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Muslim’s murderous threats stop sharia lecture at a London University

ON the same day that a British barrister was reported as saying that sharia was “compatible with human rights”, and was good for the “community as a whole”, a Muslim fanatic forced the cancellation of a discussion of Islamic law at a London university on Monday.

Jennifer Hardy, President of the Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society at Queen Mary University, London, said here:

Five minutes before the talk was due to start a man burst into the room holding a camera phone and for some seconds stood filming the faces of all those in the room.

He shouted ‘listen up all of you, I am recording this, I have your faces on film now, and I know where some of you live’. At that moment he aggressively pushed the phone in someone’s face and then said ‘and if I hear that anything is said against the holy Prophet Muhammad, I will hunt you down.’ He then left the room and two members of the audience applauded.

The fanatic also also filmed students in the foyer and threatened to murder them and their families.

Ann Marie Waters, National Secular Society council member

The talk was due to be delivered by National Secular Society council member Ann Marie Waters on behalf of the One Law for All Campaign. She said:

Rather fittingly – and as if to prove my point – my human rights were quashed by a person demonstrating one of the effects of sharia law; the threat of violence for criticising religion.

Jennifer Hardy added:

This event was supposed to be an opportunity for people of different religions and perspectives to debate at a university that is supposed to be a beacon of free speech and debate.

Only two complaints had been made to the Union prior to the event, and the majority of the Muslim students at the event were incredibly supportive of it going ahead.

These threats were an aggressive assault on freedom of speech and the fact that they led to the cancellation of our talk was severely disappointing for all of the religious and non-religious students in the room who wanted to engage in debate.

In a personal account of the incident, Waters said:

On reflection of the incident, I am left wondering what exactly we could have done. I would love to say that we stood up to him and carried on bravely in a valiant defence of free speech, but it was a frightening experience and I know that people felt genuinely threatened and upset. In any case, is it the role of speakers and students to face off against potentially violent Islamists in defence of our free speech, risking our safety in the process? Just whose job is it to defend freedom of speech and can we be expected to fight for it when the state and other powers refuse to back us up?

Question: can you remember the last time you heard the Government – or any political party – give a robust and dogged defence of free speech? No, neither can I. But there have been plenty of opportunities.

Take the Danish cartoon affair for example. Look at the pathetic response of the British Government at the time; ‘There is freedom of speech, we all respect that … But there is not any obligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory. I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary. It has been insensitive. It has been disrespectful and it has been wrong.’ Even the UN said it would investigate whether the cartoonists were racists. How can we expect people in a university lecture hall to stand up to violent threats when this is the reaction of our leaders? The message is very clear – don’t insult religion. And if you do, and you get in to trouble for it, you have only yourself to blame (or ‘don’t come crying to us’?)

Freedom of speech needs to be defended from above. We need prosecution and punishment of those intent on frightening people into staying silent. Until the state speaks out and makes it clear to the likes of this guy that this behaviour is not acceptable – no excuses, no apologies – these things will continue to happen and more and more people will be frightened in to shutting up. We can then say goodbye to freedom for good.

Hat tip: Great Satan, Graham Martin-Royle, Adam Tjaavk

38 Responses to “Muslim’s murderous threats stop sharia lecture at a London University”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Maryam Namazie is calling for a rally in London on 11/02/2012 about this and related matters.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2012/01/17/remove-jesus-and-mo-image-or-expulsion/

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Absolute bloody disgrace. The man responsible needs hunting down himself – by the police.

    We’re talking about the basic democratic right of freedom of speech here, so they really need to make a real example of him. Because if he gets away with this intimidation it will send out all the wrong messages to others who think their pathetic religious sensibilities transcend the law of the land.

  3. Brian Jordan says:

    Let’s hope enough people in the audience took photos of him too. Threats of murder should surely bring the police after him without further ado.

  4. The Woggler says:

    Leave the guy alone. He’ll only bleat about infringement to his human rights, and become some sort of martyr.

    On the other hand, he should be hunted down and treated like the vicious criminal he clearly is.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Mosques should display a notice: You don’t have to be mad to worship here but it helps.

    Meanwhile, a bit of good news for a change:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/17/michael-gove-king-james-bible

  6. Angela_K says:

    Even if the Police get off their backsides and arrest this nutter he’ll scream about his right to freedom of speech, that is to incite murder of the unbelievers.

  7. Tony says:

    Gove really is a plonker.

  8. Daz says:

    barriejohn

    In other news: “Teen smoking take-up rates plummet, as expected source of free fag-papers disappears!”

  9. Here is my letter to our Prime Minister:

    http://enlightenmentlover.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/prime-minister-please-defend-free-speech/

    Do you think he will respond?

