‘Universities don’t create extremists’


by Sunny
6th January, 2010 at 3:02 pm    

My article for Guardian CIF today:

In blaming universities for radicalised students, we risk serious damage to freedom of speech and civil liberties

Singling out universities as potential conveyor belts for terrorists is an old talking point for neocons. The most notorious example in recent times was American commentator Daniel Pipes’s project Campus Watch, which created dossiers on professors and universities that did “not meet its standard of uncritical support for the policies of George Bush and Ariel Sharon”, according to one critic. Anthony Glees, professor of security and intelligence studies at the University of Buckingham, told the Telegraph: “UCL boasts on its website that it has 8,000 staff for 22,000 students, which is an enviable staff/student ratio. What have they been doing?” Their jobs, perhaps?

There are two issues here. The first is about academic freedom of speech and civil liberties, which have been completely sidelined in the debate.

Read the full article here.


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: 'Universities don't create extremists' http://bit.ly/8m46XG


  2. Yusuf

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: 'Universities don't create extremists' http://bit.ly/8m46XG


  3. Nicholas Stewart

    #PickledPolitics ‘Universities don’t create extremists’ http://tinyurl.com/yeckav2




  1. Ravi Naik — on 6th January, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

    That’s right. We should be looking to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for guidance on student liberties.

    That’s checkmate in 2 moves, uh?

    Great article.

  2. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 3:46 pm  

    So far you haven’t even been able to agree that there is a problem of radicalisation at ISOCs at UCL nor indeed at other universities.

    You don’t even agree that known individuals from certain organisations who lionise Anwar al-Awlaki are jihadists. In fact, you even share platform with some of them.

    Well you’re right. UCL is not primarily to blame for the Islamic radicalisation of its ISOC. But you’re not even willing to address the primary culprits of radicalisation at UCL. So in instead you create a straw man and state that Universities should not be blamed.

    Oh but you support spying on Muslims!

    Another “liberal-consensus” grabbing tailspin.

  3. cjcjc — on 6th January, 2010 at 3:54 pm  

    My comment on the CiF site FWIW:

    So Sunny, have you now abandoned your “no platform for fascists” policy?

    Or is it OK for student societies to invite brown fascists but not white ones?

    UCL (finally, after pressure) banned Abu Usamah – a man who advocates the killing of homosexuals – from turning up. I assume you think they were they wrong to do so?

    Do you not think there is any kind of problem with a student society which wants to invite this kind of person?

    (74 recommendations – woo-hoo!)

  4. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 3:56 pm  

    75 now.

  5. cjcjc — on 6th January, 2010 at 3:59 pm  

    Though this doesn’t look like a terribly “progressive” event, does it?

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2010/01/05/progressive-london/

    Are you sure you want to be associated with Andy “Iran is a democracy” Newman, or members of the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-e-Islami?

    Still, if that’s what Ken wants to do who am I to stand in his suicidal path?

  6. halima — on 6th January, 2010 at 4:04 pm  

    Great article, Sunny.

    Nice to see UCL defended.

  7. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

    Sunny,

    Excellent article. Incubated around about here I’d have thought.

  8. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 4:08 pm  

    Perhaps you should change your name to Sunny Bunglawala. He’s “brown” and thinks just like you too.

  9. MiriamBinder — on 6th January, 2010 at 4:36 pm  

    Good article Sunny … well said!

  10. Refresh — on 6th January, 2010 at 4:41 pm  

    Excellent article.

  11. Naadir Jeewa — on 6th January, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

    Good stuff.

  12. Rumbold — on 6th January, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

    It’s a good piece Sunny. Universities should feel free to stop anyone they abhor using their facilities, but it is not up to academics to police the views of their students (though pastoral care could be improved).

  13. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

    Refreshingly evidence free!

    I really like the way you uphold civil rights in your article while at the same time completely avoid saying you support State Spying on Muslim “extremists” which includes wire tapping, snooping into bank accounts, etc. Because “extremists” aren’t citizens after all, are they?

  14. Sunny — on 6th January, 2010 at 6:16 pm  

    Ahhh, Effendi will come and defend the Muslims and free speech… by calling for everyone to be profiled and universities to turn into counter-intelligence centres!

    I see your liberal credentials and dedication to free speech and liberty are coming out Effendi. Could you remind me what those big posters at the last anti-Choudhary event said? Would you like me to remind you? Or is that free speech only for whites and not for Muslims?

    cjcjc:
    So Sunny, have you now abandoned your “no platform for fascists” policy?

    you’ve become a master and asking silly questions that have no relevance to what I’m saying don’t you.

    I responded thus:
    Erm – this is a silly point because it conflates different things. I have a no-platform stance against BNPers as well as Islamic extremists and Sikh extremists.

    But I’m saying that we should not pass laws or make rules that deliberately impinge on free speech. Or are you interested in free speech only for white folks?

    Secondly, I asked about what a university should do… and yet rather predictably many have not tried to grapple with that question – instead saying I’m somehow making excuses for Islamists.

    Hope that satisfies.

  15. Sunny — on 6th January, 2010 at 6:20 pm  

    Oh but you support spying on Muslims!

    I see you can’t read in your pathetic attempt to smear me eh?

  16. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 6:27 pm  

    Ah Sunny.

    First you don’t even recognise that there is a serious problem of Islamic radicalisation at UCL.
    Then you say that these radicals deserve freedom of speech. But what radicals? You’ve just denied they existed.
    Then you want to pin your marker to your support for civil liberties but you have made a pig’s arse of your liberal credentials by saying that you want to see Muslim extremists spied on by the state.

    This is what happens when you’re a chaser of liberal consensus. Soon the consensus changes and you’re left in a position totally at odds with your last set of “firmly held beliefs”.

    I see you can’t read in your pathetic attempt to smear me eh?

    Don’t worry, I have taken screen shots in the eventuality that you will start denying and deleting.

  17. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:13 pm  

    Effendi (2) – ‘So in instead you create a straw man and state that Universities should not be blamed.’

    That is not a straw man Effendi, it is the kernel of the issue as presented by the talkboard malcontents. Moreover it is manifestly true that universities should not be blamed.

    Unless, it would seem that you are the University of Buckingham where, apparently, academics see it as their role to police thought crimes.

    Effendi, the point is this. If a group of people (of what ever religion or none, be they students or otherwise) wish to set up a society they should be free to do so. Your a priori moral condemnation is well…talkboard hot air.

    Unless, of course, you feel that free association does not matter. Which – granted would be the impression you have been giving off.

  18. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

    Effendi,

    Look, it is pretty obvious that no-one is born a suicide bomber. Can we agree with that as a starting point?

    It is also reasonable to assume that at adolescence, or when freed from parental constraint, people will consider alternative ideas. Like when they go to University. And claim more extreme points of view than their parents?

    (I was particularily drawn to anarchy, after I’d, briefly thought the right was right – it takes a while to figure it out. That is what growing up is all about.)

