Speech of Homa Arjomand in Montreal
Secularism is a gateway to establish universal rights of women and children.
I am very honored to be here amongst you. My thanks go to the organizers of this event and to you all for being here with us.
I must emphasize that today’s conference titled “Celebrating Decent” and all other conferences in this regard stems from demands for secularism by a vast majority of members in society. This is also true in countries so- called Islamic
Separation of religion from political power became essential when political Islam developed as a movement active in politics and its desire to be a governing body. It is important to know that all other aspects such as culture and Sharia laws serve this desire and political needs for achieving its own State.
Soon after political Islam gained power in Iran and pushed for its expansion not only through all the region but also in the West, it became clear to women, children and workers’ right activists, that Islam had enough resources ideologically, theoretically and ethically to sustain itself and expand its activities globally.
As Islamists pushed for more validation and recognition by its act of terrorism not only in the Middle East but also in the West, the more the secularist movement flourished. Secularism became a solution to Islamic hostility, oppression, persecution, injustice, and abuse.
Workplaces, universities, schools, streets, and all social gatherings became aware of secularism as way to universal human rights and a barricade against religious demands where Islamists gained upper hand.
The movement towards secularism increased in Iran and the entire Middle East when people witnessed interference of Sharia law in every aspects of their private and social lives; from instructing how to enter the toilet, what to do in bed with your partner, what to wear, and to its direct involvement and brain washing of children in schools. Islamists governed with inhuman, seven century rules and regulations in the countries of the region. There were brutal attacks on women who opposed Islamic cruelties. There were mass executions and assassinations of freethinkers, freedom seekers, bloggers, activists and organizers of workers’ rights, defenders of universal rights for women, children, and anyone who criticized Islam.
Demand for protection of Universal Rights of women and children and the call for individual rights, became an ongoing power struggle between the movement of political Islam and the progressive movement for total separation of religion from the State and education. The movement for secularism is a political solution in establishing a legal structure for describing the relationship between organized religion and the State. Women are at the forefront of this movement. And they have been the main target of Islamists. Women’s rights activists have been facing arrest, torture and execution but proudly, despite of death threats, captivity and harsh punishment, this movement is on the rise.
It is very worrisome that despite Islamic terror strategies, governments of the Western countries are still flirting with the leaders of Islamists. This legitimates them and gives them more room to influence communities so called Islamic. Shamefully It provides Islamists with more funds to build Islamic schools and centers. With the existence of multiculturalism and cultural relativism, Islamists actually lobbied for a legislation of laws and measures to further limit freedom of speech and expression and actually managed to establish an Islamophobia Bill or Act. By implementing these legal measures, no one will have right to criticize Islam.
It should not become a shock to vast majority of people in the West if they are told that there are parallel religious laws and measures in the same country they are living in. Sharia law is enforced on some members of society and some governments are aware of this but let it happen. But let us reveal that there is no sign of equality between men and women in communities under the control of Islamists. Islamists are in opposition to universal rights of women and children. They are opponents of individual rights. There is a gap of centuries between the culture and traditions that are imposed on residents of these closed communities in North America, all of Europe, and Scandinavia with the culture of the vast majority of people in the West. Islamists have openly implemented Sharia law and have managed to enforce Sharia way of living and its laws wherever they managed to gain upper hand.
Needless to say the rise of Sharia courts in Canada, England, Austria and other Western countries, the rise of honor killings, polygamy, child brides, religious schools, increase of hate crimes and suicide bombers, are all the direct result of the expansion of political Islam in the West and their influence in the closed communities so called Islamists.
It is essential for humanity to defeat political Islam and arrest and put its entire leader on public trial for the crimes they committed against humanity globally.
It is also important not only support the movement of secularism but become an additional voice at its forefront. And this is our job. The job of the defenders of human rights. The job of concerned global citizens, and all the ones who care about universal rights of women and children.All the ones who strongly uphold full and unconditional freedom of criticism and endorse the right to criticize all political, cultural, ethical, religion and ideological aspects of society. It is our job to defend secularism.
We need to speed the process of integration. And that is not possible without total separation of religion from the State even in the West. As you might know, in Canada, the State is funding Catholic schools.
Obviously, we need to push for one secular school systems for all children under the age of 18. Clearly, we need to reverse any unjust policy. We need to demolish the policy of multiculturalism and cultural relativism and substitute it to integration where all people of a diverse society become equal before law. Establishment of secularism is the first step towards integration. We need to prevent governments or State institutions to provide any kind of financial, material, or moral support to any religion and religious activities, religious institutions or sects.
It is the duty of State to legally remove religion from the various parts of private and social life of individuals; and the State’s responsibility is to raise scientific knowledge of individuals through public education. The State’s duty is to make sure that religion remains a private matter of individuals.
Statesneed to put in place legislation of laws to push aside reactionary, degrading beliefs, customs and traditions and apply laws to protect a free and open culture values.
That is the only way that the State can granteethe full and unconditional equality of rights of women and men; it is the State’s obligation to insure equal treatment of all citizens without discrimination; and establishment of a better social, progressive, and cultural norm.
Secularism is a base for protection of the widest individual and civil rights. It should put a heavy duty on governments to ensure these rights are not under any attack.
Secularism would play an important role in creating a progressive improvement, in areas of political, civil and welfare rights.
Please join us to speed this process.