Denis MacShane tries to witch-hunt Azzam Tamimi … and fails

Birmingham University has been accused of allowing “a notorious Jew-hater and supporter of terrorist attacks” to speak to students at an event on campus. MP Denis MacShane has written to the university’s Vice Chancellor urging him to cancel a planned talk by Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian-born academic and supporter of terror group Hamas. But the university has refused to intervene, saying the talk should go ahead in the name of freedom of speech.

A spokesman said: “The University of Birmingham has a code of practice on freedom of speech on campus, and those seeking to invite outside speakers onto campus must fill in a freedom of speech request form at least 15 days before the proposed event. The University has received a freedom of speech request from the Islamic Society for Azzam Tamimi to speak on campus and the event will go ahead as planned.

“Universities are plural societies which are home to differences of opinion, debate and views. The University of Birmingham hosts many visitors and events every year and itself is a community of 150 nations situated in a vibrant multi-cultural city. We respect the right of all individuals to exercise freedom of speech within the law; we are also intolerant of discrimination of any kind.”

Birmingham Post, 19 January 2010