Now Ireland hops on the “offended student” bandwagon

March 25, 2015 • 11:15 am

Maryam Namazie, a prolific secular activist specializing in calling out the evils of Islam (she’s the spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims), has now become the most recent victim of the Offended Students Movement—a mindset that has apparently spread to Ireland. According to The Journal ie., which relied on posts from Namazie’s own website (see also here), she was supposed to speak on Monday at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on “Apostasy and the Rise of Islamicism.” The appeasers and cowards among students and administrators, as well as the Potentially Offended, suddenly realized what they had got themselves into: a critic of Islam was going to speak! Unopposed!  They then laid two new restrictions on Namazie’s talk (reported by The Journal i.e):

  • All attendants of the event must be 1) Trinity students and 2) members of the society hosting the talk.
  • For “balance”, they require that a moderator host the event.

In a blog post on Friday, [Namazie” said she had been informed that “college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided’ and would be ‘antagonising’ to ‘Muslim students’”.

These conditions were not specified in advance, nor were they imposed on another extremist Muslim speaker who, talking at an earlier time, advocated the death penalty for apostasy.

In light of the information above, the new conditions imposed on her presence, and the clear signal that her talk would offend Muslim students, Namazie refused to give her talk. But she still is adamant about wanting to speak at TCD, and is looking for some organization to host her. Good luck to her. She said this on her website (see also here; my emphasis):

“… It is crucial that I be able to speak against Islamist fascism and honour our dissenters deemed apostates, blasphemers, heretics… whether ex-Muslims, Muslims or non-Muslims.

I particularly insist on being able to do so in light of the fact that only last month – 25 February – Kamal El Mekki who advocates the death penalty for apostasy was given space to speak at an event hosted by the “Muslim” Student Association. No conditions were placed on his talk and security did not threaten to cancel the event nor inform the Association that the speakers’ position on death for apostates would “antagonise” ex-Muslim and Muslim students who do not support apostasy laws…”

“What is packaged as “offence” is really Islamism’s imposition of blasphemy laws and theocracy under the pretext of respect for “Muslim sensibilities”. Only in Europe does this far-Right fascist movement use “offence” or Islamophobia to silence and censor. In countries where they have state power, there is no need for such niceties. In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, the “offenders” are called what they are – apostates, blasphemers, enemies against god, the corrupt of the earth, heretics – and legally murdered in broad daylight in the same way Charlie Hebdo’s journalists were “executed”.

It’s time to stop caving in to those who wish to avoid criticism of their faith by pretending to be offended, or using actual offense as a club to bash other people’s speech. Namazie has sensible things to say about Islam, and is being prevented from saying them by religious fanatics. Shame on Trinity College, its administration, and its students.

h/t: Grania

43 thoughts on “Now Ireland hops on the “offended student” bandwagon

  1. Maryam Namazie is not only a secular activist, she’s a feminist activist. I’ve heard her speak: Trinity College of Dublin is missing out and for reasons which aren’t just stupid, but dangerous.

    They’re supporting Namazie’s arguments. Nice one.

  2. Criticizing islam: bad. Supporting death to those who criticize islam: good.

    ok, glad we got that cleared up. Welcome back to the 15th century, hope the 21st century, wasn’t too scary for you Ireland, you feckin’ eejits.

  3. I adore Maryam Namazie’s blog. She is one of the most articulate and informed critics of Islam’s dark elements around.

    Did anyone suppress criticisms of Hitler to avoid offending Germans in Allied countries during the Nazi era?? This is just cowardice.

    1. Did anyone suppress criticism of Hitler? the short answer is yes. the longer answer is more complicated and involves things like appeasement and outright admiration for Hitler.

      If you read British fiction from the 30s, you find considerable discussion of Hitler supporters. I’m not a big reader, but I’ve read Agatha Christie, and she produced at least half a dozen stories involving Hitler supporters.

      There is also a considerable literature regarding the failure of England and Europe (and America) to protect the Jews and offer them sanctuary. Only the famous and gifted obtained easy passage. Some others found roundabout ways.

      You can see this reflected in Harry Potter book five. The series is in some ways a retelling of WWII, and book five is about appeasement and denial. I think it is not a coincidence that Voldemort is defeated at the beginning of the series, disappears for 13 years, and reappears. Roughly the amount of time between the end of WWI and the emergence of Hitler as a leader.

      For muggles, read jews.

      1. There’s a great deal about the leftist moral confusion leading up to WW2 in Orwell’s essays. Their fervency and selective scepticism, and most of all their apologetics for Communist atrocities – it’s all very familiar.

        You can see the same vicious smearing of nominal allies, the same accusations of being secretly racist, going on right now, and it’s ratcheting up in a similar way. Orwell was very astute.

