The ultimate cowardice: British student union refuses to condemn ISIS

October 15, 2014 • 12:58 pm

When even Muslim organizations are condemning ISIS left and right, one organization refuses to do so. That’s right—it’s the National Union of Students, the British students’ organization.  And below is the motion up for approval at their convention, according to The Tab, an Oxford student news site:

Proposed: Daniel Cooper
Seconded: Shreya Paudel, Clifford Fleming

NUS National Executive Committee notes:

1. The ongoing humanitarian crisis and sectarian polarisation in Iraq – which has resulted in thousands of Yazidi Kurds being massacred.

NUS NEC believes

1. That the people of Iraq have suffered for years under the sectarian and brutally repressive dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the US/UK invasion and occupation, the current sectarian regime linked to both the US and Iran, and now the barbaric repression of the “Islamic State” organisation.

2. That rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as weapons against women in IS-occupied areas, while minorities are being ethnically cleansed.

NUS NEC resolves

1. To work with the International Students’ Campaign to support Iraqi, Syrian and other international students in the UK affected by this situation.

2. To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers’ and women’s organisations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.

3. To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.

4. To condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.

5. Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding the IS or supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.

6. To make contact with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and in the UK, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees.

7. To issue a statement on the above basis.

Pretty straightforward and leftie: it even condemns the US and UK intervention in Iraq.  What’s not to like if you’re on the left?  Well, there’s that annoying little matter of Islamophobia. Apparently to some minds twisted by this brand of “liberalism,” condemning ISIS can’t be done because it constitutes a blanket condemnation of all Muslims.

So the NUS didn’t bring it to a vote.  As the Tab reports:

Hand-wringing delegates at the NUS blocked a vote to show solidarity with Iraqi Kurds and condemn Islamic State militants because they say it’s “Islamophobic”.

The bill called for the Union – which claims to represent UK students – to support unity between Muslims, condemn the bloody terror of ISIS (also known as the Islamic State), and support a boycott on people who fund the militants.

But the motion offended Black Students Officer Malia Bouattia, who said: “We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.

“This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”

Bouttia also said that the resolution contributed to “the demonization of Muslim peoples.”

It’s truly bizarre that while many Muslims themselves are able to make the distinction between “ISIS” and “Islam,” and to disassociate themselves from the barbarity of the former, the British students are unable to do so.  It is like saying one cannot condemn neo-Nazis because that is a blanket condemnation of Germans.

Such students are reprehensible: their thinking is muddled and their cowardice shameful.

 

101 thoughts on “The ultimate cowardice: British student union refuses to condemn ISIS

    1. Couldn’t agree more… maybe they’ll finally get it when they’re wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling beside a jihadist with a knife.

  1. the motion offended Black Students Officer Malia Bouattia, who said: “We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.

    Two things spring to mind.

    1) Democracy /= unanimous agreement. Just because a measure offends one or more people is no reason not to vote on it. Bring it to a vote, and if enough people agree with Ms. Bouattia, it won’t pass. That’s what it’s all about, right? As an NUS delegate, she has a right to voice her opinion and vote. But she doesn’t have a ‘right’ to win.

    2) She’s putting the cart before the horse. The war happened before the condemnation. The condemnation came for acts ISIS has committed during the conflict, in captured areas. Does she really think that the Kurds and ISIS weren’t fighting each other until after the western nations started issuing press releases?

    1. “just because a bunch of Koran-waving fanatics are invading several sovereign countries at once, beheading and executing all who oppose them, and selling their women and children into slavery, why, that’s no reason to make WAR on them!” Looks like the Islamic campaign of propaganda, division and confusion is working well in the U.K.!

  2. Wow. There’s nothing objectionable in the above statement. It carefully avoids any “justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia”. Strangely enough, the Black Students Officer opposing it doesn’t seem to actually disagree with any of its content and is proposing a similar resolution. Bizarre. The opposition is probably just a way for one Black Students Officer to gain social influence; nothing more.

    1. ISIS is a non-profit, non-partisan institution… Its primary focus is on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology to additional nations and to terrorists…

      Kind of diametrically opposite.

