LSESU passes its first blasphemy law

Breaking news – the LSE Student Union vote is in:  339 for, 179 against, 24 undecided.

As one of the ASH people said, they went up against a Union whose sole consistent voting bloc consisted of the far left and Islamic societies. It’s impressive that they got 179 votes against.

I would just add: it’s strange that it’s the “far left” that votes this way, because there is nothing far left about Islamism. It’s as if the far left were voting for fascism…rather as the Stalinist “left” did at the time of the Nazi-Soviet pact.


  1. says

    Its all rather a shame that the EGM was called without giving proper notice and that their online voting system was rendered unconstitutional when they incorporated the Student Union back in July 2011, so the motion is invalid and legally unenforceable.

    Still – that’s something they’ll now find out the hard way.

  2. jamessweet says

    You know why the “far left” votes this way, though… it’s a misguided form of anticolonialism. In attempting to take full responsibility for the sins of the white Christian European patriarchy, some elements on the left have chosen to blind themselves to evils committed by any other group.

  3. Simon says

    Source and definition of the ‘far left’ claim? People have varying opinions on what ‘far left’ means.

  4. Riptide says

    I…I don’t quite know what to say. I suppose I should be shocked and appalled, but after mentioning this whole cartoon hub-bub to an acquaintance in my (Canadian) school only to have him make whiny noises to the effect that “making fun of other people’s sincerely-held religious beliefs goes beyond free speech,” I just don’t even know anymore.

    I expected more of the heirs of the Enlightenment. This is how it starts, and in ten years, or fifty, it will have the force of law unless people decide not to stand for it.

  5. says

    Simon – I think it’s the standard term (or name or label) in the UK – for the Respect-Stoppers-Trotskyist-Gallowayist ‘left’…I find them confusing, but then they are confusing. And confused.

  6. says

    It doesn’t mean what it would mean in the US, if the term were even much in use here, which it isn’t – I think here it’s more likely to be ‘extreme left’ or similar, and it applies to different things. In the UK it’s almost a proper name and refers to this weird warped alliance between Trots and Islamists.

  7. says

    I don’t know about those who voted for this ridiculous motion, but most of LSESU’s sabbatical officers and committee members are Labour Party, not Respect/SWP.

    That doesn’t preclude them being Trots but its more likely that they’re just extremely naive and suffering from a bad case of Dunning-Kruger.

  8. platyhelminthe says

    Presumably a sufficient number of voters were duped into thinking that voting against the motion would have made them racist.

    Rather like shit, the trouble with lies is if you throw enough around, some of them are bound to stick.

  9. says

    Unity – right – the item I quoted said “the only consistent voting bloc” – which could of course be just a small minority.

    Poor LSE SU is just exposing itself. Sad for them, in the end.

  10. says

    Who can say. Maybe a bloc of anti-Muslim bigots voted against, and a bunch of dim-witted accommodationists and fascists in leftist clothing voted for. I’m not sure the left/right division is meaningful as I understand it.

  11. Bruce Gorton says

    How long until some of these anti-Islamophobes start hitting the walls they just built for themselves?

  12. Abdul Alhazred says

    If they are enforcing Muslim blasphemy laws, then Islam is their de facto official religion. No surprise that the supposed “far left” is OK with this.

    It is about the same as when the fatwa was put on Rushdie back in the 1980s. It is totally consistent with the way the “far left” is about Islam.

    In my opinion it’s only partly about cowardice. It’s also a tactical alliance with anyone who is against the USA etc. Such as the Communists who cooperated with the Ayatollah’s men overthrowing the Shah (and then were themselves slaughtered).

    Sometimes, the enemy of your enemy is not your friend. But the “far left” has trouble with that concept.

  13. Retired Prodigy Bill says

    Uhm, they say that Islamophobia is “a form of racism expressed through the hatred or fear of Islam, Muslims, or Islamic culture.” I was unaware that there is a “race” of Muslims.

    I’d have to say that this lets ASH off the hook, since what Jesus and Mo express certainly isn’t racism, and is expressed through laughing at the silliness of religion with no hatred or fear involved.

  14. says

    RP Bill, well Anita explained it yesterday – here’s the deal – “racism” is socially constructed, yeh? So it means ethnicity – and everything else is socially constructed too so Islam is “ethnicity” too so hey presto, criticism of Islam=racism. Socially constructedly but at the same time absolutely rightly and truly and correctly and why are we even voting about thisly.

    Anita’s a piece of work.