    It is perfectly OK for young adults to be exposed to extremism. They will hear it in gangs, they will hear it on the streets, or in the pub, they will hear it in their fucking clubs.

    You are, frankly, into denying people the right to grow up.

    Of course it is serious when young people adopt, a frankly self destructive, life. And it is particularily ridiculous when they are believers in any sort of afterlife.

    Y’know, religious nutters.

    I do not see it as the function of a University to shade people from that insanity. It is for people to do it for themselves. It is up to people, young as they are, to say no. It is what learning is about.

    Indeed, we should have freshers weeks with.

    “Come to me you little bomblet”

    We should have freshers weeks where Muslims murdered by suicidal Muslims are on massive screens. We should have Muslims saying:

    “See these bastards – they are insane.”

    The meek have to tell the strong to fuck off and die…

    That has been a tad lacking, I must say.

    I’d join BMSD except it’d make me a bit of a toe rag, what with me not being a Muslim….

    Don’t worry, I have taken screen shots in the eventuality that you will start denying and deleting.

    Fucking STASI tit.

  19. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

    Effendi, the point is this. If a group of people (of what ever religion or none, be they students or otherwise) wish to set up a society they should be free to do so.

    Except the right to create societies is not and has never been the crux of this argument.

    The point of the debate has been what to do about SU societies which become centres of Islamic radicalisation by allowing free access to speakers with a record of racial and religious hate incitement onto university campuses.

    Although what is lamentable on the pages of this forum, is that the first point of argument in the debate on solving the ISOCs problem has been an Herculean effort to admit that there is even a problem.

    all the best
    wa-salam

  20. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    Effendi – ‘The point of the debate has been what to do about SU societies which become centres of Islamic radicalisation by allowing free access to speakers with a record of racial and religious hate incitement onto university campuses.’

    There you go again! ‘by allowing free access to speakers.’ So you think that universities should deny access? Universties can ask people not to be on their property if they want to, they can not and should not deny access. Unless you are the U of Buckingham it would seem where active thought crime policing comes as standard.

    You would like it to be about SU societies, but the way that you steadfastly refuse to come up with any ideas speaks volumes about how this is all about you wanting a stalking horse to flaunt the chips on your shoulder.

    And you still have not shared your thoughts on the Cambridge spy ring with the group. Or are they not vibrant enough to attract your attention?

  21. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:52 pm  

    Universties can ask people not to be on their property if they want to, they can not and should not deny access.

    Perhaps my problem is I don’t know the difference between the University “asking people not to be on their property” and the University “denying access”.

    Can you explain?

  22. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:55 pm  

    Yes – One is on a specific piece of territory under the university’s control. ‘Access’ does not have to be on university property.

    Universities can ask societies not to invite speaker X onto their property. They can not and should not be able to prevent societies from acting off their property.

    Think of it this way. The sport hall in town can ask my badminton club to remove a member, they can not prevent us from playing badminton with that person at another location.

    Cambridge spy ring comment yet?

  23. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 7:59 pm  

    Sorry – I should have added, unless you are the University of Buckingham where, it would seem that academic standards are outweighed by what particular academics think is in a person’s head.

  24. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:03 pm  

    No Effendi,

    The point of the debate has been what to do about SU societies which become centres of Islamic radicalisation by allowing free access to speakers with a record of racial and religious hate incitement onto university campuses.

    It has been all about your certainties, your unrealistic conclusions. It has been, frankly about you.

    It has been all about Effendi.

    It is also perhaps about your complete utter belief that you came to your own opinions – fully formed – a second or two ago. That childhood, adolesence and early adulthood pssed you by.

    Perhaps, frankly I hope, that they are in your future, and that you are around eight years old.

    It is unbelievable bullshit.

  25. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:04 pm  

    Universities can ask societies not to invite speaker X onto their property. They can not and should not be able to prevent societies from acting off their property.

    In that case, whose responsibility is it if SU societies repeatedly fail to heed public laws against the incitement of racial and religious hatred speech?

  26. Rumbold — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:07 pm  

    Effendi:

    In that case, whose responsibility is it if SU societies repeatedly fail to heed public laws against the incitement of racial and religious hatred speech?

    The individuals in the society. We wouldn’t prosecute a company if its employees went on a drunken ramapage on the weekend, so why blame a university for what its students do off its property?

  27. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:08 pm  

    Effendi – ‘In that case, whose responsibility is it if SU societies repeatedly fail to heed public laws against the incitement of racial and religious hatred speech?’

    The Security Services. Assuming that there is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, rather than just talkboard angst.

    Universities can, of course, say to societies that society X is not affiliated to the university in view of circumstances. It can not and should not be able to prevent the people in that Society meeting under their own auspices.

    That is called civil liberties.

    You really are worried about that Cambridge Spy Ring point, aren’t you?

  28. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:09 pm  

    Rumbold – Spot on.

    I know at least one university Rugby Union club that came dangerously close to being told by a university to go and play elsewhere!

  29. Cjcjc — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

    So you do at least agree that eg Abu Usamah should have been disinvited.

    I don’t know what the precise legal position is but I very strongly suspect that the xyz soc could not call itself the UCL xyz soc without UCL approval. That gives UCL all the rights it needs to regulate the behaviour of student socs on or off UCL premises I would have thought.

    Now that won’t prevent unofficial stuff, of course not, but might prevent some impressionable kids from being taken in.

    And I repeat, why does a student soc want to invite the likes of Abu Usamah in the first place.

  30. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:20 pm  

    cjcjc

    1) ‘Impressionable kids?’ – please!

    2) ‘Regulate the behaviour of sudent socs on or off UCL premises.’ – That’s a can of worms. Individuals are not beholden to universities like that, nor should they be. If I were a member of a political party, would that party have the right to, ‘regulate,’ my behaviour?

    3) Why they would want to invite radical speakers is indeed interesting. My guess is to be as radical and eye-catching as possible. Sadly, that is what identity politics these days seems to demand.

    4) What would you have done about Blunt, Burgess, Philby and McLean – were Cambridge to blame there?

  31. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:29 pm  

    The Security Services. Assuming that there is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, rather than just talkboard angst.

    So it’s not a problem if Abu Usamah continues to be invited by ISOCs to speak at university campuses as long as it does not break any laws and is just “angst”?

    Your reading of civil society gives no say to public institutions in matters of ethics as long as Laws are not breached. Laws which are often difficult to apply because of lack of enforceable evidence because of flakey institutions. Thank god it doesn’t completely work like that right now, although it is getting to that stage, the nicely fucked up vicious circle.

  32. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:34 pm  

    Effendi –

    ‘So it’s not a problem if Abu Usamah continues to be invited by ISOCs to speak at university campuses as long as it does not break any laws and is just “angst”?’

    Ah, I see – so you are holding your a priori moral condemnation above the law then. At least you have the grace not to deny this is about you and ramming your views and prejudice down the collective throat.