    Well if the religious can delude themselves so can I.

  10. Stuart H. says:

    Sorry, I appreciate the particular difficulties of those involved in the One Law campaign itself,but this does look a bit like another case of students refusing to use common sense.
    Considering how pervasive CCTV is these days (not to mention the likelihood that the event was being filmed by participating students), wouldn’t the obvious step have been for the organisers to send the footage to the police? I simply don’t believe this prat isn’t on readily available footage, so use the pillock’s silly big brother tactics right back on him and have done with it.
    If he was some drunk student rugger player picking on women he’d be down the road in a minute, can’t see why different rules will apply if the uni is serious about student safety (which they need to be these days just to get all those rich kiddies through the doors).

  11. remigius says:

    So yet another debate at an academic institution has been cancelled after some fuckwit threatened violence.

    I think these incidents send a very clear message to even the most moderate of rug-butters – if you don’t like what we have to say, just threaten us and we’ll shut up!

  12. [...] Here is a link to the article from the freethinker which I’m posting here. [...]

  13. JohnMWhite says:

    “Question: can you remember the last time you heard the Government – or any political party – give a robust and dogged defence of free speech?”

    A very good question, and one I cannot readily answer. As long as I have been politically aware, the UK government has either passed up opportunities to defend freedom of speech or made a concerted effort to undermine it.

    I can understand why those involved in the debate felt too frightened to continue, but I would have thought that someone, at some point, may have suggested doing it anyway and bringing in the police to keep an eye out and to hunt a person who made blatant and public threats to commit murder and terrorism. I dislike using that last word since the government and others tend to apply it to rather stupid things or ignore the context completely, but what else can you call it when somebody says “you will not discuss my religion or I will murder you, and I know where you live”?

    The NSS article says the police were contacted, but that’s about it. I would hope they would be there like a shot and crawling over the campus to catch someone who made a credible threat to multiple lives, and to defend the debate to allow it to continue. Cancelling it will only embolden the thug and any copycats who think they have a right to tell people what to talk about. I’d like to know more about the police response. Did they even have one?

  14. JohnMW, I haven’t heard anything about a response from the Met. I suspect, as with most policing matters in our capital city, it has to be cleared with Blofeld first.

    Bloody Freudian slip. I meant Murdoch.

  15. Albert Yome says:

    This fascist ideology simply disgusts me, but not more than their accomplices in the British establishment and repellent slugs like Galloway and his kind.

  16. barriejohn says:

    I have to say that I am a bit perplexed as to why they weren’t able to carry on with a police presence, but then we weren’t there at the time to assess the situation. As has been said, the whole business has demonstrated once again to the fanatics that the merest hint of violence results in capitulation to their demands, which is not only very sad, but augurs badly for the future.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/jan/18/crime-insult-public-order-act

  17. john c says:

    What can be done? Simple,either beat him to a pulp, delete his phone content and shove it up his arse,or detain him for the police and make an example of him,perhaps. I am sick of bastards like him affecting my freedoms,appathetic doing nothing is what they rely on.Either way, he would not of been walking out of there if he had photographed me without my permision and made such threats.

  18. barriejohn says:

    It makes you wonder what sort of security they have at the university!

  19. john c says:

    Maybe they hired a muslim security guard under equality policy?

  20. Mike de Fleuriot says:

    The nice thing about martyrs, is that they are.

  21. jay says:

    Last year when some fundies in Oklahoma managed to get a law passed that prohibited use of principles of Sharia law in the courts, most atheists and secularists were vehemently condemnatory. I don’t want to join with these nutters, but I recognize they do have a point here. Now when a secular group makes a roughly similar point, we can see how dangerous this situation can get.

    I don’t buy the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ logic, but there is also ‘a stopped clock is right twice a day’ principle which applies here.

  22. JohnMWhite says:

    I believe atheists and secularists were condemning the banning of Sharia law in OK because it was blatantly racist, bigoted legislation passed to give the good white Christian folks a sense of superiority and having got one over on the brown people. It had nothing to do with preventing Sharia law being used in US courts because it isn’t, and wasn’t, and wasn’t ever going to be, because Sharia law is not US law or Oklahoma state law. It was a waste of time and an exercise driven by pure hate. It is completely different from having a problem with a discussion about Sharia being shut down because somebody turns up and threatens to murder everyone.

  23. Michelle says:

    They should have announced what happened and allowed anyone to leave who wanted to and carried on with whoever was left.
    I hope they have confirmation from the police that they are treating this as a terrorist threat. If not do say and we can all go have a word with our MPs about it.

