Friday, March 16, 2007

Britain "Stifling Debate on Muslim Extremism"

The German academic who was prevented from giving a speech at Leeds University on the link between Nazism and anti-Semitism in the Islamic world has hit back at Britain. He said:

It is a worrying trend. If I say something which is not positive about a particular brand of Islam, the imposition is that I am inciting hatred of every Muslim. I am very concerned about this - it is an attack on academic freedom. We are seeing it more and more, particularly in the UK.

There is nothing wrong with holding beliefs but you must be able to challenge and question them. Academic integrity is all about the exchange of positions and the search for truth - I think this is in danger in the UK.

The organisers accused the university of bowing to pressure after receiving e-mails from Muslim students complaining about the talk. One claimed, "The only intention that you have for doing this is to increase hatred as I clearly regard it as an open racist attack."

The university insisted that the speech was cancelled because of security fears. Presumably they were concerned about the possibility of violent protests by the Muslim students.

(Relevant links: The Times, The Telegraph)