Reading University is disappoint

Reading University issued a statement on the cancellation of the talk by Thahabi, that is, a joint statement from Reading University Muslim Society, Reading University Students Union (RUSU) and the University of Reading.

Reading University Muslim Society, Reading University Students Union (RUSU) and the University of Reading are in agreement that the laudable aims of the Muslim Society’s Discover Islam Week are undermined by the increasing threat of violent protest from extremist groups outside the University community.

A careful assessment of the threat to the events on Wednesday and Thursday evening have led all three organisations to reluctantly agree to the cancelation of these talks. Our priority is to the safety of all those who had planned to attend or to peacefully protest outside the talk and we are very disappointed that we have had to take this course of action. However, the safety of our students, members, staff and visitors is of paramount importance.

Notice the complete absence of any mention of what was problematic about the talks. Note the complete absence of any substance, any particulars, anything one can grasp in order to understand wtf the issue may be. Note the hollow at the center. On the one hand threat of violence from outside extremist groups (extremist in exactly what sense? Extreme left-wing? Extreme feminist? Extreme what?), on the other hand concern for safety of our people. No particulars about who the outside groups are and what it is they would be protesting, no particulars about what the talks were supposed to be about and what in them was worth protesting.

Both the University and RUSU are committed to supporting the Muslim Society in its aims of raising awareness of Islam and building mutual understanding. We are delighted that other events in the week’s programme will be going ahead as planned.

As part of the review of these events, the University has agreed to work with RUSU to ensure its policies reflect the need to protect the principles of freedom of speech in balance with the rights of all constituent parts of the student community. The University is committed to upholding both the right to free speech and the right to lawful protest within an environment that guarantees the safety of all users of our campuses.

Once again, as so often with these things, the University wants to do the impossible. It wants to combine the principles of freedom of speech with the rights of all constituent parts of the student community, when the problem is that Thahabi, at least, is on record as being inimical to the rights of some constituent parts of the student community. He has said they should be thrown off a mountain.

You can’t have everything. Sad but true.




  1. evilDoug says

    I’m not sure what to think of this. If this preacher was planning to do the usual “religion of peace” crap, advance protesting against him as a demonstrably foul creep seems appropriate. It it was known that he would speak in English and expound his homophobic views, I think it probably would have been better to allow him to speak, provided that recordings could be made. It would certainly further getting to know Islam, and probably be a huge blow to the objectives of the Muslim Society. Post-facto protests would probably have cut the RUSU off at the knees.
    Rather than forcing them to be silent and be thought to be fools, let them speak and remove all doubt.

  2. Andrew B. says

    It’s like when Nixon resigned because the “political climate had grown hostile and made his job too difficult,” and most emphatically NOT because he was a lying fucker involved in secret bombings and hotel break-ins. RU’s behavior is shamelessly disingenuous.

  3. rnilsson says

    Also, note Failure of Reading on the part of Reading University of Readundancy Departure Department. URmm…

  4. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Just what was ‘the threat to the events on Wednesday and Thursday evening’? What led them to think violence- violence as in fists in faces, not violence as in rude remarks or openly expressed contempt- was so likely that it ‘led all three organisations to reluctantly agree to the cancelation of these talks’?

  5. rnilsson says

    Then again, a University must ALWAYS aim for the Totality of Everything, it’s in the name for fukeing out lewd. Missing points is OK, as long as your aim was truly Honest&True. And Honest.


    As an aside, who would ever aspire to a degree form a University of Reading? Huh? Me, I pretty much accomplished that even before I even started first class, even. Riteing and ‘Rithmetic took a little longer. Still ‘aiming for eaven.

  6. rnilsson says

    Sorry, sc_… I omitted to refresh, so missed your comment. Might it have been a subliminal allusion to peas upon him? As rained from pneumatical toy weapons?

    Cast that lecturer off the dais, said I. Let him find a different mountain to preach his peach on.

  7. Brian M says

    I think sc asks the critical quesiton. Of course REAL violence is problematical. But if they are merely recoiling at hostility to their message, then too bad.

  8. 'dirigible says

    “Just what was ‘the threat to the events on Wednesday and Thursday evening’?”

    People finding out what was being said?

  9. fastlane says

    They need to get a secular group to invite the artist of the infamous ‘muhammed cartoons’. Let’s see what happens then.

    I do agree that the guy should have been allowed to talk, make sure it gets recorded and spread far and wide. I also suspect that ‘violence’ was really just people speaking out against the homophobic ideas of islam.

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