This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
STUDENT unions yesterday condemned the Conservative government’s demand that universities must comply with the Counter-Extremism Bill to halt “radicalisation.”
The backlash comes after Prime Minister David Cameron “named and shamed” universities accused of providing platforms to “hate speakers” at around 70 events last year, according to the Extremism Analysis Unit in Whitehall.
The University of London’s Queen Mary, King’s College and School of Oriental and African Studies, along with Kingston University, were said by Downing Street to have held most of the events.
Among the speakers suspected to have voiced extreme views are Haitham al-Haddad, Uthman Lateef, Alomgir Ali, Imran Ibn Mansur, Hamza Tzortzis and Salman Butt.
Mr Tzortzis is part of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (Iera), which criticises the Bill as “a number of questionable measures that go against the very founding liberal values of this country.”
Iera is holding a cross-panel debate in central London next month on the Bill and the negative impact it would pose.
LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is expected to join the panel.
Under the “Prevent” scheme, from September 21, universities will be required to watch for signs of “radicalisation” in students’ appearances and behaviour and assess speakers to ensure that those with “extreme” views are shunned or challenged.
Student unions warned that blacklisting speakers would strangle freedom of speech, encourage extremism and create hostile environments.
Nonetheless, Mr Cameron claimed: “It is not about oppressing free speech or stifling academic freedom, it is about making sure radical views and ideas are not given the oxygen they need to flourish.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) said there were “legitimate concerns” that the Bill would create a culture of suspicion and would negatively affect students’ welfare.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson has written to the NUS calling for an end to its opposition, which he finds “disappointing.”
University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said universities, as “open democratic spaces,” have to encourage debate to stop dissenting voices from being driven underground.
Government guidelines define extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs.”
Public bodies, including councils, prisons, NHS trusts and schools, have had to comply with Prevent since July.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.