      /@

    1. I don’t see it this way at all. Years ago, when I was arguing online with pro-Bush morons, they thought it brilliant to challenge me with, “Why are you ashamed to be an American?” whenever I criticized Bush’s war policies. My response: “I’m not ashamed to be an American, I’m ashamed that you are an American.”

    1. It just illustrates the western intellectual failure and moral confusion and how we don’t have a fraction of the will that ISIS possesses to take on ISIS, intellectually and militarily.

  3. Jerry hits the nail on the head. Just replace ISIS with NAZI and you can be sure that Hitler would have relished that kind of amoral neutrality. There was never a confusion between Nazi and German during WWII. Although the Japanese didn’t get off as easy with the U.S. internment camps.

    1. There was never a confusion between Nazi and German during WWII.

      Witness the fact that one of the most oft-heard phrases from Germans by invading allies toward the end of the war was “I am no Nazi!” (Ich bin kein Nazi).

    2. /sarcasm /
      It’s ok to blanket condemn European /western nationalities. But barbaric third world groups can never be criticized because it’s the west ‘s fault they are acting that way.

    3. “There was never a confusion between Nazi and German during WWII”.

      The Fawltey Towers episode where the Germans come to stay suggests that might not be universally true.

  4. I always thought that being a student was about learning something.
    So the students union is about banding together so they can withstand the danger of doing that.

    1. Being a student is also about doing stupid things. Too bad when that carries over into politics, rather than just nicking traffic cones (do undergraduates do that in America?).

    1. I wonder how crazy, or should I say how radical are the rest of the students in the school?
      Is it just the student council, or just a few on the student council?

      I wonder if this is a systemic problem in the school population, or has the student council been taken over by the radicals, because that’s what happens in these kinds of situations, the crazy tend to get elected to positions of power because they are the most motivated.

      Or perhaps they are suffering from incestuous amplification, they are only listening to each other and reinforcing their particular brand of crazy.

      1. Michael,it was my experience at university that the NUS was always looking for “causes” to support or protest against. They really are a tiny minority of the student body, it’s just that they like to make a lot of noise and be in the limelight. Most students just get on with their student lives and enjoy the varsity experience of just being a student and having the freedom to enjoy themselves without the politics of the NUS.

        1. The NUS self-selects for people with an axe to grind. Moderates are turned off from their first encounter with it, only serious crazies would inflict that level of discourse on themselves.

      2. Is it just the student council, or just a few on the student council?

        It’s the National Executive committee of the National Union of Students.

        The bill called for the Union – which claims to represent UK students

        Unless the system has changed vastly since I was a student, essentially every student was expected to be a member of the individual institution’s union, and those unions had a super-union, the NUS, which represented them to the government on nationally important issues. For example, they were some of the most vocal people protesting against the replacement of student grants by student loans.
        The NUS has also been a well-established path for people to get the attention they need for entering a career in politics.
        the structure of the NUS and student union system means that essentially every full-time student in the country has a say in selecting their delegates and a voice in the union. In practice, it’s a small minority, with turnouts being less than 40% most elections.
        While there’s a lot of this sort of insane posturing, the NUS does actually do quite a lot of good stuff. Individual university unions typically manage student societies (sporting, entertainment, and of course, the bar), and that’s a training in itself. One of my friends (our commonalities included caving club, mountaineering club, Gaelic society (drinking), Go club, and we worked for 5 years at the same company after graduation) was a president of the university union for a year, which was a paid post, on a year’s sabbatical from studies. He was running an organisation with a budget of around a million quid, at the age of 23 ; quite a CV fillip in itself.
        If I’d been on the committee looking at this thing, all posturing aside, I’d have been very concerned about the implicit support for Kurdistan as an entity – if there were any significant number of Turkish students in the body that I represented (you don’t get onto the NEC without being elected), that expressed interference in Turkey’s internal politics would be an issue. Ditto for Iranian students. So I’d probably reject the proposition on those grounds, regardless of the insane fellow-travellers going in the same direction.

