Her talk 'Sharia Law Sex Apartheid and Secularism' was the best of the day, last month at the National Secular Society's 2012 conference in London on 22nd September. The following is not intended as an accurate transcript of her speech which is available as an MP3 download from the Pod Delusion Extra site, but I tried to capture the essence of her words as she was speaking. Hopefully I can say enough to get you interested in listening to her speech.
She began by stating that 'sharia is the code of death and despair'. People will use any excuse to defend it. In Iran, 130 separate offences are punishable by death. A court based on the bible or Torah would be just as bad, but at least in the UK we don't have either of those. [Sadly the same can't be said of sharia courts.]
In sharia, a woman's word is worth half a man's. It has been explained that this is because 'if one forgets, the other can remind her'! This comment is apparently 'not derogatory', but 'the secret of woman's nature'.
You will often be faced with comments like “I have a Muslim friend who says that sharia is not as bad as you say”
She urged everyone in the audience to question these statements and if you are accused of islamophobia continue to question other aspects.
- How can you tolerate the news that a sharia judge recently said that "calling it rape IS the act of aggression".
- How can you defend that child marriages are positively sanctioned by sharia. It is estimated that there were 30 of them in Islington alone in 2010, with girls as young as 9 married to older men.
- While you may be happy to promote it for another, would you like it for yourself?
- By what right can parasitic immans to deem what is acceptable and what is not for other free people?
Even if there is a right to religion, remember that rights are rarely absolute. Muslims are hiding behind claims to rights and choice in order to excuse blatant misogyny.
Islamism and sharia have killed a generation. Under an inquisition there is no personal religion. When religion is sponsored by the state it is no longer a matter of belief but of political power. Islamist scholars choose to resort to abuse and violence and as if they have a right to speak for others. But . . .
“You have got to read more than one book if you want to call yourself a scholar.” -- Richard Dawkins
Islamists claim that secular family law is biased against Muslim people, but by saying that they really mean that it is biased against Muslim men!
There is a surprising difference between the way that sharia is seen in different countries. In Iran the debate is not framed as part of islamophobia, but apostasy instead.
In a climate where society is forcing people into submission she says 'bravo Charlie Hebdo'. Is it true that cartoons are unhelpful? No! Criticising Islam and islamism is not prejudice. The countless humans who are living under sharia are the victims of prejudice.
Echoing the comments of other speakers of the day, she said that the controversial movie 'Innocence of Muslims' produced by members of the US Christian far right is “just a very very bad film”. These Christians are just as bad as those who promote sharia.
But the issue is not about religion but about political power.
“We must be brave” -- Salman Rushdie.
In Islam the individual has no rights and no dignity. Most religions have been restrained by freethinking activity over hundreds of years but this one has not.
This statement was greeted with a standing ovation. The questions and answers were interesting too. Listen to the mp3 file for yourself.
And if you ever get the chance to witness Maryam at work, don't miss it!