The Christian preacher Hatun Tash receives no recognition for challenging Islamic extremists at Speakers Corner, but plenty of threats and actual violence.
On May 23 I was at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, to listen to some outspoken radical feminists “Taking back the Public Square, One Corner At A Time”.
This was my third visit to Speakers’ Corner, to hear Kellie-Jay Keen and others who, since my own cancellation and introduction to Radical Feminism, I now count as my friends.
I spoke briefly, it was a cold wet day, and we headed off to the pub by 2 pm.
A great time was had by all, with no opposition or antagonism, apart from a nervous policeman flapping around us, mumbling through his mask about Covid restrictions.
The reason he was so edgy became obvious to me the next day, when I saw online footage of Christian preacher Hatun Tash, being aggressively mobbed by Islamists and escorted out of the park by the police.
This fracas occurred only a couple of hours after we had left the Park.
This has become a regular occurrence at Speakers’ Corner, and the police tread a fine line between protecting diminutive Hatun, guaranteeing everyone’s right to free expression under the Public Order Act Section 29J, and preventing violence.
Hatun uses the Charlie Hebdo “Muhammed” cartoons to point out the absurdity of our police protecting those alleging blasphemy against “The Prophet” in a country without a crime of blasphemy; yet the complete freedom we have to poke fun at our own state religion, Christianity.
Her Christian Ministry has put out this clever video comparing controversial cartoons:
As a political cartoonist, I defend the right of anyone to use cartoons on any subject, however controversial, to make an educational point; as Hatun does at Hyde Park, and as the Batley school Religious Education teacher did in March, which I have previously written about.
But I am not sure I would be brave enough to wear them on a t-shirt in the middle of a crowd of antagonistic Muslims!
Back in November 2020, Hatun was knocked unconscious by her opponents at this iconic space for Freedom of Speech.
But there has been almost no press coverage.
There are no marches for Hatun.
The only support for her is coming from right wing media, because they are more likely to share her Christian values, which puts off atheist feminists who cannot bear the idea of working “across the aisle”.
There is even a petition to have her permanently banned from Speakers’ Corner, with no noticable protest from the “Women’s Movement”.
It’s very strange to me that Aayan Hirsi Ali (one of my own heroes), is held up as a feminist icon; but Hatun Tash is ignored.
Yet they both oppose the dogma of Islam which keeps women restricted in modern slavery. They are both from Muslim countries. They both point out the contradictions of Mohammed’s actual life with the alleged piousness and peacefulness of the religion.
But on second thoughts, it’s not so strange. Ali is an elegant academic, who after years of struggle has reached the protected pinnacles of Harvard and Stanford Universities, while Hatun is a messy haired street preacher.
Feminists are happy to put campaigning against FGM and the subjugation of women under Islam in a box marked “Aayan Hirsi Ali”.
Yet FGM and global female subjugation cannot be discussed without reference to Islam, as Ali has explained in her books, “Infidel” and “Prey”.
Both Ali and Tash have received death threats, and both continue to speak out.
The issue of women’s oppression in Islamic countries is hopelessly entangled in the Anglosphere with a certain woke mindset – I will not glorify it by calling it “left-wing” – which says everything the government does in the sphere of law and order is always racist.
Only recently on the radical feminist social media Spinster, I got into a spat with some women who think it is inhumane of our government to try to deport the vile criminals of the Rotherham grooming gang. Who even now do not accept their crimes.
And they don’t accept them for a reason. Hatun Tash runs a phone-in on her Christian Ministries’ youtube channel.
Sometimes she gets calls from women who are trapped in their country, in abusive family situations we can hardly imagine.
One of her callers recently described her own sexual abuse and explained that in fundamentalist versions of Islam, the rape of “infidel” women – even children – is not only allowed but promoted, and we saw the dreadful examples of this during the war on ISIS.
But how quickly the narrative moves on. We talk today about the Uighur women in China’s “education” camps, but the suffering of the Yazidi women and girls under ISIS only five years ago is forgotten. (China, of course, is conveniently atheist, and the Uighur victims are conveniently Muslim).
If our struggle to protect Women’s Rights means anything, then Article 4 of the Women’s Declaration has to apply to ALL women.
Not just the free speech of our comfortably liberal, academic sisters, but those standing up against oppression using methods and language which take us out of our comfort zone – like Kellie-Jay’s in-your-face style of campaigning, and as Hatun does by putting herself in real danger week after week, for a cause she believes in – the right to point out her truth in public.
At the end of June I will be going to Speakers Corner again. I hope to meet Hatun in real life and introduce her to some “Terfs”. She and Kellie-Jay, a hero to many of us for her fearlessness, are part of the same fight against the global oppression of women.
Now, after Maya Forstater’s momentious employment tribunal judgement, our gender critical views have the status of a “belief”.
So now we can use the religious as well as the sex protection in the Equality Act 2010.
And when we call out opposing beliefs at Speakers Corner, Section 29J of the Public Order Act now protects us, which states:
“Protection of freedom of expression: Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism, or expression of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of ANY OTHER BELIEF SYSTEM, or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion OR BELIEF SYSTEM to cease practising their religion or belief system”. (My emphasis).
See you at Speakers’ Corner.