Twenty seven British Muslim organisations, journalists and academics have written to the University of Bristol demanding that Professor David Miller be reinstated and that it addresses “its own double standards” in tackling hate speech on campus.
The pro-Palestine and anti-Islamophobia academic was sacked at the beginning of October after a concerted campaign by pro-Israel groups and individuals. The university said that his conduct “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff.”
But the open letter states: “We are writing this joint letter to express our alarm and indignation at the recent sacking of Professor David Miller. This decision sets a dangerous precedent in which academic freedom is being compromised and free speech on racism and colonialism is being curtailed.
“By removing Professor David Miller – a leading scholar of Islamophobia – from his post, the University shows the same contempt for Palestinians, Muslims and students of colour. It is apparent that there is a double standard at play.
“There has been a concerted effort made by Zionist groups to defame, slander and ultimately dismiss Professor Miller. However, racism and Islamophobia appear to be accepted, and even endorsed, by your university. Please note we will be taking further legal advice in this regard.”
Ahammed Hussain from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) said: “At the cost of its own international reputation, academic freedom and freedom of speech of its lecturers and its students, Bristol University has chosen to act, in-effect, as a political agent for the pro-Israeli lobby. This move will have a corrosive impact on British democracy and civil society as a whole and one we must resist for the benefit of all.”
And Ragad Al-Tikriti, President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), said: “Academic freedom means nothing if it is withdrawn as soon as you shine a light on behalf of justice and human dignity. David Miller’s sacking is an attempt to intimidate any and every other academic especially those who challenge the suffering of Palestinians.”
Here is the letter in full:
Dear Professor Brady,
We are writing this joint letter to express our alarm and indignation at the recent sacking of Professor David Miller. This decision sets a dangerous precedent in which academic freedom is being compromised and free speech on racism and colonialism is being curtailed.
We understand that a disciplinary hearing found that Professor Miller’s behaviour did not meet the standards of behaviour expected at the University. Could you please explain what standards he allegedly breached and forward a copy of the relevant policy or code of conduct. You do, however concede that an independent report by a leading Queen’s Counsel found Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech and hence were not anti-Semitic. Therefore, this proves that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. Hence, it is rather confusing as to how the University reached its decision and disregarded an expert report.
This decision stands in direct contrast to the University permitting two Islamophobes – namely former Col. Richard Kemp and former Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (Israeli Military) – to speak at an event on campus. This event went ahead despite the University’s BME Network protesting that “An event of this calibre is deeply concerning and inflammatory to all anti-racists on campus, and most importantly Muslim and Palestinian students who are targeted by this event. Colonel Richard Kemp is a racist and a bigot, continuously attacking Muslims from both an anti-immigrant standpoint and an openly racist one.”
On 11th June 2019, the University adopted the APPG on Islamophobia’s full definition. Yet, at the event, Col Kemp said “most Muslims in the world are trained to hate Israel” and Gen. Kuperwasser called for the Palestinian Government to “stop paying salaries to terrorists.” Both of these statements – and the past utterances of the speakers – are in breach of the adopted definition and against the Equality Act 2010.
In allowing this event to take place, the concerns of Palestinians, Muslims and students of colour were not taken into account and instead Islamophobia and racism were legitimised by the university. By removing Professor David Miller – a leading scholar of Islamophobia – from his post, the University shows the same contempt for Palestinians, Muslims and students of colour. It is apparent that there is a double standard at play.
There has been a concerted effort made by Zionist groups to defame, slander and ultimately dismiss Professor Miller. However, racism and Islamophobia appear to be accepted, and even endorsed, by your University. Please note we will be taking further legal advice in this regard.
In conclusion, we demand you to do the following:
1) Re-instate Professor Miller with immediate effect, publishing a public written apology to him.
2) Undertake further Equality and Diversity training from non-Zionist, anti-Racist and non-Islamophobic organisations after consulting, formally meeting and obtaining approval from Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and others.
3) Undertake separate Islamophobia training after consulting, formally meeting and obtaining approval from Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and others.
4) Consult and formally meet other anti-Zionist Muslim and BAME bodies to learn more about how colonialism has had such a negative impact on various communities.
5) Protect the rights of students and lecturers on campus to discuss and criticise Palestine and Israel together with the political ideology of Zionism.
6) Reject any individual who is complicit in war crimes on campus including members of the Israeli Military.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Yours sincerely,
Robert Carter – Journalist, Press TV
Mizanur Rahman – Harrow and Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Dr Layla Aitlhadj – Prevent Watch
Anjum Anwar – Teacher
Nasim Ahmed – Journalist
Sulieman Gani – Purley Mosque
Mohammed Kozbar – Finsbury Park Mosque
Sahar Al-Faifi – Human Rights Activist
Ismail Patel – Friends of Al Aqsa
Dr Yvonne Ridley – Journalist and Author
Syed Mohsin Abbas – Television Journalist
Tanzil Chowdhury – Lecturer in Law, QMUL
Haseeb Rizvi – The Muslim Vibe
Afroze Zaidi – The Canary
Zahid Khan & Kala Khan – Global Pakistan and Kashmir Supreme Council
Raghad Altikriti – President, Muslim Association of Britain
Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu – Black Muslim Forum
Anas Altikriti – CEO, The Cordoba Foundation
Zeeshan Mushtaq – Muallim Academy
Shahbaz Meer – Accountant
London Muslim Community Forum
Muslim Voice for Peace
Jahangir Mohammed – Centre For Muslim Affairs
Shehryar Khan – UQIC
Central Oxford Mosque
Tarek Younis – Lecturer
Ahammed Hussain – CEO, Muslim Public Affairs Committee