Hamza Tzortzis three years ago

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.



  1. Adam Stanford says


    I heard the security guards at UCL let Ophelia Benson through the men’s entrance without a second thought.

  2. says

    This misinterprets “Hayaa.” As usual, Islamists are attempting to deliberately deceive non-Muslim, non-Arabic speakers with these antiquated Arabic terms. The gist of the insinuation is, “You don’t know our special jargon for these concepts, so therefore, you are too ignorant of Islam to comment!” “Hayaa” does not refer to a sort of sincere experience of shyness felt by a woman as would be implied by saying “many of them feel shy!”

    As explained by a Muslim website:

    There is no true English definition of the word ‘Hayaa’’ but the closest one can get to it is shame, modesty, and bashfulness. Hayaa’ is an essential characteristic of a Muslim; it must be obtained in order to attain faith as they come together as a pair:

    Clearly, we find that the greater the humility and shame is of a person, the further they will stay away from sins and the better-mannered the individual will be.

    Without Hayaa, we’ll just descend into multiple partners and joking about dicks and other such wickedness:

    Even watching a kiss is wrong despite it seeming so trivial these days. We should not expose our eyes to such things because of the effects they can have…

    Another aspect is the freeness in portraying immoral practices such as multiple physical partners or even joking about or discussing intimacy and sexual organs…


    So if Hayaa is required for all Muslims, then why in the world would women be treated differently than men. Oh right: THEY’VE BEEN TAUGHT, men and women, think of women as more likely to sin, more likely to fuck up, more in need of shame, and humiliation, and guilt, and supervision.

    It’s a goddamn outrage.

  3. says

    When I say “fuck you, Tzortzis” I am using the old Norwegian expression of respect, literally “I honor your honesty” although it’s tricky because if you pronounce it with a Swedish accent it comes out as “I mistook you for a piece of rotted fish” – that’s the pronounciation where the ‘p’ is silent. I am totally not lying about this, anymore than you are about “hayaa” so when someone says “fuck you” you should nod and thank them profusely.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    Wait, Adam Stanford. So your side tries to insult PZ for being too much like a woman, and you try to insult Ophelia by saying she’s too much like a man. So which one is supposed to be bad, again?

    Or is it just that you’re all about suportig rigidly defined gender roles, and so the best way to insult someone is to suggest that they might be transgressing them? Why not just become a Muslim or a Fundie Christian and be done with it? It sounds as if you’d fit right in.

  5. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    brucegee1962 wrote:

    Why not just become a Muslim or a Fundie Christian and be done with it? It sounds as if you’d fit right in.

    Nah, that’d require far more integrity than Adam possesses.

  6. says

    Hayaa’ is an essential characteristic of a Muslim; it must be obtained in order to attain faith as they come together as a pair:

    A representative survey of my Muslim work collegues today showed that Hayaa is indeed the term used for the concept of a shy and modest woman. But they all agreed that it’s neither a must, nor a reason for a Muslim woman not to attend any event where there might be men and women together in a room, like say for a wedding or a Uni lecture. Those women will then find a spot for themselves away from men on their own, rather then requiring segregated seating arrangements as a condition to attend. In other words, the Islamic Society is bullshitting.

  7. says

    But, but don’t you understand, that was an opportunity for these women.
    We mustn’t argue about those pesky equality and human rights ideas because those muslims don’t acknowledge them anyway.
    How do I know? Somebody who knows everything about muslims and human rights told me so…

  8. ismenia says

    Being too shy to ask questions or speak in front of others is certainly not a virtue at university.

  9. moleatthecounter says

    Sheila – He has forced me to donate too…


    Let’s hope he keeps his insults to himself. We don’t want this awful site to actually continue do we?!

  10. says

    Thanks all! Thanks Adam Stanford, whoever you are. (Will there be an Ishmael Yale next? A Jeremiah Princeton? An Isaiah Berkeley?)

    Marcus @ 5 – 😀

  11. kevinalexander says

    The only Hayaa that I know.
    Miss Piggy being a woman and a pig and immodestly dressed and certainly not shy, definitely haram.

  12. deepak shetty says

    I usually only donate to specific charities – but like the others for #1 , i will make an exception and have donated to B&W

Leave a Reply

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