We can’t even freely debate Islam without being accused of Islamophobia. British universities are becoming cancel-culture prisons

Sep 26, 2021 by

by Ramsha Afridi, RT:

An Oxford University provost who was previously chair of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission this week apologised to students for having allowed his college to host a Christian conference.

Yes, you read that right: in 2021, a college being used as the venue for a Christian event is enough to cause offence.

The week-long conference at Worcester College was held during the summer break, when students were on vacation. One of the speakers at the event – which was sponsored by the evangelical conservative advocacy organization Christian Concern – was Mike Davidson, the CEO of the Core Issues Trust and X-Out-Loud, which offer psychotherapy and support to those who experience unwanted homosexual behaviour and feelings. Davidson is reported to practise controversial ‘conversion therapy’ – a claim he rejects.

Plenty to be concerned about there, you might think. But Davidson’s views on homosexuality were not the only cause of the furore that led to provost David Isaac’s apology – the topic of the conference’s closing session, titled ‘The Nature of Islam’, was also considered offensive. Students described it as “hateful and invalidating”, denouncing it as “Islamophobic”, and Isaac swiftly issued a grovelling public apology. He described the decision to host the event as “a serious failure that has caused significant distress to students”, and reportedly mounted an investigation.

You might expect a respected educational institution such as Oxford, a champion of intellectual rigour and free speech, to have stood its ground. That it didn’t is shocking enough. But what’s even more flabbergasting is that it has been alleged that none of the students who complained, or indeed Mr Isaacs himself, was in attendance at the seminar in question. It could therefore be argued that they likely made a sweeping assumption as to what was said about Islam during the event – and that’s an example of cancel culture at its worst.

An ideologically driven approach to others’ views such as this doesn’t just restrict free speech, but also encourages public shaming, the intimidation of institutions and individuals, and even concerted attempts to destroy the livelihoods of ‘wrong-thinkers’. And that is exactly what happened at Worcester College, where simply discussing, questioning or – God forbid – criticising Islam is seemingly not allowed, and will be shut down by the sensitivity mobs who deem such topics to be off limits.

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