  15. Sigmund says

    One of the arguments on favor of censoring images critical of Islam – such as ‘Jesus and Mo’ – were that they would be provocative to muslims.
    Well what the hell is curtailing the free speech of atheists if not a huge provocation in itself?
    ‘Jesus and Mo’ has been popular in the atheist community for six years. If its a provocation to muslims it’s a pretty mild one since they’ve only decided to raise a fuss now, six years later and even then its not after some campaign where atheists have been forcing muslims to look at the bloody thing. It was on an atheists website that required you to ask to join!
    First the blasphemy laws in Ireland and now this in London, both of which were put in place, not primarily by the religious but by accomodationists who think they know how the rest of us should speak and think. Don’t think for a second that this sort of thing could only happen in Europe (or Pakistan!) The likes of Mooney and Stedman must be green with jealousy that they cannot do the same in the US because of that pesky constitution.

  16. says

    While technically correct, I don’t find there to be much merit in the “Islam isn’t a race” argument in reference to Islamophobia. It reminds me a bit too much of the “feminism has ‘fem’ in the name and therefore excludes men” and “‘homophobia’ isn’t real because it is hate instead of fear” nonsense.

    There’s legitimate criticism of Islam, and also anti-Muslim bigotry, and fake claims of bigotry that seek to silence critics. There is legitimate criticism of those false claims, but there’s also a “double-fake” where bigotry rides on the coattails of that legitimate criticism. The same way that not every claim of “Islamophobia” is legitimate, it is also irrational to dismiss ALL claims of anti-Muslim bigotry as false and silencing tactics, and some of these conversations seem to skirt into that territory.

    Just because it is wrong to force a takedown of the cartoon because some Muslims got their little feelings hurt, it doesn’t mean that there’s no problem with anti-Muslim bigotry either.

  17. stonyground says

    Jesus and Mo have already got this covered.

    This fear of people making fun of your beliefs comes from the fact that you know deep down that you have funny beliefs.
    Rational people do not have this problem because they can support their opinions with evidence and change their minds if someone proves them wrong.

  18. rogerallen says

    ‘the LSE Student Union vote is in: 339 for, 179 against, 24 undecided.’
    Yes, but what exacgtly did they vote for?
    What are the penalties- stoning to death, burning alive or both?
    Is the Christian Union going to demand that muslims stop making the blasphemous claim that Jesus isn’t the son of god?

  19. stonyground says

    Do we have a postal address for this student union? Could we possibly have the offending J&M cartoon made into a postcard so that we could bombard them with it and re-create that scene from the first Harry Potter film when all those millions of letters come flooding through the letter box?

  20. sumdum says

    I hope they screen visitors at the door at that event, or you can bet there will be a repeat of the last one, where some fascist comes in to video everyone and threaten them.

  21. Tim Groc says

    I’ve listened to that “debate”, and a lot of airtime was given to a young woman who essentially stated any criticism of Islam is racist.

    Therefore, I now pronounce, that any criticism of Marxism is racist!!!

    There was a definite agenda by those that want criticism is Islam silenced to make it clear that a vote against the motion was “Islamophobic”, “Racist” and “Immoral”. The intelligence of the debate was non-existant. It was clear that the “definition” of Islamophobia included merely criticising Islam.

    The LSE is a disgrace, but then again, it always has been.

  22. chrislawson says

    Seems to me the LSE has completely ruined its brand over recent years. Having Satoshi Kanazawa on the faculty spewing neo-sexist bullshit dressed up as evolutionary psychology is bad enough. Then there was the Gaddafi PhD debacle, where LSE decided to revoke Gaddafi fils’s degree (which means it should not have been granted in the first place)…but waited until after the Gaddafi regime was in its dying days to do so, thereby suggesting that the LSE was less interested in academic principles than in waiting until the Gaddafis were out of favour and no longer available for further £1.5M doses of patronage. And now this. To be fair, the LSESU is not part of the faculty, but it nevertheless shows that the LSE has failed abysmally in instilling foundational academic principles in its own students.

    I feel sorry for anyone at LSE doing good teaching or research because the reputation of their institute has just taken another trashing.

  23. chrislawson says

    Thank you, Tim Groc…

    So it was the document referred to earlier by Ophelia. In my naivety I had assumed it was just a summary, and that the details of what distinguishes Islamophobia from criticism of religion would be described within the motion. For some reason I thought that the LSESU might want to clarify this important distinction. Instead I find they have voted on a PowerPoint slide.

  24. says

    Tom Groc, thanks for the link. I see that:

    Union believes […]

    5. That Islamophobia is a form of anti-Islamic racism.

    Since Islam is not a race the expression “anti-Islamic racism” is totally devoid of meaning, which seems to imply that the union believes the term “Islamophobia” to be devoid of meaning as well.

