It's sometimes said that attack is the best form of defence. Some of those think tanks and agitators who seem intent on marginalising Muslims appear to have worked out that the reverse is also true: while some right wingers are happy to go along with direct demonization campaigns, in order to get liberals to jump on the bandwagon of an Islamophobic campaign, defense is often the best form of attack...
Another students union has officially condemned the 'anti-extremism' organisation 'Student Rights'. On Thursday Kingston university became the fifth campus (following motions at LSE, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, and UCL) to join the counter-campaign called 'Real Student Rights' which continues to grow on the back of coverage in the national press.
Student Rights is seeking to police, not 'protect' students and its activities should be seen as part of the 'Cold War on British Muslims'. Its activities feed into an increasingly entrenched discourse of Islamophobia endorsed by much of the government and mainstream media. Universities should be wary of its lobbying efforts, the media should interrogate its misleading research and FOSIS should be commended for standing up to its bullying.
A Students' Union is run by students for students. This is the line, in one shape or another that we are continually told when it comes to our Students' Unions. More than just a building, a Students' Union is a place for many of its members to come for support, advice, help, employment and most importantly; fair democratic representation.
In March this year, it was reported that a number of students and lecturers had come out in criticism of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy, arguing that it was "open to discriminatory interpretations" and that it unfairly singled out the risk of Islamist extremism as a threat.
Accusing your opponents of demagoguery and scaremongering is one of the oldest political tricks in the book, yet the facts simply do not add up here. FOSIS claim that the community they represent is being unfairly demonised yet they organise events with extremists and refuse to engage with organisations like ourselves when we contact them.