Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ann Marie Waters: Freedom of Expression under Threat by Violent Extremists

What happens when students want to learn about Sharia and human rights in the UK? A Muslim threatens everyone present, and the event is cancelled. I guess the students got the answer they were looking for.

NATIONAL SECULAR SOCIETY--This week I was due to give a talk to students at Queen Mary College, London on sharia law and human rights. Rather fittingly – and as if to prove my point - my human rights were quashed by a person demonstrating one of the effects of sharia law; the threat of violence for criticising religion.

Just before I was due to start, a young man entered the lecture theatre, stood at the front of the room with a camera and proceeded to film everyone in the audience. That done, he informed us that he knew who we were, where we lived and if he heard a single negative word about the Prophet, he would track us down. (I am told he made further threats as he left the building).

The organisers of the event, the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies called the police and the event was unfortunately cancelled.

On reflection of the incident, I am left wondering what exactly we could have done. I would love to say that we stood up to him and carried on bravely in a valiant defence of free speech, but it was a frightening experience and I know that people felt genuinely threatened and upset. In any case, is it the role of speakers and students to face off against potentially violent Islamists in defence of our free speech, risking our safety in the process? Just whose job is it to defend freedom of speech and can we be expected to fight for it when the state and other powers refuse to back us up?

Question: can you remember the last time you heard the Government – or any political party – give a robust and dogged defence of free speech? No, neither can I. But there have been plenty of opportunities.

Take the Danish cartoon affair for example. Look at the pathetic response of the British Government at the time; "There is freedom of speech, we all respect that ... But there is not any obligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory. I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary. It has been insensitive. It has been disrespectful and it has been wrong." Even the UN said it would investigate whether the cartoonists were racists. How can we expect people in a university lecture hall to stand up to violent threats when this is the reaction of our leaders? The message is very clear – don't insult religion. And if you do, and you get in to trouble for it, you have only yourself to blame (or "don't come crying to us"?)

Freedom of speech needs to be defended from above. We need prosecution and punishment of those intent on frightening people into staying silent. Until the state speaks out and makes it clear to the likes of this guy that this behaviour is not acceptable – no excuses, no apologies – these things will continue to happen and more and more people will be frightened in to shutting up. We can then say goodbye to freedom for good." (Source)


aaron said...

He muslim only validated that sharia messes up human rights. what he did was more effective then any speech.

well folks we see now that muslims don;t understand the consequences of their actions and brainwashing messed up their thinking to a point they are doing counter productive stuff as we see here.

they should be thanking him for showing how bad sharia is.

Koala Bear said...

I walked past a London University yesterday and in the student union meeting held in the lobby on street level was a Palestinian flag and muslims talking to students. Why do they get away with it???????

marksteggles said...

The guy who threatened everyone should be deported immediately.

gspencer said...

That done, he informed us that he knew who we were, where we lived and if he heard a single negative word about the Prophet, he would track us down.


Truth-telling, if it is something that reflects negatively on islam or muslims, is "blasphemy" as far as Islamic supremacists are concerned.

Ah, but this puts muslims in an odd place.

muslims, by using or defining negative as understood in the West, are actually acknowledging that the West has set the worldwide standards on discourse concerning moral behavior, and importantly that those standards are in fact the standards of muslims as well. And further that those standards are better than islamic standards.

Otherwise, why wouldn't muslims be proud of Mohammed's character and past behavior if he is, in their view, the perfect man, Insaan-e-Kaamil. Shouldn't they be rejoicing in all of his behaviors especially his lusts; his sexual lusts, his lust of the property of others, his lust for vengeance? In the islamic view of reality, these things are worthy of imitation, a fact which muslims regard highly by doing just that, imitating their last "prophet."

And shouldn't muslims feel esteemed, certainly not offended, that we non-muslims are recognizing Mohammed's character if in fact his character and behavior are, as muslims believe, admirable?

Consequently there's no need for muslims to be angry when anyone, muslims and non-muslims alike, recognize that Mohammed did these things. muslims should justifiably take pride in their messenger.

But oddly they don't. muslims go wild when Mohammed's historically-proven character and actual behavior are exposed because it shows Mo to be a reprehensible individual, but only reprehensible when Western standards are used. His character in islamic eyes is perfect.

I suppose we should be flattered that when things really get down to the nub, even muslims KNOW that Mohommed was despicable, and that Westerns morality standards are superior. Otherwise why would muslims want to hide from sight so many of the anti-social traits of their prophet. They simply can't admit it - though they know it - because doing so would cause the pretend fantasy world that islam-is-perfect to come crashing down around their heads.

In the beginning said...

One True God
I can't stand bullies this ought to take the wind of their sails.


Baron Eddie said...

Once again ... We see not only Allah needs to be defended but also Mohammed needs to be defended!

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Derek Adams said...

Sorry but Britain, UK is RIDICULOUS.

They need to bann all these supposed Sharia Courts and Councils then these lectures won't even need to occur:


Derek Adams

cornholio said...

"The message is very clear – don't insult religion."

Typical comment of an atheist relativistic retard. The kind of libtard who mindlessly reiterates the lie that "religion flies you into buildings." Because after all an amoral, atheist libtard can't differentiate the trees for the forest and all religions are the same in his simplistic mindset.