Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born writer and activist. She is the Spokesperson for Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She hosts a weekly television programme in Persian and English called Bread and Roses.
The Islamic regime of Iran’s media outlets has called Namazie immoral and corrupt and did an ‘exposé’ on her entitled “Meet this anti-religion woman.”
Maryam was a character in DV8 Physical Theatre’s Can We Talk About This?, which deals with freedom of speech, censorship and Islam.
She was awarded the 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize from the Comité Laïcité République and was honoured by the National Secular Society for her campaigning work defending free speech at universities (2016) despite attempts at barring her by Student Unions or Islamic Society efforts to intimidate and cancel her talks. She was also awarded Atheist of the Year by Kazimierz Lyszczynski (2014); Journalist of the Year at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards (2013); selected one of the top 45 women of the year by Elle magazine Quebec (2007); one of 2006’s most intriguing people by DNA, awarded the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year Award (2005); selected ‘Iranian of the Year’ by Iranian.com readers (1997 and 1998); International Rescue Committee medal recipient (1988); and received the Julia B. Friedman Humanitarian Award (1987).
In the past few years, she has been involved in nude protest in defence of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa, initiated a Day to Stand with Bangladesh’s Bloggers and Activists; an International Day to Defend Amina and the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar 2012-2013, founded Iran Solidarity, and helped launch the Manifesto for a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa.
She has spoken and written numerous articles on women’s rights issues, free expression, Islamism, and secularism. She has co-authored Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights (One Law for All, June 2010), Enemies Not Allies: The Far-Right (One Law for All, August 2011), and The Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam (CEMB, December 2013). She also has an essay entitled ‘When the Hezbollah came to my School’ in 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists (Wiley-Blackwell, October 2009) and is featured in A Better Life: A Hundred Atheists Speak out on Joy and Meaning in a World Without God (2013) amongst others.
Previously, Namazie was the elected Executive Director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, a refugee run organisation with 60 branches in 15 countries worldwide for 8 years; founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees; 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 was Co-founder of Human Rights Without Frontiers based in the Sudan, Co-founder and President of the US-based Refugee Women’s Network and ran a refugee women’s leadership training programme in NYC.