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← Discussion thread for "One Law For All" Rally - London or anywhere in the world

Discussion thread for "One Law For All" Rally - London or anywhere in the world - Comments

Connog's Avatar Comment 1 by Connog

So glad I made it to this. Many thanks for some really outstanding speeches. So worth braving the cold weather for an afternoon to salute the bravery of others who risk their lives every day to stand up to theocratic tyranny.

A couple of speakers seemed to be offering gualified defences of free speech that I didn't agree with, suggesting that a line could be drawn at pornograpy or holocaust denial. I would say short of direct incitement to violence, anything goes.

I have one criticsim of Prof Dawkins's speech: he said "freedom of expression is the only weapon we will ever use". I think my quibble is with the word "ever"; I wasn't sure if this was an endorsement of non-violence at any cost. I would say thay that freedom of expression is surely something worth fighting for, after all we only have it because it was fought for in the first place, so if pushed we have to be prepared to fight back.

But mostly a brilliant and inspiring afternoon. Thanks again to the organisers.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 18:42:41 UTC | #916696

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 2 by Richard Dawkins

I arrived a little late (unfortunately too late to hear A C Grayling), because I made a mistake on the underground, but I arrived just in time for the last part of Nick Cohen's speech, and I heard all the rest of the speeches. I was delighted to hear, and meet, Joan Smith, the wonderful Independent columnist, whose writings I have long admired. Several speeches were by students who were victims of the contemptible Student Unions, at three different London colleges, who tried to expel them for 'offending' Muslims (the 'offence' consisting of nothing worse than posting a Jesus and Mo cartoon). I asked what could possibly be the motive of the Student Unions in taking the side of Islamist wingnuts, and I was told that, in the case of at least one of these colleges, the guilty officers of the union were a clique from the Socialist Workers Party. Well, what a surprise!

I was glad that the MC of the rally acknowledged that the event was sponsored financially by RDFRS UK. The afternoon was rounded off by a moving speech from the organiser, Maryam Namazie, whom I like more and more.

When it was over, a large crowd gathered round and some of them, from Muslim families, told me chilling stories. One young woman had escaped from her Muslim family eight years ago and they still didn't know where she was – she would not be safe from the danger of 'honour killing if they knew. Another young woman, when it became known that she had given up Islam, had been repeatedly threatened with rape. It wasn't clear to me whether the men concerned thought of rape as a PUNISHMENT for her for apostasy, or whether they just regarded her as fair game because no longer a Muslim. But the most shocking part of her story was that, when she went to the police to tell them of the rape threats, they took no action, simply telling her it was no business of theirs because attacking apostates was "part of your culture." This, I should emphasise, is the British police, and she is a British citizen. I recounted this to Maryam Namazie, and she told me that similar stories are common.

I told Maryam that I would like to collect instances of exactly this: British police refusing to take action over Muslim brutality against women, on the grounds that "It's part of their culture." I already know that they turn a blind eye to female genital mutilation because they are terrified of being thought "Islamophobic" or racist.

One of the speakers, Kate Smurthwaite, had a very telling story. She had met an apparently devout Muslim girl, who was never seen without a headscarf and who punctiliously prayed five times a day. They were talking about their religious background and when Kate told her she never went to church, the Muslim girl said, "But doesn't that upset your parents?" "No, my parents don't go to church either." "Ah, so you are free!". I'll repeat that. FREE. This poor girl, head-scarfed and praying towards Mecca five times per day, recognised that an atheist was FREE. Yet she felt unable to escape herself, presumably because of parental pressure or threats.

I'm glad I went. It was a worthwhile rally and I learned a lot.

Richard

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 19:15:38 UTC | #916705

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 3 by Neodarwinian

A sad state of affairs when you have to rally for that which ought to be obvious. One law for all should be all the law one needs.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 19:42:46 UTC | #916711

Connog's Avatar Comment 4 by Connog

The story about the "devout" Muslim girl struck a chord with me too. Was it Pragna Patel who told that story? Coming from a religious family where I had no absolutely choice but to go to church every Sunday, I have an idea of what she meant.

Also special mention to the speaker who had organised and/or taken part in a rally against fear in Pakistan. That is a level of courage that makes me feel about an inch tall.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 19:58:03 UTC | #916716

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 5 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 20:02:46 UTC | #916718

NMcC's Avatar Comment 6 by NMcC

"...the guilty officers of the union were a clique from the Socialist Workers Party. Well, what a surprise!"

