The Goldsmiths Islamists (ISOC) & their LGBT & Feminist “Friends”

image_thumb5Since 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?

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 …

Here are a few notes …

  • 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.

5 thoughts on “The Goldsmiths Islamists (ISOC) & their LGBT & Feminist “Friends””

  1. Earlier this month at Goldsmiths University of London, a female ex-Muslim speaker named Maryam Namazie was invited to talk about Islam and her reasons for leaving the faith. Her invitation was protested formally by an on-campus Islamic group (ISOC), who even sent a contingent of members to the lecture in order to subvert it. The event-hijacking happens gradually starting at the 7-minute mark in the video found via the link below.

    So far, none of this merits much attention: it’s the expected in-fighting between adherents of a faith and ex-adherents who threaten the former’s coherency as a group by showing its members a way out. But that all changed once the ISOC alleged that Namazie’s talk would be filled with hate speech and would only incite more Islamophobia on campus. Everything changed because this allegation successfully made the ISOC look like victims, and everything changed with this depiction of victimization because the university feminist and LGBT student groups bought it. What followed were two official statements of support from the Goldsmiths Feminist and LGBT societies and in its wake an unholy marriage between a group (ISOC) that opposes gay rights and believes that feminist beliefs enslave women, on the one hand, and on the other, two groups that believe exactly opposite things.

    What’s most interesting to me in all of this is how to explain it, and I think I’ve made some headway. The explanation centers on two preconditions, preconditions that are required for this uneasy cohabitation of ideological antipodes to be conceivable: 1) A belief that discourse about ideas is best understood as a discourse about power (postmodernism); and 2) A belief that right action is not best determined through appeal to universal principles of justice, but is instead always a practical question of how to give care to those who are in immediate need of it (feminist care ethics).

    On #1, postmodernism has asked us to look at questions of theoretical dispute in terms of a struggle for power instead of as a struggle for truth. When we do this, we stop asking questions of the beliefs surrounding us like “What is true and/or good?” in the interest of hitching our wagons to the right horse, and instead we replace those careful questions with the hastier one of who is locally in a position of power such that s/he can affect the beliefs of others? Nowhere is it then also asked whether implementing this belief would be good or bad, only whether s/he has power enough to do it.

    And on #2, feminist care ethics is built on the idea that traditional ethics has gone wrong in trying to mete out justice according to universal rules that rank needs in hierarchies of value, and have asked us to focus instead on giving care to those in the greatest need, to those of us who are victims. This is great in theory, but the general disregard for careful analysis in care ethics makes it hard to figure out who’s really being victimized and who’s crying wolf, and in some cases this approach winds up making a virtue out of just giving grease to the squeakiest wheel.

    To all of this I really only have one thing to say to the feminist and LGBT groups to dissuade them of their perhaps unacknowledged commitments to 1) and 2) above, that in addition to our legitimate concerns about the danger of power and about the pressing needs of victims, we should also always ask ourselves this question: would the world be a better or worse place if the people we support were in charge? Let us not just side with whoever has less power in our vicinity, as postmodernism and care ethics would have us do, but ask ourselves what they would do if they had power, so that we may judge their beliefs more conclusively.

    In short, let us be activists in the moral sphere as we are activists in the environmental: let us think globally before acting locally.

  2. The most offensive part of this video was the group disruptive barbarians who howled like a bunch of baboons, not the speaker! I’m looking especially at that young man who turned off the professor’s behavior, and later had to be removed from the room—does this school have an honor code? He should be severely spoken to, and perhaps expelled.

    It would seem also that the polite young Muslims in the audience during the Q & A are living in a fantasy world of “true Islam would not do this or that,” when there is no “true” religion anywhere. Moreover, they are in denial of the persecutions of Muslims by Islam itself, worldwide.

  3. Being offended doesn’t call for censorship but does mean you need to be careful or mindful of the context in which you speak and your criticisms need to be fair and accurate

    • The most offensive part of this video was the group disruptive barbarians who howled like a bunch of baboons, not the speaker! I’m looking especially at that young man who turned off the professor’s behavior, and later had to be removed from the room—does this school have an honor code? He should be severely spoken to, and perhaps expelled.

      It would seem also that the polite young Muslims in the audience during the Q & A are living in a fantasy world of “true Islam would not do this or that,” when there is no “true” religion anywhere. Moreover, they are in denial of the persecutions of Muslims by Islam itself, worldwide.


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