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BREAKING: SU bans secularist speaker over fears she would “incite hatred”

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Warwick Students’ Union (SU) has refused permission to host Council of Ex-Muslims leader Maryam Namazie as a guest speaker at the University allegedly due to concerns she would “incite hatred” on campus.

Warwick society for Atheists, Secularists and Humanists (WASH) had intended to have Namazie, a prominent critic of certain forms of Islam, address the University in the upcoming year.

WASH President Benjamin David held the SU’s decision in part as a reflection on the University’s “infringement of free speech”, in a blog post published on 25 September.

The SU allegedly stated that their research suggested Namazie was “highly inflammatory” and were concerned that having her speak at Warwick could violate their external speaker policy.

The policy stated speakers should not “spread hatred and intolerance” and should not insult other faiths or groups, “within a framework of positive debate and challenge”, according to the same post.

The SU allegedly added that they were concerned that trying to mitigate these concerns by asking for a transcript of Namazie’s speech, making the event members-only, or having security present would not work, citing a case when Namazie apparently broke these conditions when speaking at Trinity College Dublin.

“Restriction of free-thought”

Benjamin commented: “The restriction of free-thought and non-violent free-speech is the most dangerous of all subversions, a subversion that is only dilated in light of the fact that Maryam has always campaigned against violence and discrimination and has done so passionately for many years.”

He added that he felt this was “something that should have been taken on board when the SU’s assessment was made”.

WASH are appealing the SU’s decision, and Namazie herself has stated in a blog post that she will be writing a letter to the University to complain about accusations made against her.

Namazie continued that the SU did not understand “the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other.

“Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.”

People took to twitter to air their anger with the SU this afternoon, including prominent Atheist figure Richard Dawkins:

The Boar has contacted the SU for comment.

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Comments (5)

  • The SU stands with the bigots. Maryam Namazie stands against them. This is similar to standing with Charlie Hebdo, or standing with those who murdered the journalists and Jews at the market. The Warwick SU stands with evil, not against it.

    As Namazie states: “Inciting hatred is what the Islamists do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.”

  • I denounce the shallow fear-driven prohibition, by some in the SU, of this courageous speaker’s right to be heard. So I am extremely heartened to discover the present student body expressing its crystal clear view on this matter. Your reaction of support for the speaker reveals a vehement post-Enlightenment stewardship of the true values, especially freedom of speech. If we collapse, in the face of anticipated aggressive intolerance by supporters of any doctrine, we have lost our way. In our society, all may worship according to their faith. Or not. Or indeed, we may oppose the strict tenets that make religious obedience de rigeur in so many places.
    Were fear of the angry brigade to gag open discourse, on every matter, in the very institutions that exist to teach us to THINK, we would have relinquished our right to claim to be, in any way, educated or free.
    Our task is to pass on the torch of free speech to those who follow us. Every time we speak up for the right of others to be heard, we preserve that flame and with it, our hard won civilisation.

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