Yes, they're bastards those Trotskyists. They'll jump on any bandwagon, no matter who's driving or what direction it's going in.

Though the worst crowd of all are the ex-Trotskyists. They tend to go from being mouthy left-wing loons to being (or, more usually, supporting) murderous right-wing loons. One of them is well thought off around here.

I liked this 'free expression day' idea. It was hilarious to contemplate the actions and activities of some of those present.

Incidentally, the police are obviously nowhere near as negligent as you are making out. Only this week a group of muslims were jailed for handing out anti-homosexual flyers.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 20:05:27 UTC | #916720

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

comment 2 by Richard Dawkins

I told Maryam that I would like to collect instances of exactly this: British police refusing to take action over Muslim brutality against women, on the grounds that "It's part of their culture." I already know that they turn a blind eye to female genital mutilation because they are terrified of being thought "Islamophobic" or racist.

This is shocking. Isn't this against the law? It's not the role of the police to make cultural judgements.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 20:37:58 UTC | #916724

jel's Avatar Comment 8 by jel

A good but rather chilly day with some excellent speeches (and only one heckler, was it too cold for the rest of them -lol-). Once I can work out how to do it again, I'll be putting a couple of videos up on youtube, no sound unfortunately, I was standing too far back. Hopefully the professionals will have captured it all.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:08:38 UTC | #916729

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 9 by Premiseless

It's incredible to develop awareness of the multiple defence of all faiths agenda and how it inhibits progress in many areas it claims to be creating multi-culture in. It makes multi culture sound like multi subversion!

Where is the freedom for all agenda towards a cosmopolitan society. It seems this day was party to that!

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:11:22 UTC | #916730

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 10 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 8 by jel :

A good but rather chilly day with some excellent speeches (and only one heckler, was it too cold for the rest of them

The heckler was weird: a one-issue obsessive, and his one obsession (homophobia) appeared to have nothing to do with the subject of the meeting. He was only a slight nuisance and nobody took any notice of him.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:34:01 UTC | #916733

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 11 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 2 by Richard Dawkins

I told Maryam that I would like to collect instances of exactly this: British police refusing to take action over Muslim brutality against women, on the grounds that "It's part of their culture."

If this is going on it really is an absolute disgrace. Any police officer refusing to help someone who is under threat of violence ought to be brought to account. I fully support any efforts to root this out.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:34:59 UTC | #916735

Viveca's Avatar Comment 12 by Viveca

My respect, admiration and support of all who attended, and for RDFRS UK for sponsoring the event. I couldn't logistically be there but I think this issue is of the highest possible importance.

It seems to me that there are basically two ways to get things done:

One is to alter the zeitgeist so profoundly that the public will only accept (and vote for) politicians and decision-makers who represent the (newly) dominant viewpoint.

The other method is to leapfrog current public opinion, which is typically vague, ill-informed, unorganised, and easily distracted, and get sympathetic people into positions of real political power.

Any student of history and contemporary politics knows that the first method almost never works, principally because the pre-existing opinion-formers use the power at their disposal to shape the zeitgeist and stigmatise the arguments of their opponents. That's why organisations like the Socialist Workers Party, in spite of their numerical insignificance, end up wielding extraordinary (often indirect) power. This is the lesson Gramsci et al drove home to all Social Democrats and Marxists alike. They get organised, they target vulnerable sources of power, the identify which methods actually work - they get results. Unless athiests and secularists and (genuine) liberals start to significantly think realopolitik and stop treating these issues as material for a debating society then, i'm afraid to say, all will be lost. I know many of the speakers will already be acutely aware of all this, but more of the rest of us need to wake up.

Have the speeches been filmed?

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:58:03 UTC | #916739

NMcC's Avatar Comment 13 by NMcC

"This is shocking. Isn't this against the law? It's not the role of the police to make cultural judgements."

It certainly is both of those things. But the real question is: did it happen?

I find it very difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the police reacted in such a way to the reporting of a serious crime like the one depicted. I think the atheists should watch they don't start spouting the kind of whining propaganda that they deride the religious for.

