Yanar Mohammad must be defended!
By Maryam Namazie

On January 31, 2004 Yanar Mohammad, the renowned head of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) and a leading activist of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq, was threatened to death by Jaish al-Sahaba, or Army of the Prophet's Companions, an Islamic terrorist group. The group warned her to cease her 'psychologically disturbed ideas of women's freedoms', telling her to repent or else be killed for apostasy.

For those of us living in the 21st century, Yanar's ideas and efforts and that of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq - including the unequivocal support of women's universal rights, secularism, and the separation of religion from the state and educational system - are synonymous with hope in an Iraq that is in disarray. These ideas are only deemed 'disturbed' by groups thriving on misogyny and striving to take Iraq and women back into the Middle Ages.

Clearly, though, the USA is responsible for the living hell it has created in Iraq, including destroying the very fabric of civil society and unleashing reactionary creatures large and small on the people and women of Iraq. It is the USA appointed Ruling Council that aims to rescind the personal status code and impose Sharia law. In fact, Jaish al-Sahaba threatened Yanar the day after she spoke out against the decision to impose Sharia. Clearly, their threat is more likely because they themselves are disturbed by the immense outpouring of support for Yanar Mohammad, her ideas and efforts as well as for the OWFI. They think that by threatening her, they can stop the spread of such ideas amongst the people but they are gravely mistaken. Yanar and the OWFI will not back down and neither will the freedom-loving people of Iraq and the world. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with Yanar, the OWFI and women's rights campaigners in Iraq to ensure that universal women's rights and much more are attained there.

We urge all our readers to join OWFI's international campaign to unequivocally defend Yanar and OWFI's women's rights activists in Iraq, secularism, namely the separation of religion from the state and educational system and full equality for women, and strongly denounce Islamic terrorist groups and the USA, which must be held fully responsible for her life and safety. To sign the petition, go to: www.PetitionOnline.com/Yanar/petition.html.

For more information, contact Nadia Mahmood and Houzan Mahmoud at nadia64uk@yahoo.com and houzan73@yahoo.co.uk.