It is indeed ironic that, shortly following my post about the erasure from public consciousness ex-Muslims face – in the world in general, and in Britain in particular – the LSESU writes to us saying that we, the ex-Muslims, are not allowed to be open about our identity!
The gall, the barefaced audacity of this claim is so deeply offensive that one has to take a minute and say ‘Huh?!? Is this for real?’
The next reaction is, ‘How dare you?’
How dare you tell us what we can and cannot affiliate ourselves with?
How dare you tell us what we can or cannot call ourselves?
How dare you tell us to remain hidden, invisible, oppressed and repressed?
How dare you!
I will add that they were sent an email by our Ex-Muslim Affairs officer, saying he could meet with them any time to answer any questions. They did not even bother responding to him. They did not even bother speaking to a single ex-Muslim.
What gives them the right to impose what in their view we should or should not do – what, in their view, our political and religious stances can be? The last time I checked, this was Britain, and this was the LSE!
This is that age-old argument I always heard in Pakistan: ‘Keep your head down’, ‘Don’t ask for trouble.’ If someone threatens, hurts or kills you for expressing an opinion, it is your fault. You were asking for trouble.
I for one find this unacceptable behaviour from a student-based organisation. We are supposed to be open, engaging with everyone from all backgrounds and opinions. We are supposed to debate, discuss and discover, not silence, censor and oppress!
Unfortunately, the SU at LSE has become an instrument in furthering the oppression we, the ex-Muslims, face. Who are they to decide what risks we are allowed to take in the political or religious positions we espouse?
As Alex very aptly put it in his post here:
Are ex-Muslims endangered by joining student bodies which acknowledge their existence? If they are, surely that’s still up to them?
And as Hemant said of the SU’s response:
If they’re in danger, then punish the people who put them in danger, not the group trying to help them out. This seems like a hasty, poor decision by the Union.
We in the Ex-Muslim community consider ourselves the new gay community in its nascent stages. Most of us are still in the closet, and those who come out do so at immense risks. We, very similarly, risk being rejected by everyone we know and love, and being seen differently because we dared express who we are.
Would this SU have said to the gay community, ‘Do not call your society the LGBT society?’
In all likelihood, they would have told them to establish a generic society which didn’t make visible that they were homosexual or transgender. They would have kicked them back into a deeper closet, which they seem to be doing to us.
I don’t know about you, but I am deeply offended – to my core.
I expected better. The Ex-Muslims deserve better.
Do we not have equal rights on our own campus?
Do we not get to express our identity, like any other student?