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British Muslim Organizations Submit Open Letter to University of Bristol Over Sacking of Professor Accused of ‘Anti-Semitism’

Professor David Miller was sacked on 1st October despite the university’s own investigation finding Miller not guilty of any breach of rules.

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Professor David Miller was sacked on 1st October despite the university’s own investigation finding Miller not guilty of any breach of rules.

27 British Muslim organisations, journalists, and academics have submitted an open letter to the University of Bristol demanding David Miller be reinstated and to ask it to address its own double standards in tackling hate speech on campus. 

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.”

Professor David Miller was sacked on 1st October despite the university’s own investigation finding Miller not guilty of any breach of rules.

The letter continues by asking the University which standards David Miller breached, given the Queen’s Counsel found Professor Miller’s comments not unlawful speech and not anti-Semitic.

Electronic Intifada recently published leaked documents showing that the lawyer hired by the University of Bristol concluded that David Miller had “no case to answer”. 

On Tuesday 26th November, 20 Malaysian organisations threatened to boycott the University of Bristol unless they protect Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom by reinstating David Miller. 

The open letter highlights the double standards of the University in hosting Islamophobic speakers, former General Yossi Kuperwasser from the Israeli military and Colonel Richard Kemp. Its own BME Network raised concerns and protested but their views were summarily ignored. 

In another incident, the University of Bristol Islamic Society (BRISOC) complained and urged the university to take action on Professor Geer, who’s defended the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China, invoked Charlie Hebdo as evidence of “Islam’s stance on Freedom of Speech” and defended Prevent’s anti-Muslim bias, the university only suspended him.

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.” 

Ragad Al-Tikriti, President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), stated: “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.”

The full letter reads below.


F.A.O. Professor Brady
Bristol University
Beacon House
Queens Road
Bristol
BS8 1QU

Dear Professor Brady,

Re: Dismissal of Professor David Miller, Free Speech and Islamophobia

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’.[1] 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’.[2] 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 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 consultating, formally meeting and obtaining approval from Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and others.
3) Undertake separate Islamophobia training after consultating, 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 Ridely – 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 Younus – Lecturer
Ahammed Hussain – CEO, Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK


[1] Bristol SU BME Network, Bristol University, stop legitimising racism and Islamophobia!, February 2020.
[2] https://thetab.com/uk/bristol/2020/02/10/controversial-uob-tory-event-met-with-pro-palestinian-protests-39185

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