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News: UK

Thu 17 Jun, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

We are here to defend Muslim people - and all people everywhere - who are victims of religious tyranny.

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4pm, march to Iranian Embassy - Solidarity with the Iranian people's struggle for democracy and human rights

Hundreds will be demonstrating in London against Sharia and all religious laws and in support of secularism and universal human rights on Sunday 20 June 2010.

The rally, organised by the One Law for All Campaign, will be held from 2pm to 4pm at Richmond Terrace, in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, SW1.

On the day, the Campaign will make public its new report entitled: Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights.

In the report, One Law for All outlines what Sharia law is, how it is practised in Britain and exposes the way in which Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are circumventing British law and human rights legislation.

The report also reveals the gross injustices to women and children and reiterates the need to end Sharia and all religious courts on the basis that they work against,and not for, equality and human rights.

After the One Law for All rally, there will be a march organised by Iran Solidarity from 4pm to 5pm. The march will move from Opposite Downing Street to a protest at the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran.

According to One Law For All spokesperson, Maryam Namazie:

"Whilst racist and far Right groups like the English Defence League and the British Nationalist Party blame 'Muslim immigration' for Sharia law in order to further their inhuman agenda, it is people living under Islamic laws, or the many who have fled Sharia and sought refuge here, who are the principal victims of Islamism, and in the forefront of the struggle against it.

"Within this context, the One Law for All Campaign and the fight against Sharia law in Britain is an important front in the ongoing battle of people in Iran and everywhere against Islamism and for freedom, equality and secularism," she said.

The march will culminate in a protest rally in front of the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran (16 Prince's Gate, London SW7 1PT; closest underground: Knightsbridge). The protest at the embassy will end at 5.30pm.

The One Law For All campaign is supported by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

He added:"We are here to defend Muslim people - and all people everywhere - who are victims of religious tyranny.

"Many Islamic states use religious laws to persecute Muslims who leave their faith or who belong to minority strands of Islam. They also restrict the rights of people who follow non-Muslim religions or who are non-believers.

"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims are harassed and can face punishment, under religious laws, including flogging, imprisonment and, sometimes, torture and execution.

"We support all the victims of Sharia law, especially the courageous Muslim women who are campaigning for equality. We cannot accept the way Islamic states, including western allies like Saudi Arabia, restrict women's freedom of movement, make women subject to the control of male guardians, deny women access to certain jobs and positions in government and enforce the compulsory veiling of women with the hijab, niqab, jilbab or burqa.

"We stand in opposition to all religious laws in Britain and worldwide.

"This protest supports secular democracy. Secularism is often confused with anti-clericalism. The two are not the same. Secularism is not against religion per se. It is against giving religion privileged status, rights and protections.

"We believe there should be a separation of religion from the state. No faith should dominate any government and seek to impose its creed on the rest of society. When this happens, freedom of expression is diminished and minority faiths are victimised.

"For these reasons, secularism is not only an important element of freedom of expression. It is also the best guarantee of religious freedom, as it prevents any one faith becoming politically dominant and abusing its powers to oppress people of other faiths.

"We express our support for the many courageous, inspiring Muslims who are campaigning against the inequalities and inhumanities of Sharia law, often at great risk to their liberty and life.

"Contrary to what our critics say, this is not an attack on Muslims or Islam. We are here to support Muslims who are resisting Sharia law.

"We defend Muslims and people of all faiths against hatred and discrimination. The victimisation of people because of their religious beliefs is just as wrong as victimising people because of their race, gender or sexuality.

"In a democracy, everyone should be subject to the same laws, with the same rights and responsibilities. Religious rulings should not influence the laws or courts in any way.

"We believe that Muslims and all peoples worldwide should have rights, freedoms and choices, in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are not western values. They are international humanitarian values, agreed by the global consensus of the member states of the UN.

"It is wrong to tolerate the denial of human rights to non-white Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, when most of us would never tolerate the denial of these rights to white (and non-white) people in Britain.

"There should be no double standards. No moral or cultural relativism. Defend universal human rights. One law for all," said Mr Tatchell.

For more information:

One Law For All Campaign


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