalf when people like Maryam dont know or want to know what they're doing. She must feel like she's better than all of those poor women who are 'being forced to choose' - sure they don't even realise that that's what's happening, they're too stupid to even know when they're being tricked.

    Try telling the Leila Khaled's of this world that.

  23. Truthrevisionist I am alarmed that we're on the same page!! :-)

  24. She is very critical of Islam. But that is anyone's right even where we don't agree with them. Religious belief is nothing other than an opninion and opinions should not be given some protectionist status.

    I have difficulties with the argument that Islam automatically leads to political Islam in the same sense that I have difficulties with the argument that Jewishness automatically leads to Zionism. These gateway arguments need to show the dots being joined and I don't think this happenes as often as it should.

    There are people who accuse her of Islamophobia but in their arguments it is easy to detect a defence of some of the characters she has been criticising on the grounds that they are proponents of political Islam. When people try to suppress any criticism of Islam on the pretext that it is Islamophobia it parallels attempts by that Israeli lobby in its claims that any questioning of Israeli policy is antisemitism. That just becomes an information suppressant.

    I think there has to be a much wider discussion of the issue talked about here and it is a discussion that should not rule out critiques of Maryam Namazie a la the type presented in this thread. While few listen to the rants many are open to a deconstruction of Maryam's argument.

    The jail thing you refer to is not something I am aware of but I don't follow it that closely. But it again flags up the internal differentiation within any culture. I just hope it is not the same bollix we listened to in jail, abandoned the minute the preachers got out!!

  25. Truthrevisionist, Belfast bookworm, and Anthony I must say I have enjoyed the verbal sparring surrounding Maryam and her writings. still leaning towards the opinion that this woman is speaking out against the excesses of fundamentalism in Islam rather than Islam itself she has been accused as a tool for the west in doing so, this opinion could then could then be leveled against myself Anthony Itsjustmackers ,Larry or indeed the many others who detract from the "mainstream republican "line ie quisling $inn £ein,s hymn sheet, when does speaking out make you tool in the other camp the alternative is not to speak out and save these kind of accusations being leveled against you, however to take this line is just what Pastor Martin Niemoller warned against.powerful arguments both for and against thank TPQ we are able to read and debate in such an open manner .

  26. Naoimi Klein suggests that a 'shock doctrine' is in place in an attempt to dominate the world. In a nutshell her theory suggests that disaster-shocked people are exploited for the ends of the powers that be.

    9/11 is a perfect example of this. The American community was so shocked in the wake of this that the government were able to push through such laws as the patriot act - before people had really time to regroup and examine what such acts would mean for them. Hurricane Katrina was another example. The community New Orleans was in disarray and scattered, unequal and unfair policies around such things as education were pushed through that effectively privatised education through use and allocation of vouchers.

    Klein says disasters can be man-made like 9/11 or natural like Katrina, but either way they serve to provide governments with the excuse to further attain control.

    I believe Maryam Namazie and others like her plays a huge part in this theory: Turn the world against Islam, show how bad/evil it is, ensure all those stories about the poor women are out there and educate the masses about beheadings, stonings etc, shock the entire world.

    Then, once they've been shocked enough we can go in and bomb the fuck out of it, kill hundreds of thousands, all in the name of human rights.. People will think we're the heroes, the saviours and they'll just put those millions of lost Arab lives down to collateral damage. Sure weren't they suffering anyway under the ............... (Insert dictator/regime/religion here)

    Maryam Namazie's role isn't as obvious as 9/11 or Katrina, it's much more slow-burning but equally as effective.

  27. It just sounds too much like a conspiracy theory to me.

  28. Jaysus! A lightbulb has just went on in my head!

    Maryam Namazie is an agent of influence.

  29. Anthony, Klein's theory would be one of conspiracy if there was no evidence to validate it. But there's plenty of evidence. The Patriot Act being possibly the biggest one.

  30. It was not Klein's theory I was referring to but the comment on Islam with respect to Maryam. Have not read the book by Klein but am aware that some of those sympathetic to it have argued that she has not tested it against the evidence countering her explanation but has marshalled the evidence for. But I do feel she did do a pretty good job on South Africa - although for that she did, if I recall, face the same type of allegation levelled against Namazie.

    It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that she is an agent of influence but as ever the dots are not joined.

