Nick Cohen boosts Maryam Namazie

Namazie“A week ago, at a reception in one of London’s dowdier hotels, Maryam Namazie received a cheque and a certificate stating that she was Secularist of the Year 2005. The audience from the National Secular Society cheered, but no one else noticed.”

Nick Cohen in the Observer, 16 October 2005

Oh, I don’t know. Islamophobia Watch picked up on it. Cohen observes that “Maryam Namazie’s obscurity remains baffling. She ought to be a liberal poster girl” (sic). Perhaps Namazie’s obscurity is not unconnected with the fact that she’s a member of the central and political committees of a barking far-left sect, the Worker Communist Party of Iran (WPI), whose hysterical Islamophobia, while it obviously appeals to a fellow bigot like Cohen, would repel any principled liberal.

As for the so-called “Sharia courts” in Canada to which Cohen’s article refers, details can be found in the Canada section of this site. What was in fact proposed was to allow Muslims the same right to faith-based civil arbitration that had been available to Catholics and Jews in Ontario since 1991. The WPI’s response to the proposal was:

“The struggle to establish Islamic tribunals in Canada, like similar efforts to enforce the hijab in public institutions and schools in France, is not merely a cultural effort to pursue cultural rights. Both the aims of and the forces behind these efforts are political. These attempts are part and parcel of one of the most reactionary global phenomena in recent history, i.e. the movement of political Islam.”

The Ontario proposal provoked a racist backlash throughout Canada against Muslims and their supposed barbaric religious practices, which it was claimed had no place in a civilised Western society. And it was another WPI central committee member, Homa Arjomand, who played a leading role in encouraging this upsurge of Islamophobia. For her trouble, she became the “poster girl” of the most hardline right-wingers, receiving plaudits from the likes of Front Page Magazine.

It can’t be long before Cohen and the WPI go the whole hog and join their friends in GALHA – with whom they have co-operated closely in the anti-Qaradawi campaign – in promoting an anti-Muslim agenda that is indistinguishable from the vile propaganda of the racist Right.