Free speech bites the dust
Intimidation and censorship at the LSE
If you want to take action to protest please sign this petition and send an email to
LSE Students’ Union General Secretary Jay Stoll, firstname.lastname@example.org
LSE Students’ Union Chief Executive Pari Dhillon, email@example.com
LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun, firstname.lastname@example.org
and the LSE Press office, email@example.com.
Here is the email I have sent so feel free to duplicate or modify for your own means.
Dear Jay Stoll and Pari Dhillon,
It was very disappointing to hear about the treatment of members of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Student Society at last week’s Freshers Fair, not only because of the physical intimidation but also due to the violation of their freedom to express themselves in a peaceful and non-violent manner.
Just because someone claims to be offended and complains does not mean that the complaint should be acted upon. Such a response should only be made in exceptional circumstances and this was clearly not one of those cases.
The students were merely expressing their worldview entirely relevant to the society they were promoting. It may have been in contrast to the view of the complainants, but as it was done in a harmless way there was no reasonable justification for the treatment they received.
I understand the complainants were Islamists, so I wonder if the same censorship would be meted out to those promoting Islam considering that the Quran contains passages such as,
“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.”
which could easily be interpreted as offensive, as well as an incitement to violence.
I do not support censorship in either case, but to censor only one side of such a controversy is not only unfair, but also hypocritical and prejudiced.
I urge you to provide redress to the students in question and ensure that a situation like this does not occur again.