    2. ‘One student added: “The motion would force people to remember things they may not want to remember.”’

      Erm, yeah… that’s kinda the point.

  5. I graduated from university in the UK in 1968. The NUS was a ridiculous bunch of left-wing loonies even back then. Bunch of silly children freshly loose from mummy’s apron strings.
    Many, if not most of them go on to join the nasty corporate world of capitalism once they leave the ivory tower and have to survive in the real world.
    My mates and I never had time for such political shenanigans. When we weren’t studying it was all about girls, booze and rugby.

  6. “We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.

    Oh, for Pete’s sake, bullet point 4 in the statement says that it is “expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.” And even if it didn’t, just because a condemnation is used as an excuse for war, doesn’t mean every condemnation always leads to making up excuses for war. This is preschool logic, people! Preschool!

    As for that “offended” about “Islamophobia” bullcrap; some muslims do bad things. Some forms of Islam are violent and dangerous. If that condemns Islam as a whole, then 1. really learn preschool logic, and 2. tough luck. Since when did the rest of us have to bow down to your offence-taking?

    I would have mustered up more (i.e. any) sympathy for her worries about demonization. But apart from the fact that Islam doesn’t really warrant it anyway, I realized she’s basically subverting the democratic powers of a group of students – students on a good cause, mind – for the sake of badly thought out and illogical religious PR and the classic “it offends me” bit of emotional trickery. It’s borderline spectacular in its stupidity.

    1. Can’t help feeling that ISIS wouldn’t be doing this if the Bush and Blair hadn’t invaded Iraq, or could that opinion of a minority group of extremists be seen as Christianophobic?

      1. Maybe ISIS wouldn’t be in power true. But Islamic fundamentalism as a movement started decades ago as a counter reaction to getting in contact with secularism and other western values(known as Islamic modernization, Atatürk was a known modernist and the most famous).

      2. Can’t help feeling that ISIS wouldn’t be doing this if the Bush and Blair hadn’t invaded Iraq

        I doubt that illegal invasion helped any, certainly, and it was probably a mobilizing force that accelerated the process, but I also doubt it was the deciding factor. It seems to me a good chunk of ISIS’ nastiness is directed at other Muslims. The invasion was just as much an excuse as a cause for conquest.

        or could that opinion of a minority group of extremists be seen as Christianophobic?

        Ah, you’re new at this, I see. You don’t quite get the idea of post-colonialist guilt. The idea is that, since white Christian males were the perpetrators of lots of racist crimes on ethnic minorities, it’s not racist when it’s done back to them, see? 🙂

        In all seriousness, though, it’s not so much the worry about confusing the denigration of ISIS with Islamophobia that bothers me (though I do take issue with it) nearly as much as using that excuse to shut down a student democratic process that doesn’t even endorse it. That’s either an extremely muddled or an extremely cynical ploy.

        1. I think any military action against any Islamic country or country with significant Islamic population is going to be used as a radicalizing issue, no matter the reason for the military action, be it a reasonable reaction to abuses or a made up excuse to satisfy a man child President’s desire to satisfy his daddy issues.

          The radicals will behave just like Fox News or Republicans, if they can’t find legitimate reasons to complain they will invent some and twist the facts (or invent them) to suit.

          Seeing as there is another Michael, who is not surprisingly commenting as Michael, I’ll now comment as Michael Michaels in order to avoid confusion.

  7. this is what happens when inexperience over thinks something. Have you liberally minded, for all the best intention, types ever thought that they might not give two hoots what you thought or even care to thank you for your blessing should you wish to offer it. These are the Islamic version of anarchists. The difference is, western worlds had infrastructure to deal with anarchists. Murderous, violent anarchy in war torn Iraq however…
    I have first hand experience in this region during war time before you ask my credentials. I am ex British Forces.

    1. I assure you that as a liberal, I am finding it hard to call the members of that Student’s Council liberals at all. Liberal values such as freedom of speech could not be more offended right now by Islam, and it is every liberals’ duty to defend these values, but unfortunately it is apparently a hard task for many.

