Four female students from Isis, an SSR-W debating society, were fined this week for advertising their debating society. Local residents thought the women were showing their support for the terrorist group of the same name in Syria and Iraq.
‘We were busy with a fun campaign,’ explains Isis committee member Anne. ‘We wanted to decorate the route to the campus with our colours, gold and purple.’ The women stuck up little posters and stickers on boards, but that didn’t go down well with local residents, says Anne. Someone interpreted the action as a statement of support for the terrorist group IS, or ISIS as they are known in the international media, and called the police. When the police arrived and saw the boards, they were ‘surprised’. ‘They had received a report of a show of support for ISIS but they soon realized that wasn’t the intention.’ Even so, the women were fined for disturbing the peace because they had caused unrest. It is not yet known how much the fines will be.
The women are quite shocked by the effect their action had. Anne: ‘Our debating society is named after Isis, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. We are proud of our name and our debating society. We stand for robustness and integrity.’ They therefore have no intention of changing their name. ‘It’s a pity and not right to associate our name with a terrorist group,’ says Anne. ‘That’s not what we stand for.’The SSR-W women’s debating society ‘M.P.L.T.S.H.A.M.D. Isis’ is still in the process of being set up. They attracted media attention at the end of August when they deco- rated the Utrecht canals with a chain of hundreds of bras.