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Canada: Calgary School Cancels Talk by Ex-Muslim Atheist, Citing New Zealand Attack

Saturday 23 March 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/calgary-university-cancels-event-by-ex-muslim-citing-sensitivity-after-new-zealand-attacks

Calgary university cancels event by ex-Muslim, citing sensitivity after New Zealand attacks

Podcaster and author Armin Navabi had been scheduled to give a talk entitled ‘The Case Against Islamic Reform’

Tristin Hopper

March 21, 2019 7:00 PM EDT

Citing the recent anti-Muslim attacks in New Zealand, a Calgary university suddenly cancelled an event by Armin Navabi, an Iranian-Canadian atheist activist who was scheduled to deliver a talk critical of Islam.

“I’ve been deplatformed again,†wrote Navabi in a Wednesday tweet.

The event, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, was entitled The Case Against Islamic Reform. Hosted as part of a speaker series organized by the Atheist Society of Calgary, it was to be held at Mount Royal University.

Only two days before the talk, however, a representative from the school informed the society that they were being denied space.

“In light of the shooting last week and the responses to the event we have received from students and staff, we are going to have to cancel hosting your event with Armin on campus on Thursday,†reads an email from the school’s interfaith coordinator since posted to social media.

The Atheist Society of Calgary has since said the cancellation was akin to acceding to the wishes of the New Zealand gunman.

“(Atheist Society of Calgary) feels that to cancel this event communicates to terrorists, in general, that these tactics will accomplish their objectives,†they wrote in an online post notifying attendees of the cancellation.

Mount Royal University justified the cancellation by saying that the Friday murder of 50 Muslims in two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques “has had a large impact on many members in our community.â€

“We made this decision in light of that impact and we would absolutely have the speaker come to our campus at another time,†they wrote in a statement sent to CBC Calgary.

Navabi is the founder of Atheist Republic, an online news and information site designed to provide support to “non-believers around the world.†He is also a co-host of the podcast Secular Jihadists along with fellow Canadian ex-Muslim Ali Rizvi and is the author of the 2014 book Why There Is No God.

Born in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Navabi grew up deeply ingrained in the Islamic faith. He has said his path away from religion started at age 12, when he jumped out a window in the belief that if he died as a child he would be guaranteed access to heaven.

As a speaker and activist, he supports the abandonment of all religion, Islam included, and has criticized attempts to reform the faith from the inside. “The only way to reform Islam is to abandon Islam,†he wrote in a 2017 tweet.

This is the second time in a month that Navabi has been involved in a controversy about on-campus free speech.

He was recently the subject of a feature article in Cherwell, a weekly student paper published by students of Oxford University. However, the article was withheld from online publication on the grounds that Navabi’s comments about atheism and against Islam “might be considered offensive.â€

The paper’s features editor, Freddie Hayward, resigned in protest, and in an op-ed for the New Statesman warned that an “illiberal tide is sweeping British universities.â€

“What counts as an acceptable view seems to have narrowed to such an extent that even liberal views, based in fact, are deemed too offensive to be published,†he wrote.

Navabi will still be speaking in Calgary, but not on property owned by Mount Royal University. His talk was quickly moved to cSPACE, a South Calgary arts hub.

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Source: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/03/22/calgary-school-cancels-talk-by-ex-muslim-atheist-citing-new-zealand-attack/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=BRSS&utm_campaign=Nonreligious&utm_content=361

Calgary School Cancels Talk by Ex-Muslim Atheist, Citing New Zealand Attack

By Hemant Mehta

March 22, 2019

This is bizarre. The Atheist Society of Calgary was all set to have ex-Muslim Armin Navabi give a talk at Mount Royal University yesterday, but the school decided to cancel the talk out of sensitivity to Muslims following the terrorist attack in New Zealand.

“In light of the shooting last week and the responses to the event we have received from students and staff, we are going to have to cancel hosting your event with Armin on campus on Thursday,†reads an email from the school’s interfaith coordinator since posted to social media.

Navabi may be controversial, but there’s no reason to think his talk would have been disrespectful or insensitive toward the victims of the attack. There’s a difference between criticizing religion and going after religious people.

He didn’t understand the decision, either.

“What do they want? Do you want to have less conversation? Isn’t less conversation exactly what leads to people having extreme radical positions,†said Navabi,

“I mean the less words exchanged between us, the more fists and bullets are going to exchange between people. Having more conversations is exactly what you need in the face of some tragedy like this.“

Perhaps the better question is: When is the right time to challenge Islam? Or any religious ideology, for that matter? When does the post-terror moratorium come to an end?

The truth is there’s no nice time for an atheist to give a talk about the problems with religion without some people getting upset about it. Our very existence is offensive to them.

The school said it was acting out of respect to Muslims and that “we would absolutely have the speaker come to our campus at another time†… but they didn’t say when that would be. Their statement has the effect of treating criticism of Islam as equivalent to hate speech. That’s a mistake that prevents students from hearing an important voice. They were always welcome to ask questions about anything he said. The school saw to it that they wouldn’t get that chance.

Navabi was able to give his talk at a different venue. Still, it shouldn’t have come to that. The university owes students a better explanation of why they cancelled his talk and what the rules are regarding lectures moving forward.

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Source: https://exmuslimtour.com/speakers/armin-navabi/

[(Armin Navabi

Founder, Atheist Republic
Author, Why There Is No God)]

Armin Navabi is a former Muslim from Iran and the founder of the Atheist Republic, a non-profit organization with over one million fans and followers worldwide that is dedicated to offering a safe community for atheists around the world to share their ideas and meet like-minded individuals. Armin was born and raised in the Islamic Republic of Iran and was indoctrinated thoroughly in the Muslim tradition. After almost losing his life in the pursuit of God’s grace, the devastation of that event motivated him to seek a better understanding of the nature and concept of God and religious belief. Armin’s journey led him to leave Islam and to become an atheist.

Wanting to reach out to others like himself, Armin continues to examine religion as well as the notion of God and interact with others to engage in thought-provoking and educational discussion. Armin is the author of the bestselling book “Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God†which provides simple, easy-to-understand counterpoints to the most popular arguments made for the existence of God. Each chapter presents a concise explanation of the argument, followed by a response illustrating the problems and fallacies inherent in it. Whether you’re an atheist, a believer or undecided, this book offers a solid foundation for building your own inquiry about the concept of God.

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