Last Friday night I told some friends I was going to One Law For All. One looked wary – told me that religious minorities were so eager for separate laws that she thought it was better to back off and let them get on with it. I think if she read Harry’s Place more, she’d understand why it wasn’t.
So I went on Saturday evening, with Matt and with the following concerns.
There were secularists involved – would this event be anti-religion like Dawkins? There were self-professed ‘ex-Muslims’ – would it be anti-Islam or even Islamophobic (would I recognise it if it were)? Would they attract the anti-immigration far right? And if not, would they be a front group for revolutionary socialists – a fig leaf through which to import a conflict against the Iranian regime? And if these worries were assuaged, then I wanted to watch – avidly – and learn how to a campaign against shariah, against political Islam, without any of these pitfalls. And most of all, I wanted to take in sight and sound of a large panel where women outnumbered men.
In the event, these worries were assuaged. They stood up for Muslims and they stood up for women. Maryam Namazie called for an anti-racist and human rights approach to the campaign. There was healthy amount of dissent among the panellists. We came out understanding the difference between Sharia Councils and the more formalised and legally binding Sharia Tribunals, and why we should object to them differently. I was impressed and inspired – but I was hoping to be impressed. More significant is that Matt the anti-racist, skeptic and critic with two gimlet eyes, whom I dragged along and who didn’t want to be there, was also impressed.
My unanswered (and unasked) questions at the end were:
- What kinds of challenges do they anticipate from Islamists?
- How do they expect to broaden out to include ordinary Muslims? What would help and what hinder this?
- I made the following searches on Google with no results: Quilliam site:http://www.onelawforall.org.uk and “One Law for All” site:http://www.quilliamfoundation.org. I don’t know this political terrain – how come these two organisations which share significant views, don’t refer to each other?