  31. Marty,

    this is one of the problems I have with this type of argument. While BB would not seek to suppress our dissent, I think the type of logic employed inevitably leads to the situation where we end up accused of being allies or stooges of the other side. That is not an argument against the case been put but it seems to me a weak one. I am always cautious in relation to arguments that may close down dissenting opinion even where such closing down is the furthest thing from the mind of the person making the case.

  32. Apologies. I jumped to conclusions.

    I'm a big fan of Naomi Klein, really buy into her stuff. I find her more than plausible but of course that could be just because I want it to be so.

    I'd recommend both the Shock Doctrine and No Logo, both frightening but gripping.

    Perhaps Maryam Namazie doesn't even know she's an agent of influence? Perhaps she only thinks she is a human rights activist and that the West have done such a great job in convincing her she is that she really doesn't realise she's being duped and used.

    Oh wait, no. That's those poor wee Muslim women I'm thinking of.

  33. Marty, I believe dissent is good. I support it - particularly those dissenters from mainstream republicanism. In fact, I am one.

    What I don't support is dissent for dissents sake or dissent for self-serving interests.

    I have a vague memory as a child where I thnk it was Kate Adie reporting from the wake house or funeral of one of the hunger strikers. I don't remember much but she was saying something about the dirt of the place, the bedraggled children and my father said 'and that's the point.'

    I didn't know what ths meant until years later but that vague memory always stuck with me.

    Kate Adie and her ilk had demonised us so much, presented us as subhuman that if ordinary British people ever stopped to consider what the hell their young people were doing over here getting blown to bits they would be reassured that that the army were only trying to help, only trying to tame the natives and save them from that awful crowd the IRA. Maryam is no different in my eyes from Adie.

    She's Iran's version of Mairead Maguire.


  34. 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a 'muslim' face - forever'. George Orwell.

  35. Belfast Bookworm,

    I think this happens to us all in terms of what we read. We find a book that gels with our own view and give it a certain status. I guess that is why I like to see the critical reviews of any book. It always helps me learn more. I like the work of Naomi Klein myself but again what she said about South Africa gelled with my own view of it.

    Perhaps Maryam Namazie doesn't even know she's an agent of influence?

    Which really defeats the purpose in using the term. Agent is the important term. An agent of influence would have to be consciously working for the other side. This is why I don't think it applies to all those Shinners who spread Brit ideas. Two people can push the same idea but one could be an agent and the other not. If we use only the 'uknowingly' criterion we would accuse them all of being agents of influence.

    A 'dupe' and an agent are two entirely different categories. And again here, I reject any suggestion that Maryam is a dupe. She is a very intelligent woman raising the issues that should be addressed, whether it be gays being persecuted or women being stoned. These things happen and should be highlighted. That does not mean she her critique of Islam is correct. I think the failure to differentiate is very dubious.

    When we ran the cartoons we faced accusations of racism. Bunkum, but there we go.

  36. Belfast Bookworm a cara I met Kate Adie a few times I didnt detect that attitude.

  37. Belfast Bookworm/Marty,

    I never got that from her either. I recall Morrison saying something critical of her once and I assumed that because he said it it must not be true.

    Belfast Bookworm,

    What I don't support is dissent for dissents sake or dissent for
    self-serving interests.

    Anybody who has ever dissented has faced that accusation. Those being dissented from invariably ascribe only negative motives to dissent.

  38. Anthony; I was attempting to be sarcastic saying perhaps she didn't know.. A 'play' on her attitude towards the Muslim women she claims to represent or advocate for.

    I understand what you're saying re; an agent having to know they're an agent.. And to be honest, I am not convinced that Maryam doesn't not know. As I said earlier, she's making all the right noises and being rewarded by being allowed to move in all the right social circles and getting promoted to all the right jobs. That simply wouldn't happen if she was rattling any cages. When and if she ever did, you can be sure that she would disappear from every board, trust, committee or whatever.

    Re: Kate Adie. I wasn't sure if it was her or not. I'll trust your judgement that that wasn't her form. I shouldn't have went on to say Adie and her ilk in such a derogatory way without being sure.

    That happened though, and I was drawing comparisons between the media then criminalising and dehumanising us and the media now doing the same to Islamists.