  25. says

    miketobin, they seem to have omitted the most important rule of modern democracy, namely that if the result of the vote is incorrect you repeat it until it is correct.

  26. nerdC says

    …consistent voting bloc consisted of the far left and Islamic societies.

    far “left” politics and fundamentalist religion are rather collectivist. So this does not seem like such a strange combination. Anti-blasphemy laws (or just about any restriction on free speech) would be quite compatible with that sort of thinking.

    It is not clear to me how much of a big deal this is. In the US universities have been plagued by speech codes for years.

  27. says

    Well I don’t know why the hell I find myself not shocked or surprised.

    So far, who really can guess, some might have voted ‘for the sake of Palestine’.

    Some ‘for the sake of balance’ (We cannot be seen to ‘take action’ on the broken Jewish guy’s nose business, yet perversely ‘not act’ on the other thing).

    Some for the sake of ‘JEEZUZ! Sheeit PANIC! There’s a fire starting here, how the hell are we gonna look when someone does get the shit kicked out of them, and the press investigates and convinces the court of public opinion that we’d had an opportunity to put it out. (by whateva the fuk means justified the ends)’

    Some might even have been fully convinced that LSE’s facebook is not a place to hold a rally for free speech by

    ‘repeating the offense, after it had been pointed out to the UCL guys that it was disrespectful to not remove the offense after it had been pointed out that it was an offense, though of course it might be that they didn’t know at first that it might be offensive, but your guys obviously now know it was offensive’ [i.e. because your movement walked right into the trap we set/were presented with on a plate]

    No seriously, some might have voted, exactly because they saw an perceived ‘testing of boundaries’ to fly that way, a two sided affair has a guilty party, so the AHS did deserve punishing, and this was the punishment they deserved, and the rightful court to do it in; The sacrificing of one of their preciously held sacreds (which, on the day, outweighs all the consequences, precedents, messages that sends, with the added benefit that it puts this fire out.

    Maybe the setting somehow gave the feeling of a debating society as well, and it somehow turned into a ‘vote’, not a Verdict.

  28. Retired Prodigy Bill says

    @18 Ophelia Benson Nothing like someone with a misunderstanding of post-modern critical theory to spout absolute nonsense, Anita is obviously a racist Americanphobe and secularphobe. Hey, there’s a tactic I haven’t seen, “Atheists, we’re not a religion, we’re a race! Shut up you racist theists!”

  29. says

    I wonder what the Jsoc at LSE thinks about all this? (or Jsocs generally) The ’emergancy’ being linked up in this bogus way just for starters.

    I don’t think I want to even try thinking that through.

    Were the 2 (3) motions all handled completely separately, but on the same day, in the same place, all as part of the same.. (Ahem).. Agenda?

    Is it 3 separate votes?

  30. says

    It was in the press, it had NAZI card games in, the Jewish guy’s nose was broken, of course it was an emergancy wasn’t it?

    It didnae have anything to do with the J&M stuff at all did it.
    The Atheists, as always, as all groups do, never seeing the wood for their trees, think it’s all about them.

  31. Bruce Gorton says


    If you remove your head from your backside – in order to unblock your ears – and go listen to the actual debate Anita made it damn clear that the motion had everything to do with cartoons.

  32. says

    rogerallen @ W22:

    “Is the Christian Union going to demand that muslims stop making the blasphemous claim that Jesus isn’t the son of god?”

    Well, they honour Christ as a prophet, but as I understand, not as high a one as Mohammed.

    However every Christian preacher who publicly says that Mohammed is NOT the prophet of God, blasphemes Mohammed and Islam. So, the recitation of the Apostles’ or the Nicene creed is a blasphemy of Islam, because Mohammed is left out entirely.

    That is why Christians should be opposed in their own interest to any blasphemy laws. Religion or sect A will always find blasphemy in the doctrines of religion or sect B.

    Slogan for today: atheistophobia is racism.

  33. Tim Harris says

    It strikes me that the episode of the Jewish student’s nose getting broken provided Anita and her pals with a lovely Trojan horse within which to smuggle their agenda, an opportunity that was seized on quite cynically.

  34. says

    Bruce #45,

    Sorry, I was being a bit obscure in post 43, kind of roleplaying a naive outsiders viewpoint hearing of it with a sort of;

    “strewth, not the Dawkins crowd again, always seeing it through the lens of their religion”, when ‘the important stuff’ is the broken nose & NAZI themed games.

    .. as I kind of add on to my post 41 pointing a bit in my way to just how much of a Trojan horsed affair, as Tim puts it, this appears to have turned out.


    Roleplaying a ‘somewhat less naive’ outsider, who happened to be Jewish, was where I was gonna attempt to go – but chickened out at the last second!

