The death of liberalism: Goldsmiths feminists ally with Muslims opposing feminist speaker Maryam Namazie

December 3, 2015 • 11:30 am

As I mentioned yesterday, ex-Muslim Maryam Namazie spoke at London’s Goldsmiths College on the topic “Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of ISIS,” and her talk was repeatedly disrupted by Muslim students. You can see the interruptions below, and they’re serious, severe, and extremely rude.

Namazie has worked tirelessly for human rights and against their abrogation by some Muslims, concentrating especially on Islamic oppression of women. It’s thus ironic that her talk at Goldsmith’s was opposed by the college Feminist Society, which aligned itself with ISOC, Goldsmith’s Islamic Society.

Here’s a post from the Goldsmiths College tumblr site:

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 1.58.59 PM

If anybody is creating a “climate of hatred,” it’s these free-speech opposers and professional “I’m offended-ites,” who clearly hate Namazie and want to keep her from speaking.  And it’s reprehensible that a feminist society would ally itself against Namazie, calling her a “known Islamophobe”, and also stand against her invitation by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society. Instead, they ally themselves with the Islamic Society, which stands for a religion famous for oppressing women—oppression encoded in sharia law.

This unholy alliance between feminists and Islamists is symptomatic of the cancer eating away at the Left, whose sympathy for the supposed underdog (especially those who aren’t white) all too often outweighs their support of feminist and Enlightenment values. It’s beyond me how any feminist society can support a Muslim group unless that group is outspokenly devoted to the equality of women and the dismantling of sharia law.

If you want to see how “hateful” Namazie is, here’s a long video of her speech at Goldsmith’s, which shows not only that she’s temperate but passionate, and far being strident or anti-Muslim. You can also see the bad behavior of the students—many appearing to be Muslims—who repeatedly disrupt her talk by whistling, standing up and shouting, interrupting her, and even turning off her Powerpoint presentation. How can one give a talk under such circumstances? I would have given up! It’s a testimony to Namazie that she keeps her cool through the whole thing, even as security expels some of the disruptive students:

I haven’t watched this in its entirety, but here are several instances of disruption:

8:06 (whistling)
14:00 all hell breaks loose
Then more whistling, Muslims walk out of the room
35:21 Projector turned off by student

The silence of atheists and Leftists about this kind of behavior is deafening.

181 thoughts on “The death of liberalism: Goldsmiths feminists ally with Muslims opposing feminist speaker Maryam Namazie

  1. I am appalled by the behaviour of the students. The contempt that they show for the speaker is frightening. Maryam shows great presence of mind and a much greater calm than I could have managed under such circumstances.

    1. I think I’m more appalled at the thought of university security and staff not stepping in. Any controversial speaker is going to result in hecklers; that’s not at all unusual. In fact keeping them in line while allowing them to remain is what security staff is for. What’s really unusual about this case is that the staff chose to allow the hecklers to do stuff like turn the projector off. 20+ years of going to scientific conferences, I can say that I’ve never seen behavior like that expressed or tolerated. Loudmouths are occasionally tolerated; physical interference is not.

      1. They were allowed to heckle because if thrown out they would have screamed racism and the regressive left would have tarred and feathered the uni.

        1. And so? The wonderful thing about videotape is it gives such screamers little room to lie. “You threw me out because I’m muslim” is answered by “no, we threw you out because you walked up to the speaker and turned off her projector. See, here’s the video of you doing that…”
          Let them call racism. Claiming such things in the face of blatant and obvious rude conduct just pulls fence-sitters and neutral parties on to our side, away from theirs, because they look ridiculous doing so.

          1. I would hope so.

            With SJWs and the media which happily grovels at their feet I am sadly cynical these days…

      2. A point I saw someone else make is that you can be sure security would act differently if it was the dean speaking. It’s probably true.

        1. That was me too. 🙂 (Well, I said it in another post, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that you heard it from someone else).

      3. Definitely. The far left have taken over not only many institutions but also the mindset of a fair percentage of the population. They are now abusing the power they have received by silencing others and using threats to get what they want.

        They also use the racist label as a verbal cosh to bash anyone who criticises anything. Islamophobe was a term invented by extremist Muslims who kill people and it was then adopted by the far left!

        I like some of the rights ideas and some of the lefts ideas, however far left and far right are both abhorrent. The problem with our society is that the far left is totally accepted as OK when it’s just as dangerous as the far right!

        When will people wake up. It might take quite a few years for people to realise the people who are allegedly fighting for the rights of others are actually removing the rights of many people to criticise dangerous people and ideas!

    2. The speaker herself is an Islamophobe. Shes antagonistic, rude and quite hot-headed. Frankly, she was worse than the rude students. Continuously shouting “shut up” isnt the sign of a sane/rational person.

      1. Maryam Namazie is not an Islamophobe. Criticism of a religion or it’s practices is not the same as hatred of that religion. She is does criticise many of the practices of radical Islam (for example honour-based violence, forced marriage, the execution of gays and apostates, or the veiling, stoning, subjugation, and genital mutilation of women) – but we should also note that the majority of Muslims in the world also reject these practices. Crying “islamophobia” to even legitimate criticism is a way of trying to censor people, and makes combatting genuine bigottry against Muslims that much harder.

        Considering by the time Ms Namazie actually started saying “shut up”, she had been exposed to harrassment, intimidation, and bullying for some time, I think she was perfectly justified in doing it – indeed I think she was very restrained. I certainly would not have been as polite.

        1. I would also note, not that Namazie should need defending, but after about an hour she held the floor in that room and gave a strong and eloquent statement of her views. She’s a saint to be so restrained and out wait the bullies. She’s a hero for standing against cruelty and injustice. She’s no islamophobe.

  2. I’m thinking a lot of these perpetually offended were raised with what to think rather than how to think. For instance, they were taught which groups we must now accept and how wrong discrimination is.

    So now whenever a speaker expressing ideas outside of the socially acceptable norm is encountered, these entitled keepers of the norm, react as tribalists who know only to accept us and reject them.

    Sadly, they never learned to listen and consider ideas different from what they’ve been taught is proper.

    And worse, they act little toddlers having a temper tantrum.(How many of them would like their mommies to know about their rude behavior at school?)

    1. Not only have they not learned to engage with opposing ideas, they’ve never learned how to express opposition in measured terms . Their teachers and parents should be ashamed.

      1. Yes, especially to not explaining why they oppose in terms of reasons. There is just emotion and inflammatory labels being thrown out there.

      2. A good point. They have never learned to deal with being offended. Apparently it has now become a mortal danger to be offended.

        All these claims of “I am offended!” What is so bad about being offended by something? It really isn’t that bad. Heck, much of the time it is largely up to you how long you wish to remain offended. I think there is something going on here that is similar to an addiction. Similar to an “adrenalin junky,” people become addicted to being offended.

        My initial reaction to these “I am offended” junkies has become “who gives a shit? Deal with it.” I firmly agree with the oft said “you don’t have a right to not be offended.”

        1. What I would always ask is: what offends you? What can we do to do better? And *sometimes* you get something other than “shut up”, which is at least somewhat heartening.

    2. I think almost all of America’s population is a victim of this. I love reading the comments sections of newspapers where any issue is boiled down to either Obama/Democrats/Liberals suck or Republicans/Conservatives suck, and there isn’t room for the slightest bit of nuance among almost anybody Our skillful marketing practices are responsible for this.

      On one site, the San Bernardino incident was held by one poster as proof positive that all Muslims should be ashamed and prevented from entering the country. Another poster, one of the few sane ones, made the point that the same poster, in response to the PP incident in Colorado, said “You can’t tar an entire religion by the actions of a few” and asked him why this was different. Of course, you are allowed to do that unless the perp is a Christian it seems. No response to the quetion was given.

