Ex-Islamist Ed Husain attacks hate speaker

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010
‘He is too inflammatory and crosses a line’ - Ed Husain

‘He is too inflammatory and crosses a line’ - Ed Husain

University vice-chancellors must do more to protect Jewish students from hatred on campuses, according to the director of a counter-extremism think tank.

Ed Husain, co-founder of the Quilliam organisation, was speaking at the Union of Jewish Students' annual campaigns summit.

He attacked appearances on campuses of speakers such as Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi.

Dr Tamimi is a regular speaker at universities and has told students that he "longs to be a martyr" and believes Israel "must come to an end".

Mr Husain said Dr Tamimi was "too inflammatory and crosses the line between what is considered freedom of speech and incitement to violence".

Jewish students "should not be held accountable for the actions or decisions of the government of Israel", he said.

‘I long to be a martyr… Israel must come to an end’ - Azzam Tamimi

‘I long to be a martyr… Israel must come to an end’ - Azzam Tamimi

"No Jewish student should feel like they have to apologise, nor be held accountable, for what happens on a flotilla near Gaza, or actions taken in the West Bank."

Mr Husain outlined ways to improve Muslim-Jewish campus relations and gave more than 50 students from 15 universities tips on combatting potential threats from Islamist extremists.

He said Muslim activists should be free to criticise Israeli government policies, but had "a duty to recognise Israel's legitimacy and right to exist".

Other speakers at last week's central London summit included the Times executive editor and JC columnist Daniel Finkelstein, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Ron Prosor, Israeli ambassador to Britain.

Students voted to create a UJS National Council made up of a five-member board which will have a direct mandate to hold to account UJS chair Alex Dwek and his administration. Members were voted on to the council from universities in Durham, Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham.

Alex Dwek said: "I was delighted to see so many different campuses represented at the summit.

"We believe that the networks built between Jewish students from all over the country can only benefit Jewish student activism.

"The high-calibre speakers that UJS continues to draw highlight the vast contributions that Jewish students are making to campus life. We look forward to building on this success over the coming year."

UJS also held its first annual charity recruitment fair, featuring representatives from more than 20 charities who discussed the best methods for students to fundraise and campaign on their campuses.

Last updated: 11:19am, September 21 2010