      1. I’ve been around a long time (came of age the 60s). Left liberals (as a group) were never really about free speech except for positions they agreed with. Back in the late 60s, 70s and 80s many of the same people who called for ‘free speech’ blindly supported the paradise worlds of Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba and Red China. Some of the very same people who demanded free speech at Stanford went on to themselves through protest or other means block the speech of others they considered colonialists, imperialists, or ‘racists’.

        I tired of the hypocrisy and left the fold.

  8. I’m nostalgic for the old kind of cowardice, when people were afraid of being physically harmed, not the new kind of cowardice where people are afraid of being thought of as a bit rude.

  9. Condemnation of ISIS does not justify a war on Islam. Malia Bouattia is incorrect to believe that condemnation of ISIS is Islamaphobic.

    People who already have pre-existing prejudices against Islam may think condemnation of ISIS implies justified hatred of Muslims. Not to me, and not to most rational persons.

  10. While I don’t think the fear of bigoted rhetoric is a justification for not condemning ISIS, it’s either grotesquely dishonest or ignorant to pretend Bouttia and the student union are the ones unable to distinguish ISIS from Islam. It’s precisely that failure to distinguish that has them concerned, and with cause. Sam Harris, in fact, has said people who see an “important distinction” ought to see a neurologist. It is exactly his brand of deranged and ignorant rhetoric (see below) that concerns the student union.

    “But a belief in martyrdom, a hatred of infidels, and a commitment to violent jihad are not fringe phenomena in the Muslim world. These preoccupations are supported by the Koran and numerous hadith. That is why the popular Saudi cleric Mohammad Al-Areefi sounds like the ISIS army chaplain. The man has 9.5 million followers on Twitter (twice as many as Pope Francis has). If you can find an important distinction between the faith he preaches and that which motivates the savagery of ISIS, you should probably consult a neurologist.

    Understanding and criticizing the doctrine of Islam—and finding some way to inspire Muslims to reform it—is one of the most important challenges the civilized world now faces. But the task isn’t as simple as discrediting the false doctrines of Muslim “extremists,” because most of their views are not false by the light of scripture. A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Koran. The reality of martyrdom and the sanctity of armed jihad are about as controversial under Islam as the resurrection of Jesus is under Christianity. It is not an accident that millions of Muslims recite the shahadah or make pilgrimage to Mecca. Neither is it an accident that horrific footage of infidels and apostates being decapitated has become a popular form of pornography throughout the Muslim world. Each of these practices, including this ghastly method of murder, find explicit support in scripture.”

      1. (1) “A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Koran.”

        (2) “The reality of martyrdom and the sanctity of armed jihad are about as controversial under Islam as the resurrection of Jesus is under Christianity.”

        (3) “horrific footage of infidels and apostates being decapitated has become a popular form of pornography throughout the Muslim world.”

        (4) “a belief in martyrdom, a hatred of infidels, and a commitment to violent jihad are not fringe phenomena in the Muslim world.”

        (5) “Each of these practices, including this ghastly method of murder, find explicit support in scripture.”

        More broadly, I take issue with his ignorant misunderstandings of the psychology of religion; the role of social memory in culture and community; the way people read texts, sacred or otherwise; the role of religion in violence throughout history; the nature of moderate religious practice; as well as his manipulative and childish exaltation of fundamentalist sectarian perspectives on piety and true religion because it serves his rhetorical goals.

          1. Well, how my understanding SEEMS to you is a product of your own perspective, not my preparation or background. My formal education is in religion and language, though, and it’s what I do for a living. If you’d like to actually defend Harris’ assertions, be my guest. Just asserting I’m ignorant doesn’t give me anything to which I can respond.

            1. “Just asserting I’m ignorant doesn’t give me anything to which I can respond.”

              These kinds of statements from you make me wonder if you are merely trolling. If not, you really should look in a mirror. And I am not just writing that for rhetorical purposes. Go reread your first comment.

        1. I see anger, frustration, disdain, possibly even hate, and a few other negative emotions. I see many of the same claims that Reza Aslan endlessly repeats. Like the Aslan’s of the world I don’t see you addressing the data though, merely claiming ignorant misunderstanding.