    3. Maybe they’re taking a cue from the Honorable Republican representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Or those noble humans who commandeered the mic/platform at a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle a couple of months ago.

  3. Yes, I’ve watched it all, Jerry. Maryam finally loses her rag about 1 hour 30 in. Although, considering what she was up against I can’t blame her.

    One wonders how especially the blokes got into Goldsmith’s in the first place.

    Richard Hoggart lectured at Goldsmith’s. He was the star witness in the early 60s Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial which was a landmark in UK anti-censorship. Basically, The Beatles, Christine Keeler and he ignited the 60s.

    The place of Goldsmith’s in British free speech is being sullied. x

  4. I’ve watched it all, Jerry, and Maryam finally loses her rag about 1 hour 30 in. Given what she was up against, I can’t blame her.

    Richard Hoggart lectured at Goldsmith’s. He was the star witness at the early 60s Lady Chatterley’s Lover Trial, a landmark
    in UK anti-censorship. Basically, The Beatles, Christine Keeler and he ignited to British 60s.

    The shine of Goldsmith’s in the history of UK free speech is fading. x

    1. I wouldn’t describe that as losing it — she spoke very eloquently and passionately. I am also amazed that she kept her cool for so much of it.

      It’s completely and utterly beyond me how anyone except for an Islamist can get upset by anything at all that she said.

      1. I suspect many in the GFS never listened to her speech, either in person or on the net. Or read any of her earlier blog articles etc. It is enough for her to be labeled anti-muslim by perceived allies, and the decision is made based on that alone.

      2. I agree; I thought she remained amazingly cool. I would have wanted to yell STFU at thst guy in the front row. No idea why he and others were not ejected.

        1. I did in fact start shouting at my computer screen.

          With the security guard being so cluelees, it was a very difficult situation for her. If she had have started fighting with him to kick them out and failed, she could have wound up looking weak.

  5. If you go to Maryam Namazie’s blog over at FTB (I am aware that some of the blogs at that place are cesspools) she characterizes the talk as a “success”;

    “Despite the many attempts of the ISOC “brothers,” the meeting ended successfully and raised critical issues, including that criticism of Islam and Islamism are not bigotry against Muslims who are often the first victims of Islamism and on the frontlines of resistance. The meeting also helped expose the Islamists for what they are – thugs who cannot tolerate dissent.”

    1. Also want to point out that ASH is apparently lodging a complaint to Goldsmith U about the actions of the ISOC, which is -predictably- denying they were disruptive and that the complaint is a “..fabrication made by supporters of the ASH and Namazie in an attempt to distort the truth…”

      See today’s edition of London Student for details.

  6. The problem is the worship of ‘diversity’ as the be all and end all, but the word diversity no longer means what you think it means, it’s now a code word for a very specific (though changing over time) set of mandatory beliefs. Real diversity is the last thing these people want. Whoever does not subscribe to the correct beliefs is a bigot, subject to mass shaming.

    But even in its true sense, diversity should never have been the actual goal. It is, at best, a rough guide to how open opportunities are for different kinds of people, but many things besides discrimination can affect the distribution of people in different jobs/locations, etc. The simplistic, ‘cargo cult’ approach to issues is to try to make diversity work out rather than work on actual discrimination, which I guess is a lot more challenging.

    [In many state universities, currently, the ‘diversity administrator’ actually makes more money than the state’s governor.]

  7. I’m not sure the problem is lack of action or silence by atheists, most of these disrupted and banned events have been organised by student atheist societies.

    These students are the minority that give me hope.

    The problem is the cowardice of University Administrators and academic staff. These thugs should have had some disciplinary sanction taken against them.

  8. This unholy alliance between feminists and Islamists is symptomatic of the cancer eating away at the Left, whose sympathy for the supposed underdog (especially those who aren’t white) all too often outweighs their support of feminist and Enlightenment values.

    That’s where I think you’re reading it wrong. I don’t think the goldfemsoc (does this remind anyone else of Engsoc?) supports Enlightenment values, nor does the Regressive Left in general. I think they see Enlightenment values as part of the Western hegemony. The West is the problem, and anyone who is against the West is part of the solution. The Enlightenment is just a way of destroying other cultures.

    We saw the same problem in the days of the Soviet Union, when the left was split over whether to condemn actions like the Nazi-Soviet pact or the invasion of Hungary. The fact that those who opposed Stalin on the Left were called the Anti-Totalitarian Left should be an indication of what to expect from the rest.

    1. I’ve seen a lot of that rejection of the Enlightenment along just those lines.

      I like to refer to it as a confusion of imperialism with empiricism.

      1. Which leads to the irrational left, which champions relativism. If the fact don’t support your ideology, then you must discredit facts.

        1. The counter enlightenment left only seems to be growing which is very concerning. They don’t want to solve actual problems they want to be “right” as if that means anything. They are the same as the right wing they so despise but instead of Jesus its Critical Theory.

          1. Just reading today in this:
            Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Oct 28 2014
            by Yuval Harari

            Harari’s contention that the main reason that Europe (and, later, North America) plowed so far ahead of the rest of the world after 1500 or so was that the Scientific Revolution touted acknowledging one’s ignorance as the best way to move forward and discover more people, places, things. The societies at the time were so complacent and felt no need to look outside themselves. They already knew all that needed to be known. Sound familiar?

          2. I need to read this now. That is them to a tee. Evidence that contradicts them well ignore it or its just partrachial or capitalist or industry paying for the research. A lie is ok as long as it brings awareness.

          3. Well these things tend to be cyclical. IIRC postmodern relativism also grew in the ’70s, then basically disappeared or ate itself by the ’90s.

            My feeling is that this is a generational rebellion thing; each generation must find some way to be not like their parents, and enlightenment vs. relativism is a pretty common way to do that. If I’m right, this means that we don’t have much to worry about, as the children of today’s anti-enlightenment postmodernists will reject their parent’s ideas in turn. 🙂

        2. “The counter enlightenment left only seems to be growing which is very concerning.”

          It may be growing, but I see the criticism growing to perhaps an even greater degree. Part of the problem though is that SJW’s by virtue of their very ideology are willing to misrepresent the facts, or outright lie to justify their behavior.
          Eli Bosnick for example made up an almost entirely fraudulent backstory on The Cognitive Dissonance Podcast this week to defend the screaming girl at Yale, and completely misrepresented the professors actions. So he basically argued against the perception people have of SJW’s by personifying one.

          1. Another Cognitive Dissonance fan!

            I love those guys. They are so…politically incorrect

            Glory Hole Mike!


    2. “The Enlightenment is just a way of destroying other cultures.”
      Somewhere along the line some of these cultures need destroying. I have heard people defend things like female genital mutilation as “Well, it’s their culture so I guess that’s OK”
      Labeling different viewpoints in a careful manner so as to make them seem evil is an art and one much practiced nowadays.
      Look below the labels folks.

  9. And in breaking news, Sarah Ditum, New Statesman writer, has just been no platformed by Bristol University Feminist Society (I’m sure there was a lot of debate about the micro-aggression implicit in the acronym).

    They claim she was ‘accused of transphobia’: blimey, accusations are enough nowadays. BUFS claim ‘unforeseen circumstances’, but who believes that? x

  10. It’s always bugged me that “phobic” is universally used, and accepted, as an appropriate label for anyone who disagrees with a thing. You have a problem with some aspect of Islam and you’re an Islamophobe. Either you respect all aspects of a thing or you’re phobic about it. What the hell?

