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  • Technorati: graph / links

    UCL and its principles must be defended


    by guest on 4th January, 2010 at 9:10 AM    

    contribution by Naadir Jeewa

    I’m unclear of what exactly people actually want from universities in the area of counter-terrorism.

    In an earlier post, Effendi of Spittoon makes a link between “pant bomber” AbdulMutallab and the East London Mosque, and in a more recent post says that UCL must take responsibility for AbdulMutallab’s radicalisation, and in another Sunny is accused of “insidious and ignorant propaganda” again, highlighting a link with the East London Mosque.

    I know some people who want to turn UCL into an open-source software house, but this to call for it to transform into a counter terrorism unit is just silly.

    Moazzem Begg spoke at UCL in January 2007, and didn’t broadcast an interview with Al-Awlaki until December 2007, and after AbdulMutallab passed on the reigns of the ISOC presidency to another.

    How is UCL supposed to have taken action ex-ante of any actionable information? Surely it would be better to point the finger at intelligence agencies?

    Qasim Rafiq, who was ISOC’s president 2006-2007 reported that Islamic Societies were under pressure in the wake of 7/7 and some action was likely to take place if there was any clear information, and he didn’t have any knowledge of what AbdulMutallab was up to.

    I also find the “gateway drug” hypothesis, a common trope of the right, applied to everything from Grand Theft Auto to Durex ads, unconvincing. There’s a clear distinction between on-campus groups, such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and violent extremists.

    There’s enough internecine ideological conflict within the neofundamentalist movement that means that HuT neither condone AQs methods nor have any formal links with them. Most individual members also seem to hold an internal psychological limit as they trade off being an active member of an organisation against other desires and interests – which tend to grow after finishing at universities when they realise that a family and job security matters more to them than a political cause built up on a deck of cards.

    Those who are going to move towards violent extremism will self-select and seek out opportunities for radicalisation.

    The Hizb phenomenon, as well as the claims being made about UCL ISOC’s 2007 War-on-Terror must be seen in the context of the wider politics on the campuses of universities. The Iraq invasion amidst huge public opposition ended any pretence of representation that many British Muslims felt they had. Which tends to leave the far-left and Hizb-ut-Tahrir to fill in the gap to attract people interested in the politics of the disaffected, and HuT has the social network advantage amongst Muslim students.

    Whereas the oft-thinly veiled anti-Semitism of HuT does violate this principle, Islamic Society or SWP members rallying against the “War on Terror” and suggesting that prisoners of all sorts are entitled to due process and humane conditions, and framing the Israel/Palestine conflict as one of between an “imperial power” and “freedom fighters” does not, no matter how unpleasant that statement may seem to rest of us.

    When staff and students see comments such as the one quoted by Malcolm Grant, about why we would allow a non-national to become a president of a Students’ Union society, we won’t see it as anything less than an attack on the founding liberal principles of the college. Here’s article 6 of the 1977 UCL Charter:

    All persons of the requisite academic standard, whether resident in Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or elsewhere, shall be eligible for admission to the College without any distinction whatsoever and no religious test shall be imposed on any Member of the College nor shall any disability be imposed on the grounds of political belief, sex or race.

    We cannot regulate the actions of students due to their religion or any other part of their identity. It should be stated, that UCL was the first university in England to accept students without requiring an Oath to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, was the first to admit women, and the first university to establish a Students’ Union.

    Jeremy Bentham, UCL’s spiritual founder and resident of the South Cloisters, was offended by having to make an oath to the Thirty-Nine Articles at Oxford. He later argued against the idea of oaths even in public court, saying that testimonies on oath were required “not in pursuit of the ends of justice, but in pursuit of private sinister ends - indirect hostility to the public ends.”

    To which “private sinister ends” are some pursuing in today’s age in “indirect hostility to the public ends” and without benefit to justice? Nothing less than the subjugation of free speech on campuses and the private beliefs of our students to mere public opinion.

    Good night and good luck with that.


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    Filed in: Current affairs, Islamists, Terrorism






    133 Comments below   |   Add your own

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    1. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 9:32 AM  

      Does defending “UCL and its principles” mean defending radical Islamism, overt homophobia, and racism on the campus of UCL? If it does, good luck with defending the following, which you seem to have overlooked:

      In Feb 2008, the radicalised students of UCL ISOC held “Islamic Awareness Week” in which Abu Mujahid incited Mulsims to condemn homosexuals because, he said, Allah “hates” homosexuality.

      Murtaza Khan, who was filmed in a television documentary delivering a diatribe against Jews, Christians and “filthy non-Muslim doctors”, was invited to speak at the another event at UCL entitled Pearls of Wisdom in December 2007.

      Abu Usamah of Birmingham’s Green Lane Mosque, an extremist cleric born in the US who converted to Islam, was invited to speak at the same event where suggested that homosexuals and opponents of Islam should be killed.

      A 2007 Channel Four documentary secretly filmed Abu Usamah, of Birmingham’s Green Lane mosque, praising Osama bin Laden and saying: “If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?”

      Abu Usama Adh Dhahabee, a hard-line preacher who advocates holy war and hatred against non-Muslims, was invited to speak at an event at UCL organised by the ISOC, but which was cancelled after pressure from campaign groups such as the Centre for Social Cohesion. He ended up delivering his diatribe at the East London Mosque.

      wa-salam!

    2. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 9:33 AM  

      Why does the fact that an anti-semitic organisation has “the social network advantage amongst Muslim students” not fill me with confidence that all is well at UCL and elsewhere?

    3. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

      Good article, and well done for standing up for our universities.

      Witch-hunt of academic institutions? I wonder where this road leads.

    4. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

      Rashad Ali was a senior member of Hizb ut-Tahrir – the extreme group that calls for a single, worldwide Islamic state – for almost 10 years until 2004. For more than a year, he was responsible for activities in London university campuses. He has now left the organisation and works for Centri, a counter-extremism group. He argues that the government must use its powers to clamp down on its influence to avoid further terrorist incidents involving British students.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/03/christmas-bombers-uk-links

    5. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

      Halima # 3 - it leads to book burning!

    6. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

      This is the only book burning I recall in recent years.

      Meanwhile you might want to address the question raised by Effendi @1?

    7. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

      i still don’t understand ‘Effendi’’s point here.

      What does Effendi actually want? it’s still very unclear.

      We read the following:

      Does defending “UCL and its principles” mean defending radical Islamism, overt homophobia, and racism on the campus of UCL?

      I don’t see anything up there that even vaguely suggests that. Does Effendi want universities to police student socities, banning them from inviting homophobes to speak? That seems to be the implication of the copy-and-pastes which follow it. Free speech - as the McCarthyite Harry’s Place continues to ironically tell us - involves hearing things which you might find unpleasant, and you might disagree with.

      So what do you actually want UCL to do here, Effendi?

      And then we get praise for the Centre for Social Cohesion - an organisation fronted by a man who is on record saying that ‘all immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop’.

      Truly, you know how to pick your ‘comrades’.

    8. Rumbold — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:21 AM  

      Cjcjc:

      Don’t forget this epic attempt:

      http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/nuremberg-rally-health-and-safety-edition/

      An independent Baptist church in Canton, North Carolina has managed to get widely reported around the interwebs by announcing a book burning for Halloween – the books in question including various translations of the Bible and works by well-known evangelicals and neo-Pentecostals, who are deemed to be heretical.

