By Mark Tapson
In the song “Another Brick in the Wall,” the British rock group Pink Floyd rails against the psychic isolation induced by rigidly doctrinaire schooling. “We don’t need no education,” the lyrics go, a line whose bad grammar ironically proves just how badly they do need one. It then continues with the still ungrammatical but much more valid protest, “We don’t need no thought control.”
Now the Student Union of the prestigious London School of Economics (LSESU) has just laid another brick in that wall and strengthened thought control with its recent resolution to stamp out the mythical threat of Islamophobia on the LSE campus.
LSE is among the world’s most selective universities, with a highly international student body. It has produced many notable alumni in the arenas of law, economics, business, literature and politics, including world leaders and winners of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.Everyone from Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Hayek to George Soros and Carlos the Jackal has studied there. Their Student Union itself is one of the oldest and most politically active in the United Kingdom.
In a recent resolution, the LSESU begins by listing various reasons for their concern about the issue of Islamophobia, evidence for which they cite from publications like the New Yorker, the UK Guardian, and the UK Independent:
- The rise of Islamophobia in the UK
- The rise of the extreme right in Europe
- The 762 Islamophobic offenses in London alone between April 2009 and June 2011 as confirmed by the Metropolitan Police
- Ethnic minorities are 42 times as likely to be targeted under the Terrorism Act
- Recent Islamophobic incidents at LSE
That last point references an incident which seemed to have been the final straw. The LSE’s Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society had posted a cartoon featuring Jesus and Mohammed. The satirical cartoon incurred about forty (according to the LSESU) student complaints about the depiction of Mohammed that prompted an “emergency session” (for an interesting firsthand report from the session, read here). Apparently no resolution will be forthcoming denouncing Christianophobia.
Tellingly, the LSESU knitted its collective brow over “the rise of Islamophobia and the extreme right” but expressed no concern about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the UK, particularly in “Londonistan.” It complained about “Islamophobic offenses” in London but said nothing about the offenses of Muslim terrorism there, such as the 7/7 bombings. Nor did it explain that that number of “Islamophobic offenses” includes any ludicrous accusation or perceived offense on the part of a Muslim, such as the outrageous incident in which a British Christian couple came under criminal charges for simply having a religious argument with a Muslim.
After being overwhelmed by this worrying tsunami of Islamophobia hype, the LSESU then asserted the following beliefs:
- In the right to criticize religion
- In freedom of speech and thought
- It has a responsibility to protect its members from hate crime and hate speech
- Debate on religious matters should not be limited by what may be offensive to any particular religion, but the deliberate and persistent targeting of one religious group about any issue with the intent or effect of being Islamophobic (‘Islamophobia’ as defined below) will not be tolerated
- That Islamophobia is a form of anti-Islamic racism