Since blogging about this rather bizarre confrontation a few days ago, things have become even weirder and far more bizarre, so much so, that it all warrants a return to take a closer look at ISOC (The Goldsmiths Islamic society).
First The Backstory
On 30 November 2015 Maryam Namazie gave a talk at Goldsmiths University. She had been invited by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, and as you might anticipate, the Islamic society tried to shut it all down but failed to have her silenced, so they turned up and proceeded to disrupt her talk with a constant stream of intimidation and general thuggish behaviour.
But then …
Now this is where it all gets truly weird …
- The Goldsmiths Feminist society issued a statement of support for the Islamists
- The Goldsmiths LGBT society issues a statement of support for the Islamists
- The Students Union demands that a video of the talk should be taken down and buried, and the Islamic society issued a statement in which they claimed that they were the victims and were harassed
So let’s look at each of these claims
Putting aside the actual stance taken by quite a few variations of Islam regarding feminism and gay rights, we shall take on board the “Oh but that is ‘them’ and that is not us” argument and focus on just those involved in this incident.
Do Goldsmiths ISOC support or oppose feminist ideals?
If you look at the video of the talk, the first observation is that you can clearly see that ISOC only lets the “brothers” sit in the front row, the “sisters” have to sit at the back and remain silent. But that aside, others have wondered about their stance, and so they have looked and found this…
I carried out a quick search of ISOC’s social media pages. Any postings in support of LGBT or feminist issues eluded me, oddly. Apart from this event advertisement, in which they do the work for me by confirming Islam and feminism are mutually exclusive:
What about Maryam, the speaker that they are taking a stance against, what are her views of feminism?
- She constantly tweets and promotes feminist ideals (quite rightly) and maintains a constant stream of demands for gender equality all the time … on and on and on … it would be very hard to miss that, but apparently the Goldsmiths feminists did.
What about gay rights, where do ISOC stand on that issue?
The President Of Goldsmiths Islamic Society is Muhammed Patel and the short answer is that he is very openly and vocally opposed to any and all gay rights. Somebody did an analysis of his various social media postings and that clearly demonstrates where he stands on this, and many other, topics.
Incidentally, if you follow that link you find that Mr Patel is buying into and promoting some truly obnoxious stuff …
I know of half of the speakers at the event above. They’ve made statements advocating the execution of ex-Muslims and blasphemers, advised Muslims to boycott women who marry outside of Islam, said that non-Muslim women will be taken as slaves in the future (of course it is permissible to have sex with these women), creepily remarked that six and seven year old girls are ‘pretty’ and ‘desired’, warned of the dangers when leaving Muslim children with non-Muslims, insisted that women should remain in the house and not venture outside unless it’s a necessity, advocated punishments for Muslims who do not pray, and said that homosexuals are worse than animals.
… and this is not a random ISOC member, this is the president of a society that both the Goldsmiths LGBT and Feminist societies decided to align themselves with.
So what about Maryam, is she homophobic or does she support gay rights?
Oh come on now, I’m sure you can guess, and yes, she is very much a gay rights advocate, and will (quite rightly) not shut up about it.
Who is lying?
Maryam claims that she was being harassed and intimidated by a gang of Islamist thugs during her talk, and the ISOC claim that they are the victims and were being harassed and intimidated – clearly both cannot be true and so somebody is lying.
You could of course read Maryam’s blog posting about what happened and perhaps accept her word on it all, but you need not, and can simply watch the video yourself and see how these “brothers” behaved …
- At about 12:20 mins in some bearded bloke in the front row interrupts and starts demanding that he should not be filmed, and from then onwards keeps disrupting
- at 14:48 a chap in a blue jacket stands up, faces the audience and starts complaining, and a huge row erupts with others joining in. Maryam has stopped speaking
- at 17:24 Maryam decided to ignore the on-going row, walks to the other side of the room bypassing the rowdy guys in the front and carries on with her talk to the rest of the audience
- at 17:36 security guard steps in and escorts the rowdy guys out, but with so much coming and going they soon come back in again.
- at 35:25 a chap stands up, walks to the front, turns off her projector, and then leaves
- at 44:40 her talk ends and we are into Q & A and as you might imagine a few shouting matches developed.
Once the rowdy guys have been ejected, the Q&A developed and evolved into a really good session.
So in summary …
A gang of homophobic misogynistic Islamist thugs turned up at a talk at Goldsmiths university give by secular, ex-Muslim, pro-gay-rights, feminist activist and proceeded to harass and intimidate her, then lied about what happened. The LGBT and Feminist societies then decided to bestow upon themselves the role of “Turkeys voting for Christmas” and issued statements of support for the Islamist thugs, and the response of the Students Union has been an attempt to bury the evidence of what actually happened.
What this is Not About
What this is not about is anti-Muslim hatred, but rather is about the deployment of criticism for some truly bad ideas, and if you watch the video of the talk you will find that Maryam makes that abundantly clear. There were some other Muslims in the room watching the behaviour of the ISOC “brothers” in compete shock, and apologised to Maryam for what went down.
There is a prevailing myth that is circulated by Islamists that Maryam is an anti-Muslim racist, but this reveals that it is Maryam who speaks the truth and that it is the Islamists who are lying, and promoting hatred.
They have basically only two counter arguments of rebuttal against Maryam and these are as follows:
- “But that is not us, true Islam is all about peace and love” … from the folks who are members of a society whose president promotes some highly obnoxious stuff and associates with some very dubious people.
- “I’m offended by what you are saying”
Universities are supposed to be places that are melting pots for different conflicting ideas. If indeed we deployed censorship for anything that offends anybody, then everybody would end up being gagged, because everybody finds something offensive.
Do the Islamists really wish to be held to this standard of censorship?
If so, then they should perhaps consider the thought that much of what they advocate is highly offensive to rather a lot of people, and the Quran itself, a book that labels me as the vilest of animals simply because I do not believe the nonsense it contains, is offensive, so shall we censor it all, or instead shall we embrace the common-sense observation that immunity from being offended is not a human right, it never has been.