An Islamic student group at a London university confronted a human rights activist during a speech this week and accused her of violating their “safe space.”
Maryam Namazie, a former Muslim and Communist from Iran, had her presentation on blasphemy and apostasy interrupted momentarily Monday by members of Goldsmiths University’s “Islamic Society.”
“As you very well probably know, she is renowned for being Islamophobic, and very controversial,” the Islamic Society told the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society prior to holding the event. “We advise you to reconsider your event tomorrow.”
According to Namazie, as several Muslim women walked out of the room, the Islamic group began “repeatedly banging the door, falling on the floor, heckling me, playing on their phones” and “shouting out” shortly after the speech began.
As the event progressed further, one Muslim male in the crowd reportedly shut off Namazie’s projector when an image depicting the Prophet Muhammad appeared.
“They shut my projector, shouted over me, threw themselves on the floor,” Namazie told the Telegraph. “Security had to come to allow me to carry [on] speaking and the same person who shut my projector came back into the room again I shouted, ‘You have to get out,’ and security finally escorted him out.”
The Islamic Society argued on social media that Namazie’s presence at the school promoted both Islamophobia and a “climate of hatred and bigotry” against Muslims.
“The university should be a safe space for all our students. Islamophobic views like those propagated by Namazie create a climate of hatred and bigotry towards Muslim students,” the group wrote. “A university should be a safe environment/space for all students including Muslims in this sensitive time.”
As noted by EAG News writer Victor Skinner, the university’s feminist group came out against the female speaker in favor of the Islamic group as well.
“We support them in condemning the actions of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society and agree that hosting known islamophobes (sic) at our university creates a climate of hatred,” the Feminists wrote.
Despite attempts by the feminists and the Islamic group, Goldsmith’s University stood by its previous pledge to uphold free speech.
“The behavior of the ISOC ‘brothers’ was so appalling that a number of Muslim women felt the need to apologise, to which I explained that no apology was needed from those who were not to blame,” Namazie recalled.
“Freedom of expression and the right to criticize and leave Islam without fear and intimidation is a basic human right. We have a responsibility to fight for these universal values at British universities and also across the globe.”