Professor accused of Islamophobia blasts university bosses

Professor accused of Islamophobia blasts university bosses

Professor accused of Islamophobia blasts university bosses for saying they ‘recognised students’ concerns’ – despite also saying the academic was completely exonerated

  • Human rights academic Steven Greer was cleared over Islamophobia claims
  • Bristol University chiefs rejected complaints that he expressed ‘bigoted views’
  • But Bristol University statement has now said ‘we recognise BRISOC’s concerns’
  • After a five-month investigation, Mr Greer’s module was still pulled from syllabus
  • Critics said his lecture slide about 2015 Paris terror attack was ‘Islamophobic’ 
  • Students called for the module at Bristol University’s law school to be scrapped
  • Mr Greer accused senior academics of ‘capitulating’ to the threats of students 

A PROFESSOR accused of Islamophobia has blasted his university employer’s response after an appeal against his exoneration was thrown out.

Human rights academic Steven Greer was cleared last week after an appeal by Bristol University’s Islamic Society (BRISOC) who accused him of making ‘discriminatory’ and ‘Islamophobic’ comments as part of his course.

A five-month investigation, led by an independent QC, cleared the professor over the allegations but university bosses still removed the material from the course. 

University chiefs rejected complaints that Steven Greer (pictured) had expressed ‘bigoted views’ after a five-month investigation – but have still pulled his module from their syllabus

Prof Greer, who has worked at the university since the 1980s, was even forced to flee his home over fears for his safety during what he branded a ‘vicious, militant’ campaign by BRISOC seeking to have him fired.

At the time, an online petition launched by members of BRISOC attracted 3,700 signatures. 

Now Bristol University has sparked anger after a statement in which it states that ‘we recognise BRISOC’s concerns and the importance of airing differing views constructively’.

It also claimed that the ‘fundamental structure’ of Prof Greer’s module, which discussed human rights challenges facing Islamic nations, remains in place.

But he told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The university’s statement recognising ‘BRISOC’s concerns’ is utterly incompatible with my exoneration.

‘BRISOC has never sought to “air differing views constructively”. On the contrary their vicious social media campaign sought my dismissal and cynically put my life at risk.

‘To suggest, as the university’s statement does, that it was necessary to restructure the unit in order to be “respectful of the sensitivities of students on the course” is at variance with the result of the official inquiry which found there were no grounds for believing this was a problem.’ 

He accused academics of ‘capitulating’ to the students’ threats who called for his Bristol University (pictured) module to be scrapped over his ‘reported use of discriminatory remarks’

Bristol University said it would not be adding any comment to its statement published on Friday. 

Critics claimed a lecture slide that mentioned the 2015 terror attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, was ‘Islamophobic rhetoric’.

Prof Greer also highlighted the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic nations, and the harsh penalties handed out under sharia law.

But he believes he largely came under attack because he supports the Government’s Prevent programme to stop radicalisation, which critics have branded anti-Islamic.

Last month Prof Greer, who has worked at the university since the 1980s, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Brisoc’s campaign has been vicious and punitive and has put me and my family under intolerable stress. It has been very threatening and frightening.He revealed that he ‘came across a stranger loitering outside our home’ shortly after news of the controversy emerged, adding: ‘They gave an implausible excuse and left. 

‘Was it just a coincidence or a reconnoitre? We’ll never know. My family and I were, of course, very rattled by this.

‘Taking no chances, my wife and I fled our home to stay somewhere safer for several days.

‘Going public in The Mail on Sunday may increase or decrease the risk to my personal safety. I just don’t know.

‘But the attack upon me is an attack upon a fundamental freedom and this is something worth standing up for, even if I’m harmed as a result.’ 

An online petition which was launched by members of the university’s Islamic Society, Brisoc, attracted 3,700 signatures

Although a formal investigation came down in favour of Prof Greer, he received an email from academic chiefs last week which said his module on Islam, China and the Far East was being dropped so Muslim students would ‘not feel that their religion is being singled out or in any way ‘othered’ by the class material’.

Prof Greer said: ‘Militant minorities are increasingly intent on dictating the content and delivery of university education through vilification, intimidation and threats. 

‘Their purpose is to silence lawful and legitimate opinion simply because they disagree with it.

‘The law school has capitulated in a manner which is at variance with the result of the university’s inquiry into my case.’

Prof Greer faced particular criticism over his defence of Prevent, but said the allegation that the programme was Islamophobic had been ‘resoundingly discredited by the best and most recent research… it simply doesn’t stack up against the evidence.’ 

Of the 697 cases taken on by Prevent last year, 43 per cent were for far-Right extremism and 30 per cent were Islamist.

Prof Greer, whose book, Tackling Terrorism In Britain: Threats, Responses And Challenges Twenty Years After 9/11, will be published next month, is due to retire at the end of this academic year, but has been signed off work by a doctor because of the impact of the saga on his health. 

In September, Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, said: ‘Bristol’s treatment of Prof Greer is outrageous.

‘By kowtowing to the Islamic Society, the university has issued a gold-embossed invitation to activists to submit vexatious complaints about its employees.’

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