Saturday, March 21, 2015

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I Will Not Accept Trinity College Dublin Conditions on my Talk

Maryam Namazie rubbishes the appalling decision by Trinity College Dublin authorities to place restrictive conditions and on her participation in a debate where the focus of her critique was to have been directed at Islamist theocratic fascism. Maryam Namazie is a political activist, campaigner and blogger. She is the Spokesperson for Fitnah - Movement for Women's Liberation, Equal Rights Now, One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She works closely with Iran Solidarity, which she founded, and the International Committee against Stoning.

I am to speak at Trinity College Dublin on Monday 23 March 2015 on “Apostasy and the Rise of Islamism”.


I’ve just been informed, however, that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is “one-sided” and would be “antagonising” to “Muslim students”; they threatened to cancel my talk. After further consultation with college management, they have decided to “allow” the event to go ahead with the following conditions:

  • All attendants of the event must be 1) Trinity students and 2) members of the society hosting the talk.
  • For “balance”, they require that a moderator host the event; Prof. Andrew Pierce of the Irish School of Ecumenics has kindly agreed to do so.

I, however, will not be submitting to any conditions, particularly since such conditions are not usually placed on other speakers.

I intend to speak on Monday as initially planned without any restrictions and conditions and ask that TCD give me immediate assurances that I will be able to do so.
It is crucial that I be able to speak against Islamist fascism and honour our dissenters deemed apostates, blasphemers, heretics … whether ex-Muslims, Muslims or non-Muslims.

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

Interestingly, when the college’s Central Societies Committee was informed of El Mekki’s view on apostasy, they could not “see why there can even be a discussion about cancelling the event” and that his video was simply “explanatory and not advocatory”!

The video they were alerted to shows El Mekki advising his audience on how best to explain the death penalty for apostates. He tells them to start with the simplest example so that the need for the death penalty can be easily understood. In the video, he says:
The question is ‘Why is the apostate killed in Islam?’…if someone leaves their allegiance to their country they should be killed, so if they leave their allegiance to Allah nothing happens?
…in Islam, of course, you know, it’s a very different system. It’s not like somewhere you heard someone leaves Islam and you just go get him and stuff like that. First of all it’s done by the authorities, there are procedures and steps involved. First of all they talk to him, yeah, about, yanni, the scholars refute any doubt that he has on the issue, they spend days with him refuting and arguing with him, trying to convince him. Then they might even, yaani, threaten him with the sword and tell him ‘You need to repent from this because if you don’t you repent you will be killed.’ And if he insists on being killed that means really, really believing in that. And then, after the procedures take their toll, and then at the end, by the authority of the ruling body, it’s done.
This is beyond outrageous given the social and political reality where apostasy from Islam is punishable by death in 11 countries and especially at a time when it has come to light that British Islamists are executing apostates for ISIS after having been “radicalised” in British universities. Also it does a disservice to the many Muslims who oppose Islamism and apostasy laws by conflating “Muslim” students with Islamism or the religious-Right.

Trinity College Dublin, I am awaiting your response.

***

For those who want more information on this “beautiful young man”, see here - oh sorry that was Jihadi John who was beautiful according to Cage.

One does get confused when they all (the Islamists) say the same thing…

16 comments :

DaithiD said...

Ive seen her speak a few times and she very informative.
Last week on TV,I understand the 'moderate' Abdullah Al-Aldalusi wouldnt answer whether apostacy should warrant the death penalty in Islam. How are people to be informed, and realise when they are being decieved, if they never get to hear this explained without bias?
Sure we are arent living under Sharia Law?

Wolfsbane said...

I hope free speech wins out. Both the UK and Ireland are squeezing it out in the name of respect, of not giving offence to whatever is the flavour of the day. Homosexuality and Islam are sacrosanct today. I wonder which will win protection when these opposites eventually collide?

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

on you point about homosexuality, Brendan O'Neill recently write something or spoke somewhere on how sticking phobe onto the end of something is a device to curb free speech

Wolfsbane said...

Anthony, yes, Brendan makes an excellent observation. Even valid terminology can be abused by the liberal fascists to silence any criticism of the icons of their ideology. This is their own version of blasphemy law.

Wolfsbane said...

Shameful that so few groups have stood up for free speech in our nation. This article by a secularist should put many religious mutes to shame:

http://www.secularism.org.uk/blog/2015/03/je-suis-michael-overd--this-obnoxious-street-preacher-is-a-canary-in-the-coalmine-for-free-speech

AM said...