    ‘Your reading of civil society gives no say to public institutions in matters of ethics as long as Laws are not breached. Thank god it doesn’t work like that, but right now in England – not for lack of trying.’

    Public institutions can say what they want to about ethics. It’s just that what you seem to think that civil society should be what you want it to be.

  33. MiriamBinder — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:35 pm  

    Regulate behaviour sounds suspiciously like rehabilitating thought. I thought the aim of universities was to expose their students to various schools of thought, bad, good, wrong, right and indifferent and teach them to evaluate critically. A bit hard to do if from the outset you determine there are ideas they may not be exposed to.

  34. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:38 pm  

    Ah, I see – so you are holding your a priori moral condemnation above the law then.

    If you think Nick Griffin is a racist that’s an a priori moral condemnation that is above the law. Just because you are ignorant about Abu Usamah but not Griffin is immaterial.

    Public institutions can say what they want to about ethics. It’s just that what you seem to think that civil society should be what you want it to be.

    Public institutions do that is driven by public reason, nothing else.

  35. Effendi — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:45 pm  

    Ah, I see – so you are holding your a priori moral condemnation above the law then. At least you have the grace not to deny this is about you and ramming your views and prejudice down the collective throat.

    What? Are you saying Abu Usamah’s statement to kill homosexuals is my attempt to dictate views and ram prejudice down the collective throat?

    Are you saying that a statement made by someone that is beyond the pale is acceptable because you don’t personally like the person who says it? Is this all about personal prejudice for you?

    Your argument seems a bit flakey right now and dinner awaits.

    Effendi out.

    wa-salam

  36. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 8:51 pm  

    ‘Are you saying Abu Usamah’s statement to kill homosexuals is my attempt to dictate views and ram prejudice down the collective throat?’

    Not unless he speaks on your behalf? I think that your talkboard strop and demands to have freedom of association ‘regulated’ is your attempt to dictate views and ram prejudices. You can, of course, say what you want to. I just think that you are everything that is wrong with the, ‘something must be done,’ tendency.

    ‘Are you saying that a statement made by someone that is beyond the pale is unacceptable if I say it?’

    No. I am saying that you can’t stop societies (university or otherwise) being formed because they may or may not have some members who may or may not have heard things beyond said pale.

    ‘Your argument seems a bit flakey right now.’

    Saying something does not make it true.

    I’m off so I will leave you to bask in your triumph – and maybe how you can twist and turn your way out of the Cambridge Spy Ring.

  37. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 9:11 pm  

    Effendi @ 34, etc, etc, etc,

    I am glad your dinner awaits.

    Is it your favourite? Chips and beans. Does mummy steer it into your mouth?

    …………………………………

    Are you saying that a statement made by someone that is beyond the pale is acceptable because you don’t personally like the person who says it? Is this all about personal prejudice for you?

    You haven’t a fucking clue, do you?

    I would defend your right to talk pish, which is all you ever manage to do, without, for a moment agreeing with you.

    I consider, as is my right, that you are beyond the pale, that in fact you are a stupid person with nothing worthwhile to say.

    Would I stop you making an idiot of yourself?

    No, of course I wouldn’t.

  38. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

    Rumbold @ 26,

    Pretty much.

    Although the numbers of Islamic Society leaders that were pretty wrong uns is incredible…..

  39. KB Player — on 6th January, 2010 at 10:00 pm  

    Well, the university high ups seem to think something must be done:-

    University leaders are to examine how to tackle violent extremism on campus without damaging academic freedom.

    A working group of university chiefs is to be set up, headed by University College London provost, Malcolm Grant.

    ….

    The working group, which will be formed from university vice-chancellors and other academics, will consider how to achieve the balancing act of preventing campus extremism without undermining the right for students and staff to hold free debates.

    The group will “consider how universities can work with all relevant organisations, nationally and locally, to ensure the protection of freedom of speech and lawful academic activities, whilst safeguarding students, staff and the wider community from violent extremism”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8443885.stm

    The Cambridge spy ring is a poor analogy – their activities weren’t known until what – a decade, two decades? – even more in the case of Anthony Blunt – after they had left Cambridge.

  40. cjcjc — on 6th January, 2010 at 10:12 pm  

    Yes at 17/18 they are impressionable kids.
    Highly impressionable.

    I might use a different word for Abu Usamah than “radical”, but if that’s how you see him…

    Sweet dreams.

  41. MiriamBinder — on 6th January, 2010 at 10:48 pm  

    Oh well … you can all retire happily from the fray now. You have the university chiefs ‘looking into’ how they may counter extremism on campuses without compromising academic integrity.

    Clap yourselves on your respective backs … well done. By the time the working group gets around to talking about it and writing up their findings you’ll have something else to get all hot under the collar about and you’ll probably won’t even notice whether anything is going to be changed or not. Heck, with your subjectivity, you probably won’t realise what you may have lost till it affects you personally.

  42. MaidMarian — on 6th January, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

    cjcjc – In true talkboard fashion, you are Helen Lovejoy off the Simpsons and I claim my £5.

    Why stop there? Are there ‘highly impressionable’ people who are 30 years old? 40? Why not just implant a chip into people’s necks to stop them hearing or moving as soon as there is a talkboard firestorm. At 17/18 they are adults. Honestly, does no one believe in individual responsibility these days?

    Please spare me the, ‘pleeeaaassee won’t soooomebody think of the children,’ schtick.

    KB Player – I suggest a reading of Peter Wright’s Spycatcher where it is made clear that the Cambridge Spy-ring’s activities were known. Indeed, Wright makes a heavy-handed suggestion that academics were directly involved. At least one of the spies had links to China, I think it was Philby.

    Using Effendi’s rationale, Cambridge University were directly responsible for their radicalisation.

    Only the Cambridge spies aren’t as vibrant so are less useful for his axe-grinding.

  43. Sunny — on 6th January, 2010 at 11:50 pm  

    Funny how Effendi and cjcjc suddenly forget their supposed commitment to civil liberties when it comes to Muslims eh.

    Good comments MM, Douglas and Rumbold.

  44. Ysabel Howard — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:41 am  

    Two things about the University of London (I’m a graduate of it): it should be a fear-free zone and a reason-heavy one. There seems quite a bit here and at CiF about shutting people up. So there you are, 18, away from home, eager to spread your wings, express your burgeoning political consciousness and spouting the biggest load of old clap-trap known to man or woman, whatever that clap-trap may be, but you meet people just as bright as you whose fine minds indicate in no uncertain terms they think you talk a load of hooey and so you refine your arguments, ditch your more grotesque propositions or find your views freely satirized by your peers – or of course not, as the case may be. The basic problem does rather strike me as the ‘religion is sacred’ meme, the underlying position of some that, since it is given that fire may not be fought with fire, that you can’t respond to vile nonsense by saying it’s vile nonsense and laughing at it, oh dear there’s a problem, what are we to do? If, as someone I think said at CiF women are being harassed, then perhaps a day when women students agree to wear surprisingly little would be in order. ‘A teaching programme was established in which religious beliefs would not constrain the dissemination of knowledge and exploration of ideas.’
    (History of UCL: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/about-ucl/history/)
    Puh-lease, this is not Oxbridge with clericalism in the woodwork: the only thing that cannot be tolerated is that the intellectual and indeed spiritual lives of the UCL community – people’s quests to find their own answers to life, the universe and everything, to be able to articulate precisely what they think and to be able to construct valid arguments in support of their views – be constrained by religiosity.

