Extreme events show extent of campus issue

The announcement last week by the Home Secretary of new measures to combat extremism on campuses was welcomed here at Student Rights.

Theresa May confirmed new laws will make dealing with extremist speakers a legal duty for universities and colleges, ensuring it is taken seriously by institutions.

However, as media attention moves on, Student Rights continues to uncover events featuring extreme and intolerant speakers – illustrating why this new legislation is so relevant.

This week speakers invited onto campuses across the UK include Yvonne Ridley, who spoke at the University of Dundee on 1st December.

Ridley has used anti-Semitic tropes, claiming “the Zionists have tentacles everywhere” and that “drinking Coca-Cola is like drinking the blood of Palestinian children”.

She has also admitted to breaking UN sanctions by giving money to the proscribed terrorist organisation Hamas.

Following this, on 4th December, Wasim Kempson will be speaking at Imperial College.

A patron of the extreme charity Helping Households under Great Stress (HHUGS), Kempson has called for the release of Aafia Siddiqui.

Meanwhile, HHUGS has defended Munir Farooqi – convicted of preparing terrorist acts and soliciting to murder in 2011.

Finally, over 6th and 7th December, the Islamic Education and Research Academy’s (IERA) Hamza Tzortzis will deliver a two day workshop at the University of Salford.

Having claimed apostates who “fight against the community” should be beheaded, and that “Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”,

Tzortzis’ presence as an instructor for students should raise eyebrows.

A not atypical week, these events highlight the extent of the issue addressed by the government last week.

As such, it is important that universities continue to be aware of the concerns which invites to extremist speakers raise – even when the issue is not directly under media attention.

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