Human rights activist and distinguished supporter of Humanism
Maryam Namazie is a well-known and vociferous critic of political Islam and commentator on women’s rights, violence against women, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, and Islam. In 2005 she was the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year and she is an NSS Honorary Associate. She was elected one of Elle Quebec’s top 45 women in 2007, and her blog www.maryamnamazie.blogspot.com has been rated in the top 100 atheist blogs.
Maryam was born in Iran in 1966, but left after the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1980. She then lived in India, the UK and the USA, where she began her university studies at the age of 17. After graduating, she went to the Sudan to work with Ethiopian refugees, but once again had to leave when an Islamic government took power.
She was the elected Executive Director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, a refugee-run organisation with 60 branches in 15 countries worldwide; she founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees (CHAIR); she was the Human Rights Advocates Training Programme Coordinator at Columbia University’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights in New York and the NYC Refugee Coordinator/ US National Steering Committee Member of Amnesty International. She also ran a refugee women’s leadership training programme in New York.
She now lives with her partner and toddler in London, where she worked for three years as Ceremonies Officer for the British Humanist Association before becoming spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain (www.onelawforall.org.uk). She is also Spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (www.ex-muslim.org.uk), and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran (www.equalrightsnow-iran.com). She hosts and produces a weekly TV International programme broadcast in the Middle East via New Channel TV (www.newchannel.tv/englishTV/TVInternational.html).
She has campaigned against stoning, executions, sexual apartheid, the veiling of children, and women’s rights violations particularly in Islamist societies, and opposed the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill in the UK. Her successes include the campaign against the Sharia court in Canada.