OPEN LETTER: BRISTOL UNIVERSITY FREE SPEECH SOCIETY

In light of the recent tragedy in Christchurch, New Zealand where 50 Muslims were killed, members of the University of Bristol Islamic Society (BRISOC) were deeply troubled to find out that a problematic event is taking place on campus on Monday the 25th March.

The Free Speech Society have invited Emma Fox from The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) to speak in the Queen’s Building regarding Islam and Muslims. The Henry Jackson Society is a right-wing think tank . The ex-director, Douglas Murray, said “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition”, and he has also called for the banning of “all immigration into Europe from Muslim countries.

Fox herself has quoted organisations attempting to tackle Islamophobia as “legitimising extremism”. Her reports trying to discredit Islamophobia Awareness Month are without evidence and inflammatory, and the fact that they are titled “Profiting from Prejudice” is deeply offensive, as it suggests Muslims are wrong to raise concerns about the discrimination they face. The events in Christchurch show that there is nothing to profit from prejudice, but that many lives have been, and will be lost due to hate speech.

Muslim students and members of BRISOC have met with members of the Free Speech Society to express our concerns, however, no efforts have been made to change the trajectory of the event, or even to allow a chance for adequate representation from the Muslim community. Free speech is important, but not so that it can be used as an excuse to make one group feel disproportionately vulnerable. There must be a balance between the expression of the opinions of an individual and the safety of minority groups. The greater the position of influence an individual or a group holds, the greater care and responsibility must be taken in what they say. There is the risk that this event is more likely to be attended by those who already have dangerous prejudices against Muslims, and that this speaker could radicalise them into committing violence.

Even though the event was organised before the attack in New Zealand occurred, these types of events hosting Islamophobic rhetoric spread anti-Muslim hate, which inevitably leads to violence, as we have seen in Christchurch and across the UK over the last week. Bristol’s Muslim students and community alike are still hurting. It is not enough to be sorry for violence after it has taken place, we need to take action to stop the hate speech that creates the conditions for this violence, otherwise the cycle of hate will continue and escalate.

We as Muslims are scared and do not feel safe at University and in wider society, and it is a shame that the Free Speech Society want to exploit the vulnerability of Muslims on campus. With ‘copycat’ attacks happening all over the country and support being shown towards the gunman even within Bristol, the one place we should feel safe is on our campus. It is highly insensitive, to say the least, that the Free Speech Society think it is appropriate to host such an event in light of the recent wave of Islamophobic violence across the Western world.

We plead with you all to stand with us in solidarity against Islamophobic hate speech and call for the Free Speech Society to either cancel or postpone this event until they rethink the negative discourse they are promoting, and have a level discussion with Muslim representation present.

We will be protesting Islamophobia and this event outside the Queen’s Building at 5.45pm on Monday the 25th March if it goes ahead on this date and will remain in place until the event is over. We will have several speakers who will speak on the impact that Islamophobic hate speech brings to the world.

