Much to my complete and utter astonishment, two diametrically opposed ideologies have climbed into bed together at Goldsmiths university in order to publicly oppress and gag those who take a stance for the freedom to believe whatever you wish and the freedom to criticise those that oppose that.
So let me explain how this all played out.
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 …
Douglas Murray a fascist! … what planet are these people living on?
So anyway, no formal request to ban her was raised by them and the talk went ahead. Then this happened …
After my talk began, ISOC “brothers” started coming into the room, repeatedly banging the door, falling on the floor, heckling me, playing on their phones, shouting out, and creating a climate of intimidation in order to try and prevent me from speaking.
I continued speaking as loudly as I could. They repeatedly walked back and forth in front of me. In the midst of my talk, one of the ISOC Islamists switched off my PowerPoint and left. The University security had to intervene and remain in the room as I continued my talk.
Eventually the thug who had switched off my PowerPoint returned and continued his harassments. At this point, I stood my ground, screamed loudly and continued insisting that he be removed even when the security said he should stay because he was a student. When he was finally escorted out of the meeting, discussions on many issues from apostasy, the veil to Islamism and Sharia laws continued, including with some of the ISOC “sisters” who remained behind.
In the Q&A, a women’s rights campaigner who had been kidnapped by Islamists in Libya and held for three days said that the attempts at intimidation reminded her of those dreaded days.
Another CEMB activist said one of the ISOC thugs disrupting the meeting threatened him by pointing a finger to his head.
The behaviour of the ISOC “brothers” was so appalling that a number of Muslim women felt the need to apologise, to which I explained that no apology was needed from those who were not to blame.
Absurdly, this very group which speaks of “safe spaces” has in the past invited Hamza Tzortzis of IERA which says beheading of apostates is painless and Moazem Begg of Cage Prisoners that advocates “defensive jihad.”
The ISOC’s use of rights language are clearly a cover to silence any critic and opponent of Islam and Islamism and to normalise the far-Right Islamist narrative under the guise of Islamophobia and offence.
Despite the many attempts of the ISOC “brothers,” the meeting ended successfully and raised critical issues, including that criticism of Islam and Islamism are not bigotry against Muslims who are often the first victims of Islamism and on the frontlines of resistance. The meeting also helped expose the Islamists for what they are – thugs who cannot tolerate dissent.
Thugs indeed, their actions speak rather loudly.
Goldsmiths Feminist Society has issued a statement …
Goldsmiths Feminist Society stands in solidarity with Goldsmiths Islamic Society. We support them in condemning the actions of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society and agree that hosting known islamophobes at our university creates a climate of hatred.
We showed our support on our Facebook page by sharing ISOC’s post with a message of solidarity. Our Facebook page is designed as a space for us to communicate with our members, and their safety is our first priority, under the policies set out by our Student Union. We reserve the right to remove comments and posts that violate these terms or contribute to the marginalisation of students.
They have got to be fracking kidding … Islam within almost every single variation is diametrically opposed to any and every variation of feminism, and so by issuing a statement like this they are basically backing those that embrace a belief that wants to oppress and suppress their desire for equality, and are taking a stance against Maryam who actually vigorously supports the feminist ideals of equality. I think reading their statement has just broken my industrial strength irony meter.
As you might expect, the posting caused a huge backlash and so they got flooded with comments like these …
Least you have any doubts about it all, here is an article that describes what happened.
These “Feminists” are taking a stance with folks who were not only openly attempting to gag and intimidate a well-known feminist speaker but are talking a stance with folks who even went as far as issuing death threats as part of that intimidation. That is not by any definition feminism, but rather is absurdity on steroids.
The Video of what actually happened during Maryam’s talk is now available, so you can watch and see for yourself …
- At about 12 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
- at 17:24 Maryam walks to the other side 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
- at 35:25 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.
3 thoughts on “Goldsmiths Feminist Society stands in solidarity with Goldsmiths Islamic Society”
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.
I was disgusted at the bullying and hectoring of Maryam Namazie at Goldsmith University. I have listened to Maryam Namazie many times over the internet and I have never heard her say one thing that could even remotely be considered hate speech. I wonder if these rude and apparently ignorant students are they really trying to play into the hands of the genuine bigots by living up to the worst preconceptions these bigots have of Muslims? Can’t they understand that if they are really serious in combatting anti-Muslim feeling, they would achieve this goal far better if they behaved in a civil manner? I can really only speak for my own country, Australia; but I cannot see why it should be different in Britain, there are many role models within the Muslim communities who they should seek to emulate. Those who confront ideas different from their own, not with abuse, but with reasoned argument and good will. Cannot they understand that a spirited and well-honed intellect needs the whetstone of opposition to sharpen itself against – not a ‘safe space’ where they only confront ideas that echo their own?
As for the Goldsmith Feminist Society – all I can say, is on what planet is it reasonable to stand in solidarity with those who would laugh at the idea of Bangladeshi bloggers being hacked to death? They really need to sort out their priorities.
I’m not surprised. Religious and dogmatic doctrines can more easily coexist with each other than with rational thought and evidence based enquiry.