      At least that was the plan…

    9. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

      Brilliant video Rumbold!

      Steve - something tells me that if some right-wing society invited foreign neo-fascist racists who suggested that blacks should be killed to speak on campus you wouldn’t be quite so relaxed.
      Yet inviting people who want to kill homosexuals is OK is it?

      Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what Bentham had in mind.

    10. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:40 AM  

      can you please address the actual issue?

      What should UCL actually have done here?

      as you yourself indicate, cj, it’s not just Muslim societies who invite homophobes, racists and people who advocate killing x ethnic group to speak. the oxford union invited nick griffin to speak a while back. and at the time, i thought he should be allowed to speak, and i still think so.

      in every case, including your hypotheticals, the university didn’t invite these people, it was student socities.

      so what should the university have done?

      can you answer the question please - neither effendi, yourself, or anyone else really seems capable of doing so. but hey, condemnathons and witch-hunts are easier to conduct online than actually suggesting alternative university policies.

    11. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

      “Meanwhile you might want to address the question raised by Effendi @1?”

      Effiendi, if you really have fears of such kind and have a question of a criminal nature that needs answering, why don’t you just take it to the police? I wouldn’t sit here posturing on the internet, I’d go to the police.

      cjcjc

      We don’t refer to black people as ‘blacks’ , get the language right if you’re going to try and do the dirty thing to use one minority group as an example to silence another one.

    12. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

      The Mulsim Chaplain at LMU was warning about this four years ago…is he allowed to have an opinion?

      Sheikh Musa Admani believes fundamentalists are bypassing campus bans on groups with radical links by presenting themselves as “ordinary Muslims” to fellow students or forming societies with alternative names.

      Some students, says Admani, have been so deeply indoctrinated that they are close to travelling to Afghanistan and Iraq to engage in jihad, or holy war.

      Admani, a Muslim chaplain at London Metropolitan University, runs a charity that helps to rehabilitate young men who have fallen prey to extremism. He is also an adviser on Muslim affairs to Bill Rammell, the higher education minister.

      “We are dealing with people filled with hatred,” said Admani. “It’s hatred for the white man and the West in particular, because they have read the works of Qutb and Maududi (Islamist ideologues followed by Al-Qaeda) who set Muslims apart from everyone else.”

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/student/news/article634232.ece

    13. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

      cjcjc # 6 - had I desired to address Effendi’s point I would have done so even without your kind invitation. As things stand, I chose to address the question Halima’s # 3.

      Book burning is only an end result of a process which starts at intellectual censorship and academic subjugation to some populist concept of morality, right and wrong.

    14. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

      So opposition to those who would kill homosexuals, jews and “infidels” is just “some populist concept of morality” is it?

    15. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

      MiriamBinder

      Thanks for answering my question, and you are right of course, book burning and censorship is the end result, and then a view of morality that is about expelling anyone that doesn’t agree with the views of the majority. We’ve all been there before.

      I thought you had an eloquent response in the previous thread which is worth repeating:

      “The question for me is more a question of balance. To what extent am I willing to forego hard won civil freedoms in order to minimise threats to my physical being. To put it in simple terms, am I willing to be bullied into voluntarily putting myself and my fellow human beings in a strait-jacket, under a microscope; breathing only that air which has been previously filtered and engaging in intellectual or other pursuits only after they have passed rigorous censorship?

      In case you are wondering, the answer is no, no and yet again … no. I will not be a willing party to metaphorical book-burning. I will not be a willing party to restricting movement; be it of ideas, be it of individuals. Nor will I bow to terrorism of whatever kind by allowing myself to be terrorised.”

    16. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:21 PM  

      Nice twisting cjcjc but no cigar. Anyone anywhere has the right to hold whatever views … I don’t mind what people think, I don’t mind what views they hold. I’d be willing to exchange thoughts and views and I am willing to accept that they hold their thoughts and views as valid as I hold mine.

      It is action that I oppose … You can go around stating you want to see every Jew/homosexual/vegetarian/purple people eater/etcetera and so forth killed and as long as that is all you do, I would defend your right to say so even though I do not agree with you in any way what so ever.

      Preventing those I do not agree with from speaking would be to go against the very principle of Free Speech. If I wish my right to hold my own counsel, to hold to my own principles, to speak my own mind then I must grant that right to others without reservation.

    17. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:23 PM  

      So Halima - same freedom for a fascist who wants black people killed?
      OK for him to turn up to a student society meeting?

    18. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:25 PM  

      Well Miriam that’s certainly an internally consistent position to take.

    19. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:25 PM  

      Astaghfirallah, sister halima!

      Why is criticising UCL ISOC’s policy of inviting anti-semitic, racist and homophobic speakers to campus “posturing on the internet”?

      Would it “posturing on the internet” if we criticised right-wing student groups inviting BNP speakers to UCL to deliver lectures on racism and homophobia?

      And since this is Pickled Politics where commentary is always informed by race and skin colour, I should ask: Is hate-speech acceptable if it’s by “brown” or “black” people but not if it’s by “white” people?

      wa-salam

    20. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

      Effendi, you might stick to addressing me with my name, I’ve never had time for people calling me a sister unless they were a feminist.

      Why waste your energies on the internet, like I said, take your accusations about inciting people to kill to the police. What is stopping you?

      It’s not posturing to criticise racist or anti-semitic speakers, you’re welcome, I’d be happy to damn them with you. But incitement to violence, if i I heard any such thing, I’d be obliged to report it to Scotland Yard. Like a man.

      Or it is, that you have an axe to grind about Islamic societies?

      BTW - you’ll have to translate the Arabic for me.

    21. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

      “So Halima – same freedom for a fascist who wants black people killed?
      OK for him to turn up to a student society meeting?”

      I think you’d like that cjcjc, wouldn’t you?

      No, and if i spotted a white person calling for the killing of a black perspon, I’d have that criminal minded individual reported to the police.

      What bit of this argument don’t you understand?

    22. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:45 PM  

      @ cjcjc # 17 - Yep, internally consistent but it is far more then that as well. You cannot hold to a universal principle and then require it to exclude certain groups/individuals; the moment it excludes it stops being universal. Once it stops being universal it becomes arbitrary and by its very definition will be held hostage by the ebb and flow of ruling opinion.

    23. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

      Astaghfirallah means, if my Arabic isn’t as rusty as I thought it was ‘May Allah forgive me’ or ‘I seek forgiveness from Allah’ …

    24. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

      Or it is, that you have an axe to grind about Islamic societies?

      If you have issue with a student society inviting, say, BNP speakers to UCL to deliver lectures on racism and homophobia, what is your “axe to grind”?

      wa-salam

    25. Ravi Naik — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:29 PM  

      Or it is, that you have an axe to grind about Islamic societies

      While I agree that it is silly (and quite frankly too easy) to blame UCL - and I for one think UCL is blameless for this incident, I really would like to understand how someone as deranged as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab managed to become the President of the Islamic society at UCL, and how spread is Al Qaeda and other extremists in our universities.

