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Written by Student Rights on 23 October 2012 at 12pm

Divisive and misleading event reinforces anti-Western grievances

While many of the stories on this website focus on speakers who have displayed intolerant or bigoted views, on occasion we find worrying material that is of a more political nature.

Today we have been watching video of an event held by the Global Ideas Society at the University of Westminster on the 11th October that was entitled ‘Extradition of Muslims to America: The Facade of British Justice’.

This involved a talk given by Nadeem Dawud, a former student at Kingston University, in which he argued that Muslims are unfairly targeted by the police and the media.

To back up his argument Dawud made a number of disquieting statements which were clearly designed to further develop a culture of grievance amongst Muslim students who attended.

The first of these was when he declared that “there was no charge” for any of the individuals extradited to the US that week, including Abu Hamza Al-Masri, whom he specifically highlighted as someone imprisoned without charge.

This is despite the fact that Abu Hamza was charged with six counts of soliciting to murder in 2004 and was found guilty of all counts in February 2006. At the same time he was also convicted of multiple counts of inciting racial hatred and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Dawud also claimed that “the precedent that is being set is that if you are Muslim you are guilty, we don’t care what you’ve done, you could’ve done nothing...if you have a beard, if your name is Ahmed or Fatima, you’re guilty”.

He supported this statement by highlighting the case of another man, Munir Farooqi, whom he claims simply ran a stall in Manchester discussing comparative religion and was given four life sentences in 2011.

Quoting Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter of the North-West Terrorism Unit as saying “we did not recover any blueprint, attack plan or endgame for these men”, Dawud suggests that this supports the injustice of Farooqi’s conviction.

However, what he fails to mention is that Farooqi, a former Taliban fighter, was actually sentenced to life imprisonment after he was recorded by undercover police officers attempting to recruit them to fight in Afghanistan.

When the rest of the statement quoted by Dawud is found it reads “these men were involved in an organised attempt in Manchester to recruit men to fight, kill and die in either Afghanistan or Pakistan by persuading them it was their religious duty”.

It continues that this was “a concerted effort to prepare people to fight against our own forces abroad. In law, that is terrorism. Munir Farooqi was the leader. He used his Dawah stall to attract vulnerable people like Israr Malik, and then began to radicalise them, encouraging them to perform violent jihad abroad”.

Given that the Prevent Review of 2011 specifically highlighted that “grievances, some real and some imagined...[are]...frequently exploited by apologists for violence”, the distortion of facts in this way is reckless at best.

Whilst the right of students and speakers to express the views that Dawud holds should be protected, by suggesting that convicted criminals were imprisoned because of their religion rather than their crimes he reinforces a victim mentality that recruiters for violent extremism can prey on.

This is something that the University of Westminster should take extremely seriously, and here at Student Rights we hope that they will discuss this with the Global Ideas Society.