Where was this crime reported? Who were the police officers who reacted in that way? To which force do they belong? Curiously, there is never any detail attached to these stories. It smells of victimhood to me. And I suspect it's simply a lie.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:59:19 UTC | #916740

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

Comment 13 by NMcC

I find it very difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the police reacted in such a way to the reporting of a serious crime like the one depicted. I think the atheists should watch they don't start spouting the kind of whining propaganda that they deride the religious for.

This comment rather smacks of incredulity. If a formal complaint was made there should be a record of this. If it was brushed off the complainant should insist that the matter is put on record.

If appropriate action is not taken, then complaints can be made to the Police Complaints Commission. (Although they are not noted for being keen to investigate police officers - hence some of the recent scandals)

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 22:27:43 UTC | #916743

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

comment 13 by NMcC

"This is shocking. Isn't this against the law? It's not the role of the police to make cultural judgements."

It certainly is both of those things. But the real question is: did it happen?

That is indeed a very important question.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:11:14 UTC | #916746

Connog's Avatar Comment 16 by Connog

Comment 13 by NMcC :

I find it very difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the police reacted in such a way to the reporting of a serious crime like the one depicted. I think the atheists should watch they don't start spouting the kind of whining propaganda that they deride the religious for.

Where was this crime reported? Who were the police officers who reacted in that way? To which force do they belong? Curiously, there is never any detail attached to these stories. It smells of victimhood to me. And I suspect it's simply a lie.

Hello? Did you not read about Stephen Lawrence? Have you never heard of the Birmingham 6? Or the Bridgewater Farm case? Just to name 3 cases completely off the top of my head that involve gross negligence by the police.

Since you have a computer, why not give google a go? It's a fairly straightforward concept.

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:26:13 UTC | #916747

iassersohn's Avatar Comment 17 by iassersohn

I attended this rally with my daughter and was proud to be there although crikey it was cold. Thank you to all those who organised and spoke. It was a relief to know that, after all, there are others who think this way and who are brave enough to say so (because I'm not). Like several other commentators I also found the story of the "devout girl" moving and thought-provoking.

I really, really hope the the story about the police response to the rape threats is untrue. Surely things haven't got that bad. Have they?

Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:30:59 UTC | #916749

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 18 by AtheistEgbert

Clearly there is something terribly wrong with British culture where its own police force refuses to defend its citizens. That is the fundamental point of a state.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 00:42:10 UTC | #916762

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 19 by Sean_W

7 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16

Wait, didn't Richard just say that he knows the police ignore genital mutilation? Really? In the UK it's not an automatic removal if it's discovered that a girl has been mutilated by her family?

Okay, apparently it's not here either. In fact, I believe it would just fall under the same umbrella of strange cultural practices we find abusive but which are protected because [ ? ], like "cupping". I guess the state could attempt to prove abuse in court. And by that I don't mean attempt to prove the parents did this to their child, but that the act itself is abusive in the first place...

edit: it is banned, people take their children elsewhere to have it done.

--//--

Looking forward to the videos.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 00:56:36 UTC | #916763

RDfan's Avatar Comment 20 by RDfan

There's an interesting debate on You Tube between Sharia Law advocates and the One Law For All advocates (including Maryam Namazie) that took place at UCL's Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society in December 2011. It's a little long (2.3 hrs), but quite enlightening. Maryam's opening argument is particularly elegant and well made, imo.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 01:58:17 UTC | #916772

raytoman's Avatar Comment 21 by raytoman

President Obama has just backed down and no longer requires free Family Planning to be offered to all women. Any Employer, Organisation, Insurance Company, etc can refuse to fund this if they claim it is against their religion!

Women could of course decide not to take advantage of the original law if it was against their religion but it needed to be made clear that Religious Freedom trumps Healthcare.

What's next? No teaching of Evolution or Science or Rationality in schools since it infringes Religious Freedom. Already the numbers of Schools that teach religion, prayer, intelligent design and NOT Science is increasing.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 02:52:43 UTC | #916780

Quine's Avatar Comment 22 by Quine

No, raytoman, that is not correct. President Obama stood up to the RCC who wanted to withhold insurance coverage for family planning for their employees. They were given a pass so that the Church would not have to pay for that part, but the employees still get the coverage. I would have preferred that they not get the free pass, but it was the fig leaf that was needed to cover the politics at this time. Of course, the Jehovah's Witness church has not been given a pass on the funding of employee health insurance that covers transfusions, but that is for another day.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 03:02:41 UTC | #916782

Sample's Avatar Comment 23 by Sample

I've submitted an article to the Mods for a discussion about the Catholic/Contraception debacle. Personally, I think Obama's team outsmarted the theologians. They'd been yammering about the cost for weeks and then with one little change, Obama took that financial rug right out from under them. Now the Catholics are in a dilemma.