      The BNP does not incite people to commit violence. But it does present a distorted and narrow view where all the ills of our society are blamed on immigrants and non-whites. This is dangerous because some will resort to violence. This is no different from the view that US and Britain are at war with Islam and want to destroy it. The difference perhaps, is that there is a sophisticated network that recruits stupid people like Abdulmutallab to terrorism.

    26. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:46 PM  

      Halima - no I wouldn’t - but you seem perfectly happy for student societies to invite people who call for homosexuals to be killed.

      Ravi - I don’t know about Al-Q, but the author of this post suggests that HuT “has the social network advantage amongst Muslim students”, while the LMU imam seems very concerned about extremist inflitration.

    27. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

      “If you have issue with a student society inviting, say, BNP speakers to UCL to deliver lectures on racism and homophobia, what is your “axe to grind”?

      Effendi

      We’re not talking about using racist language here, we’re talking about inciting people to kill. If you are accusing UCL of allowing somone to incite to kill in its lecture hall, prove it and be prepared to report it. You can’t.

      MiriamBinder

      Thanks for the tip on the language.

    28. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

      While inviting someone who is on record as inciting people to kill is OK, so long as they don’t do it this time?

      OK. Got it now.

    29. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

      We’re not talking about using racist language here, we’re talking about inciting people to kill. If you are accusing UCL of allowing somone to incite to kill in its lecture hall, prove it and be prepared to report it. You can’t.

      halima

      I’m not quite sure of the point you’re making. Are you saying it’s acceptable for the UCL ISOC to have speakers with a reported and documented track record of antisemitism, racism and homophobia as long as they don’t incite murder in the lecture hall?

      wa-salam

    30. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

      “Halima – no I wouldn’t – but you seem perfectly happy for student societies to invite people who call for homosexuals to be killed.”

      er.. No, Cjcjc, try and see beyond your prejudice alittle. Just because I ask that you refrain from criticising the academic freedom of UCL doesn’t translate to me being OK with people openly calling for homosexuals to be killed. Is it something I said about the gay community or did you just come to that conclusion from my name?

    31. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

      Effendi.

      I’d disagree with both. On balance I’d call incitement to violence to be worse. Racism, xenophobia etc etc I’d report to the academic bodies and their regulatory systems. With incitment to violence, I’d go to the police.

    32. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:03 PM  

      In what sense is anyone trying to curtail the academic freedom of UCL?

      Unless you are claiming the the invitation by a student society of on-record inciters to murder is somehow part of the UCL academic program?

      Could you answer 27/28?

    33. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

      Er.. Once again. cjcjcj , if folks are on record for inciters to murder you should take that to a police station and a law court. Period.

    34. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

      I’d disagree with both. On balance I’d call incitement to violence to be worse. Racism, xenophobia etc etc I’d report to the academic bodies and their regulatory systems. With incitment to violence, I’d go to the police.

      Agreed. But it’s impossible to report to the police of hate/violence incitement after the fact unless you’re suggesting there be monitoring and recording processes put in place to check the content of speeches at point of delivery.

      wa-salam

    35. dave bones — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

      Very good blog. Sensible. Happy New Year one and all-

      and thanks for going back to the old comments system!

    36. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:25 PM  

      Er, they are on record outside the UK, so that option is not open.
      Frequently they tend to appear via videolink, again, same problem.
      As I’m sure you know well.
      If not, see the many Harry’s Place and Spittoon posts passim.

      So, to repeat, still OK to invite these people to speak?

    37. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:29 PM  

      I think we’re edging to a consensus here.

      1) Put in place processes to Record/Monitor speeches in case of hate/violence incitement.

      2) No speakers with a record of racist or homophobic hate/violence incitement to be allowed to speak at University facilities.

      wa-salam

    38. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

      Cjcjcj . Read my response on this thread and you’ll get your answer. In the meantime start pin-pointing blame in the right direction, not at UCL, and certainly not at me.

      Read original post:

      “How is UCL supposed to have taken action ex-ante of any actionable information? Surely it would be better to point the finger at intelligence agencies? ”

      I don’t read Harry Place and Spittoon - and certainly won’t if they support your views.

    39. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

      So your answer is yes.

      @36 unfortunately no consensus in sight.

    40. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

      Effendi.

      No one is agreeing with you to spy on universities.

      Public bodies already have stringent anti-racist and anti-discriminatory mechanisms in place - they are open and transparent places. Anyone can attend.

      cjcjcj

      Go back to school, clearly you need reading lessons. Or is it your prejudice that prevents you from keeping an open mind and reading what’s on the thread?

    41. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

      No one is agreeing with you to spy on universities.

      I didn’t say we should. But you are the one who said we should report people like Abu Usamah, for example, to the police when he says homosexuals should be killed to a room packed with students.

      So how do you intend to report hate/violence to the police, halima?

      And are you ok with speakers with a record of hate-speech to lecture at University facilities?

      wa-salam

    42. Sunny — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

      Effendi - you’re suddenly using a lot of Arabic here aren’t you. Don’t worry, there’s no need to ‘prove’ your credentials.

      If you have issue with a student society inviting, say, BNP speakers to UCL to deliver lectures on racism and homophobia, what is your “axe to grind”?

      The point here is about free speech with the right to say what you want unless its inciting violence and hatred.

      There are some examples you cite - but you’re not showing how this is a systematic problem and you’re not pointing out what you’d like UCL to do.

      Instead you’re keeping a bit quiet about the second part because secretly you want them to crack down on free speech but would never say it in public. Am I right?

    43. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:47 PM  

      Sunny

      Do you want to deal with the questions I asked at the top of this thread, at all?

      See if you can without putting a “brown” spin on it.

      Go on, a simple challenge.

      wa-salam

    44. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

      Effendi also seems to need reading lessons as he doesn’t feel you have answered the question either.
      Is it too much to ask for a simple yes or no?
      Let’s just pick one example: should Abu Usamah have been invited?

      Now Abu Usamah was (eventually) prevented by the university authorities from appearing.
      Did they betray their own principles?!

    45. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

      Effiendi, if you are not calling it spying, what would you call it?

      “And are you ok with speakers with a record of hate-speech to lecture at University facilities?”

      Once again no. Try and read my posts again. If i am in a lecture hall and someone incited the audience to kill homosexuals, do you think no-one will report it?

      Or is it, that you assume that all Muslims won’t report it?

    46. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:56 PM  

      halima

      If the speaker is not allowed to lecture in University in the first place, we won’t need the students to report it, will we. Prevention is better than cure.

      And I think we should have processes to record/monitor the speeches that are independent of the need for the students to report anything.

      wa-salam

    47. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

      Goodness Halima, are you saying that those who invited Abu Usamah didn’t know what his views were?

    48. Markj — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:04 PM  

      After all is said and done the fact remains that extremism in the UK was built up and spread predominantly through university campuses. This is because traditionally academics have tolerated and turned a blind eye to ‘brown fascists’ thinking that fascism is merely a ‘white’ phenomenon. That has created an attitude of political quietism that has allowed extremists to flourish. The SWP have also encouraged extremist voices simply because they support their anti-capitalist struggle. Hence we are in the ridulous situation we are in.

      I’m sure many of you would be up in arms if Nick Griffin was a regular speaker at UCL so why ignore Islamist extremists who are much worse then him. That is not to say they should all be banned but certainly not left to it and even celebrated in the way they are today.

