Maryam Namazie of the Worker Communist Party of Iran has been awarded the National Secular Society’s Irwin Prize for “Secularist of the Year”. The £5,000 annual prize was presented by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee at a lunch at the Montcalm Hotel in London. Introducing Namazie, Keith Porteous Wood of the NSS explained that “she has been roundly criticised by Islamists, the Islamic Republic of Iran and even Ken Livingstone after his invitation to this country of Yusuf Al Qaradawi. So she must be doing something right.”
In her speech, comrade Namazie stated: “And don’t get me started on Islamophobia. It is now even deemed racist to criticise beliefs and ideas and movements associated with them. And – silly me – all along I thought racism was aimed at individuals and groups of people not beliefs and political movements.”
This would be the same Mayam Namazie who offered the following thoughtful comment on the issue of the hijab: “I suppose if it were to be compared with anyone’s clothing it would be comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide.” So perhaps it’s just as well they didn’t get her started on Islamophobia.
For a succinct demolition of Namazie’s hysterical line on Islam (“The innocence with which Namazie claims not to know what Islamophobia is recalls the neo-Nazi party official who, challenged on TV, declares: ‘Racist? Me?'”) see Peyvand Khorsandi in The Iranian, 4 February 2003