  • Sally Patterson, Equality and Liberation Access Officer
  • Khadija Meghrawi, University of Bristol Interfaith Forum, Brisoc Interfaith rep, Muslim Medics Outreach Officer
  • Dan Moxham – BIS
  • Kofo Sodiq-Ajala
  • Ayasha Abbasy – Pres Secretary of Bristol University Research Society (BURS), University of Bristol
  • Aaminah Hafezi- Co-president of Bristol University Islamic Society (BRISOC)
  • Azza Abdulla, NUS NEC and Education Officer, Leicester SU
  • Muna Ali, Student Trustee, Union of Kingston Students
  • Mariam Bhaila – University of Bath
  • Hiba Abdo – University of Bristol – undergraduate
  • Magda Feisal- BME Network, University of Bristol
  • Nelima Hossain, University of Bristol undergraduate
  • Syirah Ami – President of the Feminist Society, NUS Delegate, Incoming Women’s Network Chair, University of Bristol
  • Mounir Benzineb – University of Bristol
  • Kazim Kazim – University of Bristol
  • Thanaj Amin – University of Bristol
  • Zoulikha Belblidia- University of Bristol
  • Nurin Jazlina – ( Undergraduate student , UoB )
  • Khuzaima Bhatti- University of Bristol
  • Nasra Ayub – Undergraduate Education Officer Bristol SU
  • Nana Agyare- University of Bristol BME Network
  • Abdulahi Mohamed-University of Bristol
  • Mohamed Salhi, Education Officer, KCLSU
  • Maria Flores Rodero: University of Bristol
  • Hussain Abass: Bristol Islamic Society
  • Saaleh Khan – University of Bristol
  • Zoya Rashid – University of Bristol
  • Abubakar Siddique Muqaddas – University of Bristol
  • Farzana Akter – University of Bristol
  • Sorwar Ali – University of Bristol
  • Juliana Mohamad Noor, President, CoLCSU
  • Aamir Mohamed – Bristol Islamic Society (Brothers VP)
  • Shamus Butt – President of Muslim Medics Bristol, University of Bristol
  • Zayd Amjad – General Secretary, Muslim Medics Bristol
  • Shamima Khonat – Community, Campaigns & Citizenship, University of Manchester SU
  • Emma Tran – University of Bristol
  • Shasha Sosrowardoyo, University of Bristol
  • Vanessa Wilson, Student Living Officer at the Bristol SU
  • Amera Hussain – President of Durdham JCR, University of Bristol
  • Izzie Foster, University of Bristol
  • Shahid Akram – Former Chair- BMCS
  • Nic Aaron – PhD student, University of Bristol
  • Abdullah Okud, President, Sheffield Hallam Students Union, Chair, Hallam Race Network, Union Development Committee, NUS
  • Sian Amekuedi – President of the Feminist Society, University of Bristol
  • Alex May – Co-President of the Green Party Society, University of Bristol
  • Ruth Day – Chair, Bristol Labour Students and NUS delegate
  • Dylan Woodward – Secretary, Bristol Labour Students
  • Safia Cissoko- University of Bristol
  • Zain Choudhry – Students’ Union at UWE President 2017/18
  • Manish Khatri – NUS Scotland International Students Officer
  • Grey Fraser – UoB LGBT+ Soc VP
  • Thara Lawal – Equality Rep of Durdham JCR University of Bristol
  • Wyn Turner – University of Bristol
  • Durham Intersectional Feminism Society
  • Shuyej Uddin – University of Bristol
  • Sky Richardson-Griffiths – University of Bristol
  • Felix Manocha-Seymour, Disabled Students’ Network Chair
  • Ilnur Miftakhov – University of Bristol masters student
  • Rhys Shaw – University of Bristol Student.
  • Sally Emerson – Chair of the Education Network, Bristol SU
  • Delina Yohannes – University of Bristol
  • Zee Adamson Leggett – Bristol resident
  • Amr Alwishah- VP welfare and Campaigns Cardiff University Students Union
  • Larissa Kennedy, Education Officer, Warwick SU
  • Ilyas Nagdee, NUS Black Students Officer
  • Jason Palmer, incoming ELA Officer, president of Bristol DramSoc, Trainer for Bristol Debating Union, LGBT+ Soc Committee
  • Manar Lamzini- University of Bristol
  • Roy Kiruri – University of Bristol Law Club Careers Secretary and African Caribbean Society International Students Representative
  • Nabeela Mowlana, Welfare and Community Officer Sheffield Hallam SU, NUS NEC
  • Ffion Lewis, LGBT+ Society Secretary and incoming LGBT+ Network Chair
  • Ella Alalade, ELA Officer of Bristol DramSoc, Writing Rep for Bristol Spotlights
  • Hadya Shawki – University of Bristol
  • Zamzam Ibrahim – NUS Vice President
  • Luke Tyers – Bristol Cut the Rent, Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity
  • Mark Carver, University of Bristol
  • Usman Butt, University of Bristol
  • Yvette Parry (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Phoebe Rose Gilmore (MSc Student, UoB)
  • Georgia Homer (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Suzie Beckley (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Sula Shepherd (MSc Student, UoB)
  • Siavash Minoukadeh, UoB Undergraduate student
  • Linn Meyer (Bsc Student , UoB)
  • Matthew Randell, President of UkeSoc, University of Bristol
  • Nura E. Alyah, Chair of LGBT+ Network, University of Bristol
  • Sheriff Muhammed Education Officer, Sheffield Hallam SU
