The two-day International Conference on the Religious Right, Secularism and Civil Rights held in London during 11-12 October 2014 was a rousing success. A broad coalition of secularists, including believers, free-thinkers, agnostics and atheists assembled from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Diaspora at the unprecedented and historic gathering to discuss resistance against the repression and violence of ISIS and other manifestations of the religious-Right, including in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Israel, Libya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Tunisia and Yemen.
Muslim women's group Sisters in Islam has gained leave for judicial review of July’s fatwa declaring them ‘deviants.’ The case pits Sisters in Islam against the Selangor Fatwa Committee, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council and the state government in a dispute over the jurisdiction of religious courts.
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.
While many of us watch in horror as ISIS advances, and fundamentalist ideas spread across religious traditions around the world, Maryam Namazie and Marieme Hélie-Lucas - secular feminists from Iran and Algeria - told Karima Bennoune why they are convening the International Secular Conference in London this week.
On the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
11-12 October 2014
The Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LD, UK www.secularconference.com
WLUML's International Director, Fatou Sow, Board member, Karima Bennoune, and Co-Founder Marieme Helie-Lucas are amongst the event's distinguished international speakers.
Join notable free-thinkers, atheists and secularists from around the world for a weekend of discussions and debates on the religious-Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity. The exciting two-day conference will discuss the Arab Spring, Sharia and religious laws, the limits of religion’s role in society, free expression, honour killings, apostasy and blasphemy laws, faith schools, women’s rights, secular values and much more.
Women’s organisations in Egypt continue the struggle to put women’s rights on the agenda. Recently, 800 women’s organisations met in Cairo to discuss the way forward during this crucial transitional period.
In the end of September, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation’s partner organisation Alliance for Arab Women, together with the Solidarity Ministry in Egypt, organised a national conference on women’s role during the transitional period in the country.
”Women are now organised in such a way that they can put pressure on the government. But the conference also showed that NGOs are willing to cooperate with the government, as long as the government is willing to recognize women,” says Hoda Badran, chairperson of Alliance of Arab Women, one of the organisations that Kvinna till Kvinna supports in Egypt.
In conversations with Karima Bennoune over the past two months, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism