Abhishek Phadnis considers the silence of secularists in the face of the left-Islamist alliance.
Radical Islam mines a rich seam of support in the British radical Left, nowhere more so than in our universities. In light of the Birmingham reversal, it may be instructive to take stock of the role of this unholy alliance in other recent events in British academia (of which I present a small selection) and what this implies for those of us who seek to keep this space secular.
In March, attendees were evicted from a debate at University College London for defying the gender-segregation imposed by the Islamist organisers, after the forewarned UCL issued glib assurances that there would be no segregation and did absolutely nothing to back them up. Two weeks later, the LSE Students’ Union twinned itself with the Islamic University of Gaza, which has been described as “the brains trust and engine room of Hamas”.
This time last year, the atheists of Reading University were evicted from their Freshers’ Fayre by the Labour-controlled Union for hosting a pineapple named ‘Mohammed’. Likewise, my own society has faced systematic harassment from the LSESU for refusing to genuflect to Islam, particularly since the Union’s 2012 thought-crime resolution banning “Islamophobia” (inter alia “hatred or fear of Islam…or Islamic culture” and “attacking the Quran as a manual of hatred”).
We have repeatedly been forced to take down cartoons from our private Facebook page, following anonymous complaints. We have also been arbitrarily thwarted in our attempts to better signpost ourselves for Islamic apostates (a heroic and persecuted ‘black’ minority that receives indifferent treatment from the Black Students’ Campaign) by incorporating “ex-Muslim” into the society’s name. Our latest proposal was rejected on the grounds that it ‘jeopardised the safety of ex-Muslims’, which came as news to the ex-Muslim organisations on whose recommendation we’d sought the change.
It’s a terrible, pathetic situation.