In my view, there are few issues as pressing as secularism. In Europe we largely take it for granted. While religions still benefit from enormous privileges in probably every country and society (see here for Italy), its influence has been largely attenuated in recent centuries. While secularism has had many victories, it has by no means won any wars. Its principles must be staunchly guarded even where they appear most entrenched, as religious dogma is always waiting for the right moment to pounce on individual freedoms and tear them to shreds. We who live in (largely) secularized societies have the duty to defend them from predators. Either that or we will eventually lose the ground we have gained and go hurtling back to less enlightened times.
Secularists in secularized countries have it easy, though, compared to those living in places where religion is still extremely powerful and soaks through every pore of society. These are places where it isn’t just unpopular to be an atheist, secularist or humanist, but it’s downright dangerous. So those fighting against religious tyranny in places like the Middle East and Africa deserve our support. They are the ones on the front lines, risking their lives to protest against Islamism and its hydra-headed bigotry.
Maryam Namazie writes:
Student, atheist and blogger, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, 20, posted naked pictures of herself on her blog to show her “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy”. Showing her body particularly at a time when Islamists in Egypt are trying to secure power is the ultimate act of rebellion. Don’t forget Islamists despise nothing more than a woman’s body. In case you didn’t know, women are the source of corruption and chaos and must be covered up at all times and not seen and not heard.
Aliaa has also received the support a number of Israeli women. (Incidentally, most of these women have covered themselves.)
Appropriately, there is a call for “Nude Photo Revolutionaries” at Namazie’s blog.
I give my unconditional support to these courageous women.
[via Ophelia Benson]