    49. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:07 PM  

      “If the speaker is not allowed to lecture in University in the first place, we won’t need the students to report it, will we. Prevention is better than cure.”

      Agree. Based on evidence of previous incitement.

      But don’t agree to spying on universities. Students are adults last time i checked so they can be relied upon to report incitements to violence.

    50. Sunny — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

      Do you want to deal with the questions I asked at the top of this thread, at all?

      Funny how the questions don’t relate to your ongoing attempt to smear and rubbish UCL’s name without much evidence (that it was complicit) to go on.

    51. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:38 PM  

      I don’t think anyone is arguing it was “complicit”.

      Somewhere along the careless-indifferent-negligent spectrum I think.

    52. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:45 PM  

      Sunny

      haha, you are a hilarious clown. I haven’t smeared and rubbished UCL’s name at all. I know that’s exactly what you’re trying to pin on me here - because personalising it is the only contribution you have on this issue.

      Do excuse me if I ignore your pathetic input in this rather important debate.

    53. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

      halima

      But don’t agree to spying on universities. Students are adults last time i checked so they can be relied upon to report incitements to violence.

      It needn’t be “spying”. It would just be a process to record and monitor speeches made by external lecturers on university grounds. It is also a form of prevention since nutters are less likely to be forthright if they are being recorded.

      wa-salam

    54. Kulvinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:06 PM  

      For what its worth

      Does defending “UCL and its principles” mean defending radical Islamism, overt homophobia, and racism on the campus of UCL?

      Assuming you’ve defined ‘radical islamism’ along the lines of ‘overt homophobia and racism’ (i presume as opposed to covert homophobia and racism?!); obviously, emphatically, without any reservations yes defending the UCL and its principles means defending the right of those who are bigots to air their bigoted views on an academic campus.

      In Feb 2008, the radicalised students of UCL ISOC held “Islamic Awareness Week” in which Abu Mujahid incited Mulsims to condemn homosexuals because, he said, Allah “hates” homosexuality.

      I disagree with him, but yes he should be allowed to say it.

      Murtaza Khan, who was filmed in a television documentary delivering a diatribe against Jews, Christians and “filthy non-Muslim doctors”, was invited to speak at the another event at UCL entitled Pearls of Wisdom in December 2007.

      I disagree with him but yes he should be allowed to speak.

      Abu Usamah of Birmingham’s Green Lane Mosque, an extremist cleric born in the US who converted to Islam, was invited to speak at the same event where suggested that homosexuals and opponents of Islam should be killed.

      If you think hes advocating murder feel free to contact the police.

      A 2007 Channel Four documentary secretly filmed Abu Usamah, of Birmingham’s Green Lane mosque, praising Osama bin Laden and saying: “If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?”

      Unfortunately, and i say that advisedly, hes incorrect. Britain has no freedom of speech, it should do but it doesn’t. Hes views on gay people are obviously abhorent.

      I think we’re edging to a consensus here.

      we are?

      1) Put in place processes to Record/Monitor speeches in case of hate/violence incitement.

      Hows that going to work then? Who pays for the equipment? Whats the test for ‘giving a speech’? If ‘words are said’ after an official ISOC event is over and after the room booking time has elaspsed, is it a university event or not?

      2) No speakers with a record of racist or homophobic hate/violence incitement to be allowed to speak at University facilities.

      So that would have ruled out the likes of Bertrand Russell and Tom Denning! I don’t agree with their views on particular subjects but its a bit idiotic to ban them outright or dismiss anything they ever did.

      Or is there some other ‘test’ whereby we allow some people who say iffy things but depending on public opinion ban others?

    55. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

      Hows that going to work then? Who pays for the equipment? Whats the test for ‘giving a speech’? If ‘words are said’ after an official ISOC event is over and after the room booking time has elaspsed, is it a university event or not?

      The University. Hard disk recorders are not that expensive.

      Or is there some other ‘test’ whereby we allow some people who say iffy things but depending on public opinion ban others?

      How about whether it causes the successful detonation of bombs on transatlantic airliners?

      wa-salam

    56. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

      i think that last comment - again not actually answering questions - proves that effendi is uninterested in serious debate.

      ‘hard disk recorders are not that expensive’ - but since when has the monitoring of student socieites been a university’s responsibility? won’t they need to have a trained member of a/v staff present at every single meeting to record the events - and everything that happens afterwards? that’s clearly going to be pretty expensive.

      what budget should that come out of? is every university in britain meant to do the same thing to every religious society? it’s pretty clear that if homophobia is the touchstone for making a speaker ‘extremist’ and worthy of monitoring, an awful lot of socities are going to need to have every meeting recorded by a trained professional…

      are you genuinely suggesting this utterly unworkable stuff or are you just concern-trolling?

    57. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

      it’s pretty clear that if homophobia is the touchstone for making a speaker ‘extremist’ and worthy of monitoring, an awful lot of socities are going to need to have every meeting recorded by a trained professional…

      Which other societies do you have in mind?
      The chess club?

      Which other societies extend invitations to the equivalent of Abu Usamah?
      Any examples?

    58. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:24 PM  

      I am genuinely suggesting this stuff and I don’t know what “concern-trolling” is.

      wa-salam

    59. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

      so what you’re saying is - all uk universities, using unspecified money from somewhere despite the fact that uni’s have never previously been held acocuntable for their student socities, should record all the activities of only one society - the islamic society - as they are the only socities who ever invite anyone homophobic?

      that is what you’re saying?

      so if nick griffin is invited BACK to the oxford union, oxford uni wouldn’t need to record him - as it’s only the islamic socities who ever invite people who are homophobic?

    60. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

      so can you please tell me, effendi, where the money for the trained a/v professionals who are going to use the cheap ‘hard disk recorders’ is going to come from? and then for the people who will be listening to the recordings?

      where in the university budget is this money to be found?

      where in the regulations of universities in England and Wales is the material on universities being responsible for all activities student societies to be found?

    61. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

      You do realise that the presence of CCTV cameras in stores reduces shoplifting by an order of magnitude, don’t you? Just as Speed Cameras on roads forces drivers to police themselves. And more often than not, they are not all switched on.

      Same principle.

      wa-salam

    62. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

      Effendi,

      Somehow I find this all a bit odd. It presupposes that absolutely everyone that attends an Islamic Society meeting at a University is there to join a jihad or provide cover for it. Do you think that that is likely or indeed credible?

      It also strikes me that a lot of Muslims probably treat the more firebrand orators with exactly the same forebearance that the Welsh used to treat their more over the top Ministers.

      Just out of curiosity, what alternative facilities for prayer are provided at Universities, other than those provided by Islamic Societies?

      Anyway,

      So all that happens is that the people you object too learn to ‘code’ their language in some way, so that they are no longer breaking the law but skirting along the boundaries of it? A process the BNP has allegedly learned. Then everyone is happy are they? The hate speech has gone from overt to covert and only the most stupid Islamist gets caught. I doubt a policy like that will make the slightest difference on the streets or in the air.

    63. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

      can you please answer my questions instead of posturing.

      where is the money in the university budgets which is going to pay for this?

      why should universities be forced to do this if the duty is not currently part of legislation?

      who decides which societies are worthy of monitoring?

      is this going to apply to all islamic socitie in the uk - or other religious societies, who have doubtless invited homophobes to speak in the past?

