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Speaking Up Against Tamimi

Student Rights


Azzam Tamimi, who has publicly stated, “If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it. Why not?” is due to speak at the University of Birmingham on the 20th January as part of an Islamic Society event entitled, “In Pursuit of Justice: Remember Gaza”.

Tamimi describes himself as a “sympathiser and supporter” of Hamas. He has also admitted being a personal friend of Khalid Meshal, the chief political officer of Hamas and does not object to being introduced publicly as a supporter of Hamas, as he demonstrated in an interview with Jon Snow on The Weekly Planet:

Snow: But essentially, within the Palestinian framework, you would be sympathetic towards Hamas?

Tamimi: You can say that, yes.

Raheem Kassam, National Director for Student Rights comments, “Tamimi has supported martyrdom, boasted about his links to Hamas and glorified terrorism publicly. If we cannot stop things like this going forward on campuses, we are sure to see a terrifying increase in incidents such as the Detroit bombing attempt. Why are we still turning a blind eye?”

Tamimi has claimed that the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on the United States brought joy to everyone in the Arab world. In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, Tamimi claimed that “everyone” in the Arab world celebrated the 9/11 attacks. When the interviewer queried his claim, Tamimi replied: “In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy. That’s what you asked me, isn’t it?” The interview was titled: “I Admire the Taliban, They Are Courageous”

Telegraph article here.

Contact: Raheem Kassam, National Director

Notes to editors
1. Student Rights was formed in June 2009 to counter the recent extremism in universities, and ensure that students’ requirements are met by the universities across the United Kingdom. SR also exists to establish a dialogue between polarised individuals or organisations, and further the ideals of our liberal democracy, ensuring no one is marginalised or oppressed for having views not correlating with the ‘majority’ and that violent, aggressive, hate-speech is not permitted.

2. Student Rights have been instrumental in stopping hate speech and extremist organisations on campuses i.e. the recent Abu Usamah controversy on UCL as covered by the BBC.

3. Student Rights are committed to our non-partisan stance, and to holding events with the aim of fostering greater dialogue and creating a safe environment on campuses for all students to be able to voice their views safely and without oppression from other individuals, societies or their unions.


Birmingham University Jewish Society Statement

University authorities have a duty of care to students and staff. Consistently, universities are not fulfilling this responsibility.

All students are affected by hate speech, as campuses become increasingly confrontational environments. Our student community is being divided by hate speakers like Azzam Tamimi. Is this really an environment where people can express themselves free from intimidation?

The university authorities have misunderstood the problem of hate speech, claiming that it is an issue of freedom of speech. There are clear provisions in the Codes of Practice which state that: “it is a core right of the University’s staff and students to work and study unhindered by hostility, offensive conduct or intimidation.”

Universities are meant to be the forums for engagement and academia. Differing views and opinions must be heard, but not from advocates of terror. We repeat our call for the university to cancel Azzam Tamimi and refrain from allowing hate speech on campus. Rights must come with responsibilities.

Daniela Kotzmann, Guild Councillor for the University of Birmingham from the School of Government and Society:

The University of Birmingham has forgotten that with rights, come responsibilities. Azzam Tamimi constitutes a threat to our student community. The University must create an environment which is free from intimidation and create an environment for reasonable debate.

UPDATE from HP: from the Birmingham Post:

A spokesman for University of Birmingham Islamic Society said: “We don’t advocate Hamas or its views. Dr Tamimi represents an important part of the dialogue which has to take place.”

No he does not. There is nothing to be gained from “dialogue” with a man with a very long record of vicious and implacable hatred. Rejection is what he deserves.

The ISOC does make this claim:

Does ISOC condone terrorism?
NO. ISOC is completely against and appalled by the blowing up of buildings and the killing of innocent people, and this is something that the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, forbade. We stand in solidarity with the people of any country against such atrocities, and will not tolerate any such sentiments within our society

Right. So why has Mr Tamimi been invited again?