Palestinian Academic Who Backed Suicide Attacks to Speak at U.K. University

The Telegraph reports that student group is concerned about the bias of speakers at an event to be held by the Palestine Solidarity Society at Queen Mary University.

Students in the United Kingdom are protesting the upcoming speech of Azzam Tamimi at Queen Mary University, the Telegraph reported on Friday.

Tamimi has expressed support for Hamas and said that he would conduct a suicide bombing against Israel if he had "the opportunity".

Jerusalem suicide bomb attack June 18, 2002 (Eyal Warshavsky)
Eyal Warshavsky

Speaking to the BBC in 2004, Tamimi said that sacrificing oneself was a "noble cause".

"It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity,” he said.

Tamimi, a Palestinian academic based in Britain, is to speak on Tuesday at an event called "One State or Two State Solution", hosted by the university's Palestine Solidarity Society.

The group Student Rights has expressed concerns about a number of "biased" speakers at the event.

"It is bad enough that Tamimi, a supporter of an anti-Semitic terrorist group like Hamas, should be invited onto a campus to speak, as he was at Loughborough University last November," the group said in a statement on its website. "However, what is worse is that not only will there be no balance to his hate filled views, but that the panel he will speak alongside have all declared outspoken opposition to Israel in the past.

The group also posted a response from a Queen Mary University spokeswoman.

"Freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas and beliefs are at the heart of Queen Mary’s ethos and we have a very clear policy and mechanisms to support this," that statement read.

“In making these arrangements we neither endorse nor deny the views expressed; rather we are allowing freedom of expression within the law," University Principal, Professor Simon Gaskell said.

“Furthermore, we are implicitly attributing to our university community the intelligence and powers of discrimination to judge for themselves the merits or otherwise of opinions and beliefs presented to them.”