          The insults aren’t convincing, the bald claims are not convincing.

          1. So can you provide support for Harris’ assertions, or are you just practicing for an exam on how to psychoanalyze people over the internet? I’m happy to engage this directly and fully, but not when the responses are going to be these various shades of “Nu-uh!”

            1. You do not appear to be interested in engaging fully. Try reading what you wrote from an unbiased perspective (difficult, perhaps impossible), and ask yourself if it sounds like the person who wrote it wants to engage directly and fully.

              Not that I have a problems with a nice rant. Knock yourself out. But your claim is not very well supported by what you have written so far.

              As for providing support for Harris’s assertions, I am sure you well know that Harris has provided quite a bit of support for his assertions himself. If you wish to engage, engage with what Harris himself has provided to support his assertions. It isn’t like your the first person to make the accusations you have made here.

              Just for a start you might want to engage with the polls that Harris, and others, cite, since none of his prominent critics seem to have done so far. You may also want to explain just what you find so objectionable to the claim that beliefs can affect people’s behavior. You might also want to try and justify implying meanings to Harris’s statements that he has previously responded to and denied.

          1. Mainly because they’re rhetorical exaggerations and fabrications based on the adoption of naive and fundamentalistic understandings of how sacred texts are supposed to be read. By all means, though, make a case for his claims and I’ll be happy to address it fully and directly. I’m not going to just take over the onus of proof from Harris and anyone who defends his claims because you want me to, though.

            1. I’m curious:
              1. How do you know how sacred texts are “meant” to be read?
              2. And how do you know that your preferred method is the correct one?

            2. “I’m not going to just take over the onus of proof…”

              Of course not. Why would you deign to explain specifically why Harris’ assertions are false. Much easier to just call them fabrications and walk away.

      2. (1) “A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Koran.”

        Certainly debatable and perhaps overstated. But hatred of infidels certainly is “a” central message, especially if you throw in the Hadith and the Sira.

        (2) “The reality of martyrdom and the sanctity of armed jihad are about as controversial under Islam as the resurrection of Jesus is under Christianity.”

        Maybe a slight exaggeration. But tell that to the thousands of Muslim clerics delivering sermons glorifying the same.

        (3) “horrific footage of infidels and apostates being decapitated has become a popular form of pornography throughout the Muslim world.”

        Yes, it has.

        (4) “a belief in martyrdom, a hatred of infidels, and a commitment to violent jihad are not fringe phenomena in the Muslim world.”

        One can argue about what constitutes “fringe” but the general point is valid.

        (5) “Each of these practices, including this ghastly method of murder, find explicit support in scripture.”

        Yes, they do. And the scriptural sources are what people like Reza Aslan don’t want to talk about. So they change the subject by crying Islamophobia. Quote directly from the Hadith regarding sex with children, “thighing”, slavery, sexual slavery, decapitation or a host of other unpleasant topics and you will be labeled a bigot and an Islamophobe.

  11. Once more, more evidence of how conflated this issue gets. It is difficult not use heuristics when you do not take the time to evaluate an issue clearly. Especially when biases meld into one supporting each other making a coherent argument or story (for or against) more simply, it just sounds good, ignoring it’s validity.
    So it is understandable but not exceptable, they need to do better.

  12. Oh ffs. The NUS during my time at university (1990 – 1994) was essentially a running joke both at the local and national level. I’m a bit of a lefty, anarchist variety, and the union always seemed to embody annoying political correctness, plus were completely reactionary at the same time.

    At least one of the local NUS people went on to advise either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown, can’t remember which. It worked for them, obviously.

  13. The NUS have always been a home for the usual right-on activists. This was so daft, though, that they will revisit it:

    The following is an NUS statement on our most recent NEC meeting and the ISIS motion.
    An NUS spokesperson said:
    “At our most recent NEC meeting, a motion on this issue was presented and voted on by all members. Some committee members felt that the wording of the motion being presented would unfairly demonise all Muslims rather than solely the group of people it set out to rightfully condemn.
    “NUS does not support ISIS and a new motion will be taken to the next NUS National Executive Committee meeting, which will specifically condemn the politics and methods of ISIS and offer solidarity for the Kurdish people.”

    http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/news/article/nus/NUS-statement-on-NEC-motion/

    A hasty back-pedal is in the offing. But it’s not clear how any new resolution condemning the politics and methods of ISIS could appease Malia Bouattia.