    1. The irony is that using “phobia” as a synonym for willful hatred or bigotry could be considered quite offensive to people who suffer from actual, clinical phobias. Does it not delegitimize the suffering of people with real phobias to equate such conditions with a character flaw? I’m half surprised that the campus language police haven’t picked up on that and come up with a different words for Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, etc. These terms are phobiaphobic!

  11. I’m surprised they didn’t have a few uniforms outside the room in case of such a disruption. It was quite predictable.

    1. Campus security was in the room ‘in case of such a disruption.’ They did nothing. That is, IMO, more disturbing and problematical than the actions of the hecklers/protestors.

  12. Hey, I’m a lefty and I’m more than happy to denounce this kind of bullying and anti-democratic behaviour. (But I suppose you meant INFLUENTIAL lefties.) 🙂

    1. The problem isn’t the middle left Paul. It is the far left that have done a lot of damage. The first wave of feminism was fair enough, however the latest flavour of feminism is far left (seems similar to far right).

      It is only the right that are standing up to these idiots. The centre left needs to start standing against them. Left surely stands for fairness and genuine equality? The far left doesn’t. By not standing up to those people the left is losing credibility.

      I am now ashamed to even call myself left, a term which used to mean decency. Now it seems to mean someone who is offended by anything and who uses the racist label as a cosh.

  13. The British philosopher Stephen Law is a kosher lefty and he’s been tweeting about this scandal – so the accusation of silence is not quite fair. But it’s true that the Left in general is more prone to tying itself in knots over this kind of issue.

    1. And the feminist and atheist writer and blogger Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels has been writing regularly for a very long time about the poisonous collusion between the Islamic right and those who consider themselves as being on the left, particularly at universities.

  14. What’s sad, is that I’m old enough to remember when women had a lot less opportunities than they do today, and were in no way “equal”. These “feminists” remind me of the men who disrupted women’s suffrage events, or told women to stay in their place, that they were being disruptive.

    These college feminists seem to see nothing wrong with opposing another woman’s right and desire to be free and equal (which is something denied her in Islam.)

    1. Yes, I really don’t know how they can call themselves feminists and support Islamists. They probably fall for that tripe about honouring women too. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a woman.

    2. Its good for their academic careers and they get social brownie points for being “good” women according to Pomo leftie lights

      1. Only White women are allowed to be feminists. Remember when Black men were condemning “The Color Purple” as racist because it depicted Black wife-beaters [not the shirts]? Would Alice Walker be banned from college campuses today?

    1. I think it comes from the fact that these kids were raised in Muslim homes where there is probably a sense of cultural loss and confusion. The responsive ideology available in their communities is probably Islamist in nature.

  15. These people are not liberals, they are not progressives. They are unthinking, reactionary fuckwits. And what a pathetic, toadying little message that was from GFS.

    The more I hear about certain parts of the left the more I feel like they should just be intellectually cordoned off until they’ve decided whether they’d like to stand up for liberal democracy, whether they’d like to stand up for the things that guarantee their continued existence.
    If they don’t, fine – the GFS are perfectly welcome to march in solidarity two steps behind their Islamist allies – but they should come clean about it so we can verbally strip them of the ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’ labels they’ve assigned themselves – which at the moment are about the only reason the average person could tell them apart from socially conservative authoritarians.

    I would very much like to go back to(? Was there ever a time when this was the case?) judging people’s politics on what they actually say and do, rather than on the label they’ve given themselves. If we did that the various useful idiots propping up Islamist student entryists in British universities could be metaphorically drag-and-dropped into the wastebin.

  16. Considering how obnoxious and aggressive ISOC’s behaviour was, and considering Namazie’s reputation as a staunch left-wing liberal, I have a slightly pathetic hope that this might represent some kind of turning point. Mind you, I thought the same thing after Charlie Hebdo.

    P.S. If nobody’s seen it before the BBC’s Big Questions had a debate titled ‘Do British Muslims Have A Problem With Apostates?’ which is well worth searching for on YT. It was a tiny window into the deranged level of hatred ex-Muslims inspire in their former co-religionists. Watch it and realise how much of a liberal hero and all-round bad-ass Maryam Namazie is.

  17. I am also of the notion it was successful as she carried herself to the end of the talk and exposed ‘the arseholes in the room’ that is, their lack of tolerance and manners toward Namazie and free speech and now the unfathomable siding with the ISOC by the feminist. So far left, they have left rationale and reason outside in the cold.
    When or if they’re altogether in the same room it must surely stink.

  18. I wonder how much attention is now going to be paid to the tensions between various enlightenment values in a multicultural society. Obviously it’s a good thing to recognise diversity, and it’s a good thing to ensure discrimination against minorities and minority cultures. But how do we balance that against abuses of human rights, or against freedom of expression? Right now it feels like two different strands of liberalism are both seeing their own values being whittled away by the other strand, with neither paying adequate attention to the tension itself – simply the non-adherence of the other strand to the values they deem the most important.

    I say this knowing full well which strand I belong to. The tension itself was brought home to me by a liberal from the other strand declaring there’s no incompatibility between Islam and the West and to demonstrate that the West should give up freedom of expression when that’s going to incite Muslims. A statement made with complete sincerity!

  19. Could part of the GFS’ problem be that members overlap with the ISOC membership?

    Of course, the GFS failed to notice that the entire front row were men, attempting to silence by intimidation. Their body language was disrespectful and they were clearly raising their nerve by proximity and tacit encouragement. You’d think the GFS would stand up for a woman being oppressed by a group of men acting like adolescent chimpanzees and trying to silence her.

    What a childish group of whiners those “men” are. And what a group of stooges the GFS is.

  20. Hmm. I wonder if those Muslim students will be endorsing the feminist group?

    Or maybe the feminists will invite these Muslims to their next event.

    I’m pretty sure the respect doesn’t flow both directions.

    1. It just never ceases to amaze me how self-styled “feminists”, most of whom are probably irreligious, if not actually atheists themselves, are so self-deluded and blind as to the true nature of the people they declare their “solidarity” with. Turkeys voting for Christmas doesn’t begin to come close. It’s not as if the Islamists themselves are at all shy about saying what they think the proper role of women in society should be. If they had their way, they’d have their feminist allies in burkas, shut up in the home and chained to the sink quicker than you can say “Islamophobia”.

  21. The difference between these thugs and the Nazis in the early 1930s is wearing brown shirts. Bad behavior needs to be nipped in the bud.

  22. It would have been legit to silence Maryam Namazie, acccording to this sjw:

    More or less. I don’t know the particulars of the case, so they may or may not have had a good reason–but free speech guarantees you the right to speak, *not* a platform from which to do so. If I decide that I don’t like my tuition money going to fund this hypothetical platform, nor the institution I’m part of lending its name to the speaker’s list of credits, then it’s neither wrong nor censorship to say I oppose those things.

    I have been discussing recent events on various social justice blogs and…

    Either they deny that any sort of silencing exists

    Or they say that it is righteous.

    1. “Either they deny that any sort of silencing exists
      Or they say that it is righteous.”

      What I find even more reprehensible than the silencing itself is the methods of silencing that they feel, in their righteousness, justified in employing. The aforementioned Eli Bosnick in the same episode of The Cognitive Dissonance Podcast supported doxing individuals who’s behavior, or opinions he disagree’s with. Such an action is morally indistinguishable from a Muslim in the middle east outing an apostate, or homosexual.

  23. Goldsmith Feminist society might be full of Muslim women and the society might be ignorant of women rights and struggle.

