Safe Spaces II

Transphobic opinions are incitement to violence.

Here is Maryam Namazie’s talk at Goldsmiths. She claims that there is a clear distinction between criticism of Islam, an idea, or Islamism, a political movement, and bigotry against Muslims. However, there is no clear line between fair criticism and dehumanising of  enemies: calling us men is a threat to us.

And she has an essential task, mocking Islam by drawing attention to insane fatwas that the Earth is stationary or that a starving man may eat his wife (no fatwa has been issued that wives may eat husbands); but also speaking out about the execution of rape victims for fornication, or of those who leave Islam. Thirteen countries impose the death penalty for apostasy, she says, though the Library of Congress puts it at eight. Here, Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid argues that death is no less than the apostate deserves. Here, Kashif N. Chaudhry argues that the Koran does not support apostasy laws, but gives freedom of conscience for belief.

Maryam Namazie speaks out for apostates, through the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. I want to support her in this, to encourage people to choose freely whether to believe.

So opinions matter. Opinions can kill. Belief systems include moral beliefs condemning other people.

Waiting around in Accident and Emergency, I saw a white woman enter wearing an Islamic head-scarf, though not a niqab. Others noticed too. “Bin-laden,” sniggered a woman (it was before his murder). Such words might put the apparently Muslim woman in fear and alarm, though there are still taboos against physical assault. A woman who would pull a niqab from another’s face- an assault- might be encouraged by such giggling dehumanising. Or by the expression of opinion one might psyche oneself up to assault.

Here are my own, entirely reasonable opinions on the veil. A woman might freely choose the veil. Anonymity in crowds, or when on business, is desirable. We communicate with our faces, and a poker face is an advantage. A woman might choose the veil out of loyalty to family, or because of the express disapproval of others, and that is the moment where the choice is constrained rather than free. Though human beings are interdependent, and loyalty or the desire to please others are legitimate motivations. The veil is also a clear indication of adherence to Islam.

I agree that much of the belief of Islam- including the belief of many Muslims that apostasy should be punished, even if that belief is not supported by the Koran- is poisonous and harmful. I want to defend the apostates against those who would harm them. That opinion may make a Muslim feel defensive, or encourage someone who would use violence against them.

People form tribes, with loyalty to the group and rejection of the outsider. As we mature, we recognise that no-one should be excluded from the tribe, that everyone is my neighbour. However to reach such a position we need to feel safe.

So gay people and trans people must speak out for the Muslims, even those who would throw us from high buildings. We need them to feel safe too.

As for the Muslim, so for the trans woman. The opinion that I am a man, or that I oppress women, is an excuse for excluding or erasing me. Violet and friends are also discussing Maryam.

Blake, The Blasphemer

11 thoughts on “Safe Spaces II

  1. Muslims accept the hadith (chronicles of the life of Muhammad) as an integral part of Islam – without the hadith a Muslim is unable to fulfil one of the 5 pillars (tenants) of Islam that being praying five times a day, they’d be unable to workout how many times they would have to supplicate Allah as in bowing the head and other actions which are part of this ritual.

    And it it from these hadith that the it is narrated: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who bears witness that there is no god except Allaah and that I am His Messenger, except in one of three cases: a soul for a soul (i.e., in the case of murder); a married man who commits adultery; and one who leaves his religion and splits form the jamaa’ah (main group of Muslims).” (Narrated by Bukhari, 6878; Muslim, 1676) ” Cite: (Islam: Questions and Answers – Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings …, Part 8
    By Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman – Page 236),%206878;%20Muslim,%201676&f=false

    As you can see it is clear from the above hadith and those also provided in the cite that according to “fiqh” Islamic jurisprudence and Sharia Law it is permissible to kill those who leave Islam.

    Here is a link to a wikipedia article which shows how some countries apply the apostasy law in some shape or form:

    Apart from the above mentioned, many Pew Polls suggest punishment for apostasy is widely accepted in many Muslim countries. In many cases even accusations of blasphemy have led to mob justice in countries like Pakistan. Even if some states don’t actively have the death penalty in some Islamic states in their constitution on many occasions the mob usually takes the issue into its own hands and kill apostates and those who have been considered to have committed blasphemy.

    Now coming to the verse which is often quoted as there is no compulsion in Islam:
    Here Nabeel Qureshi explains this very clearly and concisely:

    Let me finally add that, Human Rights are designed to protect individuals like you and me, not corporations, entities and mobs. Human Rights are designed to protect the rights of individuals not mobs, humans should side with individuals not ideologies, and they should not be afraid to speak outout against ideas or be intimidated as Maryam Namazie was during her lecture: Here is what she faced you’re free to make your own conclusions:


    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting. Thank you for the explanation, and the text of the hadith.

      I get a great deal of my identity from groups: Scots, Christian, Trans… I note that threat to the group feels like threat to me. My loyalty comes into play. When extremists within different tribes square off against each other, a tribe or mob solution is called for, not just an individual solution. Words hurt. We should reduce the heat.

      And, “Splits from the jamaa’ah”- is that not in the context of Muslims under threat from opposing armies?


      • Sorry, for the late response I will try to address a couple of things here. Yes a threat to a group can feel like a thread to an individual of that group, however we have to actually define what a threat is, is giving a lecture on why Islamism is a threat not only to non-Muslims but also Muslims who become radicalized is not the same as the extremes taken by Islamic extremists (by definition) many have left the UK to join Islamic State even young girls. Speaking out against this is in no way a threat to the general Muslim population, as a matter of fact I would go as far as to say the majority of the Muslims would actually welcome this, as a person who has lived with moderate Muslims, and raised by Muslims parents they’re shocked and horrified by extremist Muslims.

        Jamaa’ah simply or loosely means a larger group (or majority of) Muslims – however in the proper context it means all Muslims united under the amir (an Islamic leader whose rulings hold precedence, and whose orders must be followed, and who takes authority from the interpretation of the hadith i.e. he’s orders are based on Sharia law) so strictly, no that is not in context of Muslims splitting under the threat of armies, it qualifies just by splitting even on your own, for example by leaving Islam. You do not have to a war or even under threat, if you leave the Jamaa’ah it basically means you have left Islam. I can’t recall the hadith but this is clearly stated in Bukhari and Muslim, even a separation of the with of a hand from the Jamaa’ah means one has left Islam and will go to hell according to the hadith.

        So under Sharia Law state if a Muslim happens to leave Islam they’d be punished by the state, this isn’t common it is rare a death sentence is handed to someone who leaves Islam by the state however it is common for life imprisonment, which actually would be worse since you’d be tormented, and tortured by other inmates, and even the guards for leaving Islam. As a case in point this happened in Pakistan, a man was accused of committing blasphemy, and he was brutally murdered in prison, while the guards watched on. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, are embedded in Sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carry a death penalty. Even on the basis of an accusation, Under Article 295-C of its penal code, any Pakistani Muslim who feels his or her religious feelings have been hurt, directly or indirectly, for any reason or any action of another citizen can accuse blasphemy and open a criminal case against anyone.

        Cite: (Please read subheading Background to the Laws if you have time).


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