Published: 2 November, 2012
by ADAM BARNETT
A SOCIETY at the London School of Economics was told it could not change its name to include “ex-Muslims” because it might put students in danger.
The Atheist, Secularist and Humanist (ASH) society voted to add the phrase to its name to represent students of a Muslim background who have become non-religious.
They say that 20 per cent of their 78 members identify with the term “ex-Muslim”.
But LSE Students’ Union is refusing to allow the name-change.
In an email response to the society, the students’ union said: “We feel that by adding ‘ex-Muslim’ to the society name it will no longer become a safe space for ex-Muslims – in the sense that it may be an indication as to where ex-Muslims can affiliate to.”
Sundas Hoorain, of the ASH society, called the decision “offensive and oppressive,” saying that young Muslims who renounce their faith need support for the problems they face in “coming out”.
She said: “It is deeply upsetting when, even in LSE, the students’ union, instead of saying we will support and accept you, say your existence is not convenient for us.”
The students’ union is negotiating with the ASH society and has proposed a “trial” period after which the student group can reapply for approval of a new name.