  24. Infantile fools from the “feminist society”, who naively think they are just so noble, and others like them are to blame for this. I wish some of them read Koran and make themselves familiar with the Shariah for starters.
    Also, how possibly can Maryam be an islamophobe? To my understanding islamophobes are basically racist and xenophobic people who irrationally hate Arabs and other Middle Eastern ethnicities, they would probably be prejudiced towards Maryam as well. Critisizing Islam with solid arguments, especially when they come from an ex-muslim, who know too well all these things, is not islamophobia and not at all hate speech. If some Muslims get offended by her talks and start so disgustingly and stupidly disrupting her instead of calling her for civil debate or giving a talk with counter arguments, then they are the ones who are intolerant here and they and their “liberal” friends are the ones who destroying this safe space they all talk about.
    It’s really really sad. I think American kids just got too comfortable, if anyone starts talking about issues that make them feel uncomfortable they immediately try to shut them up and unreasonably label them haters and bigots. This will not do America any good. I mean I am from Russia and here it is a criminal offence to “insult religious feelings” whatever that means, but Russia is far from being a democratic free state, and now what I see – in the citadel of democracy and freedom, the USA, people are getting in trouble for essentially the same thing. When will they start legally prosecuting people for “offending feelings”, like they do it in my troubled homeland? Hopefully never, but still what they are doing to Maryam is much worse than a fine, which is what she could get in Russia, though she probably wouldn’t, cause I think even russian court world realise that there’s no hate speech in her words and she’s not trying to insult anyone.

  25. Were it not for the fact that real women suffer appalling injustice and brutality, it would be hilarious that the Goldsmith feminists stand in solidarity with practitioners of a religion that practices/encourages:
    * forced marriage
    * FMG (widely in Muslim communities if not necessarily as an outcome of Islamic doctrine)
    * stoning of ‘adulterers’ (including where the ‘adultery’ was actually being the victim of rape)
    * exclusion of women from voting, public life, many employment opportunities, driving etc, etc.

    What on Earth are these Femsoc people thinking?

    1. They’re probably thinking that people pushing for a less harmful interpretation of Islam can make more meaningful change from within than people painting an entire cultural/religious tradition as evil can do from the outside.

      They’re probably thinking that Muslims on campus face enough discrimination as it is, and that giving a platform to someone who paints their beliefs as pure evil, is a bad idea.

      1. What discrimination do Muslim students face on campus? (Off it, yes, there is a lot of – and has been – a lot of not merely discrimination against Muslims: Hanif Kurdish’s account of going to Bradford – admittedly this was a many years ago – makes horrifying reading.)

          1. So if , for example, Raif Badawi is released from prison in Saudi Arabia, after being tortured…

            If Mr.Badawi was to give a speech opposing Islam, he would be an oppressor and it would be good and righteous to prevent him from speaking because he is no longer working “from the inside” and is unfairly portraying Islam as anything but a religion of Peace?

          2. I don’t know him. Does he have a past history painting all Muslims, regardless of practices, as evil? Am I right in reading that she said this?

            “‘My Hijab, My Right’ is like saying ‘My FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), My Right’!!! The veil is an instrument to control a woman’s sexuality, like FGM…. Today, more than ever before, the veil is political Islam’s symbol…. The veil is not just another piece of clothing – just as FGM is not just another custom. I suppose if it were to be compared with anyone’s clothing it would be comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide.”

            I would add that I don’t necessarily disagree with her stance, but I can understand why a university might feel someone who makes such statements could cause unnecessary problems for students.

            We don’t change people’s ideas on religion, or anything else for that matter, by vilifying them or their cultural practices.

          3. And women are beaten and spit on if they do not wear the hujsb.

            And yes, FGM absolutely should be vilified. You disagree?

          4. My, this is an angry forum, eager to twist all words. No wonder you’ve all whipped yourselves up into a fury about these issues.

            Some women are happy to wear one, cultural indoctrination I’m sure, but comparing it to FGM belittles any reasonable discussion about it.

          5. ‘I don’t know him’. There is such a thing, violetwisp, as Google. You appear to know how to use a computer, so why, if you genuinely are so ignorant, cannot you repair your ignorance by Googling his name and finding out about his case? Then perhaps you could explain to us why you think that his torture is justified or (I hope) unjustified. Perhaps you could show a bit of that vaunted empathy to which you so shallowly appeal.

          6. Well, my lunch hour is over. I was trying to speed up the discussion. Thanks for giving me some things to ponder, nice talking with you. But please try to avoid the twisting strategy, it doesn’t suit any of you.

          7. Perhaps, violet, you don’t read what appears in parentheses. If you had, you might have realised that I was not asking for details about the discrimination Muslims face in British society in general, of which what I said between those parentheses might have told you I am well aware, I was asking a simple and honest question about the discrimination they face on campus, since you asserted that they are facing such discrimination. I should genuinely be interested to know, and not to be fobbed off with your sort of non-reply. Then perhaps I might view what happened at that talk rather differently. You don’t help your case, do you?

          8. Ah, yet another evasion! Is it really so difficult for you to respond with at least a modicum of honesty?

          9. Hello, Tim.

            Why do you think the feminist society might respond in this way? Is it merely because they are dishonest and oppressive?

            Why do you think the Islamic society might respond in this way? There they are at University in England, learning that Evolution is true, having great difficulty avoiding Enlightenment thought practices if they really want to…

            If you try to imagine that your opponents might have reasons, however wrong-headed, then you might be better able to persuade them.

          10. Hello, Clare!
            Perhaps if the feminist society would give their reasons for behaving as they done, and perhaps if the Islamic society would instead of responding in the way they did to the talk in question have waited for the discussion at the end so that they could present reasonable arguments as to why they thought the speaker was wrong, your comment would have a point.

          11. I think this particular feminist society get off on causing drama. In short they are drama queens. They have no interest in genuine equality.

            If I were to psychoanalyse to some extent I would say that they have only recently left home. They are enjoying complete freedom. They are enjoying the right to criticise and attack anyone (I guess they are immature in their thinking). When they grow up (it might take them twenty or more years) they will hopefully be embarrassed by their behaviours, however I imagine they will merely paint a rose-tinted picture and pretend they did a great job for equality. They either lack intellect (how did they get into university? A debate for another time about how anyone can get into university these days) or like I said they love drama.

          12. I am inclined to agree but in that case they are best ignored.

            Why turn up at a meeting and make an issue of it, thereby taking the drama to a new, higher level? The stupid and rude men decided to join the tango. Now why would they do that?

    2. I am sorry but that just doesn’t wash. As far as I understand it Namazie does not argue that all Muslim beliefs are pure evil. She campaigns for human rights (including the right to reject religion) and particularly against Islamist repression of these – repression of which women are particular victims. She also campaigns against cultural relativism and the idea that standards of human rights should be different in the Islamic world from those prevailing elsewhere.
      These are ideas that it should be possible to express freely in a university of all places. Members of the Islamic Society and of the Feminist Society are entirely at liberty to express their own views and argue why they think Namazie is wrong.
      It is entirely perverse for the Femsoc to seek to silence someone who is speaking about the oppression of women.

      1. “In particular, criticism of Islam and Islamism is seen to be so harmful as to be equated with bigotry against Muslims” She considers Islam and Islamism together, but feels that doesn’t reflect on individuals. That doesn’t make sense to me. Of course the end result affects attitudes to individuals.

        I think if we live in a country where those who practice a particular religion are a minority, and they are on the receiving end of serious discrimination, it’s only sensible to be cautious about criticism of the belief in general. Sure, get fired into particular crimes that are committed in the name of that religion, but it’s a dangerous tactic in a climate like this to try and demean the religion generally.