        I hope that a similar narrative of left-wing moral appeasement isn’t the theme of future history books on the early 21C.

      2. Ireland refused Jews after WWII, but allowed Nazi war criminals to settle there. There was a documentary about this a few years ago. An Irish historian wrote and narrated it, but I can’t remember his name, or who produced it. I think I saw it on the History Channel.

    2. There’s plenty of shame to go around the globe concerning Nazi collaborationists and sympathizers during War-2. But the examples given here don’t answer JLH’s question concerning the stifling of criticism of Hitler out of concern for offending the sensibilities of indigenous German populations. The short answer to that, as far as I know, is No.

      Political correctness wasn’t a thing then. In the U.S., at least, we had worse problems in the obverse direction: the segregation of our armed forces and the internment of Japanese-American citizens, to name a couple. If anything, the American polity (not just regular citizens, but political leaders and the media) went out of its way to insult “Japs” and “Krauts.”

  4. Free Speech on college grounds is getting as scarce as that American dream thing. You have to be asleep to believe it.

    1. Agreed. Northwestern University professor and well respected media/cultural critic Laura Kipnis is currently being hounded for simply publishing an essay that decries this problem. Students are demanding that the Administration compel her to produce an apology for expressing an opinion that doesn’t conform to their own.
      I guess academic freedom only applies to easily offended students with petty grievances and no one else.

  5. Would it be of much use if we got a petition together? This is despicable, especially because of their hypocrisy re. the earlier speaker who advocates killing apostates.

    What’s most disturbing is the extent to which Islamic laws on killing apostates(and that’s not just an example of ‘religious conservatism’, as a lot of Muslim apologists would say – it’s extremism, and should be described as such, even if it means describing a large subsection of Muslims as extremists) are defended by mainstream Muslims – this is the last time I’ll mention it but the week before last’s BBC Big Questions debate on ‘do British Muslims have a problem with apostates?’ made my jaw-drop.

    There’s a dire need for some honest debate about religion in Britain – here perhaps more than any other country. The BBC is very hit and miss but it at least has The Moral Maze and The Big Questions. The rest of the media resorts to the usual ‘balance’ protocol in any interviews or discussions, with two sides cancelling one another out and the ineffectual host visibly panicking if the religious side is pushed on their dodgier beliefs.

    There’s a well-intentioned but crippling liberal conviction that the truth is somewhere in the middle – if the critics have a point then the assumption is that the religious do too. The world doesn’t work like that. People who believe in killing apostates shouldn’t be given leeway by interviewers, and interviewers shouldn’t be searching for a balance that simply isn’t there. It’s possible that one side is flat-out wrong.

    Also, considering the number of apparently moderate Muslim spokespeople who, when properly questioned, turn out to support the most repulsive bits of the Qur’an and the Hadith I think it’s more important than ever that people’s religious beliefs are objectively, coldly, examined, especially if those beliefs have consequences for society. Most interviewers seem like they don’t really want to know if the people they’re talking to want adulterers stoned to death – but they have a duty to bloody well find out. Honesty about religion – this is just what new atheists have been calling for for the last decade and it’s needed more than ever.

    I am 100% behind Maryam Namazie and I respect Jerry big time for drawing attention to this and for being one of the few liberals who stand up for liberal values regardless of who the opponents are.

    1. Well said. If you want to see just how disgusting these beliefs can be about death for apostates, take a look at this video of the speaker mentioned, Kamal El Mekki, joking about it: youtube.com/watch?v=H-yIQSdJlBQ

      1. This stuff – I just can’t see how anyone who calls themselves liberal can make excuses for it. It’s infuriating. All the philosophical ideas that liberalism was created to oppose are collected in the Qur’an, and practised in Islamic theocracies, and it still doesn’t make any difference. So many liberals still can’t bring themselves to criticise bad ideas. They are mesmerised and morally discombobulated by the fact that their opponents are ethnic minorities. This is cognitive dissonance in action.

        I can understand that a certain amount of(arguably patronising) leeway can be given to different cultures, for various reasons, but when large chunks of that culture are advocating something that approaches the worst excesses of 20th century totalitarianism, only without the rationality that at least allows for negotiation, leeway is a dangerous thing.

        1. I think that much of it is driven by people’s either inability or unwillingness to recognize the difference between racism and criticizing ideas— this despite having no actual logical connection.

  6. The Iranian refugee, Maryam Namazie is the editor of the document “Evangelising Hate: Islamic Education and Research Academy”. It contains this useful way of thinking about Islamic discourse.

