Islamic group accuses SOAS of `cowardice'

November 4, 1994

Supporters of an Islamic group barred from promoting its views in the School of Oriental and African Studies responded by accusing the school of "hypocrisy" and "cowardice" this week.

"SOAS has finally exposed its long-standing, hidden agenda of deep hatred for Islam by banning speakers invited who present Islam as an ideological alternative" said a poster headed "SOAS bans Islam" put up throughout the college.

The poster went on: "The west and universities such as SOAS espouse ideas such as freedom of speech, but these become redundant when Muslims want to express their views."

On Monday the school issued a statement saying that a student society at SOAS called the 1924 Committee had by its action shown itself to be closely aligned to an Islamic fundamentalist group, the Hizb-ut-Tahrir. It stated: "The views expressed at meetings and in distributed literature have generated deep and widespread concern among faculty and students at SOAS, a number of whom have felt threatened."

SOAS has banned speakers representing the views of Hizb-ut-Tahrir from speaking at future meetings of the 1924 Committee. Paul Solomon, president of the Union of Jewish Students said: "Jewish students still feel threatened on the campus. It would have been more sensible to just wind up the 1924 Committee."

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