Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

The Silent Holocaust: Why Humanity Must Achieve Victory over Islam


Adapted from the speech delivered at the session on Humanism and Islam at the IHEU World Congress 2002

What I am going to talk about is Islam; contemporary Islam in Iran. I will describe some episodes of Islamic carnage and pass you briefly through what happened and still is happening in Iran. I will talk about those who have nurtured Islamic movements or have tried to justify Islam. I will conclude by emphasizing the urgency of achieving the victory of humanity over Islam and the practical steps that should be taken to achieve this.

The final decades of the 20th century witnessed another Holocaust - an Islamic one, in which millions have been and continue to be shot, decapitated and stoned to death; in which people have been slaughtered and displaced by Islamic states, political Islamic movements and Islamic terrorists in Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Central Asia, and now in America. The robe, turban and Koran continue to victimize people. Any voice of dissent or freedom has been silenced on the spot. The oppression maintained by Islamic movements primarily takes the form of opposition to the freedom of women, by crushing women's civil liberties, by curtailing freedom of expression in the cultural and personal domains, by enforcing brutal laws and traditions, and by the mass killing of people from young children to the elderly.

Essentially, Islam is a set of beliefs and rules that militate against human prosperity, happiness, welfare, freedom, equality and knowledge. Islam and a full human life are contradictory concepts, opposed to each other. Islam under any kind of interpretation is and always has been a strong force against secularism, modernism, egalitarianism and women's rights. Political Islam, however, is a political movement that has come to the fore against secular and progressive movements for liberation, and against cultural and intellectual advances. Violence and disregard for human dignity are inherent in the manifestos of political Islamic groups.

?The very statement that an Islamic republic exists somewhere means that brutal violence exists within it.?

After political Islam took power in Iran, creating an Islamic Republic, this movement came out of the margins in other Middle Eastern countries. It was in Iran that political Islam first organised itself into a government and thus turned into a considerable force in the region. In Iran, under an Islamic state, violence has had another dimension: one that is based on Islam. The very statement that an Islamic Republic exists somewhere means that brutal violence exists in it. The mere fact that people are forced to abide by laws based on something some god is believed to have said somewhere, or that some prophet has said, itself represents a form of violence. If anyone protests against such laws, they are subject to punishment and suppression. Islam means the worst and the most ferocious kind of violence. Iran is the most transparent picture of what Islam is capable of. I will try to pass you briefly through this period of violence, atrocities, and misogyny - a bloodbath committed by Islam in power.

In Iran, I lived through thousands of days when Islam shed blood. Since 1979, a hundred thousand men, women and children have been executed in the name of Allah. I have lived through days when I, along with thousands of men and women throughout the country, looked for the names of our lovers, husbands, wives, friends, daughters, sons, colleagues and students in newspapers which daily announced the names of the executed. Days when the soldiers of Allah attacked bookstores and publishing houses and burned books. Days of armed attacks on universities, killing students all over the country. Weeks and months of bloody attacks on workers' strikes and demonstrations. Years of assassination of opponents inside and outside Iran. Years of suppression and brutal murder of atheists, freethinkers, socialists, trade union leaders and activists, Marxists, Bahais, women who resisted the misery of hijab and the rule of sexual apartheid, and many others who were none of these, who were arrested in the streets and then executed simply because of their innocent non-Islamic appearance. And to the hundred thousand murdered in Iran must be added the millions who have died in Algeria, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. A silent holocaust about which the civilised world does nothing.

I, along with thousands of political prisoners, was tortured by order of the representative of Allah and Sharia; tortured, while the verses of the Koran about nonbelievers were played in the torture chambers. The voice reading the Koran was mixed with our cries of pain from lashes and other brutal forms of torture. They raped women political prisoners for the sake of Allah and in expectation of his reward. They prayed before raping them. Thousands were shot to death by execution squads while Koranic verses were recited. Prisoners were awakened every day at dawn to the sound of gunshots aimed at their friends and cellmates. From the numbers of shots you could work out how many had been murdered that day. The killing machine did not stop for a minute. The fathers and mothers, husbands and wives who received the bloody clothes of their loved ones had to pay for the bullets. They created an Islamic Auschwitz. Many of the best, the most passionate and progressive people were massacred. The dimensions of the horror are beyond imagining.

From that time, love, happiness, smiling, any free human interaction was forbidden. Islam took over completely. This is what happened to my generation. But it was not limited only to my generation, It had bloody consequences for our parents? generation and for the next generation. During those years, millions of children were brainwashed and manipulated. The crimes committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and political Islam in the region are comparable to the crimes committed by Fascism in the 1930s and early 1940s, and to the genocide in Rwanda and Indonesia.

Yet these are events that humanity around the world has been largely unaware of. A Holocaust which, if humanity knew of its dimensions and intensity, would certainly cause it to weep. With the downfall of such regimes, the world will finally be given an opportunity to know the truth - victims will speak out, prisons and torture chambers will be exposed, torturers will make heart-wrenching confessions, Islamic prosecutors and judges will reveal what they did to their victims behind prison walls. Then people all over the world will see what a despicable phenomenon Islam is. They will finally find out the truth about those governments that backed the Islamic movements and the Western mainstream media that deliberately blocked people's access to the truth.

