March for Free Expression

The next phase

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend Meetings

The meetings on Saturday went well, with about 20 people attending the morning and afternoon sessions. A programme was worked out and a steering group constituted.

Full details about this will be posted on a new campaign website later this week. People who were unable to attend will have further opportunities to participate, both through the new website, a further meeting in London in about a month's time, and also in regional meetings that will be held for the many people for whom it is not convenient to travel to London.

We have also made provisional arrangements for an event in which the Danish cartoons will be displayed and debated.

Thanks to Conway Hall for the use of their facilities, and to those who attended the meetings and contributed so much to the future success of this campaign.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Meeting

Just to confirm, the meeting is at Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, London tomorrow, Saturday 22nd April. There will be two sessions, 10:00am to 12:00 noon and 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Comment word verification

is back on - we've been getting some comment spam since I turned it off. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Revived

Sorry it's been so quiet; a nasty bug knocked me out for a week or so. A rigorous course of Famous Grouse, local honey and Vindaloo has worked its magic, though, and I'll be catching up over the course of the day.

The policy meeting is now well subscribed, I'll confirm by email to everyone who has expressed a wish to attend. I'll also publish a draft agenda in the next 24 hours.

Religious enthusiasm is not our only problem. Ten year old boys say nasty things to each other in playgrounds all over the world. They do not all end up in court. We have work to do...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dialogue

This campaign is about freedom of expression, not Islam. Nonetheless, there has been a lot of conversation in the comments section between Muslims and others. This is great, and it is a real achievement. Thank you, Ismaeel and thank you, anonymous, for continuing to engage in this conversation.

The following is taken from a recent comment:
I'm Muslim and I'm not scary, and we're talking, and we shouldn't let any one scare us or intimidate us from having a dialogue.

What is unacceptable to me, as I've said many times is to engage with an inhumane political party like the BNP or the one from Denmark that wants to deport all muslims from Europe. This is offensive not to mention impractical - where will anyone get a kebab?

What is unacceptable to you, which I think is also very reasonable - is to engage with inhumane Islamist groups like Al-Qaida, that seek to agressively impose their brand of Islamism on the world.

I agree with you about that. So these two groups have to be off the table because they make for too intimidating an environment for the others unless they are prepared to modify their tactics and change their policies so as not to be a direct threat on others, in which case they can come back to the table. In other words there needs to be a ceasefire from both these camps to bring them back to the table.

Until then we should all agree that this is an uncivilised approach.

Policy Meeting, 22nd April

We have been offered use of the members' library at Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, London WC1 for Saturday 22nd April 2006.

The purpose of the meeting will be to move this campaign onto a proper long term footing, draft a policy agenda and formulate a firm strategy for advancing our agenda. Officers will be elected.

The meeting will be open to everyone who would like to be involved, but we ask everyone who wishes to attend to let us know their names so that we can be sure we have sufficient seating and other facilities. Some people have already emailed us to express an interest in attending and I will be replying by the weekend. If you haven't had confirmation by Monday, or want to register your interest in attending, please mail us.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Liberal

It's a great shame that we ran out of time on Saturday 25th March. There was one other unscheduled speaker waiting in the wings. Ben Ramm, the Editor of The Liberal was ready with a short speech about his experience as an editor who had tried to publish one of the Danish Cartoons. As his website puts it:
The magazine was informed on the evening of Wednesday 8th February by senior offices at Scotland Yard that the editor and his staff could not be guaranteed police protection in the event of publication.
Ben's take on this is slightly different to those of the more determinedly secularist of our speakers and commentators. He feels that:
the affirmative argument about the sacred nature of humanity - that "there is nothing unholy or inadequate about the human form. In other words, it is wrong to suggest that to depict an individual is de facto to profane him or her" -
has yet to be properly aired in the pubic sphere
You can download a pdf (69k) of his argument here.

A letter from Reza Moradi

I really appreciate your concern.

Me, You or no one else should be even questioned for exercising our very basic civil rights - instead we are either threatened with death by Islamists or threatened with imprisonment by the law and police.

We must all stand up to this and defend our rights. Let's say they hold you responsible for this instead of me; what should I do? Sit back and watch freedom on trial? It is not about me or you per se, it is about everyone's rights - rights that have been fought for.

Dear Peter we all have to be prepared more than ever before to defend our rights. We must not be pushed back by Islamists' death threats or the UK government's police and court.

We must make this court case, a defeat for Islamists and the UK government and a victory for civilised humanity!

Hoping for your support during the campaign we are organising and for a successful outcome.

Warmest regards
Reza Moradi