Either the miter-wearing people of faith refuse free insurance for others and look like the uncharitable monsters that they are, or they accept the free insurance and look like veritable apostates to their flock.

Brilliant.

Mike

(On law for all...on topic?) :)

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 03:33:08 UTC | #916786

Quine's Avatar Comment 24 by Quine

Re Comment 23 by Sample, yes, I also thought it was a masterful move. He let the issue hang out for months without comment resulting in a build up of pressure he did not have to initiate, and then just when the conservatives thought they had a wedge issue they could pound in, he stepped to the side and dropped it on them. The RCC bishops and the hard core conservatives are squealing like stuck pigs, and I watched Mike Huckabee, tonight, getting on his Fox network show to call for other religions to join with the RCC bishops on this. However, something over 80% of Catholic women (and almost as many Catholic men) resent their own bishops for intruding in their private health issues. I hope this drives some of those over the edge to walk out, but in any case, all they (the voters) needed was the political fig leaf to allow them to stick with President Obama no matter how much of a tempest in a teapot the bishops manage to whip up. Remember, their choice is going to be voting for a guy who thinks the Garden of Eden was not only real, but was in Missouri.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 04:12:52 UTC | #916789

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 25 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 7 by Steve Zara :

This is shocking. Isn't this against the law? It's not the role of the police to make cultural judgements.

What? Are you saying that there are limits to multicultism even for you? How shocking. And here you almost had me convinced multiculti was really all about music and cuisine and happy, happy BFF diversity and that my sorry self was an intolerant Stalinist/Maoist monoculturalist. I think I'll might have to readjust my views once more.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 09:01:49 UTC | #916816

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 26 by Peter Grant

http://onelawforall.org.uk

I really hope this does spread and become a global movement.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 10:52:34 UTC | #916827

LucindaE's Avatar Comment 27 by LucindaE

As for whether the story regarding rape threats is true or not, I agree that it should not be 'taken as gospel' (if you'll excuse me) without evidence.

However, "I find it difficult, if not impossible to believe that the police reacted in such a way" is not a sentiment that I can share. I find it disturbingly easy to believe. It must be remembered that people within the police force are perfectly as fallible as people without it, and there are plenty of documented occasions in which police have behaved appallingly. Prof. Dawkins is absolutely correct; we need to collect instances of this occurring, if indeed it is.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 12:23:07 UTC | #916845

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 28 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator - off topic on this thread

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 12:53:10 UTC | #916850

GeoffreyFalk's Avatar Comment 29 by GeoffreyFalk

From the London Evening Standard (Nov. 30, 2011):

The report by black and ethnic minority women's organisation Imkaan found that in the city [i.e., London] 3,500 baby girls are born every year to mothers who have suffered female genital mutilation, and therefore are at risk themselves. This is an increase of 65 per cent in 10 years....

Marai Larasi, director of Imkaan, said: "It is not acceptable that in 2011 many girls and women living in Britain face extreme, violent threats to their safety and even to their lives. These issues are neglected because of fears of being labelled at best culturally insensitive and at worst racist."

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 13:28:08 UTC | #916865

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 30 by Steve Zara

Comment 25 by Bipedal Primate

What? Are you saying that there are limits to multicultism even for you?

I don't understand what you are trying to say. If you read back over my posts here you will see that I have never said that multiculturalism should involve different standards of law and human rights depending on culture. In fact, I have made it very clear what reasonable multiculturalism should involve.

As far as I can tell there are only a few possible explanations for your comment:

  1. You have not read my posts.
  2. You have not understood my posts.
  3. You are trolling.

It seems a perfectly simple idea that different cultures can co-exist while sharing a common standards of law and rights. As far as I know this is the situation in Canada, where English and French cultures are present. Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that this idea is as simple to understand as I thought.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 14:30:20 UTC | #916883