For those of you who are not familiar with Maryam Namazie she is an activist for secularism and human rights. This particular speech, which was given at the invitation of Goldsmith’s, University of London’s Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, came to my attention because Maryam was heckled and interrupted by members of the university’s Islamic Society. For those of you who are following the freedom of speech issue as calls for censorship rise, might be interested in this event since Maryam has been accused of harassing the hecklers, invading their safe space and being an “Islamophobe.” I’ve met Maryam in person and she is a lovely, gentle, soft-spoken, warm woman. The idea that anyone might find her threatening in any sense of the term as it’s normally understood is totally laughable. It is only her words and her ideas that are threatening.
Besides the disruptions, many people will be interested in hearing the content of the talk. In comment threads in the past few weeks, I’ve seen many people struggle with the difference between opposing Islamism, a political ideology, criticizing Islam, a religion which is appropriate to discuss critically but would be wrong to try to suppress, and anti-Muslim bigotry, which I expect most people will view as wrong. For those struggling with the difference between those things, I think Maryam’s talk will be very helpful.