  • Amy Hornsby (MSc Student, UoB, Vice-President Bristol Friends of Palestine)
  • Georgia-Mari Spencer (MSc, UoB)
  • Barakat Hussain, University of Bristol, President of Feed the Homeless society
  • Abdelrahman Otify (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Ahd Othman (PhD, UoB)
  • Maggie Kadembo,University of Bristol BME Network
  • Gabriel Oben (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Aisling Duignan-Murphy (Undergraduate Student, UoB)
  • Omar Chowdhury – Bangla Society President and ACS Events Officer, Incoming Chair of the BME Network, University of Bristol
  • Mohamed El Gosbi, UWE
  • Joseph Hartland, 3D Helical Theme lead for UoB Medical School
  • Samya Sarfaraz – Vice President Muslim Medics Bristol, University of Bristol
  • Aishani Kumaran Sitaraman (MArts, University of Bristol)
  • Nazifa Zaman (Co-BAME officer Warwick Labour)
  • Mohamed Yousuf (University of Warwick)
  • Laura Lunn-Bates, NUS NEC
  • Raza Muhammad – Univerity of Bristol
  • Catreya Mably – University of Bristol
  • Beck Throup – University of Bristol, LGBT+ Society President
  • Mohanad W. ElNaggar – University of Bristol, UG.
  • Ahmed Ali- LBSU Equality & Diversity Officer Elect.
  • Murtaza Shah- University of Bristol
  • Taj Ali- Ethnic Minorities Officer (University of Warwick)
  • Millie Jacoby (University of Warwick)
  • Thandeka Bero (University of Sussex)
  • Fraser Amos Co-Chair Warwick Labour
  • Saifur Rahman (University of Warwick)
  • Imadul Chowdhury (President, Brighton and Sussex Medical School ISOC)
  • F Bham, UWE
  • Aminah Saleem (University of Warwick)
  • Anastasia Maryukhta (Radio Host, University of Bristol)
  • Roisin Jacobson – Secretary of the Sociology Society, University of Bristol
  • Alicia Donaldson (University of Bristol)
  • Olivia Goodwin – University of Bristol Women’s Football Development Captain and Centaur Society Junior IVSA Rep
  • Lucy Russell (University of Bristol, President of Bristol Debating Union)
  • Ella Wells – Bristol resident
  • Safiah Afifi (Cardiff University) – FOSIS Wales & West
  • Saira Fazili (Vice President, University of Bristol Pakistan Society)
  • Adeeb Hussain (President, UoB Pakistan Society)
  • Sana Mahmud, undergraduate student at UOB
  • Abyd Quinn Aziz Cardiff University UCU Equalities Officer
  • Aishah Bukhari (Keele University)
  • Temi Jones – Durdham JCR vice president, University of Bristol
  • Christian Cockle – University of Bristol
  • sam shahabi – university of bristol
  • Megan Clarke – CoChair Warwick Labour
  • Amy Best – Hiatt Baker JCR President, University of Bristol
  • Lucy MacDonald Connolly University of Bristol
  • Nuramin Hakimi bin Nurhashim – University of Bristol
  • Zhafyra Irdina Anuar – University of Bristol
  • Humaid Ghori – Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • Katie Hall – Bristol Medical School
  • Ashfath Ifham – Cardiff University
  • Henry Willis – Bristol Medical School
  • Amin Lmoh – Warwick Labour Secretary, University of Warwick
  • Ahmed Yasin – University of Bristol
  • Lowri Luxton – People & Planet, University of Bristol
  • Savannah Coombe, University of Bristol Undergraduate, President Liberal Arts Society
  • Lucy Hitchens – President of the University of Bristol Medical Law Society
  • Ahlam Nagi-Cardiff University
  • Sharmeen Lupa Ghazi – Swansea resident
  • Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Chair of the Widening Participation Network, Incoming Undergraduate Education Officer
  • David Tyoember – BME Officer, Imperial College London
  • Maheen Hussain – Marketing rep (Bristol Islamic soc), Advisor (Pakistan soc)
  • Nur Syakirah Sulaiman – University of Bristol
  • Scarlet Shepard – University of Bristol graduate
  • Hana Sadida – University of Nottingham
  • Syaraf Izzati – University of Bristol
  • BeTengku Arifah Syakirah – Uni of Bristol
  • Alani Anazim – University of Bristol
  • Ella Wilkinson, University of Wales Trinity St. David
  • Khadijah Ginwalla, Treasurer Muslim Medics Bristol, BMEdics Committee and Medical school course representative, University of Bristol
  • Khairul Ain binti Kamarudin, Secretary Students for Global Health Bristol, University of Bristol.
  • Hisyam Azlan – Welfare executive of MCS, University of  Bristol
  • Fikri Farid – University of  Bristol
  • Alif Fadzil – Media executive of mcs, University of  Bristol
  • Adam Hadi – President of MCS, University of  Bristol
  • Jessica Fenlon – University of Bristol
  • Amara Iqbal – Bristol resident
  • Harriet Martin-Jones – Bath Spa University Vice-President Opportunities
  • Afdhol Zofran, student University of Bristol
  • Claire Sosienski Smith, Women’s Officer, Cambridge University Students’ Union
  • Abdullah Imran: University of Bath
  • Nadia Benzineb: University of Warwick
  • Hamizah Haidi: PhD candidate, University of Cambridge
  • Myriam Kans NUS NEC
  • Nur Adina – University of Bristol
  • Madeleine Daly, University of Nottingham.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.