‘Islamophobe’ to speak at Westminster


‘Islamophobe’ to speak at Westminster

3 years ago
By Naomi Oiku Avatar

Concerned have been raised regarding Maryam Namazie speaking at an event at the University of Westminster on Friday, 24th February.

The university’s second Let’s Get Critical workshop will host Maryam Namazie and Tariq Modood to discuss secularism and diversity in a university context.

There have been concerns expressed by students and student bodies such as Islamic Society (ISOC) against Maryam Namazie speaking at the event and some have suggested for her to be uninvited. Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born activist against religious laws.

She is also a spokesperson for One Law for All, a group that campaigns against sharia and other religious laws, and a member of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and the Worker communist party of Iran.

In the past, she has been blocked by Warwick University’s Students’ Union, who feared that her appearance could violate its external speaker policy and incite hatred on campus.

In December 2015, protestors from Goldsmith University’s Islamic Society had disrupted Namazie’s speech verbally and physically, as seen on a video that surfaced on YouTube short after. They also condemned Namazie, referring to her as a ‘notorious islamophobe’.

A spokesperson for University of Westminster’s Student’s Union said, “Maryam Namazie has been invited by the university to speak at a University-run event. A controversial speaker such as Namazie should have been properly reviewed – as would have happened for any union or society-run event.”

A controversial speaker such as Namazie should have been properly reviewed

“Our student leaders running events find the process frustrating and it is understandable that they are disappointed if they believe there are different rules for them, than for the University.”

University of Westminster’s Islamic Society (ISOC) released acknowledging complaints from students and their frustration against Namazie speaking at the debate.

ISOC’s poster directed students to pose their concerns ‘properly’ to the university’s secular adviser, Isabel Miller.

A spokesperson for ISOC said, “At this point in time, the Islamic Society will refrain from commenting on the matter of Maryam Namazie. We are currently working with our Student’s Union on this matter.”

In 2013, ISOC itself invited the controversial anti-gay cleric Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad, to address over 300 students. The university’s LGBTI society launched a petition at the time, which attracted nearly 2,500 signatures in 36 hours, in an attempt to block the visit.

Ahmed Mahfuz Talukdar, a second year Biomed student at the university, told The QH, “I feel many Muslims and non-Muslims, both voiced concerns regarding Maryam speaking, because many students, unaffiliated to any societies, think that Maryam intentionally goes out of her way to make inflammatory comments and be disrespectful.”

The QH has reached out to, Isabel Miller, the university’s secular adviser, for comment.

At the time of print, the event scheduled for 24th February, is due to go ahead as planned.