A few days ago I wrote about the University of Birmingham’s student Islamic society inviting Azzam Tamimi, one the UK’s most radical Islamists, to address a conference on Israel and Palestine this Wednesday. It appeared that the university had good grounds to ban Tamimi under its freedom of speech code (pdf), which states:
1.6 Universities do not function in a vacuum and wider conflicts and disputes, often involving ethnicity or religious faith, may sometimes find expression on campus amongst the student body or other constituencies. The challenge for universities is to identify when the pursuit of freedom of ideas and expression crosses a threshold and becomes extremism or intolerance.
1.7 General legal principles, and in specific areas legislation, provide that the proportionate and reasonable limitation of expression is permissible in order to maintain public order and safety or to ensure that there is no breach of the law. Therefore, the right to free speech is not open-ended or absolute. The University will, on occasion, have to weigh conflicting demands for free, public expression of ideas against concerns, on its part, regarding public order and safety, or the potential for breaches of the law to occur. The University acknowledges that it has both a legal and a moral responsibility to act in a proactive manner in order to minimise the possibility that extremism or intolerance will arise on campus whilst, at the same time, ensuring the general continuance of freedom of speech.
The Center for Social Cohesion objected (pdf) to the visit. It has now received an answer from the university – Tamimi is welcome. You can read the letter here (pdf) on HP. The letter includes this line on freedom of speech:
The Code of Practice makes it clear that individuals, both from within and those visiting the University, are ale to express their views provided: it is clear these are personal views; that such views are within the law; and that individuals do not espouse or advocate violent acts.
Tamimi has made a whole career out of advocating violence. This includes support for the murderers of British troops. At a conference in Ireland last year, he said this:
Later, Mr Tamimi drew applause when he praised insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said he disagreed with the Taliban’s views on certain matters, but added: “With regard to their attitudes to liberation I say ‘Long live the Taliban’.”
At least those attending the meeting will probably be spared the terrible horror of free mixing. From the ISOC:
What is ISOC’s stance on gender relations?
While to the extent possible we try to be easy on people, this is one issue we are quite puritan about. The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him said ‘every religion has a character, and the character of my religion is modesty’. ISOC is not a place for members of the opposite sex to socialise, and there is to be no free mixing in or around the prayer rooms or at ISOC events. You may ask ‘isn’t this a little harsh? After all we all attend mixed lectures, and perhaps even sit next to members of the opposite sex’. Our reply would be that in spite of this it is our duty to ensure that we make it easy for both men and women to stick to the highest standards of modesty and etiquette. In this way we hope that when they are in situations when it isn’t so easy to do so, they are able to stick to these manners and conduct themselves in the best possible way.
You see, the ISOC is onto feminism as a wicked New World Order plot:
Feminism is another cruel New World Order hoax that has debauched American women and despoiled Western civilization. It has ruined millions of lives and represents a lethal threat to Islam.
Well done, University of Birmingham. Perhaps someone could send the administrators a Hamas flag as a reward for services to extremism.