When in doubt, call her controversial

London Student reports on Maryam and Goldsmiths Isoc.

The headline: ‘Death Threats And Intimidation’ At Controversial Goldsmiths Lecture With Speaker Maryam Namazie

The subhead: Students at Goldsmiths “disrupted” a controversial talk with human rights activist and broadcaster Maryam Namazie yesterday evening, with some audience members accused of issuing death threats.

Is the well poisoned enough yet? I do wish people would stop pre-poisoning every story on or conversation with Maryam by screaming about how “controversial” she is in the title and subhead and opening paragraph and every subsequent mention of her. It’s rather like calling anti-fascists “controversial.” Maryam is “controversial” only to theocrats, so why pin the theocrats’ label on her? Advocating secularism and equal rights for all and the right to leave a religion should not be controversial and certainly should not be labeled controversial by huge media organizations like the BBC.

It’s deliberate, this shit is. Make no mistake about that. They’re signalling to the Islamists that they’re not supporting Maryam, they’re not fans of Maryam, they don’t agree with Maryam – so please don’t kill them. It’s cowardly, it’s dangerous to Maryam, and it sells out the entire population, just to appease bullies like the Islamists of Isoc.

Once we get past the introductory well-poisoning though, the story lets Maryam have her say, quoting her account of what happened at her talk, then adding details.

A student, during yesterday’s lecture, moved to turn off the main screen when Namazie showed a cartoon from the series Jesus and Mo.

Ah so that’s what it was. Again: that’s not something that should be “controversial” or grounds for forcibly disrupting a talk. We’re allowed to have cartoons, including cartoons of religious figures.

Allegations were also made in last night’s event that certain members of the audience had issued direct death threats. One speaker, lecturer and activist Reza Moradi, said that the person threatening him “looked right into my eyes and with his finger, shaping hand like a handgun, touched his forehead.”

He said: “I asked the security guard if he saw the death threat and he confirmed it”, adding that he has had “many issues with Islamists and lots of threats but this one was different.”

And yet it’s Maryam who is called “controversial.” Maryam doesn’t issue death threats.

Prior to yesterday’s event, Goldsmiths’ Islamic Society (Isoc) released a statement saying that it “[expressed] deep concern regarding Goldsmiths Atheist, secularist and humanist society with renounced Islamophobe Maryam Namazi”.

The statement continued to read she “is known to hold very controversial views”, adding “we feel such an individual will violate our safe space”.

When London Student requested a response from the organisers of the event, the Goldsmiths’ ASH society, its president said the society had sent an email to the Islamic society’s president “because I wanted them to be included in Maryam’s talk and the ensuing discussion,” but that the group “had responded to my email with a thinly veiled threat asking me to call off the event on the grounds of violating the safe space policy”.

“Asking” is putting it tactfully.

He also clarified that despite the students’ union approving the speaker “some of the predominantly male members of the Isoc then showed up and made a strong effort to disrupt Maryam’s speech”.

He accused some in the Goldsmiths Islamic Society of making a “great effort to create an atmosphere of intimidation and belligerence at the event, rendering the talk feeling unsafe for non-Isoc attendees who wished to have a ‘safe space’ to discuss dissenting ideas about religion.”

They’re bullies. They treat Islam as a bullies’ charter, and they act accordingly.

An email seen by London Student, sent by the president of Isoc to the president of the ASH society read: “As an Islamic society, we feel extremely uncomfortable by the fact that you have invited Maryam Namazie. As you very well probably know, she is renowned for being Islamophobic, and very controversial.

“Just a few examples of her Islamophobic statements, she labelled the niqab- a religious symbol for Muslim women, “a flag for far-right Islamism”. Also, she went onto tweet, they are ”body bags” for women. That is just 2 examples of how mindless she is, and presents her lack of understanding and knowledge about Islam.

“We feel having her present, will be a violation to our safe space, a policy which Goldsmiths SU adheres to strictly, and my society feels that all she will do is incite hatred and bigotry, at a very sensitive time for Muslims in the light of a huge rise in Islamophobic attacks.”

What huge rise?

“For this reason, we advise you to reconsider your event tomorrow. We will otherwise, take this to the Students Union, and present our case there. I however, out of courtesy, felt it would be better to speak to you first.”

That’s the veiled threat? Not veiled at all – it’s saying they’ll try to get the SU to shut down Maryam’s talk.

Maryam Namazi, when asked if she could give her response to the talk, said: “Goldsmiths Isoc never made any formal complaint to the students’ union” arguing last night’s incidents were an “attempt at intimidating Atheist Secularist and Humanist organisers”.

She also told London Student: This very group which absurdly 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”.

But the BBC keeps right on calling Maryam “controversial.”

It’s funny, the left used to be able to recognize fascism when it saw it.

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