Quantcast

«

»

Feb 28 2013

More news from Reading University

I found an interesting update from Adam Goodkin of the Reading University student atheist humanist secularist society on Facebook this morning: an event they were protesting has been called off. I bet you can guess what kind of event it was before I quote from Pink News on the subject.

Homophobic cleric Abu Usamah at-Thahabi will no longer be visiting the University of Reading tomorrow after the event he was due to attend was cancelled because of fears of violent protests.

The cleric has advocated that gay men should be thrown off a “mountain” and previously referred to gay people as “perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered”.

Thahabi was due to attend Reading University’s Muslim Society on Thursday as part of a series of talks designed to raise awareness of Islam as a faith.

So the question becomes, why was Thahabi due to attend Reading University’s Muslim Society on Thursday as part of a series of talks designed to raise awareness of Islam as a faith? Why doesn’t Reading University’s Muslim Society have a filter that excludes clerics who say that gay men should be thrown off a mountain and that gay people are “perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered”? Why don’t they want clerics who respect human rights as opposed to clerics who don’t?

8 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    johnthedrunkard

    “raise awareness of Islam as a faith?”

    That is exactly what his presence would have done.

    That’s why he was going to Reading.

    That is what ‘Islam’ IS. If it isn’t, why don’t the Tolerant Moderate Muslims saddle up their unicorns and demonstrate otherwise. Maybe they could start by protecting women in Tarhir Square, or keeping little girls safe from mutilation anywhere in Northern or Eastern Africa?

  2. 2
    zibble

    That is what ‘Islam’ IS. If it isn’t, why don’t the Tolerant Moderate Muslims saddle up their unicorns and demonstrate otherwise. Maybe they could start by protecting women in Tarhir Square, or keeping little girls safe from mutilation anywhere in Northern or Eastern Africa?

    It’s not really any Muslim’s responsibility to police other Muslims any more than it’s my responsibility to police other white people or atheists. This is not to say they have NO responsibility, just that their responsibility to police the actions of any people is equal to mine and yours.

    There are Muslims who are not just moderate but actively feminist and left wing, and they DO resist this sort of extremism. They objectively exist. But it’s not possible for them to reach the kind of moving goalposts set as an excuse for generalizing billions of people.

    I agree that this cleric represents the heart of Islam and the heart of religion in general, but you shouldn’t forget that Muslims are all individuals who often have other values in their lives and are often much, much more decent than the philosophy they’ve been raised with.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    I don’t think that’s quite right. It makes little sense to police other white people, or black people if you’re black and so on. But people who share a political view or a worldview? That makes at least some sense.

    Some of us want to see atheism not be associated with rampant noisy sexism and misogyny. Others of us want to see it not be associated with feminism. That’s not our responsibility, true, but the wish makes a kind of sense. (Obviously I think the first one makes more sense than the second, but the underlying wish is the same.)

  4. 4
    Perchloric Acid

    I’d actually support the right of this person to speak- just to make sure the world knew what kind of scum he was. Make sure there were several people in the audience to record his words.

  5. 5
    zibble

    I don’t think that’s quite right. It makes little sense to police other white people, or black people if you’re black and so on. But people who share a political view or a worldview? That makes at least some sense.

    Some of us want to see atheism not be associated with rampant noisy sexism and misogyny.

    Yes, but there are many Muslims who legitimately don’t want to see Islam associated with violence or misogyny, either, and I don’t think it’s fair to ignore the distinction.

    I think, and I think you think, that being a Muslim feminist is a contradiction in terms, because gender equality contradicts the teachings of the Koran. But part of the insidious nature of religion is how it’s not just about a philosophy – it’d tied up with culture and people’s identities. I want Muslims to see that distinction – that by calling themselves a Muslim reflecting little more than an arbitrary cultural identity that was pushed on them before they were born, they are validating a social agenda that forms possibly the biggest enemy to human rights throughout the world. But we also need to see that distinction; to imply that every Muslim WANTS gays and women subjugated just isn’t true.

    tl;dr : I think it’s fair to criticize western-minded Muslims for advancing Islam or if they minimize the horrors of Islam, but not for failing to stop rape or mutilation in areas where they have no power.

    Unlike, for example, the UK government, which could stop the thousands of mutilations happening in a white, western, Christian nation, but won’t.

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    I wasn’t really addressing the larger point, just that way of putting it.

    On the larger point – I think it’s fair to criticize anyone for promoting or praising Islam, because it is what it is, though at the same time I think there are a lot of problems with doing that, including what you say – people are simply born into it, and it’s not easy to walk away. But then it can still be fair to criticize not walking away. Fortunately Nazism didn’t last long enough for people to be born into it and then get stuck there, but if it had…we could sympathize with them but still also criticize them.

    (Hello Orac. Just the easiest way to make the point.)

  7. 7
    zibble

    But then it can still be fair to criticize not walking away.

    Oh yeah, definitely agree with you there. That’s a fair, accurate criticism. I just feel compelled to jump on people whose criticism isn’t as specific.

    Especially when that sloppy thinking works both ways. I don’t think the actions of the Taliban define liberal-minded Muslims in America, but I also don’t want liberal Muslims to say their values (largely the product of a 21st century secular education) represent Islam, either.

  8. 8
    John Stumbles

    Not just homophobia: our enlightened cleric friend seems also to have advocated killing ex-muslims and described women as being “incomplete, deficient” of intellect.
    http://www.studentrights.org.uk/article/2048/abu_usamah_to_speak_at_reading_university

    “Raising awareness of Islam”.

    Indeed :-/

  1. 9
    University Diaries » “[W]hy was Thahabi due to attend Reading University’s Muslim Society on Thursday?”

    [...] asks UD‘s blogpal Ophelia Benson about a cleric who encourages the murder of gay people and positively insists that by eight years [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>