Why Is @TedxWarwick refusing to release @MaryamNamazie’s talk on Islamic fundamentalism?

Maryam Namazie is an activist who runs the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. I’ve followed her courageous work for a number of years now. I don’t always agree with everything she says but what is clear is that her views are underpinned by a staunch commitment to human rights—specifically where minority voices are concerned.

I was pleased to see that in Jan 2020 TedxWarwick had hosted Maryam to present her talk on ‘Creativity in protesting Islamic Fundamentalism’.

Over a year later however, the talk his yet to be released by TedxWarwick. And we have been informed via Maryam Namazie’s Twitter that it’s not going to be released either, without not so much as an explanation from the organisers.

This raises a number of questions and issues that are pertinent given the events currently unfolding in the UK. As you can see in the initial tweet from Maryam, she thanked TedxWarwick for not ‘censoring’ her slides. Given I have attended a number of Maryam’s talks over the years, I can be fairly confident that the only slides at risk of censorship were those deemed to be of a ‘blasphemous’ nature, e.g cartoons mocking Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Back in 2015, Maryam Namazie attempted to hold a similiar themed talk at Goldsmiths University. As you can watch on YouTube, numerous men from the Islamic Society turned up and behaved like thugs–disrupting the talk, and at one point turning off the projector when Muhammed cartoons were displayed.

And of course, right now a school in the Yorkshire area of the UK is currently embroiled in a very dangerous Muhammad cartoon fiasco. A teacher, who is said to have displayed a Muhammad cartoon in their class to teach students about free speech and blasphemy is now currently in hiding, with the school forced to close thanks to the dangers posed by a theocratic mob.

TedxWarwick claims to be ‘devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading‘. I would like to ask them what happened to their devotion to ideas in this instance? When a female, minority dissident wishes to challenge blasphemy codes, why do they prove her point by abandoning her?

Of course, our politicians, unions and media have largely abandoned the Batley school teacher too. They also appeared to be ‘devoted to ideas worth spreading’. And thus the chilling effect of free expression where Islam is concerned marches on. Indeed, the only ones capable of demonstrating any backbone appear to be the teacher’s own teenage students, as their petition to re-instate him demonstrates.

TedxWarick’s continued silence on why they will not release Maryam’s talk is a victory for the mob and those that wish to silence Islamic dissidents. These people are the minority within the minority. It is very important how influential organisations and individuals respond to assaults on freedom of thought from the mob. We cannot allow the most ‘offended’ or threatening to dictate to the rest of us which ideas we can or cannot discuss. Or what we can or cannot hear. And if TedxWarwick have now decided to effectively become sharia compliant on one of the largest issues of our time, they should be open about it, rather than continuing to ignore requests for clarity.

TedxWarwick should also be aware that by throwing Maryam’s talk in the memory-hole, they are not only shirking an opportunity to address an important topic, but they are effectively serving up more of the stage to the far-right on this issue.

If you would like to contact TedxWarick and politely ask them for an explanation, you can do so by clicking 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.

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