Warwick University Cancels Maryam Namazie Talk


UPDATE 28 Sep 2015 – Warwick Student Union have now confirmed Maryam Namazie will speak as originally scheduled, and will be issuing her an apology. My original article is below.

Partially untouched by that compromising crush of the dreary adult life, you could always count on young British students, right or wrong, to quite frankly, not give a shit who they ‘offended’ with their opinions. It seems that’s still true in all but one sense: Islamism.

Maryam Namazie is the latest critic of Islamism to fall afoul of this liberal regressive blind spot. Not for the first time either. The latest episode comes courtesy of  Warwick University Student Union. Maryam was due to give a talk on the 28th of October after an invite from ‘Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society’.

The student union have now cancelled the talk, justifying their decision by claiming:

“There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy”.

Maryam Namazie is an ex-Muslim and tireless campaigner for human rights. I’ve been to see Maryam Namazie speak in person. I’ve also interviewed her for The #GSPodcast. Everything she says about Islam and Islamism oozes with an urgent concern for women, children, apostates and Muslims. Not hatred. Whether you agree with her or not, refusing her a platform is another example of an overflowing cesspool of liberal cowardice. It’s particularly laughable that the feelings of a 1.6 billion strong ‘group’ need to be protected here, but the voices of our minority dissenters do not.

On the University’s policy regarding guest speakers, The National Secular Society reports:

Shockingly, the policy states that external speakers on campus must “seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups, within a framework of positive debate and challenge”.

Maryam Namazie notes:

The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist “Left” point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the “Muslim community”, thinks believers are one and the same as the religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters.

I would encourage people to demand answers from the academic institutions we trust to uphold free speech and critical debate. You can make a complaint to Warwick Student Union here.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • Just sent Warwick SU this:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I would like to complain about your cowardly treatment of Maryam Namazie in banning her from speaking at your student union because you believe it might incite violence. Namazie is a brave and tireless campaigner against the violence and oppression of Islamists, the vast majority of whose victims are muslims in muslim majority countries. You are effectively siding with Islamists – in other words gay-haters, Jew-baiters, and the extreme and austere religious far right – against a human rights activist.

    Your moral compass on this issue could barely be more defective. The insult you have issued to brave campaigners, like Namazie, who do their work in the face of constant threats of violence, is appalling. If you lack the courage to support her yourselves, then the least you can do is get out of her way and let her do her work.

    Please immediately reverse your decision and apologise publicly.

    Many thanks,

    Michael Taggart

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