  45. The Dude — on 7th January, 2010 at 1:18 am  

    Either you believe in free speech or you don’t! Simple. Whether it’s practised in the High Street of Wooton Bassett or the middle of London is immaterial. Once someones says that I have NO RIGHT to say something, that is when we have all decended into a fascist state of mind. I’m counting the days.

  46. Naadir Jeewa — on 7th January, 2010 at 1:42 am  

    “Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or at their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

    Opinion of the US Supreme Court in West Virgina State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 US 624 (1943)

  47. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 3:13 am  

    Naadir Jeewa @ 45,

    Whilst several things can occur to me, the basic idea is completely correct. Liberals, or leftys, or whatever, have to subscribe, though it hurts us deeply, to concepts of free speech, even for morons. That is the cross that we have to bear, for the sake of being who we are.

    The neo cons and the rest have no such principles.

  48. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 3:23 am  

    Doesn’t mean we can’t call them out for being the fools that they are. That is our free speech, and we should exercise it.

  49. Daria — on 7th January, 2010 at 4:44 am  

    I just try to imagine what if the Bnp-members could head some student society and freely spread their ideas in universities like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did?
    Debate on immigration? question massively imposed cliches “religions can’t be evil, the followers can”?

    Would Sunny be so soft on University’s policy not to spy on studenst and encourage free speech? what would happen to the “keep your hands off student liberties”? can’t blame the staff for not preventing it and letting it flourish? scary to imagine that…

  50. Daria — on 7th January, 2010 at 4:49 am  

    This student by the way not just arranged a series of debate – he had shown much support for talibs and terrosrists…

    but liberal minds managed to find “peacefull” explanation of that… And now they are shocked, “How could he? Can’t believe it! He only called the terrorists “brothers” – that’s all! who could ever suspect …”

  51. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 5:00 am  

    Daria,

    The right of someone to talk to you does not oblige you to listen. Or, frankly, even be there.

    You and I are responsible for our actions, we are not obliged to be brainwashed. I do not imagine that it is a requirement for any Muslim, for instance, to join their local ISOC on entering a University. It is a choice.

    If you are likely to be susceptible to propoganda, it is probably good advice to steer well clear.

    Students, even religious ones, have no more, nor less, liberties or responsibilities than the rest of us.

  52. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 5:13 am  

    Daria @ 49,

    So why was any sensible person giving him credence?

    Why did anyone attend his meetings?

    Frankly you come across as believing that a muslim is incapable of calling ‘bullshit’ when they hear it. That every muslim is a potential recruit.

    I don’t think so.

  53. cjcjc — on 7th January, 2010 at 8:58 am  

    My argument, such as it is, boils down to this.

    That it probably behoves UCL to take care about the kind of hate-spouting fascist pieces of shit – sorry, MaidMarian, I mean “radical” “vibrant” speakers – whom its students’ societies are inviting to speak.

    Was UCL wrong to prevent Abu Usamah from speaking?

    The Dude – there is no need to start counting. Perhaps you don’t follow the news closely, but we already have laws restricting “hate speech”.

    Douglas – I suspect those kids, sorry, young adults, who are most susceptible probably don’t realise that they are. And why aren’t the people who invite this kind of speaker called on it, while we know anyone who invited Griffin or Wilders (neither of whom have called for murder as far as I’m aware) would have hell to pay?
    Well, that’s another question.

    (3.13am?! – are you up early, up late, insomniac or in another time zone?? :-) )

  54. cjcjc — on 7th January, 2010 at 9:04 am  
  55. cjcjc — on 7th January, 2010 at 9:19 am  

    Sunny – sorry, now seen your CiF reply on that site too.
    Glad to see you’re not too grand – like the vast majority of the CiF contributors – to come back in the comments!

    I don’t think we’re that far apart really, and I know you would have no time for Abu Usamah and his ilk. And whoever singled out Galloway as an example of extremism – though he himself supports extremists – is clearly wrong.

    Were you Provost of UCL, would you have banned him (Abu U) or let him come?
    And some of the people appearing at “Progressive London” are surely worse than Rod Liddle??!

  56. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 10:32 am  

    Sunny-

    Funny how Effendi and cjcjc suddenly forget their supposed commitment to civil liberties when it comes to Muslims

    eh.

    Funny how you support an NUS No-Platform ban of the BNP speaking at Universities. But you have no such principle for clerical fascists or Islamist jihadis who call for the murder of Jews, homosexuals and Muslim citizens.

    It could be because you share a platform with them but I suspect when you view these people through your subjective prism of “brown” and “white”, then the brown clerical fascists are perfectly acceptable.

    What isn’t so acceptable is that in spite of your pretence to be a champion of civil liberties you are record for defending the State Spying (phone tapping etc) of Muslim “extremists. Here and here.

  57. MiriamBinder — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:05 am  

    Bless your cotton gussets Effendi, once you find a toy you stick to it through thick and thin. I suppose your blind adherence is worthy of note even when your ability to put two and two together and come up with 378 is so obvious.

    There is a big difference between upholding the right of a state to engage in legitimate surveillance on identified individuals and the wholesale profiling of individuals for having only very broadly defined shared criteria; male, young, Muslim, foreign nationals …

    As for the NUS No-Platform ban regarding the BNP; while personally I uphold their right to declare such a policy, I think it a misguided policy and was all for the Oxford Uni Debating Society extending their invitation to Griffin. The more platforms, the better to my mind … eventually they will have to start discussing actual policies; the infrequency of their being on a debating platform as things stand means that when they do get a platform they spend their time bemoaning their self-proclaimed victim status …

  58. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:08 am  

    What isn’t so acceptable is that in spite of your pretence to be a champion of civil liberties you are record for defending the State Spying (phone tapping etc) of Muslim “extremists

    I assume that people who defend civil liberties for a living do not take this fringe position of yours that intelligence agencies should not monitor extremist activities. What they defend is that the law and protocols in place be properly applied and not circumvented.

  59. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:25 am  

    I think you’ll find the “fringe position” of supporting phone tapping “extremistst” who have broken no laws, is yours.

  60. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:45 am  

    Effendi,

    I think you’ll find the “fringe position” of supporting phone tapping “extremistst” who have broken no laws, is yours.

    Say your house was burned down. Say the Police had four different suspects. Would you expect the Police to pursue the case or not? Whilst three of these suspects are obviously going to be cleared by the investigation do you want the Police handicapped in pursuing your case? These three have broken no laws.

