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Feb 06 2012

If we are really a majority, which I believe, can we please see it on the streets for a change?

One Law for All spokesperson Maryam Namazie was interviewed for this week’s Pod Delusion at the recent Centre for Free Inquiry conference on Blasphemy. She spoke about the need to support Atheist societies on campus and called for people to take to the streets to defend free expression on 11 February.

“I think the rally is important for two reasons. One is that Atheist student groups don’t feel alone, because they are being bullied, they are being intimidated, and they’re being called all sorts of things, for merely posting a ‘Jesus and Mo’ image on their Facebook page, or expressing their beliefs. I want to give them a sense that they’re not alone. There are a lot of people who support them, who’ll defend their right to free expression.

“There are a lot of ways in which you can defend free expression, but I do think going out on the streets is important as well. A lot of changes in the world didn’t take place behind closed doors with people in power discussing things. It happened because there was so much pressure on the streets that things changed for the better, and I think this is one way of defending free expression. So I do urge everyone to come. If we are really a majority, which I believe, can we please see it on the streets for a change?”

To listen to the Podcast, click here or listen below.


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A Day to Defend Free Expression
Saturday 11th February, 2pm – 4pm
Old Palace Yard, Opposite the House of Lords
London
A list of events in other cities here.

For more information please visit One Law for All.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Re-Enlightenment

    I’m really looking forward to it, Maryam.

    When I tell people about it, a common reaction is rolling of the eyes, as though if you are marching/protesting about something, you are by definition up to no good. As if it’s a phase you should have grown out of by now. It infuriates me.

    I’m attending a rally to defend free speech, ffs. Two essential components of a democracy.

    It would be great to see liberal/secular Muslims come out in support of free speech, too. I won’t hold my breath, though, because their silence can be rather deafening at times.

    1. 1.1
      AZryan

      There’s no such thing as a ‘secular Muslims’.

      1. Maryam Namazie

        Of course there is! There is no secular Islamists but secularists who have private religious views – of course.

        1. AZryan

          What are you talking about? A ‘secular Muslim’ is the SAME as a ‘secular Islamist’, and BOTH are oxymorons.

          Muslim -an adherent of the religion of Islam.

          Secular -being separate from religion, or not being exclusively allied to any particular religion.

          Islam is a ‘particular’ religion. I don’t understand how you are not getting this?

          The only thing I can guess is that you believe ‘Muslim’ is an ‘ethnicity’? That would be the only thing that makes sense and it’s still not true.

    2. 1.2
      Maryam Namazie

      There are some secular Muslims coming to speak at the event. But don’t forget that if Islamists can frighten a student at the university to censor himself/herself, just imagine how scary it must be to have the Islamist running your neighbourhood. If we all start speaking up, a lot more ‘Muslims’ will be able to as well.

  2. 2
    AZryan

    Maybe I missed it, but when you say “-If we are really a majority, which I believe,-…”

    Are you saying you believe atheists are a majority? It’s always seemed like the overwhelming evidence is that just about any way you look at it, theists are the vast majority.
    I’m sad that they’re the vast majority, but I don’t know how someone could imagine that they’re not?

    Maybe I just didn’t get what you meant ‘majority’ in reference to exactly? Atheist ‘on campus’ maybe??

    1. 2.1
      Maryam Namazie

      People who are pro-free expression

    2. 2.2
      BillyJoe

      This is a bit embarrassing, AZryan, two blunders in two posts. But, look at the bright side. You just learned two new things. …hey, maybe you just learned a third!

      1. AZryan

        I haven’t made any mistakes! She thinks someone who’s ‘secular’ can also be ‘religious’. This is impossible by plain definition.
        She says that ‘Muslims’ can be ‘secular’. Again, impossible by plain definition.
        You’re arguing against the friggin’ dictionary.

        I had also asked if she meant that Atheists are a majority (because she seemed to imply it). She replied ‘pro-free expression’.
        That’s not a ‘mistake’ I made. It was a QUESTION I asked. The post calls for supporting ‘Atheist student groups’ so the confusion over what she meant was reasonable. I’m not a mind-reader.

        You better be specific and back up your claim next time you say someone else is making mistakes! Especially when they actually hadn’t -which means you just did.

        1. Maryam Namazie

          Look my parents are muslim but they are also secular. That is they want religion to be a private matter – they want the separation of religion from the state. That is the definition of secularism. Also when I said we were a majority, I was speaking in the context of the free expression rally not atheism. I was referring to those of us who want free expression, who want to defend it, we are in the majority. The rally is being called because atheist student groups are being forced not to show a Jesus and Mo cartoon but One law for All also had a meeting cancelled. The organisation is not an atheist organisation, though some of us running are… There are Muslims also speaking at the rally, as well as atheists and others. Free expression is something we all need to defend and support irrepective of our views. Anyway I hope this is clear now.

  3. 3
    piero

    I am 10,000 miles away, but if I could afford it I would certainly travel to London to take part in the rally. I don’t think any issue could be more important than the protection of free speech, the one right all other rights depend upon.

    I know it’s worthless, much as a prayer is, but I send my sincere wishes that the rally is a huge success and that it stirs a renewed appreciation for the Enlightenment values that were bravely upheld by the British people… until they began to think that offending morons was somehow reproachable.

    Was Britain really the land of Hume, Locke, Hobbes, Swift and Gibbon? Nowadays no-one would believe it.

    1. 3.1
      AZryan

      “-I know it’s worthless, much as a prayer is, but I send my sincere wishes that the rally is a huge success…-”

      Unlike prayer, sincere wishes that are actually heard by others can inspire. So don’t be so quick to sound defeatist and think what might do something can’t or won’t.
      Theists love to use that against the secular. That’s how they keep on winning by playing to ‘emotion as the opposite of reason’ -when that’s not at all true.
      We need to inspire and the secular world certainly can.

      I challenge people here, so we’re all better in the face of the enemy.

  4. 4
    BillyJoe

    “A lot of changes in the world didn’t take place behind closed doors with people in power discussing things.”

    How true.
    Can you really imagine black rights without MLK?

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