Democratic debate 2

December 7, 2007

Angry demonstrators have shown contempt for the sanctity of academic freedom. Nick Griffin and David Irving must be allowed to express their opinions, no matter what they are, and Oxford University, which prides itself in cultivating diversity and a harmonious environment, should have acted to safeguard the inalienable right to free expression. Why then should we protest the sentencing of a British schoolteacher in Khartoum for naming a teddy bear Muhammad? Why should we protest against the military junta in Burma for its transgressions of human rights? Why should we protest against General Pervez Musharraf's grip on power and the detention of journalists, lawyers, judges and human rights advocates? As Ronald Reagan eloquently put it: "It is the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies that stifle freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people."

Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London SW5.

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