The aftermath of September 11 exposed some of the reality of what is happening to people living under the constant terror of Islam. It exposed something of the tragedy that befell women under the Taliban. It revealed, to some extent, the true substance of Islam. But it became plain to see that this carnage is Islamic. It became evident that it is all about Islam.

When I came to the West in the beginning of the 1990s, I was faced by the fact that the majority of intellectuals, the mainstream media, the academic world, and many feminists, in the name of respecting other cultures and religions, were trying to justify Islam by dividing it into fundamentalist and moderate, progressive and reactionary, Medina's and Mecca's, folksy and non-folksy, poisonous and edible. For people like me, first-hand victims of the Islamic Holocaust, it was suffocating to listen to and to have to refute endless tales to justify this terror, atrocity and misogyny. Parallel to this Islamic carnage, apologists for Islam try to divert people's righteous loathing for Islam and for the political Islamic movement, to limit it to a hatred of fundamentalism'. They attempt to reduce the anti-Islamic struggle to anti-fundamentalism. They keep telling us that what we loathe is fundamentalism, not the 'true', the 'real' Islam. They pledge 'reform in Islam' and the application of a 'positive interpretation of the Koran' to women's rights by ?linguistic turn?. They raise the idea of Islamic feminism and try to attach a human face to the monstrous face of Islam against women.

?The rights of freedom of expression, equality of men and women, and a secular state apply to people in the 'Third World' too. Isn't it shameful that we have to argue about it??

The truth should be spoken. We shouldn't let apologists for Islam play with people's lives any more. We should say clearly and loudly that it is all about Islam. What we have seen is the reality of Islam in power. The fact is that Western liberal and left-wing intellectuals feel guilty about past colonial history and are apologetic to the ?Third World?. They consider the 'Third World' a given entity, where people are keen to suffer under the rotten rules of Islam, where people are happy to be deprived of the achievements of human civilization in the 21st century. According to them, women desire sexual apartheid, girls love to be segregated from boys, and people hate civil rights and individual freedom. In their view, people are the allies of Islamic movements and Islamic governments. This is indeed a distorted image of the realities. This is an inverted colonialism. In this picture, people who are fighting for civil rights, secularism and against political Islam do not exist. This self-centered mentality in which everything should revolve around the guilt of Western pseudo-intellectuals is appalling. The rights of freedom of expression, equality of men and women, and a secular state apply to people in the 'Third World' too. Isn't it shameful that we have to argue about it?

Contrary to this view, there is a fight going on - and it has been going on for over 20 years - between progressive movements in the Middle East and in the West on the one side, and political Islam on the other. The records of the daily struggle of people and the non-Islamic opposition in Islam-ridden countries, and the news of the daily resistance of the youth and women in Iran, demonstrate the reality of peoples' demands in the 'Third World'. Since 1979, Iranian society has changed dramatically and deeply. The movement for secularism and atheism, for modern ideas and culture, for individual freedom, for women's liberation and civil liberties has been widespread and deep. Disgust for religion and the backward culture of those in power is immense.

Secularism must be defended actively and resolutely in Islam - ridden countries. Universal human and civil rights must be the standard. Secularism is not only realizable, but also, after the experiences of Iran, Afghanistan, the Sudan and Algeria, is an urgent and pressing need and demand of the people of the region. The demand for secularism must push for absolute and complete separation of religion from the State; complete separation of religion from education; freedom of religion and atheism; laws free of religious content; and for religion to be declared the private affair of individuals. A conscious struggle must be conducted against the power of organised religion. All religious denominations and sects should be officially registered as private enterprises, subject to regulations and laws.

To realise these ideals and demands, we need a massive joint force. Despite the struggles of the non-Islamic opposition in the Middle East and in the West in the past decades, all that has been visible has been occasional reports of the barbarity of political Islam and the reactions of Western governments, media and 'intellectual' apologists for Islam. But, there is a third force, a sleeping giant who can turn the situation around. If this giant awakes, this era could see the beginning of positive changes and the realisation of ideals that were almost abandoned during the final decades of the 20th century. Humanity must rise up and defend itself against the barbarity of Islam.

The ranks of civilised humanity form a massive force that has, so far, sadly been silenced. It can come to the fore. For the future of humanity, it must come to the fore. If there is to be a future, it is in the formation of an active, progressive and freedom-loving policy at the forefront of the ranks of the people. Otherwise, the stage is left open to terrorism and barbarism. I finish my speech with the hope that in the coming years of the 21st century, we will witness the victory of humanity, of humanism, over Islam. All freedom-lovers and secularist forces around the world should come together in a joint effort to combat political Islam; to promote secularism, egalitarianism and freedom, in the societies that Islam oppresses.

Published in Secular Islam website. Author's Email:

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