Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Repression, discrimination at SOAS. posted by leninUpdating a previous post carrying an open letter to the director of SOAS from a member of its teaching staff, I've been forwarded this article about the student who has been maligned in the most hideous fashion and subject to disciplinary proceedings. On the 21st March this year, David Winnick MP raised the possibility in parliament of charging the student with incitement to racial hatred . The reason for this astonishing assault on Nasser Amin's reputation and academic freedom is that, as a Masters' student at SOAS he wrote an article defending the right of Palestinians to use violence - he does not discuss suicide bombing, but only the right to resist occupation through violence.
His views are not qualitatively distinct to those expressed by such philosophers as Ted Honderich and such political scientists as Richard Falk. Yet, he has been labelled an anti-Semite, a Muslim extremist and a supporter of terrorism:
Amin says he was "selectively misquoted and misused by the media for political purposes."
He argues that as one of their students, SOAS owed him a duty of care. But instead of protecting him against "Islamophobia, bullying, racism, harassment and slander" the university made him a scapegoat on their website.
Amin said: "SOAS issued a reprimand against me without even bothering to informme of it or why I was reprimanded. Director Bundy has done so to appease those who support Ariel Sharon. The Director has effectively assisted Sharon’s side of the Middle East conflict and is unrepentant about this.
"The article I wrote was a standard philosophical treatise on anti-colonial resistance and on Western hatred of Islam. Supporters of Zionism who wish to slander Muslims as evil launched a merciless media onslaught against me.
"The SOAS authorities have behaved shamefully. In their zeal to uphold SOAS’s image amongst supporters of Zionism they have persecuted a Muslim student, and sent a powerful message which has made Muslim students at the School terrified of criticising Israel."
Dr Mark Laffey, Lecturer in International Politics, and Amin’s tutor said:
"It is part of the job description of an academic institution that you are willing to give offense. Our job is to seek out the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant for various groups or interests."
"Freedom of expression must include the right to air unpopular or unpleasant arguments."
This whole case has emerged as a result of a campaign by a professed Zionist in the college named Gavin Gross, who has dragged the college's reputation through the mud and publicly vilified Nasser Amin in an interview with the lunatic Front Page magazine (http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18571). This is a disgraceful, shameful attack on a student's freedom of speech at such a prestigious institution.