  35. G.Shelley says

    Am I missing something obvious, or are the Jesus and Mo cartoons not actually covered by the Islamophobia definition?

    “a form of racism expressed through the hatred or fear of Islam, Muslims, or Islamic culture, and the stereotyping, demonisation or harassment of Muslims, including but not limited to portraying Muslims as barbarians or terrorists, or attacking the Qur’an as a manual of hatred”,

  36. says

    “including but not limited to” – see what they did there? So yes, the J and M toons are covered because everything is covered. All your bases are belong to us.

  37. says

    The blasphemy event at Conway Hall went well. There was no invasion. I get the impression that the militant Islamists are targeting college campuses because they feel it is easier to scare students. They also get support from the Socialist Worker’s Party – people I had experience dealing with when I was trade union activist, for the most part they are neither socialist nor workers – and other sundry sufferers from advanced postmodernism.

    The event was recorded by the POD delusion and so will probably appear on YouTube in a few weeks time. There were some people from Queen Mary College present, but I didn’t get to talk to them. However Maryam Namazie, from One Law for All, made it clear that they were going to re-schedule the meeting on Sharia Law at QMC and hold it in the same building as the canceled meeting. Before that happens there will be a “Day to Defend Free Expression” on 11th Feb. with a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament. (see )

    Incidentally, Maryam’s speech was great as usual.

  38. says

    Blasphemy involves the ‘improper’ use of the name of the deity, and in Islam covers the depiction of the deity an/or Muhammad himself.

    Such taboos have deep roots in tribal life in many parts of the world even today. In the hands of a shaman, a picture of someone renders the subject vulnerable to evil magic: the voodoo doll being probably the best-known example. The motoons controversy I think can be understood in this light. This is not to say that Muslims are necessarily conscious of this likely historic origin of their taboos.

    ‘Allah’ translates as something like ‘The One’. So it is a name, and yet it is not. Jews similarly have the name ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yahweh’ for their god. It comes from the romanisation of the Hebrew word into ‘YHWH’, otherwise known as the Tetragrammaton. Wikipedia gives the most likely meaning of the name as “He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists”. So we have a name, and yet we do not: rather a third person generalising descriptor instead. Not like say, the names of the Greek or Roman gods, which were identifiers without this defining dimension.

    This hiding of identity possibly originates in both the Jewish and Islamic theologies, from a fear of vulnerability, both of God and from God.

    Religion is politics, and in politics ridicule is widely regarded as a most potent weapon. Hence political cartoons.

    The fury of the Muslim response can be understood, with whatever degree of sympathy, or lack of it, each cartoon connoisseur deems appropriate. Likewise the response to blasphemy.

  39. says

    @Ian MacDougall,
    Yeah, I’ve heard the ‘debate’ thingy was pretty persuasive somehow,
    but theyd’ve struggled to get quite that much done! We might have got over 200 at least and made the winning side’s mandate look a bit thin. So it’s not quite yer actual Blasphemy law.

    “He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists”
    I didn’t know that. I know it’s always been cribbed, right back to the cave paintings and ancestor worship shite.
    But that formulation sounds almost like it was cribbed from philosophers, or rhetoricians or something.
    I mean, ‘The banger that made the big bang bang’, always does sound like a slightly better construction than ‘The big bang that banged because um, we’ll get back to you on that one’.

    I hope it hasn’t all been some ghastly mistake from somebody persuasive that liked to makes things sound like we ought to go with their opinion for fear of looking like the racist islamophobe in the room.

  40. David Hart says

    “they [Muslims] honour Christ as a prophet, but as I understand, not as high a one as Mohammed.”

    … except that while the Jesus of the Bible goes on at great length about how he is the son of God, the Jesus of the Quran explicitly denies it (Surah 19:35-36). Also, while it is a central plank of Christian theology that Jesus was killed by crucifixion, the Quran explicitly denies this, saying, essentially, that it was all an illusion, and that he was in fact bodily raised up to heaven without first being killed (Surah 4:157-158).

    There is simply no way one can claim to consider the Quran to be true without necessarily endorsing concepts that are blasphemous to Christians (and vice-versa, of course).

  41. Chris Wallis says

    @Ophelia post#18

    On the Islamophobia=Racism topic- Two questions I would like to put to Anita:

    Q1. Is it reasonable to attempt to convert a Christian to Islam by argument?
    Q2. Is it reasonable to attempt to convert a black person to a white person by argument?

  42. says

    Chris, back in the South African apartheid days I knew a Zambian diplomat who was an “honorary white” He used to say he had documentary proof that he was white and would sue anyone who said otherwise.


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