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  • By on August 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    UK Government distances itself from the British University in Egypt over antisemitism scandal

    In March 2017, Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the British University in Egypt (BUE), gave a speech at a conference which promoted the antisemitic conspiracy ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. A video of the talk was translated by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), who subsequently contacted the UK Government and Loughborough University. They pressured them to sever relations with the institution. The matter has now been investigated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Both the Government and Loughborough University have said that their contracts with the BUE will end in December 2017. Student Rights welcomes this principled stance and commends CAA for pursuing this case. We will continue to hold to account British universities that partner, affiliate, accept money from or set up satellite campuses with foreign institutions which have a history of extremism or intolerance. Read more...

  • By on August 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Recent successes highlight support for Prevent

    The past weeks have been awash with media stories of key Prevent successes. A high profile legal challenge to the government’s Prevent strategy was defeated at the High Court on 26 July. A few days later on 1 August, the Higher Education and Funding Council for England (HEFCE) released its assessment of universities’ compliance with Prevent, concluding that 95 per cent of providers were demonstrating “due regard to the Prevent duty”. Most recently, a senior Scotland Yard Police Officer, Cdr. Dean Haydon, has claimed that much criticism of Prevent is based on “ignorance”. These important developments demonstrate the legal foundations of Prevent as well as the extent of serious engagement with the policy within law enforcement and higher education. However, as Cdr. Haydon has identified, they also underscore the need to communicate Prevent more effectively to the wider community. Read more...

  • By on August 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Universities UK unknowingly plays host to Hizb Ut-Tahrir

    It has been revealed that Jamal Harwood, a spokesman for the British branch of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, was invited to give a talk earlier this year at the London headquarters of Universities UK. His talk, entitled “Is the Caliphate a viable alternative for the Middle East?”, took place in April 2017 at the Woburn House Conference Centre, a building that they own. It is highly unfortunate that this speaker and organisation managed to escape their attention. Universities UK have clarified that they “will not allow the organiser to book any future events at the venue”. It is especially concerning that this took place at the headquarters of a body that prides itself on its work challenging extremism. This is clearly an episode where due diligence could have mitigated risks associated with outside speakers and avoided wider embarrassment. Read more...

  • By on July 24, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Prevent plays a decisive role in challenging Far-Right extremism

    Home Office and Police figures have shown that the number of Far-Right referrals to Prevent’s Channel programme have risen significantly in recent times. This news has not received nearly as much publicity as inaccurate perceptions that the policy unfairly targets the wider Muslim community. Like its Islamist equivalent, Far-Right extremism provides its followers with a seemingly cohesive sense of meaning, purpose and identity. Recruiters prey on vulnerable individuals looking for an ideology or cause that can offer them absolute certainty in times of personal crisis. The Far-Right is especially dangerous for students from minority backgrounds. Prevent, on the other hand, is one of the most effective forms of defence we have against this pernicious form of extremism. Read more...

  • By on July 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    London’s Palestine Expo reveals weaknesses of the UK’s counter-extremism strategy

    Last weekend (8-9 July), Palestine Expo 2017 took place at the QEII Centre, a government owned building in the heart of Westminster. Many thousands attended a series of events intended to celebrate Palestinian culture. In practice, the conference also served as a platform for controversial speakers with a history of extremism. We at Student Rights are especially alarmed by the outreach and focus on students and young people at Palestine Expo 2017. We strongly urge the government to consider steps that would prevent public buildings from being used by these organisers in future. Read more...

  • By on July 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Salford Student President who opposes Prevent reveals troubling views on social media

    Zamzam Ibrahim, President of the Salford Student’s Union and a member of the NUS’s National Executive Committee (NEC), has been at the forefront of efforts to delegitimise Prevent and pressure her fellow student officials to stop engaging with it. Ibrahim has hosted the controversial group MEND and called the government’s Prevent strategy “disastrous” and “racist”. It has also been revealed that Ibrahim has controversial views on religious supremacism, racial differences and male-female relations. We believe that divisive comments are inappropriate for those occupying positions of responsibility in student organisations. Read more...

  • By on June 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Controversial group CAGE uses Facebook to ‘suggest’ advertisement

    Student Rights recently received a ‘suggested video’ on Facebook from CAGE, the controversial prisoner lobby group, which was entitled ‘10 Reasons to donate to CAGE’. Many members of the Facebook community who have received this advertisement will be unaware of CAGE’s history of extremist and Islamist connections as well as their record of opposing the government’s counter-terrorism measures. Troubling advertising of this kind is not sufficiently regulated or moderated by internet sites. Read more...

  • By on June 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Student Islamic Societies Raise Money for Controversial Islamic Charity

    A controversial charity with alleged ties to extremism is appealing for money from students and Islamic student societies to build mosques abroad. As part of a fundraising initiative during Ramadan, a partnership entitled ‘The Mosque Project’, managed by the Ummah Welfare Trust (UWT) in partnership with a number of student Islamic societies, aims to build six masjids in four Muslim countries. However, the UWT has a controversial past, including displaying extremist material on their website and hosting extremist speakers at their events. The UWT’s financial accounts were closed by Barclays Bank in 2008, and by HSBC in 2014. It is disturbing that altruistic students are being exploited by charities with controversial histories and alleged ties to extremism. Read more...

  • By on June 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Durham students handed leaflets encouraging terrorism by banned Islamist preacher

    As part of their ‘Discover Islam’ week held in March this year, Durham University Islamic Society (DUISOC) has distributed leaflets written by Dr. Zakir Naik, an Islamist preacher banned from the UK in 2010. The leaflet in question, entitled ‘Answers to Non-Muslims’ Common Questions About Islam’, argues that “every Muslim should be a terrorist to anti-social elements in society”. Dr. Naik’s comments about terrorism have not been limited to unfortunate metaphors. His lectures and writings are extremely popular and it is worrying that his illiberal views and support for terrorism have begun to turn up on university campuses. Read more...

  • By Student Rights on June 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Former Chief Prosecutor’s Comments on Prevent Resonate After London Attacks

    Last Saturday, Nazir Afzal OBE, Former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North-West of England and Chief Executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, spoke to The Times. Afzal confirmed the findings of much of our previous research, namely that a host of organisations within the Muslim community have been conspiring to undermine trust in the government’s Prevent strategy. Hours later, attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market claimed seven lives and injured another 48. Afzal’s prescient comments remind us of the tireless importance of working with the Muslim community to sideline extremists and stop others from being radicalised in future. Read more...

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