      Why should it not apply to the non-religious Oxford Union, who have invited homophobes on many occasions in the past?

      have you actually given your ‘idea’ any serious thought?

    64. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

      where is the money in the university budgets which is going to pay for this?

      Come off it, fitting “external lecture rooms” with CCTV cameras is not going to break the bank of any university.

      who decides which societies are worthy of monitoring?

      is this going to apply to all islamic socitie in the uk – or other religious societies, who have doubtless invited homophobes to speak in the past?

      Yes all.
      All external lectures are monitored. Not just the dodgy ones.

      Why should it not apply to the non-religious Oxford Union, who have invited homophobes on many occasions in the past?

      Why should it not indeed.

      have you actually given your ‘idea’ any serious thought?

      Yes

      wa-salam

    65. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

      if you’d given your idea any serious thought you’d know that what you’re suggesting will be colossally expensive, will require almost every university in the UK to employ at least one new member of highly qualified staff, in addition to many thousands of pounds’ worth of new A/V equipment. it won’t need CCTV - it will need highly expensive microphones dotted throughout a room, with staff on hand at all times to record, and then more staff hired to then listen to *every single external speaker*. speaking from experience, it is hard enough to even et the mic at the front of a lecture hall working properly; this equipment is expensive enough to warrant A/V staff having to be on hand - so you’d have to pay them overtime as well as paying someone to always be there.

      which budget is all of this this meant to come out of? can you answer that one?

      universities are about to have masive cuts imposed on them after all. you have no idea how much your pie in the sky idea will cost, or what it would involve - in fact you don’t seem to understand university budgets at all, or even what recording equipment would be needed.

      you’ve not thought it through one iota. best go back to accusing undergrad socities of extremism because they invited George Galloway to speak. That includes such societies as… the Oxford University Conservative Association.

    66. Ravi Naik — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:48 PM  

      The University. Hard disk recorders are not that expensive.

      Wait. So, you feel the university has the responsibility to monitor all activity that goes on with members of a society at all times, off- and on- campus?

      I am not sure you realise how expensive that is, and the end-result of your position would be for universities to simply not sponsor or ban societies.

    67. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:50 PM  

      I don’t think it’s that expensive at all to fit 2 or three main lecture rooms with CCTV cameras and force all external lectures to be held in them.

      Besides, mitigating the danger of unmonitored external speakers mouthing off homophobic, anti-semitic and Islamist hate-speech offsets the cost.

      best go back to accusing undergrad socities of extremism because they invited George Galloway to speak.

      Sorry, but what’s that about?

      wa-salam

    68. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

      first off - can you pleasre answer my main question. if a uni is expected to pay for all of this colossally expensive equipment and staff, which budget is it meant to come out of? You’re suggesting something which on a conservative estimate will probably cost at least £100,000 a year for each university in the country. you might think that’s a small price to pay, but who is footing the bill?

      I don’t think it’s that expensive at all to fit 2 or three rooms with CCTV cameras and force all external lectures to be held there.

      again - you need to mic up the entire room too. have someone there to make sure the a/v is working, since this monitoring presupposes that students are too untrustworthy to record this stuff themselves, and universities will have just invested tens of thousands of pounds in the equipment which will need trained professionals to operate it. and then to have someone to listen to *every single lecture* after the event.

      the amount of student socities in any university (UCLU is pushing 200) makes the idea of ‘2 or 3 rooms’ totally unworkable.

      i don’t think you’ve given this any serious consideration.

    69. Ravi Naik — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

      I don’t think it’s that expensive at all to fit 2 or three main lecture rooms with CCTV cameras and force all external lectures to be held in them.

      You also need to hire staff to monitor this sort of activity. Furthermore, all this expense would be just to monitor external lectures, what about *all* other forms of communication?

    70. Naadir Jeewa — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:08 PM  

      I’ll post a fuller response later, but UCL has 506 bookable rooms.

    71. halima — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:12 PM  

      “what about *all* other forms of communication?”

      Maybe we should all take a lesson from Orwell’s 1984…

    72. cjcjc — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:14 PM  

      No pussyfooting necessary - it’s the Islamic Soc which would be recorded.

      When the chess club starts inviting its equivalent of Abu Usamah we can turn our attention to them at that point.

    73. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

      I’ll post a fuller response later, but UCL has 506 bookable rooms.

      Consolidate the ones for external speakers.

      Do a CBA study to install CCTV cameras on those selected ones.

      Fork out the cash and install CCTV.

      Apply a process to vet speakers before they even step foot on campus.

    74. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:25 PM  

      effendi, i am guessing, is intentionally ignoring me, but al the same - given that the entire room would have to be miked up, and given that according to Effendi the uni would hve to pay for both installation, maintenance, and monitoring - then the cost of thisis likely to be 100,000 a year even if only 3 or 4 rooms are designated as appropriate places (which will never, ever, ever happen, because there are too many socities for that).

      where is this money going to come from?

    75. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:29 PM  

      Do a Cost Benefit Analysis steve, surely.

      What are your alternatives?

    76. Naadir Jeewa — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

      I really need to go to a lecture, but as a matter of fact, we do have recording equipment in some LTs already.
      The cost has been about £300k, plus ongoing storage and development.

      If we did record everything that went on in those rooms we would be breaking the Data Protection Act, European Union Human Rights Act, as well as potentially breaking intellectual property law.

      Effendi, is it worth scrapping your human rights, your right to privacy and infringing property rights too?

    77. steve — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

      so can you do a CBA for this? seeing as it’s your idea that a lot of thought has gone into?

      and - do i have to ask this every single time - where is the money going to come from?

    78. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:33 PM  

      Nadir and steve

      Do either of you have any alternatives?

      Wait. Before you answer that one, we need to know-
      Do either of you even recognise that there is a problem with Islamic radicalisation in some University ISOCs, including UCL?

    79. Sunny — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

      when was the last time this ‘effendi’ chap actually went to university?

      I think you should get some think-tanks to fund this effendi since you’re the one insinuating that universities have a massive problem and that they should monitor everyone.

      The chess club one is a good idea. I can perfectly imagine some enterprising Hizby setting up a front-group called the chess club to meet.
      Would love to see how cjcjc will react then. Do you eve n think before you type?

    80. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 5:44 PM  

      Except that none of the radical speakers invited to speak at ISOCs I have listed above have anything to do with Hizb, Sunny.

      Do you even have teh first inkling of the Islamist groups operational at universities?

    81. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

      Well, the article is half right. This is not about defending UCL or any ‘principles’ it has. It may very well be the case that UCL should have done more to at the very least reign in some of the more excessive parts of the ISoC. Free speech is one thing, hate speech is another and it should not be a UCL principle to indulge unquestioningly.

      This issue IS very much however about the determination, manifested by Effendi in particular, to use this as a stalking horse to mealy-mouthed propose restrictions on civil society and attack the politics of individuals. Effendi has not thought this through when the best he can suggest is ‘forcing’ societies to hold their meetings in lecture rooms monitored by CCTV. Best of luck with the football society on that one.

