Category Archives: atheism

Warwick Student Union Will Allow Maryam Namazie To Speak

  
Warwick Student Union has admitted that it’s procedure regarding external speakers was not followed, and that Maryam Namazie would never be excluded from talking when it was. 

In a statement released late tonight, they wrote:

Warwick SU has a process for assessing any potential risks or legal issues associated with any external speaker, and it is now very clear to us that in this case that process has not been followed. Speaker invitations that may involve such issues are routinely considered by the SU President, who will also take advice from senior SU staff. This did not happen on this occasion. Neither the SU President, nor senior SU staff, were consulted as they should have been. This is a significant error for which there can be no excuse. There is a great deal that we now must put right, …

Among these things to put right, is to ensure the event goes ahead as planned by Warwick Atheist Secular and Humanist Society, and issuing an apology to Maryam.

They ended on a positive note:

We want to assure everyone of Warwick Students’ Union’s continued commitment to free speech. We also want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who has expressed concern, or disappointment, or who has been hurt by this significant error and, as we said above, we will be issuing a full and unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie.

Maryam, thank you for all the hard work you have put into secularism, equality and freedom. It was the very least any of us could have done in appreciation, to mention how important it is for your voice to be heard on these issues.

Update: As The British Humanist Association point out (follow link for more), this incident is hardly unique:

The Warwick incident is the latest in a long line of overly censorious actions by universities and students’ unions. Other incidents in recent years include UCL Union banning a ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon from appearing on a UCL AHS [Atheist Humanist Society] Facebook event poster; a talk by an anti-sharia activist at Queen Mary AHS being cancelled as a result of death threats; Reading University AHS being ejected by their Union from their freshers’ fair as a result of a pineapple being labelled ‘Mohammed’; LSE AHS being threatened with election from their freshers’ fair by their Union and University if they did not cover up Jesus and Mo t-shirts; and London South Bank AHS having posters taken down by their Union that featured the flying spaghetti monster.

In every case after the incident, the Union and/or University has backed down and apologised after the relevant incident.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Email: JSargeant78@gmail.com

3 Comments

Filed under atheism, Secularism

Maryam Namazie Blocked From Speaking By Warwick Student Union

 

From Harry’s Place:

If you haven’t yet caught up with this story an excellent summary of Warwick Student Union’s disgraceful decision can be read on Student Rights. Briefly, Namazie had been invited to speak by Warwick’s Atheists Secularists and Humanists society [WASH] on 28 October, but her invitation has now been blocked by the SU on the grounds that ‘she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus’.

Although Warwick University is not a serial offender when it comes to extremist speakers, the SU’s position is clearly inconsistent. As Student Rights points out, Ken O’Keefe was given permission to speak earlier this year

(Read more of Sarah’s post here)

Nick Cohen has retweeted an article on Maryam he did some years back. As he says, liberals should be supporting her:

… Maryam Namazie’s obscurity remains baffling. She ought to be a liberal poster girl. Her life has been that of a feminist militant who fights the oppression of women wherever she finds it. She was born in Tehran, but had to flee with her family when the Iranian revolution brought the mullahs to power. After graduating in America, she went to work with the poor in the Sudan. When the Islamists seized control, she established an underground human rights network. Her cover was blown and she had to run once again. She’s been a full-time campaigner for the rights of the Iranian diaspora, helping refugees across the world and banging on to anyone who will listen about the vileness of its treatment of women.

There is a petition to sign, started by the WASH President Benjamin David. As he mentions, quoting George Benard Shaw:

Lest we forget: “censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship” (George Bernard Shaw)

It is absurd. Maryam has campaigned against theocracy and Islamism not least because it kills and oppresses so many Muslims; not just ex muslims or others. It is not a crime, nor an offence, to be an atheist. It seems being an outspoken one may insult others; yet that same quality makes a speaker appropriate for what WASH stands for. Question and challenge her if you disagree with her. 

Critics of theocracy are imprisoned and flogged.  A state executioner will behead, or an indoctrinated extremist will machete on the public street. This does not happen in the UK, where free speech and religious freedom walk hand in hand.

The Warwick Student Union are in danger of joining hands with the oppressors of free thinkers and religious minorities in other countries by suppressing an event one of their society has organised. 

It is not too late for them to support feminism, secularism and freedom – however laid bare and outspoken it might be. 

Update: latest response by WASH on what they comment is a misleading statement by the Student Union claiming only reviewing if Maryam can speak. 

They include screen shots from their correspondence with the Student Union, that a decision had been made to ban her.  

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

Email: JSargeant78@gmail.com 

1 Comment

Filed under atheism, British Society, secular, Secularism

Rushdie Responds to CJ Werleman Comparing His Book To His

CJ Werleman has decided to use the criticism of his latest book, and responses to his threatening legal action for Godless Spellcheckers review, to make this comparison:

 

As Spellchecker pointed out, spelling the names of people is something much absent in the book, as the tweet hints at. The brazen comparison though is breathtaking when we know atheist bloggers are being killed by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh. Let alone comparing his book to The Satanic Verses

A massive ego, for someone that had to self publish such a book. 

CJ’s tweet was brought to Rushdie’s notice, and his response says it all.  

