Secularist speaker barred from university
Ex-Muslim and outspoken secularist Maryam Namazie, above, has been branded as ‘too inflammatory’ to deliver a talk at Warwick University.
Namazie today reports that she had been invited to speak at university by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society on October 28 but had received notification from the Warwick University Student Union that she was not welcome.
The union said it had researched both her and her organisation:
A number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.
There 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. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy.
The union drew her attention to its rules regarding speakers. These included not spreading “hatred and intolerance in the community” and “avoiding insulting other faiths or groups”.
In addition to this, there are concerns that if we place conditions on her attendance (such as making it a member only event and having security in attendance, asking for a transcript of what she intends to say, recording the speech) she will refuse to abide by these terms as she did for Trinity College Dublin.
The Atheist group is of course appealing their decision, however, it’s important for me to comment briefly on the Student Union’s position. I will be writing a more detailed letter to the university to formally complain about the Student Union accusations against me after taking legal advice.
For now, though, suffice it to say that criticising religion and the religious-Right is not incitement of hatred against people. If anything, it’s the religious-Right, namely Islamism in this case, which incites hatred against those of us who dare to leave Islam and criticise it.
The Student Union seems to lack an understanding of the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other.
Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.
It’s a topsy turvy world when ‘progressives’ who are meant to be on our side take a stand with our oppressors and try to deny us the only tool we have to resist – our freedom of expression.
And she defiantly concluded:
By the way Warwick, in case you’re wondering, I will speak at your university – as I will be soon at Trinity College Dublin despite my initial talk being cancelled by organisers.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn