On Saturday reports emerged that Warwick University student union had blocked an event organised by its Atheists, Secularists and Humanists Society. The guest of honour was Maryam Namazie, who campaigns against religious ideology, with a particular focus on Islam. A student union official wrote to the society, saying, “There are a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus.”
…. However, the fact remains: at this historical moment, in this country, Muslims are subject to greater demonisation than almost anyone else. Absolutists may not like it, but this power imbalance must enter into the calculation.
We are lucky to live in a pluralist democracy, with freedom of choice in politics and religion. These are things we should cherish, but they are not in any serious danger. Were they really threatened – by the emergence of a theocracy, by the drafting of racist or misogynist laws – the left would oppose that with every sinew. I hope that more citizens in Muslim-majority countries can one day enjoy the level of political and social freedom that we do, and I support the men and women who try to bring that about.
But it’s time to skewer the idea that, in looking out for British Muslims, the left is abandoning its traditional values. In fact it’s doing what it’s always tried to do – extending a hand to the most beleaguered among us, identifying those society says it’s OK to injure and insult, and saying: this isn’t fair. [David Shariatmadari, 991 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 390 votes] What an appalling article. There is no obligation on universities to defend any kind of superstition. Quite the opposite.
[2ND 325] The article fails to mention Warwick SU had no problem inviting pro-Hamas supporter, and anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theorist (he states “the Jews did it”) to their campus.
But Maryam is a woman, and an apostate, so of course, she’s DANGEROUS!!!
[3RD 320] Can David actually cite what he finds so “offensive” about Maryam.
I’ve heard ALL the Islamists arguments against this woman, and none of them stack up.
Maryam attacks the far-right, religious privilege, and David’s sobbing about her “targeting” Islam is simply a result of the fact that she was formerly a Muslim who was forced to leave the theocratic Iranian regime in the 1980s with her family. “Blowback”!
The fact is, some find Maryam “offensive” ONLY because Maryam is an ex-Muslim (an apostate), a woman, a woman with opinions.
[4TH 280] Part of what is so dangerous about people like Maryam and Aayan Hirsi Ali is that they disarm the Left of all its usual defenses when it comes to opposing criticism of Islam.
They are ex-Muslim women, and thus cannot be dismissed out of hand as “uninformed bigots,” unlike non-Muslim white males who dare to comment.
[5TH 239] “But does the withdrawal of an invitation really fit any common understanding of what we mean by censorship?”
Yes, quite patently yes.
[6TH 224]“But the underlying sentiment is reasonable: we don’t want to have any part in the further stigmatisation of Islam.”
Therefore denying a platform to people who want to put forward legitimate criticism of it. How on earth can you say this and at the same time argue that it is not an attack on free speech?
[7TH 210] “…. lefties were once again siding with religious conservatives because of a misguided belief that Muslims, as a minority group, should be protected at any cost.”
That’s left-wing thinking in a nutshell.
When they think of “Islam” all that comes to mind is “brown people.” The simply refuse to see Islam for what it largely is: a right-wing ideological construct full of homophobia, misogyny and contempt for free speech and free thought.
Just look at their pathetic hands-off approach to Islamic racialism on campus. If such vile sentiments were coming from white males they’d be waging total war on it. Instead the “vulnerable” ethnic minority gets a pass. [Guardian Cif] Read more