  24. Hitchens'apprentice says:

    I’m reminded of ”Minority Report” Philip K. Dick’s Novel, which also became a terrific movie. Let’s arrest and detain people who make threats about violence! Maybe that’ll shut the MUSLIM FREAKS up!!! If that doesn’t work, round them up and ship them back to their beloved desert in boxes made of Steel, that can’t be opened from the inside…………

  25. JohnMWhite says:

    Er… I’m pretty sure the point of Minority Report was that pre-judging people and their actions based on what is thought to be an infallible precognition system is a bad thing, not that we should arrest people who genuinely threaten to kill someone. And xenophobic, murderous rhetoric like “ship them back to the desert in boxes” is really the sort of thing we’re trying to discourage.

  26. jay says:

    “I believe atheists and secularists were condemning the banning of Sharia law in OK because it was blatantly racist, bigoted legislation”

    Actually it can’t be racist if is opposed to a religion, not a race.

    They oppose Sharia because it’s a bloodthirsty archaic system that opposes their worldview. We oppose Sharia because it’s a bloodthirsty archaic system that opposes our worldview. I’m not sure you can assume that someone who opposes a religion for religious reasons is bigoted but one who opposes a religion for secular reasons is not.

  27. AngieRS says:

    What it needed was for a couple of the students to throw him out on his arse. I guess the student rent-a-mobs who run amok at demos aren’t too interested in this particular form of free speech.

  28. barriejohn says:

    I’m not sure you can assume that someone who opposes a religion for religious reasons is bigoted but one who opposes a religion for secular reasons is not.

    Not necessarily, maybe, but that is generally the case.

    Actually it can’t be racist if is opposed to a religion, not a race.

    In many cases the opposition may be to a particular religion, but that opposition is fuelled by racism. We see it here in Britain all the time, so I am willing to believe that that is what was going on in Oklahoma.

  29. barriejohn says:

    Robert Spencer & co don’t like the One Law crowd, and accuse them of being anti-semitic (because of their support for the Palestinians, natch) and Marxist. He, of course, represents “genuine counter-jihadists”. You couldn’t make it up!

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/08/the-leftist-dhimmi-blog-harrys.html

  30. Brian Jordan says:

    Michelle wrote

    I hope they have confirmation from the police that they are treating this as a terrorist threat. If not do say and we can all go have a word with our MPs about it.

    I reread the report in the Independent this morning and it says at the end

    Enquiries by Tower Hamlets police are ongoing. A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “Police were called at approximately 19:00 on Monday 16 January to a building on Mile End Road following a report of a man being threatened by another man. Officers attended and the victim was spoken to.”

    Since there’s no mention of a religious maniac threatening to murder dozens of people, perhaps they’re talking about the wrong incident?
    Butterflies and Wheels, btw, reports that a University security guard told the organisers that it was their fault for holding such a meeting. (Sorry, can’t find the link this morning, my browser history has vanished.) So when the police “spoke” to the victim, was it in the same vein?

  31. [...] while on the subject of freedom of expression, it seems as if the disruption of the shariah meeting at the Queen Mary University of London had been orchestrated by extremists from Islam Awakening, which posted this lamentably illiterate [...]

  32. Barry Duke says:

    Brian, here’s a link that mentions the university security guard:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2012/01/17/you-can-expect-threats-if-you-discuss-sharia/

  33. Broga says:

    If Mad Mike Gove did something to protect free speech instead of thinking up crazy schemes to put bibles every school (they have them already, Mike) and a royal yacht for Liz he would be doing something worthwhile. Gove is seriously off the wall with his dotty ideas on education. I think he gets these batty inspirations, assumes his mates will agree the rest of us pay and say what a clever boy he is, and then he has to back off. Then when he tries to get private sponsorship he realises the lack of enthusiasm for his daft ideas.

    How long can Gove be kept in his job? Cameron needs to boot him out while we still have the semblance of a decent education system. Gove has all the certainty of a right wing columnist and none of the practical experience that would put a brake on his daft ideas.

  34. Sharad says:

    You know what terrifies me the most? This is only the beginning…

  35. remigius says:

    Barry, I’ll bet the security guard was actually glad when the rug-butters showed up; because for one brief moment he wasn’t the least intelligent person on campus.

  36. Tom orourke says:

    I suspect this guy got away with this because you can in England. Had this been in Strathclyde uni he wold have been seen off with a Glasgow kiss. Don’t wait for government to protect your rights, do it your self. There is a cowardice at the heart of this.

  37. Ruby says:

    I have had reports from friends who work at QMUL that the guy who made the threat is still wandering freely around campus. I don’t think the university will take much of a stand, they’ll be too frightened of seeming racist or culturally insensitive.