    1. Our Student Union (Leeds University) in about 1975 passed the following motion: “This house supports the methods of the IRA”
      It was passed by a small number of regulars who kept the union moving. However the bulk of the union membership (which was largely unaware of what the union council was up to) was offended by this and a meeting of 4000 students(of perhaps a total of 14000) convened to present and vote on a motion of no confidence in the union council. There was a bomb scare during the meeting and the vote occurred in the nearby cemetery on campus. Several council members were sacked, and the 4000 students then returned to ignoring what the student union council was doing, as evidenced by the subsequent low turnout at union meetings

      1. Let’s face it. Student Unions exist to let angry kids vent their frustrations. They don’t really matter, because once the hormones equalise, most people gain a modicum of realistic common sense.

        1. Maturity is just a slightly more clever way of being a dumbass. Don’t let it fool you into thinking it’ll bring any more sense into their heads. Sense has to be earned.

        2. To be honest the SU provides club support and facilities on and off campus, plus a variety of discounts on useful stuff. That’s what most people used it for.

          The political BS side was only really of interest to the “Young Society” types, half of who were aspiring politicians. Our university had 5 full-time board members and a few more part-time who were still students, elected in the previous year. They were almost all aspiring pols, although the Entertainments Secretary was usually from Rugby/Netball/Canoe+Kayak clubs as they were the ones who had the most members.

          The national body was, and obviously still is, even more politicised. I had absolutely no time for it… although as the union ran the bars I did spend rather a lot of time there…

  14. In fact, the increasing presence of hardline militant Islamists and Jihadists, coupled with the cowardly reluctance of the West to acknowledge their motivation, reminds me of a quote from a book that, despite being ‘just a novel,’ seems profound:

    “When people who believe they have God on their side tell you that they intend to kill you… listen.”

    Like Jerry, I don’t know the answer to the problem. But I do know that it isn’t merely to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist.

  15. I wonder if they believe that not criticizing ISIS would spare them of the murderous intent of ISIS. It certainly didn’t work for any soldiers who surrendered to ISIS or any of the civilian victims. Such wishful thinking.

  16. I refuse to accept there’s such a thing as “Muslim people”.
    We need to completely reject the idea that you define your identity in terms of a belief system. It’s just not acceptable in the 21st century. It feeds into this ridiculous confusion where liberals aren’t really sure what a ‘race’ actually is. Essentially, by this logic, anything can become part of your race.

  17. Most students involved in campus student politics tend to be lunatics. Everyone else is busy studying and looking to have a good time. As for Malia Bouattia, she should get a one way ticket to Iraq.

  18. Really scary movie of the year! It’s called “The Silence of the Islams”

    Coming to a local theater near you.

  19. It’s the same contradiction we saw when many liberals refused to sign or criticized the Euston Manifesto. When it came time to apply liberal values to happenings overseas, they were avoided or outright rejected.

    Only now this same rejection is happening in a larger scenario. The Euston Manifesto affected only the few writers that signed it. The British Student Union is much bigger.

  20. The whole ridiculous exercise reminds me of the whole ridiculous (and hilarious)scene from “Life of Brian”…

  21. Maybe the Black Students officer would also like to forgo condemnation of slavery since it might give a basis for anti-white sentiments?!

    1. Why would it? Why do you think slavery deserves condemnation? Most people throughout history didn’t. Where does the idea it does come from? How did it become near ubiquitous?

      Perhaps you meant the transatlantic slave trade.

    1. So the part where Oxford appears in the list of Universities is irrelevant? The editors do seem to think that they are serving more than just Cambridge, though that’s indeed where it all began.

