UJS Fringe at NUS Conference 2010

The UJS fringe at NUS Conference this year was on the topic of Hate Speech, the panel chaired by Wes Streeting (NUS), with Rashad Ali (Centri), Jamie Bartlett (Demos), Adam Pike (UJS) and Nabil Ahmed (FOSIS, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies).

Over 200 students attended the event, making it the best attended fringe event of NUS Conference 2010. Over the course of one and a half hours, Jewish students and non-Jewish student leaders were given a unique opportunity to press and challenge the FOSIS leadership as to why they constantly invite, support and defend Hate Speakers on British campuses.

These students witnessed FOSIS avoiding tough, honest and well-researched questions and refusing outright to acknowledge any problem or responsibility for the problems prevalent on our campuses. Every time a denial was uttered about a Hate Speaker, Rashad Ali (from Centri) together with Adam Pike, called FOSIS out. As a former Hizb'ut Tahrir member, Mr Ali spoke with authority on this matter and we were delighted that he attended at our invitation.

UJS was proud to witness Jewish students representing thousands of their peers, standing up and tackling the issues head on. This was not a moment of cowardice, this was a stoic display of strength. And, let us add, NUS Conference supported UJS, passing new Hate Speech Guidelines to ensure that this dancing act by FOSIS will not continue.

Let us be clear: 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.

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