    ‘“Soft Islamists” like iERA use the rhetoric of inter-faith “dialogue” and “tolerance” as a cover to advance and promote speakers whose beliefs and attitudes are at odds with these values. This also charts perfectly the development of a figure like Hamza Tzortzis as an active member of the Hate Group Hizb ut Tahrir to a founder and propagandist for iERA. “Soft Islamists” often have links to “hard Islamists”. At least one iERA activist, Iftekhar Jaman, has been killed in Syria whilst fighting for the Jihadi group The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)…

    Unfortunately, groups like iERA are not analysed sufficiently within a wider context of the international Islamist movement. Their demands for gender segregation at universities or Sharia-compliant rules are merely seen to be “people’s right to religion” (and are defended as such by many “progressive” groups in Britain rather than understanding the implications of such groups on the increasing influence of Islamist norms in Britain).’

    ex-muslim.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/EvangelisingHate_Report_Web.pdf

    iERA is the organization which organized the Krauss-Tzortzis debate at UCL for which the audience was initially gender-segregated. There is also an IERA organization in Canada and Sweden. No wonder the website of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain has as its first side bar the link ‘Covering your Internet Tracks’.

    Allele akhbar. x

  7. Meanwhile Labour went apoplectic when it was suggested that extremist preachers who have a history of advocating violence be restricted from speaking at universities.

    1. I’m still disappointed that Tom Watson, someone who I want to like, tore into Dawkins in that tweet. They’re so terified of being seen to agree with UKIP or any of the other anti-Islam parties that Ann Cryer was shouting into the wilderness for years whilst her party treated her like an embarrassment.

  8. Avoiding criticism of anything by pretending to be offended is the de-facto standard. I’d add “these days” (as opposed to previously), but I can’t back that up.

    1. Seems clear enough to me. Paraphrasing, a lot of these kerfuffles over idiot political correctness are over-reaction; the real danger is administrations who are terrified of protest and would seek to avoid it (by cancellations) or suppress it (by heavy-handed tactics.

      That’s what I get from what he says, anyway.

  9. So here we are as a Western democracy, denying ourselves the opportunity to engage in one of the most important pillars of a Western democracy: free speech and open and honest dialogue. Deny this and your democracy crumbles!

    The fact that we are doing this within a university setting makes everything that much worse because universities should safeguard free speech – their existence and how they operate is a measure of how open your society is!!

    This is absolutely despicable!

  10. No matter how you slice our dice it Muslims want sharia law to be established. In turn sharia law is hostile to:

    -any change that might improve or humanize it. (Who are you to suggest improvements? Isn’t sharia God’s law?)
    -free speech,
    -human rights,
    -democracy,
    -liberal values,
    -judicial independence
    -tolerance
    – the right of not being ruled by Islam.

    1. They seem a little more open to admitting it. Their conservative spokespeople(which is to say practically all of their spokespeople) are a lot more confident these days. The political right-left divide on support for Islam has ensured they have about half the people of Britain blindly defending them by default and the other half doing the opposite(it feels like it’s just gnus, a few universally-loathed reformist Muslims and perhaps four or five sane liberals who are not in either camp).

      When you have an enormous army of well-meaning left-wing quislings fighting your corner for you it’s not surprising that you get more confident, more ambitious, and more aggressively dismissive of criticism. You can even metaphorically irradiate your critics with accusations of racism and Islamophobia, then watch as liberal after supposed liberal runs a mile rather than occupy the same room as them.

      What fun it must be to discover that the people whose values you dislike so much have provided you with your own ready-made, state-of-the-art fortress, complete with bullshit-ballistas and a battalion of character assassins, from which you can mount your offensive on secular Britain.

  11. This is something that keeps growing. Here’s a recent article on it:

    In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html?_r=0

    >So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

    Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

    The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

    A while ago in Canada, feminists blocked a speaker they didn’t want to hear and students from entering a hall to lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iARHCxAMAO0

  12. The rxtremist Muslim speaker was El Mekki, former Imam at Georgetown University (!), who carefully explains the due procedures that need to be followed before a beheading; he’s opposed to all this lawless violence in vogue these days: http://trinitynews.ie/concern-over-society-hosting-of-radical-preacher/ and link embedded therein. (From that same source, we know of students, one a reasonably frightened ex-Muslim, asking the university not to give him a platform.)

    He also argues that amputation is more human than imprisonment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oHm-xdG2es

    I will be blogging about this myself shortly

    1. “He also argues that amputation is more human than imprisonment”
      What a lame excuse for barbarism.

      1. I can imagine that some people would prefer losing a hand to long-term incarceration. (Especially with state-of-the-art prosthetics… 😆) But, in any case, it /might/ be more humane. Which maximises the well-being of the individual?

        /@

        1. I’m sure it depends on the person and how long the sentence is. But I think in the middle East they lop of your hand for theft, which, in the West would mean months or a few years perhaps. I think the purpose is as an example to others and a perpetual reminder to the individual. In Utah they recently reinstated the punishment of death by firing squad. Some on death row chose this method over lethal injection. Living and dying in the land of free choice.

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