Talk Of Human Rights Violates An Islamic ‘Safe Space’


Back in September, I wrote about Warwick University Student Union’s decision to disinvite Maryam Namazie from a speaking engagement. Outrage ensued on social media, not to mention a few high profile personalities and news outlets condemning the decision. Happily it was reversed amid public pressure and Maryam Namazie finally got the opportunity to speak.

Maryam Namazie is also due to speak at Goldsmiths University this very evening, which inspired this public objection from the Goldsmiths Islamic Society on their Facebook Page:



It seems Goldsmiths ISOC deleted this post before I could get this blog out. I can only imagine it must have been due to the overwhelmingly negative responses it received.

Anyhow, here is Maryam’s suitably droll response via her own Facebook page:


I think we can skip right past the meaningless charges of ‘Islamophobia’. Listen to my discussion with Maryam Namazie and it will fast become clear that every concern she has is motivated not by bigotry, but by an urgent desire to see basic human rights – for everyone.

Douglas Murray a ‘right-wing fascist’ too? Now, I’m sure many of my readers will have some disagreements with Murray’s viewpoints, I have had some myself – but throwing around terms like ‘fascist’ and ‘bigot’ is a perfect example of what Murray himself has written about recently, coincidently. Whilst announcing the death of the left in his Spectator Blog, he notes this of their penchant for throwing around loaded terms so carelessly (paraphrased):

‘Racism is a terrible as well as stupid thing and it helps to have a meaningful word to identify it. But…the left has blunted the word by over-use’

Now, I’ve no idea whether Goldsmiths Islamic Society are part of ‘the left’. I doubt it. But they are certainly co-opting the language and techniques of the regressive left which have been so effective across campuses. No more so than with the obligatory mention of ‘safe spaces’.

I spoke on a panel at QEDcon about censorship back in April and voiced my concern that the language of ‘safe spaces’ and ‘trigger warnings’ were creeping in to the rhetoric of those who are simply committed to shutting down opposing views and dissenting voices – because they know it gets results.

If ‘safe spaces’ exist to protect minorities, I would ask Goldsmiths ISOC where is their demand for a ‘safe space’ for the minorities within their minority? I’m talking about ex-Muslims, Gay Muslims, progressive Muslims, secular Muslims – in short, those that may need and appreciate a voice like Maryam’s to champion their plight and perspective. Those that have every right to see her speak if they wish. This clearly isn’t about making people feel ‘safe’, it’s a transparent attempt to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws – dressed up in the language that appeals to a certain pervasive sensibility.

There is a ‘place’ where you’re entitled to feel as ‘safe’ as you desire of course. It’s called ‘your home’. Feel free to decorate the interior in bubble wrap and have some emergency earplugs on standby in the unlikely event someone actually visits. Back in the real world however – academic institutions are not your ‘safe space’. They are a market place for ideas. That includes ideas that are at odds with everything you believe in. These institutions are responsible for forging our next generation of leaders, innovators and life savers. Those demanding ‘safe spaces’ will soon come to realise that there is nothing safe about the outside world, and no amount of shrieking will help them when confronted with this reality.

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



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