    If the press is to be believed, up to 25 radicalised muslim youths are ‘in training’ in Yemen to carry out terrorist attacks. Do you expect the Police and the security services to simply ignore their intelligence on these people when they return to the UK?

  61. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:49 am  

    See how the song turns douglas clark? You, Sunny and the entire PP ethos is like a weather cock in a tornado. Why isn’t your logic apprehension applicable to known jihadis preaching hate at ISOCs?

    Very quick to use “Neocon” as a slur aren’t you douglas, but what name would you give yourselves given you support measures that even “neocons” regard as beyond the pale?

  62. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:56 am  

    I think you’ll find the “fringe position” of supporting phone tapping “extremistst” who have broken no laws, is yours.

    In the other thread, where you defended profiling people in airports for being Muslim, you mentioned that the US had a dozen countries of interest in which security would be strengthen. You said (and I did not disagree) that such measures were necessary to protect people.

    How do you think this list of countries was formed? Was it not by gathering intelligence and monitoring extremist activity?

  63. MiriamBinder — on 7th January, 2010 at 11:58 am  

    “I think you’ll find the “fringe position” of supporting phone tapping “extremistst” who have broken no laws, is yours.”
    Effendi, demonstrating your ability to add two and two and come up with 378 again ;)
    • The status of suspect is clearly defined and requires a lot more then the perpetrator is male and therefore all males are suspect.
    • The process of investigation on an actual incident is eliminative on whereas profiling on an anticipated possible is not.

  64. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:00 pm  

    Effendi,

    I have suggested on this thread that it is a matter for MI5 and the Police, not University Courts. I have suggested that if a crime, say of incitement, has occurred that the correct people to deal with it are law enforcement agencies. I have also suggested that students aren’t a special case, either pro or anti. I think I have made it pretty clear here and elsewhere that I believe that free speech is an important issue and that anything short of incitement does not justify action.

    Let due process apply! Which includes the Police gathering information.

    I think that that is a far more consistent position than yours.

  65. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:03 pm  

    I think that that is a far more consistent position than yours.

    Yes supporting jihadist who openly make the use of hate speech at ISOCs while supporting State Spying on Muslims is entirely consistent with civil liberties as per the Gospel of Pickled Politics.

  66. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:06 pm  

    Why isn’t your logic apprehension applicable to known jihadis preaching hate at ISOCs?

    Your narrative is that the UCL is a training facility for suicide bombers just like in Yemen and Iraq, and that Lefties are too cozy with Islamists to see that, correct?

    This story does not look good for UCL’s Islamic society. But I am not sure how you are helping by exaggerating this story and trying to blame the University and insinuating that they are partly responsible for the terrorist attempt in December.

  67. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

    How do you think this list of countries was formed? Was it not by gathering intelligence and monitoring extremist activity?

    Do you really not know why Spying is against civil liberties? Do you also support detention without trial? Torture of known suspects? Where do you draw the line?

  68. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:10 pm  

    But I am not sure how you are helping by exaggerating this story and trying to blame the University.

    You want to spy on Muslims but don’t want to blame civil institutions for allowing hate speech to be conducted on their property because it is to violate freedom of speech to prevent jihadists incite violence against Jews and homosexuals.

    I doubt I have seen a more perverse “narrative” anywhere but here on Pickled Politics.

  69. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:12 pm  

    Oh, and Effendi,

    I have also suggested that Muslims are no more stupid than the rest of us and that they can discriminate between a reasonable political position and an unreasonable one.

  70. Effendi — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:14 pm  

    douglas, remember that you too are a “Fucking StasiTit” and a “Neocon”, as per your definitions!

    Good day. :-)

  71. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:15 pm  

    Effendi @ 68,

    Well, answer my question at 60.

    If the press is to be believed, up to 25 radicalised muslim youths are ‘in training’ in Yemen to carry out terrorist attacks. Do you expect the Police and the security services to simply ignore their intelligence on these people when they return to the UK?

  72. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:23 pm  

    Do you really not know why Spying is against civil liberties? Do you also support detention without trial? Torture of known suspects? Where do you draw the line?

    Detention without trial and torture is ILLEGAL. Spying without the proper authorisation is ILLEGAL. Do you see the line now?

    You want to spy on Muslims but don’t want to blame civil institutions for allowing hate speech to be conducted on their property. I doubt I have seen a more perverse “narrative”.

    If you do not want to monitor extremist activity, it would be useful to have them speak in public to know what they are up to, no? ;)

    And please answer this question (#62):

    How do you think this list of countries was formed? Was it not by gathering intelligence and monitoring extremist activity?

  73. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:31 pm  

    Effendi,

    Now, now. Just because you bring up detention without trial, torture of known suspects, doesn’t mean I accept your idea that these are my views. They are you trying, somewhat desperately, to associate me with things that I completely abhor.

    Just so’s we’re clear, I am accusing you of neo-McCarthyism.

    I am looking for a standard of proof which is a tad higher than you have provided. And, if it is met, I’d throw the book at them. Which probably means a substantial prison sentence in a mainstream British prison and extradition thereafter if they are not UK subjects. Certainly not Gitmo, waterboarding and the rest of that nonsense.

    Is that clear?

    It is quite amusing to be called a neocon by a McCarthyite :-)

  74. The ghost of Joe Strummer — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

    reassuring to the see the guilt-ridden middle classes refusing to see brown fascists as usual.

    A fascist is a fascist is a fascist and the only good one is a dead one.

  75. damon — on 7th January, 2010 at 12:59 pm  

    The fifth commentator after Sunny’s piece on CiF said this:

    ”I remember being amazed when i started at UCL in 1994 by the daily presence of very aggressive south asian students (i assume they were students as they were on university property) haranguing other south asian students mainly outside the refectories.

    the language was of a totally anti-western, anti-christian and pro-islamic viewpoint even then and i couldn’t believe that the university allowed it to happen.

    the argument of free speech is all very well but i strongly believe that had an extremist christian group been shouting anti-islamic rubbish they would have been ejected.

    the issue of free speech should also not take precedence over the fear that these guys undoubtedly caused (i myself, confident, large and quite happy for a scrap, was intimidated at first) both to their targets (seemingly mainly south asian girls in western dress) and to by-standers”.

    If it is like that then that is a bit of a problem.
    Or maybe it’s just he same as the SWP and everyone else hanging outside the refectory trying to drum up support for particular causes.

    If there is religious separatism on campus, then that may well cause a certain atmosphere. I really don’t know. It wasn’t like that at Glasgow University campus when I used to spend some time there in the mid 90′s.

    But recently at East London University (at Mile End) where I was a few months back doing deliveries, I did notice muslim grous of students hanging out. The guys playing pool, and the hijabed women sitting meekly looking on. I don’t really know how that works out.
    ‘Normal’ student hedonism (drinking and partying) sharing the same space as those who look down on that behavior.