      I have been criticised on here in the past for not buying in to the civil liberties line that New Labour has been authoritarian and has denied us all liberty. However what the definite undertone in the attacks on UCL contain goes way beyond the painfully middle class paranoia of Henry Porter and his ilk. This is why governments have felt the need to act - those like Effendi are actively beckoning the government to intervene in and control our lives for nothing other than vague suspicions and chips on shoulders. These are the people the civil libertarians should be taking it up with, not ministers.

      It is a level of thought so basic it is something must be done - this is something - therefore this must be done.

      The undertone of this has not been about placing legitimate bars on free speech but has been about the active restriction of freedom of association. That is a rather different matter and it is to the critics’ shame that they do not have the spine to actually say as much. I have no objection to intelligence led surveillance of university religious societies, or indeed non-university societies. I have no objection to a university saying that it does not want a particular speaker (religious or otherwise) on their campus. I have no objection to the police actively investigating breaches of the law regardless of the skin colour of those under suspicion. I don’t even have a problem with profiling.

      What I do object to however is the idea that societies should be suspected and restricted simply for having the temerity to exist. Should, for example university football clubs be proscribed and suspected because one or two members are also in the Islamic Society? Free association is a basic tenet of civil society - that some strongly disagree with parts of that civil society is the price of democracy.

      More than that, the stalking horse tendency of the argument seems to want to make a point at higher education. Universities are no more responsible for the future actions of their students than employers, the editors of newspapers they read, their primary school teacher or anyone else. Civil society can not and should not be restricted in they way that the end-point of the UCL-bashers’ thinking suggests. If someone goes and throws a bomb at the next meeting of the UCL ISoC is Effendi responsible given how he has written on the subject? Of course not - individuals are responsible for their actions. And those who blame ‘anger’ over the Iraq conflict rather than individual terrorists for attacks may like to go and dwell on that.

      If the antis on this want to restrict freedom of association then let them have the spine to come here and debate the point fully. If not, spare me the stalking horse about how civil society doesn’t always indulge and therefore must be limited. Society can not and should not bend its knee before your every taboo and grievance Effendi.

      I am off to play badminton tomorrow and I expect that there will be some Muslims there. If anyone wants to have a look there are spaces in the gallery. If anyone wants to prevent me or my friends from associating over what may or may not be in our heads they can kindly go away. This is the principle here - not some abstraction about free speech or UCL’s principles.

    82. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 6:58 PM  

      douglas clark - Blunt, Burgess, Philby and McLean, all ‘radicalised’ at Cambridge University (using the logic on here) used very sophisticased codes.

      Presumably Effendi has a problem with Cambridge?

    83. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:02 PM  

      You seem convinced that I have some “axe to grind” of UCL, then Islamic societies, then civil liberties, then free speech.

      Nothing could further from the truth.

      But I would be interested to know how you propose to stem Islamic radicalisation in ISOCs?

    84. Refresh — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:02 PM  

      MaidMarian,

      ‘This issue IS very much however about the determination, manifested by Effendi in particular, to use this as a stalking horse to mealy-mouthed propose restrictions on civil society and attack the politics of individuals.’

      Absolutely. Its nothing less.

    85. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:03 PM  

      Well I’m outta here. This discussion has become way too personlised for my tastes.

    86. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:05 PM  

      MaidMarian @ 78,

      Well said.

      I recall a Director of Education, legitimately in my opinion, pointing to the knee jerk reaction that all societies failings were the fault of the educational system. He reasonably pointed out that everyone went through an education, so he’d like to be praised for the saints as well as castigated for the sinners. Or, more realistically, for people to look for a more legitimate catalyst.

    87. Refresh — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:12 PM  

      Douglas, did you ever ascertain whether Effendi was Faisal who was Sid?

      Happy New Year to one and all.

    88. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:15 PM  

      Effendi - ‘But I would be interested to know how you propose to stem Islamic radicalisation in ISOCs?’

      Fair enough. I don’t have an answer, at least not a good one. When I was at University I was approached by the Islamic Scoiety the sentence, ‘I don’t do God, insert that leaflet into your colon sideways,’ seemed to work well.

      Universities can and should discourage hate speech off campus and disinvite speakers on it. They could also derecognise societies as a symbol of displeasure. Beyond that, I feel that there is nothing that universities can or should do. That is the price of civil society and democracy.

    89. Refresh — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

      Effendi,

      ‘This discussion has become way too personlised for my tastes.’

      Have you completely lost your marbles? I am sure you couldn’t have got more personal than this:

      ‘Sunny

      haha, you are a hilarious clown.’

    90. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

      Universities can and should discourage hate speech off campus and disinvite speakers on it. They could also derecognise societies as a symbol of displeasure.

      In other you’re advocating the banning of “offensive” Societies?

      And you think that’s a better form of practising civil society and democracy at Universities?

    91. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

      Effendi - Still here?

      There is nothing wrong with universities asking people not to be on their property. That is not a ban as speakers can speak elsewhere.

      Derecognising a society as a university society does not mean the immediate closure or banning of that society.

      Universities are a civil society institution who can endorse or not societies. As a part of civil society they should not be obligated to recognise anyone or be compelled to have speakers on their property.

      They can not and should not ban anyone from meeting under auspices not their own.

      You do understand that ’sociteies’ exist outside universities don’t you?

    92. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

      Very much so. I’m amused that someone who presumes banning societies and driving Muslim students off university premises to meet in particpatory politics should be a recommended way to curtail radicalisation, then boasts of having a better liberal credentials than others.

    93. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

      Effendi - (Sigh)

      Can you please point me to the quote where I talk about, ‘banning societies.’

      I do like the way that you use the term, ‘muslim students,’ given that I have been very careful to avoid the presumption of any religion being implicated apart from where I have replied to a specific question.

      Or are you just putting words into people’s mouths?

      Incidentally, you still don’t seem to have shared your thoughts on Cambridge and the spy ring. Or are they not vibrant enough to attract your attention.

    94. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:34 PM  

      The discussion is about radicalisation of the ISOC at UCL, if you need reminding. If I stick to the topic, how is that putting words into “people’s mouths”?

      Incidentally, I couldn’t give a flying about Cambridge and the Spy Ring. Don’t presume to put words in mine.

      Your suggestions to curtail Islamic radicalisation at University ISOCs have not been very liberal, have they? And the whole point is, it is probable that illiberal measure is what it will take to stop this thing, because that is probably the nature of the game.

    95. Sunny — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

      ‘This discussion has become way too personlised for my tastes

      oh dear. That’s what you call pwned

    96. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:42 PM  

      So you can’t point me to the bit where I suggested banning things then?

      If I am not mistaken the banner headline makes clear that this discussion is about, ‘UCL and its principles.’

      I didn’t think you would care about the Cambridge ring - not vibrant enought to attract your attention I take it?

      My suggestions may not have been liberal - I don’t claim they are. They are just better than your brand of finger pointing.

      Now if you will excuse me, darts is on.

    97. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

      Refresh @ 84,

      Naw, it’s a secret code. Don’t think it’s oor Sid though, as I cannot actually imagine him walking away from a discussion, ever.

      And a Happy New Year to you too!

    98. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

      oh dear. That’s what you call pwned

      Are you trying to take credit for it with your useless input?

    99. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

      My suggestions may not have been liberal – I don’t claim they are. They are just better than your brand of finger pointing.

      Banning an offensive society is not finger pointing? Quite delusional. What do you think of yourself?

