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University professor cleared of Islamophobia allegations reveals fear of being attacked or killed

A university professor accused of Islamophobia has revealed he fears being attacked or killed by a Muslim extremist – and criticized ‘woke’ students for putting students’ lives at risk. Human rights scholar Steven Greer said he was forced to wear a suit and carry a weapon for self-defense after undergraduates at the University of Bristol Law School complained that elements of his course were racist and discriminatory. A teaching slide that mentioned the 2015 terror attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, was described as “Islamophobic rhetoric”. And a lecture which included “well-attested observations” about the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic states, and the harsh punishments given under sharia law, was said to be “false and divisive”. Professor Greer, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts, and Director of Research at the Oxford Institute for British Islam, a think tank and research group that seeks to promote a progressive interpretation of Islam, was dismissed outright. every injustice last year. A five-month inquiry, led by a senior academic at the University of Bristol, found all of the accusations to be unfounded. An independent QC appointed during the inquiry also found that Professor Greer was not guilty of harassment under the Equality Act 2010. But the “scurrilous lies of a handful of illiberal students” still led to the subject being removed from the course and left that’s it. fear for his reputation and his life. Professor Greer, a grandfather of three, was so afraid for his own safety that he went into hiding. He grew a long, lush beard and disguised it in public with fake glasses and a hood pulled up to hide the rest of his face. He also had a “sturdy” umbrella and a screwdriver in case he was attacked. Professor Greer, who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said he was more scared than ever growing up during the Troubles. The appalling ordeal reflects what he describes as a growing attack on academic freedom in British universities. He says fellow students in the arts, humanities and social sciences are already self-censoring and “going down” their courses for fear of being falsely labeled as “hostile to minorities with includes gays, transsexuals and Muslims” at “wake up student campaigners. “. But the ease with which students dismiss accusations of racism and religion is putting academics at serious risk of reputational and physical attack “based on nothing but lies and distortions”, he said. And, he says, universities are not doing enough to protect staff from “intolerant students”. His memoir, False Excuses for Islamophobia: My Struggle Against Academic Abolition, which recounts his ordeal and concerns about the culture of abolition in academia, is on the shelves today. Professor Greer, 66, a leading authority on human rights, particularly on counter-terrorism legislation, said: “Until last year I have enjoyed a wonderful career and I believe I have earned the respect of students, peers and colleagues. All over the country. world. “Overnight, however, my name became synonymous with bigotry, racism and Islamophobia – especially on social media – because of a handful of malicious students who tried to ruin my life. “I was stunned, and my name and reputation were dragged through the mud. For my own safety I had to act as a fugitive – simply for including academically authoritative and fact-based information in my course that some students were militantly opposed to. “My case is not the first of its kind and, sadly, it is unlikely to be the last. The culture of cancellation is becoming the scourge of academia and, in my view, threatens to undermine the degree course at many of the UK’s best institutions, “Many academics, for fear of being falsely labeled as hostile to minorities by activists who woke up, actively themselves. -censorship to avoid any possible backlash. “University leaders are not doing enough to protect their staff from intolerant students, some of whom can put further malicious pressure on academics through international links. “Not only are students themselves losing out, but the reputation of British higher education is also being damaged around the world. The allegations against the professor first surfaced in October 2020 when the Bristol University Islamic Society (BRISOC) made a formal complaint to the University of Bristol alleging multiple counts of Islamophobia in his teaching and other public output. He was mainly accused of expressing “extreme views” in the Islam, China and the Far East module of the Human Rights in Law, Politics and Society (HRLPS) course he had designed and taught since 2006. Commendation the module repeatedly highlighted by external examiners for its “rigorous and critical” examination of contemporary human rights issues, among other things, the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic states, and the harsh punishments issued under sharia law. In February 2021, BRISOC publicized its complaint through an online petition and social media campaign. Professor Greer was also accused of ‘Islamophobic rhetoric’ for including the 2015 Paris terror attack in a lecture slide, and for broadcasting “Islamophobic, ambiguous and divisive” views. BRISOC also claimed that he laughed at a passage from the Quran in a seminar. The petition, which received more than 4,000 signatures and more than 7,000 ‘likes’ on social media, called for the suspension or dismissal of Professor Greer if he did not issue an immediate apology, and for the cancellation of the Islam module, the China and the Far East from the HRLPS course. regardless.. Within days, he received a series of threatening emails and was alarmed when he saw a suspicious person loitering near his home in Bristol. Avon and Somerset Police took her concerns seriously but an investigation was closed due to a lack of evidence. In July 2021, after a five-month investigation, the University of Bristol completely dropped all BRISOC allegations. The decision was upheld unanimously in October of that year when a panel of three senior academics from Bristol rejected BRISOC’s appeal against the inquiry’s decision. Professor Greer, who has worked at the university since the 1980s, was signed off by a doctor from September 2021 to January 2022. He was not allocated any additional teaching duties when he returned and says he has kept what he considers it being unofficial. research leave’ until he retires in September 2022. University leaders also dropped his module on Islam, China and the Far East so that Muslim students “would not feel that their religion is being mentioned or ‘othered’ by material the class”. Describing what he sees as a collective crisis in British universities, most visible with the emergence of a “Woke Inquisition”, Professor Greer now fears that the UK’s university education system will revert to medieval dogma, and that Britain will have a world leading status. critical scholarship will be irrevocably lost. He said: “Our academic institutions are respected around the world for their commitment to academic freedom and rigorous critical thinking. but this is further threatened by Inquisition Woke who has taken upon himself the role of deciding what can and cannot be discussed. “A climate of fear is already replacing an environment of free critical inquiry. “The harm is deplorable and should be condemned, but this is a far cry from legitimate academic inquiry. Unfortunately, a culture of cancellation fails to see the distinction. “The issue is worse at the universities themselves. While some remain beacons of intellectual freedom, others are being increasingly abused by members of the culture of cancellation that has awakened on the far left. “If something effective is not done about these challenges, then within the next decade academic freedom, particularly in certain sectors, will be irretrievably lost, and tertiary education will revert to unquestioned dogma like the pre-modern era.” Professor Greer still holds the honorary title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol Law School and, as a direct result of the BRISOC “scandal”, has since been appointed by the Oxford Institute for British Islam (OIBI), a group independent Muslim ideas. and a research academy, as its research director. His previous book, ‘Tackling Terrorism in Britain: Threats, responses and challenges twenty years after 9/11’, assesses twenty years of counter-terrorism policy in Britain since the New York terrorist attacks. He added: “Many students risk leaving university with little critical insight, knowledge or appreciation of the vital importance of intellectual freedom and evidence-based thinking in a healthy democracy. “Some of them, wearing jibs and self-tied blinkers, will go on to join the next generation of leaders. This does not bode well for the future of our society.” Last December, the Office for Students (OfS) watchdog warned university leaders to stand up for freedom of speech on campus or risk a fine of up to £500,000. Susan Lapworth, its chief executive, said academic freedom was a big issue in universities. Due to the rise of ‘campus wokery’ speakers and academics were banned from being bullied out of positions to express opinions. Karolien Celie, of the Free Speech Union, a body which promotes freedom of speech and protects those targeted by online mobs, said: “Professor Greer’s appalling atrocity is another sobering reminder of the fragility of freedom. academics in the contemporary UK. “His account of his own situation, together with authoritative reflections on the rise of the culture of cancellation and its implications in academia, is a sound of warning that should not be ignored by anyone interested in liberal democratic societies to do.”

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