    Is it OK to say, if you were a student there (like you might do about the SWP activists) ”those Islamic Society students are a real pain in the arse” and to think that they were a divisive presence on campus.

    I’m presuming it would be OK if some of them were being a bit leery and pompus.

  76. Naadir Jeewa — on 7th January, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

    I will tell you now:
    It is exactly the same as the SWP. I’ll lay my cards on the table and say I was a HuT member for about um…3 months (in Y2K).

    Only last year, I’ve been in arguments with SWP-members at Birkbeck who were trying to prevent a motion on Afghanistan going to NUS conference going forward with a line condemning The Taliban on the grounds “well, they’re anti-imperialists,” to which council unanimously responded (rightly) “they throw acid in the faces of schoolgirls,” resolving that debate.
    The style of argumentation isn’t very different either – both HuT and SWP-types represent political monocultures.

    Also, remember that the SWP was the only political party which did not condemn 9/11 immediately – only doing so after a few weeks of internal debate.

  77. Naadir Jeewa — on 7th January, 2010 at 2:02 pm  
  78. Un:dhimmi — on 7th January, 2010 at 10:31 pm  

    That’s the way it is with Islamists. ‘Free Speech’ to say what they like about the kuffar – but ‘Free Speech Go To Hell’, when we wish to reciprocate about them.

  79. damon — on 8th January, 2010 at 4:06 am  

    Thanks Naadir Jeewa, that was interesting.

    This is something a bit controversial, but it was just a passing thought. Do overseas muslim students get involved in these Islamic societies disproportionate to their numbers?

    You can be sure that students from muslim countries are more religious than the wider student body, and bring religion into the mainstream of student life in a way that had become unfashionable in modern Britain.

    Before the 1960s there may have been a fair number of practicing christains at universities, but religious observance had become a minority thing.
    One muslim guy I know said on realising that one of his fellow students was a bible carrying christain he thought of the guy in the Simpsons cartoon, Ned Flanders.
    He admited that it was a hypocritical position, because he was a Qu’ran reading muslim (and expected everyone to respect that), but he couldn’t feel the same about an equally religious ‘anglo’ christian.
    He thought the guy was a bit of a joke.

    The numbers of overseas students is massive. Nine and a half thousand from Pakistan alone. How on earth can they afford it? Or are they just the offspring of the corrupt elite?

    And back to the controversial point. If you were a British sudent and found that there were some guys from (say) Peshawar who were like the person I quoted in my last post described, and brought their conservative views with them from Pakistan and made comments about ”sisters” and their dress, and how they shouldn’t be going to the student bar etc.
    If there were guys like that on campus, other students might righteously be scathing of them and regretting them ever being allowed into the counry.

    As I say, I don’t really know what universities are like these days. Although I know one Indian (Hindu) student, and she was disappointed to find that every single other student in her class at a college (not a university) was an overseas student too.
    Even the lecturers were not British, and she had wanted to develop her English accent, and that wasn’t happening as she hardly spoke to English people.

  80. Daria — on 8th January, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

    Douglas Clark

    “Students, even religious ones, have no more, nor less, liberties or responsibilities than the rest of us.”

    Am I denying it or calling fro discrimination? What do you think I’m asking about?

    I just wonder what Sunny or others here would say if the whole story was about Some BNP-supporters heading some societies in Universities (or even starting them) and arranging dubious debates? Would you criticise the Universities for being too tolerant to it?

    So should the right-wing students have the same rights, liberties and so on? that is the question

  81. MiriamBinder — on 8th January, 2010 at 8:10 pm  

    Daria # 80
    “So should the right-wing students have the same rights, liberties and so on? that is the question”

    They do have the same right, liberties and so on. There are plenty of conservative student associations and such like … Or are you asking about something else?

  82. cjcjc — on 9th January, 2010 at 9:40 am  

    Have any of those invited any white fascists recently?

    Thought not.

  83. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 10:00 am  

    cjcjc,

    Well, Nick Griffin was invited to speak at the Oxford Union wasn’t he? Dunno if you see that as recent or not….

  84. MiriamBinder — on 9th January, 2010 at 10:55 am  

    cjcjc # 82 – Why bother asking a question with one breath when you answer it in the next.

    Whether they have or haven’t is entirely up to them and surely that isn’t the issue. This isn’t, or shouldn’t be an exercise in one-upmanship; it is rather that they are and should be free to do so. Regardless of whether I or any other agree with the views or want to hear the speech.

  85. cjcjc — on 9th January, 2010 at 11:17 am  

    The idea that they would be free to invite a white fascist is rubbish, as well you know.

    The rest of the students would be up in arms, and the university itself would come down on them like a ton of bricks before the flyers were even printed.

    Whether they should be…well, that’s the question.

    Though I completely concede your position is wholly consistent.

  86. Trofim — on 9th January, 2010 at 11:21 am  

    Blimey, MiriamBinder: are you too young to remember what happened when Eysenck was invited to speak at various universities in the 70′s? I recommend The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury for those who don’t remember.

  87. MiriamBinder — on 9th January, 2010 at 1:06 pm  

    @ Trofim # 85 – No, I am not too young to remember but thank you for the patronisation. The issue isn’t whether I am too young to remember or too old to care … it is rather that bad and good things have happened since before we came slithering out of the primordial sludge. We learn from it or should do.
    @ cjcjc # 84 – Did I dream it or did the Oxford Debating Society issue an invitation to that (neo fascist) Nick Griffin and (that so called historian) David Irving? Nope by Jove – it really did happen and take place. Gee … who would have thought it eh? ;)
    The point isn’t whether they have or haven’t extended invitations, the point is they could if they so chose. If they haven’t it is probably that it is far easier to bemoan the fact that they haven’t then having to defend their right to do so. Maybe it is a tactical decision on their part; enabling them to decry their (self-inflicted) victimisation by the establishment/lefties/boot-licking brown-nosed liberal bleeding hearts. Personally I am inclined to go with the latter but that is an entirely different debate ;)
    It is my experience that people tend to misunderstand the concept of freedom of expression. Let me explain:
    Freedom of expression does not only mean that you are free to say that “all Jews should be wiped from the face of the earth” – and let me add that I for one would support your right to say so (I am Jewish by birth BTW). You are even free to say so in the middle of a crowded market place in the centre of Tel-Aviv or Golders Green – though I would strongly advise against it again I would stand up for your right to do so.
    Freedom of expression also means that no-one, be it your religious leader, your party leader, your local councillor or your local chief of Police has a right to make you say anything. That has however a consequence; fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view I suspect. That is that you and you alone are wholly accountable and therefore responsible for what you say; as am I and any other individual of course.
    To return to the example … Where I, and any other upholder of the concept of Freedom of Expression, would stand up for your right to say that “all Jews should be wiped from the face of the earth” whether you elect to do so in the middle of a crowded market place in the centre of Tel-Aviv or Golders Green or not, we would also stand up for the right of others to protest against your speech act.
    Oh and just to nip the more common come-backs in the bud … When you join a group/association/community in a democratic society, you also agree to and can be expected to uphold the ToC (Terms of Contract) or ToS (Terms of Service). So if your local school requires your children to wear school uniform and you object to the wearing of school uniform on principle you have the option home-school. If your job requires you to sign the Official Secrets Act then either do so or find other employment. If you do and then decide to breach it … accept the consequences.

