Archive for the ‘Debate’ Category

I’m just going to repost this story as it is via this link to the New Humanist webpage. It’s a huge shame that there are such violent and aggressive people ruining otherwise peaceful debates/events such as this one simply because they regard religion. I wonder when and if such islamic aggression will reach our shores here in Australia, as it already has the US and Europe.

Yesterday evening, a talk on “Sharia Law and Human Rights” organised by the Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society at Queen Mary, University London, had to be cancelled after threats of violence. The talk was due to be given by Anne Marie Waters of the One Law For All campaign, which campaigns against the use of Sharia in the UK.

The president of the society describes what happened:

“Five minutes before the talk was due to start a man burst into the room holding a camera phone and for some seconds stood filming the faces of all those in the room. He shouted ‘listen up all of you, I am recording this, I have your faces on film now, and I know where some of you live’, at that moment he aggressively pushed the phone in someone’s face and then said ‘and if I hear that anything is said against the holy Prophet Muhammad, I will hunt you down.’ He then left the room and two members of the audience applauded.

“The same man then began filming the faces of Society members in the foyer and threatening to hunt them down if anything was said about Muhammad, he added that he knew where they lived and would murder them and their families. On leaving the building, he joined a large group of men, seemingly there to support him. We were told by security to stay in the Lecture Theatre for our own safety. On arriving back in the room I became aware that the doors that opened to the outside were still open and that people were still coming in. Several eye witnesses reported that when I was in the foyer a group of men came through the open doors, causing a disruption and making it clear that the room could not be secured. Unfortunately, the lack of security in the lecture theatre meant we and the audience had to leave and a Union representative informed the security that as students’ lives had been threatened there was no way that the talk could go ahead.
“This event was supposed to be an opportunity for people of different religions and perspectives to debate, at a university that is supposed to be a beacon of free speech and debate. Only two complaints had been made to the Union prior to the event, and the majority of the Muslim students at the event were incredibly supportive of it going ahead. These threats were an aggressive assault on freedom of speech and the fact that they led to the cancellation of our talk was severely disappointing for all of the religious and non-religious students in the room who wanted to engage in debate.”
The police were contacted about the incident and the Society is waiting to hear how their investigation will proceed.Jenny Bartle, president of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS), commented:

“More and more atheist, humanist and secular student societies are forming on campuses across the UK and we deserve the same levels of respect as any other community. Our members have as much right as anyone else to participate in the free inquiry, discussion and debate which should exist in universities. The threats our members have received are both troubling and repugnant and we reject all attempts to counter debate with violence. At the same time, we welcome the support from across faiths that many of our societies experience on campus to help us secure the freedom to have our say, just as we support them in having the freedom to have theirs.”
 Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association gave support to the society:
“The attempted intimidation that this society has experienced is shocking. Free expression, the free exchange of ideas and free debate are hallmarks of an open society; violence and the threat of violence should never be allowed to compromise that, especially in our universities. We will work to support our affiliate society at Queen Mary’s and look forward to a speedy police investigation and resolution of this case.”

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My wonderful girlfriend just showed me this nice mini-doco on Ron Paul and his policies and I thought I’d share it. Though I may not agree with his beliefs, I am more than a big fan of what he stands for and has stood for without wavering for the past 30 or more years. The one politician with integrity and doesn’t pander to anyone…

So to all the Americans reading this who will be voting at the next presidential election, if you want your country to be saved Ron Paul is who you should be voting for. If you want a president who actually respects and follows the constitution and upholds the ideals of your founding fathers, he’s the man you should be voting for. Otherwise it’s a fairly grim outlook.

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Intelligence Squared (IQ²) had a live debate last night held in Sydney with the provocative title “Atheists are wrong”. God was apparently among the audience initially, but only for the minority. The crowd voted against the proposition that “Atheists are wrong”, 3 to 1 majority.

The live video of the debate should be posted online in the near future. For those interested stayed tuned here. There also appears to have been an interesting one that was held in May this year titled “All drugs should be legalised”.

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