31 May 2007
The Muslim Council of Britain welcomes the decision taken by the University and College Union (UCU) to reject government guidelines on how to supposedly tackle extremism on British campuses.
“Of course, if people come to know of violent acts being plotted then they have a clear civic duty to share that information with the police without delay. However, our universities must remain institutions which facilitate and encourage rigorous intellectual inquiry and discourse. The role of lecturers must be to facilitate and encourage critical thinking, not to stifle it or abort the process,” said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the MCB.
It is ironic that some of the politicians who now recommend these measures were themselves victims of intelligence spying because of their political views when they were students in the 1970s. Just as intellectual freedom was priceless then, it should remain so today.
The MCB fully supports the UCU’s stand that there is no corroborative evidence of British universities being used as ‘hotbeds of Islamic extremism.’ Hence the directive to target Muslim students would only give rise to greater discontent, alienation and discord.
“Whatever the challenges that beset our society we should not resort to the dangerous ways of intellectual censure and religious witch-hunt,” added Dr Abdul Bari.