    Okay, it may seem that the choices you have aren’t always the most comfortable of choices but there it is. Freedom isn’t necessarily synonymous with comfort. It is however synonymous with you being accountable for your own actions and choices.

  88. Bored in Kavanagasau — on 9th January, 2010 at 1:31 pm  

    E-mail sent out by UCLU

    “Following the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on suspicion of attempting to detonate an explosive device on 25th December 2009, UCLU can confirm that he was President of the Islamic Society in 2006-07. Since the incident, UCLU has been co-operating with the authorities in all investigations. UCLU is disturbed by press reports claiming that UCL and the UCLU Islamic Society were ‘complicit’ in the radicalisation of this individual and would urge our members, the public and the press to refrain from being suspicious of the Muslim community.
    Extremist and violent behaviour has no place in UCLU activities, and we are committed to ensuring that there is no platform for the radicalisation of our student members UCLU is committed to encouraging free speech and thought-provoking debate. We currently support nine different faith groups and are dedicated to allowing them all to express their opinions and practise their religion in a safe and non-discriminatory environment. We are proud of the fact that our societies provide opportunities for our students to openly debate a broad range of philosophical, moral and global topics;
    this sort of vigorous debate should be encouraged, not restricted.”
    We want to remind students that Islamophobic harassment and bullying will not be tolerated on campus or amongst UCL students. We would urge all students to report any incidents to their tutors, to Dr Ruth Siddall, Dean of Students (Welfare) or Nicki Challinger, UCL Union Welfare Officer. Below is also the contact phone number of the London Metropolitan Police should there be any further assistance required and experiences of prejudicial behaviour encountered on part of students following the recent events or in case any student has relevant information; please note UCL Union will consider all matters very seriously and support appropriate action to safeguard the welfare of each and every student at the University.

  89. MaidMarian — on 9th January, 2010 at 1:56 pm  

    Daria – ‘I just wonder what Sunny or others here would say if the whole story was about Some BNP-supporters heading some societies in Universities (or even starting them) and arranging dubious debates? Would you criticise the Universities for being too tolerant to it?

    So should the right-wing students have the same rights, liberties and so on? that is the question.’

    It is an interesting question. When I was at university in the early 1990s as a politics student the BNP was something I took an interest in. It was, back then at least, an open secret that the BNP tended not to target students and universities for a number of reasons, largely because students tended then not to be the BNP target demographic. As the demographic of students has shifted, the BNP has taken more of an active interest in the student body, though it is true to say it is not really active on campus (formally at least) to the extent of other parties.

    There have been some very, very right wing student societies – hang Mandela was one of their early 1980s leitmotifs so the idea that there has never been a strong right wing at universities is wrong. In the early 1990s their cause was continuing privatisation. I remember a meeting where the privatisation of immigration services was discussed.

    Nick Griffin was at Cambridge and I would hazard a guess he was involved in politics then.

    However it goes back to the point that whether or not something is a ‘university society’ or not does not prevent people going out and finding their politics elsewhere. I would guess that a large number of students are BNP members. I would add that I am a little surprised that the BNP has not jumped on this to flaunt its faux-victimhood about evil left wing universities. Possibly because Griffin was indeed given a set-piece occasion at Cambridge?

    Turning back to your question. Certainly students should not be prevented from joining the BNP or any other political party simply by virtue of them being a student of any university. Certainly, if a large enough group of students wishes to have a ‘BNP society’ I can’t see why not as long as they do not actively bring the university into disrepute etc. This appears to be where UCL got themselves tied up.

    Equally however, the University does not have to have certain speakers on their property and should be free to prevent it. Universities are also under no obligation to recognise a society. That does not prevent our University of X BNP group/society going elsewhere to listen to a particular speaker and enjoying freedom of association. Again, universities can not be held responsible for what their students may go on to do. The principle that if a crime is carried out, it is for the police and not the university also holds good in your scenario.

    That’s my thinking anyway.

  90. Ravi Naik — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    The idea that they would be free to invite a white fascist is rubbish, as well you know.

    People react to what they know, and ‘white fascism’ had devastating consequences in Europe and the world. There is also the fact that people react less negatively when it comes to religious bigotry – including the views of some conservatives Christians – than with non-religious bigotry.

  91. damon — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:31 pm  

    And that’s why racists are called Nazis.
    To remind people of the bloody Germans.

  92. MaidMarian — on 9th January, 2010 at 3:01 pm  

    W

  93. cjcjc — on 9th January, 2010 at 4:27 pm  

    What a brilliant email.

    The ISOC invited someone who openly advocates the killing of homosexuals. But apparently the problem is Islamophobia.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  94. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:40 pm  

    Bored in Kavanagasau @ 86,

    You appear to have an exclusive there. Any links?

  95. Bored in Kavanagasau — on 9th January, 2010 at 8:55 pm  

    Douglas

    Not much of an exclusive! It is an email sent to all students and staff. There is also a lengthier message on the UCLU website although it doesn’t include the internal email’s bit about Islamophobia.

    http://www.uclunion.org/student-union/2010/01/uclu-response-to-attempted-act-of-terrorism-on-northwest-airlines-flight-253.php

    I commented about how the university was dealing with this issue in 2005.

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2010/01/06/undiebomber-began-journey-to-radicalisation-at-ucl/

    cjcjc

    I am surprised by the omission of a request asking students about Isoc activities over the period 2005-2009. I think the part about Islamophobia is fair enough and would be a necessary counterweight when challenging Islamic extremism but, yes, as it stands it looks like the university authorities are more interested in getting students to combat Islamophobia rather than Islamic extremism. I am not sure the passengers on flight 253 would appreciate this approach. Why not both?

    Extremist and violent behaviour has no place in UCLU activities, and we are committed to ensuring that there is no platform for the radicalisation of our student members.

    I think that is a great statement of intent. Universities should be under greater scrutiny to make sure they actually implement this policy.

  96. douglas clark — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:22 am  

    Bored in Kavanagasau,

    Thank you for your link, however it raises more questions for me than answers…

    You quote what I can only assume is the UCLU’s own web site here:

    http://www.uclunion.org/student-union/2010/01/uclu-response-to-attempted-act-of-terrorism-on-northwest-airlines-flight-253.php

    How come it doesn’t mention this, that you claim to have seen?

    that UCL and the UCLU Islamic Society were ‘complicit’ in the radicalisation of this individual and would urge our members, the public and the press to refrain from being suspicious of the Muslim community.