Wolfesbane,

thanks for the link.

I found his argument contradictory

This:

We must be completely unambiguous and unrelenting in our defence of free speech: up to the point of defamation of living people, or incitement to violence, anything goes.

Against this:

Free speech must be 'free' in the sense of meaning uninhibited, restricted only by prohibition on the incitement to violence or defamation

And there is no mention of how we protect children or vulnerable from the bullying of big mouths.

Free speech is limited by so much (venue for example otherwise we would have religious preachers like yourself in our homes on Sunday haranguing us over being drunk LOL) that I think this type of absolutist argument undermines it.

My attachment to the concept is because of its necessity to understanding the world we live in not because I think it is an inalienable right of some jerk to start stampedes in cinemas by shouting "fire"

DaithiD said...

AM, Ive yet to see a potential scenario with unrestricted free speech, that is worse than the supposed cure (blanket surveillance,huge sentences for anti-state conversations etc).It feels like we are frogs in a slowly boiling pan, each new law turns up the temperature a bit,but not enough to cause us to jump.

AM said...

DaithiD,

there is a logic in that but unrestricted free speech is so often undermined by the arguments made for it.

The case made in the article cited by Wolfsbane is a case in point, both arguing for and against unrestricted free speech.

How is it to be taken seriously?

DaithiD said...

The argument I would make is, is the world a safer place given the ascendancy of free speech restrictions?
I dont think so, even in terms of 'official secrets', these just maintain an informational asymmetry that allows countries to wage war in the worst instance, and shield power from scrutinity in every other instance. We have copywright laws, so their is no effect on trade with this point of view.

AM said...

DaithiD,

again a fine point and not one you will find me arguing against. But even those of us who push the boundaries are always aware that there are circumstances in which we will not push them. I don't believe I could make a case for a child rape victim for example to be named by some tosser just to show that he/she can do it.

Free speech interests me in that it is the necessary means by which we facilitate free inquiry, an essential condition of it. And the latter is indispensable to public understanding of power and the societies we live in.

I am not going to be standing for the free speech of trolls and suchlike unless it is essential to free inquiry. The right to expound is not the same as the right to explore and it is the latter that primarily interests me.

That said, I am inherently mistrustful of the "free speech but" school. The vocation of a writer is to push boundaries not find them. That is the remit of the censor.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'I found his argument contradictory
This:
We must be completely unambiguous and unrelenting in our defence of free speech: up to the point of defamation of living people, or incitement to violence, anything goes.
Against this:
Free speech must be 'free' in the sense of meaning uninhibited, restricted only by prohibition on the incitement to violence or defamation'

I don't see the difference in those statements. Surely 'defamation of living people, or incitement to violence' equals 'incitement to violence or defamation'?

'And there is no mention of how we protect children or vulnerable from the bullying of big mouths.'

I assumed he was speaking only of competent adults as a target of criticism short of defamation. Those not able to defend themselves should be exempt from such otherwise legitimate criticism.

'Free speech is limited by so much (venue for example otherwise we would have religious preachers like yourself in our homes on Sunday haranguing us over being drunk LOL) that I think this type of absolutist argument undermines it.'

Again, I assumed he took that as a given. No one has the right to invade one's privacy and impose our views on them. But I'm sure you would allow me to use the public media - printed tracts, radio/TV, public speaking, to proclaim my views on alcohol abuse or anything else. Am I right?

'My attachment to the concept is because of its necessity to understanding the world we live in not because I think it is an inalienable right of some jerk to start stampedes in cinemas by shouting "fire"'

I agree - free speech is not a license to defame, incite crime or mislead people into harm.

DaithiD said...

AM, I think another aspect not mentioned (some erroneously call it trivial) is that her and her comrades will get ther vag's out if provoked.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

I could see how you are probably right on this.

I took his comment "up to the point of defamation of living people, or incitement to violence, anything goes" as meaning this was included.

Given that I almost certainly misinterpreted the first part there would be a serious wobble throughout the remainder of my comment.

I firmly believe you have the right to use the public space to express your opinion on drink, gays or whatever.

AM said...

DaithiD,

I think it is a strong moral protest against and defiance of the clerical fascists.

I can just imagine them with a Koran in one hand and an erection in the other when confronted with the spectacle!

Wolfsbane said...

Thanks, Anthony.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

just means I'll have to reread it all again in light of the different context.