Now A Muslim Extremist Terrorizes The Audience, Not Just The Speaker

The New Humanist recounts a chilling, appalling, infuriating story:

Yesterday evening, a talk on “Sharia Law and Human Rights” organised by the Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society at Queen Mary, University London, had to be cancelled after threats of violence. The talk was due to be given by Anne Marie Waters of the One Law For All campaign, which campaigns against the use of Sharia in the UK.

The president of the society describes what happened:

“Five minutes before the talk was due to start a man burst into the room holding a camera phone and for some seconds stood filming the faces of all those in the room. He shouted ‘listen up all of you, I am recording this, I have your faces on film now, and I know where some of you live’, at that moment he aggressively pushed the phone in someone’s face and then said ‘and if I hear that anything is said against the holy Prophet Muhammad, I will hunt you down.’ He then left the room and two members of the audience applauded.

“The same man then began filming the faces of Society members in the foyer and threatening to hunt them down if anything was said about Muhammad, he added that he knew where they lived and would murder them and their families. On leaving the building, he joined a large group of men, seemingly there to support him. We were told by security to stay in the Lecture Theatre for our own safety. On arriving back in the room I became aware that the doors that opened to the outside were still open and that people were still coming in. Several eye witnesses reported that when I was in the foyer a group of men came through the open doors, causing a disruption and making it clear that the room could not be secured. Unfortunately, the lack of security in the lecture theatre meant we and the audience had to leave and a Union representative informed the security that as students’ lives had been threatened there was no way that the talk could go ahead.

“This event was supposed to be an opportunity for people of different religions and perspectives to debate, at a university that is supposed to be a beacon of free speech and debate. Only two complaints had been made to the Union prior to the event, and the majority of the Muslim students at the event were incredibly supportive of it going ahead. These threats were an aggressive assault on freedom of speech and the fact that they led to the cancellation of our talk was severely disappointing for all of the religious and non-religious students in the room who wanted to engage in debate.”

Read More.

Learn how to piss off and defeat extremists like this by staying up to date on the fight for equality under the law in England on Maryam Namazie’s blog. Maryam already has more coverage of this story and its connection to the bullying that The Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society at University College London have been receiving the last week in response to their use of a Jesus and Mo cartoon in a flyer.

Ophelia Benson has been monitoring the whole back and forth, including the many worrying concessions being made to religious sensibilities, in the following posts:

When certain Muslims voiced their offense
Jesus and Mo and the barmaid resolve to say nothing offensive
Remove that offensive image at once please
Never anything more than an informal request
Developments
They will take more consideration

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist Crommunist

    This is just an example of a heathen taking holy words OUT OF CONTEXT! When he said he’d “hunt them down”, he was clearly talking about finding them to personally congratulate them for engaging in a rigorous debate. The two people who applauded clearly understood this young man’s passion and commitment to the exercise of free speech.

    “Murder you and your families” is one of those phrases that doesn’t translate well into English (not from Arabic, mind you. In Arabic the meaning is pretty much the same. This man’s first language was probably ‘raving lunatic’). It’s an unfortunate accident of dialect. How DARE you portray it as a threat.

  • Sigmund

    It sounds like a clear case of a group of atheists restricting the religious freedom of this poor man.
    His religion compels him to behead those who insult Islam and these nasty atheists want to prevent him from do so!
    Perhaps they need extra diversity and equality training?

  • MichaelD

    Now I’m curious what the Muslim student association there has to say about this? Will they take a stand for freedom of speech and call this guy out? Or will they be quiet and tacitly approve of this kind of behavior?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      The question of the day.

  • http://peicurmudgeon.wordpress.com/ peicurmudgeon

    Perhaps the group was engaging in the discussion about Sharia Law and human rights.Human rights would support freedom of speech, Sharia Law would squelch it. In this instance, Sharia Law won the debate.


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