International Humanist and Ethical Union has decided to endorse and support the campaign NO to Political Islam, a campaign dedicated to championing the human rights of ordinary Muslims, men and women, and to freeing them from the tyranny of the Islamists.
Since September 11th, ordinary Muslims have found themselves under intense and increasing pressure from both sides in the conflict. In the West, anyone of Muslim origin is likely to fall under suspicion, many have been harassed by the police or beaten up by thugs. Several Mosques have been attacked. Yet any Muslim prepared to speak out against the terrorists is likely to find himself threatened by the hardliners increasingly in control in Muslim communities. Few Muslims have been prepared to argue with the fundamentalists.
In Iraq and Afghanistan following the American invasions things can hardly be said to have improved for the man in the street. (The women of Iraq having joined their Afghani sisters in no longer daring to venture out onto the streets unveiled or unaccompanied). Rape is now a daily occurrence in Baghdad yet the security forces do nothing to make the streets safer for women and have simply ignored protests from women’s organisations, even banning demonstrations by women against the rising tide of rape and personal violence. The vacuum left by the defeat of the Baathists has been quickly filled by the Islamists.
In Afghanistan, any pretence that America was concerned to secure the human rights of the Afghani people is now seen as a hollow sham. The draft Constitution for Afghanistan calls for the introduction of Islamic law – described as “Taliban Lite” by one member of the US Committee for International Religious Freedom – with few of the safeguards demanded by international law or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And in Iraq, officials of the American administration have said that they see “no problem” with Islam being recognised as the state religion. Where now the separation of religion and state, free thought and human rights?
It is against this background that the International Humanist and Ethical Union, IHEU, has decided to endorse and support the campaign NO to Political Islam, a campaign dedicated to championing the human rights of ordinary Muslims, men and women, and to freeing them from the tyranny of the Islamists.