        All religions are nonsense and I expect all have harmful side-effects. But I’m not going to stand up a country where Christians are persecuted and catalogue the crimes that other Christians have committed and the ongoing attempts to discriminate against women from some denominations. Some forms of Christianity can be just as peaceful as some forms of Islam. And at the end of the day, the majority of religious people in the world simply can’t change beliefs, but they can and do change how they practice those beliefs.

        1. “I think if we live in a country where those who practice a particular religion are a minority, and they are on the receiving end of serious discrimination, it’s only sensible to be cautious about criticism of the belief in general.”

          As a human being, and citizen of the world first, I’m far more concerned with atheists, apostates, blasphemers, and adulterers being murdered, women being subjugated, and having their genitals mutilated, and the list could go on, than I am with the relatively minor discomfort some Muslims in the west might experience as a result of an honest discourse on the problem of Islamism. I would suggest that decent Muslims, at least those I know, share that position.

          1. In addition, exactly the same criticism is due Christianity (it’s an equal opportunity proposition) Except that Christians, for the most part have abandoned much of their horrific text in favor of a milder interpretation. The criticism of Islam is really an attempt to encourage it to recognize that it is has aspects that are unfit to have influence in today’s world. You can’t really achieve that by just blaming the jihadist and not focusing attention on the silent millions who support them in some fashion or other.

          2. I’m sure they do. And I’m sure they would feel disappointed and angry if their university hosted someone who equates Islamism with Islam generally, particularly in a climate where Muslims are subject to more and more hate crimes.

          3. I think the confusion comes from the fact that Islamism uses the texts of Islam for justification. They in fact take the text more seriously than would a generic follower of Islam. As Sam Harris points out – beliefs have consequences. Thus, critics of Islam hope that by publicly undermining the veracity of the texts they can undermine both Islamists and Muslims who sympathize with Islamists giving radicals support. Hate crimes against Muslims are simply not relevant to the thinking here, even though it inadvertently could be encouraged in people inclined to bigotry.

          4. Violetwisp:

            Why was it OK for the ISOC to invite in a speaker who advocayes the beheading of apostates but not for another student group to bring in an apostate ?

            Double standard is what it is.

          5. Relevant to what, violent wisp, and in what way? And what does this difference you speak of consist in?
            That ‘ooh’ sums up your essential frivolity and cynicism. your lack of seriousness.

          6. I think the reason people are finding your posts tiresome is that you’re being so dishonest. For example Namazie doesn’t ‘equate Islam with Islamism’. In fact she goes out of her way to do the opposite. Even the actual video that precipitated this discussion contains numerous occasions where she makes the distinction between Islam and Islamism quite explicitly. You could plead ignorance as opposed to dishonesty of course, although I’m not sure which is less becoming at this point.

            The rest of your vaporous posts are just too evasive to bother with. It would be worthwhile next time if you remembered to cite specific instances of the transgressions you accuse Namazie of, and if you dealt with your respondents’ arguments rather than raising your hands in ‘who – me?’ fashion and clumsily changing the subject. There’s a lot of your posts here and it gets dull after a while.
            There are plenty of people here who are willing to take you seriously and treat your arguments with respect, even in light of your inital flurry of peculiarly confused and contradictory comments. Call it secular charity, although unfortunately I’m less blessed in that area:). Cheers Violet, and a happy winterval.

          7. “I think the reason people are finding your posts tiresome is that you’re being so dishonest. For example Namazie doesn’t ‘equate Islam with Islamism’. In fact she goes out of her way to do the opposite.”

            I won’t bother responding to her response to me because you said what I would have perfectly.

          8. Thanks, I do agree with a lot of what you say here, my comments are muddled and poorly informed. I’m trying to make a more general point about the importance of listening to people, and failing. Happy winterval to you too.

  26. Godless Spellchecker has initiated an e-mail campaign of protest to Goldsmith’s SU. the President’s address is

    I wouldn’t e-mail the grizzly Bahar Mustafa, the Diversity Officer, as she is quitting. Here’s my mildly worded complaint, which you’re welcome to copy, edit etc. The attachment is Godless’s edited 22 minute version of Maryam’s ordeal.

    Dear Ms. Rashid,

    I write to express my concern at the disgraceful, intimidating behaviour of the members of the Goldsmith’s Islamic Society at the GASH meeting directed at Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain as guest speaker.

    Goldsmith’s has a proud history as a keystone of the British free speech tradition. Professor Richard Hoggart of your University was the key witness in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial: that event to a large extent kick-started the freedom of expression of the 60s, the liberty which is the foundation of all our rights. The incidents the other night sully Goldsmith’s pride.

    I do recommend that you watch the video of Maryam’s ordeal at the hands of Goldsmith’s Islamic Society: that you identify the culprits and sanction them in the strongest possible way according to your Union policies. I would also suggest that you broadcast as widely as possible your decision in order partially to restore the reputation of your University and the students who study there.

    Yours sincerely,

    1. I wrote that letter and got this:

      Thank you for your email. However, I apologise as I have now resigned from my role as a sabbatical officer at Goldsmiths Students’ Union and am on leave until the end of my contracted notice period, and will not be monitoring this email regularly.

      If your query is urgent, please forward it to, and our reception team will point you in the right direction.

      Best regards,

      Adrihani Rashid

  27. A blogging acquaintance keeps linking me to these posts as if they illustrate anything. All they illustrate to me is that someone who fights for evolution to be accepted and understood seems to think that society can’t continue evolving in a progressive, thoughtful and more considerate manner.

    These one-sided posts only illustrate that there are a lot of people out there who are comfortable with their treatment by society generally, and don’t want anyone telling them that they should change their behaviour. They tell me you are lacking empathy, and are deliberately refusing to consider anything from another point of view, another experience.

    No-one’s right to free speech is being curtailed. In the case of this speaker, she is still allowed to talk anywhere that wants her, and she can publish her beliefs in any form she chooses.

    1. Tell me violet, how would you feel if a bunch of white cisgender heterosexual students tried to silence and intimidate a non white LGBT individual?

      Would you consider silencing and intimidation to be righteous in such a case?

        1. I want to know, if the tables were turned, would you support a bunch of white people/non muslim trying to silence a non-white/muslim speaker.


          1. Irrelevant.

            You said that Islam should *only* be reformed from the inside.

            In other words, you made it clear that ex-Mudlims are oppressors

          2. I didn’t say ‘should’, did I? I certainly didn’t mean that. I mean it’s most likely to have impact from within.

            And I don’t think for one minute that ex-Muslims are oppressors. Again, such twisting. I can’t tell if you genuinely don’t understand what I’m saying or if you just want to make your own illogical version of my words. It’s baffling.

    2. Ah! Now violetwisp has shown his or her true colours! Can you explain how people who giggle at the murders of those who advocate more secular forms of government in Pakistan favour society ‘evolving in a progressive, thoughtful and more considerate manner’? And could you explain what empathy they show? When bullies disrupt a lecture as this lecture was disrupted, how can you begin to pretend that you favour free speech? They are no different from the Nazi bully boys who a friend of mine, the poet C.H. Sisson, saw stamping their feet on the floor and disrupting the lectures of Jewish professors when he attended university in Germany in the thirties. I am sorry, but what you say is beneath contempt.

      1. Well, that’s a nice way to have a conversation. I’m not condoning the actions of individuals in this case. I’m stating that these rants against cases where oppressed minority groups are trying to have a voice in society show a lack of empathy.

