Challenges of LGBT-Activism in Religious Societies

fb-event-cover-photo-lgbtThe discussion “Challenges of LGBT-Activism in Religious Societies” is part of The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017. This event is organised is cooperation with The Hague Peace Projects and Maruf.
Where: Nutshuis, Riviervismarkt 5, Den Haag
When: Satyrday 26 February
What time: 7PM – 9PM
You are very welcome to join the discussion! Entrance is free but registration is required.
The reason to organize this panel discussion was the recent killings of LGT activist in Bangladesh by Al-Qaeda as well as the arrest of members of the organization ‘Boys of Bangladesh’ for organizing a Rainbow Rally. These event however, are not isolated incidents. In many religious societies LGTBI people are facing intolerance and a shrinking civic space.

In many Muslim countries, The LGBT-rights movement is being painted as an anti-Islamic western conspiracy to destroy Islamic moral values by the Islamic extremists; as if homo-sexuality never existed in the Muslim world. Also in traditional christian societies, homosexuals and transgenders are facing enormous challenges and existential crisis.

In this event we want to discuss the current challenges of rising intolerance all over the world and its effect on the LGBTI movements. We want to counter the essentialization of Islam and Muslim culture as homophobic so that the Muslim LGBTI do not become more estranged from their own culture. What spaces and loopholes do exist to use existing social tolerance in the world to promote LGBT rights?

Speakers are from Bangladesh and Uganda. Names will be announced soon!

Freedom Book Fair – Freedom of speech versus Hate Speech

fb-event-cover-photo-free-speech-vs-hate-speechThe opening event of our The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017 is a debate on “Freedom of speech versus Hate Speech”, two values that challenges each other. Laterly, more and more often, the contradiction seemed to cause problems. Time to take a closer look at these two important anchor stones in the Dutch society. What do they mean to us, and to people in other countries?

Freedom of speech has been misused in order to marginalize minorities. At the same time, for example in Bangladesh, voices of critical bloggers and writers are cilenced because of the accusation of hate speech. How can we keep societies healthy and democratic?her

Where: Nutshuis, Riviervismarkt 5, Den Haag
When: Saturday 24 February
What time: 7 Pm – 9 PM

Entrance is free, but registration is required.

This event will take place at the NUtshuis, Riviervismarkt 5, Den Haag, from 7pm to 9pm.

Check the website for more information

Freedom Book Fair – Freedom of Expression in Turkey 25 February


The discussion “Freedom of Expression in Turkey; Challenges for Dialogue and Peace” is part of The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017.

In the light of the recent events in Turkey there will be discussion over journalistic freedom (for example censorship, arrests and foreclosures, public humiliation and intimidation etc.) and democratic liberties (for example parliamentary impunity, martial law and military etc). The recent arrest of Hüda Kaya, one of our speakers, illustrates the necessity of addressing these topics.

The introduction will be made by Bedel Baryak and Tayfun Balcik who are the project coordinators of the Kurdish – Turkish program ran by The Hague Peace Projects.

The discussion panel consists of:

– Uğur Üngör, a historian who teaches at the Department of History at Utrecht University. He gained his Ph.D in 2009 (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam (dissertation: Young Turk Social Engineering: Mass Violence and the Nation State in Eastern Turkey, 1913-1950). As a scholar he mainly focuses on mass violence and nationalism. During this event he will discuss the developments in Turkey with regards to freedom of expression from a historical perspective.

– Hüda Kaya, a writer, civil rights activist and a member of the parliament for the pro-minority political party HDP. She grew up in Istanbul, but later moved to Malatya, A predominantly Kurdish province. Once there, her opinion of the Kurds changed drastically, she decided to stay and opened up a shop. In her time in Malatya she becomes more active as Muslim-feminist. Following the ‘post-modern coup’ on 28th of February 1997, which precipitated the resignation of Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan of the Welfare Party, she gets arrested for demonstrating against the ban on the headscarve and her writings.
In 1999 she gets arrested for a second time in the aftermath of protest, violently beaten down by anti-terror forces. Her three daughters (16,17 and 18) who have also partaken in the non-violent protests, are abducted from school by the anti-terror forces. Hüda Kaya stayed in jail for three years. When the central-Islamic AKP came into power she had high hopes that many of the inhuman policies would be changed. But in time she was disillusioned by the increasing repressive rhetoric and actions of the government.

– Muhammed Cihad Ebrari is a researcher at SAMER (Political and Social Research Centre) and human rights activist affiliated with the
‘anti-capitalist Muslims’, also known as the ‘Muslim left’. In a recent protest against arrests of politicians he was beaten by the police and was injured severely.

– Marloes de Koning, a journalist for the Dutch paper NRC. She worked for three years in Turkey as correspondent and returned in 2016 to The Netherlands.

– Ragip Zarakolu – A Turkish writer and publisher, Nobel Prize nominee (2012) and iconic advocate for the freedom to publish and write in Turkey and beyond. In spite of 40 years of censorship, harassment, death threats and imprisonments by the Turkish authorities and far right groups, Zarakolu has never given up his fight for freedom of thought and the necessity of minorities right to be heard.

You are very welcome to join the discussion! Entrance is free, but registration is required.

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The Hague Freedom Book Fair

From February 24 to February 27, We are going to host ‘The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017’ at the Nutshuis, The Hague; with participation from publishers from different parts of the world. There will also be panel discussions on freedom of expression in Bangladesh, freedom of expression in regarding LGBT movements in the muslim world, and also on overall situation of freedom of expression around the world.

The Hague Peace Projects, Mukto-Mona and other international organizations hosted a book fair in February 2016 at Humanity House in The Hague titled ‘Bangladesh Alternative Book Fair’ in memory of Avijit Roy and other Bangladeshi writers and free thinkers who got killed in 2015 and in solidarity with the persecuted and exiled Bangladeshi writers who were unable to be present in the Ekushey Book Fair in Bangladesh. “The Hague Freedom Book Fair” is a continuation of that event.

Date Events Time
24/02/2017 Discussion: Freedom of speech versus Hate Speech; Where the world is heading to. 7-9 pm
Somalian Poetry Night. 9-11 pm
25/02/2017 Discussion: Freedom of Exrpession in Turkey; Challenges for dialogue and peace.  

2-5 pm

Discussion: LGBT Freedom in the Muslim Community; obstacles and possibilities.Documentary:  LGBT freedom in Indonesia. 7-9 Pm
26/02/1017 Discussion: Voice of dissents; persecuted  non-religiosity and threatened religious diversity in Bangladesh.

Documentary: Razors Age

Candle Lighting: In memory of Avijit Roy and other slain Bangladeshi writers/publishers/editors.

3-5.30 Pm
27/02/2017 Discussion on Freedom of expression, Dialogue and conflict resolution in Bangladesh  

6.30-8.30 pm