    Extremist and violent behaviour has no place in UCLU activities, and we are committed to ensuring that there is no platform for the radicalisation of our student members UCLU is committed to encouraging free speech and thought-provoking debate. We currently support nine different faith groups and are dedicated to allowing them all to express their opinions and practise their religion in a safe and non-discriminatory environment. We are proud of the fact that our societies provide opportunities for our students to openly debate a broad range of philosophical, moral and global topics;
    this sort of vigorous debate should be encouraged, not restricted.”
    We want to remind students that Islamophobic harassment and bullying will not be tolerated on campus or amongst UCL students. We would urge all students to report any incidents to their tutors, to Dr Ruth Siddall, Dean of Students (Welfare) or Nicki Challinger, UCL Union Welfare Officer. Below is also the contact phone number of the London Metropolitan Police should there be any further assistance required and experiences of prejudicial behaviour encountered on part of students following the recent events or in case any student has relevant information; please note UCL Union will consider all matters very seriously and support appropriate action to safeguard the welfare of each and every student at the University.

    ?

    As that is pretty damning, I am surprised that UCLU don’t seem to have said it.

    Perhaps you have an explanation for that?

  97. damon — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:43 am  

    I wasn’t being sereious about ”the Germans” btw.

    I’m not sure what a university should do when certain people are invited to speak. Ireland has a small and very new muslim population (plus lots of overseas students). I saw that in 2008, Dr Azzam Tamimi was invited to speak to students at Trinity College Dublin.
    You might wonder if you wanted this brand of Islamic Resistance been given an airing amongst your students.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh6q02J6dJk

    Or maybe that’s just being over protective and patronising? (I’m not sure).

    It’s a pity I think though that Irish muslims would come under so much influence from how things were in the UK. I’d guess that the MCB would look on Ireland in the same way that England always did. As little brother who needed to be shown the way.

  98. douglas clark — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:51 am  

    ‘don’t’ should read ‘doesn’t’..

    Ho hey!

    And I take it this is you in one of these profound ‘Lucy Lips’ threads?

    I commented on HP about HT speaking in my department at the time (I think it is lost in the archives though!).

    There were a number of protests (made by members of the Labour and Jewish societies and independent representations) about the HT speaker (Taji Mustapha) being given a platform by UCL Isoc in November 2005. Gladys Wundowa, a cleaner at UCL, was murdered in the 7/7 attacks and so there was naturally a concern by individuals at UCL about student societies which propagated a complementary ideology to the bombers. The matter went up to the Dean. The student union officer replied saying that legal advice had been taken saying that UCL would be under threat of legal action (presumably by HT) if the talk was stopped and that free speech would only be trumped by a threat to public order. The majority of the student union officers I spoke to had no complaints with the talk going ahead on grounds of free speech. Incidentally, the talk was monitored by a member of the student union for hate speech. I can remember one student union officer being surprised that Qasim Rafiq would invite an extremist (I bet it was the squeaky voice). The impression I got was that they were waiting for HT to be banned by the government as a means of preventing further invitations. There is a decadent liberalism which considers being labelled racist, prejudiced or Islamophobic worse than being apathetic with regards to Islamic extremism. The added bonus with this passivity is that you get to pat yourself on the back as a supporter of free speech. Which is probably true in my case with regards to later extremist invitations made by UCL Isoc which I didn’t challenge while I was still around campus; additionally, since the case of November 2005 had gone above student union level, I assumed there would be a consistent policy applied. There have been extremist talks cancelled since but I wonder if Isoc students faced any punishment for these invitations (I have seen people chucked out for plagiarism and fines introduced in the library for drinking juice but it seems there is no system in place to deal with students facilitating jihadist extremism!).

    A few more details:

    Early noughties speakers at UCL Isoc included Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad (Cambridge academic) and the footballer Frederic Kanoute which indicates a better sort of leadership than in recent years. At that time their was a another Islamic society, called the Muslim Media society, which was a HT front. From mid-noughties onwards nutters from HT, Islamist creationists and the likes of Abu Usamah were invited along with others by main Isoc. At the HT lecture back in 2005 there were around 80 people (out of a diverse student population of around 20000 of which I would guess at least 10% is Muslim), certainly a minority of Muslim students at UCL, many of whom avoid the Isoc precisely because of its character. I can’t comment what was going on at UCL in the nineties but Islamic extremism has always been present on campus in the noughties, either in front organisations and now the main Isoc.

    There are three potential groups that could have clamped down on Islamic extremism on university campuses during this period (post 7/7): other students on campus, particularly the student union, university authorities and the government. I think the actions of all three have been pretty shameful (myself included as part of the first group), basically pussyfooting around the issue.

    OT Is it known whether Mutilate-his-balls was known to British intelligence services because of his activities at UCL (I have only heard Alan Johnson refer to his immigration status)?

    Not much to disagree with that really, but it is as well that folk know who you are, don’t you think? BTW, this idea that reporting something to ‘the Dean’ is the limit of student action is completely ridiculous. Could we also stop assuming 80 folk out of 2000 is in any way representative, no matter how bad they are?

    I share your disgust. Particularily in relation to the life that was ended.

  99. douglas clark — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:57 am  

    damon,

    I am getting a tad fed up with this idea that Universities are a special case. It seems to me that whether you ‘hate speech’ in the back room of a pub, or in a mosque or anywhere else really, the law applies.

    Say what you like, as long as it is within the law.

    But there are no exceptions worth making for environments, or Irishness come to that.

    Least, that’s what I think….

  100. damon — on 10th January, 2010 at 11:36 am  

    And I don’t particularly disagree with you douglas clark. I suppose my piont is more wishful thinking.
    From the little I know of them (and being non religious) I find these Islamic Socities to be dreary in the extreme. Whether they be based at universities our out in the wider world.

    But they are very charasmatic (if that’s the right word) and I think that you couldn’t have a dozen muslim students at (in this example – an Irish university) without the Federation of Student Islamic Societies having a presence and trying to influence.
    http://fosis.org.uk/

    It was them who had invited Dr Azzam Tamimi to speak in Ireland btw.

    The last time I was in Dublin, I was walking past the main central Dublin mosque on a friday morning, and spoke to some guy in muslim dress who was taking some stuff out of a car inside. He was English. From Leicester. I wondered if he was affiliated with the MCB.
    Probably, as it’s a majority umbrella organisation.

    I was a little disappointed that Ireland had to go down the same path as the UK with it’s muslim population being messed about with by the likes of the MCB.

    So to me it’s more than what’s within the law.
    The European Council for Fatwa and Research seem to be ensconsed in Dublin’s other big mosque. It’s totally within the law, but that doesn’t mean one has to like it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Council_for_Fatwa_and_Research

    I would not like to see the likes of Bury Park (Luton) ghettos to develop in Dublin.

    I don’t mean that I’m opposed to ethnic and religious communities developing, but these Islamic Societies. and MCB like organisations breed alienation (and create prejudice in the wider community – I think.)

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