Activist pulled out of event because of miscommunication – SOFIA

news1Political activist Maryam Namazie withdrew from a talk on apostasy because she had mistakenly been led to believe that it would be a public event, the Society for International Affairs (SOFIA) said in a statement circulated to its members this afternoon.

The student society, which was due to host Ms Namazie in Trinity College today, said they had agreed to oversee the event after an individual student invited her to speak on campus.

The student in question, the statement said, led their guest to believe that she would be speaking at a public meeting before it had taken over as a host organisation.

“When in contact with Ms Namazie the society corrected these misapprehensions – as the society does not organise meetings on College property for the general public and instead organises meetings for the membership of the society,” the statement said.

“The society had also asked another speaker for the event which it is entitled to do but had not been part of the initial individual’s invitation.”

The society said it understood but was disappointed at Ms Namazie’s decision to withdraw from the event as “her demands that the society change its practices cannot be met.”

It added that it cannot “be responsible for the assumption as to conditions which it itself did not offer, nor responsible for the polemic and widespread commentary upon the reputation of either the College itself or of the society.”

In a blog posted on Friday, Ms Namazie, who is the spokesperson for One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, claimed that “security concerns” had led to restrictions being imposed on the event.

College would only let the event proceed on the condition that all attendants are student members of the society and that the event be moderated, she alleged.

Its security, she said, had “claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided’ and would be ‘antagonising’ to ‘Muslim students’.”

Ms Namazie said that she should be able to speak at a public event as restrictions had not been placed on a talk given to the TCD Muslim Student Association by preacher Sheikh Kamal el Mekki, an alleged defender of apostasy, on February 25th.

“No conditions were placed on his talk and security did not threaten to cancel the event nor inform the association that the speakers’ position on death for apostates would ‘antagonise’ ex-Muslim and Muslim students who do not support apostasy laws,” she wrote.

Image: Atheist Ireland/YouTube

Catherine Healy

Editor of Trinity News. Interested in politics, history and all forms of media.