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

Facebook: John Sargeant

My Huffington Post Blog

Email: JSargeant78@gmail.com
 

2 Comments

Filed under atheism, secular, Uncategorized

CJ Werleman threatens legal action against Godless Spellchecker

bookcover

Stephen Knight, otherwise known as Godless Spellchecker on his blog and Twitter, has written a review on CJ Werleman’s new book: The New Atheist Threat. Knight charges headlong into the hypocrisy and false arguments made by CJ.

CJ has responded by threatening legal action. This attempted bullying of bloggers, who clearly are giving an honest opinion while demonstrating reasonable conclusions by citation of evidence, is intolerable.

In solidarity, I am reblogging Knight’s post and hope other secular bloggers and free speech advocates do the same. It is a must read so do please read the link at the bottom of the excerpt that follows:

“Like all cults, New Atheists believe that “the best human beings, as defined by them as ‘rational’ and ‘enlightened’ should become powerful enough to dictate to the rest of the planet a new way of being…they not only espouse white supremacy but they also speak in a language that is every bit as crude and racist as fascist, neo-Nazi, movements”- CJ Werleman, The New Atheist Threat

I suppose I’ll start this latest (and hopefully last) blog post on CJ Werleman in the same spirit with which I approached the others: by rattling off an ever-expanding list of curiosities. The greatest hits compilation includes; misrepresentation, serial plagiarism, probable sockpuppetry, outright lies, a suspicious Twitter follower count, false accusations and the latest entry: a history of anti-Muslim bigotry and racism. And unfortunately, some new entries to follow below.

Werleman’s rabid anti-‘new atheist’ vitriol finally culminated in the release of his latest self-published book ‘The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise Of Secular Extremists’. It would be more fitting were it titled ‘Quotes From People Who Hate Sam Harris’ – as without quotations from others, I’d wager that only a quarter of this book is actually Werleman’s own original writing. If I ever get the time, I’ll complete a word count with and without quotations/extracts. The fact is, if you’re familiar with the output of Reza Aslan, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Karen Armstrong, Nathan Lean, Max Blumenthal and Robert Pape, then you have read this book already, which is nothing more than a love letter to them. “Why pay for this?” I hear you ask. Well, I didn’t. Special thanks to Kindle Lending Library.

Do read more of the review, and expose of CJ Werleman on The Godless Spellchecker’s Blog.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

Facebook: John Sargeant

My Huffington Post Blog

Email: JSargeant78@gmail.com

3 Comments

Filed under atheism, secular

Religion Is Dying To Have The Last Word – reply to Giles Fraser

Reading Giles Fraser “At a Christian funeral all are equal before God – even Cilla Black” reminds me why I want no priests doing my service. I want an exclusion zone round my service just to make sure they cannot slip a few words in.

Mentioning Cilla Black’s service:

But few mentioned the dramatic core of the service she chose – the sharing of bread and wine and the anticipation of that eternal feast to which all are called. And it was here, in this, the religious part of the service, that Cilla was not a celebrity standing before an audience, but a human being standing naked before God. There is a basic democracy in this aspect of religion that is often absent from the secular funeral.

The equality of humanity is served by being stripped naked before an all powerful believe-in-me-and-you-won’t-suffer-in-hell supreme being that is beyond questioning by us mortals why we are essentially unequal in natural abilities, health and circumstance. As Paul wrote, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

Democracy is not present in us all being stripped naked before the one that rules us all in death. This is the apologia for the celestial dictatorship which judges against us that would dare to question their divine authority, one given to priests to lecture secularists about their memorials for the dead. The fear of death, of the undiscovered country, is the last sanctum of religion. The last roll of the dice for Pascal’s Wager, of what if there is a maker to be met?

 …The secular memorial service began as something for important statesmen and was then adopted by the increasingly Godless bourgeoisie as a way of celebrating their personal achievements. But it’s often poorly designed for those of us who are not a part of the great and the good.

Or did not want the church, which offered fees to say prayers to reduce the suffering of loved ones in purgatory or to prey on widows by suggesting how helpful for the deceased if they were to give a donation, or persecuted fellow free thinkers through the ages anywhere near their corpse. Such was the fleecing of the poor, unable to make their way in this life, to at least get a better start in the next by passing copper and silver to the clergy. Thus was “the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate/he made them high and lowly and ordered their estate” in All Things Bright And Beautiful. Your place as celebrity or otherwise was so ordained “as a part of some cosmically wider story” that Fraser does not point out in his piece. But then again maybe God does nothing, like almost not being there at all.

Fraser mentions what if the deceased was a total shit. You cannot say anything bad about them apparently at a memorial service whilst religion is ready to say how wretched, worthless and devoid of meaning we all are without God’s forgiveness – thus celebrities are equal with their audience in the cosmic story. We are all shits really, but through Grace, Christianity offers to make of us manure that our souls will bloom out of.

When you die religion is desperate to have the last word. It is more important we have the last laugh at its pretensions, and celebrate life which is so fragile, so delicate and so short. Make it beautiful, make it count.

Follow @JPSargeant78

Facebook: John Sargeant

My Huffington Post Blog

Email: JSargeant78@gmail.com

1 Comment

Filed under atheism, Religion