  39. It was indeed Marty. How did you know that?

  40. Belfast Bookworm,

    I know what the play was. It seemed to work alright. But I thought the point about being a conscious agent was important to raise. It has come up on this blog before. What right jobs and right social circles does Maryam have that depend on state approval? The only social circle I ever met her in was at the atheist conference in Dublin last year. I know she serves on various committees but they seem to be self generated or rooted in civil society rather than the state. Admittedly, I don't follow it that closely to know for certain. Being invited to speak at the World Atheist Convention and such like is not some major venture dependant on state funding. We more or less financed it ourselves with 100 euro a head. I got it as a birthday present from my wife!!

    I do know that I was accused of being on the university circuit in Ireland and England and making heaps of money from it and my writing. I was told I could only speak on the BBC because I made the right noises or that I wrote for the 'establishment media' because the Brits wanted to use me. Rubbish but it is the type of thing the powerful like to say about people who dissent. And of course to top it all Denis Donaldson would brief the press that myself and Tommy Gorman were doing the work of the Brits. What a brass neck. But it is what they do.

  41. Hes a mate of mine as well a cara grew up with him and his DA!

  42. Anthony; I don't believe - or at least I have no evidence that Mayram is in paid jobs. My point is that most quangos, trusts, committees, boards, etc rely on funding from somewhere or at least rely on some sort of statutory approval or sanctioning in order to exist and grow. Not all - but most.

    Take this down to a micro level in west Belfast for example. All the campaigning bodies, committees, groups, projects. Who runs them? Whose people are in place on them? Who funds them? Whose agenda are they driving? if you know the answer to that you could perhaps apply it to any community or society.

    Control is at the crux of everything. Did the CIA not fund the Mujahideen way back when? I don't believe that anything is beyond the realms of possibility.

    I know better than most what kind of dirt the 'real establishment' can sling at people who dissent, know the lies their capable of telling.

    I know what you were accused of. some people couldn't wait to tell how you were making a fortune and getting your NUJ card and while loads wanted to believe that, there were loads of people who chose not to. Who chose to scratch the surface and see what was behind Anthony McIntyre, see if what he was saying had any truth. Many bought into what you were saying early on - me included, I could see it for myself, but many had to wait for things to come to pass, as all things do with time.

    Perhaps my take on Maryam Namazie will change. But when the yanks bomb Iran and the world buries its head, excuse the bombing by saying it was necessary to end the horrible acts perpetrated against women I will know I'm right. I'll take no satisfaction from that though.

  43. Belfast Bookworm,

    I can’t say you are wrong about Kate Adie. I can only say I never got that impression from her when I met her. I recall Morrison criticising her but the rule of thumb when applied there is simple: what he says is possibly true but probably not and in the absence of independent corroborating evidence to support what he says just disbelieve him. That rule will not let you down, trust me.

    I think in your criticism of Maryam too much is being inferred from too little. The point is we don’t know what paid work she does. The example of West Belfast might extend to everywhere else but it might not. Unless we can join the dots it remains speculative. Committees are a dime a dozen. People used to allege the Blanket was a well paying enterprise. Not a penny was made through the Blanket. It does not mean that you are wrong but that the case is unproven.

    I don't believe that anything is beyond the realms of possibility.

    If so, some things are on the outer limits of possibility, and some are more likely. I think we need to work with what is probable rather than likely without ever discounting the potential possibility.

    I didn’t find too many buying into what I was saying early on. I found it a pretty lonely experience. I recall telling Richard O’Rawe before he published his first book he needed to be sure that he could do solitary first, as that is the way it would be for him. Quite a few have bought into it now with the benefit of experience: which is probably the best way to approach these things rather than rush out to embrace every new critique. There was always a few who thought I had got it close to the mark and would say to me in private. Most I felt, were prepared to go along with whatever line the leadership threw out. Look at how many believed the guff about decommissioning!

    It is up to you how you interpret Maryam Namazie. It is just an interpretation I don’t share. I have not seen her promote a false narrative, reporting executions or stonings that did not happen. Some on the left don’t want these things discussed in the public domain but shoved under the carpet. I think they should be discussed. It is a more fruitful venture, I think, to question her conceptual framework which seems black and white, lacking in the grey that is so necessary to understanding life as it is lived.

