HJS’ Extreme Speakers Report
We at FOSIS completely reject the findings of the Henry Jackson Society and Student Rights 17/18 report on extremist speakers on UK campuses. Not only is the report littered with inaccuracies and a lack of context for quotes given by speakers, both organisations have a history of sensationalised reporting. It has been proven time and again that the government’s Prevent policy has been a failure and its referral to it within the report speaks volumes of Student Rights’ and the Henry Jackson Society’s lack of touch with the Muslim community. The Prevent policy is Islamophobic, simplistic and is not credible within the Muslim community and by endorsing it, it is clear that Student Rights and the Henry Jackson Society have failed to draft a convincing report.
Speakers are put through various vetting procedures by Student Unions and Universities in consultation with Islamic Societies to not only allow for freedom of speech and debate, but ensure the safety and well-being of students is made a fundamental priority. We find this flawed report a great injustice to Islamic societies across the UK as they have done amazing work in promoting values of upstanding citizenship and community cohesion. This is shown through initiatives like Charity Week, Islamophobia Awareness Month and many others.
In a pluralistic society in 2019, all faiths, cultures and backgrounds should be celebrated and embraced and whilst not all views will be met with unanimous agreement, a democratic society allows us to debate the rights and wrongs of these views. Furthermore, a tolerant society should not police and unfairly demonise different communities using polarising skewed views to create division through fear.
1. FOSIS (est. 1963) is the umbrella organisation of student groups in colleges and universities throughout the UK and Ireland, representing the interests of over 130,000 Muslim students.
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