    100. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:49 PM  

      ‘What do you think of yourself?’

      Son, I don’t do God. I don’t think beyond that.

    101. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:52 PM  

      Is that noise your faux-liberal whoopee cushion going off?

    102. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:56 PM  

      Ah, and on that sophisticated note I’m off to watch University Challenge.

      Though presumably you will be looking to ban university quiz teams before long.

    103. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:57 PM  

      No mate, you will.

    104. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2010 at 7:59 PM  

      Effendi,

      How many other people on this thread have agreed with your quite mad ideas for bugging meeting rooms?

      It is you that wants to impose, on frankly shallow grounds, a wedge towards further erosions of civil liberties.

      Naadir Jeewa has, as her last line, a link to Ed Murrow. You are becoming a parody of Senator McCarthy. His ‘evidence’ probably stacked up a tad better than your own.

    105. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 8:02 PM  

      douglas clark

      Oh no, I didn’t say anything about bugging rooms, douglas clark.

      I said CCTV cameras in full view of the speakers and the students so that they all know that any talk of killing homosexuals, jews, Hindus white people, black people (and that kind of thing) will be recorded and be used as back up should there be a report to the police

      That’s all. pretty easy stuff.

    106. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

      Effendi,

      Same thing. How often have you seen a politician saying something ‘on camera’ when they thought it was actually off?

    107. Sunny — on 4th January, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

      A parody of McCarthy is perhaps a good term. I’d call him a poor man’s McCarthy but he can’t even make arguments straight.

      At least McCarthy was open about what he wanted banned. And he didn’t pepper his arguments with ‘Comrade’ to pretend he was one of them.

    108. Effendi — on 4th January, 2010 at 8:10 PM  

      Sunny, I wonder if you can answer a serious question:
      Do you have any alternatives for a solution to stem radicalisation in ISOCs?

    109. Kulvinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

      debate

    110. Naadir Jeewa — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

      In response to Effendi and other reports of increased radicalisation on university campuses:

      I accept that the phenomena has grown over time. ISOCs aren’t what they used to be.
      I, however maintain:

      * That it is not a university’s job to fill in for the role of counter-terrorism, and to have to violate existing university charters or the laws by which universities are regulated.

      * Students’ Unions are independent corporations to the universities that host them.

      * With reference to free speech, universities and students’ unions are regulated by the Education Act 1986, Part 4 which forbids preventing speakers from attending a college on the basis of their political beliefs or objectives in so far as they act in accordance with the law.

      * The NUS maintains a no-platform policy for fascist organisations, meaning that no BNP members can be invited to speak at an SU event, but they could still do so independently.

      * These are cultural norms upheld by Anglo-American universities (recall Ahmedinijad speaking at Colombia)

      * Some US universities did try to enact hate speech rules in the nineties in response to the seeming threat of neo-Nazism, but they were quelled by the Supreme Court for unconstitutionality.

      Therefore the onus is on the state to carry out its counter-terrorism duties in order to protect its citizens, not to turn our universities into Orwellian nightmares. I am not against surveillance per sé, but it is a job that must be done within well specified rules by a state organisation. Also, if you problematically add up enrolment numbers for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, let’s say we take 6 terrorists as the figure for the last few years – we get a prevalence rate of about 1 (failed) terrorist for 9000 Bengali or Pakistani students over the last few years. Does this seriously justify such large infractions of law and such high expense?

      Students Unions’ can only do more to stimulate debate - ensure accessibility of events to all in order that some, and not to contrain political societies that can challenge hateful views.

      So Effendi, what do you suggest that we do which maintains the actual rule of law?

    111. MiriamBinder — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

      I am gobsmacked! Did I really read what I thought I read? ….

      Yep! there it is #53 “How about whether it causes the successful detonation of bombs on transatlantic airliners?”

      So you are seriously suggesting we bar certain speakers because we think ” … it may cause the successful detonation of bombs on transatlantic airliners?” I mean you are seriously suggesting this? Seriously and with a straight face?

      On a flippant level, I take it that we don’t need to concern ourselves with successful detonations of bombs on underground railway carriages; Oh and how about unsuccessful detonations either on or off transatlantic airliners?

      None of which matter because no matter how you look at it, it is still the censorship of a speaker based on a supposition of what the consequences of his/her speech might have on the actions of others at some time in the future.

      My three year old learned pretty quickly that ‘S/he made me do it’ was no excuse. Are you now suggesting I tell my children that actually ‘S/he made it sound like a good idea’ is a very reasonable mitigating circumstance?

      This whole issue of ‘incitement’ is fraught with danger especially when you are talking about something as tenuous as the connection between a given speaker on a given podium and a possible act at sometime in the future.

      Further I would suggest that the process of ‘radicalisation’ is far more complex and would require a lot more then being exposed to a(n) (inciting) speaker … or two or three. Given that is the case, further bearing in mind the projected costs of monitoring and add to that the inherent ramifications on the level of civil freedom; I would suggest that requiring the ISOCs to submit to, and Universities to administer the level of scrutiny of proposed speakers would have a far more detrimental effect on any civilised society then the mere threat of terrorism ever had.

      Then again, astaghfirallah brother Effendi, maybe that is the intent?

    112. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

      Naadir Jeewa (107) - With respect, I think that seeing this as a matter of law and as an exercise in legalistics is not a sensible route to follow here.

      What you say may very well be true, but the point remains that enforcement of the law is only one aspect here.

      This issue is not really about university societies in and of themselves. After all civil society organisations are not subject to the Education Act or University charters, yet it would be wrong to propose restrictions on freedom of association there. Indeed, flip it around. UCL may have acted legally, but I would hardly say that it has covered itself in glory.

      The antis here are wrong because rights to free association matter. Moreover, the implication that universities have some sort of liability for the future actions of students is extraordinary in how it is a device to absolve individuals of any responsibility and pass blame onto politically chosen targets. Legal nicity comes second to that.

    113. Naadir Jeewa — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

      I’ve left the right to free association out for a bit, because I was wondering how to reconcile NUS policy on “safe space” and “no-platform” with whatever clubs and societies want to do, all within the framework of the law.

      I wouldn’t see a problem if the SU (not the college) had policies to sanction societies for undertaking activities that offend others (the rules for which would have to be reasonably tight) - whether or not that’s reduction of funding or disbanding is for SUs to decide. What the college couldn’t do is prevent those members of the society who want to press ahead with an event, organise their own funding, rent a room etc…

    114. Refresh — on 4th January, 2010 at 11:06 PM  

      Effendi, I think you are sneaking in ideas and proposals which any neocon would be proud of.

      If you were given the space, you would also be bringing in Campus Watch and appropriate training for students to spot any delinquent thought amongst the lecturers, professors and rersearchers.

    115. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 1:07 AM  

      Nadir:

      The NUS maintains a no-platform policy for fascist organisations, meaning that no BNP members can be invited to speak at an SU event, but they could still do so independently.

      If it within legal compliance for the NUS to maintain a no-platform policy to BNP members, surely this can be extended to other religious supremacists who condone and advocate violence against homosexuals, Jews etc.

      In which case, if this can be done independently of the University, as you say it can, then that could be a solution for keeping radicalising clerics off campuses.

