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A Response to “Extreme Speakers and Events” Report by Student Rights
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A Response to “Extreme Speakers and Events” Report by Student Rights

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Student Rights, a project of the Henry Jackson Society, recently published a report entitled Extreme Speakers and Events: In the 2016-17 Academic Year. According to the report, iERA speakers are the most prolific on UK campuses. In response to the report, iERA would like to make the following points:

  • The report’s assumptions are wildly speculative and the presentation of information incoherent. The report ambiguously mentions that events on campuses had “an extreme and intolerant dimension” [1] yet fails to detail the content of the speeches as well as highlight whether any of the events promoted hatred or intolerance.
  • The report makes the dangerous, unfair and irresponsible accusation that iERA’s speakers are “extreme”. Not only are all iERA’s speakers and staff party to iERA’s extremism policy and guidelines – in line with the Charity Commission’s best practice protocol – but some of the anachronous statements attributed to iERA personnel have been either clarified or publicly retracted, and were never made at university campuses. Every speech delivered by iERA speakers is delivered in line with approved extremism policy and guidelines. The guidelines are available online here.
  • iERA’s work focuses on conveying the message of Islam compassionately, and with reason. The charity’s work at university campuses speaks for itself. The Pro Vice Chancellor of Southampton University, who chaired iERA’s lecture on ‘Does Morality Need God?’ lecture, said the following: “I think it’s very important that on campus we could have people espousing ideas, matters of faith, diverse opinions and have an honest and robust discussion about it. I am delighted with how Hamza’s lecture tonight went and a broad range of questions, and a very engaging discussion afterwards. I was very happy.”[2]

To conclude, the Student Rights report has significant flaws, it does not represent iERA’s good work on campus and is tantamount to an irresponsible witch hunt. iERA’s popularity on campus is evidence of its positive impact. iERA will continue to convey the compassionate and intelligent message of Islam, while promoting our shared values of tolerance and respect for all.

[1] Extreme Speakers and Events: In the 2016/17 Academic Year, p. 52. Available at: http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Extreme-Speakers-and-Events-in-the-2016-17-Academic-Year-Final.pdf. Accessed 29 September 2017 at 10:46 AM.

[2] Feedback from Pro Vice Chancellor of Uni. of Southampton after an iERA Lecture. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhivqV4nxcU. Accessed 29 September 2017 at 10:46 AM.

Last major update 21/09/17 19:20PM