A Twitter friend pointed out this post about Hamza Tzortzis from October 2010.
The Q&A session started with the announcement that whilst the Brothers in the audience were allowed to address the speaker directly, the Sisters had to write their question on a slip of paper which was then passed down to the front and vetted before being answered. Unbelievable. Perhaps what is more unbelievable is that the practice is being defended, and not labelled the outright misogynistic behaviour that it is. This was posted on the Islamic Society group page on Facebook.
Just one side-note regarding the point which one of the atheists (I don’t know who) raised regarding our sisters etc. The reason why sisters write questions on paper is because many of them feel shy, its called “hayaa”. Its not because they’re less than us!!! And also, there were so many brothers sitting on the floor, can we say: Muslims disrespect men because they had to sit on the floor?? If he didnt know, thats ok, but he should have asked. Isnt asking the cure to the disease of ignorance?
For a start, ALL the sisters were told to write their questions on paper, not just the shy ones. I can’t imagine that none of the 40-odd women in the room were so shy they couldn’t put their hand up. And surely a room full of fellow, sympathetic Muslims is the best place to overcome your shyness? Yes, asking is the cure to the disease of ignorance. It’s just a shame that the Brothers seems to be keeping the cure for themselves. Around 10 bits of paper were passed to the front and not a single question from them was answered. In fact he actually chastised one woman for ’‘writing an essay’.
Oh good grief. They feel shy, it’s called “hayaa”. Speaking about it, being intellectually active about it, it’s more of a guy thing. Same old same old same old.
Via that post, there’s a long, informative one at Harry’s Place, which concludes by warning people not to debate Tzortzis.
In conclusion – do not give Tzortzis credibility by offering him a platform or sharing one with him
While the writer hopes that this post will prevent all UK university Islamic societies from giving Tzortzis a platform ever again, this is highly unlikely. More realistically, student unions can now be warned about the man’s true political intentions in order for action to be taken the higher levels and overrule the Islamic societies. Readers are asked to forward the link to this post to their local universities, humanist groups and another other potentially interested parties.
Moreover, the main purpose of this post is to warn all atheist, secularist and humanist speakers of the dangers of sharing a platform with Tzortzis. While it is stressed that there is no evidence of a direct physical risk to person or property, speakers should err on the side of caution and bear this possibility in mind. The greatest risk is that if humanist speakers are willing to share a platform with Tzortzis in a discussion or a debate, this will only give him further credibility and further opportunity to spread the ideology of HTB.
I guess the warning needs to be spread around a little more widely.