Maryam responds to Warwick Student Union’s deceptive ass-covering statement yesterday.
Warwick Student Union (SU) has officially responded to the uproar surrounding their decision to refuse the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society (WASH) request to have me as a speaker in October. They deceptively imply that the uproar over their denial is premature as a “final” decision has not been made.
And so the white wash begins.
We already know why that’s deceptive and a whitewash (aka ass-covering). The SU told ASH No, weeks ago. Just No, not No pro tem, not No until we reconsider, just No.
ASH appealed the decision.
The SU ignored the appeal.
ASH asked the SU to respond.
The SU did not respond.
ASH told Maryam the state of play.
Maryam blogged the story and it spread rapidly.
Then, and only then, the SU said oh it’s not final.
That is some clumsy whitewash. Their ass is showing.
Maryam objects to the way the SU is accusing her of things while being too vague about it for her to rebut the accusations.
I have already briefly addressed the SU’s initial decision: the Islamists incite hatred, not us. But there is a serious question that remains unanswered: which articles, written by myself and “others”, have so concerned the SU? These need to be published in full – for the sake of transparency – and so we can all judge for ourselves.
The SU cannot accuse me of potentially inciting hatred – a prosecutable offence – and then deny me the evidence to defend myself. Needless to say, I am also very interested to learn of the “others” they have relied on.
It’s a filthy business, isn’t it. The SU is nervous, so it throws shit on Maryam’s reputation. Maryam, the brave human rights campaigner, founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britian and inspiration for parallel councils in a number of other countries, founder of One Law for All, secularist and universalist – they throw shit at her reputation. It’s a filthy filthy business.
She goes on to make the point – for the thousandth time – that opposing ideas is not the same as opposing people.
There might be members on the SU who are atheist, who think Christianity is superstition and who dislike and even hate the pope, the Christian Right, the EDL, and the BNP but don’t hate “Christians”. Also, they should be able to see that not all “Christians” are the same. Many are Christian in name only. And even though Britain has an established church and bishops in the House of Lords, they understand that the society is not Christian nor are many who are labelled as such. This is common sense. They just can’t seem to see it when it comes to the “other”. Then any criticism is seen to be “discrimination” against and “intimidation” of “Muslim students”. Isaac Leigh, president of Warwick Student Union, says as much in the Independent: “The initial decision was made for the right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their university campus… rather than in the interest of suppressing free speech.”
There is a way in which that’s not solely an indefensible double standard. Christians are, broadly speaking, insiders in the UK, while Muslims are, again broadly speaking, outsiders. It’s more complicated than that but it’s also as simple as that. In a way it makes sense to assume that Christians can just put up with criticism of Christianity while it’s not so easy for Muslims.
But then if you know anything at all about Maryam – which the SU should if it’s going to say No to her speaking – you know that she’s very well aware of that and talks about it frankly.
And then there’s the fact that everybody, including outsiders, needs to be able to hear dissent.
Clearly, the SU has bought into the Islamist worldview (and also that of identity politics/multiculturalism pursued by successive British governments) that “Muslims” are a homogeneous community that need to be managed by parasitical and reactionary imams, sharia courts and Islamist organisations rather than viewed as equal citizens and as students (with more than one characteristic that defines them). They cannot see that even “Muslim students” have the right to dissent and to hear dissenting voices.
If dissenters cannot speak, what does the SU suggest we do? I don’t want to be a Muslim. I was “born” Muslim out of no choice of my own – a lottery of birth. I want to be able to shout my atheism from every rooftop without looking over my shoulder. I abhor the veil and gender apartheid. I want to be equal to men. I don’t want my rights to be culturally relative. I want to, I need to, speak out against the Islamic regime of Iran and ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
And who better to do it?
In Iran and Saudi Arabia and the Caliphate, they label it blasphemy, apostasy and heresy and call you kafir and murtad and immoral and kill and imprison and flog you and throw acid in your face. Here, they and their apologists call it Islamophobia to silence critics who are somewhat out of their reach.
The SU’s infringement of the right to criticise religion and that which is deemed sacred and taboo limits the free expression of those who need it most. Saying Islam and Islamism are off limits means first and foremost that the victims and survivors of Islamism are not allowed to do one of the only things at their disposal in order to resist. It is telling people they cannot oppose theocracies and religious laws and call for secularism in the Middle East and North Africa. It is telling people they cannot oppose sharia and call for universal rights for all. It’s telling women they do not have the right to be equal. It’s telling ex-Muslims they don’t have a right to live if they want to reveal that they are atheists. It’s telling people who need free expression most that they must remain silent and accept their lot in life.
That’s the real oppression.