University should be a place for debate, where students can discuss ideas with their right to freedom of expression protected.
However, all too often, events are hosted in which there is no such debate; where a panel of speakers with similar views are simply given an unchallenged platform.
This can be seen in an event titled ‘The Fragmentation of the Arab world: A Centenary of Betrayal’, due to be hosted at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) tonight.
On the bill is Adnan Khan, an activist for the extreme Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT).
Meanwhile, the government has stated there is “unambiguous evidence to indicate that…Hizb-ut-Tahrir, target specific universities and colleges…with the objective of radicalising and recruiting students”.
Khan has argued apostates that “openly leave Islam, and choose to remain in the state” should face the death penalty, as this is “treason and a political attack”.
He has also claimed that apostasy should be viewed as “a question of what kind of person would openly and publicly abandon Islam with full knowledge that they will be killed for it”.
In the same book Khan also writes that “equality is not the basis of Islam and never has been in the history of Islamic jurisprudence. This is a term alien to Islam”.
He will be joined at the event by SOAS student Mujahid Dattani, who has compared Israeli actions to those of the Nazis – an anti-Semitic act in the definition used by the Community Security Trust (CST).
That an activist from a ‘No-Platformed’ organisation has been invited to speak at this event should concern SOAS, while they should also be aware of Dattani’s past comments.
Here at Student Rights, we hope they will ensure the event is monitored should it go ahead, and that students wishing to challenge Khan over HT’s bigoted views are given the chance to do so.