Secular Conference London 2014: The Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights

Imagine a conference where over two thirds of the speakers are women. From across the world. Artists, professors, authors, journalists, human rights activists. One who feared having children because of the threat to their lives.

You are told in no uncertain terms the consequence of colonialism, and how the war on terror has deliberately strengthened extremists. It happened during the Cold War. History repeats itself, with insanity expecting a different result.

That while attending the conference, you do not just deal with what hits the media. You hear about projects such as in Afghanistan, where women had to make their own centre (as no men would come near them to help work), yet their improvised skills were so good they were then asked if they would paint the mosque.

Moved when another recounts being abducted and held hostage the last time she attended such a conference as this; the fear from her voice pulling on your heart strings. Tears dripping onto your iPad as you blatantly tweet in your own name what is being said without a second thought of your own safety. That the song from a band in Indonesia called “Sister In Danger” is not lyrical invention. When protestors of a movie in Tunisia move their hand across their Adam’s apple in a slicing motion it is not just bravado.

A professor recounts hearing shots ring out on campus one evening. He rushed out to a former student who had become a faculty member. Bleeding to death, no other staff came to aid one of their own. There is no one else from the university either to join the professor at the mourning prayers. The assassinated man is Ahmadi, and even in death his blood can not wash away his heresy in a Pakistan State that declares them non muslims. He never was one of them after all, in life or death.

I did not have to imagine these voices – because Maryam Namazie gave them a platform. The conference was filmed and you can read my live tweets clicking on the tweet above, and following my timeline.

Please let me make this appeal. Regardless of what you think of God, how that manifests in your devotion or derision, humanity suffers too much in a brief time on earth. This is not an academic debate with timed responses. Celebrities on talk shows making points for applause or laughs.

The oppression done by extremists and religious nationalists is the concern of all humanity. It is by no means a complete solution to the hell on earth that exists. Only a beginning, and it starts with the idea that humanity is one and equal to each other.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

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3 Comments

Filed under Religion, secular, World

3 responses to “Secular Conference London 2014: The Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights

  1. Was supposed to be there but couldn’t afford it – such a shame. I’d add to your article that people opened a battered women’s institute in Mazar-e-Sharif where I used to work in Afghanistan too. That sounds much like what you’re describing and is a huge step forward for that country. I’m not sure if it’s still there now though, I hope it is.

  2. Pingback: Imagine a conference

  3. Pingback: Anne-Marie Is No Bridge Over Troubled Waters For Secularism | Homo economicus' Weblog

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