Muslim students are not being influenced by extremists

“A Guardian Education article sought to attribute the increased participation of Muslim students within the National Union of Students to a rising trend of ‘extremism’ (Adding their voice to the debate, April 4). In the post-7/7 age, it is unfortunate that such accusations are levied at the Muslim community all too easily.

“The allegations stem from the Federation of Student Islamic Societies’ (Fosis) support for the removal of Hizb ut-Tahrir from the NUS’s No-Platform for Racists policy. When the decision to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir was taken in 2004, Muslim students were under-represented in the NUS and there was a lack of proper debate. Many unsubstantiated accusations have been levied against Hizb ut-Tahrir in the past, but in reality the organisation works to advance the Muslim world by engaging in political work. It uses non-violent means and is opposed to terrorism, having condemned the terrorist activities of 9/11 and 7/7. Many Muslims may have disagreements with the organisation, but they unanimously assert that this does not render it extremist; and they defend its right to free speech.”

Wakkas Khan of FOSIS writes in the Guardian, 21 April 2006

No doubt Muslim students’ right to free speech will be high up the agenda when the “March for Free Expression” holds its policy meeting tomorrow in London. Another contribution to this question that the MFE might like to consider is the paper presented last month to the All Party Parliamentary University Group by Abdurrahman Jafar of the MCB (see here and here). Such issues as the disciplining of Nasser Amin for expressing his views on the Palestine-Israel conflict in a SOAS student magazine will of course be of particular concern to these doughty defenders of free speech.