Last edited: March 26, 2005

Solidarity with Iraqi Women

International Women’s Day: For a secular, democratic Iraq – No Sharia law

Solidarity with Iraqi women. No Islamic State! No Sharia Law! Iraqi Embassy London, International Women's Day, 8 March 2005.

OutRage!, March 8, 2005

Iraqi women demonstrated outside the Embassy of Iraq in London today, International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March 2005.

They were protesting against proposals by Iraqi Islamist parties to introduce an Islamic constitution and Sharia law, which would threaten the human rights of women, gay people and non-believers.

The women were supported by members of the queer rights group OutRage!, by British humanists and by members of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq.

They gathered to express their solidarity with the women of Iraq, who are battling to throw off patriarchy and resist the imposition of clerical tyranny.

“Iraqi Islamist parties are pressing for the introduction of an Islamic constitution and Sharia law, which could result in the execution of women who have sex outside marriage, gays and apostates,” according to Nadia Mahmood, of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), which coordinated the protest.

“Women who refuse to be veiled have been murdered. So-called honour killings of women are encouraged by the Islamists. Feminist campaigners have been threatened with death. A hugely popular woman singer and dancer, Hinadi, was recently assassinated by the Islamists in Basra,” said Ms Mahmood.

The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) is demanding:

  • “Separation of religion from the State”

  • “An egalitarian, secular constitution”

  • “Full equality in law between men and women”

“Gay Iraqis are threatened by the rising power of fundamentalist factions who believe that homosexuals should be put to death,” said OutRage! spokesperson Peter Tatchell.

“We applaud the courage of Iraqi women and gays who are battling against the twin oppressions of foreign occupation and clerical misogyny and homophobia. Their campaign for human rights, in defiance of threats to kill them, is heroic and inspirational.

“There can be no freedom worth having if it does not include freedom for women.

“Iraq will never be liberated while Iraqi women are enslaved by men and mullahs,” he added.

Today’s vigil was also supported by journalist, novelist and human rights campaigner, Joan Smith, who said:

“I fear that Iraq is being transformed from a fascist dictatorship to a de facto theocracy, in which women are threatened and murdered. If Iraqi women are under the control of their male relatives and religious leaders, the country cannot be regarded as a true democracy - once again, the world's political leaders need to be reminded that women's rights are human rights,” she said.

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