UK: A day to defend free expression – London, 11 Feb 2012

11 February 2012. A day to defend free expresssion.

The One Law for All 11 February rally for Free Expression is being held in London from 14:00-16:00 hours at the Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Lords. [Here is leaflet for download and distribution.]

Speakers are: A C Grayling (Philosopher); Alex Gabriel (Blogger); Anne Marie Waters (One Law for All); Caroline Cox (Peer); Derek Lennard (Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association); Faisal Gazi (Spittoon.org); Gita Sahgal, (Centre for Secular Space); Hasan Afzal (Stand for Peace); Jennifer Hardy (Queen Mary Atheism Humanism and Secularism Society); Jenny Bartle (National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies); Jim Fitzpatrick (MP); Kate Smurthwaite (Comedian); Kenan Malik (Writer); Lilith (Poet, Anti-Injustice Movement) ; Marco Tranchino (Central London Humanist Group); Mark Embleton (Atheism UK); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain); Nick Cohen (Writer); Nick Doody (Comedian); Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters); Rashid Ali (Centri); Rhys Morgan (Student activist); Roy Brown (International Humanist and Ethical Union); Rupert Sutton (Student Rights); Sohaila Sharifi (Equal Rights Now); Sue Cox (Survivors Voice Europe); Sundas Hoorain (London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society); Susan Zhuang (University College London Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society); Terry Sanderson/Keith Porteous Wood (National Secular Society); and Yasmin Rehman (Campaigner). There will also be messages from Jesus and Mo creator and Richard Dawkins. Iranian Secular Society’s Fariborz Pooya will be the Master of Ceremonies.

The call for action follows an increased number of attacks on free expression in the UK, including a 17 year old Rhys Morgan being forced to remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon or face expulsion from his Sixth Form College and demands by the UCL Union that the Atheist society remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page. It also follows threats of violence, police being called, and the cancellation of a meeting at Queen Mary College where One Law for All spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to deliver a speech on Sharia. More recently, the LSE Student Union has asked the atheist society to remove its affiliation to the union again due to a Jesus and Mo cartoon.

[To read Maryam Namazie’s recent speech on how accusations of offence and Islamophobia are secular fatwas,click here.]

The Day of Action has already been endorsed by nearly 100 groups and individuals including Jessica Ahlquist, Richard Dawkins, Equal Rights Now, Taslima Nasrin, National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, National Secular Society, Salman Rushdie, Southall Black Sisters, and Peter Tatchell. To see the list and add your own, click here.

In addition to the London rally, there will be actions and acts of solidarity in other cities, including Australia, France, Gambia, Germany, Poland and South Africa. To see the list or to add your own action or event, click here.

Clearly, the time has come to take a firm and uncompromising stand for free expression and against all forms of bogus accusations, threats and censorship.

The right to criticise religion is a fundamental right that is crucial to many, including Muslims.

11 February is our chance to take that stand.

You need to be there.

Enough is enough.

NOTES:

1. Join 11 February Free Expression Day of Action Facebook page here and Tweet #11FebFEDay.

2. The rally is sponsored by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason UK.

3. See recent media coverage of the rally and/or attacks on free expression:

A Day to Stand up for Free Expression, South African Times Live, 24 January 2012 [external link]

How freedom goes, The Spectator, 22 January 2012 [external link]

Strong religious belief is no excuse for intimidation, The Independent, 22 January 2012 [external link]

11 February: A Day to Defend Free Expression, New Zealand’s Scoop, 20 January 2012 [external link]

Islamist stops university talk with threats of violence, National Secular Society Newsline, 17 January 2012 [external link]

3. For more information, and details of the Day of Action, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Anne Marie Waters
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com

One Response to UK: A day to defend free expression – London, 11 Feb 2012

  1. Waterlily

    I do not understand why there are people who insist in calling atheism a “religion”. There is one “little” difference: religion is defined as the belief in and the workship of a superhuman controlling power and atheism is precisely not that. How can a total lack of religion be a religion too? It is not fair that people who cannot defend their own nonsense get to create a fake fair and balanced argument the way they do when asserting that evolution and creationism are equally valid. When it comes to religion, we are not two sides of the same coin. Reason and unreason cannot be put on the same shelf. Religious stuff is not evidence-based and religious people never change their mind about it no matter what happens. That is not atheism. Atheists are open to anything for which there is evidence. And there is another big difference: religion has morals based on the concepts of sin, charity and tolerance, atheism has ethics rooted in the concepts of responsibility, solidarity and respect. The difference is all there: morals is something that belongs with private life, with the beliefs of the single person. Ethics pertain to social life, to the respect of human laws and to the exercise of the right of citizenship. Believers rely on the first, atheists on the second. Believers behave and judge according to moral values dictated by god, non believers according to secular ethics, which is referred to shared social rules, i.e. to the difference between respect and violation of human laws. Believers do not recognise the right of self-determination and self-expression, because for them you have to follow god’s law and do not question it, so they try to impose it on everybody else no matter what they believe in. Atheists are totally pro-choice, in the sense that each human being is free to chose what to believe in or not and to decide what is good for her/himself. These are two irreconciliable visions of life that will continue to clash till religious people stop trying to impose their own way of life on everybody else.

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