  22. Of one thing I’m absolutely certain, Malia Bouattia is the best recruiter conservative political parties ever had. These students are so concerned with the welfare and dignity of Iraqi Kurds that they’re unwilling to condemn an organization committing atrocities against them. That’s just dumb.

    1. Yeah, but the Kurds are collaborating with the imperialists just like Malala. Guilt by association. Malia can probably write her Master’s Thesis in post-colonial studies on the topic.

  23. It seems to me people like the BSO who had this vote shut down think they’re the only ones capable of nuanced thought. I put Aslan in this category too. Most people actually are able to work out that condemning DAESH (ISIL) doesn’t mean you think all Muslims are bad.

    Despite the wall to wall coverage in the US over the last two weeks about Ebola, the Pew Research Center’s latest poll shows only 7% of Americans are concerned about the threat of disease. They’ve made a rational judgment on the subject despite the rhetoric they’re subjected to from the media. My point is, people don’t need to be super smart to make good decisions, which is sometimes hard for smart people to recognize.

  24. I wish that students involved in the National Union of Students would tell the world that it can help to do a thorough review of books that have been previously written on the subject.
    The excellent book,” Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (2005).” by Hector Avalos is like a mini university course, it shows how to look at the various sides of the debate.
    Voices of reason/atheism in UK:
    BBC Radio 3 “Free Thinking” festival. On the show of the 15th October 2014 David Baddiel, who describes himself as a Jewish atheist, mentioned a line from his play, “Infidel” where the character says, “I am an atheist like most Jews” At 9:30 Baddiel says that he has a stone cold disbelief in God.
    The show also had Shlomo Sand who is a secular Jewish historian who debunks the myth of constructed Jewish identity. He mentioned Bertrand Russell’s book “Why I am not a Christian” and took that as inspiration for his essay,”Why I am not a Jew”
    The BBC Radio 4 John Finnemore show on 16th October had a funny Sisyphus sketch at 17:48 to 20:45, with Zeus talking to Hades about how Sisyphus is getting on with rolling the boulder up the hill.

    1. Interesting that one can say “I am an atheist Jew” but one can’t really say “I am an atheist Christian” or “I am an atheist Muslim”. Jew still gives the idea of cultural or ethnic identity. When I refused Christianity at thirteen I became an Anglo Irish agnostic, though I would have just said agnostic. Maybe the definition should be atheist Caucasian

  25. Now I’ve just read on The Tab that a Muslim at Goldsmiths College in London has just led the students union on a vote to not commemorate the Holocaust as commemorating it would be “Eurocentric”. She should count herself lucky that I’m not a student there.

  26. In keeping with the theme here, I ran across this atrocious video today. When someone makes FOX News (especially Hannity) look like the voice of reason, something has gone horribly wrong. It’s a good demonstration of the point Sam Harris makes that our religious right are those best equipped to deal with the crazy beliefs of Islam.

  27. Look at the full statement. She is saying the group does condemn ISIS’ politics and methods but that widespread condemnation is being used as justification for military intervention that may prove to be even more destructive to non-combatants. So, the union will have to reconsider their language in order to condemn ISIS while making it clear it doesn’t support military intervention. The actual statement is available through the link below.

    https://www.facebook.com/malia.bouattia/posts/10154739200655331?fref=nf

  28. Update.

    This is on the NUs website today:

    The following is an NUS statement on our most recent NEC meeting and the ISIS motion.
    An NUS spokesperson said:

    “At our most recent NEC meeting, a motion on this issue was presented and voted on by all members. Some committee members felt that the wording of the motion being presented would unfairly demonise all Muslims rather than solely the group of people it set out to rightfully condemn.
    “Of course NUS does not support ISIS and a new motion will be taken to the next NUS National Executive Committee meeting, which will specifically condemn the politics and methods of ISIS and offer solidarity for the Kurdish people.”

    And they tweeted from @nusuk yesterday:
    “If you’re going to report the story, please use the facts: http://bit.ly/11DzH7T. (links to the statement above) NUS ISIS motion is not defeated, its delayed. #getitright”

  29. We are more likely to be killed by Islamic terrorism than a great White Shark.
    So is a fear of sharks irrational?

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