    No one in the world given to critical reflection will think Iran shall be bombed to protect women. The US would not bomb Rwanda to save women or children. Why would they do it in Iran? Whatever they bomb it for it will not be that, even if they send women pilots over to blast the women hating clerics along the way. It will be just a mask.

  44. Anthony; I would consider myself to be on the left of most things but I am not stupid enough to think that my enemy's enemy is naturally my friend and would never want to brush anything under the carpet even if it makes me uncomfortable or doesn't fit with my overall opinion of something.

    I despise the Taliban, just as Maryam does. They're evil and hateful and corrupt. Just like the superpowers of the US and Britain. I don't think the Taliban are as smart as the superpowers though, certainly not in terms of managing and organising propaganda anyway.

    'No one in the world given to critical reflection will think Iran shall be bombed to protect women'

    No, but when it does happen it'll be a lot more palatable and therefore justifiable for the majority of those who can't think for themselves as they're being fed only the words of people like Maryam; terrible place, terrible regime, we've really done them a favour.

  45. Belfast Bookworm,

    Not much to disagree with here.

    But what if it is a terrible regime, should it not be said?

  46. Anthony; it absolutely has to be said. My problem doesn't lie with Maryam saying it, screaming it even, my problem lies with the indiscrimination of it: Islam is bad and corrupt. As I said earlier, I believe Islam is not bad and corrupt. I believe it has been manipulated for badness and has become corrupt. Just like communism. The veiling issue was another thing that doesnt sit easy with me but I've absolutely no problem with anyone pointing out any regime is evil. I welcome that.

  47. Belfast Bookworm,

    If she believes it to be bad and corrupt then she can say it. She is hardly alone in this. The most widely viewed British comedian online is absolutely hostile to it.

    I think the approach to take to this type of critique is to resist being persuaded by it until there is proof. I have never been convinced that the critique of Islam is anywhere near as strong as it is sometimes made out to be. I think it is a seriouis deficiency in the argument of Maryam and others like Ayaan Hirshi Ali (who is right wing and would seem to have no problem with the neo conservative analysis). They are atheists and because of religious persecution have taken a critical stance against the religion they grew up under. I think that colours the analysis and lends itself to the baby being thrown out with the bathwater.

    My own view is that all religions should be treated equally - as bodies of opinion with no privileged status.

  48. Anthony;

    'If she believes it to be bad and corrupt then she has the right to say it'

    Absolutely. You have given me the phrase I've been searching for in all this. I believe she's throwing the baby out with the bath water. That is all. And I think it's unfair.

    I googled some more of her writings there - really on things I have a personal interest in; Palestine, Guantanamo Bay. The usual lefty stuff.

    On Palestine and more specifically on Palestinian resistance, Maryam says the resistance movement is a product of both Israeli occupation and political Islam.

    I absolutely refute that. Palestinian resistance is borne out of occupation..and I can't see why Maryam can't have just left this at Israeli occupation. She talks about the US beng complicit in Israeli atrocities which is of course correct but seriously, throwing Islam into the mix here - yet again??

    On Guantanamo Bay - there's a lot of stuff around Mozzam Begg. She highlights the torture of him only as a 'but'.. 'But he's an Islamic terrorist'

    To me, she's really a 'one side is as bad as the other' kind of girl. Not my cup of tea at all.

  49. Belfast Bookworm,

    I don’t know what her views are on Palestine or Guantanamo Bay for that matter but it seems to be that it is a better critique to challenge her narrative on such things than to dismiss her as a tool of the West. In its own way that too is to throw the proverbial baby out.

  50. Anthony; I said she was a tool of the west based on her blanket criticism of Islam that I read in the post you reproduced in this blog.

    When the discussion grew I was in no doubt that her take on veiling would be the bog-standard Western bullshit that we've come to hear so much about. She didn't disappoint.

    As the debate deepened you persuaded me that I was being very judgemental of her, based on just my interpretations of her views of Islam and veiling. I sometimes do that, make hasty decisions and judgements - but I've no problem in backtracking, apologising or whatever, if I find something else that changes my mind.
    In this case though, I can only find other things (like the issues I mentioned in previous post) that strenghthen my opinion.

    I also went looking for her writings on the rape and torture of afghan and Iraqi women by US and British troops but can find absolutely nothing. That's not to say she hasnt commented - I just can't find anything. What I did find though was a lot of stuff about rape within the military - by soldiers against female soldiers, but nothing on the rape of Arab women by 'outsiders'.