        1. Perhaps, since you yourself now say you don’t condone the actions of individuals (which ones?) in this case, you could explain why reasonable criticism, such as Jerry Coyne’s or Ophelia Benson’s, of certain individuals’ actions constitutes a ‘rant’.

          1. The ‘rants’ I’m referring to are several on this blog that a blogger with a similar outlook has been sending my way. I’m not dismissing the criticism of others. I’m asking people to be more open thinking about these issues – there are understandable reasons for the actions in many if not most of the cases I’ve seen so far. It’s reasonable to avoid or minimise offence when there’s another form of expression available. It’s reasonable to take steps to avoid heaping hatred and further ‘grounds’ for discrimination on minority groups. There are other, more productive ways to talk about the same issues.

          2. Thank you! I see also there’s no censorship but comments might be deleted. Interesting. Perhaps I’ll be deleted if I respond all the replies – Rule 9. It’s great advocating for freedom of speech when it suits you.

          3. violetwisp,

            A problem in how you are communicating here is that you are being vague and evasive. Basically tossing out platitudes of “avoiding offense” and “heaping hatred” on minority groups etc.

            But you give no specifics or evidence. So please try to be more specific:

            Can you point to specific examples from Maryam Namazie’s presentation of things she should not say?

            Or point to any comments in Jerry Coyne’s post that show the intolerance or unjustified “heaping of hatred” you are obliquely referencing?

            Or to any other specific argument or post in this thread that support your concern?

            If you really want to support anything you are saying, these are the types of steps you would take.

            Thank you.

          4. >>There are other, more productive ways to talk about the same issues.

            Hmm. What have you done to reform the problem that is Islam?

            What do you know about Islam? How much do you know about it?

            What are “more productive ways to talk about the same issues”?

            Why do you think you would know more than an exmuslim woman? What experiences did you have with Islam?

            I mean, even exmuslims group are backing up Maryam Namazie. You want change from inside? Stop silencing critics of Islam. Stop supporting Islamic thugs. Tell them they are wrong for behaving that way.

            Stop blaming the victim.

          5. I don’t want to silence her. I’m suggesting that it is appropriate to listen to people who don’t want her hosted in their home university.

          6. Did you watch the video? Did you listen to what those causing the disturbance were saying? Could you hear what they were saying? Were they trying to make any kind of coherent point other than disruption? Were they willing to wait until the Q&A so they could engage the speaker?
            If they had waited in a polite and orderly way for a discussion with Namazie, they would have been heard and their arguments would have been shredded under the light of open debate.

          7. the kind of “oppression” violet wisp wants lifted is conditions where people who wave placards like “Islam will dominate the world” and “behead anyone who insults our prophet” don’t get what they want. No amount of apparently sophisticated word weaselling can get around that. No one is denying western imperialism is wrong. No one sensible denies that other cultures value imperialism too – or that some cultures are more open to progressive by which i explicitly mean humanist and humane change than others. Any “social justice” whether secular or religions other than humanism is worthless, and actually reverts to feudal style theocracy or ideological totalitarianism
            The naive social justice warriors are for you violet wisp because your view of social “justice” is rigid hyper traditionalist totalitarianism and militarism.

        2. >>I’m stating that these rants against cases where oppressed minority groups are trying to have a voice in society show a lack of empathy.

          That… Harassing exmuslim woman (a smaller minority group than muslims) definitely shows a lack of empathy. Exmuslims and nonmuslims in Islamic country has no voice.

          All the media here are owned by muslims. The government are 100% muslim. We have no voice.

          Why would you support Islamists? They are bullies in Islamic country, and now they also bully exmuslim woman in the west.

          This is ridiculous. Islamism is a big problem in so many countries. The minorities have little to no voice there, and you still want to silence them now that they’re in the west?

          1. At the risk of repeating myself on this thread, I don’t think she should be silenced. I think that if students in a particular area of London (a city where hate crimes against Muslims are at all time high) don’t want her to be hosted by their university, they should be listened to. They are a minority here, and her message is that all expressions of the Islamic religion are dangerous.

          2. Yet they can host someone who advocates the beheading of apostates?

            Nice double standard.

            They get to make spaces unsafe for others, and others cannot criticise it because people who support beheadings might get sad feelies.

        3. “…these rants against cases where oppressed minority groups are trying to have a voice in society show a lack of empathy.”

          But the Islamic Soc in this instance is not deprived of a voice in society but on the contrary is seeking to deprive someone else of her voice because they dislike her views. They are entirely at liberty to hold a meeting of their own in which they explain why they think she is wrong. They are also entitled to attend her talk and participate in any ensuing discussion when they can again explain why they think she is wrong. They simply sought to shout her down and they were wrong to do so.

          1. That’s true. But if I was paying university fees to a university that hosted anti-atheist speakers, in a climate where atheists were being discriminated against and suffering from hate crimes, I think I might have behaved in a similar fashion.

    3. “In the case of this speaker, she is still allowed to talk anywhere that wants her”

      But who gets to decide, whether a place wants her or not? Those that invited her? Those that tried to disrupt her talk? Who can legitimately speak for this “anywhere”?

    4. >These one-sided posts only illustrate that there are a lot of people out there who are comfortable with their treatment by society generally, and don’t want anyone telling them that they should change their behaviour. They tell me you are lacking empathy, and are deliberately refusing to consider anything from another point of view, another experience.

      I fully agree with you. Muslims should change their behaviours. They should stop getting offended by every single thing.

      They should consider seeing it from non-muslims POV and stop harassing people who have different view points.

      >No-one’s right to free speech is being curtailed. In the case of this speaker, she is still allowed to talk anywhere that wants her, and she can publish her beliefs in any form she chooses.

      But the AHS wants her to speak. Exmuslims like Maryam and want her to speak there. And that is why she should be allowed to speak.

  28. I think we should be careful not to make too much of this – they’re activist students for god’s sake: self-righteous, intolerant and whatever they want they want it now. Fortunately most of them grow out of it – I did and believe me I fitted the stereotype pretty well.

    1. But we should make at least something of it. In 1968, the French government was nearly brought down by ‘activist students’ (and let me say, that in those days I was a student myself and passionately against the Vietnam War). There were the Red Brigades in Italy, the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, and even after I first came to Japan in 1973, groups of students and former students who belonged to opposing Marxist factions were still beating each other to death in the streets with baseball bats. You might read Leszek Kolakowski on the callow ignorance of much of the student movement on the sixties and the contemptible acquiescence in their demands that was too often displayed by members of university faculties.

    1. Oops, left this out. From the comments:

      From what I could tell, some of the brothers were rude, loud and disruptive, as well as being filmed without their consent, yelled at and racialized. We don’t have to like what they did to support them in the face of the mistreatment that followed.

      Opening up that video to the public (which wasn’t necessary for the investigation AHS want), making them appear as ‘extremists’ and racializing them in the title- has left the brothers AND the sisters AND their friends open to islamophobic hate and harassment from across the globe. We’ve been getting comments from Montreal, Florida, Sydney, Seattle…

      Given the media attention our union has received recently, making that video public has put our fellow students at risk and impeded our work and study.
      Hence, solidarity in this delicate time.

      1. “has left the brothers AND the sisters AND their friends open to islamophobic hate and harassment from across the globe.”

        Oh yes because nasty online comments resulting from your behavior is so much worse than physically, and verbally harassing, and attempting to intimidate Namazie in person for simply expressing her opinion.

        1. Treating Muslims like children who can’t control themselves.


          Way to infantilize them. The bigotry of low expectations.

  29. I don’t know who the ‘host’ is here, but I realise I should apologise for charging in here with a bad attitude and off the cuff arguments. I would say that having a dissenting opinion on this forum clearly isn’t a pleasant discussion opportunity. But perhaps I brought that on myself.

