Written by Student Rights on 20 November 2013 at 1pm

SOAS anti hate-crime event hosts Azad Ali

Since the late 1960s students have always excelled at challenging racism and discrimination in the UK.

The inability of the far-right to gain a foothold on our campuses is testament to this fact, with the rejection of fascist views backed by the National Union of Students’ ‘No Platform’ policy.

In recent years, the key target of far-right hatred has become the UK’s Muslim community, and students have rallied to oppose this.

Tonight an event entitled ‘The Rise of Islamophobia in Britain’ will address this issue, yet sadly will also provide a platform for an individual with his own extreme views to address students.

Azad Ali, the Head of Community Development & Engagement at iEngage, has expressed support for Hamas, whose military wing is proscribed by the British government as a terrorist organisation.

In December 2008 and January 2009 he wrote that "Hamas is a true resistance movement that is standing up for the rights of the Palestinians" and declared "we should know that the aim is to defeat the resistance. So our priority is to ensure that this does not happen".

He praised the organisation’s "strength and courage and sheer determination", despite the fact that it has repeatedly targeted civilians in indiscriminate rocket attacks.

Ali has also suggested that in opposing Hamas the West is attempting "the complete eradication of the need of the Caliphate, which we know is a necessity in itself".

This support for religious governance was also apparent when he was recorded by Dispatches in 2010 arguing “democracy, if it means that, you know, at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, of course no one agrees with that”.

In January 2010 he also lost a libel case against a newspaper which reported that he had included a quote on his blog which justified the murder of British and American soldiers in Iraq.

Whilst Ali has the right to speak on campus, it is disappointing to see an apologist for an anti-Semitic terrorist organisation given a platform to discuss hate crime.