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Think tank chief attacks UJS

An anti-extremism campaigner has criticised students after a row over a panel debate.

    Douglas Murray
    Douglas Murray

    An anti-extremism campaigner has attacked the Union of Jewish Students and claimed the organisation bowed to pressure from Islamic students by withdrawing an invitation to him to appear in a panel debate.

    Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, was expected to speak at the National Union of Students conference in Gateshead on Thursday night.

    But he claims UJS dropped him after the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) refused to share a platform with him.

    In his Daily Telegraph blog Mr Murray wrote: “Of course FOSIS don’t want to debate with me. They have such a terrible track-record that if I were them I wouldn’t want to appear against a critic who knew what my organisation had been up to in recent years either.”

    He accused FOSIS of inviting “people who indulge in the most flagrant antisemitism and antisemitic conspiracy theory” to speak on campuses.

    UJS has defended its decision to withdraw the invitation to Mr Murray.

    A statement on its website said: “The decision to cancel Douglas Murray was not taken to appease FOSIS, nor did we cancel him under the illusion that FOSIS would do the same in times to come.

    “He was cancelled with our membership in mind; when given the option for our students to challenge FOSIS on the issues that are affecting them most, the decision was clear.

    “The refusal of FOSIS to share a platform with Douglas Murray was conspicuous and showed that their commitment to freedom of expression stretches only to those who preach hatred.”

    FOSIS is yet to respond to Mr Murray’s claims.

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