Record requests for university computer courses ‘fuelled by AI rise’


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

A university professor cleared of Islamophobia charges has revealed his fear of being attacked or killed by Muslim extremists — and has criticized students for endangering the lives of academics. Human rights scholar Steven Greer said he was forced to don a disguise and carry a gun for his own protection after students at Bristol University Law School complained that elements of his course were racist and discriminatory. An education slide reporting the 2015 terror attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, was described as “Islamophobic rhetoric”. And a lecture containing “well-founded observations” about the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic states, and the harsh punishments meted out under Sharia law, would be “bigorous and divisive.” Professor Greer, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society of Arts, and director of research at the Oxford Institute for British Islam, a think tank and research academy promoting a progressive interpretation of Islam, was cleared of all wrongdoing in full year. A five-month investigation, led by a senior academic at the University of Bristol, found all allegations to be unfounded. An independent QC appointed during the investigation also concluded that Professor Greer was not guilty of harassment under the Equality Act 2010. But the “villainous falsehoods by a handful of illiberal students” still led to the course material being was removed and left him out of fear for his reputation and his life. Professor Greer, grandfather of three children, was so afraid for his own safety that he went into hiding. He grew a long, bushy beard and disguised himself in public with fake glasses and a pulled-up hood to hide the rest of his face. He also carried a “sturdy” umbrella and a screwdriver in case he was attacked. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Professor Greer said he was more scared during the Troubles than he had ever been. The terrifying ordeal mirrors what he describes as a growing assault on academic freedom within British universities. He says fellow scholars in the arts, humanities and social sciences are already self-censoring and “dumbing down” their courses for fear of being falsely branded as “hostile to minorities, including gays, transsexuals and Muslims” by ” awakened student campaigners”. ”. But the ease with which allegations related to racism and religion can be made by students puts academics at real risk of reputational damage and physical attacks “based on nothing but lies and distortion,” he warned. And, he adds, universities are not doing enough to protect staff from “intolerant students.” His memoir, Falsely Accused of Islamophobia: My Struggle Against Academic Cancellation, which recounts his ordeal and concerns about the cancellation culture in academia, is on shelves today. Professor Greer, 66, a leading authority on human rights, particularly on anti-terrorism law, said: “I had a wonderful career until last year and I believe I had earned the respect of students, peers and peers across the world. world.”Almost overnight, however, my name became synonymous with bigotry, racism and Islamophobia – especially on social media – because of a handful of malicious students who wanted to ruin my life. “I was slandered and my name and reputation were dragged in the mud. For my own safety, I had to act like a fugitive – simply because I included academically authoritative, fact-based information in my course that some militant students objected to. “My case is not the first of this kind and sadly not the last Cancel culture is fast becoming the scourge of academia and, in my opinion, view, it threatens to weaken the education of many of the UK’s top institutions. – censor to prevent possible backlash. “University bosses are not doing enough to protect their staff from intolerant students, some of whom may also exert malicious pressure on academics through international connections. “It’s not just the students themselves who are losing because of this, but the reputation of British higher education is also being damaged around the world. The allegations against the professor were first leveled in October 2020 when the University of Bristol’s Islamic Society (BRISOC) made a formal complaint to the University of Bristol alleging multiple instances of Islamophobia in his teaching and other public expressions. He was primarily accused of expressing “bigorous views” in the Islam, China and the Far East module of the Human Rights in Law, Politics and Society (HRLPS) course, which he had designed and taught since 2006. The module, repeatedly praised by outside examiners for its “rigorous and critical” examination of contemporary human rights issues, highlighted, among other things, the inferior treatment of women and non-Muslims in Islamic states and the harsh punishments imposed under Sharia law. In February 2021, BRISOC made its complaint public through an online petition and social media campaign. Professor Greer was also charged with ‘Islamophobic rhetoric’ for including the 2015 Paris terror attack in a slideshow and for expressing ‘Islamophobic, bigoted and divisive’ views. BRISOC also claimed to have laughed at a passage from the Quran during a seminar. The petition, which received more than 4,000 signatures and more than 7,000 social media ‘likes’, called for Professor Greer to be suspended or fired if he does not apologize immediately, and for the Islam, China and the Far East module to be canceled of the HRLPS course anyway.. Within days he received a series of threatening emails and was shocked to see a suspicious individual loitering near his home in Bristol. Avon and Somerset Police took his concerns seriously, but an investigation was dropped due to a lack of evidence. In July 2021, after a five-month investigation, the University of Bristol fully cleared him of all BRISOC allegations. The decision was unanimously upheld in October of that year when a panel of three senior Bristol academics rejected BRISOC’s appeal against the inquiry’s decision. Professor Greer, who has been with the university since the 1980s, was released from work from September 2021 to January 2022 by a doctor. research leave” until his retirement in September 2022. University bosses also dropped his module on Islam, China and the Far East so that Muslim students “would not feel that their religion is singled out or in any way ‘different’ by the teaching materials.” ”. Describing what he sees as a deepening crisis in Britain’s universities, most visibly in the rise of a “Woke Inquisition”, Professor Greer now fears that the UK’s university education system will descend into medieval-style dogmatism, and that the world’s leading Britain’s status for critical scholarship will be irretrievably lost. He said: “Our academic institutions are revered around the world for their commitment to academic freedom and rigorous critical thinking. yet this is increasingly threatened by a Woke Inquisition that has taken on the role of deciding what can and cannot be discussed. “A climate of fear is already replacing an environment of free, critical inquiry. “Prejudice is deplorable and should be rightly condemned, but this is a far cry from legitimate academic inquiry. Unfortunately, cancellation culture doesn’t see the distinction. “The problem is exacerbated by the universities themselves. While some remain beacons of intellectual freedom, others are increasingly intimidated by members of the cancel culture that has awakened on the far left. “Unless these challenges are effectively addressed, academic freedom, particularly in certain sectors, will be irretrievably lost within the next decade, with tertiary education reverting to an unchallenged dogma similar to that of the pre-modern era.” Professor Greer still holds the honorary title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol Law School and has since been appointed by the Oxford Institute for British Islam (OIBI), an independent Islamic think tank, as a direct result of the BRISOC scandal. and research academy, as research director. His previous book, ‘Tackling Terrorism in Britain: Threats, Responses and Challenges Twenty Years After 9/11’, reviews twenty years of anti-terrorism policies in Britain since the New York terror attacks. He added: “There is a growing risk that many students will leave university with little critical understanding, knowledge or appreciation of the vital importance of intellectual freedom and evidence-based thinking in a healthy democracy. “Some, wearing self-tied gags and blinkers, will 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 bosses to enforce free speech on campuses or risk a fine of up to £500,000. Susan Lapworth, the CEO, said academic freedom has become a big problem in universities. The rise of ‘campus wakery’ saw speakers banned and academics bullied from their jobs for expressing opinions. Karolien Celie, from the Free Speech Union, a body that promotes free speech and defends those targeted by online mafia, said: “Professor Greer’s horrific ordeal is yet another salutary reminder of the fragility of academic freedom in today’s UK . “His account of his own case, along with authoritative reflections on the rise of cancellation culture and its implications in academia, sound an alarm that no one who cares about preserving liberal democratic societies should ignore.”

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