    Perhaps this is not a 'sexy' enough subject?

    I also

  51. Belfast Bookworm'

    You have nothing, in any of your posts on this topic to 'backtrack' on, nor apologise for.
    Your very concise and erudite analysis, of this grotesque womans' monologue on human rights and Islam, has been greeted on this blog, with both prejudice and inconsistency, and in this I find no surprise.
    You will appreciate, with time, as I have over many years, that to express an opinion, that even caresses the boundaries of zionist revisionist history, contemporary or otherwise, you enter a 'cold place', even amongst friends.

    To begin to see Islamic culture as more than something that is measured by western standards, the meticulously crafted, usually jewish, spin machine will immediately lapse into its disingenuous fusillade of aspersions, beneath the banner of its cynical credo - 'anti-semitism'. And this is why people like this self-serving bigot Maryam, will pander to their myths and conveniently ignore the crimes of judaism and it's accolites in the truculent satellite countries of the Corporate West.
    Sadly, even our own countrymen, as dispossessed as the Palestinians, as we are, are mesmerised and mindlocked by negative media manipulation and are unable to detoxify self-deception, as some of the comments on this thread reveal.
    It took me a very long time, - decades - to get it. But when I'd gotten it, I was sad to learn that almost nobody else had.

  52. TR; I appreciate your support on this but I wasn't backtracking or apologising. I said I would never have a problem in doing so if I was persuaded my views were in fact wrong or misplaced.

    I honestly don't think the views I expressed were met with prejudice or inconsistency - they wrre just different from mine.

    I enjoyed the debate and no doubt both 'sides' of it have given some food for thought to others. It certainly did me.

    On that note... I still think I'm right :-))

  53. Marty,

    he is a good guy. Always very witty. Pew acted deaf as well as blind that night.

  54. Anthony,

    I sometimes do that, make hasty decisions and judgements

    Do you know anybody who doesn’t? For me, every day of the week.

    I don’t think linkage works well in matters like this. The case you make against her can be made against any dissenting voice – that it does not dissent from this or that. I know from experience that when we dissented we were criticised for not highlighting the same thing somewhere else. But we were the products of a certain context, had our interests prioritised by experience and operated within that framework. We evolved along the lines of what defined us and for that reason asked questions of the SF narrative. We were simply unable to champion every issue. I think it a human trait to press the buttons close to us. I look on it a bit like funerals – we go to those closest to us but not them all. But because we don’t go does not amount to being indifferent to the fate of the person. Same as speaking out against clerical child abuse in the Catholic Church – the accusation is thrown that we don’t do it for other churches. We hardly approve of it and are of a view that our objection would be universalised.

    There are a multiplicity of just causes and an array of actors promoting and profiling them. And as long as no one is preventing them being covered.

    It may be much the same for Maryam. She is the product of her own background and argues within that framework. I would be very concerned were she saying the rape and torture of Afghan and
    Iraqi women by US and British troops
    wasn’t happening or was justified. Or if she worked to dissuade others from highlighting these causes. A few years back when I was writing about and working on the Palestine issue the matter of the Danish cartoons came up. That came to capture my interest for a number of reasons. Setting aside the issue of free inquiry and freedom of expression it seemed to me that ultimately Muslims needed their human rights protected not just from Israel but from Islamic theocrats as well. Yet we were lambasted by some friends in the SWP. I can sort of live with the SWP not taking up the issue – one of them later told me it was because they needed to strengthen their alliance with Respect – but that they would seek to silence us (failed hopelessly in their efforts) put them in a position of selectively defending the rights of Muslims. The same people later tried it with Mick Hall on Organised Rage when he hit out at persecution of women in Iran or somewhere. They wanted criticisms of these practices suppressed.

    If Maryam was doing that I would go along with your critique but I have seen nothing of that. There is a range of reasons people don’t comment on issues: if silence was a conscious act of complicity that would cause a serious problem. If it was because there are other fish to fry, it becomes less of a problem.

    I am not sure that my rule of thumb holds in all circumstances. There is no one size fits all template. I think we have to make judgement calls and those calls will meet with mixture of approval and disapproval. Not ideal but it is what it is

    Despite your best efforts you have not persuaded me. Despite my best efforts I have not persuaded you. But that’s discussion for you. Can’t say it didn’t give me cause to reflect.

