One of the major problems facing any discussion of religion, let alone Islam and/or Islamism is the problem of censorship and faux offence. There is a whole industry based within Islamic circles watching to find the smallest "slight" on their backwards superstitious creed. The reason? Simply that Islam like all other religions does not stand up to scrutiny.
There was much consternation over the attempts to ban Jesus and Mo t-shirts in the London School of Economics last year. This along with continued attempts by the Islamic Student Societies to impose gender separation at meetings held on campus represents a clear threat to secular values and equality in British society.
One of the basic tenets of democratic society is free speech. Trouble is that is a two way process, it means that we have to afford those who threaten our way of life the right to express their views as much as those we happen to agree with.
As long as people do not actually incite hate or violence against others its pretty clear what free speech entails.
Religion is one of those "sensitive" areas where it's adherents (who claim to be speaking on behalf of their "God" or "gods") really don't like being criticised and the religion that really doesn't tolerate criticism is the so-called religion of peace, Islam.
Those who leave or become critical within the world wide Muslim "community" are usually either threatened with death as "apostates" or killed or in the West witch-hunted".
Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics have a particular role in standing up for the right to be critical, after all that is what we believe. Being an atheist in some countries, such as the USA is not always easy. American politics despite the separation of religion and state is very much religiously orientated. Politicians are always praying to God or be seen to being god-fearing citizens in order to get votes.
They said it would be difficult to have a black President of the USA, but even though they now have one it remains a sheer impossibility to have an atheist one.
The USA stands for free speech far more than even we allow in this country. And yet the censors are out there, especially when it comes to Islam.
The following statement has been issued by the Yale Humanist Community following an outcry over their signing a Islamist inspired demand that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not allowed to speak on campus:
We, the Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics, stand by our decision to criticize the Buckley Program's invitation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on Islam and the West. As a diverse group of undergraduates with a membership that includes ex-Muslims and atheists from Islamic cultures, we do not believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali represents the totality of the ex-Muslim experience. Although we acknowledge the value of her story, we do not endorse her blanket statements on all Muslims and Islam. We believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali represents a sadly common voice in the atheist community that attacks and provokes, rather than contributes to constructive criticism or dialogue. We remind our fellow atheists, Humanists, and agnostics of the rich history of dissent within our community, and do not believe belonging to this community necessitates an endorsement of all community members and their beliefs.
I'm quite sure her views "do not represent the totality of the Muslim community", she is an individual and as a human being has suffered as a result of her own individual experiences. She has a right to express these views and debate them with her detractors.
Anything else is a betrayal of free speech and democracy.
Yale Humanists should hang their heads in shame in capitulating to the Islamists with this bizarre statement.
The fight back against Islamism begins at home.
Education is the key.
Censorship is the problem.