Controversy over activist talk in Trinity

An Iranian political activist refused to deliver a talk in Trinity College after college security imposed restrictions on the event, which they said would be “one-sided” and “antagonising” to “Muslim students”.

Maryam Namazie was invited by the Society for International Affairs to talk about apostasy and the rise of Islam. But backed out of the talk because she was dissatisfied with certain conditions her appearance entailed.

“I was told that two conditions were required for the event to go ahead; one, that it only be open to students of the college, and two, that there would be a moderator to chair the talk,” Namazie said.

Namazie who is a former follower of Islam but no longer practises the religion said these terms would unfair “since such conditions are not usually placed on other speakers”.

Recently the outspoken preacher Sheikh Kamah El Mekki was invited to speak at an event in Trinity College by the TCD Muslim Association and the Irish branch of the Al Maghrib Institute. No conditions were placed on this event despite the controversy surrounding the preacher. In the past he has spoken about why apostates should receive the death penalty and why there is a need for harsh punishment like stoning for committing adultery.

Namazie said it was unjust that security raised imposed no restrictions on El Mekki’s lecture. “No conditions were placed on his talk, nor was there threats to cancel his event over concerns that his position on death for apostates would ‘antagonise’ ex-Muslim and Muslim students who do not support apostasy laws.”

A spokesperson for Trinity College said the university would not comment “on an event organised by a student society”.

Jennifer Purdy

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