SOAS defends academic freedom – but only for approved viewpoints

Professor Colin Bundy, head of SOAS, is extremely keen to defend Shirin Akiner, Karimov’s Western cheerleader and a SOAS lecturer. But it seems that his defence of academic freedom only applies to those on one side of the argument. Akiner is perfectly at liberty to defend Karimov’s right to massacre the opposition, but Bundy just three months ago censured an Islamic student who argued that the Palestinians have the right to use force to resist occupation. You don’t have to agree with the student’s view to find Bundy’s different approach to the two cases interesting. The following report is from the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

ACTION ALERT: IHRC demand end to SOAS student witch hunt

SOAS masters student Nasser Amin wrote an article in his university paper defending the right of Palestinians to resist occupation by violence. After the publication of the article Amin became the focus of a bitter witch hunt which resulted in him being reprimanded by SOAS University. The reprimand was published on the university?s official website without even informing Amin.

His article ?when only violence will do? was written in response to one published by Hamza Yusuf which said, in effect that Muslims in Palestine should ?turn the other cheek? when facing Israeli violent antagonism.

The Article was not extreme nor even unusual, and similar arguments have been used and promoted in academia e.g. by Professor Michael Neuman. The article was set in a context of open debate about the moral rights and wrongs of Palestinian resistance, and SOAS?s response is at best bizarre.

Amin has received death threats on Zionist websites, and calls have been made in parliament for action to be taken against him. This is not only unacceptable but has been fuelled by SOAS?s failure to defend academic freedom and moral discussion.

The incident is also being used by pro Israeli groups to justify a need for incitement to religious hatred legislation, clearly showing how this law, if passed, will be used against those criticizing the aggressive actions of the State of Israel.

Instead of defending Amin from this witch hunt SOAS announced they had issued him a public reprimand. They did not follow correct procedure or allow him an opportunity to defend himself; in fact, they did not even bother to contact him.

This is yet another example of Zionists bullying anyone who speaks out against Israeli oppression and institutions buckling for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic

Any suggestions as to the explanation of Bundy’s contradictory attitude in the Amin and Akiner cases would be interesting to hear.