    I see the Israeli lobby is trying to silence Vincent Browne at the minute! The moral blackmail employed was brazen. In some ways it touches on the issues we have been exploring here. He refused to apologise. Good for him.

  55. Anthony; you've not said much I wouldn't agree with there.

    I accept that dissenting voices are lambasted at every turn but I think I've made a very good example Maryam's apparent silence on the rape of the Iraqi and Afghan women. She purports to be a human rights activist lobbying and campaigning for the end of mistreatment/crimes against Muslim women. Brilliant. She is to be commended for this. But she focuses (seemingly) wholly on these crimes perpertrated by Islamic fundamentalist.

    Her sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq are being raped and tortured and murdered by so-called peacekeeping troops but she is silent?

    To make a comparison - that would be like you pointing out the lies, double standards, dirty tricks and cover ups of the Brits but ignoring the same from PSF.

    If a person is as principled as they say they are, have the integrity they say they do, then they should be willing to examine all sides of any issue - no matter how uncomfortable it makes them and tell the truth.

    I understand that people have interests in certain issues and spend their lives addressing it, ignoring or not paying much attention to issues that touch them less but really, if women's rights, and Arab women's rights are really what concerns Maryam then surely it should be the rights of ALL women - not just those used and abused by Islamic extremists?

    The whole truth around any issue is what matters.

  56. Belfast Bookworm,

    As I pointed out people are silent on a lot of things. Is it a complicit silence? I don’t believe so. She wants the universalisation of rights. Has she sought to prevent the emergence of knowledge about these despicable actions? I have no reason to believe she has. Many human rights activists have a particular focus which does not detract from the universality of the rights issue. If they try to thwart that universalism then for sure there is a problem. Theocrats abuse rights and she calls them out on it. That is a good thing. Others will hammer the West for the abuse of rights of Muslims but don’t go for hammering the theocrats. Is this wrong? I don’t feel it necessarily is although I can see how it might be or might be construed as being. If either seek to prevent rights issues being discussed I think it is a serious problem. I don’t claim to have the best perspective on this, just the best that I can manage to obtain with the evidence available. Ultimately, I could be wrong. But there is no one template that I can choose and place it over the issue. Nothing fits perfectly in this area.

    We find a lot of discourse from republicans about prisoners’ rights but we rarely take up the case of loyalist prisoners having their rights abused. But we would never advocate abuse of their rights or seek to suppress emergence of knowledge about such abuses. We are the products of our past which shapes our interests. How much ground can we cover? And if were to lobby on these areas there will be some area left out that we have failed to cover.

    To make a comparison - that would be like you pointing out the lies, double standards, dirty tricks and cover ups of the Brits but ignoring the same from PSF.

    If we deliberately ignored for the purpose of being complicit in the silence, yes. If we didn’t address, rather than deliberately ignored, because we have a focus and a history that prioritises certain areas of interest then, no. Were we to complain about the Brits and deny republican abuses or suppress evidence of such abuses then, yes.

    I don’t come close to having all the answers, simply trying to think my way through the issues as you raise them.

    If a person is as principled as they say they are, have the integrity they say they do, then they should be willing to examine all sides of any issue no matter how uncomfortable it makes them and tell the truth.

    I think there was a debate about this in the 70s – around the role of intellectuals as they were called. Some felt that they should stick to particular areas where they had expertise and experience while others felt they should give universal ethical leadership. There are probably pros and cons for both. Despite what I have argued here I instinctively feel the second approach is probably the best one.

    I understand that people have interests in certain issues and spend their lives addressing it, ignoring or not paying much attention to issues that touch them less but really, if women's rights, and Arab women's rights are
    really what concerns Maryam then surely it should be the rights of ALL women - not just those used and abused by Islamic extremists?

    Again it is the ground that can be covered. She could release a statement in more universal terms as I suspect she has but might be accused of tokenism. If she did more she might be accused of not doing enough.

    In my view she raises issues that need raised and does not interfere with or seek to suppress others trying to raise other issues. For many that is not ideal, but progressive nonetheless.

  57. Belfast Bookworm,

    we are running a piece tonight from her blog which indirectly touches on some of the issues we have been discussing.