Universities could face investigation over hosting ‘extremist’ speaker

Begg speaks at the Islamophobia Conference 2015 in the Methodist Church, Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, Scotland

By Mat Johnstone, News Editor


Six British universities may face legal action after hosting a controversial speaker seen by the government as ‘extremist’.

Maozzam Begg, an activist against the War on Terror, was a guest lecturer at several universities including the University of Manchester. He had previously been held in Guantanamo Bay for three years without trial.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Begg’s activist organisation Cage were “apologists for terror.”

Under the new ‘Prevent’ counter-terrorism legislation, aimed at making institutions police potential ‘extremist’ behaviour, Begg’s appearances may have legal ramifications.

The ‘Prevent’ strategy has been condemned by the University of Strathclyde’s Student Association as “criminalising black and Muslim students.”

Begg was a speaker at the ‘Students not Suspects’ tour, which also visited Strathclyde.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, the official watchdog body for higher education, said it was “aware” of the events at the universities and would be contacting them to find out “how they assessed the risks and what mitigations they put in place to safeguard staff and students”.