    116. MiriamBinder — on 5th January, 2010 at 1:17 AM  

      I don’t think that a ‘no-platform’ policy is right regardless of whom they are denying the platform to … Oxford Debating Society did the right thing asking Griffin to speak, as did Question Time … for all that I personally abhor the man and all he stands for.

    117. cjcjc — on 5th January, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

      Sunny - when the chess club starts inviting “grand master” Abu Usamah then we can turn our attention to them.

      Do you ever read before you react?

    118. steve — on 5th January, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

      i tihnk it’s pretty funny the way that Effendi - who started all of this with his condemnathon post about UCL - is now valiantly casting around with this question:

      Do you have any alternatives for a solution to stem radicalisation in ISOCs?,/i>

      until you actually come up with a feasible idea of how it might be stopped - aside from inventing cheap audio visual equipment from our mind, and magicking up over 100,000 pounds for every university in the country from an as-yet unspecified source of cash, in the midst of a period of cutting funding to universities - then i fail to see why we should do your work for you. you don’t seem to be taking the issue seriously.

      you have no solutions yourself aside from a bunch of tedious, repritive blog posts and weirdly personal attacks on Malcolm Grant for - well - what exactly?

      I’d have hoped those who seem most vociferous about an apparent islamisation problem in our universities would at least have thought about how it might actually be tackled. but apparently not - apparently it’s enough to repost a bunch of material from harry’s place and expect others to do your thinking for you.

      this is what is so frustrating about the spitoon/HP Sauce axis - they don’t actually have anything constructive to say about the issues they apparently care so much about. all they can do is repost and repost with the effect of diminishing returns, and hope that eventually someone else comes up with some actual ideas.

    119. cjcjc — on 5th January, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

      Here’s an actual idea - Effendi has already suggested it @46 - the university tries a little harder (ie begins to try at all in UCL’s case) to vet outside speakers.
      That can’t be too hard, can it?
      I’m sure UCL has access to the interweb.
      No need for the cameras then.
      Prevention better than cure.

    120. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

      In other words steve, you don’t have a clue do you. And I suspect you very much want the status quo to continue as it is = whereby extremist mullahs are free to be invited on campus to radicalise ISOCs. I thought as much.

    121. steve — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

      i have a clue that for all your bluster and clamour over the invitation of these people to speak at universities, you have no real idea of what a university could do differently to avoid these speakers attending, aside from your invention of millions of pounds and your invention of cheap recording equipment to monitor them.

      then you suggest that universities vet the speakers - but again, what budget is the money for the people who ‘vet’ the speakers going to come from - it will involve the creation of at least one more job at a time of massive budget cuts, after all. Who will actually be responsible for this? you don’t actually have any idea about university funding or structure, do you? What legal changes would you make to universities to make them accountable for the actions of student socities? As for the ‘vetting in advance’, can’t students just lie about who they are inviting?

      big on showboating and outrage, woefully low on ideas.

      as usual for the spitoon / hp sauce lot.

      as far as i go, i think that asking universities to become thought police is not just misguided, it’s utterly unworkable and invovles a wholesale change in what universities are both for, and what they are required to do in law. these places aren’t schools. academics aren’t teachers. if you believe in freedom of speech then you have to accept that religious socities are likely to invite homophobes to speak, and that they should be allowed to. you don’t actually have any solutions to this, and you’re the one agitating so much.

      think a bit harder about what you’d actually do, before posting your hysterical stuff about speakers who are invited.

      the issues are harder to think about than you might imagine - as demonstrated by your quite frankly childish ’solutions’, to be funded by monopoly money and imaginary A/V equipment. if that’s the best you can come up with…

    122. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

      steve: big on evasion and detraction, low on constructive ideas.

      Firstly to get a solution from you, you need to agree that there is a problem of radicalisation at UCL ISOC. Do you even think that?

      I get the strong feeling you don’t.

    123. cjcjc — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:21 AM  

      Complete bollocks.

      The university makes it a condition that any society has to submit speakers’ names and CV in advance.
      Failure to do so and the society is disbanded.
      Time taken to check up on likely problem names how long - a few hours a month?

      if you believe in freedom of speech then you have to accept that religious socities are likely to invite homophobes to speak, and that they should be allowed to.

      So UCL was wrong to (finally) ban Abu Usamah?
      So, let the hate flow.
      And Hamira Khan (new post) tells us Islam is a religion of peace and respect?

    124. steve — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

      low on constructive ideas -

      this from the man whose only ‘constructive ideas’ on how to stop student radicalisaion involve inventing millions of pounds (by the way, you’ve still failed to say here the money ofr your imagined initiatives is meant to come from) and inventing equipment that only exists in your brain!

      here’s a constructive idea - think about WORKABLE, PRACTICAL solutions as well as thinking about problems. the one without the other doesn’t really work.

      i can’t help wondering if you’ve even been to university, with this level of intellectual crudity.

    125. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

      You haven’t answered the radicalisation of UCL ISOC question yet “steve”.

      I wonder why?

    126. steve — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:43 AM  

      well if you’re going to talk about not answering questions, i wonder if you could answer the question i have now asked you on roughly ten occasions -

      where is the money for your imaginary A/V equipment and university staff going to come from? who is going to fund the ’serious suggestions’ you’re making?

      UCL islamic society seems to have its radical elements but i can’t conclude that every member is radicalised, or that the society is fully radicalised - not least when your evidence includes such gems as, er, inviting george galloway to speak.

    127. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 11:47 AM  

      Do you agree that Cage Prisoners and Asim Qureshi are jihadists?

    128. steve — on 5th January, 2010 at 1:43 PM  

      if you’re going to talk about not answering questions, i wonder if you could answer the question i have now asked you on roughly ten occasions –

      where is the money for your imaginary A/V equipment and university staff going to come from? who is going to fund the ’serious suggestions’ you’re making?

    129. Effendi — on 5th January, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

      I’ve already suggested from the University coffers. Perhaps Government grants, raise student union fees, what have you.

      Meanwhile my question to you remains unanswered. Do you agree that Cage Prisoners and Asim Qureshi are jihadists?

    130. marvin — on 5th January, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

      The university makes it a condition that any society has to submit speakers’ names and CV in advance.
      Failure to do so and the society is disbanded.
      Time taken to check up on likely problem names how long – a few hours a month?

      That’s racism. You don’t ask white groups to do the same when speaking at lectures at UCL…. Only ones where people have brown skin.

      QED… for the left anyhow. Their brain stops after such conclusions. They fact that white supremacists never speak there and thus negate the motivation to track such individuals does not enter the brain.

    131. steve — on 6th January, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

      I’ve already suggested from the University coffers. Perhaps Government grants, raise student union fees, what have you.

      govt grants when they’re committed to massive higher ed cuts?

      students to fund the uni’s policing of themselves?

      you’re going to have to do better than that.

    132. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

      As opposed to how brilliantly you’re doing answering the question I’ve asked you?

    133. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

      I really don’t think this topic is going anywhere. It is clearly not the responsibility of Universities to pretend to be spooks. If MI5 or Police counter intelligence agencies have suspicions that any laws are been broken then they can most certainly investigate ‘people of interest’. And they can do that in all sorts of ways that are unavailable to University Courts. Why does anyone think we should attempt to use amateurs?



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