    I am in no way personally critical of the woman invited to speak. I’m sure she is doing excellent work in many respects, and it’s great that ex-Muslim women are speaking out. In no way do I support anyone disrupting her talk when the engagement was reinstated.

    The point I wanted to make is more general. The various groups in the university that requested her talk be cancelled should be listened to, and it’s up to the organisation hosting invited speakers to decide what is appropriate for their audience. I think it’s important to consider that Muslims face unwarranted, yes unwarranted, discrimination in British society because of the actions of others who broadly share their faith. I think it’s important to consider that Muslims are in the student body and would not appreciate a platform being given to someone who broad brushes their whole faith to evil.

    This incident is part of a series of posts I’ve seen on this site that are immensely critical of anyone listening to minority groups and attempting to change the way we behave or speak as a result of their concerns or experience. I think this trend of bashing considerate behaviour is harmful.

    Thanks to everyone who’s replied to me, I will try and get round to responding.

    1. violetwisp,

      “In no way do I support anyone disrupting her talk when the engagement was reinstated.”

      And what people here are saying is they condemn such disruption, that they were trying to disrupt the free speech of an invited speaker.

      What problem do actually have with what people are saying here?

      “I think it’s important to consider that Muslims face unwarranted, yes unwarranted, discrimination in British society because of the actions of others who broadly share their faith.”

      Who do you see here denying that? I’ve never seen anyone here propose that all Muslims deserve discrimination due to the actions of a few (presuming you are referencing radical/terrorists etc).
      I personally know many Muslims, my wife’s medical practice serves a large Muslim community, and I lived with a Muslim family for 4 years. I’m only too happy to agree with the obvious, that Muslims are people, diverse, and often wonderful just like other people. But that shouldn’t stop me or anyone from criticizing beliefs or practices that I don’t agree with, or that clash with the type of society we are trying to build.

      If civilization has learned anything it’s just how important the freedom is to scrutinize our beliefs. And you do that by
      talking it through, giving our reasons for what we think. You DON’T do that by shutting down the process, by “no-platforming” anyone who challenges your beliefs. “Free speech is ok…except when MY beliefs are on the table.” That doesn’t work.

      “I think it’s important to consider that Muslims are in the student body and would not appreciate a platform being given to someone who broad brushes their whole faith to evil.”

      What? You seem to have just accepted some sort of caricature/stigmatizing of Maryam Namazie. She is VERY careful about how she addresses the problem of Islam. She makes careful distinction between peaceful and more progressive Muslims and those coming to be known as “Islamists” who push a more oppressive Islam by seizing political power (or through terrorism). And as Wikipedia states: “Namazie strongly distances herself from far-right anti-Islamic groups, whom she doesn’t regard as allies, but enemies as well”

      Like many critics of religion, she tries to identify some of the seeds for where anti-modern or regressive social ideas arise, within the religion, it’s holy texts, how it has been interpreted and practiced.

      She could be wrong in her analysis, but:

      1. It is far from the bigoted, broad brushing as you have mischaracterized it.

      2. The point of not living in a theocracy is that you are supposed to be able to critique a religion freely like any other beliefs.
      And instead of trying to shut down or deny that free speech, the other side is supposed to defend their beliefs and give their own arguments.

      Another point people are making is that it is a deep irony for a feminist group to take the side of people who are attempting to shut down someone’s free speech, given feminism relies on being able to have raised a voice contrary to existing norms.
      And secondly, that they are siding not with the woman who so vigorously advocates for female equality and rights within Islam, but instead side with those devoted to a religion notorious for being retrograde on female equality and rights!

      Of course, you could dispute Namazie’s arguments, which point to both the existing practices and roots of women’s rights within a significant portion of Islam. But then, that would take actually engaging her arguments and providing your own – free speech and all that – rather than taking the position that Muslim students who disagree with her arguments should deny her the opportunity to even show up to challenge their views.

    2. “I would say that having a dissenting opinion on this forum clearly isn’t a pleasant discussion opportunity.”

      Unless you were expecting people to simply acquiesce to your point of view with no push-back, I find this statement puzzling. Scanning through the thread I would say you were treated with politeness and respect. People may have disagreed with you emphatically but no-one insulted you or addressed comments at you that were anything other than reasoned arguments with what you were saying. That seems to me to be very different to the experience that Namazie had.

      I assume you are familiar with how nasty internet discussions can be? Insults and unpleasant threats abound. I don’t think you can really complain about your reception here.

  30. How’s this for hypocrisy:

    She also told London Student: This very group which absurdly speaks of “safe spaces” has in the past invited Hamza Tzortzis of IERA which says beheading of apostates is painless and Moazem Begg of Cage Prisoners that advocates “defensive jihad”.

    1. Not surprising, Cindy.

      The “safe-spacing” and no-platforming movement just has no idea where this can go.
      They don’t see how all sorts of things they take for granted as being acceptable can go right on the “prohibited” list so long as someone can claim it makes them uncomfortable.

      Any atheist like myself could easily say “As an atheist any physical displays or symbols of Islam or Christianity makes me feel unsafe.” After all, these people devoutly appeal to books that proclaim that I DESERVE ETERNAL TORMENT for not believing as they do.

      So, please, no crosses, no Islamic clothing whatsoever, no speakers invited who represent those religions…I’ll feel very unsafe.

      And, no, let’s not even give them a platform to challenge whether my fears are well founded, or what I think of them. I already feel unsafe enough.


  31. the disproportionate resources and level of support that educational institutions and public media allow Islam’s critics, who face institutional toleration of physical intimidation, constant interjections during the body of talks, insults, interruptions,and flat refusal to compare like with like, whereas those who actually advocate violence and physical silencing as the norm of desirable culture in the societies they are speaking in are protected because they are supposedly minorities.

    The problem is the conception of multiculturalism – which is a good concept within sensible boundaries. Any given minorities is not more important than the well being of the society as a whole. No state society can function without a Dominant legal and intellectual culture within the society – others can run parallel and subordinate to it but they must recognise their spheres in which they can and can’t operate for society to remain viable. this is something that crit theory, post modernism and gramscianism simply refuses to recognise and since they have dominated the humanities for many decades now and influence many professions now as a result, this thinking has come to be normalised in too many parts of academic institutions and the public funded media in most Western and european countries which equate the well being of the people with ethereal notions of post modern community and pandering to the loud few who are the current fashionable “other”. We need to challenge the professional basis of this thinking as it seeps into areas of other professions such as law, public policy etc.

    1. also another undesirable element of this self righteous otherworldly politics is that it results in avowedly ideological or else theological (or both) politics. It creates polarisation of hard line right responses and these left responses with reasonable responses being silenced by both sides which refuse – a la the Voldemort effect – to even name the problem in their desire to simplify, distort and sacralise

      1. for example, whilst the right celebrates the supposed natural right of ascendance of their culture or economic interests in all things in the world

        leftist academics assume that only western culture has ever harboured imperialist,militarist or exploitative intentions – all cultures have. Even indigenous Africans (read John Readers Africa: Biography of a Continent) They are prepared to take history out of context, or relentlessly cherry pick, and cite current philosophical theories rather than assessment of likelihood to justify their interpretations. Mary Beard pretends the Dark Ages and the sack of Rome was commupance from helpless Gallic refugees, and that the Romans, for all their faults were actually more “multicultural” than us (genocide following fall of Carthage or Jerusalem anyone). Others argue the Greeks were Multicultural cos they “married” barbarian women wherever they went – just of course those women had to wholly adopt greek language and culture, men carried locus of culture and power and greek men never adopted barbarian ways. Later on when Greeks had large state empires rather than lots of little settler colonies, the Ptolmaic greeks regularly married siblings off to each other rather than allow marriage to an indigenous (non Greek) Egyptian. Ive seen Left wing articles defending 17th century torture and execution of criminals (which was standard,eye poppingly awful and often based on the slenderest of evidence) cos it was supposedly better than modern methods of criminal punishment and/or reform. Common theme is its all better than our rotten “capitalist” enlightenment culture because corruption, exploitation and tribal and familial selfishness supposedly didn’t happen before capitalism. Just. Not. History.

