The London School of Economics [LSE] Student Union has passed a mtion effectivly making it impossible for students on campus to criticize Islam.

The LSE has arecently been embroiled in another scandal on campus - notably the shutting down of a union-affiliated "Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society" for the posting of a cartoon entitled "Jesus and Mo." The cartoon depicts Jesus and the Prophet Muhammed having a drink together in a pub and is a regular cartoon shared within the atheist community.

In response to the cartoon being posted, students at the London School of Economics forced through motions denouncing "Islamophobia" which defined the act as "a form of racism expressed through the hatred or fear of Islam, Muslims, or Islamic culture, and the stereotyping, demonisation or harassment of Muslims, including but not limited to portraying Muslims as barbarians or terrorists, or attacking the Qur'an as a manual of hatred." Critics have argued that the loose terminology -- i.e. Islamic culture -- makes parody or criticism of Islam impossible.

Secularists and atheists on campus noted that the motion was put through directly as a result of the Jesus and Mo cartoon, calling the motion a "blasphemy law" which would stop criticism and parody of Islam and other religions as a result - a key feature of secular society. The motions passed with only a 6% turnout from the student body.

The union also voted to disenfranchise hundreds of LSE students by revoking the right to vote online. A move which Student Rights has called "Putin-esque."

Raheem Kassam, director of campus-watchdog Student Rights said: "This is an extremely worrying day for the London School of Economics. Shutting out people from voting online, effectively leaving the Union in the hands of political extremists who turn out day-in day-out, and passing what is a flimsy motion on Islamophobia means that freedom of speech, expression and effective representation is being curtailed on campus by those with a distinct political agenda."

Contact: Raheem Kassam, director, Student Rights - 07872833322, raheem.kassam@studentrights.org.uk

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