Solidarity with Iraqi Women
International Women’s Day: For a secular, democratic
Iraq – No Sharia law
with Iraqi women. No Islamic State! No Sharia Law! Iraqi Embassy London,
International Women's Day, 8 March 2005.
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
“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
The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) is
“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.