  32. I am taking issue with your comment “The silence of atheists and Leftists about this kind of behavior is deafening.”

    The backlash against the actions of both the Islamist Society and it’s apologists at the “Feminist” Society (let us be clear, they don’t deserve that title) is being led by atheist, secularist, humanist, and skeptic groups – including the NSS and the NHA. Most atheist, secularist, humanist, and skeptic groups tend to be liberal in their political outlooks.

    Please DO NOT TAR all liberals or “lefties” with the same brush. I for one am standing with Maryam Namazie.

    1. Great article here:

      But what followed was more depressing still, and offered an instructive example of the moral collapse of the activist Left to which Namazie had referred in her lecture. “Solidarity,” she had warned…

      …has become increasingly defined, not in political terms, as collective action in pursuit of certain political ideals, but in terms of ethnicity or culture. And since those in power [within Muslim communities] determine the dominant culture, many student unions – those on the Left, and even feminists – side with Islamism at our expense.

      They are defending an imaginary, idealized oppresed person who will undoubtedly be grateful for all their selfless work. They have fetishized the marginalized. And they don’t actually want to hear the opinions of , you know, actual marginalised people who disagree with them, like AHA, Namazie, Jamila Bey, and Nawaz. Real people are messy. They won’t all fit into the neat little heroic narrative that the SJW has crafted for xirself. So they seek to silence those oppresed persons who disagree with them, all the while, saying that “your opinion as a privileged white cishet matters not to a marginalized person. F*ck off and die!” Oppresed people are just objects to be used. Compliant actors in the personal and heroic struggle of the saintly SJW.

      1. That’s just painful to think about. Defending the imaginary oppressed must stem from some sort of guilt complex. Like I’m likely middle class and usually white and I feel terrible about it. Or some such thing. Very grim.

  33. I’ve lost count of how many times I have heard some Imam or other spokesman for Islam state categorically that ‘Islam doesn’t sanction violence’ and/or that ‘people who perpetrate violence can’t be real Muslims’. This is endlessly repeated by politicians, pundits and other faith representatives. Indeed I heard a representative of the Leytonstone mosque this very morning say this about the tube attack and there is now a hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv (motive unknown as yet, he may simply be deranged).What is puzzling about this is that there are good authenticated translations of the Quran, the Sira and Hadiths that anyone can now read online and a great many of the texts are belligerent, violent, intolerant and misogynistic. The descriptions of hell must be the most blood thirsty of any religion on the planet while ‘unbelievers’ are vilified and violence encouraged against them. Whereas 99% of Christians regard the Old Testament, which has some similar passages (eg Leviticus), as a historical ‘optional extra’, Islamic texts are considered the last immutable words of God, are perfect, entire and apply to all humanity for all time. Especially problematic is the person of Mohammed whom the very same texts describe in some detail as a murderous slave owning warlord who advocates rape as war booty. Anyone who merely points these facts out, however gently and well referenced, will be meet with accusations of Islamophobia, being a neocon, racist or whatever. Just as Tyndall made the bible available to the English speaking masses in the Middle Ages, so the internet has made the Islamic texts available for everyone to read for themselves so it is a mystery how anyone whether muslim or non-muslim, atheist or deist, educated or not, can read these texts without shuddering. ISIS has a regular publication called Dabiq which carefully bases all its violent actions including sex slavery in these Islamic texts, quoting chapter and verse in a scholarly fashion. Has anyone ever heard an Islamic scholar or Imam or any Muslim for that matter repudiating these texts? Or saying that this passage or that passage is less ‘sacred’ than this one or that one? While its great to hear Maryam and others such as Maajid Nawaz making the distinction between Islam and Islamist implying the possibility of a secular Islam, no one seems able to make that distinction based upon the ‘sacred’ texts themselves. I’ve just finished reading Maajid’s book Radical (and heard him speak at the Hay Festival this year), he’s a great guy and his book is a must read for anyone concerned with all this, but nowhere in the book is the text of Islam even mentioned! I really can’t see any resolution without a forensic, dispassionate and public examination of all the Islamic texts upon which this belief system is based.

  34. Earlier this month at Goldsmiths University of London, a female ex-Muslim speaker named Maryam Namazie was invited to talk about Islam and her reasons for leaving the faith. Her invitation was protested formally by an on-campus Islamic group (ISOC), who even sent a contingent of members to the lecture in order to subvert it. The event-hijacking happens gradually starting at the 7-minute mark in the video found via the link below.

    So far, none of this merits much attention: it’s the expected in-fighting between adherents of a faith and ex-adherents who threaten the former’s coherency as a group by showing its members a way out. But that all changed once the ISOC alleged that Namazie’s talk would be filled with hate speech and would only incite more Islamophobia on campus. Everything changed because this allegation successfully made the ISOC look like victims, and everything changed with this depiction of victimization because the university feminist and LGBT student groups bought it. What followed were two official statements of support from the Goldsmiths Feminist and LGBT societies and in its wake an unholy marriage between a group (ISOC) that opposes gay rights and believes that feminist beliefs enslave women, on the one hand, and on the other, two groups that believe exactly opposite things.

    What’s most interesting to me in all of this is how to explain it, and I think I’ve made some headway. The explanation centers on two preconditions, preconditions that are required for this uneasy cohabitation of ideological antipodes to be conceivable: 1) A belief that discourse about ideas is best understood as a discourse about power (postmodernism); and 2) A belief that right action is not best determined through appeal to universal principles of justice, but is instead always a practical question of how to give care to those who are in immediate need of it (feminist care ethics).

    On #1, postmodernism has asked us to look at questions of theoretical dispute in terms of a struggle for power instead of as a struggle for truth. When we do this, we stop asking questions of the beliefs surrounding us like “What is true and/or good?” in the interest of hitching our wagons to the right horse, and instead we replace those careful questions with the hastier one of who is locally in a position of power such that s/he can affect the beliefs of others? Nowhere is it then also asked whether implementing this belief would be good or bad, only whether s/he has power enough to do it.

    And on #2, feminist care ethics is built on the idea that traditional ethics has gone wrong in trying to mete out justice according to universal rules that rank needs in hierarchies of value, and have asked us to focus instead on giving care to those in the greatest need, to those of us who are victims. This is great in theory, but the general disregard for careful analysis in care ethics makes it hard to figure out who’s really being victimized and who’s crying wolf, and in some cases this approach winds up making a virtue out of just giving grease to the squeakiest wheel.

    To all of this I really only have one thing to say to the feminist and LGBT groups to dissuade them of their perhaps unacknowledged commitments to 1) and 2) above, that in addition to our legitimate concerns about the danger of power and about the pressing needs of victims, we should also always ask ourselves this question: would the world be a better or worse place if the people we support were in charge? Let us not just side with whoever has less power in our vicinity, as postmodernism and care ethics would have us do, but ask ourselves what they would do if they had power, so that we may judge their beliefs more conclusively.

    In short, let us be activists in the moral sphere as we are activists in the environmental: let us think globally before acting locally.

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